Magic mushrooms have been used by indigenous peoples around the world for healing, prayer, and divination for at least 10,000 years.
In the 1960s, psilocybin mushrooms were popularized as a recreational drug after R. Gordon Wasson, a vice president of JP Morgan, traveled to Mexico with a photographer to the mud hut of the Mazatec curandera (medicine woman) María Sabina. They became the “first white men in recorded history to eat the divine mushrooms”, in 1955.
When using magic mushrooms in a religious context, there isn’t ever a “bad trip”… there is purging (or getting well), emotional release, healing, facing your demons and shadows, and transformation, in whatever manner the medicine determines you need to experience.
At the end of the experience, you’ve completed a hero’s journey, and the wisdom, revelation, and physical and emotional healing you’ve received are yours to integrate.
In a recreational context, where psychoactive mushrooms are being consumed for shits and giggles, difficult mushroom experiences can easily be rejected as bad, moreover, invite more undesirable consequences if those difficult experiences are happening in a public place, attracting the attention of both Muggles and law enforcement.
That being said, there are many things that you can proactively do to ensure a great magic mushroom experience. Here are 9 ways you can set yourself up for an amazing magic mushroom trip:
1. Make Sure You Are in A Safe Environment When Consuming Magic Mushrooms
Magic mushroom experiences can be highly disorienting. If you are hiking in the woods, following an unfamiliar or poorly visible trail, you might get lost. You may see things that don’t actually exist in our day-to-day physical reality, like aliens or purple unicorns, or you may lose comprehension on how normal, everyday things like traffic lights work…and what you should do when the light turns green, or red.
Because magic mushrooms tend to paint a layer of comedy over mundane experiences, extended bouts of falling-down-on-the ground laughter will tend to attract a lot of attention, quite possibly, the unwanted attention of police officers.
For this reason, you absolutely want to be sure that you are in a safe location for the 6-8 hour duration of your mushroom trip. A conscious music festival with numerous chill-out spaces and easy access to water. A friend’s house in the country or farm.
My favorite magic mushroom experience was at a 4-day magic mushroom Ecstatic Dance style campous at a friend’s private country home. People drove from hours away to spend a long weekend in this most amazing, juicy way.
Before the all-night dance party began, everyone circled up and the ground rules were established. No alcohol. No talking to each other on the dance floor. Respecting each other’s sacred space. Volunteers stepped forward to be “helpers” in case anyone was having a difficult trip. Bathroom, water, tobacco smoking, indoor / outdoor chillout spaces and sacred fire circle logistics were pointed out. Instructions on how to minimize impact on the neighbors were communicated. We were invited to set our intentions for the evening. Then, magic mushroom chocolates were offered to the group, and consumed ceremonially.
The lineup of music DJs was amazing, and the dance floor was filled with people dancing in silent abandon, twirling and even rolling on the floor. Sometime during the night, I perceived the voice of the mushroom, who gave me a powerful revelation.
“Lorna, instead of neurotically obsessing over where in the world you CAN move to – which is anywhere with working Internet – why not relocate to a place the best supports the work you are meant to do in the world, in community with the people you are meant to fulfill that mission with?”
What a game-changing revelation!
The dance ended in the headline DJ performing a crystal healing ritual over the entire group, reciting incantations while waving a massive quartz crystal shard. A healthy, organic, communal breakfast was served several hours later, after people had a chance to rest. Everyone was really friendly and loving. We ate, swam, stretched, and danced together for the next couple of days. It was a glorious, magical weekend. ~ Me
2. Eat the Right Dosage of Magic Mushrooms
There is nothing more horrible than overdosing yourself on magic mushrooms. I did that once and spent several hours curled up in a ball and freezing, at an outdoor concert on a mountain, melting into a swirling, multi-colored DNA helix suspended in space.
The good news is that if you overdose yourself, you will much more likely barf first, than die. In fact, magic mushroom fatalities are exceedingly rare and tend to be caused by accidents.
The bad news is, you might be in for many hours of wild hallucinations, coupled with the feeling that time has completely stopped, and you are stuck like this for eternity. Remember to breathe.
The correct dosage will depend on the kind of mushroom you consume, as well as your own sensitivities and body weight. As a rule of thumb, 1 gram is the appropriate dosage of psilocybin cubensis for an adult. 5 grams is pretty heroic. As a good rule of thumb, start with a light dose, wait a couple of hours, then incrementally increase your dosage until you find the right dosage amount for your batch.
3. Make Sure You Are Dressed For Comfort
What made my mushroom overdose a horrible experience that night was primarily that I was NOT dressed for an all-night music event on a mountaintop, where the temperature plummeted to “really fucking cold” at night. Make sure you have enough clothes to be warm and comfortable – warm furry hats and coats are a must if you are at Burning Man running around on the Playa on mushrooms at night. Don’t wear anything too complicated, because it will be hard to deal with when you are tripping and trying to go to the bathroom in a porta potty. Don’t wear anything you are worried will get destroyed, as anything can happen in an epic mushroom journey, and you will be super-bummed if your favorite dress ends up in tatters. In fact, a perfect outfit to wear is a fur, animal costume onesie. Not only will you entertain other trippers while frolicking in your fur onesie, it’s really hard to destroy, you can roll around in the dirt, while staying toasty and warm all night long, and when the night’s over, you peel it off into a grimy heap outside your tent and go to bed.
