Citation: CG. "Realm of the Souls: An Experience with Pharmahuasca (Syrian Rue & DMT) (exp1768)". Erowid.org. Jun 12, 2000. erowid.org/exp/1768
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This is an informal description of [...]'s and my attempts at making and taking ayahuasca Australian style (talk about the dreamtime =). The first part is my experience with the ayahuasca, and the second part is [...]'s experience with a semi-aborted ayahuasca trip followed by smoking the extract of Acacia Maidenii bark.
On Friday 8th January 1993, [...], another friend (Nick) and I made the pilgrimage to Mt Buffalo in Victoria to collect leaves of a rare plant that contain 0.3% DMT. We also had peganum harmala seeds to make the DMT orally active. Unfortunately, there was no way we could eat enough of the fresh leaves for any effect, so we decided to head back to Melbourne to brew and filter them in a vaguely similar way to traditional ayahuasca. [...] will undoubtably post a more accurate and complete description of our method. We ended up with a glass full of khaki filth each. Our main concern was getting the stuff down, and holding it down.
Just before midnight on Saturday we swallowed 3g of ground peganum harmala seeds (disgusting enough by themselves), and waited between 5 and 15 minutes, then drank the filthy green sludge. I felt no significant nausea, although the others were not nearly so lucky. Within 5 minutes Nick had lost everything. [...] and I took 2 antacid tablets, and [...] managed to hold out for maybe 10 minutes and then succumbed to the inevitable. For some reason, perhaps because I ate the antacid tablets almost straight after consuming the green grime, or maybe because I waited the longest after swallowing the peganum harmala seeds before drinking the green sludge, I managed to keep it down for the longest - perhaps 15 minutes. Just before I brought it up, things began to get quite weird. Walking felt difficult, things started to look a little strange, and then I threw up.
By the time I had finished throwing up the world had changed entirely. There was some faint neurotic process reminding me to look after my body, but it was of similar importance to looking after a possession.
Luckily, Nick had not managed to get any effect, and he guided me into his living room, where I lay down, eyes open, and began to experience absolute terror. I was in a completely different universe - it was in no way similar to reality. Somehow the terror was not unpleasant. The universe I was in did not have room for pleasant/unpleasant, happy/sad, etc. There were 3 types of emotion: terror, euphoria, and the baseline emotion which was like full awareness of the only important universe - the one I had gained access to - the domain of the spirits/mind/ consciousness - whatever.
The visual effects were astounding. I wasn't perceiving things through my eyes (I didn't have a body), I just knew what my environment was, and therefore what it looked like. Closing my eyes did not change the scene in any significant way. There were icons and images of things such as a stylised eagle - all reminiscent of Inca or perhaps ancient Egyptian religious art (not that I know anything about Inca or ancient Egyptian art). These images were always moving and evolving in some kind way. These images were like decoration for the place I was in. There were worm/snake like things inside my legs (which were translucent), but at the time I didn't realise they were my legs. The hallucinations were in no way similar to LSD hallucinations. These things were real, ever present and in perfect clarity. The quality of light had changed in some indefinable way - not more intense colours, but more clear, more real (the most real) - what I was seeing was pure and unadulterated reality, not a rough approximation made by faulty perception mechanisms.
I knew that I, that is, my mind had left my body and was in the realm of the basic entity of the universe - where consciousnesses reside when they are not tied to a body on our Earthly reality. I was aware that this is where spirits/souls reside if their body dies and probably where they are before you are born. After you are born, it is still there, but your mind becomes solely concerned with your body, (until you are released by DMT). I knew that it was possible to enter this 'realm of the gods' without DMT - it just involved losing all beliefs and constructs. At the time I called it 'the realm of the gods' for lack of any other way to describe it, but this is completely misleading as the gods were just human consciousnesses/souls/spirits, and they had no interest in the normal reality - they had not created it, nor influenced it in any way. The realm of the gods involved complete exposure and full awareness of the absolute chaos, power and unboundedness of the universe (not the universe we know, but the one where consciousnesses exist).
The first hour was indescribably intense - an unbounded (infinite does not seem to be enough) number of things were happening at once and my mind was being exposed to information it could not cope with. I knew I was insane, and I doubted that I would ever recover. I did not even know what being sane meant. I could not remember what it was like to be normal. Most of the this time I was not terrified, but terror-full, although this terror was not unpleasant (pleasure did not enter into it) and it did not effect my thinking. It was not bad or good - it just was.
During the second hour I spent more time at the baseline emotion, and some time at the euphoric. The euphoria seemed to be because I had 'seen it all' and come through relatively unscathed - my mind hadn't been completely unhinged by the experience. I was beginning to feel as though my mind was now capable of dealing with the onslaught of this 'realm of the souls' - as if I now belonged there. I knew that some madness is caused by being privy to the 'realm of the souls'. At this stage, things had stopped happening so fast and speech became easier (apparently my speech was mostly coherent all the way through - but I was sure that my body was babbling in tongues).
At various times during the 3 hour duration, I had to ask Nick about myself - it was as if I needed to be reminded of my values and beliefs and 'personality' (of course I couldn't make him understand this and he could only tell me things that seemed insignificant such as my likes and dislikes and my history). At one point I wanted to know about my family (their beliefs, psyches and values). I think this was because I felt like they had ceased to be important, but I didn't want that to happen.
