Citation: KermitFosterWallace. "Playing with Spiritual Dynamite: An Experience with DMT (exp111847)". Erowid.org. Apr 24, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111847
In my late twenties I was vacationing with friends in the Pacific Northwest. We were early into the first day of our trip up the Oregon coast when we stopped at a rest area where tourists could watch the monumental waves crash against the giant black cliffs. It was magical. My friend Jack, a playful daredevil, was taking in the scenery from the edge of one of these cliffs. I walked near but stopped a few feet behind him. In the distance we could see a massive wave growing towards us. I ran in an attempt to stay dry. The wave hit so hard that I could see the ocean spray at least ten feet over my head. Soaked and laughing, I turned back to see how well Jack had fared. But he was no longer on the cliff. Peering over the edge, I could see his body being tossed around by the violent ocean below.
We scrambled to save Jack. Someone called the police. Someone else ran up the road to try to find help. A couple people tried to swim out to him but got slammed back against the rocks by the vicious current. Helplessly, we watched as one of our best friends went underwater. He never came back up.
By the time the coast guard arrived, his body hadn’t been seen for over ten minutes. Even if he had been conscious he couldn’t have survived. ‘Why couldn’t I save him?’ I asked myself over and over again. My body burned with raw emotion as agony and confusion radiated throughout my entire being. It was as if every chemical in my brain was firing at once and the circuit board was being overloaded. For a long time I believed the intensity of that moment could never be rivaled.
Playing with Spiritual Dynamite.
When I first heard about DMT I was scared to try it. I had been through a period in my early twenties where I was a devout believer in psilocybin and LSD. I wouldn’t shut up about it. I tried to convince all my friends to take psychedelics. ‘It was the key to understanding Ultimate Reality,’ I told them. But after a severely traumatic LSD trip briefly left me believing that nothing was real and I had experienced death, I decided to spend less time taking psychedelics and more time researching them. This is what eventually led me to the book DMT: the Spirit Molecule. The experiences described therein were so bizarre and foreign that I eventually worked up the courage to try this mind-altering substance.
Before long, I came into possession of a sizeable amount of DMT. A few friends and I sat around taking hits out of a Pepsi bottle that we rigged with aluminum foil. Inexperienced, we would eyeball what we thought to be the appropriate amount. In retrospect the amounts we were attempting to smoke were absurd. It’s a miracle we didn’t hurt ourselves. Instead, the opposite happened. We wasted all of it. Between not being able to vaporize the DMT properly and the leaks in our Pepsi bottle pipe, we simply couldn’t take hits big enough to feel anything. I was frustrated. The most I ever felt was a horrible taste in my throat and faint closed eye visuals. I wasn’t sure if I had “broken through the veil” but as far as I was concerned the DMT experience consisted of only mild hallucinations and nausea.
Years went by since my initial experimentation. I had given up on the so-called Spirit Molecule when my friend Morgan invited me to stop by his apartment one afternoon. The first thing he asked when I walked through the door was, “are you ready to blast into hyperspace?”
As he weighed out a tiny metal spoonful of white powder with scientific precision, he explained that he had tripped approximately 30 times in the previous month. He told me about his experiences of ego death, contact with trans-dimensional beings, etc. - all the typical stuff you hear about the DMT experience. I told him about the Pepsi bottle. He bluntly replied I had been doing it wrong. Morgan was experienced with DMT. More importantly, he was a smart and loving friend. I trusted him. With his help I believed I would finally get to peek through the veil.
Vaporizing DMT without getting it too hot can be difficult. To keep the DMT at the right temperature, Morgan used a buffer of cannabis that had been previously used in a vaporizer and left to soak in Everclear. Afterwards, it was dried again. It was reduced to combustible plant matter. Any cannabinoids would be gone. As long as I only lit the weed, the heat would vaporize the DMT underneath. Even if I inhaled the weed, I wouldn’t cross contaminate the experience with a marijuana high. He also gave me a small dose of a powdered MAOI in an attempt to stay under the influence of DMT longer.
