Intro to Methodology and Data/Result presentation. AKA Quaffing some seed juice and seeing what happens.
In the first article of this loosely planned “series”, we looked at the motivations behind the project, its personal context and attempted to summarise the intentions and some of the broad goals which the work seeks to fulfil.
Following this, we took time to review the intercultural use of LSA bearing seeds, looking at modern usage+cited effects and critically contrasting this with what literature is available regarding archaic use by various mesoamerican cultures. In reviewing what historical information remains, a number of pertinent differences between historic and contemporary use were highlighted and explored.
From this, we distilled and put forth the general attitude and driving ideals behind the work, namely an emphasis on a subtle hand (low end doses), a skilful mind (the use of esoteric tools/techniques in combination with plants) and ultimately a position of respect and “open-ness” toward the plant and its manifesting consciousness (or what presents itself internally as such). (The balancing act of active observation while remaining empty/passive enough to be filled by the spirit.)
We left off pretty open-endedly, suggesting that method (in detail) and results would follow (with presumably a third article to serve as a synthesis /conclusion of sorts).
So, why the wait?
Basically, I just haven’t had the time, nor been in the right frame of mind to follow up until now. Several events in my personal life have placed me in a situation where I just cant do this kind of work regularly, and instead I’ve been addressing other life things like relationships and growing responsibly into adulthood. However, an introvert like myself can only stretch themselves so far and thus, I am once more a hermit (for a time). Thus, solitude will bear its fruits again and hopefully, this will be one of them.
Along with the shamanic bent of attitude highlighted earlier, we now aim to apply (to varying degrees), an admittedly pretty soft version of the scientific method, the primary focus of this being the attempted categorisation of experience via the comparison and side to side analysis of different experiments.
The hope is that by taking my reports and performing some kind of still life vivisection upon their impressions I will be able to comment on internal consistencies that remain or bloom reliably from experience to experience at similar stages and in similar ways.
From here I wish to, in some regard, “map out” the internal landscape of manifestation that I see occurring at different phases within singular trips. If possible this map should also be able to describe the way these waypoints shift and change in relationship to dosage and other variables. Key variables are a finicky thing here as once started on this road one does not seem so able to return at leisure to survey early experiences. Time spent using the seeds is a key variable and might also be described as how well the plant and the user meld biochemically. With regular use over time, the affinity of the user toward the chemicals grows conspicuously, along with increased “looseness” generally. The plant recognises and knows me, though what I am to it is unknown, or if such a notion is possible without my own nervous system.
One of the issues I have been thinking about is the problem of “data” in regards to its format, presentation and how I might process it into various other formats to aid its digestion without the need for copious written text. As mentioned earlier my idea is to go through my reports and studiously pick out consistencies, depositing these into a list or table of common perceptions, and then “locating” these events within perceived time in order to demonstrate how the experience usually proceeds. However, as I stated in the first article, I wish to be free with my writing and to present my raw “data” as inspired reports that leave nothing I notice or deem significant out.
Thus, I will first present an example trip report from my personal archives, one I will freely admit to cherry picking in order to demonstrate my methodology and to illuminate how I experience this plant with as much florid detail as I deem necessary. I will then use the prior mapping idea to compare trips as a way of presenting results.
Other ideas for data processing include:
Separating my experiences into “active” (I.e early trips where I explored outdoors during the day), and “passive”, (my later and more successful night trips).
Record all utterances by the plant logos, try to build up an impression of how it likes to communicate and speak, its language choices etc
One more note that should be made is with regard to data selectivity. Strictly speaking, incorporating experiences where I have used combinations of seed extract and LSD would contaminate the study and deviate from the original plan, however, due to the artistic side of the project I feel that given context and explanation, these reports could be sampled and incorporated, even used to make comparisons. It may be that such experiences must be presented in a completely separate way.
Without ado then, I present Trip Report number 8. For the purpose of transparency, the extract has been left unedited.
8th Report: Back to Basics
This is my second psychedelic experience since the seeds combo trip. I am going to go low again, using a minimal dose at night. The dose will be around 200 seeds, floured and steeped in distilled water
After a fair amount of humming and hawing during which this trip seemed badly timed, I got a window to distil the water (always the most time consuming part of prep other than steeping) and went for it. Water was distilled on the 21st of august. Seeds to be steeped by approx 3.30 on the same day. Have opted for 200 seeds of MG and 14 of Ololique.
