Huachuma ~ San Pedro ~ Achuma

Cactus of the Four Winds

the greatest sacred plant teacher and healer
of the Peruvian Coast and Andes
a public service of
Chinchay Shamanic Journeys

Common Names in South America

The legendary
sacred cactus of South America was known by many names to the native peoples
of the coast and sierra of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia…
wachuma, huachuma,
achuma, chuma, cardo, cuchuma, huando, gigantón, hermoso, pene de
Dios, and aguacolla. Today
it is best known in Perú by it’s post-colonial name San Pedro,
a reference to the Christian saint who holds the keys to the Gates of Heaven.

A Cultural History

Huachuma has a special symbolism in Peruvian curanderismo (traditional folk healing) for a reason. “San Pedro is always in tune with the powers of animals, of strong personages or serious beings, of beings that have supernatural power…”

The Huachuma (San Pedro) cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi, T. peruvianus and
other species) represents perhaps longest-used of the sacred holistic healing plants of South America. The ceremonial use of Huachuma for healing, magical and divining purposes has been a continuous tradition in Perú for well over 3,000 years and continues today, largely in syncretic post-colonial “San Pedro” mesa modalities.

A ceramic pot from the Chimú culture of Perú, A.D. 1200. The owl-faced female depicted holding Huachuma on this vessel is a curandera. The owl is consdiered t be a principal
ally of the huachumero

An ancient textile from the Paracas culture of Perú depicting a figure in axe headdress surrounded by Huachuma plants.

all colorized images are copyrighted The earliest known depiction of Huachuma from the circular plaza of the Old Temple at Chavín de Huantar in the northern highlands of Perú dates to 1500 b.c.

The oldest archaeological evidence, the classic Chavín stone carving of the huachumero shaman in the Old Temple of Universal Consciousness at Chavín de Huantar in northern Perú, goes back to 1500 b.c. if not older. Old Chavín textiles depict the cactus with jaguar and hummingbird figures. Peruvian ceramics made between 1000 and 700 B.C. show the plant in association with the deer.

Moche ceramics several hundred years later depict the cactus with the jaguar and stylized spirals depicting ‘remolinos‘, the visionary cosmic whirlwind or whirlpool revealed by the sacred plant.

and text with permission from Plants of the Gods, Schultes and Hofmann,


Trichocereus pachanoi and T. peruvianus are tall columnar cacti sometimes
reaching over 8 meters in height. Over thirty species are described although the taxonomy is confusing and there is disagreement concerning the identity of somel species. The species most commonly associated with medicinal use are Trichocereus pachanoi, T. peruvianus which are native to Perú, and T. bridgesii which is native to Bolivia.


Principal active biochemicals: the phenelthylamine alkaloid mescaline is present, primarily concentrated in the green outer skin of the cactus.

Over thirty other alkaloids have been isolated including:

tyramine, hordenine, 3-methoxytyramine, anhalaninine, anhalonidine, 3,4-dimethoxyphenethylamine, 3,4-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine, and ,5-dimethoxy-4-hydroxy-B-phenethylamine.

Some of these are known sympathomimetics. Others have no apparent effects when ingested by themselves.

The combination with the mescaline and other active compounds has a synergistic relationship which greatly influences the qualitative aspects of the experience. It is also possible that some compounds in the plant may act as a mild MAO inhibitor thus rendering a person vulnerable to some of the aforementioned amines which would ordinarily be metabolized before they could take effect.

At least one of these alkaloids is an effective antibiotic and others may possess medicinal and/or psychoactive properties. The Huachuma experience is certainly greater than the sum of it’s parts, and it is gross misunderstanding to simply charactize it as a “mescaline” experience. The plant has a powerful and benevolent spirit and is MUCH more.

The medicine prepared from the cactus is called ‘El Remedio‘ (the remedy) in contemporary Perú. The typical local preparation techniques include soaking slices of the cactus in cold water or boiling it for several hours. These are actually crude methods and the ancient techniques of preparation have been largely lost in the transition to “San Pedro” practice where the objective is usually to heighten suggestibility in the client rather than truly open the “visto”.

There are many secrets in preparing the medicine properly for it is not just one medicine. In the mystical world of the archaic Huachuma Mesa, the apprentice learns the secrets of preparing the medicine properly in one of two ways, from a human maestro, or from the plant itself. The plant teaches a step at a time to those who have proven themselves worthy, and it is considered disrespectful to reveal these secrets by word of mouth.

In the shamanic sense, the supremely conscious spirit of the plant guides and instructs those who have undertaken an apprenticeship of humility and sincerity and who is willing to submit to a series of shamanic tests and challenges of courage and integrity. The Grandfather Huachuma is a wise and intelligent teacher who does not treat lightly those with frivolous or bad intentions.

“One may come to play, but without good intentions, sooner or later, one must pay.” Far better to come respectfully with good intentions.

In Peru, other plants, such as coca, tobacco, misha (Brugmansia arborea,
B. sanguinea) or villca (Anadenanthera peregrina) may be added for their medicinal or visionary properties. When other plants are combined with huachuma the drink is called ‘Cimora.’