The third and fourth hours after ingestion were spent discussing, in what seemed like profound detail, the experience with [...] - who I felt had been at the same place as me. By the fourth hour, I was back on Earth and not really suffering any effects, although I was extremely shell-shocked, and still believed everything I experienced to be absolutely real (more real than the rest of my life). Even the next day this feeling remained, and I spent most of my time reliving, and trying to deal with my experience. It was obvious to others who knew me that I was extremely distressed. I knew where I would be when I died, but I didn't know how I was going to deal with the rest of my life - this reality seemed so unimportant and trivial compared to the greater reality I had experienced.
Today is Monday, and I am beginning to reject the 'realm of the souls' reality in favour of our consensus reality. Yesterday I doubted my sanity, and could not face another ayahuasca experience, but today I think I have integrated the experience to a large degree, and hope to experiment again - to see if I enter the same reality again, or a different one.
I would not recommend this experience to anyone with any kind of psychological difficulties, or anyone not prepared to be terrified out of their brain. If LSD can trigger schizophrenia in susceptible people, then ayahuasca almost definitely will. Likewise, I wouldn't suggest it as a first psychedelic experience. At the time, trying to compare the experience with an LSD trip, all I could think was that LSD is just a toy compared with this. LSD seems to just play with perception and thought, but the ayahuasca experience seems to leave the mind clear, and create and incredibly real universe of mind blowing dimensions (it is impossible to explain how real, but it was much more real than this universe). Maybe DMT seeks out the 'believe this' area of the brain and flicks all the switches, or perhaps the other reality does exist. Either way, the result can be extremely disturbing, and easily life changing.
I had previously calculated that 25 leaves weighed roughly 20 grams when dried, and from the original Journal, that the dried material should be 0.3% DMT by weight. Thus, for the three of us, we allotted roughly 140 leaves, allowing for losses in the grinding and extraction procedures to leave something in excess of 100 mg of DMT each. We attempted to break up the leaves using various food processors, but this proved futile. We put them through a garden mulcher many times until the pieces were quite small. The total weight (wet) was around 250 g.
This was boiled in a saucepan with plenty of water, and the juice of a lemon. The purpose of the lemon juice was to raise the pH slightly and aid the solubility of the DMT. The mixture was boiled for a little over an hour, and then strained through a coffee filter. The brown liquor was boiled down to a few hundred ml in another saucepan. The leaf residue was now blended in a food processor to a sludge, to which was added more water, and this mixture boiled for a further hour or more. It was again strained, but with a cloth since it could not be filtered. The resulting khaki liquid was boiled down and added to the first extract. More water was added to the residue, and it was boiled for a few minutes, strained, boiled down and added to the rest. The whole green liquid (around 700 ml) was chilled to just above freezing. This was equally divided into three portions.
I had little trouble swallowing the 3g of ground Peganum seeds, but took several tries to drink the leaf extract, despite its being chilled and holding my nose. I threw up maybe 10 minutes later, violently, and with very little warning. By this stage, I was feeling 'wierd' - a little dizzy and having a mild trip, although quite different from other hallucinogens. I felt somewhat sedated, which I identified with the effect of the harmaline. By this stage, it was clear that Nick was totally baseline, and that Chris was in for a bumpy ride - he was lying motionless on the couch describing the god dimension he had entered.
I decided to test out the effects of smoked DMT, the alkaloid extract from another plant, Acacia maidenii, while under the influence of the activator harmaline. I smoked as much as I could before it hit, then ran back into the room with Chris and Nick.
What happened next is difficult to describe. I will describe it as it seemed to me at the time, without claiming that it represents any part of our reality.
The first part of the DMT trip was as normal, i.e. massive visuals, strange feeling, etc. Then, as I reached the peak, I took off in another direction - I was thrown into severe convulsions, with waves of power, pain and pleasure, shooting through my body, and in and out of my body. I was having a fit and screaming and snarling uncontrollably. It was an incredible mix of ecstasy and terror. Then I suddenly realised what was happening as I was starting to come down - I realised that I had summoned a demon from another dimension, and that my fit had been caused by the demon trying to gain hold of my body. For a few seconds, the demon and my body locked - synced in space and time, and it was able to speak through me: we snarled in a gutteral voice 'If there is a demon, it is speaking through me now'. I was awestruck by the sense of evil power - I felt as though I could cast power-bolts through my outstreched arms. I decided that I desperately did not want the demon to take me over and use me as a carrier to deliver its message, so I resisted it, and it descended howling into my interior.
I then collapsed exhuasted, crying 'the demon! the demon!'. I grew very cold, and heavily sedated, lying on the floor in a blanket. I believed that we were all going to die, poisoned by some agent in the leaves we had all eaten. I felt the demon bubbling round inside of me, hissing and begging to take control of me again. I felt that it would overcome me immediately if I let it.
It took about an hour for the post-trip sedation, terror, and feeling of illness to subside, whereupon I felt comfortable and even entactogenically enhanced and euphoric. The possession experience started to seem less real. By this stage, Chris had recovered also, and we began discussing our experiences. Nick proceeded to eat another 3g of P.harmala seeds, and also smoke some DMT. His experience was likewise extremely intense, and he collapsed for a similar period in a blanket, and believed among other things that he was going to stop breathing and die.
I experienced some residual tiredness and 'spacedness' for a couple of days, that may or may not have been a result of the experience.
Disclaimer: experimentation with DMT in combination with harmaline is obviously fraught with various kinds of danger, to body and mind, and should not be entered into lightly or under inappropriate circumstances, especially by the inexperienced.
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