Archeology shows that the San Pedro cactus has been used ceremonially by shamans for thousands of years. The cactus has been depicted on ceramic pieces coming from several ancient Peruvian cultures.
In the early art of the Andes, people with feline traits are often portrayed. For example, on this pot, a persons face is transforming into a feline with large teeth and a wrinkled nose. The priests of this time consumed San Pedro cactus juice that had hallucinogenic effects, and this consumption generated transcendent experiences that included transformations into animals such as the jaguar.
"This is a ceramic drum representing a shaman... The face of the personage is covered with a funerary mask. Two snakes emerge from the nose of the shaman, and on his cheeks two star-shaped motifs are portrayed. These could represent a cross section of the San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi), which was one of the plants consumed by shamans of ancient Peru to make contact with other worlds."
"These [land] snails feed on, among other plants, the San Pedro cactus that contains mescaline, which when consumed by humans, produce altered states of consciousness."
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