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You may have heard about the psychedelic renaissance that has recently been marking mainstream media.
There has been a resurgence of research and studies showing much therapeutic potential for a range of issues from depression to addiction, personal growth, to pain and suffering at the end of life.
With so much information about the beneficial effects of psychedelics, you may be inclined to either learn more about these mysterious medicines or be curious about having a psychedelic experience yourself.
When choosing a psychedelic, it is important to understand your personal role and responsibility in order to gain the most out of the experience and in the safest way.
Just like any other new and life-changing event, certain awarenesses are key. Diving into a psychedelic experience responsibly requires time for Preparation, Self Reflection, Self Care, Support and Research.
Questions to ask yourself before partaking in a psychedelic experience…
WHAT, WHY, WHEN, HOW, WHO, WHERE?
WHAT?: What psychedelic medicine are you interested in trying and how much of it will you be taking?
What about this particular psychedelic responds or resonates with you? Why are you drawn to it? What is the appropriate dosing? Are you currently on pharmaceuticals?
It is important to note that certain pharmaceuticals, particularly SSRIs may not mix well with certain psychedelics and can actually be counterproductive. Will your psychedelic medicine of choice interact with any pharmaceuticals you may currently be taking?
The specific psychedelic, the proper dose and any potential interactions are pertinent to know before partaking in the experience. Dosing can also vary depending on pharmaceuticals a person is taking and each person’s constitution, if you have never ingested a psychedelic – low and slow is a good place to start.
Also note, it is possible for psychedelics to initiate the onset of a psychotic episode if already predisposed to certain mental health conditions.
When used properly, psychedelics are generally physically safe. The mental impact, however, can bring up anxiety, confusion or repressed memories.
KNOW THYSELF. Find the appropriate support in conjunction with your current mental health and family history if a psychotic spectrum disorder is prevalent.
Role and Responsibility #1: DO YOUR RESEARCH.
WHY?: Why do you want to take this? What is your intention?
For what reasons do you want to try this psychedelic? Are you seeking a change in your life or in your behavior, healing from a trauma, addressing addiction, seeking connection, for personal growth or are you simply curious to explore the outer limits of your mind? Is your choice based on therapeutic reasons or recreational purposes? How long have you been thinking about it?
Getting clear on your INTENTION with the medicine is important in order to establish focus and provide the purpose and direction of what you wish to gain from this experience. These medicines are powerful, most are ancient, and deserve to be used with reverence.
WHEN?: When do you plan on taking the psychedelic and what kind of preparation will you need in advance?
Why is psychedelic PREPARATION important? Well…would you skydive from a plane, surf a huge wave, climb the highest cliff without first preparing? This is the same concept for when preparing for a psychedelic journey.
The importance of preparation cannot be understated. Altered states of the psychedelic experience can be heavy, extremely uncomfortable and challenging. Preparing for the experience will help you to gain tools and knowledge in order to be able to navigate your experience in a much more beneficial way to extract more profound meaning and get the most out of the experience.
Preparation will help you to ready the mind, body and spirit for your experience, as well as to set into motion the changes that you intend to make. It is equally important to INTEGRATE your psychedelic journey afterward in order to process and make sense of what you experienced. Insights can come from a psychedelic experience days, weeks, months, and even years after a journey and proper integration will ensure you reap the benefits long after the experience. Integration will also help you reflect on aspects of your experience you may be inclined to shy away from.
HOW?: How will you show up for this experience and in what type of environment?
What will it take for you to show up with a calm, clean and grounded state of mind? Will you be fully present and open to receive the psychedelic medicine? Will your environment feel safe, clean, comfortable and agreeable?
This is what “Set & Setting” are all about and both are very important when entering a trip experience because they can have a direct effect on the nature of the experience. Set & Setting refers to one’s mindset (shortened to “set”) and the physical and social environment (the setting) in which you choose to have experience. The experience depends a lot on the current mood of your mind, and being in a safe, noninterrupted environment. Plan ahead of time in order to prepare the right mindset and physical space.
To learn the basics of Set and Setting, click here.
WHO?: Who will you be taking the psychedelic with and do you feel trust with them?
A Community? A Retreat? With a “Trip Sitter”? Friends(s)? Alone?
Whomever you choose to take the medicine with, make sure you TRUST the person(s) beforehand. Trust includes trusting yourself. Trust in knowing you have made all the right decisions beforehand, leading up to the trip.
The psychedelic scene is blowing up. Knowing this, there are certain awarenesses to keep in mind. While there are many legal and authentic underground resources providing legitimate experiences, there are also those that operate under false pretense, disguised as shamanic, healing or therapeutic. Does your facilitator have an ulterior motive such as capital gain or to feed narcissistic energy?
It is important to recognise the energy exchange and to feel trust with the person you will be working with. Know your source! Investigate the level of experience, expertise and service that is provided. Know the QUALITY OF THE MEDICINE that will be used. You want to be sure that you are in a safe space and fully supported. By not feeling fully supported, you may not feel comfortable to fully surrender to the experience, which can create a bad experience.
Learn how to “Trip Sit” here.
WHERE?: Where in the world will you wanderlust?
Where geographically will you be for the experience? Will you travel to another country, state, province, or island? Will you camp in nature? Will you stay home?
Keep in mind that psychedelics are NOT LEGAL in most places in the world. To prevent major mishaps it’s important to use good judgment and make wise choices by being mindful of what is legal and where.
It is important to note that many indigenous areas are being disrupted by the enormous influx of tourists seeking out certain medicines. Let’s respect this space. There are places online to book such an adventure. Doing this will keep the population flow controlled and thus support the environment in which these beautiful people and plants thrive.
Discover legal and legitimate retreats here.
Learn ways to legally try psychedelics here.
It is said that the work begins when the medicine ends. Psychedelics when used wisely and intentionally are our teachers and many great benefits can be achieved. They can be a catalyst for change.
YOU, however, have to be willing to make the change! Psychedelics won’t solve your problems or make desired changes for you. Psychedelics are not magic cures! They are “mind revealing” or “mind manifesting”, as the literal translation of the word suggests. Psychedelics offer insight and clarity on ways to live life in an optimal manner. They help to break through old patterns, create new visions and engage in deeper truths.
Seeing things in an entirely new way creates a powerful effect for betterment. When the medicine wears off, it is up to you to incorporate these new awarenesses into your life. Only YOU are responsible to make the changes in your life, in accordance with how you want your life to change. Start by making better choices for yourself; choices that are in alignment with your true self. To make real and lasting change, you must look within. There is never an outside cure.
If you are curious about psychedelics, I invite you to do your research, choose wisely and trust your intuition. If something seems off-putting, move on and seek out something else. Otherwise, sit back, relax, stay curious and Trust the Process!