H.B. Woodrose, Cannabis & Tobacco
Citation: Sofiowka. "Clarity & Cubism: An Experience with H.B. Woodrose, Cannabis & Tobacco (exp75871)". Erowid.org. Mar 20, 2009. erowid.org/exp/75871
It was late into the first semester of my freshman year of college. Due to some problems, I had screwed up my semester and had to drop most of my classes to save my GPA and my scholarship, so I was only taking one class, and it was an art class. Now, this is a small liberal arts school in just about the middle of nowhere, and I don't have a car, so there's just about nothing to do. I always find something to do, but there's nothing to do. If I find myself in a situation where I'm not busy, getting high starts to look like the only thing to do.
Contemplating dinner, a friend, F, and I decided it was a good time to smoke some weed. We'd been smoking a lot on our friend J's vaporizer, which had the advantage of being really efficient and being indoors, and although we were more in the mood to smoke with something else, it was damn cold outside, so we went to his room. When we got there, J was on his way out with Z, another friend, but they were happy to smoke some more with us. As we sat down, J told us that they had just taken woodrose seeds. Z had taken three -- a low dose, because he has a history of schizophrenia and didn't want to trigger anything -- and J had taken six. They'd taken them a bit before we got there, at around 6:00. And they had more. J had a bunch of Hawaiian Baby Woodrose seeds, and me and F bought ten from him, then had a nice session on the vaporizer. Once we were high we went to dinner and planned out our night. We were going to read up about LSA online for a while, go to the studio hours for the art class we were both in, stay until 10:00, then eat the seeds. It was a Thursday night, which meant the start of the weekend, because neither of us had any classes on Fridays. As time wore on we became disenchanted with the idea of going to studio at all, so we decided not to bother and took the seeds at 8:30.
When we bought the seeds, J had explained to us a little about them. He said that the light brown stuff on the outside of them was poison, and that we should scrape it off before eating them, and he said that when we ate them we should just pop them in our mouths and chew them up. He told us they would take about an hour to kick in, and that we would probably throw up when they did, and then the trip would start. He also said we'd be more comfortable in baggy clothes, but I ignored that. I was wearing tights, a short skirt, and this tight sweater made of a material that feels kind of strange on my skin, but interesting. I loved that outfit, I didn't want to change it. After we scraped the poison off, we decided not to chew them up after all. It seemed like it would work a lot better if we ground them up and then ate the power, so we stuck them in F's coffee grinder. We ate five seeds each -- I put mine on a chunk of chocolate, but a lot of it fell off and I had to pick it up off my skirt and scarf, and it was kind of unpleasant to eat the whole chunk of chocolate at once.
After eating them, we went up to the Student Union to wait. I chilled on a couch in the formal lounge and talked to a few friends about the trip I was about to have. After about half an hour there, I started to get a really wonderful sensation. Mentally I felt entirely normal, but physically, I was in ecstasy. Everything felt good, incredibly good. Every movement was intense pleasure, and so was sitting still. And the pleasure kept increasing. I was lying on a couch talking to a guy who started scratching my leg through my tights. It felt incredible, almost overwhelmingly so. It seemed conceivable that I could actually have an orgasm just from that if it went on long enough.
At some point F came into the room, and she was feeling the same was I was. She's done E a few times, and she said she felt like she was on it again. I walked around the building a bit, touching walls -- everything felt different than it usually does, and it all felt really, really good. Just about any physical sensation I felt was a semi-sexual, or in some cases entirely sexual, pleasure. I wondered whether if I felt pain, it would be a heightened experience of pain, or if it would be pleasure, too. I mentioned this and F pinched me on the leg with her fingernails. I said, 'Ow, fuck. I don't like that.... oh, wait, I REALLY like that!' Which is my normal reaction to being pinched, except that it felt a little bit more intense. A friend of mine, watching my behavior and how I was talking, told me there were definitely mental effects even if I didn't think I was feeling different mentally. I knew what he was talking about, though, and I knew that the way I was acting was only indirectly caused by the LSA. The direct cause was the pleasure.
At some point, we tried to eat, but found it incredibly difficult. It wasn't that I wasn't hungry, because I was quite hungry. It was just that picking the food up, putting it into my mouth, chewing, swallowing... it was an incredibly, incredibly deliberate process, and it wasn't easy to do. I eventually gave up entirely, because it wasn't rewarding.
F and I decided it was time to go outside, go somewhere else. I wanted to feel the air and touch different things and walk. I also wanted a cigarette. We took the elevator down to the basement where we ran into J. He said Z was upstairs getting food, and then went with us. On the way, I noticed that I wasn't aware of 'myself' in terms of the context and details of my life. Things like my name, what classes I was taking, my life story were completely away from my consciousness. I couldn't remember them off the top of my head, but I didn't care. I was pretty sure that if I thought about it, I'd be able to remember. It was freeing. I felt innocent, and like a child in my lack of backstory and context.
Somewhere in between the Student Union and the smoking area behind the Lecture Center, F wasn't around anymore. I don't quite remember where she went or why, but I was definitely sitting and smoking alone with J for a while. Or, I think we were smoking. I know I didn't have any cigarettes -- I may have gone up to my room first and grabbed one of the stale cigarettes I like to save for emergencies. I must have gone to my room, because I was sick of the clothes I was wearing. I changed into black leggings and a tight blue t-shirt when I was up there. It was the best thing I'd ever put on. I felt empowered. It occurred to me that it might be too cold for that getup, but it felt really, really good, and I had the feeling that the cold wouldn't bother me, which it didn't. I think we talked about what we were experiencing, but I don't remember clearly.
At some point, F was around again, and we all decided we needed to go find Z, because it didn't seem good to leave him alone. We went back up to the SU, and he wasn't there anymore. It seems like we must have checked his room, but I don't remember doing that. Since we'd by then been to all of the normal places he might be (it's a small, small campus), I suggested we take a walk around the lake, because there's a bridge there that Z likes to go to to think and be and smoke and write. And even if he wasn't there, it was a damn gorgeous walk.
We walked, and I felt very, very happy. I had the sense that we were all on the same level, and I was really happy we were around each other and not people who were on a different level. I was glad we'd left all the sober people in the Student Union, I knew I would be getting a really bad vibe if I were still up there. When we got most of the way to the bridge, we could see that Z wasn't there, and J wanted to go back the way we came to look for him elsewhere. F really, really wanted to go the rest of the way around the lake. I was torn -- I wanted to find Z and see how he was doing, but I also really wanted to do the full lake walk. I decided to stay with F, thinking that she and I were going to be on the same wavelength all night, so we should stay together. J took off back where we came from, and me and F went to the bridge.
Someone once told me that when doing the walk around the lake, you have to stop at the bridge and have a conversation. I liked that idea a lot, so I've always stuck to it, and made sure everyone I walked with did, too. So tonight, too, we stopped there. The lake was mostly frozen and the water was rushing under the bridge loudly. Eventually we sat with our legs hanging over the edge and just looked at the water (the water was incredible, but I can't remember why), and the trees beyond it, and the lights beyond the trees, and all the buildings and places we knew laid out in front of us. I was so happy to live there, to go to this school, to exist somewhere so beautiful. The landscape was beautiful, but more than that, the people we knew were beautiful. We talked about them, how everyone was so interesting, so unique, so pretty, like something out of a story. And our lives, too, were story-like, and wonderful. I wanted to go see if Z had been located, so we got up. As we finished the lake walk, I looked at the frozen edge of it.
'It's incredible, when things are frozen like this,' one of us said.
F said, 'It's so still.'
'It feels magical. I think... I think that it is special, when water is frozen like this, because to us water is such an inexorable force. It can't be stopped... it is as inexorable as time. They are the same kinds of forces, to us. To see water frozen still is like seeing time frozen.' I remember saying that very, very clearly.
