By Wes Annac, Culture of Awareness
Society condemns psychedelic drugs, but some people believe they expand our consciousness and connect us with an omnipotent spiritual power that the majority of the world us unaware of. Some spiritual people condemn them, and whether or not they work for you, we have to learn to respect the unique methods people use to come closer with the spirit.
Some users will tell you all about the positive impact psychedelics had on their life and the personal changes entheogens inspired them to make, and the only way to understand the experience is to have it ourselves.
Nonetheless, I’d like to share snippets from three stories of people who had interesting spiritual experiences with psilocybin mushrooms, otherwise known as magic mushrooms. I share these stories because they interest me and I want to be open-minded, and I’m not trying to say everyone should take psychedelic drugs. The plentiful experiences that are shared online are certainly worth exploring, however.
Anyone who considers him or herself a spiritual seeker is usually interested in expanding their consciousness, and while psychedelics aren’t the only way to do so, some argue that they’re the most powerful.
All of the stories shared here come from the popular drug database Erowid, and there, you’ll find experiences and descriptions of nearly any drug you want to learn about.
Our first story is called “The Infinite Light in the Beautiful Reality”, and it comes from Erowid user “IamAaron’sRationale”.
“This is something I have desired and feared for a long time — to throw myself into my biological ocean and not just float, but also swim. I have used mushrooms (and I mean ‘use’ in the sense that a painter uses his brush and pallet to express himself) multiple times before, but never completely by myself. It has never happened like this before. For that reason, I write.
“I cannot explain my motivations for this experience exactly. Lately, though, I have been reading more and more about Zen Buddhism and the release of what Alan Watts calls the ‘ego’. The immediate set and setting was as such: my life at the time was really creating a lot of stress, although it seemed to be on the upturn. Still though, a lot of conflicting inner dialogue.
“I had returned to my hometown for a court date, had no money, brought nothing with me, and as result was utterly bored. I think the most direct motivation, however, was my introduction to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, more specifically the manual created by Timothy Leary. I knew that I could not afford much, but figured it was the best way I could think of to spend my money at the time.
“The day before my trip, I planned. I decided that the most comforting place to go would be my mother’s bed. It has been her bed all of my life, and has always been a place where I feel safe. I also decided to do it early in the morning, so I could be by myself while I ‘peaked’ since my brother would be at school and my mom at work. I went and obtained the mushrooms. They seemed very healthy. That night, I was a child again and it was Christmas Eve.
“My mom woke me up at 8 a.m. like I asked her to, but I did not tell her why. Based on her reaction to me telling her about my experience after it happened, this was a wise choice. I had some errands to get out of the way, and I wanted to read some more of the Book of the Dead. I also chose to eat half of the mushrooms that I got (1.5 grams) and make tea, which is my favorite method of ingestion, with the other half. I chopped up half of the caps and stems and added them to the tea bag along with the shake. I think I used some sort of raspberry tea.
“I then walked up to mother’s room, turned the television off, and cleared the bed. I supported myself with pillows so that I could eat the mushrooms and drink the tea without any inconvenience. Another thing that I think is noteworthy is that my dog, Lola, was with me the whole time.
“I thought about the things I had read in the Book of the Dead, and tried to make myself aware of landmarks to let me know that ‘it had begun’. I do not want to trivialize the information in this book because I do not think this is the place nor do I feel I can do it justice in my own words. My advice is to read it for yourself and, also, to use it because it is a very powerful tool.
“Significant events did occur, however, that correlated with this book so I think they are important details in my story. The first was the drone. I heard a low hum begin that reverberated like a gong.
“This continued throughout the entire what I will call my ascension period. The next event was a burning at the base of my spine. Throughout my ascension period this burning sensation flowed up my spine into my skull. I made a point of allowing these events to happen, not to restrict them in any way. I believe this is a crucial point of focus if one wants to enjoy his or her psychedelic experience fully. Resistance and rationalization seem to only lead to fear and loathing.
“I started to doubt this feeling, so I closed my eyes to see what would happen. In my previous experiences with psychedelics, this has always made things more interesting, but I always found it incredibly hard to keep my eyes closed.
