Total San Pedro Paper Part 2

Discussion in 'Cacti Delecti' started by ancient powers, Apr 11, 2007.

  1. The right fieldoften uses extensive Catholic imagery such as saints, and purificatory waters.Indigenous positive power objects always include medicinal plants,shells(fertility symbols), and the containers of the San Pedro infusion. Infront of the fields there are meditation symbols as well as a representation ofthe shaman(Joralemon 22). The symbols on the right side are used to guidethe creation of a proper herbal healing mixture. At the back of the mesa aresix to twelve upright staffs. These are associated with the respective areas ofthe mesa they are standing in back of. Each shaman's layout of power objectson the mesa is quite diverse. Some of the various objects I found listed forthe three fields are as follows; Right field: stones, shells, bowls, and arattle. Neutral or balancing field: a bronze sunburst, a stone symbolizing theSea, and a crystal "mirror". Left field: A deer foot, knives and canealcohol. Other objects that shamans have used on their mesas include woodenstaffs of tropical hardwoods, whale bones, quartz crystals, colonial knives,plastic toy soldiers, pre-columbian ceramics, brass lions and deer, antlers,wild boar tusks, silver plates, murex and helmet shells, dice, statues of theVirgin Mary, and many photos and paintings of Roman Catholic saints. Also, eachpatient places one personal offering on the altar(Davis 373). These personalofferings can be things like bottles of alcohol, bottles of scented water andred perfume, or objects to represent other patients who could not come. One manbrought coins and hex stones for the proxy of a sick aunt who could nottravel(Davis 372). The San Pedro healing ritual has always had the certainstandard elements that I have been discussing. However, this ritual is alsocapable of adapting to different times' religious ideas, which is how theoriginal ritual was transformed by Christianity (specifically, RomanCatholicism). The left field became associated with Satan, and the right fieldwith Jesus and Mary. In one mesa structure, the neutral zone was governed by asaint who was a powerful magician before he converted to Christianity. Allshamans have many power objects they use on the mesa. Despite often beingChristian symbols,they function very much like the negative and positive forcesand symbols do in native shamanism. The shaman does not consider theseobjects lifeless. Each is a focus of a particular force. Collectively, theyare a projection of his own spiritual power, which becomes activated wheneverthe mesa is used in the conjunction with the drinking of the hallucinogenic SanPedro infusion. The ritual is always done at night. It consists of alengthy preliminary purification ceremony and then the ritual itself. Theceremonial acts consist of prayers, invocations, and chants(accompanied by thebeat of the shamanic rattle), addressed to all the supernaturals of theindigenous and Roman Catholic faiths. At midnight, when the purifyingceremonial acts are complete, there is some preliminary chanting, then allpresent must drink one to three cups of the ceremonial potion. The shaman takesthe first cupful, and then the patients. Usually nothing is added to the SanPedro infusion. However, in cases of illness believed to be caused by sorcerysome things may be added. These additional ingredients are usually powderedbones, certain plants, and cemetery dust or dust from archaeological ruins.Also, a purgative potion may be made from another plant which is to be takenafter taking the San Pedro drink. Some shamans add strongly psychoactive plantslike Datura, but this is considered by most to be drastic shock therapy(Furst119). In the beginning phase of the ritual each patient stands before theleft side of the altar. As the mescaline begins to take effect, the shamanchants the patients name and visualizes the forms of animals that represent thepoisons/problems of the patients. While each patient stands before the mesa andthe shaman chants his name, everyone else stares at the staffs behind the mesa.Consensus among the hallucinating patients will be reached as to which staff isvibrating. The shaman then chants with the staff in his hand and this focuseshis vision and activates the power of the staff and associated objects on themesa. This focusing of vision helps the curandero "see" the cause of thepatient's problem. This first part of the ritual is essentially to gain controlof the negative forces that have been called into play(Furst 128). Duringthis first part of the ritual, the shaman may pause to massage or suck on partsof patients bodies to extract the supernatural source of the affliction. Incertain very serious cases, the forces which cause the illness are believed tobe powerful enough to attack the patient during the curing session. This isdangerous and requires immediate emergency action. The shaman seizes a sword orstaff and charges out beyond the mesa and the patients. He then conducts aferocious battle with the attacking forces, which only he can see in his SanPedro visions. In one ceremony the shaman performs seven somersaults in theform of a cross,while grasping the sword in both hands with the sharp edge heldforward. This is intended to drive off the attacking forces and shock thesorcerer who is directing them(Furst 130). The second part of the ritual isconsidered the most important part. The central field of the mesa is associatedwith balance and luck, and there are herbs of good fortune placed in it.Patients appear before the mesa and the shaman identifies which herbs are goingto be used for that patient's good luck charm. The third phase is foridentifying the particular herbs that will cure the patients' ailments. Theseherbs have been placed on the right side. After identification throughhallucinations,the shaman tosses some shells as a form of divination to confirmif he made the right choices of herbs(Joralemon 26). This divination is abasic part of any San Pedro healing ritual. It shows an association betweenhallucinations, mesa