Mushrooms - P. cubensis & Cannabis
Citation: Foxglove. "My Night with the Sphinx: An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis & Cannabis (exp72282)". Erowid.org. Sep 17, 2009. erowid.org/exp/72282
Hi, I'm Foxglove. I am a 25 year old clothing designer and general artist living in Seattle. I am about to tell you about my most prolific drug experience to date. I am not super experienced when it comes to drugs. I enjoy my share of cocktails, I am a daily pot smoker, and enjoy a good pharm now and then. I had been curious about psychedelics for some time, and only recently have I felt comfortable enough to get my feet wet. I had no idea what kind of plunge I would be taking.
My boyfriend, G, and I had recently gotten a cubensis kit through the mail. We anxiously watched and waited for them to grow in their sealed bag. We had already sampled them twice before, and this was to be our third trip from this batch, and my third trip total.
The first two trips went okay. I can say now that my expectations were off. I was hoping to see unicorns or breathing clouds or whatever weirdness that my already weird imagination could come up with. I wanted visuals. The first two times I consumed around 2 grams of fresh cubensis, and I didn't experience any visuals, just a weird body feeling and wacky thoughts. Though I found the things going on in my head to be quite pleasant, I hated the body high. I am not a person who enjoys a speedy high of any sort, I refuse to even use cough medicine for a cold because it makes me feel speeded out. Mushrooms had made me feel similar. Like a manic momentum pushing my body and mind to unnatural limits. And my attention span would become non-existant. I couldn't focus on a singe thing for longer than five seconds, although five seconds feel like five thousand on mushrooms. But I wanted visuals, damnit! And I wasn't going to stop until I got them... or something worse happened.
I hate mushrooms in general. The thought of eating one is enough to make me wretch. So, on this evening in march when G and I decided to take some mushrooms together, I went to the store and stopped in the vitamin isle. I found the only thing that was made of powder-filled hollow caps; magnesium. I bought the bottle and took them home with me.
G was in the kitchen with a brown paper bag. This time, we decided to dry them instead of eating them fresh. He opened the bag and I prepared myself to look at the revolting things that I remembered from last time; slimy looking orange and white penises. However, as they came out of the bag in dried form, they seemed different. Only a fraction of their previous size, brittle, wrinkled, and blue tinted, they looked benign. Innocent. But still, I was not going to taste them.
Over the sink I cracked open the bottle of pills and emptied the white powdered magnesium from the caps, and before long I had a dozen empty caps on a plate waiting to be filled with shroom-matter.
'How much do you want?' G asked me.
'I'm not sure' I said. 'I guess about the same as last time. But these are dried. I think they lose some of their potency when they're dried, so don't be stingy.'
G gave me a small pile of shrooms to fill my caps with. Us both being novice shroom users (myself more of a novice than him), we estimated that the 2 grams we had measured of fresh mushrooms would roughly amount to this pile of dried mushrooms. Wrong. We now figured that I ate at least four grams. But me being the ambitious little addict, filled up the caps and swallowed them one by one, and chased it all with a lot of water. I figured that the water would speed up digestion, and I was right.
I decided to occupy myself while waiting for the mushrooms to work their magic. Smoking pot seemed like a good idea so I went to roll us a couple of joints. Rolling joints was usually easy and mindless for me, but I quickly found out it seemed to be the hardest task I've ever had to master. I just... couldn't. My fingers wouldn't work properly and my mind kept getting lost in tangents.
'This is like... hard!' I yelled to G uneloquently. But there were just no words to describe it. I was both frustrated and amused.
After what seemed like hours, I presented two mediocre joints to G who was sitting on the couch. He had just consumed nearly as many shrooms as me. We both took a joint and lit up, figuring the pot would put us in a good, relaxed mood. As we smoked and talked, I noticed that everything G was saying was negative. I hate the light in here, the art on the walls sucked, etc. I told him that I thought he was being a Debbie Downer. He realized I was right and tried to look on the bright side. But I knew that I had a new responsibility as a mood-maker, otherwise he would bring me down with him. At this point, I was loving all of the complex thoughts in my head and sort of falling in love with life, so I thought being a mood-maker might be alright. I relished the thought that only with the power of my mind I could control the ambiance of the evening.
