From a personal stand-point; apart from the usual experimentation one goes through during ones younger years, I am not a regular user of recreational drugs.
However, as a truth seeker, I believe no stone should be left unturned when in pursuit of proof of a non-physical realm.
Therefore, if a drug has the potential to lift the veil on reality, one should at least investigate the possibility before discounting it.
A Personal Experience
I was 24 years old and had just returned to England after four wonderful years travelling the world.
At the time I was living with my best friend Simon. We had just returned from Dublin where we had spent six months working in bars and clubs during the “noughties” property boom. Simon had joined me for my last stint of travel (Ireland). Neither Simon nor myself wanted to return to our home towns as we both found them rather small and confined places. So instead we moved to Shrewsbury (another small and confined place as it turned out).
It was autumn 2001 and we were living in the top floor flat that formed part of an old Georgian building located in the centre of Shrewsbury. I was deeply unhappy. I had stopped travelling and therefore thought I would stop experiencing, or at least experiencing the things I felt I wanted to experience. Instead I had returned to a life that I didn’t want to be living. My father had passed away a few months prior to my decision to travel the world and I had not taken the time to properly mourn his death, instead I had made the decision to escape into adventure. My relationship with my mother was somewhat estranged at the time and my sister was creating her own family. I felt incredibly alone during this time and felt that my life was bleak as I couldn’t see many available choices. The choices I did see, seemed to promise nothing but an impassionate life similar to the ones my parents had lived during their last few years of marriage. I was afraid that I was somehow going to face a similar fate. In order to combat this, I intended to eke out as much fun as I could and this resulted in me working in a bars and clubs and travelling for the majority of my 20’s.
It wasn’t my plan to take psychedelics, the opportunity found me. It was my day off and I was broke, but rather than mope around the flat I suggested to Simon that we go and take a walk in the countryside.
The best thing about living in Shropshire is that you get truly spoilt by the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
So we went for an afternoon walk up a hill called The Wrekin. It was October and although the air was crisp, it was a lovely sunny day. As we ascended the hill, about half way up, Simon spotted some liberty cap mushrooms (Psilocybe semilanceata a.k.a. “Magic” Mushrooms) growing on the grass verge at the side of path.
We started to collect a few. Once our hands were full, we folded up the bottom of our t-shirts to create a collection trough. There were many mushrooms growing along the hill path and we picked a lot. When we got back to the flat we counted over 400 magic mushrooms.
It was early evening by the time we arrived back at the flat. Simon was keen to consume the mushrooms and said they would be at their best (most potent) whilst fresh.
I think it poignant to mention at this point that before coming with me to Dublin, Simon had been homeless for several years. During this time, he had consumed quite a lot of drugs, including magic mushrooms. As he appeared to know what he was talking about and because of his experience; I put my trust in his hands.
We steeped all of the mushrooms we had collected in boiling water for 5 minutes, gently stirring them in a saucepan over a low heat. A few bugs that must have been living in the gills of the mushrooms floated to the surface. We sieved them out as and when we came across them. After a gentle simmer, we poured the liquid into a couple of coffee cups.
The brew tasted disgusting! To say it tasted ‘earthy’ was an understatement, it was like drinking a hot cup of soil.
In order to make it taste a little more palatable, we added some coffee and sugar. This helped ever-so-slightly.
I decided the best method of drinking would be to hold my nose and down the liquid in one go. When I got to the sludge at the bottom of the cup I gagged but managed to keep the liquid down. Simon appeared a lot more gracious in his consumption of the foul tasting brew.
About twenty minutes to half an hour post-consumption, I began to feel quite nauseous and started sweating, particularly the palms of my hands. I was also feeling restless and I needed to move around. I suggested to Simon that we leave the confines of the flat. We went for a walk and got as far as the River Severn, which was a few minutes’ walk away. It was 6:30pm and dark.
