Citation: Aurora Borealis. "Fractals, Insights, and Healing: An Experience with 4-AcO-DMT (exp112903)". Erowid.org. Feb 25, 2019. erowid.org/exp/112903
||(powder / crystals)
Before delving into my experience, a BIG thank you to those who have shared their personal experiences on this and other platforms. Hearing other people’s experiences helped me to prepare and feel less alone. I hope what I share is helpful to others.
As I write this, I’m using Terence McKenna’s book ‘The Archaic Revival’ as a mouse pad. It seemed fitting. 😊 One of my favorite quotes of his is “If the words 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on.” (to the sticklers, yes…. only the drafts were written on hemp, but it’s still funny.)
For the skimmers/short attention spanners, I included a tl;dr section at the very bottom.
Background/psychedelic experience level:
-Ingested a tiny amount of what I was told were magic mushrooms once as a teen, with minimal, if any, noticeable effects.
-Took high doses of LSD multiple times decades ago with a much older person. At the time, I didn’t know the doses were abnormally high. There was no internet and I trusted the older person’s judgment. Pieced together, those experiences created a tapestry of breathing walls, dancing trees, intensely beautiful music, serene walks, slapstick comedy, crawling spiders, and terror (most likely from such high doses.)
-Microdosed 20 mcg/ug of 1P-LSD a few times successfully within the past month.
This year, I decided to stop taking an SSRI I’d been taking off and on for 25 years. The recent microdosing provided great relief from the side effects I usually feel when titrating down from the SSRI. According to the SSRI’s half-life schedule, the SSRI was no longer in my system upon ingesting 4-AcO-DMT.
The Come Up:
My trip began around 12:30 PM, soon after eating a bowl of oatmeal. I skipped my morning coffee.
I put the majority of the dose in 6 oz. of distilled water and drank it immediately. About 45 minutes later, I ate the remainder of the dose. It had a strong chemical taste, so I chased it with chocolate.
About 20 minutes after drinking the dose-infused water, I began feeling more emotional than usual.
I’d decided to watch the movie ‘Pretty in Pink’, which I’d seen many times as a teen/young adult. I chose it because it was somewhat funny, I liked the quirky character, ‘Duckie’, and thinking about it made me feel sweetly nostalgic. Because I was expecting a lighthearted movie experience, I wasn’t prepared for the waterworks that ensued. I had never cried during ‘Pretty in Pink’ (has anyone?), so wasn’t sure why I was bawling my eyes out during every scene that touched on bullying, classism, and superficiality. Watching Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie, experiencing sadness and betrayal absolutely gutted me. By the end of the movie, I was struck by its profundity. Clearly its plot and intensity was rivaled only by Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Apocalypse Now’, so why the silly title? How had I never noticed this title Faux Pas? Wasn’t Andie a shining example of the noble, honest, and non-self-compromising person many strive to become? Why reduce such a smart, strong character with a backbone and integrity to ‘Pretty in Pink’? She went to prom alone in a dress she MADE to let them know they didn’t “break” her.
Then again…she was really pretty in the dress, so maybe the title was fitting?
Apparently, I owe a huuuge thanks to the universe that I simply stopped there and didn’t become trapped in the madness of a long thought loop. Between movie title musings and crying spells, which felt more therapeutic than sad, I laid down and looked at the ceiling patterns. Our ceiling sports some texture/unidentifiable shapes, so it’s a bit interesting even whilst unaltered. The difference was color and movement….it was lavender and intermittently covered in fractals which appeared to be very much alive. At one point, the patterns began to pull apart but never completely separated. They shifted a lot, as though they couldn’t decide what they wanted to do. For a second, I shifted my attention to something else and when I glanced back at the ceiling, the beautiful patterns were gone. I said playfully, “Hey, I can multitask…come back.” As soon as those words escaped my lips, the patterns came back, which I found funny. It occurred to me that fractals may have a sense of humor.
It occurred to me that fractals may have a sense of humor.
