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Series A

Series A really begins with session #7, but for completeness I record here what I can recall of the first six sessions.

#1, 1987-07, daytime

My sitter and I went for a walk in the jungle and chose a clearing. We prepared for the experiment and he said, "When you start to feel weird, take another toke." After taking a couple of tokes I certainly began to feel weird. I lay back with closed eyes and watched some complex, dynamic geometric patterns. It was hard to make sense of what was going on, but it felt like I was receiving a high bandwidth information transmission.

#2, 1987-08, daytime

During this trip (this one inside the house) having taken a lungful of smoke, I did not see complex-geometric patterns, but the effects were so intense that I felt I was going to die. This did not worry me very much, but I felt it would be embarrassing for my sitter to have to deal with my death, so I managed to open my eyes and say: "If you don't get me through this I'm gonna die!" The response was reassuring: "You're doing fine, Peter!".

While coming down from this experience, which was quite awesome, I felt that I had been put in touch with the center of my being, that is, that garbage separating my ego from my core self had been removed. It is hard to explain this in more detail, I simply felt that my everyday conscious ego was, however temporarily, in close contact with my core self, or essence. In the days and weeks following I felt that something had been conveyed to me that was enabling me to live my life better. Previous experience with LSD had shown me that psychedelics are good for clearing out mind-clutter, that is, ingrained mental habits which are no longer useful.

#3, #4, #5, 1989-09

I recall only one of these experiments in any detail. Late one evening I smoked a mixture of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT ("the Maya twins"). As the effect came on I heard the "tearing/crinkling of cellophane" sound which some others have reported. Visually there was a lot going on, very fast. Suddenly I became aware of beings, flitting across the scene. They appeared to be like "stick figures", black and silhouetted against a very colorful background. They were not merely components of the vision; I recognized immediately that they were things in themselves (of some sort).

#6, 1989-10

The DMT used for the following experiments was a waxy, light orange substance and, unless otherwise noted below, was smoked with no other person present. Lacking adequate measuring apparatus, the amount was simply estimated by sight.

Looking back on this session, it seems to me that, upon entering the realm of the alien entities, I was immediately attacked by them - or was it a test rather than an attack? Psychic attacks are apparently uncommon with DMT (although some researchers report several known occurrences), so this probably had more to do with my particular relation to these entities than to the nature of the DMT state. Since, in the trance state, I had no physical body, I was not in any physical danger. Such an experience, however, will seem very alarming to someone not adequately prepared to deal with it. Indeed, some people who have tried DMT regard it with a degree of anxiety approaching terror. The DMT state is certainly one that requires courage to explore, but as shamans have long known there may be considerable benefits to overcoming one's fear of penetrating into this alien dimension.

#7, 1990-01-26

In this and the next few sessions the DMT was smoked in a long-stemmed glass DMT pipe with a small globular bowl. Earlier in the evening I had smoked a couple of times, but the attempts had misfired. On the third attempt, after one deep inhalation, I got deeply into the visual hallucination. I was barely able to remind and to reassure myself that "DMT is safe", though I had some difficulty recalling the name "DMT". With eyes closed, I experienced intense, overwhelming visual imagery. I was seeing a large two-dimensional pattern, with parts undulating toward and away from me. In retrospect it was like standing before the wall of a huge, multi-colored castle, with no apparent entrance. I recalled that I had seen this before, on previous DMT trips, but had forgotten it. During this experience I was aware of my breathing and heartbeat, and was careful to continue breathing deeply. The pattern was extremely colorful, in intense hues, and the constituent parts of the pattern seemed to have meaning, as if they were letters of an alphabet, but I could not make sense of it. It was quite amazing. I felt that I was being shown something, and I tried to understand what I was seeing, but could not. I also heard elf-language, but it was not meaningful to me. Eventually the visions subsided, with no breakthrough and no overt alien contact.

The phenomenon of forgetting the content of DMT experiences, and being reminded by subsequent experiences of the same kind, has been noted by others. This forgetting also occurs with other psychedelics. This is partly explained by the bizarre nature of the content of the experience and its lack of connection with ordinary experience, and is comparable to our usual inability to remember our dreams exactly. Also a particular mode of brain chemistry may make it difficult to recall states of consciousness which occurred in conjunction with a different mode of brain chemistry. Perhaps adequate training of observers will overcome this tendency to forget.

Getting enough DMT, quickly enough, is crucial to breaking through (although there may be other factors not connected with dosage). The problem is that after one or two deep inhalations the propulsion into the DMT state is already well under way, and it requires self-discipline or the assistance of another person to take that final inhalation which will be sufficient to induce the more profound experiences.

#8, 1990-01-27

I smoked at around 2 a.m. with little effect and some vaguely unpleasant visual hallucination (harlequin-like gargoyles?). This might have been due to being tired and to having eaten substantially a few hours before. There was a sense of alien presence. Upon awakening next morning I noticed that the my electronic alarm clock, while obviously still "ticking", had stopped at the time I had been smoking the previous night. I have never known the clock to stop in this way before.

