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The Shadows of My Confinement
Salvia divinorum (extracts), Mushrooms - P. cubensis, Fasting & Meditation
by Zen Priest
Citation:   Zen Priest. "The Shadows of My Confinement: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (extracts), Mushrooms - P. cubensis, Fasting & Meditation (ID 66967)". Erowid.org. Mar 3, 2009. erowid.org/exp/66967

 
DOSE:   repeated sublingual Salvia divinorum (liquid)
    repeated smoked Salvia divinorum (extract)
  4.0 g oral Mushrooms - P. cubensis (dried)

BODY WEIGHT: 200 lb


“Good Evening. Mine is a faint voice, kindly tune accordingly. It will not be raised or lowered whatever happens. Look to my familiar chamber, color numb. Shades of the color grey. Show me the grey. Forgive my stating the obvious…”
Hospice archival recording, circa ‘03’

The following account was structured from personal diary entries made after each Zen Retreat day’s Entheogen experience. I have always loved writing and keep extensive logs of my experiences (most of which end in amnesia) as they tend to grow clouded soon after they occur. No preliminary apologies need be made due to the length of this submission, as I consider it to be my most meaningful of all past experiences to date.

LIBERATION BY WAY OF CATHARSIS:
Many know me from my previous 3 posts (“The Hellraiser Leaf” (57297), “My Sitter was a Rope” (60167) and “The Tabbyman Can” (64089) as well as probably other online forums. And so, in lieu of redundant repetition, I will simply add the following recent events to my previous Biographical background: I have until recently inhabited a very Dark Place. I have just recently “returned” from an almost total psychological breakdown. I thought I‘d seen it all ‘till I never saw IT coming: Mid-July I experienced the deaths of 3 close friends all in less than a week, the third was a single parent for over 18 years, losing his wife to breast cancer when his youngest was only 1 year old. He did a commendable job of raising those 3 sons, and the youngest (now 17) was the one who found his father dead.

During our last meeting, he had suddenly turned to me and said almost matter-of-factly:
“You know Jonathan, sometimes I feel like I am just drowning. Buddhism and Hospice aside, how do you deal with all this shit.” Two days later his son found him hanging and four days after that I had my first collapsing brain-snap in almost 50 years. My mind was a looped shadow-play: all I could think about before my breakdown was could I have done anything?! Would even 5 simple words from me have made a difference? To maybe change the cosmic force of his Karma? His son’s? My own?

Over the years I had lost many, many friends. And I was always by the side, consulting and consoling, my life shifting and shaping under Eastern philosophical influence. I was the one everyone else came to talk to, and I foolishly thought that I could then and forever stand back and not be affected by their pain which was slowly over the years becoming my own until “My Own Cup runneth over…”. All my supposed expertise with death was in the end only flirtation, with me being nothing more than a pretentious tourist. And so with my confidence in Psychiatry being on par with my belief in the sanctity and efficacy of the U.S. government, I decided to rightfully do what Buddha himself would do, be thy own guiding lamp… heal thyself…with long bouts of extended solitude and meditation.

And THAT folks is where I had been. I had “retired from the World” so to speak, taken a temporary hiatus – cutting off all human contact - excepting of course my own immediate family, who in their own daily bustle only occasionally noticed (“Gee… Dad’s big mouth has been unusually quiet lately, have you noticed? No?”). With my close friends it was almost too easy (“Real busy at work and Zen, projects overdue, sorry.”). And career-wise? Being a reserved person at work, this new, somewhat odd behavior had gone for the most part unnoticed.

Almost 2 months later things got “better” to the point I was somewhat ashamed of my inability to hold myself together and decided to resume plans for a 10 day (it would turn out to be only 7) Zen/Isolation/Fasting retreat I had previously been preparing for. But this little jaunt was my own special concoction: I would combine the Zen aspects with a personal “Vision Quest” if you will, and admittedly I’m sure there are many in Zen circles who venture from the structured Path as I have, “sinning” so to speak, breaking a major Precept by using Entheogens as an aid to further discover and heal The Self.

I thought I was ready, or at least this would be the test to prove to myself that I was somewhat back to normal, whatever normal is, and would not step off the ledge of sanity one morning and find myself straitjacketed in a white pillow-walled room suffering the fine collection of white-coated gleebs as they’d drifted in and out to line up with their own assurances of my redemption: psychotropics, antidepressants, and other assorted zombie m&ms.

But before all that the worst was facing my “Zen Master”/ Roshi to ask permission to use his cabin for my solo-retreat AFTER having made plain my commitment to break from the Zen group I was connected with for “health reasons” which he scoffed at from the start as total bullshit. And despite our mutual rants, raves and insults, starting with his caustic reproach he’d known ALL about my “secret” Salvia infatuation for almost a year, all was – in the end – good. And I slithering away once again ashamed at my manic, unbridled outbursts after he’d smirkingly told me “I was his favorite” and naturally agreed to lend me the use of his cottage.

