Terence McKenna said in Food of the Gods that the study of ethnobotany was to him, the quest for the original Tree of Knowledge. The magical plant that bequeathed unto man the Promethean gift of self awareness. This is an idea that has held a fascination to me my whole life.
I remember the first time I ever came across LSD in a book, S.E. Hinton's That Was Then, This Is Now. The character who takes it, a 14 year old hippie kid named M&M, has this terrible hallucination where he envisions himself inside his own stomach, being devoured by carnivorous colors. Sounds awful, right? It was obviously meant as a warning. A description of something no sane kid, of course, would ever want to put himself through. But I just remember being very curious. I was reminded of the NeverEnding Story, when Atreyu had to face the mirror test. I felt that if you could go through an experience like that and NOT be driven insane, that ultimately you would be better for it.
At the age of 12, I was starting to become a real person, and I felt inside me a need for a ritual that would allow me to grasp my adulthood. Native American cultures have used combinations of plant based concoctions and fasting to send their young warriors on Vision Quests of manhood for thousands of years. They provided personal and powerful rites of passage for the young, a solitary talk with God that gave them something I believe we are lacking in American culture today- a sense of communion with the natural world and an understanding of one's place in it. And the question remains. What is today's young warrior to do, when he feels the need for vision quest stirring within him? In today's fear driven and highly propagandized world, there is currently no safe outlet for him to pursue vis-a-vis hallucinogenic ritual. My contention is that there should be.
I took a very reckless approach with using entheogens in my youth, primarily because there was no trusted and informed source of guidance available to me. Which is not to say that many of the most beautiful and life changing experiences of my life were not induced by these compounds. Undoubtedly they have been. But I was fortunate to be strong enough. Some of my experiences were, in fact, as terrifying or worse then anything fictional written by S.E. Hinton, or anyone else for that matter. It is my intention, on this site, to make them available to others. My hope is that they will prove valuable as a source of vicarious knowledge.
Since my first hallucinogenic experience, with Datura stramonium at the age of 14, I have had literally thousands of trips. I have taken them with the help of every ally I could find. By now this includes absolutely every commonly used entheogen, as well as some that are quite strange and obscure. I have decided to start with the most common of all, Cannabis sativa(and indica). It will be the subject of my next post. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. Come back anytime.