Well, this will be the first "trip" account that I've posted to the VLP,
since it is the first trip that I've had since I joined (man, am I getting
busy, old, what?).
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
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
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
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
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
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.