Mushrooms - Panaeolus cyanescens & P. cubensis
Citation: DayTripper. "Swallowed by a Cosmic Waterfall: An Experience with Mushrooms - Panaeolus cyanescens & P. cubensis (exp42356)". Erowid.org. Jun 20, 2006. erowid.org/exp/42356
Swallowed by a cosmic waterfall to re-emerge in the field of dreams.
After a work trip in the north of New South Wales in Australia, my workmate T and I decided to use our free time to visit a little town called Nimbin and see what psyconautical adventures we could embark on. We had smoked all our herbs at the nightmarishly boring TV news job we were covering just to break up the monotony. So we needed some ganja to smoke and we knew this towns' reputation for things psychedelic. Neither of us had tried mushrooms and had already discussed the idea of finding or buying them there. I had always wanted to feel what a true trip was like and T and my other friends had raved about their LSD experiences.
So we hired a car and drove down into the great subtropical hinterland of the central coast of Australia. Nimbin is a quaint little country town perched on grassy hills surrounded by rainforest and grazing pastures (which can contain mushrooms aplenty). It is a melting pot for the spiritual/back to basics way of life and the legally suppressed drug culture in Australia. Needless to say, this drug culture is a free for all which has problems with excess and addiction. No further had we driven ten metres down the main street, peering out with fascination and suspense, when a decidedly seedy woman yelled out: 'Ya need weed?' We sheepishly said 'yes' and proceeded to pull over. She could not help us to find the mushrooms but within minutes we had a big bag of hydroponic bud and were skimming up a potent spliff to mellow us out. By the time we had finished it a shirtless, hairy wide eyed man appeared from a shrub and simply uttered the words 'bush' while holding up a giant bud.
This trip was already turning out to be quite surreal, but I had no idea of the roller coaster ride that was to come.
T and I eventually found an equally strange and twisted character to help us find the mushrooms in the fields. Before the day had ended we had jointly collected approximately 10 'blue meanies' and 10 'gold tops' of varying sizes. He recommended we boil all of them in water for a while and share the liquid to 'get us there'. I was erring on the side of caution and T was leaning the other way. He has an iron constitution from heavy marijuana consumption and normally needs twice what others need. With the day rapidly drawing to a close we decided that we would camp in the Nightcap National park nearby and cook up our brew.
We should have waited till the next day, but we were too excited.
Hampered by disorganisation we found ourselves in the jungle in dying light and no camping gear trying to boil these mushrooms with very moist wood. Finally we finished cooking our concoction which we separated from the shriveled mushrooms. T happily drank his share down without fear, I however was initially more careful. I drank half of my share, but I had not eaten much at all that day and this turned out to be one of my biggest mistakes. Minutes later we decided to walk up to the waterfall which was a little way through the jungle, instead of waiting and bringing my remaining share with me, we decided I should finish it before leaving. Big mistake! I should have listened to my instinct; take it slow.
After walking for what must have been twenty minutes I started to feel a little crook in the guts, by the time we reached the waterfall I was slipping into an unexpected bad reaction. The area was made up of a deep, rocky black pond at the base of a huge 200 feet rockwall with very little water running over it, surrounded by lush, wild jungle.
I was rapidly overwhelmed with what must have been an overdose. T was fine but I was feeling quite unwell, I could feel my heart beat pulsing through my body and was quite dizzy and feverish. I vomited a very small amount of liquid up but it was to no avail, it was too late. I could feel all my organs throbbing and felt like I knew exactly what was wrong with my body and it sacred the crap out of me. From here on in my nightmare of fear and loathing had only just begun. I tried to relax and take in the stunning surroundings.
Glancing up at the huge water stained black cliff wall I witnessed my first real 'hallucination'. The cliff was rippling like a wave and the small trickle of water at the centre was cutting through the rock like butter, I felt dizzy and decided a little lie down might help. I lay down on a flat area of rock and tried to recover, the sounds of the jungle were becoming louder and louder and I struggled to ask my friend if everything was getting louder. 'Err..No', he said. It sounded like someone had grabbed the volume dial and slowly turned it up to eleven. I think I blacked out.
The next thing I knew was abruptly awoken to T’s nervous calls to see if I was ok, I tried to get up but I could hardly control my body. Dizzy, feverish and panick stricken I stumbled in the twilight towards what I perceived to be water, thinking that I needed to cool down badly. The rocks in the water course were like mini mountains that sent my feet sprawling into the deepening pool. 'Help me T…I feel like I’m gonna die!!' was expressed with an emotion that scared me to my core. I ended up face down in the creek amongst the rocks feeling a complete loss of bodily control and a darkly frightening fear that defies description.
Fortunately my cast iron friend was fine and able to run to my assistance. I was babbling with the intensified belief that I was going to die when he grabbed me, probably saving me from a tortured madness that has to be experienced to be understood.
Still, despite his assurances that I would be fine, I fell into complete fear, panic and self loathing. “What the fuck have I done?”... “I’m going to die!”… “I'm NEVER taking drugs again!”
The fear was the strongest feeling I will probably ever know, swallowing me up with an adrenaline like surge of the worst kind. My trip had started with a negative experience and that was massively magnified by the power of the mushrooms. The darkness may have helped because I could see nothing other that the little spot from T’s torch. I probably would have freaked out badly at anything detailed like the forest; it may have eaten my mind alive. The darkness may have also scared the shit out of me! It's hard to know for sure. It’s also true that the fear I felt was so intense that it overshadowed any enjoyable effects that I only begun to feel towards the end.
