Peace and welcome back to ‘Gone Trippin’. I hope you have been well and are prepared for October and the changing of the seasons. Summer is falling away, the days are getting shorter, and the world feels a little more chaotic and scary as we head into a presidential election. I’ll keep the politics short and leave it at this: protect your energy AND remember you are part of a collective.
This edition of ‘Gone Trippin’ has a guest that inspired the creation of this column. K is a close friend and current tripping partner. We have shared two DMT trips and an acid trip in the last 11 months, but they have been some of the most influential trips that have helped me work against and understand the depression I have dealt with for over 10 years. K is a little older than me, but sometimes feels like a sage gifted to me from the Molecule. I’m not sure he knows how much he matters to me, but after this I hope he knows.
Someone like me, a radical, doesn’t have many mentors. I often feel alone, sad, and frustrated as I continue to grind against the status quo. A seemingly solitary journey, K has given me a sense of solidarity not only in my professional lifestyle, but also in my recreational habits. The advice he gives and the places we’ve been cannot be put into words. I look forward to our future trips, in this life and the next.
Below find the transcript of our conversation including a wildly dark story about taking a heroic dosage of mushrooms, some psychedelic current news, and some beautiful pictures K gave me to share with the world.
J. bb: Who are you and how do you identify?
K: My name is K. I identify as male. There’s no other part of my identify that feels like a pressing need to tell people
J. bb: When did you first begin taking psychedelics? What was your experience like?
K: I was maybe 19 or 20 so college, junior year. It was a batch of shrooms that we’ve grown in our basement.
J.bb: So you’re a long time shroom guy. [writers note: IT IS INSANE THIS DUDE’S FIRST TIME ON SHROOMS WAS A BATCH HE GREW]
K: Kind of. When the opportunity presents itself I’ll do it, but sometimes those are few and far between. But the first time was with my friends and housemates. It was amazing. It was one of the best days of my life. We were in St. Louis. We went out to a park and we spent the afternoon on a hill just looking out into the city.
J. bb: How often did the opportunity arise back then?
K: I would say maybe twice a year.
J. bb: But those are big doses you’re talking about with shrooms, right?
K: The standard. 3.5 grams
J. bb: Been a long time since I’ve done 3.5 grams of shrooms, but I’d love to do it again soon.
K: You should.
J. bb: What is your favorite psychedelic and why?
K: Shrooms for sure. Mostly it’s a contemplative experience. It helps me reflect on my relationships, where I’d like to go with my life, and my relationship with myself. And it’s calming. I mean that’s also dosage dependent.
J. bb: Where does DMT fall in your hierarchy of favorite psychedelics?
K: Shrooms is first and DMT and acid are tied for second, granted there are others, but those two kinda switch spots. DMT is a short lasting experience. You do pack a lot of experience into that short amount of time so it depends to a degree.
J. bb: What’s your take on machine elves?
K: I know they are there. I’ve seen them.
J. bb: I’ve seen them too.
K: They’re just right there beyond the veil.
J. bb: Seeing machine elves definitely changed me forever. What do you think their purpose is?
K: I don’t know. Stewards of the universe? I don’t know.
J. bb: Do they just like bear witness?
K: In my experience so far, yes. They’re right out of the corner of your eye the whole time.
J. bb: I think they kinda just hold everything together. The matter and energy of the universe or existence.
K: They keep the whole clock working.
J. bb: Tell me about the time you took 5 grams and ended up chewing on window blinds.
K: I did not come to with the window blinds. That was a buddy of mine, but yeah, I took 5 grams out on the beach.
J. bb: I love psychedelics by the water.
K: Yeah, it’s amazing. This was maybe in either late May or early June. It was out on Long Island and the beach was empty and nobody was out there. We walked the beach until we started losing our bearings and then headed back. Everything was kinda funny, but thankfully we had the mask and glasses on so people couldn’t see how out of it I was.
J. bb: Oh this was during the pandemic?
K: Yeah. Then we decided we have to retreat back to the apartment.
J. bb: It’s very important to know that feeling when it arrives and to act on it.
K: Yeah, things were getting heavy. We got back and he split. He was like, “I gotta go upstairs. I’m going to go be by myself for awhile,” so I was hanging out downstairs. We were kinda by these marshes or wetlands so I was just on the back porch looking at the birds and stuff all afternoon. It was beautiful, but yeah, you kinda have your standard dose and you feel like, “ahhh, I’m at a good level,” but then it just kept going.