Cactus of the Four Winds

A Supreme
Teacher and Healer

“The plant first produces drowsiness or a dreamy state and a feeling of lethargy, a slight dizziness, then a great ‘vision’, a clearing of all the faculties. It produces a light numbness in the body and afterward a tranquility. And then comes detachment, a type of visual force, inclusive of all the senses including the sixth sense, the telepathic sense of transmitting oneself across time and matter … like a kind of removal of one’s thought to a distant dimension.”

Huachuma is the catalyst that activates all the complex forces at work in a curanderismo healing ceremony, especially the visionary and divinatory powers of the shaman, who can make himself the owner of another’s identity.

Ecstatic magical flight is characteristic of the Huachuma experience. “One is transported across time, matter, and distance in a rapid and safe fashion…”

The goal of the maestro curandero is to make his patient “bloom” during the ceremony, to make his subconscious “open like a flower,” even like the night-blooming Huachuma itself.

The traditional entheogenic status of the cactus in Perú remains strong today, centered in the legendary town of Huancabamba, in the northern Andes, at the threshhold of the sacred lagoons of Las Huaringas. Hundreds of Peruvian pilgims and a few foreign esoteric tourists make the pilgrimage to Huancabamba and the sacred lagoons of Las Huaringas every year to bathe in the magical waters of the sacred lagoons and achieve their “florescimiento” or “blooming.” to change their luck, find love, or seek healing.

Not only is Huachuma still used in shamanic trances and healing sessions throughout the northern coast and Andes but it is also used increasingly to combat contemporary problems such as alcoholism and other addictions. Like the peyote cactus used widely in some parts of Mexico and North America, mainly by native people, huachuma is also a holistic medicine which can cure alcoholism and other addictive or behavioral problems. This parallel is noteworthy because since both cacti contain mescaline which is known to be a highy revelatory and transformative agent of higher consciousness. Both are good medicine indeed, and are here for everyone who needs them and is called to them.

Here is
a very good article about the cultural history and shamanic uses of the
sacred healing cacti
in North,
Central and South America …
Pedro, Peyote, and Mescaline: Entheogenic Catalysts for Healing

about Huachuma and the Incredible Mesa Tradition of Perú

Huachuma (San Pedro) in post-colonial Peruvian Curanderismo

The legendary
San Pedro curandero Eduardo Calderón with
pilgrims at
the sacred lagoons of Las Huaringas in the Andes.
Pictorial Essay

on the
life of the renowned San Pedrero
Don Eduardo

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 of Túcume and Batán Grande … to the stunningly powerful 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

ll colorized images are copyrighted

The Huachuma Misa Pilgrimage From TimeJoin us on the supreme shamanic pilgrimage guided by the grand maestro Huachumán and maestros of the original Chavín misa 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 of Túcume and Batán Grande … to the stunningly powerful 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

“extraordinary experiential explorations in ancient and contemporary Huachuma mesa shamanism … “

~ group size limited to twelve ~ minimum group size is six ~ Written application screening is required. This is a unique potentially life-transforming opportunity for those who feel a calling and who are seeking positive dynamic change in their lives.. The Pilgrimage is not for the casual tourist. It is at times very intense and may be challenging on multiple levels. It is intended for true seekers of answers to the great questions of the human experience. serious inquiries only please.

“A truly magical mystical journey of personal healing, discovery. revelation, and transformation at great epicenters of ancient shamanic power … from the mysteriousSicán-Lambayeque and Moche ceremonial pyramids on the northern coast … … to the grandmother and mother of the classical Peruvian mesa, the magnificent 3,200 year-old huachuma temple of universal consciousness at Chavín de Huántar. … and then, to bring down the curtain on the greatest shamanic pilgrimage of our time… on to the magnificent Cordillera Blanca of the high Andes for the celestially
transcendant Mesa of Creativity at Heaven’s Gate” PLEASE NOTE … this extraordinary pilgrimage is provocative, exciting, challenging, and intense on many levels … it is not a casual tourist experience and is definitely not for everyone … … it’s not a vacation, it is an opportunity to enlighten and transform your life forever. SO … if you think you’re ready to walk through the portals of Time and Space to experience the non-ordinary yet undeniable reality of ancient core shamanic cosmology … … if you are prepared to stand before unvarnished Truth … … and look in the mirror without your mask … … if you truly wish to See the Universe within and around you … then let us hear from you.

Participation is limited to twelve pilgrims of honest intention, high integrity, sharing and relaxed attitude, tolerant nature, appropriate humility, stout heart and adventurous spirit. Due to the powerful and delicate nature of this journey, personal screening
is required for participation. Alcohol consumption is strictly abstained in the course of this pilgrimage. Here are some words from alumni about the Huachuma Journey Through Time and Inkan Huachuma Pilgrimage.

ll colorized images are copyrighted

About The Chavín Misas
to holistic healing and universal consciousness
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 …

—Touch Choque Chinchay to send e-mail requesting further information or application materials for our retreats and journeys into the inner realms of genuine core Peruvian
sacred plant shamanism.

You can contact don Choque Chinchay by telephone in Iquitos, Perú at (011-51-065) 604-557 or 622-3595 for conversation and registration information. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mesa Initiation of the Three Worlds

in the
Peruvian AmazonHuachuma
Mesa Pilgrimage From Time

huachuma mesa ceremonies at the greatest huacas of Peruvian antiquity
From Batán
Grande on the northern coast …
…to the
Temple of U niversal Consciousness at Chavín de Huántar

“The Most Profound Shamanic
Experience in Perú”