Citation: Netrunner. "The Power and The Glory: An Experience with Pharmahuasca (Harmaline & 5-MeO-DMT) & DMT (exp34866)". Erowid.org. Jul 7, 2004. erowid.org/exp/34866
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This is a rather long account of two extremely potent experiences with two forms of DMT, followed by an account of the same experience by another participant/witness.
Pharmahuasca was what they were calling it. Two 75 mg. harmaline tablets (MAO inhibitor) with four 10mg 5-MeO-DMT chasers totalling 40mg. What the hell, I thought; I'm in the jungles of Mexico (in Palenque), I'm surrounded by experienced psychonauts (at a ethnobotanical conference), what's the worse that can happen?
'Be prepared to die,' our source told me, grimly earnest.
Yeah, I thought, like a major mushroom trip, right? I felt I was ready.
In all, there were nine of us forming a circle in one of our rooms, with mattresses and pillows laid out for all of us. My brother sat across from me. Two of the nine were experienced with ayahuasca and become our leaders. Before consumption, each one of us stated our intent, out loud or to ourselves. Mine was 'to experience spiritual consciousness.' Rather vague, this being my first time with this class of substance. Unsure of how long to wait between harmaline and 5-MeO, we decided 20 minutes should be plenty. (Later we were told the quantities were designed for simultaneous consumption of the both the harmaline and 5-MeO tablets.) Some of us took the entire dose, some took half. I was 24, 5'10', 115 lbs, and decided to take the entire dose, being my first and perhaps only opportunity. 'When in doubt, double the dose,' to quote Terrence McKenna; a well-loved, experienced shroomer. (Oops.)
The effects of the harmaline were subtle, energizing, like a betelnut buzz. 20 minutes later, I ingested all four 5-MeO DMT tablets.
What follows is both from memory and the account of others.
It came in waves. Strong, soporific, deep, intoxicating waves, building in intensity, like watching storm waves build up on shore. Stronger, stronger, stronger. Some of us started chanting, singing. Some softly moaned with pleasure or insight. I felt queasy, nervous, not quite nauseous at this point. I remained silent, focusing on my breathing to calm myself. I started trembling, cold, gradually warming up, feeling her, the spirit of ayahuasca, calling, wanting to take me. I felt myself slowly giving in, retreating, giving in, unsure of where I was headed. What have I got myself into?, I asked myself. This was not what I expected at all, this was much much much deeper and unlike anything I'd ever experienced (x, mushies, lsd, thc). This was only the beginning, I was soon to learn; the experience had not really started fully yet.
I laid down on my pillows, and draped my arm over my eyes to block out the candle light. (It was around 11pm when we started). I remained focused on my breathing, staring into the black of my arm, feeling my brain, my mind sink into a warm absolute void outside of my body. I was so focused on my breathing I didn't notice the void at first, and when I did I sat up with a start, then slowly settled back down, trying to ease myself into it.
The first waves of nauseousness started to creep up on me, and I increased my breathing rate, deeper, harder, almost to the point of hyperventilation, until the experience had drawn me even further in. I started to sink, sink, sink through my body through the ground, my body going limp, numb. My breathing was still strong, hard, almost frantic, obvious to everyone around me. I was losing my connection with my body, and it was impossible to tell if I was breathing enough or too much. My thinking mind, my inner voice began to fade, I couldn't concentrate on words but rather only abstractions of very deep, complex ideas. I just knew things without thinking them. Like ideas were being fed directly to me. From me?
My breathing rate increased, approaching hyperventilation without my realizing it at first. One of the leaders crept up to me silently, with auga florida (rose water), which he sprayed across my chest and face from his mouth. I started to snap back, and became aware of my breathing, but seemed unable to control it. He laid his chest on mine, 'Follow my breathing,' he said and forced my chest to breathe with his. I relaxed, slowed my breathing, became more aware of my surroundings, pulled back from the black. He retreated back to his mat, and rather quickly, I fell right back into the inky black void, like a deep dreamless waking sleep, drifting, swimming, sinking. I drifted for what felt like an eternity, my mind disassociating, deeper, deeper, the deepest of dreamless sleeps.... It lasted for an eternity, me swimming in and out of it, vaguely aware, numb, drugged...
