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The Scariest Mushroom Experience I've Ever Had
Psychedelics are as potent as they are mysterious. They should always be approached with reverence
Mushrooms became one of my greatest teachers in 2020. Possibly my greatest teacher, honestly.
I developed a technique that really worked for me, which was guided by astrological principles. I will share this technique at the end of this post, along with specific YouTube playlists I used for music.
This is a story about the scariest experience I ever had using this technique. it started out innocently enough, and it rocked me. I went deeper than I can ever recall with this medicine, and I was shaken afterward.
After reflecting on the experience for months afterward, I was able to place it into a context that made more sense to me. It’s still quite a mystery.
My preferred way of working with mushrooms is solo. I’ve done group ceremonies. I have a preference for personal agency that does not always blend well with group psychedelic experiences.
At my old place, we had a dedicated space for yoga and spiritual practice, a Yoga room where we could close the door and be in our own world. It was my happy place. One time, when I was being guided through IFS work with a therapist I was working with, she asked me to picture the safest place I could imagine, and it was our yoga room.
I did quite a bit of spiritual and psychedelic exploration between those four walls.
A lot of people like being in nature or being with others during their journeys. I find that being alone allows me to go deeper than I would otherwise - not that the other ways don’t have their place and magic.
The experience I am sharing here was a “heroic dose” of the strain PES Amazonian. Most people define a heroic dose as 5+ dried grams. It was not my first heroic dose, and this was not the biggest dose I had ever consumed. This was about 5.55 grams.
These are somewhat notorious. They’re big, and they’re potent. Just how potent they were, I don’t think I realized.
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With psychedelics, it’s hard to isolate one experience from others. This is especially true when we are talking about the same substances. It’s most useful, I find, to place your experiences within a wider context.
I had come off a year where I went hard with Psilocybin. Between May 2020 and November 2020, I went on five solo high-dose journeys and one partnered journey. If I had to place this one chronologically, I imagine it was February 2021. I know this because I was working through the Gene Keys Venus Sequence for the first time, and I was contemplating the Siddhi of Impeccability, the 62nd Gene Key, the sphere of EQ for me.
In 2020, I had experiences that slapped me around. I had experiences that held me in a gentle, warm embrace. I had transcendent visions and I had embodied emotional experiences. This one was unique, though.
Using psychedelics as a tool to go deeper into the wounding patterns I was exploring through the Venus Sequence was really useful. My experience is that the Gene Keys and Psychedelics complement each other quite well.
For me, it was useful to personify many of the Gene Keys I worked with. When I thought of Impeccability, two people always came to mind: Alan Watts and Terrence McKenna.
The 62nd Gene Key is about putting words to the wordless. It is about articulating the nature of subjective, spiritual, and emotional experiences, in a way that touches people’s hearts and bypasses their minds.
Alan Watts was a major influence on me in the early days of my spiritual journey. Terrence’s way of explaining and understanding the psychedelic experience is legendary. They both are clearly intellectually gifted and they both can speak with their minds, through their hearts.
This is the way of the 62nd Gene Key.
The Siddhis are an embodiment practice. Embrace the Shadow, Release the gift, and Embody the Siddhi. It can be really useful to find avatars for the Siddhis to inspire us to find ways to be more like them every day.
I try to imagine, what if Terrence McKenna and Alan Watts were one person? What would that person sound like? Feel like? What would it be like to be with someone like that?
They’re remembered for their words, for their ability to point to something that cannot be named. They are able to describe that which defies description.
This was an evening trip. I think I consumed the mushrooms around 2 or 3, which meant I peaked around dinner time. Since it was February, it was still dark for most of the experience. I was holed up in my yoga room. I was going through some mostly typical motions - move the body, relax the body, go inwards.
Follow the thread until it’s time to let go.
Let go. You’re going to be okay. It’s going to be okay. It’s okay to let go. You always come back.
3-4 hours in, something different happened. I’ve experienced ego death many times, but this was different. I was there, I just dissolved into the background. I was watching myself in the room, in real-time. Not only was I watching myself…Now, I was actually hearing myself.
I wasn’t thinking. I was talking, out loud. But it wasn’t me. At least, I wasn’t consciously moving my mouth and making sounds. I was still me, but I wasn’t…me?
There were words, and I was listening to myself give a speech or a TED talk or something. I was…Impeccable. I remember thinking that I sounded like Terrence, like Alan. What was happening here?
It’s my voice, I’m talking, but I have absolutely no control over my words. It felt like someone else was talking like there was another force or entity talking through me.
Big words, all strung together eloquently, articulating needs for how to move forward as a society, what we need as a culture, how to save the earth, how to bring people together, and how to solve the big problems we face.
This goes on for what feels like 15 minutes. Who knows for real though? Eventually, I came back. The words slowed, then stopped, and I was left there, in a dark and silent room. Confused.
I burst out laughing, hysterically. Maniacally, even. I couldn’t stop laughing.
I had absolutely no experiential context for what just happened, and all I could do was laugh, and laugh, and laugh. Did I just make contact with a different dimension? Was that me channeling someone else?
What the actual fuck just happened?
Who Am I?
