Cacti - T. pachanoi & Cannabis
Citation: Mundane. "Sun Dance: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi & Cannabis (exp81601)". Erowid.org. Apr 23, 2010. erowid.org/exp/81601
The dance isn't quite over, not yet. But it's definitely slowed down considerably. The clouds are only lackadaisically moving their tales now. The sun has set and their day's celebrations are almost at an end. But they're still swaying about, whenever I want to look at them. Or it. Let's clarify – this is my painted ceiling I'm talking about here. This was my landlord's daughter's room. They'd painted the ceiling blue and then painted clouds on it. Not very realistic looking, but absolutely perfect for delighting me today. Right now, a bit. I can't help but smile and laugh when I look at my ceiling. It's almost back to the static way I'm used to seeing it. I want to watch every last movement, knowing that seeing is soon going to be taken from me. The ceiling assures me it will be dancing in tomorrow morning's sunlight, just as it does every day. But it doesn't understand that I am not normally in a condition to see its dance. I take small comfort in knowing that it will go on dancing in delight tomorrow, even if I can't see it.
The clouds seem to have settled into their usual, static places, moving only lackadaisically if I look hard enough. Is their dance done for the night or have I been shut out once more?
The words on the computer screen aren't moving around too much anymore. Guess the San Pedro is finally ending our relationship. It started out horribly, but went such wonderful places. I'll miss it.
Right, so I'm twenty-seven, live in the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, and took my first hallucinogenic trip today. Only I don't want to call it that. That makes it sound...too recreational? I don't know. I had an amazing time today and felt absolutely euphoric for most of it, but I think that what I learned today goes a bit beyond fun.
Oh good, the clouds are still settling into immobility. We still have some time left.
But I've been told this is a good time to write this up. The visions are still there, if I want to look closely enough - and one thing I was taught today is to look more closely. I guess this will start as a 'slightly altered' journal and then progress into sobriety. I think I'm actually looking forward to thinking this over with a sober mind. I can't even conceive of a sober mind right now, as I'm sure tomorrow morning I will not be able to understand how I was able to see each cell in the grain of the wood show off how beautifully it shimmers in the sunlight.
Sunlight. I guess I could start there. I'm letting something else guide me right now, as I have been doing all day. I know, 'plant spirits' sounds more than a little whacko, but that's what I mean by sobriety versus an altered state. Both are equally valid and mutually exclusive. I can only try to describe what the mescaline showed me, and it is definitely not all rational.
Yup...the grain on the cabinet is still flowing downwards.
Bear with me here, it was a long, beautiful, indescribable day. But it was also one of the most amazing days of my life, so I want to get it down. Why cactus? I dunno, it appealed to me. Something about how indigenous people have been using them for centuries. Tried and true. Natural. Natural is important. San Pedro proved to be the easiest to get. Living where I do, I likely could have just driven to the desert and cut off a limb for myself, but I'm no botanist. So I bought a 12' cutting online. Just like my ancestors used to.
To make a long process short, I sliced the cutting crosswise first, in one-inch sections. No despining, no skinning. I cut my little star-shaped cutouts twice more, getting four smaller chunks from each slice. These went into a plastic freezer bag with the juice of three limes and into the freezer overnight. Next morning I let it thaw, put the cactus in a blender with equal parts water, blended, repeated. Everything then went into a pot where it was heated, recombined, and then simmered for about three hours, water being added when necessary to prolong boiling (I think I added 30 oz or so of water over the course of boiling). That then went into a t-shirt strainer. The juice of two more limes was added and the strained liquid was then boiled down to about 8 oz and put into a glass bottle. I put water in the cooking pan and swished in around a bit. That water also went into the glass bottle, making it around 10 oz total liquid to be consumed. Bottle went into the freezer overnight.
Got up this morning, set the bottled contents out to thaw, took the dogs for a hike. I should mention that I was so anxious that I barely slept the night before consuming. Also, I was deathly afraid of the taste.
The limes had been added, partly for potential extraction benefits, but also hopefully to improve upon the taste. I had never tasted a large amount of cactus, though growing up and living where I do, it's almost guaranteed that you're going to end up with cactus juice on you at some point and will likely taste it. Alas, that's nothing.
