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Such Splendor

Setting Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, near Fredericksburg, TX.



Setting

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...

Set

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...

Dosage

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.

Bubbly faces

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.

Chaos

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.

Body sensation

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.

Vomit

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 dinner.

"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.

Deer

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!

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