Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, near Fredericksburg, TX. Regarded
by Native Americans as a power place, and it's certainly a beautiful and
compelling monument to geology. We pitched camp on Tuesday evening, and went
exploring the trails Thursday. What a tremendous place! The mountain looks
like a great smooth pink bubble, with a thin shell of rock that has cracked
and is in the process of very slowly sliding off of it. Sort of looks like
that quick-hardening chocolate sauce you put on ice cream...
I have been looking forward to this for months. I've never had a
substantial mushroom experience before, just two very-low-dose experiments.
I've requested a heroic dose for this occasion. My wife's stepfather has
just passed away a week and a half before, and we're both kinda detached,
kinda out of it, but the beauty of our surroundings has lifted our spirits.
I am still apprehensive, though, as I was before trying LSD and MDMA...
7 dried cubensis, eaten with Nutter Butters and Gatorade.
About 10 minutes after finishing our little meal, I lay back in the tent
against our packs and close my eyes. Sparkling, flowing patterns behind
my eyelids mark the beginning of the trip. I realize very quickly that
they're not mere hynagogic fireflies, but a pulsating, breathing, living
thing that is revealing itself more and more as it impinges upon my
consciousness. Twisted shapes, striped colors and shapes like the trunks
of old, old dead trees; mushroom imagery, golden rainstorms of tiny mushrooms
falling and falling against a brilliant blue background; and an image that
I come to realize is an abstraction of my own consciousness, a blue and yellow
striped spider-legged stick figure: but why is this me? And who am I,
anyway? The fungus spirit dances before me wildly, giddy.
I look up at Suzanne and's she's become a Mexican Indian, a Mayan. Her face
boils and seethes with potentiality. Her face glows and comes to resemble
a stone statue in the dim twilight of the glow sticks. She touches me
kindly and I close my eyes again.
"Get past it, it's an illusion!"
Further voyages through the country of the mind. Many times I brush up
against something powerful, something distracting, something that is drawing
me into tighter and tighter spirals of thought, of obession. A Voice tells
me each time "Get past it! Go past it!" and the hold is has upon me breaks,
and I spin again into the teeming darkness.
I cower in my body in the tent, still somewhat apprehensive of what is
happening to me. There is a quiet peace from which bubbles up the most
fantastic of ideas and revelations. There is unity. Then the wind rushes
at us in huge waves, slapping the tent flaps against the tent, and making
a tremendous sound. We hear now also the stampeding feet of animals racing
about outside the tent. Running and rushing around in the wind, it's like
they're circling, checking us out, and then the wind stops and they are
gone. But they did leave tracks...
Washing down the mountain
After the chaos has passed, there is a brief silence, then the wind howls
again. I'm laying on ancient rock covered by the thinnest layer of soil
and life. My body shifts against the rock, and I am a rock, resting on
the mountainside, undisturbed perhaps for millions of years. The the
wind comes again, sweeping down over and past me from the mountaintop,
and I'm sliding, rolling, bumping down the hillside. Then I'm in the
tent again, a rock again, and my body shifts again and I question the
"I" that chose to move the rock, rather than leave it to the forces
of nature. "I" is quite distant, now.
I should not have eaten as much as I did today. Word to the uninitiated:
don't eat Jaeger Schnitzel in the afternoon before your evening voyage!
I become rapidly more aware of my body. I have hundreds of inputs coming
at me. There are so many sensations! I become aware of the various bags
and sacs of fluids contained within me: stomach, bladder, intestines, heart,
lungs, and I feel the interplay of these organs as I breathe and digest.
Digest. Digest. Unease. Discomfort... I have to pee!
Urine and the Oak
Staving off the Other for a moment, I pull my shoes on and unzip the tent,
stumble out into the firelit campsite and hobble a few meters away to relieve
myself. I end up next to a young Oak tree, it's major limb arches in my
direction as I go. I look closely at it's trunk, at it looks closely back
at me with a hundred eyes. How ever could I have objectified this tree!