Oh, and I should mention that the stuff smelled pretty horrid. It didn't stink up the house (with every window open and fan on and incense burning), but if I got a good whiff off the bubbling brew, I was nauseated. Somewhere deep down, I knew this was something I should not ingest.
Gotta pay the piper, though. I know that the cactus evolved along its own path, and that nowhere in its evolutionary timeline did it think, 'boy, if I'm going to carry this vision-granting poison, I really ought to taste terrible to humans so they know they have to earn the information I have to give.' But I still conceded that if I was going to cut this plant down in its prime of life for my own selfish purposed, then it had a right to taste terrible to me.
Did I mention I was scared of the taste? Yeah, the taste. That's what scared me. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to get it down, or keep it down should I succeed at step number one. I had no fears whatsoever about what might happen after that, even though I was stepping into very unknown territory.
Final verdict: revolting. Revolting. REVOLTING!!! But at first, not so bad. It wasn't the bitterness that bothered me so much, but rather the warm saltiness. I once took a big mouthful of salt water, just to see what it was like. My body immediately took strong offense, screaming out to me that this was something I should under no circumstances swallow. And that was just salt water (which I did immediately spit out). This was warm, salty, bitter, cactusy disgustingness.
But at first, not so bad. I took a few gulps and chased it with ginger ale (chosen for both delicious and stomach-settling attributes). Okay, I could do that again. Another few gulps five minutes later. That was more difficult. And it just got worse and worse. It took five raises of the bottle to my lips to get it all down. I wretched after the fourth pull and spit some tea back into the bottle during number five, nearly gagging it all back up before I could get some ginger ale down. But it was done in half an hour.
I wanted to just have the cactus' wisdom that day, but as the nausea grew, I thought I couldn't take it any more. So I packed some marijuana into my glass hand pipe and took a few hits. Feeling better, but still not well. I had to get that bottle rinsed out and out of my sight. Even thinking the words 'cactus tea' made me think the whole thing would be coming up again. But since I had gotten it down (and couldn't imagine ever doing that again), I wanted it to stay down. So I had to let the cannabis share some of her wisdom, too.
(My box of Buffy DVDs seems to be having a good time expanding and pushing aside the DVDs next to it in the bookcase. Perhaps night is when their spirits come out to do their dances. Sure we can't normally see them, but maybe when we're looking at the titles for something to watch, we intuit that one is trying a bit harder than the others to be seen.)
So there's the nausea. And while it was one of the first cool days we've had this autumn, this is also SoCal...we don't really even have an autumn. But I was freezing cold, shivering. Or was it trembling? I was going from bad to worse fast. Into the shower, then. The warm water felt great, but not much else did. Things seemed different, but not in a perceptible, specific way. I just felt like things were off.
Out of the shower, into warm clothes. All bundled up, but still freezing cold.
It all starts with the sun. The sun = life. No sun, no life. The cactus knows this and delights in the sun. Soaks up much more than the average fellow. The cactus is most definitely a sun-worshipper. And I can't say if it was the cactus that wanted to be outside or if it was me, who had read trip reports and found that mescaline is best out-of-doors.
The sun is also warmth, which I desperately needed. Still sickly and vaguely altered, I went out to sit in the sun. Nothing looked different at all. The grass was the same green color it had ever been. The sky was the beautiful blue of a typical fall day. But the sun felt wonderful. I let it beat down on my black clothes, let the fibers absorb its energy (as they must have done when they were still a part of the cotton plant). Sitting up was still giving nausea, though. And I refused to lose on drop. It had taken a lot to get it down and I was going to ensure that it would stay down. The idea of smoking more came to mind, but I thought that the mescaline was building up and shouldn't be changed by adding another influencing force. I focused on sitting outside rather than going in simply because I was less likely to throw up outdoors. If I went inside, I knew I would throw up. And the cactus wanted to stay with me (certainly didn't want to end up in the toilet), wanted me to be outside.
Lie down, the command seemed to be. But was I the one giving it? I lied down and draped my arm over my eyes, peaking at the sky through a gap in the fabric wall.
