Lessons from a 9 gram Psilocybin Mushroom trip

“Nature loves courage.” -Terence Mckenna

  1.  In my humble opinion, there is absolutely nothing to fear about mushrooms.  These are benevolent plant teachers, of earth and of the larger galaxy.
  2.  I believe my spiritual readiness, my willingness to do what it took to excavate the demons in my self and to bring my shadow side up to conscious awareness, was fully acknowledged by the spirits that night and rewarded one-hundred fold.  There was a very much conscious entity hovering above my body, who I asked questions and intuited its answers through intuition and energy moving in and out of my heart.
  3. When I came out of it, sitting out on the porch on an overcast, misty night in Southern Jamaica.   I was trying to process the altering of the fabric of space and time that occurred.   I sat in silence with Doreen, completely drained of every last spec of energy in my body, listening to the crashing of the waves a few hundred yards away.  I thought, Jamaicans do it right, there is no need to bring my American chattiness into this moment, we’re so fucken needy.  Trying to put words to what just happened is impossible and it would be missing the beauty of the breeze and the now.  I said to myself in my mind, I think a minor miracle just occurred.  Thank you God, thank you mother spirit.  I just smiled, a real smile, like I haven’t in years, and put my arms up to the sky and slung my head back in gratitude of an arrival, of something, not sure what, but something was either uncovered, or arrived in my life, or came into my being that night.

I swallowed eighteen 0.5 gram psilocybin mushroom capsules, totaling 9 grams, in bunches, in three minute increments over a 25 minute interval.   I paced nervously across the room where another retreat attendee would be laid out on the floor and the four other attendees were laid out on each balcony on both front and back porches to create space.  I nervously pestered the retreat facilitator, Eric “Its gona be ok right?  Its a manageable dose right? OK OK, I’m going to get what I need, that’s all that matters.” More trying to talk myself down than be reassured by him.   In the previous three days we  had discussed all the potential outcomes and pros and cons, risks and rewards involving a high dose.

Roughly 25 minutes after the final capsule was swallowed, I gazed out to the ocean, leaning over the balcony, the attentional command centers in my brain loosened their hold on my usually firm grip on sense perception.  I could sense a glacially slow ceding and releasing of my tightly held anxiety occurring.  The ball of angst began to flow down like snow melt on a glacier into the river below; a river made of the trust of the mushroom spirit.   The mushrooms began to disarm my defenses, cell by cell, atom by atom, it seemed, so gently that it surprised me that I wasn’t more scared as this all-encompassing lightening of my physical body and my mind/consciousness.   I stared out into the yard and surrounding rural Jamaican coastline.  Eric leaned on the balcony overhang next to me, taking in the natural landscape and calibrating to the come-up himself, as he would be dosing at 5 grams as the spotter/facilitator.  I felt suddenly reflective, tender, wistful, the way I feel driving down the highway with the window down listening to Whitney Houston or John Mayer.

Breath became an act I was conscious of, and I immediately appreciated the life force it delivered every second of my life.  “Why do I choose to be so attached to my worry and other people’s baggage? It’s like I am addicted to it, or it gives my life meaning.” I said to Eric, in a low tone, almost conspiratorially, like I was discovering top secret information, careful not to disturb any others as I continued to stare out into the field of grass and shoreline.

I realized I should head back into where I had set up my place on the couch very soon, as the physical effects were setting in and soon the emotional excavation would begin.

“I feel a strong  urge to apologize to everyone close to me in my life right now.  I don’t know if its because of this feeling like an impending moral reckoning is coming or not.  Why do I carry this guilt and shame like a ball and chain?” I said to Eric, before walking inside.

As I laid back on the couch I put my earplugs and eye shades on, Love, love, love, only love, I whispered to myself  within five minutes or so, I could sense a very much conscious and intelligent entity hovering just above my shoulders, chest and head.   I had no visuals, not one visual in my entire experience.  My opinion is that many exaggerate and describe things as “visuals” or “hallucinations” when in reality it is a scene they are constructing in their mind’s eye under the influence of something that magnifies imagination and the imaginal realm.    I immediately intuited it was a earth bound spirit, no intergalactic mother-ship stuff tonight.

Previous nights:

Night 1-  3 grams– We all need a hug!  World leaders and CEO’s who screw people over just need a hug, that’s it man!

