Citation: Georg. "There and Back Again: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp52124)". Erowid.org. Jan 13, 2007. erowid.org/exp/52124
Hello fellow psychonauts,
I recently experienced my psychedelic initiation. I had read stupendous amounts of experience reports, chemical information, books and text snippets about set and setting, dangers of use and the effects of psychedelics, and thought myself prepared to look myself into the eyes on a psychic level. 29 years of age, rather inexperienced with drugs, but mentally open, I decided to give them a shot. Bear with me, this is going to become a long, incomplete text.
Originally I had tried to lay my hands on some LSD, but that being unavailable, my best friend thankfully got us two grams of dried shrooms (I had to bug him INTENSELY to do this, though - a big 'thank you' is possibly in order here for all my nagging ;)
We prepared his flat to be as cozy as possible during our voyage, arranging some candles, sliced fruit, pens and paper, cushions and blankets around and turned off all which could distract us (note here: everyone seems accustomed to leave mobile phones running 24/7, I turned my off, I think it would tip me off balance badly to have mine blare off in the middle of a trip).
All preparations done and curiosity rising to an almost unbearable level, we both ate 1 gram of the shrooms on semolina pudding. They didn't taste as bad as I had read, even without pudding, but I can understand why some people might hate the taste - it's earthy, and, well, shroomy ;)
My mindset was clear, focused and calm. Having nothing special to worry about on my mind was essential, as it set the course for a good trip to come.
It all started with ever so slight halos around the candle flames on our coffee table, around thirty minutes after ingestion. The more I stared at them, the more pronounced the rainbow rings around them seemed to become. Anxious about whether I was 'already there', I turned to face my friend, who asked me whether I could see the objects moving in the corners of my field of vision. That's when I realized we were getting there, because yes, they were moving, twitching when I turned away from them, a lamp that wiggled just before it was out of sight when turning my head, the table wobbling as if it was made of rubber, and a water bottle developing jittering movements on it's own.
My body felt like belonging to someone else, heavier, less close to my will. At this time, everything was happening on a sensory level - I couldn't focus my mind on anything as I was rapt with excitement about how the world was changing before my own senses, as if it's substance had never been as rigid as I had expected it to be all my life. We giggled just about everything we said and saw, and I had a reassuring feeling that even my friend, who is an experienced user, looked just as flabbergasted and in childlike awe as me - very good to notice that, because it kept me from feeling inferior due to being less experienced, one of the mini-fears I successfully fought off during the trip.
Things pretty much developed into an upward spiral from that on. Climbing up to our peak, reality lost it's cornerstones in rapid succession. I felt like I had organized everything I ever knew into neat little cupboards and tagged it all with post-it notes describing how things are called, how they feel when touched, how they are used and what sense they make - and now I sat there peeling off the notes, discarding all my database entries and experiencing everything anew. How incredibly BANANA a piece of banana tasted like - and how overwhelmingly BIG it became once I tried to swallow it! The water from the bathroom tap became a soft, cool, gel-like substance of wonderfully refreshing nature, and it seemed strangely out of place that we had to pump it up through a metal tube to use it.
At some time my friend had a worried look on his face, and was staring into a candle intensely. In a little flash of consciousness I noticed that he might be having a bad time, and I wanted him to turn his mind to more cheerful things - so I just smiled at him, and although I was sitting still, I had the feeling that I had walked up to him from some distance away, touched him somehow and made him look up and relax. Instantly the worried look disappeared, and we felt like we were in the same place in space, not just in his flat, but also mentally. That feeling of unity didn't fade throughout the trip, and there were several moments when we looked each other into the eyes and just knew that we were walking through the same enchanted forests.
Talking about forests - I felt like I was wandering through endless landscapes of terrifying beauty, vast desert dunes, paths through endless fields and forests and the shores of uncharted oceans. I had always discarded experience reports that mentioned this as being a little over the top, as I couldn't accept that you can travel somewhere else in your mind in this state. Well, I definitely could, and I spent what felt like hours walking through fantastic realms (which made me utterly happy, because I knew that my own mind was making up these images for me, and I nearly cried because of the beauty that our visions can achieve).
I decided to go into the bathroom to have a pee, and inexplainably, I didn't turn on the light in there. It was about 10 p.m. and the tiny bit of light leaking through the shuttered window was barely enough to make out the room's features.