...and then I woke. I sat up, and everyone around my was laying down, quiet, still, seemingly asleep. Some stirred or twitched, like coming down from x or shrooms while trying to sleep. It was over. It felt like 4-6 hours had passed, and I felt extremely rested, aware, awake. It appeared lighter out, dawn was approaching it seemed. There was a slight crackling of energy around me, visual hallucinations of colored points of light in a static textile/grid-like pattern, similar but different from shrooms. I looked at my watch.
Only 15 minutes had passed.
Uh oh, I thought. That was just the beginning, the first wave. I wasn't sure quite what to do. Lay down, walk around, what. I stood up, and nervous anxiety started to creep up on me. I pushed it away, annoyed at my seeming inability to get into it, relax, let it take me. Open eye visuals seemed stronger, but still vague. When I closed my eyes, there was nothing but inky black. I felt a dozen contradictions all at once. I felt like I needed to take a leak. Now I didn't. Now I did. I went to the bathroom, sat down, relaxed my bladder and stared through the wall... and started to be taken away, being pulled, fast and hard and strong... I resisted, pulled back. I didn't need to pee after all it seemed. I stood up, a little dizzy, started back to my pillows. My brother turned the corner, checking up on me. Hi, he said, how you doing? He seemed almost alien, I almost didn't recognize him, and yet he was the most familiar thing in the world at the same time. Good, I responded. Holding my arms tight against me, cold again, nervous. Impulsively, I hugged him, tight, almost clinging. I didn't realized how scared I was until then. Wow, I said.
I made it back to my pillows, laid down.
She took me fast, much stronger, much harder than the initial wave. The first wave was nothing. I lost all awareness of my body, my surroundings, everything around me. I felt myself fall right through the earth, like a neutrino, like the earth was nothing but empty space. I left my body completely and dissolved into the universe. My mind became placed into the mind of the universe, expanded into it, knowing everything to be known, but completely unable to think in thoughts, words, my mind-voice was completely gone, yet I was completely aware of ideas knowledge, wisdom, abstractions which were so perfectly clear and understandable to me outside of any known constructs of language, way beyond language, completely nonlinear thought and yet not-thought. Just knowing. Pure knowing. My mind, my consciousness, my poor little brain struggled to keep up with it, struggled to keep up with everything streaming in, struggled to fit the mind of the universe within in. She spoke to me, tried to calm me, tried to explain.
You're dying, she said. You're dying. Isn't it beautiful?
And I was. I felt myself, my mind, me, turn inside out, again and again; it came in waves, slow imploding inward waves which twisted and folded me inside out again and again, and each time was a death, a shocking, terrifying, incredibly beautiful, intense, joyful, incredibly profound death. I died over and over and over, hundreds of times that night, all while she tried to coax me, show me, teach me, love me. I felt like Arjuna in the Baghavad Gita, when Krishna reveals himself in his full glory, only the brilliance was all in thought; there were no visuals, just pure inky black emptiness, void. Something in me wouldn't break, though, something in me held back, even still, after all those deaths; it wasn't just fear, it was love, I wouldn't give her my heart, my emotion, my pain, my core. She gently pulled and tugged, let go, she said, just let go.
I started to feel my connection to my body again, faintly, as if through a dark shrouded distant unreal dream, completely alien to me; my body started flexing back, my breathing built in intensity from very slow and very deep to hard, intense, forceful breaths, approaching hyperventilation, seemingly beyond my recognition to control rather than my ability. My body was alien. The physical realm was alien. I couldn't cope with it. I opened my eyes, I sat up sharply, I gasped. Everything seemed alien, but not because I didn't recognize things or people; it was as if I were seeing everything for what it _really_ was rather than how I perceived things as a human with human senses. Everything spoke to me on a different level. I started to panic, the physical realm was alien, my mind was alien, there was nothing of comfort, nothing I recognized as real and true as I'd always known them. I jumped up and accidently stepped on someone's foot. Empathy washed over me in waves, and I couldn't stop apologizing. The owner of the foot, took one look at me and gave me a hug, asked if I needed anything. Speech, words, ideas, I grasped for that part of my mind, struggled to communicate, fell into her eyes, her soul, saw her very inner being, felt her love and compassion wash over me.
I don't know, I whimpered. I don't know. I don't know.
