Citation: El Capitan Salsa. "The Proper Use of a Tool: An Experience with Mushrooms & LSD (exp105089)". Erowid.org. Apr 29, 2020. erowid.org/exp/105089
Prior to these trips, I had tripped on many substances (LSD, several varieties of mushrooms, LSA, DOI, MDMA, and more) on many occasions. I’d say I’m probably getting close to thirty or forty trips, most of them on “trippy” drugs (like LSD and shrooms) and very few on “rolly” drugs (like MDMA.) I came to college already depressed and had failed miserably to get my act together time and time again. I smoked an immense amount of weed and had a best friend (J) who was a terrible influence and drain. He literally lived in my home without paying rent, just always smoking weed and drinking. It isn’t his fault that I did it along with him, but I digress. He, I, and my other roommate (a much truer friend, I think) tripped a lot together, but with no guidance or preparation. Just did it to do drugs. Did not research or educate ourselves beforehand. A 5.5g mushroom trip in particular was psychologically damaging, nearly bringing me to suicide. Another musician (Dave Matthews) was my lifeline through this troubled period. After I left that house, my philosophic curiosity and my desperation to escape from deep depression led me to study Buddhism through Alan Watts. I listened to many of his lecture series, doing my best to understand but never being able to solve my internal dilemma, despite all the tripping. I also did yoga on occasion (because it did make me feel a little better) and ate reasonably well for an American, but still with my fair share of disgusting artificial foods and sodas and what not. I was very emotionally unstable, sometimes becoming paranoid of my family members and friends. I decided to quit psychedelics and began going to a therapist and taking PTSD medications for a period of seven months. After that only made things worse, I gave up on them and returned to psychedelics. Several trips later, we have this story.
A few months ago, J and his girlfriend came over to visit for a weekend and do acid with me. It didn't go well, really. I was extremely uncomfortable as what I thought was my best friend not only refused to allow his girlfriend to take the acid, but became tangibly jealous when she and I would talk throughout the trip and the weekend. We did mushrooms first and then acid over a period of 4 days. Both times were not good, despite my efforts to reconnect with him. This was my first time really realizing how draining of a person he was. Monday he left. Monday night, I decided to take the remaining 2.7g of mushrooms just to finish off the last of what I had. While making the shroom tea, I decided I would do some introspecting and listen to an album with headphones, snuggled up in bed. I went to my computer to search iTunes for the right album while drinking the tea.
After a bit of looking through my music while listening to Dave Matthews (my go to), I got to the “t” section, and saw Tool. I had never listened to them tripping, but knew their music pretty well and knew the band to be associated with psychedelics. I figured I would try that. After goofing around on my computer some more, I felt the first wave of the drug hit me. It was extremely uncomfortable. I knew from that moment that this was going to be rough. I got my headphones, put Aenima (a Tool album) on, and lay down in bed. (Now, I’m going to go song by song.) This is just my experience and my interpretation. Of course there are others, and it’s quite possible that the band meant the songs in a way that I did not follow, but I made my own meaning from them.
1 - Stinkfist: Pain. Curled up in the fetal position in bed, feeling like my guts are trying to crawl out of my insides. The music is affecting me in a way that I have never felt, pulling at me with immense strength, making me unable to keep my composure despite being a very experienced tripper. I feel myself slipping away into the music. I feel like the lyrics are looking into my soul. I am exactly what the song is about. I am dead inside, depressed, desensitized to life, bored all the time. I know in this moment this is why I do so many drugs; I desperately crave the feeling of being alive, being with the moment. The lyrics mention pain again. My guts churn all the worse. The song ends after what seems like an eternity, and I unplug my headphones before the next song begins. I run to the bathroom, and my sister (we live in the same apartment, going to college together) is in the shower. I pace back and forth for a moment, and then tell her I really need to go. She very kindly leaves and I go in. I have really bad diarrhea and throw up a few times in the trashcan. I feel like I’m dying. I begin to worry for my sister, how she’ll explain this to my parents. I decide that I must not die, for her sake. I started this journey and I must finish it. I rush back to my room, assure my sister that I’ll be fine, and lay back down.
