My friend Mike and I had gone out for a vigourous two-hour mountain biking session after work. While on the trails, the subject wandered onto shrooms. He showed great interest in the subject, and confessed that he had never tried anything other than weed. I had tried shrooms once, but had only had a cap and a stem every two hours, leaving me with nothing more than a really good body buzz and an obssessive desire to make sure I knew where my friend Crystal's cat was at all times. By the time we finished our ride, Mike and I had decided that we were going to trip together the next day.
Finding shrooms on such short notice was not easy. I checked out every possible source, but it was the beginning of a long weekend, and everybody had either left town or was dry. I finally managed to find some through a friend of a friend of a friend.
"12 grams of Awesome shit," he said as he handed me a bag of dried Psilocybe cubensis. I figured that this would be enough to trip us out quite nicely.
Mike and I had made plans to take the shrooms at his place around midnight, because that was when his grandmother took out her hearing aid and went to bed. We'd rented Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, starring Johnny Depp and directed by Terry Gilliam (the animation dude for Monty Python). We'd seen the movie before and had almost fallen out of our chairs laughing. This time, we probably WOULD fall out of our chairs.
As 12:00am rolled around, I opened the baggie and split the shrooms into two equal piles of 6 grams, then split those into two piles of 3 grams each. Since Mike had never had shrooms before, and I had only had a bit, I figured that this was a fair amount to take. As we began to munch down, Mike sifted through his handful of mushrooms and suddenly pulled out a small, hard object.
"Is this a mushroom?" He asked me. I looked closely at what he held in his hand. It was a rock. This "friend of a friend of a friend" had loaded the baggie! i started to get angry, but then realized that there was nothing I could do about it and that it was partly my own fault, too, for not having thoroughly checked the contents. Oh well, I guess I learned my lesson there. Chucking the rock onto the ground, I pulled a few more shrooms from the bag and handed them to mike as a replacement. We finished eating the stuff, then sat back and began to watch the movie.
Fifteen minutes into the show, I began to wonder whether or not these things were going to work. I guess everybody thinks that, because almost as soon as I thought about it, Mike asked, "are you sure these things are going to work?" I thought it was pretty funny.
Half an hour in, we still didn't seem to feel anything when all of a sudden, my let out a gasp.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Look at the carpet," he replied, so I did. It was a yellow shag carpet with some sort of weathered orange pattern, and as I looked at it, I began to notice that it was undulating ever so slightly in my peripheral vision. Mesmerized, I watched as the undulations became more distinct, then transformed into a slow swirling motion just outside my focus point. This was pretty cool. I felt totally normal, but the world around me was doing strange things.
"What do you see?" Mike asked me. I described the view, and he began to laugh. "That's freaky, man. When I look at the carpet, it's as if the pattern on it is alive and it's slithering around a bit." Wow, I thought, Mike's beginning to trip fairly nicely. Our attention then returned to the movie.
A bit later, I decided that the movie, although funny, wasn't very trippy. Wondering if this was because of the movie or because the shrooms weren't very potent, I looked at the palm of my hand for a bit. It looked normal, which dissapointed me. Flipping my hand over, I was startled to find a very defined network of veins. Now, I am by nature a person who has a lot of veins on his hands, but as I continued to watch, the veins began to move ever so slightly. It was as if they were rippling underneath my skin. I looked on, enthralled at the spectacle. After a few minutes, the veins stopped moving, but now I began to see all of the lines and colors in my hand very clearly. The more I looked, the more I saw. What happened next amazed me to no end. As I examined the features of my hand, I began to see my hand age. Second by second, the lines on my hand grew slightly deeper, the skin on my fingers became slightly rougher, and the shadows on my hand became darker and more mottled. The muscle structure underneath became more fibrous, and my fingernails seemed to grow. My hand became weak, and within a minute, everything looked as if it belonged to a 50 year old man instead of a 20 year old. A quick blink of my eyes reset everything. My hand was now 20 again. Shaking my head in wonder, I settled back into the couch and continued to watch the movie, which, by the looks of it, was almost over.
