Citation: Nowhereman. "Rapturous Visions and Apologizing to Dirt: An Experience with 2C-E (exp56928)". Erowid.org. Oct 25, 2006. erowid.org/exp/56928
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I’m five days into a kayaking trip I’ve been looking forward to all summer: 10 days on my own touring a cluster of islands dotting the map of an especially large lake. I am thoroughly enjoying myself, I have no concerns outside myself, a liberatingly limited range of things I can do, and every choice I make has concrete consequences. The day is beautiful, 75 degrees and sunny. I start by taking 400mgs of ibuprofen and 1000mgs of Vitamin E to mitigate any neuroinflammation and free radical damage that may come about from the day’s activities (I try to do this before and many times after any recreational drug).
After eating my dehydrated breakfast, I orient my compass to my landing site, kayak about 10 miles, and set up camp on the beach of tonight’s island, all by now a routine process. I’m about to break out of that routine in a way that makes the rest of my trip pale by comparison.
I pull 10 mg of 2C-E, previously dissolved in sterile water and filtered, into a full 1cc syringe. I inject the solution into my upper thigh muscle in 3 equal proportions once every 20 minutes until it is finished. First alerts appear within 5 minutes and by the time I inject the second dose I’ve already reached a ++ on Shulgin’s scale.
I observed during my initial low-dose tests (2mg at a time) of intramuscular (IM) 2C-E injection that the onset by this method is fast and tense, so I always break up a dose as described. In addition to palliating feelings of onset related anxiety splitting up the IM doses, in contrast to taking one full dose, adds to safety, allowing me to quickly gauge my response to small doses of 2C-E before adding more—something that cannot be realistically done via the oral route (snorting reportedly burns, mucus and drip will also effect the speed and route of absorption). Additionally, this method of administration allows me to find the sweet spot for whatever mood I happen to be in, resulting in more satisfying trips and less sessions over time due precisely to that greater satisfaction. Even still, because of potential complications in improper preparation and administration. I choose the method because it is, as it is with DPT, the best way for me to experience the full sublimity of this compound.
30 minutes into it and it feels like I’ve eaten some trippy Adderall. I take a few hits of from some high-grade marijuana to soften the edge. I limit myself to my tent during the onset in order to pair any unpleasantness solely with an environment I can leave behind, I want the world I emerge into to be fresh and new, shielded from the anxious associations and memories of the onset. I listen to some Animal Collective and My Morning Jacket but soon remove my ear buds, I am too distracted by the confused energies of the trip’s inception to focus on or relax to music, attempting to read Borges is even more hopeless. I know the shift is coming though, in fact at this point the transition from an anxious head and body buzz into true psychedelic space has begun, it will be complete within a half hour.
So I wait, busying myself by organizing my gear and loading leftovers into the bear bag (do not want to have to deal with one of those in the tent!). Finally, the first luscious rush of psychedelic sunlight sweeps over my skin. Time to go.
I exit my tent and head down the beach. Lithe, lilting patterns slither through the sand and up between my toes, transmogrified into electric, hair-standing vibrations. A large mass of fertile soil at rest on the beach is jutting from the forest. From its bottom five large trees of three different species curl upward toward the sky. I place my hand on the mass depressing the rippled crust of the surface soil. The ripples gape open to reveal a maze of mosses traversed by a few innocuous insects and colorful red and black millipedes. Its moist texture and earthen smell impact my senses and impress me as signs of an eco system that is both harmonious and vividly alive. I feel a deep, intuitive and emotional connection with the life on the island.
Stepping back, I realize how stunningly the trees have been arrayed. The five trees now appear as a ligneous hand clasping an earthen heart, the sylvan heart of the island held exposed to the waters, its arterial boles lapping at the waves, the pound of its until now subliminal beat resounding through the frenzied depths. Metaphor and myth are reoccurring themes throughout the trip. Like a swarm of mindful Leafhopper insects flushed from their axonal branches by the synaptic conflagration, these myths and metaphors leap up in short, storied arcs and vanish, blending into the brush, almost as soon as they appear. These “narrative” thoughts are quite a bit more elaborate than the mere euphoria and perceptual aberrations that form the chemical brunt of most psychedelic experiences. A drug that can spontaneously inspire such complexity is a true rarity.
