Citation: Mountainmystic. "Magic Restored: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp105550)". Erowid.org. May 26, 2018. erowid.org/exp/105550
I experimented with the Magic Mushroom alone after 39 years and have done so several times since. I give the reasons why and provide an accurate account of the results.
I live on an island in Southeastern Alaska surrounded by natural beauty that renders the poets speechless. Growing up here I began, after high school graduation, experimenting with Clearlight LSD and had many (I mean many) experiences of profound beauty and wonder. I had only one frightening experience during my early exploration. This event caused me to reassess my curiosity for several weeks, but after careful analysis and prayer I worked through this episode and proceeded more carefully. This was such new territory.
I wasn’t born with a room temperature IQ. I approached this phase of life thoughtfully after finishing high-school and after reading Huxley, Cohen, Eddington, William Blake, et al. As a young man these writers, and my LSD experiences, left indelible impressions in my mind. I have no doubt that LSD stimulated my curiosity and actually raised my native intelligence significantly at a critical time in life. I still believe that this amazing chemical holds enormous potential for some members of the human race; especially for those rare individuals who seek a deeper insight, an alternate view, into this short phenomenon called “life” and are able to seek these insights with a clear conscience.
Over the following years I went to university majoring in chemistry, and later, electronics engineering technology. During the “cold war” I worked for 16 years, in Seattle, in electronics with an emphasis on avionics and hydroacoustics (sonar) design. I also raised a wonderful family. No point in saying, I am not a “stoner”.
But over those years I have had bouts with minor depression, short periods of deep introspection and doubt, accompanied by feelings of purposelessness. I “motored-through” these periods promising myself that someday I would find clarity. I am also a committed Christian and have accepted that these episodes may be my “thorn in the flesh” so I try to learn from them. I’ll admit that I am not wired like most folks, in fact some would say I am a bit eccentric, but that doesn’t bother me. Having certain gifts often entails certain deficits. Besides, these short periods of depression are not debilitating and are often followed by surprising bursts of energy and creativity.
Well during the summer of 2013, while on a mountain climb in Alaska, I had a minor epiphany. It was a hot day in August and I was overcome by the exhaustion of a hard climb. I had reached a difficult summit and was soon overcome by the scent of alpine heather, the sensation of exposed granite under my feet, and by the raw feeling of my animal strength. I felt so strong and bonded with the earth that all my material pursuits were miniscule compared to the experiences given by this mountain. The pure Alaskan sky was enlivened with young eagles awakening to their strength and souring in the mountain updrafts. It was, as CS Lewis describes, “…a moment that contains all moments.” I could not give voice to my emotions. It was positively shamanic. Days later, as I analyzed the experience, I became convinced that there were issues in my heart that needed resolution and clarity, I knew that these issues were somehow connected with my Clearlight years.
Since I am a very private person I wouldn’t think of asking for advice from someone, a pastor, a counsellor, or anyone else for that matter, who had never taken LSD, and certainly not anyone who had not done so in a thoughtful manner. So I decided that the only way to gain resolution was to take the “magical mystery tour” again and to go deep enough to jar my paradigm.
LSD-25 is hard to find these days, but nature has provided a noble alternative in the magic mushroom. I decided that I would try these instead of Clearlight. Perhaps this would provide the alternate view needed to understand this tension. So, on a cold and sunny December morning in 2013, while alone in my cabin on the shore, I slowly chewed over 4 grams of dried psilocybin mushrooms.
Within 15 minutes I felt a surge of mental energy and set about cleaning up, putting things in order, and banking the fire in the woodstove. It was 19 degrees outside; if I went for a hike on the island I wanted to come home to a tidy house and a warm fire. It had been so long since my last psychedelic experience that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
It had been so long since my last psychedelic experience that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.
After 30 minutes I felt an overwhelming desire to get outside into nature. The day was young and the golden rays of the sun were slanting through the forest like a scene in a Hildebrandt painting. I stuffed a few things in my day-pack and ventured into the woods along the shore.
My walk through the forest was astonishing. Trees and bushes were empowered with living character, demanding my attention and acknowledgement. Mosses and ground-cover, that I would normally ignore, became radiant and fractal. The voice of a raven’s winter-call became rich with meaning and echoed in my mind. I felt a distinct pull toward the earth.
After 45 minutes I removed my pack and felt compelled to sit down between the roots of a giant Sitka-spruce tree and to feel the winter sun on my face. While doing this I became aware that gravity had increased and felt that I should move slowly. Slow movements were very pleasurable, in fact, the slower I moved my body the better it felt. The simple act of unzipping my pack to locate my iPod and to open a chocolate bar were ceremonies. I suddenly felt that every physical act in life is a gift and should be replete with significance and meaning. Nothing should be done absent-mindedly.
I slowly connected my iPod and earbuds and selected the song AWAKEN by YES. Then intense visions began. Each time I blinked my eyes there was an explosion of Mandelbrot sets and fractal patterns in colors beyond description. I listened to AWAKEN as if I had never heard music before. I could see the music!
