Amanitas - A. muscaria
Citation: Entheos. "Manhattan Keep on Makin' it, Brooklyn Keep on Takin' it: An Experience with Amanitas - A. muscaria (exp49591)". Erowid.org. Jan 10, 2007. erowid.org/exp/49591
Adventures with A. Muscaria (Fly Agaric)
“Throughout human history, A. muscaria figured prominently in several cultures precisely because of its ability to transport the human mind beyond the confines of mundane reality and onto the astral plane, or at least chemically rewire it for a spell.”
-Excerpted from a SpruceRoots article entitled “Soma: Storm Cloud Full of Life”
This is a comprehensive account of my first and, currently only, experience with the entheogenic mushroom Amanita muscaria, commonly known as Fly Agaric by Westerners or Soma by its Asiatic users. Unlike its psylocybin-containing cousins, this mushroom is not commonly sold for recreational use. Everything I’ve found online regarding the legality of A. Muscaria indicates that it is not a controlled substance in the U.S, as well as many other countries.
It has been historically documented that the mushroom has been used throughout time and space for its psychoactive and narcotic effects: by the indigenous Koryaks of ancient Siberia, by Tantric Buddhist sects in initiation rituals, and, in more recent times, by adventurous souls desiring to have an out-of-body experience. There is even scholarly speculation that Celtic Berserkers ingested Soma as a way to instill their mad battle rage.
Part of what initially intrigued me about Soma was the prevalence of its use in many different indigenous cultures, both in shamanistic and religious practice. I took the mushroom with the full intention of having a similar experience of learning more about myself and my spirituality. I also hoped to gain some insights into the truly subjective nature of reality and human consciousness. There was, of course, also the more common desire to simply “trip balls” and see some really crazy shit; alas, this was not my experience, as will be explained in the following account.
Let me begin by saying that A. muscaria is definitely not something to casually mess around with. In essence, in taking an effective dose of this mushroom, you are inducing a severe case of food poisoning which has the potential to produce some extremely unpleasant effects. I would caution anyone who’s considering taking it to do some thorough research beforehand.
Species: Wild Amanita muscaria variant formosa- In contrast with the blood-red color and white pyramid-shaped dots on the mushroom’s cap of just straight A. muscaria, this subspecies has bright orangeish-yellow caps and tannish-biege dots. I harvested them from various locations throughout my school’s campus.
Date and time: Saturday, October 7, ingestion occurring from approx. 9 P.M. on Saturday night to 3 A.M. on Sunday morning
Preparation and dosage: I consumed the flesh of about 3 medium caps, each with an approximate diameter of 3.5 - 4 inches.
The caps of the mushroom were baked in an oven for about 45 minutes on 300-350 degrees F. (Note that these times and temps are variable, since I cut and cooked the 3 caps in 4 batches over the course of the evening.) The caps were checked periodically and the juice they had “sweated” out was collected in a bowl and poured over them. I did this because I read online that doing so would allow the ‘shrooms to maintain much of their potency. (Later research revealed that muscarine, the main psychoactive compound found in the mushroom, isn’t water soluble, so this technique was probably ineffective.)
After baking, the caps were eaten straight. The collected juice from the first batch was drunk separately. The last batch included a young Amanita that was cleaned and eaten whole, because I found several online sources that said that the young ‘shrooms are more potent than their older siblings.
Effects in chronological order of occurrence:
-Gag reflex and subsequent suppression of it in order to actually get the soft, moist, and acrid tasting caps down my throat
-Incoherent thought processes
-Drowsiness and lethargy
-”Jumping” gaze- Whenever my eyes would transition from looking at one object to another, my vision would kind of “jump” to the new object without really registering the actual transition
-Slight auditory distortions/hallucinations
-Visual distortions in the form of shadows appearing larger than in reality
-An exhilarating feeling of lightness and energy in my shoulders and arms
-Nausea, dizziness, and vomiting
-Semiconscious dreaming- not dreaming in the typical sense of the word, but dreaming of abstract bodily sensations/mental processes while sometimes still partially awake
-Exhaustion and dream-filled sleep (normal dreams)
(Note that some of these effects were experienced for much longer and at much greater intensities than others- For example, the incoherent thought processes were present for most of the experience, while the feeling of lightness of and exhilaration lasted for no more than 2 minutes.)
9-11 p.m. on Saturday evening- I ingested several oven baked caps, with no noticeable effects other than some giddiness which was probably a product of my own anticipation. At around 10, I started feeling different. I was hanging out in my dorm’s communal kitchen (the oven of which we had used to bake the caps), listening to music and talking to two of my friends, who had also eaten some.
I noticed a gradual onset of blurred and incoherent thinking. As when sober, I was aware that I was thinking about doing a certain action, i.e. getting out of a chair or getting something to drink, but when I actually began doing the action, it was almost like I forgot what I was doing. I suddenly found myself in a new position or physical location without remembering the transition from my initial position. The best way I can describe this is that I was constantly finding myself in new mental and physical frames of reference, without really being aware of how I came to be in them. I also experienced the “jumping gaze” described above, which I feel was analogous to the rapidly shifting frames of reference. During this time, I began to feel very drowsy and lethargic, and spent about half an hour listening to music with my eyes closed. Throughout this period, I was able to, with a little extra effort and concentration, carry on an intelligent conversation with my friends and some other people who happened to be in the room.
