Citation: yardbird. "Double Hoot All-Stars: An Experience with Mescaline (exp113460)". Erowid.org. Aug 21, 2019. erowid.org/exp/113460
It could be worse. We could be stars: responsible for entire solar systems.
97 degrees Fahrenheit and not a butt in the sky at Enchanted Rock a jaunt outside of Llano, Texas. The mescaline was a proprietary blend: roughly two thirds synthetic mescaline hydrochloride, and one third mescaline hydrochloride and related phenethylamines painstakingly extracted from Peruvian torch skins two years prior. Three hundred milligrams dissolved into fruit juice with ease and with no noticeable flavor. Slowly consuming the juice throughout the initial hike would help mitigate nausea, although Albert opted to consume his portion in a single capsule when we arrived at the campsite. Sarah took half of a highly dosed blotter of LSD, and did so with apprehension as this was her first time taking any serious psychedelic drug.
I needed something to come out of this experience. I had strong, though vague intentions and expectations. I wasn't sure where exactly to focus the work I was hoping to do on myself
I had strong, though vague intentions and expectations. I wasn't sure where exactly to focus the work I was hoping to do on myself
, but I had reached a point in my life where something had to give. The factors that contributed to this state are hard to delineate without becoming long-winded, but I suppose that if I were to distill the matter I could say that I was mourning the death of my adolescence. The responsibilities of maintaining adulthood were encroaching on my emotional wellbeing from all of the usual angles, and I simply did not have the time nor the raw willpower to face these conflicts as they developed so they compounded. As a matter of fact, I didn't have the time nor the willpower to do much of anything anymore due to the disproportionate amount of value I was ascribing to my career. There were, of course, practical reasons for this valuation but the resulting collateral damage was reaching a fever pitch. I was working long hours on a new project with increased responsibility, and though my newfound emotional investment in my work was bringing me satisfaction it was also turning my mind inside out. I did not know how to proceed with the marriage of work and my broader life, two things which I previously had kept separate with no desire to mix.
I am self aware, and I take pride in this. Yes, I know that oxycodone is not a sustainable solace thankfully I grabbed the wheel before a serious habit took hold although I blew through more of it than I care to admit. I would get home from work and blankly marathon television until the clock forced me to attempt and consistently fail at attaining a good night's sleep. Often I ended up relying on etizolam and sometimes it would throw me into mild withdrawal if I wasn't careful about counting the nights of consecutive use. I found it harder to see the good in people, and easier to dwell on the more disgusting and upsetting aspects of human nature. I distanced myself emotionally from almost everybody I cared about. I was only occasionally a good friend, and only sporadically a supportive partner. Truthfully, most of the time if you were looking me in the eyes I wasn't looking back. There was just nobody home, I took the door out and built a wall instead. Walls are easier to defend.
At the time, though, I felt these were things that I had to do, until I figured out something better. At least I knew that, I guess. So long story short: I finally set aside the time, I drove out into the desert, and I began drinking the juice. My plan was to get to the bottom of it all. By understanding the roots of these emotional impasses I hoped to develop healthier coping mechanisms for the (largely career-related) factors that contributed to the depression that had haunted me for the past three months.
This was also a sort of last hurrah for Kyle and I. In August he would be moving to New York to attend law school, and I had just signed a lease for an apartment in Austin largely thanks to the good money I made while digging myself into the emotional hole described above. A long and beautiful chapter of both of our lives was about to end. It seemed fitting to end it with the subject of our first conversation: mescaline. Mescaline that we had extracted from cactus together, no less.
The hike in was arduous. The sun was oppressive, we were carrying a large amount of gear and the desert terrain was challenging at times. We had opted for the "primitive" camp site which meant no electricity, bathrooms or nearby supply of potable water. I had downed about half the bottle of mescaline juice pretty quickly. I was beginning to feel alerts half an hour into the journey and I was still sipping the juice when we would break for water, which was frequently. Despite these hardships I was optimistic about the outcome of the experience and I embraced the challenges. We had a good group assembled with some pretty powerful friendship mojo. Kyle, Albert, Sarah and myself. Kyle, a brother in every way but biology, who I was about to part ways with. Albert, another brother with whom I was about to begin a new life with in Austin. Sarah, a sister who I had fallen out of touch with over the preceding three months and who, to me, represented the life that I had largely destroyed with the suboptimal integration of my career. Even the act of driving to Texas with these friends had done a lot to clear my mind and improve my mood. I felt like I was beginning to be back in touch with the better parts of human beings.