DAY ONE: A SOMEWHAT UNEXPECTED DOMICILE

I craved aestheticism, but this was ridiculous! I’m standing outside the ‘great retreat cottage’, ‘Roshi’s refuge of the forest’. I’m standing in front of a fucking toolshed! Albeit a huge one, but it’s just a toolshed!!! Perfectly square with only 2 large windows, and opening the door there is “everything I will need” for what he knew was a 10 day solo endeavor: 4 walls, and 2 boxes of “tealights” with matches (my electricity) stacked in the corner on top of the rooms only built-in triangular table. That was IT. Bastard! But then again, it was what I had planned on. Aside from gallon jugs of spring water I would start to eat only minimally in 2 more days, only power bars, trailmix and “astronaut ‘freeze-drieds’, as I was already well into a 3-day water-only fast in preparation beforehand, which wasn’t going so great and I was already having premature bouts of acute dizziness and a bad dry cough.

“Sleep” would be painfully attempted on my three zabutons ‘cause there’s no BED here unless you count the knotted floor, and Thank God I brought 4 heavy blankets. I thought of turning around and going straight back home one split second before dropping my duffle bag down and saying out loud fuck it and fuck HIM he won’t break me!! Then I stopped. Couldn’t help but have my first real chuckle in weeks. What the hell did I expect, after all? He was right again, everything you will need, other than what common sense would tell anyone to bring on their own. Always one test after another and another lesson learned. What was now blatantly obvious was that he was giving me EXACTLY just the push I needed, no coddling, soft words of comfort or teddy bear hugs for me. This bare shack was his contribution to my long overdue quick thrust back to reality.

DAY TWO: LONG SHADOWS GROWING LONGER
(Nighttime. Salvia: 2 droppers tincture, one hit 25x)

I spent all of Day One in restless discomfort and boredom, my attempts at hour-long meditation stretches hampered by a swelling left kneecap and whispering back-sciatica. That and trying to unsuccessfully stop the outside vent from continually creaking. I would have given anything for a simple nail. It’s the end of Day Two now but the first day in well over 8 weeks with My Lady Pastura, and considering how yesterday went I couldn’t wait to jump right back into her arms.

Not knowing what to bring I brought it all, grabbing my “Sallypak” which contains all my shit from ice Bong(s), 2 pipes, baggies of 5, 10 , 25x extracts, and a 15 ml bottle of my newest tincture blend. Jesus. I have so much shit here and this ain’t the half of what I’d purchased over the past year in my “soon-to-be-a-Scheduled Substance” panic mode. And there, in the pack’s very bottom lies the 4 grams of shrooms Rich left to me before heading out for the Midwest. I wasn’t going to rush into these, the caps were planned for my last day in this oversized pine coffin. And beyond the musings I feel – for once (or so I think) – no fear whatsoever.

A few weeks ago I toyed with the possibility of trying a small amount of 25x to maybe shake me up and out of this black depression. Luckily I thought, “Yea, she’d shake me up all right!” and wisely backed off. But by now I am so sick and tired of feeling this way, and daily coming out of these doldrums more and more I am only too READY and anxious to fire up and at this point hardly give a fuck. After all: to me she is a nurturing Mother Plant who has taught me a few (well deserved!) lessons but hasn’t broken me yet.

I’m also forever getting sick and tired of feeling like I was a bad Buddhist by breaking one of the prime Precepts regarding substances that “cloud The Mind”. What amazes me now is that I am HERE – at Roshi’s private retreat “abode” surrounded with all this plant material, and I happily feel NOTHING!! No further guilt whatsoever. Shit I’m even mildly amused at the thought of him materializing right in front of me at this most in-opportune moment! So without any preliminary meditation or time-wasting inner-convincing and “Without Fear” I put two full droppers of “Diviner’s” under my tongue while quickly loading up a rather hefty tweezers-worth of the 25x in a small steel pipe.

Past maybe 4 minutes my mouth was so overflowing with saliva it was difficult to swallow slowly in order for the tincture to absorb more in the back of my throat and so I just swallow past the inevitable gag reflex. Light up, inhale hard and try to hold for at least 20 seconds as the ever-present, gentle dread starts in exactly the same way as always. I quickly dropped the pipe, knowing I got it all but can’t even SEE any wisps of smoke there seems to be so little perhaps I should load up another slight pinch.

Did you even exhale? And it is “YOU” because I was no longer an “I”. The waning knowledge that I had smoked Salvia seemed irrelevant, the last thing registering in a sane mind was the long, shifting shadows created by the tealights flickering on the small table across the room. Tealights? And then even the shadows dissolved as the room seemed suspended under a plummeting curtain of utter and complete blackness, like some malevolent force had decided to curtain-call the play that was The End of My Life. Nothing was where it was supposed to be!! Reaching down to touch the floor I would touch nothing, I could sense nothing but cold, inhospitable space.

