Mushrooms - P. subaeruginosa & Meditation
Citation: Kurt Schnitzel. "Conversations With the Land: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. subaeruginosa & Meditation (exp115516)". Erowid.org. Jun 18, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115516
Trip report from November 2020 - Middle of a 5 Day solo Camping Trip
Location: Margaret River Coast, South West Western Australia
Weather: Overcast and a little rainy
9:00am - Wake up and meditate
10:00am - Eat breakfast and go for a little walk through the lush landscapes around the beautiful campground to try and settle into awareness and sense of place.
12:00pm - Continue reading my book "Written in Stone" by Richard Cassaro which later set the tone for my trip. Very interesting book about ancient symbology and connections between ancient cultures.
1:00pm - Weigh out 3.5g of subs (Psilocybe Subaeruginosa) which I had picked earlier in the year about 1hr inland from where I was. Subs have been reported to be around 1.5x strength of Cubes so I estimated 3.5g should be about right for a Heroic Dose. I then ate the subs in a relaxed manner and anticipated to meditate in my tent for the entire trip as it was a bit stormy outside (oh how I was wrong).
*For a little context, I wrote the first few pages of this report in my journal in the evening while still a bit trippy and then finished the report sober over the next few weeks. There’s a little editing throughout but most of it is true to how I originally wrote it in my journal.
"Where do I begin? Well, it all started when I ate some mushrooms and began to meditate. Sure enough after 30mins or so, the ranger popped over to ask me to move my car because it was in front of the gate. I’m glad he did actually because it made me want to get up and explore rather than be stuck in my tent. That was a weird time. I began my journey armed with a water bottle and an open mind.
Feelings were fresh as you can imagine going through a break-up, alone on mushrooms walking along a rugged and remote coastline. I followed the cape-to-cape (popular walking trail) sign while appreciating the gorgeous vegetation. Anxiousness turns to wonder as one foot goes in front of the other. My first visitor, a beautiful baby sand goanna, lays nestled in her bed under craggedy, bone dry and dead branches. I sat next to her admiring the dazzling cream and red stripes coating her tough, leathery armour. I can see quite clearly where Aboriginal people get their inspiration for dot paintings. After thinking that I might be scaring the poor girl, I move on.
To my utter amazement, in that I should have expected this being on a popular walking trail, I bump into two middle aged, female hikers who start with “you’re the first person we’ve seen!”
I responded confused “oh really?”
With some expectation that I needed to live up to being that first person. We exchanged some very awkward q’s and a’s before I just had to keep on walking as people were too much for me. So I kept walking, having some nice insights and feeling good all round with some reflective emotions around the break-up.
I don’t know how long I walked before I thought I should probably turn around in case my guiding markers were off (the massive rocky peninsulas in the distance). I headed back along the path and came across this beautiful clearing beneath some coastal trees and I immediately felt drawn to it, invited almost. I thought, “this is a special place, ancient and used by Aboriginal people before.”
I sat here admiring the preciousness and started to arrange some rocks, to leave a place nicer than I found it. I found a great peace in this practise, it felt ancient, ancestral, timeless. I laid there, slowly arranging rocks into a triptych (look it up) mandala shape and couldn’t help but feel some sense of communication going on. Like I was in the right place at the right time and doing the right thing. I dwelled on my origin as a human, not being from Australia. The land began to talk. It told me “we are all from the land - Mother Earth.”
I felt this divine connection, a warm hug from the earth, herself was talking to me. I asked, “why me?”
She said, “because you listen.”
I was overcome with emotion and let it all out. Tears flowed out of me, crying for the pain my mother (earth) had felt, for the wounds and scars left behind by invaders and rock hungry thieves, for the pain endured by the children she had raised since time began, for the connection to her that we westerners have severed. I dug my stick into the ground and told her I will fight to re-establish this sacred connection, a giving and receiving relationship. Words can’t describe the events that unfolded here. Endless gratitude for the wisdom and acceptance bestowed and endowed on me. I was in direct contact with the spirits, and they accepted me. They trusted me and I trusted them. They spoke to me through the creaking of the branches in the wind, through the feelings rushing in my body, through the birds that sang in the air, through the critters scuttering on the ground, through the sifting sand and ancient rocks holding me up as if each produced word, forming a sentence, creating a story. Every thought or action from then on dissolved in triviality and all that was left was awareness, I couldn’t look away. The land is what comes first. She is the priority for me and I for her. All anxiety melted away, euphoria took over, rhythm and touch became forms of expression and communication and I indulged in these simple pleasures. Hours went by before she tells me the next part of my journey begins. I left the site knowing that spirits live there and had supported and accepted me.
