A little about the San Pedro cactus
An excerpt from the book, "The Gates of San Pedro" by Sayre Tupac Wiracocha.
"Here we try to put in words experiences that reach multidimensional states of mind and because of that, indescribable. Our intention is to demonstrate that the cactus known as San Pedro allows us to enter the mental universe, which is as vast as the external universe. This we call the Gates of San Pedro.
First we talk about the cactus, known by its Christian name, San Pedro. This is due to when the Spanish monks arrived in Peru, it was very important for them to know what was sustaining the culture. Because of this they went to visit the Willka Huma, or the big teachers, in order to discover the spiritual foundations that were the base of the cultural harmony which the natives were living. For that the Spanish monks had to taste the cactus. Because of the experience they had they named the cactus San Pedro - the one that has the keys to the heavens (Christian tradition), and all that this refer to. On returning to Spain they informed the King that the natives were not only rich in gold and treasures, but that they had a plant that could open the gates of heaven. The King responded: "Return and kill them all".
The cactus has an indigenous name which is huashuma (also, washuma). In the scientific world, it is know as Trichocereus Pachanoi andTrichocereus Peruvianus, although there are literally countless hybrids. In Peru we have a great variety of the cactus depending on the area where
it comes from. For example Huaraz, Junin, Huancavelica, Pachacamac, Arequipa,
Cajamarca and the coast of Lima. The difference is not only in the appearance
or the amount and size of the thorns, or if the cactus is long or wide, but
we refer to the different amount of mescaline per kilo of cactus that differentiate
them. There is a definite direct relation between the amount of mescaline
and the strength of the experience. There is also a big difference in experiences
according to the number of ribs the cactus has; for example, a cactus
of six lines is called the "juvenile" because it is not as strong
as the cactus of seven ribs that is called the "ecolóquico" (crazed
about environment). It is named so because of the "crazy" feeling
of love and compassion towards environment. The cactus of eight lines is called
"meditative". Being low in amphetamine it creates the feeling of
remaining in deep meditation. The cactus of nine lines is the "head cracker",
because of the high level of mescaline and amphetamine - making it the strongest.
In short all the cacti are different and as we always say, the experience is never the same even though it could be the same cactus that has been ingested the day before. Every day is different."
The earliest known use of San Pedro (a.k.a. huachuma, wachuma, achuma, chuma, cardo, cuchuma, huando, gigantón, hermoso, pene de Dios, and aguacolla) goes back 1300 BC to Chavin Culture in Peru .