History and Use

Psychoactive cactus plants are among the most ancient and sacred entheogens in documented history. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) has been used since prehistoric times. Dried cactus specimens found in caves have been dated at 7000 years or older.

Peyote use continued among Native Americans until the 1600s, when Spanish Inquisitors interrupted the practice on the grounds of "depravity" and "heresy" against the Catholic church. The real depravity was that Native Americans refusing conversion to Christianity or continuing use of psychoactives were subjected to barbaric forms of torture. Many were killed.

Peyote use continues today despite the centuries of oppression by inquisitors, and in more recent years, the modern legal system.

Many other less famous psychoactive cactus plants have been used as entheogens. San Pedro (Trichocereus pachanoi) has been used as far back as 1000 B.C. and continues today in Peru. Thanks to its current legal status in the United States, San Pedro cactus is becoming popular.

You can find a detailed list of psychoactive cacti here:

Sacred Peyote

From "The Doors of Perception" by Aldous Huxley

"I am not so foolish as to equate what happens under the influence of mescalin or of any other drug, prepared or in the future preparable, with the realization of the end and ultimate purpose of human life: Enlightenment, the Beatific Vision. All I am suggesting is that the mescalin experience is what Catholic theologians call "a gratuitous grace," not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available. To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large—this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual."

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Peyote Ceremony by Fred Clevland Pictures, Images and Photos
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