When the movie finished, I looked over at Mike. He wasn't even looking at the TV. Instead, he was suspiciously eyeing the mounted head of a deer that was hanging on the wall beside me. His grandfather had shot it more than 40 years ago, and but it had held up pretty well through time. Wondering what was so special about it, I decided to stare, too. It only took me a few moments to realize that it looked evil. Well, perhaps evil isn't the right word: it seemed to be in agony. The mouth and the eyes were contored in a manner which suggested that Mike's grandfather hadn't killed the deer with one shot, but had instead wounded it and finished it off some moments later, leaving the deer to suffer quietly as it awaited the final blow that would end its pain. I had no idea whether or not this was true, but that's the story I got from the deer's eyes. Freaky.
It was 3:00am. Mike wanted to go outside to smoke a cigarette and a walk, so we popped another gram before making our way outside. It was quite dark, and the grass beside the house was very long. It looked like hair. I ran my hand through it, and it even felt like hair. Giggling slightly, we set out on our little walk, enjoying the fresh air and the stars above. It was awesome. We both regretted not having gone outside sooner; this was a thousand times better than watching a movie. Every tree we passed looked absolutely gorgeous. I began to see all natural objects as three dimensional fractals, with every aspect of the object being a natural progression to or from the next attribute. I'd never seen nature like this.
As we walked, we began to discuss the beauty of the trees, and what made one tree more beautiful than the other. We came across a tree that we both agreed was perfect. The next tree, however, was not. It looked like there was an error in the tree. Why was that? After much debate, we came to this conclusion: all trees are perfect, because there are no errors in nature. There may be anomalies, and things may not do what we expect them to do, but nevertheless, they do what they're SUPPOSED to do. This difference seems trivial at first, but look at it from this example. Let's say that someone writes a program so that it crashes on purpose. If someone were to run the program and it crashed, they would think it was an error, because it didn't do what they expected it to do. However, the program did what it was programmed to do, therefore it did what it was supposed to do. We can easily see, then, that errors are contrary to expectation, and are therefore purely subjective. So, with that in mind, Mike and I decided that there were no errors in reality, only anomalies, and what is anomalous is generally considered to be less beautiful. If a tree grows in an expected manner, then it is beautiful. If it grows in an unexpected manner, it is not. Amazing, when you think about it.
We returned to the house, and played around on the computer for a bit, but it didn't grab our interest. The confines of the house were much less invigorating than the outdoors. Looking at my watch, I saw that it was almost 4:00am, and I remembered that I had to work the next day. Thanking Mike for having me over, I went home and straight to bed. Sleep was out of the question, though: the extra gram I had eaten before going outside was kicking in, and with my eyes closed I was seeing the most amazing things. The best way I can describe it is being a universe, and having thousands of checkerboard and stripe patterned black holes swirling downwards into you. At the same time, I felt as though I was simultaneously inside myself feeling these things and outside myself seeing myself feel these things. It was so intense that I had to open my eyes and return to reality. The near darkness of the room didn't help matters, though: I had a white towel hanging over the side of the couch in my room, and when I looked at it, it began to take on different suggestive shapes, first of a woman in a white dress playing a harp, then of a swan, and then of a Rodin's famous sculpture, "The thinker." This was just too much for me. For two whole hours, I drifted in and out of different perceptions - seeing myself from another person's eyes, watching the venetian blinds on my window wave and change color, and feeling as though I were sinking into the bed and being pulled out by the blanket over and over again. The last time I looked at the clock, it was 6:00am. I guess I fell asleep shortly after, because I awoke around 10:00am to go to work. Thankfully, the effects of the shrooms seemed to have subsided. I work with the public, and it would have been embarassing to explain to someone that I was looking at their arm because they were growing longer and longer.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Next time, I'll take 6 grams and see if I can bump myself into level 4 or 5; I'm curious to know what's in store for me there.