Citation: Merry Prankster. "A Powerful Tool for Enlightenment: An Experience with Psilocybe semilanceata (ID 109644)". Erowid.org. Mar 19, 2017. erowid.org/exp/109644
From the time I was a child, I had always been skeptical of the existence of “God.” Being raised Jewish in a not-particularly-religious environment, it was of no consequence what I believed, and I am thankful I grew up in an environment where I could think independently about what I believed, not what I “should” believe.
However, around my senior year in high school, my friends and I began to become enthralled with the writings of Henry David Thoreau and the transcendentalists. Their belief in the “oneness” of the universe and all things, living or not, really struck a chord with us, and I began to contemplate that maybe there was a God, not as some white man in a throne looking down at his subjects, but as the innate connectivity of all matter and beings.
Fast forward to my junior year in college.
Having little experience in the psychedelic realm, but much curiosity, I decided it would be in my best interest to start with mushrooms. I had many connections to get some of California’s finest fungi (born and raised in the Bay Area), and I really wanted a period of intense introspection to see what I might learn. I got an eighth of Liberty Caps, but decided only to eat half, as they are a potent species. With all of my work taken care of, I went to bed early on Friday with the intention of taking the mushrooms on Saturday.
At 8 am, I ate the half eighth I had measured out on my scale without a breakfast, and within 15 minutes, felt a sense of great anxiety. The question: “What if I have a bad trip?” sped through my mind on loop. I drank some water, and tried calming myself down. I decided I should take a walk on the beach, to get myself in the right mindset. As I got up from my desk, I noticed the wood grain on my door “flowing.” I began to get much more anxious. “It’s only been 25 minutes, I’m not even close to the peak” I thought with terror.
Upon walking down the gated neighborhood’s road to the beach, I turned some peaceful music to help turn the trip around to a “good experience.” I have always been a fan of Led Zeppelin, and I turned on their song: “Since I’ve Been Loving You.” Subconsciously, I attached that song to a girl I loved my sophomore year of college, one that had driven me to deep depression and alcohol abuse. And there, in the road, among all the breathing and moving trees and surfaces, she stood, screaming and crying. I spent the next 7 minutes in the greatest repentance and sorrow I could ever possibly fathom. I was on the road surface, crying and wailing. I was forced to confront my worst memories of my experience with her, suppressed by my brain. In the silence between the Zep song and the next song on my playlist, I sat there, completely frozen, and said quietly: “I’m sorry.” What happened upon muttering those words defies any explanation, but it seemed as though all of the deep seeded anxiety and lingering depression around my feelings for her left my physical being with the words I uttered. I began to cry again at the beginning of the next song, “Blue Skies” by Willie Nelson, but this time, tears of pure joy, passion, forgiveness, for myself and for her.
I had finally made it to the beach at around 9 am. I was growing more nauseous, almost seasick, and sat on the soft sand, watching the waves break. At this point I began to really hallucinate hard. I must have a low tolerance to psilocybin, because of how fast and hard the trip hit on such a relatively low dose. The hallucinations before me were very intricate and detailed, but had a seemingly “overlaid” appearance. I could tell they weren’t there, but could see them nonetheless. I closed my eyes, and was taken into a 3 dimensional world of infinitely complex living diamond patterns. I grew more dizzy from this and opened my eyes, and I got up and went walking down the beach.
My level of anxiety was still very high, but I had been able to stay out of a nightmarish hell, like the many bad trips I have read about. Much of the trip that followed was almost a dream; difficult to remember or differentiate what was real, and what was imagined, but I’ll do my best to retell the parts I can. Everything looked like a mystical slime world, something out of the Lord of the Rings series. I remember reaching the end of the beach, at a military installation, and talking to one of the soldiers. I remember she said something to the effect that I could walk no further, as there was a drill going on that involved live fire. Upon turning away, a strange feeling hit me, like I had just been blasted by a ray of intense light. I could feel it rising inside me, from my groin, up my stomach, to my throat…and then I giggled more intensely and passionately than I could ever conceive. The cosmic giggles had struck, and it really helped to reduce my anxiety.
The cosmic giggles had struck, and it really helped to reduce my anxiety.
At this point, around 10, I had peaked, and was at the plateau. With my anxiety gone, I became very at peace, with a sense that everything will be all right. I began to think about my spirituality and the notion of death and God.
Mushrooms helped me think in a very unifying way, as though I were just part of something much bigger as opposed to a singular human adrift in the world alone. I began to think about all that the transcendentalists had preached about, oneness, and connectivity with nature. I felt throughout the trip that the boundaries between objects were null, that they were human demarcations that held no weight. At that moment, I could not tell where my body ended and the sand began. And at that moment there on the beach, without warning, it happened: I understood the notion of God. No words could possibly begin to describe to the idea of universal connectivity and a wholly encompassing being of the universe in a way that makes sense to the sober mind. Mushrooms allowed my brain to comprehend what I had held as true, and reaffirmed what I believed about God, and death, being a return to God and the universe. Much of the peak following is a blur, but I do recall feeling something in my shoe, looking at what it was, and the thing in my shoe I found to be my foot.
The comedown was intensely pleasant. I listened to the Grateful Dead and just walked around, for the first time in a long time completely at peace with myself, living fully in the moment. I bought a burrito, and ate it at a park bench while I watched ducks waddle near a small pond. Life is good. In the hours following, I developed a powerful headache, at some points incapacitating, which went away with a good night’s sleep of 12 hours.
That was the single most powerful emotional introspection I had ever had to this point, I feel in the aftermath the feeling of wellbeing, the feeling that my anxiety and depression are contained, and that what remains I can help myself with. I feel as refreshed as if an intense weight has been lifted off my shoulders, not by the mushrooms, but by myself having personally overcome many of my problems. I see mushrooms not as an answer to life’s problems, but as a powerful tool useful in understanding the questions to life’s problems. I was able to work out some of my problems while under the influence of mushrooms, I didn’t give my problems to the mushrooms to work out while I tripped, the effort was my own. The mushrooms gave me the mind that was necessary in making the progress in finding answers. Above all, after this trip, I am more confident than ever that all of the universe is linked in some way, being innately sacred, and that brings with it enormous relief, and a sense that I can stop worrying about finding answers, and start living again.
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