At the end of our Denver trip for the Psychedelic Science 2023 conference (see my earlier full conference review if that interests you), I played a game at one of the afterparties and won a magic mushroom (shown below). It weighed about 3 grams. Magic mushrooms were decriminalized in Colorado last year, including for personal use and gifting but not for selling.
The afterparty only went till 1am, and it wasn’t the right setting for a deep mushroom journey. I thought about my intention for this little guy and decided that for my first experience, I just wanted to energetically shake hands with the mushroom space and not do anything too deep.
I’ve had psilocybin before during a journey last November with a group of friends, but it was in the form of chocolates mixed with ayahuasca, and we took a couple other substances as well for a layered effect, run by an experienced facilitator. So up to this point I hadn’t consumed magic mushrooms separately. I know I’ll have more opportunities to explore mushrooms, so I wanted to lean into it gently – not like my first psychedelic experience of doing ayahuasca ceremonies for four back-to-back nights in Costa Rica in 2019.
We only had two more nights in Denver before returning to Vegas, so I wanted to eat about half of the dried shroom one night and half the second night, as a way of leaning into it. I wanted to have a positive experience even if it would be fairly mild given the low dosage. I had done my homework first, so I had a relatively good sense of what range of effects to expect, or so I thought.
I decided to eat about a quarter of it first, roughly 0.75g, see if I noticed anything after an hour, and then have more if all seemed good, while still at the afterparty. I was surprised that it tasted good, almost like popcorn but with the texture of a dry cracker. I’d heard that some people didn’t like the taste of magic mushrooms, but that may depend on the variety. This one was pleasant enough that my taste buds would have had no complaints about eating more of them.
During that first hour I only noticed some mild giddiness, nothing special. So I ate another 0.75g. These weights are mainly guesses, but after eating the first piece, we found a scale at the afterparty, and I was able to weigh the remainder, which helped me estimate that the whole shroom must have been about 3g total.
In case you’re wondering, I did invite Rachelle to share it with me, but she passed. It wouldn’t have been a problem to procure plenty more shrooms at this party since there was a jar on a table filled with dried shrooms as well as magic mushroom chocolates (including some labeled vegan), which seemed to be free for the taking. Playing the game with the mushroom prize wasn’t really necessary – I just did it for fun. If I wanted a more intense experience by eating more shrooms, that would have been easily attained. However, I felt that splitting those 3g across two nights would be just perfect for the kind of intro to mushroom space that I was looking for, especially while traveling.
Shortly after I ate the second mushroom piece, we walked back to our hotel, which took about 30 minutes. I still didn’t notice a very strong effect other than feeling a bit happier. Rachelle said she could see a difference when she looked into my eyes though. I found it amusing when she kept staring at me to check. I had no trouble with balance or coordination while walking back.
We arrived at the hotel without incident, and now it was close to two hours since I ate the first piece. I could feel there was the potential to have a deeper experience but that I’d have to meet it halfway. So I lied down on the couch, put on some music with my headphones, closed my eyes, and went into a meditative space to see what I could experience internally.
That was delightful all throughout. I enjoyed some lovely psychedelic visuals and sensations, not super intense but still beautiful. They were similar to the ayahuasca visuals but gentler, more electric looking, and more peaceful. I felt this gentle feminine energy communicating with me in waves, with rising intensity followed by periods of lower intensity, each cycle lasting a few minutes.
I felt like the mushroom energy was mapping out how to communicate and connect with me inside my mind. There was a consciousness to it, which grew a bit stronger as we synched up. I found it very easy to relax and surrender to the flow of the experience.
It peaked around 1:30 AM, about three hours after I ate the first piece, and I eventually went to bed at 3:15. I slept really well and had some nice visuals extending into my dreams too.
I got what I wanted from this first experience – a gentle greeting and a mild but interesting inner journey. I would have appreciated a bit more intensity, but this was a really nice, low-risk beginner experience.
The next night we didn’t have any parties to attend, so I opted to have the second experience in the hotel room all the way through. We had a suite, so Rachelle could go to bed if she wanted without my keeping her up. I also started earlier this time (around 9pm).
I decided to do something different this time and opted to make mushroom tea, using the remaining 1.5g of dried mushroom. I know that consuming it this way is supposed to have a faster onset and be a bit more intense. I didn’t know how much more intense though, and 1.5g is still a relatively modest amount.
I used my fingers to crumble the mushroom into small pieces in a cup. Then I used the hotel coffee maker to make some hot water. For extra flavor, I added a chamomile teabag (no caffeine). I didn’t have any lemon, so I couldn’t use the Lemon Tek method. The high acidity of lemon (or lime) juice breaks psilocybin into the psychoactive psilocin faster than stomach acid, which makes for a more intense journey.
