My first experience with the Mushroom. Along with two friends of mine, (both first-timers) I backpacked two days into a coastal wilderness area we had never been to before. Beach hiking on a black sand beach under sunny skies was a treat those first two days. We felt lucky to be travelling under such nice conditions since it was quite early in the season and rain was a likely event. On the evening of the second day we set up camp by a river, pitching our tent on the sand back by the green edge of the lush forest. The plan was to dose the next morning. We did not discuss the upcoming experience much but our fire-lit faces betrayed flickers of anticipation. My expectations coming to this point were unambiguously positive. I had much history with marijuana (which I have a peculiar sensitivity to) and had patiently prepared myself for an eventual encounter with mushrooms. In hindsight, I see two misconceptions I took into the trip with me. First, I think there is a general opinion that, in the spectrum of common entheogens, mushrooms fall immediately above marijuana. Having not heard any detailed account of the possible range of effects, I carried the notion in my head that I was in for something only slightly more intense than a very strong marijuana high. The second fallacy I brought with me was that pot would only make a mushroom trip come on quicker. I wasn't aware of the possibility of a synergistic effect. When we awoke at sunrise on the third day to dark gray skies, drizzling rain and cold wind, I should have perhaps treated it as an omen for the trip ahead.

We ate a small breakfast of granola and soy milk then huddled beneath a small driftwood shelter. Each of us ingested 3.5 grams of psilocybe cubensis, commenting on the extremely foul taste. We cleaned our camp up then waited for the effects to make themselves known. I split from my friends who wanted to go out near the ocean. The rain had increased to a light shower and I retreated a little ways under the shelter of the trees. I was aware of a stony effect and heightened interest in the lovely greenery around me. I bent down close to a small patch of tiny plants, moss and ferns. As I came down into this miniature scene, the delicate lifeforms seemed to swell into grand and beautiful versions of themselves. There seemed to be an entire world happening down in the bushes. I began to hear a strange music coming from, it seemed to me, the tiny plant system and my immediate surroundings. The sound of the rain dripping and circulating through the green botanical city made an almost digital-sounding high pitched oscillation. To my ears came plant music, oddly electronic. The scene took on a strange, futuristic light, as if I was looking at a small hydroponic grow-tank with artificial light shining from above and the sound of computerized sprayers hissing in the background. The plants themselves seemed half-artificial: genetically designed experiments or even computer generated images. This imagery brought with it some cognitive development along a similar theme of artificial reality. The mushrooms seemed to slightly distance my awareness from my sensory perception and I began to think of reality as a fearfully complex game of virtual reality. Each plant seemed merely to be the physical expression of the algorithm for a plant. Every aspect of reality was simply programmed to look and behave with certain properties, just as a programmer would code a 3D world with plants, trees, running water, etc. The intention of an ideal virtual reality is to be absolutely convincing; and it obviously was. But things looked the same as they always had; these were internal ponderings rather than experiential awakenings. I was pulled out of this mind trip however, approximately an hour after dosing, due to the now severe case of nausea that had been creeping up since the beginning. The acute sensation brought me into a darker, grouchy emotional state as I stalked through the forest looking for a place to throw up. I had stamped about for about ten minutes wondering what to do when my friends appeared on the look out for me. They were also experiencing nausea and suggested we go smoke some pot to kill the feeling. It sounded like the best idea to me.

We smoked a bowl under the shelter and that is when time, space and my mind joined hands for a final ring-around-the-rosie. My friends walked off to explore while I stared out at black sky, black rain, black sand, pounding black ocean. The digital water music I heard before exploded into a thunderous techno of crashing bass waves and a million glassy raindrop tones. I was cold and wet and decided outdoors in a downpour was the last place I wanted to be. I headed for the small three-man tent, pulled my shoes and jacket off at the entrance and crawled into the bright, cocoon-like interior. "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down," and I landed hard. For the next few hours, two fundamental mindsets fought for control of my consciousness. The first mindset was my ego-sense: the opinion that I was a human with some 20 years worth of memories who had consumed a psychedelic substance and was experiencing a corresponding trip. That part of my mind suffered a terrifying emotional roller coaster in the tent, beating myself up for being so stupid as to ingest a substance I was not, it seemed, the least bit prepared for. The effects at this point were more intense than I could have possibly imagined. I rolled around in my sleeping bag alternating between hysteria and tears. I saw the red-edged tent door flapping in the wind and thought it was the blood-soaked image of a demon tormenting me. The cause of all this suffering was the emergence of another fundamental mindset.

