Citation: Mundane. "Capsules: An Experience with Mushrooms & Cannabis (exp85458)". Erowid.org. Jun 2, 2010. erowid.org/exp/85458
I took psilocybin mushrooms for the first time five months ago (in January of '10). I cultivated them for personal use and so have had plenty of opportunities to experiment with different methods of ingestion and dosages. My current favorite way to take them is to dry them out, powder them up in the coffee grinder, encapsulate the powder into empty Size 0 vitamin capsules, and swallow them down with liquid. I've found that, ingested in this way, the effects take hold about two hours later. I also think that, since the powder is more easily digestible, the trip itself is smoother and the hangover effects are lessened. At least I've never had to throw up the next morning after taking capsules, as I have a few times after just eating dried mushrooms.
Because I don't have scales, I wasn't sure how many capsules to take for the desired effects, so I had to do some experimenting. So I present a few lengthy summaries of each capsule experience so far.
It's March 22. My birthday. I'm turning twenty-fucking-eight, if you can believe it (I can't). My best friend's in town and we're going to see the premier of the new Animal Collective 'visual album' ODDSAC up at the Cineramadome in Hollywood. It's my first time taking the capsules and I'm not sure how many I should take. I decide on three because it seems like a number that won't be too much, but might do something.
BFF doesn't approve of my drug taking. We've known each other for over a decade now, but this drug thing is pretty new to me. I think he just doesn't want to let go of the person I was. But he has a right to his own opinions. So I swallow the three before we leave the house, knowing I can pass for sober when on a low dose of psilocybin. I also pack my portable vaporizer with weed, figuring that I can always use it to potentiate whatever the mushrooms might be doing.
We get to the movie an hour later. It runs for about an hour and a half. Watching it, I'm glad I'm not having any effects. It's a bit of a homage to 80s exploitation horror films, so there's quite a bit of disturbing imagery that I'm happily not viewing while tripping. When the lights come back up, I watch the domed honeycomb ceiling and think I see it moving. Slightly.
We get out of the movie and head to Amoeba to buy albums. I get a call from my sister, wishing me a happy birthday, and I'm more talkative than I would normally be. I feel vaguely like I'm coming up. I've got that icy, liquid feeling in my stomach and I keep forgetting what albums I want to look for.
After about an hour browsing for music, we make our purchases and leave. We get back into my friend's car and I ask him if he'd mind if I'd use my vaporizer in the car. He would. Nuts. If I were to get any effects off of three capsules, I think weed would have to be involved. As it is, I get back home feeling normal. So much for that.
The next experiment is a week later, on March 29. I'm about to leave for a ten-day vacation with a friend I'd met online and only seen in person once, a year before hand. After months of black depression, I'm looking forward to having a nice vacation and want to get into a good mindset.
Four capsules swallowed, I continue packing for the vacation. I start feeling a bit claustrophobic being indoors (and a little cold) about an hour and a half after, so I go outside to sit in the sun. I grab my iPod and lean up against the garage. I put 'What Would I Want? Sky' on repeat and close my eyes. The lightshow behind my eyes is far more interesting than it normally is, and I find I can see the fractalized rainbows that psilocybin can sometimes show. I warm up in the sun and enjoy the lights and sounds for a while, then get too hot and lie down in the cool grass under the orange tree. My dog comes over and I spend the next forty-five minutes bonding with her and listening to the most mellifluous songs my iPod has to offer.
I eventually come back inside and pack my pipe. One thing I've found is that I smoke a lot when under the influence of mushrooms. One of the psychological effects I've discovered that comes along with a trip is that I have a very 'whatever you humans have to do to survive' mentality. My mind is often too busy wandering to want to deal with things like eating, drinking, or evacuating waste. So I often have to remind myself to do things like drink while my brain goes, 'yes, whatever.' Because of this, I smoke almost non-stop. I can't tell if I'm high or not, for one thing. And for another, I often just think of it as one of those things that I normally do in the course of living. Like, 'oh yes, of course you have to do that, you're human.' It would be nice if I was normally so nonchalant about it, but honestly I usually feel lots of guilt about it. Thank you, American culture.
The rest of the trip (decent duration, slight visuals strengthened by cannabis) is spent watching the clouds painted on my ceiling dance while I listen to Josh Rouse and bliss out.
Vacation wasn't so good, though.
It's Friday, May 14 and it's been a difficult week. I'd been reading TIHKAL and found Ann's descriptions of hypnotherapy fascinating. After months of depression (and years of episodes) and useless talk therapy, I'd decided to give hypnotherapy a chance. I came back from that first session (five days previously) with the realization that I hated myself far more than I thought and that I would have to become a totally different person (one I could not even conceive of, as I'd been living with this issue for most of my life) in order to become a happier and move on.