Then the clouds started putting on a show. Sure I've looked at clouds and pulled out forms from their vapors before. This was different, though. I was seeing faces in the clouds, morphing faces pulled from the vapors. One cloud seemed to turn its attention to me, and I feared an unsettling hallucination. Then I realized that none of this was being done for my benefit. The clouds were interacting with one another, one cloud pulling from another's vapor trail and adding that mass to itself. It was how they entertained themselves as they traversed the skies.
'Great,' I thought to myself, 'Huxley gets the doors of perception and I get mischievous clouds.'
Nothing else had changed, however. I did sit up at one point and found the ambient light strangely blue (the same color as the sky, making it indistinguishable from the light), but I wasn't sure if it was just sunlight filtering through a cloud or something else.
By this time it was an hour and a half since gagging on the swill and I was beginning to feel a bit impatient. I felt like I was supposed to be seeing something differently, but that it wasn't happening. I feared I'd screwed up the tea somehow and had wasted the one time I would be able to choke the stuff down.
And here I'd wanted to try mescaline for fifteen years. Too bad.
It was two hours post consumption when I came back inside and searched for some other San Pedro experiences. I found that I could not even think about reading the descriptions of preparation or consumption without having a queasy feeling return. I clicked on the first report that popped up, scrolled past all that, and noticed that I was having difficulty reading the guy's write-up because the letters wouldn't stand still long enough for me to read them. My computer has a few red lines that stretch from top to bottom of the screen, no matter what the page content is. And the screen on one side of the line was sliding down and away from the portion of the screen on the other side.
I couldn't read, but that didn't matter anymore. I couldn't read because something was happening. Something was going to come from that vile beverage. I put Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch' (an album I love under any condition and find particularly fascinating when altered) on repeat and let it play for the duration of the experience.
The nausea had passed and been replaced by a raging hunger. I hadn't eaten in about fifteen hours, so that was to be expected. I just hadn't been sure when I would feel up to eating again (or when I could eat, given that I wanted to ensure the mescaline had a head start on anything else my body would be processing). Simple food, then. I grabbed a few handfuls of peanuts and an apple. Quite enjoyed the way the peanuts were crunching. I liked the apple, too, but not as much. I was only able to take a few bites before concluding I didn't want anymore.
I was trained as a kid to eat everything off of my plate and will consume something in full normally, even if I'm stuffed and don't want another bite. But today I was able to enjoy things when I wanted them and had no problem setting them aside when I didn't. So much simpler for everyone.
And, wait, had I just seen the cloud on my ceiling move? Was I hallucinating?!
This used to be our landlords' primary residence. They've got a young girl. I'm staying in the room that used to be hers. The pink walls and rosebud mural might be gone, but I asked them to leave the ceiling. It's just blue with some wispy white clouds painted (and not very well) on it. Some of the clouds have either dark underbellies or silver linings, depending on how you look at it. Some don't. It wasn't done very well, and while I normally like looking at it more than at eggshell white, sometimes the poor execution makes it all seem very silly.
And yet, these clouds were doing the most amazing things I'd ever seen. And they're still doing it now, to a point. Eight hours later.
During that first meet, I thought it was just the clouds. It seemed that if I looked directly at one, it would hesitate. But if I looked past it rather than at it, the ceiling sky was full of fluffy, dancing paint clouds. There was no illusion that they were anything other than paint. But how that paint moved! I could follow as paint was pulled from one section and flowed to another. The clouds expanded and contracted, sometimes puffing up, sometimes lengthening, sometimes pulling more grey from one area to darken another. They could not move freely about, of course. Where the paint had been applied thicker, the clouds seemed stuck. No movement there. But where the paint had been applied thinner, the 'clouds' could easily manipulate it to give the impression that they were shimmering.
I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. And now that it's happening in a very subdued way, I still think it's one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. But what am I seeing and how am I seeing it?
Trader Joe's has this amazing, vegan cherry chocolate chip frozen dessert. I'm currently supporting a quart a week habit. I suddenly needed to be lying on my bed, staring at the ceiling, eating this un-ice cream. And soon I was. I fixed myself the normal big bowl, but about half way through, I didn't much want it any more. I ate it anyway, but it was a very atypical scenario for me (I'm usually on bowl two before bowl one has even been finished).