To the frightened Homo sapien in the tent, it was total reality loss. Very simply, I became aware that the universe is a dream, infinitely long, endlessly varied and eternally cycling. This awareness came in the form of anamnesia, that is a re-remembering of what was once forgotten. I "remembered" the true nature of reality and time with absolute certainty. I remembered the last time I had been on this beach in this tent scared shitless. I remembered it from the previous rotation on the wheel of time. Consciousness and reality merged into what amounted to a pure and continuous deja vu. My terrified ego desperately relived memories of my life and recent past as evidence of their existence but all these images were fading invisibly away as dream memories soon do upon awakening. Alone in the tent, solipsism (the belief that only the self creates reality) reined supreme. I stared at the brand names of my shoes and sandals, baffled that I could come up with such realistic names. In a very real sense, I realized *I* was the cosmic programmer who had carefully designed and created a totally convincing experience made of props (trees, animals, buildings), characters (family, friends, lovers), and a plotline (joys, sorrows, etc.) Up to this point, the current episode of the cosmic life-game had been sort of a coming-of-age number maybe transitioning into a love story. I was the writer, the director, the star, the audience. Of course, in order to be really interesting, the last step in the setting in motion of this vast, cosmic drama was the removal of my memory of having created it. (A dream is, obviously, the perfect model for what I am describing.) As I figured it, the mushroom was a kind of mnemonic key planted in reality as a mechanism for waking up from the dream. In my current state, I was out of time, in a singularity of sorts, where I could see the universe for what is truly was.

One of my friends returned, soaked to the skin through his entirely waterproof outfit. He joined me in the tent and I puzzled over who this person really was. I didn't know if we were sharing the experience and he had discovered the same ultimate truth that I had, or if he was part of the dream. After acting distant and being rather incommunicative, I finally started a conversation that seemed to perfectly justify the first possibility. It seemed that everything my friend said was confirmation that he had had the same awakening. The same singularity that made my solitary hours seem like an infinitely repeating nightmare, now made our conversation go in loops. The same five minute period of time seemed to loop over and over again as we made identical comments and identical gestures. Again, deja vu.

Eventually my other friend returned to the tent after running all over the area. It was about four or five hours after we had dosed and we were all coming down. At some point I had reconnected with consensus reality and was left only with a great relief that I was back. We smoked some more bud and it only relaxed me further. I don't think I discussed the intensity of my trip until some days later. We waited out the downpour and came out to clearing skies that evening. I felt very refreshed and peaceful after such a tumultuous day. We hiked all the way back the next day.

While under the influence of the mushrooms I swore that I would never touch them again. Afterwards, having returned to my previous state, I questioned the experience critically. My main obstacle was in discarding my two misconceptions about mushrooms. In comparing my trip with those of my friends and everyone else I've talked to, my experience was unique and infinitely more intense. At that time, I couldn't reconcile what happened to me with what "should" have happened. Through experimentation in later trips, I've determined that it is the mixing of marijuana and mushrooms that produces this mind-blowing trip. Due to my abnormal sensitivity to pot, psilocybin actually activates the *marijuana*. Since that first shroom, I've recontacted that singularity from just pot alone. Without any bud, I have the standard shroom trip. Beautiful, inspiring, unambiguously positive. I wonder if I'll ever have the courage to intentionally mix psilocybin and THC to have that intense trip again. Even though it was a terrifying experience of ego death, it has been a fundamental force in my life and spiritual thought processes. In the terms of William James, this experience continues to be absolutely authoritative over me. That is, even after returning to ordinary reality, I know that what I experienced was true and is still in effect at this moment. I know I will inevitably find myself back there again on the beach as time plays ring-around-the-rosie into the infinite future.