In an effort to keep pure, unadulterated panic at bay I tried unsuccessfully to categorize my rapidly diminishing powers of deduction: wondering who I was and what I was doing here and where exactly this person even was. My chin steadily slumped downward and my mouth stretched wide, dropping open as it filled with what felt like a 100 lb. ball of lead. I tried unsuccessfully to pull my head upright and upon raising my hands they too fell heavily face up to the floor which is now once again plainly visible and started to morph into the boarding. All I could do was gurgle as my entire jaw seemed to stretch downward and some dark substance was draining from my mouth.

It is a world of effort to look up as the room was shifting to the left, actively highlighting itself in differing hues of deep red before growing longer, stretching out, dismantling itself forward in sheeted blocks to the accompanying sound of sliding metal. For lack of any other human depiction I was sitting in what seemed to be an oversized “slinky” like I played with as a kid, but square. Trapped eternally in the underside of an M.C. Escher’s staircase, with what was left of the front door grow increasingly smaller and smaller until it was nothing but a pinpoint in my visual path as I tried again to raise my head and strain my vision upward.

And all of a sudden I couldn’t stop laughing!! Laughing at this horrendous occurrence. Why am I laughing? How will I ever leave now! As the door finally disappears having stretched forth into oblivion. And that damned creaking window vent, somewhere the memory of a window but there is no window and it is not a window that is creaking. The room had suddenly “stopped”, momentarily hesitated in time, as if awaiting further commands from some external, indecisive sentient force.

“Would you walk with me…” A tiny voice, thick with a Londoners brogue. A voice directly to the rooms far left, at first far away yet distinct. My head burst with pressure as I strained to look left but my eyes felt like they were on fire.

“Would you walk this way with me, Sir… would you walk with me…”

It is so hard to explain the following, as it was not that I SAW her, but she flowed forth as a visual representation of a mind-construct, in effect I sensed in my mind’s eye more than visualized exactly how she looked, which was at the same time no less exacting. She hovered, hunched over more than stood, a gaunt, vagrant-looking child who yet seemed to stand over 10’ tall and how she even managed to fit into the room. Her tattered grey dress seemed to stream off her like dust as she spoke. And not only the dress but in her entirety she herself had the overall coloring of muted concrete, long dead hair hanging from a drained, emaciated grey face the finer details of which I was glad were clouded and indistinct. There was no way I wanted to look into whatever saddened eyes framed that face: a tainted, polluted version of Alice emerging from the Looking Glass.

And that squeaking! She was pushing an old-fashioned baby stroller – or should I say it strolled by itself next to her as both her arms hung limply. I couldn’t decipher its content as I was held by her steadily approaching gait, and look of utter abandonment. She was the personification of Loneliness and Loss. The End of the Line.

“Would you walk this way with me, Sir… would you walk with me…”

I certainly would not. I (who is this?) was suddenly aware of something called Salvia, yet she seemed so real it was all I could do to squeeze my eyes so tight I could hear the momentary rush of blood pressure as fresh hot rivulets of sweat pored from my forehead and back, my chest constricted like an icy, clutched fist against not only an all-encompassing dread but absolute disgust…for looking back now I can only decipher this demon girl’s appearance as the conscious materialization of the worst part of MYSELF.

“Would you walk this way with me, Sir… would you walk with me…”

Slowly advancing, her soft voice in sync with the sound of the carriage wheel I found my legs starting to irrepressibly unravel, pulling out before me by what seemed unnamable forces, trailing forward and over left. Unable to struggle or even move I lengthened forward, my feet magnetically drawn to and pulled under the squeaking wheel growing louder and louder as I was slowly flattened out, stretched and wrapped around its spoked rim, raveled up and congregating into the wheels center until it and “myself” were now One. I had now once again forgotten the concept of “Salvia” or the taking of any drug. It was now only the dichotomy of fear absolute.

“Where do ya wanna go! Who do ya wanna be?!”

I waver, almost fall over and I’m suddenly on a…BUS? Squatting down my head overflows with vertigo and I stumble forward, pain shooting in and around my right knee. I have to kneel, the knee pain hampers my standing and everything is swimming forward.
Looking up and out of the “Bus” windows all I see is an intense dance of shadows, shades of oval grey spotting my frontal vision: there are people seated all around me but all I can barely make out are blackened, oval shapes. I try to stand but once again stumble and fall forward, the entire bus echoes with hushed, animated whispers and tittering giggles.

“Where do ya wanna go! Who do ya wanna be?!”

It’s the “driver”, or what would be a driver if there was a body in the front seat. All I can make out is the glow of his eyes, a multi-flickering against the darkness. I feel like I’m trapped inside a colossal pendulum as the aisle swings back and forth. Falling forward once again and right on my face, the unsuppressed giggles all around me now erupted into mocked laughter.

“I…I need to get off this bus!”

