a journey into the DMT worlds……..
The message was vague and tantalizing, so I called back immediately.
“What do mean …..you got me DMT?”
My friend had gifted me the crystal extract. He said he appreciated my efforts on psychedelic activism and wanted to show his gratitude.
For me, DMT had been an elusive experience I had not yet claimed. Decades of listening to Terence McKenna rant about it, Joe Rogan joke about it and watching the notorious documentary that made it famous. It was finally my time, so I headed over.
There are usually only a few sources for DMT, most are legal herbs that you can buy online. Chacruna, half of an Ayahuasca brew is notoriously hard to get north of Peru. Acacia is easy to get but is often claimed to be less potent. Mimosa is the best source for underground lab made DMT, and happened to be the source of my coming trip. The process is fairly simple and it doesn’t take a degree to make it. Strangely cattails, certain grasses, toad venom and parts of the human brain also contain the stuff, but let’s not get too far ahead.
The house was in a hilly part of St Louis called Dogtown. An older refurbished house with a giant upstairs attic space. With the Alex Grey artwork, third eye tapestries and a melee of reptiles, this was the perfect place to trip into my inner spaces. I settled into a nice cushion and got a grasp on the protocols.
“Three big rips with a high powered heat source. Hold that 3rd one as long as you can.”
A box turtle looked up at me from his heat lamp and I wondered if he was my guide, remembering a great Simpsons episode, it seemed fitting.
My breathwork had been on point, as of late and my meditation stance was decent. I was gonna see where this thing went ….to its farthest edges.
One hit… and hold. It was a metallic and slightly unpleasant flavor. To make DMT, one must use some chemical compounds that are both easy to find and just plain nasty but isolating the compound into a form that will break the blood/brain barrier, is of vital importance. DMT extraction uses a crystallization, that if smoked, the vapor releases into the blood stream through the thin lining of your lungs, much like marijuana. DMT is 10 to 15 minutes max, of pure line Trypamine explosion within the serotonin synapse brain cohesion centers of the brain. Terence McKenna, the most famous psychonaut on the planet liked to say ….
DMT is the most powerful hallucinogen there is, if it gets any stronger, I don’t want to know about it. McKenna
Second hit, and I felt funny. My body was disappearing and the back of my neck felt like it was heating up with a buzzing sensation. I still had my eyes open but the edges of my vision were drifting into a fuzzy nothing. All I saw was the third hit being prepared and was unsure if I was ready. I inhaled deeply, centering, fighting the fear, and took the glass bong in my hand one last time.
Third hit, and I don’t remember putting it down. I held my breath for an eternity with my eyes closed and started to wonder if I was breathing at all, then without warning I let go. I remember thinking how pretty it was, like those old black light pens, with blue, orange and purple streaks moving across the black space behind my eyes. The most beautiful purposeful vibratory images one can imagine, only it was also in patterns. I wanted to see what they were so I looked deeper.
Was that Ganesha? A pyramid and the damn turtle?
Feelings were more important than visions, as I was trusting, and somehow also being led.
Then I woke up.
It felt like I opened my eyes but I didn’t open them in Dogtown, I was in a honeycomb. The shape was 5 sided, a universal symbol of molecular cohesion. Where was I, I thought, but I was also not just me. I was the eyes looking at me, looking out and understanding.
I just knew that humanity was there in that honeycomb with me, millions of tiny holes with souls gestating for who knows how long. I couldn’t see any other people, but I saw THEM. Two of THEM.
McKenna called them “the Machine elves” though he also describes them as multi colored Faberge eggs or Jeweled Basketballs.
I fell through the chrysanthemum into another place that didn’t seem like a state of mind, it seemed like another place. And what was going on in this place aside from the tastefully socketed indirect lighting, and the crawling geometric hallucinations along the domed walls, what was happening was that there were a lot of ahh.. beings in there, what I call self-transforming machine elves. Sort of like jewelled basketballs all dribbling their way toward me. McKenna
My self transforming machine elves were busy doing something important and I watched as if I was looking at another person in the room. They were definitely not ME, but entities as real as a coworker or a friend. Suddenly one looked over and realized it was being watched. The Machine Elf got closer to my honeycomb space, watching me with no eyes, just feeling.
“Why is this one awake?” It asked
I heard it in my head, a perspective of confusion, as it watched me. Like a dream where you know the score, and have a third perspective view of occurrences that feel familiar and yet are also not your life circumstances. The multi-colored Egg had no eyes and yet I felt was a being taking note of my tiny essence becoming self aware.
“Thank you” I said in awe, then I really woke up.
The box turtle was there, I looked down at it, as it stared back.
