Mushrooms - P. semilanceata
Citation: SoaV. "Tripping Alone Worked a Treat: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. semilanceata (exp66847)". Erowid.org. Apr 15, 2008. erowid.org/exp/66847
Date of experience: 20 October 2007
Previous experience: Alcohol, tobacco, magic mushrooms, cannabis (oral/smoked), amphetamines (oral/snorted), MDMA crystals (oral/snorted), ecstasy (oral/snorted), herbal ecstasy, H.B. woodrose, salvia
A few weeks ago a casual acquaintance indicated to me that when the liberty cap season would come around here in the United Kingdom, he might be able to sort some mushroom brew for me. I had not taken shrooms since about five years back, when I was a teenager living in the Netherlands, and needless to say I was thrilled at the prospect. I have previously taken P. Cubensis ('Mexicans') on several occasions, providing me with some of my happiest memories, and C. Cyanescens ('Hawaiians'), resulting in one of the most visually chaotic and unpleasant moments of my life.
I had been told that liberty caps lie somewhere in between Mexicans and Hawaiians strength-wise, and so I was admittedly a little apprehensive with regard to experimenting with these fungi without a sitter or company of any kind. However, a couple of weeks ago my acquaintance approached me with a 25 centilitre coke bottle filled up to about one-third of newly made liberty cap brew. After being assured that it contained one approximate dose I took it off him, shoved it in my freezer and waited patiently until the weekend before having a go. After some to-ing and fro-ing I finally settled on taking it at seven o’clock on the Saturday evening. I had drunk four beers prior to taking the mushrooms, however as they were consumed over the course of six hours, I was no more than somewhat tipsy by the time I drank the brew.
At seven o’clock sharp, racked with nerves, I fetched the bottle from the fridge where it had been defrosting for a couple of days, studied the rank-looking wisps of dark spore materia swimming about inside the liquid, opened the lid and took a cautious sip. To my great surprise it didn’t taste bad at all, mostly like coke, except with a faint aftertaste of mushroom. Immediately I thought that I had been tricked and that it was simply coke mixed with a sprinkle of culinary mushrooms, but I quickly silenced my suspicion, downed the concoction in a few swift swigs and nervously made myself comfortable on the bed, laptop on my lap.
Considering that it was so long ago since I had taken shrooms I wasn’t at all sure what to expect, however, I was still surprised when noticing a definite change in perception after only 15 minutes – from what I could remember, mushrooms used to take upwards of 45 minutes to hit me. Stumbling into the kitchen to make myself a soothing cup of tea (promptly forgotten about the second the water had boiled), I noticed that all the surfaces in my little flat were bulging and shifting ever so slightly. I was fascinated when a heavy, squeezy sensation overtook my body, especially my arms: I always enjoy the initial 'Ah, so this is what it’s like!' effect drugs have, even if it often makes me feel a little anxious.
I had returned to my laptop and was speaking to my friend A – who also expressed surprise at the swift come-up – by the time the effects started to set in properly. They seemed very salvia-like at first in the way that salvia often appears to exercise a sort of force on my typing, seemingly compelling me to write certain things and omit others. I also felt heavy, thirsty and disoriented, again similarly to after taking salvia, and the bizarre sense of not-quite-identifiable familiarity was nearly identical.
It was only once I settled down in bed with my laptop (aptly) on my lap that I was truly entrenched in the experience: as I was watching the screen I developed intense tunnel vision, the walls of which were covered in LSD-like psychedelic patterns, swirling and bulging back and forth. As I was typing away to A, describing my experiences, I saw a colourful man-like creature stretching and extending across the wall to my right as though made of rubber, seemingly reaching for something behind me. Soon after this, I sank into a trip where my room morphed into what appeared to be a night guard’s hut in an office complex or similar. I also took the chance at this point, as I stumbled to the bathroom, to take a look in the bathroom mirror: my skin was swirling and rearranging but my face, containing two enormous pupils and a smiling mouth, still looked somehow smooth and clear.
Upon my return from the bathroom I managed with some effort to approach my laptop – now standing on my 'coffee table' (a tired-looking cardboard box turned on its side) – to type a few lines to A, with whom I had discussed tripping on many an occasion. At this point I was quite mentally disorganised but nevertheless with a big, nervous grin plastered on my face and laughter bubbling inside me. As I was attempting to uphold a conversation, he interrupted me gently by saying, 'Go lie down, relax. :)', repeated a couple of times by varying vocabulary until it registered with me. I was deeply touched by how – at least as I perceived it – he had perfectly picked up on how I was feeling. After expressing my deep appreciation and adoration for him I switched on the rugby world championship final, South Africa vs. France (something I would never normally watch, as 1. I’m not a sports fan, and 2. rugby makes no sense), and lay down in bed.
