Citation: MadMonk. "The Redeeming Lexicon: An Experience with Amanita muscaria, LSD & Mushrooms (Gymnopilus spp.) (exp115135)". Erowid.org. Feb 5, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115135
Below is copied an email (which describes the A. muscaria experience in full and the LSD & psilocybin-containing Gymnopilus mushroom experience in summary) to my Lacanian training psychoanalyst, who serves as a quasi-spiritual guide for me at many times, since we share our religion, and since he is my supervisor in psychoanalytic training at our Lacanian School, as well as my training psychotherapist. It is important to note for this experience that I am also an Aspirant monk (the lowest rank) to a contemplative biritual (Eastern & Roman) Catholic order. Here the two trips is described in detail, with more detail going to the Amanita experience, which was like the positioning of many questions that the LSD/psilocybin experience three days later counterpointed in response. Following, I will try to fill in the blanks of the LSD/psilocybin (combination) experience, this Friday night, alone in my room in the dark silence of prayer. While the email is directed at my analyst, obviously most of the information can be understood by any general audience. It opens with an explanation of events prior to the trip (set):
"Essentially, a lexicon of dissociated signifiers were streaming like a lightning bolt, like mycelium, or a flowing river path, through my whole world. An entire lexicon of images, symbols, and words with their private associations and webs of meaning -- and in all four of the languages I speak -- were, frankly, assaulting me. Here, the stage is set for a ripe and productive session of prayerful psychedelic entheogen usage. Here too, the stage is arranged for a life of contemplative prayer -- only after I was able to -- and I say "was" because I have done this, certainly - invert the assault of this tireless syntax into the redemption of the Word.
Before medicating myself [with my prescribed antipsychotic medication; Vraylar, 1.5 mg], what I gleaned from the drama was that there were "star" moments -- or, "stark" times -- and there were "wood" moments -- or, "word" times or "world" times or "work" moments. Two dual signifiers of event and rest, point and space. This metonymy only made sense to me after the Soma mushrooms whereby I discovered the tangent point in two circles of infinitely different sizes where the inmost point in myself touches and meets the open ocean of God. Then, three days later, the LSD experience where I sojourned on a prayerful search for the answer signified by constancy, the question being that which had been carved like a hole in me -- perhaps exactly where I open into God -- by the enigma of desire. Regarding desire, one of the lessons I have begun to institute is the starving of desire in order to reduce the surplus proliferations of a restless soul -- which, when done properly, leaves behind a desire unbroken yet like a pinprick point, desire which has been killed by starvation yet which traces infinitum through the sand of my heart like a Holy Ghost.
This period of days following, I realized I had almost completely fallen from grace into the world of blindness and desolation I had inhabited for the past year or more until All Soul's Day, 2020. And I searched desperately for an answer to the questions that had been posed and imposed on me, really, since the fateful cipher of the comforts and traumas of my early life.
So, I decided to give psychedelic substances a shot. I went on my first mushroom hunt in over a year.
I should describe some historical detail here; I have used psychedelics, obviously among many drugs from which I am now completely sober/abstinent, around 40 different times over the past seven years, beginning when I was fourteen. Let's just say I had a good time in high school, both educationally and socially, and had a tendency of recklessness combined with a need to explore. My usage of psychedelics was always spaced far apart, and I, having researched meticulously since a young age, recognized their power, potential, and danger with deep caution and respect from the outset. I first experienced LSA through morning glory seeds, and later LSD ordered from the dark net, when I was in middle school. This sounds bad: a young teenager using these powerful drugs, however, I regard the experiences as opening a veritable universe of questions to me that allowed me to make some limited sense of the trauma I had experienced and rocketed me into the, at the time, precocious maturity that I continue to work on. Never did a psychedelic experience actually trigger any psychotic phenomena for me -- in stark contrast to my experiences with Cannabis -- I believe, precisely because I already had so much deep and harrowing familiarity with the limits and recesses of the human psyche because of my having had my first psychotic break and diagnosis of schizophrenia prior to this experimentation.
So, the mushroom hunt was successful, obviously, and quite a spiritually enriching activity actually. There are a truly numerous amount of reasons why fungi/mushrooms of any type are utterly amazing biologically, ecologically, culturally, but I will just say that the mushrooms seem to call and guide one during the hunt towards themselves. I spoke with my friend Vita, my brother's girlfriend, while walking and ingressing with the mushrooms.
At home, I prepared a tea of one Amanita muscaria / fly agaric cap. First arrived the strange and pleasant sensation of utter clarity and tranquil synchronized thinking. (Remember, psychoactive Amanitas are very different from psilocybin mushrooms or LSD.) I was almost tired, but more simply peaceful. I almost fell asleep, until I was jolted awake with an incredible stimulation and productivity.
I almost fell asleep, until I was jolted awake with an incredible stimulation and productivity.