See also:
mushroom trip #2
the the mushrooms entry in the Essential Psychedelic Guide
Magic Mushrooms

My first mushroom trip was a journey of the self, unlike my mushroom trip #2. It was November of 1999 and I was 19 and away at college. My friend Brian, who had quite a bit of experience with this stuff, invited me to trip with him on a boring Friday night. I walked from my dorm room to his apartment, it was a nice and starry night and I only needed a light jacket. After I got there we went into his room and I took about 1/8 oz. He said it would take about a half an hour for them to kick in, so we went and watched some TV. After a little while he started looking a little funny and declared that he was most definitely tripping. I felt nothing. We watched more TV, and then he went off into his room to look at various psychedelic posters and listen to Pink Floyd. I sat around watched more TV, and started to feel really left out. Soon I decided to walk back to my dorm, he came with me because it was on the way to the pool, and he wanted to look at the water. The whole walk home consisted of him repeatedly asking, “Do you feel anything?” and me repeating saying “No”

I got back into my room. My roommate was gone for the weekend, so I started surfing the net and watching an old NewsRadio rerun.

Hmm.. that’s funny, my eyes are starting to lose focus

the mouse starts to feel weird in my hand

and suddenly I lose all fine motor control.

It was about two hours since I took the mushrooms, so they took their sweet time to kick in. I get up out of my chair to call Brian. Actually I flopped out of my chair and onto the floor and crawled towards the phone. My hand-eye coordination was totally shot and after a very long and concerted effort I managed to dial the phone number. He’s not there so I leave a message on his answering machine telling him I'm messed up and call me back ASAP. Then I realize how rambling and incoherent I sound, so I call him again and tell him to save the message so I can listen to it tomorrow morning.

I decide to go for a walk and see the world. Everything looked and felt wonderful. I felt like I was in an FPS game, all objects would just slide though my field of vision. Everything looked completely three dimensional, as though I could see all sides at once. When I focused on an object it seemed to stand out from the rest of the world. I was able to see every individual leaf on a tree. The universe buzzed with energy. The act of rubbing my fingers together was one of the most joyful feelings I’ve ever had. I reveled in experiencing the world around me.

I decided to walk back to Brian’s apartment, as I walked down the street the all of the lights had little flares shooting off of them. The cobblestone street ebbed and flowed like it was water. When I reached Brian’s place he was happy to see I was OK and we go for a walk. We lie down in front of DCL and just look at the stars as they oscillate above our heads. We spend the rest of the night walking and pointing out cool things.

At about 4:00 a.m. I finally start to come down. Overall it was a great night, though I was pretty freaked out by a very lifelike statue at one point.

I picked Nathan up from being stranded at the train station around 9pm. We went to Del Taco, filled out bellies, and went back to his place after securing bread and orange juice for the journey ahead. My first impression, eating this drier-than-dry powder was that it couldn't be unlike eating the ashes left after a campfire stoked with cow pies. Mmmm. My stomach started rolling almost immediately, and that's where the bread and O.J. came in, settling the maelstrom inside so the poison could do its work.

After about 30 minutes of nausea, the body high kicked in like a rush. Every nerve was alive and feeling nothing short of good. Nathan and I made sure to describe our experiences to each other thoroughly, and we were going through pretty-much the same thing, although our stages were timed different by a minute here and there. When the visuals kicked in, it was just motion at first. Lying in a reclining chair, I was staring at the ceiling, watching the stucco transform to several smoky layers and roil about above my head. It looked like white lava, and I just couldn't stop staring. Then the colors kicked in. The elements of stucco divided into purple and green factions, tiny soldiers marching oblivious to each other, in time with the radio Nathan had set up. This particular hallucination occured only on the ceiling. I couldn't reproduce it anywhere else in the apartment.

