People often ask me whether I ever regret taking psychedelics. The answer to that question is: “Generally not.” Unfortunately, I must admit that there is one exception. I have had one deeply awful psychedelic experience that I won’t forget. One of the big mistakes I have made over the years is that at some point, I started recklessly combining substances. This can work quite well, for example, mixing MAO-A inhibitors like Harmine with DMT can be a pleasurable experience that has a lot to teach you. Unfortunately, there are also unpleasant combinations.
To start with, when I decided to trip I took some 5-hydroxytryptamine. This is a mild psychedelic, in high doses its visual effects become apparent. I mixed this with some opioids. I started out taking some dynorphin, later on I added some cortisol. Alright, I took a lot of cortisol. I noticed that I couldn’t fall asleep, I needed some melatonin to finally fall asleep.
The next thing I remember is that I woke up in bed. It was 7:30 AM. There was an entire gap in my memory. What had happened between 1:30 AM and this moment? I couldn’t recall, but I noticed the drugs still hadn’t worn off. I had a huge headache, my eyes were sensitive to the light. It felt like I had woken up in a different world. My skin was covered in sweat and grease, so I hurried to the bathroom to wash it off.
I looked at the wall of the bathroom and saw a lot of strange mystical objects that I didn’t understand. Some seemed to be electrical devices, others were mysterious creams. I didn’t recognize any of these or understood their purpose. They seemed to belong to some sort of alien intelligence. I was afraid of damaging any of them, so I hurried out of the bathroom.
As I walked outside I saw some sort of bizarre highly advanced vehicle, advancing at an incredible speed. I felt instantly drawn towards it, as if this had been the goal of my journey all along. I ran after it, chased it down the street, until a mysterious door opened. I found myself in this highly advanced vehicle and was instructed to sit down.
It was filled with other entities. The noise was incredible. Entities were talking loudly with each other. They had futuristic devices that produced all sorts of bizarre noises, as if I were listening to some sort of music from the future that simply sounds like a rearrangement of the noises produced by computer software. The entities were not very welcoming. In fact, they seemed mostly indifferent to me, even annoyed, as if I was an unwelcome guest. If I gazed at one for too long, it would get annoyed, but they were everywhere, so I always found myself gazing at one of them.
We then entered a kind of interdimensional transport network. Here the noise became truly deafening. There were sounds of horns, bright flashing messages on screens. The machine I was traveling in would stop at random intervals, only for more entities to enter. Some of these entities were beautiful feminine angelic beings radiating light and wonderful scents, others were more demonic and dangerous looking.
Naturally I decided to avoid the dangerous looking entities who wanted nothing to do with me, but the angelic entities were not too keen on my presence either. Their beauty was mesmerizing however and as I found myself in their midst, I looked down and found myself in a state of excitement. I thought these healing beings had rejuvenated me through their presence, but when I looked back up, I noticed an expression of shock on their faces, as if I had violated one of the many unspoken rules of their universe.
I was desperate to get out of there and pressed every button I could find, in an attempt to exit this interdimensional vehicle. Fortunately, the vehicle came to a stop. I had arrived at a giant building covered with reflecting mirrors that I can only describe as “the ethereal hyperspace factory”. I felt intimidated at first, but I walked in.
The entities I encountered there were more welcoming and positive than the ones I had met earlier. Some sought to communicate with me. It seems as if they were expecting me. One of them, a creature seated on some sort of throne casually glanced over at me and remarked that I should have arrived earlier.
A few entities appeared to be concerned about me, asking me whether everything is alright with me. I asked some of them what they think, if they think they can heal me, but they generally seemed perplexed by this question, as if that is not what they are here for in this world.
In general, the entities didn’t really do anything interesting here in this universe, but they seemed more accepting of my presence than the ones I met earlier. Occasionally they would walk around carrying piles of information. A few of them gathered around from time to time, consuming a black beverage in a circle around some sort of complex device covered with buttons.
Once in a while, a few of these entities would leave the building. I followed them, eager to find out what they were upto. As I stepped outside, I noticed them digging into their pockets and crafting some sort of light that they inhaled through their mouths. It was not like a bong, more like some sort of tiny white torch. They looked at me, kind of surprised by my presence.
One of them began to utter sounds, that I recognized as words. “So, what have you been upto? Are you the new guy they brought in to help with the bookkeeping? Management really dropped the ball on that one I’ll tell you, the yearly figures should have been released weeks ago!” Is how I interpreted his noise.
I had no idea what any of these words mean, but I decided to act like I belonged here. “Yes, I agree, management is a dark and grim entity. I come here in peace, eager to learn.” It was silent for a bit. I thought I blew it. But then they smiled and I heard some sort of laughter. “Well that’s what you get when you make the 23 year old son of one of your golf buddies head of accounting I guess. Oh yeah, you don’t have that one from me.” The entities began walking back into the factory.
I felt like I was exposed to some sort of arcane knowledge. I tried to remember it, I wanted desperately to bring this arcane knowledge back with me to my own world. I repeated it in my head, but the memories became blurred and distorted. “Head of accounting, 27 year old golf buddy, heads of accounting, 17 year old golf buddy.” I repeated the words back and forth in my head, not sure if I was saying them out loud or not.
I wandered around, looking at all the entities at work in this factory, probably in the process of producing what we experience as reality. I felt an irresistible urge to become a cocreator. I just knew that if I pressed one of these buttons, if I changed something on these devices, upon my return to my own universe, I would notice something had changed. But how do I make the world a better place?
Then I had it. I looked around, trying to find the most demonic and cruel entity in the building. Which of these beings delivers suffering and evil into our world? Where is Yaldabaoth, evil lion-faced demiurg, murderer of women in childbirth, fiend of everything good and holy? I looked around, then I saw it.
There it was. It was huge, spectacles covered its eyes. It had fiery short red hair on its head, like the flames of hell. On its belly stood words that inverted reality, like a demon’s cynical mockery of everything we hold sacred: “Beauty queen.” When I approached it, it smelled of sulphur. I was terrified, but I knew what I had to do.
I kept track of it, I knew it would leave at some point. When I noticed it stroll through the hallways, I jumped behind its demonic machinery and I began to manipulate the buttons. I encountered a big cross and I pushed it. Then I fled, I hid behind a plant in the corner of the room. I was terried, as I noticed this entity was coming back.
As it sat down, I noticed a terrifying shriek, followed by more noises, as more words entered my mind. It felt like it was trying to communicate with something in the room. “Alright, what is going on here? Has someone messed with this? You know this sort of shit is not funny right? I worked all morning on this. I really can’t handle this right now. Yeah, my mouse was moved, it’s one of you jerks. I’m filing a report with HR, prepare to get your racist ass kicked to the curb. I’m really tired of this toxic bro-culture of systematic harassment of plus-sized women of colour. There, I said it. Yeah, now I’m a party-pooper. You know what? I don’t give a shit anymo-”
The noise continued, it began to grow more demonic with every word that entered my thoughts. I felt as if I had disturbed the peace, as if I had brought a great unbalance in the world around me. Was the world ending? Had I destroyed my brain? Would I never feel normal again? Why are all these frightening thoughts entering my mind? I became consumed by fear.
I looked at my watch. It was 11:30 AM. It felt like eternity had passed, but I had only been awake for four hours. The drugs were still not wearing off. What is this realm? How do I escape from here? I needed help. I had to find these benign entities I met earlier. They taught me some arcane knowledge, through which we would hopefully recognize each other. What was it? I thought I had forgotten, but then it entered my mind again. “23 year old fuckbuddy hired by management” This was the spell, I was convinced of it.
Should I shout it? It was too powerful for that. I had to find the entities that gave me this arcane knowledge. I returned to the netherworld, I visualized them in front of me. And then they were there. I almost had to cry. I found them where I met them earlier, carrying their tiny white flaming torches.
I walked up to them. “Oh hi” Were the noises I heard. I knew that now I had to prove myself worthy of their help. “The secret is: 23 year old fuckbuddy hired by management!” It was silent again. Did I blew it? I was frightened, any moment now I could imagine them transforming into monstrous demons. But no such thing happened. I began to hear roaring laughter. Intense laughter filled my ears, as their faces turned red.
“Oh come on! Is it that obvious to you? Oh come on, I can’t be the last one to figure it out. I seriously thought my boss was straight for two years. These guys here keep giving me shit for taking so long before figuring out the guy’s a fru- err a man who’s into other men. Yeah it’s fine with me, I mean, whatever he wants to do in the privacy of his bedroom is his God-given constitutional-”
Another entity then interrupted: “Are you getting a hang of how things work around here? I know we’re not the most politically correct types around here, but that’s the world outside of college for ya. Hey if you need a helping hand just let me know, ’cause you’re something else man” A big bald entity uttered with a big grin on his face. I began to feel at ease. These truly are benign entities, not like those deceptive angelic beings in the vehicle.
“Well actually, I need to know how long this lasts.” I say. “Oh, you’re halfway through, don’t worry.” He responds. “Halfway through what? The first wave?” I ask. “The day of course.” He answers. “So this lasts for one day then?” “Well, if you manage to keep your mouth shut around HR and management I think you’ll fit in just fine here and you can show up again tomorrow.”
“But when is it truly over?” I implore. “Well, the company hasn’t really made a profit for shareholders since the Bush administration if that’s what you mean, so you might have to apply elsewhere at some point. I don’t really keep track of the numbers though, I’m sure I’ll make it to retirement.” I hear from another entity.
“That’s not what I mean, I mean, when does it wear off? When do I stop feeling this way?” I ask. Now the entities are silent. “Talk about tough questions on a monday morning. How long have you been here?” A wise-looking entity in the back asks. “It feels like forever, like I’m stuck here and I can’t get out.” I answer.
“Well the truth is boy, we’re all stuck. This is what it looks like everyday, until you die. You wake up in pain. You blame yourself for staying up too long, but then you do it again the next day. You look in the mirror, you see another wrinkle. If you’re smart you won’t look at your hairline. You look at your wife and you realize she’s not quite what you fell in love with anymore. You look at her phone and you realize she’s watching what her old high school sweetheart is upto now.
It goes on like this, day after day after day. Your teeth turn brown from the coffee you drink, your back begins to hurt, they stop making new episodes of your favorite TV show, so you start watching the reruns. And when you die? There’s nothing. An endless eternal void, but you won’t be there to notice it, because there won’t be anything left that can notice it. Just pain and disappointment, followed by endless nothingness. That’s what lies ahead for us.”
“No, that can’t be true, you’re lying! You are all evil demons! This is not real, get me out of this place! I am not dead, I can feel my heart beating, I am not in hell!” I shout. As I shout at them, their faces begin to transform and the world around me begins to stretch out into a familiar infinite spiral. The entities begin to look like my jester friends and they are laughing at me. The ethereal hyperspace factory is starting to look like the carnival where I spend my days. “You’re almost coming out of it!” One of the other jesters says to me. I’m slowly regaining my sanity and feeling intensely thankful. It’s good to be a jester in Salvia space. I’m never taking drugs again.