Cacti - T. pachanoi (powder)
Citation: Dale. "On the Isla Del Sol, Bolivia: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi (powder) (exp80888)". Erowid.org. Oct 16, 2015. erowid.org/exp/80888
I have been interested in trying the cactus hallucinogen, mescaline, for some time. I have taken LSD twice, and hawaiian baby woodrose (LSA). Finding my self in Bolivia, I took the opportunity to experience the very common San Pedro cactus.
Obtaining the substance
Itīs quite easy to obtain the cactus in La Paz. In the mercado de las brujas (witches market) there are stacks of foot-long lengths of the seemingly quite fresh specimen. As well, the witches sell san pedro en polvo (in powder). I'm not too clear on the process of powdering the fresh stuff. Some powders will be the cactus en entero (in whole) while other witches will sell only the green layer. I determined it to not really be practical to do a bunch of slicing and blending and cooking and straining while travelling, so the powder was the choice for me. I was somewhat dubious about the quality, but I was fairly sure about the purity, due to how common the cactus is here. I found powder that was allegedly only the green layer.
The witches recommend a porcion of one heaped tablespoon, for which the price was 15 bolivianos. And for this dose, the witch claimed that it would give an experience of 5-6 hours. I decided to take 6 heaped teaspoons, which I suspect is something like 3 times the dose recommended. I purchased the equivalent of 12 doses, for which the witch wanted 150 bolivianos. But we talked it out, and the price was reduced to 90 bolivianos. At time of writing, 100 bolivianos is USD$14.
My cactus tripping companion and I made our way, with bag of san pedro powder, to the Isla del Sol, an island on Lake Titicaca. The island is an absolutely magical place, even without hallucinogens. On the north side of the island is an incredible stretch of land and hills, overlooking some incredible terrain. At the top of one of the hills is a rather spectacular site of human sacrifice in days past. This is where we would experience the trip.
We checked in to a small alojomiento in the north side of the island, and requested hot water from the owners. We poured hot water into mugs, and spooned in the dose. After sitting for a few minutes, the powder rehydrated into a thick, thick sludge. This was an endurance challenge to drink. Each mouth full was quite bitter and gross, but not really really bad. It just made you not want to have another. But, there is only so much in the cup, and then it's done. The cactus is in the belly.
After we ingested, we made our way through a gate, entering into the magical land of trip. We were feeling a little poorly, but excited. We split up, and went our own way. I made it about 400 meters before I had to take some chill time, and sit on a rock for some time. In time I shifted to a prone position, and began to get quite amazing closed-eye hallucinations. Lying on my back, in the sun, and shifting my hat over my eyes and then away, was absolutely dazzling, and made incredible visuals. Closed-eye hallucinations started at about 1hr post ingestion.
Eventually I managed to move again, after some hours. After moving on, I was experiencing incredible open-eye hallucinations. My fingers left incredible trails, and spun out massive patterns across the sky and water. As I walked, the rocks and plants became more sinister and dark. I felt a lot of energy coming from everywhere, and coursing through me. I continued making my way, over hours, up the hill.
It was quite slow going and quite intense, due to climbing around in the altitude. Lake Titicaca is at about 3900m. For me, this was both one of the challenges and the incredible experiences of the trip.
Towards the top of the hill, I lay down in one of the stepped groves. My arms stretched out, and I could feel my breath going completely through the mountain, breathing into the mountain and through it. I could feel everything passing through me, and was completely dissociated for some time (I really don't know for how long). When I rose again, every rock jutted their chin out to the sun, in silent strong salute. Every rock had amazingly intricate patterns of seething faces and incredible shapes.
My hands were absolutely incredible to experience. The vascularisation would show up strongly, and then start to darken and spread, like blood, until they were absolutely crimson dark and rippling. Then, patterns would occur on the surface like tattoos, of interweaving celtic bands, traversing up my arms.
Through the day I ate two green apples. Wow. They were so incredibly delicious, and I was hallucinating incredibly with them. They would shift from delicious green with juicy white flesh, to massive green veins seething through them, to darkening to a fetid rotten brown. So incredible.
The sun seemed to be going down very fast now, and the shadows growing longer. I knew I did not want to be there in the night -- it was really cold, and I knew it was time to leave. I reviewed the landscape, which swarmed and seethed before me. I could see so much from the top of the hill, but nothing looked familiar. I still had some sense of reason though, and I knew some big mountains in the horizon as my way home. I trekked back, weary and confused, and still completely hallucinating.
On the way back through the village, everything was so different. All the walls flickered to transparent, and seethed with colour and pattern. The path swam from lush grass with ornate decoration to desert sand. All the individual rocks in the walls gazed down at me with intricately carved visages. I was very grateful when I recognised my alojomiento, as I was not sure I would be able to.
Eventually my friend returned as well, and we settled into our room and covered ourselves in warmth. Chocolate peanuts were absolute heaven. 12 hours after ingestion, we were both hallucinating heavily, just lying there. The roof swelled and patterned. I really had no idea what colour the walls really were. The door continually shifted from cartoon to brightly coloured. My friends face made me hallucinate incredibly, lengthening, hair changing, nose swelling, eyes patterning with crazy tattoos.
I was very far from relaxed 14 hours post ingestion. We listened to some music (Shpongle, Nothing is Lost, But Nothing Lasts Forever -- absolutely perfect magic). Eventually we relaxed and took a few hours sleep.
At first, we were dubious about the product from the witches market. But it seems that it is quite potent.
This dose seemed really strong and challenging. I would recommend it to experienced trippers, or with supervision. This cactus gave me an experience completely unlike anything I have experienced with LSD.
Isla del Sol is HIGHLY recommended. The setting really contributed, I believe, to a mind blowing trip.
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