Mushrooms (P. cubensis)
Citation: Sloggie. "Our Death Trip: experience with Mushrooms (P. cubensis) (ID 28265)". Erowid.org. Oct 11, 2004. erowid.org/exp/28265
There's no way to say all of this.
It comes from beyond normal waking consciousness, the realm of language.
Here's my best effort anyway...
Cast of characters:
My wife ('N')
'D', our 19-year-old friend, who is very creative, musical, artistic, funny, and generally a very positive person. He's smart, and reads great works of philosophy and literature.
'M', our 18-year-old friend who is gentle and kind, and has a tremendous IQ. He's shy, and is modest enough to allow others to express themselves without pushing his way in, even though he often has great insight on an issue. I have seen him enjoy nothing more than helping other people.
These two guys are like our brothers. They are both atypical for their young ages. N and I were surprised several times by their maturity and wisdom as we first got to know them. We explore together, risking life and limb for a glimpse of the truth. We have developed a deep sense of trust in our group.
We met a few days ago (Friday night, August 29, 2003) to continue our summer-long investigation of various ways of being. We ingested various amounts of mushrooms (cubensis). I took 3.5 grams and made tea (steeping twice with 208 degree F water, each time for 10 minutes, and drinking all of the tea); the others ate between 1.5 and 3 grams (dried). As we relaxed into the vibrating love around us, we had no idea how our worldviews would soon shatter and re-form. We would soon know very deeply how much we are moved by fear, and how much we are moved by love.
We worshipped the moon that night, in our own way. We gladly partook of her beneficence.
N went to a profoundly direct level of communication with her god, staring at his image in a Tibetan painting hanging in the living room. She recalled that he was the god that scared people, testing them with fear before allowing them to pass, a gatekeeper. He is often depicted surrounded by fire, and looks like a monster. She had known this fact all of her life, and yet it struck her in a new way this night. She prayed and meditated for a while, finally releasing her spirit to the god with the message, 'I'm ready.' Little did she know what she was opening herself up to.
She soon heard a deep voice in the living room, speaking three nonsensical repeating syllables. It sounded like it was coming out of the African drum. Her first instinct was to leave the room, scared, but N realized that if it was the voice of her god, she should listen for what it was saying. She had been touching various rocks that we have gathered from around the world, and began to hear the voice upon touching the one that we brought back from Tibet. She was not touching it in an average way, it should be noted, but she was trying to imagine what it's like to be the rock. This could be called an auditory hallucination, and she was very scared, so she came into the adjacent room and gave the rock to M, asking him to see if he could hear a voice. He said no, but then he began to sing in a voice that harmonized perfectly with the voice that N (had thought she?) was hallucinating. This oddity remained unsolved.
The theme of the evening was death. There were so many synchronicities that evening, my spirit antennas were receiving constant information. I didn't realize this, though, until later. But our discussion had naturally revolved around death on several occasions, such as D going into detail about where he would prefer to die (the desert) and where he'd hate to die (the sea) and why, and N's opinion (that she first discovered when saying it that night) that she'd prefer to freeze into a cocoon of ice.
We looked at some art based on Chinese characters, and N pointed out that the character for death was not the center, but merely headed one of eight columns in the art. D gave a long tirade against technology, ending emotionally with his admission that he'd be dead (his word) without technology, since his eyes are bad enough to be almost useless without glasses. There were several other links to death that are harder to explain. We discovered all of these after the fact, N and I.
Plans to take a walk evolved, and as we started to prepare, our real test - the test of N's god - began.
We heard D cry out from the kitchen 'Come quick somebody, M needs help!'
We both ran in to find him on the floor, stretched out, eyes closed. I went to help him, but before I got there, he went into a sort of seizure. His hands and arms were convulsing, his head was turned to the side, and he was doing something with his mouth. I crouched above him, on top of him, taking his hands and calling his name, and he looked at me, startled.
His eyes were not like eyes I've seen. There was a mirror-purity to them, a quality of perfection or insanity, something I may have flirted with on certain occasions but don't know well. I have never seen eyes open so wide. I will never forget his eyes at that moment. They have filled me with fear and sent chills across my skin dozens of time in the past four days. They were empty of certain filters and human qualities and consciousnesses that are so ubiquitous that I had forgotten to notice them, until seeing their remarkable absence.
He pushed me with his arms and got into a sitting-up position. I jumped back, instinctively scared of him. I felt that he might attack me. N later told me that she had thought he would attack me. His eyes were totally uncomprehending, empty of any recognition, but intent on making sense of a nonsensical world. His entire face was different. He looked back and forth between D's face and mine, rapidly, completely blank, panicked, and D told him 'it's D and S', and then I said several times 'it's D and S! We love you! We love you! We love you!'
