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Psychedelic Therapy 1

Mescaline (Peyote) medicine

[Mescaline] The Powerful Peyote Way Spirit Walk Experience

July 2023



The Peyote Way Church of God

Daylight Spirit Walk

Night Spirit Walk


Post-Spirit Walk Event

Driver Steve


Peyote experience


My introduction to peyote (mescaline) was in 2005, during my sophomore year in college. I wrote a term paper on the peyote cactus in a Botany (the study of plants) class. The research and context were how Native Americans have used the sacred plant medicine for over 6,000 years for religious, spiritual, and healing purposes. Writing the paper intrigued me to one day be part of a peyote experience at a legitimate sanctuary in Arizona or New Mexico.

Fast forward 18 years later to 2023: my intentions for experimenting with peyote in Arizona are in the right place–not just curiosity, or to get high. It’s to determine the effects on my mind, body, and soul.

The Peyote Way Church of God

The Peyote Way Church of God is a low-key reserve on 160 acres in Willcox, Arizona's Aravaipa wilderness, roughly a three-hour drive from Tucson. The remote desert and mountainous region have no cell phone reception, no data, and no Wi-Fi.

The sanctuary has operated since 1978 and isn’t affiliated with religious organizations. The Peyote Way Church of God isn’t an actual church with a temple, congregation, and other things associated with religions and cults. It’s a spirit house.

Even though the use of peyote for religious intentions is protected by federal law only for Native American members of the Native American Church, non-American Indians can consume peyote in sanctuaries with the words “church” and “God” in their name. This prevents the United States (US) Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from flagging peyote sanctuaries as illegal in protected states, such as Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon.

I arrive at the reserve on a Friday in July, three days after my 40th birthday. In 25 hours, I’ll embark on a Peyote Spirit Walk and my first psychedelic therapy.

Peyote experience

Daylight Spirit Walk

It’s 5:30 p.m. the following day, and I take my first one-ounce shot of the Sacramental Tea. Sucking on a lemon, like after taking a shot of tequila, makes the taste and sandy texture of the peyote doable to consume every 20 to 30 minutes, as instructed on the bottle, for the next six hours.

After the second shot of peyote 20 minutes later, I feel like a curious boy, looking over at the Aravaipa mountain area with large black ‘90s-style binoculars.

Shot three of the peyote causes deeper relaxation and allows my body to loosen up. I’m sitting in this chair as the sunset behind me slowly goes down the mountains.

20 minutes pass, and I drink another shot of peyote. I walk around, circling the canopy. My feet stepping on the rocks sound loud and friendly.

Beside my canopy, there’s a peace sign on the desert ground made of rocks. I step into each piece and immerse myself in the sign and desert.  I use my right index finger to draw the letter A inside each piece of the peace sign. The A’s mean Alfredo (dad), Aurora (mom), and Aldo (me). I raise my hands over my head in a prayer position and place them on my head (right thoughts), my mouth (right words), and my heart (right actions).

My eyes are getting heavy. The walks around the canopy become slower and sluggish as if I were drunk.

I sit on the chair with my eyes closed and begin meditating. Nothing crosses my mind. The black slate that I see with my eyes closed becomes dark green. I’ve meditated for over five years and never saw a black slate transition to a dark green slate so effortlessly. I’m somewhat fascinated by the dark green color while my eyes remain shut.

Every 20 minutes, my watch vibrates, indicating to take another one-ounce shot (half a button) of the peyote brew.

Time isn’t going fast; time isn’t going slow; it appears to be just right.

Two hours have passed; the peyote is moving steadily in my system. It’s getting dark, and I can’t get enough of the cracking sound of my feet walking on the rocks around the canopy. The sounds resemble me slowly chipping away at walls I created toward people, particular individuals, and relationships in my adult life.

Peyote ceremony

Night Spirit Walk

The campfire is peaking. Light orange spotlights are above the flames as the fire swirls in circles from the wind blowing. I’m starting to hallucinate.

The flames move wildly in every direction. Light orange beams from the fire shoot toward the sky.

Light orange rays from my eyes beam to the fire as if I’m Cyclops from X-Men. The fire and I keep shooting lines of orange beams.

