Citation: Electric Circle. "Enter the Herb: An Experience with Cannabis (exp87035)". Erowid.org. Dec 6, 2012. erowid.org/exp/87035
I feel I have to provide some background story to where I am at this point to adequately express my experience with marijuana. Thus, I have divided this into three sections: Introduction, which provides the story and events leading up to my beginning with marijuana, Enter the Herb: which describes my second, but what I consider my first and most intense experience with marijuana, and The Aftermath, which describes how marijuana has affected my life on a grander scale. If you wish to skip the introduction and get to the experience, that’s perfectly fine, but it helps explain my state of mind going into the experience, which I believe to be a vital aspect of the use of any psychoactive.
Some four months before this experience, I was struggling with the question of religion. I have always lived in a Mormon society, but have always perceived myself as lying outside the Mormon circle. Many times throughout my life, I have investigated the church when I find myself at a different level of maturity. From the period of mid-high school to my freshman year of college, I was adamant in resisting religion because I had become fed up with the Mormons. To provide a short explanation about this, the Mormons of my generation are intolerant of different lifestyles and religions, and most will dismiss anybody who argues the complete solidarity of their church.
Well, when a close friend died before my eyes some three months into my freshman year, I entered a period of intense, debilitating grief. I became open to religion again, as I needed something to assure me that there was another life for my friend. I could not cope with the idea that his spirit had dissolved into oblivion, disappearing. I began investigating Christianity (it seemed the best place to start) and compared and contrasted many different sects and faiths. To my credit, I met with some missionaries and heard them out, but I ultimately settled for the Catholic Church. I grew very spiritually involved with the Catholic Church, and after some four months, I made the decision to become a catechumen, who is a “learner” who has made baptism their ultimate goal.
This is where things got messy. I had a good friend from high school, we’ll call her S. Throughout all of high school, I was always very attracted to S but had stupidly chosen to pursue other girls, as S seemed too pious to ever consider with a relationship with a renegade like myself. I took her on a single date after we graduated (same year) and we talked several times on the phone during our first months at college. Of course I was optimistic, especially when we started writing letters to each other. But I was blindsided by the death of my friend, and I dropped off the radar, calling her only once more for her birthday.
I met her at a restaurant where she worked some seven months later just before I became a catechumen, and we instantly reestablished communication. We hit it off, unsurprisingly. She was happy to hear that I had opened myself to religion but, being Mormon, she was unimpressed with my choice of church. Nevertheless, despite my childish prejudice against Mormons and her naive dismissal of all other faiths, we grew closer. Eventually, I drove to her university hours away to see her, and we had a wonderful time. I spilled my heart to her and she said that, as much as she liked me, she couldn’t get involved with me because I could never get her to the temple, a hugely sacred place to Mormons where they can perform baptisms for the dead and be wed eternally. I went home heartbroken but understanding.
Nevertheless, we liked each other a lot. Being open to religion at this point, I decided to investigate the Mormon church one last time, to figure out it was that made S so wonderful. Predictably, I was much more easily persuaded at this point, and I discovered many similarities between the Catholic and Mormon churches that I had not anticipated. From this point on, I was embattled in a dilemma between the two churches. I was determined to conduct my investigation honestly and thus I never made a complete, dedicated decision, a fact that I think ultimately pushed S away. Anyway, I met with missionaries, read the Book of Mormon, went to church with my return missionary roommate, the whole package.
Well, progress with S was frustrating, but I could tell I was slowly winning. Shortly before Christmas, I told her I loved her, and when I went to give her her gift, she told me we had become too involved, and she was afraid of contaminating my investigation into the church. She cut contact (that is, no calling or texting) and we went back to writing letters. I was in a weird period of resentment and attachment from this point, but I continued investigating the church. Ultimately, I was on the verge of making a complete union with the Mormon church, my ambitions in the Catholic church all but abandoned.
