Trippy Self Awareness

By Gus Tovar

An LSD trip is affected more by “set and setting” than the drug itself. Many people ask me what to expect from a psychedelic experience, most notably LSD. Consuming lysergic acid diethylamide is a very personal and subjective experience. Your LSD experience is deeply influenced by your current mental state and the setting that you choose to be in when the drug takes effect. The purity of the drug can vary, but my research has shown that the main deciding factors of your enjoyment in a trip is the the user’s mindset, and the physical setting. How you feel, where you are, and maintaining hydration should be the main concerns when planning to take part in any psychedelic activity.

LSD is synthesized from the ergot fungus, which grows on certain corn strains. While the production process is not extremely difficult, acquiring the proper prerequisite chemicals can be quite a challenge. Prerequisite chemicals are chemicals which are required in the steps to synthesize the LSD. Most of the LSD you find on the streets has a purity level of around 92-98%, while special top shelf batches can be found to be as pure as 99.99%. The impurities found in LSD are usually small trace amounts of unwanted indole and alkali compounds. These impurities can cause a difficult come up experience as they bring muscle tension and in some cases stomach discomfort. It is extremely important to know the source of your psychedelics. People looking to ingest LSD should invest in an Ehrlich’s reagent testing kit to make sure their LSD is actually LSD, and not some dangerous research chemical from a sketchy lab in China. The testing kit costs no more than $20.

LSD has the ability to force most users to confront their demons head on, which is one of the main reasons it is so effective in Psychedelic Assisted Therapy. When dealing with drug addiction or other problems that are in the patient’s control, LSD allows the user to analyze their choices.

I believe that there is no such thing as a “bad trip”; there are only difficult trips in which one is forced to face and resolve the problems that are in their direct control. Many people will see such situation as a “bad trip” because they are forced confront a problem or idea that they have been keeping the deep dark catacombs of their mind. LSD brings necessary contemplation, it brings your mental roadblocks to light. LSD has no qualms about showing you your truths.  

When under the influence of LSD, environmental cues can play a very big role in the direction your mind will take. LSD causes the user to have a heightened and slightly overlapping train of thought. Being in an uncomfortable or dangerous environment can make the user feel extremely paranoid. The perfect trip scenario is soothing sounds, pretty lights, beautiful art, a dog or cat, and a sense of security. You should be in a place, which is physically and psychologically safe. A few moments of seeing a terrifying image or situation unfold can be enough to send someone with heightened senses into a bit of a panic.

I have had psychedelic experiences in quite a few different scenarios for quite a few different purposes. While I enjoy having psychedelic experiences out in the world, there is a very special thing that happens when one has a solitary psychedelic experience at night in a safe area of your own home. I feel that the most basic experiences allow me to exemplify the sheer effects of the drug. Your dark bedroom is a fantastic place to listen to music and meditate as you wait for the LSD to take over, just as I did a few nights ago.

Over the last couple months, I have been experiencing quite a few life changing occurrences. I felt like it was time to hit the mental reset switch and be brutally honest with myself. It was time to have a nighttime solo trip. At 1:33 AM, after cleaning up my living space and gathering art supplies and headphones, I ingested 100 micrograms of 99.99% pure Lysergic acid diethylamide. The effects of LSD usually remain for about 12 to 15 hours. The first 3 to 5 hours can be considered a “peak” followed by a “come down” period in which the effects are present at a much more manageable saturation.

After about 20 minutes of meditation and contemplation about my life and my objective in taking the drug, I laid back, put on my headphones, and started listening to Pink Floyd’s Meddle album. As the last song, “Echoes,” a true masterpiece, was ending, I began to feel the familiar warmth of LSD beginning to propagate itself through every cell in my body. This feeling is a pleasant mild euphoria, which starts off as an alien feeling that builds up to physical bliss.

The album ended at 2:37 am. At this point, the LSD was beginning to take over. I could see light tracers following all the lights around me. I saw the familiar “breathing” effect in just about everything. At this point, I started to feel a loss of sensation in my body, which is quite common. A loss of bodily sensation is a necessity if one is to achieve a state of “ego-death”. Ego-death is a state in which the world can be viewed without any sort of predetermined point of view or attachment. I knew it was time to surrender to the drug, I decided to do this with Tame Impala’s Current album playing through my tube amp and into my headphones.  

I have zero notes of what occurred between 2:37 am and 4:35 am, but my music history shows that after listening to Tame Impala, I listened to Chance The Rappers Acid Rap album, then to Tame Impalas Innerspeaker. The reason I have no notes of this time is due to the fact I was peaking. It is quite rare to achieve full blown ego-death on such a small dose, I am guessing it was the mindset and near perfect setting, but I achieved ego-death, melted into nothingness and became fearless of death as I analyzed the molecular makeup of carbon-based beings. At this point, the LSD visuals truly took over my reality.

LSD visuals come in two varieties, the open eyes visuals, and the closed eye visuals. While they are both very geometric and fractal-like in nature, the closed eye visuals will give you the true essence of the LSD experience. With eyes closed, it was much easier to slip into the ego-death state. As I became nothing but consciousness, I began to find myself floating through a vast space made of never ending fractal shapes. I know it sounds a bit out there, but I feel that this is the place we were all at before we were born, and the place we will go to once we are abandoned this temporary human shell. You always get a sense that you have just seen the concept “god” unfold before your eyes, or a power, which simply cannot be described. The vast emptiness of infinity converging with never ending fractal shapes, lights, and weirdly enough feelings, can bring forth a sense of nirvana. At this particular moment in time, I was truly one with everything that ever has been or will be. All that one feels at this moment is love, nothing but pure love.

My next note came right around 5:38 am when I had gotten through the peak, and found my ego returning to me slowly. While the visuals were still very heavy at this point, they were not capable of saturating my vision any longer. After taking down a few yummy dabs, which slightly intensified the effects, I felt like I had been inside for way too long. I grabbed my Bull Terrier, longboard, and threw some edibles in my pocket before heading to Balboa Park. The rest of the morning was spent skating around and looking at the beautiful sights with my dog as I analyzed the experience that I had, and most importantly thought about my problems with as much ego detachment as I could. This allowed me to create an honest plan to fix the things in my control, but most importantly, helped me realize that certain things truly are not in my control.  I must accept the things that I cannot control, and I cannot allow them to be a source of pain.

Finally, at around 10 AM, I felt some hunger. I walked into Panama 66 for a few drinks and a sandwich. After spending an hour or so talking to the rest of the people at the bar and eating my food, it was time to head home. I had a dinner with some family right around 2 pm. I could not wait to meet them and show them the new me which had been reborn just a few hours before.