LIFE USUALLY consists of a series of little things, and mine’s no exception.
First, I had a gut infection a month back with symptoms similar to those of a year ago thatinspired me to get a colonoscopy, which declared me clean of life-threatening stuff. This time, I visited a new gastro man who gave me pills that are returning me to normal. Getting old is not for sissies.
Second, I electronically filed my IRS Form 1040, and within 60 seconds of sending it down the electronic highway to Austin, I spotted a YUGE error. For the first time in my life, I have to send an amended 1040. Trouble is, you cannot e-file an amended 1040. You must stick it into snail mail.
Lord knows when they’ll get it.
Third, my child bride and her sister are going on their annual pilgrimage to the nearby town of Tzintzuntzan. This is a trek across highway, hill and dale on foot, and it lasts about three and a half hours. That takes place on Tuesday coming, so I’ll have much of the day off.
I’m not pilgrim material.
Fourth, it appears we may make it to March without another freeze. Normally, March means we’re home-free, freeze-wise, but not necessarily. One year we sailed freeze-free through January and February and then got walloped in March. There was snow on mountain peaks in the distance. The Goddess can be malevolently playful.
Do not turn your back on her.
Spring brings gobs of dust and crunchy, brown grass. It’s no fun, but it’s not freezing either. The dust is worse because it lasts weeks, months, till June when the rains begin. Spring is the pits in these parts.
Fifth, two weeks ago, workmen finished removing the red-clay roof that covered part of the upstairs terraza. It now sits bareheaded. The blacksmith promised the steel structure that will support the glass that will cover the entire terraza will be installed early next month.
Sixth, of no interest to anyone but us, but I’ll mention it anyway — since it’s a little life thing — is that I’m canceling my longtime internet provider of 18 years. It’s a local business that was the only game in town when I moved to the mountaintop in 2000.
But things have changed drastically since then. Our television cable company,Megacable, also provides internet for just 100 pesos extra, about five bucks. We have that, and it’s fairly reliable. Having two providers is necessary here if you want to always have WiFi.
Is that true above the border?
The new No. 2 is Telmex’s Infinitum, which was installed earlier this week. It seems to be working fine. Now I have to break the cancellation news to my original provider, a business run by a fellow I know here. His service has always been quite good. My main objection is a butt-ugly antenna that now soars over the upstairs terraza. It will have to be removed anyway to install the new steel-and-glass roof.
Little life things. It would be boring without them.
(I have mentioned my history with entheogens before, primarily on my previous website, the now-defunct Zapata Tales. A time or two since, readers have asked for details, most recently this week, so here they are. By the way, I don’t do this anymore because there is no need.)
* * * *
I WAS REARED an agnostic. My parents never went to church and never mentioned religion at home.
And I remained an agnostic till January 19, 1997. That was when I first ingested entheogens, first psilocybin mushrooms and, two days later, a mix of mushrooms and LSD.
Why did I do that? I was trying to make some sense out of my life because at that point, age 52, it seemed not to have any. My life, sense. My second divorce was two years behind me, not something I initiated, and it had thrown me into a massive tailspin.
In the space between ages 50 and 52, I had not found any equilibrium. I was drastically adrift, grasping at any semblance of a grounded straw. I looked at dreams. My daughter mentioned a psychologist she knew who was well-versed in dream interpretation.
He lived outside Tallahassee, Florida. We did a phone session about dreams, which was interesting. As the call wound down, I asked if he knew someone with access to peyote because I thought it would help me.
He then said he could help me in that way. I drove to Tallahassee.
And this is what I found out in the woods, a beautiful home where my new friend lived alone, a lifelong, handsome bachelor and truth-seeker, so to speak. A private practitioner with a Ph.D. from Florida State University.
We got started before dawn the next morning. He gave me ecstasy, which had no effect whatsoever, which was revealing. Getting nowhere with that, he mixed a brew of psilocybin mushrooms that he cultivated himself.
Bingo! That did the trick.
I was lying on the living room sofa with my eyes covered with a sleep mask. I descended into a massive cavern where native people danced. The music came from a CD player, but I did not know it at the time. It was The Serpent’s Egg by Dead Can Dance.
Music is an excellent assist to entheogens, a term I prefer over drugs, which is a wider category that usually carries bad connotations.
Entheogens are not addictive.
After the cavern, I fell further into a world so extreme and astonishing that putting it into words cannot be done. About eight hours later, the effects begin to wear off. What remains is the knowledge of having seen the “other side.” It is not an hallucination.
A good book to read is The Secret Chief by Myron J. Stolaroff. The author believes this, and I agree with him: We are born with a faucet connected to our minds, and that faucet is shut tight because if it weren’t, we could not function. Taking entheogens opens the faucet temporarily.
Imagine yourself sitting on the stage of a theater in the round. The curtain is closed, and then it begins to open all around you, and you see for the first time beyond the stage which is your everyday world.
You see what’s really out there.
When the entheogen effects begin to wear off, the curtain starts to shut again till it’s closed entirely, and you’re back to “normal,” sitting on that stage of everyday life. But you remember.
My new friend recommended a recess, which I took the following day, driving around the rural, wooded area of the Florida Panhandle.
* * * *
One more time
As dawn arrived the day after that, I was ready, I thought, for Session Two, which was a combination of LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. People with experience say it’s important to state your intention before going on these expeditions. This is true.
