Citation: Jase Complex . "Death By Astonishment: An Experience with LSD & DMT (exp113027)". Erowid.org. Apr 11, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113027
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My only experience is with DMT freebase. The MAOI in ayahuasca typically leads to severe gastrointestinal distress, pain, diarrhea, and vomiting are typical of the experience, and Iím not all that interested in shitting and puking my brains out as they are simultaneously sucked into the interstellar vacuum. There are multiple ďlevelsĒ of the DMT trip, the most intense being whatís known as a ďbreakthoughĒ dose, which is said to be the most powerful experience a person can have, after having been through it, Iím inclined to agree.
I want to note that I did not undertake this experience as a rank amateur. At this point in my psychedelic journey I was smoking DMT at least once a week and had well over dozen trips under my belt, as well as several acid trips, mushroom trips, mdma, and 2cb. You could say I fancied myself a psychonaut who could handle his shit. I have since been humbled.
I fancied myself a psychonaut who could handle his shit. I have since been humbled.
I was having no luck actually breaking through, I would get close, but never actually to the point of a full breakthrough experience. I thought that maybe I had broken through a couple of times, but one thing Iíve since come to realize is that there is no ďmaybeĒ to a breakthrough experience, if you have to ask upon exiting a DMT trip, ďDid I break through?Ē the answer is no.
One thing that I feel obligated to get out of the way now is that this effort of mine, to describe my experience, will be a colossal failure. I will do my best, but I will fall short, language is simply insufficient to convey a breakthrough experience to someone who hasnít had the experience. I like to think of describing a breakthrough as trying to describe a 3 dimensional object youíve never seen by a memory of its shadow. That being said, there will be no hyperbole in the following paragraphs, everything will be described to the best of my abilities. The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated, this is an experience that changed me at my core, an experience that shattered my perceptions of the universe and scattered the powdered remnants into the cosmic wind. The report will be split into two parts, the first will entail the experience as I remember it, not necessarily in the exact chronological order in which they occurred, time is a bit strange in the DMT world, and Iíve pieced what I can remember into a series of events that to me makes sense. The second part will be about how I have processed this experience over the past couple of years (yes, it has taken me that long to finally feel comfortable writing up a report), and how it has changed my core beliefs involving religion, consciousness, and indeed existence itself.
Part One: The Experience
It was a hot summer Saturday, my wife was at work and I was home alone with nothing to do, so I decided dropping some acid would be a good way to spend the day. I had recently gotten some 120μg tabs and I decided 2 would be a good dose, as one never seems to do all that much to me. One thing I love doing while on acid is listening to Terence McKenna, his way of speaking, the lateral thinking he displays and the novel ideas he puts forth are always more entertaining and inspiring to me while on acid. On this fateful day I happened to come across a video in which he describes smoking DMT while peaking on acid, and it seemed to make breaking through much easier, and I happened to have a stash of DMT and was nearing the 4 hour mark of my trip. In hindsight the hubris that follows is almost comical. I nonchalantly got my bong out, spread a layer of cannabis in the bowl, measured out 50mg of DMT, and put another layer of cannabis over the DMT. For any not in the know, the purpose of the cannabis was less to add to the high and more to protect and absorb the DMT, DMT is destroyed by open flames and becomes liquid when heated, so the bottom layer absorbs the liquid and stops it from just running into the water while the top layer keeps the flame from directly contacting your expensive DMT.
I looked at the clock on my stove, which I can see from the living room, 4:32. I flicked my bic, placed the flame to the bowl and inhaled as deeply as I could. One hit. One hit is all I was ABLE to do, as before I even remember exhaling I was gone, I donít know if I coughed, I donít know how long I was able to hold it in. Fast is an entirely insufficient adjective to describe how fast freebase DMT hit me, especially already peaking on LSD. It doesnít seem physically possible how fast it hit, itís as if my brain started dumping it endogenously in preparation for the freebase thatís about to hit it, itís the closest thing to an instantaneous effect Iíve ever felt.
I just messed up, bad. This is something entirely different from the experiences Iíve known to this point, this was somehow REAL, this combination had done something to alter the very fabric of reality, and I knew immediately that I had made a huge mistake. I remember looking at the purple and orange, sun and moon tie-dye tapestry we have hanging on our wall (yes weíre hippies, get over it) and having the colors and spiral shape spread across the entire room, with every piece of furniture taking on orange and purple colors, and then distorting and spiraling upwards as if I were about to receive a visit from the Cat in the Hat. The visitor I actually received was far less pedestrian than a talking cat from a Dr. Seuss story. This orange and purple spiraling was the only open eye visual I managed to see, as immediately after taking the hit I fell back on our old futon and was no longer able to hold my eyes open. Eyes closed, mind opened.