I swallowed six 0.5 gram capsules of ground up psilocybin mushroom.   I paced nervously as I went out to the porch as it was around 5:30 pm and the Jamaican Sun was descending over the ocean.  I sat with the others in anxious awaiting of the arrival of the mushroom’s onset. I thought of the quote “The depth and breadth of the rapture of Psilocybin mushrooms is the despair of prose.”  I’m in it now Peter, strap in, we’re doing this.  No turning back now.  I thought of the counsel of someone close to me.

“Is there a scenario in which you don’t go on the retreat?  So what’s the difference if you do it now or in a year from now?  You’re not going to be anymore ready then, than now.”

3 hours into the trip as it was tapering down, Rico and I laid on our backs on the second floor porch, looking up at the stars.

“Without time, there’s no thinking, man.” Rico said.

“You’re right.”  I said, after a relaxed and still quiet of 5 seconds, and exhaled loudly, savoring the breath.

“It’s all perfect, brother.  And it always has been. That stuff with your Dad, its gona sort itself out.” Rico said.

I listened as I focused my attention on this one star that seemed to be shimmering.  300 yards away the waves crashed on the beach. I had my feet up on the railing as I took in a sky dense with star light.

“I can’t remember the last time I gave him a hug. Maybe its just that simple, to ask him to go golfing, just once. He doesn’t need to take psychedelics. ” I said, as tears started to well.

Rico maintained his gaze at the sky.  “Yep.” He said, and we relaxed back into quiet communion with nature, our bodies and this all-enveloping rapture of the present moment.

“He’s just gota know that you love ’em, that’s all that matters, you’re never gona change him, man.  God knows I’m never gona change my dad.”  Rico started to tear up and he laughed.

“That’s it….” I exhaled

“Society is so fucked. ….. People just need a hug. I need a hug.  People inflict pain on others because they are in pain.” I said.

Eric came out to the porch.

“How you guys doing out here?” Eric said, with a wry expression.

“Never been better.” I said.   ” The mushrooms are much more gentle than I expected. ”  Gut straining belly laughs popped out of me with the unpredictability of hiccups after downing a can of ginger ale, for no reason besides sheer childlike joy from being on this ride called life.

Night 3 – 6 gram trip- Intergalactic Mothership Intelligence

I laid back on the grass of the front lawn, put my eye shades on and earplugs in, the stars were beginning to come out but I wanted no part of the nature and awe stuff tonight.  I was ready to dive into the inner work.  The first 30 minutes was a slow and gentle lightening of my physical body and mind, I felt all the anxious thoughts and worry start to drop away, I felt as if a force was pulling on mainly my heart area.   A faint outline of tiny, geometric shapes in the form of letters of an ancient language colored my vision.   There was the alien intelligence that seemed to be coming down to greet me, I couldn’t see it but I could feel it, its the type of thing one can’t really miss.  I felt on the verge of them doing something with my heart, maybe if I had taken a higher dose that night, I would’ve had the full on heart surgery.  Its funny also that I immediately knew it had to do with my heart and an extraction of pain and a rebirth of some sort.  Makes me think that we may have evolved along with these plant teachers and it may be in our DNA to know what they are saying.

I wonder with this experience and with Ayahuasca if these spirits can sense my fear and they have a pre-ordained way of doing things and they sensed that I am not quite ready, that this year has been about initiation and becoming comfortable and trusting of these beings.  I ascended it seemed, I reached a state devoid of thought, where simple breath was pleasurable and the only thing I was responsible for.  If it was not a complete mystical state of union with all things, it was pretty damn close.  After that, the mushroom said basically, OK, you got your bliss and oneness, now sit back, shut up and listen, we got things to teach you.  

This trip was a heartening, inspiring, technical and organizational in it’s forceful call to action. The unmistakable alien like presence had implored me to get my ass in gear and help to upend corporate power structures.  It was a 2 hour lesson in how ego is a human construction, its made up! It’s  bullshit! its synthetic, its like icing on a cake, its sweet but it doesn’t mean anything.   Also that thoughts, emotions, feelings, are all human constructions and we attach meaning to these constructions and then formulate a role and a narrative associated with our life trauma or success and its just a sham.

Every day I wake up I have the ability to create a new reality for myself.   This realization was inspiring in that it frees me up to create more when you realize that society and culture is mostly a self-governing/reinforcing mechanism of conformity.   Society’s organizations try to impose their operating system of words, labels, and roles on you.  Its a random raffle as far as I’m concerned, the words you call me, freak, druggie, artsy, idealist, asshole, shy, awkward, loner, arrogant, hero, awesome, resilient,  it doesn’t matter to me as much anymore because I realize that language constructs our world and my mindset.  By this fact, it means I can construct any world I want, and infer any meaning I want and you can infer any meaning you want to, but its not my meaning and I won’t confuse the two.

