Citation: Witchy. "Witch's Brew: An Experience with Belladonna (ID 55219)". Erowid.org. Aug 21, 2006. erowid.org/exp/55219
I became interested in the nightshade family after attempting to dig up the old time roots of the modern Wiccan religion. For those of you who do not know, Wicca is a religion based on the pre-Christian practices of Europeans, revived and supplemented by Gerald Gardner, Doreen Valiente and others less than a hundred years ago. Much of the religion was lost and material was added to the point where it is hard to tell what was original and what was not. One practice that is well known to be very old is the use of atropine containing plants in ointments and brews in what amounted to a method of shamanistic journeying. It was my hope that recreating this experience would help me understand the old religion better, as the altered state would be timeless – unchanged in nature by the influences of modern life.
I should mention that this experiment of undertaken without much direct spiritual guidance. Most modern witches do not use nightshade and I found that only one member of my coven had any experience with belladonna, and it was a one time thing. I do not use drugs beyond alcohol and occasionally cannabis, but did experiment with ‘harder’ drugs in college, including mushrooms, LSD and meth. I was aware that belladonna is quite dangerous and did considerable research first. It was at that time that I learned that nearly all those using belladonna or the related datura reported difficult experiences. While this was discouraging it did not affect my goal. I was not seeking pleasure but knowledge.
I obtained 4 oz. of dried belladonna roots through the mail. I did not have a scale, so I measured the volume, which was 3 cups. Therefore a rough estimate of the density is 0.8grams/teaspoon. The roots were like a fine mulch and could easily be measured by teaspoons.
1st Experience: I wanted to start small to see the effects. The smallest spoon I had was the ⅛, teaspoon, approximately 0.1 grams. I steeped the belladonna for ten minutes and then drank the cup. At this level the belladonna acted as a sedative. I began to feel relaxed, content, and very grounded. It was similar to the feeling I get after meditating. The feeling faded after about an hour. I noticed especially vivid dreams that night.
2nd Experience (several weeks later): I was unsure what dosage to use for the ritual I was planning, so I decide a second low dose experiment was in order. This time I used a ˝ teaspoon, or about 0.4 grams. I also lengthened the steep time to about ˝ an hour. Shortly after drinking the tea I began to feel a slight euphoria, which was unexpected. My vision became unfocused and the light from the TV seeming to change unusually fast. I looked over at my (yes, all black) cat who was yawning and her appearance seemed, well, hilarious. I started laughing in an almost maniacal way. Seeing the state I was in my husband began to tease me and do many of the things one does to a tripped out person and I found that I was susceptible to thought looping and generally trippy thinking. I began to notice streaks of light out of the corner of my eye.
I also had excess energy and kept walking around the living room aimlessly. There was a slight impairment in my ability to walk normally, but nothing major. Similar to being tipsy but not drunk. Speaking of drinking I was thirsty. I drank water and it helped but it seemed like there was a thin layer of something over my tongue. My dry throat appreciated the water but my tongue still had that dry, kind of slimy feel like before I brush your teeth in the morning.
After about two hours the feeling faded and I was left with an antsy, on edge type of sensation. Then it became tiredness, exhaustion in fact. I went to bed shortly afterward. I do not recall if my dreams were effected but I did notice blurred vision and occasional faint light flashes the next day.
3rd Experience (about two weeks after the last dose): The day of reckoning. After the last experience, I settled on a dose of 1.5 teaspoons (~1.2 grams) of belladonna roots steeped in 2 cups of water for a period of about 45 minutes. As it was steeping I cast a strong circle, casting three times each with the athame, salt water, and incense. I then stated my intent – To Learn of the Old Ways. Next I called each quarter and presented the tea, asking the presiding element to bless it. From air I asked for mind expansion, from fire the inner vision needed to truly see, from water the ability to flow with the experience, and from north protection from physical harm. Finally I called the Lord and Lady and asked for the blessing of true knowledge of the Old Ways.
I consumed the tea and waited. And waited. I put on various CDs in an attempt to take my mind somewhere. It didn’t work. All I felt was boredom. Was it possible that the roots had lost potency? I thought. But then I got up to go to the bathroom and realized I could barely walk. Depth perception was off and the floor looked like it was coming at me. Moving my legs hurt like I was stretching them beyond their limits, though I was only taking baby steps. I found I had to walk in a near crouch and hold onto objects every step of the way. Later moving became easier by still difficult. After a treacherous trip to the bathroom I engaged my husband in conversation and this relieved much of the boredom but I still felt little head change.
I tried reading my cards but Tarot seemed to hold no interest for me. I began to notice an ache in my muscles and realized they were quite tense. When not talking to my husband I read from a book on Irish Witchcraft and found it unusually interesting (I bought the book cause I know next to nothing of Irish practices and quickly found that I didn’t care for them or consider them interesting). Three hours after consuming the tea I still felt nothing even vaguely spiritual.
My husband brewed a second cup with an additional ˝ teaspoon in hopes this would push me other the edge. After the second cup I felt more relaxed. Maybe this won’t be a waste of an experience after all. I tried reading my cards again and found them much more informative. I was definitely getting more from the reading then normal but not more then on any psychically good day so not sure if that was the belladonna. Now I did find trance music interesting and noticed the flashes of light coming back. I went into the darkened bedroom to listen to trance and watch the visuals. Here is where I got the only spiritual effects. The light flashes started to becoming shapes and eventually eyes. Some where human eyes and some were animal eyes. I saw the eyes of hawks and eagles, tigers and lions, even fish. At one point I was looking at what I swear where my own eyes (like looking at a reflection) and they morphed into the eyes of a tiger. I now consider the tiger my power animal and keep a statue of one on my altar.
I also saw what looked like people (the old witches perhaps?) caught in various ritual poses. Unfortunately the flashes were just that – they lasted only a second or less and I was unable to get a clear picture of what was being shown to me. Some of the flashes became intense, blinding light. Like went you see a very nearby lightening flash.
The light show began to get repetitive, eyes and more eyes. I wanted to tell them I needed more, that I got what I thought I could from the eye imagery. Eventually I went back to my book and switched between reading and watching the eyes for the rest of the night, until sleep came perhaps 10 hours after ingestion. But I had to get up several times during the night to pee. But I found peeing difficult and downright painful. I knew this stuff would dry me out but why did I feel the need to pee if the urine wasn’t there? I should also mention that I got the thirst effects with this experience as well and drank Gatorade throughout the day. While water continued to almost glide over my tongue the Gatorade quenched my thirst well.
When I awoke the next morning I noted lingering difficulty walking and light flashes and streaks, as well as blurriness. For several days I found that it was difficult to read smaller print due to lack of focus. I wear glasses for astigmatism and the world after belladonna looked the same through my glasses as it usually does without them. This effect faded slowly and was gone after two weeks. The random light flashes also faded in about the same amount of time. Balance was normal in two days.
Conclusion: The experiment was kind of a bust. Some imagery was presented that helped me but I never had an ah-ha moment or felt that I had received knowledge of the Old Ways not found in a book. I am glad I did it and feel that I do know more about the effects of belladonna and therefore what it was like for the old witches to go through this, even if I never really journeyed. I find it odd that I had the strongest mental effects at the 0.4 gram dosage, and think I may have experienced a tolerance due to some of the drug still being in my system at the time of the full ritual.
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