Shamans call it “slipping outside of time” and the best advice is to do it in a controlled setting, like a secured jungle setting or even a walled apartment in Brooklyn enveloped by plants, a little shaman dog, and some people who are there to blow tobacco on your chest and watch the spirits fly by (or whatever). At least that was my first experience with Ayahuasca and San Pedro, two of the world’s most powerful (and mythical) hallucinogens.
I’ll tell of that experience further down, but the slippage at hand, which I’m currently deep in the middle of experiencing out into the world came in a largely unadviseable setting…
The streets of LA.
Guarded by no shaman, no controlled setting. Feral as fuck. No buddha dog. Just two months of downing the “secred” San Pedro cactus. Taking the ride. Going on the trip.
That I’ll take you on as well, if you keep reading. I’ll time shift into different scenes, try as much as I can to tell of the madness, sadness, and profundity of what has come about as a consequence of this thrusting of the self into the “Abyss”. Good God, I’m still trying to enter ‘your world’ of slow, mundane, the ordinary. Trying not to burn up on re-entry.
Terrence McKenna calls psychedelics “boundary dissolving hallucinogens,” which is accurate. He was one of the first psychonaut pioneers who took the headfirst dive into heroic doses “of this stuff”. In a way I consider him the equivalent of pharmacological Jesus, interweaving his experiential trips with a solid background in science and philosophy.
Me, I thrust myself into this world as a babe with neither, just a thirst for the unknown.
I first ate 3 grams of psilocybin mushrooms several years ago at a friend’s apartment. I remember her face turning into a living jungle, if you imagine a live rainforest dripping down the right side of her face, living, breathing, green vines slowly twisting down her neck.
I imagine it was an extraordinary blending of my memories of being on a cliff in Maui (during an especially joy filled period in my life) and the present moment of being so attuned to her physical body. Its as if living memories intruded into the space to cause what was to come next.
I became aware of a golden field of light entering the room from the upper right of my visual field. Mind you this was night, in an enclosed apartment. It’s as if the entire room opened up and filled up with an all encompassing warmth that permeated not just my body, but all my thoughts and my entire being. I felt as a spring daisy must feel greeting the warm and beauty of the sun.
That was a fully embodied experience of what I have come to call “Christ Consciousness” – or “what all the hubbub is about” in that religion. But felt. And real. And there. You might want to look up the [study]. Its not an uncommon experience.
The Psilocybin Years
So began my experimentation with mushrooms. In all his talks Terrence (I may refer to him a lot throughout this book) would say that the mushroom speaks. A hyperibtelligent multi-galaxy spanning life force, that apparently has a translator into English. Well, that was his experience. The mushroom has never talked to me per se, it has just showed me, often with and through my body, some fascinating and otherworldly things.
The most common experience that I would get from ingesting mushrooms would be an onset – about 20 minutes in – of a series of sensations.
Many psychonauts have accepted as a religion the concept of “set and setting” – basically where and who with to do this with, as in, being very intentional with it. I followed some of Terrence’s suggestion as basically surrendering to the experience and saying “show me what you want to show me.”
The unique take that I decided to give most of my trips is something I call “let’s blend the worlds”.
My intention became to be able to hold the trip, the sensations, the surreal frequencies that I would experience and integrate or blend them into this (our collective, known) reality.
At the time I was living in Venice, California in a minivan then a rental car. In the morning I would go to Bulletproof Coffee, sit outside, think about my intention, pop a chocolate piece into my mouth (usually between 1-3 grams), then go get two large coffees and wait for the effects to kick in.
The first sign of the come-on was usually a pretty strong sensation that “something is happening” – reality would start to alter and shift. Often there was a buzzing that i would become aware of. I’m not sure if the buzzing was “the mushroom spaceship landing into this world” haha – or more likely I became hyper-aware of the various fans that were in the coffee shop.
That’s one of the curious commonalities – now that I think about it – throughout my mushroom trips. A hyper awareness of sounds coming from rotating things – usually the fan blades of refrigerators and air conditioning units.
