I want to preface this post with the statement that everything described below is entirely fictitious. I am not condoning, nor do I recommend the consumption/use of consciousness-altering (expanding) substances. 🤘🏼😘🍄
Yesterday, at the age of 51, I had my very first psychedelic experience.
I grew up in the 70’s and early 80’s and although I partook of my share of various substances that were readily available back then…weed, quaaludes, Valium, hash…I was actually a fairly straight kid considering my environment and that era. It’s difficult to describe the mid to late 70’s in rural Georgia. Something weird was happening in our culture during that time. The 60’s, with its idealism and big dreams had gone down in the flames of too many drugs, the idea that one had to be wasted 24 hours a day to be real. Everything that the older generation held sacred was supposed to be chucked in favor of complete abandon and submission to every human carnal drive and desire. A movement that started out in a noble direction with high ideals was and is rumored to have been covertly subverted by the very intentional diversion of these powerful young people into complete debauchery through the vast overuse of consciousness-altering substances. In other words, covert factions of the gov killed that movement by overdose. These are not stupid people in control.
The 70’s were weird because I, and every kid I knew, was smoking weed at the age of 13. Our family units were falling apart as women tired of being virtual slaves to their families with no identity, no self, other than wife and mother. Divorce, something so taboo previously that it was rarely even spoken of and ‘divorcees’ were shunned women, was starting to happen everywhere in record numbers. The creepy institution of swinging came into fashion along with cocaine and numerous other, dreadfully destructive laboratory-created drugs. Parents, who on decades prior, had dedicated themselves, however unhappily, to maintaining the family glue and keeping the family on a straight course, suddenly did not give a shit in the 70’s. I think of the 70’s as a time when parents stopped being parents and decided not to grow up…and we kids basically raised ourselves. I’m speaking generally here about my and my friends’ situation. Obviously there were exceptions.
But regardless of the prevalence and easy availability of all manner of drugs, even as a young kid I was wary of psychedelics. When I was 14 years old, my friends and I had walked downtown to stand around outside the only theater in town, a dilapidated and smelly old building called The Grand. As we stood outside in the shadows, smoking cigarettes and being little hoodlums, a girl, Lisa, who was a couple of years ahead of me in school came out of nowhere, tearing down the middle of the street, right on the yellow lines, with cars honking and swerving to miss her. I will never forget the look of horror on her face as she literally screamed at the top of her lungs, oblivious to the cars that almost ran her over. I learned later that she had been tripping on PCP, or angel dust, and that someone had finally called an ambulance to come pick her up.
Another traumatizing incident occurred at our house that we lived in at the time. It was in town but on a side street with a moderate amount of both foot and vehicle traffic. We were inside and suddenly someone was at our front door, banging frantically and obviously in great distress. She was screaming and crying and it terrified me because it sounded like she was trying to get away from something. My dad went outside immediately and sat with her on the porch steps. My mother called the police because we had no idea what was happening to this girl, who wasn’t much older than me. I can’t remember what drug it was determined that she’d taken but I do remember it was a psychedelic and I have no doubt that it was a lab drug.
All these experiences worked together to frighten me away from A N Y T H I N G that could cause that kind of craziness.
Fast forward. Six months ago. I have already mentioned in previous posts that our family suffered a great and terrible tragedy 4 years ago. Frankly, nothing that happens for the rest of my life will hurt me, destroy me, like that event did. I’ve never gotten over it and whereas with other, previous hurts and heartbreaks and trauma, the pain eased with time, this…well, this just seems to slowly grow in its intensity. I cannot get past it. I cannot accept it. My sorrow and sadness over this is omnipresent everywhere I am and in every situation. Everything I see reminds me, every song, every word anyone says. It’s definitely PSD and something has to be done.
So I started looking into alternative methods of treating this syndrome, this prison of sorrow I’m locked into. The subject of magic mushrooms came up in my research immediately. I bought books, I watched eleven million YouTube videos, and satisfied myself that this was safe and worth a try.
So yesterday was the day.
