Cacti - T. pachanoi & Beer
Citation: Jack L.. "How Do I Want To Be Remembered: An Experience with Cacti - T. pachanoi & Beer (exp92264)". Erowid.org. Aug 18, 2017. erowid.org/exp/92264
'When going on a journey it is not just the strength of a man’s legs but the provisions he prepares for the trip.'
SOME WEEKS PREVIOUS I had purchased a small quantity of magic cactus from an online vendor – San Pedro, fifty grams, perfectly legal, perfectly above board – a potent brew of which I wanted to try making according to the instructions that came with the package. Step one was to steep all my freeze-dried cactus flakes in cold water for about three hours prior to adding some more water plus the freshly squeezed juice from a whole lemon. Seemingly this was vital.
I turned on the old gas cooker, just a low heat, at about four-thirty in the afternoon. The water began boiling about quarter to five. Boiling stopped at seven o’clock.
NB: during the boiling process my kitchen became filled with a heavy, sickly sweet smell though I attributed this to the required lemon juice I’d added to the brew. Nonetheless I was forced to fling open a couple of windows, letting in gallons of fresh air to dissipate the horrid smell. Also a tiny taste on a teaspoon revealed a repugnant, intensely bitter flavour.
Once the brew had cooled down a bit I strained off the initial liquid, carefully pouring it into my designated ‘tripping mug‘.
I strained off the initial liquid, carefully pouring it into my designated ‘tripping mug‘.
A thick-looking slime, dark green and very viscous; of a consistency similar to wallpaper paste. Tasted utterly foul. Nonetheless I placed aside the initial extract and resumed my extraction process by the addition of further tapwater to the cactus flakes for boiling a second time, also according to my instructions. By nine o’clock I was finally ready to begin my San Pedro cactus trip.
It was a nice evening; the sun was shining bright and there was a refreshingly fine breeze, blowing in from the Cromarty Firth. I had all my windows flung wide open and all my dogs were outside, sniffing around in my front garden. I could hear somebody playing their records from another house in our Alness cul-de-sac. I made myself comfortable on the two-seater sofa and prepared to take my first sip. Jesus fuck! So foul was the taste it simply wasn't possible for me to consume the bitter liquid in one swift gulp. The most I could manage was meagre sips followed immediately by a hefty swig of Singha beer, imported from Thailand and sold by the bucket at Dingwall Tesco, ten miles down the road from where I now sat. (Important note: I’d already partaken of several different beers prior to consuming my bitter-tasting cactus brew. Two 330mL bottles of Hoegarden plus two 500mL bottles of Vratislav, the latter being an import from the so-called Czech Republic.)
It took me nearly an hour to drink the first cactus brew. It tasted utterly shite. Thick, viscous, like poison. A green, slimy syrup. Utterly disgusting, utterly foul.
By ten o’clock I felt violently sick.
By 22:43 I felt even sicker so I was forced to go upstairs and lie down on our kingsize bed for a while; I just lay there with my eyes shut, trembling. Thus began one of the most incredible series of high-intensity coloured visuals I’d ever experienced in my life, including dreams. At which point I suddenly realised my entire existence, from birth to death, could be written down in a book to be stored, eventually, on a shelf inside a vast library filled with similar books and therefore similar stories to mine but which could only be accessed or made relevant by those who had known me in life, even peripherally.
The visuals consisted of intense, multicoloured fractals moving at high speed – patterns with a strange alphabetical significance almost like language, hieroglyphs. Suddenly an entity, a kind of shadowy librarian, spoke up from somewhere deep inside my subconscious.
How did I want to be remembered?
Whatever my answer – bad, good, indifferent – the entity assured me I’d have to work hard at it. Very, very hard. There were several questions I wanted to ask the entity, but I was basically too fucked to articulate any of them. In short, I was completely fucked.
By midnight I was unable to remain in my bed any longer so I took my dogs outside for a ten minute hike before returning to our house. I felt shaky, somewhat trembly of chin. I returned home and briefly went inside my downstairs toilet and checked my reflection in the mirror, confirming what I already knew: that my face was basically flushed bright red with a temperature. My heart was pounding; I was alternatively hot, followed by violent shivers – classic symptoms of poisoning. I tried playing a little of my new guitar, a beautiful Yamaha acoustic that had cost me a small fortune, but the cactus juice had effectively overpowered me. I was fucked. All I could manage was a half-hearted strumming of my guitar strings.
Feeling increasingly weak, I climbed the stairs to my bed and sometime after this I tried in vain to fall asleep. It simply wasn't possible for me to fall asleep. And nor could I stop shivering, feeling uncomfortably hot at the same time.
By one o’clock in the morning I was still tripping hard. Even by three a.m. I was still tripping only less so, or so it seemed to me. Gradually I began to stop shivering though sleep continued to elude me. By the time six o’clock rolled around I felt shattered, emotionally drained. This had been a difficult trip, one I had no desire to repeat any time soon. Only once I felt fit enough I went downstairs to the kitchen and discarded the remainder of my cactus cuttings, chucking everything in the bin.
Overall this was a horrible experience, though perhaps it would’ve been better without the physical symptoms of poisoning – the hot flushes, the shivers, the pounding of my heart, the delirium, and so forth. It’s also difficult for me to overstate how utterly foul the slimy extract tasted. By comparison, magic mushroom tea tastes much better. The cactus visuals and the stoned effect were also markedly different to those obtained by drinking your typical mushroomic brew.
By eleven o’clock the following morning felt more or less recovered. I just didn’t feel like doing anything in particular. And I hadn’t even bothered phoning in sick.
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