I can’t stand up, my knee and lower back ignite with unknown pain and won’t someone help me! I looked forward and back, trying to connect with any of the passengers as I cried out but all I hear is their gloating mirth and when I look up all I see are the backs of heads. I am kneeling now in the buses center, failing yet another fruitless attempt at rising and staring dizzily forward. Struggling to my good knee I glance briefly out the window. We seem to be not driving, but soaring over the elevated steeples of the mountaintops near the desiccated town we used to visit when I lived in Spain, what little light plays within the buses interior seemed to emanate from the exteriors surrounding darkness, framed in a yellow, flickering haze beyond the outlying landscape which bore no trace of human passage, a desolate place. The mountains seem to fade, throb, breathe in and out and somewhere over the passengers’ uproar I hear a baby crying.

“Can someone please HELP ME!”

Spinning around once again all I see are the backs of heads. Stumbling backwards and forwards no matter where or how quickly I turn around it is just the BACKS of heads without faces. The driver softly chuckles over the laughter now growing louder by the second.

“Where do ya wanna go? You gotta go under!”

“I want to get off!”

The “driver” turns to me, as now I sense it is the revisiting Demon-Alice, although the earlier voice now coming across subconsciously is a deeply guttural male voice.

“…You gotta go under… go under...”

I was back what seemed almost immediately, but now on the other side of the tiny room in the corner, somehow unwittingly managing in my stupor to crawl underneath the table, my feet pressed up against its underside, my legs bent painfully against my ribs. And I’m looking up at the flickering on the ceiling.

DAY THREE: AND HOPEFULLY REALLY AND TRULY GONE

I’ll admit it, have to chuckle but still looking over my shoulder every now and then when that fucking outside vent creaks. Breakfast this morning will consist of hot eggs, pancakes and homefries I tell myself as I uncap yet another jug of spring water, I am so hungry now I’m no longer aware of it. My short-lived, spiraling mood swings, due to fastings’ sugar depletion and now-emerging ketosis, are starting to wane. I have a last, momentary surge of unbridled despair and I start to pace violently, punch the brittle walls working myself into a split moment of blinding rage and anguish. I’m outta here! This is ludicrous I am fucking going home now! And I stay.

DAY FOUR: MY SITTINGS
All told my Sittings after my last little tizzy fit yesterday proved increasingly productive, with my time spent here so far surpassing my original purpose and hopes. Considering this to be mainly a trip report(s) I will not bore you with the metaphysical intricacies, conflicts and triumphs of the meditation process but will say only this. To the casual reader the descriptive adventures of meditation usually hold all the excitement of watching paint dry. The triumph was in the doing, and I have been doing this every day for well over 20 years. Instrumental to my very being and an intimate part of my very life, it has been no less necessary to me as the acts of eating and breathing. Yet Meditation is not without its sometimes extreme risks, past the “bliss” promised in those candy-colored books that inundate New Age bookstores, past the pain of sore knees and screaming spines, I meet all my suppressions, insecurities, my hidden demons. In a public talk Roshi once gave he described Meditation as “the torture of non-distraction” and admittedly when I first entered this sweatbox (big enough for one car and maybe two lawnmowers tops) even I was more than apprehensive.

Shaking off yesterdays pathetic wisps of self-pity, today I planned on performing one task that would rescue this entire self-centered concept of “Zen Retreat” even if the remaining days turned into disastrous, wasteful procrastinations of one sort or another: breaking down I retrieved my timer from my car I promised to leave at home: I would sit for 6 hours straight, and recite (as a mantra) the “Heart Sutra” without pause.

“The Heart Sutra”: more than the Buddhists answer to The Lord’s Prayer for me it was the mystical vocalization of all that was relentlessly unanswerable in our lives, the world…the Void. I must have repeated it to myself over one hundred million times in the past 20+ years, and yet on each recitation it always leaves me with something to ponder, something that on occasion makes me stop dead in my tracks and have to hold my breath in wonder.

“All that which is Form is Emptiness, all that which is Emptiness Form. No suffering or its origination… no stopping, no path…no body, no mind…”

But this little self-assignment would be made no less difficult as seeing my kneecap has been throbbing for the past countless hours. I brushed away any concerns of ligament damage as that would in turn reignite ponderings of “Don’t-you-think-we-should-go-HOME-now-FOOL-this-whole-idea-is-ridiculous” which has been playing on infinite repeat in my head ever since having arrived! And so with one leg stretched out the whole time so as to be less painfully compromised (I looked like a “P” stretched out over a quarter the length of the room) I somehow managed to accomplish the impossible.

Expecting to be an utter basket case after six clocked hours of Heart Sutra Hypnosis (Roshi might be proud): fidgety, shaky with famine and unease, instead I am drunk with weariness, hardly able to keep my eyes opened: perfect for hitting a planned bowl of 1/8 gm. of 10x over 1 medium crushed Oaxaca leaf. Not being a smoker Salvia always fries the back of my throat the few times I‘ve used a standard pipe but now find myself actually enjoying its harsh burn and raw, acrid, taste. So be it.