Within minutes, the bewilderment, amusement, and novelty of the experience wore off, and I was left…scared. I was afraid. Terrified. My awareness, my center of consciousness had drifted so far away from my physical body, that it honestly felt like someone else came in.
I felt anxious and afraid. And so confused.
I got up out of the yoga room and went to the bathroom. I couldn’t even look in the mirror, I just turned on the bathtub, plugged the drain, and drew a bath.
I needed to get back into my body. I began chanting mantras and making sounds.
Once I finally sat back in the bath, I repeated to myself, over and over: “I am Andy. I am Andy.”
I lost track of time. I let out sigh after sigh. I held myself and prayed. I did reiki.
What the fuck was that?
Who the fuck was that?
Who the fuck am I?
The trip wound down, and I settled down. I’m okay. What. The. Fuck.
Later that evening, I asked my wife if she heard me talking. She didn’t. I remember thinking that I wish I had filmed the trip. Did I imagine it?
Placing it Into Context
This was actually a really useful experience for me to have because it helped me to clarify my beliefs about a few things. Did I really think I made contact with an entity that was not…human?
Kind of, yeah. I did, for a while. Angels, pleidians, ascended masters, whatever. Alan Watts from the grave? Maybe?
When talking about the experience with a friend later, she asked me if it was an entity from the Angelic realms. “Sure, why not?”
The words carried a rarified frequency. I remember thinking at one point, “Whoever this is, they get it! We need more of this!” They carried a layer of truth that is uncommon.
I paused my mushroom journeys for a while. Until I could make sense of this one, it seemed pointless.
Over time, I arrived at a place that seemed to fit. My identity and my ego had completely dissolved. That part is no surprise, given the dose and strain.
Mushrooms shrink our egos. We can laugh at ourselves more in this space because we realize that we are not who we think we are. Sure, I am here to pretend to be Andy, but I am not, from an eternal perspective, Andy. All of the problems we stress about tend to seem trivial.
This is one of the reasons psilocybin is such an effective tool for overcoming fear, anxiety, depression, etc.
“I” shrank, but “I” was still there. This wasn’t the ego death of DMT, where you explore other realms and leave your ego at the door. I was in this realm, without my ego. It was like my ego found a little pocket of space in my brain (?) and said, “Look what you could do if I wasn’t here!”
Who was talking then? Well, also me 🙂
I had “achieved” Siddhic consciousness, to use the terminology of The Gene Keys.
You see, when we arrive at the Siddhic State, there’s no one home. There’s no ego left, no identity.
I was speaking from the highest essence of my being, with absolutely no resistance or distortion from my lower self. My lower nature had completely dissolved, or compartmentalized itself, or stepped aside, or whatever. I don’t know how it works. Few do.
I was accessing aspects of my own psyche and being that are not typically conscious. And I stepped aside to let them drive the ship.
This would be a fun dialogue to dig into. My sense is that I was speaking from an enlightened place, from a place of total knowing and awakening.
Yet, it was still being filtered, subtly, through the projections of my own psyche. Or, rather, my experience of it was.
I couldn’t tell you what was being said. something about “systematic automated regenerative anti-fragile sustainability and understanding” I imagine.
I couldn’t repeat it now if I tried.
What did I integrate from this?
My main takeaway was that I’m not ready for enlightenment. If I were to experience it, I would die of shock. The nature of the supreme reality is so powerful and beyond comprehension that even glimpses of glimpses are profoundly destabilizing.
I genuinely feared that some kind of entity may have stayed with me after the experience. I am grateful to have the intelligence of Reiki at my disposal, so that I could work with my energy, and I also had the frameworks and spiritual context to make sense of the experience.
Without that, this could have been a lot worse.
I also began to understand the nature of the mind, a bit more. In the 11th Gene Key, Richard Rudd talks about people who claim to channel beings from other dimensions. He points out that this is far less likely than the alternative. The mind is complex, and there are aspects of Self and Psyche that can be activated and pulled from, so it feels like we are “channeling”.
It’s not another entity, it’s you. Just not the one who is self-conscious and identifies with Ego.
This helped me contextualize my spiritual practice and provided me with language to understand why people do buy into this sort of thing, and why it is okay that they do.
It also reminded me that psychedelics are not to be taken lightly. These are not a quick fix, they are a skill, a commitment to learning and growing over time. And we still know very little about them.
Like seriously. If I have learned anything from my psychedelic journeys, it’s that every time you think you have them figured out, they will through you an epic curveball.
How I Trip on Mushrooms
I prefer to ingest the whole mushroom. I do not do tea, because I believe that we are supposed to have the whole mushroom. Hot water will extract psilocybin, but there are many other alkaloids that are left behind. This is just my preference, others LOVE tea.
This means I have to work through stomach discomfort during the trip, which for me, is part of the experience. I like to burrow into the discomfort, gently, with my awareness, to see what emerges.
I grind the mushrooms up in a coffee grinder, and I add them to my cup of Ceremonial Cacao. Cacao brings us into our hearts and bodies, which helps ground the experience and start from a place of intention. Mushrooms and cacao LOVE each other.
