Magic Mushrooms: the heroic dose

The term “heroic dose” was coined by Terence McKenna and consists of 5 grams of dry mushrooms (Psilocybe Cubensis) consumed in a specific kind of Set & Setting. The phrase is specific in that it is reserved only for this brave method of consumption. The rules are simple: 5 dry grams consumed alone, in the dark, in silence, with your eyes closed. McKenna used massive quantities of Cannabis – which however are not prescribed by his “heroic dose” instructions. In fact, I don’t consider that particular substance necessary unless at a certain point you really want to extend the experience. The heroic dose produces its effects for as long as 6 to 8 hours; I don’t think many people would feel the need to draw out an experience such as this, which is already pretty long and taxing. As time dilates during a trip of this kind, one’s suggestive perception of the time frame becomes far beyond that of ordinary measured time.

Obligatory warnings

Here, I must strongly recommend you read the WARNINGS, being that they are particularly necessary to this article. I have a duty to say that I don’t recommend that anyone try this, and also that it isn’t a route that will work for everyone. But the spirit to challenge the real limits could find more answers here in this blog than anywhere else, answers which more often than not dream unknowingly. The noble discipline of the exploration of consciousness has ancient origins. It has never been an easy task, let alone a recreational one, so refrain from the literature which proposes it as an alternative to the latest videogame.

What kind of mushroom?

What mushrooms are we talking about exactly? Psilocybe Cubensis, a variety of psychedelic fungi whose principal ingredient is psilocybin. Lighter mushrooms exist, as do stronger ones – keep that in mind, and know what you’ve got on your hands, when reading about quantities.

The Cubensis are the most commonly found – though they contain less psilocybin than the spindly Semilanceata which are also found growing in Italy –  and contain far more psilocin (the active ingredient in which the psilocybin is converted into a psychedelic substance) than Semilanceata. Prior to conversion, psilocybin has no effect, being nothing more than an inactive precursor.

Courage and Recklessness

The term heroic presupposes courage and therefore understanding – and in fact without the latter, the former is not courage but recklessness. What do you absolutely need to know? Fundamentally, just two things: yourself, and the magic mushrooms. If you really want to go crazy you’ll need to consume 5 dry grams with no experience. That may very well be the worst experience of your life, which you’ll only recount if you regain your powers of reasoning once the effects have worn off. And that is by no means guaranteed.

5 grams or “committed dose”?

The heroic dose is the result of a journey undertaken which could come in at 5 grams of perhaps even more – or you may stop well before then. Indeed, the quantity McKenna describes is not firmly restricted to 5 grams. For some, it could be higher or lower depending on their individual tolerance levels. I personally know people who never achieve that quantity at all! On other occasions, McKenna has tended to use the term “committed dose” – the dose, in other words, which humbles you and inspires your respect – which probably fits more with the definition of “heroic” than the figure of 5 grams. This quantity is a defined reference and identifiable for anyone early in their own journey of discovery with mushrooms. But once it has been reached, you could discover that that level of intensity no longer seems that heroic, because your courage will hardly feel challenged if it stays in your new comfort zone. At the moment, 5 grams are a medium-sized dose for me. Even though I never take mushrooms lightly, consuming that quantity doesn’t quite make me feel heroic.

Feel what’s right for you

A capacity for inner listening is vital to understanding what works for you, and it’s a test you need to do on multiple levels. Perhaps you hold it together well emotionally, but physically you could be causing yourself problems. When a certain friend of mine consumes mushrooms, their inner “fire” increases, causing them literal fevers and other disturbances. Listen and know what is best for your body, and furthermore ask whether mushrooms are a path you can tread at all, or if there is another road more suitable to you. After two consecutive experiences with ayahuasca upon which I felt no effect, I understood that mushrooms were the route for me. For others, ayahuasca could attest to the exact opposite. The Plant can seem tougher and more challenging when making a comparison between the two – which one shouldn’t really do – with medium doses of mushrooms, but as soon as the quantity of mushrooms rises, the road of the fungus is decidedly more difficult. And why? The Plant puts you through the wringer physically as well as mentally; mushrooms, meanwhile, are more gentle on the body but relentless on the mind. Therefore, fungi can be much more difficult than the sickness ayahuasca makes you feel.

How to get to a heroic dose

The practical advice for finding that elusive heroic dose is simple: increase the quantity incrementally, in a slow, progressive manner. Such slowness allows you to ascertain how you’re reacting on an emotional and psychological level. If you consider that every experience will be unique and different to the last, you’ll need time to understand how to interact with the psychedelic depths. The first three or four times you consume mushrooms are just sufficient to glean your physiological sensitivity to the substance – and in time you’ll understand the rest. Above all, you’ll grow to understand if you gradually feel better as you dive or not. Normally, experiences vary from the sublime to the problematic, but if you see a prevalence of problematic occurrences, you have to take heed. To explore this further, read this article.