At this point of time, I was still completing my semester, but she had finished hers, returning to her parents’ house and significantly cutting the travel distance between us. She came up to see me, my bitterness crumpled like paper, and we spent the rest of the time cuddling, which was much more physical contact than I had had with her up to that point. She came back a few days later, and we became more physically intimate this time. The intensity of the experience indicated to me that I truly loved her, and I was excited about the future. At the same time, she had a tendency to run away when things got too intense, so I was on my guard.
Sure enough, I received a letter a week later, informing me that we were, by all standards, “done.” This came in the middle of finals week, and I botched my last exam as a result, from which I still haven’t resolved my grudge. Anyway, I fought her on it, but she couldn’t be persuaded. So this was the end for S and me.
After a solid five years of one personal or family tragedy after another, I suppose I had been counting on S to be my better tomorrow. I was finally pushed over the edge when that tomorrow never came, and the emotions I had held back in regards to the aforementioned tragedies came crashing down all at once. I had begun a summer semester of college, and I had entered a period of intense depression that I had never experienced. I continued trying to go to church, but it was hopeless. Every time I went, I was on the verge of exploding, so I stopped.
Enter the Herb
The depression lasted some six to eight weeks, and I was desperate to find an outlet. I had smoked weed with some friends once the year before in celebration of my late friend’s birthday, and it was such a great time that my turned there. So I acquired some from a friend and smoked probably four or five hits right after the other. My first experience here was with Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, and in particular, the guitar solo midway through “Time.” The experience with the album was ridiculously powerful, and the solo to Time was an absolutely crushing climax that I can most accurately describe as “making love to the music.” Each note tore through me like the waves of an ocean, and there was only one thought in my mind the entire time: “My God, this solo is about love!” The climax lasted a good two hours, and when I had finished the album, I returned to “Time,” and another Pink Floyd song, “Pigs (Three Different Ones) replaying the soloes alternately over and over, rolling on my bed and laughing, crying, quivering with euphoria.
The experience was completely universal to my entire existence (if that makes any sense.) To clarify, my mind, spirit, and body were all climaxing during this time. My mind was tickled to death by the weird movements in the music, and I have come to recognize this “brain tickling” as tripping. Tripping always makes me laugh because of the alien sensation which comes with it. Tripping is also always a good indicator that whatever I am listening to is quality.
My spirit, best personified by emotions, was completely obliterated, experiencing emotions of awe, completeness, love, gratitude, and connection. This “connection” came in two pathways. The first, was I felt an intense connection to David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s Guitarist. As I listened, I felt that he was baring his soul on the record with clarity and perfection. I felt the connection because, despite the nakedness of his soul in the music, I felt I was the only one who had ever understood it. This sensation I experienced with comparable intensity only with Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks” and The Beatles’ “Within You Without You.”
The second pathway of connection was with three people, S, my cousin R, who is a year younger than me and is one of the very closest people to me, and my sister, T. The connection is difficult to articulate, but it involved a strong, almost insane desire to show these people what I was experiencing, and a link between their souls and mine, one that I felt was astronomically important despite the fact that they were unaware of it. As I described above, the experience was like making love. This was not in the sexual sense, as I am a virgin, but more in the extreme, complete unification between two souls. In this, I understood the term, “making love.” I understood it to be not an ambiguous euphemism for sexual intercourse, but a perfect description of the resulting harmony when two souls are fused together, as they can be in emotionally charged sex. To continue, this feeling of making love was what I experienced with these people. I felt no discomfort in using the term in regards to my family members, as the feeling seemed to supersede social definitions and inadequate descriptions of making love as sexual.
For S, I knew that I was never going to have this experience with her, and that she would never experience the intense, life-altering dimension in which I resided. Nevertheless, I understood that only S’s presence in the world, only her existence was necessary for me to acknowledge her and be with her, and so I was able to bypass the silence between us and make love to her through the music. This was an unbelievable experience that reminded me again of the intensity of the love I had for her. During this time, I perceived God observing my fusion with S and I felt relieved approval. It was as if to say, God had been trying to show me what love meant throughout my entire life and I had finally reached the perfected, flawless love that superseded attachment, jealousy, and even the most heinous betrayals. This was the love that I believed He held for me and wished we as humans would hold for one another. I felt God recede after this approval, as I believed He saw me as having “graduated” and moved on to his other students. With S, I felt that, having achieved perfect love, we could then go our separate ways without hard feelings, wishing only goodness for one another. Thus, S receded also. It was a sad parting, but one without selfishness.