I will say this was the first trip that I had lost confidence in myself. And normally I’m always very grounded and I understand what’s happening. I’m self-aware of it, but with this I was still self-aware and I was like, “Am I trapped?”
J. bb: Yeah, that was me last November. That’s why we had to do the DMT in December because I was all shook up and shit.
K: Yeah, at a point I had full on auditory hallucinations and I was hearing conversions that weren’t happening. I also heard my boy upstairs. He was stomping around yelling at himself or somebody, I don’t know. He had it a lot worse than I did, but yeah, this refrain of time and space kept ricocheting around my head. I lost depth perception at points. I felt like I was in the movie Inception where they have a totem to remind themselves how deep they’ve gone.
J. bb: Do you have a totem?
K: Yeah well, I went to the fridge and grabbed a White Claw and that was my totem I held onto.
J. bb: I have different types of totems, but none of them are items. It’s like doing certain actions in the moment I wouldn’t regularly do to test my boundaries when I feel stuck. For example if I feel trapped, I wouldn’t be able to do this thing right now. I wouldn’t be able to get up, leave my room, and go outside if I was trapped. I wouldn’t leave the apartment and open the front door if stuck. I’ll take a step out and walk back in and know I’m not trapped and that space is still vast.
K: I have to remind myself I’m master and commander here. I remember I was wearing black jeans and I sat down on the couch at one point because I was having trouble standing and I looked down at my jeans and you know those rainbow colors you see on oil slicks? I looked down at my pants and they were oil slicks. Everything was bleeding into each other. I was like, “this is getting…” *laughs* It was the first trip instead of being relaxing or contemplative it was me trying to fight to not fall off the Earth type thing. Overall, I would say I was grateful for the experience. I would do it again. I felt like I was on the frontier of what I was capable of. And now that I know that I’m like, “I’ll do 6 grams next time.” I wanna know my breaking point. Maybe I don’t want to know what happens when I break, but I wanna go there.
But yeah, my friend when he snapped to was naked chewing on the blinds, but I was standing downstairs looking at myself in the mirror, which is also a risky kind of thing when you’re contemplating yourself, but he was at the top of the stairs (fully clothed!) and he goes, “dude?” and I said, “yeah what’s up?” He was like, “have you been here? Has anyone else been in the house? Has anyone called the cops?” And I was like, “no, no, no. No one has been here. No one has called the cops.” And he was like, “you’re sure of that? Did you come upstairs?” I was like, “no, I’ve been down here the whole time”.
And at different parts of this trip I heard him stomp around and argue. I suspect it was with his girlfriend or all in his mind like his parents, stuff like that. He goes, “you sure?” I said, “yeah man, no one has been here. No one has said anything. No one has called the cops or anything,” and he goes, “I was a demon. That was the darkest place I’ve ever been”. And I told him, “well fuck, I’m glad you’re here with me man,” but it sounded like he was having a hell of a time up there. He made me sweep the apartment for cameras and microphones and made sure we weren’t being watched. After we confirmed that he kinda calmed down. Thankfully we both agreed to hide our phones so thankfully there would be nothing weird outbound. He said, “I should probably text my parents because they’re probably worried.” I told him, “no, the less you say the better. No news is good news”. I had him on that train of thought for a while, but then he got a hold of his phone and texted his dad, “it is a beautiful day. It is okay,” totally unprompted. I was like, “your dad’s gonna know something is weird”. Thankfully everything turned out okay.
J. bb: Do you think he would do more?
K: I don’t think so. I think he met his match. Afterward he was like, “I feel reborn.” He was also very thankful I didn’t hear anything he had to say upstairs. That’s why I think he was just battling his demons or whatever. That was certainly a harrowing afternoon and exhausting.
J. bb: How have psychedelics affected or changed your political sense of self?
K: I think from my first experience onward. It helped me empathize with others. It allowed me to escape the conceits that I lived with, but that’s something to maintain I think. You know, I break out of the norm for an afternoon and I’m able to see how else I could be, but that’s practice. And I think using psychedelics over time has helped me sharpen my sense of solidarity or sense of I am part of a community. I’m not a self-made person. All that I am has come from, besides whatever I do, the people in my life that I’ve built relationships with and those relationships have to be reciprocal to benefit the whole and I think back then I didn’t have the framework for understanding how I felt or how I could best articulate it. But I think over time that has led me to the discovery of more left leaning politics and understanding what I used to think was good and right and okay is not enough.
