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A Very Intense Education
Huasca Combo (Syrian Rue & M. tenuiflora)
Citation:   Scotto. "A Very Intense Education: An Experience with Huasca Combo (Syrian Rue & M. tenuiflora) (exp1767)". Jun 12, 2000.

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T+ 0:00
5.0 g oral Syrian Rue (seeds)
  T+ 0:45 20 g oral Mimosa tenuiflora (rootbark)
Had the opportunity last night to engage in some psychedelic adventurism. i had a certain quantity of mimosa hostilis, and a certain quantity of syrian rue. it seemed only natural that i investigate the possibilities.

my companion for the evening A came over around 10:pm or so, and we went to the grocery store to get lemon water. we received an excellent omen as we paid for our lemon water and popsicles. the total amount came to $7.77. not only that, but it turns out, when you pay with $8.00, your change is $.23 !

so. we had an amount of mimosa hostilis that i was told was equivalent to approximately four doses, and a bag of syrian rue seeds. we were told by a fellow visionary that 12-15g of mimosa would be a strong trip, but we had no scale for measuring. we decided to take a calculated risk; we knew we'd rather have 'more' of the experience than miss the threshold and have 'less', so we opted to prepare the entire amount of mimosa that we had on hand. first we eyeballed approximately 10g of the syrian rue (we were told ~3g would be a good dose to get the MAO effects, but again, without a scale, we found it easier to eyeball 10g than 6g). we boiled the seeds in a pot with a small amount of lemon water for about 30 minutes. throughout the boiling, we occasionally added more water as we saw fit, worried that if we weren't careful it would all boil off. we wound up with a small amount of ugly brown liquid, which we split between us and drank in a couple of gulps. it tasted absolutely horrid, much like bile or vomit might taste, no doubt due to the acid in the lemon water bearing a similarity to the acid in your stomach when it comes back. yuckola! we chased it with coca-cola, to no ill effect.

now, while the seeds were boiling, i had taken the mimosa outside, wrapped in two ziploc bags and some newspaper; put it on a cement stair, and pounded the crap out of it with a hammer. this left us with a fair amount of reddish-brown powder, plus lots of leetle stringie fibers. so. after we drank the seed juice, we put the mimosa powder/fibers in the pot and boiled *that* in lemon water for thirty minutes. by the time the mimosa was done boiling and cooling, we were feeling the mellow effects of the harmaline, which has its own lightly psychoactive effects at that level. we sat down with some queen music videos on the tv to force our way through drinking the ugly, thick red sludge that would launch us into the netherworld. (we were convinced that we were probably the only people on earth who were about to have an experience like this with queen in the background, har har.) we each wound up trying a different method of ingestion. A basically chugged his sludge down as rapidly as he could. i meanwhile sipped mine slowly over the course of a half an hour or so. now there is basically no chance that will be able to avoid vomiting this stuff out of you at some point; the only question is, how long can you keep it down. you need to keep it down long enough to get into the experience. A unfortunately vomited too soon; i speculated that because he reached a critical mass of the stuff in his stomach too quickly, he ejected it too quickly, and thus after *just* starting to feel some very cool effects, he rocketed back to baseline pretty much right after vomiting, which was most unfortunate.

i on the other hand wound up having a pretty intense evening.

i never particularly got any kind of 'alert' that signalled hey this is about to start... rather, after a point, roughly 30 minutes after i'd begun sipping the brew (and i sipped slowly all thruout that 30 minutes), suddenly i felt as though a light switch had been turned on, and *pow* i was *starting*. my living room suddenly took on an entirely new character; it was as though a new light source, extradimensional in nature, had been applied to the situation. i began noticing a shimmering quality to everything; a certain giddiness crept up on me, a mild euphoria, and i knew i was headed somewhere special. within perhaps 10 minutes of that initial 'on' moment, i began to notice pretty distinct behind-the-eyelid visuals, softly gently emerging. it was the character of the smoked DMT flash, but *slowly* unfolding instead of me being strapped to the front of a rocket.