Yes I know the architecture of my mind and my life time of programming from culture and school can direct and bias the experience.  In other words, the messages from the spirit can be misinterpreted in that each person will organize the messages based on the operating system they have developed in their brain.   I woke up the morning after the 6 gram trip, ready to take on the world, write 4 books in a year and buy a mansion in California.   (My opinion is that my ego is so strong that the 6 grams was not quite enough to crush it, or to give me a view outside it’s astounding size, gravitational force and orbit.)

A crucial part of this for me, was leaving my cell phone and computer at home for the 7 days I was there.  I was able to read, write in my journal, meditate, exist and become acquainted with these things called thoughts and inhabiting presence that I have forgotten how to do when I am constantly itching for that next hit of dopamine in the text message, on this blog, and in social media.  I felt like I was meeting myself again after being asleep to what is inside me for years and years.  My imagination, general wellness, capacity to feel love, reflect, listen, be present, is enhanced 1000 fold without technology and a cellphone and this merry go round of distraction of media we all get on every day.

In a way, it felt I was visiting sacred, hallowed ground that Psychonauts over the millenia had also been.  It felt like the mushroom was allowing me into some fraternity, at the risk of sounding self-obsessed, (which I can be frequently). This intergalactic seeming intelligence seemed to be greeting me with some fanfare, as it was a special event that a human was visiting their realm to learn from them.  This place has a special location in that its not a location, its outside this realm, dimension, its outside our regular waking consciousness’s conception of space and time.  While I was in the midst of the rapture, I thought, , I wanted to slap hands with Mckenna, Hicks, Stamets, Maria Sabina, the fearless spirit warriors, the revolutionaries who had also visited this realm many times over the years, (Warriors for Peace as I would call them).  It very much had the feel of a call to action, like, Hey Peter, welcome, we have been waiting for you, now will you heed the call, will you take action to help the fate of humanity?

The mushroom continued: Peter, you are enough, you always have been enough, you have just been playing hide and seek with yourself, you deserve a seat at the table. Go get that goddamn seat Pete!  That billionaire, that musician, that actor, they are all born with exactly the same makeup as you.  They got humanity.  The money is nice but it blinds you to the real truth that all status differences in humans are false.  People who control, can learn to control the wealth and power for good.  I remember Eric telling uis in a presentation earlier in the day that Psilocybin Cubensis was nicknamed “the worker’s mushroom.” by the indigenous people of Mexico.   It immediately made sense, it was a technical lesson in seeing the makeup and construction of every organization and institution of society, the mushroom wanted me to see the narrow-minded idealogy of each and every government and organization, yet ironically,  at the same time the mushroom was imploring me to join its own idealogy, like it was urging me to join its team, so it had its own idealogy in a way.  But this mushroom idealogy was so completely egalitarian and recognized the humanity in every living soul. It made logical sense in this way, not just for being charitable but being for the best and highest flourishing of our species and every single soul.   I realized that I had actually started to believe as fact these distinctions of society and that maybe a wealthy banker has more value as a person in a way than a homeless man babbling to himself.  It was LET’S GO PETER, get your credentials or whatever you need, and we’re changing things!  The billionaire is playing a game, he got so good that he became the king of the castle the way a kid is the king of his sand castle. It is a game.  You can learn to play the game Peter.   Energy will flow to you in the form of money and abundance when you are in line with true intention and love.

It felt like an initiation to something very sacred, something timeless, scores of magnitude more important than any other event in my life.  I feel my crown chakra tingling right now as I write this.  Have I been put under a spell by the mushroom, is it now guiding me along?  If it is, I’m damn glad to be under the influence of a spirit who wishes for the flourishing, pleasure and prosperity of all souls everywhere.  Should I listen to what my body and the divine creator is telling me? It seems some times I get hints from my body and it sort of nudges me along or pats on the back when I speak my truth or do something that feels true to my nature- like say, writing a blog singing the praises of psychedelics.

The appeal and tack I am taking, is a simple, I had crippling anxiety and depression, mushrooms are an extremely useful tool for me to help in showing me my capabilities that I have ignored, and the extent to which I create illusions and external problems that attempt to misdirect from the root problem, which is forgetting that I and every single person is a divine miracle and always has been perfection.  I am as conservative and pragmatic as they come.  I had tried antidepressants and found them to be like dulling the blade of my intellect and draining a pool that held a vast array of complex emotions, so I could only wade an inch into the water.  I had anhedonia: a feeling of nothing, lack of ability to feel anything, like I was trapped in a 5 X 5 cell with only one emotion that would repeat over and over: numbness, a lack of any definable feeling.

