I'm an experienced shroomer, indulging once every couple of months for several years now, but I've yet to experience ego-death. In future trips, I'm going to up my dosage a bit, as I feel like I may have a very high tolerance, but this last trip was an amazing experience and certainly my strongest (and strangest) trip to date.
About a month ago, two friends and I (A and S) decided to go shroom-camping at one of California's amazing state parks. This particular park was especially alluring for us, as our campsite was right by the beach, but was also very close to mountains, hills, and desert - a perfect cross-section of Californian wilderness. As we were packing up to leave on the three hour drive, my friend S informed me that his friend B was going to be joining us, taking the place of another friend who couldn't make it. I didn't know B at all, but I wasn't worried as I knew A and S very well and I had shroomed enough to feel comfortable with a wildcard. Luckily, as soon as I met B (we picked him up on the way), I liked him immediately, and we arrived at the campground in high spirits.
We arrived in the very early afternoon, and after we had struck camp, A set about dividing up the shrooms - an eighth per person - onto four peanut butter sandwiches. We decided to eat the sandwiches as we walked, and struck off towards the beach with our food, water, light backpacks, and some OJ and raspberries to bump up the trip strength.
We arrived at the beach and began heading north with the ocean on our left and enormous cliffs and rock formations on our right. We had planned to go swimming, but a park ranger warned us that two great whites had been seen in the area, and that settled the matter for us, although we would end up wading in some miles later.
We had all taken our dose within about ten minutes and we were a good way up the beach. The tide was low, and S did a great job of checking the tables to make sure that we wouldn't be swept away by high tide while we were on our trip. We walked for a good forty-five minutes and we all began to feel giddy, but we had remarked to each other that we didn't feel like the high was advancing. It was actually the slowest I've ever come up on shrooms, which is odd because I made sure my stomach was completely empty for about eight hours beforehand. Still, we were all feeling a great body high, and we took our time meandering through the tide pools, examining the creatures left behind, talking and laughing. We decided to take a break in a cove and S suggested that we smoke a bowl to accelerate the high. Everyone took one big hit and the effect was INSTANTANEOUS! I remember A remarking, "oh, we're shrooming now" and I nearly collapsed in a fit of laughter because I thought it was so funny.
Up and up and up we went, the high coming on really fast now, but it wasn't uncomfortable or scary (yet). I started to get some very strong visuals off of the water and the wet sand. Colors were incredibly vibrant; the greens of the algae and plant life, the blues and browns of the water, the red and white of the rock. We all spread out a bit on a sand bar just about fifty feet north of the cove. I was staring at the sand crabs, which were scurrying out of the way of the surf, A was doing tai-chi forms with his shirt off, S was standing on an outcropping of rock with his arms raised over the ocean as if commanding the waves, and B was sitting on a small rock talking to himself and laughing hysterically.
I was completely enraptured by the sand crabs, and my visuals were getting stronger, so I tore myself away because I was curious how the others were doing. I then discovered I was completely alone! I saw everyone's footprints headed north and I began walking after them. As I rounded the next cove, the beach opened up in to a HUGE open expanse of sand, flanked by an amazing wall of sheer white rock on the right, probably a hundred feet high. My jaw absolutely dropped and I fell to my knees looking up at the wall. It was so beautiful and seemed almost intentionally placed there. I nearly cried I was so overwhelmed. I stood back up and trotted over to the wall, where B and S were sitting underneath staring up at the top. I glanced to my left and A was sprinting up and down the beach like a goddamn gazelle.
I went to an unoccupied section of the wall and, after examining it thoroughly, I laid down on my back and propped up my head with my backpack so I could look out at the ocean. It was then that I began to peak, and it wasn't all pleasant. I began to feel very nauseous, as I sometimes do after eating shrooms, but I calmed myself down, let the feeling pass and it went without incident. Next, believe it or not, I had what I can only describe as a full body orgasm. There was no sexual component and my body didn't have any sort of physical reaction (if you know what I mean), but I DID experience a sensation like I came for a few minutes straight, and then that feeling spread all through my body for what I estimate was another five minutes or so, but since my perception of time was pretty skewed at that juncture, I can't really be sure. Yes, it was really, really cool.
After the sensation faded, I went into a dark place mentally, suddenly overcome by worry and on the verge of panic, for no discernible reason whatsoever. This actually usually happens to me if I come up too quickly, and I enjoy the challenge of conquering my own panic. So, I talked to myself calmly, told myself the feeling would pass, and it did! I was back on top and STILL peaking. By this point, the visuals I was getting were very strong; the sand on the beach had all turned a very appealing shade of light blue, and when I looked at the horizon, the sky and the sand were indistinguishable from one another. I started walking down the beach, elated and drinking in every visual stimulus I could. The sand on my feet and the wind in my face felt phenomenally cool and relaxed my entire body. I noticed a dark blue speck on the horizon some hundred yards distant, but I assumed it was a visual and ignored it for the time being. As I headed further up the beach, however, I noticed the object grew more and more distinct. I stopped about fifty feet away when I could finally distinguish it from the visuals swirling around: it was a mural of an eye, painted on the end of a concrete retaining wall that ran the length of the next section of beach. It was painted in shades of all blue, and I was understandably hooked. The artist was very talented; the eye was quite realistic and there were some dim shapes on the inside that appeared to be bookcases, desks, and chairs. I wanted to be sucked inside of that world with every fiber of my being. I imagined it was some extra-dimensional gateway to a hall of great learning. For anyone who has ever played the game "MYST" or "Riven", I felt as though I was inside of that world. As I approached the eye, it pulsed and quivered, beckoning me further. I approached at a slow, steady gait, the eye pulsing and now rippling in time to the beat of my heart. I stretched out my arm as I came closer and closer, the eye still pulsing steadily, but when I finally reached out to touch it, I came back to reality and felt only the cool of the concrete wall. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed, but that's exactly when I heard something tell me that I wasn't ready for that world. Perhaps, "heard" isn't the right word, but rather "knew"; it was as if some being had instantaneously imparted knowledge to me that I immediately understood. As I pulled myself away from the wall, my visuals began to fade, the colors no longer meshing together (although they were still quite vibrant) and I felt the trip begin to focus inwardly.