I started hallucinating wildly. I felt like I was sitting on an endless ceramic plane in pitch black darkness. The room receded into the distance and left me all alone in what seemed like black fog covering everything around me. Vaguely human-looking figures walked up to me, but remaining face- and featureless, they looked at me from a distance in silence. For a split second I was faced with the looming fear of being totally alone in an alien space, naked and helpless, confronted by entities I could not communicate with, and left to their will. Somehow I managed to discard the thought and accept what happened - and suddenly I felt calm and composed, and the situation appeared less frightening. After all, I thought, who am I to know on which planes our mind exists? Maybe we are surrounded by spirits all of the time and just don't notice it?
(After the trip, when I was able to focus again, I found that a pretty avantgardistic train of thought for me - mostly I'm a rather analytical person and less attracted to such esoteric or spiritual thoughts. Seems that's something I might have suppressed for some time).
The vision faded, and was replaced by a wildly swirling pattern of green, red and golden particles that constantly changed shape and directed my thoughts in different directions everytime I tried to concentrate on a specific picture. Suddenly becoming aware of the extreme amount of time I must have had been sitting there, and remembering my friend was alone in the living room, I made my way back to him (not easy, because it took me five attempts to operate the door handle, which never seemed to be where I expected it). Then I was in for a little shock - I had spent a lousy seven minutes in the bathroom, but it seemed to me that I was away for hours!
This time-deterioration continued all the way down the trip. Time sliced up and shifted around so much that I was unable to define whether a thought had formed before I said something or afterwards, which was very confusing, as I could never be sure what was past or future. For a brief moment I thought 'What if I'm
going to stay like this forever - what will all the others think of me?', but I remembered the things I had read before, and could put the ensuing thought-loop down quickly, accepting that I would not stay in this state forever. Funny part was that my mind added: 'If you become crazy anyhow, it wouldn't matter very much at all', a reasoning I readily accepted.
During this part of the trip, no thought could be held for longer than a few seconds, before another one took over all the attention. We made a few drawings which were incredibly difficult to perform, because halfway through drawing a comic-style dog, I had forgotten what I was drawing at all, and couldn't remember where the pencil was on the paper. It took a titanic amount of willpower to finish the drawing and not drift off to something completely different. Fighting through these ripples in my attention, I saw that my friend had made some exceedingly interesting graphics, which were so much better than mine. He's a graphics designer and I realized that his drawing training was still effective even when heavily drugged, and that made me feel happy for him, because I knew that his skills are a valuable asset, and something he's aquired for life. I told him that, which made him smile, which made me smile, which looped for a while :)
I persuaded my friend to take a trip to the dark bathroom. We sat down on the floor and the caleidoscope optics kept us under their spell for another eternity (which lasted only ten minutes or so in real time). This was so powerful that I never knew whether my eyes were open or closed. My mouth at least was wide open in amazement, and at times I stared so intensely into the swirling figures before me that my eyeballs seemed to be popping out of their sockets. The silence attained a physical quality, such as if every bit of the room not occupied by our bodies was filled with the material 'absence of sound'.
On returning to the living room we ate an orange. The way it dissolved into sweet juice in my mouth will always remain unforgettable. It was marvellous, for lack of a better word.
Coming down again was easy, and I welcomed the growing feeling of homecoming into familiar reality. The candles were projecting shapes onto the ceiling that looked like butterflies flapping their wings softly just before my eyes. Things assumed their old shape again, but with a new kind of quality, for I know now that my usual perception of them is just one of a multitude of possible interpretations.
We were both exhausted from the trip, but talked for some time about our experiences, which we both found closely linked to each other. Our friendship is not of the easy, casual, party-type variety, and as we're on the verge of founding our own company, we often argue for long periods of time and never evade conflicts. I was happy to see that we have so close a relationship that after tripping together we still feel safe and connected, a very good primer for our coming enterprise. Reconsidering past moments of anger when one of our arguments went astray seem like petty rivalries now, as I'm sure that we're both on the very same level below the surface, which worked a treat in helping to learn to trust each other.
The voyage also helped to get rid of some lingering curses which were hidden in my mind somewhere. I'm not going into detail on this, but some old memories which I always had bad associations with were brought to my mind that night, and although the things that happened back then have not become any better, my understanding of them has improved, and such their edge has been taken away from them. I think it's there that the greatest benefits and also the greatest dangers of psychedelics lie.
I will be going there again, and I hope that I can focus more on what I see, and direct my mind to places where I always wanted to go without becoming too distracted. The following is my very own opinion and might easily sound exaggerated to some. Don't mistake it for truth, but take it as my own experience.
I think that what I encountered there is my essence, what I am made of, and what I might still become. Whether beautiful or frightening, it is a miracle in itself, and if nothing else I was surprised that a whole universe of ever-changing thoughts, fantasies and experiences is inside of me, and has been there all the time. Isn't that wonderful?
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