People are frequently asking what mushrooms do for a person – more specifically, what they did for me. That answer is equal parts ineffable, personal, and spiritual. In this post I will discuss how they have helped me – remember, healing with these ancient remedies is highly personal, and each person has different experiences.
For myself, the mushroom truly does feel like a gentle loving cosmic parent. Let me explain how and why. Generations of neglectful, reactive or straight-up abusive parenting have caused a great number of traumas and disconnection from our inner child. As I am a parent myself, I also wanted to change the many ingrained reactive habits I was now experiencing raising my own kids, such as yelling or criticism. I know how powerful love is as a force for good; and it seems like psilocybin (and other entheogens) promote exactly that – universal oneness and love. I had a negative inner voice – always seeing the bad, always noticing things others didn’t, and never wanting to get too excited about anything, as many developmental factors lead me to believe that life just sucks. An aggressive mother, moving too frequently, being bullied, and immersing myself into “live fast, die young” all resulted in deeply rooted pain and depression that no Western medicine approach could fix.
Hungry ghost is absolutely the most accurate description of addiction there is, in my opinion. It is never satisfied – and due to the fleeting nature of both pleasure and pain, it is constantly grasping. Because when the heroin was gone, I used Xanax or ativan. (note: I think benzos are truly useful for acute anxiety and panic – we just need to use the lowest dose for the shortest time) When the Xanax was gone, I used alcohol. When I was pregnant, I ate. Or facebooked. And shopped. But I felt empty, insecure and still doubtful of ever being able to feel better. In shamanic belief systems, addictions are seen as caused by negative spirits. It is believed they attach to vulnerable people. Looking back at my 20’s, I felt best when I was practicing any spiritual or self-care ritual – meditation, prayer, smudging, building female community, getting acupuncture, doing yoga. I see the possibility that it is our choices that can re-attach us to these hungry ghosts. But how could I stop making these dumb choices, that I rationally understood were counter-intuitive to growth?
Back to the mushroom as a cosmic parent. Heroic doses and regular microdoses awaken you to an inner voice that will guide you towards amazing existence, if you follow it. It’s a voice that, gently, reminds you to smile; to help others; to pick up trash in nature; to commune with the natural world; that thoughts are just thoughts. This voice has changed my existence for the better, but it takes work to maintain communion with it. The mushroom wants us to be healthy, to realize that what we put into our mouths affects our entire being. That moving the body is also important to homeostasis. That we are also energy beings, so pay attention to the type of people you surround yourself with and what you put into your mind; and don’t be nervous to talk to others, you have nothing to be nervous of! Psilocybin is mind blowing in its’ ability to decrease social anxiety. It wants us to connect – that’s what we are all longing for deep down anyways. It guides you towards your true path – and then walks side by side with you on it as you learn & outgrow unhelpful habits.
This path takes dedication, care and work. It is a working relationship between yourself and the mushroom. Having unreasonable expectations (such as, This will fix me forever! or, I am going to figure out the mystery of life!) is almost certainly going to backfire. I had none going into my journey at the end of 2016 – only a desperation for something that helped. What I got was more than I ever thought I would. However, I am learning to be more careful with how I describe it to people, and what expectations I am having before each journey. This isn’t a panacea or magic pill – and challenging trips do happen, even with the best intentions and preparation. That’s why this path is a marathon, not a race. It’s not for those with severe mental health issues such as psychosis or Bipolar mania (yet, until we discover more as far as neurochemistry goes.) It’s challenging for those with an extremely limited support network, as connection and support are vital to proper integration. Please approach mushrooms with respectful caution. Do as much research beforehand as possible – and ALWAYS have a sober friend there for your first journey.