Love, blood & pumas

I’m in the middle of a very interesting book titled, prosaically but accurately, How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan. The subtitle is What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.

Apparently, psychedelics are making a comeback or at least coming out of the shadows where they never really went away after being made illegal decades ago, in no small part due to the endless antics of Dr. Timothy Leary.

There are indications of legal openings for some uses of these incredibly therapeutic materials.

Leary’s main thing was LSD, a chemical compound developed in the first part of the 20th Century, but entheogens — my preferred term for the various mind-expanding compounds — have been known and used for centuries in various cultures around the world.

If you know little of entheogens, I highly recommend this book.

I dived right into the sea of entheogens in 1997, and I swam around for a spell. It helped me immensely in the wake of a divorce that left me in an exceptionally bad place.

In 1997, I ingested psilocybin mushrooms twice and LSD twice, all under the guidance of a kind psychologist who lived in the woods outside Tallahassee, Florida. I have written about this previously, but many years ago. Perhaps this is a different take.

Between 1997 and 1999, I also took Ecstasy five or six times alone in my Houston condo. Lovely material.

And during an entheogen conference in Palenque, Mexico, in 1999, a year before I moved south, I inhaled vaporized 5-MeO-DMT. My final entheogen experience happened in Florida about a year after moving to Mexico. I was up for a visit.

That time I drank a chemical analog of ayahuasca.

During the ayahuasca experience, a voice spoke to me loud and clear: You don’t have to do this anymore. And I haven’t.

All the experiences were stunning, but it seems that some of it, important parts, had faded from my memory over the two subsequent decades. Pollan’s book brought them back.

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Here are three

First: Dancing with love. This took place during the second psilocybin experience. If you state an intention before doing these things, it often will affect the experience. I said I wanted to dance with love, something I was feeling an immense lack of in the wake of my divorce.

What I imagined would happen was that a loving woman would appear to me, and we would dance. But that did not take place.

I saw nothing. There were no visuals, quite the opposite of what had happened during the first psilocybin excursion when the visuals were incredible. Instead, a sea of love enveloped me. It was sheer feeling and nothing like I had ever experienced in my life.

It was how you might imagine being embraced by God.

Second: Sea of blood. This one was a mix of LSD and psilocybin taken simultaneously. After the experience ended, the psychologist told me I had been laughing the entire time, which was strange considering what happened. A flood of blood from above had poured all over me.

Think the final scenes of Carrie.

While this sounds horrifying, it was not. Quite the contrary. While this happened, a voice told me it was time to grow up and become a man.

Third: The black panther. I remember this best of all, perhaps because it happened after I thought the experience had run its course. I was with my helper in his dark living room around midnight. It’s ended, I told him, and I decided to go to bed.

I felt totally normal.

I went into the bedroom, got undressed and lay on the bed in the dark. And I turned into a black panther. Just like that. My tail swished. My whiskers twitched. It was real. An incredible feeling of power. I don’t know how long it lasted, but then I became a woman.

I felt an extreme need to be cared for. I don’t know how long that lasted either, but then I drifted off to sleep.

My long trip too

A far cry from a Boeing 777.

My wacky friend Steve Cotton lives by choice on a Mexican beach in the sweltering heat which, in itself, illustrates his wackiness. He’s a talented writer, so check out his blog.

Recently, he flew around the world, which is an interesting thing on the face of it, but he did it oddly. Except for two plane changes in which he did not leave the airports in Tokyo and Dubai, the trip consisted entirely of sitting on the plane. That’s it, two days in the air.

Sitting. Go figure.

His long trip reminded me of something similar I did in 1964. I too sat in a steel tube, but it traveled from Los Angeles to New York City. Instead of Steve’s two days, my trip lasted four. Steve’s trip seems to have had no purpose aside from flying around the world.

My trip’s purpose was to see an 18-year-old Jewish Princess hottie in New York City. Her name was Janie Friedman, and we’d been an item in high school. I was in looove.

Unlike Steve’s cushy, Business Class accommodations, I had a standard seat on a Greyhound bus. There was no stewardess, and there were no onboard meals with cloth napkins and a fresh tulip.

We stopped at diners to eat and stretch our legs.

Unlike Steve’s extensive planning (one supposes), I did no planning whatsoever. I did not even think to take a toothbrush onboard. It was stashed in my luggage below. I spent those four days unbathed in the same duds, same underwear, same everything.

Looove inspires madness.

But it was an interesting ride from the southwestern corner of America to the northeastern. We went through deserts and plains and farmlands. Some cities too though I don’t recall which ones. In the middle of the night near Pittsburgh, the bus broke down, and we sat a spell in the dark till a replacement arrived.

It was my first and lengthiest visit to New York City. I stayed four nights in a cheap hotel near the Manhattan bus station.

In the mid-1970s, I returned briefly to New York City en route to Europe, and I’ve never returned.

The reunion with Janie was a disappointment. She had moved beyond me, and I realized we were not to be. I hopped another Greyhound down to Nashville where my parents were living, and life continued thereafter from one misstep to the next.

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(Note: I addressed this trip from another angle over three years ago in a post titled The New York City Adventure.)

The Highway Patrol

Since I’ve thrown up my hands about my former nation, which has resulted in my reading the news far less, it’s opened up time for other online activities. One of my new favorites is watching the Highway Patrol television series on YouTube. The series ran from 1955 to 1959 and starred Broderick Crawford who was a drunk.

In real life, not in the TV show.

In that time span, I was age 11 to 15. However, I do not recall watching the show regularly even though it was highly popular at the time. Now it’s really fun to watch due to the classic cars — almost like a visit to Havana — and illogical scripts.

Highway Patrol was filmed in the Los Angeles area, and only four years after the series ended, I was sitting on the seat of an old Indian trike in Venice, California, with my two best buds. I posted this photo before, but it’s been years, so do forgive.

The fellow in black is Adrian Landres, a Jewish guy and native Los Angeleno who was my Air Force roommate. He was given a psychiatric discharge some months after this photo was taken, and he died about 15 years ago in his early 60s, still in California.

The fop behind us is Gilbert, also Jewish, born in France, emigrated to the United State alone at 14 and now living in New Orleans where I introduced him to his wife many years back.

He owns a chemical supply company.


While searching for the top photo, I happened upon another, which was taken in north Florida around 1961. I was madly in love with this girl, Janie Friedman, and about two years later asked her to marry me. She said no.* As her name suggests, she is also Jewish. A high percentage of Jews have passed through my life.

Excuse me now. I’m going to watch another episode of Highway Patrol.


* Janie, a spoiled only child, was incredibly smart and incredibly hot. That first trait likely explains why she didn’t marry me. The second likely explains why I wanted to marry her.

Road to the pyramid

The V marks the very spot.

Following an occasional Hacienda tradition, we took a drive Sunday afternoon. We headed for the pyramid. On a distant day in 2002, I got down on my knee, just like in the movies, and proposed to the fine, young Mexican babe standing in front of me on that auspicious afternoon. She said yes.

The pyramid was built before the time of Columbus or rather, in our case, Hernán Cortés. Columbus never set foot in Mexico as far as we know.

It’s a nice ride through lovely land, and we skirted the town of Ihuatzio.

Nopal cactus behind a rock wall.
An inelegant gate to someone’s humble home.
That appears to be a pine or maybe a Christmas tree.
Entering the unfancy town of Ihuatzio.

It was a good end to the afternoon during which we earlier dined in one of our favorite mountaintop restaurants, a spot named El Rincón de Arrachera. I had sensational breaded shrimp and my child bride dived into chicken enchiladas topped with mole.

We missed you.