Citation: Anticlimacus. "The Final Rung: An Experience with Mushrooms & LSD (exp112217)". Erowid.org. Feb 18, 2019. erowid.org/exp/112217
It was winter break and I had left minnesota to take psychedelics in Arizona with my friends Tony and Landon. We were surrounded by desert in all directions. The only safe haven within a mile was Tony's camper and his parents house a couple blocks away.
Tony and I ate the mushrooms in his camper. I munched on a large handful of mostly caps. Then we left the camper and brought LSD to a walled off generator, which supplied the electricity to the surrounding residents— all 4 of them.
The come up was euphoric. I wanted to avoid weed because it gave me anxiety, but I gave into the pressure and smoked it anyway. The rest of the trip is being recalled years after and is only revealed to me in random fragments which I must piece together on my own, therefore the timeline is probably not 100% accurate.
I was experiencing immense bliss, and all of my social defenses were dismantled. I was singing loudly, laughing uncontrollably, and for the first time in a long while, I was content just being myself. This may sound trivial, but for a teenager who was riddled with avoidance complexes molded by an upbringing of emotional abuse, ‘being myself’ was a moral feat beyond triviality.
Then, like the end of a great movie, my perspective expanded; I was outside of my body looking down at the beautiful scene. Landon, Tony, and I were all sitting against the wall laughing, at peace. The light of consciousness began to dim; Darkness encircled us, and the curtains fell. That’s all folks.
My self was no longer, for literally all intents and purposes. And it is for this reason that recalling what happened after is so difficult. My self was not there, but instead 'I' was a sort of gradual becoming— a sort of continuation of residual propagation. I had no self-referential awareness because there was no reference to a before or after this residual propagation. Before the lights went out I was definitely propagating somewhere; there was, in a sense, some symbolic quanta contouring and molding my constant propagation towards becoming something. That is, I was a conscious human self living within the confines of social order: before/present/after, in/out, up/down, left/right, me/not-me, etc... But now I was just pure propagation, with nothing to propagate. An unstoppable force in a universe void of any moveable objects. I was nothingness, timeless, existing always and never. A kind of consciousness that is always there, but without a reference: dreamless sleep.
However, this empty propagation was still tethered to the previously propagating Symbols. The Symbols with the most weight— which I shall label my ‘Self-Symbols,’ were the ones tethered to the empty propagation. Perhaps ‘empty’ is an inadequate word to describe it. It was more of an expanse beyond all previously understood blueprints of reality; whenever previous blueprints attempted to contour the expanded propagation, they would stretch and contort, then fracture into oblivion. Only the more ingrained Self-Symbols were able to reserve a fragment of their previous symbolic contours long enough to be felt by the whole.
That is, when memories of my Self-symbols spontaneously attempted to propagate in their previous manifestation, they pulled on the tethered rops, and fragments of my life came fracturing back into consciousness, but never in their totality. For instance, I would sometimes remember the concept of parents, and that I had them. Then the realization of my life came fracturing back into an amorphous awareness-- a sort of liminal space phasing between annihilation and becoming. There was no body, only understanding and darkness.
In order to continue my journey, I needed to jump into the abyss completely naked, stripped of all things known. I needed to say goodbye to my previously propagating Symbols— to terminate the maladaptive blueprint that had been confining my propagation. Sadness was then thrown into this fractured memory storm, and I eventually let it all go. I said goodbye to my to my parents, I knew this journey would require the annihilation of those fragments.
I looked towards Tony at one point, and saw instead an infinite array of connected particles. The specific matrix of particles that took the form of Tony proceeded to laugh at my attempt to individualize myself within this infinitely connected array— as if to say “well hello again, going somewhere?” I was in fact trying to go somewhere, but why? Why would I be so foolish again?! I am constantly trying to go somewhere, to propagate something-- the irony of this realization tortured me. I felt it. The familiar terror and awe of this place overwhelmed my entire being. I was unable to make my perspective known to others, because they were not there. I was an arbitrary static array attempting to take shape, to tear myself off from the totality of this matrix. I was trapped in an infinite web of being, but unable to speak, move, or express my terror.
The next fragments of the trip involve the motif of humanity’s contact with the unknown. Fully aware of the consequences of making an error in the face of the unknown, we have to overcome our fear of the ‘dark’, to face the terrors that might lurk just out of sight, abstract and physical. I saw this, I lived it out in the desert.
I had a brief return back into the orbit of consensus reality— to my body— but it was only partial enough to play a song on my iPhone requested by Tony— ‘divine moments of truth’ by shpongle— then the lights faded out again. Apparently we then decided to take LSD, which “I” could hardly consent to at the time.
Apparently we then decided to take LSD, which “I” could hardly consent to at the time.
I was in the midst of dying and becoming, my physical life was but a brief moment in between these two eternities— it made no difference what happened in-between.
There were moments where I’d come back to the inbetween— this odd manifestation of human being— and saw more arrays of particles inextricably connecting everything together— the stars, my phone, the ground, my Self. I then blacked out completely for the next couple hours or so.