I let the shroom tea steep for 15 minutes while journaling about my intentions for the experience. This time I wanted to go deeper and focus on some questions. After clarifying my intentions, I drank the tea, including swallowing all of the little mushroom bits. I figured that with only 1.5g, I might as well squeeze as much out of it as possible. Our flight home wasn’t till the afternoon the next day, so I had plenty of time.
I lied down on the couch with my headphones, listening to some relaxing music. I started with native flutes, and I soon realized I didn’t like the ones that had certain nature sounds like crickets or birds. For some reasons those sounds felt too creepy to me. I flipped over to a relaxing spa music playlist, which felt like a good vibe to begin with.
After the first 15 minutes, I noticed some mild tingling in my arms, and they felt a bit lighter, but the sensation was pretty mild. During the next 15 minutes, however, the intensity ramped up fast. I sat up, and it looked the floor was rolling in waves. I wasn’t feeling good in my body at all. It felt like being deeply dizzy but without the spinning sensation, like my energy matrix was destabilizing and being pulled in chaotic directions. Is there such as thing as spirit-level dizziness? That’s sort of how it felt.
The intensity of those sensations continued to climb during the next few minutes, from mildly nauseating to that “Oh I’m definitely going to throw up” feeling. Even while I’m typing this now, I feel like my body is relieving those sensations at lower intensity.
I got off the couch opened the bedroom door, saying to Rachelle something like, “I’m probably going to be throwing up in the bathroom now, but don’t worry. I’ll be okay.” – partly to reassure myself as well. Internally I was also wondering how long these unpleasant sensations would last. I wasn’t looking forward to hours more of this.
As I flung myself to the bathroom floor in front of the toilet, I felt super nauseous but also confused. I sensed something wanted to come out, but it also felt omnidirectional, like I needed to throw up in all spherical directions at once, while my body was trying to translate that to mean up, down, or both. At the conference I had just recently learned the term “double platinum” and was hoping I wasn’t about to have that experience.
Then in a really quick shift, I suddenly sensed that this confused swirling of energy had made a decision and that it was definitely going down, not up. I shifted onto the toilet seat and purged quickly, wondering if I’d soon have to flip back around. But no. That feeling of disorientation and nausea abated even faster than the onset. Within a few minutes, I no longer felt nauseous and was actually feeling pretty good, almost euphoric. I almost couldn’t believe how quickly the nausea left me.
The speed of these shifts surprised me, but I was glad to be feeling better physically. This was still well within the first hour, so I knew there was plenty more to experience.
I asked Rachelle to sit with me on the couch for a while. I still felt a bit disoriented and wanted her energy there with me, figuring she’d be a comforting presence. I sensed that if I tried to lie down and listen to music again, I’d feel too nauseous, so I wanted to stay upright for a while.
She was happy to sit with me, which led to a very interesting experience. We sat closely on the couch next to each other, arm in arm. When I had my eyes open, the carpet still looked a bit wavy, and I began noticing a facial pattern. It wasn’t really a face – the carpet was very splotchy looking – but I noted that my mind was pattern-matching different elements to eyes, a nose, a mouth, etc. Fortunately that wasn’t too disorienting. I had the thought that my brain’s pattern-matching circuitry was becoming more flexible.
When I closed my eyes, I saw beautiful, electric, colorful, animated visuals – about 3x brighter and more intense than the night before. I preferred keeping my eyes closed since it was more captivating to observe the visuals than to look at the slightly wobbling hotel room.
The most fascinating part of this experience was what I felt internally while in contact with Rachelle. I had figured she might help to keep me feeling physically grounded, but it was almost the opposite of that. While we were touching, the sensation of touching and the sense of having a body faded away. I could still access the connection to my body but only while focusing on it directly and only with enough intensity to remind me that my body was still present on the couch. It’s similar to sensations I’ve had during deep meditation, where my body is so relaxed that I lose the physical sensations of having a body. but I can still reach back and wiggle a finger if I want to reconnect with it.
As with the deep meditation experience, I felt very safe. My focus shifted to a sensation of being a purer form of energy. Instead of sensing Rachelle as a separate presence there, there was no distinction between her energy and mine. We were melded together in a single energy form.
It wasn’t like being connected to some kind of source energy per se. It was more personal than that. I had the recognition that my energy and Rachelle’s energy were the same energy and that we were always sharing it. We were really the same being at an energetic level.
What’s also interesting is that Rachelle was focused on sending me love energy while sitting with me. Afterwards that made me wonder what might have been different if she had held different intentions – that’s something I want to explore more in the months ahead.
I kept my eyes closed most of the time and also talked with Rachelle about what I was experiencing. Even during the physically disorienting onset period, I didn’t feel anxious or fearful. I checked my pulse on my Apple Watch numerous times along the way since I was curious about that. It normally hovered around 75 BPM while sitting on the couch. The highest I saw the whole night was 81. The lowest was 49 at one point while I was feeling very nauseous in that first hour. So my heart definitely wasn’t racing. Emotionally I was calm, but that 49 reading was very low for me, and it was only for a brief time while I was feeling sick.