Once the universe S and I had created split like mitotically dividing cells, I looked for a new connection. This I found with my cousin R. It was not as intense an experience, and I believe this to be because R and I are so similar, whereas S and I were radically different. The resulting harmony then, was less of an awe inspiring event than it had been with S. Nevertheless, R’s connection was also with its uniqueness. R had been a drug addict before, and his addiction to heroin and the resulting damage to his life was one of the family tragedies I had spoken of. Here, I felt that I was journeying to a land that R had already seen - a mystical, secluded island in the universe for which there are no maps, no names, and no boundaries. I have since come to call this island Electric Ladyland in reference to Jimi Hendrix’s album of the same name, as I felt it most accurately describes the place where many rock n’ rollers go and often become lost. Anyway, I felt a connection to R here, and I recognized him as a “spirit companion” to myself. I recognized that despite the difference in physical appearance between R and myself, our souls were drawn from the same spring, which had only produced enough “water” (soul) to fill two vessels. As such, making love to R was a celebration of the discovery that we were soul brothers, spirit companions - an innate and inseparable bond. R, interestingly, never receded from my “awareness” as he was truly a part of me that could never be rooted out. Having made this discovery, I turned to analyze my relationship with my one and only sibling, my sister T.
This was by far the strangest part of the trip. Whereas certainty and enlightenment pervaded every aspect of my connection with S and R, my connection to T was a feeling of intense vertigo, as I was assaulted by the greatest “unknowns” in the universe. T was my sister, my flesh and blood. She is the only person on Earth who shares my genetic makeup, so I figured connection would be easily analyzed. However, the opposite happened. T’s unique relation to me was confusing: she had been created from the same base components as me, my father and my mother’s intertwining DNA. Yet, we were so different. The separateness was as vast as male and female. My life had been one of diligence and upheaval, whereas hers had been fast, erratic, encompassing experience of life. I was so disoriented by the fact that we were genetically similar, extremely close, and similar in personality, yet our life experiences had been so radically different. This experience was too strange. I am unable to articulate the feeling, except it is best characterized as the classic double mirror image, where one stands with a mirror behind and in front, and the resulting image spirals infinitely into the atomic scale. This thought was too much for me, and I began to the feel the sensation that my mind was deteriorating in the face of an unanswerable. In an effort to save my brain, I settled. I resigned myself to the fact that my sister and I both exist and given that we are so close, we could only accept the enigmatic nature of our existence towards one another, while never understanding it.
Comfortably Numb - The Aftermath
I felt much better after accepting this, and at last I turned the music down. The music, at this point, was too intense at the concert volume I had played throughout the trip. I drew back from intense music, as listening to it was similar to trying to sprint after a marathon. I switched to Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter,” a perfect change of pace that steadily lured me into sleep.
When I awoke, everything was back to normal. The depression was back, the trip from the night before was nothing but a memory. Of course, I smoked more in the following weeks. I developed an obvious psychological dependence, and music became my outlet. I already preferred classic rock from the 60’s and 70’s, but now I dived into this music. Instead of going on from what had been acknowledged as my favorite bands’ best songs, I bought albums and discovered the true depths of the music movement. Music is and has always been an absolutely vital component in my life, and now I was convinced I had discovered the greatest music in modern history. The highest point in my depression came in a single song, “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. Stoned as hell, the lyrics and mood of the song pierced my soul, but the ultimate moment came during the end guitar solo of that song. It captured my existence and gave it form. It was as intense as my first experience with Dark Side of the Moon, but this time it was the yin to the former’s yang. It was euphoric, but mostly because I somebody else out there had been in the same, dark, comfortably numb place I had been. They had escaped the crushing ruthlessness of life through use of drugs. This felt like salvation. In the weeks following the first experience, I had not used weed to pursue the truth-seeing that characterized the first. I only used it to get lost in the music and dissociate myself from my life.