Set & Setting

The Set & Setting requirements for a heroic dose are very specific – being alone, being in total silence, etc. – but it falls within the general rules which should always be applied to every one of your experiences. You’ll find an article on this very important topic HERE.

No sitter

You won’t have a sitter for the heroic dose, but this doesn’t exclude the possibility of having someone be nearby, or even in the same house, who you can contact if you feel like you’re in trouble. A big help when you feel like this is to reach for some music. If at the moment of maximum intensity your thoughts start to torment you – for example, your mind starts to loop or fixate on something – and you don’t feel capable of activating your , you can use music to distract yourself (at least until you feel ready to re-enter into the silence once more).

The internal witness

The internal witness is like a part of you – they are not your body and not your thoughts. If you’ve arrived at a heroic dose, you’ve probably experimented previously and found that they’re there when you feel dissociated from your thoughts and manage to observe them as if you were a “third party”. In that moment when you’re observing yourself, this is called the internal witness. During the times when your emotions and thoughts are stimulated, taking shape as a whole that feeds itself (kama-manas), it’s difficult to move in the internal witness. The witness exists in ordinary states of consciousness too, but most of all during an intense experience, when identifying yourself with what you’re experiencing is in danger of being more than you think you can handle. If you are experiencing it, this means you can take it, but at that moment you don’t think you can. Perhaps you’re beating yourself up about it, having doubts about the amount you’ve taken, fearing for your health. Together, these amplify one another and can start to drag you into a crisis.

A bad trip

Cases such as this are in line with the start of what people call a “bad trip”, on which you can find more concrete information in my book. Put on the music you’ve prepared earlier, lie down and breath slowly into your abdomen; rinse your face with fresh water. Choose a technique and you’ll find your calm returning. The principle is simple: don’t run from your thoughts, don’t oppose them – simple substitute one for another, because resistance will only exacerbate what you’re experiencing.

Darkness and silence

Why alone, in silence and in the dark? These are not rules put in place to make life difficult. On one hand, they contribute to the intensity you experience, which doesn’t allow you to engage with people or situations; on the other hand, they allow you to delve deeply into yourself without distractions.

Effectively, even turning on music is a distraction. Indeed, it makes sense only if you don’t, but you have to have it on hand as a getaway because your objective is to explore only as far as you intend to. If you’re about to deviate from the heroic dose instructions, try to think about how you’ll be disappointed that you ran like hell as soon as you heard a “boo!” Overcoming the challenges will drive you forward and ultimately teach you something. To win the battle against the difficulty it can sometimes be enough to know that you have help if you need it. You’ll then pass the critical moment without giving in and find yourself in an utterly different phase of the experience, in which the bad trip has vanished without a trace.

Dangers and Fears

Is there any danger in taking the heroic dose? For some, naturally, there is – I can’t dispute that – but even for those who face no mental or physical danger, caused by Set & Setting mishaps or medical side effects, there is one obstacle that tries to get in the way each time: fear. You’ll find yourself confronted with two fears, which ultimately are no more than fears but are nonetheless intense and important. These are the fear of suffering or dying, and the fear of going mad. Make sure to read this article to find out more on what you can do about this, and what you shouldn’t do.

Indispensable resources

To go forward despite fear, you’ll need a couple of things. The first is trust – easy to say but harder to put into practice – and also a good foundation of experience in psychedelic trips. Experience is not theory, but first-hand repeated knowledge, through which you have properly understood that you’ll be confronting something within yourself, because the voyage will comprise “your business” alone.

Trust is about a transpersonal vision of life. If you understand that life itself loves you, you’ll also know that what you’ll be presented with – during the experience but also during life in general – will be for your own good even if there comes a moment when it seems like a problem.

The other aspect of trust that you need, complementary to the first, is trust in the fungus. After all, the fungus is not just a chemical substance, but much more than that. The chemical is a key which allows your brain to open a new frequency in reality, opening and amplifying. The director of this expansion is a benevolent force which I call Spirit, but if you think of it as something else, that works just fine and won’t make much difference. The important thing is that the chemical is the lowest level of interaction the substance has with you, and there are many other levels involved. In my book, explore this aspect in great detail. Here, I will just say be cognisant of the fact that “something” is accompanying you at each moment of the trip. You are never utterly alone.


You reach 5 grams, then you proceed with higher doses – for example 10 grams or more, a process which demands an active, even manly, attitude, and great focus. To what end? Well, it’s simple: you need to understand how to move mentally and emotionally through a “heroic” psychedelic voyage. It’s an important concept, albeit a subtle one. You can move within the experience, but can’t use any force of opposition – i.e. you can’t say not this or not that. You need something closer to the will of carrying out work on yourself rather than on the experience. Let me clarify this with a practical example.