I stopped by the river and grabbed onto a steel railing which acted as the barrier between the water’s edge and the towpath. I felt very tired and told Simon I wanted to go back to the flat and sleep. Simon told me in a very serious tone that under no circumstances must I fall asleep. He started to gently rub my shoulders and back. Unlike me, he knew what was coming. Without warning I projectile vomited. It was the most volatile vomiting I have ever experienced. My body had obviously decided that everything that was in my stomach needed to come out as quickly as possible.
During a pause in this violent vomiting, I asked Simon if this was normal. His reply didn’t inspire any comfort.
“Well, technically… I suppose you have just been poisoned.”
I have since found out that 400 mushrooms is a very large dose and do not recommend taking this amount.
A few minutes later, Simon also began to vomit. We purged until there was nothing left to come out.
Once my stomach had stopped spasming, I looked down at the river. It looked different, more alive, somehow more visceral.
My eyes followed the river to the bridge (English Bridge), at which point I had my first hallucination. Instead of the river flowing under the bridge, it appeared to be flowing over the bridge. It didn’t make any sense, but my eyes saw what they saw.
I looked at Simon and his facial appearance looked devilish. There were bumps on his forehead which made him look like he was about to sprout horns.
There were other experiences too: I saw colours and objects in ways I had never experienced before or since. When I looked at myself in the mirror back at the flat, I saw a person that I didn’t know staring back at me. I was completely unrecognizable to myself. It was a weird experience, but not a frightening one.
Time stood still and sped up at the same time. The whole experience lasted for twelve hours but it felt more like two.
Funnily enough, the hallucinations weren’t the most profound result of the experience, it was what happened to me once the hallucinations had finished that had the most profound effect on me.
Towards the end of the experience, I reached a point of complete clarity that I have yet to repeat. So many things about myself and the world began to make sense to me.
As a child I always harboured this morbid belief that I was going to die at the age of 24.
My deceased Uncle (who everyone in my family thought looked uncannily similar to me) died at an early age. I was so frequently told that I looked like him, that by the time I reached my early teens I was convinced I was him, reincarnated.
This thought resurfaced towards the end of my psychedelic experience. Without any effort or thinking on my part, I was given an answer that brought me a great sense of peace. I was given the conclusion (it felt like the decision had been taken out of my hands) that a part of me had just died and it needed to die, and that I now needed to repair myself and the process must begin from that very moment.
The process of repairing took a long time to complete, but I can definitively put a date on the start of the process as that day, and I just so happened to be 24 years old at the time.
Shortly after the experience I started to take control of my life. I stopped working in bars and clubs and instead I started a small t-shirt design business and got re-trained as a Tree Surgeon. I began to decide what I did and didn’t want from life. All of this happened relatively soon after my Psychedelic experience.
Questions & Answers
Q. Was the experience a spiritual one or was it simply a case of changing one’s state of reality through the ingestion of a psychedelic toxin that effected your brain’s bio-chemistry?
A. I don’t know. Would one have to discount a spiritual experience if one’s brain chemistry has been altered? I’m not sure the two are mutually exclusive. Maybe certain plants can act as keys to doorways? For me, the experience concluded as a psychological one rather than a spiritual one.
Q. What do you feel was the reality status of this experience?
A. For certain; I had entered a different realm of reality or an altered state of consciousness if you prefer. I cannot claim to have entered a realm that was ‘more real’ than the realm in which I typically operate. It was just different. But I certainly wouldn’t have reached the sense of clarity that I had if I had not undertaken the experience – of that I am sure.
Q. Would you say you entered a higher state of consciousness?
A. I most definitely entered a different state of consciousness. I cannot claim that state to be either higher or lower than a normal state of consciousness.
Q. Was the experience beneficial?
A. Definitely. I hold that experience as a defining point in my life where I began a journey from unhappiness to contentment. It may not have been the sole reason for the changes that came afterwards, but it definitely acted as a catalyst.