I went outside of my room to smoke a cigarette, and the garden looked awesome under the wavering moonlight. During this time, I then, I sketched out the following in my notebook, entranced by the stimulation of the mushroom. I felt compelled to examine the flaws in my life, and to create a pragmatic plan to live exactly how I ought to live, guided by several texts which have been crucially formative. This plan, I called: The Redeeming Act. I realized, during the trance of the Amanita mushroom, that I had a significant problem with DOING and needed to proceed utterly fearlessly with the stillness required of a monk in order to live a redeemed life. I mapped out every detail of the problem at hand. I realized that, perhaps, what I had been given is possibly exactly enough after all this time. I needed "to be a person on whom nothing is lost." Then, I would be the "new man psychoanalysis aims to create." (Otto Rank) Doing this would require a breakdown in the barriers between myself, and fully trusting my environment. I realized: I had to stop thinking and start trusting and doing, moving towards contemplation rather than rumination. The search for self will always be a trap; for me, I must simply Be. Do.
Pray, Love, Work, &c.
My main issue was with trust and a search/need for security, which I had to conquer. I felt a fervent love for the Eucharist and a desire to spend as much time as possible before the Flesh in Bread. I knew I had to do what I ought to do, and act on principles and convictions without exclusive reference to moods and feelings, like a saraobite. The only clear path ahead of me was to starve desire, as I described. Questions and insights had arisen, which had been present for quite some long time, that I only resolved several days later with the LSD and psilocybin mushroom experience as a resolution or capitulation to what the Amanita muscaria had opened up.
When I was done with this plan, I fell into a deep dream like state, but one of absolute lucidity and clarity. I went inside and lied down. It had been about six hours now, and it was 2 AM. During this time, I perceived the silent centered part of myself that connected like a secret tangent to the ocean of God. I had a colloquy with the Divine Source, God in Christ and the "lengua indefatigable" of the Holy Spirit (a double-entendre), and received the voice of a particular oracle, which I copied down:
"Clear as the daylight which speaks, the Universe embeds meaning unto Good meaning. This comes to teach-- through the seekers -- unto you, my child who art misery, my son who art joy & order upon the crown layered mine truth after truth after truth.
Trust & still you, through delighted rest, ye temple refashioned on press heavy my wounding chest. Be still -- suspended -- be like that dull echo call."
Then, I slept. I dreamt. All in all, I was surprised because the time was not so different from certain states I can go to naturally. This was also noticeable with the LSD and psilocybin experience, which I will recount next; it was all familiar; I believe I handle psychedelics so well just because I can already go to these places sober -- a state where signifiers become loose and abound in the everyday world which speaks -- although in a more "psychotic" state for me, psychedelics can very easily exacerbate the issue to the point of utter calamity. This is why the risk is so great for me as a subject, and subsequently why I take great lengths to prepare and be safe, and use these substances so very infrequently -- and only at amenable times.
Okay, as I write this, I'm getting tired, and I will have to follow up with the account of the LSD/psilocybin mushroom experience later. However, I will paste the images of my notes during the experience. All you need to know for now is that I spent the whole time in prayer, in the dark in my room, then later walked at sunrise to the Eucharist, and will be making Confession tomorrow. The immediate effect was that I am legitimately safe in my home, in my perception now, leading to actually joyful encounters in my family life, contrasted with prior.
It was even more powerful than the Amanita time, and it answered questions with profound clarity that have awakened me into a sober and safely certain life. It was like a deep and long overdue "cleaning" of the unconscious, like signifiers that had been trapped in deep and incessantly reappeared to taint my view of reality were swept away and understood/integrated in a way that leads me to believe I was utterly blind before this, in a way that ties everything together with simple grace and elegant solubility -- While as a perpetual student of the spiritual and analytic life I must always move forward to learn, and while only time can truly tell, with the cipher of the traumas that have plagued my perception of reality in madness and confusion for so long, at least in their cleaning, I can truly say that for those means: through the redeeming lexicon of all previously schismatic symbols now reorganized only toward & under the Divine Word, I am truly cured.
You will notice I could only express myself in several languages [Photos of handwritten notes accompanied the original production of this experience report]. I am still wondering why that is, but I am happy to discuss the nuances of translation, and explain the impact and relevance of this at our next session."
Essentially, the LSD experience was characterized by this promulgation of signifiers that had long since lay dead in me -- and my search to understand them. I began with cleaning things, moved to prayer in the dull light, went outside frequently to smoke cigarettes and look at the stars. This moment of looking at the stars allowed me to understand that so many of my greatest problems and greatest gifts were due to not being grounded. As well, looking at the stars in the darkness of the garden reminded me strongly of my first night at the monastery, when the Prior allowed us all to drive up to the mountains and watch an astronomical event with prayerful vigilance, celebration; it was the first time I had experienced such a characteristic sense of contemplation, that I had only glimpsed before in backpacking trips (which we occasionally undertake as monks in pilgrimages to the wilderness). In fact, throughout the trip, I had a strong desire to return to the monastery immediately, although I knew it would be unwise to show up intoxicated! I fondly recalled our little familial community, the dark and sprawling libraries, the winding stairs and chapel oratory and the sunroof in the shedding dawn light, and my simple iconography-decorated monastic cell.