Due to the extraordinary scale of this next experience, only surreal and visceral fragments can be recalled. My being was in a different realm, crawling forward towards the divine totality, towards a sort of existential climax. I was drawing nearer to this climactic end. It was nostalgic. ‘I’ve been here before.’ It felt as if I met entities on the way who knew the answer and almost told me to turn back. I felt terrified, but I kept going. This is where I begin to completely forget. But I do remember a visceral feeling of terror, awe, and absolute ineffability which could never be understood within human manifestation.
I was blacked out for a while. Long enough for me to become good friends with Tony's family and Landon's girlfriend— however, I had no recollection of this. The only reason I assume this to be the case is because when the lights turned on I was greeted with goodbye hugs from everyone. They all seemed to love me, but I had no recollection of their existence.
I went into the camper and my stomach dropped. Something catastrophic was about to occur. Something horribly catastrophic. It was ineffable, but I understood it on a visceral level, as if what I had just experienced foreshadowed what was to come. Impending doom. I rushed to my laptop on the table in the camper, hoping to contact a loved one, then I looked at Tony, and he said something along the lines of “what’s up dude?” then Landon walked in. This scene repeated for eternity. The despair I felt was indescribable. I would have screamed for help had I not been locked in the manifestation of the loop. Running to my computer, Tony questioning me, Landon walking in. Over and over this continued. The reason the loop was so terrifying wasn’t because it wouldn’t end. That was a given. It’s terror was implicit in the endless realization that this has always been. I have always been here. The life I had lived up until this point was a mere facade, a nice ‘story’ to distract myself from this strange existence I found myself in. There was no before this loop, no after.
There was no before this loop, no after.
Something deep began to propagate me forward— a sort of ancient will— as if to say, “MERCY, TAKE ME BACK!”
Eventually, the scene played out, and Landon walked through the door and said, “what other people?” “There’s no one else.” I forgot that I had asked them to invite other people over before the loop began. I needed reassurance that I hadn’t died. But they told me there was no one else. My suspicion had been confirmed, I was trapped in this reality forever. Suddenly my consciousness expanded far beyond my conceived universe, and there was an entity waiting there which had always been. I had hit rock bottom. There was nowhere else to go. No forward, no backward, no up, no down, no in, no out. The lifeline connected to my body and world had snapped. There was no mercy this time.
I was greeted by an entity composed of an infinite matrix of worm-like creatures, all of them laughing at me with a mocking tone. “How foolish you are to think you’re controlling it all, that you can leave— HAHAHAH— oh you poooor thing.” I fell for the joke. The joke on those who attempted to propagate— to individualize. The further you propagate, the funnier it is on the cosmic scale. The joke which has always been. It was truly the biggest joke in existence. A sort of cosmic rick roll awaiting all entities who attempted it. In Kierkegaard’s Sickness Unto Death, he explains this predicament most distinctly:
It is as if an error slipped into an author's [God's] writing and the error [my attempt to keep propagating within my individual perspective] become conscious of itself as an error [my attempt to keep propagating as individual perspective]—perhaps it actually was not a mistake but in a much higher sense an essential part of the whole production—and now this error [my attempt to keep propagating] wants to mutiny against the author [God], out of hatred toward him, forbidding him to correct it and in maniacal defiance saying to him: No, I refuse to be erased; I will stand as a witness against you, a witness that you are a second-rate author [God].
The only difference was that there was no hatred in my attempt, only a realization of ignorance, terror and humility (However, perhaps my mutiny/resistance to the totality is in a sense what caused my terror and humility).
There were moments when I’d come back to earth and Landon was standing in front of me. He pretended to punch me in the face to get me to move. I saw it and felt the energy exerted in the punch. I felt his fist get inches away from my face, but I didn’t care. I didn’t even blink. The pain I was feeling far exceeded physical pain. I was then transported back to the place-that-has-always-been— the entities all waiting for me to remember. The torment I felt was unbearable, but there was nothing else to bear it but the individual entity being laughed at. For a brief moment, after eternity had past, I looked upon my individual point on this infinite array, and then I let it go. In turn I let go of not just my Self-Symbols but of the whole repertoire of Symbols that composed the blueprint of my life, and of existence itself. I realized that I was also one of the worm-like entities, the same as the ones who were laughing at me in the cosmic play. I let it all go-- the shame, humiliation, terror, sadness, and I felt a faint bliss begin to pour out. It was beautiful, but distant, then I woke up. I was laying on the couch inside of Tony’s camper.
And just like that, everything was back. I was fully being-in-the-world again, and was more myself than I had ever been. It took a trip through hell— to the final rung— to cry, to break down the defenses of my persona. The absolute hilarity of holding back tears, or of holding back words I was too worried about saying. With that being said, I was also absolutely terrified of what the world could be, and was hesitant to go to sleep in fear that I would just be brought back to that place.
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