Armed with my newfound courage and mentor, I began the journey home hoping to see the baby goanna I had met and probably scared earlier. My balance was off as I stumbled over the rocky terrain, swinging from side to edge of the path, trusting my feet, my guidance. Trusting that special something to carry me in safety with complete awareness of every cell in my body. As the path meandered towards the edge of the cliff, a wave of stark coldness hit me, unsure why my playful attitude had been stunned, shocked and frozen. I tuned in and she spoke to me again. “Listen,” she told me.
I looked at the edge of the cliff, she told me of the life which had been lost right there at the centre of my gaze, she witnessed it herself. I found this hard to believe and questioned my instinct. But she confirmed it as if any truthful human had witnessed it. Everything stopped.
Plants stopped swaying in the breeze, dead branches shone through the breathing vegetation of life and made themselves so clear to me. “Be careful,” she said.
And just like that I realised how this experience we call life can end. Just as the branches stop in motion once life retreats from them, so can life stop at any moment, for anyone. We exist for the experience so make it as beautiful as you can. This became my new mantra.
One step forward begins the journey again, complete presence and surrender to the moment, no expectations, what will happen next?
I came across the resting place of the baby goanna but she was gone. I was disappointed but soon realised that was because I expected her to be there. “You can’t just expect these things,” she told me.
Content with my new lessons, I started walking again. A silly, stupid grin stretched my face and joyful prancing through the breathing, elegant and beautiful landscape resumed. Until… I was stopped dead in my tracks by the grandma of all goannas, stretching at least my arm span in length and guarding the path beyond. I had nowhere to run. If I tried to go around to the right there was a cliff edge, if I tried to go around to the left there was a vast expanse of thorny, impenetrable shrubland. Gleaming with beauty and ferocity, she gazed at me in heightened awareness, I was stunned. “What will you do here?”
the land asked me rhetorically.
The symbology had come full circle, I’d scared the baby, now the mother had scared me. Having realised my connection to the land which runs so deep, I trusted her in all my heart. I knelt down slowly, inching closer with locked eyes, trying to read her. I felt as if I needed to get on my belly like her to form a closer relationship. By this stage I was about a metre away with no defense, pure love and trust. We became in tune with each other. As she heard birds fly overhead, so did I, as I moved a slight inch, so would she. I tapped into the pure awareness of the goanna’s survival mode which after who knows how long, turned in a relaxed state. Her eyes began to soften, basking in the sun, she became soothed and calm in my presence…
The power of this sacred moment lasted an eternity, lost in each other’s eyes we recognised consciousness, expressions of the same source in oddly shaped bodies.
I just laid there watching her.
A call for the next quest came in, I slowly got up, breaking the sacred connection. She raised up and stuck her tongue out in displeasement. I took two big steps back as she stomped off into the bush, the path was opened. Just then a hawk flew metres above my head, hovering in the howling wind with complete precision. Such incredible skill to maneuver through the air, he was showing off a little. The animals were speaking to me, they all have likes and dislikes just like us. They were all born of the land like us and share the same struggles. It’s easy to think that we are an advanced species above the rest but it’s also incredibly biased as we’re just one of those animals who decide. It could be argued that animals are more advanced than us because they are more suited to sustainably live in their environment. We have lost our ability to live with the land, taking more than we need without giving back. We siphon the beauty out of this world because we want it to be ours. The funny thing is it’s already ours to experience. If we cut through the illusion that we are all a separate, individual self then we can experience the beauty outside of our body as one. If this sounds like every spiritual woffle that you’ve heard before then I sympathise with you, I’ve been there before and no matter how much reading I did, nothing compares to the direct experience only you can receive. It’s like trying to describe the colour blue to someone who’s never seen it before, you can say it’s between red and purple, you can say it’s like the sky or the ocean but these are all words describing something you can’t experience with words. Appreciation for this gift of experience should be reciprocated and passed on through your own expression of beauty. I’ll leave you to decide what that means in your own life.
Rant over, back to the story.
The next part of the quest was accepting reintegration. The message was clear, I had to be brave and face the world as I am. The peak of the trip had started to fade but I was still well and truly part of the boodja (land in Noongar language). In any state, I have to be honest, and it was the honesty to myself which led me to listen once more. I needed to share my experience with the people camping near me. How was I going to do this? I struggle with approaching people sober let alone still tripping, complete strangers and probably still a mess from crying so much, red and wide eyed. It would have been about 6 hrs or so by then, I was wearing an old, ripped white shirt (not so white now), a dirty orange rain jacket, some old tracksuit pants and holding a brown water bottle, originally white earlier in the day. This was one of my hardest lessons, facing the world as I am. And boy… did it pay off.
