I became interested in shrooms after experimenting with MDMA and LSD. Seeming to be less toxic and usually a heavy focus in Terence McKenna YouTube lectures, I decided I'd give it a shot. To date, I had tripped four times on LSD (2 hits, 3 hits, 3 hits, 4hits) so I considered myself somewhat experienced as I was absolutely comfortable on all of those trips. I decided, however, it would be best to avoid the late Mr. McKenna's advice to eat 5 grams alone in silent darkness. No, instead I had my ex-girlfriend (who is coincidentally my best friend) babysit me as have often times done for each other in various other circumstances. Throughout this tale, she'll be known simply as Mustard.
I ate the 4 grams straight out of the bag at about 12:30 in the afternoon; they tasted like mushrooms. Nothing to complain about as far as I was concerned. The spores weren't particularly my favorite but c'est la vie. I savored the experience and felt a connectedness to the mushrooms. After 15 or 20 minutes I was feeling antsy. I've had intestinal surgery so things tend to enter my system faster than most people, however I believe at this point it was just nerves or some sort of feedback from my fungal friend inside yelling back to let me know the door was open. Regardless, I decided that to pass the time in coming up, I'd take a shower. A nice, warm, soothing, cleansing shower. It was one of the best showers I've ever taken. It felt so good to just stand there and let the hot water pummel me, as my skin fought back exploding every drop on impact. I had no will to leave this shower space.
I thought about the things I was afraid might happen and made an effort to acknowledge my fears and why I hold them. Even though I regularly identify as an atheist, I strangely felt that a prayer was appropriate. I knelt down in the tub with the shower spraying the back of my head and cascading down my back like a warm flowing cape, grasped my hands together and spoke to the mushroom. I confessed my insignificance and expressed my surrender to what the mushroom had to teach me. I asked it to show me the trip I NEED and not necessarily the trip I WANT. Oh boy, did I get my wish.
By the time I was done with my shower it had been about 45 minutes since I ate the mushrooms. I visited Mustard in the guest bedroom where she was staying. She asked how I felt and suggested if I wanted to maximize the experience to have some orange juice. I decided this would be great in my back yard. So I sat with OJ in hand in my back yard, fidgety and restless as I felt this endless come up. Finally at the one hour point the buzzing in my head had reached a fever pitch. I needed to settle down. Mustard packed a bowl in a bong that some of my best friends made out of a handle of Captain Morgan. The smoking really helped calm my physical anxiety. The next half hour I was simply trying to keep my shit together as I realized that the water I had tread into was pretty deep and I wasn't sure where the bottom was anymore. This was VERY different from the consistent experiences I'd had with LSD. Though I had obvious closed-eye visuals, I was not halucinating otherwise. Once I hit the hour and a half point, I pretty much lost all sense of time, space and self.
It is very difficult to describe the next 1.5-2 hours. You know how when you have a discussion with yourself in your head? When you think something and then you hear yourself respond back, a voice/perspective/persona distinct from the one in which you were just thinking, and then the two voices of you have a conversation back and forth? Well this was like that except they didn't talk back and forth. No, each response was a distinct new voice superimposed over the last question. This repeated again and again endlessly until the stack of voices in my mind was so far removed from myself that I had no clue who or what I was. I had a memory of philosophy class in college talking about Cartesian doubt and I said aloud to myself "the only thing I can be sure of is that I am a thing that thinks."
In this state of dissolve, I felt like someone was digging through my brain. Flashes of memories of things I didn't want to remember came back. A girl I had been in love with had simply walked out the door and ran away to another state and left me with a great deal of emotional pain that I'd been refusing to acknowledge under the delusion that we would get back together. "No," I heard Terence McKenna's voice call out as I made a feeble attempt to avoid this realization. "No," he said, "you have to understand that this is here and why you keep it." The wave of emotional pain and hurt was crushing; unbearable. My body couldn't cry hard enough to express the twisting and tearing I felt inside. More than a year before that, my ex had gotten pregnant and she decided to get an abortion. Suddenly all of those feelings rehashed as well. While for the most part these memories and feelings were exponentially more profound that my sober states of emotion, I found I was VERY susceptible to suggestion. My mood, as intense as it was, was very fickle. Mustard appeared and put on a happy song and suddenly the world was a good and happy place. Then the voices would drag out more painful memories, dark revelations and negative feelings and it would go right back. For the duration of the peak, it was pretty much me trying to get some semblance of control over my mood through the extremely difficult task of selecting happy things on YouTube to watch on my iPhone. After a while, the mushroom decided to scale it back a little bit and I was able to focus and ponder those deep and crazy things you ponder on a trip. I realized that The Dragon (who is a lovely connifer growing in my back yard whose shape consistently gives me halucinations of a large Chinese dragon whose face is partially shrouded in smoke) was also the same spirit as my dog.