(Dusk. Salvia: 2 hits 10x)

BLACK-FEATHERED ENVELOPMENT:

“Hi” is all I offer it. It’s sitting directly next to me on my left. Oh Salvia… you always seem to start things on my left. It just stares, a flawlessly round, tiny form completely covered in glowing black feathers. If I didn’t look directly downward at this diminutive figure I might have missed it entirely, that or mistaken it for a small bowling ball. It almost looked like a miniature black-feathered clown, the eyes only tiny black pinpricks set behind a white porcelain face that, though expressionless, changed expression in a disturbingly androgynous way. Against the play of green-filtered light that danced all around us the face took on differing phases of what I can only describe as phantasmagoric waverings of memory.

At first it was fun, you could almost say highly amusing - this focused attempt at hallucinogenic conversation - seeing that this time I was fully aware of being under salvia’s influence, but it said nothing and so I in turn stared. And stared. And it just stared back. Was this all I could ever do? Fashion phantoms? Loosing time, this stalemate seemed endless and proved increasingly unnerving, as by now I expected my little harlequin friend to start disappearing, as it seemed enough time had passed that the salvia would be loosing its grip over me, but now rather than losing the visualization of what was in front of me it seemed to grow clearer by the minute, the face also changing in such a subtle manner that I was able to distinguish differing features but not so quick as to pin down exactly when one expressionless 'face' would morph into another. And all the time it remained silent.

Its details were growing clearer by the second, what the hell have I done, what is this?!?!!? I wanted to say something. Believing in neither Gods nor Devils I wanted to scoff, ask it: 'So... what are you...the devil?' and laugh in its face, and of course did no such thing. For a brief second I fretted that this was not salvia, that I had done something, gone too damned far, finally crossed over the edge of some forbidden, invisible boundary, finally fucked The Universal Order-of-Things. I quickly banished the thought, not wanting to even consider going there.

“She” (for it seemed to now take on a distinctly feminine presence) starts to roll slowly backwards and forwards and smiled sadly, and finally spoke, stating matter-of-factly, in my own voice the very words my mind just invoked: 'You don’t want to go out there' gesturing with a head nod to the front door. 'Why? What's out there?' I am surprisingly unafraid, but have no intention of moving from this spot irregardless. Suddenly She laughs, a tittering that sounds more like a small bell and rises - or not so much rises but stretches directly upward like a pulled rubber band and I am amazed it hasn't broken through the ceiling. From its initial, miniscule bowling ball shape its stretching now so tall and lanky thin in seconds all I’m looking at is what resembles feathered covered stilts more than legs and I can't see past what would be knees. This creature just keeps stretching upward, its legs wobbling like it was weakly supported by puppeteer’s cord until, with no other possible description, it 'snaps' up and is suddenly gone, its tinkling voice lingers then, trails off.

'It is not for you to see...'

“Wait! Don’t go, I…!”

The whole apparition is so utterly and amazingly ridiculous that I start to laugh uncontrollably. I cannot stop, long after it stops being funny and I'm still laughing and wondering what's not for me to see. The whole time I know I am on SallyD, so am trying to enjoy the ride for all its worth. It hits me that rarely I have realized (in the few experiences I have clearly recalled) my being under Salvia’s influence. The thought sending me into new paroxysms of helpless, useless laughter. Enough already!!

The room is clearing, starting to “make sense”. I feel I’m coming down, and too damned fast. Suddenly realizing that I never did set my eyefold in place, I quickly grab the pipe and try lighting whatever dregs might be left in the bowl, practically scorching my thumb in the process. Squeeze my eyes shut I count to ten. Nothing seems to be happening and looking left Too Tall is long (and I mean long) gone. Shit.

Gravity starts up, pulling me strongly backwards, feeling exactly like someone was wrenching my shoulders toward the floor, and yet the entire room seemed to tilt topsy-turvy to the right and directly upward, the entire shack transforming itself into some tilt-wheeled carnival ride, with me the unwitting passenger stupidly failing to strap himself to his seat in time. It was bizarre, having undergone sally-gravity countless times before, this was the first instance of a 'counter-imbalance', like some new diversion The Lady was now playing on me, which in turn brought fresh bouts of now tiring, prestigious laughter I wish I could have stifled for good.

A CROWDED ROOM OF SIRENS:
Whether 5 seconds or 5 hours later the room is starting to get too damned crowded: there are siren-type voices phasing in and out with amused feminine laughter, clear yet vocally indistinct. Afraid that if I open my eyes they will dissipate I keep telling myself to keep them securely shut, then realize that I can’t tell if my eyes are open OR shut but I can feel them “shape-shifting” all around me, their strong, dominating presence unobtrusively observing me while permeating every inch of the room. Seeing nothing, I see everything. People moving in and out, stopping beside me, bending down looking up and saying something to the spirit beside them, laugh softly and move on. This room… claustrophobia aside is getting quite crowded!!

