Inspired by Aldous by Huxley’s The Doors of Perception, I began to consider what benefit I myself might derive from a mescaline trip.
I had a great deal of empathy with Huxley, who wrote in The Perennial Philosophy that knowledge of the self is worthless if it is merely theoretical. As Huxley explained: it “must be realized as an immediate, intuitive experience and appropriately acted upon.” However, I was equally aware of what Evelyn Underhill had written: that “there is to be no wilful choosing of method” and that “the greatest writers on mysticism are unanimous in their dislike and distrust of all visionary and auditive experience.” Yet, at the same time, Underhill said that “the mystic who seeks the divine Cloud of Unknowing is to be surrendered to the direction of his deeper mind, his transcendental consciousness: that ‘spark of the soul’ which is in touch with eternal realities.”
So it was, thus emboldened, that when the opportunity came and I had the house to myself for long enough - I prepared and drank a reduction of a 20” cactus I had purchased on-line (pictured below). I started at 8AM in the morning. The batch was ready at 1PM in the afternoon, as the reduction process for mescaline tea is fairly lengthy. The cactus was sliced, blended and then reduced to a thick sludge after simmering for between 4 – 5 hours. The reduction was then strained of all moisture, the mush disposed of by me and the extraction drank as a tea. It tasted truly revolting and was gut wrenchingly bad. I consumed the brew at 4.30PM but the effects did not commence until around 2 hours later, and then only gradually.
I experienced no visual or auditory phenomena. Yet I was gradually and quite suddenly overwhelmed with raw emotion. I cannot explain this very well in words. I was taken on a journey to my core self.
Then, all of a sudden, in my mind’s eye I was presented with the brutalisation of Christ and his sufferings on the eve of his crucifixion. I began calling out aloud “but he was innocent!” as the enormity of the punishment dealt to him, an innocent man, was meted out. This was followed by a mind’s eye visualization in feelings of the Garden of Gethsemane – so my time line was askew. I threw myself down, reaching out – both mentally and physically I might add – pleading to to be only with God. It is quite impossible to properly convey this, and I cannot describe it, save to say it was the most terrible, actual grief and the deepest distress I was feeling as they led Christ away to his death. I have not, in my life hitherto, ever felt such total emotional oneness, pure empathy, with anything else in quite the same way. I knew then that my own paternal instincts for my children were a part of the consciousness and indeed, very being of God too.
However, the import of all of this was that I had been completely stripped of my selfishness. I was raw emotion and simply desired God and wanted to be with him. I wanted nothing less and nothing more than that and further, as I reached out to Christ, I knew that there was no judgement, no disgust, no disgrace, no embarrassment, no humiliation, no punishment – only love. The sacrament showed me that the love of God is pure but his being in us - and we in him - is more than wordplay. It is a total emotional absorption. Dragging myself away from Christ, not the God but the innocent, wise and good human being – I was led by the Mescaline to a realisation that my life has to be lived through. However difficult for me to convey, my trip was nothing less a small Calvary of my own.
During the experience – I which I never lost consciousness or unawareness of my physical surroundings or what I was doing - I kept in contact by text with my son. We had, in the summer, visited the Palestinian Territories and East Jerusalem. One of the most striking churches in Jerusalem, the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, commemorates Peter’s denial of Christ. Under the present church there is a cell thought to be where Jesus was detained for the night following his arrest. In those days it was in total darkness. Without light, Christ and been lowered through a deep hole in the floor. It can only have been a place of utter desolation, terror and psychological torment. It was here, in this space, and in my mind’s eye during my Mescaline trip - and in the totality of my raw emotional being - that I wanted to shield Christ, to protect him from his descent into hell. Whether Christ was actually ever there I do not know, but I DO know that I was mentally and emotionally transported to this space and found myself shouting his innocence to the beings there. Yet none listened, for how could they? I was millennia out of time and, even if I had not been, I felt the enormity of my powerlessness in the face of such temporal power.