Do you want to go outside?
I don't know. I looked at the door. Outside. It seemed so vast, so open, the jungle out the back porch. I could feel the cooler air streaming in. Yes, I said. I stumbled outside, to my shock. The plants, the trees, they were so ALIVE! They were so alien. I could feel them, I knew them, they were alive, feeling, sentient beings, completely alien to anything I'd ever experienced, even shrooms. I recognized them as plants, I recognized their shapes, but everything else was alien. Their personalities spoke to me, comforted me in eery knowing silence, identified with me, felt sorry for me. My brother came and stood next to me, trying to evaluate my state. You ok?
Again I struggled for words, I tried to evaluate my emotions, to little avail. I don't know, I whimpered, I don't kow. Do you feel sick, he asked? The mere suggestion washed waves of nauseousness over me. Yes, I said. Do you want to throw up? Yes. I thought it would make me feel better. Purge myself. Start the cycle down. I tried throwing up. It didn't work. Put your finger down your throat, my brother softly suggested. I put what felt like my whole hand down my throat and wretched, over the railing, into the forest. My body felt better at first and then WHOOSH!!!
The strongest wave yet washed over me, pulled me in, captured me. I was in Purgatory, stuck between the physical and mental realm, not comfortable in either, afraid of both. Please, I whimpered. Please, please, please, please. By this time everyone started gathering around me. I looked into each one of them, supplicating with a Please. At first whimpering and then stronger and stronger, more and more forced. PLEASE. PLEASE. They formed a tight circle around me, hugging me in turn, trying to figure out what I needed, how to help me. Please what, dear? Please what? The question perplexed me. I didn't know. Just Please. Please. The waves washed over me, my body went limp after each passing one, and after each one I would stand rigid and force a PLEASE. More and more insistent. My awareness of the physical realm starts to fade from here, but I remember yelling PLEASE at the top of my lungs and then supplicating and then whimpering. 'How can I live knowing what I know?!' 'How can I live feeling what I've felt?!' 'How can I live seeing what I've seen?' 'How can I live?!' 'How can I LIVE?!' I don't remember saying all of this, it was related back to me afterwards. I felt like I was pulsing, throbbing, glowing with energy. My gaze stared through each person with fierce intensity, I looked through each person. Only a few held my intense gaze looking through them, literally feeling my ability to pull them into me, into the intensity of my experience. Some started pulling away as I pulled them into me, I could feel their anxiety as they realized, FELT what I was going through, where I was. Do you want to lay down, they asked me? They motioned to my pillows. I look at my pillows uncertainly. It seemed comforting. I started to relax and let them start to lay me down. Another imploding wave of death washed over me as I let myself relax and sink into it. NO! PLEASE! I snapped to back to rigid attention, exhausted with the extreme physical and mental exertion it required for me to maintain a connection to the physical realm. I started clinging to some of them, wrapping my entire body, arms, legs around them. Especially the rose-water leader. He seemed to be the only one to know how to respond, strong enough mentally to contain me. He forced me to stand on my own, forced my arms at my sides. I threw some scornful Pleases in his direction, but he didn't flinch. My body would go completely limp in waves pulling me back in and he shouted at me, NO! He forced me to remain standing. He became stern but warm, full of love and compassion. The others backed off, only catching me if I started to fall. It was just me and him in a stand off. Please. PLEASE I directed at him. A wave would wash over me and I would start to fall, then jump, stamp, force myself to attention, hold my chin up proudly when I was able to stave them off. PLEASE, I directed at him again, proudly. He comforted me: This is You, he said, touching my chest. Feel the Power. This is You. I would start to go limp. NO! This is You. This is You. Feel your Power. Feel your Power. I stamped the ground again with my feet, looked up, I was mentally exhausted, absolutely exhausted, barely clinging on. I've seen you before, he said. I know, I thought, in my state. I know you all. I am you all. I know you, he said. I've seen you before. The others started murmering in agreement from behind me. You look Christ-like, he said. I accepted it without question, it was obvious to me in my state. I was Christ. I was God. The energy, the confidence, the power, the love in me began to surge, I felt it expand around me, encompassing everyone. It became very quiet, very still, just me standing there, breathing, pulsing, glowing. I let my guard down, I relaxed my shoulders, my body slightly. I was regaining control. I was becoming me again. I breathed the biggest deepest most comforting breath of my life. Thank You, I said to my leader. Thank You. I turned to each one. Thank You.
