(Copied from the Vaults of Erowid)
This is the story of a traveller who discovers the true meaning of the word
"entheogen." He discovers that he is either a genius or a lunatic.
Friday at 11:21 PM, I took 3 hits of LSD of unknown dosage. The previous
night I had taken a threshold/sub-threshold dose of shrooms (P. stunzii
soaked for a few months in honey/vitamin C) and a low dose of rue extract.
That was only enough for a tingle or sense of light-headedness and slightly
sensitized vision. This "prior" night preparation may have been a factor in
the intensity and significance of the experience about to be described.
In a short amount of time, the psychedelia washed over me in rough energetic
waves. The waves pushed against my body, giving me a slightly uptight,
nauseous sensation. The waves/energy flowing through me was encountering
resistance in the form of tension in my body, but I tried to flow with it
and did o.k.
Eidetic visions ensued as well as phosphene colors and psychedelic colors,
lattices, and fractal patterns. The eidetic visions were of a creature I
have seen before (at the initial onset of shroom trips). When this creature
appeared to me before it was doing a dance, waving its arms and legs about
wildly and gyrating about its center. It was a many-colored, space-age
cartoonish creature with a cylindrical body, flexing arms with white "pads"
on the end. At the time word fragments were going through my head. I realize
now that this creature is my guardian spirit and that the word fragments
going through my head are my search to "name" this creature. The creature
and I had a blast, a great celebration of joy. We had a lot of fun. I kept
thinking "Yeah!" Joy, jubilation. The creature was also overjoyed at being
with me in this wonderful experience.
Part of this jubilation was seeing my fiancee. I had the urge to call her
up, but I didn't. I did realize though that she also inhabited this space
that I was in. That's what attracted us to each other. That part of us that
we keep mostly to ourselves is the part that C. and I share. She reminded me
of myself in childhood, or she appealed to those long-lasting enduring
aspects of my soul. And she was always happy in my visions, happy to be in
My cat came upstairs to see what was going on. We played pretty hard, but I
didn't get scratched one bit. She purred the whole time.
I was up in my room during this whole experience. I have a window in my room
that looks out upon the city of Seattle. This was my Window on the World,
which I kept checking. The first time I checked it was near this peak. I saw
moths flying around a lamppost, which seemed like angels or diamonds. The
flip side of this adoration of beauty was the paranoia that someone would
see me and know I was tripping out.
The spiraling loop began as my ego dissolved. What do I mean by this? My
will, that is my attention, the one "thing" that I am thinking about at
given moment, could not focus on anything. As soon as I would try to focus
my attention on something, it would melt away. This includes the physical
world around me, and also ideas. The result was a loop, with me cycling
slowly through the various ideas of what I wanted to "do" or "think". I had
a clipboard and loose-leaf paper, and part of the loop was me returning to
the clipboard and writing things down. The loop consisted essentially of the
following sort of cycle:
1. I need to write something down so that I'll be able to "bring something
back with me" to the physical world when I return.
2. I start to write, but It's difficult to finish a sentence because the
paper and my pen seem to melt away (I start to look too closely at the
words, the letters, the ink, the pen, the paper.. ) and whatever to look at
(wherever that 'point' that it is your attention focuses), melts or
3. Then it hits me, "That's it!" What is "it" exactly that hits me, it's the
following idea-- my attention is a point. But it is a point that is
constantly moving, so that the universe is continually in flux around and
through that point. I'm not speaking metaphorically here, I am actually
saying that I kept trying to "fix" onto something, focus on something, but
whatever you look at you see "inside of", so that you have an infinite
regress. That is, you look at the lamp flame, and you see that (a) it is a
LIGHT, so you see the "meaning" that is in it. But you can't focus on the
LIGHT either, because that is an idea, and within that idea is another idea,
and so on. But that's exactly it! And back to the piece of paper.
It was a maelstrom. A whirlpool, the loop was cylcing ever round and round,
and I was slowly going towards the center of that whirlpool. Then to calm
myself in this maelstrom I thought, why not just focus on the center point
of this maelstrom. But unfortunately I couldn't. "Find the still point" I
thought. But I couldn't pin it down. I realized that I couldn't pin it down
because it was an unstable equilibrium point, you always rolled off it in
another direction. It is like being a marble at the top of a smooth metal
hill... you have to be infinitely symmetric, infinitely balanced to stay at
that unstable equilibrium. And yet I was cycling and being dragged into this
pit. Another expression of this whirlpool is the metaphor of the spiral
staircase that descends, round and round, into the Underworld. Many are the
souls who sit on the steps and despair.
