So, you’ve decided to eat some mushrooms. Good on you.

If it’s your first time, you might feel a bit nervous. That’s appropriate. A mushroom trip is an intense experience. This guide will familiarize you with the nature of a mushroom trip, so you know what to expect from that experience.

If you want to make sure your trip has only good vibes and awesome hallucinations, you should read something else. You are not reading that sort of guide.

Not that your trip must be challenging and morbid, but the most important thing you can do to prepare is to accept all the possibilities of experience.

Be Ready

Be ready to feel like someone stepped into your head and shuffled things around, or that they took some things out, or put some things in. Be ready for hysteric laughing fits, awe, profound insights, confusion, anxiety, and discomfort. Be ready for anything.

No amount of mental preparation can compare to the actual experience. It’s one thing to convince yourself you’re ready for anything before tripping, but it’s another thing entirely to have an inexplicable yet sure feeling that the setting sun will bring sinister spirits into the world.

Still, recognizing that anything can happen will make you feel more comfortable as you start to trip. Additionally, if you experience an uncomfortable moment (or three), and you can't shake it, remember the whole experience is temporary. Your sense of helplessness will subside. Acknowledging the transience of your trip helps to relieve certain stressors.

People and Places

People and places can make or break your trip. Treat your future, tripping self like a baby. Set yourself up so that if you do revert to a baby state, you’ll be safe.

One way to insulate yourself against stressful and demanding situations is to go out into nature. Quiet, open space in nature, secluded from strangers and authority or security figures is probably your best bet, just in case you forget how normal people are supposed to behave and freak out.

Another great thing to do is to surround yourself with good people. Tripping alone for the first time is risky, so I would advise you to go with someone experienced. It would be safest and most controlled with a babysitter— someone who has had experience tripping before, that chooses to stay sober to take care of you and whoever else might be tripping. You can learn more about setting up a safe and comfortable environment for your trip here.

I’ve found that having a person who is solid and cool can really help keep things controlled. Once, I was tripping in the backseat of a car with my friends. Some trivial thought freaked me out and sent me into a deep existential crisis. I don’t remember about what, but I was stuck in a spiral of worry, and I couldn’t get myself out.

I stopped my giggling and babbling and said something about not knowing anymore. Then I grew quiet and withdrawn. My good friend in the front seat turned around to me and casually said, “Hey, it’s fine. You’re here to have fun.” That simple sentence calmed me down, and from there my whole trip turned around. I thought I was facing some impossible struggle, but my friend straightened me out with just a few words. Go with people you trust and feel comfortable around.

Ingestion

After your preparations, all you have to do is eat the mushrooms. People respond to the taste differently. Most of the people I’ve asked about it didn’t like the taste and had to power through eating them.

Some folks put the mushrooms on top of pizza or another food, to make it more appetizing. Maybe I’m weird, but I’ve always enjoyed the taste. It’s earthy, soft, almost chewy, and similar to the non-magical mushrooms you’ve eaten before.

You may start to feel queasy about an hour or so after ingesting the mushrooms. Your hands might get clammy. Part of this response is due to the chemicals in the mushrooms, and part of it is your body’s normal reaction to ingesting a powerful and novel substance.

Onset

For whatever reason, people sometimes get this anxiety about whether or not they are tripping. They’ll make comments about not quite feeling it yet, about “kind of” noticing some effects, but still downplaying them.

Don’t be one of those people. Don’t micromanage your trip. Just eat the mushrooms, and let them do their work.

Usually, after the queasiness and discomfort subside, you will begin to notice the onset of effects. Since changes in thought are more subtle and difficult to observe, you’ll probably realize you’re tripping by just looking around.

Colors will be more vibrant. They might seem to glow. You’ll notice surfaces glittering or an unusual richness of texture. You will find yourself smiling uncontrollably. You will start feeling giggly.

And then, suddenly…you will be tripping.

The Trip

This is it. This is what you came for. Like I said, be ready for anything. Sometimes, a trip will feel like a whirlwind. You’ll just have to hold on tight and go along for the ride.

Other times, you will have a lot more control during your trip. You’ll feel like you can navigate through a totally new mindset. If you have a trip like this, it’s a good chance to explore yourself, or to turn inwards. Consider examining your personal problems, relationships, goals, ideas, beliefs, and fears.

Your sense of time and space perception during a trip gets pretty warped. The distortion manifests itself in beautiful ways— like staring at a flower for twenty minutes without even noticing. However, if you’re experiencing distress, thirty seconds of thought might feel like a deep, anxious struggle that goes on for a half hour. Exercise your power of thought here. Give your attention to something else. There’s no point in keeping yourself in a state of discomfort. Remember your reasons for embarking on your trip.

Really, it’s nobody’s place but your own to say what you should or should not do during a trip. You are about to experience a complete change in your thinking and perceiving of the world. Everything else is up to you.

The Comedown

Calling it a comedown is misleading. The tail end of a mushroom trip might just be my favorite part. I’ve never experienced any sickness, any disorientation or disillusionment. Compare that to other drugs, like coke, MDMA, or even alcohol. Recently, after a night of heavy drinking, a friend of mine couldn’t even get a few steps out the door without vomiting. Another friend, who was snorting coke and MDMA for nearly the whole night, slept for 15 hours straight, sweating profusely.

Contrary to the deep regret and discomfort that usually follows a long night of hard, substance-fueled partying, the comedown of a mushroom trip is always a mellow, introspective, and life-affirming experience.

To me, going on a mushroom trip feels like losing my mind. I forget a lot of things that I usually take for granted— simple things, basic concepts. Once, I forgot the concept of gender during a trip. Another time I forgot the concept of purchasing. I once forgot so much that I figured the only thing I knew how to do was give a smile. So, for the next hour or so, I just smiled at everyone until they returned one.

Coming back from a place so far removed from “normal” thinking can be therapeutic. For one, there’s the relief and appreciation of getting all your thoughts back. You start to find the right words for things; you start to recognize more complicated concepts. It’s very exciting. It’s like relearning everything you’ve come to know during your whole life over the period of an hour. There is no other experience quite like it.

On top of that, you’ll notice how imaginary our lives are. During the trip, you’ll be put on a plane of really raw existence. You’ll be stripped of that little voice in the back of all of our heads, endlessly analyzing and ascribing meaning to everything. And when you come back from that, you will notice the voice is not real, and you will recognize how those judgments and fears feel artificial and contrived.

Afterward

When trying mushrooms, you will feel, think, and perceive new things. Whatever insights you might have encountered on your trip, keep them in mind over the next few days. The mushrooms themselves won’t automatically change your life. But if you treat the trip as educational, if you don’t disregard it as just stupid fun, you will find that your life will be positively affected, as if the trip was a catalyst for a host of changes waiting to happen.

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