No, THANK YOU, the leader said to me, as I noticed each of them also start to come down, relax, breathe. 'The power of ayahuasca was definitely with you tonight, my friend,' he said, relieved to have me back. For those moments, they had become me. They were me. I had them trapped in my attention, in my mind, every one of them a vivid picture in my mind, and I could feel myself letting them go, one by one. I hugged them all. Two or three hours had passed.
They walked me outside to the front this time, and under the moon under the stars was a megalithic rock garden, the igneous rocks seemingly perfectly arranged in perfect harmony to each other, pulsing with energy, alive, knowing, watching, greeting me. I walked around them in circles, slow, slow circles. Greeting each one, blessing each one as I passed by. Everything I saw, I blessed internally or with a Thank You. I blessed the moon, the stars, the planet, the air, the rocks, each person, myself, my surroundings, the night. A few stayed with me, watched me quietly, followed me, caught in my spell. I would inscribe circles around them each in turn as I circled around the rock garden. Circles, circles, circles, first one way, then the other. I felt so calm, so peaceful, so beautiful, so ALIVE. I sucked the life-energy of the air into me, I could feel my blood capture it, I could feel it course through my body, I could feel it be released, I could feel the energy flowing through me, I could hear the energy flowing through me. I basked in my own internal fire, remembering all my college science, religion, philosphy lessons, knowing them, realizing them, feeling it all happen, feeling it all make so much beautiful sense and harmony.
There seemed to be rising commotion coming from inside. Eventually, slowly, I made my way back in. One of the other participants got stuck, but a different place than me. He became extremely violent, yelling and whimpering, 'I don't understand.' Over and over. He was a friend who had just helped talk me down just minutes earlier. He was lashing out at things, people, clinging, digging into their flesh. I tried to talk him down, to let him recognize me, I let my mind enter that space, his space, ever so carefully. It worked for a little while, until he clung to me with such tenacity he began to hurt me, dig into my flesh, pull out clumps of my long hair. They helped pull him from me. He broke one person's glasses and bit another's thumb fairly severely to the bone. We weren't able to control him, he was lost. We brought him back home to his room 1/2k away, to let him come down in peace and comfort. He remembers nothing of the violence, his 'down' personality being completely unviolent and unantagonistic. The transformation was amazing.
The other leader who had a gift for reading into people told me afterwards that he saw my heart swollen, huge, like it was ready to burst. He asked me to think about anything in my life that I needed to let go of or deal with. I was actually in the extremely intense, painful, and drawn-out process of breaking up with my girlfriend of several years. For the other guy, he said he saw a large insect-like being clinging to his head, holding on, talking to him. The leader talked with the insect to find out what he wanted. The insect said he was telling him what he needed to know. The leader told the insect to leave because we couldn't control him. The insect left and our friend became even more frenzied, so he called the insect back to calm him down, which eventually happened.
The evening broke up with a rather weird energy after that. A lingering indescribable chemical-like taste or smell stuck with me for several hours afterwards as well as a kind of glowing Tao-like pattern before my eyes, very indistinct. I made it back to me room, where I slept well that night.
All in all, I consider the experience a positive and necessary one, which taught me what to expect from this class of substances, and how to better prepare for any future consumption, including dosage. I am still processing this experience, many months later, as little by little, my mind lets me remember more of it (curiously, the distinct chemical flavor returns with the memories). Immediately afterwards and for several weeks, my mind wouldn't let me think about it, a strange and unique phenomenon for me. It was a full-blown psychological near-death experience, and that's how my mind remembers it--with trepidation. I am curious to repeat the experience in due time, knowing what I know now. It was the definitely the most profound experience of my life.
