The Trip Journal
Greetings Fellow Psychonauts! The purpose of this journal is simple. We all love the crazy topsy-turvy world of awareness expanding perception that is…
But I also feel it is important to respect the truly life-changing, ego-conquering, revelatory and enlightening power of the entheogenic experience. It is because of this respect that I have decided to document my experiences in the realm of consciousness expansion and ego-destruction. While this is certainly entertaining to other psychonauts (everyone loves a good trip report, right? :P haha) the true reason that I have put forth the effort required to reflect on and summarize my thoughts about the trips I have taken is to ensure that my use of hallucinogenic drugs is bringing about a net gain into my life. Psychedelics are a beautiful thing and a useful tool in discovering truths about yourself and the universe, or confronting your problems in your life or with your ideologies and/or spiritual views or even coming to terms with the past and facing the future. But it is all too easy to fall prey to the temptation and seduction and euphoria that these powerful substances can give and lose touch with what should be the true reason for using these drugs in the first place:
To Bring Novelty Into Our Lives And Better Understand Ourselves and Our Place In The Eternal Cosmos!
Or….. At least that’s why I take them
. As most trip reports are, this journal is written in the fashion of anonymity. That is to say, the narrator (SWIM to follow the forum tradition Haha!) and any other individuals involved shall remain anonymous (in case I ever decide to publish under a pseudonym haha!) but will be allotted nicknames before each report. I also believe the sense of anonymity allows for fellow psychonauts to more easily project themselves into the experience and therefore adds to the depth and breadth of content, understanding and empathy conveyed and achieved by the reading. An outline of the trip report structure including details on the content of the various sections follows:
Title: The Title of the trip report (Duh XD!)
Substances: This section is simply a listing of the substance(s) taken and a rough approximation of the dosing times. Dosing parameters, I have come to find, are very influential in determining the nature and potency of the experience. Always know your limits and respect your body! This cannot be overstated! Heavy doses can be very transformative on the psyche and you should never dose heavily unless you feel completely comfortable “plunging down the rabbit hole” so to speak.
Soundtrack: A listing of any pertinent music that was crucial in determining or influencing the set or setting and/or the conclusions drawn from the trip. You should look up the tracks on youtube and play them as you read haha!
Setting: This is where I tell you a little bit about my mind-set going into the trip. I firmly believe it is important to go into a trip with your intentions for the experience already decided. Uncertainty is a big catalyst in bringing about “bad trips” so I set out to understand myself and my reasons for entering the spirit realm (lol!) on this particular occasion.
Set: A summary of the whos, whats, whens, wheres and whys. This is the part where I talk about (in general terms of course) where I was and what I did during the trip to give you an idea of what to expect and to let you know how I felt about the circumstances of the trip setting and their relation to the setting.
Trip Toys: This section is just a short list of any specific objects such as books, movies, interesting knick-knacks or trinkets, whos-its or whats-its or anything else that I wanted to play with while under the influence. Sometimes tangible objects are just to entertain and tease the senses with exotic new stimuli. Other times, they can be very influential in guiding the trip or determining the outcome of times of introspection.
Trip Summary: Need I say what this section entails? I’ll just note that sometimes the reports include sections that were written during the trip and are therefore firsthand, but others (especially those for the heavier dose trips) are written entirely in retrospect during the period of integration and refactoring of the lessons learned and wisdom granted!
Alright! Well, without further adieu, here is an accounting of my explorations into the mind-manifesting universe of entheogens! Enjoy!
One – The Peanut Butter Chocolate Mushroom Smoothie
Substances: This trip was solely a shroom trip. As you may have guessed from the title, I blended myself a delicious mushroom smoothie using 10 grams of dried cubensis (golden caps) and the following recipe:
- Two Generous scoops of Vanilla Ice cream
- Two Generous spoonfuls of chunky Jiffs Peanut
- A large Hershey’s Cookies and Cream Candy Bar
- Two Cups of whole milk
Feel free to try out the recipe! It’s a little heavy and more than a bit rich but the mushroom taste and texture goes well with the chocolate and peanut butter so it’s not at all nauseating (at least for me it wasn’t!) I prepared and ingested the smoothie about 4 hours after eating dinner after the sun had set. I also smoked a few bowls of cannabis throughout the trip. The strain I do not know/cannot recall but it was definitely a top-tier dank and certainly enhanced the visual side of the trip if nothing else.