2 – Eulogy: For a while, I am too scared to start the music again. I lay in the fetal position in bed, unable to uncurl myself. After what seemed like quite a while, I sat up just for long enough to put the headphones back on. I gathered up my courage and pressed play. I immediately regret this decision. The slowly rising tone at the beginning of the song is unbearable. The guitar comes in in full, and then I know, with absolute certainty, that I am going to die. “We’re gonna miss him… So long we’ll wish you well, you told us how you weren’t afraid to die.” MJK (the singer) is speaking directly to me. He may as well be a part of myself. The pain comes back in waves, I know my body is panicking. I hear MJK say “someone who would die for me.” I know the song, and I know what’s coming. I am struck with a powerful wave of panic and pause the song, run to the bathroom and have to ask my sister to get out again. I play screaming eagle on the toilet again, still certain of my impending death. After crouching on the toilet for a while, I stumble back into my room. I grab my smoking piece (its name is Mithrandir), smoke a bit, and lay down. I gather myself and take control of my body, forcing myself to lay flat despite the pain. I restart the song and listen to it all the way through. The end is death. I am not sure if I am even breathing. MJK has successfully killed me, for all intents and purposes. When he says “to ascend you must die, goodbye” I begin to slip away. The silence between this song and the next one is an eternity.
3 – H.: The snake and the mirror, I understand, though I cannot say in what way, to be parts of myself. I feel the snake that he’s talking about in my body, poisoning me, killing me. “The snake behind me hisses what my damage could have been. My blood before me begs me, open up my heart again.” I know, at last, that at the end of this I will be ok. MJK is there with the snake, they’re observing me, and the damage could have been death, but “could” gives me enormous comfort. I understand, now, that this is going to help. I am able to calm my body a little more. He begins to talk about “feeling the storm coming over” and I want it. Everything I am yearns for whatever the fuck it is that is this change. I just want to get through. I can feel it coming towards me. MJK then tells me “I am too connected to you to slip away, fade away” and I know that he has me. I am safe, he will not let me slip away again. I think this is the first time I start crying. Then, this section. “Without the skin, beneath the storm, under these tears the walls came down. And the snake is drowned and as I look in his eyes, my fear begins to fade recalling all of those times. I could have cried then. I should have cried then. And as the walls come down and as I look in your eyes my fear begins to fade recalling all of the times I have died and will die. It's all right. I don't mind.” And I follow what he says. I do remember all those times I was too disconnected to care, and I did not cry when I should have, hiding my emotions from myself behind this wall I built to keep me safe from them. At this point I’m sobbing. Listening further, I realize the inevitability of death. I feel elated, ecstatic, as if I am floating in the beautiful glory that is the cycle of life. I do realize that I have already died, infinitely many times, and I will continue to do so, and it ok. It’s more than ok, it’s gorgeous.
4 - Useful Idiot: This song has no words, it’s just a churning noise. I feel the noise cleaning me. It’s like a shower for my mind and heart. It’s hard to remember much about it. I feel much lighter when the next song begins, but no less emotional.
5 – Forty Six & 2: During this song, I feel like MJK is coaching be through restarting my heart. I begin to feed myself into the music, forcibly connecting myself with it, trying with all I have to listen and step through this shadow that I was never aware of before. I hear “see my shadow changing” and immediately know something is wrong. All of my focus on the music disappears. I disconnect again. I stop the music and sit up. I hear, or feel, something reach out to me. It tells me that I must smoke weed before I continue. I am running out of time, this is my only chance, but it stopped working. I must reconnect. So I do as it says, and I do it really fucking quickly. Mithrandir is a small helix piece. I finish the bowl within a minute, with no coughing. I hear no response from the voice, but my intuition tells me to pack again. I do. I smoke about half of it and then there is suddenly an enormous weight pressing on my chest. The voice/feeling tells me to lay back down and start the song again immediately. I do so. This time I am able to stay connected. My muscle memory responds when I reach out for it, I become connected with my body, understanding at last that my mind is not separate. I am whole. My whole is part of the whole. My shadow sheds. I feel confident that I will succeed this time. As the end of the song comes, I step through my shadow. Blissful understanding comes to me. I feel my mind expand into my entire body, and then into my surroundings. I am acutely aware of my place in the universe, I realize who I am. I am still dealing with the repercussions, laying in complete shock, when the next song begins.