And then the weight started feeling like some sentient force was pressing down, sitting down on the top of my shoulders. Struggling for breathe I heard soft, rustling sounds above me that was surely just a breeze across the small window and took it for feathers, my mind telling me my black and white Bowling-Ball friend had returned to envelope, smother, and kill me.

Breathe. Hard to breathe. Breathe. I concentrate on deep, abdominal-filling breaths as the whole time the phantoms of my mind hover, glide and whisper all around me. Two stop before me (mother and child?) and I have the distinct impression that I am being instructed to “smoke more”. Yes, someone is tenderly whispering “You need to smoke more.” but it is all I can do to stare at the upside-down pipe on the floor in front of me without passing out. I feel so relaxed, so lethargic, so welcome, that I don’t even mind that I am now swimming in a 100o ocean of perspiration. If they would only please stay forever! Calling, enticing, and I will just slowly drift…

And then like the sudden throwing of a fucking lightswitch there is immediate recognition and I lose everything. Almost instantaneously the shadows have dispersed, and what were bodies is now only a pine doorframe and I am once again alone in the woods of Maine with shuttered moonlight my only company against the dark woods outside. This “all-nighter” has lasted probably all of 10 minutes, long enough for me!
Stiff as a board and growing in disappointment I rearrange my cotton Zabutons into a barely 6’ “bed” that is growing stonier with each day and attempt unsuccessfully to once again acquire something resembling sound, unobtrusive sleep. Right now I can’t imagine six more days of this shit.


DAY FIVE: THE DAYS ARE LONG AND GETTING LONGER
(Early Morning, Salvia: 2 failed attempts with 5x)

NOTHING! NOTHING AT ALL!
My lingering thoughts today were apologetic ones to my misconceptions: child fiends, harlequin devils, why would I have expected anything else considering my frame of mood in over 2 months. Lighting up today twice and using up a whole ¼ gram of 5x I find myself sitting 6 feet away from where I started with my pipe on the floor just barely out of reach. Covered in glistened sweat and with no memory whatsoever of who or what happened.

I checked the pipes bowl. Ash throughout. The whole packing taken in and as far as I can recall was performed proficiently enough. Once again: Total Amnesia! And this only 5x!
Go Figure! What happened with “reverse tolerance”?! Am I - at last - becoming a 'salvia hardhead'? If so I don't know if I could bear it.

Last time (at home) I smoked 5x I spent 10 minutes “picture meditating” to an open photograph of the “Temple of the Buddhas” in Indonesia and its 432 “stupas” bell-shaped domes. Even for the non-Buddhist it relays feelings of tranquility and inner peace. And even though I once again recalled nothing, I had the longest “afterglow” in duration I have ever had on the Sage up to that point. That was one trip I would have gone through anything to have remembered clearly, unlike this weeks crap so far.

The Fasting Process (at Day 5):
Since time began all indigenous cultures have used The Fast to open deeper, internal realms, sharpen the Minds perception and ignite greater introspection. It has more than taken a toll on me, and finally tomorrow I would start slowly weaning myself into cliff bars and (canned) Ensure/protein shakes. I should have planned this part of this endeavor much more carefully than I did, I am, at Day 5, not doing well at all. Way past any feelings of ordinary hunger and in an attempt to combat my overwhelming weariness I thought I’d jump-start my body – maybe “fight a few trees”. Outside in the clearing before the pond I threw a few wheel kicks before collapsing and almost passing out in the process. Dizzy, nauseous, cold and weak.

I swing between bouts of flu-lie symptoms and splitting headaches. I’m really starting to stink, no matter how many times I’ve waded in that pond to “wash”. My tongue feels “coated”, which I know is - past ketosis - the body releasing toxins. Even exhausted I find it increasingly difficult to sleep, every joint in my body responds with pains both old and new. I’m shitting small stones. With lack of real sleep there is no “Time” here for me. Seconds sitting seem like eons. Whether my Sittings or Salvia journeys lasted 10 seconds or 2 hours no longer have meaning. Wearing no watch and my timer just adding to my confusion I found myself clocking off these days by periods of extended sunlight.

DAY SIX: THE FORGOTTEN MAGIC OF GOD’S VEGITATION:

(Late afternoon. Salvia: 4 droppers Diviner’s Tincture with 4.0 grams P.cub.Mushrooms)

Today proved to be the most internal of them all, and I actually felt GOOD for the first time in a long time. “At peace with myself” for lack of any better, drawn out elucidation. Took an hour woods walk, my knee almost back to normal, and had constructive, on-and-off 2 hour Sittings throughout the entire day from daybreak on. Early dusk and “The Moment” have finally arrived, and as usual, my previous excitement is now competing with fearful apprehension.

