Citation: MindLens. "Joyous Union: An Experience with LSD, Nitrous Oxide, Cannabis & Diazepam (exp91993)". Erowid.org. Nov 30, 2011. erowid.org/exp/91993
Prior entheogen experience: modest– 3x LSD, 15x Psilocybin mushrooms, 1x Ketamine, 1x N,N-DMT (breakthrough), 5xN,N-DMT (sub-breakthrough, still strongly visual), 3x Ayahuasca, 12x MDMA, 1x Mescaline cactus, 1x 2C-B, 4x Salvia
Rx meds: mesalamine (timed release); OTC: multivitamin, 5-HTP (100mg/day for the past 8 days: safety measure from the previous week’s MDMA experience), various micronutrients, glucosamine sulfate
Worldview: in flux; years of mostly-materialist agnosticism beginning to feel stale/insufficient. “Out like a light” view of death fading in certainty, more interest in cosmology and new views of the structure of reality. Background in Zen meditation (simple awareness practice without theological components) with a strong intellectual and intermediate visceral appreciation for “oneness” and the unreality of ego-separation, roughly intermediate student level of practice experience.
Set: Intensely curious with mild apprehension and recent sorrow. The month prior included some unraveling of my recent first experience with smoked N,N-DMT and its worldshattering mysteries. I broke through at the first attempt and despite a great deal of prior reading was completely unprepared for its sheer intensity. This seems to be somewhat par for the course, and having returned fully intact, energized and fascinated by the palpably living quality of our shared/unified reality I was excited to take an LSD tryp with an exploratory purpose – to set my spiritual eye on fire and apprehend some hidden aspects of my own psyche and our universe. I had worked meditatively and introspectively to integrate the DMT bizarreness as fully as I felt able and now it was time for a new lens to continue that work and acquire/generate additional insight. The time was chosen carefully; my work is demanding – requiring focus and rapid processing while multitasking and I didn’t want any “out of phase” period afterwards compromising my obligations or adding pressure to the experience itself.
As the chosen week drew nearer, a piece of shocking news came: a good friend of mine from graduate school had taken his own life – a gentle person whose gruffness was transparently defensive and easily dissolved, a good man with a strong mind and exceptional ability to see value in others. May his transformation be blessed. I gave the next several days over to mourning. After the highest waves of sadness had broken and the day chosen for the tryp was at hand, my first instinct was the protective brain’s reminder: “a recent emotional upheaval is a dangerous time for strong entheogens”. Good advice, generally speaking. But this was also a time of great joy: my upcoming engagement to L, a new family (hers) giving genuine love and acceptance, and being reunited with a sibling and family after years of living far apart. I sat with the conflicting possibilities and came to feel that in a time of huge change, an earnestly sought spiritual voyage could have strong healing and connecting power. I discussed this with my partner, L, and she agreed that it felt right. It was to be her first encounter with LSD and my fourth; I last took LSD roughly 4 years ago.
Setting: Outdoors in a relatively secluded city neighborhood park and in our apartment, decorated and arranged by L in a nest-like configuration with soft comforters, pillows, and drapings, all with rich colors and patterns. Gorgeous day, temperate with abundant sun and a light breeze.
Materials: 3 “double” hits of blotter LSD (which seems to be a reasonably accurate estimate based on past experiences; he said 150 ug/hit was the potency) obtained from a friend with high standards, 14 8g cartridges of Nitrous Oxide with dispenser unit, and some “bubble” hashish from the same friend.
T+0:00: Having returned from family visiting, L and I take the LSD – 2 double hits for me, 1 for her. She wants a moderately visual experience with most of her rationality intact, not a bad way to get familiar with a very new molecule. We clean ourselves and tidy our space while we await the first effects.
T+0:30: Unmistakable body sensations reach a point of balance, buzzing and humming feeling of energetic activation, subtle deepening of colors. We sit on the couch leaning against one another and pick through some music, settling on Van Morrison for the sweetness and slightly hilarious vocal affectations.
T+1:00: I stand to go to the bathroom, feeling different, more careful and aware of my movements. Enter the bathroom, check eyes: pretty wide, about 70% dilated. Watching my arms as I urinate I notice dark patterns weaving themselves across my skin. I remain in the bathroom for several extra minutes watching the interplay of symbols: they are large, spanning several inches each and connect and flow into each other. I am shirtless so I look in the mirror to see them spread onto my chest, up my neck and into my face. They are power symbols, reflecting my duty and capacity for healing and teaching (I am a doctor so this directly addresses one of my primary life missions). I return and tell L a bit about what I’m seeing as her tryp is slower to arrive, hoping this strong positivity will calm her mild anxiety and beneficially influence her experience. She is glad for me.
