I'd like to share an experience that I
had with p. cubensis which highlights, circles and underlines (with a
dark, zigzagging line) the fact that the potential power of this drug
should never be underestimated. There are many trip reports of this
kind, but nevertheless, I think this tale can serve as a great
example of how not to approach tripping. It shows how very important
set and setting are.
I had been dreaming of growing
mushrooms for well over a decade, but until recently, did not have a
living situation that was conducive to it. Finally, however, I found
myself living alone under my own roof, accountable only to myself. I
was extremely excited about doing this--I had studied the process
over and over throughout the years, and could just imagine picking my
first flush off of my cakes.
The first red flag in this story is the
reason that I was finally on my own: My wife had left me. When you
and your wife separate, and your first response is to decide to grow
mushrooms, even if it is simply the first good opportunity that has
ever presented itself, you know you're probably headed for
trouble--if you're not bullshitting yourself.
Without getting too far off-track,
let's just say that on top of that, a person at work, whom I thought
I could trust at one point, was privy to the fact that I was growing.
This was a woman who literally came into my life the very day my wife
got on the airplane, and sexual undertones surfaced in our
relationship rapidly. Being in a vulnerable spot, my wife having just
left me, there was a bit of a rebound in the making, but I decided
against it, and started to put my foot down on the matter, telling
her ultimately that I had no interest in going there with her. Her
response was to turn on me, and in a really screwed-up act of
emotional blackmail, whipped up some false hysterics and sobbingly
told my boss that I was “angry, unstable, on drugs,” (none of
which was accurate) and growing mushrooms in my closet.
When my boss asked me my side of the
story, I told her that this person was exaggerating and manipulating,
which my boss already suspected--but then my boss specifically asked
me if the part about growing mushrooms was true. My boss is more than
a boss, she is also a personal friend and mentor. I have a lot of
respect for her, and I respect myself, too, so I fessed up. My boss
respected my honesty, expressed her concern that I might be making a
mistake, and left it at that. However, this turn of events really put
a monkey wrench in my plans. I couldn't just let things sit--I was
unwilling to lie or deceive, but I was also not content at all with
my boss knowing that I was proceeding with a plan like growing
mushrooms. Things would not be right between us until I did something
about that. So I decided that I was going to cancel my grow and toss
out my cakes, so that I could tell her with full honesty that I'd
changed my mind. I made an appointment to talk to her the next
morning and went home for the evening to do what I had to do.
It did not escape notice, however, that
I had a few small mushrooms growing on a couple of my cakes. I
decided that I didn't want to make a waste out of all of the time,
energy and money that I'd put into growing. I decided then and there
to harvest what I could, pull out my scale, and see if I had anything
worth dosing on.
It turned out that I had 10 grams of
wet mushrooms on hand--enough for a low-dose trip. I was set to eat
them that very night. Now, as I said, I've studied psilocybin for
years, and at that point, I had tripped twice, with years of
experience with other substances.
My life was basically in pieces at my
feet--wife gone, boss severely disappointed in me, which was
jeopardizing a bright future with the organization, and there was a
histrionic woman at work hell-bent on ruining me just because I
didn't want to feed into her fantasies.
Psychologically, this was a terrible
time to trip. Looking back, I think that in the back of my mind, I
knew that this was a bad trip waiting to happen, and that I actually
wanted it to happen that way, so that the next morning, I could mean
it all the more when I went in to tell my boss that I was through
with this endeavor. Having had difficult experiences too numerous to
count with DXM, and given the low dose of mushrooms I was about to
take, I figured I could handle whatever came my way. However, having
never experienced anything negative from psilocybin, I was totally
unprepared for what can happen when psilocybin draws out all of the
negativity that one has floating around under the surface during such
a difficult and stressful time in life. It was a truly humbling
experience, for which I am actually quite thankful. Now for the
I ran to a nearby store to get some
orange juice to drink--I figured this dose would be small,
borderline, and that it would need all the help it could get. I
didn't really need the OJ to get them down--normally, I hate
mushrooms in food, but I love the way these mushrooms taste, and
thoroughly enjoyed eating my 10 wet grams. I had decided that I would
hang around at home until the trip set in, and that I would then,
somewhat ritualistically, walk to a nearby park to throw all of my PF
cakes into the pond there. I ate the mushrooms at around 9:30 PM.
