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What is a trip guide?
Here's what Timothy Leary says about guides, from, "The Psychedelic Experience":
The Psychedelic Guide
"For initial sessions, the attitude and behavior of the guide are critical factors. He possesses enormous power to shape the experience. With the cognitive mind suspended, the subject is in a heightened state of suggestibility. The guide can move consciousness with the slightest gesture or reaction.
The key issue here is the guide\'s ability to turn off his own ego and social games - in particular, to muffle his own power needs and his fears. To be there relaxed, solid, accepting, secure. The Tao wisdom of creative quietism. To sense all and do nothing except to let the subject know your wise presence.
A psychedelic session lasts up to twelve hours and produces moments of intense, intense, INTENSE reactivity. The guide must never be bored, talkative, intellectualizing. He must remain calm during the long periods of swirling mindlessness.
He is the ground control in the airport tower. Always there to receive messages and queries from high-flying aircraft. Always ready to help navigate their course, to help them reach their destination. An airport- tower-operator who imposes his own personality, his own games upon the pilot is unheard of. The pilots have their own flight plan, their own goals, and ground control is there, ever waiting to be of service.
The pilot is reassured to know that an expert who has guided thousands of flights is down there, available for help. But suppose the flier has reason to suspect that ground control is harboring his own motives and might be manipulating the plane toward selfish goals. The bond of security and confidence would crumble.
It goes without saying, then, that the guide should have had considerable experience in psychedelic sessions himself and in guiding others. To administer psychedelics without personal experience is unethical and dangerous.
The greatest problem faced by human beings in general, and the psychedelic guide in particular, is fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of losing control. Fear of trusting the genetic process and your companions. From our own research studies and our investigations into sessions run by others - serious professionals or adventurous bohemians - we have been led to the conclusion that almost every negative LSD reaction has been caused by fear on the part of the guide which has augmented the transient fear of the subject. When the guide acts to protect himself, he communicates his concern to the subject.
The guide must remain passively sensitive and intuitively relaxed for several hours. This is a difficult assignment for most Westerners. For this reason, we have sought ways to assist the guide in maintaining a state of alert quietism in which he is poised with ready flexibility. The most certain way to achieve this state is for the guide to take a low dose of the psychedelic with the subject. Routine procedure is to have one trained person participate in the experience and one staff member present in ground control without psychedelic aid.
The knowledge that one experienced guide is \"up\" and keeping the subject company, is of inestimable value; intimacy and communication; cosmic companionship; the security of having a trained pilot flying at your wing tip; the scuba diver\'s security in the presence of an expert comrade in the deep.
It is not recommended that guides take large doses during sessions for new subjects. The less experienced he is, the more likely will the subject impose Second and Third Bardo hallucinations. These intense games affect the experienced guide, who is likely to be in a state of mindless void. The guide is then pulled into the hallucinatory field of the subject, and may have difficulty orienting himself. During the First Bardo there are no familiar fixed landmarks, no place to put your foot, no solid concept upon which to base your thinking. All is flux. Decisive Second Bardo action on the part of the subject can structure the guide\'s flow if he has taken a heavy dose.
The role of the psychedelic guide is perhaps the most exciting and inspiring role in society. He is literally a liberator, one who provides illumination, one who frees men from their life-long internal bondage. To be present at the moment of awakening, to share the ecstatic revelation when the voyager discovers the wonder and awe of the divine life-process, is for many the most gratifying part to play in the evolutionary drama. The role of the psychedelic guide has a built-in protection against professionalism and didactic oneupmanship. The psychedelic liberation is so powerful that it far outstrips earthly game ambitions. Awe and gratitude - rather than pride - are the rewards of this new profession."
The Shroomery's Take:
Today, some people think a guide can play a more casual role than Leary suggests. A guide is commonly considered an experienced tripper, but Leary wanted a guide to be much more experienced than most people may think. Leary wanted psychologists to learn how to "Guide" trips to help their patients. In that sense, there are not many trip guides in the world. Leary also talked of guiding large groups. But, a guide can be helpful even in groups of two.
Any chance you get to trip with a good guide should not be missed (unless you have a good reason). Traditionally, the guide takes a smaller dose than the guided tripper. There are many experienced trippers out there. If you are new to tripping, It is best you trip with an experienced tripper your first time. They can keep an eye on you and help you if needed.
A guide should be in charge of setting. Provide trippers with water, and if desired, music and/or food. Leave the "Hands on" guiding to the experienced guides. For the most part, a guide needs to be an exemplar, an Icon for their tripping partner(s) .
If you are tripping alone, positive or spiritual music makes an excellent guide.
Are you a guide?
The more you learn about tripping, the better you become as a guide. With experience, guidance can become very subtle and positive.
There is no need for excessive talk as a guide. Actions speak louder than words. Listening is more important than talking. Guides need not control a trip, rather they can provide gentle nudges when needed. The goal of a guide is not really to guide is to help encourage positivity, love and joy for the duration of the trip. Usually, the less a guide does, the better. Simply being a good DJ will help guide a beginner's trip towards positivity.
No guide can enlighten someone. You can not grow a tree, only plant a seed.