Guest post by Dawid Rakowski
Hello plant medicine lovers!
Today I would like to speak about the plant medicine that is currently overlooked in its therapeutic potential and I believe it’s as powerful, if not the most powerful, as any other psychedelic plant out there. I am talking about Wachuma/Huachuma/San Pedro, mescaline containing cactus also called „The Grandfather”, which has been most notably used by the ancient pre-Inca civilization of Chavin. Unfortunately, the tradition of its ritual use was lost but that also opens space for experimentation and less structure, leading to less cultural appropriation.
Although mescaline itself has been one of the first psychedelics studied by modern science, it has been somehow overshadowed by the more popular psychedelics like mushrooms, ayahuasca, MDMA, or LSD. I believe the main reason is in the long duration of the experience that doesn’t fit the business model of the shortest time and fastest results to capitalize it as an easy source of therapy. There’s a big power in that long duration that isn’t recognized, having a journey of 10 to 16 hours can really bring to the surface a lot of deeply hidden traumas and the waves of the intensity can allow us to reflect on them with more space to understand and find solutions. Another thing worth mentioning is that MDMA has been proven to be neurotoxic, whereas Mescaline has not.
An important effect of the cactus is its highly stimulative power, which keeps you active and awake for hours without the need for food or water. I like to work with it in the setting of trekking, a pilgrimage where, as in life, we work between striving and acceptance, walking and relaxing, where each step becomes a meditation guided by the elements.
This quality of power was seen by the Spanish colonialist as a huge risk in the hands of locals and thus leading to the demonization of the cactus among the local communities. This stimulative power can also be of great use in the microdosing setting when it comes to productivity, at the same time healing our gut biome because San Pedro has powerful antimicrobial properties, which have the potential for preventing the growth of more than a dozen strains of penicillin-resistant bacteria, including Staphylococcus.
People describe the spirit of the cactus as masculine but also heart-opening, which can be connected to the fact that out of all the psychedelic plants it is chemically closest to MDMA, meaning having the same qualities of love medicine. What differs it from psychedelics like Ayahuasca or Mushrooms is that it is usually not as otherworldly.
Because it’s not as dazzling with lights, patterns, other dimensions, and other mind-bending visuals, I believe Huachuma/San Pedro is reality-based plant medicine, heightening your senses, connecting you fully to the present moment, the natural surroundings, and other people. Wachuma can still be visionary and it can bring up your inner shadows that you didn’t want to face, but it will do it in a more gentle way. Once you reflect on yourself in those lessons and guidance offered by the grandfather you will also receive energy to follow with the everyday work.
What the cactus taught me were ways to connect to my inner compassion in order to heal my inner child wounds and be more present with others but also not to get attached to the strong emotions that arise. Not holding on to emotions from the past that holds me back in being fully present with the everlasting now. San Pedro sends you very direct messages. It’s a direct message to your heart straight from the source of unconditional love.
Trust me when I say this as I am coming from Poland, a country that is still carrying a war wound that echoes through generations of difficult family communication, lack of expression of emotions, and alcoholism as the main tool to numb these difficult emotions that are not expressed in a healthy way. A country that to this day carries the fear of the unfamiliar, the immigrants, the LGBTQ, women’s rights, other religions, etc. Country operating mostly on flight or fight mode as that’s the only ‘Normal’ we have previously experienced. I wouldn’t be able to continue healing that trauma, finding my life purpose, and being who I am now without the help of the Grandfather.
And to make things clear, I believe every psychedelic plant (and toad) medicine has an incredible value to the healing of the collective, they’re all different tools from one powerful toolbox, but I feel that there’s a huge need to bring more attention to this omitted Andean medicine. I witnessed incredible healing to a few hundred people that participated in the group therapies that I facilitated and it’s time to bring more focus to its huge potential.
Lastly, my Grandfather who passed away when I was really young, was an incredibly warm and caring human being, I can really feel his energy in the guidance I receive from the cactus.
Thank You, Grandfather!
You can learn more about Dawid’s work & connect with him on social media following these links: