This is a retelling of the shrooms trip that inspired Experience: Road To GEHENNA. *]
I’m about to talk about my most recent shrooms experience. A little background; I have taken shrooms a few times, but I have much more experience with LSD. It had probably been two years since I last taken shrooms. I was confident I could handle them, but they ended up leading to a far more intense experience than I could have imagined. It’s difficult to describe, but I guess I could start with “life-changing.”
I think the most interesting thing about this story is that none of it should have happened. I’ll start from the beginning.
It was a quiet Thursday night. It’d been about a week since I smoked. My guy is more of a middle man than an actual dealer, so he’s not always stocked. And then, suddenly! I get a text, and then another:
Got some for you
Two such unassuming texts. Little did I know they were going to guide me to a life-changing experience.
So I head to his place, and as he’s handing me an eighth, he off-handedly mentions:
“Oh yeah. Another guy asked me to get these, but he backed out at the last minute.
Do you want them?”
And then he pulls out 3.5 grams of shrooms.
I was caught completely off guard. The last time I made a special order for some acid, I didn’t get it for like two months. I, of course, immediately say ‘yes’. I thought he was just going to hold them for me because I didn’t have the money, but he said he knew I was good for it.
So not only did I not know he had shrooms, he had them because someone backed out, and I didn’t even have the money if I had known. The guy backing out and my guy letting me take them home that night were two completely random happy accidents out of my control. But I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.
So I get home, smoke a bowl, and thought I was pretty good for the night. Since I hadn’t smoked for a week, it hit me hard and fast. But as I lay there watching YouTube videos, I kept feeling that itch on the back of my mind.
My body kinda has a way of talking to me. It’s like a tightness in my chest; a fist around my heart – not forcefully, just barely enough that I can feel my heart beat. My ribs feel like they’re hugging me from inside. And whenever I feel it, I know it wants me to do something. A lot of my anxiety comes from when I feel this in social situations, but I’m not able to figure out what it means, so it sticks around all day long.
But unlike those times, the message was clear. Let’s take some shrooms. So I was like, what the heck. I’ll just take half a gram to get rid of this feeling, and then I’ll have a full trip over the weekend. So I guesstimate 0.5g, scarf them down, and looked for a good game to play.
One of my favorite types of games are those artsy-indie-“award-winning”-esque games. A lot of them can be pretentious, but there really are a few masterpieces. A few of my favorites are: The Garden Between, Little Nightmares, and Figment.
But today I decided to go for an old favorite – The Talos Principle. It’s kinda weird that I even call it an “old favorite.” The first and last time I played it was when I was 19, and I only finished about half of the game. But it had such an impact on me, I knew I would always come back to it.
It was weird, but I kinda felt like I was never ready, or maybe just not in the right state to get the experience I wanted from it. I didn’t even know what experience I wanted, but I knew that tonight felt right. So I booted up my Switch, clicked on the simple black icon, and – completely unaware – began a life-changing journey.
The screen goes black. Church bells start slowly ringing – a metronome for a chorus, coming in as shots of ancient art and scenic vistas flash across the screen.
I press ‘Start’, then ‘Play’, and I see the words:
But to my surprise, there were new words under it:
ROAD TO GEHENNA
I guess they released an expansion. I still considered playing the original, but that feeling, that way my body talks to me. It was back. It kept pulling me towards it. I decided what the heck? I never finished the first half, but I’ve always liked doing things out of order.
However, I knew that I would never get to play this game for the first time again, so I wanted to get the most of it. I was still planning to save most of them for the weekend, but I decided to take about 0.75-1g more.
I knew that it was a philosophical game, so I figured a small amount of shrooms would bring it to the next level, while still letting me focus enough to actually play. But as I played, I quickly realized that I really needed to be on even a higher level.
I had not planned on taking a full trip that night. I didn’t even plan on having shrooms at all. But I had just set things in motion that I could not go back from. Over the next hour as I played, I ended up eating 3g of my 3.5g. My big trip wasn’t this weekend; it was now.
I believe the main difference between shrooms and LSD is that shrooms feel like a more spiritual experience, where as LSD feels like a more cerebral experience. And so I couldn’t have chosen a better psychedelic.
The Talos Principle has many religious overtones. I believe religion is just another form of philosophy, and this game – no, this philosophy lesson – uses this lens of religion to express its philosophy. I’m not saying it makes you believe in God, but it at least makes the idea of God and religious descriptions of it more understandable, if not believable.
As I played, and as the shrooms started peaking, I felt like I was ascending; as if my spirit had become unchained. It was no longer a game, or even a philosophy lesson. It was a terminal to a higher plane.
But as my peak came round full, I felt myself losing control. I was at risk of losing grasp of my surroundings. I was about to become a passenger of the trip, not the captain. However, I had Adderall, so I decided to take one, hoping that maybe I’d be able to hold on a bit longer.
Then it finally all came together. Somehow I was grounded, present in the physical world, but my spirit was experiencing the elation of ascending to a higher plane. It was so surreal. It felt like my spirit was interacting with higher beings, but I was also aware of my physically reality.
Not only that, my physically grounded mind was somehow simultaneously interacting with the spiritually elevated mind. I wasn’t jumping back and forth; I was experiencing both realities simultaneously.
I was gaining a new understanding from beyond me, while somehow remaining conscious enough to organize it in my brain in a logical way. Instead of dumping inspiration from a higher plane, and then hoping I remember how to put it back together, it was like I was carefully handing myself this new understanding.
I think what I experienced goes by many names. This feeling was the closest thing to Nirvana/heaven/paradise or even experiencing a higher dimension. Maybe all of those words really are just describing the experience of being a fourth dimensional being. But before I get too off topic on philosophy that needs a lot more time, I’ll get back to my current experience.
It felt like I had absolute control of my experience and being. It finally clicked, and all of my choices up to that point lined up. All the pain and confusion was worth it, because I knew exactly where my place was in all realities of my being. Which direction I wanted to head towards. Why I not only willingly, but deliberately chose every action in my life. It’s hard to explain, other than
It just all finally made sense.
I have a relatively good memory of the experience, but I’m not going to lie, there’s definitely some blank spots. It’s more like I remember the feelings I experienced between key events.
I think the best chance you’ll have to understanding the peak experience is to read the notes I took during it. I don’t think they’ll make sense to a lot of people who read them. The best description of it is that all aspects of my being not only coexisted, but also had a complete understanding of each other.
As I started coming down from the peak, my thoughts were becoming more reflective, and my notes were becoming more specific. Instead of experiencing a higher plane, I was trying to recall and understand it. Eventually I began to have more introspective thoughts, as I started to apply what I learned from this life-changing experience.
These are my notes from that experience:
Experience: Road To GEHENNA
A few days later, I decided to take the last of the shrooms I had. It was a much more controlled experience, but I’m not gonna lie, it was much more intense than I expected. I think my body/mind was still recovering from the previous trip.
I decided to play the original Talos Principle. It was a much more subdued experience, but it inspired the introspective thinking that eventually put the pieces of my life together. I finally had a direction to go and a way to get there.
These are my notes from that experience:
Magic Mushrooms – An Introspective Trip
And with that, I end the story of the start of the rest of my life.