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EQUINOX ********** above a river blank clay hills barely supporting cast upon the chrono-tides I, I am, ancient fungoid toxins cruising my molecular sub-structures, glorious manifold wake splitting prying open the portals and I can see again it is all as I remembered how did I forget this?



above a river
blank clay hills barely supporting
cast upon the chrono-tides
I, I am, ancient
fungoid toxins cruising my molecular
sub-structures, glorious manifold wake splitting
prying open the portals and I
can see again
it is all as I remembered
how did I forget this?
at the Hour of the Tolling
Dagon's Bell sings through the immediate deep
and I am pure, uncut heart
Pan at my side
Buddha in my head
Nyogtha in my guts
the Word at my crotch
Coyote in my feet
I run


I’m the sort that takes McKenna’s words as ‘almost-gospel’, particularly concerning the startling nature of the mushroom and its importance when observing (and then dismantling) the human mind/ego complex. I have tripped ‘casually’ on mushrooms only once - I saw a film with friends and then just hung about goofing off. During that period I could feel the mushrooms pulling at my consciousness often with the words/intention "there’s more here to see - you must go deeper" but ignored the call. After that particular trip I vowed to take the experience more seriously and started my research. Not that the casual trip was unpleasant - I just knew that there was so much more that could be done with the amazing tool that is psylocybe cubensis. I felt that using the mushroom just to get ‘fucked up’ was truly wasteful. Almost an insult to both the plant itself and to my own Self.

My first truly impressive level five trip occurred during the spring equinox. I had purchased the requisite amounts for myself and two friends, SP and JH. About 5 grams each. I spent the first night of the weekend (Friday) with my friends. We watched television and talked, speculating on the following days trip. We had all enjoyed mushrooms before but never on the level we were planning. We fancy ourselves a loose collective of oneironauts; navigating lucid dream worlds, experimenting with sigils, thought-forms, and developing our own free-form magical styles. We all considered the mushroom as important; but even more important was the ability to bring something back from the experience and integrate it into the local reality grid. So the conversation was interesting to say the least. I offer all this to give the reader some sort of insight into the collective mindset before the trip.

As it turned out, I was to take the trip alone. My friends both became ill overnight with some sort of flu. "We feel like crap!" they both announced Saturday morning. Well. And me with this dauntingly large bag of dried mushrooms! We all agreed that I should high-tail it out of there before I picked up what they had and that I should wait till early evening before beginning. If they felt better later on they would contact me and we would go ahead as planned. If I did not hear from them by a certain time I would go on ahead alone. I must admit that the prospect of the latter both excited and scared me.

I returned home and did a little clean up. Prepared the interior of the apartment for ease of navigation and comfort. I also put together my outdoor gear - appropriate clothing, backpack, water container, cell phone - just in case a hike was in order later. You might wonder at the inclusion of the phone but like a good boy scout I wanted to be prepared and my friends had said to call them in case of trouble. Then I took a nap.

Around 6pm I awoke and prepared my dose, as my friends had not called. I weighed and chopped up 5 grams (possibly more) of the dried mushrooms and mixed them with a moderate helping of spaghetti noodles and a light tomato sauce, which helps with the taste. I let the noodles cool off quite a bit before mixing in the mushrooms. I just have this fear of heat breaking down the molecular chains and this has always been my policy. This particular batch had not been heat dried and so I was relatively sure of their potency but still didn’t want to impair them further. I needn’t have worried though.

Before eating, I performed a small meditation and focussed my attention on the three goals I had laid out for the trip. First, my mother was dying from breast cancer at the time and I needed to explore my feelings about what that meant for her, for me and my family. I needed to come to terms with Death. I hoped the mushroom would perform the introductions. Second, I wished to expand my noetic abilities and asked the mushroom to lay out a rough path for me to follow. And lastly, I wanted to apprehend the true nature of Time. I knew this would probably tie in with Death somehow (Time being a result of process and process leading to Death - "all things move toward their end") so I was ready for a very heavy experience. Later I read a quote of McKenna’s, to the effect that taking the mushroom is akin to setting out upon a dark sea in a tiny rowboat. That is indeed how it felt. Anticipation was high; I would get to the other side.