The point that was ME was imbalanced. I couldn't focus on the center because
I had a twist to myself that caused me to turn away from it. These are my
fears and doubts, "I am on drugs... I am wasted". Socrates calls this
"wallowing in the mire." Along with you in the mire are all the diseases and
ills that you hold within your body, all asymmetries and stubbornness and
evils, and also the things in your mind that you deny or repress. For me
this tended to be what was below my center of gravity, which is where in my
spine the knots and kinks were, there is a blockage there.
In all other directions out from the point that is ME is the flux of the
world. All that is hotter and all that is colder. All that is bigger and all
that is smaller. All that is .. etc. And I was somewhere a point on all
I began to ask myself, well, what do I know? That is, what do I know for
certain, ab initio. Cognito, ergo sum, I thought. I am a point (my world
line through space time, my trajectory, my stream of consciousness). At the
time, I wrote "OK... God." (sounds like a good place to start.)
>From a point a line can be drawn. A line consists of two rays. The two rays
are opposites. That is, if "hot" is one ray, then "cold" is the other. If
life is one, death is the other. And so on for all opposites: odd/even,
yin/yang, male/female, ad infinitum. There are an infinite number of these
opposites, but also an infinite number of rays that can extend from a
central point (in 2d and higher of course). Plato speaks of the
(capitalized) forms Hot and Cold, representing the idea of heat or the idea
of cold. These are of the Mind, and Eternal, whereas any given thing that is
hot is hot to a certain degree (a position on the ray), but is not Hot
itself. Plato uses the ideas of these forms to prove that the soul is
immortal. Since "Hot" as an idea always existed, then the Mind must always
have existed. Of course you don't have to accept this, but that is the
argument (although in the Phaedo this is done very rigorously).
This is getting a little confusing, so let me try to draw a picture. I will
use mathematical language since that is what came to me at the time as I
pathetically tried to understand what I was seeing/feeling/ being. Define a
point, then define a line. We start with zero dimensions, then define one
dimension. Then let this line "split" into an infinity sign, so that the
original point is the "knot" at the center of infinity. The infinity sign is
a trajectory through "hyperspace" or whatever you choose to call it. Lots of
things can be mapped on to this trajectory.
First, let's try to map light/colors onto it. First we have the origin/point
of our coordinate system, then the line, which has two aspects: black and
white. Then the bifurcation of that line into the infinity symbol gives us
all the colors of the rainbow. Thus we start with One point, then Duality,
Another mapping onto this infinity symbolism is the construction of the
number system. First we have the empty set, which is nothing. Then we have
to "comment" on the fact that we having nothing. How many elements does the
empty set have: zero. So we start from nothing. This "commenting" on the
existence of the empty set constitues constructing the set containing the
empty set. How many elements does this set have: 1. We have constructed the
first number. We can continue in this way, constructing a 2-element set by
observing the fact that we have 2 sets now: the first is the empty set, the
next is the set containing the empty set. This goes on "ad infinitum" and
that gives us infinity.
Another mapping onto this infinity symbol is the book of John (and many
creation myths). First there was the Void/Chaos. That's the empty set, the
zero-dimensional point. Then, I said in the last paragraph "someone"
observes the fact that we have 1 point. Who is it that observes the empty
set/the point? That is the Mind, that is Logos, that is translated in the
KJV as the "Word". What is it that the Mind is contemplating? It is
contemplating the existence of that point, the center, that is, God (in
John's theology). Thus, we have "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word
was with God, and the Word was God" that is, at the moment of creation (of
the ego/the self/the universe), there was the Mind/Logos. So the Mind and
God were with each other. John also adds that the two are also one (or
sprung from one) -- that Mind was God (the self and God are actually *the
same thing* as far as the origins go, since they both sprung from that
initial single point just as the set containing the empty set is in some
sense the "same thing" as the empty set, the difference being who is the
observer and who is the observed). Yes, there are obviously connections to
be made to quantum mechanics, but I leave this for later.
