Shamanic Plant Medicine  - San Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom

Shamanic Plant Medicine - San Pedro: The Gateway to Wisdom

Introduction to specific teacher plants used by shamans in a variety of cultures to facilitate spirit communion, healing, divination and personal discovery.


The Shamanic Plant Medicine series acts as an introduction to specific teacher plants used by shamans in a variety of cultures to facilitate spirit communion, healing, divination and personal discovery, and which are increasingly known, used and respected in Western society by modern shamans as a means of connecting to spirit.
Named after Saint Peter, the gatekeeper to Heaven, San Pedro is used by the shamans of the Andes in ways similar to ayahuasca and for similar reasons and effects. Its close relative, peyote, is employed by the shamans of Mexico and its modern chemical equivalent, Ecstasy, has become a popular rave culture means to trance and bliss states. Awareness of San Pedro is spreading rapidly in the West and the plant is likely to become more utilised than ayahuasca in the near future.


This luminous volume soothed my soul. The book is about Echinopsis pachanoi (= Trichocereus pachanoi) or the “San Pedro Cactus”, so named because Saint Peter also holds the keys to Heaven. I swear I had one growing in my home for decades, something I picked up at Walmart on a whim when I saw it sitting lonely on a shelf. I had no idea! The thing grew so huge that I eventually put it outside where it passed into the Spirit world. I remember back to my high school hippie days, when I took “teacher plants” very seriously. I and a few friends would take one and then spend hours discussing the nature of God and the purpose of life. We just couldn’t understand how others were taking these medicines recreationally. It was deeply gratifying to read this account, written by someone who also finds the sacred within these kinds of plant medicines. And I love the cautions about presuming to know how to heal others, after just picking up a book (the author asks us to study with an experienced Shaman if we want to gain real healing from this herb). I have long been an admirer of Cactus. These plants know how to survive the most extreme conditions; freezing winters and boiling hot summers, in the bone-dry desert. They endure all this and still bring forth gorgeous flowers, as if to show their fearlessness. Cacti are our ancient elders, survival experts who thrive and blossom no matter the circumstances they are in. This medicine can teach us to be like that; strong, loving and infinitely creative. The book follows participants on their healing journeys with this plant, covering all the bases. Some users come to it because they need the transformational power of Snake, the sacred animal that deals with the vital force and primal energies of the body. Others come to it seeking the blessings of Puma or Cougar, the strengthener of the physical form. Still others find the artistic, poetic and musical inspiration of Condor giving voice to their inner artist. And there are those who experience the powers of Hummingbird, keeper of the Angelic forces and Spirit Animal of the impossible. And no matter their reason for seeking out this medicine, they all renew their awareness of the Divine; within and without their human form. If you want to leap into the quantum level for deep healing and manifestation, then this is the book for you! ~ Ellen Evert Hopman , author of Secret Medicines from Your Garden, A Druid’s Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine, A Legacy of Druids, and other volumes.

An illuminating, practical insight into San Pedro, its history and cultural significance, the principles of Andean shamanism and guidance for contemporary practice; written with a down to earth approach and sharing a personal perspective and stories from experience. Another excellent, invaluable and very accessible guide to shamanic plant medicine from author, Ross Heaven and a must-read for anyone seeking information about San Pedro. ~ June Kent, editor, Indie Shaman magazine

Ross Heaven
Ross Heaven Ross Heaven was a shaman, psychologist, author, therapist, TV, radio and magazine contributor, workshop facilitator, and presenter. He wrote...
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