As luck would have it, the South African rugby team was introduced by an African tribal chanting choir, whose harmonious thrumming sounds drew me in in a way that few other types of music could have done at that moment. As the voices washed over me, visions of faces the colour of ebony floated before me and morphed into infinitely long, wide ribbons, intertwining and shimmering from blue to red to purple to yellow.
I have never taken mushrooms alone before – except for one disastrous occasion during my naïve teenage years when I was living at home with mum and dad – but the come-up of this trip went a long way in demonstrating to me why doing so can be a fantastic experience. When I later commented on this to A, he agreed that solitary tripping has a lot of advantages: not only does it eradicate social anxiety, but it allows you to lie down, relax and trip for as long as you want with no immediate interruptions.
As I was stretched out in bed listening to the chanting and then the game’s introductory talks, a little chilly but wrapped up tight in my blanket, I was awash
with an incredibly fierce sense of empathy for the world, somehow deeper and more forceful than what I commonly experience on MDMA. Every word that filtered through to me from the rugby commentators, however trivial, rang with a profound veracity that sent shivers down my spine, and it was all I could do to stop myself from running over to the TV and stroking it in fascination. Instead I curled up on my side and allowed the visuals to take over completely. Soon I was covered from top to bottom in flowing bands of living textiles, whose snake-like tongues extended toward me and seemed to investigate my paralysed face. I could feel a faint, faint breeze from the air around me being gently stirred by the textiles’ movements. I felt on some level as though I should feel afraid, or at least concerned, but instead I sensed only curiosity from these half-creatures.
Soon after this my lazy lounging was interrupted by a more insistent CEV: in noteworthy salvia fashion I saw 'myself' as a dark brown wooden structure, located on a shelf full of identical dark brown structures. The image is unclear now, as it was only a brief flash in the first place, but I instantly picked up that it represented my life and how alone I actually am at the moment. Suddenly it occurred to me with crystal clarity that I don’t have any real best friends anymore. This realisation stung me momentarily but did not sully my trip. 'I have chosen to be this alone', I thought to myself, and it felt good and cleansing to face up unequivocally to my solitary state.
After about half an hour of tripping in bed my eyes flew open, and I was quite startled to discover that my room was not covered in swathes of colourful textiles as I had imagined when my eyes were closed. As soon as I’d recovered my bearings slightly, I decided to return to a sitting position to converse with A. I struggled to sit up straight in front of my 'table' and instead slouched semi-vertically, clinging on to the keyboard, again in a salvia-like, ultra-gravitational fashion. I was easily distracted and often found myself drifting off into a trippy reverie, and consequently it was quite difficult to read the writing on the computer screen and formulate sentences.
However, I still found myself utterly entertained by A’s and my stop-start, sporadic conversations. It was quite clear that he has had plenty of experience of sole tripping, and his obvious understanding for my state of mind was very comforting. I was still being assailed by frequent stabs of intense empathy and a sense of deep connection, especially for A but also for the players on TV, the rugby commentators, actors appearing in adverts, objects in my room and everyone/-thing else crossing my mind. I was also suffering from the occasional flicker of social anxiety whilst speaking to A, a few times, as I was about to write something inane and trivial, my 'salvia mind', as I have come to consider it, broke in and forced me to stop typing for no obvious reason. This led me to sometimes being entirely unable to type anything for a couple of minutes whilst waiting for the writer’s block to pass.
It was at around 20:30 that I decided to have the first cigarette of the evening. I already had half a one left that I’d rolled and smoked from earlier on, but I still found wrapping myself up in a jacket and heading to the window a complete ordeal. Once I was safely ensconced on the window sill, however, I had no regrets. The world outside was bathed in an atmospherically red light, and the night clouds, soft and smooth and nearly covering the black velvet sky, were illuminated in grey and neon orange by the city below. Never have I seen anything so beautiful as those clouds: as I looked on in stunned silence they swirled and morphed sensually from one shape to another, and soon I was in the midst of a trip wherein the lower surface of the clouds consisted of a thin, glowing wall, moving quickly upwards from the horizon and across the sky. Now and then the clouds would shift allowing the white, mysterious face of the moon to peek out solemnly at me. It was sad to consider that once I was sober again, the world would no longer look anything like that.
The night continued further along this general pattern: I spoke to A, smoked a couple of cigarettes (not as many as one might have thought considering the beauty of the outside world, had it been summer and warm I would probably have spent half my night on the windowsill, but mushrooms tend to make me feel chilled to the bone), relaxed in bed, gawked at the absurdly claymation-esque rugby players – who, in fairness, look quite deformed and lumpy at the best of times – and admired the patterns swirling about on the wall. At one point, as I was in the midst of an in-depth introspective look back at my own person, I happened to glance at the front cover of a book standing in my bookshelf. A thin, colourful film of some sort, probably originating from the same visual disturbance that was causing the upwards-moving cloud wall, was streaming up along the wall and across the book cover, causing the letters to bulge and bend in a very 70’s-psychedelic-art-emulating fashion.