Seeds ground and steeping begun at 3.30 pm on the 21st of August, 2017. I’m thinking of imbibing the liquid by 10 pm on the 23rd of August, just over 2 full days of steeping, 54 hours approximately.
Seeds were strained at 11.15 on the 23rd. Imbibing began at 11.33.
As described above, seeds were strained at 11.15 and imbibed at 11.33 (although drinking always takes a fair amount of time). If I were to estimate, I probably finished drinking at about 12?
Prior to this experiment I had taken quite a substantial break from my “regular” drinking of the seeds. I had used psychedelics on two other occasions during the break but had decided to give myself time to assess my work up to this point and regain some needed clarity. During this period I had given myself over to ascetic exclusion of activities deemed superfluous and was engaged in the study of Vajrayana/Tantric Buddhist history and the myriad techniques and deities associated with that particularly wide spanning path. I was basically on a monkish kick, stripping back and bringing new clarity/intensification to my personal aperture.
After some time, I had the inclination that I might be ready to confront my task once more. I planned on going back to basics and using the seeds alone and at a low end dose. The setting would be my room, at midnight. I planned to go in with the mindset of attempting to connect with any intelligence I might find and to use the meditative and energetic practises I had been carefully cultivating in “bringing this forth”, without the use of blunt force trauma (for example, large doses, other chemicals etc).
In the lead up to the event, I experienced misgivings. I thought that the timing of the prep and the circumstances surrounding my daily life would prohibit the planned activity and had actually accepted that I would not be able to proceed. However, on the 21st, a window arose for me to distil the water and begin the steeping process, I seized this and quickly made good on it, flouring 214 seeds and beginning their steeping in the distilled water at 3.30 Pm on the 21st.
I planned to strain and consume the infusion by 10 pm on the 23rd. As the day dawned and proceeded, I again experienced misgivings. In the end I decided that since I had prepared them, I would not waste them. I am very glad I chose not to.
At 11 pm, I was free to do as I pleased. It was night, and according to my custom, history of use and recent dreams, I intuitively knew that on this occasion it was right to ask for assistance. I strained the infusion before my altar to Quetzalcoatl and before drinking, asked for his aid in removing unwanted chatter from my mind, speeding my journey through to true psychedelic realms and most importantly, strengthening my connection to the plant spirit housed within the seeds. I place several pieces of copal resin on a single block of glowing charcoal, watching them crack, spit and liquefy, sending up thick, viscid columns of smoke that rose arrow straight before colliding and whirling in dervish-like chaos in the air. With this offering in place, I locked eyes and began the often unpleasant task of drinking. It was not too bad this time luckily, and I was able to consume the entirety of the sacrament without shuddering, heaving or really experiencing any untoward effects. Toward the last sip, I began to feel “something”, though the drinking process (especially when overtly ritualised), produces notable alteration of consciousness alone. The double layered effect of the thick, creamy smoke and the intensity of Quetzalcoatls gaze began to drag me down and I took a spiral shell placed at his heart and held it between forefinger and thumb, slowly letting myself slip deeper into this state as the LSA now passing through my stomach lining made its way steadily to my brain.
Before long I knew the LSA was beginning to make its earliest presence felt. I blew out the candles and opened a window (I left the charcoal and incense to burn, but did not want excess carbon monoxide to build up in my room). Now in complete darkness, I lay on my bed, got comfortable and closed my eyes. Already I could see/feel the typical static fizzing I associate with the early onset of LSA. This continued for a time without too much really going on. I relaxed my facial muscles and tried to let all tension leave my body, I knew that ideally I wanted to relax myself to the point that I would enter into hypnogogia (prior to imbibing I was actually pretty tired which I thought would be to my advantage in this regard).
