Mushrooms - P. cubensis ('Cambodian')
Citation: gumshoe. "Into the Kaleidoscope (or, The Marriage): An Experience with Mushrooms - P. cubensis ('Cambodian') (exp79749)". Erowid.org. Dec 8, 2018. erowid.org/exp/79749
The voyage occurred in my room in an empty house at 7:35 in the evening. I had recently sat for a friend's first time in this same room and his trip had surprised me: my first two experiences had been giggly, unfocused, eminently pleasant voyages but altogether lacking in mystical overtones or sensations of genuine meaning. My friend had laid flat on the bed for three hours straight and told me he swam in a sea of light and lived the story of the evolution of life on earth, from the first paramecium to the death of the sun. I felt I'd been missing out. I intended to replicate the particulars of his experience as best I could, which meant: fasting on the day of the trip, ingesting my mushrooms powdered in juice, lying still with eyes closed and letting my inner vision take control of the trip, and listening to a continuous playlist of textured and emotionally affecting music through the whole thing. Stillness was not to be the way of things for me, but I did fast and I did drink my mushrooms powdered and mixed in OJ and I did have my playlist of music. I arranged the playlist to transition smoothly from one emotionally resonant state to the next, and it worked so well in defining the shape of the experience that I feel I'd be doing the trip a disservice unless I mentioned certain songs that greatly affected my perceptions during the course of the evening.
The first forty minutes after ingestion, briefly described: minor visual iridescence, restlessness, the familiar feeling of a centeredness in my head or somewhere above my head. I adjust the volume knob of my speakers often. My heart beats heavily and I try to relax. There is a rising euphoria that floats up my spine in lazy waves
My heart beats heavily and I try to relax. There is a rising euphoria that floats up my spine in lazy waves
and I have to arch my neck to release it. I remember what I heard at the end of my last trip: 'You can come back whenever you want.' I know what was said is true; I'm back in this familiar state and I feel just as welcome as I ever was here.
I am up and dancing now, however I can manage. In my altered state I stumble around the room, enjoying the fluidity and musical synchrony of my movements. I lie back down again ('Live at Dominos'; T+43) and the beat sweeps me away. The bass feels like the rumbling of tectonic plates and I'm reminded of a dream where the earth spoke to me but I could not understand it. I smile knowing that it speaks my language now. The interplay of the strings and the party beat moves me, and when the song gives in to the next one ('Extra Kings') it occurs to me how fleeting all exuberance is, how all energy must dissipate in time and give way to the sobriety of the calmness of a quiet dawn. Neither state better; both beautiful.
I get up, look at myself in the mirror. I am made out of clay, a familiar feeling from past trips; my limbs are alternately too large or too small. I look like a mischievous gnome. I lie down again. I sit up. I find I can't stay still, and that's OK. As the song ends I find myself sitting on the ground. 'Tea Leaf Dancers' begins (T+52) and the beat enthralls me so much that I find myself crawling on the ground and nestling up against the subwoofer, curled around the wheels of my desk chair. The song rocks me back and forth, and for the first time in the night I lose myself. The swaying female vocals are an imposing thousand-legged spider that fills my mind's sight; she is a black figure on a piece of greek pottery, each leg curling and uncurling with the beat. Legs extend and prod at me. I know she wants to wrap me up and consume me, but I don't mind. There is something cool and reassuring about her, something supremely feminine and irresistable. She can devour me whole if she so wants.
'There's Nothing Left of Me But Her And This' (T+55) begins, and I realize the room I'm in is an alien cockpit, some greatly dispassionate control center I probably should not be in and whose panels and controls I have no idea how to operate. The lights are all infinitely jeweled fixtures and each reflective surface in my room is a switch that operates some extradimensional mechanism. I dare not touch anything.
'Everyday' (T+1.00) starts and I return somewhat to myself. I open the blinds to look outside and feel disappointed by how sterile and distant the scene looks, as if I'm peering into an alcove with a plastic model set of the objects that ought to be outside my window. It occurs to me that it has been an hour but I feel like I should much further into my trip; I worry that maybe I did not take enough: maybe I have a tolerance: maybe I will not break through into the realms of deeper meaning I'd been searching for. I fight with the idea of taking more for several minutes. I am less with myself by this point than I suspect, because against good judgment I take three medium-sized mushrooms from my plastic bag and eat them before I can question myself. It is roughly one extra dry gram; I can barely taste it going down. For several minutes I fiddle with my teeth and discover bits of mushroom that I did not swallow. The activity feels like I am exploring a face of cliffs somewhere, looking for treasure in the crevices.
'Meltphace 6' starts (T+1.07) and I truly feel again like I am on a spaceship somewhere, and the ship and its inhabitants are not altogether kind to my intrusion. I'm on the floor again being spun around and around by the bass; I feel like it is drawing the energy out of me, funneling it off for some nefarious purpose. And again, I don't mind. It's all the same to me. There's something dark and gleamingly seductive about it that I still can't resist. The glitchy synthesizers are sharp, raspy commands in an alien tongue I only wish I could understand.
'Frau Wav' starts and the clattering, clicking, ratcheting language swells and crescendos, begins wrapping me up in its gilded coccoon and I am only too eager to oblige it. I'm immobilized on the floor. There is such an otherness to the music and to its gleaming orders and I am captivated beyond all my reckoning.
The song begins to trail and the spell weakens (T+1.18); I realize suddenly this will not be my fate. I stand up and spin around in my spaceship room, looking for an exit. I see my door and fumble with the knob and let myself out. The music recedes and the door closes and I remember where and who I am. I realize somewhere along the line I've taken my clothes off. One of the housecats greets me and begins rubbing on my legs; I sit down and pet her. Her fur flows like water in a stream and petting her feels like moving my hands in accord with the current. I feel like I've stepped behind the stage for a moment, like everything I've felt so far and will feel later is the cheapest of illusions and that I've found the dark, quiet truth of things here behind the colored cardboard props.
I reenter and get swept up in the beat again ('Forever Heavy'; T+1.24) and immediately forget my revelation. I lie down on the bed and the cat jumps up and joins me, settling next to my head like a glob of molten pudding. She in her tabby markings looks like a telescoping, textured image of an egyptian cat goddess. The fuzzy synths start to melt my body; I can feel myself dissociating and dissassembling into just so much malleable goo. Sprawled out on the bed I feel like a bizarre cyclopic monster with arms and legs stretched out to infinity. Fractal explosions of dismembered body parts and alien visages approach and recede in visceral kaleidoscopy; it is not horrifying or disquieting, just very very interesting. I see mouths spitting out other mouths that spit out other mouths. I see a cluster of eyeballs twirling like a disco ball. I play with my shape and feel what things I can be: a dog, a dinosaur, a fish, a telephone. I can be anything, but none of it feels any more real than what it is: a clay model. Momentarily I receive a blinding vision of a million jeweled ants, packed in tight formation to all horizons, swaying their antennae to the beat of the music. I lift my hands and they are two worms, chattering to each other and gyrating with the beat.
I lift my hands and they are two worms, chattering to each other and gyrating with the beat.
'Nobody Lost, Nobody Found' (T+1:34) comes on, and my visions change drastically. Now I'm swimming in fireworks explosions of Indian script, dancing Shivan apparitions and magic lamps swinging on jeweled cords. Behind them all is a permeating, almost blinding light that I find uncomfortable to behold. As the song winds down I am left with one last magic lamp twirling slowly on its cord with an eye set in its center that watches me intently.
'Someone Great' comes on (T+1.38) and I find myself aware of the room again. My desk has transformed into the body of a great Mantis mother, whose scythelike arms wave and wend over my body not to spin webs but as if drawing circles to ward off danger. She is an insect and strange to me, but I sense from her a great kindness. Her arms twirl in dizzy circles like the armatures on a great tilted orrery. I lose myself in the dizzy spinning and realize moments later that I am a grub on its back, head sticking out of its nest. I click my mandibles and scent the air. I feel safe with my mother above me.
The song ends and in the silence she disappears. I crawl out of the nest searching for her; on the floor on my arms and knees I feel weak. I think I have crawled out too early, and out here it is winter and dark and I am alone and know I will die ('Bless This Morning Year'; T+1.45). I crawl hopelessly, flailing and falling and night-blind and finally collapse underneath my desk, limbs asplay. I struggle to move but find I cannot. I feel the life leaving me. I am outside my insect body; I see a grand vista, the whole world, clear and calm and dark blue in the first moments of early dawn. There is tundra and pine forests and far snow capped mountains. I look now like a dessicated scorpion on its back. I feel the stillness of the rest of the world enter me and know that I have died. 'Is that it?' 'Yes, that's it.' 'Oh...' I feel so much loss, but as I rise and dissipate back into the shadowed air it dissipates with me. Inchoate, immaterial, senseless, hovering in morning stillness, I wait for the dawn.
The sun breaks its head over the plains. Now I am something new. Something small again, something freshly made; I am a rabbit blinking the birth out of its eyes and smelling things for its first time. I limp and hobble. Once again I feel weak; I feel I might die, but my rabbit mother is there beside me. I fall and she pulls me up. I falter and she pushes me forward. The song trails and I hobble out of my den and leave my mother behind; I feel I might be strong enough now to endure the world. I think I could...
...but the song ends and it steals my resolve and I fall limp on the cold dark ground again. Will this be the way of things forever? Four Tet's 'Hands' begins (T+1.51) and I hear my heart beat. No, I won't fail. Tumbling piano melodies tug at me, each riff like a puppet string pulling my limbs together, setting me upright piece by piece. Every fall precedes and portends a new rising. I am invigorated. I hop and feel the strength in my long new legs and am gracious to be alive again.
Lusine ICL's 'Jetstream' begins (T+1.57) and suddenly I am another thing entirely. I feel the need to get back into bed. As soon as I do I am no longer a rabbit but a long, sinuous sea-thing, an eel or a dolphin maybe, and I am deep underwater on my back watching the mosaic of light glinting through the water surface above me. I swim in languorous strokes through the warm turquoise currents washing over me and feel completely at ease. My blankets are strands of kelp that brush over my body like green silk.
'Water Night' (T+2.03) begins and now I am floating in the darkest and most serene of nights on top of a glass lake, possibly far underground. I am introduced for the first time of the evening to a particular world I've had thoughts and dreams about sporadically for many years, one I don't have a name for yet - in this world it is always some kind of evening; the air is thick and cool and overhead are lights beyond reckoning, tiny stellar pinpoints and big glowing five-armed stars against the soft purple sky and the warmest, most luminous of half-moons amidst them all. There are oceans of grass dancing with fireflies and great bays efflorescent with algae and tall, broad-leaved forests with paths gently lit by glowing fungus. Most of all are cities, everywhere, with cobbled streets and spindling smooth-stoned towers. In the libraries and churches and streets are lights of all kinds: the candle-flicker of arcane lucubrations and the stained rainbow patterning of midnight vespers in hallowed halls and the papered luminescence of globed lanterns in street booths. Everywhere is a hush where small sounds like the turn of an ancient page or the chirp of a bat or the patter of a foot on cobblestone can unfold in all its textured marvelousness. This is the world I visited. Here and now though I am somewhere especially dark, laid out on the top of the still water as if dead or in deep sleep and the choir in the music sings to me with such resonance and trembling awe of the darkness that I can hardly contain myself. My eyes well and my face crinkles.
Now I am somewhere on the side of the water still in repose ('Lover Teresa Dead Field'; T+2.08), recessed in a small grotto beside a collection of holy relics. An amber light shines on me from somewhere and I feel like a saint or holy figure set out in final repose. I suspect I am dead or dying again, and this time it feels like too much to endure. I can never last. I can never win over my own ending.
'The Last Man' begins (T+2.10), and suddenly, violently, I know I need to submerge myself in this sorrow. I get up and turn off all the lights and lie down in bed. In the darkness my psychedelic impressions momentarily cease and I have time to reflect on my trip thus far. I start to think about what I wanted to accomplish with this journey. It occurs to me that in some way what I wanted is what I've wanted every trip taken thus far: some sort of communion or connection or at least closure with a certain dream character I fell in love with several years ago while asleep one night. I had felt back then a transcendental affection I'd never encountered before in waking life and I had spent some effort earnestly and probably foolishly trying to reconstruct that experience again in lucid dreams or at the very least in some kind of sustained, hypothetical, imagined relationship. Unsuccessful, I never knew entirely what to do with the psychic leftovers of my fumbling infatuation. Taking psychedelics was always in part a desperate measure to try to reconnect with that ephemeral character who for one fleeting night was my whole symmetry in the world.
As the music swells I am struck with such a feeling of loss and of disconnection with anything I've ever loved. I find myself clutching a pillow to my face and weeping uncontrollably, whole body-wracking sobs. It strikes me that this thing I thought I'd been seeking is nowhere to be found and has never been anywhere to be found.
It strikes me that this thing I thought I'd been seeking is nowhere to be found and has never been anywhere to be found.
I see a gray eidolon-image, thin as paper, recede from me and dissipate into the void like so much dust and shadow. It never was. It can never be. I've fallen in love with an illusion and I am shown in reverse time how all my hopeful gestures, first moment to last, have been gesticulations towards empty space. He is gone forever and I am forever alone.
I cry, I cry. I think of the moanings of bereaved mothers; I think of the grief involved in losing forever something you have put a part of your own self into. I'm on the floor again; again, I am curled under my desk. 'nanou 2' begins (T+2.16). The hymnal chords wrap around me in warm layers and my sorrow lessens. I lie still and listen. Once again there is something with me. No, it's within me. No, it is me; I am somebody else. Small, nascent, fetal; I am surrounded by the walls of a womb or an egg. There is a single ray of light and I am suffused all through in it. I sense that I am the one I thought I lost, and I did lose him, but I forgot that neither does anything or anyone stay lost forever. If I want, there can be a new beginning ('Iambic 9 Poetry'; T+2.19). If I will it, I can succeed where before I failed. As before when I crawled out of my den with my mother beside me, I crawl again unsteadily out of of this place - only now I'm the mother and now I am matching my child's every footstep towards the world outside. I help, push, prod upright, and soon enough he crawls beyond the limits of my sight, gone for now but not forever. I sit down and cry quietly to myself that I should be this lucky; that I should be allowed to have this second chance, however foolish yet it may prove to be.
I am exhausted by all this emotion. The glinting lights of my hyperspace terminal beckon to me. Before I can turn the monitor on, I am caught up in the exuberance of the music ('Golden Arm'; T+2.26). I spend several minutes twirling around in my desk chair and waving my arms around like an idiot child. I return to my computer and bang on the keyboard, marveling at the sound the keys make. Finally I locate the monitor switch and turn it on. I turn off the music. My friend has sent me a series of instant messages that I can barely read and understand; I laugh uncontrollably at the thought of this strange little man hunched over his computer somewhere, sending me trivial words about trivial human concerns. He sends me a video link. It is a music video to the song 'Arcadia', and it frightens and enthralls me terribly. I lean forward and become the characters protrayed: a frightened raven tied to a cord, trying desperately to fly away from a shadowy, owl-like figure. When they show the bird's face it is my face. When they show the owl's eyes they are my eyes; when it blinks, I blink. I am captor and captive simultaneously.
I exit my jeweled play room and busy myself downstairs petting cats and drinking water. I return and begin the music again and lie down. 'Wavey Gravy' begins (T+2.32) and I find myself transported again to my night-world. I am flying through a great white-marble underground library, cavernous with stacks and stairways and suspended aqueducts arrayed in dizzying, Escherian geometry. Now I am running along the ledges of high tower steeples, the moon the only witness to my passing. Now I am dashing through the cobbled streets past muffled conversations behind oaken doors. Everything is such a luscious amethystine hue, the most beautifully suffusive color I think I've ever seen and I'm submerged in it everywhere I go, and it occurs to me now that I am married to the psychedelic experience, now and forever: that this evening has been perfect, ecstatic, every sort of thing I've wanted it to be, and that it is truly my maiden voyage into the frontier lands just beyond the horizon of my sober perceptions. I am outside of myself, genuinely immersed in the experiences I am having - be they good or bad, I can finally appreciate them wholly for whatever it is they are. I could get hurt, I could get caught, I could die - none of it would matter; it would all be as ecstatically beautiful as any other facet of being that I could experience. To an extent greater than any I'd had yet that night, I lose sense of myself as a discrete object distinct and at odds with other objects. I could be anything, I could do anything. I thought about living the lives of people I used to find distasteful - I could be a politician, I could be a murderer, I could be a fraternity drunkard, I could be a prostitute. They were all fine. They were all just other ways of being. I remember a phrase I read once: 'Good trip, bad trip. It's all the same.' I marvel at it. It is so phenomenally true.
'Something Isn't Right' begins (T+2.50) and I lose my sense of introspection. I'm squirming on the bed and I feel like a puddle of goo again. The lights are still out. I see unremarkable fractal oscillations and telescoping mandelbrots behind my eyelids. My deskchair is a pill-shaped alien who is here to give me a physical exam. I'm chewing on pillows, I'm sticking my hands in my mouth and rubbing spit and slobber all over my face and hair. I knead my limbs and abdomen trying to sculpt myself into another kind of person again. I try unsuccessfully to rip a hole in my navel. Songs come and go and I experience fits of great sorrow, joy, rage, disgust - crying, laughing, growling, all in rapid succession. I feel now like something is not genuine about this experience: that I am outwardly sad then happy then sad again, and yet the energy welling up inside me feels no different from mood to mood. I wonder whether these varied emotions I'm experiencing are really all superficial, just so much psychedelic ostension, or whether I've stumbled upon some cosmic truth about the universality of human emotion and the common source of energy that inspires it all. I can't be sure which is right.
Clark's 'Ted' comes on (T+2.55) and ignites the climax of my ecstatic state. I writhe violently to the beat, like a giant mantis jerking in its death throes, flailing rhythmically on my bed with no regard for restraint or personal safety. The flashing LEDs on my computer register as long blue scythelike arcs of light in the darkness, like a thousand ghostly sling-swords on a machine come to cull me utterly from existence. The song recedes and I regain a little sense; I turn the music off, flip the lights on and check myself in the mirror to see I haven't hurt myself. I've bruised my knee, but that's all. I get up and go to the bathroom; return and sit at my computer. I open up a folder of wallpaper and hi-res images to admire and begin playing Boris's 'Flood I' (T+3.05). After a little while I get the idea to listen to the entire album it is on and load it up, then lie back down in bed in the darkness and let the stereo drone wash over me.
Soon I see a jeweled ceiling inlaid with silver ticking clock gears; the ceiling splits apart and withdraws from view, revealing an extraordinary night sky. I am in one of my night-world's firefly fields. I realize I am next to someone; I look over and it is my other who I thought I had lost, come back to me at last. We lie quietly nudged up to each other and admiring the stars and each other in silent solidarity. After a time I look over at him and see he is made up entirely of punctuation marks: commas and colons and ellipses and all else. I look again and realize that he himself is a jeweled clockwork contraption, hardly real at all: I see his face open outward to reveal the microcosm of gearwork whirring and ticking inside his head. This can't be right. I resolve to remake him again, as many times as I have to, until he is at last real. I abolish this false image. In darkness I draw the barest of skeletons and begin adding to it: proportion and substance and definition, then muscle and organs and skin and hair bit by bit, building stroke by stroke to the slow heartbeat of the music. I focus, I furrow my brow: it is a meditation, a creative trance. I shall make no mistake. At last I feel I am finished, and I stand back and admire my handiwork. More real than ever before. But just like before, he recedes away me, out of view and into the dark. I am not worried. Like last time, I expect he will return when his time is ready. And if he isn't real enough then, I will try again and again until I get it right.
I lie on the bed for much longer and think about the mantle of sobriety settling back over me; I think about the inevitable return to mundane life. There is the anchoring certainty that I cannot spend my whole life in a world even any fraction as beautiful as this one, and I am very sad. But I feel the same calm reassurance as in my old trips too: the wave goodbye, the invitation to return sometime.
I feel the same calm reassurance as in my old trips too: the wave goodbye, the invitation to return sometime.
You can't stay here always, but you're welcome back whenever you please.
I turn the music off as it begins to take a turn for the apocalyptic. I look at the time (T+~4.00) and feel greatly fatigued. In the silence I hear mechanical pinging and small whirring clicks, and everything is seen through what looks like fractally paned glass. While I ready myself for bed I note how raw I feel, and in the stale bathroom light I note that a part of me, the one concerned with maintaining rigid definitions of what I am and am not, feels sullied and violated by the night's activities. I am back in my shell but the shell has cracked and crumbled where I gnawed my way out of it and I can sense this part of my brain scurrying to mend me back into a discrete conscious unit again. I flop into bed and have great difficulty falling asleep (T+~4.30) over the sounds of glass bouncing balls strobing and echoing through what I imagine are the distant chambers of some cool, glinting ultradimensional palace - a palace of mirrors, of jeweled fixtures and of alien lights, one whose halls I feel I have danced through in ecstasy for one short evening and left a tiny aching part of myself behind in forever. But I can come back whenever I want and visit. The doors are always open for me.
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