After what seemed like weeks of staring, god-like, at the tiny world above, I began to check my other senses for effects of the drug. The radio was modulating in both pitch and tempo, coming in like waves and receding just so. My skin felt like warm rubber, like a dolphin's, and I felt slightly clammy, but every touch felt wonderful. We'd been in the room for weeks, years, and life outside was only a dream. Ahh, to be a druggie.

I'm not sure who stood up first, but we both learned the hard way that our limbs were drunk and not responding properly at all. We stumbled about, laughing at stupid little things and treating abstract concepts as tangible things. "Why, oh why, didn't I take the blue pill?" The blue pill was an Everlasting Gobstopper that wasn't even there. Nathan wanted to experiment with changes in lighting, so he went into his bedroom and stood in the dark for awhile. Calling me in, he alerted me to the fact that our skin was luminescent. Why, so it was. We realized that our eyes were far more sensitive to light now, with our pupils the size of dishes, resulting in our ability to detect even the slightest light reflections on our hands and arms. I stumbled back into the living room, back to my chair, my throne. Nathan, after some spelunking, found a Japanese picture book called Gon, about a baby dinosaur surviving in the wild. I read it out loud to him. There were no words. After about 100 pages of this harrowing tale, the story ended, with Gon leading all the prey animals of the forest against a wolf mother and her two cubs. I've never been so proud of a cartoon baby dinosaur. After more time experimentation, falling into the images of several magazines, and wishing I had a warm romantic body beside me, three o'clock rolled around, and Nathan needed to get to bed. He helped me gather up my unused musical equipment and carry it out to my car. We thought we were coming down. We were wrong.

The path to the entrance/exit gate stretched for miles through a thick jungle. When we arrived at the gate, I realized I had left my cell-phone inside. I asked Nathan for his apartment keys, and began the long trek back to the room. As I walked, I passed by a thin black gentleman with a shaven head, nodded, and continued on my merry way. I grabbed my phone and headed back to the gate, where Nathan waited with all my guitar equipment. When I got there, Nathan informed me in hushed tones that the gentleman I had seen and another were standing outside a red Camero with an open and empty trunk, talking about us and all those 'big cases'. I told him we should head back inside, and figure things out. On the way back in, we passed by a security guard, which made us feel just a bit safer, but not much. In his apartment, I decided I wasn't going anywhere that night, and now I had to come up with a plan to keep out of trouble with mom for not coming home. A glance in the bathroom mirror confirmed my suspicions that I was still tripping heavily; my eyes being the sugar-glazed saucers that they were. I got brave and called my mother from my cell-phone, informing her that scary-looking dudes were outside the community gates, and that I decided not to bring my only valuable possessions out into their midst. She understood. I omitted the part about me having poisoned myself with magic mushrooms. She wouldn't have understood.

Now that sleeping arrangements were settled, Nathan had to get to bed. He went into his room, and crashed hard and heavy. I settled back into my throne, and became a mighty oak, rooting down into the floor and the sweet sweet soil beneath. I listened to the sounds of electricity zapping about in the fridge, the air conditioner, and the lights outside. They formed a rhythm I could dance to, and my individual limb components started doing just that. I was twitching for hours. A few strange cartoons played through my mind. The concept of security was a paper-doll cowboy running through a maze, looking for me while my dance continued, unabated. When I finally did come down, I was on the floor wondering just how dirty that carpet really was. I slept like a rock.

The next morning, Nathan woke me up with a grunt, and we went about getting ready to return to our daily lives. Nothing particularly interesting happened, except when a few dogs narrowly avoided a promotion to roadkill status on Roscoe Blvd.

The moral of the story, kiddies, is that fungus is our friend, and though it is one of those friends you never want to give to much power to, it can be mighty helpful in passing a boring Tuesday night. I hope you all enjoyed my experience. I know I did.

I had never tried these things before, so I had no idea what it would be like. Sure, I had heard about it before - just talk from friends and acquaintances. Growing up in a poor part of Brooklyn, you hear all about this sort of thing. But I had never tried it.