About 45 minutes after my meal, I began to feel the first effects. Once it started coming on, it came on fast. My stomach was clenching nicely so I laid down on the couch to ride out the nausea, which did not last long. I have a cast-iron stomach, or so I’ve been told. The usual visual effects layered over themselves repeatedly: spatial perception altered drastically, details of the room wriggled in and out. The walls breathed along with me and the inner life of objects became apparent. I let this flow over me for some time and just enjoyed it, letting myself go on the waves. After a while I sat up.

On the coffee table was a chess board with the pieces already set up. I began to play against myself and found it an excellent way to separate the rational mind from the phenomenal mind. I quite literally split my psyche down the middle and adopted the mind best suited to working within the new, be-shroomed environment. Phenomenal mind could see the patterns and plan moves far in advance of the linear, rational mind. I smiled with glee and satisfaction as I accepted my new mentality and thoroughly wiped the board clean of myself. This was true both metaphorically and literally. If you know the game of chess and can play reasonably well, I highly recommend this process. It is slightly schizophrenic but you can always re-integrate later.

The night was warm. I could hear other people in the building, in the apartments above and below me. My senses became highly attuned. Conversations that under normal circumstance would be filtered out and discarded became clear and intrinsically meaningful. Closing my eyes helped this. For the first time on mushrooms I experienced audible effects. There was a light buzzing hum behind everything I heard. Occassionally the hum would break into words or something close to words, with a static crackling throughout. It sounded for all the world like walkie-talkies. This was to continue through the night. During paranoid moments (and let’s face it, the occasional panic moment of paranoia is almost unavoidable) I would worry that the static conversations were police surrounding the building, talking on their radios. But this never lasted long.

At around 10pm I put on my outdoor gear and left the apartment. I felt that it was time to go and meet whatever I was ready to meet.

I walked to a nearby park. This park was strange in that a library was at the edge of it, built into the side of a hill. Sounds odd I know, but it’s true; you can walk up the side of the hill and sit on the benches placed on the roof of the library. As I sat and looked at the night sky, I could feel the information below me. I’ve always loved libraries but that night I knew that they could be so much more, that this library and all libraries were only pale reflections of the informational matrix I was being routed into. I knew that ALL knowledge was available once the key had been turned.

I left that park and headed off to another park about a mile away. The walk there was interesting. Cars were delightfully silly to my eyes. I couldn’t get over the pretensions of their makers! So many cars, so many styles of cars, so many ideas and energy and money (which is a kind of energy) poured
into the construction and production of... what? Cars! Just cars. Was it a waste of energies? I thought. Not exactly, came the answer. But the energies could certainly be put to better use. As it was, cars and all other made things were still part of the pattern and had to be accounted for.

I reached the park, which straddles a river with steep cliffs on either side, and sat down. I drank some water and just marvelled at where/when I was. The earth pulsated, the river spoke its dreams into the night and I could feel Time becoming thin. I was moving outside. The answer became obvious; it had been there all along. Time was an object that we were not built to perceive. If we could perceive it as it is, then history would end. And since Time was one single thing, then there could only be one single Death. One moment of Death for all things. I got the sense that my body was a device, a unique tool for something outside of Time to experience process, experience growth and change and finally death. The ego is a handy construction that allows each person, each ‘viewing module’ to present a different, utterly unique view of existence to the thing outside. We are all different and we are all one. And so I came to terms with Death and wished my mother (and by extension, the being behind my mother, which was another part of that being that was also myself) well on the journey she was soon to take.

When the answer came I laughed aloud for quite a few minutes. I simply could not help myself. The joy was incomparable. I wondered aloud at how I could forget something like this. Some kids somewhere else in the park heard my laughing and yelled for me to shut up. I yelled back "OK!" and then laughed some more. "Asshole!" they yelled back. That was fun but at the same time I felt a little sorry for them. I had a brief period then of identification with various god-forms; western, eastern and primitive alike. Whether this was prompted by the long-distance interaction with other people I cannot say. Maybe.

