Horses grazed in the paddock behind the farmhouse. Yellow mushrooms bulged along the riverbank. We couldn’t have done this intimate psilocybin ceremony in the city; this was about a safe space, somewhere we could be with the earth. We also needed the giant teepee constructed in the field behind the caravan.
After an hour or so of getting to know each other, we drank the medicine in a cacao smoothie, one by one, sitting in a circle in the teepee. A dreamcatcher twirled behind Jesse’s head while we settled ourselves onto cushions and prepared to chant. It was noon on a cold, rainy Saturday. I was nervous.
Casting my eyes up the chimney pipe to the criss-crossed teepee roof, I wondered if the magic would even work on me, but after just 15 minutes I felt the familiar buzz around my forehead. I imagine it’s my third-eye blinking open from a deep sleep when this happens. Sometimes I picture that diagram of a brain on magic mushrooms and feel the dead parts sparking back to life, wiring up to widen my view, perhaps?
Reality was shifting now. Jesse banged a drum in the silence and every swell of sound became colours… patterns spiralling into vivid visions. Maybe it was the influence of the teepee, but through the blackness came tribal imagery; toothy jaguars and wrinkled women in feathers. I curled up into my blanket by the fire as the cosmos seemed to weave into the canvas. Jesse’s voice was somewhere else now, like a rope back to earth as I flew through neon forests. Everything was brighter, bolder. Amazing.
I wish you could all see this, I almost shouted to the group as a psychedelic frog spiralled in from the mouth of a clown behind my eyelids. Such a fabulous frog!
When the music stopped, so did the imagery. Fear rushed in fast on the silence. Fear of being too much, or not enough. Fear of missing someone, of not fitting in, not being able to sit with myself and feel OK. My thoughts were too big, too scary now. I was dangling in the abyss, like George Clooney in that movie Gravity, when he’s floating through space all alone in his little chair. No! Take me back to my fairytale! Show me that frog again.
Then Chi’s words came back to me; it isn’t really us taking this medicine, it’s more the medicine taking us. We have to let it show us what we need to be shown.
I thought a lot about relationships, there in the silence. A lot. And lots more after that. My travel pillow was getting wet on this journey. Finish your demons, the truffles instructed, before they finish you. Face them in the shadowy places they take you! You can do it.
I did it and it was horrible.
Someone started singing in the circle. I was transported again, back to some time in the sixties. Flowing hair and honest melodies. How beautiful, how lovely this is, I was thinking now. This is more like it. All you need is love. Wow, the hippies were right.
I couldn’t stop laughing. I actually felt bad about it for a second. All I wanted to do was dance because the world was so pointlessly beautiful. I’d been forgiven for something, I was sure, but who by? It felt like someone else was in there with me, wherever I’d just been. Was it really just me?
Across from me in the circle someone else was crying. I felt like I should help but the truffles said: “Stop. This is your journey, that over there is hers”.
Jesse was still guiding the mood with chants, holding the space… or was it entire galaxies? We could have been in the vortex for centuries, I had no clue. I’d soared with eagles on Jupiter, locked eyes with a giant frog, spent a week in a cage of hideous self-loathing, and emerged loving life, thanks to a good few months in the 1960s. I couldn’t wait to see what everyone else had done.
In real time we coughed, spluttered, sniffled, sang, hugged and… dare I say it, bonded… for roughly five hours. There were probably quite a few alarmed dog-walkers along the way, staring in confusion at our teepee.
Jesse, this group of strangers and the teepee was some kind of safehouse for my psyche by this point, but tripping makes you hungry and hot plates of masaman curry were promised in the farmhouse. We chatted for a couple of hours. Deep healing, past life traumas and becoming the embodiment of love itself were popular topics. We could have talked all night about what the medicine showed us, I’m sure, but I found myself really needing my own bed.
Heading back home on the tram, I was full, tired and spacey. All I could think as I followed Amsterdam’s crowds through the windows was: “If only they could see what we’ve seen. Even a little glimpse… wouldn’t that just change everything?” But… what exactly did I see, again?
At the time it feels like you’re unlocking the secrets of the universe, but afterwards, you can’t remember how you found the keys. It’s more a feeling that you come away with; a sense of knowing, a bit like you’ve been rebooted somehow. I can see how psilocybin is helping people fight depression and PTSD. It’s all the re-wiring it does to your brain.
I’ve only glimpsed a fraction of the way this medicine can heal us, so far. As for what it might do for you? Who knows where you’ll go once you’ve taken the truffles, and then let the truffles take you? But the setting is the most important thing, of that I’m completely sure. Without the setting, I could have spent way longer with George Clooney out there, drifting towards a black hole.
If you’re looking for particularly deep healing, you really need some guidance from someone who’s been to the beyond. You need someone who knows how to help bring you back if you get lost. Take the teepee ceremony yourself, that is my advice. It’s all the colours of incredible, I still wish I could show you that frog. But do some research first. If you’re ready, so is Jesse, and so is the magic medicine.
Written by: Becky Wicks (beckywicks.com)