Citation: Aneurysm. "Enter the Fungus: An Experience with Mushrooms (exp52498)". Erowid.org. Oct 22, 2006. erowid.org/exp/52498
-Purpose of Experiment-
The driving motivation behind the Logos Project is to experientially understand the cognitive, perceptual, and sensory (esp. visual and audio) effects of psilocybin mushrooms taken at consecutively increasing increments. My goal is that by the end of this series, I’ll have a better understanding of this particular psychedelic state, and with a little luck (and 5 grams) I’ll be able to contact the Logos (or the Mushroom, Gaia, Overmind, fungal extraterrestrial, or whatever this thing is), and see what information I can bring back from my interaction with it.
-Entheogen & Drug Background-
My experience with entheogens is rather modest. I either smoke/eat (in the form of pot brownies) marijuana a few times every 1-2 months. I’ve tried various experiments with Salvia (rehydrated quids, homemade liquid extracts, smoking), but have had only one shockingly effective (though not visionary) experience with 5X extract.
Drug wise, I’ve taken Ecstasy once, and while the heightened sense of touch and cognitive effects were interesting, I really don’t see what all the hype is about. Other than that I drink on occasion and have had a lifelong on again off again addiction to my sweet sweet dark master, caffeine.
-Philosophy of Use-
No matter what substance I happen to be partaking in, I always try to go about using it as intelligently as possible, and research any substance I’m not familiar with thoroughly to understand the risks and benefits.
In the case of psilocybin mushrooms, I tend to agree with Terence McKenna’s methods of getting into the right mindset and setting. While some may think that silent darkness would make for a wasted trip, I think it’s a more logical approach than going the other route of bombarding my senses with stimuli (i.e. watching a movie, going to a party, etc.). It’s like watching a single channel on TV versus watching multiple channels overlaying each other on the same screen. Sure the latter will be really weird and all, but there’s less distraction and a better chance of gaining some useful information from the former.
In this initial experiment however, considering the low dose, I thought that the only effect I would encounter would be enhanced visual acuity. Thus to effectively experience this, I decided to go out and run some errands and make notes on my digital voice recorder about any perceptual changes (I discovered the folly in this later).
-Mindset and Setting-
As with any new entheogen I try, I was rather pensive about taking mushrooms. I had of course done a good deal of research on the active chemical itself and the experiences people have had with it (esp. McKenna), and with my amateur knowledge of mycology I was rather certain that what I had obtained was Psilocybe Cubensis. Even so, I knew that facing the reality of what could happen was another story altogether. I was both excited about the possibilities and terrified about the potential pitfalls.
To help alleviate this (and to soften up my ego a bit), I did a variation on McKenna’s preparation ritual and reflected upon any issues I was having with taking mushrooms or with life in general (faults, worries, etc.). To calm my worries about potential toxicity (as this was my first time doing this, and I only had a general idea of where the mushrooms came from; friend of a friend and all), I called my friend Z to let her know what I was doing, and told her to call poison control if something went wrong (and then she berated me for worrying).
I ingested 1 gram of mushrooms with two peanut butter cups (to cut the taste). The mushrooms didn’t really taste bad, but they weren’t really good either. I couldn’t really place the flavor or the scent, but it seemed reminiscent of licorice or Jagermeister.
No change. I took my mental inventory of troubling issues, and tried to humble myself as best I could.
At this point I couldn’t tell if it was starting to work or not, so I prepared to go out and do my errands.
The effects started to come on. There was this tingling, buzzing, energetic sort of feeling in my body, mainly in my spine. My muscles felt slack and loose (like a marionette). Cognitively I felt much more lucid than usual. My attention was constantly scanning my surroundings, and so background noises became much more apparent. Emotionally, there was a strange feeling of hilarity, but it felt different than something like say, the pot giggles. I just smiled and laughed a bit, mostly about the fact that I had been afraid of taking mushrooms, and because of the absurdity that seemed inherent in the experience.
I made my first stop at the grocery store, and saw an old woman sitting at the Starbucks by the produce section. I had this strange feeling that I had seen her there before. After I checked out and left I realized just how paranoid being in public made me. Also around this time I got this horrible shooting pain in my hip, as well as what I can only describe as a ‘perceptual swoon’. It felt kind of like a dizzy spell combined with a momentary bulging and warping of vision. This really started to freak me out and I almost went into full panic mode, but thankfully I was able to calm myself down and move onto my next errand.
I didn’t really think making a deposit at the bank would be a big challenge, and it didn’t turn out to be, but right then it felt like one. First off, I mixed up the bank location with the grocery store I was just at. Then when I entered, I thought one of the people filling out a deposit slip was a local eccentric performance artist, (which was somewhat astonishing to me). However, upon further inspection, I saw that it wasn’t that particular man at all. Mind you I wasn’t hallucinating, but rather my mind was playing subtle perceptual tricks on me. As I waited in line, I kept trying to wrestle with the hilarity, which just kept on growing and growing along with the frequency of the perceptual swoons.
When I finished up and was back out in public I noticed my paranoia was gone, and what’s more I felt none of my usual social hang-ups. As I walked down the street, and gazed towards the horizon, I noticed that the line of the street was swaying side to side in time with my steps. This didn’t concern me at all; the hilarity I was experiencing began to feel natural, and this perceptual illusion was just another one of those funny things.
