The Stages of Ego Death
Citation:   HippieCommunist222. "The Stages of Ego Death: An Experience with LSD (exp111775)". Apr 19, 2018.

The Stages of Ego Death A Detailed Analysis


All information that is explained here is based on a combination of my own personal experience and accounts of similar experience in others. Ego death is very personal and your own beliefs and knowledge of this incarnation will be expressed outwardly and inwardly. I also find it essential to establish that you, and I, do not know anything. We think and we interpret, but to know is to end. We will not know until we know. As a result, the explanations below are simply interpretations in the infinite search for Truth :) ALSO worth noting is that his experience is LSD specific, I have not experienced ego death on other substances (yet).

Background: (skip if you don't really care about my beliefs going in)

I have experienced this beautiful phenomenon only two times and the first time I was tripping while drunk and on bars so I wrote it off as drug induced psychosis (good story for another time, much more chaos, much less answers). The next time I experienced ego death was on a humble 150ug and in a beautiful place with beautiful people. There was no reason for anything to go 'wrong'. Additionally, I figure it's worth noting that I have been meditating daily for 3ish years and have been studying psychology for the same amount of time. The trip I will specifically mention was probably my 30-40th if I had to guess.

The mass of religions around the world use different words and myths to largely explain the exact same concepts. I have my own personal vocab for these metaphysical concepts that I will list below:

The Devil = 'bad' vibes = death = negative = yin = fear
God = one = love = universal consciousness = unity = yang
Ego Death = third eye opening = divine intervention etc.

1. Pre-Death:

Not much worth posting about this because it's simply the start of your trip. At this point, you're probably in that excitatory, mildly-anxious acid come up. You're leaving your sober reality behind and entering the very familiar trip realm. If you're like me, ego death isn't your goal and you're planning on drawing and bonding w/ nature. During my trip, I was following a small stream that slowly trickled around rock formations for about a half mile before reaching a massive waterfall along narrow cliffside. I was with two good friends who I was comfortable with, but I had just met them this year. Both lovely people. Only one of them also decided to trip with me, who we'll call Brice. (The other dude we'll call Tyler).

2. Something Strange / The Mirror

It was at this point in my trip, at the bottom of the waterfall, that I felt an absolutely strange energy emanate throughout the trees, the wind, and my own body. I can literally feel that something very very intense is about to happen. The care-free fun I was having climbing on rocks and running my hands through the water was entirely diminished. Unfortunately, my memory gets hazy at this point and I can't give a flawless account of what I was feeling at the time. What I can tell you is that slowly, or maybe rapidly, every single thought and emotion that I produced was reflected flawlessly by my environment. No slip ups. Perfect synchronization.

On a side note, moments before the claws of insanity took hold, I asked my friend if he could do this thing that I've been able to do anytime I'm tripping. Basically what I do is completely relax my eye muscles and look at nothing in particular. Rather than focus on one specific thing, you relax, breathe, and focus on everything simultaneously. He had no idea what I was talking about.


For reasons I have yet to uncover, the transition to this 'place' (I like to call it the grey, I'll expand later) is almost always met with terror. I'm talking visceral, life-threatening fear. As I felt the aforementioned strange vibrations echo through my being, a group of fellow college students began to approach. Seeing outsiders on acid is either a warm and loving experience for me or an awkward, flustered, anxiety-induced miscommunication. With the nature of the things going on around me, I was nothing but scared. They had a dog without a leash with them and I strongly prayed it wouldn't approach me so as to avoid communication with these people who would most likely think I was insane. Of course, the dog chose me. It was at this point that I completely lost any illusion of control I had over myself and the external world. As these people walked by with the dog, I looked at the girl who owned it and I swear I had seen her face before. But in a very surreal, unexplainable way. These people were not external entities outside of myself going to see the waterfall. They WERE me.
These people were not external entities outside of myself going to see the waterfall. They WERE me.
We were all one. It wasn't like I was watching them and thinking about what they were doing, they were acting out my thoughts. And due to my fear of them and the nature of my mirrored reality, they turned on me. One member of the group was a black man with a tight, orange sweater with a completely shaved head, black pants, and black boots. I knew he was gonna kill me. This complete stranger, whom I have never met, stood roughly 10 feet away and looked me directly into my eyes. He had this look that showed he was absolutely gonna kill me if he needed to, and it was his mission, but he really didn't want to.