6 - Message to Harry Manback: I spend this song accepting death again. I believe this man to be the incarnation of evil, Satan is speaking to me (and I am absolutely areligious). The speaking in Italian (or whatever it is) makes me even more certain I am hearing Satan. I take his verbal beating, but actually begin to feel sorry for him. His words are painful, but I feel pain for him as well. The song ends, and I have been sobered. The elation I felt after the last song is mostly gone, replaced with concern.
7 – Hooker With a Penis: I thought at first that this was MJK’s interaction with evil. Then he starts saying “I’m the man then you’re the man and he’s the man as well so you can point that fuckin’ finger up your ass” and I consider everyone’s involvement in the machinations that drive society. They’re inescapable, even to those who abhorrently oppose them. We’re all guilty of this, how dare someone claim to be outside of it and make judgments about those “other people,” when really, they’re just as much one of those people. I was that kid. I judged other people, thinking they were stupid for buying into all this, thinking I was separate and superior somehow. MJK is not happy with me being a judgmental asshole. I know, though, that with my newfound understanding I’ll do better.
8 – Intermission: I pause the music and rush to the bathroom again. I only have to pee now, thankfully. I know that the worst is over and I can relax for a minute. I drink some orange juice and smoke the remainder of the bowl I had started earlier. I pace around the house for a little bit, excited and confused, trying to wrap my head around what was happening to me, unable to believe that, finally, after all this time, the change I had been searching for was happening. Eventually I came back to my bed and started the music back up.
9 – Jimmy: MJK is talking about 11. I know he is reaching to my childhood. “Showing me where it all began, 11…” Well it wasn’t 11 for me. I was younger, like 6 or 7, when I first remember my mother being really abusive. She was physically violent and verbally berating. This is when my emotional disconnect began. This is when my wall started that had caused me so much confusion and depression. This is what made me suicidal and virtually mute in high school (until a very kind friend brought me the music of Dave Matthews, who literally saved my life). This is why I was unable to connect with girlfriends, why I wondered if I was a sociopath, why I snapped at people I loved, my emotional growth was stunted and damaged. “Hold your light, Eleven. Lead me through each gentle step by step by inch by loaded memory. I'll move to heal as soon as pain allows so we can reunite and both move on together. Hold your light, eleven. Lead me through each gentle step by step by inch by loaded memory 'till one and one are one, eleven, so glow, child, glow. I'm heading back home.” I go through my memories, forgiving myself and my mother, forgiving my dad for not being there to help, forgiving my sister for never helping me fight back. Healing myself and the parts of myself that are them. I begin sobbing yet again. I feel a lot of pain, but also a sweet release, finally letting go of something I did not know my mind was so wrapped up and warped in.
10 – Die Eier Von Satan: The terrible sounding noises at the beginning of the song are a ritual. They’re enacting a barrier within my body and soul, allowing me to be safe during the exposure that is about to happen. The sharp noises are like barbs on a musical fence. Satan begins to speak. I feel enormous anger and white hot power coursing on the other side of the fence. I feel as though I am squashed into a corner in my mind, dwarfed by the enormity of what I am witness to. I am transported out of my body and across time, looking through Hitler’s eyes as he gives a speech to a large crowd. It is terrifying, but I am unable to tear myself away. The last words out of his mouth are a warning. I am very glad when it ends.