8.5 grams is a beautiful quantity, but this example holds true for lower and higher doses too. Decide to stay sitting or standing for the duration of the experience. The reason for this? You have to develop the will and the capacity to remind yourself of this intent no matter what you’re experiencing. These are high-quality goals, though if you do this because you’re desirous to control the experience it’ll never work and prove inadequate, leaving you more shaken than usual. The mushrooms will support you if you’re trying to evolve, just as they have no problem showing you your faults so that you can properly comprehend and grow past them. It is not impossible to stay in a meditative state for some hours under the influence of mushrooms. At first, they will do everything to floor you, but if you hold strong and fast, they will start to help you. And you’ll arrive at a certain point where being on your back or your feet will not only feel normal but you’ll need verification to confirm your actual bodily position at all.

During this meditative state, you can work on the creation of your internal witness, which entails maintaining this flickering presence in the midst of the chaos your strain and your visions create. With 5 or 12 grams, I can assure you that this will be a lot harder, but hold onto the knowledge that something is changing, and that it’s this type of experience that ultimately brings permanent benefits after the effects have run their course. It is said that you should develop an ability to “return inside yourself” on command, that the process is a collaboration with the fungus, per say, in which one lets go (posing no resistance) and he does the same with you when required.

A safe space and time

To plunge into these depths, you need a few other things – in particular, a space in which you feel protected and secure, not only from possible interruptions by family or friends, but above all from the little things. If you haven’t yet had any experience with mushrooms I’m sure you won’t appreciate this warning, but if you have a few excursions under your belt you’ll likely understand that all of your composite parts have to feel “reassured” to face such exposure – otherwise you could experience resistance, which as we’ve learned leads to suffering. While I can’t explore this topic too extensively here, there are dozens of pages dedicated to it in my book. Of course, no matter how much reading you do, I anticipate that you’ll need to translate that knowledge into a ceremony to truly understand.

The support of your subconscious

When we say “ceremony”, we’re not talking about religions or superstitions but of truths which have existed for millennia and speak to our deepest parts (whether that be one’s personal unconscious or that which we share collectively). A mushroom ceremony speaks the language of symbols and the subconscious, of images and emotions that are perfectly understood in the depths of our minds, which constitute the biggest portion of the iceberg. The personality with which one identifies is only the small section which emerges above the water; the other 90% is unknown and shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, it is the part that really guides us in life. The ceremony works with this part of us, and as the expedition goes further you’ll need the right allies on hand, the most important of whom lie within you.

Working on yourself

As you up your doses, no experience with mushrooms should be done randomly. More and more, you must put yourself to the test, be that standing, sitting cross-legged, in silence or with music specially selected for a group experience or some other activity that requires some form of sacrifice. Let me be clear why the point is not so intuitive: when I exercise an intention – for example remaining seated, or on my feet, or to monitor the other people taking part in the trip in a group experience – I am not resisting the fungus. I’m not opposing that which is transporting me but in fact am doing something which takes a great deal of commitment and energy. It’s almost like performing a sacrifice – and in my day, as a matter of fact, we called it fioretto (“small sacrifice”).

It would be easier to let go, but I chose to make an effort because I know that I’ll learn something from it. The fungus will sense that your intention is “pure”, or rather that you’re not just doing it because you want to feel radical, man. Therefore, something clicks that allows you to stay seated, or stay standing up, or snap into action as soon as someone there is having problems. Strive to believe in that.

I know it might seem strange, being able to apply some form of will in these moments – sitting still, for example – but if you resist at the start, it becomes “easier” (for want of a better word) to continue. However, if you quit and lie down, he will continue the dance and you’ll only be able to sit up again after quite some time. Don’t get me wrong, it will always be easy for him to lead the dance even if you stay seated, but it is as if a little part of you has gathered around a point of greater awareness. I must confess, it’s hard to explain…

The effects of a heroic dose

The fungus only acts in one way: the goal of the first and most intense phase is to “unhinge” the brain. It reshuffles the mind so that nothing then remains of the base which dictated your ordinary way of thinking. If you’re fearful or you aren’t willing to truly give up those quotidian thought patterns, he will go forth despite that resistance. Every defiance (fear, resistance, etc. etc.) becomes a leverage point by which the fungus overwhelms you – and the more you resist, the more difficult the experience becomes. Accept, breathe, and let go.

The start

When dealing with this kind of quantity, the steep climb of the effect is very intense. One could compare it to throwing yourself from a rollercoaster or a rocket taking off. And indeed, this stage is often accompanied by a roaring in the ears as one starts to ascend to the giddy heights. In these moments, direction loses all meaning.

