Psychedelics Led Me Back Home to Myself
Dipping into the universal pool of consciousness throughout my twenties.
It was a sapphire blue sky, mid May morning in 1970. My boyfriend and I launched out on a long walk through a quiet residential neighborhood, surrounded by lush gardens in spring prime. I was turning 19 in a few days and he told me he had a special treat to celebrate the date. We stopped for a minute as he dug into the pocket of his bell bottom jeans and pulled out two hits of ‘orange sunshine’ LSD.
“Don’t worry, he assured me, I got these from a trustworthy friend working in a lab and he knows they’re pure. Happy Birthday!”
We eagerly downed our first psychedelic hits with a swig of water and continued onward. Fifteen minutes later I was hopping timelines and vibrating along with the scintillating plants.
Was I this young hippie in the present moment or a 7-year-old whirling dervish, circling barefoot in summer grass under a magenta, turquoise, desert sunset? Trancing myself out, to the tune of heat lightning splitting the heavens, chased by cracks of booming thunder with no promise of rain. I effortlessly stretched over the map of my brief life as past and present merged into one.
The welcome mat of interconnection continued greeting our every step forward. Our little ‘hits of God’ had announced their entry into our psyches and bodies.
Grabbing ahold of John’s arm I gushed, “Don’t you think fresh cut grass and crushed lavender would be the best perfume ever! OMG! Look at that perfect rose, it’s a work of art! I can smell the aroma from here! I have to touch it!” I bounded into a garden, kneeling in worship before a cluster of plants. Was that the earth I felt breathing beneath my palms? John stood nervously on the sidewalk, cautioning me about trespassing.
“I forgot to mention some people believe psychedelic flashbacks can be a lifelong side effect from hallucinogens,” he called out in the hope of distraction.
“Wow! I hope so! I’ve never felt so amazing and to think this could return without drugs is unbelievably exciting!” There I went, down the psychotropic rabbit hole and as the day wore on, back home into the essence of my spiritual being.
I entered my voyage without any concept of what might unfold and the cosmos rose to the occasion.
There is a universal pool of human consciousness. The collective thoughts and feelings each one of us has, past, present and future can be shared and accessed with the aid of psychotropics.
Human beings have always felt the desire to explore consciousness beyond the mortal coil. Unearthed Shamans’ graves from ancient cultures have revealed caches of well preserved marijuana and peyote buds, among other psychoactive plant ‘medicines’.
It’s daunting for our brains to try and grasp the concept of infinity, or to acknowledge the mystery of our inevitable passing. We have historically sought out plants and substances nature generously provides, for assistance in realizing what cannot be discovered through the limitations of our mind.
One thing became readily apparent to me after a couple trips with LSD and mescaline. It was far preferable to embark on a trip with an open mind, surrendering attachments to what should, could, or might happen. If one can adopt this relaxed attitude at the outset, heart can take precedence and serve as a spectacular guide to our inner realms.
Activation of our spiritual nature is hindered by a craving for mental control. Psychotropics release the constrictions within our mind and usher us into a more spacious realm where heart rules. If a person is uncomfortable with this exit out of known mental parameters, a ‘bad’ trip can take place due to fear.
Altered states are a natural human desire and most children enter in and out of them freely.
Non ordinary states were familiar to me throughout childhood and I relished their reappearance under psychotropic influence. Youthful trance states stimulated a desire for subtle realms, lying underneath the fabric of accepted ‘reality’. I resonated with the concept of expansiveness and knew these vast frontiers were linked to my purpose in life and also where I would discover meaning.
My first memory of a transcendental experience took place shortly before my sixth birthday. I was locked in a pitch dark closet by a teacher who told me I could die in there, then she locked the door and left me alone. Although I was traumatized, I later viewed her as my initial way shower. She literally opened the doors of my perception by forcing me to break through fear by entering into communion with a manifested blue light.
My seventh summer was a period during which I frequently ‘flew’ up into the sky while lying on the grass, staring into space. Only soaring back into my body after realizing I was watching myself from above. I was my body and something else. What was that other part?
