According to the gods of Wikipedia, the term "psychedelia" is derived from the Ancient Greek words psyche
(which means "soul" or spirit") and dēloun (which means "to make visible, to reveal").
So today's post is all about a recent experience I had, while I was on the effect of a psychedelic substance, and in what ways my soul, or spirit, was revealed to me...
*Full disclosure: I am not advocating for a use of drugs or substances, be it legal or illegal. What I describe here is my own personal experience and take-away from it, and nothing more! Be wise, safe and responsible, kids. :)
So, psychedelics. Here we go:
Similarly to dreaming - my experience felt like it had lead me down the rabbit hole of my subconscious, but it differed from a dream by being absolutely a LIFE-ALTERING EXPERIENCE. A mystical one, which included hours of a complete dismembering of the ego and any awareness of the boundaries of my body. Like in a dream - it was all in my 'mind', of course. But unlike in a dream - I was wide awake to experience it as it was happening. And I remember it now well enough to share it.
However...no words can be quite accurate or expansive enough to describe such a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So instead of trying... I made a 'Playlist For My Psychedelic Trip.'
Yep! 52 minutes and twelve seconds of delving into my take-away from the experience. If you give it a listen, you may have sensations of your own, and you may connect to my experience by feeling, more than just reading. Feel free to have a listen right now, right here: PSYCHE TRIP.
But since I am a lover of words and couldn't't resist the temptation to elaborate.... here is the breakdown of songs and my attempt at explaining my choices. (*Suggestion: you may want to listen to the music FIRST, and only afterwords read the breakdown below!)
So here is my 'Psyche Trip' Playlist:
1. Break On Through (To The Other Side) / The Doors
If this song is a lot for an opening song, it's because my experience was deep and FAST. I broke through to 'the other side', very quickly. The scenery around me started to 'breathe', and everything I saw was a lot more defined. So much so, that the scenery seemed like a cartoon at times. The range of colors were vivid and pronounced, and included colors that don't actually exist. Poetically speaking - I saw colors that I can only imagine. I have a feeling Jim Morrison had seen those colors once or twice as well. (or a hundred...)
2. One Day I'll Fly Away / Randy Crawford
As I was starting to lose the sense of awareness of my body, I found a safe place to lay down in and look up. That was the surreal moment of fully entering the dream, and to me, it felt at first like flying. The images and colors I saw when I looked up - took over so much, that I felt as if I was floating, like in an out-of-body experience. I know this sounds bizarre and hard to comprehend, especially if you haven't experienced something like this before. But just think of 'dreaming while you are awake.' It doesn't quite explain it, but it's a start...
3. Tomorrow Never Knows (Remastered 2009) / The Beatles
When the self, the ego, and the body fade away, it can be a frightening experience. And it was for me. I have experienced altered states before - with substances and without, but this was a new level of high that I've never been in before. And with anything new - fear comes along for the ride, sometimes as protection, and sometimes as distraction. These lyrics by the brilliant The Beatles describe well the sense of 'push and pull' that was going on for me at some uncomfortable times during the experience. My inner monologue was at times coming up with vengeance, questioning 'is this a bad trip? Is this even a trip? Is this an amazing trip? Where Am? Who am I? WHAT am I? Until it would go numb again, and I could relax into the trip, and no longer BE at all....
4. Bohemian Rhapsody (2011 Mix) / Queen
This song is itself a trip, and needs no introduction or any explanation. AmIright?
5. Rebirth / Spirit Minds
In the moments of surrender to the experience - I WAS the colors I was seeing, I WAS the cosmos, or pure consciousness. (If that term resonates with you.) I was feeling the 'oneness' so many people describe when experiencing the loss of the ego. The feeling can seem like dying: The ego, and the side of the brain that recognizes separation - diminish, so it can feel like what our mind will interpret as DEATH. And it did to me, at times. It also felt like I was in the womb, cradled by the colors I was in, floating in light, or being 'reborn.' (Seriously I KNOW this description is 'out there' but this experience is impossible to describe efficiently. Our minds are just too small now to grasp such an expansion! UGH!)
