Citation: Philemon. "Dying Shaman on the Wall: An Experience with Acacia (ID 58407)". Erowid.org. Jan 2, 2007. erowid.org/exp/58407
DMT/5-MeO-DMT Administration Session
Audio Tape Transcript
(DMT isolated from Maiden’s Wattle and smoked)
11.10AM, Saturday 8/6/02
SUBJECT sitting in well-lit room on large bed, arranged with pillows for comfortable reclining. Two large sliding windows with light curtains half-drawn leading to verandah, sunlight filtering through from the East. Stationary ceiling fan directly above the bed, white sloping ceiling, walls painted with pink-red textured paint, to the right of SUBJECT is a full-length sliding double mirror/wardrobe, in front of which sits ASSISTANT on wheeled office chair. Tape recorder lying at side of bed, distance between SUBJECT and ASSISTANT is some three metres (hence occasional inaudibility of ASSISTANT on recording). In the days prior to the session, SUBJECT had been reading literature on DMT trance and South American shamanic experience (Harner et. al.).
Time intervals in minutes and seconds are measured from point of drug administration. In the latter descriptive phase of the session, time intervals are generally only given when certain physiological or psychological effects of the drug are still apparent in the dialogue (see Symptomatic Timeline at end of transcription).
-1.03 SUBJECT: [Issuing final instructions to ASSISTANT whilst lighting pipe] That’s the important thing, to take this pipe in case I pass out…
-0.31 SUBJECT: I might hand it to you, but in case I don’t…
-0.18 SUBJECT: I can’t see any smoke…
+0.05 SUBJECT: [rapid onset of drug action, passes pipe to ASSISTANT] Oh! I think that’s enough… [SUBJECT lies down]
+0.19 SUBJECT: [groan]… Jesus Christ…
+0.29 SUBJECT: This is the real… South American stuff…
+1.57 SUBJECT: It’s the medicine man…
+2.54 SUBJECT: It’s too beautiful to explain.
+4.24 SUBJECT: [groan]
+4.51 SUBJECT: I can see a dying shaman on the wall… um… and there’s…
[increased heavy breathing]
+8.08 SUBJECT: I’m trying to talk to you but it’s really difficult…
+8.48 SUBJECT: You see now it’s just a memory.
SUBJECT: No, it doesn’t.
SUBJECT: I’m just going to try to recall what I saw, but it’s really difficult…
+9.02 SUBJECT: Oh, it’s going already.
SUBJECT: Would you mind getting me some lemonade?
SUBJECT: I think there might be some downstairs… oh, no, here it is here actually…
ASSISTANT: [passes lemonade]
SUBJECT: Could you close the door?
ASSISTANT: [closes door]
SUBJECT: Thanks, ASSISTANT…
ASSISTANT: You still remember my name!
+9.39 SUBJECT: The first couple of seconds… or whatever it was… um… The first thing I saw was the room disintegrating, or it was becoming really fine in its texture somehow, everything, the whole of my visual field, and then it was just… this shattering, just like a shattering… a shattering of this fabric… and then I just had to lie down, because I realised that it was really powerful… then I was looking at the ceiling… and I still have a little bit of the sense of it now… um… and there was something really frightening, and incredibly powerful, and not deathly frightening in the sense of… it was a benevolent spirit, but it had such incredible power, um… so you don’t have to understand what I’m saying [laughter]… The funny thing was that I said, I think I recall saying, it’s a medicine man, and then I looked towards you, and then it was you who was the medicine man, and then there was this incredible… [sigh] …This beautiful halo around you, and it was like the whole thing which I’d seen from the beginning, it was like a geometric pattern, which it’s probably best to draw rather than to explain… um…
[ASSISTANT passes pen and paper]
SUBJECT: Oh thanks, great… and anyway, this…
[SUBJECT draws on paper]
+12.14 SUBJECT: Just making it very quickly, you were there, and there was this… [euphoric laughter]… there was this, so that’s what it looked like, in the most basic way, that’s your face, and there was this… and they were like this… um… interlocking red ribbons moving in a circle. The really important thing was what I saw before, and I cannot recall it exactly, but there was something… I could see hearts, like love hearts, and these red ribbons again, these interlocking red ribbons… [heavy sigh] …and it was this guy, he was a male, and there were cats, and there were females there too, maybe the cats were the females, and there were love hearts, really sounds like a Cure song [laughter], but it was both visual and… um… and it was someone communicating to me, and it was this shaman, this medicine man, but he was really… and he was showing me something, but he was just showing me his own mind, I think, and it was really frightening, I mean the things that were in his mind were like… it was like a hell realm, there was something hellish about it but incredibly seductive, in the sense that there was this feminine thing there, all oranges and reds, all oranges and reds… there was this sort of cat, female cat… um…
ASSISTANT: Was it a big cat?