Emerging from the lake area, marveling at our surroundings, the lights were so bright, things still seemed still. I think we intended to go to Dolliver, the boys' dorm, but approaching the dining hall, we saw the chime tree. There's a big old tree outside of the dining hall with lots of wind chimes hung from it -- over ten I bet -- that's pretty easy to climb up into. I got up onto the lowest branch, a really wide branch, comfortable for sitting on. F didn't try to get into the tree at all, she sat and stood in some different places at the bottom. Climbing into the tree was easier than it usually is these days. It felt natural, easy; I didn't have to strategize or try intellectually to figure out how to get up. I just did it, like when I was a kid and climbing trees was one of the most important things in life. This sparked a long conversation, but I don't remember who said what, exactly. It's not important who said what, though -- what I remember is the whole of what came from both of us.
'When you're a kid, you totally get it, about trees. You know exactly how to climb them, and it's easy. And if you tell another kid about a tree, they know what you're talking about. They get what it means to find a good tree. Kids just know what trees mean. I remember what it's like to know, but now that I'm older I don't really know anymore. I think I know right now. I feel like a kid again in a lot of ways. Light, free. We are free. The world is light. We were right when we were kids, when we were always outside, when it didn't matter how cold it was, when things were so cool, when fantasy was no less important than reality. I feel that way now. Being a kid, it's just like tripping all the time. Or tripping is like being a kid.
I think-- I think it's a glimpse of what the ultimate reality is. Of the after-- or, no, of... of the time between death and birth. And the experience of life is the comedown from that. From the ultimate trip, kind of. As a child you're closest to the trip. You're just off-peak. And all of life is coming down, getting farther away from it, and eventually, when the comedown ends, that's when the trip starts again. And stuff like this, it's a way of seeing what the other part of experience is. And we need it, to try to understand what's happening to us. It's a re-enactment of the life cycle of the universe, it's a form of worship. And sex, and weed, they're smaller forms. Tripping, you can't do that a lot, because that's abuse, that's not -- you have to experience what this life is, it's part of everything, the whole experience. Weed, you can do that more, it's not a complete removal from this experience, it just makes it easier, and that's okay.'
This revelation came with great excitement. I could barely contain myself, I was so excited, so happy. It was incredible. We wanted to go tell the boys, so we went to Dolliver, and they were there, in the lounge. But when we got in there, it was a huge bummer. The room seemed awful, empty. Spaces in it seemed so large and soulless, the lights were all wrong. I sat with Z and F sat somewhere, and we told them what we'd figured out. They seemed to get it, but not really. They talked about what they'd been up to, which was basically coming down, but I didn't like the way they talked about it. It seemed wrong. We left, and F agreed with me that those two were a major bummer. I was starting to get cold, and I wanted to be dressed more warmly, so we went into our building, to our respective rooms.
When I got up to my room, I put on some really loose, warm clothes, and put some music on. I think it was Radiohead, but whatever it was, it was terrible. Everything was terrible. Not in an overwhelming, specific way -- everything just sucked. And it was scary, kind of. Not terrifying, but unnerving. I was extremely uncomfortable. I grabbed what weed I had left and went down to F's room. She was having a crappy time, too. We adjusted the lights in her room a few times, but everything still seemed wrong, off. The proportions of the room seemed abnormal and bad, the shape of everything was unpleasant. For a while I spaced out at her desk, in my own little world of emotional discomfort, and then I told her, 'Okay... we can fix this. I have an idea. Let's smoke some weed.' She was enthused about this idea, so we decided to go up to the Gazebo -- a cigarette smoking area where, late at night (because it was around 3 AM by now), you're pretty safe from security, because it's right on the edge of lower campus, but you don't have to go out into the woods, and there's enough light to see, and you can sit down -- and stop off at the SU first to see if there was anyone there who would make us feel comfortable.
I was pretty sure I didn't want to see most people. I didn't think I could handle them. A lot of the people I usually hang out with in the Student Union are pretty straight edge, or at least dismissive of drug experiences, and they would be really harsh on us in the state we were in. And we talked to some of them for a few minutes, and it was just how I thought. And the rooms, the rooms felt terrible. We needed something to smoke from, so I grabbed a Red Bull can from the recycling and we crushed it in the middle, found a push pin and a pen, and did our thing with them. I'd never used a can of that shape and size and composition before, and it had a funny kind of feel to it, unusually angular.
