Is there a relationship between the lunar cycle and a psychedelic trip’s quality and intensity? Are there perceptible between an “important” date and the experience I’ll have after consuming a dose of magic mushrooms? Today, I’d like to explore these questions and recount something that happened during the full moon of May, a very special full moon as it’s the day of Vesak – one of the most, if not the most, important spiritual celebrations of the whole year.
What are the important dates exactly? And why are they considered important? Certain dates have been celebrated since ancient times by numerous pagan cultures – many of which have been incorporated into Christianity, in a perhaps opportunistic fashion – but I reckon that what really makes these dates important is the fact that they are participated in and recognised by all. Today it can be difficult to notice even the most important dates: we live disconnected lives, adrift from the forces of nature, and this has a great impact on our ability to take part in these natural energies.
For example, some dates of note would include the Equinox, the Solstice, the full moon and the new moon, Easter and Christmas, but also anniversaries like that of St John and All Saint’s Day (just to name a few). Italy is rich in events connected to these celebrations, sometimes on a national scale, but that doesn’t mean they’re less felt or participated in. In fact, the whole community is often involved in preparing for the celebration (take the celebration of our patron saint, for instance). All of these are important dates – and in this category I’d also include dates important to one person or their family circle. Some days carry with them a special energetic quality which is also evidenced in other areas – in agriculture, for example, when the date for bottling the wine produces differences in the type of wine you’ll create, or sowing seeds during the waning or crescent moon depending on the type of vegetable you want to sow (over or under the ground, for example). In biodynamic cultivation, references to natural energies are fundamental, as they are in spagyric preparations or vibrational remedies.
Is one day as good as another?
This is a controversial issue. While statistical research has demonstrated that there is no correlation between lunar phases and births or cases of madness, midwives and psychiatrists are aware of the correlation having seen it with their own eyes. Think about how lunatico (Italian for ‘lunatic’) means “emotionally unstable”. The presence of the moon in these sayings is one of many linguistic examples illustrating this connection between emotions and the lunar cycle. In such a scientific and materialistic era, people no longer believe it on the whole. If you ask me, this is to do with the modern lack of knowing or conscious contact with these primordial forces that occur. But what forces am I referring to exactly?
Astrology as an example
Let’s talk about the archetypical forces which you’ll find well described in horoscopes. They’re not the only ones of course, but they’re the most obvious and probably the easiest to understand. I can’t argue here for the validity of astrology as a science although in my eyes it’s indisputable – despite the fact that many astrologers are questionable practitioners. Competence makes an enormous difference between saying something wise and significant and random interpretation. The same could be said for Tarot and fortune telling, but I use the example of astrology because the roots of that tradition date back to well before that of Tarot (to our knowledge).
You see, something is either real or it isn’t. Saying that astrology is kind of real makes no sense, as the prerequisites it is based upon are real, and it works – if the astrologer in question is a competent interpreter. Unless of course it’s false and none of it is true. But let’s not get into too much depth here. Let’s limit ourselves to referencing personal experience in which anyone can recognise common traits in most of those who belong to one zodiac sign or another. A Gemini is different from a Scorpio, just as a Taurean is different to someone born under Capricorn. There are traits which are easy enough to see even if you know little about the discipline. In any case, there are many who know that astrology is real and something that works, and that it isn’t a question of social class or level of instruction. You’d be surprised to know how many “important people” are devoted to this age-old science, the recorded origins of which start around 4,500 years ago, although we can be certain that astrology is older even than that.
We are much more connected to tiny events than we’re willing to admit. In a sense, we’re sophisticated antennae capable of catching subliminal signals of varying intensities: from the atmosphere of a house to the emotional waves which traverse the planet in times of worldwide upheaval. Consider the incredible impact of all the events of September 11th, or the tsunami of 26th December 2004, and (to stay in recent times) think of all the incidents that devastated the world around the end of 2019 before the lockdown with its social distancing measures for a flu virus (the devastating social consequences of which are only just beginning). What are these emotive currents which race across the planet if not energy?
The importance of impressions
A certain book by prominent cellular biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton once saw the complete upheaval of a powerful paradigm: that of genetic determinism and the supremacy of DNA. Lipton opposes this idea completely, arguing that our body’s biological response is not determined by DNA, but by the contrary force of our environment. Therefore, it’s not our DNA but our impressions which determine our biological responses.
Dr. Lipton contests the central dogma of molecular biology, which states that the flow of genetic information is a monodirectional route for our nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) to synthesise proteins – the so-called “supremacy of DNA”. He argues that the source of the flow of information is in fact environmental signals, passing through DNA to arrive at proteins, stabilising the so-called “supremacy of the environment”.
Dr. Lipton’s unmissable book is a truly informative and clearly written text that’s also pleasant to read. I recommend it to you with complete confidence, and if you’re interested you can find it HERE.
What effect do these “thought patterns” have as they turn around the globe? Do you know of the so-called Egregore?
The placebo effect
Everything I’ve written up until this point may seem like a diversion. However, it’s all useful for responding to the theme of this article: whether consuming mushrooms on certain days can affect the quality and intensity of the experience.