SUBJECT: Um… my idea was there were lots of domestic cats, and it wasn’t a big cat like a jaguar, and I hadn’t even thought of a jaguar until I said it now, obviously it might have formed some sort of expectation, because I’d read about jaguars… but this was someone communicating to me in spirit form… I wish I could remember it…
ASSISTANT: You said it was too beautiful to describe.
SUBJECT: Yeah, it still is… I wish I could remember it… I can remember it…
ASSISTANT: You said it was a dying shaman…
SUBJECT: I saw him on the wall, that’s right! Yes! thank you ASSISTANT [laughter], I saw him on the wall, and he was lying in a swamp of blood, it was like blood, and he had skulls all around, it was like he was lying on this morass of bodies in a swamp, there was blood instead of water, and the skulls were all around his head like a halo, and they were covered with vomit, this orange vomit, which was coming out of their eyes… [sigh] …and that’s it, that was all there was… [heavy breathing] …but it was the most benevolent thing, you know, and benevolent because of the power… it’s as if, you know, I could do this, but I choose not to. It’s like… absolute benevolence… absolute benevolence… it was orange and red, and there were circulating patterns, asymmetrical circulating patterns…
It was as though there was a consciousness there as well… [heavy breathing]… In a sense the power was the ability to contain the horror, there was such an intense horror at the heart, but it wasn’t really the heart, because somehow there was consciousness there as well, and it was like “Here consciousness is standing, in the midst of this, and it’s not… it’s triumphant, the consciousness is there, but it’s not succumbing to this horror, it’s not afraid, it’s just standing there and watching, it’s the master of this… and it can show other people the same horror, and through mastering it, it becomes incredibly powerful… it becomes… it has this amazing power… but it chooses not to manifest this power… it chooses… it’s this incredible benevolence, it’s as if somehow benevolence was synonymous with consciousness…. it’s… that’s really it…
It’s just a matter of concrete [inaudible], I mean that sounds ridiculous, I’m just trying to explain what I saw, I’m not trying to pronounce or anything, I’m really just trying to explain what I saw…
+21.16 ASSISTANT: Was the consciousness the shaman’s consciousness?
SUBJECT: It was mine as well as the shaman’s, it was the shaman showing me this, then somehow I… then I was transported into the mind of the shaman, I was seeing exactly the same things, it was like the shaman was showing me this, and this was medicine for me… it was medicine for me… this was the medicine… I’m remembering it as I go there… this was the medicine, I mean this was the benevolence of it, this was a medicine that was being given to me, to make me… better, to heal me in some way…. Um… what did you ask?
ASSISTANT: Was your consciousness the shaman’s consciousness?
SUBJECT: Yeah, I think it became mine, I think it was the shaman showing this level of consciousness, that’s how it was, because then I was seeing the dying shaman, and he was lying there in this pool of blood, this swamp… uh…
ASSISTANT: Was he breathing heavily?
SUBJECT: Uh… he was dead, he was lying there, it looked like he was lifeless, he was covered in blood, and he was just at the point of dying, the light was flickering out of his eyes, he wasn’t moving, and it was like his eyes were just beginning to glaze over.
ASSISTANT: Did he have a particular ethnicity?
SUBJECT: Yeah, he was South American, he was a South American guy, an Indian, a native American… [laughter] …it’s hard to believe, maybe its just because of what I’ve been reading, but he was fucking there, on the fucking wall….
