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Thursday, September 20, 2007

DMT Testimonial

I'm 59 years old (you do the math), and have taken psychedelics 300 plus (maybe 400 plus) times, mostly what they call, paradoxically (another piece), “heroic” doses, the last a dozen or so years ago. Then a couple of summers ago I encountered DMT.

I had wrestled with and come to terms with (I thought) the oft-mentioned “alien” thing over a series of psilocybin sessions in '94. And, besides, I thought I had experienced (if not entirely inculcated) a fair sampling of whatever there was of this Cosmos in these many arduous, exultant sessions, conducted over many years.

However, the enormity and characteristically "other" intensity of the DMT experience was entirely new to me. I must emphasize the "other" quality. LSD, psilocybin, mescaline--even PCP--these all seem as one with our familiar nature-based reality, reflecting the glory of human consciousness as conveniently identical to its (as it turns out, alas!) local God.

And therein was the surprising quality of DMT. Its reach and power were so vast as to make human understanding laughably impossible; which came as a relief, actually, after so many years of trying. Also, it rendered ordinary hope foolish. Which was also releasing, not the negative it sounds.

Anyway, it was a fair trade for a look behind the curtain at something that may be beyond the human mind's ability to grasp or even come to spiritual terms with (now that seems alien!). It certainly seemed so to me.

This whole alien thing is somewhat of a vexing counterpoint to perceived human consciousness. Which seems inexorably married to, and catalyzed by, that very alien element, and which marriage of the two produces this world before us as we know it. In other words, we are all half-alien. Relax.

At least that's the mushrooms’ story. . .

DMT's seems to be "I'm big, and I'm bad, and I'll eat you up. However, you may be grateful for both the humbling and the releasing."

The initiatory aspect is likewise pronounced proportionately to the face-eating intensity, and but for the clearly alien character, that’s probably its chief contextual element.

Re your words: "but illustrated the culminating point of shamanic initiation (being torn apart by the spirits). The more alien the spirits were, the more arduous the experience got, the stronger effect the initiation had."

Quite so. In the most powerful psychedelic sessions (these actually do require “heroic“ dosages—and, it should be stated—an entirely different experience is just waiting there to be had), three elements typically present themselves at some point (or at several points).

1) How long can this go on?
2) How can I ever find my way back to sanity?
3) And: Oh my God, this is the most incredible, stupendous, fantastic, etc.

Although DMT is typically described as having perhaps only 2-5 minutes of pure intensity, and a gradual 10-30 minute return to “norbal,” my first 1 and 1/2 lungfuls had me deep in the throes of all three of the above, I guess mostly in that order, and for far longer than advertised.

When things started to lighten, I had a momentary thought (why?) that perhaps I'd not gotten enough, and motioned to the pipe-bearer for more. Halfway through that toke I was rocketed inwardly far beyond what only moments before had seemed the very apotheosis of human experience. I'd had only a split second to recall (too late!) that I had been waiting for it (at some time) to be over. Then it was head over heels into the maw of the machine.

This lasted a full twenty minutes easy. An hour later I was just barely functional. There was a residual effect for several weeks as well. Nothing too pronounced but enough to put one slightly askance to one's usual world view.

But even without any particular purposeful ritual but the showing of appropriate respect, the initiatory element was the very cloth and context of the entire experience: the commencing, the catapulting, and the re-configuring taken forward.

Likewise, with no conscious effort to make it so (thank god that was not asked!), the pipe administrator was both the most integral, and most compassionate, of priests. No blood spilled over this stone, no stone knife acted as if it knew the way to home.

And the gathered few—most of whom, though not partaking, were personally acquainted with the experience—became merely by their presence, their overheard voices, their support, their welcome sudden laughs, the most eternal of one's own spiritual brethren, fellow acolytes of this least-transcribed of religions, whose only credo is: Everyone should do this

. . . at least once.

And this does not pass.

--R Skogsberg

1 comment:

Michele said...

Careful, darling. Don't set your head on fire.

Today I received a gift from my job -- a CD recording of Denis Johnson's new novel, Tree of Smoke. Will let you know my thoughts on it.