For this second event, my intention was that I wanted to dance with love. What did I expect with such a notion? Here’s what I thought would happen based on my experience two days earlier. I thought a beautiful woman would appear, and we would dance.
But the Goddess has her own ideas, so that did not happen. What happened was this: There was no vision. I saw absolutely nothing, but what I felt was stunning. A feeling of extreme caring embraced me. It was like nothing I had ever experienced or imagined.
* * * *
The puma and the woman
Hours later, around midnight, I felt relatively normal again, and I was sitting in my new friend’s living room facing him. I thought it was over, so I told him to go to bed, and I would do the same. He went upstairs.
My bedroom was on the ground floor right off the living room, a short walk. I went in, undressed and lay atop the sheets. The lights were off, and it was the sort of darkness you find in the forest on a moonless night.
Lying there, I turned into a woman. Just like that. I could see nothing due to the lack of light, but I turned into a woman. I felt it. It’s quite different from being a man. I felt an unfamiliar, strong need to be cared for.
And then I turned into a black puma. I moved my long tail from one side to the other at the foot of the bed. My whiskers twitched. I felt incredibly powerful.
And then it ended. I went to sleep.
That episode was about the only one that I recall fairly clearly. I suspect that is due to its happening near the end of that night’s experience. I was not totally under the influence but in a twilight zone.
* * * *
Going home, buckets of blood
My new friend offered a third night of this therapy or whatever you’d call it, but I told him no. I was overwhelmed. I drove back to Texas.
But I returned nine months later for LSD. The second night of my first visit had entailed a mixture of both psilocybin mushrooms and LSD. The psilocybin effect had been the more powerful by far.
I knew this later, not then.
The LSD experience was very different. Psilocybin is softer than LSD. Here’s what stood out about the LSD, the only thing I remember: Buckets of blood. I was under a waterfall of blood that poured over me. A voice told me it was time to grow up, to become a man.
This sounds horrible, but it wasn’t. It was a shove I needed.
Many hours later, after the effects had diminished, my friend told me that I had been laughing loudly, something I was unaware of during the experience. I’ve felt immensely better since that night.
Entheogens have been used for direct religious experiences through human history and beyond. Primitive art shows it.
Indeed, since verbal descriptions of what happens can be next to impossible, art comes into play.
In 1999, I attended an entheogen conference in Palenque, Chiapas. That was a year before I moved to Mexico. Amusingly, one of the attendees was a New York Port Authority cop. Another attendee was a dentist from Tennessee who gave me a dose of 5-MeO-DMT.
5-MeO-DMT provides an experience similar to LSD but it comes on far faster, instantaneously, and only lasts about 15 minutes.
I sat on a bed, smoked it, and collapsed backwards. About 15 minutes later, I was back to normal. It’s the only time I tried 5-MeO-DMT successfully.
In 2000, about eight months after moving to Mexico, I flew to Atlanta, rented a car and drove back to the Panhandle of Florida to participate in a group session in which the entheogen was a chemical analogue of ayahuasca. And that was the end for me.
I was told — you do hear voices — that I didn’t need to do that sort of thing anymore, so I haven’t. By the way, group sessions are far from ideal. Stick to solo sessions with an experienced helper.
* * * *
Many, probably most, people who take psychedelics do it for fun. I take a neutral stance on this matter. There is a consciousness out there — God if you will — and she will let you see her if that is your wish.
However, if your desire is recreational, she will not let you see her, or perhaps not to the same degree. I wouldn’t know because I’ve never done this for fun. Your mindset matters very much.
* * * *
I was an agnostic for most of my adult life. I am not anymore. It would be next to impossible to experience the things entheogens provide and not realize there is something far beyond our daily consciousness.
MY CHILD BRIDE headed by bus to Querétaro Monday morning on family business, but I stayed here at the Hacienda.
It’s always strange being here alone. There are aspects to it that I enjoy, but the negatives outweigh the positives. I’ve grown accustomed to her face.
About 7 p.m. I headed outside to walk about the yard for no other reason than to stretch my legs, but I noticed yardwork that needed to be done. It was still light out, but the moon loomed in the sky. It was day and night.
I grabbed clippers and trimmer. First, with clippers, I removed some aloe vera flowers on stalks that had lost their will to live. The moon watched.
Dropping the clippers, I turned to the hedge trimmer and rounded two of the smaller bougainvilleas, the ones that are still controllable. Then I bent over and pulled some weeds at their bases, weeds that I should have pulled weeks ago.
I’m getting lazy. Years ago, I would never have let those weeds grow to that extent. You get older. You cease to care about some things.
I was in my pajamas, or what passes for my pajamas. Flannel pants with Garfield the Cat all over them and a black T-shirt from Lands’ End.
Getting darker out and feeling that I’d done enough yardwork, I came in for the traditional evening salad and foccacia bread.
The Goddess willing, she’ll be returning tomorrow afternoon.
It feels like November even though it’s not quite yet.
I took these two photos this morning. A gentle breeze was ringing the wind chimes on the veranda. Earlier, inside the living room, I took the photo below. That’s sunlight.
Of course, The Unseen Moon has seen variations of these photos before — I am one to repeat, a core right of the geriatric set — but never before on the morning of 25 October of the year of the Goddess 2017.