We reached camp after hiking for a little over an hour. I was definitely feeling the mescaline as we set up the tents, though Kyle was still only feeling mild effects. We both drank more juice, both of us now had only a layer about an inch high remaining in our respective bottles. Albert dropped his capsule. Sarah was beginning to feel the LSD, as well as some nausea. She laid down in the four person tent. I brought her ginger and we gnawed the rhizome segments as we stared through the roof of the tent and let the drugs take effect.
Mescaline's come-up is like a desert flower gently unfurling its petals towards the spines of its parent succulent. As the petals curl back and gently catch on the spines, and the flower begins to cook in the harsh love of the sun, the petals drop to the earth one by one and only the barely perceptible fragrance remains: pushed and prodded by the wings of insects and the dry wheeze of the desert wind as it floats along like a ghost. You catch the whiff and must choose the path of the coyote or that of the javelina. The coyote only notes the fragrance in passing as it ambles through the desert in search of gratification wrought by its own cunning. The javelina follows the fragrance carefully and, wisely parsing and analyzing its gradual dissolution, is rewarded with the blood of the cactus in the end. In this way mescaline enlightens by leading and providing, not by challenging or confronting.
But before all else the petals must fall, and there is primal discontent when confronted with this image. Loss, confusion.
Albert was doubled over purging.
"Is it alright if I threw it up? Will I still feel it?"
Between nibbles of ginger I joked that if he is concerned about the efficacy, maybe he should plug his own vomit.
Sarah and I emerged from the tent. I lit a cigarette and she found a comfortable seat on a log near the campsite. Kyle finished his juice, I take a few more swigs but leave some remaining.
Everybody was coming up, undeniably. Sarah compares patches of ground, attempting to discern which of the ants are real and which are a result of the altered state. I am ambling in random paths throughout the campsite, thinking through paths just as aimlessly and occasionally commenting wryly. Albert is now in the fetal position, face to the sand, occasionally making noises of tension and/or relief. Kyle remarks that he may be doing some hard thinking, but that he does not feel forced to do so. Ruari was not going with him to New York. That was where his petals fell: the source of his discontent, that for which he sought resolution through the cactus. Kyle and I spent some time looking off into the distance, arms raised into the air embracing the world, speechless. There was a distinct dreaminess to it. I think this may be attributable to the related alkaloids from the full-spectrum extract portion of the dose. Synthetic mescaline felt much sharper in my only other experience with it.
"This is a beautiful drug", Kyle remarked. I began writing in a notebook.
It could be worse.
We could be stars,
responsible for entire solar systems.
Those thanking us for life are millions of miles away, even if we knew how to accept thanks.
Albert had now vomited twice, and expressed that he was filled with an uncomfortable body energy the likes of which he'd never felt. His shirt was unbuttoned as he paced frantically through our camp. Mild tears came, but not of sadness per se. Just intense emotions that he was not able to put into words. We decided to direct the energy by hiking to the summit of the Enchanted Rock. I clumsily prepared supplies: water, small food items, the notebook, Sarah's camera, and some warmer clothing. We set off shortly thereafter.
As we hiked I had lost all sense of direction. Kyle somehow seemed to know where we were going, he's a born leader like that. Sarah was using the pen to make a map on her arm. Albert only seemed concerned with forward progress. We've all been there. We departed from the campground area and ventured into new terrain. It was very rocky, almost like the surface of the moon. We were still quite a hike from the Enchanted Rock itself, but the terrain was foreshadowing the climax of our adventure.
I paused to look at some water that had collected on the rocky surface, only to realize it was not water at all simply where water used to be. It had left a sort of residue behind. "There's not many other things that are like that. Nobody points at a parking spot and says 'That's not a car, that's where a car used to be!'"
The vibe was very silly and lighthearted at this point. Albert seemed to be calming down and easing into the plateau. Sarah, despite still being nauseous, seemed to be having fun. We were laughing a lot, and cracking jokes throughout the rocky section. We soon found ourselves entering the canyon portion of the hike. We began to have doubts about the adventure. Though we had headlamps and a flashlight it was beginning to get much darker very quickly. Sarah and I doubted our ability to make it back safely in the dark after we had reached the summit. We spent several minutes debating whether or not to continue. Somehow we wound up on the subject of determinism at this point, but once we snapped out of it we decided to just flip a nickel and let Thomas Jefferson decide. Heads we ascend, tails we return.
Heads. TJ says we ascend.
