Citation: Hector the Crow. "Love, Life, Angst and E-Tards: An Experience with Mushrooms & MDMA (exp36195)". Erowid.org. Jun 12, 2006. erowid.org/exp/36195
S refers to the past events as 'debauchery', this bloody hangover, teeth-grinding day after of harsh normalizing and savory regrets and the soft pillow regime of pot smoking on the Rosemont Porch facing the forested hulk of the mountain.
Last night seemed to be a demolition of all remaining pointless boundaries in one glorious catastrophe. It seemed to me this benign apocalypse would necessarily spread out in all directions to all human transactions like some chaos algorithm directed in a multifaceted radial laser pattern. What could stop that tidal wave of wacky tomfoolery, blissed-out but not past the edge of sanity, with amplified clarity and veto powers over reason? How could its self-evident poetic veracity not infect the masses from this sudden happy eruption of truth and beauty from the Nelson Nexus to the world which revolves around me and my orbit of strange friends? I think about Pascal's simple words: 'The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of.' Did Pascal ever wager on MDMA?
Drugs and dosages were discussed in detail, in public, on the open stage, with friends, enemies, strangers, and crowds. The most personal music and poetry was performed to the best of our capabilities with expression intent on conveying these “artistified” ego-bound tragedy-sore eyes on the world with fidelity to our own perspectives and relate to others.
Even B, the brilliant but scatter-brained schizophrenic, seemed in tune with the needs and wants of my role as a rapt audience member. Grievances against pretense and the abuse of authority were aired, breasts were bared, and Sam's Club was slandered in righteous indignation. The mad geniuses stormed back into the club, facing their failings, embracing their abilities, and saying what had to be said, for novelty, habit, order, and art. A moist, titillating sleaze seeped into the ambiance, as organically artistic as only S can muster, but this nuanced human artifact, born of puritanical religions, consumer fetishism, synthetic society, and animal lust would refine to something far more pure and potent later that night with the aid of gel capped powder.
R embodied her songs in halting broken tragedy - soft darkness with a jab of harshness here and there, the sugar-coat stripped away and the “bleakeries” of failure and loss laid bare between the scattered, fragmentary beauties. The horrible sound setup, run by a skittering mostly-absent 'technician' accented the sweetly-melodic desolation - each note/word articulated florid angst arabesques in grating clipped distortion. Maybe it was the mushrooms I was coming up on at the time (it was comforting to know I could blame S for encouraging me - it only takes a light prod to get me tripping) but I was damn near moved to tears.
I was quickly suffused with the tension common to my recent psychedelic wonder-blunders. At about the time I was peaking in visuals and panic, I was called to come up and do whatever it was I was supposed to do. I told R I was far too wigged out to play the piano part for 'Burgundy Albuquerque' so I jittered up to the stage as the shrooms poured medium-straddling hallucinations into my amplified perception. I introduced my improv with: 'Talk about letting the chips fall where they may... Holy shit.'
Then I pounded out a piano improvisation based on themes from Raz's set. I got into it. Really deep. Like a trance. I was driving my visuals with sound in a way that was precognitively meditated - a blind master conductor of the geometrical symphony hitting on the perfect rhythm accidentally. I wish I could have projected the mind's-eye-display on the wall behind me, but it only made synesthetic sense. The tactile and visual monitor on my musical conveyance became the prime sensorial stimuli for the informed sonic dynamics. It was a strange dissociated two-hand dance on the keys with music and internally-generated visuals being the movie I was in.
Upon completion, I announced the piece as: 'Too messed up to think of anything decent to do with my left hand.' Then I immediately launched into my Shambhala poem: 'Kinetic Synesthetic Calisthenics'. I was surprised to find that I could connect to the words I was reading in a way that was both faithful to their original intent, and yet freakishly warped from the same. There was little to no sarcasm required, no self-abnegating performance poet's farce. Instead, I ranted and raved with conviction, albeit at a ridiculous pace which placed spectacle above literary substance. Luckily, the poem was such that it often contorted both into the same sticky trans-poetic jabber walking substance. When the reading was over, I felt content to forget the whole episode, and quite unwilling to deal with commentary, positive or negative.