objects, and the element of control that the shaman hasover the ritual. Mesa artifacts are closely linked to mescaline-inducedhallucinations in that they serve to anchor visualizations in such a way as topermit their application to the achievement of specific ends. By so controllingthe drug experience, the shaman is able to direct the ritual toward healingobjectives. In other words, this control allows the shaman to structure thecourse of a visionary episode so that it leads to the goal of curing(Joralemon24). At the end, some shamans blow perfume, water, sugar, and facialpowder over everyone. Then there is a final benediction or prayer. Eachparticipant is presented with the bottle of sacred healing herbs(Davis 373).The patients are sent on their way. The San Pedro cactus has a long historyof being used for its psychedelic effects. It has often been used for healingin a ritual which evolved in Peru. This ancient ritual represents a journeyfrom life-taking to life-giving forces. This is inherently a positive event.The use of the mescaline in the ritual to achieve this positive result is awelcome contrast to many current negative attitudes towards psychedelicexperiences. Works Cited Davis, E. Wade. Sacred Plants of the San Pedro Cult. HarvardUniversity: Botanical Museum leaflets, 1983. Furst, Peter T. Flesh ofthe Gods (The ritual use of Hallucinogens). New York: PraegerPublishers, 1972. "Hallucinogens-A trip to nowhere." Current Health 2 January1991: 14-16. Joralemon, Donald. Symbolic Space and Ritual Time in a PeruvianHealing Ceremony. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Man; EthnicTechnology Notes #19, 1984. Kluver, Heinrich. Mescal and Mechanisms ofHallucinations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966. McKenna,Terence. "Plan, Plant, Planet." Whole Earth Review Fall 1989: 5- 11.Michaux, Henri. Miserable Miracle. Monaco: Editions du Rocher, 1956.Rheingold, Howard. "Ethnobotany and The Search for Vanishing Knowledge."Whole Earth Review Fall 1989: 16-23. "Trichocereus Pachanoi BR & R." Cactusand Succulent Journal Vol. 56 1984: 103-104. --------------------Traditional preparation of San Pedro is as follows: Remove spines. Finely chopup about 6-12 inches(I've used a blender), depending on how deep you wish tojourney.....Boil in several quarts of water for three hours. Strain it, savethe water, and boil it again in a few more quarts of water for another threehours..strain again. Both times, you may need to add water in order to keep itsimmering for three hours. The pulp may now be thrown out. Combine the twoextracts and boil down to a cup or two. This will take at least another hour.(I have some literature that says you can just eat it, but I think that it iseasier to drink a cup of foul tasting liquid than to eat a foot long cactus!)The percentage of mescaline is supposed to be approximately that of Peyote, sothat can be your guide when deciding how much to prepare. Having never takenPeyote, I don't really have much basis for comparison. I know that the firsttime,I took four inches and it didn't do that much...enough that I noticed it,but not much more. Then the next time I prepared 12 inches, and, to use thevernacular of my youth,"tripped my freakin' brains out". It was the first timeI'd ever experienced Mescaline and it was beautiful, wonderful, spiritual, andindescribably nice. If you are prepared for a strong psychedelic experience Iwould suggest 12 inches. It is best taken in two doses, 45 minutes apart, tominimize the shock to the system. My literature suggests that it isn't nearlyas physically nauseating as Peyote. I have not found it to be very bad. I warnyou that it tastes TERRIBLE!, and you probably will want to cook it down to avery small amount of liquid(a cup or two total), because of this. -------------- And yes, it's true, Trichocereus pachanoi is a legal ornamental cactusand very few people know of it's true nature. I have purchased or seen them inFred Meyer, Jerry's home improvement store,and in "the indoor garden" store on11th street. I have been told they are readily available at local nurseries. Ihave mail ordered several as well. There are at least two mail order cactuscompanies that carry them. Unfortunately,the ones I've seen are always quite abit less than 12 inches high. San Pedro is a very fast growing cactus, and,under ideal conditions, can actually grow up to a foot a year! Treat them likea normal cactus except, give them more water and much bigger pots than regularcacti. The soil can be ordinary potting soil, mixed with cactus mix. San Pedrois a very easy to grow and very adaptable plant. It makes a great house plant.It is possible to buy them in large sizes, but as I said, it's unlikely. If youdo find a four foot T. pachanoi, buy it! The biggest one I've seen around townis about 8" high. The ones I mail ordered were about 6", but have grownimpressively. That's ok, I'm willing to wait. I have several out on my porch.I have them in a window during the winter and out on the porch all summer. Whencompared to the slow growing Peyote, San Pedro grows remarkably quickly. It's arelatively short period of time before they're big enough to use. And ofcourse, don't mention trips, or mescaline or anything while buying them. --------------------- It is so funny to find mescaline, the key to a deeply sacredand culturally/religiously significant hallucinogenic experience...........inFred Meyer, the bastion of mainstream America,a veritable symbol of non-alteredconsciousness. Fred Meyer is so plain and mainstream and "normal"....I reallyenjoy finding a deeply sacred hallucinogenic plant for 7 bucks on the discountrack! if they only knew......the vast majority of people will walk right on bythe cactus and not have the faintest clue of it's significance -----------Absolute respect and caution are always in order when considering psychedelicadventures. ----------- I hope this information brings you joy, peace,introspection, and helps you progress on your path. Sincerely, T.pachanoi

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