Jayne Gumpel, a licensed social worker and experienced couples therapist, helps couples prepare for psychedelic journeys and integrate their trips.
She says that every experience has been successful so far, but one couple’s psilocybin trip stands out to her in particular.
“I wouldn’t say they were on the brink of divorce, because they had kids, but they felt like they were living like siblings. There was no sex, and they felt really disengaged and unhappy.
They went in (to the trip) with the intention of doing it as a couple connected, not separate journeys. They wanted to sit and hold hands and look in each other’s eyes. And they both experienced being pre-birth together. They experienced themselves in their past lives, and they were brothers.
Whoa. I know.
When you talk about it on this level in this reality, it sounds really far-out. But they were brothers and they got separated. There was some catastrophe, a fire or an earthquake. They didn’t come back together again in that lifetime. They lost each other, so they felt the pain of that situation. They were both crying because they were lost and they were looking for each other. Then they found each other and were so happy.”
A Reddit user had their most intense trip and a total ego death after taking 5.4 grams of Penis Envy.
“On peak, I forgot who I was completely and to the best of my memory what I can describe as flying through different births and deaths. One moment I was in someone else’s body, the next moment a horse drawing its final breath and the next a tiger/lion idk licking off meat from a deer. All this was so real as if I was on a roller coaster ride changing bodies and experiencing what it is like being other humans and animals!
had this profound understanding that our bodies are mortal but our soul is eternal, taking infinite forms and shapes. I am the universe experiencing itself through this body of mine right now and when this body dies I will be reborn in some other form. For a brief moment I felt I have always been meeting the same souls, friends and family in different bodies exactly how Ram Dass describes as “We’re all just walking each other home”
I have never felt so elated in my life, I was laughing my lungs out and was under the impression that I have attained this absolute state permanently. I was so happy in that blissful void I did not want to come back.”
This Reddit user was expecting just a mild experience when they took a lemon tek of two small mushrooms, but that wasn’t the case…
“After seeing some most beautiful and bizarre color palette, the highlight of my trip occurred. I saw eyes lots of eyes, not a pair just single eyes. They were wearing golden robes lmao, and the eye in the center told me he’s the one who watches over me and takes care of me, I was filled with gratitude, tears started to roll from my eyes. For some time I kept seeing single eyes, not a pair it was the most bizarre thing I have experienced. I was trying hard to control the trip effects and the eye told me “this is what you always do, trying to control everything, just let it go” and I decided to listen to the eye and I just decided to enjoy the trip. After this eye thing ended I started seeing geometrical patterns, beautiful lotus in the way I can’t describe in words but it was geometrical for sure. The petals of the lotus kept opening one after another, my mouth was open in awe and I was trying to cover it with my hands.
I wasn’t comfortable in the sofa so I went into my bedroom to feel more comfortable, And I noticed my pillow cover is so beautiful (It’s plain white cover) I could see every thread of the cover. I couldn’t stop touching it and looking at the cover again and again. My face was twitching in-between, a moment came and I felt the trip is now over, since it wasn’t even much shroom right? I went into kitchen and all I wanted to do is roast veggies lol. I did that. But came back to my bed.
Now so far everything was amazing, but now some old shit started coming up, I saw my childhood self exactly me scared, shy but I felt as if I’m relieving that. I asked to that tiny me what went wrong with you? and she told me she was lonely, scared I felt so bad I wanted to hug my tiny self. It answered so many questions I had for myself why I’m the way I am.”
Here’s one participant’s experience at MycoMeditations’ week-long psilocybin retreat in Jamaica, where magic mushrooms have never been illegal.
“My first trip was out of this world – I felt unconditional love, even saw myself being born and my mom holding me for the first time with tears of joy. Later, I was in a different scene. It was like I was releasing negative energy that had been stored in my body at a cellular level.
The second trip was not like the first one. It took 4 hours to kick in and when it did I felt alarming paranoia. Ugh. One of the staff members was able to stay with me and comfort me. I was hot and miserable. Sometimes, it isn’t all positive and fun trips. But coming out of the second trip, I felt immense empathy for anyone suffering from mental illness. Later, I called my cousin who skipped my grandpa’s funeral a few years ago. And since then, I have talked to him again and even apologized for judging him instead of asking if he was ok. The second trip wasn’t a waste despite it not being “fun” while in it.
Finally, the third trip was all about gratitude, beauty, and then serenity…. Even a week later, my lungs are breathing so deeply without me telling them too. The sense of calm and peace – a zero on an anxiety level – has been quite frankly the most surprising. I thought the mushrooms were going to have me hallucinate and maybe see some cool things. I did not expect my body to respond this positively. I should have done this YEARS ago. I feel so light – Not a worry. Not one.”
It’s not surprising that they gave the experience 5 stars on Trip Advisor.
A Reddit user who grew up Mormon went on a life-changing trip in the canyons of Utah.
“I took 2.5G and it hit me like a train 30 mins later. I started seeing spiderwebs and thinking about spiders. It was scary. I’ve always been scared of spiders. But my cousin kept me breathing. I eventually came to the realization that I had no reason to be scared of spiders. I’m bigger than all of them and modern medicine on spider bites is very advanced, almost no one dies from them anymore. I literally got over my fear of spiders haha.
Then I became aware that I was a woodland creature. I walked around barefoot and told my cousin that this was “my domain” and that I belonged here. I worked through so much trauma about my family and programming in the format of almost a storybook. It was like fairy magic. It was incredible. I talked through so much and it was incredibly cathartic.
It actually made me believe in god even less than I did before which was not what I was expecting. It made me believe in and accept myself more than anything and I needed that severely.”
Juliana Mercer, a former U.S. Marine felt like she was “drowning in suppressed grief” after witnessing tragedies in Iraq and Afghanistan and losing fellow veterans to suicide. She says that a single session of psilocybin allowed her to release all the accumulated grief overnight. “I accidentally found relief and a glimpse of my authentic joyful self through the recreational use of psychedelics.” Now she urges California legislators to vote yes on the SB 519 bill that would decriminalize psychedelics.
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After beating cancer, Mona Strelaeff suffered from crippling depression and anxiety rooted in childhood trauma and a fear of death. She tried several anti-depressants with extreme side effects before receiving approval for psilocybin-assisted therapy. The experience allowed her to come to terms with childhood demons. “When [the doctor] gave me the treatment and I came out of it in a place of peace,” she said. “My anxiety was basically gone. And to this day I still feel at peace. I’m not afraid of death.”
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A registered clinical counsellor, Dave Phillips, went on a mushroom trip for research purposes and said it was “the most powerful personal experience I’ve ever had in my life” and that it gave him “the most overwhelming sense of being loved”. During the six-hour trip which was guided by an expertly-curated playlist, Phillips was able to connect with his father and son who both passed away, and saw himself as an embryo. Phillips said that experiencing psilocybin gave him an understanding of how to respond effectively when patients undergo the treatment. He believes that the treatment is effective because it “opens up the connectivity power of the brain” so that the brain can solve its own problems. Although the experience was overwhelming, he believes that there are no bad trips, only challenging ones.
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