I walked out of the bar with a grimace of forced composure, dreading the likelihood of an impending inebriated fuckup. I assumed it would be along the lines of me spilling to someone in front of a crowd the humiliating and disgraceful situation which appeared to be dragging on for eternity. I was not handling this moderate dose of mushrooms, and I was shying away from insights that now pounded viciously on unseen doors and taped up windows in my cracked-china skull, for fear of discovering something that would drive me insane – a maddening and malicious deja-thread I had thus far remained blissfully ignorant of. I was being blocked from fully conscious comprehension by myself which sensed the enormity and destructive nature of the shadowy REVELATION. This had a very real psychological basis, I'm sure. I think it was my guilt and weakness and worries over health and sanity and responsibility and choices regarding drugs, and fears of death and pain, and inadequacy, all entangled in the bureaucratic complexes of modern life. It was technological terrors, stoked by archaic juxtaposition and the mental-construct-destroying mushroom trance. It was the negative reaction to the anti-natural feeling of being misplaced in the universe - a miscreation. Maybe my recent viewing of the hideously dark alternate-ending to 'The Butterfly Effect' was influencing my thinking.
I recognized a paradox with glib humour. All I could CLING to was the TRANSIENCE of the experience. I embraced its assumed finiteness. I hoped desperately that this fleeting character was a constant.
Outside, I talked with B while he smoked. He offered me one, but I declined. I find it difficult to turn down drugs, even if they are cheap, dirty, and carcinogenic. But this evening, I had more than enough on my plate. I marveled at the color-saturated intensity of the crowded street scene while trying to act as normal as possible. Everything had a fine, multi-layered, morphing texture crawling along its surface, and every surface was its own universe. The enhanced vision was breathtakingly beautiful, but marred by the twisted neuroses heaved up from my errant diabolical mycological thrill ride. I saw it as a tree-of-knowledge transition - expanded consciousness at the cost of corruption. Still, I laughed at my own wry tripper humour and soldiered back into the club.
I confided to S that I was barely hanging on, and she passed my sorry condition on to B, who had to deal with these kind of cerebral hijinx on a daily basis with his own mind. B put some sea-salt in my beer to quell the nausea. This inspired one of those metaphorical leaps common to heavy trips. I wrote:
“Don't allow me to deconstruct your placebos, please. Don't allow my sarcasm to obliquely mean anything. Please. Don't allow this cutting edge to arbitrarily care a whit/sliver of human skin/feeling.”
I couldn't believe two small mushrooms had me begging for mercy. Waves of panic washed over me again and again. I tried to make them ebb with B's salt. I decided that my purpose would be to dramatize the panic and step aside from it by putting myself in artist's mode. The whole thing was painfully contrived.
The couple of beers I'd drank gave the mushroom high a heavy, sickly funk, but the fungi thoroughly overwhelmed the alcohol. Nevertheless, I felt stupid and guilty for allowing booze in the mix. I tried to escape from the hook I was hung up on, the hook of self, and become a good spectator, an appreciative and attentive observer. It didn't work for long. I turned to soliloquy: “Where does the fear comes from? The inability to cope? The surety that this is it, the epic freakout, the brain-cracker, the trip I won't come back from, the demonic thief of sanity? Why do I yearn for normalcy? Why does nothing mean very much or anything when sober? Why am I afraid of meaning when I'm tripping? I don't know what it means, but I know I should “positate” negative connotations without sugar coating meaning. Oh whatever - this wave is enough. Please. Thank you.”
It felt productive to ask questions, but I didn't dare attempt to answer them. When my mind seemed to be releasing its tentacles into the raging void to feel for an answer, I instinctively yanked them back into my familiar narrow band of non-awareness as if I was retracting my hand from a hot stove.
I began to sweat and it felt weird, like a writhing liquid skin growing out of me. I wanted to take all my clothes off but I still cared a little what the other patrons might think. Heat was worry. I clung to cool like mama void. I didn't want to take sanity for granted anymore, no matter how bored I might get. I desperately searched for simple, mundane activities to focus on to avoid having to be anything.
