Citation: Swick. "Meanings and Metaphors: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp45352)". Erowid.org. Nov 15, 2007. erowid.org/exp/45352
These events took place one year ago, during the summer after I had graduated from high school. I drank and smoked pot in high school, but had never used anything hallucinogenic. I was (and am) a pretty mentally stable person with no clinical psychological problems. I was at a friend's house out of town, and he suggested we go camping and take mushrooms. I agreed.
We drove to a campground near the beach in an area of large (100 ft. or so) sand dunes, with some small patches of pine forest. There were 4 of us: Me, my friend C, who had taken them once before, and my friend M and his girlfriend N, who were more experienced. It was early afternoon, maybe 3:00 when we got there, and calm and sunny. A perfect setting. We crushed the dried mushrooms in chunky peanut butter and ate them on bread, which I would highly recommend as I couldn't even taste the mushrooms. We left all our pocket contents and extra clothes and shoes behind, and set out with no worries onto the dunes.
For about the first 1/2 hour, while we were walking out onto the sand, I didn't notice anything significant. As I walked along the crest of the first large dune things seemed strange, but not in any specific way I could describe. I'd recognize it again though. I began to see the patterns in things more clearly and perceive some movement of stationary objects. Nothing strong hit me until C and I lay down in the sand and decided to start signing Jefferson Airplane's 'Lather' to ourselves, at which point things really took off.
I began to make free associations very easily, and started seeing things in deep and meaningful metaphors. There were little flecks of charcoal scattered around the sand where we were laying, and I began to understand them as stars and planets. The galaxy was laid out before me, and C and I were part of it. M, who was nearby, I saw as the sand/space holding us together. I think N may have been off by herself at this point, she was often separated. This made so much sense to me as I kept thinking about it and the metaphors evolved throughout the experience.
Though it's hard to judge due to the extreme time distortion, I believe it was about t+1:00 or so when we went into an area of small evergreen trees, about 10 feet tall. There were maybe an acre of them, and the ground was covered with amazingly soft moss that showed our footprint impressions in bright green. We tripped on the moss for awhile, walking around and making patterns. Though I was hurting my feet on things, and ended up pretty cut up, I barely noticed at the time and wanted to touch and feel and see everything. The world was in more detail, and I with a childish curiosity set out to explore all of it. We spent a very long and strange time in that little tree area, but eventually the drive to find new things to see and touch carried us onward.
We walked along a tall dune together and looked down into a much taller and denser forest than before, which gave me a terrible sense of foreboding. N got very excited though, and we headed for the forest. I said something like 'We can't go in there, that forest is evil!' and knew it was right, but then N said 'No it's not, it's just misunderstood,' which for some reason eased my fear a little. I didn't want to be alone so I followed them into the edge of the woods. On the sandy slope down to the trees, we discovered an amazing trick: by shaking sand from one hand back and forth, it made a sinuous flowing figure 8, much like you can do with a garden hose. Though I never really saw tracers on this trip, the sand definitely looked amazing as it hung in the air then dropped. C was playing with a stalk of grass, throwing it at people, and we began calling it an OogaBooga. Taking the OogaBooga with us, we headed deeper into the woods.
With the drug in full effect, I was nearly overloaded by all the amazing new things. Trees and pine needles and other plants and molds and fungus and strange growing things, it was bliss. I had to see and feel them all. My only worry was that I would get lost, but I shouldn't have worried as we all ended up going in circles. We convened around a strange mound of pitch on the side of a tree, and N began digging at it with a stick. We stared for awhile, until she picked it off and to our horror there was a fat, oozing grub underneath. Things very nearly went bad. I'm not a big fan of larvae in any conditions, and I think if I hadn't been able to get away fast this would have probably spiraled me into some serious loss of reality. We ran.
M, C, and I came to another edge of the woods where the dune had engulfed the trees and forest disappeared into sand. We crawled halfway up the slope but eventually lay down and played. We watched M sift sand through his arm hair, seeing and feeling every grain as it went by. We watched huge beetles crawl up from the sand with wonder. Time distortion at this point was so intense that I had lost all touch with normal timescales, which was one of the most intense aspects of the experience. The slope had been eroding since we'd been sitting on it, and it seemed to me like a thousand years of wind and weather had passed.
Metaphors extended: C was the Plant, the OogaBooga, the Tree, holding the sand in place and standing steady. M was the sand, surrounding us and enveloping us. I was the Bug, burrowing and tunneling and forever changing. We were not ourselves but immaterial aspects of the universe, and these were our avatars. I theorized that since so much time had passed here, we had died and been fossilized under the sand. If we continued to dig, we could find ourselves somewhere below us. The others agreed with me, and we began to search for our fossil 'relics'. Incredibly, we found them: a small seed pod that had been C, a piece of wood that looked like a fossil hand which was M, and the exoskeleton of a beetle for me. Pocketing ourselves, we continued the journey by crawling out onto the upper dunes once more.
As soon as I realized once more that there was a world outside the forest, I saw it had changed: it was cloudy (but not rainy) and the wind had picked up. As I was the first one out of the forest, I was on my own for some time lost in my own mind, but this was too intense for me so I rejoined the others. We began a long and intermittent pilgrimage across the empty dunes as dusk began to set in, according to N there was some kind of tree that we had to go to. She forged ahead and the rest of us followed doggedly, not wanting to leave her. It must have been over a mile we walked, and I remember very little besides a constant struggle to keep going.
When we reached the tree, it was magnificent. A dead and dried snag sticking up out of the sand, with a semicircle of dune around it to shield us from the growing wind. I climbed the tree for a little while and was lost to the wind, apart from everything and all reality. I flowed with the world. I got cold and came down, to see the others who were out of the wind. I was getting some closed-eye hallucinations at this point, and so I lay back and enjoyed that for awhile, seeing infinite patterns and beautiful fractals. It was full dark by now, so we got up and began to walk back toward camp. I walked ahead at one point and experienced probably the most amazing thing of my life: I experienced infinity. As I was walking up a dune, the face of it was totally dark, and I could only see the lights past the crest. Instead of me moving, though, the dune just rolled along with me like a giant treadmill. I saw the crest as an infinite horizon, and I was suspended in a black distance that was truly boundless. I marveled at this for a very long time as I walked, but eventually got to the top and continued on.
I was getting very tired at this point, and the effects were beginning to lessen a little bit, but I didn't feel weak at all. I was dried out and hardened from hours of wandering, and I felt that thousands of years of the elements had reduced me to my unbreakable iron core. I was pure stability. Going back was a very long and confusing walk, but I endured it easily with my newfound strength as we headed back to camp, perfectly timing it with our slow return to reality. I felt the warm road under my bare feet and FELT every rock, every pine needle or bit of paint. When we returned to the tents we cooked pork ribs in sweet marinade while listening to music on C's car speakers. It was indescribably good. The feelings of oneness with each other and with the universe permeated everything, and when we went to sleep my mind was perfectly at ease. Sandy as I was, I dropped off almost immediately.
I spent the next few days just figuring out how to return to normal time, but had no problems adjusting. It opened up a lot of great questions and ideas in my mind. While I won't say that drugs are necessary for spiritual and philosophical development, they do provide an interesting perspective and helped catalyze ideas in my mind.
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