At this point I noticed that I had developed a strange tension in my teeth. I figured that this, along with the tingling feeling in my spine, was evidence of the CNS arousal McKenna talked about. Other than that my legs felt rather wobbly and I was getting pretty hungry (which I thought was strange since everyone seems to talk about experiencing nausea on mushrooms). So predictably the next stop was food.
After I walked down the block for a bit, I stopped in at an eastern European bakery to get one of their sculpted meaty, cheesy pastries. I felt kind of surprised that I went in there, because I never had before. As I waited for my food I heard this high-pitched conversation behind me that sounded completely unintelligible; like if chipmunks on speed where having an argument. I couldn’t figure out what this was, so I turned around only to see that it was some dumb talk show on TV. How odd…
Once I left the bakery, I noticed myself picking up crystal clear bits and pieces of peoples’ conversations around me. It didn’t really bother me until a couple of people passed me on the street as they were talking and almost scared me to death. For a second, I thought they were talking to me.
I continued down the street, thinking about how goddamn good that pastry was, and about how I really wanted another one…but I also knew I needed a drink…but none of the places around that had drinks was on the way back to the bakery. This line of thought kept repeating for awhile. It was my first trippy thought loop and I didn’t even know it.
As I got further down the street I saw a crowd approaching me in the dusky shadows ahead. As they got closer I saw police on bikes riding in front of them. It was then that I realized that there was an anti-war student walk out going on that day. I knew I could NOT handle this, so I just stepped off the curb with my head downcast until everybody passed by, taking the obligatory fliers that were offered to me.
Once I thought everyone had gone I got back onto the sidewalk, only to see one more person bring up the rear, and it happened to be a stoner hippie semi-acquaintance of mine, decked out in a prince costume; crown, cape and all. He tries to talk to me, but I keep telling him that I simply cannot deal with him right. However he refuses to let up and wants to know why (Actual quote: “Why, you find Jesus or something?”), so I tell him. Thankfully he left me alone and let me go on my trippy little way.
T+1:45 to T+2:42
I went to a café Z told me about to get something to drink. Unfortunately I couldn’t dictate into my digital recorder there (as it would be rather conspicuous), so I grab one of the free weekly newspapers and start writing on it feverishly. I filled up four pages with my account at the café, all written as a continuous tangential stream of consciousness, the main points of which can be summarized in the following:
-At first glance the café patrons looked like mundane yuppies, but after remembering what my friend Z had said about the place, I noticed aspects of the patrons that were more indicative of various subcultures.
-When I first came in I noticed a portly man in tan overalls with high curly blonde hair and a moustache rolling up drawing paper. Encountering this man was so strange because I can imagine him being the humorously obvious icon for an artist of yesteryear.
-Looking at a poorly Photoshopped ad in the paper triggered a rant on questioning why I don’t put enough effort into my art.
-The feeling of lucidity and linguistic intent was very pronounced, and writing flowed effortlessly from my hand. I mused on the idea that perhaps writers enter a state similar to this when they work.
-The prior point led me to rant a bit about McKenna’s Stoned Ape Theory, and the now experientially backed possibility that language developed as a result of an overflowing of linguistic intent made possible by the mushroom. I go on to ask what it would take to achieve a move from consensual agreement of an understanding (made with funny mouth noises and marks on paper) to a language that is actually beheld so one could SEE what the other means, and how media and consciousness mutually affect each other.
-I went to the bathroom and had a good laugh at just how much I resemble a monkey, and then stating that human are hairless monkeys and don’t even know it.
During my scrawling I developed a chill and became somewhat twitchy. The hip pain got worse, and my pupils were quite dilated. I believe I was going over the peak at this point.
I came home and laid down on my beanbag chair, as the paradox of the come down came over me; I felt stimulated yet fatigued, and my loquaciousness is gone. I phone Z to tell her that she’s wrong about 1 gram being a wasted experience, and tell her how much my cognitive functions have improved. She challenged my claim of lucidity and increased command of the English language, and said ‘you don’t think you sound stupid right now, but you do’. After finishing a bit more arguing about the issue, I laid in bed for about an hour, and gradually came back to baseline.
Changes in judgments and perceptions easier to make. Come down is paradoxical. Feel stimulated yet fatigued. Not loquacious. Conclude that shrooms are better than caffeine.
What an introduction!
In retrospect, I think going outside was a mistake as my perceptions became altered in ways I had not anticipated. Not to mention, that some of the damnedest things happened to me out there (running into protests, a costumed hippie, an olde timey artist, etc.).
As for the comedown, I didn’t understand it at the time, but I think it was so harsh because of the latte I drank. Coming down from both of an adrenal stimulant (caffeine), and a substance that arouses the whole central nervous system (mushrooms) was more than likely responsible for the paradoxical physical feelings I was having.
I still think that my general state of mind and my linguistic ability were much improved, even though I seemed somewhat inarticulate on the phone with Z (and despite my café writing being a huge rant rather than an essay). However, because this was such a new experience for me and because the linguistic internationality was so strong, I’m not surprised I had trouble finding a proper way to express the experience. I wanted to say everything I could about it, and in trying to do so couldn’t say much of anything.
If I’ve learned anything from the mushroom in this experiment, it’s that perception is much more flimsy and malleable than we’d like to think, a better language is one beyond words, and in terms of substances used to stay awake, mushrooms beat coffee hands down. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.