I swallow five capsules and then workout. Take a shower, drink a protein shake and just begin eating dinner when I start feeling that weird come-up feeling (the one that makes me want to curl up into a little fetal ball until it passes) nearly two hours after consuming. I put on 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' (I do listen to things other than Animal Collective, just not often) open the door to the backyard and sit on the stoop smoking weed, hoping I can get things going and get that weird feeling gone.
It has been raining all day and the clouds are just breaking up. I'm quite happy for this, as the sun setting on dancing clouds is one of my favorite natural sights to enjoy while doing this whole mushroom thing. Still feeling a bit drugged, I lie down in the doorway and listen to the whole album that way as the clouds shift in the most indescribably beautiful way. In one of the shifting clouds, I see a young man's face which then goes on to age and become a skull. I see that the cloud is just showing me what must come to be. Everything has its time and then dies, just as these clouds that I'm looking at are constantly shifting and will soon dissipate into nothing.
The sky darkens and I come inside to lie down and watch the fake clouds. The visuals are fairly subtle and I'm not sure if it's because of the dosage or because of the amount of food I consumed before coming up. Doesn't matter, really. I just smoke more pot.
My mind is racing and I start taking scribbled notes. I've long been interested in the early development of human societal psychology through things like ritual, rites-of-passage, and shamanism. I think a lot about how it would be very easy to convince someone you had the key to spiritual enlightenment if you were able to alter your consciousness without him knowing how you were doing it or how to do it himself. Beyond that, the shaman was the trusted counsel of many early societies, which is to say that many early societies revered those who altered their minds, rather than demonizing them as we do now (though I will say that not all shaman used these substances).
If human psychology developed along those lines, my thought is that it makes sense to continue along these lines. Instead of putting the well-being or our psyches into the hands of for-profit pharmaceutical companies, we ought to seek out those who can help us with our troubles using the same tools humans have been using from the beginning. There's this tendency to say that pills have trials and scientific evidence and thusly have 'right' on their side, but I see no reason why that means traditional approaches to psychology also aren't worth investigating.
The conclusion that I came to was that my therapist is filling that role of a shaman. Here I am, troubled member of the tribe who had tried 'traditional' (in modern senses) approaches and found them worthless, and now I am going to the healer who can help me to get better through age-old techniques like meditation, trance, relaxation, and body positioning. Finding this mindset helps me come to terms with embarking upon the journey of re-doing the person that I am.
I also decide that I am now one of those people who believes the world would be a better place if everyone could just put down their shit for a few hours and take a psychedelic adventure. I have visions of the world one day all dropping at the same time and going on to have the single most amazing and important collective human experience in our history. I wonder if this is why Huxley, psychedelic lover that he was, wrote about distopias which feature drugs in a cynical, negative light. Because there can be no such thing as utopia when no one will ever be able to agree upon what it would be comprised of. Someone would always be unhappy with someone else's version of bliss. No doubt there would be anarchists who wouldn't join the global commune and would instead take advantage of the opportunity to loot or hurt or whatever.
Still, it would be awesome if the entire planet shared an experience like that.
I also decide that, since this substance is allowing me to access my own mind in ways that I can't do without it, then taking 'drugs' is actually making me a fuller, more complete person who can say she has a wider view of the world and what is possible within it.
It's April 17 and the first day of the 2010 Coachella music festival. We've finally managed to get tickets, and I think, 'You know what? Let's do this.' Because I've never taken mushrooms at an event like this (or within a large crowd), so I'm sure if I should or not. On the other hand, LCD Soundsystem is going to be playing. So around 5:00, I swallow six of the sixteen I'd brought.
We get inside and head for the main stage, where The Specials are just starting their set. I feel so indescribably happy, far happier than I've felt in a long time. The sun is setting, the breeze is nice, the stage and palm trees and mountains. The Specials are tight and all members seem to be having a great time. I don't recognize every song, but it's a great set, and they play most of the songs I like.
It's an hour and a half since ingestion, and things are getting lightly psychedelic, so I continue smoking (and do so throughout the evening) in the hopes of getting things going. I can't put into words how wonderful it feels to be back at the festival after not going for a few years, how happy it makes me to just feel good
They finish their set and I leave to find out who else is playing and where (and when). I haven't found a schedule and didn't bring my own, so I have to rush to each stage to read the big boards at the entrances. No one I really care about is playing for another hour or so, so I stay in the techno tent, hoping that things will get more psychedelic. I don't care who is DJing, I just want to hear dance music and move. The DJ (Wolfgang Gartner) is a bit of a tease, building to crescendos over and over without backing it with beats.