I loved the clouds and didn't want to leave them, but they assured me they always danced (and any time I tried to tell them that I'm not normally able to see their dance, they laughed me off as being silly because I just wasn't looking closely enough). Anyway, I was being told to go back outside.
I have a pretty boring back yard (and even more boring front yard), so I wasn't sure what I would be going out there for. But I knew I needed to be outside. I went out and was told (or did I decide for myself?) to lie on the concrete walkway with my head in the shade of the orange tree (the only thing other than grass to see out there). So I did. I was told to be eye-level with the grass, to see things from its perspective. The first thing I noticed was the orange tree. The grass was huddled all around it, and the tree was providing the grass with cool shade. I become very appreciative of the orange tree and thanked her for the shade.
She thought me silly. I watched the orange tree as she delighted in the sun and danced in the breeze. At some point, someone painted the bottom foot of the tree's trunk with white paint, which I apologized for. She laughed at me for that. In fact, she was shimmying her trunk and writhing in her bark, taking enormous pleasure from the feeling. She seemed proud of the paint and enjoyed showing me how she could manipulate it to turn different parts of her trunk white. She explained to me that she loves to dance for the sun. She can't wait for his arrival in the morning. She holds her branches as high up to him as she can, loving the feel of his warmth and energy as it soaks into her leaves.
'Look,' she told me. 'This is why.' And I saw dozens and dozens of round, green buddings. They were the beginnings of her fruits and she was incredibly proud of them. Her lovely children. I told her that sometimes I take her children away and eat them, but she told me that was what they were there for. She holds her hands up for the sun, he gives her power to grow her children. Then she can give her children to grow other children. That's why she was so proud of those buds - one day they would be the fruits that I (and flies and ants and molds) would get our energy from. She was very proud to have that role. I thanked her again for helping me understand the forces of life that I usually pay no heed to. She laughed and shimmied and told me that she was just doing what she loved to do.
Alright, lets take a break. Plants talking to me? Remember what I said about altered minds and sober minds being mutually exclusive. Obviously no plant talked to me. I heard no voices in my head. Her laughter was probably my laughter. Anything that I thought at the time a plant (or ceiling or wood grain) was imparting to me was something I already knew, but had never been put into a state to truly appreciate. But if you seek to learn from a plant, especially a sun-worshipper, your lessons are probably going to involve the wonderful energy process begun with photosynthesis. Just saying.
I was, otherwise, totally sober. I felt a bit 'different' than I usually do, but more in an underlying way than a 'wow, my capacities sure are compromised' way. Nothing would move unless I looked at it and concentrated for a bit. Not at this point, at least. I could move around just fine. I probably could have operated heavy machinery just fine, assuming I didn't get too caught up in how the dashboard slithered around. But I had no desire to go anywhere.
I came back inside and was struck by the sweet smells the partially-eaten apple was giving off. Normally my sense of smell isn't very good, so I was surprised at how overwhelming the aroma was. The apple, knowing it was browning, was giving its all to entice me to eat it and take what it had to offer before it became unable to give it. I took a couple more bites and smiled at the ceiling clouds as they danced. They told me they liked Panda Bear's 'Person Pitch' as much as I did. They had choreographed special moves to certain songs. After staring at the ceiling for a half hour or so (which I would under any other condition call a 'complete waste of precious time'), I felt hungry again. Time to find out what the chips and salsa had for me.
Okay, not much. They were dead. But I still thanked them for giving their lives and passing their energy on to me. Vegetarianism is the closest link us humans can have to the sun. The plants like passing on their energy to us, anyway. They do it because they love the sun so much and want to pass that on to others.
I looked out the front door and noticed a very tall tree across the street, which I sensed had a very narcissistic male spirit. He was showing off how much closer he was to the sun, but was not dancing. The shrubs on the front porch were snickering at him, and when I asked why, they explained the he spends all of his energy showing off how he can get closer to reaching the sun, but he doesn't realize that the sunlight reaches the grass just as it reaches his branches. You don't need to reach for what will come to you naturally. I agreed that his attitude was misaligned.