Whenever I feel anxiety or any other devilish vibrations on acid, my two safety blankets are drawing (Creating) and meditation (Being). As I felt this terror of death and infinity, I suddenly had the idea to draw. To set the scene, my backpack was under a very large withered log that arced over it about 20 feet from the waterfall. As I walked toward my backpack, the orange sweatered man climbed on top of the log and stood over my backpack just staring at me. He wasn't going to let me create. And I knew this. I cannot quite discern how the following transition occurred, but Tyler, the sober one, suggesting we traverse deeper into the woods.

4. The Holy Mountain

At this point, I just wanna say thanks for reading this fucking monolith of a reddit post. I've never explained some shit to this depth online so I hope it's entertaining enough.

Anyhow, I should point out that our sober friend Tyler, had recently gotten out of a very long and intimate relationship with his lady. Due to the nature of acid and potency of the vibrations you can feel when in the trip realm I could tell he was hurting. As we traversed deeper into the woods, for some reason, I got it in my head that the rest of the trip was for him. I imagined us going to a spot we all deemed suitable for kicking it where he would suddenly break down and we would build him up and it would be beautiful and all that jazz. I was fucking wrong. This trip was all me.

We went deeper into the woods and quite literally and metaphorically reached a mountain. Less like a mountain and more like a slightly larger than normal incline to a higher ground. But you get the symbolism.

The mountain was full of trees that had burned and were utterly gnarled. There was ash nearly up to my ankles and it was overall just a complete shit show. Really steep incline too. I should note at this point I had the strong assumption that all of this was leading to my death. I wasn't sure if it was gonna be my death or my enlightenment but I knew it was something along those lines.

We crossed over the top of the mountain and oh-my-fucking-god lemme tell you it was beyond beautiful. It was a field that seemed to go on infinitely and vast clouds that blanketed the entire sky in beauty. Me being naive and having a head full of acid and divine synchronicity, I assumed I had reached heaven. I dropped my backpack and proceeded to run full speed toward the sun (it was about 2 hours before sunset). I had elation that I was gonna merge with the universal consciousness that exists in everything and I would reach the end of suffering. But, as I'm sure you guessed, I was wrong yet again.

5. The Grey

This is the part of the ego death experience where you experience existential dread like never before and supreme fear of the infinite. The Devil is able to access your thoughts just as easy as the Light is. And to be reborn with the knowledge you gain from the experience, you gotta look evil in the face.

After reaching the middle of the field I realized nothing was going to happen if I didn't initiate something. I also ripped my shirt off on the way and threw some pretty dope rings I had into oblivion (I thought god wanted me to remove my material possessions, fuck me right). The most logical explanation was that I needed to meditate. I needed to radiate metta and become truly free of fear to properly reach nirvana. I then proceed to meditate (very poorly might I add, much more forced than usual) only to reach extreme frustration. I was getting close but it wasn't working. I would meditate and ohm and hear a divine echo of the ohm. I can't explain it well in words, but if you imagine a sound echoing infinitely until the echo and the sound become the same frequency, I assumed this was what the God consciousness sounded like. I was literally screaming at one point because I completely thought I was ascending. Only to open my eyes. Every single time. And still be at the same field. And then came fear.