Life and Death can also be mapped onto the same infinite cycle. Socrates
describes this in the Phaedo when he sets out to prove to his followers that
the soul is immortal. The cycle of life and death revolve around the
infinity symbol ... one side of the infinity is the life part, and the other
side is the nonliving part. Life is conserved, neither created nor
destroyed, cycling around infinitely. Note that the infinity is a trajectory
but that each repeated cycle around follows a different path, like the
Lorentz butterfly. To describe this infinite cycle, Socrates calls these
paths rivers, the one the flows through the living world is called Oceanus.
Oceanus flows up through the central point (birth), then around the world,
and down again through that well. That well is called Tartarus, the bridge
between this life and the non-living state. On the other side of Tartarus
one has several rivers, the important one being Acheron, which empties into
a lake that is the place where souls reside until they flow once again back
into the world by being born again.
Other connections can be made, for example, Being and Non-being. The
creation of the universe, and its destruction, and rebirth. WE are the
universe in the sense that it all maps onto the same eternal cycle,
represented by the infinity sign. Note the duality inherent in the infinity
sign itself. The point at its center is "zero", the complementary aspect to
The past and the future are also two branches of this sign. The NOW is that
point. It is our ego's "world line" through spacetime. Light cones from
special relativity can also be mapped onto this. The NOW, the past, the
This interpretation explains many of the aspects of the psychedelic
experience that are so often commented on. Ones body feels heat and cold
better. That is because we are sensing an imbalance between those opposites.
The "melting" and "breathing" hallucinations are a result of the inability
to focus the will that holds reality in place for us, because the soul is
disconnecting itself from the body and its sensory input. That disconnection
is a lack of measurement/information flow. Without that we are pure Mind.
The more perceptive aspect of vision-- seeing the details we never noticed
before, is due to the inability to limit where the focus goes, it goes ever
keeper into infinity, instead of stopping at a reasonable place. I.e. there
is always something "within" everything (except the single point). That's
why the whole universe can seem to be within any given thing in front of
you, such as a lamp, or my cat. Speaking of my cat, she was with me the
whole time. I wrote in my log, "Sasha KNOWS what is going on!!" Indeed, she
did seek me out as soon as she realized what was going on in my head. And we
had a grand time playing. She is a soul that has chosen to live as a cat
because that's what she enjoys! And enjoy it she does.... streeeeettcchh....
Amazing to see the colors of the rainbow ebb and flow in her white
diamond-sparkly whiskers and to see electrical sparks and fields in her
staticky fur. Yes, the universe in is in her, too. And she KNOWS what I was
discovering. She knows that already. But she is content simply to BE a cat
and is not troubled, like humans, with the Meaning of It All.
I have a window in my room that looks over the city of Seattle. From that
vantage point I could see the sparkling lights, like jewels. The city melted
and was in flux, and I also saw it as a space-age city of infinite beauty.
Of course I knew that it wasn't really like that... I was actually looking
at my conception of Beauty itself.
The enhanced sense of humor and appreciation of art arises because humor and
art are way of expressing the ineffable, the Mind of God, which is at the
center of the experience.
The feeling that our psyche "fills" up the room or space we are in is due to
the fact that we cease to be distinguishable from the universe, we become
the universal Mind. The Mind is thus "enlarged."
The feeling of being equally distant from all memories, including dreams, is
due to the fact that you are experiencing existence outside of time, so the
NOW ceases to be your only point of reference. Thus you can visit your death
and you can regress to your birth and perhaps, in the Mind, to your
ancestors or previous lives.
The feedback loop is caused by the spiral into Tartarus. Why a spiral and
not a straight journey down into the pit? Because we are asymmetric. The
feedback loop is often unpleasant because we do not know whence we are being
dragged (it is scary because beyond that pit is the other side, that is,
Death). And it is scary because we LIVE our fears and doubts which keep us
going round and round. Also, we are out of control and are being swept
along, so we will want to fight it. That may make us tense and nauseous and
worsen the experience.
