…Long ago, native peoples of Mexico and beyond discovered that eating certain mushrooms could allow people an unfiltered look at reality in the world around them with new eyes…I wanted to find out what [that would be like] so, not without some trepidation, I accepted an offer to participate in a psychotropic-mushroom velada, an event organized and watched over by someone who knew how to do it right.[Below is my personal experience with my very own “magic” mushroom trip which turned out to be the most important event of my life.]
First, we were handed a little jar filled with three grams of finely powdered Psilocybe cubensis. I’m not quite sure if “eating” is the right word to use when you are washing powder down your throat (with water or juice), but that’s what we did.
Then we sat on the ground, on mats, and our guide invited us to think of the goals or benefits we would like to get out of this experience. I looked for something that might be helpful to prepare for death — not far off if you are 80 years old. I hoped that this experience might help me grow in awareness because I learned long ago that growth in awareness is the purpose of life and that awareness is the only thing we take with us from this life to the next.
We then all lay down, facing the sky above us, it was night, and the beautiful meditation-inspiring music that was playing eventually dominated my whole being and with each new piece of music, I seemed to be going deeper and deeper into a vortex: My breathing became labored and difficult – just recalling the experience brings on a similar effect – and, at a certain point, I felt cold, even though I was wearing several layers of clothing and I was inside a sleeping bag.
Then a new piece of music would begin and I would think that maybe I had reached the end of all the spiraling, that the velada was over, but then a new melody would start, and I would feel another strange sensation: numbness in my mouth and lips and, in the following round, a tremendous thirst.
Again, I would be convinced that it was all over and that I was going to be headed home, but then yet another round would begin, spiraling deeper and deeper.
Every once in a while, our guide would come by and place a hand on my shoulder. This felt wonderful, a connection with the world I had left behind, a reminder that I had a friend watching over me, who would not let anything bad happen to me. What was truly bizarre, though, was that I would feel that reassuring hand not on the place where my eyes said I should be feeling it. Reflecting on it afterward, I think that our mind must normally monitor or meld or coordinate the two inputs of touch and sight, but in this case, that helpful assistance was missing. The touch was “coming in raw,” so to speak.
After a few more minutes, I started noticing something strange, what seemed to be a net overhead in the area where we were all lying. It looked completely real and only seemed remarkable to me because I couldn’t recall seeing it earlier in the evening before the psilocybin session began…When I stopped staring straight up and started looking around, I realize that the net was everywhere; it was not just horizontal but vertical — it was stretching this way and that, connecting everything. I was later told that “everybody who takes the mushroom sees that net.”
Our guide had mentioned before we started that if we needed to go to the bathroom, we just had to raise a hand and he would take us there…so, after what seemed like hours and hours — an eternity of spirals — I felt that I really did have to go to the bathroom and raised my hand.
Curiously, it was only when I tried to get out of the sleeping bag that I realized I was actually in an altered state of consciousness. It began when I tried to untie the strings of my sweatshirt hood. The thread felt unusual; I kept sliding my fingers along it, greatly enjoying the sensation and then there was the knot…It seemed to take me a long time to undo it, and untying it felt like a most interesting project as was the act of unzipping the sleeping bag. It felt like I spent ages just to get the zipper moving, and I was enjoying every moment of the experience!
Standing up, and then taking my first step, each felt like colossal and significant achievements, and my guide mentioned that it was like learning to walk all over again…[I didn’t see it that way but, rather, as experiencing the process in a new way, as if someone else were doing the walking with me inside that body as an observer.
The act of walking and of climbing a few steps, the vibrant colors of the living room, everything grabbed my attention. Entering the bathroom was almost overwhelming, something like materializing inside the space station in the film 2001 A Space Odyssey. I was suddenly surrounded by strange and wonderful things.
The towel, the mirror, the faucet, everything in that little room was as fascinating to me as the treasures in an exotic antique shop. I could have spent hours just making faces at myself in the mirror or simply feeling the texture of the towel over and over, but I knew that other people might want to use the bathroom, so having accomplished my mission, I stepped back outside and accepted a glass of jamaica (hibiscus flower juice) from my guide … and oh — the taste of it!
I would have been happy to spend the rest of my life just savoring that drink but back I went — slowly — to my sleeping bag from which I watched in fascination two phenomena in the trees above me: One was the transformation of a big, leafy tree into a series of giant faces, all of them suggesting an old, bearded man…the Great Spirit, observing his handiwork, his children…The other…was the presence of very thin and usually long and curving blue lines in the sky…which could only be seen out of the corner of my eye. If I deliberately looked for them, they would disappear…
This experience — which I would classify as the most important event in my life — ended after about five hours. I then rolled up my sleeping bag, said goodbye to my guide and walked out the door into the quiet night at 1 a.m. After what I felt had been an earthshaking experience, I was quite surprised that I was capable of walking home by myself – and my guide assured me that people can drive home after a velada without the slightest problem.
All of the above happened around one year ago. Most of this account was written a few days afterward, and the act of writing about it brought so much back that I felt obliged to wait a year before opening my notebook again.
Psilocybin has already proven its value in treating depression and anxiety, and I suspect that it may someday play an important role in understanding the origins and purpose of the human race.
Editor’s Note: The above version of the original article by John Pint, has been edited ([ ]) and abridged (…) for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The author’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article. Furthermore, the views, conclusions and any recommendations offered in this article are not to be construed as an endorsement of such by the editor. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
The writer has lived near Guadalajara, Jalisco, for 31 years. More of his writing can be found on his website.
Psilocybin, the primary psychoactive ingredients in “magic mushrooms”, is the most widely-researched psychedelic substance today due to its minimal toxicity, non-addictive nature and powerful medicinal effect of generating new neural pathways that allow different regions within the brain to communicate in new and more effective ways.
Psilocybin will likely become the first psychedelic drug to be de-scheduled by a major government and legalized for medicinal use. A recent poll in Canada shows that nearly 80% of the population favor legalizing psilocybin for medicinal use and, to that end, Health Canada has already been granting special exemptions to allow patients with critical healthcare needs to be treated with psilocybin-based therapies. In the U.S., however, while psilocybin enjoys rapidly increasing grassroots support at the local and even state level, psychedelics research remains blocked at the federal level. Legal use and commercialization of psilocybin may advance much faster in the EU and UK via their “real-world evidence” pathway to drug approval that advances drugs that are proven safe substances, a category into which psilocybin fits.
The major public companies involved in psilocybin research are Compass Pathways (CMPS), Cybin Inc. (CLXPF), Mind Medicine (MNMD) and Mydecine (MYCOF).
In addition 16 much smaller market cap companies – Aion Therapeutics (AION), Bright Minds Biosciences (DRUG), Creso Pharma (COPHF) through its subsidiary Haluvenex Life Sciences, Filament Health (NEO:FH), HAVN Life Sciences (HAVLF), M2Bio Sciences (WUHN), Mindset Pharma (MSSTF), Neonmind Biosciences (NNDBF), PsyBio Therapeutics (PSYBF), Revive Therapeutics (RVVTF), Silo Wellness (SILO), Nova Mentis (NOVA), Tryp Therapeutics (TRYP), Optimi Health (OPTHF), Psyence Group (PSYG) and Wesana Health (WESA) – are also doing research clinical-stage research using psilocybin for a total of 20 companies in all.
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