After a few more minutes (who can say how many, really), I felt “it”, the defining jolt of the second wave of LSA. In previous experiments, this has been experienced as a “deepening” of sensation, or an expansion beyond the body. This time, it was accompanied by a fizzing crackle of somatic energy along my spine, spreading and percolating out along my lateral nerves like a river of sparks. I knew this territory well enough to recognize it but also to know that something was different. The darkness swam now and the static did not so much reduce, but ceased to capture my attention as deeply. I felt more relaxed and gradually my awareness was taken up by swimming and roiling forms within this expansive blackness. At first these forms were simply felt and not seen, but gradually they acquired definition and could be simply described as “smoke apparitions”. It was as if the Copal I had burned earlier had seeped through to the realm of mind and taken on a life of its own, swelling and flowing in an amoebal dance. I really couldn’t see true detail still, just half focused, oozing and dancing smoke forms. The theme of smoke persisted through the first part of the experience and soon after the apparitions become visible, they self organised into more recognizable forms. Beings gave rise to beings, each closer to an approximation of a “real thing” than before. I started to see “animals”. Hares in particular were common, with shapeless masses seeming to exhale plumes of smoke that ran, growing long ears and feet. Other animals too were seen, though the hares stand out specifically in my memory.
The complexity of forms multiplied from here, although the memory of this phase is not too clear. I was still very lucid and not in a dream state and decided to try communication. I voiced internally: “the desire to meet any intelligences dwelling within”. As I did this, I saw an arrangement of lines above my forehead coalesce into the shape of a face. It was gnomic, with a comically bulbous nose and large eyes. The creature stared into my own eyes and I became aware of others surrounding me. I have encountered little people under the influence of LSA before, but never quite like this. They did not seem to be active this time, simply observing me. I was happy enough to have them there and as I relaxed they seemed to focus less on me and more on my body. Spontaneously I felt a warmth in my lower belly and tendrils/roots penetrated downward and then radiated out. I could actually see a root system similar to that of a tree spread out from my lower back into the blackness beneath it. Everything was still arrayed in moonlit silver. I was struck by a similarity to the time before when vines had spontaneously grown upward from my stomach, that time arrayed in glowing gold.
With this thought in my mind I willed the roots to grow upwards. At this thought, tendrils sprung from the base, thin at first but quickly knotting together and writhing upward with explosive growth. This was perceived in monochrome (this was a character of the entire experience, it was all perceived in silvery black and white). Suddenly I felt myself propelled forward and up along their path, seeing below me one thick vine, as if I was moving at high speed along it. At regular intervals along the vine fleshy and perfect flowers sprouted and opened. These had the appearance of the beak of an octopus, an opening of four petals with smaller serrated petals within. These grew larger and larger until they almost swallowed my field of vision. I willed myself further up the vines, racing to see if I could reach their crest as they multiplied. I then saw the whole array, like capillary veins in a set of lungs, their spread was massive and fine, the fineness being such that I lost a sense of how fleshy and thick they had been before. The entire structure melted before my eyes into nothingness.
Following this, I got up briefly to stretch and take a leak. I was still intent on further exploring the interior landscape however, so I left the light off and got back onto my bed, this time adopting a cross legged posture.
As I settled down into my Asana, another surge of energy shot through me. I felt perfectly poised and as I began to breath I felt the darkness before and behind me lengthen out into a tube. It felt I was connected to tube like structure, or an infinite recurving space from which to draw breath. I drew deeply from this well before me and felt more energetic surges, I quickly slipped into a semi lucid state of contemplation, this being illustrated by a gradually shifted landscape of forests, valleys and rivers until I realised I had arrived at the broad geographic region visited in the dreams encountered the night before. In the dream I had found myself wandering a path alongside a swollen river passing through low hanging cloud forest either side, a light mist of rain falling and adding to its swirling course. The theme I had interpreted the dream to touch on was one of passage and of gradually being cut off from return. One of gaining passage to further realms of experience, of gates, spirits and now extinct peoples. At one point I had witnessed a large group of people walking through the river in the opposite direction myself. I now asked who they were, the answer offered in response was “aratikas“. I pressed onward and directed my focus to my arrival at a gated section of the path where I had been denied entry and shown the decomposing carcass of a dog in a flooded ditch. I asked what the dog “was”, being given the response of “yourself”. I concluded immediately that I the dog symbolised a portion of my personality that had been mistreated, rejected and left to die ignominiously. The dog is an active element, undeterred and brightly searching, protective and questing. I had once been told that I was born a tiger but would transition to the dog later in my life presumably once I had something to guard or physically search for. The gatekeeper had barred my entrance on the grounds that I was incomplete in some sense or that I was ignoring something vital about myself, without which I would never be able to make this transition. From this point my thoughts changed to those about essential connections between organisms. By harming myself and stifling the complete actualisation of my being, I irrevocably harmed everything that came into my path. A mechanism teetering off balance may destroy a great deal simply by acting in a manner that is discordant with its surroundings. In this way an imbalanced person harms not only themselves, but everyone that they care about or who cares about them.