I let myself go and I saw the point that one must focus on. But it is very
hard to do it and I was not able to keep my attention so fixed. Fortunately,
I realized why. All those asymmetries and stiff points in my body kept me at
an angle, instead of being aimed directly in. That's why I felt all crooked
and tight, and I experienced pain and brought it to the surface. I realized
later (when my ego had returned) that my guardian spirit had showed me a
dance when I first saw him. By imitating that dance I was able to improve
the condition of my back and because "so in the body, also in the soul" I
think that helped me with my psychological problems too. I still have a long
way to go though. At least I realized that the shape my body is in is a
consequence of the state of my psyche and, in consequence, the actions I
choose to engage in and way I choose to live. All the knots and tensions in
my body were around my lower back, my center of mass. I have a twist there,
and that is also where my belly is, which I had been unhappy with because it
has been getting unusually fat. I guess there is a blockage between my lower
and my upper halves. I need to affirm the lower half.
The rest of the experience is where I put together the pieces again and
rebuilt myself. You emerge from the whirlpool, having glimpsed what lies
beyond. But, because I hadn't slept yet, I was still in the psychedelic
state of mind. It is in this state that I considered what I had experienced
and tried to piece it all together. This is an ideal state for channeling
from the infinite source of energy that is the other universe. I experienced
telepathic connection with others, ability to glimpse the possible future,
and other "psychic" effects. I saw the cosmic significance of everything,
and I also had deja vu experiences. I had come back to my body and the
world, but my mind was still straddling the bridge between the worlds. My
experience began at 11:21 PM on a Friday. As dawn broke I was a whole person
again, but still reflecting on things and still hallucinating. The patterns
I would see against neutral backgrounds were like Gothic churches or Gothic
crosses, like the Notre Dame. Or like Suzzalo library, which is a building
of great personal significance to me. The circle, mandala-like stained glass
windows also appeared. In fact, looking out my window, my driveway and the
street looked like a huge ornate cross.
The morning was beautiful. I went outside and felt the cool wind and the
crisp dampness, but warmth, of very early spring. Plants (bulbs mainly) are
just beginning to shoot up now and flourish. Everything is budding! I was
still hallucinating the patterns against all neutral or disorganized
patterned backgrounds (like the mosaic tile floor in the kitchen or the
asphalt on the road). Also, the clarity of vision was still there, the sort
of enhanced 3-d effect, and the sort of exxaggerated hypersensitivity to
everything, inside and outside the body. Yes, it is like having a whole new
body! Or being born again.
This state did not diminish, but remained as it was, and I knew it would,
until I slept, which I did not do until Saturday night, after having
reflected a great deal on the things which I have described here. During
this time I did the dance that my guardian spirit showed me, and I sought
out those things in the house that seemed important. They were all relevant
to me and enabled me to come to these realizations. In particular I read and
understood all of Plato's Phaedo and the first few lines of the book of John
(which I had translated a year ago), also the first few lines of Homer
(which I had also translated) and some of Hesiod. It helps to have the
wisdom of the ancients at hand in case it is needed. I was able, with the
help of the notes I took during the trip (that was what I wanted so badly to
"bring back" and worried that it wouldn't make sense when I did), to
identify my experience as similar to what Socrates tells of in the Phaedo.
I noticed that our fonts look backwards sometimes and scrunched to one side,
which is a reflection of the asymmetry of reading, the right to left
asymmetry. One reflection on the dual nature of reality is that you could
imagine seeing the page from "behind the page" in which case you would see
the mirror image, and that is the resolution of that asymmetry (wherever
there is asymmetry there is tension and the need to seek the resolution of
that tension in the dual universe, where of course people read English from
left to right.
I was able to guess what people were thinking, even though they only alluded
to it. A friend had brought her 2-year old son with her and I found his mind
easiest to read. For example, when we sat down to eat dinner, I sensed that
the child was disturbed that we all starting eating without saying grace, a
tradition that was honored strictly when he ate dinner with his parents. I
didn't say anything at the time, but later his mother realized why he was
upset, and we said grace then. I am not a "Christian" but I kept the feeling
of the Mind of God as we joined hands. Rituals are very important to that
kid! Another example of mind-reading was when I proposed a toast to "God,
the Universe and Time" and we all clinked glasses. My sister did not make
the special effort to clink glasses with the boy (he had a water glass and
the rest of us had wine, all of us but my sister, who was at a far end of
the table, had clinked his glass), and I sensed that he wanted to but wasn't
going to make a point of it, so I suggested that my sister clink with him,
and he was absolutely delighted. It's great to affirm that fundamental human
need to fulfill and participate in the Patterns that we see around us. That
constitutes the drive to learn and grow. Had we not clinked with EVERYONE
there would have been an aesthetic hole. Lives go on of course, but why not
live life beautifully when you can?