Rapidly, you find yourself entering a dimension in which you lose all notion of space and time. However, it’s more than not knowing where you are and how much time is passing. More than anything, it’s that “I” am no longer “I” – a disturbing and yet marvellous concept, depending on how solid you are interiorally. What feels incredible to me could be a nightmare for someone else. Thankfully, how it will feel for you is something you can discover progressively. Do not attempt to reach this stage without ample preparation.

I’m not looking to disappoint you if you’ve been expecting to hear nothing but amazing stories. There’s none of that here. You’re alone, in silence and in the dark with your eyes shut. Nothing is happening on the “outside” that can constitute a gripping tale. The thing of interest you must understand is what goes on “inside”.

The peak

What will you experience at the peak of the mushroom’s effects? Describing it in words is impossible. I’ve visited “places” I recognised, places I’d already been to during other experiences on mushrooms or on ayahuasca, and I was incredibly surprised at having forgotten them! I remembered them, and I realised that, sadly, I would not be able to remember or recount them once back on planet earth. I’ve felt a Love, which is not that emotion or feeling that’s felt in day to day life, but one that constitutes many things… How can I begin to explain it? What words can one use to describe the indescribable?

This whole phase of the trip is ineffable: you know you’re there but there isn’t much more to report. You are the knowledge of existing, and yet with no trace of mind or emotion. It’s hard to explain how I knew in those intense moments that I could have augmented the dose even further, knowing for certain that I would be safe and have no problems. The fear I feel always happens before the trip, never during.

The descent

And then the effect starts to decline. Arguably, this is when the most useful and interesting part of the experience begins – or at least you go through something that isn’t quite easy but possible to describe. The most obvious thing that happens is that your thinking no longer comes from the place it usually does. Furthermore, you can stop it as you please and, above all, you are not identified in it.

You see everything through a “magical”, expansive lense, but the things you see are interlinked with meaning you could have never imagined. You can lose yourself in a leaf, in the details of the floorboards, in the flame of a candle… all seems laid out before you, rich with connections and meanings normally out of reach. You feel one with everything, no longer separate. These are moments of great understanding and inner healing.

Stop the world

During this phase, we are in a realm that’s easier to understand for anyone who’s taken mushrooms in a lower dose. In my opinion, this is what so many describe as “the magic of mushrooms”, and interestingly it’s what Don Juan Matus, warlock and teacher of Carlos Castaneda, called “stopping the world”. Knowing it’s that which permits you to recognise it, and recognising it allows you to think that you’d be able to reach that place even in a state of regular consciousness – this, for me, is the essence of the magic mushroom experience. In other words, bringing the experience through into your quotidian life, knowing that certain states of consciousness can be acquired even on a regular day, without the help of the fungus.

The saints or extraordinary individuals who have, in my eyes, “stopped the world” manage to exist in that state we sometimes reach during magical experiences with mushrooms. They have reached it as a result of a path… a path that we too could take. Mushrooms illustrate this superior mental state to us. To experience and recognise that is a precious step forward.


I hope I’ve given you a starting point from which you can begin your journey to the heroic dose – and to higher doses in general. In my book, you’ll find a lot more on this topic and others in a way that’s more structured and complete. In addition, I dedicate a large portion to how exactly different ceremonial practices, both solo and communal, are done, and explain just why these are so useful and important.

Ceremonies are an essential framework by which one can be sure they’ll be safe and protected throughout the experience. Indeed, the use of symbols and rituals has great value for our subconscious, which we’ll have at our side as an ally as we navigate the most profound experiences ahead of us. As Terence McKenna is known to have said, one’s first contact with a substance should be a book on it, or rather to inform oneself. If you know what you’re doing, you’ll be better equipped to confront the challenging moments and, most importantly, be unhindered by dangerous ones.

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16 thoughts on “Magic Mushrooms: the heroic dose

  1. “That may very well be the worst experience of your life, which you’ll only recount if you regain your powers of reasoning once the effects have worn off. And that is by no means guaranteed”

    One could only read such a thing and think “An editor interested in people scrolling further wpuld have ever said such a thing”

    1. Well said Nic, saying things as they are is not attractive. How many times have I thought that everyone should take mushrooms, but then I discovered that it is not true

  2. I wish I had read this before yesterday.

    I have always considered myself fearless, often reckless. I have consumed various doses of psilocybin throughout my years and never had a bad trip. The timing seemed perfect. I was alone for the night in my home miles away form anyone. I knew the experience would be intense but I naively had no idea just how intense is was going to get. I was a little apprehensive, and thought the cautious thing to do would be to take it early in the evening,

    6:35PM. I blend 5 Grams and add to a small cup. I squeeze fresh mandarin orange into the powder. I take a cold shower and put in comfortable clothing.