Everything was black and eerily silent at first as I felt myself begin to be pulled/pushed upwards, away from my body. Looking up I saw blackness, with a pinprick of white, this white was what I was floating towards, slowly, and inexorably. I looked down, I could seeÖ myself, my body, the crappy futon that had long outstayed its welcome, there was a hole in my ceiling through which I could see myself getting smaller as I moved upwards towards the waiting unknown.
Thatís when the real terror began. I knew I was never coming back, that my wife was going to come home and find me comatose, and that old futon that I hated so much would be where I died. I was going to leave my wife alone, forcing her to find me in that condition, scarring her for life because I had thought myself capable of concomitant psychedelic use when nothing was further from the truth. I felt powerless, stupid, selfish, I hated myself in that moment. This was terrifying, because I knew it was real, there was no doubt in my mind. As I continued being pulled from above and pushed from below, getting further and further from my body the layers of myself began peeling away. Slowly, every aspect of me that I could call ďmeĒ was being discarded, the last part of myself that I desperately clung to was my wife, the memories of her, both of loving tenderness and bitter arguments, I didnít want to lose her, she had to be forcibly torn from my grasp, and it wasnít a pleasant experience. This was ego death, this was me dying, and from this point on I didnít really consider myself to be myself, there was no ego attached to me with which perceive the event. I will continue to use ďIĒ and ďmy" but thatís only because thatís how our memory works, I wasnít me anymore, I understand the confusing, and unintuitive nature of this perspective, of being conscious, of witnessing, participating, thinking, reacting, and feeling without an ďIĒ to be.
With the fading of my ego came the fading of my resolve to cling to myself, and with much fear and trepidation of what was to follow, I finally let go of myself completely, I allowed myself to die. Once I let go, and accepted my dying, an overwhelming calm swept across me and the pervasive blackness all around began teeming with activity, light, and voices. These voices, singular in tone and pitch and yet innumerable in repetition and seeming sources were feminine in energy, maternal, and loving. The love I felt from those voices, the care, the worry for me, Iíll forever hold onto that feeling, there was a genuine, unabashedly accepting quality that left no doubt in my mind that the amount of love they felt for me was complete. The voices kept repeating the same mantras ďWe just donít know, we donít know, we just donít know.Ē And though the words were vague, the meaning was crystal clear and unambiguous to me. They didnít know what was on the other side, and they were sending me to find out, they were worried about me, they loved me and didnít want any harm to befall me, but they were grateful that I was going to find out, that I had volunteered. For some reason I have always attached the name ďGaiaĒ to these voices, they seemed to belong to the earth itself somehow.
As I looked down again I could no longer see myself, instead what presented was ethereal, green, verdant energy in wafting tendrils like a kelp forest composed of light, swaying gently in calm sea. There were spots of light in all colors, photons slowed to crawl so that I could examine them, appreciate them, name them individually. I then turned my attention upwards and the pinprick of white light had grown exponentially and was now a shimmering white wall, pulling me towards it, beckoning me to enter it and behold the majesty within. There was a voice on the other side, masculine, less kind and loving than the one that had ushered me to this point, but far from malicious.
As I came to the wall the light that had surrounded me again faded to blackness and the loving voices stopped. What I could hear now from the wall was a continuous, low humming sound that didnít grow louder as I neared it, but somehow fuller, more complete, as if it were a frequency that had begun resonating inside of my mind. As I neared the wall I began to feel a tingling sensation from being near it, as if it were composed of a static electric charge. I entered the wall, it didnít open for me, but I was able to pass through with no resistance. As I did there was a crinkling, crackling noise, reminiscent of a potato chip bag crumpling. My vision was entirely white, I passed through it.
The sight I was confronted with directly on the other side should have left me mortified, but it didnít. There, suspended in space was my own decapitated head, but it wasnít macabre or gruesome in any sense. My head was being used as a projector, images beaming out of my eyes showing my life playing out, the stresses, pains, and pleasures Iíve enjoyed and endured. Then the voice spoke up, there was no body to this voice, it was a calm, masculine, objective sounding voice, no love, but no malice either, it said to me ďThis is what it tookĒ and a set of images played out that he seemed to control. These images were my own memories, of times Iíve displayed curiosity in the face of adversity, how Iíve shown courage, made sacrifices and refused to believe what I was told, choosing to find out for myself. Simply in getting here I had to make myself an enemy of the culture in which I live, a criminal, ostracized and having to keep who I truly am under wraps from family and coworkers. I am brave, perhaps a bit foolhardy at times, but I have shown a sense of courage that most are unwilling to match.