My eccentric but severe phobia of vomiting (I haven't in 12 years and I never want to as long as I live) became an overarching metaphor for my toxic unwillingness to purge my demons and face my fears and evolve and improve and fucking learn something instead of repeating the same silly cycles with a pinprick peak of 'enlightenment' somewhere and craggy valleys of despairing mundanities as the majority of the terrain. It became the idea of a 'test' which I knew I wasn't ready for, wasn't man enough for, wasn't mind enough for, wasn't real enough for. I sensed truth, in front of me, in plain view, a Jupiter-sized mass, and saw my cowardly demeanor in relation to it, and could not deny my inability to identify with a God-like Presence that was nonetheless sensed strongly. This is the problem with midrange doses of psychedelics. They leave my ego partially intact, but challenge me with freakish contortions of it. It provokes a flight-or-fight response in me. Fugue state, some call it. A long, screaming slur of indecision.
I felt like the center of an imploding universe. I wanted to pay attention to the outside world, but it was almost impossible. I didn't want to escape the world, but I wanted to escape the trip. A mocking voice rang in my head: 'There is no escape. You wanted truth? You got it.' Now what? My voice of reason was drowned out in blaring animated superstition.
It was a mind grinder in there. (It's always fun to substitute mind for meat). I wrote: “Remember later, these words were written while desperately hanging on to sanity or... embracing insanity?”
There were those occasions when I felt ready to submit to the beckoning swirling journey, only to quickly abort because of the accelerating weirdness that would immediately accrue upon letting down my crude defenses.
The tension slowly abated as I came down from the peak and the humour increased dramatically. I finally found myself able to back away from the insistent soliloquy and enjoy myself. Everything was hilarious and meaning didn't seem to matter much. Around this time, R decided to trip on her share of shrooms. I told her to go easy on them. A little of that stuff goes a long way. I walked around the block and mused on the notion that my own homegrown mushrooms, my plant allies, my children, had burned me toasty brown. I felt that they had given me something in exchange for the excruciating cognitive dissonance, but I wasn't sure what it was exactly. Novelty, definitely. An indescribable difference in perception and vision and cognition. But what did it mean? Maybe I’d get more out of tripping if I dropped the prejudice that it was supposed to mean anything at all.
People poured into the broad room and the night stumbled on with an increasingly animated host and a decreasingly tolerant management. S began her boisterous boosting of open stage while the resident Gareth whispered plans of shutting the whole thing down and clamored for an end to the festivities. R came up on her mushrooms, got nervous, puked, and came back tripping hard and happy. She lay down on the booth with a far-gone grin and remarked on the rainbow spirals that were flying off the objects above her.
As the tension mounted, C swept in like a hurricane to blow away the jam band hastily raised like an Amish barn and barnstormed through three of his best songs. I would have accompanied him on the Casio, but it was being occupied by some foreign keyboard noodler. Still, C’s presence was a treat, since we'd expected him to snub the open stage once again.
After ranting about the anti-open stage forces that lurked among us, S wrapped the whole night up with a casually committed rendition of her Shambhala poem. I thought it was a great summation of the experience we'd shared. This conviction-saturated balls-out rave travelogue was like Shambhala squeezed through a microphone and fanned out in front of a receptive, if scattered, public. She does some wicked sound-to text-to spoken word synesthesia.
My drinking had been stop and start and the shrooms were wearing off, so I suddenly found myself the most sober non-volunteer in the room. Therefore, I took it upon myself to pack up the Casio, which I managed, barely, with R’s help collapsing the stand. I thanked one of the gruff sober-looking members of the new management for tolerating our bullshit as long as they had and we made our smug exit, determined to prolong the party.
On our way to a new place, somebody decided we should use the E which I still had lying around from my Shambhala shopping spree. I thought five pills would do us all just fine, so we swung by my unspeakable bourgeois American-beauty outpost and picked up the pharms.
When we got settled into our crash-pad, I felt very sober and very indecisive. C poured me a glass of Jaggermeister which I sipped while pacing. I felt a bit beatific from the mushroom afterglow, but I was unsure whether it was a good idea to introduce a new drug into the mix, especially one I hadn’t done before, one that I was determined to make good use of – respectful use of – efficient use of.
I decided I must at least choose between Jagger and E. I put my glass down and got out the pills. They were supposed to be pure MDMA, but I never had them tested. I hoped the other drugs still churning through my system would not sully the experience I’d heard of in wonderment from trip reports and media hype. I was hoping for greatness. An epic trip. Hey, B endorsed it, and he’s picky about his drugs, so that was good enough for me.
Here it was, finally. The moment of imbibing. Ecstasy. Show me what you got. I was fearing an even worse freak-out than before, but I was also fearing disappointment. I had been promised amazing rewards from this drug, especially for those with “emotional blockages”. But there were plenty of naysayers too. S was having her first roll too, and R had only rolled once. C was a veteran, I supposed.