A warm, sweet air seems exhaled from the forest. I should have known something strange was happening. Following it toward its perceived source, I see a clearing ahead and proceed to enter it. A trickling rivulet zigzags across a verdant grove, an opening in the spiring birch forest. Speckled sunlight lies in limpid pools, spilling into cracks of seething fecund soil dotted with variegated lichen and mosses. The allure is preternaturally maternal. I intend to enter the grove but soon find my legs carrying me entirely of their own accord! I rationalize this as a drug mediated divergence of my attention and motivational faculties—an inability to recognize that I decided to control and in fact am controlling my legs, only with some profound oversight—but damned if it doesn’t seem that this fold in the forest is pulling me in by its own means! I slalom saplings, every step feels sure and purposeful, but I can only laugh giddily at not knowing where my feet are taking me. The phenomena is not so enveloping that it could send me hopping over streams or high-stepping fallen trees but it is inarguably possessing. It’s as though I’ve breached some sprightly deity’s secret maintenance door and got my feet caught in the cogwheels of this forest’s mystical machinery.
Their sugary, hackneyed associations give me hesitation in employing the adjectives “magical” or “enchanted”. However, I chanced upon an enchanted grove on Magical Fuckin Hippy Island THAT particular day.
“Rapt possession” or “Exstasis” are terms I believe should be understood as distinct psychedelic states alongside “Ego Death” and “Hyperspace”. A similar but simpler phenomenon than the “guided walk” seized me the last time I experienced it as well. A combination of San Pedro cactus and Ayahuasca (the safety of this combo is debatable but I had no issues) had my arms and legs writhing in rhythmic spasms that would have easily been brought under control had they not been so deliriously fun. However, as you might imagine the proceedings as a whole were not nearly so organized and purposeful as walking… During this last experience though I was literally carried along by my legs, seemingly of their own volition. It was not mere dissociation, nor was it complete possession, I remained quite lucid, and again at any time I could have overridden the process. Indeed I did override the process and felt a light, almost tickling jolt through my legs when I did so. Upon relaxing again the extra-volitional currents took me up. It was though joy itself floated me along my path.
The guide wires lift from my legs less than one minute later and deposit me near the center of the clearing. I find myself crouching and lying in a soft bed of moss that soon warms to my skin, the lush, chlorophyloid cradle quickly creates a sense of sensory deprivation. I close my eyes. The leaves shimmer in the wind and project flickering rays of sunlight onto my eyelids. Each flesh hued flash ignites a single frame of a radiant vision: an anthropomorphized lamb drinking brilliantly incandescent nectar, sweet milk, flowing from a fissure in an immense, sprawling tree. The vision is accompanied by a feeling of surging gratitude, divine innocence, majesty, and a haunting, empathically derived mercy. I literally wince at its beauty, my breath catching in my throat.
“What is this… what… what? (Is this even a meaningful question?).”
I am a firm agnostic, and am skeptical of any notions of Logos or essence, but resemblances to a Christian mythos are undeniable. Perhaps the vision is a psychological insight into the religion’s rapturous origins and the roots of its Tree of Life references, alternatively, it may have been a representation of the “World Tree” archetype, with myself symbolized as a helpless animal gratefully lapping at the beatific lifeblood of a higher world (though in my mind, both ideas in themselves were, and in many ways still are mere factoids, only shallowly rooted in a far-off, infertile plot of my brain, I seriously doubt these memories informed the content of the vision). In any case, for me, the nature of the experience alone, so unlikely, so self-contained and pragmatically purposeless, yet so penetratingly imbued with meaning, stands as an immobile breakwater against any erosive conclusions modern psychology or semiotics might reach about it. In fact all my attempts to orient the experience within my personal chronology and “discursive milieu” end with deep-bellied laughter.
Perusing the area I fear taking a step. The forest floor is replete with life. Every minor slip on the island’s eroding topography tears at its flesh. Every patch of moss I overturn, every creek bank my steps inadvertently deform upsets and destroys the flora and fauna of these marvelous microverses. I delicately start making my way back to the deadened sands of the “guiltless” beach, apologizing profusely along the way and laughing at myself for it.
The vestiges of the vision still on my mind, like heat distortions emanating from some sun-scorched metal, I finally return to the fresh, cool breezes of the beach and stare out into the lake’s dark blue immensity. The waves don’t roll, they spike, peaking at 5 to 7 feet. Three islands divide the horizon line, denizens in the dominion of these cold, heaving waters. Vast golden wheels roll crosswise through the waves churning at the depths. The surface of the water is roiled with arcane writing, it is text of an elemental story too fiercely enduring for my eyes to elide. Notions of respect and Lordship strike and crackle across my mind, the island’s placidity is a miracle and a refuge, its force-laden god swaddles it. As I am swallowed in 2C-E’s psychedelic seas, fragments of poetic flotsam are belched to the surface. This is especially strange, with my adventurous but still prosaic palette, I don’t read, write, or spit “poetry proper”.
