Preparation leads to a positive experience
Each psilocybin journey can be a rewarding and life-changing experience, but carries real risks if taken lightly. Here's how you can maximize the probability of having a positive experience and minimize the risk of a "bad trip."
Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive ingredient found in more than 200 species of magic mushrooms and a few species of magic truffles. Magic mushrooms flourish on every continent except Antarctica and can be grown indoors with relative ease. Magic truffles are the underground part of certain magic mushrooms. They are legal in the Netherlands and sold openly in gift stores and "smart shops." Several nonprofit organizations and pharmaceutical companies are also creating synthetic psilocybin.
Mushrooms sprout from a vast underground mycelial network, which acts as nature's highway, providing communication and connections between individuals (e.g. trees) in an ecosystem. When humans ingest these psilocybin mushrooms, we may awaken to the interconnectedness of everything: our emotions link with memories, our physical bodies, spiritual realms, our families, our communities, and nature. Furthermore, like mycelium's function in decomposing dead organisms and recycling them into new lifeforms, mushrooms break down various tensions, traumas, and toxicities in our systems and transmute them into positive emotions and states of mind.
Psilocybin connects us with our natural Inner Healing Intelligence, which knows what's best for us. The medicine rewires our hearts and minds to be positive, open, and joyful. Having evolved and survived for more than a billion years, mushrooms can help humanity transform into a more intelligent, loving, and harmonious species.
This guide provides guidelines that will help you prepare the body, mind, and spirit to maximize the probability of having a safe, positive, and life-affirming psilocybin experience and minimize the risk of having an unpleasant or traumatizing one.
However, implementing these suggestions will not guarantee a pleasant and joyful experience; the quality and dosage of the medicine you choose and various cultural, environmental, and psychological factors will all influence your experience. As the authors of The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead write, "[T]he drug dose does not produce the transcendent experience. It merely acts as a chemical key - it opens the mind and frees the nervous system of its ordinary patterns and structures. The nature of the experience depends almost entirely on set and setting."
Sometimes, the most challenging and painful journeys provide the most significant and necessary wake-up calls. The medicine allows various subconscious and often deeply suppressed patterns to rise to the surface and teach us lessons. As Stanislav Grof, one of the founders of transpersonal psychology, states, psychedelics function as "nonspecific amplifiers of the psyche." In other words, the content and nature of our psychedelic experiences are expressions of the heart and mind revealing themselves.
Many of these suggestions in this document can prove beneficial when applied in your day-to-day life and post-journey integration process. While the psychedelic experience is essential, the difficult work begins afterward as you integrate its insights into your daily life. By consciously and consistently implementing what you've learned during your journey, you will amplify the transformational nature of the journey itself.
When consumed in a safe environment with a trustworthy and competent guide, psilocybin is one of the safest mind-altering substances. However, a psilocybin experience is not for everyone.
Each criterion on the following list increases the probability of having a safe and transformative experience. Of course, failing to meet one or more of these conditions does not necessarily disqualify you immediately but does present challenges. Please review these guidelines and use psilocybin safely at your own risk.
If you meet all these criteria, you are in an excellent position to consider exploring the benefits of psilocybin.
If you have questions regarding potential interactions between psilocybin and other medications or substances, please consider visiting Spirit Pharmacist, Dr. Emily Kulpa, The Holistic Apothec, Dr. Erica Zelfand, or Jen Zuckerman.