After the joints G went to take a shower. I began to pace around the house, in hopes that I could find something to occupy my mind for more than three seconds. I was beginning to feel very, very weird. Much higher than I've ever been before, I was starting to wonder if I had gotten in over my head. But I was in high spirits and at the time I thought it was still manageable. But while on mushrooms the notion that I could 'manage' or 'control' it is a big mistake that can lead straight to a bad trip. Like suppressing anything else, it just comes out in different ways. It's much better to embrace the drug and try to roll with it.
As I was wandering through the house, I came across a pedestal near the door with a large, oversized champagne glass filled with fresh yellow and white tulips I had bought earlier that day. I felt overcome with the beauty of them and gazed on them like some ancient, precious treasure. These flowers that seemed so graceful and delicate, held another secret that betrayed their innocent appearance. These flowers, and all plants would always be here. Years from now, after I was long dead, tulips would still bloom from the earth. Just like suppressing mushrooms doesn't work, human beings suppressing nature doesn't work either. It might be working for now, but I had the feeling that humans had just entered a steep decline. We might be winning the battle now, but nature would surely win the war. Nothing that was made by human hands could last more than 20 thousand years at the most. A blink of an evolutionary eye. If G and I left this house, the wood would warp with rain and the windows would break. Birds and bugs would fly in. Vines would grow up the side of the house and the roof would collapse. Within only a few years nature would totally take over. Looking at the tulips I felt humbled, and at peace with the great and terrible driving force of nature.
I went upstairs to find G and tell him about the near religious experience I just had. I found him naked in the shower without the water on. He looked pale and discombobulated.
'You don't love me anymore, do you?' he asked.
'What?!?!' I felt blindsided. I didn't know where this came from. I tried to reassure him. I told him I loved him, cared about him immensely, he was my world and everything else that was in my heart. But it was futile, the words just bounced right off of him and there was nothing I could say to make him believe me. I started to get very annoyed.
'Look, this is my first high dose of mushrooms I've ever taken. I didn't mean to take this much. I feel like I was very unprepared for this and now you're laying all of this heavy shit on me. I love you, G, but I can't talk about this when I'm in this state of mind.'
G accepted this and decided to take a bath instead of a shower. He asked that I stay in the bathroom with him as he didn't want to be left alone and I agreed. I sat on the carpeted floor in our large bathroom while he ran the water. I began to feel very uncomfortable physically. I couldn't sit still but I couldn't be occupied with anything either. I was fidgeting with my hands. I became too aware of the sound of my own heartbeat which was pumping very fast. It felt uncomfortable to breathe. And the sound of the running bathwater was painfully loud in my ears. When the water stopped G got in the tub. I was sitting next to the tub and we began to talk, but I don't remember about what. I was only trying to distract my mind from the increasingly unpleasant body sensations. After a few more minutes of fidgeting, I felt like I just needed to do *something.* So I hopped into the bathtub with G, fully clothed.
I relaxed against the end of the bathtub and hoped that the warm water would wash away my anxiety. G could tell there was something askew with me, and I told him that I was feeling very uncomfortable. He did his best to tell me to relax, but I was too absorbed in my suffering to hear him. The water in the tub was pressing against my lungs and the warm, misty air in my airway made me feel like I couldn't breathe. I had to get out of there.
I bolted up from the bathtub and ran through the bedroom to the upstairs patio, my soggy clothes leaving a trail of sudsy water on the carpet. I opened the patio door and sat next to it, welcoming the cold night air and desperately trying to catch my breath.
G had followed me out of the tub. 'Jesus, close the door, it's freezing!' I heard him say behind me.
'I CAN'T BREATHE!!! CALL 911!!!' G dashed off to find his phone. Within a few moments of deep breathing, I began to drift back to reality. 'No, wait, don't call. I'm okay.' I called to G, and he came back to the bedroom to find me shaking and quaking on the floor. I was breathing a little better, but overall I still felt like shit. My heart was beating way too fast and I felt dizzy and nauseous. The cold of the night air chilling me to the bone, G and I went back into the bathtub where I stripped off my wet clothes and we soaked at opposite ends facing each other.
I was trying to focus on my breathing. Even though my conscious mind knows that breathing is an involuntary function, I truly got the feeling that if all of my concentration didn't focus on regulating my breath, I would stop breathing. I had lost all concept of time. Time was artificial and man-made. Eternity was forever.
'G, I think I'm dying.'
Thats when a very loving protective instinct started kicking in in G, and I'm very thankful it did. His voice took on a soothing, calming tone. He told me to just relax.
I started to cry. 'I can't relax. I'm going to die.'
