The Mushroom

It’s Christmas Eve. The whole world eagerly awaits the arrival of its Savior. First He came as an infant twenty centuries ago. Someday perhaps very soon He will come again as a splendid conqueror and a fearsome judge. For reasons that I hope I can make clear, there is probably no better time to discuss what I promised in a previous post: my abortive romance with psychedelic drugs.

I will try to keep it simple. A long time ago, prior to 2012, I heard of a theory of history called “Timewave Zero.” This was as much a theory of history as it was of fractal time. It stated: everything that transpires contains the whole of history within itself. First occurs the form simpliciter, but the end is a repetition of the whole. The end of the end is also a repetition of the whole, and so on, to an eventually infinite level of detail. The point at which the elapsed time of the repetition finally decreases to zero is the omega point: the point at which all of history occurs in a single instant. That is the end, the eschaton. There is no more time after that, only an eternal Now. Time discovers itself to be the moving image of eternity.

The originator of this theory was the ethnobotanist Terence McKenna. He and his brother Dennis performed a very strange experiment at a place called La Chorrera deep in the Amazon rainforest. This was in the nineteen seventies. They were white hippies looking for an indigenous recipe for a hallucinogenic drug used by the local witch doctors to contact the spirit world. While they failed to obtain the recipe, they did discover Stropharia cubensis, also known as Psilocybe cubensis, or colloquially the magic mushroom.

It’s not that this fungus was not well known, it was simply overlooked until the strange events that took place at La Chorrera. According to their own account, the McKenna brothers found a pasture that contained many of these mushrooms. After consuming a large number of them, they became intoxicated and remained so without interruption for about a week. During this week long trance, Terence made contact with beings that he described as “self-transforming machine elves” that telepathically instructed him about a hidden fractal pattern in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching, essentially an ancient Chinese lunar calendar. Although his locutions were part of a hallucination, it turns out that this pattern really exists, and it became the basis of the Timewave concept.

Their recollection is full of “magic,” if we may use that word to mean the apparent suspension of natural law. Time itself behaved strangely, even seeming to come to a complete stop at certain points. There were space anomalies, as when Dennis produced a unique object that they had certainly left in the United States. There were also anomalies that involved both time and space. For example, Dennis was able to accurately recall the details of a private moment in Terence’s life, a shameful memory that he had shared with no one. The length of the hallucinations was itself highly unusual. Even a very large quantity of psilocybin should be fully metabolized in a matter of hours, at which time its effects should taper off. It is unnatural for the effects to last an entire week.

Finally, the account is linked to the UFO or alien abduction phenomena. At the end of the trip, Terence recalls that he saw three lenticular clouds in the distance merge and morph into a flying saucer. The craft approached and passed him directly overhead. However, it appeared to be a craft of the same kind pictured in a famous photograph that was widely regarded as a hoax. Terence interpreted this as a message intended for him. He believed that the beings with whom he had been in communication wanted him to know that they could take whatever visible form they wished. He concludes that flying saucers and aliens are the form that the spirit of the mushroom has chosen to communicate with modern man.

The McKenna brothers believed that the magic mushroom could be an extraterrestrial species. They observed that fungus spores were especially well suited to the harsh conditions of outer space. These spores could be scattered through space until they passed into the atmospheres of worlds with intelligent but uncivilized life. There they would grow into food, and the beings would then make contact with the indigenous lifeforms by being consumed by them. This would cause them to hallucinate, and during the trance, they would be instructed in language, the arts, religion, philosophy, and the other institutions of civilization. They proposed therefore that the mushroom was the true progenitor of humanity as we know it.

The McKennas thought that it was necessary to maintain contact with the mushroom by repeatedly consuming it. Terence would remark that “monkeys don’t go to space,” in other words, the evolution of man from an ape-like creature into the kind of higher spacefaring intelligence represented by the mushroom was dangerously incomplete. The human race now possessed enough technical knowledge to destroy itself, but not enough spiritual knowledge to prevent its destruction. Everything now depended upon an increase in spiritual knowledge, which the mushroom could provide. Hence at the end of history there could only be one of two mushrooms: the mushroom cloud of the atomic bomb, or the magic mushroom that is the three dimensional manifestation of a species that has transcended its physical form and time.

