Sunday, October 28, 2012
Are you experienced?
I woke this morning thinking about LSD. Yeah, weird. My first thoughts revolved around memories of the ways the hallucinogen of hallucinogens was packaged. There were small, tube shaped pills of many colors called "barrels." Purple barrel, orange barrel, etc. I also remember blotter acid, a drop of the chemical on a tiny piece of paper. Many forms of blotter had graphics on the paper, such as the pyramid with the eyeball in it that appears on the back of U.S. $1 bills. Microdot was another form that came in different colors, as did windowpane acid which looked like tiny, square shaped hard candies.
The classic form was LSD dropped into a cube of sugar. I never did that kind, but I tried all of the above, back in the day. When hallucinogens came into popular culture, their effect was powerful, even for the people who did not get high. It was part of awakening from the post WWII state of shock. Our society needed a big ole slap across the face. The drugs, the music, the social movements, were all part of the awakening.
There's no way I would ever say that an acid trip was fun. It was inevitably harrowing every time. Enlightening, yet challenging on so many levels. The world of concrete reality came apart while tripping. It is a very powerful shamanic drug. Every trip can be a shamanic initiation, at least it was for me, every time.
People ask how it is I see the reflected world that I often photograph, or why I take time to gaze at the sky (or - kiss the sky, as Jimi said). People talk about my "great eye." Well. I didn't learn how to see that way from any of my shamanic teachers, nor is it something I've always done. I learned to see in this way while tripping. My training in the shamanic and wiccan arts helped me refine that vision, helped me learn how to integrate what I had learned from tripping, but it was the drug that opened my perception.
By the way, I'm not the first shaman to be shaken out of my certainties via a hallucinogenic drug.
I was thinking about LSD today because there was always a point, after swallowing the windowpane, microdot, blotter or barrel, while waiting for the drug to take affect, that I would become briefly anxious. An acid trip is a ten hour commitment to being absolutely stripped of all assumptions, of everything one "knows" for sure. It is a very vulnerable state which is why the people who brought LSD into my culture, the researchers I mean, watched their subjects very carefully throughout the experience. Here's a link to a history of LSD, from wikipedia.
It took awhile, after swallowing the drug, for it to take effect. Sometimes, during the brief period of anxiety about what I had committed to doing, I wondered if maybe it wasn't going to happen, if what I had swallowed was just a tiny piece of paper with nothing in it. Sometimes I hoped it wouldn't work. Being sure of things, having the grid of assumptions underlying everything, feels safe, comfortable.
Once into the trip, though, I personally never had a bad experience. I learned a lot during those trips but, would I ever take it again? Nope. There is no need. I was fully psychedelicized by age 23. After that time, I never took it again.
Why am I thinking about it this morning? It's because Sandy, the Frankenstorm, is moving so very slowly. It's overcast this morning, with a bare hint of a breeze. It doesn't feel like anything is going to happen, it's like that waiting period for the drug to kick in. Maybe it won't happen. Maybe the storm is going to dissipate, turn out to sea, maybe somebody at the weather channel dropped some acid and made the whole thing up.
Probably not, hey?