Huachuma is a fast-growing columnar cactus, Echinopsis pachanoi, which is distinctive from its close relative the Peruvian torch cactus, E. peruvianus. It is native to the Andes of Peru and Ecuador, but it is cultivated all over Peru and other places in South America. In its natural environment San Pedro grows up to 20 feet high and is multi branched. The cactus is light to dark green, sometimes glaucous (covered with a bluish, greyish, or whitish waxy coating or bloom that rubs off easily). Generally it has between 4-8 ribs. Groups of 1-4 small, yellow to light brown, spines are located at the nodes which are evenly spaced apart (circa 2 cm apart) along the ribs. Huachuma contains a number of psychoactive alkaloids, including mescaline (3,4,5-trimethoxyphenethylamine, 0.11 – 2.3%), and also 3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine, 4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenethylamine, 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, 4-hydroxy-3,5-dimethoxyphenethylamine, anhalonidine, anhalinine, tyramine, hordenine and 3-methoxytyramine. Mescaline is an entheogen and also found in Peyote (Lophophora Williamsii), as well as other species of the Echinopsis genus such as Echinopsis peruviana, and Echinopsis scopulicola.
Uses of Huachuma
Huachuma has a long history of traditional use. It has become the most popular cactus in neo-shamanic rituals due to its excellent fertility and ease of cultivation. Huachuma is used by shamanic cultures in the Andes as a means to See and for esoteric healing rituals. Huachuma is sometimes used in conjunction with other sacred plants, such as coca, tobacco, Brugmansia and Anadenanthera.
Huachuma is used by Andean shamans for guidance, decision making, healing, spiritual communion, trance, and ecstatic soul flight to access other realms in the three worlds of spirit. Huachuma helps one attain and remain in balance with the natural world.
Huachuma has been used throughout history by many ancient precolumbian civilizations of the Peruvian coast and central Andes. Huachuma is a shamanic sacrament, a marvelous healing medicine, and a magnificant spiritual teacher which fueled the genersis of Andean civilization. For more than 4,000 years, the Huachuma ceremony has been a continuous tradition in Peru to the present day. In the Old Temple at Chavíín de Huántar in the northern highlands of Perú, a carving was found with the earliest depiction of the cactus showing the huachumero shaman holding a section of tghe Huachuma cactus as a staff as he leads the procession of initiatees to the ascending stairway leading to the Lanz+on.
The Misa aka “Mesa”
Today’s maestros use San Pedro in an often sophisticated ceremony called the ‘Mesa’. Mesas are altars upon which energetically-charged objects are arranged in juxtaposition with other objects in a metaphoric microcosm of the Universal Order. Mesa are erected for healing rites to treat illnesses, enchantment and bad luck. The Mesa ceremony is also a profoundly transformative vehicle of higher consciousness when conducted by a true maestro of high lineage such as Chavin.
After the Spanish conquest, the word that was first applied to the now-forbidden Huachuma ceremony was ‘Misa” meaning ‘mass” as in the Catholic ceremony. The Huachuma ceremony began take on certain characteristics of the Catholic ceremony including the appearance of pictures and carvings of saints, Jesus Christ, and the Virgin Mary, as well as the Christian cross.
These icons of Catholicism served two purposes… The first was to legitimize the pagan ceremony by dressing it in more acceptable religious attire to the prevailing Spanish governance. But there was also another reason. The powerful metaphor of the shamanic mind and heart was not blind to the true meaning of the Christian message. When seen through the eyes of the shaman, Jesus Christ is the metaphor for all humanity and the quintessential shaman… Santa Maria is the metaphor for Pachamama, Mother Earth. And the Holy Spirit is, of course, the Sacred Spirit that is in all things. The essence of eternal life. The Holy Spirit is One.
Maestro huachumeros claim that much of the knowledge and insightsthey possess comes directly from the plants themselves. Maestro huachumeros are pure animists in believing that all aspects of creation, from the elements to mountains and stones, as well as plants and animals are all living conscious entities, each at their magnitude of existence from infinity to infinity.
The effects of Huachuma are considered by many to be more pleasant than those of peyote. If properly prepared, it tastes very bitter. Properly prepared Huachuma medicine is dark brown in color, similar to coca cola. Its effects are felt within 1-2 hours of ingestion and can last up to 15 hours. When the experience fully takes hold it may seem overwhelming or tranquil depending on the energy of the setting and the skill of the presiding maestro. A dreaming state is felt accompanied by lethargy. Then a slight dizziness is experienced, followed by a clearing of all the faculties. A light numbness is felt in the body and afterward a tranquillity. And then comes detachment, a type of visual force, including all the senses as well as the sixth sense, the telepathic sense of transmitting oneself across time and matter, a kind of removal of one’s thought to a distant dimension. Other potential effects include intense sensitivity to light, for instance being able to see and feel every ray of light. People and things may also be seen to ‘radiate’. Long lost memories may come back, being able to hear and see far off sounds and voices. Emotions may also be experienced such as laughing, crying, screaming, pleasure, fear, and love in all it’s forms.
About The Chavín Mesas – dedicated to holistic healing and universal consciousness.
Mesa of the Serpent. Amazonian Culture. The Water Mesa of the Shamanic Lower World …the womb of the soul. Where Chavín Consciousness begins. Powerful healing energy of the Divine Feminine uniting with ancient grandfather wisdom of the Andesa amidst the verdant organic splendor of the Amazon. Primary elemental energy is water.
Mesa of the Puma. Inca Civilization. The Mesa of the Shamanic Middle World.
Realizing the spiritual world in which we live NOW. Understanding and reconciling our human nature and gaining knowledge of our trajectory. Primary elemental energies arre earth and fire.
Mesa of the Condor. Inka Civilization. The Mesa of the Shamanic Upper World.
Realizing ascending communion with the Spirit of Nature and Cosmos. Primary elemental energies are earth, air, fire and water.
Mesa of Death. Lambayeque Culture. A Fire Mesa at the 1,000 year-old Lambayeque city of pyramids at Túcume, near Chiclayo, a center of contemporary San Pedro mesa practice…
Understanding Death… what it is and what it isn’t. The conquest of fear. Primary elemental energy is fire.
Mesa of Power and Sorcery. Moche (Mochica) Civilization.The electrifying Moche Mesa of Power and Sorcery … near ancient 1,600 year-old Moche ceremonial mesa pyramids, one a site of human sacrifice to propitiate the awesome power of the El Niño on the northern coast of Perú … done with honor, courage, and love for the good of all … a challenging but necessary test in the quest for knowledge and understanding of the human experience. Contemplating the nature of Power … Must it always corrupt? What are the benefits and risks? Can you stand the test? Primary elemental energies are wind and sea.
Mesa of Healing and Transformation. Chavín Civilization. Up the ascending stairway to the gallery of the Lanzón, the immortal Axis Mundi of the ancient Chavin world, at the most sacred shamanic shrine in the Americas… the Grandmother and the Mother of all Peruvian mesas… the ancient 3,200 year-old wachuma temple of universal consciousness at Chavín de Huántar.
The Chavín Mesa initiation is the supreme experience for the devoted follower of the shamanic path. It is an opportunity for dynamic positive and lasting change in one’s life… If not here, where? If not now, when? Primary elemental energies are earth, air, fire, water, and Consciousness converging in perfect harmony.
Mesa of Creativity. Witnessing Natural Creative Forces in the Andes. Realizing dynamic union of the Spirits of Nature and Cosmos within and all around us… in the 6,000,000 year-old Cordillera Blanca of the central Andes, the highest tropical peaks in the world…
Realizing our spiritual immortality and collective Oneness with all Creation. Earth and Cosmos. Everything all at once. We ARE One.
In our ceremonies, the Mesa becomes an Axis Mundi, a world center, a place where heaven and earth unite, the spiritual metaphoric portal of universal healing energy and immortal knowledge…
The Huachuma Mesa Pilgrimage From Time
Join us on the supreme shamanic pilgrimage instructed by the grand maestro Huachuma and maestros of the original Chavín mesa along the space-time continuum of northern Perú … exploring the land, mind, and shamanic cosmology of the incredible Sicán-Lambayeque, Moche and Chavín civilizations of Peruvian antiquity … from the great Sicán ceremonial pyramid complexes at Túcume and Batán Grande …
to the powerful and mysterious Moche ceremonial pyramids on the northern coast … and climaxing at the ancient Temple of Universal Consciousness at Chavín de Huántar, the Axis Mundi of the Andes.