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Ego Death

I should say first that, though I do not generally describe this experience as having been nasty, it was at times frightening, and, afterwards, I lost interest in taking hallucinogens for nearly 10 years.

I should say first that, though I do not generally describe this experience as having been nasty, it was at times frightening, and, afterwards, I lost interest in taking hallucinogens for nearly 10 years. I simply felt that I could go no further and that subsequent trips would be anticlimactic.

Anyway, here's the setup: I was with my tripping mentor in my senior year of college. I'd been doing hallucinogens in a rather "serious" fashion since my early teens. I liked heavy trips - - or what I thought were heavy trips.

One day, my mentor, Andy, who was a few years older and had guided me through LSD and various other trips, asked whether I was up for a mushroom experience. We always took plenty of time to plan our trips, making sure that everything was just right and that we had no schoolwork hanging over our heads when we tripped. I indicated that I could arrange things and told him to purchase whatever amount he thought would be right.

He procured the shrooms, which were dry. The amount was said to be a quarter of an ounce. Looking at the shrooms, we decided we should take all of them at once, and did so in the way we had done on other occasions: chopping them up and putting them into chunky, nutty ice cream.

Onset was as usual and it was clear to both of us that we were in for a strong trip. It was winter and it had turned dark. An hour or so into the the trip, we were lying on an embankment out in the country, staring up into a clear and star-filled sky. Then it started to happen to me. I began to have "revelations" - - seemingly lucid and remarkable insights about time and space. Certain metaphysical ideas began to seem clear to me. I started trying to describe these things to Andy, but my thoughts were moving much too fast and, before I could get one idea out of my mouth, another was fully formed in my mind. I gave up trying to express myself, though Andy was interested and wanted me to go on.

Next, things took a turn. This is hard to describe. I began to feel distinctly toxic. Not happy, not tripping, but sick and scared. I couldn't express myself. All I could do was tell Andy that I needed to lie down, preferably in the house. Andy was great, and he recognized what was going on. He took me into the house, put me on the couch, took off my shoes and loosened my shirt, and put a blanket over me. He asked if there was anything I wanted. I remember saying I was fine, then I passed out. That is, I passed out as far as Andy could tell. But, inside my head, all kinds of things were happening. I found myself in a place where the only things that existed were the darkness and my own sense of myself. I could see nothing. I had the feeling that I was drifting in space. I was wondering if I had died, or if perhaps I was about to die.

Then, I saw a light. Dim at first, then gradually becoming brighther. It made me feel warm, and I wasn't so scared anymore. This light enfolded me and I decided that it made no sense to be worried about dying. If I were dying, then there was nothing I could do about it and I should let myself go.

As I moved through the light, unaware of having any physical body, I became aware of what looked to me like a robed figure. I could never make out many details, but I was sure that it was a male figure and that it was in robes. It was on a stair, or a pedestal - - raised above where I stood. I approached and asked where I was and what was happening.

I could go on for some time telling about this interaction. I will condense it by saying that my converation with this figure eventually turned to religious matters, with which I'd been struggling for years. The big questions of christianity. My thoughts about a creator. Etc., etc. It was incredibly comforting and I was overjoyed. I remember crying (which, apparently, I was really doing, according to Andy). Then, the light faded and I was back in the dark space. I wondered again if this was death, or insanity.

Suddenly, I became aware of the room, my body, Andy's presence, and, generally speaking, of reality. Andy was just mellowing out, listening to soft music and looking at a book. He saw that my eyes had opened and came over to me. He asked if I was okay. I had so many things I wanted to tell him about, so many things I'd seen, but I couldn't get it out yet. Still tripping too hard.

Over the next hour or so, I made a rocky re-entry into the land of the sober. I had the odd experience of crossing the line dividing trip space and real space several times. Just when I thought I was back, I'd lose myself again and fly off. It seemed that it took an eternity for me to regain my identity. Andy was, over all, quite jealous that I'd had such a whopper of a trip. I wasn't so sure I liked it. The things that had happened to me were on my mind for weeks afterwards, and to this day the images are clear in my memory. So are the things that were "discussed" with the unidentified entity.

Sometime in the next few weeks, I hope to receive my Psilocybe cubensis spores in the mail. I'm ready to go again.

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