Before starting I’d set up 2 (red) emergency roadside flashlights on the table pointed upward a foot apart (no more hazardous fucking tea-lights for me ever again!) I take out the cubees Rich gave me before he left. And with all the Salvia I’ve done I still have to admit – now finally down to the wire I am more than a little edgy. I haven’t done shrooms since I can even remember and looking at them, feeling their spongy texture through the plastic bag I just stare wondering if he washed them or am I just headed for some fungal infection or worse, but figure old Botanist-Rich knows it all. Nevertheless I wish to hell I’d reviewed up on shrooms more.

I open it quick, and start to shovel it all in, washing them down as quickly as I can with warm water, afraid that if it smells like bad Earth I’ll gag up the whole thing. My stomach is getting more and more sensitive, the mere smell of Kratom now makes me heave! Easy. No problem whatsoever. They actually tasted good, but then at this point cow dung would taste good. “Well now you’ve gone and done it,” I nervously laugh to myself. And wait, which with me always brings rambled, incoherent thinking making my mind my own worst enemy.

I had this all planned out, the carefully timed integration with salvia tincture, but the jitters are starting and the internal clock is ticking and I’ve got to calm down and try to remember how long Rich said these damn things take and I’m burping gas seems every half minute and I should have stuck with smoke alone forget the damned shrooms! After about 20 minutes, I’m thankfully growing more grounded and just sit there, looking up from baseboards I’ve got practically memorized to the room around, waiting for something to happen other than this persistent gas.

I canned my initial arrangement on another session of 10 or 25x with these, telling myself if I went with smoke I’d no doubt pass out then readily admit, I’m just a fucking COWARD! So instead I squirt up 2 double-droppers of tincture, the saliva buildup and burning for once no match against the belching now replaced with cramping bends and sweating the likes of which were worse than anything ever experienced before! Sweating and all I can think of is this is not “salvia-sweating” I have poisoned myself for sure and am now about to fucking die of mushroom poisoning! All I have done in this shack since arriving is make mistake after stupid mistake ever since walking past the threshold.

I managed to stand up and stumble to the door, just making it in time to dry heave and vomit whatever little is in my stomach and I just stand there, sweating my ass off and those frigging crickets or whatever they are making the most horrendous racket my God their chirping /“clacking” will drive me deaf so I go back as soon as I think the vomiting has stopped and maybe I didn’t quite kill myself yet I WILL hit the pipe what do I have to lose it will cure nausea wait that’s weed I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT…. There is no pipe in my hands, just a string of vomit and sitting down to one last sharp cramp its all
One Big Fuck It, but then I flash to my wife and kids and friends who I’ve treated like shit and Roshi all sitting at home wondering how I am doing and worrying about me and shit did Richard mean to give me the shrooms thinking I would divide it over the entire week!! All he did was hand them to me and say “It’s a 3-5er” and OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE!

Oh Lord God. Buddha. Jesus. Fucking Mohammed ANYONE!!… Never have I had such stomach cramps. Fucking crickets! My ears are exploding and I am so bent over I can’t straighten up so settle on just rocking back and forth, want to crawl within myself, have momentary visions of my body shrink-wrapping from the stomach inward until finally sinking into the floorboards, disappearing into whatever black void I’d once again foolishly thrown myself into.

Look at those floorboards! I didn’t notice before how … mosaic … the way the wood swirls…I could just sit here. Sit here now. Letting my mind just drift I slide from reality and watch the numb emergence of what I am now sure is my impending death with more detached fascination than dread. It is what it is. Everything will be fine now.
It’s all I deserve. I have squandered my life. Buddha’s Biggest Fool is finally dying…

“JONATHAN!”

Someone outside calling and I must answer. I’m kneeling now, kneeling on all fours and my stomach feels so hollow. I look down at my hands and no longer care. They are shimmering and wet but I’m sure that is only the onset of death matched only by my resigned acceptance.

“JONATHAN!”

Yes, I’m coming. But I already find myself somehow outside and HOW THE HELL DID I GET OUTSIDE and turning back my eyes burn with the brightness from red and orange light shards coming from within the cottage, its door flung wide open. The woman inside, There is a woman busily sweeping inside the glittering, Oh so bright room now awash, spilling forth in magnificent gold and it is so bright and yet it is so dark.

“JONATHAN!”

“Yea I’m coming Damnit! Hold on!” I don’t even know who is talking or why I am responding but stumble up and forward to the front door, having to stop and admire the night sky so brilliant with its melting, sapphire-like bluish haze. Slowly trailing the skies patterns I see in the distance, close to the tree line there is some older guy golfing. Golfing! He was driving golf balls into the treeline like my Dad used to do when I was small but it couldn’t have been my Dad as all I ever remembered was his being in a wheelchair, his left leg amputated at the hip through diabetes before the onset of bone cancer. He turns to me and waves. I wave back, starting to head toward him I hesitate, wanting him to know that I am needed in the castle.

