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Human Parts
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Humans 101

Prepare yourself ahead of time to improve your ‘set and setting’

A screaming face coming through red fabric.
A screaming face coming through red fabric.

When I was in the middle of a bad trip on psychedelics, I felt like I was going crazy. I was worried I was going to die or cause myself permanent brain damage.

But here I am. Not dead. And not crazy.

The same will be true for you.

As soon as you become aware that you are having a bad trip, you can begin to manage it. You just have to be prepared and know how. Here are 13 steps you can take to get yourself through your bad psychedelic trip unharmed and maybe even stronger than ever.

1. Identify what’s happening and tell someone


Plant medicine helped me release everything that does not serve me

I’ve been a walking fist lately. I’m struggling to really feel much of anything at all and then resisting what I can feel because it’s so unpleasant. It’s creating an untenable level of discord inside me, the sensation of being burned alive from within and seeping out as insufferable petulance toward the people around me. A few nights ago, I picked up a Sharpie in desperation and started to draw, which often seems to be what my body knows how to do when under duress. …

Ways to make sense of what ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, and other psychedelics might show us

Considering a large portion of magickal theory revolves around working out which spirits are worth listening to, which are just fucking with you, and which are actively leading you into darkness, it’s important to be a bit discerning when it comes to interpreting the messages you receive from the other side. Things can get messy, quickly, and you may find yourself swerving from “receptacle for divine wisdom” into paranoid schizophrenia territory.

I’m referring specifically to the messages one receives from plant spirits, particularly psychedelic plant spirits. Now, I’m not here to argue the existence of spirits, but this is how…

A recent visit to the psychologist highlighted the need for a curriculum update

Fluorescent lights. Plastic cups with pointed bottoms dangle from the water machine. A Top 40 hit blasts, the kind that could never be background music. It demands your full attention, consumes all senses, and shuffles all thought. There’s a flat-screen TV on the wall, but thankfully it’s off. Magazines stacked between me and other patients. Psychology Today. Frankie. LivingNow. Better Homes and Gardens. Tightly woven grey carpet. Neon flyers that read “On relationships,” “Let’s talk about drinking,” “Anger management,” and “Building emotional resilience.” A hand sanitizer pump next to the scented tissues. The soft sound of fingers on a keyboard…

Years of experimenting with low doses of LSD has me questioning the method’s long-term efficacy

Switching gears along the Yarra River, I pedal faster and faster, heading nowhere in particular. My face just crashed into a party of flies and now I’m swallowing wings. Sinking into my surroundings — the wind, ripples in the water, parrots overhead — with no thoughts of all the elses and elsewheres I could be, I’m tripping.

This microdose feels like a half tab. Which isn’t necessarily bad, except I can’t focus. I can’t sit still. I can’t read the lines of a book without being bombarded by my own. I can’t write. All I can do is keep going…

Ayahuasca gave me back my will to live when nothing else worked

A couple of weeks ago, on World Mental Health Day, I posted a tweet briefly describing the lifelong anxiety I have experienced after being raised in a cult. I also shared that I’ve found a lot of relief using psychedelics.

Cultivating a beautiful, transporting experience with mushrooms

Lynn and I are fortunate: We are tightly and broadly linked both physically and spiritually. Adventuring together for five years now, at 58 and 75, we seem to have acquired at least a modicum of sense and experience to see us through our escapades. Now we have decided to become psychonauts.

We did not embark on this lightly. Only one of us is psychedelically experienced—that would be me, with a handful of encounters with LSD, mescaline, and mushrooms, the last time being 40 years ago. I did not expect to re-enter the psychedelic realm again, certainly not at the three-quarter-century…

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