This seemed to bring him back, and he put his head on the floor and closed his eyes, but in a very different way than if he had fainted. He seemed to have recognized us at some level (and indeed, talking with him later, this is the point where his consciousness/memory came back).
We slowly helped him to the sofa in the living room. He was unable to sit up for almost 3 hours, despite trying twice. During that time, N and I sat with him and held his hands, massaged him, and generally tried to give him lots of love and healing energy.
Immediately after helping M settle down on the sofa, however, before even one minute had passed, D came into the room and looked me in the face from close up, his face extremely red and blotchy, total fear in his eyes, and said 'There's a problem in the kitchen. N says she needs help'. I could see that he was scared, and overwhelming fear shot through me, first for N, and then as a voice saying to me that the exquisite lunar food (cubebsis) that we'd shared must have been bad, and since I took in the most of everyone, I would be down soon as well, and that I should call 911 before we were all incapacitated.
When I walked into the kitchen, I saw N on the floor with her eyes closed. I got down next to her and held her, trying to find out what the problem was. She couldn't talk at first, as my fears built up. I was riding waves of terror as I waited for her to speak. After a short time, she said that she was feeling sick, and couldn't stand up. I asked her to breathe deeply, and she realized that she hadn't been breathing much at all. She had half-fainted. I massaged her for a few minutes. When she felt somewhat better, we went to help M. It turned out that she had been so upset about M's trauma that she had nearly fainted herself. She later said that she had been so intensely focused on helping M that she had forgotten to breathe for a fairly long time.
M gave several explanations for fainting, including focusing so hard on his thinking that he didn't remember to breathe. (It was after he said this that N said that a similar explanation could apply to her as well). But I only consciously realized the enormous difference between fainting and a seizure today, when I realized that he undoubtedly experienced both. He explained that he only felt like he couldn't breathe, in addition to seeing a white light. He remembered his arms shaking violently, but believed at the time that he was trying to make his way back into this world with his arms.
We sat on the ground, next to him (he was on the couch) for three hours. At that point, he determined that he was safe to sleep, and had not suffered a concussion. I would have preferred a longer wait time, but he insisted that he was confident of his safety.
I couldn't sleep the entire night. I was freaked out, and I freaked out N. I was thinking of M's eyes, and hoping that he was okay.
The next day, we were not in a normal condition. With two friends, we drank some marijuana tea (boiled in soymilk; it works beautifully), each of us drinking the equivalent of about 1 gram of bud, and the resulting intoxication opened up many of the same channels as the night before, reviving the feelings created by the moon worship and the mushrooms and extending them. Some might call it a flashback, but I would say that it seemed like the pot brought out the mushrooms again, and we tripped hard for several hours. N got freaked out by herself this time, and I massaged her for a long while as she lay on the couch at our friends' house. These friends were understanding and kind, and helped us a lot.
We saw both M and D again on Sunday, and they were both fine, although they looked as emotionally exhausted as I felt, I thought. M looked 100 percent like himself.
On Monday afternoon, exhausted, we took a nap. Here is the dream I had:
N and I and two other people (M and D, for most of the dream) were at the beach. We were not sure where we were, exactly, and somewhat confused. N got dizzy or scared looking at the infinity of the sky, and M suggested looking at the ground instead (maybe to 'ground her'). On the way down, her line of vision crossed over the ocean, which we all knew was infinite like the sky (because of the horizon), and I made a joke about how it wouldn't help to look there.
We were confused. We walked on the shore, among some rocks, and I saw something that I had left there earlier - maybe yesterday? It was large, and didn't seem to possibly fit in the drawer in the rock that I saw and openedÉI couldn't find it when I looked inside, but I did find a small yellow leather coin purse. There was room for two pennies on the top, for good luck, and I immediately threw the two pennies away, thinking that the previous owner had obviously not been lucky enough to not lose it! I went into my pockets and filled the purse with coins, saving two pennies of my own to put in the top for luck. But I somehow got one penny and one Japanese 10-yen coin, which is the same color.
We walked in two groups around one set of rocks. I was saying that the area further from the water was safer, where D and I were walking, was probably safer, but N and the person she was with (M, or a girl, at that point) thought that they were fine there. Suddenly, we were in a small wooden rowboat, right there where we had been on the shore, but the water level was much higher. It was possible that our boat would sink, but this was not a terribly scary prospect for me, since we had to swim only 5 feet or so to shore. The boat turned around, and I was then in the front of the boat. I saw the level of water rise to much higher than the level of the boat, and I expected the boat to fill with water. But I didn't see the water come in, and didn't feel it on my legs, despite the physical situation looking like it should have flooded in the boat. I knew that we would have to get to shore, but was not worried, only cautiously aware.
