Citation: lllusion. "Wide Eyes, Shock, and Blue Emptiness: An Experience with Cacti (San Pedro, Peruviaus) (exp79475)". Erowid.org. Nov 27, 2009. erowid.org/exp/79475
After hearing about the very smooth and visual ride of mescaline, my friend (we’ll call him B) and I decided that it would make the perfect experience for kicking off the summer. The warm Washington/Oregon days were absolutely beautiful, and we knew that we should enjoy it to the fullest. My friend convinced his roommate to help us order 3 12” San Pedro cuttings for ~$60 shipped. He accepted and ordered. When they arrived, we inspected them. We were delighted to find out that they were actually 15” each.
I recall before ordering the cactus, a roommate mentioned how funny it was to eat those huge green things to achieve a state of altered consciousness. “I’m supposed to get high by eating this?” he joked. Eventually we learned that labeling the effects as a “high” completely undermines the true power of this sacred plant. It was supposedly named after Saint Peter because it was thought to hold the keys to heaven. There is no way to correctly put this experience into words. It is simply impossible. All I can do is try my best, but please forgive me, as using words to describe what I saw and felt is not enough.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is – infinite.” The quote that inspired The Doors of Perception by Alduous Huxley, one of the greatest leaders of intellectualism and modern thought of his time. In his book, he talks about his experimentation with mescaline and its use to alter consciousness to the point of radical changes of perception that allow us to observe reality from a whole new angle and get a glimpse of whatever lies beyond these doors. Reading some of this book a few weeks earlier, I couldn’t wait to feel and experience the things he was talking about. Looking back, I have to admit that I wasn’t even anticipating anything close to what I was soon to be given.
It was time for extraction. We boiled and boiled until we had about 10.5 ounces of fluid each, then poured our share into Sobe bottles. We left our other friend’s 10.5 ounce extract in the freezer for him to enjoy when he felt he was ready. It was time to sleep, wake up somewhat early, go get a tent and canoe, then head off to an island on the Columbia River conjoining Washington to Oregon.
The day was absolutely beautiful. We got in a river and paddled out to the Columbia. After arriving, we started sipping our extracts and killing the aftertaste with lemon. There was one other man on the island currently camping. After talking to him about good places to set up camp, we decided his recommendation of a small bank on the beach further down the island would be a good idea. Trees growing out into the water and a thick swamp behind it made it very secluded from the rest of the island. We figured the privacy would be good. So we rowed down to it and finished off our drinks. It tasted like I was drinking throw-up. Somehow I managed to not gag and we both got it all down over the span of an hour. Neither of us had any idea what we were really in for. I was kind of just expecting to see a lot of cool colors and giggle a lot. People gave me such a superficial description of the experience. However, I still sort of had the feeling I’d experience something special after reading from Huxley’s book.
This little blocked off mini-beach was about 20 feet across and 5 feet wide. After setting up the tent and firewood, I felt the nausea building up inside me. It was uncomfortable but manageable. I looked around at the scenery. It was pretty. But I knew I wasn’t feeling any effects yet. B said we should definitely relocate because the tide was obviously going to overtake most if not all of this tiny area. Well this is terrific. Thanks old man. I look down at some flowery plants. “Ugh, I feel like I’m gonna throw up,” I said. “Come on man, don’t throw it up. Hold it in.” But there was no stopping what my body wanted to do. Looking at a flower, I dry-heaved. Everything instantly became fuzzy and colorful. I looked at my friend. He looked over to me and said, “You okay?” as his white blurry skin faded back to normal. Holy shit. Here it was. Soon after, I started to slightly worry. It was only about 2 hours and 15 minutes in and I already got some intense visuals. I wondered how hard I’d be tripping when it finally hits at 3 hours. Eventually, I felt a calm sense of inner peace coming over me reassuring me that everything was going to be fine – something that doesn’t happen with me on mushrooms. I still had occasional worries. But they were worries almost comparable to the sober level of worries. Any psychedelic user knows that sober worries are completely different than psychedelic worries. They can be terrifying and cause everything to spiral out of control.
