Citation: slipdisco. "Form Over Physics: An Experience with Banisteriopsis caapi, DMT & Various ('Changa') (exp107582)". Erowid.org. Jan 8, 2016. erowid.org/exp/107582
I had no intention of tripping last Sunday. I was convalescing after a one-two punch - a taxing visit home and an exhausting marriage session of my best friend. After coming back, I went to a Battles gig this Friday which was (needless to say) stupendous and loud. I had tinnitus of the left ear till Saturday. My friend (Ar) who was also at the gig mentioned that he had tried out some new psychoactive and might get the opportunity to score it again.
On Sunday I woke up well rested. Ar called up to say he was coming over with another mutual friend (R). My younger brother (B) came over for lunch and stuck around when they came. Apparently, Ar had managed to get his hands on some Changa. I had never heard of it so I instantly googled it and only found a blog with an intro page. So I dived into the Erowid vaults and learnt of this latest phase in the evolution of Ayahuasca rituals.
Another bunch of friends had called a shaman down to a hill station nearby and tripped on Yaje, the drink, in a ritual setting with him in march this year. Changa is smoked. I had once tried to smoke DMT crystals in a glass pipe almost a decade ago in college. We didn't have enough for more than a hit each back then and on top of that, as novices, we didn't know how to burn it properly so the effect left a lot to be desired. Last time I tripped was during the bachelor party of my best friend at the end of September this year, though it was pure MDMA, an empathogenic, which he sourced from a doctor. Last time I tripped on a hallucinogenic was last year in October on shrooms at another friend's bachelor's.
I was curious now about this drug that had appeared although, anal and anti-social as I am, I was also a bit miffed that my plan for Sunday, of reading alone, was no longer an option. Mostly, I was worried about B - we have been smoking weed for a long while but he has never tripped on proper psychedelics. Much like me, he spent his twenties in a self-destructive manner and I had warned him that psychedelics bring psychological conflicts to the surface in an unpredictable and uncontrollable manner - no drug is as strong as the hormonal concoction that starts running in our veins after puberty. Thank god he heeded my advice and the turbulent phase of life is (hopefully) behind us now. That doesn't mean he has learnt anything though. B pleaded that he did have experience with psychedelics because he had done Ketamine so I explained to him that's the exact opposite of a psychedelic - a tranquilizer cuts off the senses rather than overloading them.
So we started setting up. The ice bong had been out of service for months so we took it out of the closet and cleaned it thoroughly. Ar cleaned the pipe with isopropyl alcohol. I have an empty hall in my flat (only white lights, no decorations, wallpapers or carpets, no tv either). We shifted one of the single-seater couches next to the balcony's sliding glass doors to look out on the beautiful evening sky, smog-free and incandescent blue. My balcony is at one edge of the apartments' campus looking out on an unconstructed field with overgrown vegetation due to frequent afternoon showers. Children still find a way in to play soccer. It must have been around five when Ar took the first changa bong hit. Kangding Ray was playing on a Jawbone system.
I was also worried my lunch would come back out from the purging effects of psychedelics in general and ayahuasca in particular so I rolled a thin small joint (5-6 drags) of changa and tobacco first. It felt much stronger than any pot I had come across. My fingers tingled and my hands felt like a plant leaf with slight condensation on it. I reached the mild euphoria of the post-trip state directly without actually tripping.
I reached the mild euphoria of the post-trip state directly without actually tripping.
Language became a labour.
Now I was anticipating my first changa bong hit. After R & B, it was my turn. I sat on the couch and lit it. As I rolled my head back, I broke out in cold sweats. I was feeling cold before but now suddenly my body needed the cold breeze coming in. Every pore opened up to welcome the climate. The trees in the field and the railing of the balcony came unmoored from their foundation and became abstract geometric patterns. There was no noticeable auditory hallucination tho. Movement and speaking were out of the question for five mins.
The first bong hit was just my body getting used to this new substance. The sweats and the palpitations were familiar from shroom-tripping. Unlike shrooms, there was no adrenaline rush that blanks out various bodily pains. I was looking forward to the second hit. This time, the auditory hallucinations came on stronger, that weird soundscape that psychedelics open up where the sound doesn't just come from the speaker but from the room as such, every delayed frequency noticeable. How can you be inside a room and yet hear the room as a speaker, which would require the listener to be outside? The sound came in quantized packets and left trails, just like the light.
It was now almost dusk. The sky had turned ink blue. My balcony faces west so the clouds were still reflecting the light of the setting sun. The spectrum from a glowing pink to raven purple was being reflected by the clouds over the blackening sky. I got up and walked out to the balcony. A building to the extreme right was also bathed in indigo hue. I thought I was still tripping but it was actually outdoor UV lighting. The second hit was much more intense. My body had become used to Changa and was allowing it to do its thing. I noticed the signature collapse of psychedelics - the inability to physiologically separate dream state from waking life. At its peak, the Kaleidoscopic patterns were independent of whether my eyes were closed or open. Illumination and darkening were following their own rhythm, free of ambient cues.
