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Alone In The Dark - McKenna Styles

I'm a 25 year old male, weighing 72 kg in fairly good health and physical condition.

I'm a 25 year old male, weighing 72 kg in fairly good health and physical condition.

I had decided to have a large dose of fresh shrooms, this time in a tea infusion form, 'cause I'd never tried it like this before. I'd read that the "coming up" phase is a lot more bearable, and less nausea-inducing when consumed like this. Using the Shroomery dosage calculator I aimed for a level 4 trip, meaning around 15 grams of fresh Psilocybe Subaeruginosa, which are the Australasian relative of Psilocybe Cyanscens, and at least as potent. I've read on the net that the potency of this species is on par with Psilocybe Cubensis by weight, but I strongly disagree; the ones in New Zealand are certainly more extreme!

So I chopped up 15 large shrooms which I'd picked earlier that day, poured boiling water over them and let them soak for 5-10 mins. I strained the liquid through a coffee filter and poured another lot of water over the shrooms again. After doing this 3 times, I added some honey to the liquid to make it a little more pleasant. I tidied my room and made it nice and cosy, with the heater on low. After all, I had decided to sit in the dark naked, so I'd need something to prevent the "shrivel" phenomenon. I had decided to sit in the dark for the entire trip, with no distractions, so I could become fully immersed in the visions. I had a shower and got prepared with some relaxing cheesy music to create a peaceful environment, it had been a bit of a shit day and i needed to unwind first, otherwise there'd be hell to pay once the trip kicked in.

I skolled back the first cup of liquid, then the second. I saved the third for 20 minutes later, as a booster. I felt noticeable changes almost immediately and felt a rush of anxiety kick in, nothing unusual when heading off on an intense excursion. This is where things get a little harder to describe. But I'll do my best.

The 'peaceful' music I had put on, began annoying the shit out of me, so I turned it off. I felt the mushroom taking over, like some sort of alien spirit invading me. I could literally feel it seep in like someone had injected me with some sort of liquid spirit. It went up my arms and then into my head, slowly smothering my mind. I kinda felt like my brain was being 'stretched' slowly. After this happened, my alarm went off, and I skolled back the last cup of liquid. This is when the shivers came, followed by a hot flush. I turned the heater off, but was immediately too cold again. I turned it back on and sat in front of the heater naked, in the pitch black of night, with a howling wind and pounding rain outside. The weather seemed to be getting more dramatic as the trip itself became more intense. Now things were getting really strange…

My breathing got real heavy and intense, and I took some really long deep breaths to try and relax. Now some faint colours began behind my closed eyes, they seemed to be far away from me though, approaching slowly like some sort of tidal wave, gradually increasing in colour and detail. All the effects so far had been similar to my previous trips. But this is where it took a completely different turn. My attention span seemed to be getting shorter and I felt compelled to open my eyes every now and then. This was interrupting the visions, which were trying to form. I found myself distracted by personal thoughts of my family, my friends, and my relationships with them. A lot of my other trips had been about insights into my life, but this time I wanted to know what the mushroom was "without me". I wanted to know what it was by itself, if that makes any sense. Mushrooms have always given me great wisdom into my life and my friends, but I'd also been aware that there was an 'otherness' to it, that it had a life of it's own, a consciousness of it's own. So I began repeating this to myself mentally…"I want to see you for what YOU are".

Immediately my head tilted back, eyes closed, and I was sucked upwards into my mind, my breathing becoming heavy and deep again. I tried to concentrate, and for a moment felt myself slipping away, giving way to something brighter, a vast and infinitely more expansive domain. This is when the "jungle ferns" started closing in. It was scary at first. There were large prehistoric looking fern leaves coming over and above me, creeping in like dark arms. They were blocking out the space above me, my head lowered, and I once again was immersed in thoughts of my own life and concerns. This physical reaction continued; my head lowering as I ‘dropped’, and titling back to face the ceiling when I was ‘pulled’ up. The vision paused as I contemplated friends and family. Then I remembered what I was trying to do and again asked to forget myself. This time I looked up again to the ferns, which had covered me. Now they began to part slightly, giving me a glimpse of the great space above them. It was like a combination of space, the sky, and what you might call heaven. But my mind was too distracted and I soon lost my focus. Note: these visions I describe were seen in my minds eye with my eyes closed, much like a dream.