The next evening, I got back on the horse and smoked some crystalline nn-DMT for the first time. I'd heard 5-MeO DMT referred to as the Power and nn-DMT as the Glory. That is exactly how my experiences fit with these two. My intent with this experience was to understand my experience of the night before. There was a group of 6 of us plus the supplier with the pipe. We were in one of our rooms, on the beds. I was the second to last to try it; all of the others had experiences lasting 10-15 minutes max. I inhaled three or four strong puffs, laid back, and fell through the bed. It came on very fast, very strong, and extremely visual, the most visual of anything I've done, eyes open or shut, and completely unlike 5-MeO which was barely visual, and strangely, only with open eyes. It was out of body, my body felt disconnected, as the night before, somewhat tingly this time, like when a limb falls asleep. Direction, orientation, gravity, etc became meaningless in this completely abstract work of visual art.
I found myself lying down in a room, surrounded by alien 'presences' standing all around me in my peripheral vision. The presences appeared to me as alternating black and white outlines and I could only see their heads peering down at me. They were featureless except for color and shape; a black head shape, next to a white head shape, next to a black head shape, 6-10 of them, very interested in me but trying to stay out of my field of vision. In retrospect I felt like I was lying on hospital bed as a patient of these presences. Straight in front of me or above me in the distance was a rectangular box, slowly approaching. It was my reaction to the box the presences were most interested in. As I studied the box I started to make out details. I was looking into the open side of the box and along the top edge were about a dozen or more dancing snakes, weaving rythmically back and forth, like sea grass rippling under the sea, and pulsing in rainbow psychedelic colors, mostly reds. It was absolutely hypnotic to watch as they slowly approached with the open box below them. Slowly, my attention moved from the snakes to the contents of the box. On the left was a circular disk, quartered, with a black dot in each quarter, also pulsing and with rainbow colors. On the right was a round flask with a long neck, and I quickly realized this was the most important of the objects being revealed to me. As I drew my attention to it, it slowly came towards me, open end into my mouth. I could feel the flask on my lips, in the physical realm, which surprised me, and suddenly and involuntarily, I began to swallow, again and again, drinking what felt like pure energy. As I began drinking from the flask, my field of vision was drawn into the contents of the flask. I zoomed in, closer and closer until I realized with a start that I was drinking DNA; I could make out the strands and then the double helixes and then as a single strand loomed to fill my vision, it began to unwind, and I followed the strand _simultaneously_ in both directions at once, forward and backward in time, a strange but pleasant sensation. What followed was an incredible experience; I felt myself morphing into various species, all feeling very familiar. It was not so much visual as it was what it actually felt like to be in the mind and body of first a fish, then a frog, then a snake, an eagle, a lion...I was experiencing the unfolding of life itself, and realizing, as I had realized the night before and on other trips and meditations, that the story of life is not one of simple chance and contingency influenced so much by natural selection, as we observe in the greater physical realm, but rather it is directed by a simple life force of pure energy which operates on the smallest of conscious, sentient levels, down to the very molecules, atoms, even quarks and smaller where matter and energy blend and are really one and the same. All of it is conscious, the entire universe is conscious and connected, at every level and every size, and we are nothing more than manifestations, physical packages, containers of that pre-existing everlasting all-pervading consciousness. DNA strands are nothing more than books, physical mnuemonics, stable energy forms of ideas and patterns, that worked and are written, saved and read back by this all-pervading life-force. Working patterns of DNA are not simply selected by pure chance, as classic evolutionary theory would have us believe, it is being written and directed by something much greater, much more pervasive, and much more subtle than we've ever till now supposed, and this all-pervasive awareness is finally being realized in the West through quantum mechanics, evolutionary theory, mythology, psychology, synchronicity, and most especially, psychonautics.
But I digress. Slowly, my field of view returned back from the contents of the flask back out to the snakes, approaching ever closer, until I realized they weren't just snakes but sharp scythes, lashing out at me, cutting at my chest, my heart, dancing ever so rythmically, gently but necessarily, telling me to let go, open my heart, let go, let myself feel. I opened my eyes. The room was nothing but paisley patterns and paisley people. My body was somewhat tense. I closed my eyes again. The snakes were gone, I couldn't see the presences, but I knew they were still there, watching me, protecting me. In the distance a different presence began to approach: a large red demon-like creature with a knobby bulbuous head and bulging arms and fierce but nonhostile eyes. His right arm and hand was outstreched, reaching for my head. He gently reached through my flesh, my skull, and gently palmed my mind, like a blanket wrapped around my brain. Then he faded into dozens of eyes, peering, turning, twisting, watching, which in part slowly faded into darkness. I opened my eyes and met the gaze of everyone else's eyes in the room. The feeling of the demon's palm and the presence of the protective entities didn't fade--they were meant to stay with me and they have, even now. 30-40 minutes had passed, the longest that evening by far. I told my story quietly and slowly got up. I felt much relieved from my previous night's experience; the Glory of DMT was ever so gentle, tender, compared to the Power of 5-MeO DMT. After the experience, incidently, I ended up having to piss again and again that night, although I had not drank more liquids than usual, other than the contents of the flask in the vision. Weird.
