Psychedelics: An Exploration
I have had the opportunity to explore psychedelics both recreationally and spiritually. In 2018, my friend talked me into joining her trip to South America to venture into the Amazon and try Ayahuasca with a shaman. However, my journey with psychedelics started when I moved to Austin, Texas. A friend and I decided to take a trip in the Greenbelt area. I have found when you are in the right place with the right people and you are prepared, the experiences are extremely rewarding. On LSD, I could see and feel vibrations from the water to the trees and their leaves, making it feel as though I was in a jungle.
I have anxiety and notice that when taking psychedelics, my social anxiety is magnified. I do well with a small group of friends but with strangers I turn into a clam. Pro tip: you should only “trip” somewhere you are going to stay all day and night or have a sober designated driver. At the end of my first experience when we went to leave, I realized we couldn’t drive and both new to the city we had to awkwardly call a co-worker. I continued experimenting, mainly micro-dosing, sometimes at small camping festivals or shows but my favorite times were when we would just be in the backyard painting with good music and great friends. Let us get into the shrooms first and save the best for last. My best friend and I decided to go into the Rocky Mountain National Park for a night of camping and “tripping. To us, this seemed like the perfect way to try them. We arrived early in the day to set up camp and have some snacks including a PB&J + shrooms. Making mushroom tea is a wonderful way to take them or with a handful of pistachios. I prefer mushrooms over LSD because shrooms give me less anxiety. However, I still will not be seen striking up a conversation with a stranger while on them. My time on mushrooms is easier navigated; on LSD sometimes I felt I could get stuck in a bad “trip” but on shrooms I found it easier to make my mind move on to somewhere more pleasant. When comparing the two, shrooms tend to not last as long, be less stressful, more manageable, and natural. Preparation is key but so is not overthinking it all. Don’t fester in negative thoughts that will put you in an odd headspace. I prefer to be in a good mood, happy mindset, and with good people. This accelerates the positivity with psychedelics versus trying to turn a dreadful day into a good one. I suggest being outdoors surrounded by nature if possible. With good timing, your trip will be ending as the day ends and you can finish it off star gazing. Side note, you might get spooked like we did by every sound throughout the night, but it adds to the experience. Now for the big kahuna, Ayahuasca. Remember when I said preparation is key? This still applies here though I went into it with ZERO preparation. Already in Peru, trying to find a shaman, and since we were on a tight schedule to get to Machu Picchu, we had little time. If you are thinking about trying Ayahuasca, make sure to do research into the company that you will go through for your ceremony. Take the time to find out what you are wanting out of the experience. Most retreats are a few days so you can participate in multiple ceremonies. The reasoning for multiple ceremonies is because with practice you are more able to navigate your journey and find the purpose of your visions. I wish I had taken my own advice here; we only had one night and had to rush due to poor planning. We therefore missed the opportunity to speak about our time and grow on it. We were in a dark hut for our ceremony so our visuals would be more personal versus environmental. All visuals were made of geometrical shapes that formed that flowed into the next. Unlike LSD and shrooms, where I was always avoiding negative thoughts or visuals, Ayahuasca is the one that is about facing your fears. Our shaman took Ayahuasca with us, saying that, “You shouldn’t have to face your fears alone.” My experience with psychedelics has overall been beneficial to my mental health. I mentioned I get social anxiety; while “tripping” in more social environments I have found I tend to be more relaxed if I am in a place psychedelics are seen as less taboo. My relationship with people has become more meaningful and open. Sometimes you are forced to open-up about what it is you are going through while on psychedelics; you share things with those around you and find yourself overcoming things. I now feel a strong connection with the earth, due to the grounding effects of psychedelics. During my time on Ayahuasca I became fascinated with the grass and trees as I watch the energies move through them to one another and as I grasp the tree into me. Ayahuasca includes DMT which has been called the language of living organisms and I could feel that. The people I have spoken with who have tried Ayahuasca agree that their love for the world around them was amplified. Since my move to London, living in a concrete jungle makes it easy to become less connected and more “go, go, go”. Though I do not dabble in them as much now, the long-term benefits still exist, even now, leading me to a more connected, happier, and healthier life.