The turning point happened from the day of my 20th birthday and in the days afterwards. S called me for my birthday, and our conversation was only slightly more than a minute long. This, that she gave me only a minute for all the endless days of emotional ruin, drove me into a rage the rest of the day, in which I was always seconds away from calling her and blowing up. I was disappointed that the perfect love I had felt for her during the weed trip was nowhere to be found, but it was something I could not control. Thankfully, my best friend, M, calmed me down and kept me from conducting such an enraged phone call, which I would undoubtedly regret. (By the way, M is the one who suggested I use music in combination with weed, so he knows all about it.)
I believe this kickstarted my brain somehow, as the next three days saw me become an adult. My philosophy on life drastically shifted, and I realized that adulthood is more a state resulting from the difficulties of life, in which one has to provide their own response to cope, to find enough happiness to keep them alive. As my depression evaporated, my addiction to weed snapped, and my consumption plummeted. After daily use, to where I was stoned as often as I was sober, I think the drop in my consumption disheveled my ability to handle weed. After only casual use, two consecutive times smoking it were both panic attacks, the first of which had me rolling around on my bed, begging God to kill me. Bad trip.
Even without weed, however, I recognized music as the great metaphor for my existence. Previous trips had allowed me to connect with the earth, plants, and animals, and I felt all life was an interconnected phenomenon. I became one of those “college know-it-all hippies” and I opened myself to all interpretations of the anomaly which is life. Islam, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Confucianism, even Aleister Crowley all became conduits of wisdom as I tried to construct my own interpretation of life. I wrote S explaining my crazy summer in a gentle way without accusation, and received a pretty positive reply, letting us part on as good a note as possible. Since then, I’ve been pleasantly surprised in that I’ve come much, much closer to the perfect love for S that I had during my experience, as I want nothing but the very best for her despite the pain she caused me and the fact that I will never be with her.
My hippy lifestyle has continued, and I have begun smoking weed again in moderate doses. However, I am no longer abusing it, as I certainly was during my depression. Now, weed is used as a tool to remove the mental blocks my brain has erected, so that I may discover truths I had not previously known. I have also begun to use weed as an entheogen, experimenting in shamanism. My experiences with weed as an entheogen will be covered at a later time.
In conclusion, weed however you choose to use it. It can be used as a toy, a painkiller (both physical and emotional), or as a valuable tool to experience alternate forms of consciousness. I have experienced all of these, and I don’t discount any of them. As a toy, it is undoubtedly the least fulfilling of these. It’s a good time, certainly, but it also has the potential for a very, very, very bad time. As a painkiller, it has only limited use. I am fully aware that weed itself did not bring me out of my depression, but it did provide me with a way to cope until I could come out of it. That said, I have vowed to never go beyond weed to fight emotional breakdowns. I’ve seen heroin and meth destroy people who were looking to these drugs to save them, and I am thoroughly convinced they have nothing but destruction to offer me.
As a tool to find the truth, it is extremely valuable. It may sound entirely ignorant and stupid, but I believe everybody should be high once. It threw open thousands of windows of perception that I never knew existed. In this regard, however, one must always employ scientific skepticism. Some ideas that you come up with on weed are not enlightened… they are downright retarded. Anyway, besides weed, I am considering future use in psychedelic mushrooms for both the musical aspect and as a spiritual “supplement.”
The one stoner statement I believe I’ve come to find truth in is this: “Between life and death lies peace.” I’ve been dead, and I’ve been alive. In the middle is peace, which takes into account both of these symbiotic natures of life. Who is God? I have no idea. If he exists, I don’t think He’s as simple as any one religion, be it Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam, etc. tries to claim he is. I do believe there is a governing force, however, as I cannot see life as being possible otherwise. For now, my life is dedicated to absorbing all truths from the great, diverse human family. Later, when I’m ready, perhaps I will choose one life to dedicate myself to. But not yet.
The meaning of life? I think it’s whatever you want it to be. You are your own universe.
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