What am I going to say? I thought to myself. “The land told me to come to you.”
Was the reply I received. I wasn’t so confident yet as I’d never experienced any human saying that to me or heard of anyone saying that to anyone else for that matter. But the more I thought about it, the more I became comfortable with the idea. After all, it’s an attention grabbing introductory sentence. I’d be surprised to receive an ‘Oh yeah?’ followed by an awkward silence which is typical for my conversations of small talk after pouring my heart out in vulnerability. So I settled on that, I’m going to the people camping near me and tell them the land sent me to you. I stumbled back across the dirt road into the campsite, birds chirping, babies crying, pumping myself up to talk to the nearby campers. A deep breath eased me back into my campsite area, I glanced over to see the only other tent nearby was still there, nerves filled my gut. I glanced over again and realised their car was gone and just like that it hit me, they weren’t home. For a sudden moment I was lost, confused and unprepared for this outcome. I remembered my lesson from earlier, don’t expect things to happen. My anxiousness subsided and I began to light the fire, get cosy, get fed and have a glass of rose from an opened, 2 day old bottle. I began to write in this very journal as I came back down to Earth. Kangaroos provided critique as the early night faded into late. It was time to rest, enough for one day.
The next morning the car was there. Only, there was one person, not two as I predicted and she was a girl. Gone was my confidence from yesterday afternoon, bed head and an extra night (totalling 5) of no shower stench took its place. And now that I knew there was only one beautiful girl to speak to made for a tough situation. She was hanging around her car and I knew that I couldn’t let her leave without my message from the land. Luckily my car was next to hers so I looked for the easiest thing to pack away and use as an excuse to walk by and say “Hey, how’s your camping trip going?”
Is what came out. “Good,” she replied, before explaining that she was babysitting but there wasn’t enough room in the house, something like that. I was finding it hard to focus on words and her glistening blue jewels for eyes. I soon cut to the chase, I needed to tell her about my experience. It never quite feels like the right time to tell a stranger about taking heaps of drugs and talking to the land so I just went for it. She (Lara) was amazingly receptive, suspiciously, almost as if she knew what I had been through and provided links from her knowledge of Aboriginal stories (which turns out runs quite deep) to mine. Here are a couple of examples. Remember when I asked the land why me? And the land said because you listen. Lara told me that in certain tribes if you listen to the land for 8 years or more then the land may accept you. This resonates deep within me. I also told her about during the trip when I felt compelled to thump my feet while laying in the dirt. She told me there are dancing grounds around with a perfect ratio of dirt to rock giving a nice thump sound… Strange little coincidences like that kept on happening throughout our chat, interrupted with hugs and lasted for at least an hour or two. She told me a beautiful quote “you give a gift of yourself to others when you show your vulnerability.”
This is exactly what took place, a mutual sharing of vulnerability. It was the most real conversation I’ve ever had with a total stranger, or anyone for that matter. I had to talk with her again. As I packed my things, I came over to her swag to say goodbye but she didn’t reply. She must have been asleep. My heart sank, how was I going to keep in contact without saying goodbye? So, I built the courage to leave my details (which I have never done before) under her towel which was drying on her bonet. I got in my car with a smile on my face and began to drive home. The closer I approached civilisation, the more I realised the integration that would be required. It overwhelmed me.
The closer I approached civilisation, the more I realised the integration that would be required. It overwhelmed me.
After reading into culture, I discovered many parallels between my experience and Aboriginal spirituality. One major discovery was that some spirits actually bring people together which is exactly how it felt. A message from the spirits of the land to go and find Lara and tell her what happened. Strange stuff hey?
I’m usually pretty science/secular/atheist type but after one too many coincidences I can’t ignore it anymore. It doesn’t satisfy my explanation of experience sufficiently. Even if there’s no real explanation, I’d rather one with spirits, magic, powers and imagination like cultures of the past believed and who seemed to be much more in tune with the nature of reality and the reality of nature.”
*I wouldn’t recommend a journey like this unless you’ve had plenty of experience with psychedelics and meditation practise. It is recommended to have an experienced guide/friend with you if you’re thinking about it. I will say though it was profoundly powerful to have been through it all alone but it could have also turned out very differently. Months later I’ve found it incredibly difficult to maintain that clear state of mind and integrate the experience into the society we’ve built. It’s such a shame that these plant medicines which are so effective are seen as criminal. I hope future generations are able to have experiences like these without fear of incarceration. As Graham Hancock says, we deserve the right of adult sovereignty over our own consciousness.
P.s. Lara messaged me the next day and we sent long messages to each other reflecting on that conversation :)
Thanks for reading,
Kurt Schnitzel xx
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