I want to thank you and your family for everything you did while I stayed at your place. I am still in awe of my experience there and will forever treasure it. I can tell you truly that I am a changed person, all for the better. My outlook in life is brighter now, I feel a sense of ONENESS and also a peaceful feeling and so much more... Thank you for sharing such a gift from Mother Earth with me and so many more. I hope to experience it in a near future once more. Thanks again to you and your beautiful family.
—TA, August, 2010
From a Member
It has been almost one year since I had my first experience with Peyote. It took place at the Peyote Way Church of God; it also, in a way, didn't take place anywhere. I think this last perception is exactly the point: that experience took me out of what I know as normal space and time to something new. I'm not talking about the traditional mystical experience of oceanic boundlessness where the ego is shattered and time ceases to exist; I'm talking about much more mundane changes to my reality that, although mundane, were in no way profane. Sitting on top of that mountain ridge in the middle of an August night and with a butter-yellow full moon about the size of my fist overhead and with a couple ounces of Peyote tea in my stomach, I had a spiritual experience.
The following day, I was discussing my experience with one of the clergy and I said that I thought I would wait a few months to tell my mom about this. The cleric's response was "Good, maybe by then you'll know what happened!" I did eventually talk over my spirit walk with my mom, as I do with practically all-important experiences in my life, a few months later, but I don't think I completely understood what happened up on that mountain ridge. I still don't completely understand it, nor will I ever because I keep on remembering that night, revisiting what happened, and discovering new meanings that those twelve hours of silent contemplation have to offer to my life.
It was a very powerful experience, and because of that I have very strong memories of that night. Returning to those memories is as much of a journey as was physically finding my way to and from the Church out in the back hills of southeastern Arizona. When I said that my experience with the sacrament Peyote at the Peyote Way took place outside of normal space and time, I meant that, the effects of the tea aside, traveling to that mountaintop allowed my to temporarily leave my normal life behind and to concentrate on the world revolving inside of e instead of the world around me. The clergy's recommendation to leave society for a short while every couple months to be by myself and examine my conscience is a deft one. That is exactly what I did on that mountaintop with the aid of the sacrament Peyote. I had an all-night meditation; I lived an all-night prayer. I am extremely grateful for the religious experiences that the Peyote Way has afforded me with Peyote, my sacrament, and for the mountains, stars and moons that accompanied me on my spirit walks through the Aravaipa Valley.
From a Member's Spouse
It was really great to meet you guys. I was hoping I'd get the chance to meet the people who enabled Marc's Spirit Walk. As I told you in Berkeley, I feel like I benefited from his experience in so many ways: First, simply, by witnessing his own personal transformation and opening. His energy, light, spirit, connection to the universe, vision and commitment to compassion have all kicked up a notch or two. He was already a very gentle and awake person. But I've definitely noticed a shift since the Spirit Walk which was extremely powerful for the first days and even weeks after his return. He grew in every way from this experience. In particular, I find him even more committed to balance and connection -- between us and in other relationships, including the relationship he has with himself. His eyes tear up sometimes when he talks about the Spirit Walk. It was such a powerful experience for him. "Nature Way" was a message he received during the walk, and he has changed aspects in his life in order to walk a natural path. For example, though never a big drinker, he stopped drinking completely. One thing he did struggle with was sugar, also a drug, in my opinion. And since the walk, no sugar! This is a feat for a man who was seriously addicted to the stuff. In general, he came back kinder and gentler. Softer. He talked about the plant medicine being female. Who knows? Perhaps this gave him a new appreciation for women. I can't say. All I know is that his walk was soulful, spiritual, transcendent. But most of all, it's something he took back home with him into the practice of everyday life. Thank you both for giving us this incredible gift.
Response to a Questionnaire
1. Why did you choose to come to the Peyote Way Church? I came to the Peyote Way Church in order to satisfy my curiosity about entheogenic sacraments such as Peyote, and to learn the ways of Peyote from true apostles of the Peyote Way.
2. Did you have preconceived notions about what are your experience would be like? Yes, 1 think I was influenced by books and articles I read and also by the eloquent articles on the Peyote Way web site.
3. What is it that you expected to gain from this experience? I hoped to gain an introduction to the holy light and to undergo an examination of conscience. My experience surpassed all expectations.
4. After experiencing the Holy Sacrament Peyote, what are your expectations for the future? I fully expect to serve as an apostle for the Church, and plan to return (at least annually) for affirmations of the Holy Spirit.