11:30-12 a.m.- I decided to go for a walk around campus in the rain. As I approached a drainage grate embedded in one of the other buildings’ gravel driveway, I thought I heard someone playing music on some sort of unspecified instrument. I stopped to listen for a while, and realized that what I was really hearing was the water fall thru the grate and empty into the drainage tunnel below. Even though I rationally knew that this was the sound I had heard earlier, part of my brain was still interpreting it as music.
12:30-1 a.m. on Sunday morning- I baked and ate the remaining caps. By now I was really feeling the “jumping gaze” and my mental state was even more warped and incoherent.
3-3:30 a.m.- I went for another walk, this time around a large, tree-lined field at the edge of campus. I noticed a pleasant, but very short-lived feeling of lightness and exhilaration in my arms and shoulders. A few minutes later, I began to feel somewhat queasy. I also stopped to look at the very long shadows that were being cast by some really old white pines on the edge of the field. These shadows, in reality being well over 15 feet in length, seemed to be even larger. On the way back to my dorm, I tried to freestyle, but this was made very difficult by my inability to focus on what I was thinking and my disjointed mental state. Once back in my room, I immediately laid down, exhausted, and was out in a matter of minutes.
4-4:30 a.m.- By far the most intense (and unpleasant part) of the experience came at this time on Sunday morning, when I awoke while in the act of retching intensely. As I was throwing up onto my bed, I was vaguely aware of a wet squishiness on my cover which I soon realized was vomit I must have brought up while still sleeping or only semi-conscious. (In retrospect, this was kinda scary, since I think it was possible that I could have choked on the puke while still sleeping.) I wasn’t even thinking about getting to the bathroom, because I was so dizzy, lightheaded, and nauseous that I knew that trying to stand up would only make things worse. I had several more puking spells over the course of about 20 minutes.
During this time, I also experienced a really weird mental state in which I somehow felt that my consciousness was concentrated in my genitals in addition to my brain. I know this seems totally preposterous and impossible, but it was what I was experiencing at the time. Strange as this part of my trip was, I was not in the least bit distraught or worried that my groin had somehow mysteriously become sentient. (In retrospect, I can’t help but laugh at this part of the trip.) I felt compelled to grasp and hold my nuts- my brain was telling me to do this, and for some strange reason, I felt that doing so was imperative to calm the nausea and prevent further vomiting.
Interestingly enough, I think it did actually help, but maybe this belief was just another effect of my intensely altered state. When I did do it, I felt more comfortable, less nauseous, and somehow reassured that the puking would soon subside. About this same time, I also had an extremely bizarre auditory/mental distortion. Be warned, tho, that this probably won’t make a whole lot of sense and I don’t think that what I was experiencing can really be articulated in words.
I was aware that I was vomiting because the ‘shrooms were being rejected by my body, while at the same time inducing an extremely intense altered state. This awareness was summed up in a very abstract way in part of a song that kept repeating itself in my head (usually when I was in the act of vomiting or about to). This usually occurred without me even consciously thinking about the song. The song was a combination of lines from tunes by the classic hip-hop artists KRS-One and Black Star, and went “Manhattan keep on makin’ it, Brooklyn keep on takin’ it.
The “Manhattan keep on makin it’” bit was somehow describing how my stomach (Manhattan) was, in the process of attempting to digest the mushrooms, producing (makin’) a chemical reaction which was causing my altered state. At the same time, my stomach and throat (Brooklyn) were rejecting this foreign substance, hence the intense vomiting or “takin’ it,” in the sense that the act of vomiting was purging the ‘shrooms from my body. I experienced this while totally awake, as well as in a semi-conscious, dreamlike state. Throughout this ordeal, I focused my energy on hanging on to my balls for dear life and praying that the hurling would stop.
5-6:30 a.m.- I think I had several more dreams which involved a similarly bizarre and abstract mental state, but these elude me now. Over this period, I woke and vomited several more times. I also noticed that the ‘shrooms' effects were wearing off.
8-8:30 a.m.- I again woke feeling nauseous and dizzy, but this time was able to make it to the bathroom, where I purged the last bit of mushrooms from my stomach. I then crawled back into bed and immediately conked out again.
9:30-10 a.m.- I woke still feeling physically exhausted and totally drained, but by now all the psychoactive effects had worn off. I then slept until early evening, waking up numerous times. While asleep, I had several dreams, all of which were pretty normal as far as dreams go.
5:00 p.m.- Woke and stayed up, tho still feeling physically and mentally drained and ravenously hungry.
Taking Soma definitely produced the most intense, long-lasting psychoactive and physical effects of any substance I have ever taken. As you probably gathered from the previous report, it’s definitely not what one would consider a typical “good trip” experience, and its effects are generally more psychoactive and mental rather than hallucinogenic.
In taking Soma, I felt a sense of temporal transcendence, a sort of bridging of a vast gap of both time and space. (This realization came upon reflection before, during, and after my experience, but was not induced by the trip.) As I prepared to ingest the mushrooms, I reflected on how they had been used by numerous indigenous peoples throughout man’s early history to induce altered states of consciousness, thereby allowing the user to realize spiritual truths and escape the confines of reality as it is normally experienced. The fact that now I, too, had harvested and was about to eat these mushrooms hundreds, if not thousands, of years later, but with the similar intention of having a spiritual and eye-opening experience, made me feel a deep sense of communion with races long extinct.
Taking Soma also really reinforced to me the truly subjective nature of reality and how one perceives it. In ingesting any mind-altering substance, one is changing this subjective method by which one perceives the world around oneself, thus profoundly changing one’s “world” itself. As for spiritual epiphanies, can’t really say that I had any. Maybe next time, though, when I’ll be sure to have a bucket handy.
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