4. Set a Trip Intention
Did you know that you can set an intention for your entire trip? Your trip intention guides the information, revelation, & wisdom you receive If you’ve never tried this before, I highly recommend this powerful act that will immediately establish a container for your mushroom trip and set it apart from a potentially chaotic recreational experience that is light on the life-changing wisdom that you could be receiving. You can set any kind of intention for your mushroom journey, though I am a big fan of setting a sacred, intention that is oriented towards receiving wisdom and information that will assist you in your spiritual evolution and becoming the highest version of yourself.
5. Eat Them on an Empty or Near Empty Stomach
Magic mushrooms can make you feel queasy, so it’s best to take them on an empty or near empty stomach. Definitely don’t pile food on top of them, otherwise you might find yourself lying around and feeling nauseated for several hours.
6. Take them With Lemon Juice, or Raw Organic Chocolate, Packed with Superfoods
Lemon, lime, or other citrus juices are said to enhance the effects of magic mushrooms, making the psychoactive effects come on faster and stronger. However, citrus juice is said to make the trip end sooner as well.
My favorite way of consuming magic mushrooms is to eat magic mushroom chocolates. My first experience with this modern, yet ancient way of consuming magic mushrooms came in the form of a tall, beaming man with dreadlocks piled into a towering beehive on his head, who was weaving his way through the crowds of a sustainability festival, with a red gingham covered basket of red and pink mushroom chocolate hearts. After this experience, I’ve never gone back to dried mushrooms since.
I once procured some delicious organic, raw chocolate magic mushroom bars, that were sweetened with agave and Himalayan goji berries, and made with 20+ different kinds of superfoods, herbs, with colloidal gold and silver thrown in to boot. What was even more amusing was that the man who gave this to me was named Elric, who I met by the sacred fire at a conscious music festival, who was dressed up like an elf, with a pointy green hat and vest, I shit you not.
What is up with mushroom people?
7. Make Sure You Have Enough Food & Water For Later
When you are tripping on mushrooms, simple tasks, like opening a can of tuna fish, may seem incredibly hard. For this reason, you absolutely want to make sure you have easy access to food and water, with minimal fuss.
If you are out and about at an outdoor music and arts festival, like Burning Man, you definitely want to make sure you have a full liter of water and easy, healthy snack items like a refreshing orange, celery sticks. Magic mushrooms tend to suppress the appetite, and may even make you feel slightly nauseous, so you may not want to eat until the end of your trip.
Magic mushrooms also may cause you to purge – or “get well” from a shamanic perspective. Given this propensity, you will likely discover that healthier food goes down better, and unhealthy food may come up or elicit hours of nausea and regret.
8. Have a Conversation with Mushroom Consciousness
The Mazatec people of Mexico refer to magic mushrooms as the “niños santos” or “holy children”. To them, magic mushrooms are not only a sacred medicine, they are also wise teachers, with a childlike quality to them. Indeed many people say that the magic mushroom experience tend to be lighthearted and giggly, bringing adults back to a happy childhood state.
Rather than relating to magic mushrooms as a “substance” or “drug”, I invite you to try relating to them as a conscious entity, full of wisdom to impart, if you choose to listen. Have a conversation with these “niños santos”, seek their counsel, and reflect on what they say.
When you do this on a regular basis, you begin to create a relationship with the mushroom spirit that can guide you during your entire lifetime, whether you are on mushrooms or not. Many shamanic traditions hold that the act of ingesting a sacred plant medicine creates a life-long relationship with the teacher plant, one you can choose to engage with as deeply as you desire. As with ayahuasca, or iboga, you can tune into mushroom consciousness whenever you feel the need for guidance, because it will be your ally for life.
9. Treat Magic Mushrooms as Medicine
Like cannabis, magic mushrooms are often used in a recreational way these days. However, when you treat magic mushrooms as a sacred medicine as indigenous people all over the world have for millennia, you can establish a conscious relationship with this powerful ally, through which you can receive deep healing and wisdom.
Even though the US government considers psilocybin mushrooms to be Schedule 1 drugs (highly addictive, dangerous, and without medical value), psilocybin mushrooms are not addictive, and death from the use of correctly-identified psilocybin mushrooms are extremely rare. Recent scientific research has discovered numerous therapeutic applications ranging from the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and cluster headaches, to neurogenesis – the regeneration of new brain cells.
From treating depression and anxiety to treating other various psychiatric disorders such as OCD (as seen in this NCBI Study), the scientific community is waking up to the medicinal properties of magic mushrooms and advocating that they be rescheduled.
And decades later, it looks like magic mushrooms are finally being used as Maria Sabina intended them to be used…for healing.