5. How is it that you came to find out about the Church? (People, internet, etc) My daughter, through a school assignment, chose to read "Doors of Perception " by Aldous Huxley. Discussing this book with her, and rereading it myself, kindled an intense desire to learn more about entheogenic sacraments and what religions may be active in that practice. The internet, of course, was the research tool.
6. What other experiences would you compare this to? (Psychedelic, religious, etc) Partaking of the Holy Sacrament Peyote, and the revelations 1 experienced cannot compare to any prior experience. This event is the only true religious experience in my life. (61 years, so far)
7. How do you feel the location and scenery affect the experience? The isolated, primitive, and Calvinistic environment, all surrounded by beautiful Nature in the raw, enhances the essence of the solitary and natural world of Mother Earth. It is the perfect environment in which to cleanse mind and body and find the Holy Light within.
8. What differences could you predict assuming this church was located in the city? See also # 7-there is no way a communicant could properly prepare or obtain the right frame of mind in the cacophony of the city and its materialistic influences.
9. Do you think Peyote is a dangerous drug? Absolutely not - it is a gift from the Great Spirit.
10. How did the legality of Peyote affect your decision to use it? Legality was never an issue for me. 1 signed a Declaration of Religious Belief and will fight for the doctrines espoused by the Peyote Way Church, including legalization of Peyote and its preservation as a Holy Sacrament.
Peyote is a Healing Herb
Peyote is a Healing Herb. It contains powerful medicine to heal the body, the mind, the heart, and the spirit.
It connects me to the source, my source, the light that is inside me - that calm knowingness of grace and compassion - the ageless wisdom which shines its light upon the path before me.
Peyote is a Teacher
Peyote is medicine
Peyote is an herbal healer
Peyote is a road
Peyote is the way
Peyote is my Path.
One Spirit Walker's Experience
Thu, 13 Jul 2006
37 year-old male, 158 Lbs.
8 oz. Peyote tea (15-20 grams powdered dry Peyote tops)
1 OO size veggie cap dried Peyote
Set: I approached this experience from the point of view of someone with a variety of carefully planned, spiritually focused entheogenic experiences. Over the course of many years I've maintained a serious commitment to use substances such as LSD, mushrooms and San Pedro for personal and spiritual growth. San Pedro, of course, which I've used five times before is the most similar to Peyote because it's primary alkaloid is also mescaline.
Setting: Late in the afternoon I arranged a desert campsite on a ridge with an extensive view of the surrounding countryside. I supplied myself with everything I'd need for the next 12 + hours, including water, warm clothing, sleeping bag, firewood, a comfortable chair Etc. I'd prepared myself by omitting all processed food and alcohol from my diet for several weeks in addition to doing the "Master Cleanse" juice fast for five days to detoxify my body a few days prior to this experience.
The sun was about 1.5 hours from setting as I smudged myself with sage and offered it to the four directions, Mother Earth and Father Sky. I spoke a prayer to the spirit of the Peyote although praying has never been part of my spiritual practice. This established a deep sense of reverence for this powerful plant ally and a focus on the vast potential of such an experience.
I took my first sip of the tea, noting that instead of tasting worse than san Pedro, it was easier to drink. I looked forward to both a beautiful sunset and full moon. By the third sip I felt my stomach absorbing the medicine, sending powerful energy to my entire body. I closed my eyes and saw hard to define dancing female entities in blue, green and yellow. A short while later I tried to discern more CEV's (closed eye visuals) and could almost make out the definition of a room or some other space of some kind, but lacked enough internal "light" to see this image clearly. I knew much more would appear with a full supply of tea, patience and time. The sun sank in a brightly glowing turquoise sky over the hills as I continued to carefully sip my tea. I made sure to drink a sip every 20 or 30 minutes for fear of the nausea that is legendary with Peyote. If I perceived any nausea at all I'd wait until my stomach absorbed the liquid before continuing. I intuitively felt that the practice of avoiding impure foods, refined sugar, alcohol and the master cleanse helped me better assimilate the tea.
During the sunset the rays of the sun turned the high thin silver clouds above and in front of me a vibrant pink. Darkness came slowly and I turned my chair 180 degrees toward the future moon rise and lit the fire.
Later I closed my eyes and I saw a large brown gate adorned with incredibly ornate and intricate black designs. Although quite unlike any I'd actually seen before, these images appeared characteristically Mesoamerican. After three hours I felt the medicine's effect rapidly increasing in intensity and took the vegi cap of powdered Peyote. The moon rose, appearing bright and vibrant. It illuminated the surroundings and I could clearly see and appreciate many of the desert plants, cacti and features of the landscape around me. My body surged with the familiar power of mescaline and I felt a deep connection to nature, all sentient beings and the entire universe. I spent a few minutes thinking about my girlfriend, brother and few friends I'd told about this journey, enjoying feelings of love, support and connection.
