Mushrooms - P. cubensis
Citation: VapourBoy. "Psychedelic Initiation: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis (exp38957)". Erowid.org. Feb 15, 2005. erowid.org/exp/38957
Prior to my acquaintance with psilocybian mushrooms, I had only ever experienced marijuana (on a regular basis for a few years before the mushroom endeavor) and MDMA (once, about 2 months before the psilocybin). I must admit that before my MDMA experience, I would have been much more reluctant to ever try psilocybin. After the MDMA, I began researching the wide, wild world of entheogenic and psychoactive substances. Even after this research, however, I was still quite apprehensive about the more potent substances commonly used, such as psilocybin and LSD. But I knew that, if the opportunity were to present itself, I would most certainly try either of these substances.
As fortune would have it, a prime opportunity for using mushrooms arose: over the 2003 fall school break, myself and two friends (M and R) were to go backpacking for two nights in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness in Colorado. We decided that this would be a great opportunity to take psilocybin, as it was well after the peak usage season, being early October, and were almost guaranteed total seclusion in the campground.
After our first day of hiking had to be cut short due to hail and snow at the higher elevations, we returned to our base camp, which was at approximately 10,000 feet. By this point, the rain had stopped, and we figured that we would be in for an enjoyable night of romping through the pristine high altitude wilderness while tripping. We prepared a small meal of hot soup prior to ingestion. R, who had tripped on psilocybin before, is repulsed by the taste of mushrooms, so he had his earlier than M and myself, mixed in with his soup. M also doesn’t care for the taste of them, but was able to down them with water. While we were filtering more water, I consumed my shrooms, and was able to easily handle the taste, and they went down quite well, despite bits sticking in my teeth. We each had 3.5 grams of Psilocybe Cubensis of an unknown strain.
As I had never tripped before I was, needless to say, a bit apprehensive about what to expect from the experience. I had a marginal understanding from my research on Erowid and what R and M told me, but my only points of reference were marijuana and MDMA, two substances quite dissimilar from psilocybin.
We returned to our camp from the creek. As R had consumed his dose about 15 minutes before M and I did, he was already acting a little out of the ordinary. Perhaps five or ten minutes later (T+0:30), I was a good deal more sympathetic to his condition; although I was in no way hallucinating, it seemed as if of the surrounding trees were scrutinizing me. The world that I knew was preparing to undergo a significant and unprecedented change, for better or worse I had no clue, and the trees found my naiveté regarding these impending changes somewhat humorous.
We decided to lounge in our tent (a two person tent, luckily able to meet our demands for three 6 foot-plus males) while awaiting the onset of the effects, as it had started to drizzle a bit in the forest. By this time, R was acting incredibly silly, periodically taken by bouts of irrational mirth. We were becoming a bit bummed about the weather, as it crossed our minds that it might not let up, and we would either get soaking wet outdoors or be restricted to in-tent activities. Retreating to civilization wasn’t much of a viable option at this time, as our campground was a mile and a half from the trailhead, and it was becoming increasingly dark and wet.
Soon after, M and I also joined in the giggling and outright laughter; everything was incredibly funny and I quickly discovered that collaborative trips were possible and, in fact, frequent. I felt wondrously and inexplicably good. However, the night, and our trip, were both young.
Chronology goes out the window at this time.
By this point it was becoming increasingly wet with the intense rain. My first vivid visual effect was that of a very small puddle of water that had made it to the floor of the tent. Never before have I seen anything inanimate throb, ripple and change shape of its own accord. Despite the lack of precedence for this abnormality, I didn’t give it a second thought; I realized it was natural for this now autonomous entity to behave as it saw fit.
R, however, was dealing with cabin fever, and decided to make his way outside, prepared to deal with the wet and cold body and clothes later. As much as I wanted to be outside and mingle with the trees and forest at this time, I opted to stay inside the tent, as I was being plenty entertained in that space. Sometime later, R returned inside the tent and, to our astonishment, his body felt completely dry and warm. M still had enough presence of mind to realize that R, in fact, was neither dry nor warm, so that was taken care of. This was probably the last coherent action we took that night; the rest of the evening was dictated by an incapability of linear thought and irrational behavior.
Despite the actual small size of the tent, its dimensions appeared boundless. Three tall men crammed into a sorely confined space intended for two was of no consequent.
Thoughts might as well have been nonexistent, as we all lost interest in them before they materialized in our actions. We would begin a position shift amongst the three of us in the tent, only to move no more than a few inches each before we were distracted by the next cascading thought. One of the most amusing events of the evening was our attempt to smoke a pipe of marijuana: none of us, though all very experienced smokers, could figure out how to use a pipe and lighter.