The following “symptom” would be a thrusting of my own self into the “I shouldn’t be doing this”-ness of the experience. I mean, there’s so much collective dogma against psychedelics. So much hysteria and fear – even around something as harmless as marijuana, for Chrissakes. I would deal with this factor of the experience of just checking in with myself and making sure I’m not – oh I dunno – flailing about or staring a single object like a weirdo – or I don’t even know what trip nightmares accumulate in the collective about this. However, I passed every time. I was looking normal enough – as least as I could perceive the projected perceptions of the self. Hah.
After my outward-somewhat-normality was established, I would start enjoying the dope ass aspects of the journey. Namely, that everything was and felt perfect and beautiful.
Do you remember the first time you looked at a super HD TV? Like 4k or whatever? That experience. But within reality. Like 360 all around experience HD!
I would usually spend the rest of the day deeply connecting to people (like at the coffee shop) – though they would have to be receptive in the first place. Thankfully Venice is filled with more-open-than-average folk.
I would have deep, piercing, loving conversations and formed some close relationships, that I must regretfully say, were not as long lived as I would have liked.
This feels like a major aside, but a reflectively important one. The mushroom when I consider it is a mycelial body, relying on nodes to live, thrive, and propagate. Without activated nodes in other people, the power, magic, and permeating love that I experienced while being on mushrooms, could not propagate through the collective. Enough of us would have to be on mushrooms for us to realize the collective potential of what this substance brings.
I’ll do an injustice to my two years of eating mushrooms by omitting most of my detailed experiences, adventures, heartbreaks, and what have-yous, but I want to concentrate on what I feel like was the concrescence of my two year trip.
I was sitting in a minivan next to my yearlong adventure partner, at the very end of my rope. I had eaten hundreds of grams of mushrooms, danced my was off, cried rivers of tears, experienced life in HD, driven across the country, sworn off most of the detailed distractions that the modern world calls functions of ordinary living. And here I was, experiencing an existential hole. All for naught, it seemed.
Slumped in the drivers seat, rather listless, I asked myself “what could possibly be worth living for” now…
Some time passed. There was nothing. The mushroom did not speak, as Terrence has told me it did.
But then something miraculous happened. It felt like my entire brain flashed in a moment that I can only describe as a fractal moment of the totality of the experience.
Looking back at it, it feels like my entire brain lit up, in a microsecond, at the thought itself of lighting up my entire brain.
The spark was there. Two years of whale sharking psilocybin mushrooms brought me only to that one, solitary, but profound flash. That it’s possible to light my whole brain up. Since then I’ve included the entirety of the body as part of the brain, since I feel like it’s all connected.
An onrush of “what’s possible as a human being?!” followed And to my delight worlds of possibility started opening up. I could get a chemistry degree from Berkely and dance on the world stage and become proficient at an impossible array of topics.
This gushing subsided over the coming days and weeks but something was definitely lit.
San Pedro answers the call
Or I, it’s.
We weave the story of our lives as a narrative. Its the way we make sense of the world. And as such, this is my narrative.
Mushrooms took me to the edge and showed me what was possible. And then the relay race of life baton was handed to a cactus, the San Pedro cactus.
I already had a few jaunts to the world of San Pedro by the time the brain strike on the hill happened.
For the sake of completeness I’ll cover my first two dates with the plant.
My first San Pedro
Enter the Brooklyn apartment I mentioned at the beginning of this book.
I had arrived in New York City in the fall of 2017 on a plane and a prayer. I had a massive breakdown while living in Florida at my mom’s house, having renounced most trappings of the normal material world and feeling trapped in a painful living situation.
After crying to the depths of my soul, feeling an unbearable isolation, I had the intuitive sense to call on one of my only new friends, who happened to agree to fly me to NYC to sit in ceremony with Ayahuasca and San Pedro. I had nowhere else to turn, at least not in the normal world, filled with mirage and priests who always came up short to what I was really looking for.
Like Terrence’s trip to LA Chorrera (fascinating, look up his accounts of it. They’re mythical) – as his last resort to flee to something that ended up being his last resort (he had been chased out of Berkeley and wanted by Interpol) – I stepped into that Brooklyn apartment with my last hopes.
I didn’t even have the $ for more than the first round of Ayahuasca and San Pedro. Thankfully the Shaman leading the weekend ended up allowing me to stay all 3 days and nights.