'It's okay.' G said with a gentle smile. 'It's just your body. Just let go.' I then had a vision of G and I laying in the tub with our heads tilted back, dead.
I closed my eyes for a few moments. I heard G whisper 'just let go' again, and my mind for the first time that night fell silent. When I opened my eyes I saw G sitting at the opposite end of the tub. His brown, wet hair sat lank at his shoulders. His eyes were large, loving and dark. He looked just like Jesus. I knew I was dead.
As I was coming to in my new postmortem state, I felt my anxiety begin to fade. I looked down at my recently deceased body in the water, I looked disturbingly frail and bone-white. As I began to relax I could feel my body begin to decompose into a useless lump of carbon in the bathwater. I remember thinking 'oh great, I'm stuck in my dead body and conscious.' But there were no emotions there, just acceptance. I pulled my hand out of the water and looked at it. My fingertips and palms were wrinkled from the bathwater. 'Skin slippage.' I thought. 'That's what happens after you die.' I looked back at G. He was still smiling gently at me. 'Welcome to the real world.' he said.
I began to feel full of intrigue and curiosity. There I was in the bathtub with Jesus Christ. Had G always been Jesus or was Jesus now taking the form of G? Words could not explain the feeling, but I felt like a warm, vibrating mass of pure love. My heathen life had ended with that which I had been running away from, welcoming me with open arms. G and I had began talking, I don't remember what about exactly, but I was asking a lot of 'why' questions. Why are we here, why am I doing this, how did we get here, where did everything come from. I swear as I asked these questions my lips never moved and as G answered me I never saw his lips moving. G kept telling me how beautiful I was. How smart I was. He said 'I've loved you since the day you were born. I remember when you were a little girl. You were always so dark.' G and I had only met the year before, but everything he said made complete sense to my drug addled brain.
As time went on in the bathtub, I could no longer tell if I was dead or alive anymore. It felt like I was in this weird in between place, like a waiting room for the afterlife and you're waiting to get your test results back. I was just happy to be there, wherever it was, if this was life after death it wasn't so bad. I had G. We talked intimately, about life and love, and we were enamoured with each other. We realized that night that we both wanted to have kids, something only weeks before neither of us wanted. It was an amazing bonding experience that I will never forget, no mater how hazy the whole thing was.
As the bathwater got cold, we decided to get out and rinse off in the shower. I stepped from the tub and moved into the shower, and the coldness after the bath put my body in shock and was almost too much for my body to deal with.
'Yep, still alive.' I mused to myself.
G turned the warm water on, and we huddled and shivered in the spray. He held me from behind. I felt like I was just expelled from the warm fluid of the womb of a dream and was thrust jarringly back into the harsh, hostile real world. I almost felt disappointed. This was my premature birth after my premature death.
The mushrooms were wearing off now, and things were pleasant. After a nice, scalding shower, I went into the bedroom and found our dog, a lovely lab/husky mix lying on our bed sound asleep. I sat next to him and stroked his black fur. It felt strange against my water-wrinkled fingertips. He looked much older than his three years, like an elderly dog in a deep slumber. He would be old one day. And it would be my pleasure to be there for him in those days.
Looking back, it was a positive and negative experience. I believe now that the difficulty breathing and racing heart was my very first panic attack. Since then I have had subsequent attacks evolving into a full blown panic disorder. I don't blame the mushrooms. I believe the attacks were on their way anyway, and the mushrooms were just the catalyst to get the ball rolling. I control my panic attacks now with a daily zoloft/zanax cocktail and weekly cognitive/behavioural therapy.
The next morning G and I went out for breakfast. G hates the day after mushrooms because he feels depressed, but I love the mellow, detatched feeling. Almost as good as the mushrooms themselves.
I thought I could handle a moderate dose but I was wrong. I thought that since I am a naturally creative person that how can psychedelics go wrong? I took a large dose to get visuals, but I had none. I just accept that it's not going to happen for me. I think this is because I am a visual artist, so the visual world is my grounding and it takes a lot to shake it. I liken mushrooms to a scene from a favourite childhood movie of mine, called the Never Ending Story. Atreyu is trying to pass a deadly sphinx gate when he gets this advice:
'The sphinx's eyes stay closed until someone who does not feel his own worth tries to pass by. Fancy armour doesn't help much. The sphinxes can see straight into your heart.'
I will probably do mushrooms again one day, but not until I do some hardcore introspection which may take years. Only then can I pass by a sphinx and emerge unscathed.
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