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Visions of a Dog Spirit
I spent a week in New Orleans with my wife, a friend, and his wife. My wife and my friend's wife are both very into Anne Rice's books. We went to New Orleans because Anne Rice was holding a Halloween Costume Ball. My friend and I don't really care about Anne Rice, one way or another, but it was a nice excuse for a trip. Okay, enough background.
We all took three grams of P. harmala and 1.5 grams of dried, powdered mushrooms. We took the harmala at about 12:00 in the afternoon, and hopped a trolley car into the French Quarter, where-about 15 to 20 minutes later-we consumed the mushroom powder (shaken up in boxes of orange juice).
My friend's wife "Alice", had taken mushrooms and LSD numerous times while in highschool, but not since then. My wife has tripped with me a few times. However, my friend "Dave," has never taken any kind of entheogen (other than marijuana), so he was looking forward to this experience.
About 15 minutes from taking the mushrooms, we all started feeling nauseous. My wife and I went into an african art store, and this is when I first noticed that I was tripping. It came on really fast-I was looking at a painting and I entered the picture plane. "Whoa!," I thought, "I've got to get out of this store before I end up staring at this painting for hours!"
We left the store, and Alice and Dave were waiting for us outside next to an antique doll store. Who should pull up in a limo, but the little girl actress (Claudia? I think that was her name) from the movie "Interview with the Vampire." She stepped out with her well-dressed mom (I guess that you get nice clothes and limo rides when your kid is a star). The limo driver took a photo of her and her mom in front of the antique doll store (perhaps it was one that was used in the movie). We moved on-our brush with fame was over-now for our brush with the numinous.
All of us were feeling very nauseous and we wanted to sit down. The French Quarter in New Orleans is dirty and smelly (not the most attractive place to trip), what with the sewage pipes being run right along the sidewalk in some places. Sitting on the curb next to a bar, I noticed that I was sitting next to a large (now patterning) dried puddle of vomit. Yum.
I got up and walked into the bar, The Boar's Breath, with my friend Dave. Both of us really needed to vomit. Now, this bar was the biggest dive I have ever been into (which was hard for me to fathom, since for the last eight years I have worked at what-until that moment-I have considered the filthiest dive known to man). The waitresses were dressed like prostitutes (perhaps their night jobs?), women's underwear was dangling from the ceiling-covered with filth and cobwebs, and there was spilt booze and dirt everywhere.
Dave made it to the toilet first. Instead of vomiting, he sat down on the toilet. "Uh, Jon... instead of making you puke, can this stuff give you the runs?" "Oops, sorry Dave. I forgot to mention that possibility-it has never happened to me personally. Um, could you hurry up, I really need to ralph!"
As I waited, feeling really sick and hoping that I could purge soon, the bathroom tile was swimming. Then I spotted it-the largest cockroach I have ever seen (it was even bigger than those I saw in Mexico and Greece). "Uh, Dave, did you see this cockroach?" "Oh yeah, it just crawled out of my stall. I'm glad it is gone."
Now, for some reason, I have always been terrified by cockroaches. My wife is the one who always had to kill them at our old apartment. I did get better about this, but that was a long time ago-and I wasn't facing a four inch by two inch bug at that time! So, this cock roach starts crawling up the wall, until it is at exactly eye level. Then it starts crawling directly towards me. I kept thinking that, "Okay, psychedelics allow you to confront your psychic demons, but hell, this thing is real!" I almost expected it to start talking to me through its anus, a la Naked Lunch.
Well, Dave finished with the toilet, and I escaped into the stall to vomit. Except I couldn't. I really felt like I had to, but nothing would come up. I stuck my finger down my throat, thinking that this would help. In my mind, I could clearly see my hand inside my head, reaching down my throat. But, nothing came up. I left the bathroom. Later I tried to vomit again in another bathroom, but with no luck. This time I stuck as much of my hand down my throat as I could fit. It still didn't work. I was convinced that I would have to reach all the way down into my stomach and grab the offending bile with my hand (and I think that I almost could have done it ;-)). It seemed sickly humorous to me that I couldn't throw up. In the past (using this same combo), I have felt terrible, thrown up, and then felt great. I resigned myself to the fact that I wasn't going to throw up. In the end, I felt nauseous for the rest of the trip-not too much fun.
My friend Dave, on the other hand, eventually puked, and said that he felt much better (although he still had to make several trips to the toilet for his other problem-yech!). Dave's wife also threw up once. My wife didn't throw-up, and her nausea passed-but came back after the trip was over.
