(Based on my first and only experience with psychedelics. It was years ago, just after finishing high school when I was young, aimless and stupid. The experience was life changing.)
“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’sï»¿ another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important–creating great things instead of making money, putting things back into the stream of history and of human consciousness as much as I could.”
– Steve Jobs
“LSD was an incredible experience. Not that I’m recommending it for anybody else; but for me it kind of — it hammered home to me that reality was not a fixed thing. That the reality that we saw about us every day was one reality, and a valid one — but that there were others, different perspectives where different things have meaning that were just as valid. That had a profound effect on me.”
– Alan Moore
This was written approximately 2 hours afterwards, most of the nuances have been forgotten, in fact most of it has been forgotten, I know there were 7 worlds but I can only remember 6, but the peaceful feeling remains. The trip was comprised of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide or LSD, Cannabis and something called Salvia Divinorum, The Diviners Sage. You had to take them in the right order, with the right time interval.
The trip was calibrated to maximise the journey. What is depicted is merely a snapshot of what occurred and is far from the overall experience. You really had to be there. It was with a friend, Jack and Olive, in a controlled environment with the aim to go on a spiritual journey of self discovery which he calls Vision Questing. They designed the dosage and trip to go on such a vision quest adventure.
As quoted by Wikipedia: “A vision quest is a rite of passage, similar to an initiation, in some Native American cultures. It is a turning point in life taken before puberty to find oneself and the intended spiritual and life direction. It is usually only undertaken by young males entering adulthood.”
It’s my first and probably last experience with psychedelics. Don’t think I ever want to try hallucinogens again. Emerging, I feel as though my mind has been cleansed and I feel a sense of terrifying clarity, as though I’ve just witnessed something hugely important but I don’t fully understand what it is. Either way, I realise why artists are so creative, they are f**king high!!!
At first I think it’s not working. Nothing is happening and nothing has happened for a good 5 minutes now. I’m wondering if I’ve done it correctly. Then it starts.
The world begins to slow dramatically to the point of absurdity, movement becomes slow and overarching, exaggerated as if overshooting the mark every time, great strides of movement. Thoughts start to become surreal and the magic begins to take shape. I was listening to music and it seemed to rise in wisps from the Ipod into the air and form a border, an exoskeleton for the worlds my thoughts began to enter. All of the sounds I could hear in each world seemed to emanate from the Ipod, even nonsensically, the sounds that could not possibly be depicted.
It’s hard to explain but it felt like the entire experience and all of the different tiny universes only existed and took place in the distance between me turning my head from left to right in a kind of surreal super slow motion and everything in front of me was partitioned into different columns like vertical tv screens, and as I was turning, would move from the left most column, to the right and as I would stop in front of one, it would surround and envelop me. And what was there was like the whole universe.
It was an entire universe trapped within each moment, with subsequent universes appearing as I rotated my head and shoulders. My entire body seemed to be pulled, surreally, like plastic, being warped and shaped by opposing forces. With each small movement, I would enter a new world trapped within a moment, some inhabited, others magnificenty desolate. Each of the worlds was occurring simultaneously in parallel thoughts within a moment. A universe within a moment.
My head begins to turn ….
The First World:
The first world was simply reality as I was accustomed to it. I am sitting on my balcony, leaning against the door. Every feeling becomes intensified and strangely I feel as though the balcony I am sitting on is my upper lip, with chairs and my childhood wooden rocking horse on it. I start to laugh because this must mean the roof is my nose and my mouth is downstairs. I start to feel like my head is the house, but I’m sitting in the house so if I turn my head, the house will turn too and I will fall over because my lips are the balcony and I’m sitting on the balcony so am sitting on my upper lip which will also tilt as my head moves since they’re the same. I sway trying to fix my balance and get my bearings and a grip on the disorientation. Because of this I try not to use my mouth so it is stuck in a dumbfounded stupor.