He also gave me a small dose of a powdered MAOI in an attempt to stay under the influence of DMT longer.
He packed a glass cannabis pipe then asked what music I wanted to listen to. This was important. He warned against anything too contemporary as it had a tendency to take him out of the experience in his previous attempts. I laid back on his couch, anxious, as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons Recomposed by Max Richter began to fill the room.
Morgan held the pipe and lit it for me but I coughed on the first hit spilling it everywhere. I apologized. He reassured me it was fine. As the music continued to swell I grew increasingly nervous. I briefly tasted the burning plastic/mothball flavor of DMT and was reminded of how sick it made me feel the last time. What if I threw up during my trip? But before I got too caught up in my thoughts Morgan was back with a freshly packed bowl.
With the first hit I got the bad taste again. Then things got interesting. On the second hit Morgan’s arms and the pipe seemed to grow longer by several feet. I glanced over at him. His skin now had a reptilian cragginess to it. His face lacked the defining features that I would recognize as Morgan’s but instead he looked like the most generic person I’d ever seen. Just a blank face. It was like I was seeing Morgan through the eyes of an alien who couldn’t tell human beings apart.
Even though my throat was sore from the DMT smoke, I knew I had to take another hit if I was going to cross over. I inhaled the third and final hit. My eyes reflexively closed shut.
‘HOLY SHIT WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?!’ I screamed internally. The instant my eyes closed I was no longer sitting in Morgan’s apartment. From reading the Spirit Molecule I was under the impression that it was going to be like a roller coaster. Wait in line. Get strapped in. Slowly see the cart move up the tracks. Clink. Clink. Clink. Until finally the coaster drops down that first big hill and the ride begins. But no. This was absolutely instantaneous. Absolutely. Instantaneous. It was as if the bottom fell out of the room and I was suddenly plunged into a free fall.
It was as if the bottom fell out of the room and I was suddenly plunged into a free fall.
At least generally when something unexpected happens in life, let’s say if you’re getting mugged for instance, the mugger might have the decency to scream, “GIVE ME YOUR FUCKING WALLET!” before they blow your brains out. My entry into the DMT Dimension was less cordial.
My entire body clenched. I was startled, confused and felt a familiar feeling of all the chemicals in my brain firing at once. My circuit board was getting fried. It felt like I got blasted in the chest with a spiritual shotgun. My eyes burst open before I had even a second to decipher what I was seeing.
“Please hold my hand.” I begged like a child clinging to its mother. Morgan obliged.
“This is all happening inside your brain. You’ll be fine.” That helped. I closed my eyes again.
Nothing could have prepared me for what I was witnessing. I had broken through the veil so instantaneously that my mind was reeling to catch up. I wasn’t just in a different room but a different dimension: albeit a familiar one that was somehow realer than real. What I had previously called “reality” seemed muted by comparison.
In this realm I had no body. I was simply a silent watcher of the unbelievable. There was a luminous “ball” of energy directly before me. I use quotation marks on the word “ball” because although it was round-ish in shape it was somehow also amorphous, constantly changing. It radiated incomprehensible, totally impossible patterns and colors beyond the visible spectrum of light - new colors I had never seen before.
For a split second the amorphous sphere seemed like visual gibberish until the next moment when I could make out that it was comprised of several “beings.” These Beings were reaching out towards me then retracting back into the sphere. Sometimes they would stick their faces inches from where my face would be if I still had one. They were constantly moving and impossibly fast. An arm here. A face there. Over and over. Without words I got the impression that they wanted me to follow them. It was as though they were saying, “Come with us! We have the most important thing to show you!”
And I have to stress, this all happened the instant I shut my eyes. “Overwhelming” doesn’t begin to describe the sensation.