Following on from this I decided to ask some more questions. I voiced internally “what was it like, those times with the Aztecs”. Before I could finish this musing I found myself transported to atop a large structure. I saw in a kind of beige/gold and black a set of zigzags before me that transformed into a runway of steps, I rapidly descended these to ground level and saw around me a dance. People leapt and drums thundered into the darkness of the night. I saw before me a figure approach wearing the classic bright red and black wind mask of Quetzalcoatl. The mask was crested with extremely long jet black feathers which sprouted up before curving back to form a dense cloak that enshrouded his body to a degree. The figure grew nearer and in a moment the mask loomed before me, the gaze of its huge jewelled sockets penetrating and pinning me. I felt myself swallowed into this well of darkness before the picture suddenly snapped out. I slowly refocused and realised that I now saw out of his eyes. I now wore the mask and the words “I am the head Quetzalcoatl” were uttered silently.
I felt myself rise into the air as if a section of the ground was lifting me up. I felt my body begin to vibrate and mutate at a cellular level and for a time I was lost entirely to the intense thrumming, the memory remaining as ever spreading, resonating tapestries of wavelengths and currents concurrent with the vibrations, my body beyond lost. As abruptly as it had begun this episode ended however and I was returned to a netherworld of mist and half formed life. (Note to self the duration and intensity of narrative episodes linked to duration and intensity of attention (related to potency of dose, energy levels, training, willpower etc, lucidity).
In this state I slowly return to self awareness and lucidity. It was almost like my eyes were open and I could see myself sitting cross legged in the dark despite them being very much closed. I could hear rain (it was actually raining outside) and upon this auditory curtain were hung claps of thunder, my body being momentarily illuminated by the spark of lightning in my vision. In the vision my eyes were drawn down to my hands which now lay palm up, open, with one on top of the other. As more lightning crashed and sparks flew I began to see a dark patch form in the centre of my top palm. The dark spot seemed to rotate inward and I watched between flashes as a bizarre structure pushed its way to the surface from within. It was formed of concentric angular cells, each one smaller than the last and flanged by lightning or sceptor like spikes that protruded outward laterally before curving upward in the same direction as the structure was growing. Each cell had at least 5 of these and their sizes corresponded to the size of the cell. Each cell was rotating independently of each other and as I watched a faint glow began to form around the structure, with an orb coalescing about the infinitely small tip. The orb rapidly grew to a size beyond which its containment could not be sustained and it erupted upward in a conical vortex of sorts. I asked what this device was that I was being shown and the immediate answer was “Vajra”. I am suspicious of this response due to the neatness of it and due to potential contamination from other sources, namely all the shit I was immersed in just prior to the experiment.
Following this, I lost focus somewhat and opened my eyes once more. I was satisfied with my journeying and decided to proceed from here with some creative outlet. I had been strongly encouraged by previous attempts at art while the seeds were in me and went for this now. I left the lights off, only lighting a few candles and beginning without hesitation.
Art made under the influence of the seeds may actually be presented here at some point, but if you want to see some of it now, you can look at the Tumblr I have recently set up to house all of the pieces I deem of acceptable quality:
As you can see, listing more than one or two full length reports (which vary in length but are usually at least this long), really takes up space and probably stretches attention spans beyond what can be reasonably assumed of them. As discussed prior, the aim of the next article forthcoming will likely be devoted solely to data processing and presentation by whatever means triumph. For now though this is likely the end for space reasons and to maintain some semblance of trying to be concise.
Thanks for reading, until next time, dont lose hope.
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