Castle? I WILL return but now am needed. Rushing into the cottage and falling forward I am overcome at the immensity of my surroundings. The shear SIZE of the cottage now overwhelms my senses. Not remembering HOW I am now sitting in the middle of a room no less glorious as the Spanish Alhambra! The room’s Moorish design expanded forward, accelerating outward as I sat in its very center, until I could no longer see its end or even care, as now directly above me the ceiling shot up into arched, fluted columns the color of auburn haze so bright it hurt to stare directly upward and I had to shut my eyes tightly as I feared I might go immediately blind. And the floor!!! Blue-white ice like Tiffany glass, the plain wooden door of before was now striated planks belayed in glistening, jeweled wonder.

In the rooms very center stood the woman – an indigenous, period-like figure stopping long enough to wipe her brow, throw me a haphazard glance before resuming what looked to be the endless, futile collecting of sheets of prism glass from the floor all around her. She exuded such a hurried, disheartened air in her task that I couldn’t help but stumble forward to help.

“Don’t worry! I’m here…” helping her pick up sheet after sheet of glass that seemed to fly out of both our arms as quickly as they were cradled with a life all their own, stacking themselves in place, soaring to implausibly elevated piles in all corners of the room.
Stack! Stack! Stack! Relentless staking like the shuffling of endless dominoes. “Pick up the pieces!! We must pick up the pieces!!” her voice screamed in my head, yet her mouth was silent. Staring into one sheet I envisioned moving patterns, a spinning, twisting reflection of an instant in time. Not so much a reflection but a living, photographic moment, and hence the woman’s panic at failing to collect and account for every fleeting piece which was a moment in the infinity of life’s perpetual, delicate balance.

There was no time to worry or give further thought to the two small, 2-dimentional, cardboard-like girls giggling in the corner, or the cast about hobby-horses and other collected antique memorabilia that now lay all scattered about the room. For the briefest moment my small, empty shack had once again materialized into a darkened clutter of memorabilia to a wasted life: a brief, solemn preview of what no doubt lay ahead.

“JONATHAN!”

“Yes! I’m here. I’m coming.”

I wanted to tell her, to apologize. I needed to leave but she just kept stacking. Throwing open the massive front door I stood on the outside threshold, my vision flooded with renewed, penetrating emerald green and amethyst radiance. It was like the Tibetan Sherpas say, when attempting to describe the glory of Mt. Everest: “Don’t speak, for your mouth is too small.” But this!! At the risk of angering all the Gods in heaven nothing compared to this. Awe. Wonder. Trepidation in the eyes of the Infinite. No words could convey the immensity of my outside domain.

As I hesitantly approached the anonymous figure I kept telling myself was NOT my father his voice softened, and he resumed his “driving” while staring into the far darkness.
“Jonathan, golf is life. Remember to always keep your eye right on the ball.”

My old man used to say shit just like that to me all the time and I timidly reached out to touch a leg that should not have been there and in doing so he disappeared, but the voice remained – the voice now my own, repeating words I had anguished over ad-infinitum for so long and now at last truly believed: “You are not responsible”.

And I looked back – back to the luminous castle that was now once more a mere darkened shed, its illuminant glow fading to a dirty yellow and from one of its windows I imagined it to house 3 immense, lonely silhouettes, standing silently upright in unvoiced judgment. But I was no longer afraid, and would no longer cling to suffering I had no control over: “I am not responsible. My karma is my own.” The mere words now a conviction.

I would henceforth set out to make up valuable time, re-navigate my life once again in a forward direction. The sudden realization of what I might have become deflating my euphoric mood as quickly as it had appeared, leaving only bitter, overdue resolve. From that point to waking up from a deep sleep the next morning outside on the porch freezing I have no recollection whatsoever. I wanted to re-assure myself with philosophical, analytical precision that I knew exactly what had occurred the night before. With crystal clear explanation I wanted to dissect it all for you readers but all I can say is FUCK ME!
I have NEVER tripped ANYTHING like that that in my entire life! 200+ acid trips and 6 mushroom trips in almost 50 years never even came close!

But now, by the stillness of yet another most ordinary morning everything is no longer “ethereal”. A clearing mind gives way to the renewed, now dull ache of hunger and splitting headache. War rages, humanity suffers. Friends die. Nothing could have been different. The vast universe never answers, remains silent. And in that very silence I rediscover a quiet humility at the world’s uncaring abandon. In my lucid state the thought that I’d held a moment of “cosmic balance” seemed ludicrous and laughable.

DAY SEVEN: LEAVINGS AND POSTSCRIPT
Procrastination aside, after yesterday I saw no further point in staying the extra four days and decided to blow right out of there. Cleanup took a good hour, renewing my self-amazement at my ability to turn an initially empty room into what now resembles a tornado-wracked pigsty in only six days time. And now home. Healing, however incomplete, still takes time especially when proceeding with caution and at one’s own hand. And for the first time in so many months, from deep within myself I feel contented. Everything was just everything, and that alone was miraculous.

Exp Year: 92007ExpID: 66967
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Mar 3, 2009Views: 12,188
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