    7:00PM. Down the hatch. The sun was still out and I was going to sit on my front porch and wait for the first wave. I thought my love of nature would pacify me until I was ready for the darkness. I was wrong. As it came creeping in, I was excited, the world was morphing before my eyes and it was beautiful. I decided to walk around a bit in my yard. I wanted to see my horses and marvel. The trees started to become somewhat ominous as the experience intensified. The Earth made a pulsing sound.“Whoa! Holy shit.” I thought. I had never experienced anything like this. It was feeling like too much. I thought I’d feel safer inside. I bounced around from room to room, back porch, kitchen… none of which gave me comfort. I decide to lay in bed. My room isn’t completely dark yet. I close my eyes, cover my head with my blanket, and try to let go. I see the chrysanthemum. Here we go. I see the familiar place with columns of faces. The one from the Tool album artwork. It rejects me. I messaged a friend “I might need someone.” He asked me what was happening. “It’s too much.” The indescribable patterns were wreaking havoc on my confidence. When I closed my eyes it was like I was in a room that morphed and changed. It’s images were menacing, alien, like swirling melting columns of colors and patterns. There were creatures sliding around in there. They looked like kite shaped manta rays with spiked tails. Tentacles with teeth. Evil eyes peering from dark folds in the twisted landscape. Each deep breath excites them. They want me to stop breathing, I know it. I opened my eyes. The ceiling fan skipped and jumped around like a glitch. The hum of my window unit skipped. I don’t feel welcome here. This isn’t what I wanted. I need music. I reach for my phone. A message from my friend-“silent darkness.” I can’t!! I close my eyes. A wash of purple, then white, then colors I’ve never seen before. Purples good! Keep purple. It resists me. I have no control. Music! I reach for my phone again. Letters and numbers are unintelligible. With intense focus I’m able to type but it’s almost impossible. Panic is setting in.
    What time is it?

    8:00PM. Fuck. This is just beginning. Nausea is setting in. I go to the bathroom to throw up. Ignore the bugs on the toilet. I try to gag myself. My finger feels like it reaches my stomach. Each dry heave produces imagery that I can only describe as flower organs. A voice tells me that I’m flowering. I feel like I’m covered in mold. I’m so confused. I call my Dad. No answer. I’m going to have to call my wife. She’s a little annoyed but she can hear the panic in my voice so she’s gentle. She suggests putting on music and drawing. I can’t! She doesn’t understand how intense this is. I can barely make a phone call. I try to trace the patterns I see. It’s not working. This is too intense. I ask her if she can look up what to do. After what felt like hours she tells me I’m just going to have to ride it out. Try to put on some calming music and lay down. She’s with family and they can’t know about this. She has to go. She promises to check on me when she can and tells me to call my dad.

    8:30PM. He answers this time. He can’t believe I took so much. I tell him to stay on the phone with me, I need a tether, I feel my mind slipping but I can’t tell him that. I don’t want him to worry any more than he already is. My siblings and cousins happen to be there with him. They all try to help keep me calm. I ask if I should call 911. “NO! Don’t do that! You’ll be ok, you just need to try to relax. You’ll be fine. Put on some music.”
    Ok. I can do this. I go to YouTube and painfully type “soothing for psilocybin5 g ps” (???) I play the first thing I see. Hate it. Go back. I see purple and the word shaman in the title. That’s it! I’m greeted with a shaman with smokey imagery. Yes! I broadcast it to my tv.
    It’s working. I think. I text my dad that the music is helping. He replies “turn it up as loud as you want to.” I turn it all the way up. The shaman on my screen looks Native American. I feel a deep connection. Euphoria! Finally! I’m suddenly overwhelmed with energy. I don’t know it in the moment, but my mind has just broken. Enter the psychosis. AC off. I want to sweat. My sinuses are full. I feel like I’m full of poison. I’m a rattle snake. I go to the bathroom and dump the trash into the floor. I need a bucket. Shirt off, shorts off, I’m in my underwear walking circles in my living room around my trash can. Sweating, blowing snot, spitting, farting, stomping, shaking like a wet dog. I want to piss in the corner and mark my territory. I’m a bison. I’m connected to the land, to its history, to its spirit. I’m one with cattle and the coyotes. I have so much fucking energy. Epiphanies hammer me. My dogs bring me comfort. I’m one of them. We run around the house howling and barking. I’ve become wild. I continue to walk circles and yell at my living room.

    11:00PM. I can’t stop. I’ve gone insane. Between bouts of hysterical laughter, guttural yells, and random ticks, I’m trashing my house. Visuals are dampening. I’m feeling a little weak. I’m talking nonsense to my phone that’s recording.