J. bb: What do you think would happen the first 72 hours if every American over the age of 25 took an eighth of shrooms?
K: Quiet. I think people would need to sit at home and think about some shit. I would hope that people would take that time to call their friends, call their families, maybe open themselves up more. I know that’s what I did. The first time I rolled [on molly] I definitely called my brother and sister at 1AM telling them I love them.
J. bb: I definitely texted my family when I was rolling once on New Year’s one year when everyone was still up pouring feelings into the groupchat.
K: I waited until the next day thankfully to call my parents. I was not out of it enough to wake them up at 1AM.
J. bb: What is your view on the link between spirituality and psychedelics?
K: Spirituality to me is I don’t know. I grew up in the church, but not really of it. Some of my earliest memories I remember trying to devise schemes to not have to go to church and I kinda got better at it until I didn’t have to go later on. And I kinda broke off from that formalized religious life, but the link between spirituality and psychedelics I would say has helped me process that I’m part of a continuum. I’m part of a cycle and I can see where different religions draw on that. That is a very centering aspect of existence and an organizational way of thinking. Like for example when I was on 5 grams of mushrooms, it wasn’t the first time that I thought of it, but I was very okay with being dead at some points. I thought, “okay. I will make room for someone else to come after me” and that’s the right thing to do. I’ve talked to my brother before and he’s like, “yeah I’d live forever if I could do,” but I don’t. I kinda wanna die one day.
J. bb: I don’t know. Maybe I’d like to live for a million years and then die then.
K: You wouldn’t get bored first?
J. bb: I wanna see the rest of the universe. I feel like the universe is limitless, right? Ever expanding. I think the brain kinda might be too.
K: Interesting. Like there’s no limit of what we can conceive of. Things are inconceivable until they aren’t, right? The scope of the universe is just mind blowing. You see those little dots in the pictures of the universe and each one of those is its own galaxy.
J. bb: If the universe is ever expanding as they say then anything inconceivable must be conceivable on one of these levels of being. It must happen. It must be out there. If there’s a machine elf out there, I wish they would just wake me up.
K: I do kinda wonder about that. If there’s any soul or spirit. I kinda wrestled with it a bit with psychedelics and I’m still undecided. Maybe I’d like to believe that, but that’s inconclusive for me right now.
J. bb: I don’t know about the soul. Spirit is just energy to me. I think life just has energy that transfers.
K: I think I draw a lot of significance on the interconnectedness of everything.
J. bb: How can we more quickly eliminate the stigma of psychedelics in society?
K: Buy Dr. Bronner’s. I would like to better understand psychedelic subculture. Not from a place of evangelizing it, but destigmatizing it. I have another friend who is in the healthcare industry who has gone to a couple conferences on the uses of psychedelics in therapy and wellness so it certainly exists even unofficially.
J. bb: Yeah, it’s definitely out there. I’m getting targeted ads. I think the next 10 years are going to be a pretty crazy point in human history. I think a lot of crazy shit is going to come out.
K: Yeah, already certain municipalities are decriminalizing.
J. bb: Yeah, you’re seeing it slowly with little cities like Ann Arbor being like, “you can have this. You can do this drug. You can grow it. Can’t buy it, can’t sell it, but just don’t have any in your possession”.
K: I do worry for the long term. I do hope for the normalization of these kinds of drugs, but when we look at the context of what made them illegal it was like the war on drugs.
J. bb: The failed War on Drugs.
K: And how the hard hand of government and not to say I’m anti-government but methods of control could swing back to where they were before. It’s a kind of push and pull we have to maintain in favor of more empathetic and more broad based approaches to, not just people’s health, but their recreation. Their right to explore that.
The Indepenent just dropped a cool article on accessibility to drugs, pushing back against the “white boy drugs” trope that psychedelics are for white people. In fact it touches on the idea that racial trauma can be healed with these drugs. The national psychedelics reform organization Decriminalization Nature (DN) released a thorough and comprehensive guideline to local organizers and advocates to help slowly push for psychedelics to be legalized. I am proud of the people doing the work in every legitimate (and illegitimate) way possible.
I thank the molecule and my ancestors for the gift of cultivation and the wisdom to experiment with their bodies, minds, and spirits. Image at the top of the article courtesy of dmtwor1d. Below enjoy a collection of wild mushrooms that K found on a recent camping trip.