I stay for the rest of that set, and things start going when it's ending. I have already forgotten where I have to be and when, so I race back over the grounds, visiting each stage and making a plan in my head.
The sun sets and the mushrooms have started hitting at this point (7:00 PM). Walking through the crowd is like navigating some video game. I am walking against a tide of people, and it seems that more and more are just materializing out of nowhere, suddenly in my face when they hadn't even existed before. I dodge in and around, attempting to make my way without being trampled. I figure out my plan (I want to text it to myself so I won't forget it, but I can't remember my own phone number or figure out some other way to go about it) and walk back to the Mojave tent for Grizzly Bear. They play pretty psychedelic rock to begin with, and my trip grows stronger as I watch them.
I am absolutely in my element by this point, an insignificant drop awash in a sea of people. Who I am doesn't matter, and who they are doesn't matter. We are all enjoying our own trip. It am as close as I can get to my dream of invisibility-at-will.
The visual distortions grow and I have to remind myself again and again that I am not
wearing a pair of invisible goggles and that other people can indeed see my eyes and not the invisible goggles that I am not actually wearing, whatever the pressure on my face and visual situation suggest. Things grow increasingly psychedelic (the lit-up palm trees waving in the wind look like fire), but I'm not quite tripping yet (and unsure if I am going to, what with still being in the experimental stage with these capsules [this being before I took five and found that a successful number]). Grizzly Bear's set is winding down and I step to the outside of the tent, hoping I can avoid the mad rush of people once their set ends.
That's when I get a call from my friend. We'd been texting back and forth all night, but hadn't yet met up. He writes he's near the green domes, so I start heading there. Echo & the Bunnymen are playing the Outdoor theater, so I walk thataway, checking them out as I go to the green light. I get there only to find it's inside the beer gardens. I hadn't been planning on drinking, so I didn't bother with getting a wristband. I text pal (finding my phone glowing wonderfully, but ultimately difficult to use), but never get a reply. Anyway, LCD Soundsystem is going on soon, so I head over to that.
I haven't really listened to them in the past (aside from, you know, 'Daft Punk is Playing At My House'), and am pleasantly surprised by the show. They're really more of a techno band, with live instruments as well as computers, and a singer. James Murphy is a very funny guy. Either that, or the mushrooms have me laughing at/enjoying everything. I watch their set with a huge grin on my face (and occasional outbursts of laughter). I really love the music, a great approach to trance with clever and intelligent lyrics. I still don't feel like I am really tripping, but when I look at my phone or any singular object, it undulates quite nicely. The screens are glowing, the breeze is blowing, and I am feeling magnificent. I am in love with Coachella, the music, the night, and the wonderful sensations that are washing over me.
Their set ends and I have nothing to do for a while, so it's another trek across the grounds to the techno tent. Again, it doesn't matter what's playing, I just need dance music and a lightshow. The DJ this time is Benni Benassi, and he is solid. The beats are good and I get lost in the crowd. And then suddenly, finally, I am tripping. I see kids with sunglasses on and put on my own. Wow...everything is moving, the light show is incredible, and I am shaking my skinny white ass as the rafters move and the lights dance. Every beat is an exhilarating pump to my heart and I fully understood rave culture. It's appealing because it's fucking FUN!
I don't want to miss any of Public Image Limited, but I also don't want to leave this tent. Because the feeling I have in the Sahara tent is what I want that psychedelic experience to be. It is the perfect mushroom trip (but aren't they all?), and I am having the best time imaginable.
The set ends and I step out to find that PiL hsn't yet taken the stage. I have some time. I am walking towards the Outdoor Theater when I see this very trippy art installation: Cubatron L5. I sit there, watching the shifting lights and listening to the lulling sounds for ten minutes or so, until I look up and see that PiL had taken the stage. Another quick walk (and I haven't yet mentioned this, but goddamn it was cold in the wind and I would've made a sprint for the car to grab my sweatshirt if it weren't so far away) and I am there.
I haven't listened to PiL much and I didn't realize they were such a dance band. I mean, this is an original prototype here for arty dance rock (and, of course, very politically charged). They are in great form and really brought it. Johnny Rotten is as hilarious as he ever is (and if you don't find that guy funny, get with it!). There is a wonderful sheen over everything, like a glowing silk screen that makes things move in an underwater way.
