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Rewarding With Some Paranoia and Odd Ideas
Peyote
by ZH
Citation:   ZH. "Rewarding With Some Paranoia and Odd Ideas: An Experience with Peyote (exp116757)". Erowid.org. Oct 27, 2022. erowid.org/exp/116757

 
DOSE:
10 buttons oral Cacti - Mescaline-containing (tea)
BODY WEIGHT: 245 lb
I took Peyote at a remote location in the Arizona desert in October 2022. I never took any psychedelics until 2021. Since the summer of 2021 I've taken mushrooms about twenty times, San Pedro twice, Ayahuasca once. This was my first time taking Peyote.

I was alone when I took it, but it was prepared for me by someone else. The place where I took it grows peyote for spiritual use. I wouldn't want to take it if it was harvested wild, as I understand it's becoming endangered.

I showed up at the location where I was to take it and had to fast on the property for 24 hours. I'd cut down on coffee and meat and had no alcohol in the weeks before the experience per the host's recommendation. I spent most of my fasting time inside, trying to sleep as much as possible, and reading a lot or exploring the desert while I was awake.

To prepare myself mentally, I read a book about Navajo philosophy in the two days before the experience. This was not really a good idea. The book delved into some of their belief about skinwalkers (Navajo werewolves/witches), which is pretty disturbing and according to this book (I donít know how accurate it is) involves necrophilia, grave robbing, and turning people into zombies. Also, in the middle of the night before the experience I browsed through the host's library and found a bible. I'm not at all religious but decided to read the Book of Revelations. Also probably not a great idea. My only previous knowledge of this book is Charles Manson's interpretation of it in the context of Helter Skelter.

On the day of the experience I was given a bottle of the peyote tea, which contained the cactuses dried up and boiled with water. My understanding is that a portion of this was new cactus, but another portion of it was tea that someone else had not finished, which had been frozen for storage and boiled prior to my ingestion. I do not know whether freezing and reboiling impacts the potency, and I don't know the proportions of new vs. leftover.

I took the tea to a little camp site that was prepared for me, lit a fire, and started drinking it around 4PM. Peyote is notorious for its foul taste but it didn't taste too bad to me. It was bitter but not as bitter as I expected. It tasted very earthy and plant-like, and not like something you should be ingesting though. The host gave me lemon to mask the taste. He also thought maybe that lemon would release some of the mescaline too, since it does increase the potency of mushrooms (I'm not sure he's right about that though, it works in mushrooms because it converts the psilocybin to psilocin, but mescaline chemistry is not equivalent).

I was looking forward to the experience for a long time and I suppose you could say my interest was somewhat "spiritual", but I've never used that word to describe myself, did not expect any grand revelation, have never had any interest in finding purpose in life. Based on previous psychedelic experience, I was expecting some visuals, a rush of creativity, some euphoria, some minor insights about myself, and probably some anxiety.

I began by drinking one ounce of the tea (equivalent to about one button) every 20 minutes, but drank slower after I began to feel the effects. I made myself stop altogether at midnight, even though there was some left, because I wanted it out of my system by noon the next day. (In the morning, the host saw what I'd finished and estimated that I'd had the equivalent of about 10 buttons.)

About 45 minutes to an hour after my first sip, my lip began to quiver and my body felt just generally weird and uncomfortable, slightly numb/tingly. I felt some mild anxiety, but not enough to stop. I felt no nausea, but felt kind of lazy and sleepy. I started moving between the hammock and chair. When I was laying in the hammock the sun began to set and I could see the stars. I was amazed that they seemed to be moving back and forth rhythmically in the sky. It took me a while to realize that this was because I was on a hammock and I was the one swaying back and forth. The stars and sky also looked extremely vivid, oversaturated and like a painting almost.

I began to see some closed eye visuals about two hours in, but they were less intrusive than I have experienced on mushrooms and Ayahuasca. The visuals were somewhat random and hard to describe, lots of abstract colors and also lots of little animated spots moving around, probably derived from the insects (ants and beetles) I had been seeing all day on the property.

There's this trick I can do on mushrooms sometimes where I close my eyes and move my hand in front of my face, then I can see with my eyes closed. I tried that with the peyote, but it didn't work at all. The most striking closed eye visual I saw was these gross cubes of diseased, pale flesh.

I started to to see things with my eyes opened at some point. I caught a glimpse of little black animals, raccoon sized, scurrying around in the desert. I do not know if they were actually real or if I was hallucinating. I also saw writing on the ceiling of the tent I was in, illuminated by the fire. I tried to read it but it was written in sloppy, angular, overlapping letters that kept shifting. It looked a little like Phoenician. I realized that the fire was trying to communicate with me, then after a while I realized the fire was actually making fun of me, and of people in general, by showing me a parody of what it thought writing was (the way someone might make fun of a foreign language by just making very animated sounds in an exaggerated accent). This struck me as hilarious.

I started to hear coyotes howling (and I know this was real, because I recorded it with my phone) and thinking about how nice it must have been for the native people who used to live here in the past to sleep out in nature like this every night. Then I started seeing images of a native family asleep in a tipi and being woken up by smoke as soldiers set it on fire and started massacring them. I saw a whole image of a man's life, a native who saw his family killed by soldiers or settlers and vowed revenge, and there was also a flood involved. I felt like I was sensing a real thing that had happened at this spot and was getting so much dense information about this person. I also had a lot of pessimistic thoughts about the state of contemporary culture and feelings of impending societal collapse.