“This time however, I would not allow my ego to fight back. I closed my eyes again and soon found myself in a fetal position in the middle of the bed with Lola lying right beside me…
“…With my eyes closed, I began to move them around behind my lids to get them used to the feeling. My visuals remind me of what happens when you put a magnet up to a television screen. The ‘background’ was black with waves of color spectrums pulsating, flowing, ever-changing yet constant. I was ecstatic. I was delighted. I was safe. Then, I peaked.
“Normally, it is impossible for me, as well as most that I know, to sleep while influenced by psychedelic substances. It’s simply something that cannot be forced. This time however, I lost myself. I went into what I would call a trance. For it was as if I was dreaming, but my entire self was there. It must be what people experience during lucid dreaming.
“I do not remember much of it, but I will tell you what I can. The first thing that I saw was a very bright light coming from everywhere. I also remember some blues in the background after the light subsided a little, but the light was always present. I do not have any sequence of time for these events but there are images that are quite vivid in my head. Soon I was somewhat ‘introduced’ to two characters. There were definitely more of them but these are the two that I can remember.
“The first was the largest being I have ever seen. He took up my whole field of vision. He appeared to be some sort of genie as he was bound at the wrists by gold gauntlets and possible elsewhere on his body. He was dark skinned and fairly old. Despite his apparent bondage, he seemed very content. One idea I reflected on later was that he is the physical polar opposite of my pale, skinny, and young appearance. The other being I almost immediately associated with my mother.
“It was a sort of black bird, as it was flying at a very fast rate in and out of my field of vision. The first reason I associated it with my mother was that it had a sort of fiery mane down its upper back and my mom has red hair. If I talked to them, I do not remember what we talked about. All I know is that they were both very content creatures and very comforting to me. I do vividly remember them waving ‘goodbye’ to me as I opened my eyes and returned to the external world.
“If I am calling the first part my ‘ascension period’ then this was my descent back into reality. I realized I had only drunken one cup of the mushroom tea and that I had intended to drink three. I do not think I needed any more than I took. What is ironic is that this was my deepest experience and yet the smallest dose I have ever taken.”
You can read the full story here: https://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=77073
Our next story is called, “The I of the Storm”, and it comes from Erowid user “Keith Fonda”. Note that the author also used cannabis during this experience, which could have enhanced it.
“The long-anticipated day had finally arrived! Myself and my dear friend ‘R’ had been planning this experience for what seemed like forever, and seeing him turn up at the train station finally cemented it in both our minds; we were finally going to have the experience we’d wanted for so long.
“The plan was quite simple really. We intended to head from London down to Bewl Water in Kent, pitch our tent and each eat 15 grams of Atlantis Truffles, aiming to return to London the next evening. Bewl Water is a large man-made reservoir in the south-east of England, although the scenery surrounding the water gives no hint of the fact that it is artificial. When we arrived at the campsite at 7pm we knuckled right down to pitching our dull brown tent from the mid eighties.
“We were trying to take as little equipment as possible; a tent, a stove (since we were not allowed campfires), two guitars, a propane lantern and a pair of sleeping bags. This was because we both wanted the experience to be an affirmation of everything true and beautiful in nature, and did not want to clutter it with creature comforts. Since we’ve both been at university in west London for the past two years, neither of us have the opportunity to spend much ‘quality time’ with nature…”
“…Back at the tent, we split the 30 grams of truffles into two even piles and began chewing them up, washing them down with orange juice. I believe orange juice is a wonderful gift to people who like mushrooms. The flavour masks that of the fungus wonderfully (maybe even compliments the flavour of truffles?), and the niacin and vitamin C go a long way to promoting a feeling of wellbeing.
“With the contented knowledge that a good dose of psilocybin was slowly working its way towards our brains, we grabbed the propane lantern, a relatively thin poncho and we headed back to the lake.
“We noticed that for the first time that night we had become more ‘internal’. We’d stopped speaking to each other so much and we both recognised this. Not because we had become bored of talking to each other, quite the opposite. We both felt the urge to talk about something, as we always enjoy each others conversation, but our minds were thinking so fast that it almost seemed pointless talking about anything because we were so taken with the thoughts we were having.