The world slants, the chair slides to the right and the world begins to sway back and forth like on a boat, with each object visible beginning to melt peacefully, as if there was some obscure beauty in understanding one is melting, overcoming the fear and enjoying the few precious moments before one is now a puddle. I start to become confused because I can see parts of the house melting in front of me like a surrealist painting but some objects are expressing disappointment that they have to melt so soon. It’s like all the things in front of me suddenly have emotions and thoughts.
I am on a tower now, but the tower is my upper lip, I am standing disembodied on my upper lip. I get an odd sensation that Mr and Mrs Tibble are missing, both of which are pieces of furniture, my shoulder is upset with me for an inexplicable reason and the corner of the table is called Jenny. “I ask Jenny where Jack has gone?” I start to panic but the floorboard and Jenny reassure me that everything is natural and I should relax.
My head continues to turn and I enter the next world ….
The Second World:
I suddenly feel a lot older, as if in my 40’s and overwhelmed by responsibility. I’m married and I have children but I don’t know any of them. It is like being transported into the future, but oddly this makes me really happy. Next to me is a park where my children are playing, but the park is located inside the air-conditioner I am leaning on. I have 3 children, a boy and two girls, their names are Xenethor, Lyra and I can’t pronounce the other name but it sounds like Jasmine. They are small, like children, I would guess their ages are 9, 6, and 4 respectively.
For some reason I feel responsible for the outcome of the park, like something will happen, a flash catches my eye and I turn to see a rocket flying into the air. I look back at the park and it’s time we went home, but there is a tennis court nearby and a girl is trapped with a bald man that looks like Voldemort inside the green surface, they have no bodies, only faces which are also green. The lines are preventing them from escaping. It is like this green surface is another world and they are the inhabitants of it, but it does not intrigue me enough to investigate.
I turn to my children, and ask them who their mother is. They don’t know her name but they show me a picture of her. The picture is breathtaking, I fall in love with her instantly. It is strange because I have memories of her, of all the moments we spent together and conversations we’d had together. I start crying because I feel like she’s gone and I don’t know where, also because I know in the back of my mind she never existed to begin with, and all of the memories are fake. I feel cheated out of this life that happened but was not real.
I wonder how we married but the kids say that we won’t be married, talking in a time-lapsed retrospection, unless I can stop the sofa from falling over, but I can’t see a sofa so I don’t understand but then in a jolt of understanding I realise they are referring to the swingy lounge.
I am suspicious of them at first as if they are lying to me, taking advantage of me but they grow on me eventually. We then forget what we were talking abut and start walking home, they-my children are holding my hand as we cross the thing that looks like a black puddle with water coming out of it but I interpret as the road. We reach the house, it is very large but something is not right about it, I can’t place it.
We enter the house and I realise, the house is made of doors and windows and is horribly slanted in all directions as if being torn and pulled out of proportions. It looks as if it is the precursor to an implosion. There are no flat surfaces and the house is jarring and pointed in every aspect, the house feels sharp as if it would cut you, although strange when thinking about now, it looked completely normal and homely within the context of the vision.
We enter the house and the kids are smiling and playing. Lyra has a beautiful smile and everytime I see it I feel warm inside, like everything is good and beautiful in the world. Like everything that is worth living for is in that smile. When parents talk about how their life feels complete when they see their kids smiling, I understand what they mean now. It really feels like everything that is or could possibly be good is in that smile. What precedes is perhaps the strangest part of the adventure because it is completely normal and uneventful … nothing.
The kids and myself proceed to live a completely normal life in this abnormal environment. It is this that makes it so wonderful, the ordinary nuances of everyday life, things I normally take for granted are somehow the most beautiful. I cook dinner, walk them to school, read stories to them as they go to sleep in the same fashion of a dream where each of the mundane moments such as travelling and walking are erased. We live like this for what feels like 4 months and I grow to love them.
They are my children and I can see resemblances in them to me. I start to realise after what seems like a week that their mother-my-wife-whoever-she-is is missing. I ask the kids what happened and they say she died. That makes me depressed and I start crying, thinking about her, I miss her. Except I don’t even know who she is. Suddenly I feel the weight of what has happened, the kids are going to grow up without a mother and I feel unbearably sad.