By 10:00 PM, I could feel the
onset--tingling in my limbs, but even moreso in my torso (Ya like
that? Heh...). For some reason, I tend to really feel this tingling
concentrated in my kidneys when I dose on psilocybin. I went into my
room and wound up laying on the floor. Naturally, this got the
attention of my two dogs, who both came up to me to sniff me and lick
my face. I found this totally hilarious: The way they walked, the
looks they gave me, and the curiosity inherent in their actions. It
also tickled--not just their noses on my skin, mind you, but the
sound of the sniffing itself seemed to tickle my eardrums, my soul
even. It was actually quite overwhelming, and as I gently pushed them
away from me, I rolled onto my back and laughed hysterically. The
distinct lightheadedness of a mushroom trip, unlike that of any other
substance I'd explored, was very obvious. Behind my closed eyelids, I
saw the most powerful CEVs I'd ever witnessed before. I understood
where the classic “psychedelic” imagery used in so many music
videos and pieces of moving psychedelic art had come from--what I saw
struck me as almost stereotypical: Flowing, bubbly liquid fields of
different blending colors, patterns that looked like neon signs, and
some paisley designs that reminded me of shirts I've seen Hendrix
wearing in photos. I laughed at how my visuals seemed to be the
quintessential patterns associated with psychedelic artwork.
Soon, I decided that I was getting too
distracted by the “fireworks”--the admittedly amusing, but
ultimately superficial phenomena associated with a trip. I had always
looked forward to them, but to me, the psycho-spiritual aspects of
trips were always the most interesting and important. I decided to
get down to the work I had set out for myself: I gathered my PF cakes
from their fruiting chamber, bagged them up, grabbed my mp3 player,
and headed out the door to go to the park.
As I walked through the parking lot of
my apartment complex, I saw a big luxury car rolling towards me.
Somehow, I just knew that the person driving it was going to stop,
roll down the window, and want something from me. Sure enough, the
car stopped, the window came down, and a gangster-looking guy stuck
his head out and said something, which I couldn't hear through my
headphones. This made me a bit nervous, but I always give people and
situations the benefit of the doubt, so I just acted casual, pulled
out one of my earphones, and asked the guy to repeat himself. It
turns out the guy was in a hip-hop group, out handing out leaflets
for an upcoming show. I talked to him for a while, listened to his
group's music from his car stereo, and went on my way.
Though it was getting late, I kept
passing people in the parking lot. I felt very self-conscious and
vulnerable--perhaps because I felt as though I could peer so deeply
into things, I automatically assumed that others could see right into
my soul, too. As usual on mushrooms, I was so truly and thoroughly
myself--none of the usual, unconscious pretenses, postures and
stances that we all assume throughout our lives without even
realizing it. It's like I couldn't help but just loosen up and be
authentic--and this made me nervous. I would try to counteract it,
but then I would feel so fake--and I was sure that people who spotted
me would know right away how fake I was being.
Slight paranoia began to set in, and
the fact that I was walking down the street with a bag full of
mycelium didn't really help things. I tried to think of things to say
if a cop happened to stop me and ask me what was in my bag. The utter
silliness of the situation was very apparent to me--how ridiculous of
me to be afraid of the consequences of doing something so brash and
stupid! I reflected on just how impulsive almost all of my actions
that night really were, and decided I had no right to be upset about
it if something bad happened to me. I actually smirked at the
thought, because at the time, the whole thing seemed really humorous.