    MIDNIGHT. I haven’t had water this entire time. I’m so thirsty. It’s like mana from heaven. I have bowl of fruit in fridge! Grapes. Strawberries, plums, oranges. They’re orgasmically delicious. I close down the back half of my house. As I walk into the living room the shaman is gone. He’s been replaced by fractal tunnel imagery with high tone frequency music. Perfect timing. Purple. Purples good. Lights off. Naked. Heavy blanket. Overwhelming peace. I feel like I had met myself for the first time. I made it: it’s over.
    1:00AM Rest.

    I woke up this morning with a pounding headache. Never been “hungover” from mushrooms before. I tell my family I’m ok. I need to share this with someone. This seemed like a great place. If you made it this far, thanks for listening. I’d love to hear your input.

    1. Thanks for your story, really impressive!
      5 dry grams of magic mushrooms can be a sweet and wonderful experience, as well as a nightmare, you are never sure what it will be like.
      In many passages of your narrative I could fully understand what was happening, for example when you felt your mind was slipping away or how you felt and behaved in the wildest phase after 8:30.
      I have experienced very similar situations too, the dose was higher and like you I was wrong not to have a sitter around.
      See the story of that incredible journey here:
      When the doses are high it is important to build a “fence”, in my opinion the ceremonial context is useful, see this other article ( mushrooms /) and I think you will agree with me; it is not a religious question, it is the intentional use of ritual and symbols to guide the experience and support you in moments of greatest difficulty (which with high doses can come at any time).

      Another very interesting thing in your history is music, a portal to move your mood in a desired direction. It took me years to compose playlists suitable for the different phases of the journey with mushrooms, if you enjoy reading my book you can discover much more, with a surprise in the final pages.

      Thanks for taking the time to write, I hope you will again!

    2. That was a great story. Thank you for telling it. I laughed for most of it after you finally played music.

  3. Documenting the psilocybin experience

    So how do I talk about this? I can only remember what I can remember. How can I describe it?

    So I finally took the heroic dose. Five grams.

    I made a tea which I steeped for about 30 minutes, then I massaged the tea bag, massage and squeeze several times. After that I ran it through a drip coffee filter. This was to remove as much of the mushrooms organic tissues as possible. Then I consumed it. It was a pleasant tasting slightly cloudy drink that went right down. The trip came on quickly, 20 – 30 minutes. Time? 2pm. What psilocybin does to time is amazing, stretching minutes into what seems like hours. My mind was driven to self-analysis. Vision was drastically altered. I began to feel spikes in body temp followed by freezing chills. The ever present nausea was strong but I didn’t throw up. I was extremely stoned. I felt as if I was laid on the sacrificial alter being examined by my creator. After about three hours the experience subsided to the point where I thought it was over. I sent my son home. Since Zach had left there is no longer any way to track time. A little while passed and then the mushroom returned orders of magnitude stronger. The room in which I was sitting became filled with light, streaming through the room in orange yellow streams, uni-directional, that appeared like circuits. It flowed through me. It seemed that my body was being re-wired. It went on for a long time. This made me very excited since that was what I was there for. I don’t know what happened after that but things got out of hand. I remember trying to use my phone but I couldnt focus on it, It made no sense to me. Everything was shot with prisms and the streaming light. My whole body seems outlined in light. My efforts to contact the outside world resulted in someone calling a ambulance. Apparently there was a lot that went on that I have no recollection of. I guess I was paralyzed on the bathroom floor, except for my mouth. Paramedics arrived and I instructed them to throw me onto my bed. They left after that. These things were reported to me after.

    Perhaps equally significant to me as the streaming light was the near death experience. I was flat out on the floor on my back. Paralyzed. But at peace. No pain, no discomfort. I stopped breathing and felt no effort from my body to continue breathing. I could not feel my heart beating. It was all peacefull. I felt an acceptance. I was calm and content with with the world. I just lay there waiting for what the mushroom would do. Death seemed immanent. I felt my life force diminish like a dying battery. Was it time to die? I felt fine with it. But I thought of my grandson. My pure and perfect grandson. I know that when he looks into deepest part of his soul he will find me there, as I find him in mine. I think that in the great genes lottery of our clan that he and I are a match. I must protect him.

    I make a effort, roll over, there’s my phone on the floor. I somehow manage to send a voice text to a friend, I tell them that I don’t thinks I’m going to make it. Tell them I’m sorry. She texted back: call 911. Fumbling with the phone I somehow manage hit 911. Yes, I ended up in a holding cell for drunks. I arrived there naked, no phone, no wallet, no clothes. I am stuck. There is no comfort there. Freezing cold, finally after hours someone brings me a blanket. I finally was rescued by my son who had woken to find messeges from my friend.

    Get this, 36 hours later I’m still seeing hallucinations.

    A horrible experience? No, it wasn’t all fun but I consider it be the most meaningful experience of my life.