After some time, I finally gathered enough courage to brave the weather and relieve myself outside. What I witnessed in the forest under the waning light approaches being indescribable: the trees dancing a flowing dance in time with each other, and the forest floor, at the same tempo, writhing and contorting in perfect harmony. Had it not been so wet outside, I would have wandered forever through this primeval paradise. The forest was either Heaven or Hell, I could not be sure, but it warranted further exploration. However, I returned to the tent.
Life continued without sequence and note for some time, until the experience took a dramatic shift. I became aware that all of my sensory input, particularly aural, was not right. Although the sound of the rain falling on the rainfly of the tent was for the longest time pleasant, I began to hear the occasional, incoherent, masculine spoken whispered voice from outside the tent, presumably resulting from the haphazard percussion of the rain. It then occurred to me that what I was suffering from was hypothermia: hallucinations, delusion and a lack of bodily thermal input are, after all, typical symptoms. I could not be convinced by M and R that the only reason for these sensations was the psilocybin.
My irrational paranoia was contagious; M and R began feeling as I did, that the mountain was too much for us to cope with, that we would succumb to the rain and cold, to be found lifeless in the morning. The option of an expedient packing and frantic, wet and dark return to the trailhead occurred to us; it would be miserable, but we would survive, if we could find our way back. (The trail was rather direct, but in our present state, we would certainly have become lost.)
Worst of all, however, was our inability to arrive at a conclusion as to what course of action should be taken. We would never get past the point of listing our options for survival before our collective thoughts would shift altogether, only to once again return to our survival. This recursive thought process was agonizing.
Somehow, we eventually decided to survive the night by expelling all superfluous gear from the tent into the wet night, and survive by exchange of body heat. However, I was convinced of my imminent death. I was lying atop my sleeping bag, R and M frantically trying to coax communication out of me, my only response to their queries a weak rolling of my eyes back into my head.
“Why did I do this to myself? I’m never doing any drugs again, if I survive!”
After what seemed an eternity, I was compelled to sit up, and we quickly arranged our bags as to conserve heat, myself in-between R and M (they recognized that I was suffering the most of our party.)
By this point, R and M were able to hold a somewhat sequential conversation, and merely listening to them speak brought me back onto a limited level of reality. I realized that I had taken the mushrooms, that we were plenty warm, and that the only plausible way for us to die that night was through our own irrational, paranoia-induced actions. I knew then that we would survive. Although the group mentality resumed normalcy, the effects of the mushrooms were by no means gone. Conversation was reflective on what we had just experienced, rather than what we were going to do to merely survive the experience at hand.
At this time I was having quite intense closed eye visuals, but none with eyes open. In this state, I was able to enjoy the effects of the mushrooms but maintain a grasp on reality merely by opening my eyes. I also noticed that my eyes were slightly sore, and very physically tired, and realized that this was due to the intense kaleidoscopic nature of my closed eye visuals. They were moving at a constant tempo, and my eyes would physically move in time with this tempo. I found this reflective period to be the most enjoyable of the entire trip: if I wanted to experience visual distortions, I merely had to close my eyes, but the realization of what I had just endured left me in awe: I feel that this was a legitimate near death experience, and although I didn’t experience contact with an entity, it was deeply spiritual.
For most of the following day, I was quite introverted and pensive; my thoughts dwelled on the intensity and implications of what I had experienced the previous night. I believe that mushrooms should under no circumstances be underestimated and used as a “party” drug. My use of psilocybin resulted in one of the most informative experiences of my life. I experienced joy, sorrow, pain, fear and redemption in the span of only about 6 hours. Such an intense learning experience has never come in such a compact, 3.5 gram package.
Was this a bad trip? Perhaps it was, but it was undoubtedly a learning experience. Although R and M both apologized about the result of the trip, I affirm that I couldn’t envision a better first trip. A more enjoyable experience is easy to imagine, but this particular one gave me a taste of the undeniable power and a realization of a practical use of psilocybin mushrooms.
Since this experience, I have used mushrooms several times. Although some of the subsequent trips were definitely more powerful and consuming, I am assured that any will ever have a lasting effect to the degree that this first psychedelic experience had on me. One’s first psychedelic experience is an initiation into a wider world, one where the powers of perception are increased several fold and this powerful microscope may in fact be used upon oneself, at which point one’s outlook upon life itself may be drastically and irrevocably changed.
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