Mushrooms - P. cubensis
Citation: Cyril. "Medicine for a Confused Mind: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp108160)". Erowid.org. Aug 8, 2021. erowid.org/exp/108160
Mushroom as Medicine for Mental Confusion
Five dried grams of magic mushrooms brought me healing from extreme confusion.
Set - Personal Background and My Mental Confusion
I have been deeply confused. I recently spent 10 years in intensive religious life, spending whole days praying and studying in a celibate community. Together with whole-hearted enthusiasm for faith, a misguided pursuit of “perfection” festered within. I strongly condemned “evil” within myself saying, ‘I would never break the rules.’ This fortified my judgement of my self.
I was not living up to my authentic desires, so I decided to leave my religious community. The fallout shocked me. First, I received an ultimatum from my religious community: either remain celibate for 13 more years, or be in an state of evil according to the religion. Moreover, as my rigid beliefs became untenable, the whole “card-castle” began to fall. My inner self felt deeply evil. I cried; I screamed; I got professional help; I journaled; I tried to keep it simple, move on, and not overthink things, but I suffered from profound inner conflict and mental confusion for the next 3 years.
Set - Preparation
Randomly, I had this happy thought, “I need to eat magic mushrooms.” So I spent two and a half months reading about psychedelics before I finally got ahold of the illegal life-form. I had clear intentions for my trip.
Setting - Trip Sitter
I told my wife about the mushrooms. She was distraught and opposed the idea strongly. I insisted, “I HAVE to do this.” She said, “Then take them at home in the basement. It is safer than going to some random place.” I told her, “If I come to you saying, ‘I AM DYING!’ please do not call the ambulance. I am okay. Just comfort me and reassure me that I am okay.” Even though my wife was not in the basement with me during the trip, she was around just in case.
Setting - Environment
I had a bed in a developed basement. I used a light sleeping bag and layers of blankets and pillows. I considered symbolically ‘blocking’ myself in the basement with some ill-placed speaker equipment, but fortunately thought the better of it.
I placed a vomit bucket, a towel, a glass of water and some mouthwash beside the bed. I also had a peeled orange, kleenex, herbal Gravol and Tylenol handy. I had meditative music, a picture book, and a pencil / note pad near by. I burnt some frankincense in the basement and turned out the lights before the trip began.
I regret not having a voice recorder available.
Drug - Preparation
I weighed out 5 dried grams of mushrooms and chopped them finely with a knife on a cutting board. I brought a small pot of water to boil, then turned off the heat and added the mushrooms, a mint tea bag, some lemon juice, fresh ginger, and honey. I let the mixture steep in the pot for 20 minutes, insulated by a lid and oven mitts. I then strained the liquid into a mug, and steeped the pulp in a new wash of scalding water for 20 more minutes, so I had two mugs of tea to drink. Then I tidied up.
Drug - Consumption
t -0:30: Ate 2 Herbal Gravol (ginger root extract) (This Gravol seemed to help with my nausea somewhat).
t +0:00 I wrote down my intention for the trip. With a quick prayer, I sipped down the first mug of tea. It did not taste great. I subjectively felt that the fresh ginger in the tea burned my mouth and upset my stomach.
t +0:10 I drank the second cup of tea, followed by a sip of water and a bite of fruit, to clear up the flavor.
I got inside a sleeping bag on the bed, covered myself with blankets, looked at a picture book and listened to music.
t + 0:15 I began to feel effects, as if the room shifted a little bit. I felt urged to talk out loud. So I began to talk out loud, as if I was explaining something. I felt extremely fluent.
I explained step by step the essence of what I understood about world religions from a historical perspective. “Such and such a religion basically believes this…Then there is my religion, beginning at such and such a date in history…the foundation of the religious community is this…I joined this community and my experience has been this…” I talked out loud about my understanding for over an hour.
My long-term memories were much more accessible. As I went into detail to explain the essence of my memories and perspective; these details did not distract me from my overall flow-of-thought. During this time I saw and felt very minor perceptual alterations - some darkening and visual distortion of the environment, but it did not bother me at all. The primary effects of the mushrooms was fluency of speech.
The primary effects of the mushrooms was fluency of speech.
t +1:30 As I completed my discourse, I suddenly imagined a picture in my mind: me as a savage. I was looking up toward a blue sky through some banana leaves and vines in a tropical jungle, wearing a loin cloth and paint, with my arm around my female partner. This was somewhat inadequate shelter. I had a mild sense of fear of snakes in the jungle, who could bite me at any time. It was like I saw myself in a dream.