I explained my revelation to my friends after the mother and son had gone. I
said "I met God ... loosely speaking, of course." They listened. R.
continued to reassemble the globe of the world as I spoke. K. followed me,
interested, level-headed. His questions were very good, although I didn't
realize at the time. I told them first about the whirlpool of the psyche,
and about wallowing in the mire, then about the infinity sign. I read
appropriate bits out of the Phaedo, and I showed them the notes that I had
taken. K. asked some important questions. Why an infinity sign, why not a
circle? My answer was, don't confuse me, I'm explaining what I SAW. I ranted
and raved for quite some time before exhausting everyone. I read excitedly
from the "Phaedo" about the immortality of the soul.
That evening I put together a lot of thoughts on quantum mechanics and the
Dirac equation, entropy and information, and the dual universe (a universe
that is coexistent with ours but is traveling backwards in time).
I went to bed at about midnight.
The next day, full of energy and enthusiasm, I wrote up my experiences and I
wrote up a great deal of quantum mechanical ramblings. A few days later I
remarked as follows:
At the moment I am going through an "asymmetry" which could be described in
many different ways. a) It could be described as a shamanic awakening, a
reception of an influx of power (called swadas in the Twana language of the
Puget Sound area). b) It could also be described as mania.
I noticed today that in McKenna's "True Hallucinations" all the action takes
place between February 29, peaks around the Vernal Equinox or thereabouts,
and gradually tapers off until the 12 of May. Strangely enough, that was 25
years ago, and as I observe below, I first starting sensing something on the
29th of February, (which is when I starting putting together a talk on
complex probability theory, which led to the insights into the Theory of
Everything that I felt that I had been tapping into).
Some quotes indicating my state of mind:
> OH MY GOD. My advisor, the inestimate Bill, just jumped > into my office
shouting "Oh, oh oh!" I jumped out of my seat in > panic... Egads. What did
I tell you, there is a Convergence taking > place. I believe the peak will
be on March 24, and the major part > of the transformation will take place
between the 21st and the 27th > of March. Will it be a magnetic field shift?
Who knows. There is > some volcanic activity going on off the coast of
Oregon & Washington > right now... the Gorda fault I think they said. It
started on the > 29th of February.
I also wrote the following:
> I feel like the character in the 12 Monkeys who claimed to be > "mentally
divergent." Oh well I better keep quiet so they don't > lock me up. The
reason people write fiction/fantasy is that no > one would believe them if
people called it true.
That is interesting because after writing "I better keep quiet", I read in
the book, "North American Witchcraft and Sorcery", which describes Skokomish
shamanism, that a shaman who has just received the Power should keep quiet
until the power had abated and could be controlled for healing purposes or
what have you.
I think therefore that what is happening to me is more or less what happened
to Dennis McKenna, Terence's younger brother, 25 years ago. I also was
inspired and I rambled on and on using scientific metaphors, and I believed
that I was on the verge of a breakthrough ("something is breaking through
from the other side" I said). The breakthrough I believed I had seen was a
theory, a Final Theory, such as Steven Weinberg dreams about. At the height
of my creative mania, I read and understood books on Quantum Field Theory,
and Plato's Phaedo, and the first few lines of the Book of John, all with a
clarity of mind unknown at other times.
Unfortunately I am beginning to realize that this is also called, by the
mainstream of society, "mania". And that because I am burning up energy at
the height of my mania, there is a inevitable dual aspect that will occur,
and that is depression. I have come to the conclusion that manic depression
is the "mainstream society's" view of the shamanic power that is spiraling
out of control.