I move to the music, but am feeling very tired (I am up waaaaaay past my bedtime and had had a long day). My legs are also pretty much done with it. So I leave the crowd (and the warmth of it) and sit down where I had a good view of the screen. Things became less psychedelic and my trip is slowly coming to a close. I am very cold and bring my arms into my t-shirt and hug my torso as they play their last few songs and the night comes to a close.
Two days later and it's the last day of the 2010 Coachella fest (I spent all Sat smoking weed, so no stories there). Had a slow start and don't get to the venue (after sitting in traffic) until 4:00. Doesn't matter, no one I care about plays until 5:00.
De la Soul hits the main stage at 4:00, so I check them out. They put on a fun show, very crowd interactive. They seem to be having a great time, but it's not the sort of music I listen to. I down the last ten mushroom capsules I have when they are wrapping up at around 4:45. Why ten? Six had been good, but had seemed subdued. And I want to counteract any tolerance I might have from Friday. Ten is what I have left, so ten's what I take.
Yo La Tengo hits the stage next. They're one of the few bands that I want to catch the entire set from. The crowd is pretty sparse and I stand right up against one of the barricades and have a great view. They play a bunch of songs I know and love (I guess I have more of their catalog than I thought) and put on a nice show as the afternoon grows late.
I don't have anything specific to do after that, so I wander. Walk to the far end, hearing whatever is playing as I go. Never feel inspired to stop. Walk back to the Outdoor Theater for Jonsi, a new project featuring the lead singer from Sigur Ros. I lay down in the grass and watch as the clouds above slowly became more interesting to look at. The music and the clouds coming to life is one of those perfect Coachella moments. Everything fits.
The clouds are putting on a spectacular show by the time Jonsi ends at 6:45 and I don't want to leave. So I lay there for a bit longer as Spoon's music drifts over and the clouds dance to the beat of 'Turn My Camera On'. Plus, the sun is setting and turning them pink and orange. It's great, beautiful, wonderful, and I am filled with such an uplifting sensation of the world being full of magical moments.
A group of kids behind me are laughing at all of the 'drugged out' people and making comments about how dumb they are because they don't understand that the pictures they're taking with their cameras aren't going to be all trippy looking later. It's this sort of misconception of these substances that I hate. I've never once been unaware that things weren't the way they were because of whatever I'd taken. I don't become oblivious to my surroundings or anything like that. In fact, I feel far more aware of my surroundings than I usually do sober.
Anyway, it's seven and I want to check out Infected Mushroom (a group I've only heard of through reputation) before going to Sly Stone. I get up and realize that I am very, very drugged. This is definitely one of the stronger experiences I've had (but I prefer low-level trips, anyway). The sky now looks like it's been cleaved open and is spilling forth golden light. I walk back to the Sahara tent (more of a lurch, really, one that makes me wonder if my walking is noticeably strange to those whom I pass) and find that IM is much more aggressive than I can deal with. So I slowly make my way back to the Gobi, sitting down for five minutes or so several times as I go along just so that I can sit out the 'drugged' portion and adjust to my new mindset. 'You've taken something which is affecting your mind,' I tell myself. 'Your physical body is still capable. Trust it, feed it, give it water. It will be fine. Everything will be fine.'
But things are very weird. My hand looks pale, cracked, covered in liver spots. It grows and shrinks if I watch it for too long. Never seen that before. This is definitely the 'trippiest' things have gotten for me on mushrooms before. I don't understand why people would take this at a party. It I weren't sitting by myself right now and reassuring myself that things were going to be okay, I can imagine how things could get very overwhelming very quickly.
I sit outside of the Gobi for half and hour before figuring that Sly isn't going to bring his party, after all ('joining [blank's] party' is how I tonight phrase seeing a certain artist or group). People are just milling around, smoking cigarettes. I'm feeling better about things and now want to go to where the fun people are.
I follow the music and end up in the midst of a huge crowd enjoying Phoenix. I find a spot as the light fades and everything becomes intensely psychedelic. I am clenching my jaw, licking my lips, yawning and swallowing often as everything turns fractalized, strobey, shadowy, glowing, moving. The sky looked incredible, grey and pixelated, and everything else looks equally amazing/interesting. Objects and people have ghost images of themselves, like a 3D movie when you're not wearing the special glasses. Things seems to shift rather than move, fluidly moving from one position to another. Everyone around me is dancing, and I join in, loosening up and moving to the music. Euphoria overtakes me as Phoenix puts on one hell of a show (at least it seems like everyone is having the same good time I am having). I think back to a t-shirt I'd seen someone wearing earlier in the day: 'We will remember this forever'. When I saw it, I thought it was just another silly shirt, but I know then it was right. This is one of those great moments that I am going to remember.