I must have walked and ran several miles that night. I followed the river a long way. The trail dropped into a gorge and then crossed the river. I found that there is a marked difference between the usual visual hallucinations produced from simply interacting with the environment (light trails, moving patterns in wood grain, clouds or solid objects) and encounters with what I call "discrete entities". These are objects or phenomena that cannot be traced back to some physical object in the environment. On the trails I ran into any number of these entities. Enough has been written about them elsewhere that I won’t go into details. At first it was quite frightening but once I told myself to remember what they were the fear subsided and I ended up making a lot of friends.

As I walked I noticed that the night sky was full of not just stars but coloured moving lights of every size and shape. I knew that many of these were airplanes, as I live in a major city in western Canada with a large international airport, but as I watched them I had the thought that those lights couldn’t ALL be planes; there were far too many of them, moving too fast and erratically across the sky. From this I got an idea as to where the concept of UFOs come from. Is it the alien within? I still don’t know but it is an idea I would like to explore further.

I found my way out of the park, but at a different point then where I went in. I was lost. Familiar markers were gone; I was on a street I did not know in an area of town I had never seen. I sat down cross-legged and meditated, tried to focus. I called on guides I didn’t know I had and asked my body to work with the mushroom to get me home. Then I disengaged and let it happen. I have always trusted that the body has a memory of its own and that one can tap into it if relaxed enough. This I did and before I knew it I found myself at my apartment building. There was trouble with the key and I could tell that my body was shutting down and not working properly after the huge effort it had made. It was time to disengage further; finally I got the key in the lock and went inside.

I stripped off and laid down on the couch again. It was around 3am and I was still very hard into the journey. Time was completely absent and space was only present as a gentle reminder. Exhilaration filled my body, the scraps that were left of my protective mind (now that I was safe and warm at home) burned away. My pure awareness hurtled through indescribable spaces. I felt joy and fear in equal, oscillating, overwhelming turns.

A being, definitely a discrete entity, encountered me or I encountered it. In any case, there was an encountering. Call it a succubus or an expression of my anima or a spirit but whatever you call it, make sure you call it LAT for that, it revealed to me, was it’s name/true description. It was more female than anything else, but that is still not a very good term. The encounter was decidedly sexual in nature. LAT and myself had a good laugh (or the equivalent of a laugh!) when I remarked that, for a discrete entity, she wasn’t behaving very discretely! A passionate connection with this aspect was formed, then broken, then formed again, repeatedly. Finally, LAT left in a rushing wind.

The rest of the night was a slow progression back to concensus reality. The humming was constant with its crackling radio communiques and invisible prescences were all around. When I opened the front door I would just miss phantom figures gliding around the corner in the hall. Everything had meaning, was full to bursting with signifigance. I knew that I would never look at the everyday world with anything close to boredom again. Every single thing is worthy of concentrated, pure attention. For me, this is the key that the mushroom provides. This is the essence of magic: attention! Do not miss a single thing. We are here to observe, to learn, to appreciate.

As the trip ended I fell into a deep sleep. I had exhausted myself considerably but was quite happy with all the results. I had achieved my goals and have since made good use of the insights I gained in various experiments. The lessons learned also helped me through my mothers death only 6 months later.

When I awoke the next afternoon, I cried for awhile. Rational mind was back and could not handle the beauty, the essential contradiction of the experience, at least not initially. In a few hours I was alright and went to meet with my friends and share my discoveries.

I would recommend solitary tripping on mushrooms. There are no distractions, no conversations, no music, nothing between you and the unknown. There is noone in the rowboat with you as you embark. It is the most gloriously terrifying and fearfully enlightening experience you could give yourself.

That being said, make sure you are ready to have this experience before doing so. Work up to it. Prepare accordingly. Have some form of safety protocols in place. There were many times, particularly while on the dark river trails, where I felt very thankful that I had a cell phone with me; a link back to the world I’d left, a friendly voice to guide me. I never used it, and in retrospect, I know I didn’t need to use it, but it was nice to have it all the same. If you are going to go alone, back yourself up somehow; have a phone or change for a pay phone or, if you don’t go outside, have someone (a watcher) in the house or close by who knows what you are doing. It’s common sense.

Thanks for reading. Long, I know! Sorry. Any questions or comments?
You can contact me via email: johnny_landotter@hotmail.com
Amazon Shop for: Terrence McKenna

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