Sound Track: I listened to various ambient and psychill/goa artists during this trip. One track that sticks out particularly in my memory is the hour-long mix by Entheogenic entitled “Gaia Sophia” and it suited the set/setting and my goals coming into the trip nicely. More on that below….
Set: I decided to take this trip at the peak of an existential crisis in my life. I had recently lost my job due to a stupid mistake I made during a time in my life when I was confused and conflicted about my identity and how I wanted to go about living my life and planning for the future. I needed to rediscover myself and find out what changes I needed to make in order to bring about success and happiness in my life. More of the same of old thing just wasn’t cutting it and so I sought the guidance of my friend Sally-Cybin in resolving my spiritual angst! Most of all I was in search of that sense of over-empowering awe that many, including myself, find on high dose psychedelic voyages; that feeling of intense biophilia and universal interconnectedness that mingles with the breaking down of the ego and the revelation of spiritual mysteries. I wanted to ground myself and plant roots for a prosperous future by blasting off in the hallucinogenic mind-scape haha! With this is mind I set off to ask myself the deep questions and confront my existential isssues.
Setting: This trip was about introspection more than anything else. I had just moved back in with my parents after losing my job and I felt an aura of starting anew; resetting as it were. Some people find it hard to be alone while tripping but for me it is just the opposite. I mean, don’t get me wrong, tripping with friends is a great experience and so is having a planned schedule with events to do (such as go the arcade or an amusement park, see a movie, go out bar-hopping or get in touch with nature) but I also thoroughly enjoy the inward trips. The trips where you ponder questions about yourself and the nature of the universe, tackle ethical dilemmas or attempt to discover a creative solution to problems in your life; Trips where you ask questions of spirituality and ontology. I spent the greater duration of the trip inside listening to music and scouring the internet or picking my brain about the topics mentioned above, but I also journeyed outside to the porch and backyard for a short period during the peak.
Trip Toys: Not too much for this trip. I had a computer with me for internet browsing and my Logitech speakers for ambience. I did interact with my adorable cat (named Voltaire) for about an hour during the trip. I suppose you could call her a trip toy, as it is very entertaining to interact with animals while under the influence of psychedelics. I find that most psychedelics enhance the senses in various ways and so I am able to pick up on and interpret body language more easily. This is predominantly in people but it works well for animals too.
Part 1: Ascension
It was a dreary Thursday afternoon in September. It wasn’t raining during my trip but it had rained throughout the day and so there was a clear ambience of mist and humidity clinging to the air throughout the evening. I ate a filling dinner without any red meat (takes long to digest and can therefore hinder the stomachs ability to break down the also-hard-to-digest cellulose containing that sweet sally-cybin). About two hours later, I begin grinding up the 10 grams of mushrooms using my smiley-faced grinder for kicks and then toss the shredded bits in the blender with the rest of the smoothie ingredients. Set that bitch to “crush”, the highest setting and blend for 10-15 minutes. This will (hopefully) break down the mushroom material small enough so that the solution is not thick with mushroom pulp. I then took the freshly made smoothie to my bedroom and gulp it down while reading a chapter in my current novel, “The Eye of the World” by Robert Jordan. It is the first of a several book-long fantasy series with great effort on the author’s part to convey very vivid details in the imagery and history of the world (similar to Tolkien’s LOTR series). It’s the perfect thing to exercise my imagination and get my mind going in anticipation of the peak.
After I finish the chapter I check the clock… 35 minutes have gone by and I can just feel the beginnings of a large exponential climb to the psychedelic peak of this smoothie-induced trip! At the edge of my awareness I begin to hear a low-pitch hum, almost like chants of Gregorian monks or the intro music to a halo game. I get excited. I know the peak is coming and judging by the urgency of the rise I can tell it is going to be a doozy of a trip! “Just what I need,” I think as I close my eyes and begin to think about the past few months of my life.