T slowly helped his temporary mental patient back to the car with my symptoms culminating in depression and an understanding of what it was like to want to kill one's self. Nothing T said or offered me could help. 'I don’t know if I will ever be happy again T', I remember saying and fully believing.
Within what must have been two hours of ingesting I slowly returned from my private hell and slept a very fear laden sleep in the front seat of our car, often bursting awake in that unpleasantly heart pounding manner many of us feel sometime or another. Unknown to me, within 48 hours I would be tripping much more positively.
The next day I recovered quite well considering my ordeal, which was decidedly better than an alcohol hangover. We left the area and begun our journey towards T’s dads vacant house two hours northward. T was keen to try the mushrooms again as the whole experience had left a bad taste in our mouths, so we checked the grassy fields as we drove, 'Look for those cowpats!!'
We chanted, little did we know the recent rains had them bursting with “Goldtops”.
We stayed one night in Byron bay and tried to re-boil the already cooked mushrooms from the night before, but to no avail. We burnt them while out to lunch. Leaving the next day I felt properly rested and more interested in trying again. A short way up the main highway we pulled over and waited for the sun shower to pass, checking the field to find it littered in cowpats bursting with very fresh gold tops. I was still too wierded out to collect them but T did a sterling job, we left behind the field of dreams with barely a small bag full, as we wanted no trouble from the authorities. Any other day I would have filled our bags to overflowing!
At the next town we bought a portable gas stove and a billy, we then chopped up about five large fresh “Goldtops” into our billy, cooking our brew on T’s lap in the car as we neared closer to our coastal hideaway. Once we reached the rustic but cosy shack we poured our cooled brew into a plastic water bottle and headed for the water. I was feeling more careful than ever so I halved an already small dose while T drank all of his share. While admiring the spacious long beach from the dunes we waited for the magical potion to take effect, in the distance loomed a big, dark storm. Twenty minutes passed and we begun to walk down the vast open beach, the storm looked amazing even though I was feeling no effects yet. T, however was now only interested in the giant billowing clouds and the approaching rainstorm trailing underneath. He fell to his knees and begun inspecting the windblown sand which had become utterly fascinating to him, as he could SEE the wind. He then looked back up at the storm and raised his open hands to the darkening skies, shouting exuberantly, “BRING IT ON..YEAAA!!”
The wind had picked up considerably and T later remarked that he was rushing with the sensation that the wind was blowing right through him and he felt totally connected to nature like never before. He remained there oblivious to people walking past and I concluded it was time for my remaining dose, for I still felt nothing yet. Once it started raining T ripped of his shirt and I could tell by the look on his face that he was completely blown away by the power of the storm, and those very fresh mushrooms.
We reluctantly headed back up to the shack, all of the way T was babbling about how great he felt, soaking up the cleansing rain. I have never seen his face look quite as excited before or since. By the time we reached shelter I begun to feel a tingling sensation from head to toe, a lot like the feeling one has after great sex, but it lasted. Entering the house coincided with me entering another dimension, I felt like my reality was somehow different, dream like, everything was hyper real yet somehow very surreal. T was so excited he begun preparing another batch of mushrooms and putting it on the stove, while I sat down to get a grip on my trip.
The roof of the house was exposed beams with drooping silver insulation, and for some reason I found it fascinating and relaxing to watch because it was breathing!! I felt fantastic even though in the back of my mind there was the remnants of 'the fear' I had known so completely two nights ago. I was able to convince myself when I felt scared that everything was just fine. T and I then sat down at the table and talked about how we felt, feeling disconnected from the reality we normally knew. We experienced forms of telepathy when we were silent, and it seemed like we were both thinking exactly the same things simultaneously when we talked.
Every now and then we would go from a long period of silence, straight into fits of laughter, at exactly the same time. We became fascinated in textures and surfaces which were moving around as if they were alive. After what seemed like an hour had passed, we looked at the clock, shocked to find that only ten minutes had passed!! Time had slowed right down.
Were we seeing into a parallel universe? Maybe what we saw was real. It sure felt like it.
Putting on some suitable music was one of the best things we did, and “The doors” is a choice that’s hard to beat. “Riders on the storm” has to be heard if possible, it was like I could touch the music as it surrounded me and took me on a cosmic journey.
At one point we rolled a joint, which when I had a puff, tasted disgusting. I could feel the smoke going into my body very specifically and I hated it, butting out the joint straight away. This was very unusual for T and I and alcohol was even repugnant, so we had a little more mushroom soup. It does seem that the initial hit is always the strongest though.
I ventured outside to find the house next door smiling at me, the planks on the wall were moving to form a giant face and I felt no fear. I sat down in the twilight and pondered the existence of the universe. Feeling connected to everything as I somehow knew we are all one interacting entity. Back in the house T was curled up on the bed staring at the white brick wall which had become gripping to watch, he later closed his eyes and remarked on the light show going on inside, while I returned to the breathing ceiling which was so comforting to me.
Our return to the world we were used to was slow and gentle, we went for a long walk along a forested beach walkway, feeling like we were still in fairyland. I remember a lasting feeling like I had no desires, I was complete and in need of nothing, a feeling we would all love to access I’m sure.
We later ate some pizza at about midnight which was the tastiest I have ever had! Sleep came easily and the next day we felt quite fine, discussing our mind bending experience for hours. We have not had the opportunity to try again for a number of years, but I know I will always treat the sacred fungi with the utmost respect it deserves. They contain a very powerful “magic” that can and does open wide the doors of human perception.
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