I knew I was lying on a comfortable bed in a beautiful modern house, completely safe. I felt gratitude toward my elders and toward society for my house, having been born in this place and at this moment in time.
Next, I thought, “I have a dad, who has lived for many years. And my dad had a dad, who also lived for many years. And so on…going back not just a few thousand years [like my current religious tradition] [but directly back to a first cell that appeared on earth]. I am the heir of all that life!” This thought contextualized my religious understanding, and suggested to me that I have realms within my own being that I know little or nothing of.
Then I had to vomit. To keep things in perspective, though, vomiting from mushrooms is not as bad as vomiting from a stomach bug or a hangover. As I wretched into my bucket, I imagined (almost “heard”) someone saying, “Oh, look at him - disgusting! He ate some kind of illegal drug mushroom, and now he is throwing up. See? That’s why drugs are illegal! They are poison or something…”
As I lifted up my head from the vomit bucket, I saw many tiny stars in the darkness (more colourful than the stars a person sometimes sees when he or she stands up too fast and has an oxygen rush). I answered, as if responding to the imaginary person criticizing me, “I generally agree that people should follow law. I respect society. I respect law. Society has a great deal of value - this house, for instance - and society needs to be upheld. But sometimes people also need to eat these mushrooms. They have a rightful place.”
As I laid back, I continued, “Take me for example. Society has no idea what kind of spiritual suffering I am going through. Religion definitely cannot help me on this point. I need this medicine for my mind.” I threw up again.
I also considered, “Society has NO idea why humans even exist on planet Earth! And they presume to outlaw mushrooms, which reveal a completely alternate perspective on existence?” That is seriously ironic.
t +2:00 Around this point, I lost track of time. My vision went black. I began to repetitively think: “WILL I LIVE FOREVER?” I feared both possible answers - that I would cease to exist…and that I would continue for all eternity. At the moment, the sensations from my body felt quite intense, so the prospect of everlasting existence seemed overwhelming.
I saw and felt myself swirling around and flowing through a shimmering black river of time. Various levels of intelligence were emerging and disappearing in this stream of evolution: insects, various animals, slimes and bacteria - and me.
My consciousness continued through many ages in this shimmering black river of intelligence. I was like a three-dimensional geometric inverse cube striped with shadows and light, amidst the darkness. As I considered lower levels of being, I also thought about the possibility of higher levels of consciousness [and size of the universe] that transcend my perception: “angels”. I felt the presence of one “angel” in particular who was closely identified with my own subconscious mind, and with my wife.
I asked again, “WILL I EXIST FOR ETERNITY?” I considered the possibility that I might revert to a lower level in the evolutionary stream and lose my consciousness, and be unable to communicate with the angel. In other words, I would not know anything or love anyone for the rest of eternity. I started to feel like I was fading away. “No,” I pleaded, “I want to keep my intellect. I want to love. I do not want to slip down to a lower form…”
In desperation I thought, “IF I AM GOING TO DIE, I AM GOING TO DIE CLINGING TO HER!” I struggled out of bed, to go upstairs, to hug my wife. I got a few steps toward the stairs, but then had to sit on a toilet, which was near the bottom of the stairs. I felt weak, like I would not make it. I strengthened my resolve by saying, “If I am going to disappear for all eternity, I am going to fade away in the arms of a beautiful intelligence - HER!” So I got up and stumbled up the stairs [fortunately I had not put the obstacles in the way of the stairs].
On the upper level of the house, my wife was lying in bed. I got under the covers and cuddled with her. Our baby woke up from his nap, so my wife got him from the nursery. She offered me the baby. “No,” I said, “I don’t think I am able to hold him right now.” She played with the baby beside me.
“P,” I said earnestly, “I am going to DIE if you don't have sex with me more often…at least freely offer me a hand job or something.” She burst out laughing as if I had said something genuinely funny (my evolutionary consciousness would die without sex). I tossed and turned for a while and she said, “Look, I’m going to go take the baby to the other room to have a nap while you sober up, okay?” I agreed. As I saw her peacefully go to the other room, I clearly imagined her peacefully packing up all her belongings and leaving me (i.e. divorce), without fair warning because I had taken “drugs.”
t +4:00 I threw up into a garbage can while I sat on the toilet because of diarrhoea or IBS symptoms. I took some more Herbal Gravol. Visually, things looked pretty normal. I poured a bath. I felt confused as the hot water filled up [maybe I was resisting my nausea]. “I’m high on mushrooms,” I said, looking into a mirror. I saw that my pupils were very dilated.