I popped one cap and split up some for my friends who wanted to start with a half each. I sat down on the porch-couch with a shiver of anticipation and waited with R at my side, while S and C danced to Sinatra. Within ten minutes I sensed a calming of my pre-trip jitters and a welling of affection and concern for my girlfriend, R. She looked more beautiful than I’d ever seen her before. Her hair contoured her face in an elegant contrast – the features softened and clarified simultaneously. Her body parts patterned into a perfect gestalt of feminine grace. I also noticed that the lightbulb above the porch was glowing and swelling in pulses and I was aware of every nail sticking out of the slanted roof overhang. Was this the placebo stage of the trip or could I really have been feeling it that soon?
I went inside and sat on the couch. I felt a little trippiness and observed higher detail in objects, but nothing else happened. Nobody was talking to me and I started feeling down again. I began to worry than I wasn’t going to feel anything substantial, which brought me down even more. Perhaps twenty minutes later I felt a marked increase in intensity. Not a rush really, but a slow flood, a subtle descent into a bottomless ocean of happiness. My mood brightened, and I announced that I was rolling hard.
Everything seemed bigger, more substantial. Spaces elongated. Texture sharpened. But the visual changes were nothing compared to the clean buzzless body high. It was a robust warmth. It made me feel like a burning sun wrapped in human skin. It filled me with lax energy. It made me want to writhe and jump and slink and twist and finally just hug, hug, hug – everything – especially people, but objects would do. I thought about the feeling of contentment commonly reported from ecstasy trips – the feeling that everything is just as it should be. I didn’t have this feeling, and I suspected that the fact that I was waiting for it to happen was preventing it from doing so. The contrivance was the blockage.
After about ten minutes, my good natured giddiness plateaued and it seemed that a switch had occurred. Now I was driving the drug, the drug wasn’t driving me. That wouldn’t do. I wanted to be rocked – catapulted into bliss, beyond my will. I popped another half a cap. Almost as soon as I did this, I felt the first dose bloom into its full floral splendor. The second dose came roaring to the fore shortly after.
Over the course of the next five minutes my inhibitions vaporized and I became concerned with nothing other than expressing my boundless love for everything. This came to focus on the people I was rolling with, particularly R, whom I towed into the room to cover with kisses. After I’d mauled R a little too much (and crossed the hugging/bugging line), I would start kissing someone else. I would run my hands through S's hair and look deep into her eyes. I would bear-hug C. Everyone was high and happily accepting my glowing offerings, sometimes adding their own wacky stylings and variations on the theme. The theme never strayed far from love. The four of us tangled into a human knot, a love soup. I found myself an easy participant in this omni-erogenous group grope.
I was ridiculously high. I felt fantastically good. Smiley, mellow, and very vital. I told C and S to split another pill, which they promptly did. I indulged in a brief fit of spastic dancing and wondered why I hadn’t used this stuff. I could have really gotten into the rave, instead of watching voyeuristically from the sidelines like some nutty techno connoisseur. It didn’t matter though. This afterparty was sublime.
I mainly stuck to simple admonitions of devotion to my friends and family with cutesy frills on the side. I was unafraid to be cute, or stupid. I was just happy to love so intensely, and to share it in as true a way as I could. I finally had a HANDLE on my love. A firm grip. I wielded it like a cauterizing sword, I played it like a musical instrument, I played every variation on love I could think of. I went through the list of all my nearest and dearest, surprising myself with my deep appreciation for each novel personality. I took in my personal roster of external human conceptions one by one as if I was going through my favorite CDs.
We all contributed good-humoured anecdotes to the collective palaver. We reminisced about how we’d met each other and what we liked about each other, we brought up sacred, tender moments that had been completely forgotten until now, we discussed how we were going to collaborate artistically, and where we were going in life, and how we might’ve acquired the emotional problems we now faced.