It is interesting that, speaking from this perspective, I can see other
people who have influenced my life and development, and some of them I "see"
in a different way, that is I see behind their actions, behind their simple
statements, into the deeper meaning of their thoughts. Some of these people
in my life are shamans as well, but most of them do not know the nature of
their power, and are probably victims of it rather than masters of it. It is
said by the Skokomish shamans that he who flees from his guardian spirit is
often "zapped" by it, and will writhe in contortions, and may die if he is
not helped by a practicing shaman. Now, I do not believe I am at risk of
that, but strange though it may seem, I now "see" other shamanic individuals
for what they are, and some of them are unwittingly (because of various
personality flaws and guilt for sins, real or imagined, committed, in this
case long ago) wreaking havoc on the lives of those around them. The victims
are not aware of the cause of these mysterious malaises any more than their
perpetrators are. I'm talking about strong synchronicity connections,
particularly with people who were conceived, born, or died, or gotten
married, at this time of year, or people who have made major life decisions
at this time of year. The Power is also extremely great and I am to be
honest a bit concerned about my ability to control it.
My sleep cycle has been greatly disturbed. I have dreams in which I am
connecting with the group mind and sensing people who are in pain -- my
neighbor for example died recently and his wife and his dog are really
broken up. I had a dream last night -- a waking dream actually -- in which I
tossed and turned and I was "in" another state of mind like a dream state,
but I was definitely awake, I could feel the position of my body and I could
open my eyes and shift around and think "sober" thoughts and then drift back
into this dream state. In the dream state I was not a dream ego representing
myself, but rather I was a creature who was somehow connecting phone lines
up somewhere to manipulate the magnetic field in that region. This is the
region where the people who were present during my trip live, and it is
between the Dawn Redwood on campus and the Monkey Puzzle Trees in Calvary
cemetary. I had the instinct that the process of going to eat Monkey Puzzle
tree fruits at the Calvary cemetary and also eating shrooms from beneath the
Dawn Redwood on campus, that I was somehow wiring up the two locations and
that that explained why the people who lived between those two locations
were being influenced by my prophecies and synchronicities. The problem was
that this was not too far from the thoughts I was having during the day...
it is just like those waking dreams I always used to have and never thought
about, where I was "halfway" between sleep and wakefulness and instead of
being myself, I "was" some other abstract object. For example, I had a dream
in which I was following in the footsteps of my friends who had just gotten
married and were living together (these are the friends whose home I was
wiring up to manipulate the magnetic field). In the dream though instead of
being a human being I was a gene or a chromosome or all the DNA in the
nucleus, and my friends were the same DNA except forward in time by a
The thing is I have had waking dreams and delusions before when I was wide
awake and really feverish and delirious and at that time I felt that the
fabric of reality was decaying ... rather like time-lapse photography of
fruit decaying ... and that I was seeing behind the veil. I was awake and
transfixed, staring out my window. I was utterly convinced that Reality was
an illusion and that only I existed. Although another part of me at the back
of my head was reassuring me that No, in fact, this was just a delusion. But
I didn't believe that reassuring voice. I thought... so my cat Minerva,
Harvey Mudd College, and quantum mechanics... it's all an illusion! Strange
how those three things I thought of feature very significantly in my life at
this moment. BTW I have also felt the dual side of the decaying reality, and
that is the sterile straight-line reality. The aesthetic constrast there is
extreme-- the straight line reality is so clean and pure that there is no
life there, only Platonic ideal geometry. I don't like it. But the decay,
which is rich in texture and seems to have layers and layers of things all
flaking apart, like a burnt piece of paper. I used to have visions as a
child of these two opposites. I also SAW the decay-reality in someone's
painting at the Washington D.C. Museum of Modern Art one day in the summer
I guess I am beginning to realize that, since Everything Seems Significant,
I can actually microscopically analyze every little iota of reality and see
"within it". That is an incredible visionary ability, and I have a strong
drive for knowledge which makes the temptation to see inside everything
almost utterly irresistible. I had hoped to open my psychic awareness ever
since I started believing in it... I never suspected I would take more than
baby steps in that direction... now I have been catapulted headlong into a
psychic world that I can't resist the temptation to explore... which is why
it is so hard to sleep. There is a sense of urgency to everything.
I believe that history repeats itself (or has a strong tendency to repeat
itself), and the key is to do, I suppose, as Dennis did, and integrate it
into one's life in a positive way.