As the rugby game ended at 22:00, A and I spent a few minutes laughing at the expense of the celebratory procedures, involving a crying child, a flimsy-looking brass cup and a man with a swathe of blue cloth seemingly rising up out of the back of his head. At times I was literally weeping with laughter, entirely unable to contain my wheezing giggles (in fact, talking to A about a variety of silly things prompted me to have a wide grin smeared on my face all evening – when I wasn’t laughing of course, which I was doing often). And yet I managed at the same time to be moved deep in my soul by how happy everyone was about the rugby victory.
In classic mushroom-style, A and I also appeared to level out mentally in a fascinating way, causing us to have a few great-minds-think-alike sort of moments. One in particular stood out from the others as it occurred with such superb timing: as we were discussing the fact that all the Irish and the Welsh were cheering for South Africa – that is, against England – during the rugby game, I wrote very randomly 'the welsh hate the english', at precisely the same time as A wrote, 'the welsh hate the english?'. Whilst this would arguably not be accepted as scientific evidence for telepathy, it did rather take me aback, especially as similar incidents kept occurring throughout the evening. A did indeed claim later that he experienced a 'contact high' effect from merely speaking to me online.
Between three and four hours after dosing I was still tripping, both visually and mentally, but not nearly as intensely as I done earlier. As the rugby game came to an end (congratulations South Africa!) three hours into the trip, I switched over to ‘Stepmom’ and settled down for an hour and a half of mindless, American drivel. But, however cheesy and sugary-sweet the film may have been, I was repeatedly deeply impressed with the actors’ performances, in particular Julia Roberts’ and Susan Sarandon’s. I seem to recall that I did not enjoy watching films – or, in fact, sober humans of any description – when I used to take shrooms years ago (one of my only lasting flashbacks, that sometimes appears after smoking weed and even occasionally when drinking, springs from a mushroom trip that caused me to see humans as extremely absurd-looking, even ugly, with protruding noses and greenish-yellow faces), but this time I found it thoroughly enjoyable and not at all disturbing, in spite of finding the people to be quite remarkable in colour and appearance.
I also continued to chat to A, which remained entertaining as I was beginning to come down. I did however notice a particular visual effect that made reading and writing on the computer a little difficult: when I wasn’t focusing intently on the words, they all looked exactly the same bar for their length, inviting to some confusion occasionally when I was idly skimming through what A had written.
From this point on, I was starting to come down properly. A went out for a while so I was left to my own devices, at which point I settled down to watch a program about the 'scariest moments on television'. One of these moments, number 50-something I believe, was of The Wicker Man, a 70’s horror flick. A clip from the ending of the film – which I shall not reveal for those of you who still intend to watch it – was shown, and the general atmosphere of terror being conveyed was so intense that I felt faint for a few seconds as I watched it. Again, this appeared to be an effect of the intense empathy I was experiencing throughout the evening: it felt as if I truly were the character in peril, and upon feeling what he was feeling my heart squeezed with ice-cold dread. That experience was the last real trip I sank into that evening, it was now 11:30, my energy levels were depleted and I was thrilled at the prospect of laying down for a relaxing night’s sleep. The exhaustion I experience after a mushroom trip is surprisingly pleasant, despite – or perhaps because of – how it permeates my bones.
The next day I was a little tired and fuzzy, similarly to how I feel with an alcohol hangover. It was only when I walked to the shop to fetch some basic supplies that I realised that I was rather unsteady on my feet. Overall, however, I was in an excellent, proactive mood, feeling like something in my mindset had changed for the better. The feeling of mild physical exhaustion remained for another day, after which it disappeared entirely.
Overall I am intensely pleased with the outcome of the trip. Hereafter I shall be less anxious about tripping alone on mushrooms, as I find that it is rewarding psychologically in that I could examine some areas of my life that I had not let myself consider closely before, and it also let me appreciate the aesthetic aspect of the trip without any external interruption. Additionally, as A mentioned, social anxiety is eradicated and there is no risk of the confusing, messy situations that easily arise when tripping in a group of three or more people. It may be a testament to A personally, but I in fact found that his online company was easily comparable to that of close friends I have previously tripped with in real life: the same interpersonal empathy and understanding was there, and A was not even tripping himself.
Conclusively, the experience was entirely positive and I am already looking forward to mushrooms being in season again.
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