I visited my basil plants, who are still growing. They wouldn't dance for me. When I asked why, they turned their backs (without actually moving). I gathered that they were still upset with me for not giving them water during a recent heat spell which resulted in them nearly wilting to death. I apologized to them and gave them water, but I guess that wasn't enough because they still wouldn't dance. One of the smaller leaves on a stunted sprout showed me a bit of how the cellular structure of its leaf worked, and I thanked it for that.
So, landlord did the ceiling clouds. But my roommate was moonlighting as a painter for a while. Not on canvas and not eggshell white. Faux painting. Fancy, expensive stuff. And he's decorated the walls of this place for free. There's this nook that I never sit in that's joined to the living room, but enclosed with its own walls. My roommate had put incandescent earth tones on the ceiling and painted the side panels gold and copper. He had then cut out a flower stencil and very subtly shaded it up the length of the panels. First, I looked at the ceiling. It was like looking at some earth-toned liquid metal, but one with a very discernible texture. This is when I realized that when looking at any surface, I was actually seeing a cross-section of life.
So we've all seen film strips of blood cells coursing through tiny arteries and veins. That's what surfaces looked like. Only, the magnification had been toned down. Or it was like looking into a pool of life, so many single-celled organisms crammed together that they had to work together to move about or get anything done. And this cross section of single-celled organisms comprised of paint and stucco was busy dancing in its own pool of sunlight.
I looked at the paneled walls and noticed the faint flower stencils were growing and shrinking, expanding and contracting. They were very proud of their appearance. They had been painted well and looked beautiful in the sun (and they new it) and wanted to me to take notice. And I did. I began to appreciate the job that my roommate had done. He had given vibrant life to the walls. Whereas with a flat coat they might have just crept along like the ceiling, with the stencils they just wanted to show off.
So there's another wall I spent a time that would be, under normal circumstances, considered inordinate for one to spend staring at a wall.
I could see the kitchen window through the doorway and noticed the room looking sad. Because the shades were closed, duh. I immediately set that right, and the kitchen was very appreciative.
I put my fingertip on the floor next to a mote of dust. Everything moved around my finger and it appeared that everything was moving towards it, the dust mote being pulled closer by my finger's gravitational influence. But it wasn't getting any closer, and I knew that my finger itself wasn't moving. That particular illusion became unsettling after a few seconds and I had to look at something else for a while.
I sat on the floor and looked at the wood grain. It was as busy as anything else. But, oddly, all going in one direction. Why was the wood retreating under the fridge? I wasn't sure, but when I looked closer, I saw that the floor wasn't very clean, and that the wood was ashamed of this. It was trying to pull the bits of food and dirt under the fridge (where it had already amassed a nice pile of detritus). I told the floor that it didn't have to do that, that it was a good floor. I also apologized for not cleaning it more often.
The exact same thing happened with the wooden floor in my room. It was enjoying its dance, but it didn't want me to look at it because it was so dirty. It tried to hide under my gaze, but I told it that it was my fault it was dirty and that it was a great floor, what with supporting me and everything else in this cluttered room.
Once more, I was drawn outside. I said hello to the orange tree, and she laughed and twisted. This time, the tree told me to look at her roots. I couldn't see them, of course, but I could see the way she was manipulating them through the earth. She told me that the dirt feels as good at her feet at the sun feels in her arms. It was as important to her as the sun and the breeze, and she loves the way her roots felt as they winded their way through the earth, searching for nutrients. The grass liked this, too. It enjoyed the way the ground undulated as she stretched her roots out. I thanked the orange tree for this lesson, too. Plants are very appreciative of their role and are more than happy to provide.
This is no 'Giving Tree', though. I understood that the tree could only give what it had, that it did not have everything a human would need over the course of a lifetime. I thanked her for what she could give, though.
At this point, if I looked at any surface long enough and adopted the proper gaze (similar to picking out the objects in those Magic Eye illusions), I could see how it moved and understand a bit about its character from that. The brick wall barely let me see it move at all. The stone granules just rearranged themselves in the duty of reinforcing the wall's strength. No nonsense about that.