As I stare at the fire, the desert dirt forms a line on the ground around it as if it were a protective barrier drawn by an invisible person. The fire is now calmer and smaller, but our connection remains strong. We feed off each other by shooting lines of light orange laser beams.

The buzzing sounds from the crickets, bugs, and other insects vibrate intensely in my ears. Strings of light orange beams shoot from the top of the fire toward the sky, forming the letter V.

In front of me, I see two campfires instead of one. Both radiate light orange laser beams toward me and up to the universe.

Standing for long periods and walking around the canopy are no longer options. I’m grounded to the desert floor and the lively fire a few feet away.

My eyes zone in on one moving star in the sky. As it blinks, white, green, and red stars twinkle and orbit around the white moving star. I sit up straight on my chair, blinking my eyes twice, surprised. The eye-catching star drifts away.

Was the moving star in the sky an unidentified flying object (UFO) or an airplane, or am I tripping out? 

I sit in front of the fire, hitting the small, wooden African djembe drum with my right hand, radiating energy to the flames and cosmos. A tarantula emerges from the stacked rocks surrounding the fire. It’s approximately two feet away from me. I freeze and stop hitting the African djembe drum; the spider freezes. I strike the drum with my hands again, and the tarantula casually goes between the gaps in the rocks that circle the firepit.

Six hours later, the Sacramental Tea, a 12-ounce drink of 12 to 15 peyote buttons, is empty. The last hour or two of drinking made me feel nauseous. Rather than letting my ego and personality dictate my actions by forcing me to consume a shot every 20 minutes or chug the last two or three shots straight from the bottle, I say, “No.” Instead, I follow the written suggestions on the bottle and wait 30 to 40 minutes to prevent vomiting. 

Now, the strings of light orange beams from this fire show a letter V again, coming from the flames and shooting upward toward the sky. Is the V representing life (victory or vengeance), a country or city (Vietnam or Vienna), or something else?

My ego and personality want answers, but my spirit says, “Stop looking for answers. No expectations; whatever happens, happens.”

Finally, my ego and personality shut up while my spirit goes with the flow.

I don’t know what time it is, and it doesn’t matter. I feel childish and playful as I lay on the left side of my body on the mat, staring at the fire. Tears run down my face for no reason as the wood cracks from the fire.

I sit on the ground with my legs crossed a few feet from the fire. I grab the large shamanic rattle instrument I’m borrowing from the sanctuary and shake it with my right hand. My body moves forward and backward as I shake the rattle (shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh; shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh; shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh).

I look deeply into the fire as the wood cracks from the burning. My head moves side to side, my eyes roll to the top of my head, and I look up toward the sky as the rattle shaker gets louder. I’m in somewhat of a trance, doing a solo ritual to either release something or rekindle my soul (shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh; shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh; shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh).

The coyotes howl throughout the mountains in different directions. I reciprocate by smiling and shaking the shamanic rattle (shhh, shhh, shhh-shhh-shhh). They respond, and so do I, with more shakes. Many coyotes howl from afar.

I continue sitting on the desert ground with my legs crossed. The fire is hypnotizing, making time, thoughts, and the future feel irrelevant.

Suddenly, I cry again for no reason; this time, it’s stronger, with heavier tears. The only word that comes to mind is compassion. I tell myself, “We’re all battling something. We all want to be happy. We all want the same good things in life. We’re more similar than we think. Nobody is perfect.”

This is the first time in 40 years that I’m not crying for myself. When I cry, it’s because of me, me, me. I’m in tears now for compassion. We need more of it.

It’s 3:30 a.m., and I'm urinating with the mini flashlight in my mouth. I feel bad for peeing on the big, red ants.

I apologize; my intentions aren’t to degrade you or drown you in pee,” I say to myself while looking at the ants twitching and covered in my green urine.

I sit in the chair and gaze at the fire, which is approaching its end. There are no more wooden logs to keep it going.

The fire turns purple; now it’s back to orange. The bottom of the fire logs resembles burning coal. Mini red/orange rubbery, three-dimensional (3D) scorpions are popping out of the big and round circles from the wooden logs. Baby gummy worms surface above the scorpions, dancing freely side by side. The fire, the three scorpions, and the three worms turn purple.........

Peyote ceremony

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