The kids come over and hug me, they re sad also, I miss my wife which feels odd because I don’t even know her name.
The moment passes and we start talking about school. After the first month I adjust to the environment and begin to forget about the drug, everything starts to feel real. I love my family so much and feel bonded to the children. I feel so proud watching them do things and making them laugh and keeping them happy, living an ordinary life.
Xenethor starts learning to program in Python and writes a program to help Jasmine in math. Jasmine paints a portrait of herself and it is gorgeous, I hang it above the dinner table. Lyra learns to read and finishes Oscar Wilde. I am so proud of her. Everything is so beautifully ordinary and I start to enjoy my newfound life. It is everything I could ever wish for. I am fulfilled and happy.
All of my kids have fair, olive skin, like a lighter version of myself and jet black hair. Xenethor is so handsome and smart, he is a genius, with long curly hair and kind eyes that draw you into them, like magic. But when you look into them you sense something ferocious. His face looks somehow worn from conviction.
Lyra is so beautiful. Everything she does looks like poetry. She has big brown eyes, a wide brilliant smile as if her lips are like a rubber band, stretching across her face. She is very talkative and opinionated on everything.
Jasmine is very quiet. She doesn’t talk much but is gifted in art. She can do things I can’t even imagine. Her face has no lines and you barely see her show any emotion. But when she is emotional there is an intensity to it, a forced empathy, you feel it with her. However most of the time she speaks woodenly as if she is reciting a script.
My head continues to turn and I enter the next world but for some reason I feel miserable. I miss them, my “family” and I’ll probably never see them again, whoever they are. It is more than just sadness, it feels as though I’ve been wrenched from my family, made worse by the knowledge they never existed to begin with. Cheated that a world which felt so real, wasn’t. They literally only existed, that entire world only existed, for that moment.
The Third World:
Here it is like Mars, everything is a mixture of different shades of Red and Orange and everything is slow and ridiculous. The sky is orange. It is like the painting of the melting clock except the melting is taken for granted and assumed to be normal, natural even as if it is the order of things. Everything is also floating, like lava lamps, but gravity is certainly at work because they are all melting downwards, which is sometimes upwards, or left, but mostly downwards.
There is a giant girl standing to the side, next to an orange melting rock. She is incredibly beautiful, the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen, but she’s not really a girl, she is a tree with green palmfronds sticking out from her in places. But I comprehend her as a girl even though she’s a tree.
She looks at me and we make eye-contact, the most amazing eye-contact I’ve ever experienced as if there are deep layers of understanding in the one glance. The green from her starts to mix with with all the red and the orange and there appears to be lots of micro-universes inside each of the colours. I look into the orange and there is a squat dwarf-midget-gnome-like creature looking back at me.
I start to feel like Gulliver, the tree-girl tells me that it will be fine as long as I don’t step on the orange, which terrifies me because everything is orange. I then feel a surge of countless emotions, I feel scared, happy, angry, bored ….what feels like every emotion possible and I realise it is coming from the colours. I look at the colours and I’m supposed to tell it something, but I don’t think the colour will understand what I’m saying.
My head keeps turning …
The Fourth World
I’m standing on a beach, next to a forest. The forest is connected to the beach which is connected to an ocean. It looks beautiful like the three types of matter, side by side in the physics of this world. The ocean is not made of water though, it is reflective like metal. It is a silver ocean, like liquid metal lapping the shores.
A forest made of grated glass, with artwork hanging from all the trees. The glass is not sharp but has the consistency of sand. It is reflecting the light against different surfaces in waves and fractal patterns. When I look closely, I can see the light wave travelling like a snake towards a surface. When I squint and look harder, all the light is actually taking the shape of animals.
I look up and a lion the size of a marble is running at my eyes. It then jumps into my eyes and what I see is light. The animals are the light. And they are running and smashing into the glass trees, which then refract beautifully against the other glass trees which refracts it again through the entire forest. It’s breathtaking. The grated glass looks as if it been polished or is wet, funneling the light. It looks a bit like thousands of laser beams charging before firing.