“Walking was beginning to get harder. We used the flashlight and the propane lantern continuously and yet we still managed to get lost! We suddenly realised that we had walked further than we intended into one farmers field. We were just beginning to feel our minds slip when this happened so our feeling of ‘being completely lost’ was a gross overstatement. We only needed to walk about 600 feet back up a hill, but with the time dilation coming on strong it seemed as though we would have to walk for hours to get back on track.
“On the way back up the hill, a figure seemed to run directly towards us a great speed. Both me and R jumped out of our skins (one of the few times in my life I can literally say ‘jumped’). Oh… Turned out it was a rabbit. How embarrassing… These truffles are obviously beginning to have a real effect! I wondered how much further out of our heads we would go.
“Back on the path between the trees, we began to feel as though we were going ‘down the rabbit hole’. The trees gave us this wonderfully warped feeling of being in wonderland. It was not a scary experience by any stretch, but that edgy adrenaline-like sensation of a mushroom come-up was giving us lots to think about! When we finally arrived at the lake we decided it was time to sit down and smoke [cannabis].
“‘Jeez’ I remember thinking. ‘These truffles are seriously beginning to knock me for six!’
“‘I know what you mean’ R replied.
“Wait… I thought I thought that? I obviously didn’t… That was weird. I could have sworn I didn’t even hear my own voice! By this point we were both beginning to trance off hard. The world was beginning to burst into these tessellating hexagonal pixels that seemed to grow in size and whilst doing so removed the level of detail I could perceive in the world. The pressure behind my eyes was beginning to build. My brain felt alive with activity. The pixilation was beautiful.
“It never fails to shock me how normal this all feels when you are on mushrooms. It is so easy at times to forget that you are tripping at all. It is hard to tell how long we remained in this location, but in ‘trip-time’ it felt like an hour. This was mostly spent in silence with the occasional interjection when something particularly interesting happened.
“After a while we decided to move further along the waterfront for a change of scenery. We walked for what was in reality about 5 minutes, but it had felt like a good 20. When we stopped to look back we were surprised at how short a distance we had travelled. None the less we sat down again as the body buzz really began to take over.
“We decided to smoke another joint. At this point I pulled out R’s Peruvian flute. This is a very simple six hole flute (more like a western recorder than a flute) which gives a very soft, pure and slightly spacy sound. I had never played it before but quickly figured out a minor scale and began to let my brain play the instrument rather than my fingers. This helped us both reach a very peaceful and contemplative state. One can never underestimate the power of a simple instrument when tripping.
“I handed the flute to R, and after a bit of persuasion I taught him the minor scale and he began to play. I think the feeling of having produced a melody from this flute for the first time really elated him. After a few more minutes of silence pierced only by the sweet sinusoidal sound wave from our instrument, we lit the propane lantern up again and headed off around the lake.
“During this walk I repeatedly asked R to turn off the flashlight which he was holding. I tried to explain that we didn’t need the flashlight if he would keep it off and let our night vision adjust to the level the lantern was putting out. Whether it was that he was so outside of his own head he didn’t really take in what I was saying, or whether his nerves forced him to keep the flashlight on I don’t know but it took several sharp reminders before he kept it turned off!
“After walking for what felt like at least an hour (in reality it can only have been 10 minutes or so, time dilation was enormous) we got to the point where we did not have the drive to walk any more. It was now pitch black and beginning to get much colder. I knew that the low that night was only going to be 16°C, but it felt as though it were closer to freezing!
“We each took a seat on a rock and slowly drifted into complete silence. From here time lost all meaning. We did not move from this position for what felt like so long that any attempt to make an estimate would be futile. The peak was a series of half-remembered memories; vague ideas of what happened, but no idea of when they happened or why, although their insightfulness was not lost.
“We both remember getting a lighter out, staring at it intently whilst it was lit then letting the world plunge into darkness when it went out. We were also entertained by the floaters it burned onto our retinas. By complete fluke we both saw the floater at one point as a strand of DNA; quite unusual given the number of different forms it could have taken. The CEVs we were having by now were wild. I remember seeing cascading fractalised rainbows inside my eyes.