T+1:30: L suggests we head outside as the daylight is just starting to fade and we had planned to experience full daylight, sunset, and darkness during our experience. We walk slowly to the nearby park, delayed by my periodic desire to admire the wonderful array of plants our neighborhood offers: old trees, huge flowering bushes, grass and clover, etc. The plants rhythmically move and sway before me (not moved by wind) and seem to vibrate.
T+1:45: We succeed in our 5-block walk and arrive at the park. One end has families and dogs; I am drawn to their vividly living presences but know better than to allow myself to be seen in this mode of being. Brief reflections on the sad cultural state that demonizes such a useful, meaningful tool and leads us to mistrust strangers in general. We walk to a quiet corner and lay out a blanket to rest on. Looking up at the sky, the clouds form growing skeleton-pinwheel shapes that emanate outwards and dissipate in the glowing blue background. Lightly colored transparent beams connect like widely spaced latitude and longitude markings. Imagining the impossible distances beyond that blueness is exciting but taxing to the brain in this slightly fuzzy headspace. We remain until sunset; I am enthralled by the play of colors, especially the aliveness of the firey pinks and reds. L is somewhat disappointed in the lack of a stronger visual component; I feel responsible as the more experienced person for having helped her to choose a dose that may have been too low, but her occasional difficulties with depression have made me very cautious and protective of her mental well-being and I try to gently remind her of this need for safe experimentation.
T+2:30: We return home and L immediately suggests changing the living room into a more nest-like configuration. She is feeling ancient, primal energies and wants to encourage them to unfold within her. I help at first but her eye is keener and each layout choice has a purpose that is much more hers than mine. I retreat to the nearby couch and page through a recently-acquired copy of Alex Grey’s “Transfigurations”. The “Psychic Energy System” painting is especially alive for me now, with radiant electricity emanating from the body surface and lines of intertwining life-energy suffusing its internal structures. I feel rapturously grateful to share this precise and delicate anatomy and picture my various bodily systems fully enmeshed, working with and for one another, perhaps feeding and interacting with phenomena we have only minimally understood as a species.
T+3:00: Nest complete, we remove most of our clothing- the freedom is wonderful. We lie upon the soft space L has created and turn most of the electric lights off in favor of large candles. I initially question the wisdom of open flames but we give it a try and it turns out beautifully. The half-dimness increases the intensity of the bright, patterned visuals and prompts me to close my eyes in earnest. I am lost in a sea of intricate, bright geometric patterns that spin, twirl, and re-arrange themselves rapidly. The detail is exquisite and so small that I can barely make out the finest shapes within shapes. L and I experiment with various cuddling/relaxing positions and each brings its own body-taste-feeling. L suggests playing a recording of an accompanied female chanting – many “Om” syllables with a tone of protection and purification. I am mildly dubious but each of L’s decisions so far has been just perfect for the experience and so I agree. I reflect that she is very patient to conduct these negotiations with me when she has had such clearly brilliant ideas. The chanting is perfect: the right frequencies, the right volume, the right mix of words and power-sounds, and a new type of sacred feeling permeates our space.
T+4:00: Visuals intensify, with closed eye patterns becoming a sea of interlocking blue and yellow and green and white eyes. I can’t help but feel that this is a response to having recently encountered Alex Grey’s work and as I have this thought the eyes catch fire and move upward, upward to congeal into a radiant crystal unfolding and vibrating with shifting colors and light. It feels as though the crystal has many, many projections into other states/people/dimensions (this characterizes the primary closed-eye visual theme for the rest of the tryp, with many variations). I feel deep self-love at finding such a beautiful image in my mind and this love transforms into a love for the cosmic reality that has manifested itself in my temporary form/container. I share a few of these thoughts with L and she provides lovely reflections mixed with her own insight and experience of reality. I look at L’s mostly nude body and experience a renewed appreciation for its perfect assembly of shapes and lines, textures and depths. I share in the sense of primal power and perfect structure when I look at my own body, contracting muscles to watch tendons slide, tracing veins and feeling the pulse of my arteries, all imbued with sacred symbolic pattern-images.