now i suppose i do need to give you some personal context. during the past several months, i've cycled pretty heavily through some solid and significant doubt about my life course, particularly with regard to psychedelics. i had reached a place where i quite definitely no longer felt comfortable using the term 'entheogenic' to describe the experiences i'd been having. i also was revisiting old despair that came from continually finding myself devoid of a spiritual base from which to live; synthesizing and trying to understanding all the different approaches i had tried over the past several years to find spiritual comfort, all of which had failed me for one reason or another. i had definitely been questioning all kinds of things about myself, and was proceeding through life on the basis of Hope, more than anything else. a recent 5-me0-dmt experience a few weeks back had convinced me that despite my lack of a spiritual framework in which i felt comfortable, i was still enjoying the hell out of my time on earth, and on the whole, considered that to be a workable position for the time being.

in addition, i gave up doing LSD almost a year and a half ago. i was an extremely reckless psychedelic spelunker in younger days, with LSD in particular, ramping up the doses to levels that i was relatively unprepared for, and continuing research at that level far after it was proving useful to me in any way. LSD eventually began slapping me around. i was having the same bad trip pretty much relentlessly, and this trip could be characterized like this: after a certain point during an extremely intense peak, i become convinced that i have suddenly 'clicked into' some cosmic network of synchronistic communication with all things, and reality is now entirely within my control. it's an extremely delusional god-like state; not that i think i'm a god, but rather, i think i'm still me, only now i've tripped my way into knowing everything and being able to do whatever i like. my behavior during these delusions is based on that, and then after a point, i start to come down, realize i've been delusional, realize my behavior toward others present has been entirely inappropriate, and i crash extremely hard.

after several too many reckless choices involving LSD, and getting that result every time, i stopped. i needed time and distance in order to understand how i had gotten so far afield.

back to last night, then. the flash began rolling over me in waves. i got extremely cold, put on a robe, closed the windows, got a thick blanket. at this point i can no longer accurately report time markers. i had an eye pillow to help keep the light out, and the queen was turned off in favor of 3 excellent em:t cds in a row (undark, carl stone, woob1). now the first wave of visuals (and i use the term 'visuals' loosely, for it was kind of like being submersed in a synaesthetic sea of visuals, as opposed to just 'seeing' them) had an extremely combative feel to me, but this is characteristic of almost all of my psychedelic behind-the-eyelid visuals. i get an infinite variety of creatures/beings/weirdass things flying at me and trying to 'get' me, but there is always a barrier of awareness that keeps them on the 'other side' of the flash. the barrier infuriates them, but if i stay calm, i tend not to fear these apparitions at all; rather i consider this to be a default state from which more interesting things eventually develop. indeed, that was definitely the case. after a point i came to realize that the entire prismatic hyperdimensional wall of images that assailed me was itself one conscious entity, or rather, consciousness was distributed throughout the whirling churning prismatic wall - rows of eyeballs here, towers of screaming mouths there, twisted tortured faces churning past - an infinite array of these types of images, all constituting some kind of collected consciousness.

as i sat and thought on it, i began to realize that this was *not* the real experience that i was going to have, that this was some kind of initial test of my concentration. i was expected to intuit exactly how *false* the distractions in front of me were. by realizing the nature of the test, i passed it, and suddenly i felt a rather alarming phase change in my consciousness; it was as though i was suddenly astral projecting my way into an unearthly chamber, a vast hall. it is perhaps this part of the experience that leaves me with the most wonder and awe. i realized i was not alone. i realized i was sharing the space with one or two tiny alien consciousnesses. they examined me and played with me and i tried to understand them and they tried to understand me. i was well aware that even as these things seemed entirely alien to me, so i seemed entirely alien to them. however, after some time passed, i realized the joke was on me; the only reason *i* seemed like an alien to *them* was because *these tiny consciousness were basically children*. it was then that i realized there were much older, much more ancient, *much* more intelligent beings present. whereas the tiny alien children were little balls of multicolored awareness, these new beings presented themselves as vastly tall beings in enormous shadowed 'robes'. i realized that was in a *playroom* for these alien children. i realized that far above me, an untold number of beings were watching me from gallery 'seats' of some kind.