Headlamps on, we push through the canyon. This is more difficult terrain, many broken and fallen smaller rocks and boulders to traverse. Eventually we reach a familiar waypoint from the hike in, and we decide to take a break. The stars are hypnotic as I lay on the granite and catch my breath. They are starting to move slightly. My body feels heavy and the dreaminess sets in again, so we spend five minutes here just kind of stuck. There is a rustling behind us and we notice a man walking by with a flashlight. Behind him, far in the distance, we see similar lights descending towards us from on high. Suddenly it becomes apparent that we had reached the point where we were able to safely climb the slope of the Enchanted Rock.
We resume a standing posture and then begin to carefully push forward up the steep incline towards the lights we see descending. About half way up my heart is beating fast and we take a short break before pushing on. The sense of achievement begins to creep in as we are visibly and easily nearing the summit. My heart is still racing from the steep incline, the mescaline, the general lack of meaningful nutrition throughout the day, and the beauty of what we were approaching. I feel simultaneously weak and excited. We reach even ground, walk 20 more paces, look around us and notice no further incline. Amazingly, somehow we had reached the summit.
I was exhausted at this point and my heart was beating out of my chest. There are several flashes of images illuminated by headlamp. Peoples faces, the lunar terrain of the rock, backpacks, clothing. Everything was disjointed: it was an incomprehensible blur and time seemed to be nonlinear. Immediately I took off my flannel shirt, formed a pillow and laid down on the rock facing directly up at the stars.
The following period rapidly evolved into a powerful and at times ineffable peak experience. Words really fail me, but I will do my best because what transpired was very high on the list of my most significant psychedelic experiences. Life experiences, for that matter.
At one point in the thick of it I remarked that I wanted to laugh, cry, puke and cum all at the same time. Let's use that as the thesis statement.
As I laid down looking directly up the stars, their movement became more pronounced. I retracted farther and farther into myself. Time disappeared it was one of the first to go. Classic mescaline. "It's always been this way and it always will be this way", that type of feeling. I'm pretty familiar with it by now. What else can you show me?
The definition of me began to dissolve. I was kicking dust around the outskirts of ego death town. The light from the stars was both going into me and coming out of me. I was creating it and it was creating me. A sensation of universal oneness set in hard. Albert, Kyle, Sarah... they were me. The rock was me. The stars were me. It all simply was. The "isness", the objective, the Tao, whatever you want to call it. All the rest of it is just ripples in that pool. Now all of the ripples disappeared, the pool calmed itself, the barriers were gone. I was riding waves in and out of near ego death. Had I finished the bottle of juice I might've fully broken through for a significant period of time, but instead I just oscillated in and out of it. It was magnificent.
A shooting star whizzed by, the first of many we'd see that night. I realized that a shooting star is our earth both destroying something and creating something. It was a direct transformation of matter into inspiration. I thought of Shiva. The stars begin to fall like rain. The rain is hitting my skin, but I effortlessly realize the fallacy of that and allow the rain of stars to enter me completely. I am one with them now, as I always have been. I feel as if I am making love to the universe. The sky above has now entered me, the rock beneath me is supporting me with stored warmth from the sun, and I am one with all of them. Breeze caresses me. The feelings, though not explicitly sexual, were reminiscent of the intimacy usually only experienced when in the throes of a passionate love affair. I thought of Sam, and how sad I was that she was not able to join us on the trip. Without her there, the intense global intimacy I was feeling felt like infidelity. I was writhing on the ground with pleasure, giggling, grabbing at the rock like it was bedsheets. I moaned and sighed and gritted my teeth. Everything was flowing through me, and I was washed clean by a tidal wave of the most intense and purest joy that I have ever experienced. MDMA (which I consider to be a flawless ally) felt like a cheap whore by comparison
MDMA (which I consider to be a flawless ally) felt like a cheap whore by comparison
it was just that fucking good. I wanted so badly to somehow record my thoughts and emotions at this time, but not only was I physically incapable of moving my eyes away from the stars or my body off of the ground; I was well aware that by recording we inevitably alter. Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Observation is creation. It's not a passive state, it is an action with implications. Nothing I write here after the fact will remotely capture it.
We were mostly silent for nearly two hours during the peak. I felt certain that we'd spend all night on the rock and I wanted nothing more. There was a sort of telepathic agreement that this was a big one. We've taken psychedelics together countless times in countless settings, but this was huge. Groundbreaking, earth shattering, and not worth defiling with something as petty as words. We all just knew. We knew that our love was as infinite as anything could possibly be in the context of inevitable impermanence. Tears came to my eyes, not of joy or of sadness but for reasons I still can't really describe. It wasn't crying, it felt different.