    Will I do it again? Probably not. I’m 73 and this was my third trip on cubes.

    1. At a certain point in the reading it seemed to me that I had become you, you told a challenging story in a very light and serene way, this struck me a lot.
      Mushrooms sometimes give you that ability to perceive with a lot of detachment what you are experiencing, one part is inside the experience, for example of dying, and the other observes as if all this does not touch you directly, you feel that nothing ends there. I believe this is what makes the difference for the terminally ill, which reconciles them with the end of physical life.

      Thanks Steve for writing. I always have to be careful not to instigate the consumption of prohibited substances, but in all honesty I’m sorry if this will be your last experience!
      Let’s see if I can get you to reflect on some elements.
      I don’t know how many trips I made with mushrooms, but I think my third trip was with less than two dry grams; before reaching 5 grams I think I have done almost all the steps with increments of 0.25 grams each time, some doses I repeated several times, for example those around 3.5 grams and 4 – 4.5 grams, so that when it was time to take the heroic dose I was really ready.
      Almost all the journeys before the heroic dose I used music, especially for the first experiences it is an almost indispensable guide, as well as a portal to access dimensions otherwise difficult to encounter.

      Well, when I took five grams for the first time I don’t say it was a disappointment, but in my heart I was ready for anything, I expected to face storms and instead it was beautiful, intense but never challenging, which instead I experienced. when I took 20 grams – which I arrived at after some experiences with 12 grams dry, I was convinced that increasing 8 grams would not be difficult! Instead it could have ended as in your case or even much worse (see my article on this “journey to the afterlife”).

      I’ll tell you this to emphasize that the experience you accumulate over many trips is essential to be able to deal with certain doses, three trips and getting to 5 grams was a gamble, you have no experience yet, with high doses it is essential! 5 grams can be gentle and wonderful, but the same 5 grams can convince you that you are dying, and no one can be more convincing than these little mushrooms! Here only experience can help you, nothing else can prepare you for what you may be traveling in.

      Go back, start over from 3.5 and use the music, stay in the middle of nature, physically prepare to arrive at the moment of the experience in strength and rested, you still have so much to discover! 3.5 is not a small amount, even this quantity knows how to be challenging, but if you know how to do it you will see that it will be very useful for you to understand many things, and above all to gain experience. In my book there are references … hidden on the last page, to write to me and have the list of playlist tracks that I have selected over many years, music is essential for those who start, only after a long time can you be silent and in the dark without being afraid of yourself.

      I imagine that in your heroic journey there have been many magical moments – you said something – but if you try again with more preparation you will see that these moments can be the totality of the journey. You don’t bring home something good just with challenging trips, diving into Beauty is even better, you bring home something that is even more useful to you in everyday life and without having side effects – which sometimes there are with difficult trips.

      Please let me know if you want. All the best!

  4. If I may, it is completely stupid to embark on such an experience without having studied, at least, Stan Grof’s ‘Realms of the Human Unconscious’.

  5. I spent the last 2 days absorbed in the recording of brother McKenna online, and found a beautiful 3+hr example that pulled his separate teaching into a pretty decent 26ish part analytical documentary.

    Even the deep explanation of such experiences can allow, at least the memory of such truth to be regained. So, I thank you dearly DM Tripson for your candour.

    I smoked, I recollect, to be around 0.2gms of pure DMT, through a glass pipe, in a modest ritual with 8 friends at the age of 20. We took turns to be reverent, as each smoked, lay comfortably, and covered our eyes with a towel.

    I had taken LSD and mushrooms, to a ‘heavy’ dose on a few occasions, but wow this was nothing to be debated. There was no opportunity for fear or elation, to simply proceed with love was the only thing on the table. I rebuilt reality with the help of Gaya, and enjoyed my work for a long time after. I.E I enjoyed my life on Earth a lot for many years.

    I’m 38 now, and thoroughly distressed at the daily grind of physical slavery for … 99.99999r% of humans, myself included. It has now become a call to the bosom of Gaya and all her helpers. The traditional communion is broken, like a child ignoring an aging parent. Though Gaya will always be, yet if ignored, be a barren planet is a planet with a lot of work to do…again! I would like to see a day when Mother Earth can just chill you know?! Breathe and float in her bubble bath of job done-ness.

    It seems to me, the depressed and ‘psychotic’ are sensitive to a distinction that lays deeper than human condition. A state of consciousness troubled without the game of spiritual tennis.