We headed up to the gazebo, and when we got there we ran into some friends who we had sort of interesting relationships to. We weren't digging their vibe very much but we shared some weed with them anyway, and they gave us a couple of American Spirits. I smoked one right away and we saved the other for later. I think we told them we were tripping and told them a bit of what we'd been experiencing, and eventually they took off, which was a relief. We smoked more and more weed. We smoked a lot of weed -- I don't know how much, exactly. I had maybe half of a 20 bag, F had probably about a 20 bag's worth, but I don't remember how that weed had been priced. We smoked a little over half of what I had and maybe about half of what she had. I was taking incredible hits, and sometimes hit after hit after hit without any air. I couldn't get enough of it. In between heaps of weed, we smoked the cigarette. It was the best cigarette of my life. It was delicious, so delicious, and I was taking big pulls and holding them in. I didn't want to let it go, because there was so little. F was enjoying it as much as I was. It was a glorious, wondrous cigarette. It was hard to deal with the prospect of not having it anymore, of there being no way to get another. We smoked some of the filter, but didn't care. 'THAT is what is going to give me cancer. Right there.'
We worked cigarettes into our earlier revelation, saw them as a way to deal with this great comedown, a way to get by, a little boost. We talked more about the idea, too, about how cigarettes are killing you. 'That's a part of why they feel so good. It's bringing you closer.' F questioned whether that was 'cheating' and I said that it wasn't, because it's not about dying, it's about feeling good. She brought up a statistic about how many teens become addicted to cigarettes every year, and said that it would be amazing if all of those people were brought into one place, how many love affairs would spark over a cigarette, how incredible and interesting it would be. And that it should last for only two and a half weeks -- long enough to get to know people, to form attachments, to start to care, to get comfortable, but not long enough for anything to wear off, to get old, to end on its own. It would happen, and then it would end, bittersweet, it would be only what it was. After the cigarette, we heaped a bunch more weed on the can.
After a while, every time I would take a hit of weed I would completely lose all grip on reality for a few moments. I sometimes wouldn't be able to see anything, but I'd have strange visual experiences. Once, all I could see was this very industrial-seeming pattern of rectangles. At other times I could see, but things were extremely distorted. I saw a lot of weird stuff when looking at my friend. I saw a fragment of her face reflected as if in a strange mirror onto another part of her face. I thought for a few seconds that she looked like an old Native American man, and even after she turned and broke the illusion, it was hard to shake the impression for a little while. I tried to explain to her what I was seeing, but I couldn't convey it. What did seem to make sense to her, though, was when I tried to explain about the can. The can, you see, it was both a Cubist representation of the can, and a sort of realization, a physical representation of the idea of Cubism. This seemed very strange -- I never had any particular interest in Cubism, had never looked at much of it -- but also quite natural. It was extremely significant and important, but in an abstract, large, indescribable way.
I was a little bit paranoid about security, because they were doing their rounds and driving up, and I didn't want to have to deal with them. It wasn't the consequences of getting caught that I was worried about, in the moment, it was that we would have to deal with them. We'd have to sit in their little shack and have interactions with them, try to 'explain', they'd never let us relax. It would have been a serious bummer. They never came, but I was always very alert when a car moved. A car turned on and odd but beautiful music echoed through the night. The car pulled out of its space and moved into another space a few feet away, making crazy shadows with its headlights on the big flat wall of the Student Union. It was an incredible moment, we were both struck by it. We watched the cleaning people (one of whom always seems a bit like a mythical creature) walking into the building, and over the distance and through the lights and past the different three-dimensional protrusions, it looked like they were in a separate world.