further, i realized i had *been here before*, very specifically during a smoked DMT experience i had had in california many years ago. i was stunned to realize, in fact, that all of the information i was currently receiving was information that i had *known* and *forgotten* after coming down from that smoked DMT trip. now i was seeing it fully and was being allowed to digest it.

after getting over my initial surprise, full communication began between myself and these entities. there were two of them in particular who seemed to be there specifically to communicate with me, and they were well aware that i was undergoing spiritual crisis in my life. a blisteringly frightening series of exchanges took places, crazy vignettes in which it became clear to me that they were offering *themselves* to me as gods. i could easily worship *them*. they could *easily* assume that role in my life, they assured me. what, too alien for you, scotto? looking for a god that walks and talks in a comfortable human form, or a god that you can easily anthropomorphize? sorry, scotto, but guess what - in the infinite strangeness of this universe, you get *us*, not god the father and god the son. (as background, i have a very intense lutheran background.) i was beginning to realize that this was a thoroughly horrifying prospect; i realized there was strong resonance between this experience and various gnostic christian sects that i had studied, in terms of how alien the gnostic godforms could seem and how awful human existence could be modeled. i began to wonder if this was not in fact what hell might feel like: you are given what you think you want, only to discover it is the absolute antithesis of what you actually wanted, *and* you're trapped there.

this too turned out to be something of a test, however. a fairly simple one in retrospect. i am nothing if not a solid hardass skeptic, and my instincts began broadcasting a message to me: 'hey! you don't in believe in *anything*, remember?' oh yeah! not only do i not believe in DMT entities being god, i really don't even believe in DMT entities in the first place! *whoosh*... i passed the test, and the next phase of the experience began.

i was now solidly plugged into a tremendous channel of pure information, and this connection would last the rest of the experience. during this time, i was absolutely flooded with what felt at the time to be tremendously creative and wonderful ideas. ideas about spirituality, ideas about my art, ideas about community, ideas about religion, wave after wave of ideas. i couldn't really keep up; what i mean is, i couldn't sort the ideas as they happened, or judge them in any critical fashion as they rolled over me. they were *all* presented to me, channelled into me, as fantastic ideas, and my sense of amazement and wonder began to expand. i began to feel giddy; i began to feel too astonished; i began to feel as though *any* of these ideas were possible if i could only muster the energy to pursue them. schemes to make the company i work for more successful; schemes to make a significant community effort fly; schemes to do this, schemes to do that. i began to feel a very recognizable flavor to the experience. it was the same spa ce as all of those bad LSD trips i'd had, the same flavor of delusion, except in this case, it was being presented with the solid, fundamental authority of the tryptamine experience. it was *so* hard to resist feeling as though everything was *working out* *right now* and *tomorrow i'd have everything i want*.

but that itself was the last test i faced. i was being taught a pretty huge fucking lesson. i had forgotten an essential maxim from good ol' terence mckenna: 'just because these aliens tell you stuff doesn't mean they're telling the truth!' in essence, during those heavy dose LSD experiences, i had disabled my ability to critically sift the 'information' i was receiving; i haphazardly 'believed' whatever came along *and then acted on it right then while still peaking*. the DMT was operating on that level, yes, but also giving me access to my observer again. it was letting me feel so solidly how enticing and seducing that kind of experience is, but it was also gently reminding me, 'none of this is going to work out. you are going to come down, and you'll have nothing.' i was riding the ideas, experiencing the bliss involved, finding some real gems and fantastic stuff right there in the core of the experience, but i was also well aware that it was ephemeral. it was a very intense education on that particular issue, and i have some solid answers now.

keep in mind that i threw up three times during this experience, once very near the beginning, once somewhere in the middle, and once right at the end. none of these were pleasant purges at all, but by the third time, i was quite stoic.