I do some writing, and around this time I started getting all these ideas for books and stories. It felt more like I was receiving them whole than making them up
I do some writing, and around this time I started getting all these ideas for books and stories. It felt more like I was receiving them whole than making them up
, like someone was putting the stories in my head. It was all coming very fast, too fast to keep track of. I wrote some of it down on my phone and remembered some, but also forgot a lot.

I went for a little walk at some point and got a real shock when I looked at the sky. It was a bit of a cloudy night and the moon was out, and I think I must have just stood there staring at it for half an hour. If you've ever been to the haunted castle ride at Disneyland and remember the holographic ghosts, or the part in Ghostbusters where they turn off the ghost containment and all the ghosts run amok, that's similar to what I was seeing, all these holographic ghosts swirling around the moon. I knew I was hallucinating, for the most part, but at one point there was a giant object that looked like it was *behind* the moon. When it caught my eye I said out loud "what the fuck is that?" because I was convinced it was real. It looked like a giant brain or something. I felt like I had to go warn people about it. I had to look at it a long time and convince myself that it was just a cloud and that I was hallucinating.

At some point I got a little paranoid. I mentioned that I had inadvertently read about Navajo witchcraft beliefs, and every time I got up to urinate and walked away from the fire a little bit I kept seeing skinwalkers out of the corner of my eye. I heard people faintly whispering behind the trees and I knew they were talking about me, wondering who I was and conspiring to do something to me. I tried to talk to them but whenever I spoke out loud they stopped talking. I knew they weren't real, but it was still spooky. I also started thinking about how earlier I had taken a picture of some of the peyote cactuses. I realized now I did that without permission. What if the flash somehow upset their photosynthesis cycle and they would all die now? These nice people put their whole lives into growing these cactuses and I had ruined everything with a stupid selfie... I knew this wasn't true, but kept coming back to it.

Around 3 in the morning I was freezing and decided to put out the fire and go sleep inside. I liked being outside and hearing the coyotes and looking at the clouds, but the imaginary skinwalkers in the forest and the cold were starting to wear thin. I felt like the trip was winding down anyway, but when I got inside I realized it wasn't even close. I looked at the bedroom wall, but it looked like an outside wall, and the painting hanging there looked like a window to an interior. My blanket was flat and undercoated, but I was seeing petroglyph type zig zags and drawings all over it which were so vivid that I became convinced they were really there and I just hadn't noticed them before.

I tried to sleep but soon realized I wouldn't be able to for a long time. Being inside was also giving me a lot of anxiety, more than being outside. I also, surprisingly, had not vomited the whole time or even felt like I might, but once I was inside I started to feel nauseous, so eventually I went back outside. I forgot I had changed into pajamas by now though, so I was just walking around the desert in pajamas.

I walked around the property until the sun started to come up. By this time the peyote really was starting to wind down, but as soon as I saw the sun reflecting on the clouds things got intense again. The clouds began to look like space ships, and there was a flurry of activity as some kind of insects or very tiny birds moved in flocks from one ship to another. I thought they were actual birds at first but when I looked at them they disappeared. Suddenly I realized that multi-dimensional beings who live right next to us are tracking our eye movements in real time. They carry on some kind of nefarious plan in plain sight, then when we look at them, they stop moving before our eyes can finish the saccade to where they are, and that's why we never see them. Peyote somehow clogs up their eye tracking technology and introduces a delay in transmission, so they don't know right away that we're looking at them and that's how I could see them in their cloud ships now, and that's why "they" are trying to make peyote extinct. I actually considered this a realistic hypothesis for about thirty seconds (later I realized it's pretty wacky).

On the walk back I had a feeling like I could sense history of things that had happened here. I passed one area where I knew a child had been conceived. I passed a broken down car and knew something terrible had happened in or around the car. Now, I don't think I really had any sort of actual psychic powers, but the impression I got at the time was very strong.
I don't think I really had any sort of actual psychic powers, but the impression I got at the time was very strong.


Around 7 AM I ate something - a banana and some beans. I was worried I would puke or just not be able to eat, but as soon as I tasted food that feeling went away. The fast had been nearly 40 hours now and I was ravenous. After eating I went to my room and looked at the blanket again and I was still seeing patterns on it, but I was able to fall asleep pretty easily. I woke up around 10 AM with no effects from the peyote at all, visual or otherwise.

The after effects so far: I used to drink quite a bit and cut way down in the past few years, but still like to get drunk once in a while. After not drinking at all for a few weeks in preparation for peyote, I had been looking forward to being able to drink the next day or on the plane ride home. After peyote though, the thought of drinking alcohol seemed disgusting and stupid and I had no desire to. I also have lots of notes for story ideas that I want to work on. Some of it is nonsense, but some of it I think is pretty good. Also, as with my Ayahuasca experience, I felt like a missionary and want to go out and tell everyone to take peyote (as long as it isn't harvested wild).

Exp Year: 2022ExpID: 116757
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 45
Published: Oct 27, 2022Views: 1,505
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Peyote (42) : First Times (2), Entities / Beings (37), General (1), Alone (16)

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