Mushrooms often do this to me: Bring on a clarity about myself and my
circumstances that is really refreshing. It's usually not without a
good deal of shame or embarrassment that we admit these kinds of
things to ourselves, but when I shroom, it is as natural as breathing
for me to just accept my insights about myself, whether pleasing to
the ego or not. This would actually prove to be the very thing that
brought an otherwise nice trip crashing down around me, but I'm
getting ahead of myself.
Soon, I reached a small bridge that
spanned a section of the pond that narrows considerably. I stood
there for a while, feeling the gentle breeze of a warm, humid night.
Soon, I opened my bag, and just started tossing PF cakes one after
the other into the pond. I made a game out of seeing how far I could
throw them. On the one hand, this seemed like a kind of heresy--after
spending over a month caring for these things, I was now just tossing
them out. But it was also a great release--on a symbolic level, I was
letting go of the burden of dealing with my boss knowing that I was
still growing mushrooms. I wasn't just throwing away these particular
fungi, I was throwing away mushrooms as a whole. When the last cake
flew, my trip immediately came up a notch, and a wave of the most
penetrating, warming euphoria washed over me. It felt so great to
have found the strength to do that, for the sake of being true to
myself, and maintaining my integrity. It's not always easy to be
honest with people, but deception is something I just don't want in
my life. Now I could move forward in a positive direction, having
earned the right fair and square. This wasn't the shrooms
talking--this was genuine, inner contentment of the sort that no drug
can provide--though the effects were certainly enhanced by the
I started walking, this time in a very
slow, casual gait. After a few steps, I stopped and stood, admiring
the view of the pond, which I could see just on the other side of a
swathe of tall grass growing in a shallow portion of the pond. There
were fireflies lighting up here and there, and this set off some
breathtaking visuals. Soon, the entire night sky was lit up in a sort
of strobe effect of ever-changing colors--and yet at the same time,
it was just a normal night sky. It's very hard to describe. I also
started seeing fireflies lighting up to the beat of the music I was
listening to--I decided I was not actually seeing real fireflies, but
that this was almost like a tracer--a hallucination that simply
repeated something I actually had seen, over and over, rhythmically.
This was an amazing peak. It was also
where things started going downhill. I began walking again, and I
felt a strand of spiderweb cross my face. As I reached up to wipe it
off my face with my hand, I realized that that was the exact same
motion I had made countless times before (I like to walk at night). I
felt itches on my leg and scratched them, I glanced up at the stars
or the tree branches looming overhead, I untangled my headphone
cords, all in unconscious, deeply-ingrained motions that I always
make. I felt like some kind of robot, and I also felt like the
biggest fraud in the world. This realization contrasted sharply with
my self-satisfied moment of deep fulfillment just a few minutes
prior--and it was a total buzzkill.
There I was, walking through the park
at night, like I always used to do when I was high. I had last
tripped about 9 months prior, and I was noticing how similar this
trip was to the last one. As I grew these mushrooms, I had imagined
that it was going to be something so different, so new--I had barely
tasted the psilocybin experience before, and was looking forward to
having a ready supply of mushrooms with which to explore it. I had
thought that I would have some kind of life-altering experience, gain
some kind of deep insight of which I am incapable in my sober
state--but what I was getting in that moment was more of the same.
Yes, there were some qualitative differences in my mental state
brought on by the psilocybin, but even these more abstract mental
differences, though more important than the changes in my sense
perception, proved to be superficial alterations, mere window
dressing when compared with the true, inner essence of things. That
inner core of Being was something that no drug could ever change. At
that moment, the realization finally rose, from the depths of my
mind, that I had been carrying an unconscious assumption that
psilocybin would bring about
some fundamental change in my psyche. I had not realized that this
assumption existed, and yet to have it dispelled was something that
shook me deeply. It was a rude awakening.
heard myself thinking, “This is all the same.” And then I asked
myself, “Then why do you feel compelled to repeat it?” At this, I
immediately spiraled into a looping thought pattern of shame at
expecting something different--upset at myself for doing the same
thing I have always done.
was the same. Same park, same nighttime stroll. Same soccer field.