Instead of paddling the canoe back, we loaded everything in it then got in the water and waded with it around the trees blocking off the beach. There wasn’t really any room for us in it and rowing against the tide would have been much slower. Entering the cool water sent a rush through my body and destroyed the nausea. “Cold!,” said B. Us escorting the boat while shoulder deep in water felt silly. It was just a silly situation. Two campers coming back soaking wet due to the moron who advised camping on a beach-spot that doesn’t even exist when the tide comes in. We both started laughing hysterically at this. It was a fit of wild and crazy laughter. The more I started laughing the more I was being eased into a different mental state; everything became surreal and astonishingly colorful. Beauty is such a dull word to describe it. Colors were definitely getting more vivid and enhanced. The pounding of my stomach and lungs while laughing seemed to bring it on harder. Everything around me was very slowly and subtly getting “different.”
I remember feeling like a child at this point, innocently laughing and finding new pleasure in the things that we as adults have come to take for granted. Soon the old man’s boat could be seen. I started cooking up a mental picture of us both walking by in the water pushing our boat flipping the guy off. Then, B said, “It’d be totally hilarious if we just pushed our boat right past this guy giving him the finger,” I replied back, “That’s exactly what I was thinking! Weird!” I thought to myself that it was a strange coincidence but I’ve seen stranger. Much stranger things were to come. There were a lot of shared thoughts for the remainder of the evening.
We settled back in the main area where the old man was. He was a pretty good ways away and there was a dense area of tall plants separating us. We figured he wouldn’t bother us and started setting up camp once more. Our canoe was on the beach near the shore and our soon-to-be fire and tent were in a secluded area surrounded by tall trees in one direction, a river view in another, and tall brush and plants in the direction toward the tip of the island. I began noticing how the sand started turning purple. Cool! I couldn’t help but start laughing. It was funny. You don’t understand why purple sand is so funny until you’re in that mental state. “What’s so funny?” said B. “The sand is PURPLE! Are you seeing what I’m seeing!?” “Uh not really,” he replied. “We should go for a quick walk and explore a little,” I said. We wandered off, still wondering what really to expect. Naturally we became barefoot. Psychedelics strip you as a person and they can strip you of your clothing, almost as if you need to be cleansed before you are ready to see what you are about to be shown.
Heading off to the big beach area at the tip of the island, I noticed that nature was revealing more and more of its “true self” to me. Everything in nature is a very fine balance. The wind and the trees sing along to it. The eagles cry to it on the outstretched hands of the tallest trees. This balance felt like a universal state of order and disorder constantly clashing. B started talking about how the sand was getting very sparkly. When he said that, it kicked up my visuals to it. Him saying that sentence conjured diamonds that scattered across the sand right in front of my very eyes. Waves washed along the beach. It’s hard to explain what I saw on the surface of the water. It was very intricate and “woven” together with warm light. The rips in the waves caused shiny crystals to tumble over this woven blanket of water.
Both of us couldn’t decide if we were hot or cold. It was windy and I started to shiver. We sat on the beach looking out across the Columbia River. The trees wobbled and danced to the rhythms I felt within myself and everything around me. We both were starting to worry about how intense this was going to be – and for 6 or 7 more hours? Fear started to creep into me. I stood up. “Okay, I’m freezing. Let’s go get our sleeping bags and wait this out a little here on the beach.” Coming back with our sleeping bags, I was still anxious about what was to come. I suddenly became exhausted after wrapping up in warmth. Still shivering, I laid back on the sand and stared into the sky at the clouds.
This is where fear itself could no longer enter. I was protected by my final will to let go and not fear whatever was to be presented to me. I would carry on the shoulders for the rest of my life the sights and visions of whatever lie behind the very doors of perception. The all-familiar psychedelic headspace crept over me, making sure that I knew that I was not playing with a toy. My mind was not behaving as that of a normal human any longer. It could perceive the things that we usually cannot perceive, but are everywhere around us. After the key from this altered state of consciousness opened these locked doors, the walls holding back what lied beyond faded.
Slow white “aurora borealis” lights slowly snaked through the sky. The wobbling clouds slowly started to shift. Huge lines filled with fractal energy formed an “X” over my entire line of sight. Fading in from the blank blue sky were enormous infinite fractal systems of code flowing through everything everywhere. I closed my eyes. Under the warm-brown flesh color of the eyelids, there were very hard to see glowing orbs of energy. They were swirling and swirling with fractal systems veining out.