The cheap garage, plaster on the outside, knew just what it was, too. It was a very fleeting structure and it expressed this by mimicking the movements of sand. I thanked both of them for showing me their characters.
I sat down next to my dog, Sabrina, and ran my fingers through her fur. The hairs weren't dancing, and when I asked why, they told me it was because they delighted in protecting the dog, not in getting energy from the sun. They liked the sun well enough, like to be warmed up in it and liked the way the coat shone in it, but they didn't have time to dance for the sun when there was a dog to protect. I told the fur that I appreciated it very much; Sabrina is one of the most important living beings to me (sorry, fellow humans) and I liked knowing that her components were protecting the whole.
I was now five hours post consumption and three hours into effects. The peak was coming on. I came back inside and, laughing at the clouds, lied down on my back underneath them to watch their dance. The sun was shining bright in the room, 'Bros' was playing, and suddenly, the room was coming to life. Everything wanted me to look at it and appreciate its character. The walls moved steadily, showing me that they were strong and reserved and would protect me. The shelves bended and bowed, showing me that they could make the action figures they supported join the dance without dropping them. The fake wood grain on my pressboard computer desk slinked away from my state and the exposed portions of pressboard could only flex, unable to move freely. I felt sorry for it and told it that it made a great computer desk. The polished wood on my dresser drawers used the sun's light to make its surface resemble liquid gold.
The song peaked and so did I. Everything had joined the dance. I didn't even have to be looking directly at any one thing to see its movement. The walls breathed, the shelves bowed, the clouds shimmered, the wood grain on my TV cabinet swirled, the ceiling fan tipped down one blade, then another. The poster of Edward Gorey characters showed me how it could change its appearance (and it might as well, it sulked, considering how often I looked at the poster). I apologized and told it I appreciated the way it displayed the characters as they'd originally been drawn. The tears falling from the eyes of girl on the Sleater-Kinney poster rolled down her face as the birds she was looking at flew away. It was magical, but it was also overwhelming.
I closed my eyes and found that the patterns I normally see behind my eyelids were also more choreographed and organized than they usually are. I was very tired and tried to resist the urge to sleep, but I was being told to lie down and close my eyes. I don't know if I dozed or not. I opened my eyes again once the constant shifting I was seeing behind my eyelids began to make me motion sick. I had to get out of my room.
I went into the living room, giving the stenciled flowers a glance to let them know that I loved their dance. They told me to look at the fish (we have a couple of lacquered plaques of Eastern origin with wispy koi painted underneath their surface) and I was overjoyed to see that they had joined the dance, making the sea grasses wave about as if suspended in liquid space. I will say that I tried to seek water's wisdom at one point. But water is a mystery, especially to a cactus. The water would only show me what liquid space looked like, what being suspended in that state was like, and how it refracted light. It resisted giving up any more secrets.
The living room walls had been given a textured paint, a very sandy color. At the wall's midpoint, a gold band had been painted. 18' or so wide, it spanned the length of one wall and curled onto another before disappearing behind a bookcase. It had been painted with a thick brush in a V sort of formation, one brushstroke slashing in before another slashed out the other way. This gold ribbon waved and dipped and shimmered, reminding me of a ripe, golden wheat field swaying in a breeze. The more the gold moved, the more active the rest of the wall become, not to be outdone.
My grandpa had a boat, which had a door. The boat was lost, but he held onto the door. My dad treated it and coated it with a thick, dark lacquer (but one that suggested depths of gold under its surface) and made it into the world's heaviest coffee table. It's one of the few objects I still have from the house I grew up in. Anyway, I said hello to the ship's door and got very excited to find out how it was doing. I could tell it was kept rigid by the lacquer, unable to move about much. But I could see the wood's hills and valleys roll under the thick coating, perhaps imitating the sea that it had once proudly sailed upon.
But wait - only the door's tabletop part had been lacquered. So I crawled under the table, as I had done so many times as a kid (and not so many since then) and looked at the door in it's more natural state. Obviously it had been a hard server and the wood had a difficult time moving under all of the paint and who knows what else had been applied to it. I complimented the door/table on its sturdiness, trustworthiness, and many years of hard duty.