It’s later in the day and I am kayaking north en route to the western shore of the island to watch the sunset. In my peripheral view orange light is caught in cotton-wisp clouds that appear static-clung to my left shoulder. My inner monologue adopts an older-englishish, Yoda-grammatical vernacular to capture the moment upon seeing the half-moon cradled in the near-twilit trees: “While low-slung moon halved, o’re the arbors did rise, scythe in water my oar, orange glow sun-clouds have”.
I am accustomed to such “Velcro vernaculars” sticking in my speech, for instance, after reading a Renaissance work for a few hours. However, at this point in my vacation it’s been days since I’ve talked to anyone let alone read anything. I therefore attribute the phenomena to 2C-E’s unique, linguistically stimulating synasthetic properties compounding on the restlessness of my under-stimulated linguistic brain.
Later, after a jolt of adrenaline from slipping a few feet down a steep sloped arroyo I should have avoided, the old style sprang up again in the form of a quasi-quip: “Know ye! Not yet you be, lest your own stupidity finds you.” Finally, in meditating on a person who deceived and betrayed me, a bit of a hyperbole: “What suave gauze that dark-shroud, red mouth did tell, the mauve maw of hell”. The process of creation, like the walk in the forest earlier, is almost mechanical. I feel that my mouth is full of an “impression”, it manifests itself there as compulsive contortions of the tongue and lips that ready them for certain sounds, in “unraveling” it, the motion of my mouth compels me to articulate a brief passage. It’s strange that something so reflexive should make any sense at all, let alone contain stylistic and metaphoric elaborations. It’s as though all my cyclotronic and supraluminal myth making earlier had broken some mental law, being unsound of mind and unfit to take the stand, an unconscious muse has been called up in my defense, psychedelically sequestered to speak on my behalf.
The experience is over, for the most part, soon after sunset. All in all it encompasses about 5hrs. The afterglow is still prevalent enough by my nine o’clock bedtime to warrant 50mg of diphenhydramine, which makes sleep quite easy. I wake up around six the next morning with no hangover and feel ready for more kayaking. However, the rest of the trip is bogged down with a mild malaise in knowing the best part of it is certainly over (still, no regrets).
The lushly emotional and spiritual experience I have with 2C-E on the island stands in marked contrast to my experiences with it in city dwellings. Within the city environment the analytical character of 2C-E—reported on extensively by others—is more pronounced for me. This side of the compound is also quite beautiful, but more in the way a crystal spectrally scatters light than—as is can be in a natural setting—in the way a newborn fawn takes its first tenuous steps. While “set and setting” are of course implicated in the outcome of any trip, 2C-E, with its dynamic “interface” and default emotional neutrality that demands active investment, is especially sensitive to these factors. I take this sensitivity, coupled with the scope and depth of my experiences with it, as testament to both its difficult nature and its potential.
In a recent trip, I found thought paths that lead to similar orientations of understanding as I had encountered in two past Ayahuasca trips that resulted in ego death everywhere. However I elected not to see them to their ends so early on along my way with this compound. Peering into that space, 2C-E not so much dissolved but dissected my ego in a stepwise, mathematical fashion, exhuming the apparatuses of my perceptions and egoic undergirdings and holding them saliently aloft before fatalistically permitting them oblivion.
The trip chronicled in the island report marks the fourth time I’ve experienced rapturous bliss using psychedelics (completely enveloping feelings of innocence, gratitude, majesty, and mercy, that are unmistakably distinct from my more common experiences of “euphoria”, “compassion”, or “empathy”, though the latter are still present). The first time was on DPT, the next was on a combination of DPT and AMT, and the time prior to this experience was on a combination of San Pedro and Ayahuasca. As grateful as I am for these experiences there is a real danger in pursuing them. Though quick in passing, they by far rival the bliss, depth, and contentment of any romantic or familial love I’ve ever experienced (I am 25 years old, unmarried and without children). I feel I live a full, rich life—with love, both romantic (intermittently) and familial—though it is undeniable that after these experiences, despite their brevity and their ostensible inability to occupy the same emotional roles as the aforementioned loves, I feel I need these things less. However, I am truly happy and do not regret this increased indifference. Could you say the same?
There is also the danger of thinking of psychedelics and chemical enlightenment as commodities of life contentment As in thinking that a transcendent experience will necessarily supply some Elysian elision of unhappiness into happiness, that some fleeting spiritual state can really take the place of focus, introspection, and hard, boring old diligence in gaining life satisfaction. These experiences are like being struck by psychological lightning, they may charge my life with their power, or leave it faded from the intensity of their light.
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