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Being Folded Into the Fractal Machine
Mushrooms - P. cubensis
by NotTheDroids
Citation:   NotTheDroids. "Being Folded Into the Fractal Machine: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp115650)". Erowid.org. Sep 1, 2021. erowid.org/exp/115650

 
DOSE:
5 g oral Mushrooms (dried)

BODY WEIGHT: 70 kg


First of all, this report is written assuming a reader new to psychedelics and drugs general.

I've taken various drugs, and with mixed results, but I've never before felt compelled to document an experience. What follows is the best I can do to describe a mushroom trip that turned out to be much more than I'd bargained for.

I'll begin with a couple of descriptions of experiences with drugs that are either referenced later on, or formed the basis of my desire to go into yesterday's trip.

Mushrooms. I'd taken these twice before, and experienced visual distortions, and very mild mental hallucinations. Very enjoyable, but nothing profound.

MDMA. MDMA, among other effects, produces euphoria, openness and massive tactile enhancement. Soft stroking/light scratching sensations are extremely pleasant. The first time I took MDMA, I was aware that it creates its high by affecting concentrations of a neurotransmitter already present in the brain. It wasn't the drug I was feeling, it was intense emotion and sensation that my brain just needed to be primed to produce. This left a lasting amazement.

Salvia. Once. High dose. Salvia is a short-acting hallucinogen that removed my mind from reality in its entirety, for about 10 minutes. I suppose this trip could be described as an ego death, but the subjective experience was characterised more by confusion than anything profound. I felt that I'd scratched one edge of the surface of what is often termed 'the psychedelic experience' here, and more exploration was due.

Ketamine. Ketamine reliably brought about the 'I was blind but now I see' experience, captured excellently in the song Speed of Sound by Coldplay. On repeated use there is a sense of reawakening, into a state of clarity of thought, unobstructed by the cloudy ignorance of sobriety. Ketamine showed me what it feels like to be utterly convinced of an idea, only to be incapable of expressing, or even reforming the idea when the effects fade. A very interesting experience, and something I expected of mushrooms.

These and a few other, less important, experiences convinced me that I could handle a fairly strong mushroom trip.

Let's rewind for a second:

A few weeks ago, a friend and I each took 3g of dried mushrooms, from a home-grown batch, and the trip, at its peak was characterised by mild-moderate visual distortions. Trees appeared to be highly symmetrical, rotating, cog-like pieces of natural machinery. The sea had a glassy, refracting overlay. Colours were enhanced, and with closed eyes, kaleidoscopic patterns formed, not quite floral, but highly symmetrical, and always rotating into a central point. We enjoyed the experience, and I was eager to repeat it and kick it up a notch.

3g is a fairly hefty dose of this particular strain, and the fact that our trip had not been strong, and that we'd been capable of going out in public, left me thinking that the batch was a mild one. I thought then, that 5g from the same batch would give me a stronger version of the same type of trip, and that being alone, in my room, with food already prepared, and nobody in the flat to disturb me would be totally fine. I was very wrong.

Yesterday:

A common practice among users of psychedelics is to jot down thoughts and observations as they arise, during a trip, so I have a fairly good record of how the first hour of the trip progressed. Here are my jottings:

Sat 24/7 6:25am - 5.00g ingested.
6:35 - Fully swallowed with water + orange juice.
6:45 - Strained sensation already.
6:58 - Stronger apparent visuals in darkness. Stronger, dream-like hallucinations. Sense of significance to things, but none of ketamine's 'reawakening'.
7:10 - Staring at a tree. Felt like I was in a lift going down. Writing is being distracted from. Spirograph patterns and all colours. Can be largely ignored with activity.
7:15 - Now will not be ignored. Focus on a thing and the trip builds itself around that thing. Strongest, for instance, when writing.
7:25 - Closed-eye panoramas indescribably beautiful.

My handwriting betrays decreasing bodily control as the notes progress, and after the 7:25 note, there's nothing.

One effect of psychedelics, at high doses, is that time distorts in unusual ways, so it's difficult for me to put a meaningful timescale to elements of this trip. I'll describe it as I experienced it.

At about the point that my notes stopped, I remember great enhancement of every sense. Colours were brighter, more varied, and more beautiful. Tactile enhancement was MDMA-like in kind and degree. Orange juice was richer than anything I'd ever tasted.