"And we sit around all day making decisions." I was laughing aloud at this point at the absurdity of the human experience. "We think it means something."
Albert engaged me in conversation.
"How many things do you think are out there right now looking back at all of this?" Albert asked.
"Looking? Four, I guess. One. Zero. I mean... look at the stars in this sky, and then look at the darkness around them. The more we've laid here, the more stars we've been able to see. The stars are everything that we are able to perceive with our senses, and the blackness is everything that we just simply can't. Our senses are limitations looking is a limitation. It's just one take on it. My looking isn't even your looking."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that the way we perceive is not the sum of all perception. I mean that all of that up there, everything that you think is coming into you right now is actually coming out of you. It is you, I guess... well, that's part of what I mean anyway."
"This is why people believe in God. Or at least, why they started. Looking at this."
"We never should've looked up."
As I said this I realized every single word in the sentence was a lie. There is no "we", there is no "never", there is no "should", there is no "look". And "up"... well that's just obvious to anybody with basic physics knowledge.
I mustered up the strength to roll over. I put my head to the rock and closed my eyes. This portion of the trip was about the earth instead of the sky, and at this moment the earth and my body were one-in-the same. Closed-eye visuals conjured up iridescent waterfalls pouring into the cup of a lotus flower and filling it with energies of strength and weakness. I mused on the singularity of existence and the necessary illusion of the duality that "nourishes the ten thousand things". We aren't trying to escape the illusion, we need it. Without it we wouldn't... well we just wouldn't. There'd be no we, no family. My family. There'd be no body splayed out on the Enchanted Rock trying to reckon with the fact that its totality was based on a tremendous cosmic deception. My thoughts and memories were just ruse after ruse after ruse, a mirage for which I felt profound gratitude. I'd never asked for any of it, and one day it would all be taken away from me. I spend every day of my life in agony about exactly that, but in this moment I felt overjoyed by it.
The ten thousand things rise and fall while the self watches their return. They grow and flourish and then return to the source.
I left all of it on the rock. The anger, the disgust, the self destruction. I was way past any of that. I had followed the fragrance and tasted the blood of the cactus and I was empowered to keep all of that miles below me because of that. Thank you, Mescalito. Thank you, me. I worship and honor you both.
Albert began to nibble on some unusually potent Psilocybe cubensis and was soon after hit with a crisp and euphoric headspace and colorful visual effects. Sarah was taking long exposure pictures of the sky with her camera. By this point I was beginning a mild descent and felt comfortable eating beef jerky and rejoining my friends in conversation. A satellite was visible overhead and we talked about how, at that very moment someone was probably breaking up via text message using that same satellite. I wasn't ready to talk seriously about much of what I had experienced, but I reached out to Kyle because I wanted to see if he had made the same kind of progress that I had. He confirmed that, over those two hours, he had finally made peace with being forced to end his significant romance of the past two years. Furthermore he was capable of letting go of that without letting go of her as an individual. He was not over her as a human being, he could never be. But he had peace. He was able to let go of the chapter.
I also asked him about his reflections on Mescaline because although we had tried this drug together several times prior he had felt like he had never really reached a significant level with it.
"It's a gorgeous drug. Unlike anything else. I am so happy we did this together."
He was right, it is a gorgeous drug. So incredibly powerful but with a really special sort of grace. I was happy and proud that he finally got to experience that.
We all hugged before slowly making our way back to camp, towards some Pinot Grigio ("The Greeeej!") and some pillows. The vibe returned to silliness. We caught up on each others lives and told stories. In-jokes were formed, and bonds were tempered. In the back of all of our minds were what we had just experienced. In the front of Albert's mind were the mushrooms, which we now referred to as "the nibbles". His mushroom musings fueled the playful mood of the hike, and I thought about how I couldn't wait to reunite with him in a new city.
We arrived back at camp and spoke until the sun began to come up, although the effects had mostly faded by around 2:00 AM. The blistering heat began four hours later, and we were forced to vacate the stuffy tents and make our return to the car after only a few hours of sleep. This was a two mile hungover hike through 100 degree weather with our gear. Without Kyle's leadership it would've been a disaster. When we finally made it back to the vehicle we sat in the air conditioning momentarily before beginning our return to Austin.
During the car ride we ruminated silently. Even a day later we had trouble putting words to it. But words are prison cells, really. There was nothing more to be said, just more of that pseudo-telepathic understanding. As long as there are stars in the sky, we will remain enchanted.
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