I sat by the fire and my heart opened to an intense sadness. I thought about the genocide suffered by the native people on whose land I sat as a wave of pain swept over me. I'd though about this before but never with the depth of emotion the Peyote made possible. Tears streamed down my face and I opened to a sickening feeling deep in my stomach.
I moved to the fire feeling clumsy and clearly impaired in my ability to manipulate the logs. No doubt about it- I'd been poisoned by Peyote.
I appreciated the protection this brave little cactus had evolved for itself and yes I was grateful for the poisoning. I smiled knowing it wouldn't really hurt me.
The moon and I continued our journey through the night. I saw classic multicolored "web" patterns that weren't as intense as I'd expected. On the other hand I saw a field of dozens and dozens of colored concentric circles that were surprisingly vivid. At one point I saw an unbelievably intricate Native American geometric design similar to those on textiles or pottery, but this went way beyond any such pattern I'd ever seen. I saw into a complex of rooms lined with two inch square tiles the color of earth and the vision was quite stable so I could clearly look around inside.
In two locations I saw areas filled with tiles arranged in a perfect progression of the colors of the rainbow. Several times during the night I saw the classic mescaline visual of what seemed to be glimmering precious stones or colored class, usually in tones of red, blue or green which appeared to be inset into a curved ceiling as if in the dome of a temple. At one point I got impatient that I wasn't seeing a progression of outrageously colored forms resolving into dramatic visions. I insisted the Peyote to show me the color and immediately looked into a large space resembling an enormous stage set. This room seemed an awkward juxtaposition of both Indian (from India) and European elements that I took to be French. Suddenly bright splashes of color appeared on the white walls as if splashed with enormous cans of paint. I got the message.
The colors one sees while using Peyote aren't simply given for the sake of color as entertainment and therefore you shouldn't be greedy. Sitting by the fire with closed eyes I visualized a representation of how various elements come together to form the infrastructure and collective experience of our country. I saw a sort of representation of people, places, structures, pollution, nature and many other elements fitting together in an increasingly fast and complex way. The intensity built further and further until it reached a peak. Right at that moment I ceased to perceive this as an observer and merged with it. For a second I was completely at one with and absorbed into totality and enormity of it.
This, I believe was what Zen Buddhists call a "Kensho" experience in which one completely merges with elements in the outside world normally perceived as separate and outside of oneself. Wow. It was incredible when it occurred and then ended suddenly. I then returned back to the Peyote space I was familiar with.
On the way to my sleeping bag I stumbled around the fire on rubbery legs.
At one point I swerved really close to the cactus growing by the fire and sat down next to it for a closer look; it was a typical flat type with large curved sections on the main body. I appreciated how quintessentially cactus-like it was and what a good job it was doing by the fire. I then got up and look a good look at other cacti and desert plants in the area revealed by the intense moonlight. They were all so beautiful and each contributing in their own way to the whole. Birds I'd never heard before called out in various locations while dogs barked in the distance.
I felt grateful camping at this beautiful ridge site for the night, and the Peyote brought the experience up several notches. I felt the powerful transpersonal feeling I'd experienced before on San Pedro, most clearly the first time (I used it). I felt bliss and connection to everyone, everything, everywhere, and a commitment to see things clearly, to act compassionately, and to be a better person.
I reflected on my efforts to purify my mind and body for weeks leading up to this event and the motivation I felt and knew I'd continue along that path. Maybe not as perfectly or completely, but I knew I'd stay motivated to eat in such a healthful manner, not gorge myself and avoid refined sugar. I'd been a vegetarian for years, at times consuming varying levels of diary products. I felt in tune with the feeling of compassion that motivated me to give up eating meat in the first place and felt I'd come full circle after twenty years. I couldn't ignore the suffering inherent in meat production but also in the entire factory farm system producing other animal products like ice cream and butter. I knew I couldn't continue to ignore this, that I must renew my efforts to alleviate suffering by minimally consuming all animal derived foods. I came to terms with the unhealthy nature of alcohol use personally and the enormous suffering it has caused humans for so long. Maybe I had the expectation that when using Peyote alcohol would seem unappealing because so many Native Americans have quit drinking after using the medicine. Whether this was the case or not, the insight was true for me and I haven't had a drop to drink since then.