6. Here Before / Vashti Bunyan
When I first heard this song - I had the deja vu sensation that I have heard it before.
Ironic since that is literarily what the song is about. In my psychedelic experience, the concept of time joined the ego and lost its meaning altogether. And what I was left with were memory cells that couldn't really grasp what was real and what was not, like in a vivid dream. The expansive feeling of 'one-ness' was a feeling that wasn't new. It was familiar. Is that what my mind was like when I was a child? A baby? A newborn? In the womb about to come out into the world and wear the costume of the SELF? I wonder.
7. Mother's Nature's Son / Ramsey Lewis
I went into the experience wanting and expecting to be 'one with nature'.
And sure, the trees showed up in all their glory and the sky with its beauty, and even the dirt was magnificent. But I also requested mystery and unexpected discoveries from the experience - and that I received: Nature had a deeper meaning than only its physical manifestation. The concept of nature appeared to me in a more abstract form. Like the cycles we live in, and human nature, or the nature of being-ness. But instead of getting into a philosophical sphere to try to explain this, I'll just let this cover version of the famous Beatles song do all the explaining with its trippy sounds and melody.
8. Lullaby / Nick Mulvey
'It was right here all along, what you're missing isn't gone.' For several days after my trip, I was able to see specks of rainbows behind the clouds, the trees had a taint of definition around them and I was experiencing connection to all beings. While I am back to my 'senses' now, knowing that the expansion is there still, even when I don't see it or feel it, makes me truly happy and calm. That expansion is always there, even while we are clouded with our small mind, our ego, our judgments, our fears, or our ambitions. Knowing that alone, gave profound meaning to the experience I had.
9. One / U2
And that expansion I'm talking about... is being in ONE-NESS. Or in ONE LOVE, as U2 puts it. What actually happens in your brain in a psychedelic experience (and yes, other experiences can do that as well) is that the brain's left side and right side connect to each other in different ways than normal. Is that why we feel ONE? And connected to all beings? And even connected to the AIR in between all beings!? Mind..... Blown.
10. Shanti (Peace Out) / MC Yogi
This piece of music is prior to words, just like we are. So i'll just leave it at that... enjoy the listening.
11. Exit Music (For A Film) / Radiohead
'Breathe.. keep breathing....' Thom Yorke sings here. And that's what I was telling myself throughout the experience. I don't know whether I said it out loud, or if I followed my advice and WAS breathing. I obviously DID breathe and I'm alive to tell it - but the sensation of breathing wasn't felt by me at all, as I was simply....outside of my body....I EXITED, and I was somewhere in the air... escaping the bounds of my body and my small mind.
12. This Is To Mother You / Sinead O'Connor
At the peak of my experience, it became harder for my identity to hold on to me. Meaning - I didn't know who I was, what my past was, where I was from, what I do, etc. Pretty much all the concepts that tied into the understanding of myself - were stripped away. And the only concept I had - was MY MOTHER. She didn't appear in visual form. When I was deeply tripping - I didn't even know WHO my mother was. But I knew of the notion of a MOTHER. And it gave me grounding. Almost as if I was in the womb and the only connection to the self I was about to be - was my mother. Holding on to the concept of 'mother' gave me the sense of healing. And that no matter how frightening this experience was at times - it was unraveling and purifying me in ways that are needed. For clarity and for growth. And as I was coming out from the peak of the trip, I was filled with love for my mother, and deep appreciation.
13. Walkabout / Augustines
This song is about coming home, to yourself. Surrendering into your own truth and uncover the masks life forces you to wear. The conditioning our society imprints feels sometimes too heavy to wear.
Take it off, and remember: IT'S ALL INVENTED.
There are rainbows behind the clouds, whether you see them, or not.
Hope you enjoyed the music and a peek into my trip down psyche's lane...
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman