Citation: thaddeustfroggs. "The Hero's Journey: An Experience with Mushrooms & Opium (exp84318)". Erowid.org. Dec 23, 2012. erowid.org/exp/84318
This story is about the best trip I've had. I fondly remember this one, and mushrooms are my favorite drug to this day. A little background on me. I'm 20 years old, male, and I do a fair amount of drugs. My experience includes pot, hash, opium, coke, speed, alcohol, LSD, LSA, mushrooms (of course!), salvia, a few pharmaceuticals, and an unsuccessful attempt at Ecstasy (if you take an SSRI, stop right now, they render many drugs ineffective). I love psychedelics the most, and the music and art and strange thoughts they can inspire. I dislike LSD, as I find that it's too 'serious'. Acid can be a good spiritual tool, but I find that it's really difficult for me to enjoy myself, and that's the real reason I take drugs, for fun. It also lasts too long. If mushrooms go wrong, at least it's over in about 5 or 6 hours. Every time I've done acid, it's lasted for nearly an entire day, if you include the raw, neurotic, vulnerable state you're in after you stop peaking. Mushrooms make everything seem beautiful and wonderful, and the nostalgia I get for this trip is unparalleled.
The Hero's Journey, Part One
It was late May, 2008, and I was living at home. I had had a pretty shitty year, after a terrible college semester that doesn't really need to be discussed, and was feeling good for the first time in 8 months. It was summer, I had landed a decent job, and all my best friends had come home. I value my friendships more than anything, and I would do anything for my pals, and it kills me when I don't see them for a long time. This tale primarily concerns two of these dudes, who I'll call A and J. A had acquired a quarter of mushrooms at school, and had brought them home to split with somebody. I remember J was a little disappointed, because he wanted to eat a full eighth, but we're true friends, and it turned out to be amazing shrooms, so there was no love lost between us. We're like the three musketeers, A, J, and I, except we did drugs. We had spent the 3 or so weeks of our break thus far just chilling, smoking pot and opium, and driving around. We all wanted to eat these shrooms bad, but we didn't want to waste them. We knew we had to wait until the exact right time came, and then do it completely spontaneously.
Fortunately, these kids are fucking masterminds, and they recognized the right time when it came. It was one of those days in the early summer when you get sudden, heavy torrents of rain throughout the day, and I was eating my lunch at home around 1 PM. My cell phone rings, and it's J. 'Dude, we're going up to habitat to eat the mushrooms in the rain. Are you ready to go right now?' I absolutely was and was shocked at the brilliance of their idea. I went upstairs to put on shorts and sandals, since we were going to get deliberately soaked, and I also put on my trippiest tropical shirt.
They both pull up about 5 minutes after they called, and we start driving up to 'habitat', a nature reserve in our town. I applaud them on their idea, and they were as excited as I was, apparently. None of us had ever heard of anyone doing such a thing, and we had all read the reports online. We pull up to the parking area, and A starts cutting up the mushrooms while I keep a look out, as cops sometimes cruise the area, looking to bust kids for doing exactly what we were doing. We didn't have a scale or anything, but we figured if they were cut up, it would be easier to give us equal piles. In a perfect world, we all got about 2.3 grams each, but we could have gotten 2-2.5 and not have known it. We didn't really care, we trusted each other, and knew that we would all be tripping about equally. J, meanwhile, was packing a bowl of some dank headies he had bought, and a few good sized chunks of opium went into it as well. We were gonna be tripping our faces off, I thought.
A hands me my pile, and he gives another to J, and then we all gobbled them down at the same time. The rain had stopped, but we weren't too worried, because as I said, it was the type of day where it would definitely come back. We got out of the car, and walked to our favorite spot to smoke our bowl. We called the spot Middle-Earth; it was a little hill with a clearing on top in the woods with a big rock to sit on. It isn't very sheltered, but there's plenty of paths to escape from if we saw any body, and we weren't too worried anyway since the rain had all but ensured us we'd have the entire forest to ourselves.
We spark the bowl, and we're in heaven. Opium is the best tasting and smelling drug there is; it just makes you feel GREAT, and the headies weren't too bad either. It goes around until it's done, and we decide to walk back to the car so that we didn't have anything illegal on us in case someone decided to hassle us. On the walk back, I start to feel something that wasn't the pot or the opium, and I get stoked at how fast it's coming on. We arrive at A's car and, horror of horrors, we had locked ourselves out! We began to panic a little, but I was so determined for this to be the epic trip I wanted it be, I interjected, 'Guys. We're not going to worry about this. This is a day for FUN. All we have on us is a bowl, and we've never had to face the cops up here before. We're going to go play in the woods, and when we're ready, we'll walk back to A's house and grab the spare keys.' All fear was instantly dissolved (at least in my mind, I later found out A was still bugging out), and we went back into the woods. We were all starting to come up at this point, and the drugs we had smoked were complimenting the ones we had eaten nicely.
We started down what I think of as the 'main' path, and that's when the trip really began in my opinion. Something happened to me where I kept walking, but was totally spaced out, and it felt like I wasn't in control of myself, and only vaguely aware of my surroundings. When this happens to me usually, it bothers me and I try to fight it, but the comfort I felt from the opium allowed me to just go with it, and before I knew it, we were at this crossroads thing a good distance in. We couldn't have been walking for more than five minutes, but it seriously felt like 20.
I come back from my disconnected state, and look at the fellows, and ask them how they're doing, grinning wickedly. They grin the same grin back at me and tell me they're doing 'pretty good', which clearly meant they were tripping as hard as I was. I had strong visuals by this point, and they kept escalating. We had four different paths to choose from, but we decide to keep going in the same direction, so we could get to this meadow with lots of birch trees. Birch trees are the ones with white bark, and we decided this would look thoroughly magical. Along the way there are a lot of ferns growing, and I guess ferns are the perfect plant to see fractals in, because that's what we saw. It blew my mind, because I had never gotten that particular visual before, and here was this field with literally hundreds of these green spiral plants! We're all laughing and giggling like a bunch of 5 year olds, and just having a grand old time.
We get to the meadow with the birch trees and it's just as good as we expected. We make our way over to a small pond and I keep thinking that this is like being in 'Calvin and Hobbes'. There are all these boards placed on the mud for us to walk on, and we have our arms sticking out to keep our balance, and we would just laugh and say stupid things, and laugh at what we were saying. We kept trying to use the words 'retrangulous' and 'intragnizent' in a sentence, and were uncertain about whether or not they were actual words. We were on the actual ground again, next to the pond when J spots something. It was this enormous goddamned frog. J is way cooler than either of us, and he does the logical thing and dives at the frog, making a perfect capture. He holds it up, and we marvel at our skilled friend, who just caught a wild animal with his bare hands on the first try while wacked out of his mind on drugs. The frog looks hilarious. It reminded me of some fat, old British aristocrat, like Horace Slughorn in the Harry Potter books. Horace Slughorn would have been a great name for this frog now that I think about it, actually, but the name that came to me at the time was Thaddeus T. Froggs. 'With two 'G's?' asked the guys. 'Of course, man. You know how this works.'
Eventually we figure that frog probably wasn't as happy about the situation as we were, and we're pretty nice guys, so we let him go. We keep walking around the pond, looking at the plants breathe, and the pine needles on the ground flow. We reached this chain-link fence that has this private school on the other side, and A says 'This is the asshole of the woods', to which J replies 'No, that's Maine!' at which we all had a jolly good laugh. We finish our lap around the pond, and J remarks that we wants to go in to wash the slime from the frog off. 'Yeah, get that frog-stank off yo ginja-snaps, kid!' I said, and we all just busted out laughing for a while. When we stopped, J really did go in the water to get the frog-stank off of his gingersnaps, and we made our way back into the meadow.
It started raining again at this point as I recall, and we're just thrilled, because this was what we had really wanted. The rain just comes down on us so heavy and cool, totally refreshing us on an otherwise hot day, and a lot of general ecstatic screaming and back-patting ensued. The sun hides behind the clouds making an intense white light like an old testament god, and we're absolutely gone from reality, and yet experiencing it more fully than ever. Eventually the rain stops, and while we're sad to see it go, we feel like we had accomplished what we were there to do. We'd been out in the woods for about an hour or so by this point, and we decide that we may as well attempt to get the spare set of keys from A's house. We felt fairly in control, although were still tripping hard, so, soaking wet, we make the trek back to the road.
We got to the road, but we had to go down the long way, because the main road would take us right past the cops. We make our way down, and the road appears to me as this flowing river of concrete. I was nervous that I would stumble and get swept away, but it wasn't really moving, of course. We usually make burn runs on this road, as it's long, and potholed, and cops don't usually come down it. We have this thing, where there's this really sharp left turn, that we call 'The Road Less Traveled', and we went down it. The route we're taking is slowly leading us toward a busy road, but it's really pretty unavoidable, so we just took our sweet time about it. We eventually burst back into mainstream civilization, and did our best not to look like we were on shrooms as we crossed the streets, and walked on the sidewalk. I don't know how we made it across town. It was sunny now and everyone was outside. We were having too much fun to care, though.
Eventually we got to A's house, and we sneaked over his back fence and hid in his toolshed, which is full of couches and homemade bongs from when we were still in high school. Now we played the waiting game, while we waited for A's parents to leave so he could 'ninja' in and grab the spare keys. The shed was hot, and felt kind of oppressive, and we were not very comfortable in there. I looked at my arm, and my arm hair looked like black veins covering my forearms and I was worried that something had happened to my blood. I almost lost my shit right there, but the guys told me to shut up and I just looked away from my arms and was okay. I found a clear, green, plastic recorder and started to try to play it, but the other two weren't too thrilled about that either, so I just amused myself by putting it in my mouth and seeing how much of it I could fit in there, which was actually way fun (Pro tip: toys are a great trip asset!). I found a pair of Hunter Thompson-style aviators and put them on, and felt much more secure, now that no one could see my eyes.
After about 5 or so minutes of all this, A's parents did leave, and we could hardly believe our luck! It really was like the universe was helping us out, and wanted us all to have as much fun as possible. A ninja'd into his house and grabbed the keys, and we began the journey back to the woods. I felt so cool in my new sunglasses (A had bought them for a dollar, so he let me keep them), and the walk was pretty uneventful, but I was still having a great time! We eventually made it back up the hill to the woods, and unlocked the car. I had bought all this Polar Orange Dry soda a few weeks before and left in in A's car. It was warm by now, but even warm soda was like the sweetest nectars to our parched tongues at the time, and we were happy to have them.
We elected not to go back into habitat, because the mosquitoes were really out now, so we walked back out the main road and across the street to this new cemetery. It wasn't quite sunset yet, but the sky had turned this amazing shade of purple, and the clouds looks like explosions, frozen in time and suspended in the air. In this moment, I was so struck by the beauty and majesty of the natural world, that I could swear I felt something 'other' inside me, and I realized that I had always believed in God, but that I had been denying it for about 7 years. I turned to the fellows and said, 'Hey guys, I just want to let you know I believe in a god'. They both giggled, a little uncomfortably it seemed, but it didn't bother me. This was a part of my being, and I had put it out there, and that was all I could do really; you can't force people to believe in something.
We walked around for a while, and got to the far corner of the graveyard when it happened. A police van drove up the road and saw us, and decided to veer in and check us out. This made us all nervous, because there was no denying that they were coming to see what we, a trio of wet 19 year olds, were doing in a cemetery on a spring day. We all did a 'pupil check' on each other, and were surprised to find that we were not dilated. So, one of us got the idea, since we were coming down from the shrooms, and didn't look like we were tripping, to just walk TOWARDS the van as it approached us, to show that we had nothing to hide. So we did, and the cops inside looked at us suspiciously, but I just smiled at them and kept walking. I didn't even feel any hate for them, like I normally would.
We exited the cemetery, and decided to go into the other side of the woods, which was on the same side of the road as us, as a car could not enter this section. We walked down this path, flanked by giant, pillar-like trees, and I remarked that it was like being in Rivendell, or Lothlorien (we all love Lord of The Rings, in case you hadn't figured it out), and we had a nice stroll through the trees, and felt very elvish indeed. We were definitely on our way down from the trip, but the comedown and afterglow of the shroom trip is a wonderful and serene thing, and I felt like we had always lived in the forest, it felt so natural.
We burst back out onto the road, and although there was a large beautiful meadow before us, we elected to keep walking down the road, to get to a specific pond in front of the mental hospital. The visuals had mostly stopped, but there was this golden sort of haze over reality, and colors were remarkably vivid. I remember walking in front of this house, and seeing all this mulch in their garden, and it was just so fucking RED. I literally stopped and just stared at it. Then we heard these weird noises. Startled, we looked up, and beyond the gates of the hospital, there was this girl with black hair sitting there on the grass with this unbelievably sad expression. It kind of got to all of us, but J most of all. He's told me that he felt like he could feel the same emotions as her, and that he was just horribly sad about seeing her. I felt bad that we were looking at this crazy girl like she was circus sideshow, and that it was the wrong thing to look at during a trip, so we turned around without ever hanging around the pond.
It got darker as we went back up the elvish path, and by the time we reached the car, it was essentially night, and we were almost sober. As A unlocked his car again, a car drove up, and we were delighted to see our friend P, who had come up to smoke a joint. We told him about our day in brief, and told him to follow us back to A's shed, where we would all smoke and tell tales. Our other friends B and F, two musicians, stopped by and after we were all suitably high, they played their guitars and sang songs for us which was great. I remarked that all we had eaten that day was mushrooms and orange soda, and we decided to drive to Harvard Square to get some burritos.
When we got there, we parked, but before we could get to the restaurant, this stylish black guy came up to us and started to read some of his poetry to us. The weed had sort of lightly resurrected the shrooms for me, and I was struggling to understand this guy, and also not to laugh, because I knew he was serious, and didn't want to offend him. He finally finished, and we thanked him for his unsolicited poetry jam, and finally made our way into Felipe's for our Hero's Feast. And so the day ended, with us feeling like kings. I've done shrooms three times since then, and only one comes close to being as important in my life, but that's another story. Dear reader, I cannot recommend shrooming in the summer rain enough. If you can arrange it, do it, because it's the most beautiful way to experience water.
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