I also had many periods of intrinsic awareness, a state where one is aware they are aware. This is the source of being fully present in the now that meditators seek in stillness.I thought everyone had these experiences until adults and peers let me know my existential probes were uncomfortable and I should cut it out. Normalize.
My brothers thought I was a witch. They observed my dedication to pagan celebrations. Sagebrush bonfires on the street curb, chanting incantations to the ‘forces’ with glittering eyes. Steadily feeding flames higher and higher. I learned to keep my visions to myself.
I bought my first pack of tarot cards when I was 14. I recognized the archetypes and knew the images and interpretations provided direct insights into the workings of my mind. I purchased an I Ching book and spent hours throwing coins and reading hexagrams. An older sibling introduced me to Aldous Huxley’s ‘The Doors of Perception’ when I was in high school. I devoured it, trembling with excitement. Here was an adult who had gone where I ventured and described it so well. I moved on to Carlos Castenada’s ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’ my senior year in high school, also thrilling. That book heightened my fever pitched drive for altered states, in conjunction with my first joint of marijuana.
I knew, without doubt, my self growth would be promoted through a deeper connection to the subtle realms of spirit — that which is hidden from view.
My inclinations in childhood facilitated my willingness to imbibe certain drugs. I came of age while the baby boomer revolution in the 60’s and early 70’s was encouraging and emphasizing non traditional approaches to conscious awakening.
Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll were a staple diet for many in my generation but I had a different mindset about using these potent drugs casually. I knew their power after my first trip and treated any future journey respectfully. I was not interested in a fun experience, loaded with hallucinations. I longed for the deep within.
Psychedelic trips are filled with unusual occurrences, but for me the essence of any trip did not refer to spectacles and phenomena. Psychotropic benefits were demonstrated through a steady realignment of my heart and feeling nature. These substances can create and enhance the formation of new brain entrainments in a lasting way. Neural synapses are accelerated and expanded, opening new frontiers in consciousness.
In my case, this was demonstrated through immersions into an exalted state of love for all humanity and the natural world. These two always seemed a pair and became a trip signature.
Mushrooms showed up as allies for several years when I traveled over land in locations they favored. I found them calling to me in their own language. I often came across them while others continued searching. One golden domed, purple ringed, white stalk mushroom in El Salvador was the size of a large dinner plate. My traveling companion and I split it in half, made a tea and had a most remarkable day on a Pacific Ocean beach.
A few rough spots in my psyche had been obliterated through astounding insights and new layers of self respect installed. Paying homage to the sunset, I felt like I had undergone years of therapy in a single day, the mushroom rapid path to self actualization.
Mushrooms can also bring us back into our bodies by heightening kinesthetic awareness. We are not walking heads. Our bodies are vital and we recognize their value under the influence. Physical boundaries can recalibrate in a beneficial way, form merging effortlessly with the environment. Many people have noted this particular loosening of physical veils on mushrooms and have described it as a turning point in how they interacted with their bodies.
None of us know what lies ahead.
It’s been forty years since psychotropics have crossed my lips. In retrospect I see LSD, mescaline and mushrooms functioning as sporadically timed aids to self evolution during a period of rapid growth.
I’m noting the resurgence of mushroom use and communities actively engaging in micro dosing LSD and mescaline. Psychedelics can provide new insights into states of anxiety, depression, PTSD and other mental disorders. They can also pave the way to an inner spiritual arising. This is their alchemical magic and gift, transforming the dross of lead in our consciousness into the gold of awakened heart presence.
As for my own journey, the clarion call of the mushroom family may be beckoning once again. I recently found a baggie of psilocybin mushrooms in the parking lot of the public zoo near my house. Someone had been harvesting the animal poop. I left them in place for the sure to return, hunter gatherer.
My past initiations with sacred medicines steered me exactly where I needed to go. Their steady reminder — keep an open mind and heart. Simple, highly effective advice for navigating this complex world of ours.
Now, at the age of 68, I am contemplating the thread of all existence in a wisdom way. Gone is my illusion of immortality, encapsulating a youthful exuberance. Here and now has morphed into daily gratitude for the breath inspiring my being and holding integrity by honoring what arises.
The reappearance of those little hits of God might be a sign I’m due for a refresher course.