What are the most important elements to consider when wanting to take a trip with magic mushrooms? As always, there are two crucial factors: Set & Setting, and dose. While dose is easy enough to control, because it’s determined by the quality and quantity of what you’re taking, Set & Setting is much more complex. It’s determined by quantitative aspects, but above all by many more things which are qualitative like ambient factors. Undeniably, if I’m convinced that the full moon will affect my emotions, my Set & Setting will feel the effects of my conviction (a type of placebo effect or prophecy manifests what influences that which I see).
The importance of beliefs
And so does it make sense to ask oneself if the full moon makes a difference when taking mushrooms? Yes, it makes a difference – whether that be “scientifically” or in a more random, subjective manner. Our convictions, explicit or otherwise, affect us, most of all in moments of altered consciousness as deep as the ones we go through under psilocybin’s psychoactive influence. You see, I’m convinced that a difference is made, but if you on the other hand believe the opposite, are you sure that in the midst of the trip you’ll still hold that same belief? Once you see the energy flowing through the blades of grass in a lawn, or linking all the trees to the sky above, will you still feel so certain that the moon has nothing to do with you?
Have a reread of this article, in which I recount an experience undertaken during the Winter Solstice, when the energetic elements of the date are clear to see. And there’s actually another date-specific experience I’ve talked about in this blog – though in that case the quantity consumed was so high that it outweighed the energetic event linked to that moment (which was still very much present and contributed to the disruptive effect I talk about in the article).
Preparing for the trip
The strongest and most clear-cut evidence I’ve got is during the full moon in Taurus, which determines the celebration of Vesak. Let me tell you what I did and what happened on this memorable (and completely unexpected!) experience.
I feel this occasion deeply, perhaps because Taurus is my sun sign, but mostly because I consider it objectively to be a really important event. Blessings are showered upon humanity from the Divine plan, and channeling this energy is a meritorious service which I undertake with gratitude. The energetic spiritual work lasts around 5 days, in addition to the full moon for which 2 days are allocated in the leadup, as well as 2 following days.
The first 2 days are those of attention and sacrifice, the latter having a double meaning in that it refers to doing something that takes effort but also that which you “make sacred”. And so, the renouncing is an action done consciously, while maintaining presence in the here and now as much as possible, keeping the coming event in mind constantly. The 2 following days are then dedicated to staying present to the distribution and diffusion of these energies as well as the wisdom and love which you’ve been an active witness to. The contents of this article is one of the things I created in these following couple of days: a mode of working on presence and sharing with all, with a thought to you, the person reading right now.
My sacrifice was (and still is as I write these words) to stop smoking for the whole 5 days of the event. Every time I find myself wanting a cigarette, I remind myself of my intent. The work of staying present to oneself and focused on one’s intention is less difficult if you have a vice to exploit like smoking. How do you remind yourself? Utilise all your mechanical actions to help you remember that you are there – use strategically placed postit notes, even – and if you think about it you’ll find many occasions which seem to be made to help you.
Another important step in the preparation for this event was deciding to change my diet in the previous month. To keep it brief, I cut out sugar, carbohydrates and legumes. The biggest change was certainly the first breakfast, for which I ate only protein and cooked vegetables. It’s a little odd to prepare breakfast with a tartare made as it should be with a side of turnip tops in a frying pan and seasoned with extra virgin, raw olive oil – very different to my usual coffee and biscuits – but the energy and lucidness it gave me for the rest of the day was a welcome change from the sudden glycemic changes caused by a sweet morning meal.
An unexpected experience
I arrive now at the point in which the magic mushrooms come into play. My idea was to take 2-3 grams of dry mushrooms before the exact moment of the full moon and so put myself in a state of deeper, more centred connection. But in hindsight I then understood that I hadn’t properly evaluated things, not even this time.
For quite some time, my standard for experiences with others was between 3.5 and 5 dry grams. For tripping alone, I go for 8.5 and up, and often more than 10. On one occasion, I took 20 dry grams, a time I recounted in the article cited above. Very well, I thought, this time I’ll take 25mg of O-Acetylpsilocin dissolved in water (equivalent to 3 little grams of dry mushrooms). I planned to take them in time so that when the moment of the full moon arrived I’d have already entered the desired state and be present to what was happening.
I was wrong! Let me explain. If you take O-Acetylpsilocin in water rather than a capsule, the absorption process is much quicker and so within 10-15 minutes max you’re already under rather than waiting the usual half hour to an hour. The speed of the come up can often give the impression that the effect is more potent, but it’s enough to just know that it’s only an impression and not to scare yourself. I’d taken around 100mg a couple of times and it was a decidedly dizzying experience. But with these 25mg who knows what’ll happen? Only this time 4 variables plus 1 came into play to divert things far from the realms of what I’d normally expect. I’ll elaborate on them soon, but for now let’s take a look at how things went.
Having fasted for almost 4 hours – after a breakfast of chicken with cooked vegetables – I drink the concoction around 11 in the morning. The event was due to start 40 minutes after and so I thought my timing was perfect. And yet, the time passes and nothing happens.
