Cacti - T. pachanoi
Citation: Curious1. "Grief Therapy: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi (exp108411)". Erowid.org. Sep 23, 2017. erowid.org/exp/108411
Mescaline Grief Therapy
A little about myself:
I'm a male, alive more than five decades, with a love for psychedelics that began in college with anything that crossed my path, but mostly cannabis, LSD, and psylocybin mushrooms. After a 20 year hiatus from all but cannabis, my journey led to mescaline bearing cacti as a tool for inner exploration and therapeutic maintenance of my psyche. During the most recent decade I've found the amount of time involved with this practice (one day each to cook, consume, and recover) limits my cacti use to a couple times per year, though due to life circumstances it has been two years since my last experience. Three deaths during the past year of people close to me have weighed heavily on my mind for months, and I've felt a great need to work with cactus as a means to process some of this grief.
Preparation (dose for two people):
10.3 pounds of fresh trichocereus pachanoi (about six feet of a known weak variety, 2-4' diameter) was washed, chopped into stars about 1/2' thick, and placed in a 21.5 quart aluminum pressure cooker (PC) with 2 gallons of filtered tap water. This volume of water was enough to submerge all the cactus stars by a couple inches, and was a little more than half of the PC working volume.
A large outdoor propane burner brought this to a boil with the lid off, and continued for about 15 minutes until the foaming stopped, then the lid was secured and cooking continued at 15 psi (250 degrees F) for about 30 minutes. After cooling, the water was poured out through a colander into a container and set aside. The cactus is put back into the PC with 2 more gallons of water and cooked for 20 minutes at 15 psi. Liquid is again removed and saved. Using just my fingernails, the now softened cacti is easily skinned to expose the still bitter green flesh just below the waterproof outer layer. The cactus and skin are added back to the PC with 1.5 gallons of water and the juice of 2 lemons for a final cook at 15 psi for 30 minutes. Once cooled, the mildly pulverized cacti flesh is removed from the water by straining through a t-shirt. I note the cactus flesh is no longer bitter, indicating most of the alkaloids have been removed. The water from the 3 batches is combined and rapidly boiled down to 2 half pints of dark brown liquid having the consistency of maple syrup, but not the taste. These two doses are placed in the refrigerator over night.
T+0, In the late morning two people each consume one half pint of the world's most bitter liquid. Hold your nose and swallow fast, rinse with whatever you can get to first.
T+1.5, while sitting in the hammock, smoking cannabis to ease my unhappy stomach, the daffodils bob in the wind like little heads in deep discussion, making me laugh and welcome the beginning of this mescaline experience (each has a unique beginning). The trip continues building steadily for the next 4 hours or so with ever more complex open and closed eyed visuals. Conversation with my trip companion flows well as emotions are easily experienced and discussed. Love, death, fathers, mothers, and self are explored as easily as discussing the weather. The contents of my mind feel as if they are being sieved as they slosh back and forth between my brain hemispheres, removing the crud accumulated from living in a complicated world and giving the remaining thoughts a good mixing.
From the moment the cactus began to affect me I noticed a mild headache which stayed with me until the following evening. The body load is heavy, so most of this long experience is spent on the couch.
T+4, Moving through a series of interconnected cubical spaces I explore inside my skull, completely separated from the outside word, reminiscent of DMT space.
T+5, cannabis can no longer restrain my stomach and a deep, hard purge occurs, mostly into the toilet. Though I'd hoped not to need them again, it was useful to recall skills learned in my youth as I performed yet another inebriated cleanup of a bathroom floor. Afterward I relax on the shiny floor, feeling much better and noticing my surroundings. The upwardly raised toilet lid is beautifully sporting its colorful mescaline rings, specks of dirt look like jewels, and the floor is covered in ever evolving patterns of faces and fanciful cities. I remember the last time I was lying on a bathroom floor, just a few months before, with my beloved aunt the day before cancer ended her life, and I begin to weep. My tear ducts open like little fire hoses as water washes down my face, not tear drops, but sheets of tears unlike any sober crying I experience. The presence of my trusted tripping companion doesn't interfere with this, though I'm aware that were I alone, some even deeper grief would have emerged. That is okay, grief will always wait patiently for next time.
T+10, somehow my friend is able to cook us plain oatmeal which I gingerly consume along with much needed water. The kitchen floor is still wildly entertaining, looking like a giant, three dimensional, pixelated screen of rope-like geometric patterns.
T+17, I take a long, hot shower and crawl into bed for a fitful sleep. The next morning I feel very hung over and nurse the same headache for most of the day. This headache was always at the same low pain level and was present for about 34 hours from initial ingestion of the cactus. It never hurt enough to take pills, which was fortunate given the poor condition of my stomach.
Notes and Reflections:
In preparing the cactus, next time I will slice it vertically into strips around the core rather than stars so it will be easier to skin. Note that skinning the cactus after the first or second boiling is far easier and more practical than when fresh.
I fought the urge to purge mightily, and still lost it after about 5 hours. Given the stomach discomfort and two following days of diarrhea, next time I will allow the purge to happen earlier, as it did for my trip companion. I think keeping the cactus inside for a couple hours is plenty, and more is just deeper discomfort.
In the days that followed I found myself a little happier, easier with people, and feeling less emotionally burdened. For a few weeks afterward cannabis had a slightly different effect on me, showing a mild visual psychedelic effect and bringing back faint cactus vibes of connectedness and well being, reminding me that mescaline is good medicine for the soul.
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