We found a big beautiful enclosed park, and spent much of the trip there.
Dave and Alice went into an old chapel, where the services were just concluding. Apparently Dave broke into fits of loud laughter and couldn't stop himself. They finally had to leave, as they were drawing attention to themselves. They came back to the park, and Dave laid down in the grass. He kept mentioning how green everything was in New Orleans today, until finally his wife said, "Yes dear, the color of plants." This brought forth laughter from all of us-we *were* sitting in a big park on a bunch of grass.
In his reclining position, staring up at the sky, Dave became worried about his legs. "You see," he said, "I'm afraid that I have left them in the path. They aren't connected to my body any longer, and I am worried that someone might stumble over them." I cautioned him not to leave his body completely. Otherwise someone might find his body sprawled on the lawn and, thinking him to be dead, bury it. Then what would he do?
I myself felt very close to transcendence. I felt as though I could have left my body at any point, if my will had only directed this to happen. In fact, I had to fight to stay in my body. But, I felt the need to be responsible, as I was the most experienced tripper in the group.
Later we went down to the Mississippi River and watched the steam-boats go by. Dave had some valuable introspection relating to his psychological make-up. Specifically, he wondered why he is always so worried about what other people think, whether or not they are happy. He also said that he wished he wasn't so self-conscious about singing (he can't sing in front of people). I suggested that we could all sing a song right then-if we could find one that we all knew. No on took me up on this suggestion. Dave said that he has never heard his wife Alice sing. I mentioned that I have only heard my wife sing very softly. I wonder why so many people are so self-conscious about singing (of course I sing all of the time, and don't really care who hears).
One of the funny, re-occurring themes of this trip, was that I had to caution everyone that there were certain foods that they couldn't eat due to the MAOI. I have a list of these typed up, which I usually carry around with me on trips, but I had left it at home accidentally. So, I had to go from my memory. I tend to be over-cautious (avoiding everything that has ever appeared on any list related to MAOIs). My continuous nausea made it easy for me to avoid all food, but my friends were hungry. Alice, specifically wanted chocolate. In fact, almost every food that they suggested seemed to be on the list. Of course, since I didn't have this list, and since the foods which are on the list are so varied, I am certain that my friends began to doubt what I was saying. I felt as though I was placed in the ludicrous position of being their dietician, dictating what they could or couldn't eat. I kept having to tell them that I didn't hold any value judgments over what they wanted to eat-I just didn't want them to die. I found out that Alice eats chocolate every day (something even her husband didn't know until that moment).
Towards the end of the trip came the most interesting part for me. My wife and I had forgotten our keys to the bed & breakfast that we were staying at. We split off from our friends when they wanted to go to dinner, and I still felt nauseous. We were waiting for them to get home, sitting on the steps of the front porch of the house. By this time (around 6:00) the effects of the anahuasca had mostly worn off.
I was looking at some weeds at the base of a tree, when all of a sudden they became a strange little being. It was translucent, like a ghost, and was fully three dimensional. It had a dog's face, wearing some kind of helmet or hat, on a little man's body. It looked like it was wearing a suit of armor. The dogs eyes were glowing red. I stared at it for some time. I looked around at other things-the cars, trees, sidewalk-everything else looked completely normal. However, the dog/tree spirit didn't vanish! It was a true hallucination.
After a while, I mentioned it to my wife, and she saw it too. From where she was sitting, she said it looked nice, but when she moved he line of sight to where I was sitting, she said that it became sinister. I wish now that I had looked at it from her physical perspective, but I was so entranced by it that I stayed where I was.
If that's not weird enough, periodically, the lower portion of the dog's face would "phase" into a man's face. This was the face of a monk (similar to the "Chant" CD). The monk's hood covered his eyes, so that only his nose and mouth were showing. He was making movements with his mouth, apparently saying something silently. When I listened really hard, in my head I heard the word "come." The emphasis was on the "o" sound, so it almost sounded like the monk was chanting "aum." Very bizarre! The face continued to shift back and forth from the dog to the monk (at times I could see both very briefly).
The dog/tree spirit reminded me a lot of Una Woodruff's paintings (which I highly recommend that everyone on this list try to hunt down-they're wonderful!). Come to think of it, there are all kinds of word pun relationships between her name and the "one" "tree" "dog/bark" which I saw. By the way, my wife didn't see the monk's face-only the dog.