“When I opened my eyes these semi-annular rainbows seemed to drift through the night sky. Occasionally they would turn into tunnelling fractals which met at a point where there was this tessaract-like 4D object which looked somewhere between a sphere and a cube (almost impossible to describe in more detail). It seemed to rotate and morph between these two forms. By this point the experience felt transcendental. At the high end of a +++ experience on the Shulgin scale.”
Read the full story here: https://www.erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=92318
Our final story is called, “Enter the Lifeforce: Ascent to Enlightenment”, and it comes from Erowid user “Light Warden”
“This one in particular is about my first trip on anything truly psychedelic, which happened to be mushrooms. It happened long ago, so I’ll include as much detail as I can remember…”
“T-0:00 – I ate approximately 1.75 grams in the form of a strange mushroom with three caps and a fat, nasty stem, while my friends B and J each ate around 2.5, as it was also their first time. My friend A ate the whole 3.5, as he’d done it many times before. I was nervous but excited; probably because of this more than anything, I felt alerts within minutes, a crazy lightheadedness that was a precursor of things to come.
“After about fifteen minutes, I got up to go to the bathroom down the hall, and by the time I got back, I felt… different. I most definitely had the ‘tryptamine giggles’, as everything seemed hilarious to me. Going into the experience, I did not know what to expect. I think at the time I thought ‘Well, I’m fucked up now… I expected more, but this is still awesome!’ Little did I know the trip hadn’t even begun yet.
“T-0:25 – We’re listening to a mixed CD of Radiohead and Floyd, and we’re all starting to get real messed up. All of a sudden, and I remember this very, very clearly, my friend A says, ‘Dude, the bed is breathing…’ We looked over, and sure enough, the bed is breathing. I can feel the passage of air through it, as if it alive. Right then, everything went crazy. Keep in mind, all I had taken before was Coricidin and MDMA, and each generally took about an hour and a half to start affecting me. So I was extremely surprised that the mushrooms worked so fast.
“T-0:30 – The Come-up – This ends the objective observations of my trip, at least until the end. What follows is an attempt to put into words the most intense spiritual awakening that I think it is possible for someone to have. Minutes after the breathing bed, my brain was violently (but not unpleasantly) catapulted away from my physical prison in a way that I never thought possible.
“Millions of questions flew across my thoughts, followed by the answers. When I say millions of questions, I actually mean it; hundreds of question-answer pairs flashed through per second. Never before and never again has my mind moved so quickly. It was like I had accessed the information superhighway of the physical world and all of its properties with my brain, and I couldn’t get out.
“I remember thinking to myself, as I got more and more removed from my physical self, I can’t believe this is here, and happening. I can’t believe this has always been here, before my very eyes, but I’ve never been able to see it. I’ve always found it very difficult to explain this part of the trip to anyone in words… it was honestly one of the most mind-blowing experiences of my life, aside from the rest of this trip.
“At this point, I was still coming up, and I had enough of myself left to think, in the back of my mind, that though the Truth of the universe was screaming out to me, I couldn’t quite reach it. I could see it, but I couldn’t yet feel it. At this point, the visuals are building, but I barely notice them. The now-familiar grid pattern began to overlay everything, and things started to shift around in my vision. Going into the experience, I had been mostly looking forward to the visuals, which I thought were the most significant part of trips.
“One thing I’ve always thought amazing since then is that, if I have a real psychedelic trip, the visuals are certainly present, but seeing psychedelic patterns suddenly doesn’t seem so important anymore compared to the awesome truth and incomprehensible change in perception that is slamming into my brain.
“T-1:00 – The Peak – The rush and confusion, in one shockingly abrupt moment, fall away, leaving me in a state which I am about to try to explain, but will most certainly fail horribly in doing. Rainbow colors washed the small dorm room in a myriad of cool tones which constantly flowed across the walls like water. I looked at the clock; it was 4:05 on the dot, and I looked away. This was the peak, and it was absolutely amazing.
“Though I took a very small amount of mushrooms, this was most certainly a full +4 experience on Shulgin’s scale. The music seemed to be coming from everything at once – everything was alive and breathing, and had an essence, a life-force, to it that I could feel and see, as real to me as anything had ever been. I realized that the Truth of the universe, which before had been assaulting my brain with a ferocity that made it difficult to make any sense of it, was now a part of my consciousness, in a way that I’d never experienced before (in fact, it’s never happened since, either).