I guess in the past, I never really felt like drugs could have any effect on my life. I mean, I was happy, I was successful, my brother and I even had a successful business back in the day. Before the accident, that is. I've spent years trying to get my life back on track, to try to find a way back home, but you know what they say - you can't go back.

So I decided to try the mushroom. I'm not sure what inspired me to do it. My brother wasn't there at the time; he never seems to be there for any of the really significant experiences of my life. I'd told him about my plans before and he'd just pooh-poohed them. He was always the more buttoned-down sort. People have always described him as being a bit more of a straight-edge. He's taller, thinner, in better shape than I am. That's always been the way with us. I'm the fat one, the go-getter, the guy who will try anything. Luigi will go for something if he sees me do it and he's confident that he could do it too. But a lot of the time, he's more subdued and laid-back than I am.

He tried to convince me that it was a bad idea. He said to me, "You shouldn't try it. You don't know where they come from. Magic mushrooms, huh? You know where they grow? Do you?"

I said, "I can see where they come from! Listen, I have a friend who was telling me all about it. It's easy enough. They come in these little boxes, you eat them, and things start to change. He said that it'll be interesting, something I've never really tried before."

"They grow in cow shit! Is that something that you want to put in your mouth? I don't care what it does! I don't care if you feel great and wonderful and that everything is going to be amazing from now on! You'll get sick!"

I said something at that point about how I had a good immune system, and he snapped back with, "You know what? This is what we call a gateway drug. You go for this, and before you know it, you'll be smoking God-knows-what. Think about it, man. A flaming plant in your mouth? Doesn't that strike you as stupid? You always used to hate smokers, and now you're going to be one of them!"

I assured him that I wouldn't start smoking because of this, but now that I look back, I see that he wasn't so wrong after all. Yeah, so I've gotten into smoking one now and then. But only when I'm feeling really down. But anyway.

When I first tried it, it seemed easy enough. There it was, in the little box, just like I'd been told. I popped it in my mouth, climbed up onto the platform there, and waited a bit.

The weirdest things started happening to me and my perceptions. It felt like I was growing and shrinking, growing and shrinking. After a few seconds, I felt like I was about twice my normal size. Everything looked so small in conparison to me. So I tried moving around. I felt like I was stronger, faster, better than I'd ever felt before. I tried jumping up and down, and it seemed like I could leap eight feet into the air. Unfortunately, I landed on a Goombah (that's what they call some of the locals around here - being of Italian heritage, I've always found it a little bit offensive, but I guess that I'm a bit stereotypical myself), and he shrieked - it was like I'd flattened him out, and then he melted into the pavement and disappeared.

Everything was looking all strange, like it had turned into little blocks and squares. The sky was a weird purplish-blue color, and I really wanted to feel the red brick of the town beneath my feet. I leapt up and punched the wall, and watched as it exploded in a shower of smaller bricks. I knew that if I got hurt by something, I wouldn't really feel it. I felt ten feet tall, and tried to see if I could make it off of a building and catch a flagpole. I just made it, sliding down to the ground. I'm lucky I wasn't hurt, although I've had worse experiences since. One time recently I was smoking some strange leaves that I'd been sold, and I was convinced I was turning into a raccoon and could make myself fly off into the sky just by running as fast as the wind would take me.

I felt great! I was running and jumping all over the place, and before you knew it, I'd accidentally fallen off of a wall. I wasn't hurt, exactly, but I could feel the high wearing off. I felt like I needed another shroom - I'd not had that much fun in a good long time, but I decided to wait. I'm kind of glad I did, because after the next time that I tried mushrooms, I found that I just didn't feel safe anymore without them. They felt like a second skin, like I was being protected from harm. My body also felt weird when I was sober, like I was all squished and flattened out. It wasn't a good feeling. And you know what, my brother was right. Eventually I tried out smoking the "fire weed", as the locals called it. But that's another story entirely. Maybe if we have a first time trying flowers node someday, I'll add it.

Many apologies to Shigeru Miyamoto and his work.

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