Sometimes, in the days of preparation for a psychedelic journey, I start to experience some “counter-clockwise effects”. That is, it seems like the effects of the drugs begin before I even take any. When you’re preparing for ayahuasca, you generally go on a diet, and the sudden change might make you feel a little bit lighter – so that accounts for some of it. My friend Link says that your body and mind already have the potential for psychedelic journeys – our dreams are proof of this – and any substance that you consume is merely an excuse to push through your mundane barriers.
The first night in Nayarit, I did start to have some counter-clockwise effects as I drifted off to sleep – some strange visions, geometric figures. I went to sleep.
The next day, Scorpion gave me five gelcaps. I took a few capsules over the course of an hour or so. Still not really feeling anything. In fact, I couldn’t feel much over the persistent feeling of Mexican country heat. Other than that, everything was normal. After a couple of hours, I took the remaining two capsules.
For me, the feeling of peyote coming on is like a ball of excitement in my belly, a feeling of an imminent happening – the party was about to begin. The Huicholes used to eat peyote while walking long distances, presumably to make the journey more bearable, more interesting. They also took it before battle. I don’t know if they took it in large doses, or small doses. Small doses would make more sense – having a sort of stimulant effect, like an amphetamine, lifting your energy and improving your focus. But if they took it in large doses, that could be something else.
I imagine a Huichol warrior, perhaps wearing a mask, maybe some bamboo armour, visualising the animal spirits taking control of his body, getting in touch with that bestial part of him, while at the same time, his neocortex lighting up, inventing new and brilliant ways to battle… He would smell the blood spill and see it glisten in the sunlight, every blow pushing him further into a ravenous rage. In that state, you might have the audacity to think you could bend space and time… and the intensity to even pull it off.
Scorpion pointed out the peak of Picacho, the unusually shaped mountain summit in the distance. Once upon a time, Huicholes used to journey all the way from these parts of Nayarit, to San Luis Potosí, on foot. It took about ten days, each way. The journey is hard enough with a truck, he said.
We went to meet my friends from Guadalajara in the nearby town of Atonalisco. Scorpion said the word meant “atonement” – influence from the Catholic church. They had arrived late, making the mistake of pointing the GPS to Atonalisco Street in Tepic, instead of the town of Atonalisco. We found them at about 8:30pm, and it was already dark. Scorpion said if they had arrived any later, they would have had to stay the night in town. There is a problem with alcohol and crime in these communities, he said. After a few beers, people start to get the idea that it would be cool to wait on the side of the road, stop passing vehicles and steal all their shit. It wasn’t necessarily likely, he said, but it was a real risk.
I showed my friends the cabin. We had some fruit for dinner, and we set up to go to bed. At that point, we noticed that we weren’t really alone in the room.
This thing looking like something off the set of “Alien”, with a full legspan of about 20 cm, was sitting patiently on the ceiling. My friend chased it away from the bed in the hopes that it wouldn’t drop on to one of us in the middle of the night. We were a little bothered by it, but we weren’t really scared.
Then, we went to bed. At that point, my brain started producing all sorts of weird images…
To be continued.