A woman the very color of my eyelids, yet still perceivable by me, tilted her head up above her gazing upward. Energy of the forest around us and the very ground below me flowed through her. Very briefly, I felt the earth shake under me. She sharply inhaled and widened her eyes as if in shock. Then, she fell backward as I opened my eyes. Right as this happened, the clouds pushed away from where I saw her fall back with my eyes shut – revealing a blue emptiness in the sky.
Soon it became very apparent that I was surrounded by entities in the clouds. Most of them were giving frowns. They made the appearance of staring into the soul, yet not even acknowledging your very existence at the same time. An angry looking baby with two white war stripes moving vertically down his face peered down at the earth. In cloud color, I saw bodies of bald naked humans bowing down in spiral form. Their bodies continued to spiral out in fractal pattern onward to infinity. I was in complete awe amazement at this point. This visionary state was, without a doubt, the most beautiful experience of my entire life.
I watched what I like to call an “alien-jaguar-eagle” peering straight into me, unlike most of the others. He slowly sank down toward me but never got any closer at the same time. It was very strange. Later that night after the peak while taking a leak beside the campfire. He revealed himself to me once again through some flowers I was looking at. The same entity in the clouds a few feet in front of me gently staring back at me!? It was very clear to me that whatever these things were, they flowed through everything and were everywhere. There is no sense of fear. There is only overwhelming astonishment, admiration, and respect for them. I felt blessed to be in their presence.
Still lying on the beach, hawks started flying over us. There were about 6 of them circling directly above. We both stared into the sky talking about them. Then, the strangest thing happened. They started disappearing and reappearing in and out of thin air. I would follow one and it’d just vanish. Then two more would fly in out of nowhere. B was also witnessing this. Both of us couldn’t believe what we were seeing.
Enormous symbols stretched across everything in my eyesight and the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen were surrounding them. They were so strange that I can’t even remember what they looked like. In this current mental state I am in while writing this, I cannot even comprehend it. My mind just cannot wrap itself around what it saw. The symbols and writing soon began making themselves more and more apparent. I couldn’t read it any of it. At one point, this one combination of symbols seemed like it was trying to communicate directly to me. Out of this small message of symbols, all I can really remember was an “I” shaped letter and a “V” with a dot in the gap. It was composed of 6 or 7 symbols being written out on the clouds in front of my very eyes. I had the overwhelming feeling inside of me that this message was extremely important, but I couldn’t understand it! There it is! The most divine of messages I’ve ever laid eyes on yet my brain could not decode it! I started realizing how indians have desperately tried to portray these things that they were seeing through their art, but nothing they could create could ever touch what was being presented to me.
The feeling of understanding of time and space rushed through my head pulsating with energy. It felt as though all this “code” that I was perceiving was running straight through my mind and finally allowing me to see time and space for what it really was. Again, as I write this, my mind shuts it out. Comprehending the infinite is an impossible task without these mental doors opened. I started telling B that if there were a substance that only had the effect of letting people really see time as infinite, it’d be worth it because a whole new avenue of understanding would be opened in their minds. But wait, mescaline can let you do that and so much more! From that point forward I knew that as a person I had to recommend an experience like this to everyone. People are missing out on an experience unparalleled to anything else, and all one has to do is order a cactus off the internet and ingest it! Nowadays it couldn’t be any easier.
We started walking back to our camp – both completely blown away. I don’t remember much talking at this point. I stared at the fire. It was bulging in and out. I remember the top part of my Arizona Ice Tea slightly elongating itself upward like a snake. Both of us had come down from our peak. B decided to fight it the entire time and he didn’t really go into a visionary state like I did. Eventually I started to cry, not in a sad way though. It was more like tears of bewilderment. What I saw was not similar to anything I’ve seen in my entire life. What happens when a person finally soaks in their first kiss of this new perception? Well, what happens when a blind man who has never seen anything in his entire life finally sees for the first time?
Our talk began to get extremely philosophical. In this state, it was made obvious to us that two types of programming determine a person – genetic and cultural. I started peering deep into myself picking apart and finding the things inside of me that were either genetically or culturally programmed. While in this lucid state, both could be looked at and analyzed. It is like taking a dive and exploring right into everything that makes you, well, you. Unfortunately, I didn’t get too much further with this due to our distracting conversations. That’s fine though.
