A San Pedro Cactus Consumption Experience

There were so many episodes. It was as if time stood still. It’s a bit reckless and crazy to do on your own, –without a shaman– or any companions. But, back in the day, a man from a town would go out into nature to experiment, by himself. He would come back and share the wisdom he had found, and what the plant spirits had taught him.

It’s not for everyone as the experience could go any which way. The potential is limitless. The cacti grow wild. It’s more medicinal than recreational.

After an hour or so the side of my body, around the midsection, felt separated from the rest of the body. It was extremely odd. I was able to easily let that feeling go as so many other senses were tuning in. I later attributed this to the three little sesame cookies I had foolhardily eaten about 30 minutes before.

I heard the earth extra intensely while walking along a surreal path. There was some thunder. It felt as if the ground was about to move. But it did not. My perception to the sounds were enhanced by at least 20-fold. I felt great seismic propensity below. I saw what earthquake victims had gone through, trapped under rubble, from their eyes. It was horrifically vivid.

I quickly moved my thoughts into the stunningly lush, Andean nature.

Walking down an incline felt unstable. I was shaking from the forces of nature, but, even with that instability, I was able to focus and achieve a state of super equilibrium. My feet felt as if they were melting into the earth, or hugging it, pushing into it. This allowed incredible balance, even though I was still shaky from the enhanced sensory perception. I was able to experience little balance and amazing balance simultaneously.

I imagined myself being swallowed up by the heavens, pushed around by animistic Gods, eaten up, spit out and flung back to the ground. Here you are. You are nothing. It’s time to start living, from scratch. It felt liberating.

When I came across people, I was able to snap into their world, and converse, tuned right in. But, a minute of small talk felt like an hour. Time was slow moving.

I was sitting among immense and dense trees when a fly/bumble bee hybrid, almost the size of a hummingbird, flew around me five or six times, buzzing, letting me know it was aware of my presence, before it buzzed down to titillate a flower. There was communication with a giant, flying insect. Extraordinary.

During a stroll across a river I came across an old local man and three super-playful dogs that reminded me of the three I saw after they had been run over by a moving truck. This happened in the neighborhood I lived in when I was very young. The dogs were similar in size and breed. Those horrid images of the freshly run-over dogs and the memory of the owner screaming her eyes out for hours became very clear in my mind.

Fortunately, I was able to metamorphose my attention to the fun scene of these dogs running around and playing so innocently with each other, enjoying their natural wonderland so fully, naturally, and automatically. One dog instantly seemed to become my best friend in the world. He walked and stopped with me for at least an hour. It seemed much longer. It felt as if this dog was going to follow me back to my lodging facility and never leave my side. But the time with the dog was just one of many episodes in the 15-hour or so span.

Vilcabamba; Los Huilcos Trail, Guard Dog
The dog on the other side of the fence.

There was a dog getting very excited by the presence of my temporary companion. Fortunately, it could not get through the fence it was behind. The dog and I ascended up the dirt road that ran along the big inclined yard where the other dog was. When I got to the end, and took a left, I looked over at the dog (in the photo). At this point he was sitting in the grass peacefully. We stared each other down. It was a really beautiful, well-groomed creature.

The little dog and I hung out by the river where I observed the small canine examining so many things with his nose. His life was like mine at the moment. Time had ceased to exist.

Eventually I came back across the older local gentleman who was working his land, or more specifically, the vast land that his gringo patron owned.

There happened to be a bench. He invited me to sit down. He told me how meat is filled with bacteria and bad energy, and how consuming it is not just bad for us but bad for the ecological make up of our incredible earth, too. While caressing another one of his little dogs, I told him how Koreans claim that dog is the best meat. I could not believe that the man agreed, even though he doesn’t eat animal food.

He was around 80, and must have seen a lot of things in his time. He mentioned that nothing is natural anymore. I glanced across a distance and saw three big satellite dishes embedded in the mountain. I was impressed by the man’s wisdom.

A couple of gringos came by. The man kept talking. After the gringos said they couldn’t understand, I translated. They commented in English, and the man, back in Spanish, as if he understood the English. He did, even though he didn’t speak a word of it.

I got up from the bench and wobbled before attaining stability.

Peeps From My Abode by the River
Vilcabamba transients admire the pulsating river

On the way back I enjoyed seeing and listening to the powerfully flowing and pulsating river.

I arrived to find my bowl of fruit and a babako juice on the table outside my room, but I had no interest in it. The shower felt good, but for some reason, I felt like I was in a dumpy and dirty shower in a warehouse, even though the bathroom and shower were nice. When I got out of the shower I thought I had seen worms crawling around the sink. After close inspection, there were no worms.

I decided to collapse on the bed. Ridges on the high ceiling were moving as if they were breathing.

I closed my eyes to find a world of plants. I was one, communicating with others, with gestures, not words. It seemed that all the plants had their own image. It felt odd, but OK. I couldn’t move, and this was totally fine.

I opened my eyes, got up and spent a very short time organizing stuff in the room.

I stepped out and lay in the hammock that was included with my room, gazing into the nearby mountain which now looked very different. I saw various human and animal heads and faces embedded in the landscape.

I noticed that the German woman in the room next to mine was ill, sitting outside. She looked sicker than usual. I felt like helping her so I made my first ever pot of mate de coca in the vast and nicely equipped community kitchen. It soothed her while my heightened state was too sensitive to handle a second sip.

The woman’s biologist / chemist friend came back from a walk. He told me that all animal food is laden with parasites that stay with us and keep us ill. He claimed that the meat industry is part of a cycle to keep people sick. ‘This social machine tells them that they need pharmaceuticals, when in reality they need whole, non animal, plant based foods.’ The man also said that people who eat a lot of pork, look like pigs, and the same goes for beef and fish. He created this theory himself. I had never heard anything like it. I was mesmerized.

I then had a conversation with another tenant, the one who had picked the cactus in the yard of the accommodation and spent half a day preparing it. I explained many intricacies of the experience up to that point. He understood perfectly as he had drunk double my amount the day before.

After the peak had finally started to wane, I felt great for many hours. I went into the town square and noticed things about peoples’ faces. It seemed that many people were related, which could be the case in many small towns. I noticed great fatigue in some peoples’ profiles, too.

I had a couple of conversations with acquaintances and recently made friends that I ran into.

I sat down and talked to artisans, and played with their children. I was very coherent. It felt great to converse with people.

I drank the rancid liquid at 7.10 am and finally felt hungry at about 9 pm, when I went to Natural Yogur and devoured a fresh papaya juice, a green juice, vegetable crepe, a vegetable quesadilla and a side of guacamole. It all hit the spot. Ordering meat was beyond unfathomable. This feeling became deeper after the two conversations I had had earlier that day.

The feelings lingered late into the night. I went to bed around midnight and slept deeply until about 7.30. The next day I felt great, with more profound thoughts and heightened sensitivity. Yoga class was a breeze. Balance and flexibility felt a little bit enhanced.

San Pedro is not for everyone. That said, I have yet to meet a person who regretted the experience.

Have you had any experiences with plant medicine or do you plan to?

Note: This experience happened back in 2016 but hasn’t been published until now.

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