The Beings were ecstatic that I could join them. It was a celebration. They were wearing childish masks and laughing and making silly, contorted, dumb faces. The Being that stood out to me the most was wearing a cat-like mask. It would lean in extremely close to my line of sight and pucker its lips revealing buck teeth and shaking its head. It was the opposite of profound. It was utterly stupid. But I was in awe of it. It was as if the Cat Masked Being was telling me to ‘stop taking everything so seriously. Your life is just an elaborate, ridiculous game. Enjoy it! There’s nothing to worry about. When you die you will come back to this again.’ One expects the profound to be revealed by someone like an elderly monk who has been meditating solemnly in a cave for decades. But these Beings acted like spastic maniacs. They were literally bouncing off the walls.
The room itself seemed to stretch infinitely down a long black and white tiled hallway. And the Beings reflected this infinite tunnel as if they we made of liquid metal. It appeared like the hallway was constantly in motion while my feet (if I had any) and the amorphous sphere remained in place.
The Beings continued celebrating and motioning to me for what seemed like a very long time. It turns out it was only about two minutes. I’ve read that DMT can feel like an eternity but for me the time dilation was more akin to cannabis. The first intense couple of minutes felt way too long, but in the same way that a good song can seem really long when high on weed.
After a while of watching this spectacle I calmed myself and decided to follow them.
As soon as I made the decision to follow, I was transported to the place they were trying to show me. The Beings were no longer visible but I could still sense their presence - as if they were watching over me. This new place was a series of slowly shifting reds and blues covered in complex geometry. It was less intense than the previous experience but somehow more awe-inspiring and serene. For a good visual reference it was kind of like the DMT sequence in the movie Enter the Void. Although I would say the film’s sequence is like a crayon drawing by comparison.
This new place was what all the commotion was about. It was incredibly familiar. I felt like I had been there many, many times before. It felt like possibly the inside of my mother’s womb. I believed I was being told that this was the place you go when you die and wait to be born again. Could this have been the Supersoul that everyone and everything is supposedly a part of? Or Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita? Or what Schopenhauer called the Insatiable Will to Life? It didn’t feel like I was learning something new but instead remembering something forgotten.
It was so beautiful that tears started streaming down my face.
I had been a staunch atheist when I sat down on Morgan’s couch. But when my trip was over I was converted to at least an agnostic. Before, I felt certain I had a solid grasp of what an experience could be. I knew that I would probably never go into space in my lifetime. But at least I had a notion of what stars look like in the night sky. I had never climbed a mountain. But, I knew what a summit looked like in photographs. Even though I couldn’t replicate the exact feeling these things my imagination can fill the gaps. But there was no experience on Earth or in space or of this dimension that could have prepared me for the impossibility I witnessed on DMT. The limits of experience had been transcended.
Eventually, it faded. I was left staring at the darkness of my closed eyelids. When I opened my eyes, Morgan advised me to look out at the clouds. They looked a weirder than usual. Kinda cool. But it was nothing compared to what I had just experienced. I had returned to the “real” world. And it seemed duller than when I left it.
Back to Earth.
When Morgan asked me about my trip I tried to explain it to him. But I fell short. What had just happened to me? As soon as it was over, it started to fade.
Instead, I started rambling about Jack. It had been a year since his death. The initial shock of the DMT taking hold felt so similar to how I felt on that day in Oregon that it must have triggered the memory. I started crying. Not because I was sad. But because I was overwhelmed - by the DMT Dimension, by the past trauma, by the weight of existence. I hadn’t cried over Jack since the moment he died. Even at his funeral I found it difficult to show emotion. For a while I had pushed it into a dark corner of my mind. But the floodgates were now open.
Some believe the DMT Dimension is a genuine place. Others think it’s just chemicals generated in the brain. I can’t say for certain. But I do know that all experience - love, fear, anguish, etc. - is also generated by chemicals in the brain. I’ve personally witnessed the emotional weight of a legitimate life-or-death situation. I’ve also personally witnessed the mysterious and incomprehensible realm generated by smoking DMT. I would be hard pressed to differentiate which felt more real.
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