T+4:30: L has been very quiet for some minutes, eyes closed with an appearance of serene introspection. She begins to cry gently and softly, mostly with silent tears and the occasional more forceful exhalation. I take her hand tentatively and she responds with firmer pressure, communicating that she is alright, that the things she feels are handleable and for her. Her eyes open and we embrace. She has explored some difficult inner places and found her own strength, resilience, and power-qualities: love, drive, passion, cheerfulness, supportiveness. She is joyous. I feel the time has come to add some nitrous oxide to the tryp; having only once combined it with a “true” entheogen (psilocybin mushrooms) I am very excited to see what LSD will unfold into with this unique potentiator applied. I explain a bit to L about my experience with the combination, gently remind of the need to go slowly at first, and make the preparations. Two cartridges are released into the machine and I sip at first, then inhale deeply as the first rising vibrations are felt as safe and pleasurable. Visual patterning is brighter with open eyes and assumes a more melting/flowing/exploding character. I finish the container and close my eyes with my breath held for about 20 seconds. As I exhale, the intensity continues to build and multiply and I am spiral-sucked into BEING the patterns I see. I taste-feel new extra-corporeal aspects of myself unfolding into unseen realms and churn-blossom into a multi-consciousness shared being, our tendrils embracing with an alien-tinged love anything we can envelop. Collectiveness becomes unity and a certainty that there is only IT and I am a container for a small piece of IT for a small time. There are small fleeting worries of “is this too much?” but I can pull back slightly or push forward into it, like a well trained muscle being contracted and relaxed. This lasts for maybe 10 minutes and variants of this metamorphosis accompany my subsequent inhalations.
T+5:00: L decides she would like to add some nitrous oxide to see if her mild visual effects might intensify. She sips first also but immediately feels ready for more and more, finishing the two-cartridge dose quickly, then lying back. After her exhalation, she arches further backward, not straining but close. Her expression remains calm and deeply aware so I have no concerns for her well-being. Her eyes remain closed for a time and when she opens them she describes what she has seen: a bright, multicolored shifting Celtic-type-knot patterned rope twisting upward toward a glowing white light, pulling her towards its radiant center with near orgasmic intensity of connectedness. Her energy is palpably sacred and deeply respectful and my love for her flares at her capacity to experience such profound connection. She immediately begins tidying and organizing the used canisters which we have scattered throughout our nest. She does this with reverence and no sense of external obligation. As she does so, she explains what she has learned: that the combination of nitrous with an entheogen is its true purpose, that to use it recreationally as we have (albeit infrequently) is too far from its full potential to signify appropriate respect. I am struck by the truth of her words and wholeheartedly commit to this new place for a substance I had once used with relative frivolity. She makes a small altar for the dispenser and unused containers and gently enfolds the expended ones in a soft cloth. We continue to talk and share our feelings and thoughts about reality, the nature of ourselves, the meaning of each other in our lives, and what our passing from this life might entail. Again and again I am awed at the depth of intelligence, wisdom, contemplation and feeling in this fellow-human, my sweet-spirited love-partner.
T+6:30: I am so thoroughly engaged by the process of writing, drawing, creating that I can think of little else. My pen is carving into the paper and the ink looks like sheer blackness of the void, dripping around my lines and bleeding slightly through where I let the point linger. It is breathtaking.
T+7:30: L feels the true end of her experience drawing near and requests some valium to help smooth the comedown. I am on it – quickly rushing to obtain and share anything she would like to have. I fail to consider at this point that I am still in full peak and very much want her company for the rest of that intense time. This will dawn on me about 30 minutes later when she begins to exhibit signs of fatigue. At this stage we conduct a brief but immensely powerful death-ritual for my deceased friend. I share and visualize/channel his many admirable qualities, speculate on the lack of self-created meaning that may have contributed to his self-caused end, and affirm my promise to positively connect with and nurture as many living beings as I can.
