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What I Learned After Eating Ten Grams Of Magic Mushrooms

Updated: Dec 30, 2021 12:29
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TRIGGER WARNING

My friend Jasmine and I get into my car and she starts driving towards Oakland. I’m nervous about eating ten grams of mushrooms, I’ve only ever dosed myself with as much as five before so I’m anxious about going into uncharted territory. I’m thinking about how insane what I’m doing sounds like, even to me. I’m smoking a blunt to soothe my nerves as we drive towards our destination. I’m in the throes of addiction after a recent relapse and I’m searching for answers. I have been sober for exactly a week. I’m afraid of what awaits me but I’m eager to face it. I need to get myself out of this nightmare I’ve created and the mushrooms are calling out to me, begging to heal me. I’m answering the call, albeit hesitantly.

How did I manage to cross paths with Dave Hemp, founder of the only psychedelic church in the country?

How did I manage to cross paths with Dave Hemp, founder of the only psychedelic church in the country? He started following me on Instagram one day and had seen a video of me that I had posted on a particularly bad day where I wished I was dead and he sent me a DM saying, “It sounds like you need a high dose ceremony.” Mind you, I didn’t really know what that meant, but it felt right so I replied with, “I probably do.” He told me about his new project called God Sitters and how I would be a part of their training program. It seemed like the universe put Dave where I needed him at that moment. The timing was perfect. I was on a three month long coke binge and I couldn’t figure out how to stop. I had even started to relapse on heroin again. Days had become blurry from the cocktail of drugs I was constantly ingesting. I had stopped doing mushrooms somewhere around the beginning of my binge because I kept getting the message that I needed to stop using but I didn’t want to accept it. 

Prior to the coke binge I had been in the best mental space of my life. I was constantly positive, glowing, and a complete joy to be around. To be around me was to have an experience of light and purity that stood out from what humanity normally revealed to you. Or at least that’s what my intent behind my interactions was based on. The months of snorting coke started to make me regress into a negative mental space. I was losing control of regulating my emotions, my patience wore thin and I was more snappy, and I lost weight even more quickly. I watched my waistline shrink and my comfy clothes started to sag. I was deteriorating rather quickly after having over four years from abusing substances. I was at my wits end, again. 

We pull up to a beautiful neighborhood somewhere in the hills of Oakland. I immediately recognized the founder of Zide Door and The Church of Ambrosia, Dave Hemp, outside of the house. Tall and looking my way, I know it’s him even though I’ve never met him before. I brace myself and try to act like I’m not anxious to my bones. 

We park the car and walk towards the house where the door is left slightly ajar. I say hello into the cracked door, apprehensive to walk in uninvited. He invites us inside and we sit down. A new parent, he searches around the kitchen frantically trying to make his newborn a bottle to calm his crying. Constantly apologizing for the noise, he runs around the kitchen changing his diaper and soothing his beautiful son. In between his frenzied movements, he begins to explain what I should expect from my trip. He details everything from transforming into different creatures, being visited by different beings from angels to aliens, to the experience of dying.

Near the end of his spiel, while he attempts to prepare me for the unpreparable, he offers me an adult diaper to wear during the trip and I consider it for a second.

I sit there and wonder if I’m witnessing something historical and important in the progression of psychedelic history. I  feel like I’m part of something special that’s going to impact the future. Near the end of his spiel, while he attempts to prepare me for the unpreparable, he offers me an adult diaper to wear during the trip and I consider it for a second. I don’t doubt I’ll make it to the bathroom. I hope I don’t regret this decision but I also can’t bear the thought of wearing a diaper. 

They ask me to set an intention or to ask a question. So I ask myself, “Why am I like this?”