Rachelle continued to sit with me for around two hours. I noticed that whenever I was in physical contact with her, I immediately went into that beautiful space of energetic oneness with her, not actively sensing our bodies but just feeling like a singular energy cloud, her energy and mine being the same. In fact, there was no sense of this energy having any parts or components, like our bodies have limbs. It was a feeling of wholeness without any internal divisions.
Within that wholeness, however, I could read certain things about this energy. I could ask questions about myself or Rachelle and get an immediate sense of knowing. The energy had a very shamanic vibe about it, totally centered and present, like it was patiently holding space for our human selves and bodies. I got the sense that Rachelle was some kind of shaman herself yet pretending not to be so she could blend in with the humans. That made me wonder if that’s what we’re all doing here on some level, like there’s a part of us that’s energetically pure and whole, and we pretend to disconnect from it so we can have human adventures for a while, much like playing The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom for long enough to feel immersed in its world.
I think this experience also confirmed the incredibly special relationship that I’ve enjoyed with Rachelle since 2010, which has often felt like it had a timeless quality to it. We vibe so well with each other and seem ridiculously compatible. The experience of feeling like our energies were the same energy was like a more intense version of what I normally experience while hugging or cuddling with her. I feel more aware of how holding her changes the perception of my energy, making it feel very peaceful, loving, and cozy. It feels like a very natural home base to experience with another person, energetically speaking. It’s not the sensation that we’re two parts of the same whole; it’s the absence of any partitioning. When we cuddle it feels like we create a cuddle-field in which our human bodies mostly dissolve into energy, and it’s all the same energy.
During those two hours on the couch together, whenever I broke contact with Rachelle and we stopped touching for a while, that’s when I felt more grounded and present in my body and the physical environment, like now I’m back in the hotel room.
During that time I also experienced rolling waves of intensity, which grew milder over time. Sometimes there were mild waves of nausea too but not nearly as strong as during that first hour. Other times I felt of a different frequency, where I noticed the closed-eye visuals becoming more intense or changing their patterns. Sometimes I felt surges of positive energy, like the pressure one experiences before laughing. In fact, I did laugh several times during the night as way to release some of energy, which felt good.
Anyway… after those lovely two hours on the couch together, Rachelle finally went to bed, and I was in a good place to continue on my own. I turned off the lights, put on my headphones, and lied down on the couch to do more inner journeying for a couple more hours. That was a more mental experience for the rest of the night, whereby I asked and got interesting answers to many different questions – so many that I felt like I’d run out of questions by the end. Or I felt like I just didn’t have any meaningful ones left to ask on this particular night.
I also experimented with different kinds of music during this time. Slow-paced music felt a bit boring, and I found that my favorite for these final hours was trance music. I loved high-energy tracks that amped me up emotionally. I also listened to some of my favorite songs just to see what that would be like, but that aspect didn’t seem unusual, perhaps because the songs were too familiar. I still liked it though.
I finally went to bed at 2 AM, not even feeling that tired, so overall the experience was about 5 hours. I could still feel a bit of background communication going on as I drifted off to sleep, but at this point I didn’t find it necessary to consciously engage with it because I felt complete and then some.
I woke up the next day feeling very well-rested and completely normal. I like that these journeys didn’t leave me feeling depleted. I couldn’t discern any negative after-effects whatsoever.
When I returned to Vegas, I went to an integration circle the following Tuesday and shared about my recent experiences there. The feedback and questions were helpful since they invited me to do some extra reflection. I also continued to discuss the experiences with Rachelle and did some journaling as well. I find that the more I reflect upon and talk about these experiences, the more my understanding of them shifts a bit.
Overall this was a great introduction to magic mushrooms, both very positive experiences despite the disorienting and rapid onset with the mushroom tea – that really packed a punch relative to eating the shroom straight. I got what I wanted, which was to lean into building a positive, growth-oriented relationship with mushroom space. Whenever I get into something new, I like to set conscious intentions for the kind of relationship I want to develop and explore.
I like that psychedelic journeying can yield interesting insights about myself, life, and reality. Getting to connect with Rachelle in a deeper way was such a beautiful gift as well.
After a mushroom trip, the brain remains more neuro-flexible than usual for roughly two more weeks. That’s a great time for making changes because the brain is less resistant to receiving fresh input and more receptive to learning. I experienced a feeling of greater openness and flexibility during that time period. I felt more willing to say yes to divergent invitations and to entertain new ideas that I might have otherwise declined. It felt like my inner suppression circuitry had loosened up a bit, so it was easier to stretch myself more.