I rolled onto my side. The landlords left a very ugly chair in the house. It's decades out-of-style, an ugly yellowish green color with embroidered flowers. It's old and faded and threadbare and shows signs of recent cat scratches. It's comfy, but we usually have a cover put over it so you don't have to see the upholstery. But here the original upholstery was, and the chair was going to show off, too, dammit! It showed me how it could manipulate its embroidery to make its flowers appear to be growing and shifting. I was surprised to see such a beautiful display from this chair and thanked it for showing me, the while apologizing for having not before noticed how pretty it was. It didn't care what I thought of it normally because it was taking so much delight in its own movement. It knew it was a beautiful old chair that could still display its colors proudly.
Of course there were times, particularly towards the beginning, when I wondered what the heck I was doing. I am an active person and like to get out of the house. When I'm at home, I can't stand still and am usually watching TV or using the computer. But both seemed like complete wastes of time. The house was putting on a much more impressive display than anything I could have seen on television or youtube. And I was learning so much about this house's character in the process.
I returned to my room and looked at my bed. The sheets were rippling enticingly as the mattress rolled. The pillow case showed me how every thread was its own entity, but that each thread was also committed to all of the others so that they could provide me with a pleasant place to set my head. I could see each fiber as it waved. There were times when I could get so focused on the smallest picture, the individual 'cells', that I wouldn't even see what the larger structure was doing anymore.
I looked back at the clouded ceiling and finally realized that the clouds were not making the movements. The entire ceiling was a single skin. Most of its component parts were blue, but some were white and some grey. I watched the blue part and realized that it was what was initiating movement. The ceiling cells would pull together into a close group or spread out from each other, and this is what was giving the illusion that it was the clouds that were moving. Because they’re white, they stick out more and their movements seem more obvious.
Well, duh. Of course it's not the painted clouds moving (and have I mentioned yet that it was in such a natural and organic was that it really did appear to be a living painting, the sort I'm sure has been in movies before [perhaps 'What Dreams May Come' or 'Frida']. Only this wasn't a special effect.
None of this was a special effect. I knew that I had ingested something which was changing the way things appeared. But this wasn't on a screen. I was sitting here, feeling otherwise totally sober, watching the textures and colors of the flat surfaces around me take on a life of their own. The effect was (and still is, a bit) amazing. And maybe it's stupid to think that the ceiling has a character based on this one encounter with a chemically-altered mind, but I think that I understand the inanimate better now. And maybe these character conclusions that I'm coming to would be obviously deduced by a sober mind (what, brick walls are strong?), but there's something to be said for getting a better appreciation for the everyday objects in life that usually go unnoticed.
The sun began to set and the objects all became more subdued. Not that they dance only for the sun. It's just that they love the sun, not just because it shows them off well, but because when the sun is up, so are the human inhabitants who rely on the walls and ceilings (and sometimes provide them with decorations that they can wear proudly and flaunt). I'm finding that these objects still move after dark, but they've definitely wound down. I can only assume that they will resume the revelry when the sun returns. But when that happens, I won't be able to join them again.
I was coming down a bit, too. Five hours into the visions, and everything was winding down. I picked up my pipe again and took another couple of hits, figuring that cactus was running out of strength and could use a sister-plant pick-me-up. I like my pipe. Only one I've ever owned (but then, I haven't been smoking for very long). It yelled out at me at the head shop, even though I wasn't sure I needed something so expensive at the time. It's clear glass, painted on the inside. There's a floral pattern on the bowl with turquoise and black lines curving down the stem. I picked up the pipe and watched the paint move, suspended in the glass (which is just another liquid state). Looking more closely at one of the turquoise lines, I noticed that the end of it looked like an eel head. In fact, I could see its eye. And its jaw! It was trying to pick out the blemishes and resin stains from the liquid glass. That's what it fed off of. Its long body snaked and curled upon itself as it wrapped around the stem.
Facing the eel's head was a black line. I couldn't make out any features, but I was able to discern the shape of a lamprey. So I spent some time watching the liquid glass existence of my pipe eel and lamprey. They seemed very much like the lives their real, underwater counterparts lead, though with more restrictive movement. I put the pipe down and looked at the ceiling again, which had gotten a second wind, though was still nowhere near as energized as it had been during the day.