At about 3:30, as the peak was wearing down and I felt a sense of self again and like I could move from the chair in my back yard where I'd been planted, I decided I'd go visit Mustard and tell her about some of the craziness as she was dying to hear my thoughts out loud (though I was unable to talk about the specifics of my sadness because I knew vocalizing it would bring it back). My dog came into the room and up on the bed and leaned against me. It was very obvious to me now how he and The Dragon are the same; my dog's favorite thing to do is lay in the dirt in front of that tree, roll around so he gets lots of sap stuck in his fur and lay in the sunshine. My sense of my dog was entirely new; he is frightening to be around on LSD because he's a bit goofy looking and his teeth show a lot and yet he seemed natural and benevolent on shrooms. He felt like an eternal companion whose roll was nebulous and whatever I needed him to be. Fatherly, something to stand tall and let me hold onto when lost; brotherly, fun and looking to get into trouble with me; at times he even seemed like someone to whom I was expressing charity and helping. It was strange to say the least, but it was very pleasant.
Mustard played music off her laptop and it was a happy mix. I was glad she was in charge of that because I'd have put on music that I know would have taken me back to darker places. She always wears interesting shirts when around psychonauts; today was a white shirt where she cut her own V neck line and drew a few odd little geometric characters (a cube with a corner missing and two stick feet... things like that) in random places on it. As I looked at it, I could see writing as if the shirt said something that years of Clorox have worn away. The more I looked at it, the more obvious it became that there was something that had either faded or was on the under-side of the shirt but I couldn't read it. She assured me it had always been a plain white shirt and she had only gotten it and cut it up a few weeks ago. The words multiplied; the letters squeezed and shifted. I knew what I was seeing were words but they changed too fast and I couldn't read them. Or I'd start too but a more interesting word would appear elsewhere and rob my attention. Eventually the letters broke apart and their lines wove together until her t-shirt had become some sort of South American poncho covered in intricate designs with glowing bands of pinks and blues pulsating throughout. The patterns continued all over her body as well.
Her face had yellow, red and brown markings, as if someone had finger-painted on her face the way tribal peoples do in ceremonies on the Discovery Channel. The halucinations grew and grew until she wasn't really Mustard anymore, but a Jungle Princess. The bed we were laying on had a face; it was bright white (the sheet) and it smiled warmly. It LOVED the Jungle Princess, as did the birds and trees I was seeing in the room. It is hard to express the duality of my perception because I was still fully aware that I was in a bedroom and that the bed wasn't really alive and yet I could see and feel these things with no effort; they were just there before my eyes. Mustard, being the infinitely fun and awesome person she is, handed me a set of markers and told me that I could draw the markings I was seeing on her. I was elated but quickly realized that I suck at art (at least with markers). Even so, it was a fun attempt.
Thoughout my time with the Jungle Princess, I still felt as if I could cry intensely at the drop of a hat but I had the Jungle Princess and my dog as safety buffers to keep me in a happy place. The next hour was a smooth, easy and reflective come down to sobriety. The gravity of the realizations I reached on my trip was immense and would require days to process. I probably ended up making that trip more difficult than it needed to be by resisting the shrooms at many points simply because of the uncharted emotional nature of the peak and even though I trust Mustard more than anyone else, I held back on expressing myself in the moment for fear of judgement which was stupid of me (don't wast the trip, people will understand that you're on shrooms). All in all I think that it was slightly unwise of me to do my first trip at 4 grams, however I came away with a LOT learned from the experience. I will back down to 2 or 3 grams to get more familiar with the experience before I explore deeper. I hope you found this helpful.
Note: Mustard suffers from schizophrenia and though she hasn't had an episode in a long time (2 years) I was there for many of them and am very familiar with the effects inside and out. After much discussion and reflection, we determined my peak experience was almost exactly like the schizophrenic episodes she used to suffer from. If you have a trip like this, imagine it happening at random with no input from you, anytime or anyplace. You will gain a new level of compassion for those suffering from that condition.