Peyote versus Ayahuasca – Two doors to the same home 

Before we get into the nature of these two Master Plants, we would like to point out the marriage between the two. If Ayahuasca is known as the GrandMother in the spiritual realm, Peyote would then be the GrandFather. 

The Yin and the Yang, the forever dance of life, happens under the roof of the same home. This home is held together by Ayahuasca and Peyote, both offering a way in.

Let’s learn more about them, next. 


How are Peyote and Ayahuasca similar?

Here’s what these two Master Plants have in common. They are both: 

  • Organic plants, and come from nature, as it is
  • Parts of the classical psychedelics group
  • Used for curing other addictions, none of them having an addictive potential
  • Used for centuries by indigenous tribes to heal all sorts of physical and mental illnesses
  • A way of communicating with the spiritual world and both are a path to enlightenment and gaining perspective 
  • Inducing a non-ordinary state of consciousness leading to visions, time alteration, and change of perception
  • Served in a ceremonial setting, guided by trained shamans
  • Considered sacred by the indigenous tribes
  • Served in a Church set up in the US and generally, its regulation depends on the legislation of each country. 


What are then the differences between Peyote and Ayahuasca? 

Let’s cut straight to the chase and see how the Peyote vs Ayahuasca question folds out. Which one will you choose? Or will you choose both…

  • Peyote (Lophophora williamsii) is a spineless cactus from the desert of Mexico and the United States that contains mescaline, while Ayahuasca is a tea of the Amazonian vine Banisteriopsis Caapi and Psychotria Viridis that contains DMT and beta-carbolines.
  • Peyote grows a lot slower than Ayahuasca, 15-25 years vs. 10 years, which makes this cactus an endangered plant, so its collection is prohibited, except in cases of traditional use by indigenous peoples. 
  • While Ayahuasca can only be served as a brew and in combination with other plants, Peyote is served on its own, in more than one form. It can be ingested green, dry, in chunks, pulverized, or in a tea form. 
  • Regarding Peyote ceremonies, the dosage is a lot more relevant for the depth of the experience, and it is calculated based on 3.75mg of mescaline per kilogram of body weight. Ayahuasca, on the other hand, seems to be a little less predictable. There will be days when a drop can take you further than 3 cups and the other way around. 
  • They both have an unpleasant taste, but Peyote provokes a lot less nausea than Ayahuasca. The same goes for vomiting. While Ayahuasca is known for its purging effects, that effect is rare for Peyote. 
  • Expect Peyote to be a bit more stimulating than Ayahuasca, as its structure is similar to other psychoactive substances like MDMA.
  • Peyote ceremonies are a lot more structured than Ayahuasca ceremonies. The name “grandfather” has been given to Peyote because of the stern, unwinding directions it gives to those meeting him, while Ayahuasca got the name “grandmother” because of her gentle, allowing way of guiding. This is also the reason why Peyote ceremonies feel more grounding compared with that Ayahuasca which feels more celestial and etheric
  • The effects of Peyote take longer to appear, 2 to 4 hours, compared to Ayahuasca where the experience ignites after more or less 30 minutes to 1 hour. That leads Peyote ceremonies to a 12-14 hours experience, almost double in size compared with the effects of Ayahuasca. 
  • Ayahuasca is known to be a stronger experience than Peyote, which makes it rarely used for recreational or micro-dosing.
  • Peyote ceremonies are interactive, and co-creative, inviting the participant to be rather present with the scenario and events happening around it. Ayahuasca, on the other hand, can be more of an individual, internal journey, where the space itself plays a lesser role in the meaning of things. 


Other relevant facts about Peyote

We’ve covered many Ayahuasca topics over the last months, and it is only fair to dedicate some lines to this amazing Master Plant. 

For natives of Mexico, such as Nayeeris (Coras), Raramuris (Tarahumara), O’dham (Tepehuanos), Yaquis, Wixarika, Yoemes (Mayos), Chichimecas and Purepechas, Peyote is considered sacred

There are several nations of American Indians in many parts of the US and Canada who use Peyote, but their traditions are far younger if it is to compare them with that of the people of Coras, Tarahumara, and finally, Wixarika. 

Peyote is mostly related to the Wixarika people, also known as Huichol. All of their life revolves around rites, celebrations, and ceremonies in conjunction with Peyote. 

The most famous is a pilgrimage they take once a year to Wirikuta, a sacred place located in the desert of San Luis de Potosí. 

It is said that hunger and thirst made the people of the tribe seek solutions. One of them was sending out four young men in search of water and food. For indigenous tribes, number four is related to the four elements: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth and signifies a team. 

After days of no success on their quest, they saw a big blue deer in the distance and started following him. Although it felt like a hunt for the four, the deer was, in fact, taking them to a sacred space. 

One day, they got closer to the deer and shot an arrow at it, making the deer disappear. They followed the arrow and found it in the middle of a pile of Peyote, shaped like a deer. 

The four collected the cactus and brought it back to their elders. As they shared the Peyote with others, they learned their hunger and thirst were gone.

Since then, every year, the Huichol people go on a quest, allowing themselves to be guided by spirits and ancestors alike. Although this place is 400 km away from where the people of Wixarika live, back in the day it was made by foot. It is then that Peyote is harvested, enough to last the entire year, which is why Peyote is dried and preserved.

Times have changed and today buses are made available. And just like every indigenous culture, the people of Huichol are also facing losing this sacred space over countless extractive, ecologically-destructive mining concessions. There are organizations out there supporting them, find the one that suits your capacity to give and help out if you can.


One more thing about Peyote and Ayahuasca

What’s also curious is that Peyote was the first psychedelic that reached the Western world and thus has inspired many writers, such as Carlos Castaneda. There are movies such as “Blueberry” (2004 – directed by Jan Kounen) that present very well-made visuals of how a Peyote ceremony might be experienced. 

We encourage all curious minds and souls to meet the GrandFather, but please be aware of how limited Peyote is, and honor that one journey with this in mind. 

Although Avalon’s Ayahuasca retreats in Europe are currently focussing on Ayahuasca ceremonies and the integration of such massive experiences, we might be hosting Peyote eventually, we would be honored to and you’ll be the first to know!

Meanwhile, stay safe, kind, and informed.

Wishing you, Love and Love. 

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