I felt none of my usual pressure to be clever or sage. It was bizarre in that this ecstatic incarnation was very much me, but solely consisting of the things I censor from my speech before actually speaking. It was a living me, now loose, formerly tied up and gagged in the basement of my brain. Neither I, nor anyone else had ever heard him before. It was a cathartic release of all my repression and awkwardness. I felt capable of discussing anything with ease and openness. My normal grimy feeling of phoniness and contrivance and hypocrisy and compromise was gone – wiped clean off the mind. To be absolutely comfortable and assured was a liberation. This was a humble assurance. An altruistic assurance. An assurance of symbiosis. I loved myself along with it, although strangely I did get a little embarrassed when I was fawned over for my divinity as a personality, and directed the high-pressure jet of praise and accolades toward Desiree.
Desiree was not as high as me, and bounced back teasing caustic commentary on my tumble of sappy adoration. I ate it up with relish and marveled at her brilliance and wit. She seemed like the R I always knew, except the full potential of R, which had always been there, unnoticed by my soporific sober mind. She was The Perfect R. The Platonic R. And the Sexual Icon R which I would have gladly fucked if it had been appropriate in that situation. Although we were dazed with love, we still desired to avoid discomfort later, when the Window closed. We still comprehended the social norms, even if we were temporarily above them and their pedestrian functions.
I realized that I could not stop contorting my mouth in some manner. When not kissing or licking, I was compelled to work my jaw or stick out my tongue. This didn’t bother me much, but it amused the others.
I didn’t feel creative during the trip, at least not in the way I normally am on psychedelics. But I felt an optimistic sense of connection with the entire human race and particularly my generation (something I usually feel very disconnected from), especially those members that are into psychedelics and rave culture. We seemed to be evolving right before my eyes. I could feel this kinetic energy in the vibrations of the room. I was convinced that we were improving as a civilization. I felt omnipotence in the progress of peace, synergy, and co-prosperity. I saw the living examples of these things in my relationships with the people I knew as models for inevitable shifts in society, crystallization towards a harmonious overmind. It was like riding the wave of victory in a vandal army of flower-power revolutionaries spraying love graffiti.
E-tarded? Maybe. I wouldn't call it an intellectual high. R told me she hurt her third eye. Yeah - my pineal gland's had a workout too - soul Olympics - kinetic synesthetic calisthenics.
I did get subtle visuals when I closed my eyes, although they weren’t nearly as “present” as mushroom visuals are. Their character was synthetic. I saw human-alien constructs with laser shows and interlocking twisting grids of fine translucent texture, gleaming frames and patterned fabric, nano cartoons, impossible convolutions of perspective, and fractalized peripheries spiraling into infinity. They resembled unimaginably sophisticated music visualizers in their fluid and rapidly changing movement style.
The comedown was long and leisurely. I didn't feel anything so heavy as a 'crash', but I did go through a distinct nagging disappointment as the chemically-induced euphoria faded. This accompanied a vocal yearning to extend the night, prolong the party, keep the vibe alive... But the peak was short. The really intense euphoria lasted only an hour or two. The openness and bonding continued long after the physical glow tapered off. I had a hard time deciding when I was fully down, but some mildly unpleasant physical artifacts hung on for 10-12 hours afterward. There was a subtle soreness in my jaw, face, and neck, dull headaches, and a general exhaustion. Alcohol might account for some of this. The high was easily worth these things.
It’s about a day after the X drop. The bulk of that turbo-charged love has left me but my regular current is rejuvenated, and flows more readily. I also find it easier to look people in the eye. But I find it amazing how I could go from THAT... to almost normal - almost my old, stodgy self. The bright and boundless E-trip out episode suffers in this harsh juxtaposition. It seems kind of silly. I’m surprised to find that the effects were almost exactly as advertised. There was no real surprise, and for that I am a little let down, but you just can’t beat X for ecstasy. It’s aptly named. I wouldn’t say it’s just for hedonists though. It turned my eye OUT on the world as much as other drugs turn my eye inwards.
I get mad at myself for getting mad now, because having undoubtedly got to a state transcendent of low hatreds and human pettiness, I find it distasteful and shallow to re-inhabit the old self.
But... what would I write about if not for the pettiness that keeps every little human activity, ambition, and interaction juiced with drama - the innocent vitality of complex yet contextless mammalian programming? That is what Leary's 'Lower Circuits' refer to, I think.
Rolling is for special occasions. These occasions are healing reminders of the reality of love and the joy of being alive and the preciousness of every person and the depth of feeling reserved for those closest to me.
Comparatively, I can't imagine mushrooms ever losing their profundity, and I can't imagine ever unraveling their mystery.
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