Ever since I was 13 years old I have known that I was an atheist. The idea of religion (particularly Christianity) seemed as silly to me as the fairy tales of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny since I was old enough to think logically and ask myself those types of questions. Throughout High School I was always afraid of death and never liked to think or talk about it and never considered the possibility of any form of living or conscious awareness after biological death. I was fine with all of these things until I was about 17-18 years old. (The phrases “Carpe Diem” and “YOLO come to mind” haha!).
Then I went to college. Talk about your eye-opener! I always got great grades throughout high-school. The academic arena came easily to me but I never really put forth any extra effort or pursued large academic goals. I was more focused on having a great time and experiencing new things and maintaining relationships. College and especially Philosophy courses changed all that. I began to think very deeply and critically about the big questions is life. “Where do we come from?”, “What the fuck are we and for that matter who the fuck are we?”, “Is there really a God/Creator that is the source of our various world religions?” and perhaps most importantly, “What is going to happen to me after I die?” I feel that this is a common thing for people coming of age. Your brain has matured you are beginning to feel the weight of the passage of time and sense your own mortality. Just natural I suppose.
I majored in computer engineering but I took a serious interest in the study of various disciplines of philosophy. In my sophomore I took a special topics class with my all-time favorite philosophy professor Dr. Creighton Jed Rosental at Mercer University in macon GA (Look him up on google! His thesis is on Aquinas! He’s a great guy, very funny and super knowledgeable of modern philosophy and the scholastics and humanists of the middle ages and renaissance times). We became great friends and me and several of my good buddies would go out to dinner and drinking with him after classes of Thursday or Friday nights often.
Anyway before I get too far off on a tangent, Dr. Rosental and philosophy courses in general taught me to think analytically and in a structured, disciplined form about the big questions that were keeping me up at night. I gained a particular interest in the study of the philosophy of mind. This class lectured by Dr. Rosental was titled “Philosophy of Mind” as a matter of fact. One day in class Dr. Rosental introduced me to the concept of “Phenomenology”. This is an idea closely related to what modern philosophy of mind writer David Chalmer’s refers to as the “Hard Problem of Consciousness”. It can be explained this way:
“Phenomenology - The study of the structures of consciousness and the nature of experience.
It could very well be true (and I believe it is so) that the mechanism of perception is completely tied to deterministic brain function and that the understanding of neuroscience will advance to a point where the hard problem is solved and understood in scientific terms. However, currently there is no explanation for how we get from deterministic brain functions to phenomenological consciousness. For instance, consider our sense of sight. The eyes transmute light wave signals into neuro-chemical signals which, through a process not currently understood and entirely unanswerable with current scientific models, produce in us the experience of sight and color, depth perception, ability to focus, etc. The hard problem of consciousness is essentially this question: How do we get from material brain function to phenomenology and conscious experience. This question, in my opinion, is far from being answered and will represent a massive paradigm shift in our understanding of reality and the mechanism of perception.”
- An excerpt from an answer I gave to a question on quora.com about the mind-body problem
*STOP rambling *smh
Rewind Back to the trip…
So there I am with my eyes closed having just finished a chapter of my book and I’m listening to the psychill station on di.fm (check it out if you haven’t you can thank me later ;D ) and the rise is building… building.. building. I start to tense up and grip the arms of my comfortable IKEA rocking chair and sigh!
I open my eyes.
The room is dark and I’m reflecting on the recent move and losing my job and the weight of all my stress is bearing down on me as the world bears down on the shoulders of Atlas and I think “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just be happy going to work day to day, putting in my time and being a good citizen. I’ve lost interest in the pursuit of most pleasures and goals in my life. I am not dating anyone currently and have no desire to. I don’t find happiness in my career choice (government contracting) and I am depressed about my recent failures and my lack of passion in my life. I have a loving family but most don’t choose to ask the big questions in life and are able to stifle the fears of death and the unknown and so are unable to relate to my current angst and so I am lost, uncertainty abounds and I feel as though I will never get out of this downward spiral aided by my developing and escalating drug addictions (only Mary Jane and alcohol at the time) and related dependency issues.
