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May 5, 2023

Today’s episode explores the mescaline-containing cactus known as San Pedro, otherwise known as Huachuma. Our guest is Laurel Anne Sugden.

We discuss the objective side of the cactus; that is habitat, history, sustainability, poaching, pollination, propagation, fruits, flowers, and alkaloids. However, we also explore what we might, for lack of better language, call the subjective side of San Pedro; we explore “who is San Pedro”, the qualities of experience it catalyzes, and what it asks of us and offers us in perspective, healing, and relationship. 

We also explore the impact anthropocentrism has on our capacity to be in relationship with sacred plants, safe preparation methods of cactus powder, the subjectivity of ethics, why it takes more than breaking the ego to make us wise, and a deconstruction of the modern fascination of “hyperspace entities” and aliens, among a handful of other topics throughout the flow of the conversation. 


For further links to Sugden's work, full show notes, and to access a video stream of this episode, head to

***Full Topics Breakdown and Time Stamps Below***


*** Extra BIG thanks to my patrons on Patreon for helping keep this podcast alive!

Especially my $23+ patrons, Andreas D, Ian C, Yvette FC, Alex F, Eliz C, Nick M, Joe A, Nanci BF, & Heartwood Mushrooms —— 


Episode Breakdown

  • (0:00) Opening
  • (4:45) Patreon Thanks | Support The Podcast
  • (5:57) Introducing some cacti friends
  • (8:20) Interview begins: what is Huachuma/San Pedro? 
  • (9:42) The different San Pedro cacti used for ceremonial purposes
  • (16:03) San Pedro flowers, fruit, and propagation
  • (21:01) Hybridization and cross-pollination 
  • (23:47) Reductionist science and anthropocentrism erase our connection to the spirit of the plant
  • (29:22) The different alkaloids in San Pedro (beyond mescaline)
  • (30:35) A brief history of Cacti and their worldwide distribution 
  • (33:57) Serious conservation concerns for san pedro | overharvesting and poaching of wild cactus for international cactus
  • (39:41) Ignorance supporting ecological devastation | A failure of relationship
  • (42:08) The subjectivity of ethics and learning to listen to the plants
  • (44:29) Your store san pedro powder is likely illegally poached | How to safely prepare raw san pedro power
  • (53:03) Reciprociy to indigenous San Pedro communities: The Huachuma Collective 
  • (54:56) Who is San Pedro?
  • (57:07) How San Pedro helps us heal
  • (1:01:45) It takes more than breaking the ego to make us wise
  • (1:07:10) We learn from the plant, but the plant also learns from us 
  • (1:16:02) Deconstructing the modern fascination with “hyperspace entities” and aliens
  • (1:22:07) What lesson San Pedro has to offer us in our present times
  • (1:24:35) Follow-up links for Huachuma Collective and Laurel Sugden 
  • (1:26:02) Outro