The composition Awaken is a multidimensional tapestry of sound and color. Jon Anderson’s cryptic lyrics soaring over Rick Wakeman’s mastery on the pipe organ launched me to my feet in worship to our Creator. I had not felt this alive in a long time!
Since that day I have taken the mushroom at least 10 times. I often find myself gravitating toward small mountain streams and pools. The sounds of running water have a musical, teasingly impish, quality. Small spaces in the woods are intriguing. These small spaces take on amphitheater dimensions and hold deep charm.
Each event has revealed fresh insights for me. The most pleasing insight has been the tangible sense that life, given to us by our Creator, is fractal, and infinitely rich in detail. The deeper we look at life, the greater the mystery. For a better understanding of this idea read Blaise Pascal’s “Pensees”, specifically his dissertation on the “two infinities”. Also read Behe’s “Darwins Black Box”. There is a supreme intelligence (logos) behind creation that has left its fingerprints on creation from quarks to quasars. Each moment should be lived purposefully and awake…moments that contain all moments.
Another realization, more practical, thrown into sharp relief by the psilocybin experience, was this. “Take small steps, but take steps.” This seems so obvious, but for a “type A” personality like me, too often held inert by the prospect of imperfect results, it was liberating to understand this axiom more deeply, as a real-life expression of mathematical limits. It became so clear and livable! This small lesson has stayed with me and has yielded fantastic results in my professional life.
The most valuable insight revealed to me is that I needed to connect with my fellow man on a deeper level.
The most valuable insight revealed to me is that I needed to connect with my fellow man on a deeper level.
This too may seem obvious to most people, but it has never been easy for me. The mushroom blasted my ego, removed all pretense and facade, and let me experience, in a very troubling way, my fear-driven guardedness in personal relationships, and my lack of empathy. I could not escape! I had to face it. This is one of those hard lessons that would be called a “bad trip” on LSD, but the mushroom is gentler. This lesson is still a work in progress.
During recent magic mushroom trips I have seen people’s faces in my mind; casual acquaintances that I may have passed in the local grocery store or seen only days prior. I reflect on them in a new way and find that I want to affirm them because we are all connected. We all need affirmation, even people that seem to have-it-all-together need affirmation, and I learned that affirming others, even strangers, if done in an appropriate way, is healing.
Well, back to my first experience: It was a long day. I found myself exploring small ravines and clear frozen pools. I felt as if I had been granted a child’s sense of wonder. My vision was sharpened so that I could see things, in fine detail, at long distances. There were cycles of ecstasy and withdrawal during the trip and just when I felt that the experience should be over I would be pulled to the earth again and fascinated by small things. It just kept giving.
By dusk I had returned to 80% “normal” and even felt that I could hold a rational conversation with common platitudes. I walked home to my cabin on the shore trying to collect the experience. I don’t smoke cannabis, but I opened an IPA beer and sat outside looking at the snow-capped Wrangell Mountains and 9000 ft Devil’s Thumb, watching the tide come in, lapping around boulders on the beach. I felt at peace and have wanted this feeling of clarity and resolution for a long time.
I felt at peace and have wanted this feeling of clarity and resolution for a long time.
For days after this first experience (at least 2 weeks) I felt an unusual openness and vulnerability to others and a quiescence in my being that was long overdue. This awareness was with me at all times. It was healing and I have desired it for so long! Now the challenge was to integrate these lessons into everyday life before the euphoria diminished.
As I write this it is one year later. I have had several opportunities to repeat these experiences. Each time I have been in no hurry. One of the remarkable things about LSD and Psilocybin is that they are not addictive or habit forming. But, if I have had a good trip I may find that I want to replicate it. I don’t do this expecting the same experiences. I may be disappointed. I can return to the same setting, but always try to find new surprises. It is so important to be patient and to wait for the best time and place.
I have learned that the best time to experience the mushrooms magic is when I feel strong, when I have no overhanging obligations, and when I can be out in nature surrounded by life. Sunshine and clear days are best for me. Also, if you have a close friend who is intelligent, a good friend who knows the alternate view, and truly values these experiences, you are lucky. I am not so fortunate.
It is also best when one has achieved a significant goal in life or reached a benchmark (even a small one) that makes one truly happy about the achievement. To me this is very important. I set so many goals for myself and may feel depressed if I don’t reach them, but if I break those goals down into smaller tasks that are within practical reach, and visualize each task as part of the larger goal, I then have reason to celebrate. Even if I have to push the larger goal into the future it is gratifying to reach these smaller benchmarks. “Take small steps…but take steps”.
Depression? I don’t think that psilocybin is a cure for clinical depression, but in my case (minor depression and inertness) I know that it was beneficial. It has shaken my paradigm and reawakened a deeper appreciation of the sublime and mystical nature of life. I no longer live life as a soulless “Cartesian”. It has also -without a doubt- raised my sensitivity toward others; and that is truly a good thing.
So, the mushroom has caused me to question my cultural programming and to adjust my worldview with respect to my individual journey.
I, for one, am so grateful.
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