Saturday night, while I was trying to fall asleep, I again returned outdoors to smoke a cigarette (a savory indulgence we are not allowed to partake in at the monastery), and I was reminded of this simple joy at living, and the sensation of the real presence of God's magnificence in and through and around all things -- one and the same. Saturday, the day after the Friday night I took the LSD, was perhaps more important than the peak of the experience.
Saturday, the day after the Friday night I took the LSD, was perhaps more important than the peak of the experience.
Although I was exhausted and sleep-deprived with various cardiovascular effects of the LSD and/or psilocybin leading to my skin become very flush/dry (similar to my time on methamphetamine) and my appendages reacting to the cold of the winter, I truly recovered to a good and graced mood of interaction with my family -- whose trauma meets my own in complicated ways -- prophesying the days of genuine healing we have ahead of us that have already been embarked upon in many ways.
During prayer, which consisted of chanting the Latin Divine Office (Extraordinary Form), Lectio Divina, and the rosary, I felt such a strong relation to the Psalms that I was overwhelmed with a mournful love for God and the potentials and predicaments of humankind. I copied down most of the insights into my journal, photographed and reproduced here, whose scribbling took on its own form of sprawling topographic notation and ergodic readings. Most of this experience I spent here, reverent and adoring, in the quiet of my comfortable and clean little sanctuary of my room in my childhood home. I will try to explain some of these mystical insights that arose. In general, I must say that I was very glad that for quite some time, both inside and outside the monastery, I have been relatively cleansed or fasting or purged from excessive, surplus, "jouissance-laden" inordinate stimulus like television, advertisement, pornography, or otherwise harmful subconsciously-impactful images and symbols.
I was terrified at the idea that I could forget the Jesus Prayer, which I said periodically throughout the experience to center myself in my breath. To this today I continually say the Jesus Prayer to "remind" myself of God, as often as I draw breath; inspired by this experience and my monastery community.
About four hours into the experience, the frenzy settled, and I entered a more meditative state. Questions that had long plagued me had revealed themselves to have obvious solutions. I understood deep experiences and associations of shame, including social and sexual shame, and processed them so that they no longer blinded me. I came to the radical conclusion that "hell is empty" in the sense I need not be afraid -- indeed, I need to proceed trusting and fearlessly -- into the problems of the past that inhabited like demons the literal household I tripped in that night, as well as the potentials and dilemmas arising in the future; I needed to "sea seguro" -- to trust, to be "safe", "certain", "sure". I wrote these notes in a combination of Ecclesiastic Latin, Connacht Irish Gaelic, English, and Latin American Spanish because the Mystery of the Word(s) were abounding within me, all "jumbled up" and this was truly the best and most intuitive and accurate way I could express what was being delivered to me and my interpretations thereof.
I felt I was totally blind before this. I knew that many, many mystical experiences, mostly sober, had gone into making this epiphany. But nonetheless, before this, I was blind; now I see. "It is no longer I that lives; it is Christ that lives in me." I understood that the "Constant" I had searched for was actually an immutable part of myself, an inner compass. I knew I had to "be like li, like mycelium, like the topography of river streams, like a sprawling map, like lightning; I had to become the mushroom. I was motivated to make an earnest and honest Confession.
At dawn, I walked in the park and witnessed the most incredible sunrise I had seen. Here, I navigated the deep shame I carried because of my history of sexual/physical abuse when I was a child. I understood that I was safe now; really, safe -- truly safe. I had not believed that since I was about seven years old, and here now, I am again, safe. I copied down in Irish the pondering that "God was perhaps too bright; I cannot see what (S)He is because of the light being exuded." The predicament of light, seeing, blindness, speech, and silence preoccupied me. I knew I was on the right path to cultivating a life nourished by the fruits of sacred silence. I knew "what I had to do"; an adjuration delivered to me -- sober but in the midst of a psychotic episode for which I was subsequently hospitalized -- by three apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary (which I interpreted like a Jungian anima) in Advent of 2018. I was glad to have found a way out of madness -- maybe even only now -- and a way to see. I was grateful and gave thanks to God and the spirits around me, such as the mushrooms in my room.
I fell asleep after my walk in the park and spent the rest of the day in rest and in peace with my family. I now must prepare for the beginning of a truly full and worthwhile life as the semester begins, and as I prepare to return again to the monastery. I do not know what made these two psychedelic experiences more productive than the rest, and I may never, but the mysterious insight of peace has not left me and I suspect it never will.
[Reported Dose: "A. muscaria: 1 medium cap. LSD: 1 blotter. Gymnopilus sp. 3 fresh small mushroom full-bodies."]
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