I realized I wasn't ready to ascend because I was far too afraid. I wasn't completely at peace. I was horrified of death. Thoughts are like viruses. And the next thought I had was that, in order to completely remove myself from fear, I had to be brutally killed and be okay with it (think the monk burning in Vietnam in the 70s.) The sun was near setting at this point and I was very cold from having no shirt on. If had to weigh the forces of evil at this I would put the devil at 85% and the light at 15%. He was winning. Viscuously. I had an awful headache and my stomach churned. I was freezing. I was scared. I thought I was going to be stuck in the grey forever. I had images of wild dogs coming out at sun down and ripping me apart. I thought this was an initiation to reach the after life. I began to cycle between good and evil. I would experience intense bliss and love and then descend into fear and hatred for everything. I was a perfect yin yang. Balance. When I looked down at the ground the grass was literally folded around me to form a yin and yang around my body. Additionally I had a near-transparent 'wall' that cut directly down the middle of my body and extended infinitely forward and into the sky. The Devil had had his turn winning, the Light had shown me a proper way, and then I got an answer.

Side note: I think the devil 'wins' in the grey when a person decides to kill themselves. A LOT of imagery and thoughts tried to point me in that direction. But I knew that wasn't the move.

6. Revelation

Somewhere out of the oblivion, out of the infinite matrix of time and space, the answer to all of my suffering found its way into my consciousness. 'I'm gonna be okay'. I literally said it out loud to my friends.
'I'm gonna be okay'. I literally said it out loud to my friends.
I said it multiple times with each iteration confirming for me its truth even further. I realized I'm the Devil. And I'm also God. Nothing in the external world had any intention of harming me until I assumed it did. I had fucking POWER at this point. I honestly felt like a God.

Despite the removal of all fear and negativity, the universe was not finished testing me. The Devil recognized a loss of power (I'm probably 95% Light, 5% Evil at this point) and wanted to confirm that I truly understood I was going to be okay. On the way back to the car, Tyler was guiding us and completely getting us lost (sometimes sober people have way worse directions than people tripping tbh). I viewed that as the Devil still trying to convince me I was stuck here forever, but I was stronger than that now. I took charge and forcefully and bluntly told Tyler we need to go to the left and we were going the wrong way (I had a STRONG feeling I knew where the car was and he was getting pissed off that we thought he couldn't get us there).

My suspicions were correct. We weren't stuck there and we did get to the car. But that slimy motherfucking snake (Mr Devil) still wanted to fuck around. As we drove out of the parking lot and headed home (45 min drive) I had the thought (virus) that what if I'm not out? What if they start driving around in the car forever? Literally as I think this my friends in the front seat start laughing hysterically. Straight up out nowhere. As they're doing this I hear them say things like 'yeah we can just drive around FOREVER hhahahahah'. Simultaneously, Tyler, who's driving says 'hey you wanna bet Carry On My Wayward Son is the next song on the radio?' He said it in a very sinister way. Keep in mind I had the only phone that wasn't dead and the dudes car had no aux. You already know the song fucking played next.

6b. The Purge

I'm honestly really fucking tired of writing this post so I'm gonna skip a lot more details (probs should have done that from the start). Basically, I still had the strength of knowledge that I fully going to be okay and I took charge of navigation and directed us home. As the devil was diminishing intensely, I quite literally threw up in the car (in a bag, I aint no rookie) and instantly felt like something horrifying had left my body. I was free. I have only read about this happening in a few trip reports so it's not exactly an essential physical stage.

7. Rebirth

Congratulations. If you're like me, you have wrestled with good and evil and come out with knowledge that will last many lifetimes. You've touched the divine and been allowed to remain and spread positivity and love. You may have some idea of your grand purpose and what it is you feel you were meant to do or something you were meant to change.

Thank you so much for reading my overly long tale of insanity!! I hope it brings you connection to your own experience or some sort of inspiration.

Much love to all.

Exp Year: 2018ExpID: 111775
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 20
Published: Apr 19, 2018Views: 3,921
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LSD (2) : Difficult Experiences (5), Nature / Outdoors (23), General (1), Small Group (2-9) (17)

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