If doing a solo journey, you want to prepare your space in a way that honors and reveres the experience. Don’t rush anything. Light some candles, burn some sage, say some prayers, and ask for protection.
You should ideally have a spacious room where no one will disturb you, with very few distractions. If you have your stuff around, you will be easily distracted and this will prevent you from going deeper.
My mind always tries to trick me into getting up and distracting myself. I’ll think that I have to go to the bathroom a lot, or that something is going wrong, that I’m thirsty. Whatever. My ego will do anything to not die. I’ve seen so many people resist going deeper. I can’t tell you how many times I could swear that I really had to pea, only to go to the bathroom and….nothing.
Some folks like to go into it fasted, but not me. I like to have a good solid meal in me, and I’ll wait about an hour after eating to consume the mushrooms. For me, large doses of psilocybin can be depleting. If I don’t eat or drink much, I’ll get gnarly headaches after. Minerals are really important. I like to have orange juice, coconut water, and saltwater handy. That way I can stay hydrated and won’t have to pee so much.
If I do have to get out of my space and use the bathroom, I do my best not to engage with my environment. If there is someone else around, like a roommate, I don’t make eye contact, and I keep my eyes down so as not to become distracted by my surroundings.
After consuming, I pray for a bit and then do some yoga for 30-45 minutes. I like hang drum music for this and have found this to be my favorite tune. I start to notice the effects after about 30 minutes and once they intensify, I switch to more restorative yoga poses, as opposed to active ones. After about 75-90 minutes, I’m ready to lay on my back. You will yawn a lot. That’s the mushrooms saying hello.
I will typically guide myself through a relaxation. Just focus on your breath, you might count backward from 100 on each exhale. You won’t get far before getting distracted. Let yourself get distracted, then come back and keep counting. I love music like this, which combines singing bowls with water sounds to bring me deeper.
After as much stillness as I can tolerate, I usually toss around, ending up lying on my side. I have to have a nice comforting blanket around for this part. Sometimes, my perception of temperature can fluctuate drastically. When I had the space, I would lay down on a shiatsu mat for much of the trip.
Again, restorative yoga poses like Child’s or Crocodile Pose are fantastic.
By this point, I’m usually tripping pretty good. Insights are flying. I try to resist the urge to capture them all or hang onto them, and just be with what is arising and connect more deeply to myself and the layers of consciousness that emerge. Often, it feels like I am sitting down for tea with an old friend, like I am remembering a part of myself.
Being creative at this point is my favorite. I’ll just start drawing (always have a notebook and pen handy) nature scapes. Mountains, trees, mushrooms, animals, whatever. I am a god-awful artist, but I love drawing when I arrive at this point in the trip.
This is also when I will allow myself to begin to jot down select notes that come up. I’ll alternate between taking notes and drawing mediocre mountains with spiral caves and generic evergreen trees. If a thought runs its course, I’ll go back to drawing or coloring.
If I had a specific intention - for this one, Impeccability, I would actually write that word in cursive over and over and over again. I do cursive because it forces me to be more present with what I am writing.
This would typically take me to the 4-5 hour mark. Sometimes, words just flowed and I had 10 pages of notes. Other times, less.
Change in Scenery
Around that time, I like to eat something that has some substance, but I do not want to have to cook. Beef jerky, avocado, and ginger tea are favorites of mine.
You’ll probably also be pretty sick of the space you had set up, but you’ll most likely still be tripping. If you can, this is a good opportunity to get outside and go for a walk, find some grass to lie in or be by water if that is available to you.
I would still avoid the typical distractions like TV, phone, laptop - and other people. Pets are great, although I would typically lock my dog out until this point.
This can be a really wonderful time for contemplation. Just thinking. Maybe you can build a fire and stare into it.
A bath can be great. Change your clothes. Play some music. This is the ultimate time for creativity. Playing my flute around this point in the trip while staring out the window was one of my favorite activities.
If it’s dark out, lie on your back and stare at the stars.
Eventually, you’ll need to eat a full meal and sleep. Cook something warm and grounding. Potatoes, eggs, meat, rice. It should be very filling.
You may think you are ready for sleep before you are actually ready for it. Make sure. The tail end of mushroom trips can get a bit weird, especially if there’s nothing for your mind to focus on except for itself. Paranoia is possible.
This is when I return to my tried and true, Planet Earth. This can also be a nice time to introduce an Indicia strain of Cannabis or CBD. If you do this, start very slowly. It can be somewhat unpredictable to mix with psychedelics, but can really relax us if done right.
I prefer to wait until I can barely keep my eyes open to go to bed. If you lay down and you still notice you’re tripping a bit, get up, and do some gentle spine movements, and maybe a Yoga Nidra meditation.
Thanks for Reading
That’s my guide to tripping with Psilocybin! I have used this same framework a dozen or so times, and I have used mushrooms to help heal from painful experiences and unearth repressed memories.
This is NOT a recommendation to use. If you are new to psychedelics, I highly recommend finding a therapist or integration coach to work with for preparation and integration.
Do your own research! Read trip reports.
If you found this useful, let me know! I could do something very similar for this with LSD, DMT, and 5-Meo-Dmt.
Emergent Ways is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.