Here's how I understand this dream:
The sky represented god. N had been the one to look directly at her god that evening, and got scared when she heard him talk. The inability of humans to fathom the intensity of a direct vision of god is one thing that I had had on my mind recently, including the Rumi poem about Muhammad praying to be granted a view of god as god is, despite warnings that he would not be able to stand it. He still wanted this vision, and was presented with something that made a mountain range look puny. He immediately fainted in the story.
The sea represented the subconscious reality. Like god, it is infinite (it extends to the horizon and beyond), and is even part of god. But there is a difference in the infinities, since the entire sky is vastly larger than the sea.
We were ready to travel in the sea, in a confused state - this is reflective of our journeys through the subconscious, and the vehicle, the boat, could have been the same lunar/mushroom vehicle that permitted our travel, and our experiences that Friday evening.
The yellow leather purse reminded me of my ex girlfriend, who owned several leather purses, including some that were the identical yellow. I have never seen this yellow elsewhere. I removed two pennies (American coins -my ex was American) from the purse, and replaced them with one American and one Japanese coin (N is Japanese).
This dream was powerful in helping me feel more relaxed, since it was clearly not a dream of disaster, but of an aborted voyage, like the one we had experienced.
I told M and D about my dream, and my ideas about these powerful experiences, and they agreed with many of my ideas, despite their scientific-based beliefs, possibly because I explained them very convincingly and had the dream to back them up. Or maybe they just knew that something bizarre had happened, and my explanation fit the situation in a way that their hearts could accept and embrace.
We all got together tonight and had a good long talk - extremely emotional and intense, but nothing compared to the actual experience itself.
We agreed that it had been a good experience, overall, in terms of learning, and the fact that nobody seemed to be permanently hurt. But the best part for me was the presence of god, which was undeniable to even someone with my limited perceptual capabilities.
During the death trip, as soon as my mind had a free moment, after N was fine and M was clearly improving, I got this wave of conviction that this entire experience served the purpose of testing me (among other purposes). It was like god asking me: 'You often read about and discuss enlightenment, you believe in it and live for it, but do you remember that your tools bring you forward on your path through ego loss, which is identical to ego death? Can you take it? There is real risk here, and you need to be aware of the potential for death to occur.'
I considered it to be a test, of a sort, in which my desire to continue the journey at a more intense level was what was being tested. Though I often claim to know (and even understand) the doctrine of ego death central to Buddhist thought, Sufism, Hinduism, and mysticism in general, I have rarely experienced it or anything close. This was an experience of something powerful that asked me, 'are you sure you want to continue on this path of searching, when the path to enlightenment leads to sure death, of body or ego, or both?'
I would like to continue on the path toward enlightenment, despite the promise of certain death, because to not do so would be a travesty.
I am speaking of my own path, of course.
It was only after M went to sleep that I learned what N had been thinking, doing, and hearing from her god earlier in the evening. My interpretations of all that I experienced were formed before she told me about her experience, and the voice she had heard. We discussed the many synchronicities (which is a word often used by people who are afraid to think about or speak directly of the presence of Buddha nature, or divine energy, I sometimes think) until we realized that it seemed that every single event leading up to this test had screamed at us with foreshadowing, and we only noticed after the fact.
M is okay now. He has seen a doctor, who told him that the fact that he hadn't slept enough recently, and hadn't eaten, or drank enough water that day/night was almost certainly linked to the seizures. The doctor told him that if he had a similar experience in the next 3 months, he should immediately contact a doctor, but otherwise, not to worry.
There is a question still deeply presnet in my consciousness. It is whether my life will go back to its previous normalcy now, or always be like this from now on, or progress to 'the next level' (whatever that means) now that we've gone through this nightmarish test.
I believe that it is important to experience mushrooms with this group of people again soon, in order to affirm our belief that the 'death trip' was a positive experience, despite the intense fear that it carried with it. Of course, if M doesn't feel like he wants to, I can understand that very well, but he has already mentioned that he will likely be interested in experimenting with a low dose fairly soon.
Overall, I feel that this trip was extremely important for me, and a major turning point in my life, and N agrees wholeheartedly. Despite the fear, we were able to reach into ourselves and find enough love to bathe the situation in our healing energy. This is another of the amazing aspects of the night, although it tends to get drowned out by the memories of insane fear. It may be the most important aspect of the trip, or it may be the test that we took. I don't know, but I plan on exploring life with the mushroom again, hoping to find out more about life, death, consciousness, god, ego, and love.
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