As I said earlier, following this outpouring of grief at this sheer injustice, I found myself in the Garden of Gethsemane. I had visited this place while in Jerusalem. Beside the Garden (which is all that is left of the ancient olive tree ghettos that once covered the entire hill), is the Church of All Nations, built over the rock on which Christ is believed to have prayed before his betrayal and arrest. Behind a fence of iron tracery stand the gnarled trunks of the few remaining olive trees. When we were there in the summer it was impossible to feel any spiritual atmosphere. Yet, in my Mescaline experience I was transported there – not visually, but emotionally. I then went through a period of feeling total reassurance. I cannot begin to explain the incomparability of it. I knew - I was never told, but I knew - that I could not stay. I was distraught at having to leave his presence. The totality of God’s acceptance of me, as conveyed by feelings, not human words, were total. No judgement, simply love and acceptance of me for who I am.
After only an hour – although it felt more like 3 or 4 as the passage of time was not quite the same - the effects of the Mescaline began to wear off. A feeling of blissfulness came over me in the sense that I felt relaxed but my heart was burning. My son texted to say he was disappointed that I had no visualisations, even with my eyes closed. In fact, none at all. I postulated that perhaps the dosage was wrong, or the preparation, or that a liver condition inhibited the psychoactive element of the drug. Yet there is another possibility. I reminded him of our visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, I had become overwhelmed emotionally, but briefly, while there. It was, in fact, the same sensation and feeling I had experienced on the Mescaline. How could this be? The church itself, including the resurrection tomb, had had no effect on me at all. The sprawling church is an eclectic mix of architecture and no more spiritual than Disney World. It was thronging with thousands of noisy and largely irreverent tourists. I felt nothing as I had ascended the curving flight of stairs up the ‘hill’ of Calvary. During my visit to East Jerusalem or indeed anywhere else in Palestine, I had had no stirrings of a religious or spiritual kind at all. It was too hot, too busy, too expensive, too rushed and sometimes too edgy for that. I am also a non-church goer and had no particular religious agenda. The Mescaline experience did, however, feel as if the future was being brought back in time to me, as if to make sense of my recent past. I had not only been there physically - but had been there – in time, in my feelings as the events unfolded. I could see now why the visit had taken place, but I was oblivious to it at the time.
Insofar as my Calvary experience is concerned, I had been pushed and jostled by tourists all day and here was no exception. I had been trying hard to keep me and my son together. Then it was my turn, and I briefly reached through and touched the cold rock. Nothing, and again I emphasise neither was I anticipating anything. Then, however, as I walked away my heart began to feel differently and gradually at first but then quite quickly I was overcome with an emotion I could not explain. It was involuntary and made no sense, yet there I was, sobbing on the ascent down the ‘hill.’ No visuals, no auditory, just raw emotion that I could not explain. The same sensation as the second half of my Mescaline trip. I can never know for sure, but I feel as if experience of the Mescaline and my conceptualised presence in Gethsemane and the cell, were now linked to what had happened to me in the summer, and that the three separate places were meant to have had that effect all along . There, as in my Mescaline trip, I came closer to God. The sacrament of the San Pedro did have its purpose for me after all. Huxley was proved right.
I can now reflect on the experience and consider this in light of my initial observations. Firstly, if I did get the dosage wrong and had no visuals because of that, then I am glad. I did not have need of this because, frankly, it told me everything I needed to know. Secondly, my own limited experiences of visual and auditory manifestations - all of which occurred naturally a couple of times in my life - have hitherto invariably been unpleasant. Assuming them to be real and not hallucinatory, they can only have hailed from the lesser emanations. In a sense the Mescaline experience was unpleasant because of the grief and injustice I had felt at the treatment of Christ by his tormentors but, at the same time, it had been liberating and followed by a deep absolution. Thirdly, I do not regret my Mescaline trip. I had feared that my true self, stripped down as it was to its core emotional being, would be exposed as bad, horrible or repugnant. The opposite was in fact the case. There was nothing else I wanted and nothing else I needed, but God. God also is a being of love and acceptance, and in whom there is no darkness or judgement.
Edited by Cactusbob, 07 December 2018 - 04:44 PM.