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Tobin S. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 03:49 AM
Original message
Maybe you guys can help me out
Edited on Mon May-30-11 04:04 AM by Tobin S.
I am definitely on a unique path. I was raised going to a Baptist church. When I was 16, the atmosphere of the place just seemed oppressive to me and I quit going. A few years later I would start dabbling in drug culture and I also started reading up on eastern philosophy. I went insane when I was 20 and did not emerge from that hellish experience until I was 30. Since then I went from being an agnostic to being an atheist. I'm back to being an agnostic again. But all through that time I never stopped searching for answers to life's big questions. And now I have some big questions for you guys.

I just read a book called Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism by Daniel Pinchbeck. The book is about shamanic cultures and the drugs they use to enter the spirit world. It's also about Pinchbeck's personal journey with other psychedelic drugs. The reason the book interested me is that I became insane shortly after a particularly bad LSD trip. The book is very good and there is also a web site devoted to it at I read the book looking for answers and I got some. But it also raised some more of those big questions for me and I wrote to the author on the chance that he might be able to help me out. And now I'm going to look to you guys for some ideas. Below is the e-mail I wrote to Pinchbeck. I'd appreciate any feedback that you might have and feel free to take a crack at the big questions. :)

Hi Daniel,

I hope this e-mail reaches you. It's been a long time since Breaking Open the Head came out. I just found the book a few days ago at a used book store and I wish I would have found it at the time it was originally published. I was just starting to recover from some serious trauma at the time and my ten year other-worldly journey was still fresh in my raw mind. But it's something that I'll never completely forget and I still have questions from that time. Maybe you can help me out with an answer or possibly point me in the right direction.

I will try to keep this brief, I'm not going to write a book here, but I will need to go into a little detail to give you a good idea of what happened to me.

It was early 1993 and I was 20 years old and attending college. I had become bored with school. I was a good student with a 3.5 GPA, but as I was drawing close to my junior year I still could not decide on a major. For some reason that I forget now, I started reading up on psychedelic drugs. I was considering psychology for a major and maybe I had run across Leary or Alpert in one of my text books, but I can't remember. The adventures of those psychedelic icons made me want to start my own investigation, and I did.

I had taken LSD one time before when I was 17. I guess it was some low grade stuff because it didn't really do a whole lot to me. I had a bit of a buzz, I was seeing trails a little bit, and at one point the walls and ceiling started to appear like some liquid that was rippling. I still knew the guy that had given me the stuff and I got into contact with him to see if I might be able to try it again. It turned out that he was well stocked with some blotter that he said was very good.

So one night I went over to his place to start my adventure. You mentioned in the book that set and setting are very important to the psychedelic trip. I have also seen that elsewhere and I think I was conscious of the idea when I went over to my friend's place. We were in the finished basement of his parents' home which he had converted into a little apartment. I trusted the guy and felt safe there. We were in a comfortable setting. I had a couple of beers to get nice and relaxed. He showed me what he had. It was just some white blotter with no printing on it. He said it was strong and asked me how much I wanted. I told him two hits without really understanding what I might be getting into. He took the same dosage and we dropped at the same time. Then we kicked our feet up, turned on some music, and waited for something to start happening.

It was a horrible trip for me. For the first few hours it was an incredible high. I wasn't seeing much in the way of visions, just the trails that I had experienced before, but the buzz was amazing. I had taken the drug thinking that I was going to go to heaven and I looked to be headed that way. Then I promptly went to hell. And I stayed there for ten years.

I dropped out of college shortly after the trip and moved out of the house. At 23 I was hospitalized for being suicidal. They prescribed an anti-depressant for me and sent me on my way. What I was experiencing was full blown psychosis and I don't know how they missed that. I was hearing voices, I was paranoid, I was detached from reality, I was filled with hate, nobody understood me. I would live in that hell until I was 29 when I was hospitalized again for being suicidal. They gave me the bipolar diagnosis that time. The medication they prescribed knocked down my psychosis, but it also made me very sluggish and tired all the time. I was sleeping 15 hours a day. So I stopped taking the medication thinking that now that I knew what reality was I could hold onto it by myself. Bad idea. I was back in the hospital for the same reason again by the time I was 30.

That was the last time. They gave me a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, a combination of bipolar and schizophrenic symptoms, and started me on some new drugs. They brought me out of my hellish existence and into the reality that most people experience without any side affects. Compared to what I had been through it seemed like heaven. I was the happiest person on the psych ward.

