SAN PEDRO CACTUS (Echinopsis Pachanoi)- Ancestral medicine -Inkapowder.com
The ancestral medicine based on native herbs, considered as the only medicine for the spirit that exists, is a legacy left by the ancestral cultures that is still maintained thanks to the transmission of knowledge from father to son “shaman” and that today is known worldwide as San Pedro.
Also called sacred medicine in the Andes, the San Pedro cactus is still used by different ethnic groups in Peru. Community members who know how to use medicinal and hallucinogenic plants are known as Yachakkuna, and the medical system of these communities is a mixture of ancestral indigenous knowledge and modern medical methods. San Pedro is part of the therapeutic tools available, although many other plants and techniques are used. San Pedro is understood as a protector of the family, of marriage and of peaceful coexistence between relatives, so it is usually cultivated near the houses.
San Pedro or Wachuma Ceremony
San Pedro ceremonies are performed with psychological preparation and physical cleansing and last approximately 5 to 7 days depending on the individual healing process. The ceremony is conducted by an experienced shaman or spiritual guide (shaman).
Due to its hallucinogenic properties, the San Pedro cactus is used in spiritual or ritual contexts and is usually handled by the shamans of the villages or tribes. This ceremony is performed with the purpose of curing someone sick when the usual treatment has not worked, also to obtain money, to recover someone’s love or to find lost objects or animals. During these ceremonies the connection with our inner self is promoted for healing and self-learning.
Some elements for the preparation and development of the ceremony may include swords or machetes, candles, stones or shells and the preparation of the liquid of San Pedro with sugar, tobacco, aguardiente or other elements. It is believed that these objects confer power to the healer.
The session should always be guided by an experienced master or shaman who has been guided by other masters and knows well the development of these sessions. In addition, shamans and their patients consume this medicine, after a strong preparation process that includes fasting, sexual abstinence, no alcohol and other drugs, meditation and psychophysical gymnastics for several days.
The San Pedro ceremony is generally done with a minimum of 2 people and a maximum of 25 people. The whole ceremony lasts approximately 12 hours and at the beginning there may be some time to share the motivations for participating in this session, there is a brief group interaction accompanied by music and chanting.
The effects of this medicinal plant are different in each person:
- It can produce vomiting and loose stomach.
- It can also generate crying or euphoric laughter. It all depends on the state of each person.
- San Pedro preparations usually have a bitter and unpleasant taste, so it is not uncommon for nausea to occur after ingestion.
- Visions with eyes open or closed.
- Profound change in cognition, perception and consciousness.
- Out-of-body experiences.
- Feelings of anxiety and anguish may be experienced, although they seem to be less frequent than with other plants and substances.
- Despite its stimulant effect, some reports speak of an initial state of lethargy after its ingestion.