I began to have extremely strong visual hallucinations, that were less and less bound to the objects in my visual field. Imagine an object viewed with double-vision. It's impossible to tell which of the two objects that you can see is the real object, and which is an illusion. In fact, neither are 'the real object'. Both are sensible visual renderings of the same thing. Now imagine that double-vision extended ad-infinitum, so that an object entering your field of vision enters, not as a single, discrete unit, nor as a duo of overlapping objects, but as a cascade of objects, of every size and colour.

Soon, the cascading visual forms were self-sustaining. I could look at a thing, it would explode into vision as a multitude, and those multitudes would, themselves become the progenitors of further cascades of form. The original shapes of the real phenomena in front of me were lost in this process, and the entirety of my visual field became saturated with colour and shape giving rapid, ceaseless birth to more colour and shape.

I still had some sense of myself as being a person on a drug, and sensibly, decided to reduce the risk to my future, less coherent self, and I got into bed. I wouldn't have minded falling asleep at that point as the onslaught of sensation was quite a lot to handle. Alas, sleep was not an option.

Synaesthesia. I had previously imagined synaesthesia as the exchange of one experiential output for another, following some sensory input: take 2 sensory inputs, say, sight and sound; input one (sound), and output the other (something visual that corresponds to the sound). This isn't what I experienced. Information taken in from every separate sense would output to a single multi-sensory 'vision'. It stopped mattering where the input was detected; whether it was something I'd heard, or felt, or otherwise. Every sensation appeared to engage the full sensory apparatus. The first synaesthetic experience I can recall was a smell that wove itself into the, until that point, largely visual landscape of the trip. This is where things really got going.

I think I've done a reasonable job, until this point, of describing the trip as it was. This next part, that describes the peak of the trip, is where I know I'll fail. I'll fail because there is simply no set of words that can fully describe the kind of experience I had. Language just wasn't built for this.

My sense of self was completely obliterated. There was nothing left of me or the world. There was only the raw experience. There wasn't room for anything but the experience. Time dropped out of the equation almost entirely.

The sensory character of the peak was an incredible extension and expansion of what I've described previously. The symmetrical, three-dimensional kaleidoscope of sensation was all-encompassing. I was no longer an observer in any sense. My mind itself was being churned through the psychedelic machinery that filled the cosmos. There was a definite feeling of being folded into the structure of reality, repeatedly, without end. Being kneaded by a universe that was everywhere exploding with sensory stimuli of every kind.

The emotional character of the peak was, thankfully, absolute bliss. That's a cheap description and it doesn't do the thing justice. It was every positive emotion I've ever felt, or ever could feel, at a maximum. Again, cheap. The synaesthesia comes into play further here. It's hard to say whether or not emotions are felt as if they're sensations, or vice versa, or if there is any overlap at all. Whatever the truth of the matter, the full-sensory-apparatus visions were totally in synchrony with the emotions felt. It was as if an emotion would crash through me and emerge as part of the field of sensation that would then become part of a self-sustaining torrent of sensation-emotion, reworking itself, never stopping to take stock.

As far as I can recall, from the brief dips in the intensity of the trip, I had my eyes closed, in bed, with quiet ambient music on, in the semi-darkness of my bedroom. And yet I was drowning in sensation. I have no real-world reference point to give you to help you understand the degree of intensity I'm talking about. It was all that I could possibly experience. My field of perception was full of everything that could possibly fill it, and it was going to last forever.

I had no idea, absolutely no idea, that my mind was able to feel and experience that intensely. It was more blinding and beautiful than I can tell you.

Eventually I regained my sense of self, and while the visual hallucinations were still strong, the synaesthesia stopped, and the world refilled itself with sensibly-behaved objects, and people, and everything familiar.

This did not happen quickly or quietly.

As I began to crash back down to reality, the trip became less perfectly beautiful. Dark elements began working themselves into the psychedelic fabric of reality. I'm speaking abstractly here because that's the way the trip manifested itself. I'm not reaching out for a metaphor. Reality, to my mind, really did consist of something that I'm only articulate enough to describe as a psychedelic fabric. A great fractal field of free-flowing, yet organised, shape, colour, sound, and all the rest, that filled all of space and time.