The effects were wearing off. Objects would still move (and they still are, twelve hours after drinking), but only if I looked at them closely and paid attention to each alone.
I have a couple of cannabis plants growing and I had wanted to seek their guidance earlier in the day, as I had sought the orange tree's. But they were in their dark period, so I couldn't. When their lights switched on in the evening, I went to see how they were doing. I had only confirmed one plant as female yesterday, and today I found that the second plant is also female. We didn't converse as I had with the orange tree, but I thanked them for growing so well and turning into lovely ladies, and they thanked me for the light and nutrients and chance to grow that I had given them. I wished them big buds (which is really what the plants want to provide for me, if the orange tree's wisdom is to be trusted) and went back outside. I said good-night to the orange tree, who was turning in. I could tell she didn't like seeing the sun set, but she assured me that it makes the mornings wonderful to see him again and dance for him.
I went back inside and looked at everything I could think of again, knowing that soon I would be unable to laugh at their movements. And when I say 'laugh', I mean it. I'm normally neutral, neither happy nor unhappy. I don't show emotion much. I don't smile easily or laugh at every little thing. Today was totally different, though. I had a big grin on my face for about six hours. I would laugh out loud at the way the objects moved, finding their showmanship and proclivity for one-upmanship very funny. I felt amazing physically, probably the best I've ever felt. Body euphoria for hours and hours.
On top of this, I felt like I was experiencing the world anew as a child might. I was seeing so many things I'd never seen before. I had been allowed to glimpse a secret life that most people never see, never consider. I felt a real childish wonderment for everything around me, like it was all brand new and shiny and there just for my amusement. I think this also contributed to my elation and laughter.
But that's the top half of it. I was also aware, lurking underneath all that, of a darker streak. Not one that would show itself, but one that kept me from eating much or drinking much. A slight undercurrent of nausea, perhaps, though not one that ever made me feel ill. I just sensed that it wasn't all rainbows and kittens. Still making my payments to the cactus piper.
It's been over ten hours since the clouds on my ceiling first unveiled their dance to me, and they're still going. I tried to describe as best I can part of what happened during the past twelve and a half hours (oh, and that prep time), but it's hard for the altered mind to describe in sober terms (and the English language is very sober). I loved and laughed and saw and understood and questioned and saw more and found every moment enjoyable and beautiful. Everything that I described happened to me, but there was much more that I never got around to describing: the reluctance of my computer chair to join the dance, unnatural fibers that it's made of (once I told it that it did a great job supporting my weight and rolling it around the floor, it showed me a bit of its undulations); the edition of Amphigorey I'd been inspired to look at by the Edward Gorey poster which contained the drawings that considered themselves to be too committed to their creator's vision to move at all (though I did get some ripples out of some drawn water); the ceiling cloud which I found to be shaped like a Lewis Carol caterpillar which was painted too close to the wall and so could not move, but could applaud the other clouds' dances; the two joined clouds which seemed to be breathing energy/cloud vapor/movement into each other in an endless cycle; the window frames which could hardly move their grains because of the amount of paint that had been put on them; the golden retriever on the dog food bag which tried to convince me that it was resplendent in the sun, its fur shimmering but its eyes dead and soulless; the map of Middle Earth (did you guess I'm a bit of a geek yet?) which amused me very much when it made the Mountains of Mordor dance.
I'm not sure what initially made mescaline appealing to me. I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of it, and I'm glad I went in without any expectations. I listened to what the cactus had to say, and what it had its cousins show me. And I ended up with one of the most amazing and profound days of my life. All spent staring at walls, haha.
I have to thank the San Pedro cutting which gave its life to me to impart its wisdom. I know that when I'm sober much of this will read like new-age hippy prattling about the sacred plant life, but I have also just experienced for myself that knowledge transference. I'm very grateful that I had such a positive and life-affirming experience. Because while I found mescaline very enjoyable and would love to participate in the dance again, I can't imagine that I will ever be able to drink cactus tea again.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.