While I was in the bath, I felt like throwing up, but managed to avert the disaster. Suddenly our doorbell rang. I let my wife answer the door, as I laid in the bath. I heard the front door open and some of my relatives arriving - some cousins, my mom, and my sister. They must have come to visit us (it was New Year’s Day)! I listened carefully to their talking and laughter as they came in. Suddenly I heard one of my cousins exclaim, “WHAT? These are drugs!” As she was hanging up her coat, she must have seen the baggie with mushrooms sitting in my jacket pocket. “X is on drugs?” she exclaimed. “You know, a person can get in a lot of trouble for having these!” I overheard my family talking with anger and surprise.
I got quite tense, and tried to think about what I would say to them. I was in a bath - would they at least wait until I got out, or would they barge in and confront me while I was still naked? As I tried to listen to their discussion, I realized that my family was talking about ostracizing me. I heard my younger sister (who recently went through detox) ranting about drug use. I prepared my appeal to her pity: ‘You know [sister], you are like a genius, you are so smart. But just remember to be kind…’
I got out of the hot water and sat on the edge of the bath, naked and confused at the shifting time dilation as the water slowly drained and whirl-pooled out. It even seemed like the water went back upward, for little while. I thought about what I might say when my family confronted me.
I decided what to say to my family: “Listen. It is January 1st, and I spent the day stoned on mushrooms. But it is just one day - it is only one day out of 365. How many years are in my life? There are lots of days, and this is just one of them.” Then something interesting came to mind. “In fact, there are not 365 days in this year - there are 366, because of Leap Year! In any case, today is merely one of many in my entire life.” I got dressed and calmly stepped downstairs to the main level…only to find that no one was there at all.
t +5:00 On the main level of the house, the sun shone peacefully through the large windows onto the carpet. I turned on the gas fireplace and laid down on the ground. “What a relief,” I thought, “no one is here at all!” The sounds of my relatives arriving for a visit had been hallucinations.
The sounds of my relatives arriving for a visit had been hallucinations.
As I relaxed and stared at the ceiling, I noticed how few visual hallucinations I was having. I saw the ceiling shifting back and forth slightly in flower shaped patterns, but the color remained unaffected.
I shed a few tears of relief and joy as I pretended that the the mushrooms were cleaning “cob webs” out of my mind. The mushrooms had not resolved my specific questions about following external rules and regulations of religion versus being true to my deepest desires. But the mushrooms had helped me to deal with something important. In face of death, I chose to love my wife. I also had an much broader perspective to contextualize my understandings of world religions. This was food for future thought.
t +5:20 I turned on the TV to watch some music videos on YouTube. I thought about what I would say to my wife when she came down to ask about my trip. It felt helpful to plan a few words in advance, so any conversation would flow more easily.
t +5:45 My wife came down and asked me about my trip. I said sincerely, “Mushrooms are medicine. I feel healed deep in my soul, you know? Like the mushrooms went through my mind and cleaned out a bunch of old cobwebs.” She seemed considerate and accepting. Then she asked, “Are you going to take them again?”
I had not yet resolved incongruities between specific religious laws and my own understanding, so I felt it would be helpful to use again sometime. But the thought of another “massive dose” seemed unrealistic in the “foreseeable future.”
I shed a few more tears of joy and relief because it felt like the mushrooms were still cleaning up residual confusion. Around this time, my perceptions began to feel mostly ‘clear.’
t +7:30 By this time I felt very much sober. I felt a bit tired, and glad that I had no engagements for the rest of the day, besides relaxing. This experience was like a giant yawn of refreshment, and it brought a sense of renewal and healing to years of internal suffering.
t +3 Months I felt emotionally refreshed a week and a half after eating the mushrooms. About two months later, some poignant anxiety arose (eg. being outside the protection of religion, and worries about my future) but I have been processing these fears with self-acceptance. Before I took the mushrooms, I tried to bury my crises; but after the mushrooms, I began to re-face my own crumbling fortress-mentality with greater strength.
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