My nights with Ayahuasca were surprisingly uneventful. The first come-on was a loud ping and pinching sensation inside my right hip. There were some slight hints of visuals, but the total of about 18 hours with her was characterized mostly by feeling kind of shitty. Like being aware of being in my body and not liking it but having no way of changing the experience, no access to something greater.
Not so much disappointing as uneventful. Meh.
Now San Pedro. That’s where the rubber hit the road.
While people were having similar reactions to Ayahuasca – crying, screaming, hysterics (which in a shamanic setting are just the thing needed for healing) I felt mostly a calm. I sat up and sat a table where the miracle happened.
I breathed in and in a single breath, it felt like what I had breathed into expanded about 50 times in size. My entire upper back expanded and for the first time in my life I felt the sensation of being at home, comfortable, and way larger (whether you want to call that my auric field or what have you) than I ever have before.
Remembering and reliving that moment many times since, I cutely call it “my Angel wings coming in,” which is sort of what it felt like.
The next moment I remember I looked at a woman who was standing nearby and I had a timeless moment of her, perceiving her in full, with no judgement, just pure communion. Elkhart Tolle would probably call it perfect presence or wakeful awareness of the now. To me it was the first time I was aware of having a non-egoic moment in the presence of another human being.
With that much space behind me, I soon looked around and saw intuitively who I could be in service of. I came up to one woman and said “can I release your hips?” She obliged. I felt that energy that I had experienced go into clearing out whatever was being stored there. I could feel her relief and gratitude. Next I placed my hands behind another woman’s head and neck. Breathing into the experience, I was aware that something was happening through me. Something beneficial. Something space-making.
In perfect awareness of that unlanguageable things were happening I was happy. And free. We spent the rest of the time dancing around and sharing food.
Second San Pedro Experience
After the Brooklyn trip, the Psilocybin brain strike in San Francisco, and a few months in, I had another controlled (as in setting) journey in LA.
It was in the same lineage as the first trip with a different shaman.
As opposed to the first experience this round of Ayahuasca felt like a breakthrough. I actually dissolved out of my physical form at different times. I even had a full on purge, throwing up the accumulated pain of my life into the water of the toilet bowl, which no longer was confined to 3D/4D. I saw the energy of what I was throwing up dissolving into different dimensions, going who knows where.
While I was neither in physical form nor dead, sometime after I felt the insects of the world slurp up the last remaining bits of life in my body, feeling my energy entering theirs – as all carbon forms experience after death – I had some intervibrational spaces to explore.
I remember asking, from the depths of my being, and to what seemed like hundreds of year old ancestors of this land – for a free and open space for my lover and travel adventure partner – to dance, to be free as a woman, in this lifetime. I can still see the snapshot of a moment of her face and hair, forever in motion, yet still, basking in the ecstasy of that imagined moment.
I remember wanting to anchor in reality something of what I was experiencing. My form decided to come into 3D to take a note. Still vibrating more than being solid, I awkwardly grabbed the notebook and wrote to the best of my ability – I wasn’t fully form yet – “I’ll be a galleon with as many sails as you need,” a love letter to her no doubt. At a similar moment at a different part of the trip i also wrote down these words, “we rise with breath.” I imagined the world, our light being attacked, I imagined being at music festivals, and breathing into our power, to raise up, collectively with that soft rally cry, “we rise with breath.”
If Ayahuasca was the dark, San Pedro was the light. In the morning we drank the water with boiled down San Pedro crystals dissolved inside.
The memory that stands out most is walking outside into the hillside and reaching out to a live San Pedro cactus with my hand. It felt like a living thing. It actually moved to meet my hand. The part of it that grew sideways felt like a crocodile, slumping into my awareness, as an animal in a projected Animal Planet show would. This began my relationship to the physical form of the plant.
Perhaps six months later, I properly lost my mind. I spun it into an all systems overload. I had already been teetering on the edge of madness, or perhaps leaving consensus reality as a whole.
I was driving the minivan and purposely overloading my senses, as well as the senses of my beloved. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Earlier that day we had visited Bulletproof Coffee Labs, where we were told that their space age contraption would overstimulate all your senses in order to put you into the saught after theta brainwave state.
Well, why not overload myself in real life, I thought, following my perennial desire to blend extraordinary states into this reality.