11 – Pushit: This is not easy for MJK to do for me. He’s speaking directly to me again, warning me that I must accept. I cannot push and shove him, I am taking too much away and endangering us both, I must learn to hold my own. “Slipping back into the gap again. I'm alive when you're touching me, alive when you're shoving me down. But I'd trade it all for just a little bit of piece of mind. Put me somewhere I don't wanna be. Seeing someplace I don't wanna see. Never wanna see that place again.” This is scary. I am revisiting what I have so recently escaped from, the depressive spiral downward through the cracks, back into the disconnect. I don’t ever want to be there again. I am desperate never to go back. He’s not letting me leave the edge though. I understand though that it isn’t malicious, he is strengthening me by forcing me to help myself. The music here is long, quiet, and calm, building slowly. It is holding me to the edge. I am fighting with myself, managing to stay about the fault line in my being.
“Saw that gap again today as you were begging me to stay. Managed to push myself away, and you, as well. If, when I say I may fade like a sigh if I stay, you minimize my movement anyway, I must persuade you another way. There's no love in fear. Staring down the hole again. Hands upon my back again. Survival is my only friend. Terrified of what may come. Just remember I will always love you, even as I tear your fucking throat away. But it will end no other way.” MJK here with me, looking at my gap that I am threatening to tear him down into with my weight. He is ripping away from me, leaving me to stand on own. I understand that when he says “if you minimize my movement anyway I must persuade you another way” he is speaking to those who get to this point but are not connected. I am not minimizing his movement, I understand and am giving my all to his aid, forcing myself to stand on my own. “Hands are on my back again…” now he’s trying to force me back down the crack. It’s as if he has me on the edge of a huge chasm, using all of his strength to shove me back down. I fight back as hard as I can and keep my grip. The last few lines “Just remember…” start me sobbing again with the love that is being sent to me across this medium of music. I am in awe of the genius, the selflessness, the compassion of this music.
12 – Cesaro Summability: A babies cries, with some trippy special effects. I have been reborn. The strange sounds and choppy vocals that come after are greatly empowering. I feel a startling amount of connectedness with my surroundings. It’s dark outside, but I perceive an enormous amount of light all around me and outside. I do not know what it is at this moment, but my third eye is now open. I feel like I can perceive outside of myself, while being more connected to my inner being more than ever.
13 – Aenima: The end of the world song. MJK is saying that disaster on our planet is imminent. “fret for… fret for… fret for…” is all a “bullshit three ring circus sideshow of freaks.” Our society is so sick that the only thing that is going to fix it is disaster. I know this now but didn’t at the time; If California (LA) sinks into the ocean, it is likely that Arizona would fill with water (hence Arizona bay.) “Some say a comet will fall from the sky…” throughout this section I realize that Armageddon is happening now. We have finally damaged the earth to point that we are in danger, disaster is probable. “Learn to swim” has dual meaning; learn to survive because you’re going to need it soon, and learn to integrate your new understanding into yourself (kind of like learning to swim through life). He says he’s “praying for rain and tidal waves” because there is so much pain and destruction that disaster would be a benefit, hopefully reconnecting us with nature. That’s why he says “don’t call me a pessimist… read between the lines… I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t welcome any change my friend.” Because wouldn’t we all? I certainly would welcome change. The state of the human race is not pretty.
14 – Ions: I am receiving communication from some force I do not understand. I feel the zapping sounds making new connections in my mind. Something is reaching out to me from what feels like across the cosmos, warning me that whatever might happen will happen soon. I begin to think of my family and friends, knowing that I must do what I can to help them come to understanding. Hopefully we can help avert disaster, or we can at least expect it and have a plan. I wonder then if I or they will die before I am able to help them. I get an image of myself with a salt and pepper grey beard. Apparently I won’t die just yet. I wonder if this is just my imagination, but I realize there is no reason to assume that my life will be short or long. It is just my life. I need not worry myself over whether or not I will have time to craft my tools of teaching and implement my discoveries, because it doesn’t matter. The universe is me, and it is playing a game, and there are other players. I may or may not die soon, but that does not mean I can use it as an excuse to push myself to work faster or not bother with what I am doing. I must just go with the flow and do my best at whatever I am doing in the present, paying no mind to the unchangeable reality of what has already happened and what may happen in ways I could never predict. I am a musician (drummer, guitarist, and pianist) and have been trying to write a concept album. I know now that this will be one of my tools to help others, and know that I must take great care to make it an effective educator/healer. I have always been good at helping other people solve their problems, and I now know that I can do it through psychedelics as well.