I begin to lose myself in the music and negative thoughts when I become aware that the pitch of that background hum I mentioned earlier has been rising…. And continues to rise. My eyes widen and I smile. “How can I be upset when I’m tripping” I think, trying to rationalize away the anxiety that foreshadowed a possible bad trip when dosing this heavily on shrooms. The shroom spirit counters with…
(pause let me explain this to you… um how shall I say.. Oh ok. You know how on shrooms more so than LSD or mescaline it feels like the information unlock and experiences you have seem to be coming from somewhere and something else rather than from your mind? It’s almost like some other entity has high-jacked your consciousness machine and navigating it through the labyrinthine vastness of the mind-scape. I attribute it to the fracturing of the ego, the same reason why you tend to project your consciousness on other things such as talking to trees or animals, which I often do at this level of psychedelic intoxication. The “shroom spirit” is just what I call this strange and intriguing phenomenon of my psyche)
So the shroom spirit counters by pointing out that my drug use could very well be a negative influence on my life and be contributing to my current depression and existential angst. I begin to ask myself why it is that I take drugs. What am I seeking to accomplish by altering my conscious state and is it worth the possible risks to my health (minimal with psychedelics but major with tobacco, alcohol, opiates and amphetamines) and future success?
Just as I am starting to really dig deep into these questions I am surprised as my cat Voltaire jumps through my open window and meows once… twice… and looks at me expectantly. “Hey Baby!” I say in my annoying cooing cat-talk voice. “What are you up to? Are you here to cheer me up? Awe that’s so sweet! You’re such a pretty kitty…..” I stand up and walk two steps to her and she turns and around and jumps on the window sill. She seems as though she wants me to follow (most likely to put food in her dish on the porch haha you know how most cats are self-centered little attention whores!)
I walk over to the window grabbing my bowl and mary jane and dip out onto the porch for a smoke break and to check out the night sky in my quiet suburban neighborhood. I sit down and pack a bowl… take a hit and then lean back as Voltaire jumps in my lap and nuzzles her head into my arm repeatedly, purring all the while. I smile and think “What pure unadulterated affection our pets give us. Isn’t it intriguing and amazing how strong and passionate relationships people develop with their pets can be?”
Almost in answer I am greeted by a wave of visual distortions. The tree-line and housetops in the distance are undulating with a slow rhythm, the light from the street lamps is brighter than I am used to and distant objects such as cars and people appear extremely contrasted and detailed. Voltaire’s fur is thick and soft (she is a Maine coone breed) and I begin to feel a sense of peace and tranquility coming over. The wrinkles and bad vibes caused by my previous anxiety are wearing off and I begin to get really excited about the prospect of this upcoming peak. I finish smoking the bowl and take a look at a tree across the street. The branches seem to form a face.. a female face. The thinning branches give a medusa-esque quality to the hallucination and she seems to have a benevolent and knowing smile on her wreath drawn features. I think to myself “Is this the face of Gaia?” and in answer my inner dialogue with the shroom spirit takes on a female tone and says “Perhaps” with cryptic subtlety.
Her leafy branch hair writhes and contorts itself as the face changes expression and the eyes shift. Suddenly a group of birds bursts from the upper branches and flies of into the twilight sky, producing an explosion of feathery mass in my visual field. I realize that the peak has now arrived and my smile broadens as a chuckle escapes.
Part Two: Revelation and Reception
“Wow” is all I can think as my reality succumbs to radical distortions. My brain is buzzing and everything around me… the grass, the clouds, the trees.. everything is breathing with a cosmic harmony reminiscent of the slow dance of celestial bodies. I look up at the near full moon, brilliant in its luminance; a solitary disk of silver hanging in the star-speckled night sky. My vision tunnels and I feel a sense of lifting… as if I am rising out of my body and hurdling toward the waiting benevolence of quicksilver light and purple haze of cloud above.
I turn my head side to side and marvel at the extremely pronounced visual tracers that follow objects in my field of vision. “I’m here” I proclaim to myself, satisfied that the trip has finally arrived. Things are getting intense… I can tell that soon I will be firmly floored and with this in mind decide to dip back inside and get my music ready for a time of introspection.