At the end of my second trip, the album got over. Now I was really excited for the third hit, anticipating the DMT 'breakthrough'. I took over the music. R was gearing up for his third hit and I played Rustie's Glass Swords. It didn't feel like the best choice for tripping considering its all squeaky clean, chrome polished, now familiar sounds after a decade of dubstep. So I wanted to play something with dissonance, ambience and unfamiliarity - music that carries a life-world in itself. So I decided on Burial's EP 'Rival Dealer'.
That third hit was everything I expected and more. The opening bars of the opening song of the EP was playing, Burial sampling some old school jungle, when I took the hit. Almost instantly I warped elsewhere. The music trailed out into a distant ringing and stroboscopic light points appeared outlining space and volume.
The music trailed out into a distant ringing and stroboscopic light points appeared outlining space and volume.
The ringing became quite loud and I panicked about tinnitus coming back with a vengeance when the visuals took over completely. The stroboscopic lights morphed into Kaleidoscopic textures and planes forming a new reality. I was in the mirror room at the climax of Bruce Lee's Enter the Dragon, except this time the room was multi-dimensional instead of just four walls and the walls didn't reflect each other as much meld at various points in a fractal design, form over physics. I also knew (I don’t know how) that the ‘dragon’ was some female designer, not a kung fu master.
She wanted me to appreciate her design skills and told me the room was made out of alien material whose closest analogue in our world was plastic. So I was in this rapidly reforming room where it made no sense to ask of simple physical questions like 'which direction is up?' or 'am I standing?'. Then, the felt presence of this alien termagant vanished and the 'walls', so to speak, started to close in. They didn't close in as much as I realized that there was no longer any separation of inside/outside, body/habitat - just a floating perspective with no anchor. The planes of the kaleidoscope started shifting in opposing directions and I felt like I was travelling through a wormhole. At this point, I was attacked by the most uncanny feeling yet - this 'plastic' that she had talked about, it was not entirely molded by her. It was forming and reforming on its own. It was not just expanding and contracting... it was breathing. The 'plastic' was ALIVE! I was travelling through a biomass wormhole, a galactic vagina (if you will).
I was scared, just like every other time, that I had gone too far. I was blaming myself for being childish in the enthusiasm for a new experience for which we risk our sanity and play with death in small doses. Only ten minutes had passed irl. The first track had ended with the sample 'Come back to us'. As the second track of the EP started, I came back to earthly life. I was in that powerless state where you hold onto the music as if your life depends on it, as if every sample and sound is super-significant and portentous. Burial was evoking the nineties in his style with samples of music from that era being played by someone entering a car and switching on the tape player. The clicks, the tics, the ghostly distant sounds, the tape hiss - It all gave me intense deja vu. The sense of false memory was so strong when I knew for a fact that I had never tripped to this EP.
The visuals had quieted down by now even though my eyes were still jittery. Movement left a trail. Ar & R went to get something to drink. B rolled a cig for me. I put on Jo Def's EP but it was too polished and hi-fidelity so I switched to Com Truise for more analog electronics and tape FX from the eighties. Ar & R came back with Amrut whisky. B wanted another hit. I realized that my worry about B was a projection - I was worried about loosing my self permanently, a worry I projected onto him. No one is as overwhelmed during trips as I am - they talk, move, dance. I become paralyzed and mute. I wanted B's final hit to be excellent too so I played Fly Lo's Los Angeles album for him. After that, everyone but me had a whisky drink, followed by a weed chillum and a hash chillum which I did partake. We finished off with the evening with some acid-damaged jams of Sun Araw in a throwback to the original hippie scene. Comedowns are the only time endless guitar noodling makes sense.
I believe we went through a gram of Changa in eleven hits (plus a teeny j), which comes to approximately ~0.08 g per hit. I heartily recommend it to seasoned trippers and newbies alike. The main problem, especially as I age, with psychedelics I did over the last decade (acid, shrooms, MDMA) is the investment of time. Quite simply put, I have grown tired of overnight raves which leave you fatigued and useless for a couple of days before you can trip again. This time around, we did it in the afternoon to evening period and Changa gave us more control over because an episode lasts ten-fifteen mins. It is more of a visual hallucinator than acid or shrooms which affect the perception of acoustic space more intensely and on a much more extended timeline (acid effects even beyond the trip cut-off point).
On a personal level, this was the first time that I tripped in my house, the first time that my brother B tripped on any psychedelic, the first time we tripped together and the first time all of us tripped on Changa. I award it full ten points for turning an uneventful Sunday into a novel experience. No psychedelic has ever been as spectacular as Changa for me.
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