There was a portion of this trip that dealt directly with the scorn and alienation I feel about people who reject psychedelics and maybe look at me weird for doing it. It was if the mushrooms explained how I can approach the debate with legalization, with more temperance respect and full understanding of the mindset of the opposing side.  They said to me, Here’s how we see it, those people who you deride as the establishment and the rat -racers are just doing what they are told for the most part, you aren’t better than them Peter, and you have been elevating yourself above them and playing this game of condescension like you know about the tree of knowledge.   They are suspicious and deriding of psychedelics because it might unhinge their worldview and they might see stuff they don’t like about themselves.  Have some empathy and patience, that was you not that long ago Peter.  True….. you make a good point. But they need it! They are in pain!  Mushroom spirit: yes and you’ll have a much easier time as you work on yourself, improve the deep and cavernous hole of pain and contradiction in yourself, the others can only see your example and follow, forget the preaching, Peter.  

Night 5-   9 Gram Trip-  Motherly Tree Spirit (Catharsis)

As I settled in, about 40 minutes into the 9 gram trip,  I felt like I was strapped in as if I was mental patient being constrained, but the impending “surgery” or extraction was something I could sense in my heart was going to be extremely beneficial.  I was lit up electrically in every part of my body, although it was startling. I was assured of the sentient, patient presence of this motherly, earthy spirit, it seemed immediately apparent that all my world-beating from the previous 6 gram trip (“I’m gona be rich and I’m gona change the world”) was due for a comeuppance.  I did have alot of pain to excavate, you’re not getting off that easy, the spirit hinted.

Every person in my family appeared in my mind’s eye, as the motherly spirit hovered over me, on me basically.   I could sense she was just patiently, saying You can keep clenching tight and holding onto your pain and be fearful, but I’m right here when you want to release your grip on it and let it go. As time passed, I continued to hold it, but ever so slowly, I felt the trust of the spirit permeating my protective barriers.  I was safe to let it go.   She was protecting me now.   It was an earthy, sort of tree spirit, like in the ground, in the earth, that was the overall texture of the feeling that I sensed was hovering over my body.  Reassuring me that she was with and had my back, and that I could tune and re-charge with her any time I wanted.  Had she began a relationship with me during Ayahuasca 6 months earlier, watching over me this whole time?  Or maybe it was our first encounter and I’m being too presumptuous.

I began to see my limited corner of subjective experience as a part of the greater mosaic of the cosmos.   Perception is a prism and can be altered based on your position at any given moment, it is up to you to decide which corner or edge of the prism you see through.  Being in a body, with a perception, is like an ocean, that thrashes and calms, continues moving forever, but the deep of the ocean stays calm and witnesses the violence up at the surface yet remains still. I was able to view my life and my so-called trauma as more of an objective observer.

I recalled a scene from when I was a Junior in high school.   My coach, during a lacrosse practice, had said, “Peter, are you on LSD or something?” in front of the 50 other kids on the team.  When I had zoned out and been aloof and detached, as was my guarded and defensive demeanor.   The comment didn’t register at a deeper level at the time because of my need to keep myself numb and protected, but in the midst of the mushroom rapture it became apparent how deeply that comment had crushed me and led me to believe in the narrative of me being inferior, undeserving of friends and belonging in high school.

That comment seemed to be the culmination and summation of the boulder of psychic pain I had been carrying since high school.  For the last 10 years, I had been holding onto that pain, I had internalized the belief that I was not deserving of friends and not one of the “cool kids.”   I thought it was other stuff: my parents’ fault, that it was my narcissism, that is was a feeling of being allergic to vulnerability and intimacy.  I realized how I was coveting these kids lives that were the sports stars, for what?  They could be pricks like anyone else and they didn’t look out for the downtrodden, it was more about popularity, insularity and exclusivity.  Also I was so defensive and hurt that I couldn’t give anyone a fair shake because my perception was too warped. They may very well have been OK people.

The trip had a sequential and organized, intelligent arc to it.  I cried for roughly 45 minutes in stops and starts.  The tears poured down my face and onto my shirt and into my ears as I laid on my back.  Some time in the midst of this, I felt these short rod or wire type structures, being slowly pulled out of my face by the spirit. One by one, they came out slowly, the tension or tightness that was stored in my upper cheek muscles was being extracted.  Was the spirit telling me to lighten up my smirks and frowns and smile more?  Lighten up? That I was holding onto the heaviness and strain in my face?

