Huasca Combo (Syrian Rue & A. confusa)
Citation: Jackal. "There Are Worse Things Than Death: An Experience with Huasca Combo (Syrian Rue & A. confusa) (exp102193)". Erowid.org. Apr 14, 2016. erowid.org/exp/102193
A little background: I am a 31-year-old male, in good health, and physically active. I have no history of depression or mood disorders, and at the time of this experience I was in excellent mental and emotional shape. I smoke cigarettes daily, cannabis occasionally, and I drink coffee. I am, in my own estimation, a very stable and happy person.
Four years ago, I began working with Ayahuasca analogues, specifically with Acacia confusa and Syrian Rue combinations. From the outset, I found the experience to be exactly what I was looking for: Lucid, physically engaging, and an excellent adjunct to creative thought or endeavor. I find Ayahuasca to be the only substance I have ever experienced where I consistently feel physically better, after the experience is over, than I would have felt had I not taken anything at all. For the past three years I have taken it quite regularly, on average about once a week. While I would by no means recommend this kind of regularity to anyone else, it has worked quite well for me, and has not interfered in any way with the day-to-day living of my life.
My preferred method for brewing Acacia is cold-brewing, which is devastatingly simple. I measure out powdered Acacia into a glass jar, add water, and store it in the refrigerator, shaking the jar vigorously at least once per day. After about a week, the brew is active and ready to be taken. I pour out a portion of the liquid, grind up three grams of Syrian Rue, and consume both within about twenty minutes of each other. I have administered this concoction to myself well over one hundred times
I have administered this concoction to myself well over one hundred times
, and I have hosted sessions for perhaps two dozen other people. Prior to the experience described below, I have never had anything I would classify as a bad trip, nor have I ever seen anyone else have such an experience. What happened was a result of overdose, not mindset or setting.
The Acacia I use has quite a high DMT content, and is comparable with Mimosa hostilis. I had got into the habit of saving the solid material after consuming the brew, on the off-chance that some lingering DMT still remained in it. I would transfer the spent plant material to a different jar, add a bit of water, and keep it in the refrigerator. When another dose of Acacia was spent, I would add that material to the same jar, so that over time I had a quart-sized Ball jar three-fourths full of 'used' Acacia sitting in the back of my refrigerator. Every now and then I would shake it, passing the small amount of water at the top through the sediment, just in case any potency remained.
On Friday, the 22nd of November 2013, I returned home from a busy day with the intention of having a good strong experience. I did not have a current brew going, so I brought out the jar of sediment from the back of the fridge. I assumed that the sediment did not contain much DMT, and poured out the entirety of the liquid for my dose. This was a mistake.
Cold-brewing, which uses no acidity or heat, is less effective at getting ALL the active principles from a batch of plant material, though a little patience will still render a powerful dose. This jar had been sitting in my refrigerator for months, gathering more 'used' plant material from other doses, and soaking up what DMT remained in the sediment. All in all, I suspect there may have been as much as 250 grams of powdered Acacia confusa sediment in the jar at the time of this experience. For scale, an *average* dose of Acaciahuasca hovers around 10 grams.
I took 3 grams of finely-ground Syrian Rue, waited twenty minutes, and drank off the liquid. I laid down, composed myself, closed my eyes, and tried to relax into the experience. Very little happened for the first forty-five minutes or so, and I assumed I was in for a gentle trip. I let my mind drift.
Sometime later, I became aware that the visuals behind my closed eyes had grown noticeably brighter and more active. The body load had increased, and almost every muscle in my body had slowly, gradually, become activated without my noticing. I almost never get nausea with Acacia, and there was none now, but I noticed a heaviness in my stomach, as if something hard and dense rested there.
I sat up, and like a wave a mile high, it hit me.
How can I describe what happened next? Imagine that consciousness, and the sensations that go along with it- perception, thought, awareness of the body, and so forth- had a volume knob, like a stereo. Imagine that, like a stereo, this knob could be turned FAR beyond the point where the volume became unpleasant, then painful, then excruciating. Imagine this is happening inside of you, to each one of your faculties, and with each passing moment it gets worse, even though it is already intolerable. And there is no way to stop it. And it goes on. And on. And on.
I want to be clear on this: What happened to me over the next hour and a half was not a bad trip. It was not a burst of anxiety or negative feelings such as can happen with Psilocybin or LSD. This was mental and physical agony of a kind and degree I had never imagined. This rolling wave of sensation upon sensation stripped away everything that I was, everything that I knew, and filled my veins and mind with shrieking fire. I have had some brushes with pain and discomfort in my life, including a jaw infection that nearly sent me into the ER, and NONE of it can even come close to what I experienced in that hour. My body had already assimilated the liquid, there was nothing to purge, and no way to escape what was happening to me. Every moment was blinding, howling agony. And there was nothing I could do.
Thank god I didn't have a trip-sitter that night. If someone had been talking to me, trying to calm me down or reassure me, I would have started screaming and never stopped.
There is no pain to compare to it. At one point, I bit into my arm, hoping that inducing physical pain might help bring me even slightly back down to earth, and felt nothing. Later, I noticed that I had bit cleanly through the flesh of my arm without feeling it. My body wanted to flail, to claw at itself in desperation. I gave serious thought, for the only time in my life, to suicide. If you had put a straight razor into my hand at that moment, I would have cut my own throat without hesitation. And of course, as is the nature of powerful psychedelics, the experience went on FOREVER.
I can still remember the moment when the sensations began to subside, when the blinding visuals receded ever so slightly, and I could breathe again. Toward the end of this endless torture, I had begun having trouble breathing, and had wondered, with the idle speculation of the damned, whether I would simply drop dead. It was only when the wave receded, just the tiniest amount, that I knew I would be coming back. That I would get to be alive again, a person again. I remember the relief of knowing that I had made it through, that I had not given in to the desire to open my veins and bleed out in order to stop the pain. That I would live.
An hour later I was down. This is perhaps the most atrocious part of the whole episode, in a way. I had just had the single worst, most traumatic experience of my entire life, and an hour after the effects began to subside, it was as if I had never taken anything. All I had left to show for it was the memory, the unbelievable gratitude at still being alive, and the open wound where I had bitten through the flesh of my arm. I cleaned the wound, drank some water, and went outside to smoke a cigarette. 'My god,' I thought. 'My god. I had no idea human beings could experience something so extreme, much less return intact to the world of the living'. Herein lies the ineffable mystery of DMT. Whether heaven, hell, or alien realms, the places to which it can bring us are fleeting, and when journey is over, they drain away like dreams upon waking.
I finished my cigarette, went inside, and went to bed.
Aftermath: I have continued to work with Acacia since this experience, though with a greater care for dose and preparation.
I have continued to work with Acacia since this experience, though with a greater care for dose and preparation.
If the trauma of that night has had any impact on my day-to-day life, it has been to point out to me how superficial and fleeting are most of the things we become annoyed, or angry, or anxious about. I am alive in the world, in a healthy and pain-free body. Everything else is just details.
I still experience some fear when coming up against powerful sensations during an Acacia journey, but I'm okay with that. These substances, and what they do in concert with the human mind, are so mysterious that they *should* induce a certain amount of fear, in my opinion. This is how we grow; by encountering fear, and moving ahead. By doing things, and having things happening to us. By pushing boundaries.
For better or worse, I intend to continue exploring.
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