The things I saw before I saw him, that was incredible…
ASSISTANT: You make it sound rather abstract…
SUBJECT: I know, I know… this is the thing, they’re incredibly visual and real, but they sound totally abstract as I translate them into words, I can hear that… and it sounds like, it must sound clichéd, or it must sound… but this is what I saw, and the point being, that the visuality of it was so tied up with its meaning, that I could see things moving around the [ceiling] fan here, and again it was these ribbons of light, of red or orange or yellow light, and it was all very suggestive of delirium when you’re sick, of being in hospital and you’re sick and you become delirious… and… [sigh] …and then there was this… this pattern was moving around… this fucking propeller [the ceiling fan, the word had temporarily escaped the SUBJECT’s recollection]…
and um… that was when the horror began, it was a horror, that was when I was beginning to see this realm, and there were love hearts within these ribbons which were moving in these circles, and I can’t recall exactly what I saw, I just remember vaguely that I saw lots of cats, lots of domestic cats, and there was something female there, associated with these shapes, and um… there was this terrible fear, and something really horrible… a lot more happened, but I wasn’t here to know, I mean, I can hardly recall it, and I can’t bring it back completely, maybe if one masters the drug in some way, maybe if one was raised with such an incredible thing, one could recall it all better… it was like voodoo as well, I don’t know why it was like voodoo, but that’s something that came to mind… and there was this black fur… and this pattern… and a feminine power of some sort… what was the other question you were going to ask? Because I’ve lost…
ASSISTANT: [inaudible: concerning beginning of experience]
+27.31 SUBJECT: I mean it was immediate, as soon as I smoked, everything became incredibly sharp, and then it was as if I was moving backwards really rapidly, everything became very linear… so do you know Adobe Paintshop, which I have, I’ll show it to you later, the best way to describe it is not when you pointillize an image, but when you ‘Find Edges’… It sharpens the image and it actually makes lines…
And then, um… I think I recall saying, “this is real South American stuff”, did I say that?
+29.20 SUBJECT: Yeah, that’s what I was trying to say… it’s as if there was some doubt in my mind that this stuff was very powerful…
ASSISTANT: Yeah, I think that was one of the very first things you said, was that [inaudible]
SUBJECT: Yeah, I think that’s when I handed it [the pipe] to you, when I realised there was no way I was going to be able to take a second toke, because I was very rapidly losing motor control, and I had to lie down…
I saw plants… I saw plants in a valley… you see now it’s difficult… I saw plants in a valley, and the plants were the medicine, and this was the medicine man giving me the plants, it was so simple… it’s as if I just read it out of a book, out of a shaman book, you know, Harner’s stuff… [laughter]
Do you want to go for a walk?
ASSISTANT: Would you like to go for a walk?
+31.00 SUBJECT: I wouldn’t mind going for a walk, I think I’ve recalled as much as I can… I’ll just get up slowly, I’m feeling rather groggy…
So was it as good for you as it was for me? [laughter]
ASSISTANT: [laughter] yes!
SUBJECT: It was really?
ASSISTANT: um… no!
SUBJECT: [laughter] Oh, okay, sorry, it must have been really boring… how long did it happen for, about half an hour?
SUBJECT: I still feel quite buzzy, and as I get up now I still feel a little bit hovery… but it’s a very benevolent drug, it’s not like LSD…
ASSISTANT: Do you want a hand up? [offers hand to SUBJECT]
SUBJECT: Oh, sorry, I thought you were going to shake my hand… like Yuri Gagarin [laughter]
SUBJECT: [tries to stand] Fucking hell… oh my god…
SUBJECT: Listen… [sigh] …um… should I say anything more before I forget? Maybe I’ll actually recall more now if I do go out and just wander, because I’ve got a lot of stuff on the tape, but it’s not very detailed, because it’s difficult to remember what I saw… and the shaman on the wall, he was just unbelievable… and it’s great that I’ve got these particular walls, this particular paint job, because it has these slightly structured paint brushes, which somehow made it easier, because I could see him here, but he was dark-skinned, just brown-skinned, and I don’t know if he was actually pure native American or if he had some Spanish blood, I’m not sure… um… he might have been wearing feathers… he was definitely wearing feathers, they were red and black feathers, and there was a halo of skulls, and maybe he had a necklace of bones or something, it was all very bony…
The first thing I saw, that was unbelievable, but I just can’t recall what it was… I can see it, I can see the patterns, and it was as if they were coming into my body, they were circulating around the fan and coming into me as well, it was really… the orangeness of it, they were changing from red to orange to yellow, and if you can imagine nausea being expressed visually, it was like nausea, but then there was this consciousness there, which was this female, that appeared like a cat… I saw lots of cats in some way, they were in a darkened room, and within the room there were these red ribbons of light moving in circles and waves, very serpentine… but what I saw then, that was… I can’t say what it was…
ASSISTANT: That was the horror which the shamanic consciousness surmounts?