15 – Third Eye: The song begins and I remember the name of it from my previous listening. I realize then that mine is open, and this is how I was receiving communication during ions. I listen to the song, granted a little greater understanding by the Bill Hicks quotes at the beginning. I wipe the cobwebs from my eye like he says in the song, and my perception clears somewhat. The music becomes harsher, and I am catapulted through my mind and memories. I experience things about myself that I did not remember, understanding and forgiving situations I blamed myself and others for. Finally, “So good to see you. I missed you so much. So glad it’s over. I missed you so much. Came out to watch you play. Why are you running away?” Sobbing yet again. MJK is there with me yet again, reaching out across the universe to connect with me via my third eye, glad to see me again because he understands that I am he and he is me. That I am everyone and everything, the ultimate reality. Life is a dream, a game of hide and seek played by the source energy. MJK has come to see my progress, watch as I struggle through this transformation. I understand that “Why are you running away?” is not for me, it is for those who get there and have not yet opened their eye. The music quiets further, my crying calms a bit. The knocking beat begins and the quiet speaking about “shrouding the ground around me is this holy crow above me…” “I stick my hand into the shadow, pull the pieces from the sand, try attempt to reassemble…” Is recognizing yourself as the god. Knowing the connection that exists between all things. Understanding that I am the universe and the universe is me. I am everything that the universe is doing, not a drop in the ocean but the ocean in a drop. I know this to be all beings, but the game of hide and seek is hard and so many never find.
“So good to see you, so glad it’s over, I missed you so much” starts again and I am sobbing harder, breathing deeply as if I had never tasted air before. “PRYING OPEN MY THIRD EYE” pounds into my mind, immediately stopping my crying. I understand. I follow the music with everything that I am, coasting across space and time, intricately connected with reality. “So good to see you once again, I thought that you were hiding” I start crying again. I’ll admit, I was a total wreck. Sobbing audibly. I am listening to the song while I write this, and I had to stop for a minute and cry again. Sometimes I sing the words to myself “So good to see you, so glad it’s over, I missed you so much” and my voice is a wreck. I can’t say it without my voice cracking to this day. My sister had left for the library by then, thankfully. The last bashing of prying open my third eye happens, and the music finally ends. I lay in bed and explore my mind, visiting ideas, amazed at my newfound creativity. I reexamine my ideas, realize how wrong I had been about so much, how superior I thought I was and the changes I would have to make in my life. Still, though, I had many questions about my experience. Had I written this immediately after, I may not have been able to describe what I was feeling quite as well.
Three days later, I get a text from a friend I knew in middle school (we were in a band together, he played bass.) He and his wife were looking for acid, and a mutual friend of ours (as we had not spoken since 9th grade because I moved to a different school) had told him I might be able to help him get some. I did, and he and his wife came to visit. I immediately knew something was up when I met them at the door. They came in, we talked for a while about where they were in life and such. I gave a brief and timid version of my recent mushroom experience. They gave each other a noticeable look. His wife (who this was my first time meeting) asked if I would be willing to come trip with them sometime. They told me about their house out in the woods and that it was a great place to trip filled with good vibes and such. They said they were getting ready to move, but would redecorate with their artwork and tapestries if we wanted to trip.
