Use of the hallucinogenic San Pedro cactus is ancient and its use has been a continuous tradition in Peru for over 3,000 years. The earliest depiction of the cactus is a carving which shows a mythological being holding the San Pedro. It belongs to the Chavín culture (c. 1400-400 BC) and was found in an old temple at Chavín de Huantar in the northern highlands of Peru, and dates about 1300 BC. A particularly surprising discovery was made by a Peruvian archaeologist named Rosa Fung in a pile of ancient refuse at the Chavín site of Las Aldas near Casma; namely what seem to be remnants of cigars made from the cactus. Artistic renderings of it also appear on later Chavín artefacts such as textiles and pottery (ranging from about 700-500 BC). The San Pedro is also a decorative motif of later Peruvian ceramic traditions, such as the Salinar style (c. 400-200 BC), the Nasca urns (c. 100 BC-AD 700). It has also been proposed that a recurrent snail motif in Moche art represents a mescaline-soaked snail which has partaken of the San Pedro. If this is the case then the snail may be added to the list of animals having psychoactive properties.
Trichocereus pachanoi, or *San Pedro*, is a very common landscaping
When your cactus has reached approximately two and a quarter feet in height, cut the top four inches off so that the tip can bereplanted, leave four inches or so at the base for new buds to sprout from, and harvest the middle foot and a half for consumption. This dosage estimate assumes that your cactus is around three inches in diameter; if it is skinnier, use more. After Harvesting or Purchasing:
Take the sections of cactus you intend to use freeze it, and then thaw it out. Repeat this cycle several times. This breaks down thecell walls and ruptures the plant tissues, making it easier to extract the mescaline from them. This also has the result of making it easier to separate the cactus flesh from the waxy cuticle later, an important step that will significantly reduce nausea when consuming the brew, as the cuticle is rich in compounds that can cause gastric distress.
After a few cycles of freezing and thawing, cut the woody core out from the center of your cactus and discard it. Be sure to scrape any potentially useful tissue off of it before discarding. The next step is to scrape the flesh off from inside of the waxy cuticle. A butter knife is useful for this purpose. If you like, you can attempt to peel the cuticle off from the outside, but I have found it easier to work from the inside out. Working from the inside out also permits one to skip the time-consuming process of de-spining the cactus, as long as one wears work gloves and is careful.
The Photographs in this article and the preparation of this cactus were prepared on the Island of Koh Samui where there are no laws against the consumption of this magical drink known as Chimora. After I returned from SE Asia I wrote the text and now I will present here a step-by-step photo pictorial on the preparation process for cooking this beautiful wonderful exotic magical entheogenic gift from the gods.
San Pedro cactus, peyote, coca leaves and ganja have been part of shamanism in cultures around the world. This National Geographic documentary compares thes cultures and modern day rave culture in which doctors and professionals attest to the validity of this spiritual experience.
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