Several weeks later, still processing these two DMT experiences, I had one of the most realistic, vivid dreams I have ever had in my life. Christian Ratsch once described these types of dreams as Kali Dreams, after the Hindu goddess of mayhem and destruction.
In my dream, I was a child again back in middle school, talking to a beautiful young girl, who, in retropect, looked like Parvati, who is the loving, gentle alter-ego of Kali. Her gaze and awareness were piercing, focused, all-seeing, all-knowing and her eyes looked straight into me and gave me a queasy, nervous, glowy feeling, like intense love at first sight. The class bell rang, and she started for the classroom along with all my classmates, who were taking their seats. I had to go the bathroom, though, and I knew the teacher wouldn't mind me being a little late (it was my favorite Spanish teacher, incidently). Returning from the bathroom, I walked into an empty classroom. The back door was open, though, and sun and breeze were streaming in. It was eerily quiet. I stepped out the back door to find the bodies of my classmates strewn all over the lawn, bloody, dead. Only a couple were still alive, catatonic, carefully loading the bodies into a sport-utility. I stood there in shock, watching the scene, trying to figure out what had happened, when I realized I was being watched. It was her, the beautiful girl, Parvati/Kali. She looked at me with the slightest of smiles, wide eyes, arms and palms turned out towards me, presenting the entire scene to me. With that gaze, I instantly realized she had done this, she did it as a lesson for me, she was trying to show me how beautiful death can be, she killed these children to teach me and to teach them the beauty and value of both life and death. She freed them, she let them go, she returned them to the eternal all-pervasive universal consciousness. It was a gift, her gift, her eternal timeless lesson to us, to not hold on so tightly to such a precious gift as life and overlook the precious gift that is death. With this realization and her gentle loving gaze, I was overcome with an overwhelming sense of peace, beauty, joy, despite my natural instincts of terror and revolt. The scene and the lesson before me was absolutely sacred and necessary. Kali had visited me. I opened my eyes and found myself wide awake in bed remembering clearly every vivid detail.
The following account was provided by another of the participants in the room with me on the first night and offers an alternative (and more sane) perspective on the events that occured that evening. My thanks to the participant for providing me with this wherever you are...
I was one of the 9 people in the group that night and I took only a 20 mg. dose. Here is my own version of the story:
'And so that brings us to one of the two major tales of la semana de los entheogenicos. That being 'La Noche de la Pharmahuasca'. I had met a young couple earlier in the week, 'J', a hispanic engineer from MIT, and 'R', his Korean girlfriend. They had been rambling on during dinner #2 about the drug that they prized above all others, just going on and on and on about the incredible effects of this stuff which was incredibly hard to find, called twoseebee. So I listened politely for about 10 minutes of this, then took the canister out of my pocket and said in a very low, very calm voice, 'How would you like to try some of your favorite drug?' Well, the details of the rest of that night are somewhat hazy, but somehow we became very good friends in a big hurry, and they pretty much adopted me for the rest of the conference. And on the next to last night they dragged me off to a Pharmahuasca session, just when I had resolved to go drug-free that night to prepare my poor overworked serotonin receptors for the last-night blowout.
First, some background. Pharmahuasca, as you of course know, is any combination of an extracted MAO inhibitor, usually harmaline derived from Syrian Rue (Peganum harmala), along with a tryptamine such as DMT or psilocybin. As it turns out, J. Ott is preparing to market in Europe the following components in separate packages: 1. pills containing 75 mg. of harmaline labeled as 'herbal energizer', and 2. pills containing 10 mg. of 5-MeO- DMT and labeled as an 'herbal tonic'. The point being that they will be sold separately, so that only those in the know, so to speak, will be aware that they must take 2 of pill #1, and then 4 of Pill #2 in order to achieve orbital velocity. What a brilliant, devious, twisted mind that the Ott-man possesses!
