Bungee Jumping into the World of Entheogens
Growing up I didn’t know or care to know much about entheogens, or as I knew them then psychedelics. Most of what I thought I knew was wrong, which was that they were dangerous and had no useful purpose. This was true until the day I came across a documentary on Netflix about DMT. It intrigued me, and at a time in my life that I was doing some deep soul searching with in. Slowly over the next couple years I began to learn more about these substances until one day I found myself sitting with a shaman in Mexico, about to inhale the most powerful entheogen known.
I didn’t know what to expect, and no one can their first time. It can’t be described using words. The experience was truly ineffable, and bigger than anything I could have imagined, or so I thought. The glass pipe I held was filled with 100mg of Bufo Alvarius dried toad venom. It contains anywhere from 15-25% of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT), along with an array of other naturally occurring molecules. Although its a methoxylated derivative of the more commonly known and powerful psychoactive DMT, its effects and potency are vastly different. The two should not be confused. Both are endogenous to the human body, but that is about where the similarities end. My shaman was Dr. Gerardo Ruben Sandoval Isaac, a Mexican M.D. commonly called Dr. Jerry by those who know him. His experience with what he refers to the “Toad Medicine”, both personally and also sitting for others, is extensive and probably not out done by more than a couple of people in the world, if any.
It was early afternoon, he sat in front of me patiently waiting for the signal that I was ready. I had done my homework up until this point. The set and setting were right. I was comfortable with Dr. Jerry’s experience and ritual of delivery. Ready now meant coming to the realization that I wasn’t turning back, and there was nothing left to contemplate.
I nodded and said “OK”. Dr. Jerry asked me if I was ready, and I told him I would never be more ready than this. He lit the torch lighter and began heating up the bottom of the pipe. Once there was sufficient heat, and the venom began to vaporize I would start to inhaling the smoke slowly, then speeding up on his commands. The idea was to take the entire hit in one inhalation, and hold it in for 10 secs. My body started dissolving after three, and by the count of eight I was no longer in this world. As my body dissolved I started moving toward a rotating mandala like wall that took up my entire field of vision. Red at the centre transitioning in colours towards the outside in the following sequence. Orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet (in the order I would later find mirrors the chakra colours and order, I had previously not known this), and the outside was silver. I drifted easily through the wall. After that the experience is difficult to explain. Actually its impossible. Anytime I try it feels as if I can only vastly understate it. I transcended concepts like space, time, and self in practically an instant. I do remember a few “visions”, but for the most part it wasn’t an overly visual experience. It was more about feeling and a tactile experience, things that already don’t translate well into words.
I recall crossing paths with what I could only describe as a Mayan in what I would consider ritualistic paint and dress. I was him and/or he was me, in the past under the night sky that was lit by the moon and the stars. A pyramid in the back ground, and surrounded by jungle. We were in the midst of a ceremony, the one that would send us on our journeys. With unimaginable force I was propelled, the feeling of accelerating and elevating, not just through physical space but through layers of reality.
Passing through the first, what I can only describe as membrane or level, was the most scary part. This is where my awareness of space, time, my self, and everything else was stretched, expanded and rediscovered in a completely new way. Nothing at this point was at first recognizable to me. As my consciousness exponentially expanded, I out grew all things I used to identify with. It was more intense than one can imagine, but eventually the fear was completely left behind as well. I was still “ascending” at what felt like light speed, all that was left of me was my soul, energy, pure consciousness. Then I hit another membrane, this one I burst through with ease.
Here I stopped and had the feeling of being at a destination. It was completely black except for a gold and silvery mist. I was floating there in this infinite void when I could see it, a perfectly round and black sphere, which was only visible from its outline in mist. I looked at it and then a sound like vibration got louder and louder in such a way that it disintegrated and assimilated what was left of “me”. Enlightenment, infinity, the divine light. I was all of it and it was me. Everywhere and everything for infinity. All I could manage to bring back from that moment was the thinest silver of the experience. And that silver was enough to change me down in the deepest part of my core. The next part I recall is starting to come back to the world. Slowly the pieces of my self came back together. Time began to exist for me again, but at first it seemed slow and clumsy, clunking like giant iron cogs in an old machine. I started giggling, I had been told a funny and amazing secret by the universe. I game of hide and seek. But as the parts of me that I knew began to come back, I completely forgot what I was laughing about.
I was now completely back, starring at the wall. I sat up and looked over at Dr. Jerry on the far side of the room. He brought his head up and after looking in my eyes gave me a nod, he knew exactly what I was feeling. I asked him how long, and he said it had been just over 17 minutes. I didn’t even know if that seemed too long or too short. It wasn’t relevant. He asked me how I felt. I felt amazing, completely. I stood up and remarked I felt like I was as light as air. It felt as if I would float away if I jumped. I was completely free of worry, anxiety or any kind of fear or negative feelings. I felt like a caged animal that had just been let into the wild to run free. I felt my soul had been cleansed, refreshed and lightened of burden. I was left feeling I had witnessed something larger than comprehendible, but I still wasn’t sure exactly what it was.
I knew it was common for people to move around in different ways during their trip, one reason it is so important to have an aware sitter. I asked, and Dr. Jerry told me I had got up and started screaming at the top of my lungs for about 5 minutes. It wasn’t a scream of fear, but of pure intensity. I did not recall, but I could understand why I would have. After that I was told I laid down and was completely quiet and calm for the rest of my journey.
After talking with the Dr., I went down to the shore and jumped into the beautiful blue lake that shimmered in the sun next to our spot. I swam, and the water felt like the most amazing thing in the world. I didn’t know at the time what the significance of the my experience would be, only that it was significant. Weeks following I replayed the experience again and again, each time trying to recall a little more. It took a lot of effort and energy to go through it.
At first I wanted to share the experience with everyone I knew, but soon found this wasn’t necessarily helpful to them or myself. Even if I could accurately articulate it all, people still must be beginning to look for this type of journey in order to be able to hear what your are saying. I believe the most value I will achieve out of this experience is how I use it to improve myself. It jumped started a part of me that perhaps laid inactive for long. Instead of just believing what I believed, I now know. There is more to the universe and to ourselves than what we see. Almost two years later I am still integrating the experience and marvelling at how much my life has changed since.