I wanted to provide valuable information for journey preparation, which includes knowing your “set and setting,” as well as taking it a step farther and including awareness of “substance.” When using these powerful sacraments, doing some homework beforehand is imperative to a healing journey. When preparation is followed, and one follows intention over spontaneity, the chances of challenging journeys is decreased. Of course, one can never predict how the journey will unfold. That is why reducing risks is highly important for all who partake, but most certainly for those new to psilocybin.
- find a place that promotes calm and has the capacity to be a comfortable container for your journey. If it is not your home, make sure you will be undisturbed for at least 5 hours. Access to outdoors is a bonus.
- a bed is a great place for journeys. Wear loose and comfortable clothing. Have the space be tidy and have comforting spiritual relics, plants or totems for connection to spirit.
- make sure the space is reasonably clean, as senses can be heightened during altered states, which can negatively impact the journey. Soft, and/or “trippy” color-change lighting is often enjoyed.
- make a music playlist beforehand, so you won’t have to figure out how to work Youtube during the journey, which can be distracting and fruitless
- on that note: ambient, instrumental, or world rhythmic music is most recommended; lyrical or associated music (for example, love songs) can bring about changes in emotion that may be unwanted
- Clear the energy of yourself, the space and sitter with sage or palo santo, and if desired, invite your higher power, spirit allies, or spirit of the mushroom into the space to guide you. Even if you don’t subscribe to the idea of energy clearing, think about it like you’re protecting your mind.
Set (or, Mindset)
- doing an honest self-inventory beforehand can be of great value to your journey – the mushroom can hold a mirror to every part of our being, and you may find an increased awareness in certain areas of life you tend to avoid viewing clearly. I have developed one for my own clients that explores your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and environmental habits and preferences.
- Postpone your journey if you are going through a deeply challenging time (recent traumatic event, grief, trauma therapy, moving, acutely detoxing from drugs or alcohol, recent job loss, recent acute mental health difficulty, new child, etc) – while some can still journey through this, trip support is HIGHLY recommended, as the chances for a challenging trip rise sharply.
- avoid alcohol use at least 24-48 hours before, the longer the better (and other illicit drugs or pharmaceuticals such as benzodiazepines or Adderall, unless you are prescribed them, in which case consult your physician)
- get a good night’s sleep the night before, and practice some mindfulness meditation to become more centered.
- have at least one person (or at least online support) for discussing your experience. It is much better to do this with the support of a guide, mentor, sponsor, or close friend who have their own knowledge and experience with this mode of healing.
Lastly, the commonly used term “integration” happens after the medicine’s effect fade. This is now the time to begin unpacking and discovering what you learned. It is a personal, and ongoing process. The days immediately after a journey, rest and reflect without trying to figure out all that you experienced. Writing, drawing/painting, making music, and reading psychedelic literature are all great integration activities. Seek integration support through friends, support groups with others who have had psychedelic experiences, or trained professionals.
We cannot heal alone – a support network is a large part of successful integration!
Please feel free to use the contact page for questions about finding integration support and ways to build your “psychedelic network.”