I was very thorough in planning my set and setting. I was in a relaxed and comfortable mood, had some beautiful Native American flute and drum music (I seriously considered dubstep but decided that miiiiiiiight be a bad idea for the first time), earplugs, eye mask, bottles of water, had fasted all day to avoid nausea, did a little praying to my ancestors and my creator, ate the mushrooms (which people say taste awful but were actually pretty damned tasty…but we love eating all mushrooms all the time soooooo) at 4:00 pm. I donned my mask and lay down on our comfortable couch next to my best bud and soulmate who was acting as my sitter.
After 15 minutes…well….nothing much was going on. We have a hot tub and thinking ahead before I’d started that it might be relaxing and enjoyable to experience that during my trip, I’d warmed up the water. So 20 minutes in as my body was beginning to feel strangely bouncy and a little electrified, we cast off our clothes and made our way outside into the sunshine and slipped into the water. The sky was beautifully blue with wispy, sylphic clouds hovering above us. We are lucky enough to have some huge, old oak trees standing in our backyard and their dark, bare branches against the blue of that sky seemed surreal and fantastic and more beautiful than I’d ever seen it.
But wait…wasn’t the psychedelic experience supposed to be more than all the regular shit just looking more beautiful and precious than normal? Wasn’t normal supposed to stop and wasn’t something else supposed to take over? As I sat in the pleasantly churning warm water and pondered this thought, I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye. I thought it was a squirrel on our neighbor’s roof. But there was no squirrel. It was the cedar shingles roof that was moving. Gently, like a quiet waterfall, the shingles were flowing downward along the sharp incline of the roof, some fast, some slow but all flowing in a lovely, textured stream down to the gutters. It was an incredible sight.
I am, and always have been, a cloud-watcher. They’ve always been mysterious and beautiful to me and frankly, I’ve always seen things in the clouds that others just don’t seem to see. I won’t go into that here but as I turned my attention from my neighbor’s flowing stream of a roof, the clouds caught my eye. Moments before I’d glanced up at the sky and they’d been suspended almost motionless above me, splayed out in their wispy patterns. Now, they were constantly moving and morphing and there appeared to be water between me and them. As I looked closer, that’s exactly what it was…it appeared that I was looking up at the clouds as though I were underwater, as in an enormous, gently rippling pond or lake and the clouds were in a sky suspended above that water. I was f’ing astounded at this! All of this so mind-blowing and fascinating that there is no way to describe the absolute joy I was feeling at the time. I felt that I had been transported back to my childhood when wonder and fascination with everything in my surroundings had seemed to permeate every moment. I was giggling and giddy and kept saying ‘whaaaaat???’, ‘what the fuck is happening right now?’, and ‘baby, you can’t believe what I’m seeing right now’.
I had not lost contact with my rational mind at all because I was talking to my hub about how this was even possible. How could my mind fabricate something this damned real and so different from how it was normally perceived? By what process can a simple mushroom, a naturally occurring fungus, alter my perception of reality to such a degree that it’s still the world I know…but which is now operating in a vastly, profoundly different and unique manner? In fact, during this entire trip, it was clear and obvious to me that my brain had literally NOTHING to do with any of this. I was overwhelmed the entire time with the awareness that my brain had one function…to keep my heart beating time, to keep my lungs expanding and taking in air, to keep my blood flowing and my physical construction doing its thing…but that this…this view that I was enjoying was entirely unconnected to that ugly lump of gray meat.
Ok, my fingers are tired so I’ll go on with this later. I’ll just end by saying I now see why people everywhere in all walks of life have stated that this kind of experience was one of the most profound events of their lives. For me, and I’ve heard others say this, the realization that my mind actually could NOT manufacture this kind of conscious, waking visual data, this kind of minutely detailed visual experience, that hit me like a ton of bricks. In the face. If that experience is possible, and I have much more to relate to you about it, then the true nature of this world is more mysterious and complicated and MAGICAL than many of us realize.
Have a wonderful Tuesday, weirdos.