I was taking everything my lover was saying and spinning it up into a wilder frequency, pushing the state into the next, and her and mine resulting emotions into and even higher “spin”, then overloading that result, in an ever escalating sequence, until something surreal happened.
A single memory came through the wormhole of time into the present highly charged and energetically increasing- velocity space, triggered by visual cues from a previous time. It hit me with the full force of something that can only be itself in space time, crowding out everything else in existence.
To give this some due lattice work and to help you perceive the effect of it within the framework of your own mind, I’ll give it a booster rocket of a similar yet different experience, so let’s back up and go to a different time in my life.
The MDMA Shower Scene
It’s probably circa 2015. Ish. I’m bouncing around LA like a mad man. Feverishly checking Tinder, okcupid. In in line at Alfred’s Coffee, the boughiest little coffee shop in town (at least then. LA tends to outdo itself regularly in this department).
I spot the photo of a cute Asian girl bouncing on an alligator floatie with the biggest smile on her face on okcupid. “Would you like some coffee?” I message her.
Even before she replies something in me has me order two coffees already. She says yes.[That’s the curious quality of time traveling. That pull. Those moments where ‘something’ that’s so certain pulls you almost by force until you are walking a path that your rational mind later catches up to and says, “ok, we’re on the ride!”]
“Oh, but I live an hour away,” she comments. No problem.
I arrive with the effervescence of a caffeinated sugared up child. I even scale the wall of her gated house to greet her. She’s amused. Keeps clapping at me and giggling, the more energy I spin up into.
Some part of me here feels so accepted. Like, hey it’s ok to be riled up, to be this happy and energized.
I give her a beanie baby hat. We whisk away to the pier and buy two cap guns which we take to the beach in a playful shootout.
As we’re rolling around in the sand, someone (me) mentions how much I love Palm Springs. Someone else (her) mentions how much she loves molly (that’s MDMA for the less-travelled).
What a brilliant day filled with brilliant ideas. An hour later we’re on the I-10 and she plays me “Often” by the Weeknd, and an “I like Drugs” remix by Miguel. I’m in love.
We get a suite at a hotel that has an aesthetic reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland. We ingest. And keep the music flowing- She’s an amazing MDMA DJ.
We decide to make thrones for each other. I’m nervous (and this happens with Molly) but there’s this soothing coldness and a surrender to the experience. We both, like devotees of an ancient religion based on worshipping the body, or the gods within us, create a throne / cocoon to be as comfortable as possible and to love and honor each other to the best of our abilities. The throne we make is to give me the beat place and for her to worship in exquisite detail and loving focus, my cock.
That’s a field. Even as I write now. A field, a dimension. That I’m fortunate to remember.
After this I remember the scene that forever changed who I am.
We were both in the shower, the water now warm, and my naked body moved ever so closer to hers, with nothing in between us, but the rain drops. There was a totality and nakedness and presence there that gave rise to my first moment of singularity.
It’s as if every single thing I ever knew drifted into the background and in one single moment, I saw her body beneath mine, the drops of water froze in mid air, and the shine of everything in my visual field opened up a portal through all space and time. I was no longer me, but every man. She was no longer her, but every woman. What we were doing was both timeless and out of time. This moment was lived for in countless lifetimes.
A profound gratitude came over me. I was to the depths of my soul thankful for her. Thank you for finding me again, I said, and in this lifetime. Knowing that she had, and I had. In so many special lives together before.
*unscratch the record*
*lighting imaginary cigarette to attempt to collect my thoughts about this*
I’m breathing into the words here, because how to even begin to draw what I intend to draw here? As in draw (an active act), and draw (being a place to fill up)…
I suppose I use that story to begin to create a singularity in you, the reader. Or at least try to form the shape of it in your mind, so when the time comes for you to be drawn into the wonderment of what’s available in this life, you can surrender with grace, and really enjoy the ride.
Think of it as an obelisk, or a shiny doughnut shape that appears in space time to cause a ripple in your life.
Go get a drink of water or something. Move your feet. Then we’ll pick up where I left off in the minivan.
Hi. Welcome back.
So remember when I was originally talking about being in the minivan with my travel wife, overloading our senses until something snapped?
Munching on the cactus which contains mescaline as the primary triple bonded hexagon, which is the reason