T+8:00: L is visibly fading and with the dimming light of her consciousness comes a strange pang of fear at being alone for what I anticipate will be 4-6 hours of strong tryp. Especially having just invoked the strong concepts of death by suicide and the difficult memories of such a recently lost friend. I am fully in control of my linguistic faculties so I’m able to emphatically but respectfully request that she summon her full energies, overcome the benzodiazepine avalanche, and stay with me through the coming hours. I see the expected emotions play across her features: concern, annoyance, fatigue, deliberation, and finally resolution. She will try but cannot promise. This is not initially comforting, as I feel the possibility of her involuntarily leaving me for the sleep realm as something neither of us can fully control. I thank her for her intention and take several minutes to sit silently, eyes closed. I feel the fear balloon, crystallize, and I simply surrender to the experience, witnessing it and my thoughts in the manner of quiet awareness practice. This gradually allows the stronger fear to pass although L’s drooping eyes and slumping posture bring some recurrence of anxiety from time to time. I offer a compromise by taking 3mg of valium and a long draw of hashish smoke to try and bring on sleep earlier, knowing inwardly that it will make no difference when my senses are so fully ignited. If anything, the hashish minimally increases and subtly alters the tryp, perhaps adding an edge of slight unease. I try to engage her in conversation which is limitedly successful until, after a second emphatic request to truly awaken if she possibly can, some inner decision is fully made in her mind and it’s like a light is switched back on. We converse in the intensely meaningful ways we had been earlier, talking about her recent outdoor experiences, the friends she made there, the skills and lessons she learned. I am again enthralled by her wisdom and sense of purpose. A light is kindled in me as well and my tryp reclaims its uninhibited, joyous character.
T+8:45: L suggests a ritual bath as a tool of purification and self-discovery, mentioning that it has been useful for her in the past, with no entheogens required. She asks me to choose a color that symbolizes or evokes a meaning for me. I consider for a few minutes, then choose Green. She suggests I prepare the bathroom by arranging its contents in a deliberate way while she assembles items that I can choose from to comprise the bath. She informs me that her role will be a silent one as I make these choices. While I perform the basic setup with a bright green towel in front of the tub, clearing counter space and neatening, providing symmetry and cleanliness, she places items just outside the door’s threshold. She has brought me a large leaf-cluster with a hexagonal inner structure, clusters of small flowers from our earlier nest, a large thin leaf like an oversized quill, a large sprig of fern, two ornamental trays of candles, two eggs from a friend’s yard-chickens, vessels with coarse salt and olive oil, a tall empty vessel, and the altar holding the nitrous dispenser and two cartridges. She sits nude with legs folded underneath her as I spend about 20 minutes choosing from the items and laying them out in a way that attempts to symbolize self-healing, self-knowledge, erosion of fear by direct engagement, and the sanctity of life [some of my arrangement was simply instinctual with the meanings overlaid later; L affirms this strategy as an important feature of many symbolic events]. Tonight is my first experience with self-created ritual and it is immensely assuring and empowering so far. L draws the water while I fill the tall empty vessel partially full of red wine and place it last, within reach of the tub.
T+9:15: I enter the tub, L watching me silently with love and respect as I arrange myself in a position of aware-uprightness balanced with reclining comfort. I am radiantly grateful to her for working so hard to overcome exhaustion and then rebounding into such an awake, teacher-guide state of consciousness. The water feels electric and soothing at once and I experience waves of symbol-meaning as L places the items I have arranged one by one into the tub with me, saving the coarse salt and olive oil for next-to-last. As the globules of oil shimmer and shift in my visual field, she offers me an egg. I take it, marveling at its structural perfection as it withstands my grip, only breaking after I use my thumb to snap a hole into its domed top. I see/feel a living, congealed mass, slip from the broken shell whose crystalline fracture patterns are a lesson encapsulated. The mass at first leads me to see/feel an early-stage embryo sliding through my fingers but I am not disgusted or afraid of this possible truth, simply awed. As it drops into the tub with me I see it is only yolk and let it fall into the hexagonal space at the center of the floating leaf-cluster. L leaves quietly as I contemplate this combination of intricately formed natural elements, pieces of beings so like and unlike myself.
T+9:45: I pour 1/3 of the red wine into the tub, watching the red billows spread downward with a frantic twisting and emanating movement that the LSD creates. Here I make a sign of consecration, fill the nitrous container with the two cartridges and respectfully inhale as deeply as I can. My visual field assumes blue-grey and deep brown color tones with twisting brown stripes forming on the walls, bathroom fixtures, and tub in front of me. These interleave and vibrate furiously but with passion, no malevolence. I close my eyes and feel my inner space open, allowing me to make contact with parts of my body-self, especially the distributed mysterious nexus-network of the immune system. For me this is intensely meaningful, not least because I have an immunological disorder that causes the body to destroy its own tissues in painful and potentially dangerous ways. I have chosen a relatively inactive period of the disease to conduct this journey but it’s always there, and I realize in that moment that it is the source of my earlier fear, a part of myself that literally attacks the rest, an ever-present reminder of my own inevitable death and the potential for much suffering.