The jungle plants came over me again and I found myself down on the ground in the jungle. I was surrounded by all sorts of ancient life forms, the likes of which I've never seen in any books or movies. There was a large creature right in front of me, and it was hunched over another creature, which it had just killed. It was feeding ferociously on the carcass, blood spraying out and the sound of tearing flesh and snapping bone. It had a primate body, covered in hair, but with the wings of a great dragon. Then it looked at me, with glowing red eyes, and a bright red face that looked like it was on fire. This wasn't scary though, more captivating. I know this is only my interpretation, but I felt like this was my karma for not focusing on the vision; that I had been thrown down to dwell amongst the wild beasts of the prehistoric earth, to feed, kill, and mate like them. Real primal, basic survival stuff.

Then the words "pay attention, pay attention" began repeating through my mind, and I felt like something was speaking to me, but not in words. It was encouraging me, calling me to come up above the forest canopy. I refocused and began my ascent upwards again. This time I really focused on the vision, and as the fern arms parted, a bright blue light began to seep through the darkness, opening up like curtains. It was trying to break through the black and again my head tilted back and I felt like something was lifting me skyward. I felt like it was nature, or God, or heaven, or something like that. This cycle of being lifted up, then dropping down, continued in waves for what must have been an hour or more. During this time, in one of the "jungle" phases, I witness a large mushroom being torn open at the stem, and inside was a reptile who had hidden carefully in the torn stem of the mushroom. Although he looked scary, and hissed as he was seen amongst the flesh, I was not scared of him. He had a human-like head with yellow and red snake eyes and blended so well into the mushroom as a hiding place. After this brief descent into the lower earthly realms, came the the most dramatic ascent yet. I was being sucked up into the void again, this time with great speed. I held my breath and heard a whooshing sound, as I was slingshot into the sky. The ferns parted quickly with a rustling sound and I saw the space of blackness, filled with kaleidoscopic eyes. Although there were many eyes, they were all one being. I had a euphoric rush go through my chest, which was like an orgasm of the mind. For a second I felt like I had met the 'thing' that was responsible for the mushroom, but I will refrain from naming it because I don't know what it was. I really don't know. After this final rush upward, I was dropped down again, back into the Earth bound jungle canopy. My concentration had broken for the last time and I felt like whatever 'IT' was, had given me my last chance. I heard a voice as this happened, it was comforting me. It wasn't speaking in words though, it was speaking directly to my mind with feelings. If I could translate, it would have said something like "It's okay, you aren't ready for us, you have things to deal with on Earth in nature, with your own life. Concentrate on them, slowly and carefully and you'll get here eventually", and so on. I was disappointed at first, but ultimately it made me realise that my priorities needed re-evaluation. Whatever this thing was, it was friendly and loving and warm and did not judge me for failing to meet it fully.

After this, the visionary element ended and the trip ceased noticeably in strength. This was about 2-2.5 hours after ingestion. In hindsight, I think the infusion method had killed some of the potency of the shrooms, so in future I will eat them fresh. The tea, however, was rather more pleasant to drink than chewing on shrooms, and the nausea was dramatically reduced.

The realisation:
For the last few years I've always wanted more, and have been forgetting to enjoy what I have. So I guess this is the reminder I received. I'm always thinking I should get back in a band again, or I should dedicate my life to surfing etc. But I really don't know what I want. I feel anxiety quite a lot. It pulls me around. Telling me I should be doing something else. But the irony is, I don't know what that "something else" is; just like the sky-dwelling entity during my trip. Quite often this frustration causes me to be short tempered and irritable. But this night, I came to the conclusion that If I learn to WANT what I have, then I'll GET what I want! Sounds confusing, but it makes perfect sense to me. So my first attempt at merging with "cosmic consciousness" at my own sacrifice, was ultimately thwarted by myself. But it's not a bad thing, I just need to listen to it and put it into practice. Note: I had tried the "trip in silent darkness" approach as recommended by the late genius Terence McKenna, as a way of experiencing the mushroom without outside interference from sight, sound, and friends etc.

In summary, this trip was as different and variable as any other trip I've ever had. Even though I've had over 30 of them, and they continue to present similar ideas, each trip does so in a completely new and novel way. It's also strange how it presents these ideas. You think you're going down one path, then it completely switches, but in the end teaches you the same lesson you initially were heading towards. It just takes the long way, and does a big loop, and shows you that the negative can truly be transformed into the positive.

For the rest of the trip I just lay there in my room on my bed listening to music. I felt filled with warmth, peace, and a sense that everything would work out in the end. I felt so innocent and untainted by the world and it's bullshit, like a child surrounded by goodness. This was peace in a nutshell, or in this case...a mushroom.

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