It wasn't a purely visual experience up there, however. I was now very aware of my life and circumstances, but disconnected from them. I felt that I had an outsider's perspective on my life, I could see myself as an objective other would see me rather than from behind all of my emotions and confusion and thought patterns and strange ideas. Thinking about my life, I saw that I was living out a beautiful story, that everything that I was doing in my life was very pretty. Even things that I thought were un-pretty, inelegant, unrewarding experiences were actually just as wonderful as everything else, just as valuable, just as much fascinating stories. I felt extremely lucky to be living this life, such a wonderful life, but at the same time, I couldn't imagine any life that wouldn't be infinitely valuable and beautiful, as long as it was lived genuinely and with honesty.
I think F was feeling the same way. We talked about it at length, about the beauty of everything. I felt elevated, above the world, like I was at the top of a mountain. It reminded me of a recurring dream I have of being both old and young at once in a ski cabin at the top of a mountain on an incredibly clear day, looking down, looking around, knowing everything I saw. This was the same feeling from that dream, but instead of knowing all I could see, I knew all my mind could think of. We both felt that having found this place of clarity and enlightenment would leave us changed in the best of ways, that we would be able to remember it in hard times and feel more at peace. Neither of us felt compelled to do it frequently, because this was satisfying, and that would be too much. F said that 'just knowing this is here is enough.'
It was a very cold night, and we'd been outside for well over an hour, and we were fucking cold. We tossed the can and went into the Student Union. I looked at my hands and they were swollen and red from the cold. As we started to warm up I realized how cold I had actually been and began to develop a headache. We went to the bathroom and ran our hands under warm water. We stood like that for an inassessable length of time, the water feeling strange and fascinating to my numbed hands, the color of the light and the colors and shadows of the counter and the sink and my hands seeming strange and off in an intangibly exciting way. I looked in the mirror for a while, looking at what I looked like. I was able to see what I looked like without my vision being clouded by my knowledge of myself from inside. When I stopped washing my hands, they felt re-born. I wanted very much to take a shower but I didn't remember that until I was on the verge of sleep.
When we were done in there, we went into the formal lounge. In spite of the late hour, there were two people in there talking. They were people with extremely large personalities, people who always seem to be putting on sort of a show, and it was very strange to see them talking to each other without being in a larger group. The two of us sat by the fire and just watched them. 'They're such trippy people,' I said. One of them was even very strange and trippy looking. 'It's like watching two competing television shows.' They thought we were odd, and mostly dismissed us because we were tripping. I just watched them, very entertained, for quite a while. The trippy looking one was going to go have a cigarette, and we asked if we could bum one. He said yeah, but he had to go back to his room and get them. We waited for a very short time, and then we forgot that we were waiting and went back to my room. I made a playlist of everything by The Doors (The real stuff by The Doors, not the shit churned out under the band's name after Jim Morrison died) and we got into my bed and listened to it, and fell asleep.
I woke up the next day before noon and wandered around doing different things, marveling at the world. I felt like a new person, and I felt very quiet, impressionable, and happy, all day. I was also confused and foggy and hungry for most of the day, and lights were still significantly brighter than usual. It eventually occurred to me that it was like being stoned all day, except with a rawness that came from the intensity of my experience the night before. This feeling lasted all day, and Z felt the same, and even F felt it, which surprised me, because it wasn't her first time tripping like it was ours. We all fell asleep pretty early that night. The next day was still happy, but sleepy and lethargic for most of the day, and that night I got drunk and smoked a lot of weed. After that, I was back to normal perceptually (not experientially, because I had about three weeks where every single night was somehow weird), but significantly changed.
I regard this as an incredibly positive experience. I definitely intend to do it again, but eating more seeds next time and maybe smoking weed earlier in the trip and more repeatedly. (And making sure I have a supply of cigarettes beforehand!) I'd recommend it to just about anyone; the only experience I think one ought to have before LSA is with weed. This was my first trip and I didn't have any problems, but I don't think you'd know what to do with the way you were feeling if you weren't familiar with marijuana, and it's a really good way to ease the comedown. LSA was a wonderful, beautiful, trip for me. And to make it even sweeter, it's legal!
Since the trip, smoking marijuana has had a different effect on me. A much, much better effect. I get far more ideas and am far more creative and talkative and awake, and I can access that enlightened, happy feeling that makes me feel like everything is right in my life much more easily.
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