“My ego was not crushed or shattered; rather, it was reduced to tiny proportions and pushed aside as a triviality. My entire physical life, eighteen years of experience, became the smallest blip in my brain. It was still there, and I still knew myself, but I knew then how much more there is to existence than what we are able to sense.
“The most sublime feeling came over me then. Here was the universe, singing to me its sweet, timeless song, and I embraced it, twining my consciousness around it. Everything was so… beautiful. I can no longer remember very much of what I did at that point. Physical communication became impossible, and we as a group, when we were able at all, could only communicate in disjointed grunts (‘What… uh.. huh?’) Instead, however, I began to explore this new state.
“It was so, SO much more real to me than my life has ever been. I knew, absolutely KNEW, that I had been to this state before, and would return again. It was so ancient, so timeless, that I was humbled to a degree that I have never known before. It occurred to me from somewhere that in this state I was seeing, feeling, and living the absolute Truth of everything. I can’t stress enough how incredibly real this was, and still is to me years later.
“It was so beautiful, so spiritual, that I began to weep with pure joy, because I knew that my life was forever changed, that by experiencing this, the universe was giving me a rare chance to see it for how it is, rather than the way we humans try to form it to our own liking. I felt so… blessed, that I was chosen to experience this.
I mentioned before that communication was impossible, but that isn’t entirely true – PHYSICAL communication was impossible. However, after the initial shock wore off, I began to explore this new state more fully, and I realized that I could communicate… with everything. My friends and I actually did converse, but in silent, mental communication that just seemed natural.
“This communication was actually strong enough that, without speaking, we all described later that J was telling us all that he understood Jim Morrison now (The Doors is his favorite band), and that he felt that he was being possessed by his spirit. Interestingly, we all thought this was true, independently.
“For some of my friends, this was the height of their experience, but I pressed on and began accessing information. This time it was not like the come-up, where it was overwhelming and forceful; this was natural and as easy as thinking, as breathing, as blinking.
I let my consciousness expand outward, and what I found was amazing. I was brushing the life-force of everything I came in contact with. I flew out the window and across the country, the ocean, in seconds. I began to brush my thoughts against those of every living thing I saw, and I knew them intimately, no less than I knew my own life.
“As I traveled, I no longer saw the dorm room I was sitting in. I had joined the Life-force, and I was enmeshed within the entirely of its being. My own life was this tiny speck in a sea of collective consciousness – technically, I knew it was mine, but I honestly didn’t care or find it particularly special. This nirvana-like bliss and absolute Truth went on for an indeterminable amount of time. It felt so eternal, and I knew that the reason it seemed so familiar is because it was.
“It was primordial, and I realized that I had been there before this life, before every other life my particular soul had ever occupied, and that I would be there again, after this one. I watched nature and everything alive in extreme fast-forward, seeing the endless cycle of death and rebirth played out over and over. I saw all of existence covered in a massive flood of green energy, consisting of minute, shining particles. It swept over the land, a spark becoming a new blade of grass, a new caterpillar, a new person.
“Likewise, bits of life-force emerged from each being at its moment of death, rejoining the endless cloud of life. I lost myself in the ebb and flow of the universe and I was home. I could go on for hours and hours, and have before, about the wonders of my awakening, but truly, words don’t exist for what I was experiencing, so hopefully my meager attempt at explanation will do.
“T-1:04 – The Plateau – All of a sudden, I was back in the dorm room, and I looked over at the window, which had a thick, thick shade over it to keep out the afternoon sunlight. The shade and the apparent length of time of my peak made me think that I was now ending my trip, and it was nighttime.
Still thinking this, I stretched and began to reflect on what an incredibly fulfilling time I had had, and I glanced at the clock. It was 4:09. Only FOUR MINUTES had passed since my peak, but it had literally seemed like an entire day, or more specifically, an endless, eternal amount of time.