On June 5 of this year I will have lived 8 years symptom-free. The strongest drug I take now, besides my medication, is a few beers here and there. I haven't taken psychedelics at all in that time. I drive a truck for a living now locally here in Richmond, Indiana. I have a nice home where I live with my fiancee. Everything is going good for me as far as the American way of life goes, but a question still lingers.

What happened to me?

Was it bad karma? I think I would have had to have been Hitler in my previous life to go through the torment that I went through. Brain damage? From what I can gather, LSD doesn't cause biological damage. You mention in your book that the only real danger LSD can cause a person is the unveiling of an underlying psychotic illness, but how does that work?

You also mention in your book that many Indians in South America view physical illnesses as originating in the soul. Is mental illness a physical problem or a spiritual one? According to them my problem should be treated spiritually. I would love to be truly healed of this illness. Is it possible that a shaman could do that for me? If so, where would I find the right person?

Is it possible that I attracted the wrong kind spirit on my acid trip 18 years ago and it has latched onto my psyche like a parasitic soul?

I would love to be able to embark on a psychedelic journey again. I want to see these other worlds you speak of, but I don't think it's in the cards for me anymore, at least not through the use of drugs. But I would love to be rid of this illness that I have and the associated medication. Is it possible?

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MagickMuffin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-31-11 12:54 AM
Response to Original message
1. As someone who has some experience with this
I can tell you about some of my experiences. I use to trip quite often during the 80's and some in the 90's. Most of my trips were very enlightening, very Mystical.

Some of the "Vitamin A" was extremely strong. I generally liked to lie flat on my back (whenever possible) and do deep breathing until the trip really kicked in. I tried keeping a positive attitude and never drank anything stronger than water.

There was only one time that I consider having a bad trip, and that was when we went to Austin and stayed at a hotel just east of Downtown and close by a hospital. Austin has a double decker highway and we were at ground level. The ambulances were extremely busy that night and the volume and vibrations were too much for me too bear. To this day whenever I hear an ambulance I have a trigger reaction to that night, it doesn't cause any negative feelings but just makes me remember the reverberation of the sirens. I'm an empath so I attribute that bad trip to the environment.

I think you should consider asking yourself some of the questions you are seeking answers to by meditating on them and see what answers you receive.

"What happened to me?" What was your frame of mind? Did you know your friend that well? Did he fuck with your head?

"Was it bad karma?" I don't think so!

What kind of music were you listening to at the time? I usually listened to ambiant music, which caused good vibrations to influence my Consciousness.

Could there have been weird vibes from being in a basement? Something to consider.

As far as tripping again I wouldn't advise that considering your current condition. Perhaps some other time, but for now I think you should do more researching into your inner Consciousness. Find out how to be a Master on your own Mind.

I belong to AMORC and I have found some of the experiments we conduct to have similar
effects of tripping. Maybe this would be something of interest to you. If you are interested let me know and I'll give more details, or if you want to discuss anything further.

I hope Daniel eventually sends you a reply.

Good Luck with your quest on the Path of Uniqueness.

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Kind of Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-31-11 03:01 AM
Response to Original message
2. Hey, Tobin S. I suggest research
and more research until you find a path that resounds in your being and/or Daniel responds.

Right now, I'm reading books by Dr. Hank Wesselman, an anthropologist who writes of his awakening - spontaneous and his journeys so far. His one book I'm eager to get to is "The Journey to the Sacred Garden: A Guide to Traveling the Spiritual Realms."

Also books by Dr. Michael Harner, the first anthropologist who is said to have brought shamanism to the West as a legitimate practice, including the use of hallucinogens.

Another good place to check out is the Institute of Noetic Sciences nice overview video of what they do here
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Tobin S. Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jun-06-11 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Thanks, Blue
Wesselman sounds interesting. I'll check into him.

Right now my spiritual journey consists of books and also reflections of my everyday life and interactions with the people I meet. The book by Pinchbeck may be a stepping stone in getting myself back out there again and experiencing different points of view, those that are currently flying under the radar of mainstream thought that writers like Pinchbeck and probably Wesselman want to make widely known. I will check out your link. :thumbsup:
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Kind of Blue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-09-11 12:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, I think another good place for
checking out different points of view on our journey is Reality Sandwich /
I just did a search for Pinchbeck there and found no less than 103 articles written by him and various opinions referencing him. And surprised to see he responds to comments on his articles. He's listed at the top on their list of contributors. So I'm just thinking this might be a good way to contact him. I was pleasantly surprised to see Wesselman in a search there - doesn't even compare to Pinchbeck's. IMHO, I think you might really enjoy this site :)
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