I pour the rest of the wine into the tub and willingly embrace that my own blood too will flow out from me if my body wills it so. I shed tears of gratitude and forgiveness as I drain the water, rubbing the essences of the different sacramental items into my skin, feeling the areas and organs worst affected by the disease and forgiving them for the pain I have felt from/through them, thanking them for holding out and continuing to function, blessing them for the time when they can no longer work as they have.
T+10:30: I rinse with a brief shower and dry off, thanking L again for helping to prepare and guide me to such a helpful and meaningful experience. I share the source of my earlier fear and welcome her decision to sleep when it is time. She wants my company and I decide that although I have no capacity for sleep I will stay with her in bed, trypping fiercely in the dark as a test of my newfound courage. She invites me to share one or two more insights from the bath before she sleeps and again I am struck by her compassion and selflessness. She is usually in bed by 9 pm and it is now close to 5 am. She falls asleep as I give her soft touches - small recompense for her immense gifts to me, and to allow myself the comfort of physically connecting with her once more. I feel her pass into unconsciousness and delve into my solitary space knowing that my own decomposition/death is the fear-point and allowing the imagery to reflect that. I see electric bones connected to gossamer wires, twisting and distorting but I feel calm. I turn, eyes open, to look at L’s face and in the darkness I see her forehead crumble away, showing skull then brain, then deep in the brain a blue starlike geometric center, radiating and pulsing softly. It is an intense thing to see but not unpleasant and I expel another burst of gratitude for the hard-won ability to watch quietly and for such a wonderful companion.
T+10:45: The next 5-6 hours are spent admiring the crystalline closed eye visuals, shimmering eyes multiplying and layering, movement through pulsing geometric landscapes, feeling open to vastness. There are brief lapses into sleep, 20-30 minutes at a time but largely my awareness remains sharp.
T+17:00: Awake from a brief sleep-period and prepare for the day. We had planned to meet some friends for a bike ride and although L and I gave ourselves the option to withdraw I feel so energized and desirous of seeing them that I throw myself into preparation. Before long though I am compelled to draw, with ink and paper, some of the more important stylistic/thematic elements of last night’s visual experiences. It is difficult, as I’m not a practiced artist and have very poor penmanship even, but I concentrate and none of my pen-strokes prove to be wrong. I shed a tear or two as I recall the significance and dedicate this first act of visual-art creation in many years to the distributed essence of my deceased friend. I resume packing up bike gear and find L awake, surprising given her brief opportunity for sleep. She wants to join in on the ride which brings elation and thanks for her continued perseverance and sense of intentional togetherness – she has been through a lot and keeps on going for both of us.
I defecate for the first time since the initial hour of the tryp and notice blood. It is an unusual but not unheard of symptom for this level of disease activity and I am grateful for the lack of pain. The bodily self-forgiveness I felt and extended last night remains as I interact with these somewhat-difficult quirks. It is possible the increased activation of my sympathetic nervous system by LSD is the cause of this trouble, but just disrupting the circadian rhythm can exacerbate it, as can emotional stress of the kind I’ve been processing for the past near-week. [Symptoms abated shortly after this episode and remained mostly inactive thereafter; no true flare-up was triggered]
L suggests I consider decorating myself in some way to consecrate the ending stage of the tryp. I still have closed-eye visuals and so I perform a brief nitrous ritual which brings back a heightened sense of sacredness and open eye patterning with slithering, spinning light/dark-circles roaring to life for 10 or so minutes while I decide how to adorn myself. I end up with the fern sprig tucked behind my left ear and two mud-symbols painted on my bare chest and left arm, made from nearby yard-dirt mixed with leftover olive oil and fresh water. I feel power and mercy coursing through my whole being as we finish preparing and leave to meet our friends. [I gave serious consideration to the safety factors involved with a bike ride in my post-tryp state; reflexes and balance felt completely unaffected and my mental clarity was similarly unfazed. I found myself being a bit more cautious than usual, if anything]. All my senses feel heightened and colors remain a bit richer than usual, although on a bright and gorgeous day it can be hard to differentiate. CEVs remain minimally present for another 4 hours. I thank everyone quietly for their presence in my life and feel like a better listener than usual. I have the opportunity to pet two beautiful dogs which I would not always choose to do, but am now thrilled with, feeling their gentle animal spirits that hold such mixed seriousness and silliness, much like myself and all of us.
Blessings to you all, we are one.
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