The beauty inside and all around me continued to unfold for hours and hours. "Peyote is strong medicine"-a vast understatement but one I came back to many times over during the night. I felt lucky to have prepared so well and been given the chance to experience the power of this ally.
Sitting up in my sleeping bag looking south at the landscape I heard the unmistakable voice of a Native American man speak two words clearly in my head. "Nature Way", he said. I took this as an encouragement to live a healthier lifestyle as I'd just described. This also seemed to refer to the way of life I'd been progressively living more completely over the years. Living life joyfully with maximum awareness and intuition. Without trying too hard or forcing anything, everything gets done. Tao. Nature Way.
From time to time I'd close my eyes and be rewarded with an interesting visual. I looked into a factory space where gigantic whirling machines frantically turned out piles of sugary pink and white crap and I laughed at the scene's overwhelming absurdity. One particularly interesting sight was a variety of what looked like animal images drawn in a petroglyph style in neon tones of green, yellow, turquoise and orange. I often looked down into a landscape and one that I made an effort to really check out looked blatantly extraterrestrial; it was filled with a completely unfamiliar array of unusual plants as they might look on another planet. I brought an IPod with me, which turned out to be a really good idea. I appreciated the silence of the desert and birdsongs but figured some music I had might be a nice addition to the experience especially because most of it was ambient/tribal/mystical (e.g. disk two of Yatra by David Parsons and Catalogue of Desires by Loop Guru). Several times the tribal rhythms were so perfect I had to get on my feet and dance by the fire. It amazed and humbled me knowing humans have been doing something similar for thousands of years.
As the night progressed the effects of 34+ hours without food intensified. The energy of the medicine continued but as the night wore on I could feel the strain of fasting. Time seemed to pass slowly and it seemed the moon had much sky to cover. The desert temperature continued to drop and eventually I'd put on every warm item I'd brought including my sleeping bag. Most of me felt warm enough but my feet remained cold. I put them over the coals glowing in fire pit and it seemed I felt intense heat but at the same time the feeling was pretty similar to the numbness of the cold and I realized I might also not recognize the difference. Each feeling just simply felt uncomfortable. Luckily I knew I wouldn't get frostbite so there was no need to panic. Being a Californian I had trouble managing the layers of clothing, hat, hood and gloves that continually came on and off. Over and over again when my hands got cold I'd look for my gloves and find them right next to me or on my chest. I'd put them on and smile, feeling a sense of abundance and gratitude in knowing I had all I needed and it was always all right. One time I really couldn't find them, searched the entire area and my backpack and they weren't anywhere. Eventually I found the gloves tucked into my back pockets....bigger smile.
I knew I'd be on the ridge all night and was committed both to the bliss and the ordeal of the experience yet the point came where I was ready for the sun to rise. From time to time I looked to the direction I thought was east as I stirred the coals of an awesome mesquite log that kept me warm.
Sometime later I turned in an unexpected direction and saw a glow of neon blue green rising from the mountains in the distance which quickly transformed to a golden yellow as the sun rose. All I could do was cry- powerfully with a fully open heart.
Three dogs who lived nearby suddenly arrived at my campsite and were very happy to see me. They practically knocked me over jumping on me and licking my face while we laughed together. I sat by the cooling embers of the fire and enjoyed the warmth filling my body. I stood up, put out the fire and organized my gear. I gazed with deep appreciation at the new rising sun then slowly made my way down the hill.
Another Spirit Walker's Experience & Original Song
I need to build a fire. I am absolutely freezing in this desert and I go to the stones.
My fire is lit with great respect. I feel some moderate anxiety in my now full peak experience and I think this is due to this barren ground around me. Lack of foliage really implies desolation and that is some of the theme of my lesson although it is subconscious by osmosis that I am learning…
I had written a simple piece of music pre-peyote, a song that I feel came from the spirit of Mana and the home in general. It is a sad yet hopeful joyful sorrow and as I am taken over by the spirit I will play it, as stressed as my body currently is, I need to play it and send it over these cold winds to reach every grieving, suffering soul. I owe the world this small act and I will play it.
As I sit by this fire I can now see what were formerly "just a ring of stones" for what they really are. These are the most ancient souls of the earth and I am asked "What on earth is older than rock? I cannot think of anything and I am in awe of what I see as I play…
Each rock has a face now, an impossibly old face and set in the ring around the fire I now have an audience of ancient souls, souls that may have not felt music in millions of years and I play for them and I feel they are thankful and I weep at the joyful, hopeful, hopeless sadness in my heart.