Sadly, Phoenix's party comes to an end. The sun has set and things are getting dark. I need techno and I need it bad. I head to Sahara once more to check out Orbital. I find a place in the crowd that I don't much like. I am surrounded by these gangster guys with bandannas, passing around a blunt and not moving much. Their aggressive energy makes me uncomfortable. I want to be with the fun people.
I get it now!!! My past Coachella experiences were half great, half frustrating. It was too hot or too crowded or with too much waiting. The problem was that I was too sober. This event is one of the world's best parties, and the point of going is to have FUN. For me (and a lot of uptight white people, from what I saw there), having fun sober isn't that easy. We're not too loose, us white kids. So we take drugs, forget our troubles for a weekend, and just enjoy ourselves.
I am in the mood for fun and I want to be around people who are happy, giving off positive vibes. I push more into the middle and find a group of dancing people. So I plant myself there, put on my sunglasses, take a hit from my pipe, and just let go as Orbital provides the music. The music isn't memorable, but it moves me and makes me feel happy and that is all that matters. And you know what else? Leave the rave kids and their glow sticks alone! 'Cause on drugs and in a dark environment, that shit looks awesome. I like the kids with those gloves with lights on the fingertips, mainly because the only point of them is to entertain other kids on trips (and man do I see a lot of teenagers staring off into space with their jaws slack).
When Orbital ends, I figure I'll join Thom Yorke's party. I am still very psychedelic, but is was hard to tell in the dark. I vastly prefer the effects during the day and will be taking things earlier in the day next year (because I already know that I'm going to this forever and ever - it doesn't matter who plays, 'cause I'm going to have a good time regardless). I watched a flame tornado they had going, hearing that fire on mushrooms is amazing. It looks interesting, but it's very ephemeral and difficult to get a gauge on.
But more important to me than any visual effects is the mindset that I'm put into. Blessed, meaningless anonymity and insignificance. I don't worry about what others might be thinking of me (everyone's on their own trip, as far as I'm concerned). I don't even care about 'me' anymore. My body is only a vessel for my mind and spirit, a tool to use to get me about. Whatever it is that I sense that I am feels invincible, timeless, infinite. I don't fear death or feel scared about anything. I understand that what I am on this earth doesn't matter, that my current existence is about experience, and that deep down I really just want to be happy and have a good time.
I'm not too sure about Thom Yorke's party. I want fun and am willing to be wherever that is (so perhaps a downside could be that I'm more willing to go where I'm happy than to leave for an artist I'd want to see sober, but if it's all about the experience...). But Thom is good and his music is more energizing than I'd expected. I wander through the crowd, standing with a group for a song or so before moving on to the next one.
I want to get to the Gorillaz party early, but decide there isn't much sense. If it's about the group vibe, then it will be better to find a fun group than a good space with a view of the stage or anything like that. So I wander more, looking at things, feeding my body, smiling at the other trippers. Eventually decide that I might as well just find a space for Gorillaz if all I am doing otherwise is wandering. Hear Thom Yorke play 'Everything in its Right Place' and wish I was closer. Oh well.
The crowd is closing in around me. A group of five or six friends speaking a foreign language is talking. I can't figure out what language it is, but it sounds very nice. (Very international crowd this year, by the way.) It's five hours after ingestion and either I am coming down or I just can't tell if I am tripping or not in the dark. I really want the sun to be out. Oh well.
I stand there for the first four or five Gorillaz songs (great show, by the way), but I'm not getting great vibes from the people I am standing with, so I decide to get out of the mass and make for the outskirts, where the more relaxed, more fun crowd will be. Get out there and find a place where I can actually see the stage. Not like I need to. The video screens are presenting the show in an entertaining way. I finally realize how tired I am. When the effects were going strong, I was aware of how good my body felt. My legs weren't tired, my feet weren't sore, I wasn't exhausted. I could dance and sway and walk from one end of the venue to the other and still had energy to spare. But now that things are winding down, the facts that I hadn't slept well over the past two nights and had been on my feet for three days start catching up with me. I sit down for the slower tracks, smoking pot which I hope will get rid of my growing headache (it doesn't).
Around midnight, it all ends. Show's over, everyone go home. I don't want for it to be over, don't want to have to wait another year. But I guess that, alas, one cannot live on psychedelics and music alone.
While the 10 capsule experience was one of the more amazing days in my life, I can't imagine wanting to take that amount often. I think I'll reserve that number for special occasions like music festivals. 5-6 will probably be the level I'll stick to for typical park or beach trips (or for those times when I just want to think about things as I watch the paint clouds dance).
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