So it was that I found myself in bungalow #3 with eight other souls that night at ten o'clock. The session was to be 'run' by two would-be curanderos, Steve and Stevie, the first a social worker/social activist, the latter a sometime rock musician/sometime acid casualty. Their credentials were genuine experience of several Amazonian ayahuasca sessions, and a collection of shamanic power objects and doodads that were supposed to ward off evil karma. The other participants: the aforementioned J. and R.; plus T., a British pagan Earth Mother who hugged everyone and everything at the slightest provocation; M., a skinny long haired sensitive New Age Guy; D., who looked and acted like a hippie pirate; and B., a Swiss burgher type who turned out to be the rock solid anchor that held the night together when everyone else fell apart.
The ground was prepared for the sowing. The beds were taken apart and the mattresses placed on the floor, along with rugs and sheets to cushion all against the hard and hurtful places. Lights were turned out, and candles and incense lit. Steve and Steve brought out a sack of wondrous things; crystals, metal turnings, sculptures, dried herbs, mandalas, and an exquisite tiny monkey skull that caught my fancy later. The sacrament was passed out, and the chanting and the icaros began........
Then it was that my scientist persona emerged. There was a side debate over whether the harmala pills should be taken some minutes before the trypt, or simultaneously. Instructions were that all should be taken together, but I, the great western scientist, knew that the harmaline had to go in first and knock off the enzyme, so that none of the 5MeO would be chewed up. But it turned out to be a bad idea to mix Western Medicine and primitive shamanism. So some ended up dropping all at once, and others a half hour later. This broke up the feeling of unity among the participants, and also resulted in some getting a larger effective dose. As it turned out these were also the people with the lower body weights, resulting in an range of doses from cowardly (I took 20 mg) up to foolhardy (40 mg in the case of M., who looked to weigh about 100 pounds).
So anyway, the deed was done, and we all were dosed, and Steve and Steve and J. had some real pretty songs and chants going when the base of my spine started to vibrate. 5MeO doesn't favor you with fancy color patterns or carrier waves, or elves dancing on your chakras. It is pure power intruding on your core. It is a push, a shove, an acceleration, a rocket exhaust, a steadily rising voltage, like being at the base of the Grand Coulee Dam as an earthquake shatters the concrete wall and lets 50,000,000 gallons of water follow the force of gravity towards your body and sweep you off into the great beyond, and you don't have any idea where it will tail off and allow you to breathe again. Higher and higher and higher and yet again higher and just as it starts to get unbearable, the peak is reached, and I settle down into the roller coaster and realize I will live. And I also realize that some of those around me have taken more than twice my dosage, and are still rising up into realms inconceivable. At this point all in the room are silent, recumbent on their mattresses and blankets, and pillows, splayed out desperate to hang on to shards of reality. And then the groans and the moans begin. Those who took the higher dose are now trying to deal with extreme nausea and cramps. Steve, the primo curandero, is hit the hardest, and begins to retch and puke into a plastic bag, transparent so all can see the full drama of La Purga cleansing his soul. Two others lurch onto the back deck, to heave over the log railing into the back yard and then stagger back. Others, such as J. and R. just twist and writhe in agony, but keep their stomach contents down as if such were a badge of honor in the midst of the battlefield. And on my right, M. the skeleton man, begins to contract his limbs like a pretzel, and hyperventilate, and emit tiny cries of horror, which slowly accellerate, and become more and more complex as he starts to coil like a steel spring, and mutter, and ullulate, and then ZING, he is up and headed for the back deck screaming 'Please, please, please!!!'.