Dave has me choose my mushrooms, called “loving teachers,” each one etched with a heart on the side. I break them up into tiny pieces, almost powdered and I focus intently on what I’m doing. I  took this process seriously, as if it were part of a sacred ritual and I was  bracing myself for what these ten grams were going to teach me. Sage, my beautiful trip sitter, walks in as Dave leaves to meet his wife. Sage has the dark gray mushroom tea ready for me after steeping it twice. I finish it in a couple sips and it tastes like eating mushrooms would but in liquid form. It tasted incredibly potent. Not knowing what to expect, and also being aware of Dave’s “shit the bed” story. I decide on wearing the diaper to save myself from any embarrassment or at least to contain the potential mess. I sit there and smoke weed for a while until I decide it’s time to go and sit in the room downstairs. They ask me to set an intention or to ask a question. So I ask myself, “Why am I like this?”

I don’t eat so I can numb my feelings and I abuse drugs in the hopes that I accidentally kill myself in the process

Let me elaborate on why I would ask myself that question. I struggle with an eating disorder and substance abuse. I don’t eat so I can numb my feelings and I abuse drugs in the hopes that I accidentally kill myself in the process. Sometimes the desire to self-destruct feels compulsive and necessary. Abusing cocaine for months had diminished my mental strength and I was in a very weak space mentally. I was drugged and abusing Xanax and mixing it with heroin, causing weeks to turn into blurs of days with no beginning or end. I don’t know why but when the feeling washes over me it consumes me, like an avalanche. You just can’t stop it.

I sat on the cold floor and I began writing with a pen and paper as the mushrooms start to alter my consciousness.

I start to question if I fucked up by deciding to do this.

“I’m sitting in a room wearing a diaper. The hardwood floor feels cold underneath me. There’s a voice recorder beside a puke bucket and a box of tissues. I feel a bit cold and nauseous. I hit my vape in nervous anticipation, not knowing what may be waiting for me. I’m literally wearing a mushroom sweater. I think about crawling into bed for a second. Instead I decide to continue to write. I start to question if I fucked up by deciding to do this.”

That’s where the writing ends because I took my bra off and crawled into the bed. I start tripping and thinking. I’m quiet for hours while I think. I come to realize a lot of the things I worry about don’t actually matter. I find the answer to my question, and I realize that it doesn’t matter why I’m like this but what I chose to do about it. The “why” is dead in the past, it’s already done so how do I move forward from this point on? I ponder the importance of friendship and fostering love in the world. I question my own existence and I come to the conclusion that we’re cosmic beings, orbs of light and energy in the chaos of the universe. How do we nurture the beauty in humanity? How does everything we do affect the rest of the universe? I begin to consider the butterfly effect, how a butterfly could cause a storm from the other side of the planet by fluttering its wings. I think of myself as the butterfly and I wonder what kind of storm I’ve been brewing. 

I think about the bonds I create between myself and the world. I decide I want to be perceived as a blessing in people’s lives. I cry because I realize how blessed I am. I’m surrounded by love and people who want to help me. If there’s a God I hope he keeps showing me paths to find my own salvation.

I’m scared of what’s waiting in the darkness but I know whatever it is, I can handle it.

Meeting Dave Hemp and having the opportunity to be a part of this project is only going to prove to be very beneficial for me in time. I’m scared of what’s waiting in the darkness but I know whatever it is, I can handle it. Life doesn’t throw anything at you that you can’t handle. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth and I look forward to it eagerly. 

Following that trip, I proved to myself that I could handle my shit without losing my shit and needing the diaper. But Dave suggested we try 15 grams next time and I agreed without hesitation. 

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Valeria Castaneda

Valeria Castaneda

Valeria Castaneda is a 26 year old San Jose native that loves to write, learn about neuroscience, and play with her puppy. If you’re interested in her daily happenings you can follow her on Instagram.

2 Comments

  1. 😇
    January 1, 2022 at 3:28 pm — Reply

    Val is a super intelligent human being that has overcome obstacles many would not. Her best asset is the ability to light up a room by just being present. It’s a matter of time until she recognizes her potentials in this world. At that point she will become a super star of sorts. Love you Val, the sky is the limit!

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