I followed the wall down to the very end of the beach, marked by an impassable cove and a small cave where others had scrawled messages on the walls in chalk. During my walk, I became distinctly aware that I was becoming disconected from my body; I could see and hear, but my senses were dulled. I was driving a body. I was the ghost in the machine and "I" was quite clearly a separate entity from this living, breathing organism. I sat down in the cave and began to contemplate what, exactly, this meant, when S and A walked up to me. B was no where in sight and I asked what had happened to him. "He climbed up one of the smaller cliffs," A said. S and A set about exploring the caves and the cove a bit more, apparently looking for a way around, when I suddenly got the overwhelming urge to climb up the steep hill that flanked the beach. With A and S now out of sight, I set to climbing the hill with vigor, quickly ascending. It was a tricky climb. The hill was at a roughly forty-five degree angle and went up at least one hundred and fifty feet, all gravel and loose clay. I slipped and slided and strained hard, but I was intrigued to note that while I could hear my body breathing heavily and straining with effort, I was utterly detached from feeling any of the effort. I had issued a command to my body, and it carried it out.
I eventually reached the top of the hill and a set of train tracks and I could tell that my body needed a break, although I didn't feel any exhaustion or pain, and so I sat for a minute or so to let my body catch its breath. When I was ready I stood up and proceeded to walk north on the train tracks. As I walked, I became gradually aware of another presence within myself. It didn't say anything, but it was undeniably there. I became more and more aware of its presence until I had the sensation that it and I were sitting in my body, not speaking, just taking my body for a ride, the two ghosts in the machine. I had absolutely no idea what it was and, curious, I asked what it was out loud.
"Hello. What are you? Who are you?"
Nothing. My body kept up a steady pace along the tracks, my steps as regular and metered as my heartbeat. We walked some way in silence and I thought I would try again.
"You're trespassing!" I joked. "No free rides!" Still nothing. It just sat there, next to me, mute and mysterious. Still I pressed on.
"Are you me?" I asked. "Are you a part of me?" Silence. I visualized this strange being as a small ball of some dark alien material, hovering, and completely unresponsive to any stimuli.
"I think you are me." I carried on. "Well, perhaps not, ME, per-say, but I am my consciousness and you are my 'self.'" No reaction.
I continued to talk, out loud, to this entity about everything I could think of, undeterred by its apparent total lack of ability to communicate. I soliloquized at length about the existence of God, the nature of the universe, the nature of "being," and so on. I had the fleeting feeling that this being wanted me to do so, to discover the answers on my own, or at least think about them. There were very brief flashes of great understanding, and at those moments I had a look into the depths of this thing. I realized that this was something eternal, vastly powerful, and in utter harmony with the universe. I realized that I, or at least my thinking part, could not possibly understand this being; it was outside of time, above and beyond feeling emotion. My faceless companion through life, always there but never obvious. This was something that epitomized "being." It did not require thought, it simply "was," and it was utterly uninterested (insofar as that emotion can be projected onto a thing like it) in me. Its job, so to speak, was simply existing.
The significance of this discovery was not lost on me, and yet I still talked and talked, first about very philosophical things, then more about the beauty I saw around me as I began to come down from my trip. The sun was low in the sky, and the shrooms were doing a marvelous job in proving me with the most beautiful sunset I have ever seen, with the vibrant pinks, purples, reds, and oranges accentuated to a degree I had trouble believing. As the sun set, I told my companion it was time to head back toward camp, and pretended that it agreed with me. I talked and talked, about what I don't remember, until night began to fall and all was shrouded in darkness and moonlight. As I headed further and further south along the tracks toward camp, I began to feel tired and sore, a sure sign that I was returning to my connection with my body. I was still aware of the being, although its presence was becoming harder and harder to detect. Still, walking along the tracks in almost total darkness, alone with only my mysterious companion, I was utterly content. It was an amazing feeling, and one that I hope to experience again.
By about eight PM I had reached a large railroad trestle that was close to our campsite, and I climbed down a path on a nearby hill and reentered the campgrounds. My companion's presence was now completely gone, but I still had a good body high, and I reached our tent feeling exhausted, but very happy. S, B, and A were already there, and were coming down as well. They were beginning to worry about me and were relieved that I had made it back. I told them some of the early parts of my story, and they told me theirs as well, but I lacked the words to adequately describe the second part of my trip to them, and so I didn't say much about my experience to them.
I am an agnostic concerning the existence of "God" and I have many doubts and questions about the soul, but I do think I honestly was afforded a glimpse at my true self, the part of me that just "is." It's rather difficult to explain. Next time I trip, I hope I can go a little deeper. Our normal perception is very limited, and who's to say what the truth is about ourselves?