The program of research that they proposed came to be known as psychonautics. It entailed the occasional consumption of very high doses of an entheogen of one’s choosing. This would put the psychonaut into a radically altered state of consciousness in which it would be possible to communicate telepathically with these extradimensional beings. This altered state was the perception of a meta-temporal and meta-cosmic form known to psychonauts as “hyperspace.” As a vision seemingly beyond time and the material universe, as from its end, it is inherently apocalyptic or eschatological — what one sees when one goes into hyperspace is “the end of history.” The goal was to return from the end with such ideas as would lead to it, laying the foundation for the next step in human evolution much as the hominids of the distant past were thought to have returned from their mushroom trips with ideas that founded the previous step: language, science, and so forth.

My interest in psychedelic drugs was an interest in psychonautics and not an interest in their recreational use. I experimented with three psychedelics, not including marijuana (which was normally recreational): Salvia divinorum or diviners' sage, LSD, and Psilocybe cubensis.

Whereas to my knowledge diviners' sage is not a controlled substance in the United States, it is gram-for-gram the most powerful of these three by far. I tried it at least three times. The third time was remarkable only in that it was not very remarkable. I was not well disposed to enter the trance, and the set and setting were poor. Any hallucinogenic trip is greatly dependent upon the disposition and setting of the user for its character, and in this respect it more closely resembles prayer than modern medicine.

The second time suffered from a bad setting as well. I was with several people some of whom consumed the diviners' sage at the same time as I did. The loud and dramatic reaction distracted me from my own reverie, which otherwise was much like the first time. My first use of diviners' sage was also my first use of any hard hallucinogen, and I tried it surrounded by recreational users who wanted to laugh and comment at my reaction. In spite of that, I was so bewildered by what I saw that I became determined to investigate these substances further. I experienced an intense synesthesia and a strange rhythmic process of disorientation. It felt as though my nerves were being constantly turned inside out and right side in again, and the visual, auditory, and tactile aspects of my surroundings began to blend into a third kind of stimulus that I could only identify generically as music.

It seemed that there was something intelligent about the movements of this music. No, even more, I beheld something very much alive and awake. Think of the lushest foliage you can imagine, except that it is made of pure color like a paisley garment, it transforms itself, and it is so full that it is a world unto itself with no space in its manifestation for any perception of another substance beside it. It felt as though I could be completely drawn up into this world at any moment. I feared that I would lose my mind, but the trip lasted only five minutes.

LSD I tried twice. Again the second try suffered from defects in setting and was relatively unremarkable. The first time, however, there was much to note. Coming up, I began to see intricate fractal patterns unfold behind my eyelids. The sky came alive with color and meaning. It no longer seemed to be a mere multiplicity of stars separated in a vast emptiness, but it was one whole thing that was full of energy. I saw the “trailers” that many LSD users report, a kind of afterimage of the previous positions of things as they moved around my field of vision. As the effects intensified, I felt more keenly the emptiness of my own existence and my connection to other things and other people. There was much more that I could mention. However, the most important phenomenon was a locution. Eventually I heard a voice in my head telling me to meditate to God. I did not profess any belief in God at the time. Nevertheless I obeyed, and in the course of my meditation, I was presented with such vivid phantasms as to suggest that I had been favored by God and arrived at the juncture of all possible realities. At this point I became totally convinced that there was an invisible, non-human person in the room with me. I was made to understand that I was being offered a deal. I could, if I accepted, become someone completely different. It would be a new lease on the life that I hated. However, if I did accept, there would be no possibility of returning. By the grace of God, I declined the offer. Immediately the person departed from my awareness, and I began to come down.

Magic mushrooms I tried twice. The first time was extremely remarkable right from the onset. The threshold effects of psilocybin actually enhance one’s perception of the material world rather than distort it. I became aware of a lot in my surroundings that I otherwise would have missed, for example, individual birds high up in trees, and wild strawberries growing on the lawn around me. Once again I was in a large group of people; my only access to these drugs was through recreational users. The initial entoptic forms (which appear behind the eyelids) were less geometrical and more organic than those of LSD. Luckily, I was able to retreat to a more private setting for the most intense part of the trip.

What I experienced seemed to be the end of history. I saw the planes striking the Twin Towers on September 11, and the fuming wreckage became Jesus on the Cross. At the end of history, the world itself was crucified.

There was a frightening electricity in the air. It seemed somehow as though time was coming to an end, the sky was breaking open, and God was pushing through to pronounce judgment on the world. I was overwhelmed by guilt and shame for my sins.