Same garbage can. Same street, same cop car driving down it. As I
crossed into my apartment complex, I crossed the front lawn, which I
normally don't do--I normally enter via the parking lot. The last
time I had crossed the lawn instead, I was tripping. Go figure. Same
fountain. Different sleeping geese, but same goose shit. Same
greenbelt. Same parking lot.
front door and same hallway. Same barking dogs, same frustrated way
of releasing them from their cages. Flopping onto the couch to stare
at the same ceiling. Same life, same me. Same mess.
needed to connect with somebody, but didn't really have anybody to
call so late at night (It was about 11:30 by now). I got on my
computer and signed onto Messenger--another old pattern, one I hadn't
expressed in a long time. Same old buddies I used to talk to. Only
one of them online, asking me what's wrong. I realized that I had no
words for what was going on inside me. There was no way anybody could
understand the real meaning of what I was going through, without
experiencing it themselves. It was all just words. I was frustrated,
and began to cry and tug at my hair.
I decided to get on my cell and call a very old friend from
California. When she answered the phone, I couldn't even speak--my
response was a series of manic pants. There was such anger,
frustration and turmoil welling up from within me, all I could do for
a while was writhe on the couch, grabbing at my skin, wishing I could
tear myself to shreds. My friend kept asking me if I was there, if I
was okay, and I would respond as best I could, with a grunt released
through gritted teeth.
I was able to get words out, and I started to tell her how nothing
mattered, because we were all robots; how I had worked so hard for
two years to better myself, and still my wife left, my job was at
risk, and I still wiped my face the same way I always did when I felt
a cobweb streak across it. To me, all of our actions seemed robotic.
I felt as though there was nothing new or significant that anybody
my thoughts turned to the woman at work who had ratted me out, and I
became manic with rage. I started yelling about her, repeating
phrases over and over at the top of my lungs like an angry toddler.
Entire strings of angry thoughts came out in compound sentences as I
paced frantically through my apartment: “She fainted she fucking
FAINTED she fainted who DOES that is she CRAZY she STOLE 'It's all
good,' how do you STEAL THAT who the fuck does she think she IS?”
(referring to an occasion on which she had decided to kiss me and, as
I pulled away, pretended to fall to the ground and faint. She was a
bit unstable, this woman at work). I punched my refrigerator and drew
blood from my knuckles. I jumped high in the air and stomped. I was
raging against her, but also making fun of her. I was experiencing
fierce anger and intense mirth, simultaneously. I would cry, trailing
into a manic laugh. It was strange, being able to feel two opposite
feelings, so intensely, all at the same time. It was very cathartic.
I realized that all of this was there, beneath the surface, held in
under normal conditions. I yelled about wanting to kill her, to
strangle her, to squeeze her head until it popped. “POP! POP!
POP!,” I yelled before laughing hysterically. This continued for
about an hour, my friend very calmly trying to talk me down over the
telephone. I had a seemingly endless supply of energy to expend. I
just did not get tired, despite all of this activity. My vocal chords
got hoarse, but I just kept yelling.
a while, I managed to calm down. My friend recalled stories of when
we were in high school, all of the antics we got into. She told me
what a good friend I was, that the things I did mattered to her. I
had helped her through a difficult time of her own a few months prior
as well. Eventually, she convinced me that I was a good person, that
life was worth living, that our actions have meaning. We spent
another couple of hours reminiscing before getting off the phone.
how mess up things got, I cannot for the life of my consider this a
“bad trip.” Even while I was so upset and anguished, I was happy
for the experiences. It was good to get all of that crap out of me.
It was a great lesson, too. Never again will I underestimate what
psilocybin can bring out--and now I understand that it doesn't
necessarily matter if I am feeling happy and excited at the moment of
ingestion--if there is crazy shit going on in your life, don't trip.
I sure won't.