    As Autumn draws in, dazzling aspects of the Sun’s persuasion recede and we require light more radiant that ever. This conveniently is the time psilocybin becomes more content. As McKenna reminds us, “visual acuity is heightened” with the ingestion of said fungi. It could also be said that, our life itself is dark in the face of an unilluminated consciousness, that 99.9999999r of humans possess. The number is statistically correct so much as to say there is enough chilli in your curry per say. ( A little McKenna-ism if you can stomach it 😉 )

    So, the heroic dose is as advised…. completely subjective. And ill advised if the human, or the interested reader of this thread, is not fully prepared to address the reasons for meeting nature on her/its own terms. If you went for an interview with God, what would you ask for? As with anyone in a position above you in a hierarchy, the question should be humble. The question should be, please mentor me. Please show me the way I do not yet know. And please, Please, don’t hurt me by showing me. This is how I learn to be like you.

    Love saves all. Again and again and again and again and again and again….

    1. Thanks Rob! The ancient Romans said: “Amor Omnia Vincit” and it is so, simple and true. I did not answer you right away because I was away for two days, I attended a ceremony, we were 5 old friends, for this reason I was very calm, they have experience and so I was able to take 5 grams, the well known heroic dose ! Maybe I should write a new post, a challenging dose alone versus the same amount in the company of a group of good friends. I believe that both are useful, but the second one perhaps can teach more, even in everyday life we learn more in relationships with people rather than closed at home alone. I would not write it to make a ranking, but only to reflect on the differences, sometimes it is better by yourself, others instead it is better to compare yourself with persons who are your mirror.
      How much I miss McKenna, he was a truly extraordinary character, which is why I dedicated an entire chapter to him in my book. Cheers!

  6. I accidentally took over twenty grams. It was my first time and I didn’t understand the conversion rate on the scale. I put it in a coffee grinder then a glass added water and drank it down like a sludgy milkshake. I honestly thought I was taking 2.8 grams. (I know, this seems stupid but I had never seen a magic mushroom before and using that many did raise a red flag). A dose that large takes you far outside of the boundaries of anything human, I met the original intelligence that created all that is before the Big Bang it seemed. I am not a novice of altered states. I have been a frequent astral projector and lucid dreamer for 30 years. I have no fear of death but did worry that my partner would come home and find me and have to deal with that. I also remembered what Terrence McKenna said, “they can only make you think they can kill you”. This helped me. So because my high school let me down regarding the metric system I had quite the ride.
    I am 67 and this happened 8 months ago. I have spent much of my life exploring
    other realities via OBEs so it was not life changing in the way it might be for someone who has never ventured in to the deeper aspects of the self. I took the red pill long ago.

      1. Wow. Fascinating experience. I took a full ounce so It appears I dodged a bullet after reading yours. There would have been no chance of me tearing up the room. I was pinned to the bed. Getting up would have been impossible. I was home alone with eye shades and headphones but the music was irritating so they came off early. I had a driving mechanical sound in my head and the tunnel of fractals during the come up got monotonous. I had set an intention but that got set aside as my main attention was focused on trying not to die. Keep in mind that that I thought I had taken 2.8 grams. I didn’t realize what I had done until I realized how much an once was in grams. I felt fortunate to be alive when it was over and there were no physical or psychological issues. The feeling of being paralyzed not able to move was uncomfortable for obviously reasons. At one point I felt the mushrooms sort of say, “hang on asshole, you asked for this”. I found that somewhat comforting. Ok, they weren’t actually trying to kill me, that was good thing.
        The mushrooms want me to let go, or my ego to go away. I was too curious for that so I would try to hide and they would find me. I tried to think about my life but that was a silly exercise as it reminded me nothing is real. In fact when I went back in to the primordial state nothing had even been created, not even the universe. When I opened my physical eyes I saw the the structure of physical reality laid out in a lattice. I could go on but as you say, there is no way to describe the indescribable. Like you, I wouldn’t do this again. I didn’t mean to do it the first time. I have a very resilient psyche it appears.
        What you had sounds like the ancient Greek Elysian ceremony. “If you die before you die, when you die you won’t die”. As I mentioned I astral project a couple of times a week and go to the places we may end up when we die. I do what we might call rescues or retrievals, helping people who are earthbound post death to get to a higher frequency, to waste from the Bardo state. I do this in an out of body state. Been doing it for 30 years or so. The Monroe Institute actually helps train people like myself to do this effectively. When I went there in 1992 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was in my class. Stan and Christina Grof were in my Gateway class before that.
        Me final note for you and your readers, dying is something you are doing every day and to have a successful transition means a lifetime of preparation. As you stated coming in to the human is a much harder transition for us make than what we call dying. When one crosses over not much changes. You take with you, what you have learned along with unresolved stuff and your present state of consciousness. You end up in a frequency that matches that. I recommend the books of Jurgen Ziewe to people who want to better understand the afterlife. As for this life, as you surmised we choose this learning environment for precisely the reasons you mentioned. Forgetting our true nature, our long history of lifetimes is a feature of the earth experience, not a bug.

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