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Excerpts and Comments
Syrian Rue
by jim
Citation:   jim. "Excerpts and Comments: An Experience with Syrian Rue (exp7416)". Jun 13, 2001.

    Syrian Rue (tea)

Note: I use 'harmaline' as a generic descriptor for the whole cluster of beta-carboline alkaloids occurring in Peganum Harmala. I've never taken pure harmaline, which may have a significantly different effect than the mixed alkaloids. (See post 'ibogaine and harmaline' by .)

I) Excerpts From Peganum Harmala Experiences

Session 1:

For my first experiment with P.H. experience, I sat up late one night drinking gulp after gulp of tea from about an oz. of seeds, periodically adding more water and simmering. This process took several hours, and though I had read up on harmaline, I didn't know quite what to expect. Suddenly it hit me like a wall. It was starting to get light outside and as I shifted my gaze, zebra-like stripes of light and dark spiraled off the perimeter of the window sillowhettes. Every time I shifted my focus my visual field would shudder and swirl before settling down. This visual effects had a physicality unlike those any other entheogen I'd experienced. Rather than patterns revealing greater order in sensation, these were waves of chaos revealing no particular order and urging the mind to retreat from the disturbing realm of sensation. Accompanying this was a pronounced auditory buzz. Lying down and closing my eyes I left the physical symptoms behind and explored the vivid spontaneous imaginations evoked by this state. Unfortunately, it is getting light, which made it harder to shut out the distracting world of sensation. I resolved to conduct future sessions in the night-time (and always in a quiet undisturbed place).

(In subsequent sessions I extracted with water or alcohol and concentrated and encapsulated the goop. A whopping dose from over an oz of seeds could be fit into one to three 000 gelatin capsules.)

Session 2:

Though I was aware of the cheese/MAOI contraindications, I carelessly ate a good bit of cheese, forgot about it, and then swallowed the capsules. I remembered soon after the effects began and started to feel a great tension alongside the exquisite imaginations I was having. I was floating in a disembodied realm of turquoise passageways and fog. But suddenly the sickness overwhelmed me and I threw up on the wood floor beside my bed. Cleaning up the mess would have to wait -- I was much to involved in the trip (not to mention physically incapacitated). I returned to the disembodied realm I had been exploring, now free of the source of the sickness. It was neither heaven nor hell, but a sort of purgatory of lost souls. I imagined I might meet up with someone who had arrived there by a similar route. I listened to beings who inhabited this realm explain things to me with absolute authority. I felt there was much I understood on one level, but I couldn't retain it on a conscious level. Nevertheless the sense of something gained, something deeply therapeutic, stayed with me. Periodically events in the room triggered vivid images. When the refrigerator turned on, I imagined a snake coiled up in its place. I imagined a friend entered the room and conversed with me. This was not contrived like a normal waking imagination but very authentic. Words flowed with seemingly no intervention from my ego. Though seemingly very real, I never confused the imaginations with reality, except on a very short time scale (fractions of a second).

Session 3:

This time it came on very fast. That tremendous buzz on the other side of which are the wondrous realms of the subconscious. The most memorable impressions from this trip were of weird animals. I imagined myself spinning on a merry-go-round of strange winged creatures. I started to feel very sick and negotiated my way to the bathroom to face the inevitable -- voiding from both orifices simultaneously. It proved cathartic, and released me to experience the state more fully. I remember traveling to jungle-like places, full of imagery of vines, fountains, and animals. Minutes seemed like hours as I roamed in these spaces. Though the sensory effects were very disturbing when I got up, given high dose level, I could easily ignore my body when laying down and traveling in my mind.

session 4 (by a FOAF):

(This experience combined a moderate dose of P.H. extract with a moderate dose of vitamin L.) This experience was powerfully energizing. Though much less expansive and fluid than a pure L experience, I was much more connected to my animal nature. The most distinct thing I remember was undergoing a biological regression back to a reptilian stage. I became a scaled lizard, and felt the accumulated biological knowledge of eons of evolution surging through me. This was accompanied by a sense of gigantism.

2) General Description of Effects

Sensory effects:

The most prominent sensory effects are buzzing in the visual and auditory senses. I understand this as a kind of ringing or hysteresis caused by slowed decay of transmitter signaling. Light and sound also seem amplified such that bright lights and noises are disturbing. There was a sort of synesthesia -- Unlike that of L in which deepening understanding of the the relationships among sensory data renders the source modality irrelevant, with P.H. synesthesia, it's as though the sensations are sloshing around so violently they spill over into each other's containers. Vertigo is very strong (whether or not caused by the visual and auditory effects) and it tends to elicit feelings of sickness. Usually these can be abated by lying down and closing ones eyes.

general mental effects:

The state is much like waking dreaming. There is a great spontaneity and rapidity of thought. There is a linear and circular quality, as thoughts loop around in strange topologies. The verbal and auditory is emphasized over the spatial and visual. I find myself doing all kinds of word assoc- iations. There are visions, but they tend to be narrow in breadth, occurring more in sequence than in parallel. There is often a narrative quality to thought, where I am the the listener rather than the speaker.

I compare harmaline to the conventional entheogens by asserting that whereas the latter expand consciousness in the dimension of space, harmaline expands consciousness in the dimension of time. I understand this as reflecting their respective mechanisms of action. Whereas, say mescaline, expands the breadth of propagation of signals through direct receptor stimulation, harmaline expands the duration of propagation by saturating the synapse with with transmitters through MAO inhibition.

ego loss:

Thought seems freed to a large extent of volitional control, so that it can transmit the content of the subconscious or other sources. Whereas the conventional entheogens tend to precipitate an ego confrontation and/or dissolution through an expansion of consciousness beyond the ego's bounds, harmaline seems to change consciousness in such a way that the ego gets lost in the shuffle. Whereas L emphasizes ego confrontation, and DMT ego irrelevance, harmaline engenders ego invisibility.

Voices and Telepathy:

In the harmaline state I imagine with great ease conversations with other people and other beings. Yet it is more than mere imagination, it is as if that person or being is speaking in earnest of their own volition. The pre- judice of my own ego has been removed from the picture. Though I'm not inclined to admit the existence of telepathy in the normal sense, it is abundantly clear to me why harmaline was at one time called 'telepathine' for its alleged telepathic powers.


One of the central characteristics of the state is a sense of flight to distant places. I imagine myself traveling to strange places, which more often than not involve animals, lush tropical plants, and people. Yet despite the very convincing and absorbing nature of these fantasies, there is no clouding of awareness -- in a split second I can be back in my body and rationally assess and respond to a situation (modulo the impairment caused by the visual distortion and vertigo). Thus harmaline stands apart from the deleriants and dissociants.


For a description of harmaline imagery I recommend reading the chapter 'Yage and Harmaline' in Peter Stafford's Psychedelic Encyclopedia. The descriptions therein correspond closely to my experiences with Peganum Harmala used without additives.

Exp Year: 1996ExpID: 7416
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given 
Published: Jun 13, 2001Views: 47,693
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Syrian Rue (45) : Various (28), Retrospective / Summary (11)

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