“I can still travel” I thought “the DMT is still in there” if I said it to the turtle or not is besides the point, the turtle got ME, it knew what needed to be done.
I am a chemical and spiritual geek, so the knowledge of shamanic techniques and biological workings are always floating in my head.
So I began to meditate and follow my breath. I returned to a state of visionary insight and found myself in a tunnel. It was swirling around like some kind of steam punk styled madness. Papers and photographs swirled around a wooden frame the size of commuter tunnel. I drifted for some time quite consciously through the maze asking myself.
“What is this place?”
The answer came from within
“This is your tunnel reality, all your memory, ideas and understanding come from this middle place.”
Slowly the vision disappeared as my 15 mins were up and the DMT dissipated in my brain. The flood was over and normal reality returned. As was the custom during my time with the Psychedelic Society of St Louis, biggest gift one can bestow to a tripper is a kind ear, a holding of space and the act of listening. I ranted and attempted to make sense of my visions by recalling as much as I could.
I would use DMT several more times with separate unique visions. In one memorable trip I found myself on a chaotic field of color. My head was halved as my skull top was removed. I just floated, this half head creature in the midst of chaos. Suddenly a little white light appeared behind my eyes and shot upwards into the nothing. This line moved sideways in both directions and into the horizon, then the space between the two lines created a circle.
I realized this was sacred geometry, I was mapping reality with my inner eye.
“Is this how it works?” I asked the chaos of color.
I just knew that formless horizon was our ecological biological reality and our brains are constantly mapping it with the precision of a scientist.
I never met any more Machine Elves during my other “Trypts” but I did meet a Goddess once and she was beautiful and frightening like any true feminine force.
DMT remains a strange subjective experience.
What the experience “is”, seems to differ across cultural landscapes. Stories are as varied as the people who experience these worlds. So often one has a hard time describing it, like a dream. In fact the dream world is very much intertwined. MRI scans find DMT users are not using their eyes, but activating parts of the brain related to dreaming. Dr. Rick Strassman’s work with DMT “the Spirit Molecule” has advanced our scientific knowledge and he posits that the “God experience” the mystics have operated on, in similar veins, having visions of God and Angels, differ only in belief systems.
The Melatonin channels, which relate to Circadian Rhythm and our ability to form memory and store information, are using the same molecular highways as these plant based experiences. In essence …the brain becomes activated with an emphasis on connectivity and an ability to see the bigger picture.
But what to make of the Aliens in our head?
A funny fact about Terence McKenna, is that he was influenced by the work of Jacques Valle, the famous computer scientist who thought all the world’s mythology could in fact manifest itself into objective reality, with forms that are both subjective and cultural. So the magic based decedents of the Druids, who have a similar mythology about a meddling species from other worlds, only they called them Fairies. When McKenna uses the term fairies and elves, he might have been tapping into that ancient Irish heritage of his bloodline, seeing the types of things he expected to see. Valle and McKenna both contend, these are real, and it is our notion of reality that remains the problem with seeing behind the curtain of our linguistic construction, one that says these things are ONLY in our heads.
Shamanic cultures have long used these altered states to achieve the visions. If a vision can tell you where the buffalo are roaming, does it matter if it is real or not? Ancient cultures used the vital information from dreams and visions to work all kinds of odd magic. If indeed DMT is a visionary state and can reflect valuable data, then it means how we use it… is of vast importance. This is no party drug, though the DMT muse can find it’s way into music, paintings and cultural shifts.
For my own personal DMT experiences, I saw what I needed to see, in order to create pathways in my brain that included a larger sense what it means to be human. When I saw the chaos, I understood NATURE, and the unfolding of randomness. When my mind mapped these spaces using the tools of a rational mind, math and reason, I was able to grasp the abstract philosophy of our ancient ancestors. A thing that is a thing, but not a thing.
As I floated in tunnel of my own personal word reality, a record of my sensory experience and I just …..knew that a greater world existed just outside the constructs of my mind.
My final thought about the Machine Elves, my own translucent basketball, doing its business keeping an eye on humanity. One look reduced me to an ant, not intelligent enough to grasp why humanity was in honeycomb and who were these masked entities behind the scenes.
Was it True enough?
McKenna liked to say, it is not only stranger than you suppose, its stranger than you CAN suppose.
My adventures with DMT have left me confused and yet satisfied. I can only grasp at the straws, and wonder. I have had many adventures with these odd plants and compounds. Most are legal, or on the fringe, but whatever DMT really is, it will blow your socks off and the memory of those visions will linger long into your life, transmuting into a unique philosophy of existing.
Whose to say it isn’t all Real?
*all the photos were created and taken by Lew Blink.
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