When that concluded, I was guided into how I would help others and help to guide them out of pain and delusion.  I intuited the message it was it telling me was:  you’re going to expose your pain and the depths of sadness you have experienced to others and let them know you want to help pull them out of it.  None of the bragging you did after Ayahuasca, we’re done with that.   You are going to tell your story not to show off but to show others there is a way out.   Be vulnerable, show them your heart and intention and the rest will follow.

Peter, you are going to get out there and help others because this isn’t about you anymore.  The overall intuition I gain from these experience is that the hero’s journey, and the truly enlightened, operate with the shadow side of humanity up at their conscious level.   The true warriors, who sacrifice for others, feel and acknowledge the pain of all people and carry it with them as a weapon in their arsenal to keep standing up to injustice in the world.

At the third stage of the trip, the message was to awaken to the power I hold in my heart and that I have been given a gift and it is up to me how I protect, channel, and distribute my energy to others.   I saw how money is nothing more than a representation of where energy flows and how one can gain it by being aligned energetically with their path and an intention to help others.  Life is a dance of energy and protecting my own energy and the energy of those I love, is sacred.   That protecting my heart, fighting against injustice, those who are suffering, and protecting the people I love, being willing to sacrifice for them and throw down in a fight to the death, is the only thing that matters in life. That bond of blood and brotherhood is what nourishes my heart, fortifies it, reminds me why I was put on this earth: to live for others, to sacrifice, to give every last ounce of what’s in my heart and don’t hold that in for another second that I draw breath.

Money, fame, status and achievement are nice decoration but being willing to lay down your life for your brothers and sisters is the true meaning of life.   The spirit told me I was put on this earth to discover what’s in my heart and help others discover what is in their heart.  THIS ISN”T ABOUT YOU ANYMORE, GET TO WORK. It said.  At the two hour mark of the trip, I had the distinct feeling I received a gift, that a minor miracle had just occurred.  Another seismic shift in the bedrock of my soul had just occurred.  This one went deeper than Ayahuasca, or is it just that it chartered new unexplored territory, a completely different room in the lavish mansion that is human consciousness?  And we’ve only been playing around in one drab bedroom when we live in the Playboy Mansion, ha!   It awakened a belief in the power of my heart and the necessity of being fierce in the battle against evil and negative energies.  There are many dark forces in the spiritual world that I am only now becoming more attuned to in my work this year.  It is not all sunshines and rainbows.   That’s why anyone that seeks to derail the forces of love, unity and, healing, needs to demolished.

Love, a pure intention of compassion for  others is an energetic force, with an actual footprint in air and matter, it can alter reality and energetic protective fields are a real thing.  Just like negative spirits are a real thing with real implications in the physical and spiritual areas.  That night in Jamaica was a crash course in energetic channeling and  people’s energetic boundaries.  I learned that the people I allow into my space affects me as much as the cheeseburgers I eat, the porn I watch, and the dumb-ass repetitive story lined TV shows I watch.   The energy of others can drag you down if your not fit spiritually and fortified with a protective covering and boundary.  Now I might think twice about sleeping with some girl who I don’t know that well, because who knows what kinds of energy is being squandered or exchanged or diluted in me.    I treat my energy, time and attention as sacred, I choose to cultivate an energy and aura of positivity and resilience today and not let anyone in to my space that doesn’t help me strive to be my highest self.

Another insight I had was that we all speak a different language of love and for myself it has been hard to calibrate and find a way to express and receive loving gestures without shame.  I realized that every single person has a way of expressing love differently and some are shameful and for me to take it personally when someone is guarded or cynical, or hurtful, is taking too personally.   I have to meet each person at their level, we’re all at different frequencies on the energetic spectrum.

I don’t consider myself a Psychonaut.  I am someone who is in pain and wants to get better and help those around me get better.   Insights about time and the nature of reality, soul, God, universe, matter are great but I go to these places because I want to BE BETTER.  There is a spirit, an earth bound spirit that has my back, I asked in my head while I was strapped into this energetic ecstasy that at the same time invited me to release the worry and emotional baggage I was holding.  She (or he, or it) has got my back, and now this power comes the responsibility to channel and direct this energy towards good, and healing, and opposing the forces of darkness.

On the night of my first trip, (3 grams), the drum beat of my subconscious kept saying Be better, Be better, Be better, with this air of inadequacy and masochism I have always carried. 

Then took a beat, thought it over, then said no, its just BE….. BE…….BE…

BE the change.  BE the light. Today, right now, this breath, this second.  No more waiting.  No more excuses.

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