at some point i realized i had reached a plateau. the peak was gone; i was still heavily altered, but i could now hold conversation with A (who napped on and off during all this). it was a really good time, talking with him, hanging out, listening to woob, and trying to get a handle on the ideas that were in my head. eventually i got on irc and talked to a few stalwarts who were still up. i was feeling incredibly good. incredibly good. i felt as though i'd just had one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. i felt as though i suddenly had had the word 'entheogenic' entirely redefined/recontextualized for me; i felt as though a connection that i had lost had been restored. i knew that much of what i had experienced had been no more than blissful hallucination, but i had enjoyed feeling it. i stayed online for maybe 45 minutes before going to bed. total elapsed time from ingesting the mimosa brew til bed was approximately four and a half hours, perhaps slightly less. i slept extremely well; my body was quite exhausted and ready for rest.

first thing upon waking the next morning (about six and a half hours later), i began sorting through the experience. in the light of day, i knew that this would be the real test - integration, interpretation, meditation, understanding. during that time, i sifted out at least 3/4 of the ideas that i had had last night, realizing that, in the light of day, they were hollow, impossible, or in some cases, entirely wrong. i felt disappointment at first, realizing just how much of what i had experienced was a wild barrage of 'line noise'. however i slowly realized as well that what i was left with were some real solid jewels, and some very thought-provoking questions/issues to work through. among them...

for starters, i was RECHARGED with excitement for doing my one man show at burning man. i realized that i am actually preparing a show just like the old days, and i need to start taking it seriously. really seriously. and i was just fucking giddy with excitement about it. the form of the piece *finally* took shape, and i have a solid direction now and a sense of being in prep. at the same time, i was issued a solid challenge: i used to have a rule, when i was in college, that if i was rehearsing a show as an actor or director, for the run of that show i stayed off the drugs. i was basically told, get your act together; you've got all these plans to be on all kinds of drugs during burning man, and yet you think you're going to do three nights of theatre? it was kind of a slap on the wrist, and i'm pretty much doing some heavy thinking on that right now.

i also did an enormous amount of work on the lullabye cycle, the series of books i'm working on right now. books 3 and 4 pretty much took shape, i got some very clear ideas about what my antagonists are up to in the series, some very clear ideas about some important issues in book 10. i did a lot of very solid useful work on my fiction here; one consistently useful quality abt psychedelics for me has *always* been aesthetic/artistic exploration, and this experience put many others to shame in that regard.

for a solid stretch of the flash the night before, i found myself believing in god again. earlier that evening, while preparing for A to come over, i had been listening to my favorite musical 'jesus christ superstar'; there were resonances during the flash. i found myself believing in god again, understanding that the source of these good ideas and bliss was god. in the light of day, i no longer retained that faith in god (although i intend to revisit certain gnostic sources for research purposes). it's just not part of me any more. i may want it, but i don't have god in my life, and that's how it is. however, during the flash i reconnected to a sense of artistic hunger, and realized once again the central and fundamental importance of art in my life. the gnostic resonances were strong for me during the experience; these resonances will likely get ported into the lullabye cycle. more importantly, i have an intensely spiritual take on the writing of those books now. part of the 'plot' of the series is concerned with watching a religious group called the Circle develop over a period of hundreds of years; but i also realized that the symbology of that was extremely intertwined with my own desire to *develop* a religion that i felt personally comfortable in (ala chaos magick-style syncreticism). i think i knew that down deep already, but this experience made it all the more vivid.

now look, as i have said, i am an EXTREME skeptic. i'm not an atheist precisely, but i'm so fucking skeptical i can't even call myself properly agnostic. i don't know what i am. i also know that *any* of the stuff that i listed above could wind up being shallow misty wisps, apparitions that can't possibly bear scrutiny or continued examination. i don't actually believe in aliens or DMT entities, even if i'm forced to describe the experience that way due to lack of any other appropriate language. it's something i'm thinking about, that's all.

and that about sums it all up. A and I talked a bit about how much more enjoyable this experience would be outdoors, and i am thinking a lot about ritual settings and intention. and i do hope these data points wind up being useful or at least interesting - it sure as hell was interesting to experience! :)

Exp Year: 1998ExpID: 1767
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Jun 12, 2000Views: 134,885
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Syrian Rue (45), Mimosa tenuiflora (74), Huasca Combo (269) : Small Group (2-9) (17), Entities / Beings (37), First Times (2), General (1)

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