I experienced terror a few times, but was prepared for that possibility, so wasn’t caught off guard. When I felt the darkness descend, I spoke firmly to it. I said "I will EAT you, and in my stomach, you will turn into LOVE. You will leave through my pores to become a source of love in the universe.” In another instance as the darkness tried to take hold, I started drawing hearts in my notebook and told ‘it’ that I was turning its darkness into love. I told it that I KNEW love was stronger than darkness because I have been lost in darkness, but KNEW love was stronger. I kept repeating and writing, “I am strong, I am strong.”
Though speaking directly to the darkness was mostly effective, the activity that erased every speck of fear was going outside into nature.
Though speaking directly to the darkness was mostly effective, the activity that erased every speck of fear was going outside into nature.
Even though it was bitterly cold and snowy, I felt completely safe and at peace – as though nature was holding me close. As a bonus, the trees were lovely and vibrant. Outside, the sinister energy simply melted away, like the Wicked Witch from Oz.
When one becomes enlightened, the judgment that creeps in is nothing short of ironic. Becoming acutely aware of the surrounding vapidness, stupidity, and societal manipulation could shift the newly ‘enlightened one’ into a feeling of superiority, right as a higher awareness is being reached. Is it possible to simultaneously notice the ridiculousness of popular culture, manipulation, and sweeping ignorance while feeling no judgment towards soul-crushing ideas or people? Is feeling judgmental a short, temporary state – some type of purgatory?
I have too much ‘stuff’ – it’s simply not necessary. No judgment or shame accompanied this message – it was just a fact that contained the expectation that I will make changes.
My news junkie status may be coming to an end. During the trip, I felt indifferent to the news and realized I should stop giving it so much attention. I realized the repetitiveness and attention-seeking drama was actually boring. It’s taken enough of my time.
I complicate things. Complexity does not equal intelligence. There is brilliance in simplicity. Intelligent processes reduce things and produce simpler, usable results; e.g., distilled water.
Instead of allowing myself to be stuck in negativity, I can simply ‘change the channel.’ It’s not always necessary to participate in hand-wringing about every difficult thing. Some things can’t be understood/resolved. Not everything needs closure. It’s okay to just remove myself or to simply ‘change the channel.’
I saw a young woman on tv who looked a bit like I had at her age. I thought she was so pretty, then realized that I hadn’t ever offered that same kindness or affection to myself. I am very critical of myself, cruel even.
Quantum mechanics has been a passion for half my life. I’ve often felt cheated by not being privy to that which exists but can’t be seen with the naked eye. I yearn to see the geometry that exists all around me so badly, I’ve been wildly envious of Jason Padgett, the bad-at-math, furniture salesman who acquired mathematical synesthesia after being mugged. He now sees the world in a series of mathematical designs; numbers are geometric shapes and the beauty of everything is seen through the lens of mathematics.
I suppose I knew that shopping for groceries, dusting, and other basic tasks could be a teensy bit challenging with ayahuasca visuals moving in and out of one’s field of vision, but my cravings for answers to mysteries like quantum entanglement are almost painful. Tonight, I received the message that not being privy to all these things truly is a gift. I almost always feel frustrated and unempowered by not seeing higher dimensions, but not being able to see them allows me more control as a human in this physical existence. My brain would probably explode if it was constantly fed more than it could take in. Also, being in a form/realm that allowed me to experience higher dimensions would be amazing, but what if I could no longer taste chocolate ice cream, cuddle with those I love, or feel the wind on my face? Tradeoffs.
Deeper Revelations/Healing (‘Overshare’ Warning- very personal and may be disturbing to some viewers):
As both a child and a young adult, I experienced sexual assault, one of which was especially terrifying. I also survived repeated physical violence and threats of death from my first spouse, who was irrationally jealous. Those experiences may be why I have been so disassociated from my body. It’s usually so dark when I shower, I have to feel the texture of my hair products to discern between shampoo and conditioner. Sometimes, I put bands around the conditioner, so I know it’s not shampoo. Body wash is kept in a specific place, so I don’t have to guess what’s in it. Braille packaging would be ideal.