The further down I came, the more I became aware of the fact that the trip could turn in a moment. I reminded myself that I'd done what I could to stop anything bad from happening and that seemed to keep the paranoia and fear at bay for a while.

The memory of being folded into a fractal machine made of pure sensation for what felt like it would be an eternity was fresh, and the knowledge that I had in me the capacity for that intensity of experience was terrifying. The thought that I could enter an experience of that degree, with the emotional state reversed, was too much to bear. I knew that, if I was to peak again and the trip become bad, it would not be forever, and the drug would wear off. I became extremely paranoid, though, at the possibility that the experience would be so dreadful that I might try to kill myself.

I phoned 999. Still tripping very hard in every sense domain, but just coherent enough to manage a conversation on the phone. The guy from the ambulance service had dealt with this situation before, told me I'd be fine, and told me an ambulance was on the way. It wasn't, but my belief that it was relaxed me somewhat. I was still paranoid that I could do myself some damage so I went to the reception of my building and waited there for the ambulance that I thought was on the way. The guy in reception was pretty alarmed, I think, but he stayed calm, and let me sit staring out of the window for about 90 minutes.

After it had become clear that the trip was fading, and that there would be no descent into an unendurable psychedelic abyss, I called 999 again, cancelled the ambulance call, and apologised to the emergency service girl I spoke to, and the guy in reception. I explained, once I was sober, about the dosage, and that the experience had been far more intense than I'd expected, and everyone was understanding.

Lessons learned:
Always, always have a trip-sitter. Someone there who understands psychedelics well, who can put your mind at ease when paranoia and fear begin to take hold, and who can stop you from doing anything crazy if the trip takes a turn for the worse.
Don't make assumptions about an entire batch based on an experience with specific mushrooms from the batch. It's much better to under-do it than over-do it.

There were several orders of magnitude of difference between the 3g trip a few weeks ago, and the 5g trip yesterday, so naturally I've been thinking about why that was the case.
There were several orders of magnitude of difference between the 3g trip a few weeks ago, and the 5g trip yesterday, so naturally I've been thinking about why that was the case.


First of all, when I tripped on 3g, I took 1.5g, then ate something, then took another 1.5g at least an hour after the first. Given that a mushroom trip can last many hours, I didn't think this would make a huge difference.

Before the 3g trip, I had had a late night, and smoked cannabis the evening before. I don't know what the typical interaction between cannabis and mushrooms is, but this might have contributed to a milder experience. Before the 5g trip, I was well rested, and the mushrooms were eaten on an empty stomach and washed down with orange juice. I understand citric acid may have sped up the metabolism of psilocybin, thus shortening and intensifying the trip.

All of the above-mentioned mushrooms came from a single flush. When the flush was harvested and dried, it was weighed into bags of various sizes. The largest bags were the 1.5g bags we had a few weeks ago, and these contained the largest mushrooms. The largest mushrooms in the flush had broken their veils a short while before the harvest, and so may have contained a lower concentration of psilocybin than did the smaller mushrooms that ended up in the lighter bags, and that became my 5g dose. In future, a flush that contains mushrooms at various stages of growth will be dried, ground, and pressed into capsules, the minimise the risk of underestimating a dose.

All in all, the trip was an extremely positive experience. Profound, in fact. To live through an experience so blinding that there's just no way to handle it, and to be completely identified with every element of that experience, was something I had to do for myself to understand it. I think full ego-death is something I needed to experience once, but now that I have, I don't see the point in chasing it again. Before yesterday I'd have jumped at the chance to try a large dose of LSD or DMT, but now I've lost that desire entirely.

Bad trips are also a real possibility. The chance of feeling every available negative emotion, to the degree that I felt positive emotions yesterday, and the knowledge that I would, under the circumstances be convinced that the experience would never end, is too great a risk. It will be little to no psychedelics from now on. At least, that's how I've been feeling for the last 24 hours, in the immediate aftermath of the trip. That may change, but if it does, I'll be much, much more careful going in next time.

Exp Year: 2021ExpID: 115650
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 29 
Published: Sep 1, 2021Views: 476
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Mushrooms - P. cubensis (66) : Difficult Experiences (5), Personal Preparation (45), General (1), Alone (16)

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