It should be known that I have severe depression, and donít often think positively about myself. I considered myself a coward, weak, and deserving of the ostracism I fear. Being shown all of these things that are undeniably true, and also positive, filled me with a heretofore unknown sense of satisfaction with myself, who I am, who I am becoming, how I think, and how I think about my thoughts. Iíve never had myself shown to me in such an objective light. He wasnít trying to make me feel good, he was simply showing me who I am, who I was in life. Indeed if I were a different person, with a different set of experiences, if I were an abusive, Machiavellian, greedy, and all around shitty person, being shown my lifeís actions without the filter of my ego would have been hell. Bad people arenít bad in their minds, they have justifications for their actions that allows them to hold onto the myth that they are decent people. This entityís purpose seemed to be to show those who come to him who they are, objectively, without emotion, without justification.
When he was finished there was a loud, echoing snap noise, someone snapping their fingers in a cave. At this sound, I dissolved. Each and every molecule and atom of my being separated and dispersed throughout the universe, I was nothing, I was everything. ďI am God.Ē Just like that, with three tiny, prodigious words, everything I knew as a devout secular atheist vanished. How can I say there is no God when I AM God? What is God? God is existence, God is consciousness, and I am God. Before my eyes was laid infinity, the scope, the scale, the grandeur of the universe, it was too much to handle but I had no choice, it was there and so was I. This is the part of the trip that sadly has lost the most detail, Iím left with more of an absolute impression than the individual details. I recall traveling vast distances, visiting distant worlds and observing alien life. I saw the Mandelbrot of existence in its entirety all at once, viewing every individual fractal spire in intimate, individual detail while simultaneously marveling at the beauty and immensity of the image as a whole. I was pervasive throughout the Universe and could travel wherever I wanted at a whim, instantly. I knew everything, I watched stars go from disparate gas clouds to supernovae, seeing every second of their lives in an instant. This was pure happiness, knowledge on a scale impossible to contain in a human mind. I then began falling, slowly at first, accelerating constantly.
I didnít pass through any of the ďlevelsĒ I had crossed when coming, instead I fell into blackness, but I was falling from every direction, the atoms composing my being returning from their cosmic diaspora, coalescing back into myself, and as I fell I became myself again. Piece by piece I began to remember who and what I was, I looked down and I was falling towards the Earth, I could again see my body through a hole in my roof, I was falling towards it with the acceleration of gravity. I passed through my roof, then my ceiling, I landed back inside of myself and immediately opened my eyes and inhaled deeply, awake, aware. I looked around the room, everything was tinted green, the walls were covered in impossible constantly transforming opalescent geometric patterns, I looked at one of my dogs, Spicy, a short, squat bulldog/pitbull mix, someone had clearly been having fun in photoshop with her, colors and contrast altered unnaturally, her brindle pattern fuzzing into the air itself, she was a spectrum of matter fading into nothing at the edges, and I said out loud ďThank God, everything is back to normal.Ē Compared to where I just was this was normal, this was the reality I know, just altered somewhat. I looked at the clock, 4:37. 5 minutes. All of that happened in the course of 5 minutes, coming out it felt like literal weeks, while I was there time seemed not to exist at all, or at least not in the linear way we know it. But I was back, after knowing for sure that I wouldnít be, and I was happy, I couldnít wait for my wife to get home, to hug her, to know for sure that I came back and everything was the same.
But nothing has been the same, how could it be after what Iíve experienced? I truly see the world differently, my core beliefs, altered irreparably by a 5 minute experience. This was by far the most terrifying event in my life, I died, thatís not hyperbole, I lost who I was and thought I would never get it back. Scary though it may have been, it was also by far and away the most powerful experience Iíve ever had, this is an experience that redefined the words ďpowerĒ and ďaweĒ for me, I didnít know what those words meant, the true definitions arenít to be found in a dictionary, they must be experienced to be comprehended. Do I regret my irresponsible actions, putting myself into a situation I wasnít ready for? Absolutely not, I canít say this experience was one I necessarily enjoyed in the moment, but I havenít regretted doing it for even one second. Would I have done it if I had known what I was in for? Absolutely not, I havenít repeated this combination because every time I think about doing it Iím viciously aware of what Iím likely to go through, that kills the desire outright, itís scary as hell now that I know. Do I recommend anyone else combine LSD and DMT? Absolutely not, I only say this because of how immensely terrifying the experience was, Iím not going to stop anyone from going down the road I went down. but I cannot in good conscience recommend someone else repeat my actions, this is a decision to be made by mature adults, for themselves, you are the master of your own destiny and will reap what you sow.