After I had mostly come down, I took a shower with the full bathroom light on for the first time in decades. I cried as I walked into the shower and cried a few times during, but I made it through the whole shower without turning the light off. As the water washed over me, so did compassion for myself and all the self-loathing I’ve carried. No matter the state/size of my body, I’ve always loathed it. Though I was slender for much of my life, I interpreted it as ‘scrawny’. After starting SSRIs and gaining weight, I decided I was too large to be attractive. There was no winning, ever. I was simply hideous, always. Growing up, I moved around a lot, received attention from males, and was the recipient of cruel gossip, threats, and assumptions. Girls threatened to beat me up so many times, I lost count.
In my mind, I secretly began referring to myself in the third person. After my trip, it occurred to me that separating myself from the person who had experienced so much hurt not only quelled the pain but created a separate protector of sorts. About an hour after coming down, I realized that during the trip, I hadn’t thought of myself in third person for many hours.
About an hour after coming down, I realized that during the trip, I hadn’t thought of myself in third person for many hours.
Instead, I had been in the moment, feeling and experiencing. Normally, everything I do falls under ‘She.’ If I’m walking, for example, I ‘watch’ myself walk and think, “She’s walking.” I’ve rarely known what it’s like to simply experience anything. When I’m in public, people-watching, I’m perplexed at how others seem to just ‘be.’ I often wonder if they, too, are observing themselves and referring to themselves and their actions as a separate being, like I do. After this realization tonight, I came up with the phrase ‘She is Me.’ I plan to say that as often as possible moving forward when I think in third person, so I can stay aware of how disassociated I’ve been from myself.
Throughout my trip, I experienced small intermittent headaches. Though they were noticeable, they were not too painful, nor were they very distracting.
My hands didn’t appear to belong to me; they appeared foreign and pale in color. They seemed disconnected from my body for hours, which was a little creepy. I wrote down that I didn’t know ‘who’ was making my hands move.
Intermittent, mild headaches that subsided about ¾ of the way through.
What I did right - -
-Engaged in years of research and listened to/read the experience of hundreds of people before having this adventure.
-Let my younger siblings know what I was doing, knowing they would be kind and non-judgmental. They each said I could call later if I needed to. Though I did not call them when I was afraid, just knowing I could reach out to them made all the difference.
-I made my dogs a top priority by giving them extra love and attention, checking to ensure they always had fresh water, and making a great dinner for them. Having and meeting the responsibility of my dogs during the trip actually increased my confidence and probably helped me to not freak out when I was scared. During my crying spells, I even cried quietly, so as not to upset them (they’re sensitive).
- Didn’t leave the house except to explore the yard, which helped me to remain safe.
-Ate healthy food; stayed hydrated.
-Pre-planning/resources included a notebook that contained positive words/ideas, a nearby journal to write in as needed, deep breathing before and during, saved psychonaut YouTube videos, and a pre-made music playlist.
What I regret - -
-I didn’t let my spouse, who was many miles away working, know what I was doing ahead of time. In hindsight, not telling my spouse was insensitive. If something had gone wrong, my spouse would have been blindsided to hear bad news from my brother or sister.
-Though having this experience during fairly heavy snow seemed like a magical idea, if I’d had an emergency, medical personnel would have had a challenging time getting to me.
-Though I know I took a small dose, I should have used a scale to determine the exact dosage.
Though I know I took a small dose, I should have used a scale to determine the exact dosage.
Come up: 20 minutes (after a light breakfast.)
Visuals: Vibrant colors. Lavender, grey and black ceiling patterns; beautiful lavender fractals on bedroom ceiling. Some patterns appeared to be breaking apart, then came back together. The strongest visuals lasted for about 3 hours.
Physical discomfort/strangeness: Intermittent mild headaches. My hands didn’t appear to belong to me; they appeared foreign, pale in color, and disconnected from my body.
Fear level: Medium-high, but not extreme; about three separate instances (total length about one hour); pushed through them by communicating firmly with the darkness, getting out into nature, and visiting pre-written notes/reminders.
Summation: Not a ‘fun’ trip, but filled with gorgeous ceiling fractals, insights, healing, and growth. Planning ahead was helpful.
Come down: Faster than the come up, yet gentle.
Total trip length: About 6 hours.
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