“That fucked with my head quite a bit, and I realized that I was DEFINITELY still tripping hard. Now, however, I felt like I wanted to stay in my body, and explore the more physical aspects of these mushrooms. I must emphasize that I was still enveloped in my bliss, with a full understanding of the universe, it was just that I had decided to go back to my body and live life with this knowledge.
“Anyway, it was at this point that I began to notice visuals. One of my friends threw a lighter to another, and the lighter was glowing yellow. It flipped through the air over and over, in the same spot, until it finally landed in someone’s hand. We smoked a few bowls of some good marijuana, and the visuals became enhanced. I began looking at objects, and for the only time, even in subsequent trips, I actually witnessed the stereotypical melting of objects. This was true melting.
“A water bottle turned to liquid and flowed down itself, melting into a puddle, before my very eyes. My friends’ faces were dripping down to the floor, teeth and eyes dripping everywhere. At a particularly intense part of a song (Comfortably Numb, during the 2nd solo). I got up to use the bathroom, and I felt like I was a giant mushroom, floating down the hallway with a gigantic head.
“In the bathroom, I looked at myself in the mirror, and my eyebrows melted down the side of my face. I noticed that I could see as if looking under a magnifying glass at whatever my vision was focused on – I looked into my skin pores and my face began to look really, really dirty. After a little while of looking at this fascinating phenomenon, I walked back to my friend’s room.
“At this point I began to occasionally see this strange ‘dripping’. By dripping, I mean that an object, strangely usually a person’s shoe, would seem to bend towards one point, as if the light reaching my eyes was being bent by a prism. Then, a tiny drop of liquid shoe would suddenly pop off and slowly drift away. Really fascinating visuals, and something that I’ve never seen again, even in subsequent mushroom trips, including one with Syrian Rue.
“This went on for a while, and I just sat back and enjoyed myself immensely, as the body buzz was absolutely euphoric. I really only had about ten minutes of fear during the entire trip, which is odd, as every other time I’ve taken mushrooms, ‘the Fear’ has been an unfortunately significant part of the experience.
“The fear that I got this time came from the fact that I could tell I was starting to come down, and I honestly didn’t think I’d ever be able to rejoin society. I had completely and utterly seen the truth of the universe, and society seemed to me a ludicrous invention that I could no longer understand or participate in.
“I was scared, because I knew that I had to rejoin normal life, as I had responsibilities and school to attend to. However, after a few minutes, we decided to go outside for a walk, and the goal that we suddenly had made me feel excited, and we went.
“The rest of the trip was much less psychedelic, and in general I just sort of returned to normal after a few more hours. However, I was left with a warm afterglow, and I still felt the bliss for weeks.
“More significantly, my life was changed forever as I came to realize the truth of the universe. Although I tripped many more times since then, this first trip has done 95% of the work in transforming my brain and personal philosophies. In the four or so years since that day, I have come from being an unguided atheist, having already abandoned Christianity for its hypocrisies, to having a definite and very powerful idea of what ‘God’ really is.
“It is all of us, and everything else living, ties together in an infinite web that I like to call the Lifeforce. I no longer fear death, as I know what it will bring. I will be happy to leave my body behind and join the collective consciousness of Life itself, when the time comes.
“Hopefully my experience has been interesting and enlightening for you, and I thank you for reading it. I truly believe that a psychedelic experience such as mine is a very important experience for a human being to have, and I think it would help to solve a lot of the idiocy and hypocrisy that plagues our race, particularly our American society.
“Peace, and may the Lifeforce reveal itself to you and reduce you to tears of joy with its mind-blowing beauty. -Lightwarden”
As we’ve learned here, psychedelics can be much more than society gives them credit for. They can cause some bizarre yet incredibly enlightening experiences, and we’ll only see what they can really do if we open up to them. The authors of these stories embraced them despite their negative associations, and they were shown profound and amazing things.
One of the only downsides to writing is that it’s difficult to communicate a truly enlightening experience with words, and direct experience is the only way to know or understand something. While psychedelics don’t work for everyone, they’ve allowed some people to gain a new perspective on the mysteries of life and they’re clearly worth exploring for ourselves.
The experience isn’t always sunshine and good vibes, but psychedelics still have the potential to enlighten a lost society.