I put on Entheogenic’s mix entitled “Gaia Sophia” and sit down once again in my “Thinking Chair” (IKEA Rocker), close my eyes and begin the search for answers. A dialogue with the shroom spirit commences:
Me: Why am I so unhappy? Why am I so depressed? I have successfully finished a bachelor’s degree and landed an entry level job in computer software engineering. I was making good money. I have a loving family life and great friends.. everything anybody could possibly ask for in life. So why do I feel so empty and without purpose? Why do I lie awake every night, restless and anxious, struggling with the prospect of my own mortality and angry with my inability to feel passion about… anything.. to love anything and anyone fully and wholly despite the transient nature of my life on this planet and the fragility of my waning grip on reality?
Shroom Spirit: You are filled with fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of dying. Fear of ceasing to be. Fear of rejection by your fellow man and fear, most of all, of your life and the sum of your experiences meaning nothing in the grand scheme of the cosmos. You are not alone… these fears are shared by all.
Me: And why shouldn’t I be! It is terrifying to face the void! To face the hollow nothingness that lies beyond space and time, beyond this corporeal form, waiting for us all when the reaper comes and fate decides to end our wretched and short lived travels on this tiny blue dot!
Shroom Spirit: Humans have always feared the unknown. This is nothing new. It is what you do with this fear that truly matters. If you allow it, your fear of ceasing to live and experience may lead you down a path of self-destruction; A path on which you neither truly live nor truly experience the mystery and joys of life. It is a fine line we tread… a line between love and hate, a line between accepting what we cannot know rejecting what we know to be true. Now is the point of no return. This is the pivot… this is where you decide what type of person you will be.
Me: What lies beyond? What does the future hold? How can I start a family and a career, plant roots and branch out without knowing where my choices will lead me? What do I tell my children when they ask me if there is a God or where do we come from or what happens when we die?
Shroom Spirit: These unknowns are the plight of mortal beings. It is through this ongoing struggle that character is forged and passion is found. You must confront your fears… do not shy from these facts. Know this. One day you WILL die. Your material body will decompose and be recycled into the complex- integrated system of the biosphere and all that you know…. All that you were… all that you ever will be and all that you ever knew will be gone and forgotten. That time is not now. Now, you have a choice. Now you can choose to reflect all that is good and benevolent and loving in the cosmos and push forward… sharing your whole self with others and pouring all your passion into your actions. Or… you can choose to continue downward. You can choose to succumb to the fear and let it eat away at your exuberance and youth and passion until all that is left is a zombified shell of the human being you once were destined to become. This choice is yours and yours alone. No one can make it for you.
Me: I choose to live. I choose to open up and let in the cosmic love. I choose to give myself wholly to the pursuit of my passions and to the love of others in my life. I choose life.
At this point, I open my eyes and tears stream down my cheeks. I begin to cry openly. Not tears of sadness or tears of fear. Tears of joy. Tears of acceptance. Tears at the knowledge that I will be.. that I AM Ok and that I am not alone in my fear, my joy, my hate, my love, my boredom, my passion, my uncertainty or my ignorance. We are all in this together.
I stand up suddenly, anxious to move. Anxious to experience something, anything. I feel as though everything I encounter is entirely novel and new to me. I bolt outside, forgetting my music and the solitude of my room for the time being and lay down on the grass in my backyard, losing myself in the spiraling kaleidoscope of the cosmic fugue overhead. I have never felt this happy before in my life…
Part Three: Assimilation
I spend about an hour which seems like an eternity (my perception of time at this point is extremely distorted) simply lying in the grass and staring at the night sky. I feel whole. I feel connected to this great unity that is the cosmos and I feel as though everything is exactly is it should be, as it is supposed to be. I think of my friends and family and all of the great and wonderful things human kind has accomplished in our short time on this earth. I am filled with hope for our future, that human kind in general and myself in particular, can find our way toward a harmonic and peaceful existence with the biosphere of our planet.
Needless to say, this particular trip was extremely revelatory and transformative for me. Ever since that night I have been able to remain grounded and passionate about the various aspects of my life. I now know what I need to do in order to be happy and how to properly utilize entheogenic substances to enjoy the plethora of rewards they bring to the human experience. One of my biggest passions is the exploration of the psychedelic landscape and integrating the vast amounts of wisdom and knowledge found there into my day to day life. This is why I have started this journal… in order to document my experiences and to ensure that I continue to give these substances the respect and admiration they deserve. I hope this trip report was beneficial to you.. or at least entertaining to read. Thanks for your time!