How ever could I have not consciously appreciated it's life! It grins at
me, almost "yeah, I know..." My eyes are watering again, and I take my
gaze from the tree's hundred eyes and stare up it's branches at the glory
of the moon shining down at us, completely full, incomparably bright. I
see a painting, a Renaissance work showing God in the center of His heavenly
host, and the sky around the shining moon textures itself in this same way.
So powerful. Back to the tent.
Urination has relieved some of some of the tension, but it was really only
an attempt to avoid what my body knows is coming: sheer gut blowout. My
body becomes more insistent in its cries for relief, my stomach is hurting,
I feel bloated and distorted. My flesh hangs from me like a dead weight.
I haul myself out of the tent again, maybe fresh air will stave off this
sickness, but no. I sit briefly on the picnic bench until a a gust of
strong metaphysical wind whips my head hard to the side, and I throw myself
bodily to the edge of the stone floor and heave the Jaeger Schintzel and
it's friends into the dirt. There is immediate and profound relief. I
see as I look down briefly at my vomit that there are burning angry-looking
tiny things crawling about within it. I'm glad, very glad to be rid of my
"Mike, are you all right?" from the tent. I am, though bile drips from my
nose and mouth, I am suddenly and completely transformed. This is more
than all right! I am free! My body is worn, though, so I crawl back in
the tent to rest for a moment, but it quickly becomes opressive. Suddenly
I am charged with energy and the tent is confining me. Up and out again,
and I decide to head for the bathroom to clean myself up.
Down the hillside and across the wooden bridge over the dry, gravel-filled
creek bed I go. I have my flashlight with me, but why use it? when the
moon reflects the full glory of the sun and casts it down in a milky radiance
that enshrouds everything, making just enough visible. Each tree, each rock,
each plant thrumms deeply with purpose. I'm gazing at the stars and the land
and climbing the stairs at the opposite bank of the creek and I realize that
I am not alone. I have suprised a group of about ten deer, six adults
and their young. They stare at me briefly and I at them, and I say "Sorry,
folks" to them as they begin to nervously take off. The connection I feel
with this family of creatures!
C looking through my eyes
I'm leaving the bathroom now, walking out into the parking lot. The rock
is shining against the starry sky, truly magnificent, truly awesome in its
stillness. I breathe in the night, and again I question the "I" that gazes
at the rock, and realize that "I" have a companion looking through "my" eyes:
it's C! He's watching what I'm watching through me. Powerful sense of magic,
eyes watering, knees trembling. C stays for a couple minutes, and it's
definitely happening before I turn again toward camp with the moon and the
rainbow-twinking stars to guide me.
Being and not-being, earth and sky
What an incredible thing life is! Between the hard, ancient, unyielding,
undeniably solid rock below me and the infinite emptiness of space above
me: LIFE! How incredible that at this juncture of being and not-being,
we find such splendor! My eyes take in the heavens, and my heart sweeps
around the globe for a dizzyingly brief tour of this creation.
Talking with C
Back at the camp, I sit with C under our little pavilion, watching the
campfire, the moon, the planet, and our inner landscapes. Satori is gone
at this point, and my mind is jumping and leaping with questions. I tell
C that I felt he had been looking through my eyes after I left the bathroom,
and he says to me "I didn't know you could feel it."
The ground of being
All of this however was really just window dressing. The central event
of the trip came before I left the tent to vomit. As I lay with my eyes
shut, in silence in the tent, the twisting striped patterns in my brain
turned to twenty or so rainbow-hued spinning balls, arranged 4 by 5 (at
least, "I" "perceived" there were twenty of these things, I really have
no idea). The sight was startling, and the Voice said to me, more excited
than I had ever heard it before, "IT IS THE GROUND OF BEING!!!" I
immediately went past the ground of being into the rest of my trip, but
it is this event, this contact which was the most significant part of the
trip I came to realize in the days that followed. I had touched the
unformed and nameless potential behind all things, I had seen the Tao,
peered into the mind of God. It is to this place that I hope to return.
Thank you, C. Thank you, B. Thank you, Suzanne. Thank you, Terence, Tim,
Nicholas, Sasha, and Johnathan. Thank you, Veeples!