Citation: Andrew. "Machining Consciousness: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp109460)". Erowid.org. May 18, 2020. erowid.org/exp/109460
I am a 24 year old male who is moderately experienced with psychedelics, having eaten mushrooms and taken MDMA a handful of times in my life. I also enjoy cannabis, and smoke regularly for long periods of time followed by bouts of sobriety. I lead a fairly balanced life, have a career, and am careful not to let my fascination with drugs interrupt the daily proceedings of my life.
That being said, a friend of mine referred to his dealer, who had come across some magic mushrooms. I took this as an opportunity to trip, as I hadn’t in over a year (and the last trip was a mild one at that). I purchased 4 grams of dried mushrooms from the guy. My mindset was nothing short of perfect for the trip, as I had made some breakthroughs at work during the week. I was also in a comfortable setting: my apartment.
The mushrooms seemed old, for they were black and had a stronger smell to them than usual. This had me curious whether they would be effective or not, but I figured I would let things happen and see where the fungi would take me. I tried a new method of ingestion (I don’t prefer the taste), which involved me grinding them in a coffee mill and mixing it with orange juice. They went down very easy.
Around fifteen minutes after taking the mushrooms, I began to notice certain differences in my environment. I was cleaning my kitchen area so as to feel organized for the experience (I felt that this would help foster a good trip), and the first “hints” of the effects had me anxious to hurry with my cleaning. The hints were visual in nature; as I stared at the backsplash on my kitchen apartment wall, I noticed an ever-so-slight translation of the tiles. With this first hint in mind, I rushed to my living area and turned on some music in preparation.
While lying on the couch, I looked at the art I have framed on the wall, which includes an Escher lithograph (Waterfall), and Dali’s Disintegration of the Perception of Memory. The first obvious signs began to manifest as the rectangular boundaries of the pictures began to slightly shift up/down, left/right, and into/out of the frame itself. It was nothing mind-blowing at this point, for the pictures only appeared to move about a centimeter in any direction.
I took this opportunity to log the time and journal about what I was seeing and how I was feeling. The come-up occurred very quickly now, as the shadow of my hand against the yellow notepad began to blur with the paper. It was very difficult to write, so I decided to lay down on the couch.
At this point the familiar nausea began to kick in, which was more pronounced than usual. I was able to handle myself without throwing up, but the body load throughout the trip was quite uncomfortable, and I had difficult sitting still in an effort to relax. In any case, I lay down on my back and began to stare at things; taking in my surroundings.
On all of the walls was overlaid splotchy imprints, almost as if someone had sponge-painted them slightly off-color. When I looked at a closer wall (the one directly behind me), I could see a a faint tessellated pattern in the grain of the wall. This same pattern was present on most of the objects around me, including my own hands and skin. They were almost reptilian-looking, having the appearance of scales. The visual effects were quite overwhelming, and coupled with the growing intensity of the music and body load, I had to close my eyes. The music began to envelop me, and certain elements of the music (flutes playing, bright sounds) tickled me into a laughing fit. It was sublime.
The peak was beginning, as “sight” took on a different form. Whether my eyes were opened or closed, I experienced rushing lights of shifting colors; it felt as if I was traveling through hyperspace. When my eyes were closed, shapes resembling small serpents writhed in an out of each other. I have experienced this once before in my (last) hardest trip. When my eyes were opened, I could “see” whatever object I focused on (in this case, the pillow) but my periphery seemed opened up to a larger world or dimension, neither here nor there.
The most enlightening part of the trip then occurred, as I felt like I could sense someone or something present in that periphery. I could see/feel lighted streams that seemed to be pulling layers off of my body. At the time I was almost convinced that I was a machine, and that the lighted periphery beyond my view was a sort of divine datacenter in which “beings” or “architects” were prying off my metal layers, allowing my inner consciousness to seep through the cracks and into the ether. Following this event, I felt as if I had transcended my own body and mortal limitations. I had extreme difficulty identifying where by body/soul started and ended.
I had extreme difficulty identifying where by body/soul started and ended.
It felt as if the boundaries which contained my consciousness had been shattered.
The rest of the peak was very insightful, as I was convinced that beings (whether human or divine; I wasn’t sure) were speaking through me, navigating me through the ways of the fungi. I felt as if I had the tools to understanding the universe. I was as expansive as it was, even in my small home on a small speck of a planet we call Earth.
As a side note, I am an atheist. Though the peak of my experience was mystical, I had a hard time reconciling my views about creation. I felt as if my brain had always been hardwired to experience the world in the way that I do. I questioned whether or not something/someone had a hand in programming me, or if I was part of a simulation. As I changed songs on my phone, I began to think about technology and how it is a form of our own creation. I then thought about my own being, and how my “true” creators were my parents. As I held on to this thought, I continued to shout “they had no idea”, as if my mother and father had no idea of the consciousness they would create. They were only doing what biology has compelled humans to do from the beginning of our existence.
The comedown was nothing short of pleasant, which is starkly different from my experiences with MDMA. I was left not wanting more, and I was grateful and content with the experience I had. I turned on Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, a favorite album of mine and was convinced that it was the greatest album to ever have been produced. As I came closer and closer to baseline, I sought things that were familiar to my “earthly” self - tea, cannabis, a small meal.
I often get into thought loops while coming down during which I overanalyze myself and my choices. I did so only somewhat during the trip, but they were positive feelings and accepting ones. I pondered on my love for music; especially my unusual taste that others define as “hipster”. I thought about why my music choice often differs from that of the masses, and realized it’s because of my passion to explore new and different sounds. I felt that my musical exploration didn’t stop at what airs on the radio; that it has always been an active instead of passive experience for me.
Overall, the trip highly exceeded my expectations. I was dubious if the mushrooms would even be effective, and was not prepared for experiencing something mystical. I think the trip went so well because of my intent, which was to learn something new about consciousness/reality and see where the fungi would take me. I have found that trips taken for experimental/learning purposes, and not simply for hedonistic purposes, bode well in my favor.4
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