B decided we needed more firewood. Without extinguishing the conversation, we hopped out of our seats around the fire and started a small quest for firewood. We ended up waltzing over to the old man’s camp in our hoodies and boxers while laughing hysterically and talking about life. Then we picked up some of his wood, and started hauling off with it. “Jeeeez this is heavy, we’ll just have to keep rolling it,” B said. “Sounds good to me,” I replied. I really don’t know if he was there or not, but if he was... imagine that – two guys in boxers walking over to your camp conversing and laughing about completely bizarre things, casually taking some of your firewood, and walking off with it. That’s what happened. To us, we didn’t even really think about it because we felt as though all the wood on the island belonged to everyone.
This theme picked up later that night. I started saying how the earth doesn’t belong to us and it’s silly to act like you own it. The concept of countries was sad to me because these invisible borders divide up humanity and give an “us versus them” view toward the outside. And even thinking now, it really is sad. It’s never really thought of though. And how is it that as humans, we can let war happen? It is by far the ugliest side of humanity; every war hosts all kinds of horrors: death, torture, rape, etc. How can we be so complacent and empathetic to let this happen? How can we not see that we are all one kind? We are genetically and culturally programmed to be this way. Our minds are too fogged to step back and see this and correct it. If leaders could be given the view I was experiencing and learning from, I was sure the world could be a better place.
While sitting at the campfire, some kind of chain on the tent was rattling. I would talk then its occasional rattle would disturb me and I’d turn around. It kept seeming to me like something there besides the tent. After B repeatedly assuring me that it was all my imagination, something happened. I felt running footsteps of a bear pounding into the ground charging me from behind. I instantly stood up and felt an intense rush of energy run up my body. After this happened, I was breathing pretty fast with my hands on my knees. What the hell just happened? B told me that as I stood up, the smoke from the fire immediately blew in my direction behind me and a giant entity rose over my body out of the smoke, hovering over and around me. I cannot even begin to try to use words to try to describe how I felt. However, I can say that none of it was fear.
We stayed up talking by the fire until about 4 A.M. We could both sense ourselves gradually coming down while sitting there. The once profound conversations about the universe slowly faded into things like, “Dude, you gonna finish that Fiber One bar?” And while on the subject, bring fiber and eat it. After coming down, the San Pedro eventually made me feel extremely bloated to the point where I didn’t want to move. I just sat there and ate fiber bars while drinking lots of water.
Sleep was interesting. With my eyes shut, I could still faintly see morphing patterns and slight colorations inside the warm brown flesh-color of my eyes. I don’t even remember falling asleep. The next morning I awoke feeling completely sober, yet different. I still felt somewhat connected to everything and I felt a warm glow.
We ate, packed, smoked a good amount of Cannabis, then got back in the canoe and started rowing back. The high was definitely one of my best highs I’ve ever had from Marijuana. I could feel the cactus coming back to me to join the party. Marijuana highs soon after psychedelics always bring them back. Everything in nature around us was stunning. The colors were so vivid. The trees glowed with green. After we crossed the Columbia River, we laid back in our canoe just soaking up the sun drifting slowly downstream. It is not an exaggeration to say that this was definitely the most relaxing few hours of my entire life. Once again, hawks and eagles soared above us. They occasionally swooped down to the water for fish. There were also vultures this time. It was probably the most raptors I’ve ever seen flying in the air at once. A bald eagle and a hawk flew by our boat about 15 feet above the water. They clashed talons and thrust their beaks at one another while slowly rotating and eventually separating. Yet again, both of us just sat there with our jaws dropped. Still feeling the effects of mescaline and a lot of Cannabis while watching this was incredible. If there were a person who had to count how many times we sat completely dumbfounded in astonishment at the things we saw on this trip, I would not want to be the poor creature.
This is by far my favorite substance. How can a price even be put on this cactus? It’s priceless. It made the best experience in my entire life, it redefined me as a person, and it gave me enlightenment that I will cherish as long as I live. As much as I loved this experience – and believe me I loved it – I have no idea when I’m going to do it again. I have the deepest of respect for this substance and doing it again soon wouldn’t feel right with me.
Upon return into society, I felt completely rebooted and rejuvenated. I could do anything I put my mind to. Life is good. I can’t really go into detail about this because the new outlook on everything is very alien in comparison to anything remotely comparable. Everything just feels very different and euphoric afterward. My mind has been opened up to all of the fun possibilities that I can do with my life. I felt and still do feel a very bright future ahead – filled with love, joy, and laughter.
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