SUBJECT: No, that wasn’t the horror.. the horror was this thing which I was being shown…
ASSISTANT: For the cats?
SUBJECT: With the cats… with the cats, but when I saw the shaman… but first it was the cats, but I didn’t really see cats, it was just this room with patterns going around the fan, but there were cats there [laughter], don’t ask me how, they weren’t hallucinated cats, they were hallucinated love hearts and ribbons of red and orange and yellow light which were segmented like worms, and they were moving in this way around your head like this, and it was more complicated because there were some here around your chest, and the funny thing was that I could see them in the mirror…
ASSISTANT: In the mirror? [laughter]
SUBJECT: In the mirror, from behind… that’s the really funny thing, there was a symmetry to them when looking at them from the front, but they were reflected perfectly in the mirror, it wasn’t the same image, it was a reflected image… Then it was like, “well, there’s no point talking to you, because you are the medicine man” [laughter], I mean it was the same medicine man, that’s the whole point. And I could see the medicine, and it was this plant, and it was expressed in these visual patterns… and I saw this valley, where the plant is gathered.
That’s about all I can remember…
FURTHER OBSERVATIONS BY THE SUBJECT
- The onset of drug action (which was instantaneous, dramatic and startling) and the break-up of the visual field may have had an auditory concomitant, something akin to the sound of plastic film being torn.
- The visual hallucinations in the first 4 and a half minutes (accompanied by the exclamations “It’s the medicine man” and “It’s too beautiful to explain”) suggested the administering of a medicine by a disembodied power, a medicine which was also a poison. The poisonous aspect of the ‘medicine’ was very prominent. The structure of this ‘poison’ or ‘medicine’ appeared to be expressed in these early hallucinations, something akin to a Paracelsian ‘signature’ possessed by the drug seemed evident in the visual patterning.
- During those early stages of the experience pertaining to the administration of a ‘medicine’, the impression that this had happened to me before was very strong. There was an inkling of an ‘eternal return’ in the Nietzschean sense, i.e. the impression that I was standing within a long lineage of those who had reached this juncture in their lives and taken this ‘medicine’, and that I had discovered the same secret, or that I was in fact the same person taking this drug in an infinite succession stretching forwards and backwards in time.
- Despite the overwhelming sense of the ‘reality’ of visions whilst within the drug-induced state, my limited researches on DMT trance and South American shamanism were clearly evident in attempts to make sense of the experience, during both the initial hallucinatory phase and the latter descriptive phase of the session.
- The symptomatic timeline detailed below suggests that the session experience was produced by the inhaled equivalent of @50-60mg DMT administered intramuscularly.
- The initial imagery directly after the onset of symptoms was remembered some seven days after the event (or at least it appeared to be ‘remembered’), the segmented, worm-like ‘ribbons’ of orange, red, yellow and black were in fact snakes emerging from behind the ceiling fan, there appeared to be three or four of them, which gradually wound their way down towards me and seemed to enter my heart. This seemed to be, in part, a reflection of the notion that I had been poisoned in some way.
+0.05: Onset of visual hallucinations, partial loss of motor control
+0.19: Onset of moderate nausea, increased pulse rate
+0.19-1.57: Mild hyperventilation
+0.19-8.48: Strong visual hallucinations, general loss of motor control, voluntary head movements from side to side only intermittently possible, speech only intermittently possible, strong thirst accompanied by inability to communicate the problem to ASSISTANT, repeated periods of successive heavy/laboured breathing and nausea – euphoria accompanied by laughter – quiescence
+8.48: Subsiding of intense visual hallucinations, subsiding of periodic nausea
+8.48-9.02: Partial return and conclusion of visual hallucinations
+9.39-38.34: Return of motor control, recounting of hallucinatory experience, lingering sense of altered consciousness without hallucinations, progressively subsiding waves of heavy breathing/ mild euphoria accompanied by laughter, slight memory impairment, physical weakness
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