Well, at this point, only two of us were ambulatory and able to follow in pursuit, both having done 20 mg doses. Yours truly and B. each got on either side of the fellow and held him up against the railing, until Curandero Steve came along to guide the flight. By now M. was into a major death trip, and his screams had resolved into a loud 'Pleeezzze, let me live....' repeated slowly over and over. Steve had to talk him back into his body, using alternating love and logic in the best intrepid traveler fashion. And slowly everyone else drifted out on the deck in various conditions and levels of unreality. We made a ragged circle of seriously twisted souls, group hugging and singing and soothing the lost one back into a semblance of humanity. One by one people would break away from the circle and go heave whatever fluids were left inside over the rail, until it resembled the gutter outside a Roman orgy. After about an hour of this, M. had returned to a merely transcendental state, and we all went inside happy in order to compare notes. People were making up icaros, and drumming on whatever was handy, and the good feelings returned for quite awhile. I got into examining the power objects now strewn around the room along with melted candle wax, half-full barf bags, blankets, pillows, shoes, flotsam and jetsam strewn around as if the Berserkers had marched through. J. remarked to me that the experience wasn't as strong as he hoped for and he was a bit disappointed, despite having taken 40 mg. N. said that he was almost straight.
And then, there seemed to come a second wave of drug action. Everyone who had previously had severe nausea doubled over again and started groaning. My own stomach started to complain at this point and I almost lost it as the room started to breath in and out. There was a general migration back to the deck, where J. and R. got into a hammock strung up between two poles, desperately trying to get comfortable. I missed what happened next, as there was a lot going on in my head and stomach. But it soon became apparent that we had another freakout.
It seems that J. somehow slowly regressed into an animal state, becoming hostile and assaultive towards any and all that were out on the deck with him. Girlfriend R., apparently having seen this trip before, fled to the safety of the bungalow bathroom. Meanwhile, B. and N. were sort of restraining J., who was screaming out curses and general abuse to any who came near, while kicking and clawing anyone within reach. And the look on his face was one of absolute savage hatred. With four large men pretty much restraining him, I left the scene to check on M., who was starting to fray at the edges again, and R. who was in the bathroom sobbing away. Just then it all broke loose on the deck in back, and I heard several people shout in succession, followed by a crash as a body smashed heavily into the rear window. Somehow, the window did not break, but the shouts resumed, and M., totally totally freaked, ran past me out the front door and off into the general population, as it were. I followed him, and soon gently led him back into the madhouse when the loud noises stopped. Well, what had transpired was that J. had bitten B. severely on the hand, drawing a fair amount of blood, and in the confusion, had broken away and run off at full speed into the window. He probably couldn't even see at that point. Well, he was shortly subdued, and placed on his back with four people gently restraining him from gouging their eyes out. Bad karma circulating in that brain of his, he soon attained a childlike state in which he replied to anything that was said with 'I don't want to...' in a petulant tone. Brave psychonaut reduced to a three-year old, the rest of the session was taken up with surrounding this infantile creature with kindness and trying to establish human contact, while the whole time he used any free limbs to try and inflict damage on anyone and anything within reach. Brave B. even tho wounded, turned out to have the great deal of strength needed to keep this animal contained, while all around people continued to take breaks to dry heave or administer each other hugs and support for their own still fractured and tormented psyches.
Well, it was a wonder that during all this, no other people came to investigate what in the name of Moloch was going on (granted that the bungalow was on the edge of the compound). Several people told me the next day that they heard the screams, but I guess it wasn't that rare over the course of the week, and who wants to step into that degree of weirdness? So at that time, now 3:30 in the morning, everyone was whipped and at least starting to come down, and the Steves were obviously beginning to regret the whole endeavor, so the closing ceremonies were kind of forgotten and the game became 'how do we get rid of this guy, J.'? J. and R. lived up on the hill in my sector, so the whole party ventured out of the bungalow en masse escorting the crazy guy, with me lighting the way with my trusty flashlight. And one by one, without any farewell, people silently started to peel off and slink away to the shelter of their own cozy safe havens. Until it was only girlfriend R. and myself carrying the supplies, while poor B. pretty much wrestled Mad J. up the hill under the glare of the full moon. He was actually starting to recover his senses at that point, and went more or less under his own power, while still emitting an unbroken string of curses. So we reached the dwelling place of J. and R. finally, and the unhappy couple was deposited in their bed, with B. playing chaperone for however long it took to be confident that J. was not capable of murder. I took myself off to my own bed at that point, and slept right through breakfast the next morning, but emerged in time to hear Sasha's chemistry tour de force. And later had a pleasant conversation over lunch with a very flustered and repentant J., who was blessed with a greatly enhanced respect for psychoactives and a whole lot of stuff to work through over the course of the next few months.'
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