We are human beings and, as the Eden’s incident proves it, it’s typical for all of us to cherish a desire for something forbidden and adventurous within. How about growing a plant that is forbidden almost in all countries of the world… at home? Sound adventurous enough? And indeed, there are people who have valour to keep the psychoactive cactus Peyote on their windowsills.
Peyote, also known as Lophophora williamsii, is a small cactus with no spines that grows mainly in south-eastern Mexico and southern Texas. Because of its strong psychoactive effect, Peyot has a long history of ritual, religious and magical use by Native Indians for whom, we must say, growing hallucinogenic cacti has been common since time immemorial and this type of household activity has gained a strong cultural basis.
The ancient Aztec tribes began cultivating this psychedelic cactus centuries ago. Aztec priests used to chew reach the state when they could unfold a more subtle matter. Such psychedelic trips were usually accompanied with whispering of prayers and spells, which gradually culminated in some illegible mutter similar to baby talk. It was believed that the use of the peyote cactus can lead to direct connection with the gods. During these cactus rituals ancient Indians could see faces of the gods and get in contact with spirits of the dead. Needles to say that even nowadays there are people (and they are not only Native Americans) who believe in the miraculous effect of peyote and use it for the same purpose.
In ancient times there was no necessity to go to witches and fortune tellers to know ones future. It was enough just to shove a piece of Peyote or San Pedro cactus, or hallucinogenic mushrooms in one’s mouth and the future could be seen in full view. A lot of natives often went mad being under the influence of psychotropic cacti and hallucinogenic mushrooms. They were haunted by morbid visions of strange people coming from the outside to eradicate their culture and to build Silicon Valley and Hollywood on its bones. And those strangers were probably bloodthirsty Spaniards and those who followed.
Сactus Peyote contains psychotropic substance mescaline, a potent natural hallucinogen that may lead to psychological dependence after long use and bring harm to the brain and the rest of the nervous system. That is why peyote is forbidden almost everywhere in the world. So all fans of entheogens and ethnobotany who want to taste the fruit forbidden and take an adventure should be warned: it’s gonna be a long one.