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Sedona area resident
travels to Peru in search of psychotropic medicines Never seen before
footage and an insight look into the enchanted world of psychotropic
ritual and magic as performed by San Pedro shamans Edward and Otorongo,
in Pisac, Peru, August 2-3, 2008.
An Evening with San Pedro
Pisaq. Peru - Less known than its Amazonian counterpart, Ayahuasca, San
Pedro (named after St. Peter, who is said to hold the keys to heaven)
has been celebrated and ritualized for its medicinal and spiritual
properties for over 3,000 years in the high Andes of Peru and Ecuador.
Now, with the blessings of San Pedro shamans Otorongo and Edwardo, who
performed the all night ceremony, we show what a San Pedro ceremony is,
how it is conducted, and investigate its truths and myths.
As you will see in the film, captions are used liberally to not only
explain the context of what is happening, but to also summarize the
scientific evidence, conventional myths, as well as anecdotal findings
and claims about the psychotropic cactus, yet leaves the viewers to
form their own conclusions, and short of that, to gain a new
appreciation for compelling spiritual practices that fall outside
As an individual with a history of alcoholism, at least as it is
understood in conventional and clinical terms, I was curious to see if
"a cure," which the plant's advocates claim, has any merit. Bear in
mind, however, this was not the primary concern I brought to the
ceremony, for I never considered my "handicap" to define who I am.
After all, I am yet to meet a diabetic, cancer survivor, heart attack
victim, amputee, epileptic, arthritic, hemophiliac, or even a poor
golfer, to define themselves by what makes achieving success or well
being more difficult. Recall that Michael Jordan was cut from his
high-school basketball team, later to become the best basketball player
in history, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt became President of the
United States despite the extreme stigma of polio.
In this context, we all have one handicap or another, something that
doesn't preclude becoming the person we want to be, only making if more
difficult. I entered the ceremony in this spirit, to discover the
"nocebos" (belief that I can't do this or that because of getting a
"raw deal" from some omnipotent, omniscient force), remove victimizing
underpinnings, and enter a placebo conscious, one based on intuitive
truth, rather than wishful thinking.
Rather than a promotion of San Pedro per se, the film aspires to be an
attestation to the placebo effect as put in the context of this
writing, and the vital importance of building a community of trust
through rituals designed to place no room for judgement and other
divisions that promote "right versus wrong" ego-consciousness,
culminating in the blossoming of heart consciousness, which indeed,
holds the keys to our own personal utopia, and paradoxically
obliterates the very notion of self interest.
I for one, have never met a paradox I didn't like, for it is the
divine's way of exposing the heretofore mysteries of truth.