So, the weekend after that, I drove out to my old hometown to trip with my old friend and his new wife. We hung out for a while, explored the property, talked about their lifestyle and music and such, then decided we’d get down to business. They were asking about the potency and my recommended dosage. I said something like “one will get you there, but two is ego death and it might be kinda rough.” They gave each other that same look again. She said “So let’s do two then!” We took them and painted for a while. My painting sucked, I was too worried about how it would look, looking around at their artwork in the room. My friend put on another Tool album, 10,000 days (and later a Dave Matthews CD), and he and his girlfriend began questioning me about my mushroom Aenima experience, asking stimulating questions and encouraging me to probe for the meaning. I was tripping really hard at this point, and had stopped painting while we talked. I was suspicious of them a few times, and asked “are you trying to trick me or something?” She quickly put my fears to rest. They (mostly her) asked me questions like “What do you think happens when you die? Who are you? What do you think about the future of the human race? Of the planet? Of the universe? How deep in your body can you feel your mind?” I knew they were trying to teach me. I did my best, and regained some of the understanding I had while on the Aenima trip.
The most important thing they said to me was “to bring peace to the world, you must find peace within yourself.” They talked with me about techniques for connecting with myself using my breathing, ways of healing my emotions through meditation on certain thoughts or ideas. After what I’m sure was a redundant and difficult lesson for them, I finally accepted peace within myself and understood my identity intuitively. Afterwards, we went back to painting and listening to music more intently. We explored outside for a while, talking about life and existence and pretty much everything. We came back in and discussed the importance of maintaining your body through healthy eating and exercise. I already did yoga on occasion and, after some discussion, the necessity of practicing non-violence through vegetarianism was obvious to me. We talked about the dangers of city drinking water and the chemicals it contained, like fluoride.
Now, let me stop here and be rational for a moment, to appease some of you skeptics. I am an immensely skeptical person. Even after my acid experience with these two, I doubted the legitimacy of this. But since then, I have drank only unflouridated spring water and can say that my intuition has improved immensely. I am beginning to be able to access my third eye through meditation and intent, and it seems that stopping consumption of fluoride has helped. Although many claim a connection between fluoride and the Nazis, I see nothing to substantiate this claim. I do see, however, a lot of evidence that fluoride does collect in the pineal gland, an important part of your brain and what is considered to be your point of access for your third eye. I know this to be true now, as I have endured the headache of accessing the parts of my mind that sat unused for so long. If you approach this information with an open mind, you may be able to help yourself reach this point as well. Skepticism and doubt will only bring more skepticism and doubt.
But anyway, the trip continued. They gave me some materials to take home; a pamphlet about using yoga and meditation to reach peace without drugs, and a book called “The Four Agreements.” I read them within a day or two, and immediately began to implement their suggestions into my life. They also taught me a mantra of sorts to help heal any emotional pain through meditation. My life in the month to follow, up to this day where I finally decided to write it all down, has been a new place. I spend my time creating music, reading books, visiting with close friends who are good people, and encouraging growth and healing in others. My concept album is coming along very well, and I have already begun working on ideas for a second one. I continue my education at UF in the Spring (I had dropped out the previous Spring) and think I will be able to succeed. I know the pointlessness and manipulation that is the school system, the never ending ladder of so called “success” where I get a degree, get a job, get married, get a promotion, get another promotion, move to a new job, do this, get a house in the suburbs that I can’t afford and have to make payments on, get a luxurious car… Blech. But realize now that because I know it, I can use it to my advantage. I can finish my degree with dedication and ease, using my experience to learn a lot. I can then pay off my debts and live reasonably, doing my best to remain a “successful” and “respectable” member of the community so that I may continue to bring love and inspiration to those around me. Eventually, I want to retire to an earthship home that I’ll build somewhere out in nature up north. For now, though, I will work, save, heal, and prepare, always ready to jump in the river and swim with the current, taking whatever comes to me and making the best of it, enjoying my life for myself and being motivated to pursue my own story of happiness and adventure. I hope that my story can help you to find peace and understanding as well. Namaste, friends.
“So good to see you, I missed you so much, so glad it’s over…”
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