I wait a little longer, then at 12.40 the time to begin meditating arrives. Right away, I start to come up incredibly fast, so intensely in fact that I have to stand up and rush to lay myself down on the sofa, the celebration in mind but completely incapable of staying sitting with my legs crossed. It seems impossible that it could be turning out like this. On other occasions, I’d managed to stay seated, or even standing up, after taking decidedly higher quantities. So why is this happening to me this time?
A little later, I stand up from the couch and go to my room to lie down in bed. I stay in silence alone and straight away a very tough examination of my consciousness begins. Mercilessly, an interior voice disassembles me into a thousand pieces. I’ll spare you the details, but at certain points this self judgement was to the point of cruelty. Someone less emotionally stable could have been seriously hurt. However, thankfully I kept reminding myself that I was taking part in a ceremony, and holding onto the presence of my inner witness who observed everything happening without judgement, and most importantly without identifying themselves too much. There were moments in which this process was very difficult, but the detached observation of my witness impeded the vortex from becoming unbearable.
Then began the strangest phase of all. I was assaulted by the fear of death, a sensation of undoing, of ending, of the imminence of death in a wave of feeling I was most unaccustomed to! I knew also that suffocation would be the cause of my death, as my breath started to leave me. I was struggling to inhale and exhale. This death was tightly woven into my tough self-scrutiny, as if I deserved it; I felt mortal fear but I knew that I deserved no more than exactly that.
I don’t fear death, precisely because it doesn’t exist. Now, I know this is very different to not believing in death, so this fear threw me beyond measure. What was happening to me? Suddenly, I got to my feet and looked to the altar I had prepared for the celebration: fresh flowers, candles, and a crystal chalice of pure water. I asked for help then, and help arrived. God’s unconditional love came to me, I felt loved as I rarely did in life (something I’d only felt in other experiences!) and everything was healed.
I’ve truncated it a little, but in reality it lasted over 2 and a half hours. I remained in that state of brutal self-assessment and heavy judgement (along with the aforementioned fear of death) for quite some time. I don’t know how many times I sat on the bedside forcing myself to breathe in some air, until at last the Light arrived – or rather, I opened up to the light which in reality had always been there.
During my prior experiences this quantity had always been a relaxing time, but on this occasion it had taken me to the heart of “judgement day”. And why? In my mind, there are 5 reasons for this, the full moon being just one of them.
Presumption Vesak is a moment of the year burgeoning with massive spiritual energy. And in a moment as intense as this, I decide to take a substance which opens me even more. It’s no accident that said substance started to take effect long after I expected it to. It started to “beat me up” exactly 5 minutes before the climax, which lasted for 8 minutes in total at the turn of the full moon. I had to step away from the altar, feeling nothing. Of course, if I thought about making myself more sensitive and open, I neglected to think of doing so in a more “natural” way. As an obvious consequence, I saw myself for what I believed I was: a zero, nothing. The psilocin had put me through an exemplary lesson in showing me a reflection of myself that day.
The full Moon Whether or not I personally feel it is true, energy is more heightened than usual during the full moon. And so the substance’s effect hit me harder and deeper than normal. My belief/conviction taking part in my Set & Setting, the full moon naturally amplified the experience – that much was clear to me!
Eating A change in one’s all important eating habits does affect tolerance (or at least the so-called “proprioception” I felt between myself and I). Switching from a metabolism based on consuming sugar to one based on fats understandably produces a change in one’s lucidness which is obvious only if felt. This is yet another factor which contributed to the perceptible difference in my trip.
Quitting smoking I’ve smoked “halfzware shag” tobacco without filtres for decades, so cutting this substance out caused changes in my body which inevitably had repercussions on my “psychedelic” perception. The cigarette smoke holds to your body – if you cut it out, it feels like dropping an anchor, which further increases your susceptibility to the energetic currents of the moment.
Egregore of Covid-19 This particular insight has been a great surprise to me: I perceived, and strongly, the potent thought pattern which was wafting around Italy for months on end (one of mortal fear, caused by an alien virus created artificially in a lab). Again, I’m not personally scared of death, but I finally experienced this fear of death by suffocation for a good part of the experience. Additionally, I also perceived this eggregoro in an experience on the 2nd of February, the day of Candlemas. As this eggregoro was probably created in the month of September 2019, it was very much alive by February. If you read this article, it’ll help you recognise the various effects I felt with regards to this.
Now that you’ve read this article, you’ll no longer be able to ignore the date upon which you take a magic mushroom trip! That’s the way it is, I’m afraid. Don’t look at it as a problem though, but rather as an opportunity. In fact, if you want more peace of mind – or as much as can be guaranteed with mushrooms – avoid “significant” dates. And conversely, if you embark on an experience on a powerful day, keep in mind that a lower dose than usual is unlikely to disappoint. This idea applies in general for anyone without a wealth of experience, but also the more seasoned psychonaut will be able to delve deeper without even needing to exaggerate the quantity.
Lastly, as always, pay attention to Set & Setting. In particular, I’d recommend the use of ceremony, especially on intense days like the ones discussed here.
And always read the WARNINGS!