Huachuma: The Forgotten Grandfather

In the Pantheon of the great plant medicine teachers, none are perhaps as underappreciated as Huachuma. More commonly known as San Pedro, this mescaline containing psychedelic tea brewed from the San Pedro cactus has powerful visionary and serotonergic effects.

But the reason why it isn’t a part of the casual psychonaut’s lexicon, is that the traditional practice of how to prepare the plant and offer ceremony has been all but forgotten.

The result is an often mild, nauseating brew in a somewhat unfocused ceremonial setting. That is a far cry from the Grandfather plant I have been privileged to learn from.

The Huachuma tradition began in ancient Chavin, some 4000 years ago. This lineage that was long forgotten to the annals of history was revived by Don Howard Lawler, who brought the art of the Huachuma Mesada back to its highest form. The following are three great resources for learning more about Huachuma and the ceremony that unlocks it’s true healing potential.

1. Huachuma: The Documentary

Mitch Schultz, director of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, invites you to join this 45 minute excursion deep into the heart of the Peruvian rainforest to experience the magic of the 3000 year old plant medicine: Huachuma. Distilled in the lost tradition from the San Pedro cactus by the last master Huachumero, Don Howard Lawler, Huachuma was the sacrament that formed the foundation for pre-Incan civilization, the Chavin. Follow Aubrey Marcus (founder of Onnit) and a group of friends in this moving meditation that reveals the true transformative power of this sacred technology.

2. Plant Medicine and Service with Don Howard Lawler - AMP #154

Through many journeys and many teachers, I have never shared a relationship quite as special as my bond with Peruvian shaman I often lovingly refer to as Gandalf: Don Howard, of Spiritquest Sanctuary. His life’s work has kept alive the spirit of the ancient South American culture, Chavin, and it's traditions, such as the Huachuma Mesada: a transformative plant medicine ceremony that he graciously unpacks in this rare interview during an equally rare visit to the US after spending most of many decades in the Amazon jungle. 

Don Howard explains how the path of service took him from a boy in Georgia with a calling, to one of the great shamans of our time. He walks us through his approach to ceremony, plant technologies ayahuasca, huachuma, and vilca, and what he believes we can do to spread the healing and awareness that can save our world.

3. Huachuma Mesada

I traveled to the Peruvian jungle to experience the 4000 year old consciousness technology of the Chavin people. What I encountered went far beyond anything I could have imagined. Recounted here is the daily log of my journey which takes me beyond fearlessness, through my own death, and into alignment with my mission: Para el bien de todos. 

Click here to download the full Huachuma Mesada PDF

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  • Dear ‘G Fox’,

    You are telling another being what they ‘should’ be doing an awful lot. There may be some misinformation here in this article, but to tell another being what they should be doing based on your own personal judgements and views on the world is rather rude. Maybe you could make some suggestions on how you think that Aubrey could deepen her understanding and connection with this plant rather than telling her what to do…

    With Love!


    Sam Marsh
  • I am looking for the Shaman you recommend out of Peru. I’d like to plan a trip for next year.

    Adrian Ellison
  • Aubrey you keep spreading misinformation about the San Pedro cactus. Howard Lawler did not rediscover the ancient knowledge about how to use this cactus. It has remained in continuous use in the Andean region of Peru since the Spanish conquest. People all over the world grow this cactus and use it as entheogenic medicine. If you really want to understand more about it you should grow these cacti and learn how to prepare your own tea. The plants are the teachers, not men. You should stop following one man’s teachings so closely. You should gain more firsthand knowledge about this plant before saying so much about it.

    G Fox

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