I look at the air more closely, each individual molecule of air is floating, it is alive. The air molecules look like floating jellyfish, thousands of them, swaying gently in the air. I breathe in and hundreds of them rush into my mouth. I can feel them moving towards my lungs. Once they arrive, they seem to pop, like bubbles and become oxygen. I realise now these creatures are made of oxygen. They are oxygen jellyfish. I’m breathing jellyfish.
It is night time, but the sky appears a damp evening orange. I look up into the sky and realise why. The clouds are on fire, but unmoving, like fire contorted into a shape but the heat is moving inside. The shadows and light are cascading onto the sky as a backdrop, pervading the orange overtone. The sky is on fire.
The Fifth World
This world takes the form of an endless darkness, where there are flashes of light everywhere like cameras from paparazzi. But each of the light flashes is some kind of creature which takes the shape of a fierce chrome streak, coupled with a sharp metallic sound and an intense emotion before dissipating back into the nothingness in the same moment of its conception.
Picture an infinite number of these beings, flashing and binding in chaos and anarchy, yet this disruption forms a unique and fantastic harmony where each is in direct opposition to the next, competing for the right not to live, but to exist.
But it felt like these things were foundational. Like they were a kind of structure or latticework that everything is built on. Like they were a sort of soil that allows for things like life to grow from and enough of them make up an atom or a particle that when bonded with other particles forms the nucleus of an atom residing on a single blade of grass. It felt like I was looking at the architecture of what everything is made of but seemed weirdly cruel.
Like the flashes were struggling not to survive but to exist. Like these things flashing in and out of existence at an exponential pace, the sparks of existence, beings, for want of a better word, are the cause and effect of everything and I was just standing there watching them as if you would casually watch fireworks on New Years Eve, feeling like I should help but having no idea how to. But I’m looking at it all as if looking through a window the size of my field of vision and I’m gaping at it in wonder. I’m only distantly aware that my head is still turning.
The Sixth World
This is a world of pure colour, as if the atoms and particles in the air itself are made of countless shades of colours. I begin to become terrified as I become acutely aware of my lack of awareness. I look down and there I have no body, as if it has dissolved, separating fluidly, dragged into the colour surrounding. It felt almost like swimming in paint. There was nothing here but colour, cold and desolate, some sharp and clear while others are muddy and convoluted.
Here nothing matters except colour, there is nothing more or less, explanation is not needed for anything and everything can be explained using different combinations of colour. The colour itself maintains no shape nor distinct identity as it is constantly morphing and changing shape as the different colours collide instantaneously, indefinitely. A world that is sideways. It feels strangely like I am visiting colour, as if it is a destination or place.
Nothing makes any sense here, but it does not need to, a world devoid of understanding, acceptance, explanation or even feeling. There is only nothing, but within the nothing is everything that is necessary, no abundance nor deception, beautifully honest in the realisation that there is little else which is needed. There need not be shape or function but simply colour to give reason and purpose to a form … it just is … and it works. There was an odd smell permeating the world also, with taste, as if each colour had its own signature of senses, I remember smoke, fresh leather, soy sauce and apples. Every colour had a taste and smell and there were what seemed like thousands of them.
It is oddly peaceful being immersed in something I don’t understand and will probably never comprehend. Suddenly there is a vacuum beginning like the vortex in a bathtub, but perpendicular to what is horizontal. All of the colours seem to be absorbed into the vacuum, including the different colours spread in all different places that comprise me. I remember my last thought before being enveloped is whether I’ll ever be able to come back. I don’t think so.
I realise my head is still turning, and I’m brought back to reality, the drug has worn off, with only lingering effects.
My thoughts are still distorted, the floorboard is still looking at me and I start to feel uncomfortable, as if it is undressing me with it’s eyes. It asks me how I am, I ignore it, the floorboard gets offended and checks the time, it has been about 3 hours or 6 minutes, I can’t actually tell but it feels like months have passed. I feel at peace, like I’ve just understood something life-changing-ly important.
I then look at Jack. And he says the entire trip was only about 12 minutes long. It felt like years went by. But the whole thing was 10 minutes. Amazing.