I was never ‘the’ kid in high school that did drugs and when I got older I did my fair share of drinking at parties and smoking weed or hash. I just found out recently that many of my friends would do LSD and go to math class, take Molly/Ecstasy/MDMA and go to raves or do mushrooms in the forest. I must have been living under a rock ‘cause I only heard about these drugs about a decade or so ago.
When I was in university in England (studied Clinical and Social Psychology – which lends well to the work I do now – Guiding Psychedelic ceremonies and Integration Coaching), I drank a ‘tea’ that I found out later, was mushrooms. I have no idea how much I drank, but I sure was hallucinating and spent the entire night under the coats that were thrown on the bed in one of the bedrooms.
So that is the extent of my Recreational experience in my former life. Near zero.
Fast forward to me at age 52 and heading to Costa Rica for a retreat to help me get over myself already. I was going to an Ayahuasca centre and didn’t even know what I was getting myself into. It was scary as hell but deeply transformational – my life was reignited.
READ my journey HERE
This retreat was a Guided Ceremony experience (4 ceremonies actually).
In the last 4 years I dove right into over 100 journeys of varying medicines – Ayahuasca, MDMA, mushrooms, San Pedro, Peyote, 5 MEO-dmt, LSD, and a host of others that aren’t mainstream but very healing.
The journeys have been a mix bag of guided ceremony and recreation. I have to say that guided ceremonies are WAY better to me than just recreational use and I will list out the reasons why. I am not a recreational nay-sayer, I am just saying that I prefer to be in a safe environment, with the right people in case things go sideways. And they certainly can go sideways. And they can be beautiful and blissful.
Recreational Psychedelic Journeys
I can only speak from my experience and from those that share their stories with me.
Recreational psychedelic use is when you are alone or with a group of friends, often in a party setting or just chilling out in nature, or on your couch. I have done all of the above.
I highly recommend that you do not do psychedelics when you are alone for safety reasons (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual).
READ my blog on the safe use of medicines HERE
I have done a few journeys on my own and I got to tell you, that can be scary AF. You can become dysregulated, go down a dark path, a rabbit hole or you have an emotional reaction and can’t quite get yourself out of the mental looping effect. And there is no one there to help you move the energy that is stuck.
I wasn’t experienced enough back then to know how to use the breath to move stuck energy and not allow the psychedelic to ‘take you over’. On more than one occasion, I was desperately thankful when the journey ended but then I needed to do the integration work to sort out what the hell just happened.
It is a good idea, if you still intend to do solo journeys, to tell someone what you are doing and have an agreement with them that you will reach out and they will be available if things go off the rails. I have had to call in a few life lines. Now I have an agreement with myself that I will only do low doses on my solo journeys – which can be super magical.
Being in a party scene can be super fun while on psychedelics but you do want to watch out for the energies of those around you. It is easy to take on the energy of others, good or bad, and it can add or take away from your own experience. Not being in a safe and controlled container (a rave is not a controlled environment and walking in nature sounds awesome, but it too can have adverse effects on your journey, especially if you are hallucinating).
You always want to do it with people you know and trust, set an intention, have agreements about the amount you ingest, have a plan if things go sideways and a firm commitment to everyone’s safety. With the right ‘structure’ in place your experience can be healing and magical.
If you are doing this for shits and giggles, and that can be so fun, you want to make sure you know where the medicine comes from and that it is safe and tested. So trusting your source and going ‘low and slow’ is a perfect way to start.
Never, ever blindly go into a setting (environment) to do psychedelics when your gut instinct tells you NO.
Listen to your gut first, friends second.
Never, ever do psychedelics when your set (mindset) is not regulated, clear, focused and without the right intention.
Recreational use is exactly for that – recreation.
If you feel sad, lonely, dysregulated or lacking clarity or without a healthy intention, you can go down a deep dark path that is tough to get out.
If you are feeling any of the above then a Guided Ceremony is for you.
Guided Psychedelic Ceremony
Clearly, as a Psychedelic Guide and Integration Coach, I favor Guided ceremonies for all of the reasons I mentioned above, but also for many others. Will I still do a recreational journey? Of course, but it will have all the components of safety first!
Guided Ceremonies need to be led by qualified, trained and experienced people in how to guide someone through a journey. Experience also implies them having tried and do use psychedelics regularly and, most importantly, have tried the actual psychedelic and dose and from the source, that they give to you. NO EXCEPTIONS.
You will want to check out the Guides background, experience and vision and have a consultation call with them, via video is best, so you can see them and they can see you. You are building a relationship with them, so it’s important that you know as much about their story and journey.
It’s the ‘know-like-trust’ factor between you and the Guide.
Here’s the deeper reason why I like guided journeys.
We all experience trauma in our lives, some Capital T (abuse, neglect, addiction etc) or small t (over achievers, feeling stuck, not good enough and so on).
Disclaimer: Trauma is a matter of perspective and small t can actually be Capital T and vice versa – I make no judgements or generalizations here.
When I get on a consult call I ask many questions and we discuss what challenges or traumas they have experienced in childhood or adulthood, parents upbringing, medications and supplements and so on. (I do a much more in depth questionnaire when they are ready to go ahead with a treatment). (Read my process here… http://spiritualalliance.ca/wp-content/uploads/Plant-Medicine-Ceremonies.pdf ).
Most often people share openly, some share hesitantly (trust building) and some say they don’t have any trauma – usually because they are only looking at Capital T trauma. I prompt them with questions or possible scenarios and most often the response is: “Oh I never thought of that.” “Oh I didn’t think that was a big deal but you are right, it did affect me.”
Almost 100% of the time (a few exceptions for those that are very analytical and cerebral and won’t/can’t get past their thinking brains), we need to pause and ‘feel’ the question so that they can access the experience within their body (as that is where trauma is stored). When that happens the dialogue becomes deeper.
So why do I like to get to the trauma or challenge, big or small? Because everyone on this planet has had or is having an experience of trauma or challenge. Period. Well actually they never stop! A sideways glance from someone, an innocent comment, a joke, a flippant suggestion, a look…you name it, something happened that we internalized and it created meaning for us that we carried with us throughout our life.
That’s when the story was created and we wrote a whole book on it.
That book is called, “Our Life Story.”
When we are journeying inside of a guided ceremony, you are held in a supportive, safe and loving container (well that is the hope! Working with me it is!). It is a space of non-judgement, energetic expansion, room for shedding what longer serves us, finding joy, healing heart-ache and past trauma, listening for answers to long awaited questions and so much more.
So hopefully this gives you a guideline on the different uses and experiences.
The one thing I know for sure is that everytime you do a journey, with the same medicine, same source and dose etc, the environment is exactly the same – you will have a completely different experience. This needs to be taken into consideration – let go of your expectation and come in with an intention. Be safety conscious and your experience will be enlightening in one way or another.
If you are ready to explore further, a journey for yourself or someone you know, let’s have a free, confidential conversation – it could literally transform your life!