During the San Pedro Ceremony in Cusco, Peru, I would see visions of intense paradise. It made me wonder why I don’t see like this everyday.
"Have I lived a certain lifestyle to perceive reality in a certain light by way of my actions and attitude?"
The effects of San Pedro generally lasts eight hours. But the more you prepare, the more the effects it will have on you. It’s often recommended to start fasting 12-24 hours before your experience. The longer you fast, the deeper your experience will go. A diet similar to an ayahuasca diet is preferred. It’s tough but the experience is worth it.
The effects of San Pedro is softer than ayahuasca and other psychedelics. It comes on slowly. Often making you question whether anything will happen at all. The San Pedro Ceremony hosted by Travel and Healing took a group of people into a beautiful valley. It was about a half hour walk from the Temple of the Moon in Cusco. It was led by Maestro Jesus Merelo, an experienced Shipibo from Pucallpa who combines Qero mysticism in his ceremonies.
We arrive at a clearing where we won’t be bothered by anybody. Setup tent and the maestro prepares items such as a Shipibo and Andean tapestry. This is similar to creating a personal sacred altar. A lot of Maestros have altars consisting of items which are special to them. Each item contains an energy which is unique to the maestro.
We’re given a scented ointment to rub on ourselves. This is to help protect ourself from bad energy. The Maestro then proceeds to make the mixture of San Pedro which he has measured.
It tastes foul. As I reach the bottom of the glass it gets harder and harder to drink. The urge to throw up grows with every sip.
While the effects are coming on. I am given a coca leaf reading. The reading involves asking me questions related to my life and the leaves are dropped onto the tapestry which provide clues to ones life. The reading is not to see the future. It’s to see how we are in the present moment. Because the future can be changed by our actions today. So if the reading is bad, you are offered advice on how to change this.
The purpose of the coca leaf reading is to identify what we need to heal and clean in our life. It provides a focus for the rest of the ceremony. After this is recognised, I’m given a flower cleansing.
The flower cleansing is to protect and cleanse myself. It involves covering my face in flowers or herbs by the maestro, blowing into them and having the flowers rubbed over my body. This is done numerous times with different sets of flowers or herbs.
After the flower cleansing, a despacho is created by the maestro. This is an intricate design filled with items placed in a specific arrangement that has special meaning. Each item represents certain elements in our life or earth.
After the despacho is created, it’s wrapped and placed on my head to send my gratitude and wishes towards it. It’s then burned outside as an offering to Pachamama, Mother Earth. The burning contents of the despacho is given to the earth. And the smoke fills the mountains, sky and the universe.