Will I do it again? Iíd like to think yes, but not anytime soon Iím honestly scared of DMT now
Will I do it again? Iíd like to think yes, but not anytime soon Iím honestly scared of DMT now
, it was my favorite drug from the moment I got my first good hit (despite the taste) Iíve now done it 3 times in the past two years, despite it being right there, beckoning. Was this an overall positive experience? Absolutely, no single experience has changed my thought processes and opened my mind more than this one, I really think I learned more about this universe in that single trip than in all my years of school.
If you are thinking of trying this combination, itís imperative that you have ample experience with both LSD and DMT separately, and remember that itís not LSD *plus* DMT, itís LSD *times* DMT. One piece of advice for anyone embarking on this journey, just let go, you will come back, donít cling to yourself, your loved ones, or anything in this world that you deem important, youíre leaving all of that behind when you agree to take these molecules into your body, itís not a decision to make lightly.
Part 2: Processing
Itís now been 2 full years since this experience, and Iím not sure if Iíve gone 8 full hours without thinking about it at least once. This was a legitimate religious experience. I didnít think religious experiences were actually possible until I had one. The term had the same significance to me as the term ďfairy taleĒ. Now it carries more significance than Iím sure it does to 90% of devout Christians, a truly religious experience is far more profound to the individual than anything that can be found in the Bible.
Now, on being God. This whole ďI am GodĒ thing really threw me for a loop and I had to think a long, long time about what that meant. Do I think Iím the Christian God? No, I donít believe in the Christian God, I donít believe Iím anymore God than anyone else, but I think everyone else is also God. God is existence, consciousness. Itís not some separate entity to be worshipped, because everything is God. I believe Our brains do not generate consciousness, rather consciousness is a dimension and our brains tune into it like radios of sorts. All matter is conscious on some level, everything that exists knows on some level that it exists, what it is, and how it should behave. That ďlevelĒ is dependent on the level of complexity, a giant boulder is far less complex than the inch worm crawling across its surface, and as a result the inch worm, despite being far smaller, and containing far fewer atoms is on a higher level of consciousness. The reason we are ďmoreĒ conscious than other animals is that we are more complex than other animals, specifically in our brains. Were we to create a machine or program (or more likely a combination) that is as complex as the human body, with the complexity of our neural network it would be as conscious as we are.
One thing that I cannot shake is the similarity between my experience and some stories Iíve heard in some religions. Most notably the entity who showed me my life, if other people have met this entity before, I could very well see him being the origin of the ďPeter at the gates of HeavenĒ story (and every other similar myth, of which there are several) judging your life, determining whether you get into Heaven or Hell. Like I said, if I had been an awful person, this experience would have been hell, and were I the most virtuous, least flawed person on the planet it would have been Heaven. As it is Iím a decent person, Iíve done things I regret, but overall I am a good, kind, just, and honest person, and while I wouldnít exactly call it Heaven, it was closer to Heaven than Hell.
Could this have just been a drug induced hallucination with no significance beyond that? Certainly, and I never allow myself to forget that possibility. However, anyone who thinks there is no significance to these experiences beyond interesting, purely chemical alterations of brain chemistry and neural pathways is someone I can almost guarantee hasnít had an experience on this level. You canít see what Iíve seen and felt what Iíve felt and say itís just the drugs, you canít have traveled distances and beheld scales which dwarf everything you thought possible and think ďI was just high.Ē I had no idea that a person could endure an experience so powerful, but I have, I know they exist, and Iím somewhat saddened by how few ever get to see and experience an event so intense so utterly astonishing. Falling in love, marriage, the birth of a child, losing the one most cherished to you, these are are all experiences that are bound to be powerful and have profound effects on a person, none of these hold a candle to a breakthrough. Iím not trying to offend any parents or people who have lost loved ones in saying this, but Iím convinced that there is nothing that can happen in a normal human life thatís as intense, strange, and indescribable as a breakthrough. If there is an experience more powerful, I donít think Iím interested in having it.
I no longer fear death. Before this experience, being a secular, naturalist atheist, my biggest fear was death, but now that Iíve been on the other side, seen what there is, I no longer fear it. I do think there is more to this universe than we can see before us, and I donít think oblivion follows this life.
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