The second time was a lot like the first, except the vision of judgment came from within. I became aware of an infinite abyss within my soul, and it was clear to me that no earthly thing would ever fill it. This seemed to be the existential for-itself, except that I believed that God could satisfy it in the end. However, I didn’t have Him now. I was lost. Once again I was overcome with guilt over the wretchedness of my life.

After the second mushroom trip, I put the McKenna brothers' ideas aside. The eschatological visions that I had experienced were difficult to reconcile with their message of peace through enlightenment. Nowhere in their case had there been a note of divine retribution. I felt as though I could begin to understand the Crucifixion now that I had seen it in the context of my own vision. Therefore I began to study the claims of Christianity more seriously.

I would like to bring just a few things to the reader’s attention. In the first place, it goes without saying that the McKenna brothers' machine elves were very far from the classic idea of a space alien. Nevertheless, we must classify them as UFO contactees. Even a remote familiarity with the abduction and contactee phenomena will reveal common thematic elements: the vision of the saucer, the importance of altered states of consciousness, the telepathic locutions, the beings' claim to be the true progenitors of humanity, the predominant threat of nuclear annihilation, and the introduction of new spiritual or religious ideas as a solution to this threat.

An interesting element in the McKennas' philosophy is their concept of the Philosopher’s Stone. They thought of psychonautics as a form of alchemy, and the Stone was identified with an indigenous belief that the witch doctor could give birth to his soul through song. To be clear, through the use of drugs and the production of sound, it was believed that the shaman could cause his soul to become manifest as a material object. Part of the experiment at La Chorrera involved an attempt to reproduce this effect. I mention this now, not because of the nature of this concept, but because of its significance: the Stone is supposed to be a new Christ, a substitute for the Christian Christ. The manifested Stone-Christ supposedly had a lenticular shape and was therefore associated with both the saucer and the mushroom. It is said to be a Christ because it signifies the completion of a Logos in virtue of which the transcendent finally becomes immanent: the immanentization of the eschaton.

My own experiments revealed that the higher intelligence was vast and incomprehensible, like a world unto itself. It would seem to be a separated substance of an angelic nature. At one point I seemed to encounter an invisible, non-human person at the juncture of all possible realities. The juncture of all possible realities can also be characterized as the indeterminate aspect of the material world, or that which corresponds to the wave nature of the quantum.

While this is not the time for a discussion of the interpretation of quantum mechanics, suffice it to say that to rigorously adhere to the principle of causality in physics, the quantum wave nature requires explanation by reference to hidden or unobservable variables, which, however, must be non-local according to Bell’s Theorem. The upshot of all this is that quantum mechanically speaking, “the juncture of all possible realities” would refer to a material, non-local domain. But this is an apt description of the cloudy atmosphere that traditional theology teaches is the abode of demons.

For more on this subject, I refer the reader to In Quest of Catholicity: Malachi Martin Responds to Wolfgang Smith, and the works cited therein.

Finally, the entity seemed to use an intimate knowledge of my psychology. It did not offer me fame, riches, knowledge, or power over others. All that it offered was escape, which was peculiarly the most enticing thing to my soul. In a sense, it knew me better than I knew myself, which could only be possible if it had the opportunity to observe me over the course of perhaps my whole life.

After stopping my experiments with entheogens, for a while, I was hag-ridden. I would wake up late at night or early in the morning in a condition of sleep paralysis, often hallucinating. I discovered that I could end the paralysis by remaining calm and regulating my breathing. However, at certain times, I would be overcome with terror, or I would feel an invisible body molesting me. In these cases I discovered that the only relief came through calling out to Jesus. This reinforces the connection between the mushroom-entity and the alien abduction phenomenon, as Joe Jordan has documented that the Holy Name of Jesus has the power to stop an alien abduction even after it has begun.

This calls to mind the words of the fourth Great Antiphon of Advent:

O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel! who openest, and no man shutteth: who shuttest, and no man openeth; come, and lead the captive from prison, sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Since becoming a traditional Catholic, I no longer suffer torments of this kind.

In conclusion, the intelligent agents encountered through the use of hallucinogenic drugs are deceptive and evidently demonic. They are linked, even closely, to the UFO and alien abduction phenomena. All of these phenomena appear to work toward an agenda that ends in the imposition of a new, evolutionist world religion, and the manifestation of a substitute Christ, in other words Antichrist. But the grace of God is sufficient to free men from their influence. May the infant Jesus then bless you this Christmas and always. Amen.