#9, 1990-01-29

I smoked after some time spent in overcoming fear and in formulating some questions regarding my personal life. There seemed to be some difficulty in vaporizing the DMT. There was no visual hallucination and almost no effect, although there was a vague sense of alien presence. There seemed to be distant chanting, as of shamanic songs.

#10, 1990-01-31

As usual I recited some protective Tibetan Buddhist mantras. I then formulated the questions that I hoped might be answered by this experience. I took six inhalations from the glass pipe and fell back. There was some rapidly moving visual pattern, in very subdued colors. I did seem to get a glimpse of some gleeful, dancing beings in a room, but this was brief. I had a sense that I was being asked what I wanted, and I replied. (It is best not to make public such requests to non-physical beings - if only to prevent accusations of insanity by those incapable of understanding.) Again there was a vague awareness of distant chanting. Clearly I did not get enough DMT.

Those who undertake personal research with DMT should be prepared for very variable responses (at least, until such time as the proper techniques for working with this substance are elucidated). At present it is not clear exactly what factors are most important as regards the intensity of the effect. In addition to the amount and purity of the DMT such factors as diet, sexual activity, attitude, mental preparation and time elapsed since the last experience may play a role. The rapidity of administration seems to be a significant factor. Another very experienced researcher claims that the long-stemmed glass pipe is not an efficient means of delivery, and I am coming to agree (though it worked well enough on the sixth occasion).

It seems to me that DMT can play a role in the practice of a spiritual, shamanic path. In such a practice one prepares for the DMT state by formulating one's purpose, just as a shaman will formulate his or her reason for entering non-ordinary reality. If answers are not immediately forthcoming, or one's purpose is not immediately accomplished, one should maintain that purpose for as long as required, repeating the request on subsequent occasions of DMT usage for as long as necessary.

#11, 1990-02-01

Since I doubted the effectiveness of the glass pipe, and I had no other, I made a pipe from rolled-up aluminum foil, placed a substantial amount of DMT in the bowl, and applied a flame. I was just able to take a second inhalation before falling back. As I entered the trance it seemed as if my hands were twitching involuntarily. There was an overwhelming visual hallucination of a complex, moving pattern, but not vividly colored as on some other occasions. I became concerned as to whether I was dying, and concentrated on my breathing. There was a kind of elf-music in the background, slow, electronic and repetitive. I could not make sense of the visual hallucination. There seemed to be personal entities emerging from the patterns and returning to them, but I was less concerned with observing them than with reminding myself that I was not going to die. Some of the DMT got into my mouth from the pipe, and there was an unpleasant taste as I emerged from the trance. I cannot say that this was my most pleasant DMT trip, and this method of smoking is not recommended.

#12, 1990-02-25

Smoked 30 - 40 mg. mixed with mint leaves in a short-stemmed pipe (all subsequent sessions use mint leaves unless otherwise noted). Dynamic swirling geometric patterns, not particularly colorful. A strange melody, heard at a distance, a repetitive elf-like music. No fear. A fairly peaceful experience. Cannot recall everything. No sign of alien entities.

#13, 1990-03-5

Smoked 40 - 50 mg, but probably did not hold the smoke in for long enough (should be about twenty seconds). An overwhelming and confusing experience. My heart rate seemed to go way up, which caused me some concern. I had to remind myself that one does not die from smoking DMT. The experience was disjointed and erratic. There were white flashes, like subtitles in a film, except that they were not verbal but rather like a white-energy-being rushing quickly through the scene (what I now think of as the "white-lightning being"). There was a strange, incomprehensible auditory hallucination. Confusing and unpleasant. I reflected that this is what hell might be like (good practice for hell: stay calm and try to observe what is happening).

#14, 1990-03-31

I mixed about 40 mg. of DMT with mint leaves. After the previous negative experience I was somewhat fearful, and, after settling myself in a comfortable position, recited mantras for quite a while for protection and to calm myself. I would move from states of calmness to states of anxiety, and decided that it would be best to smoke the DMT during one of the states of calmness, which I did, in two inhalations. Upon lying back I became aware of brightly colored, moving patterns, which I remembered having seen before on DMT (but having forgotten about - indeed even now, a half-hour later, I cannot recall them clearly). I was then immersed in a totally weird state, like being in a large multi-colored hall whose walls (if it had walls) were moving incomprehensibly. I had no awareness of increased heart rate, if there was any. Apart from occasional awareness of my breathing (when I wished to check it) I was hardly aware of my body at all. I seemed to be in another world, disembodied and flabergasted. I seemed to be aware of the presence of other beings in the same space, but had only fleeting glimpses of them, as if they were shy about appearing to me. In this state I did not know what to do. It was as if I was offered a wish by the dragon but did not understand what was being offered - or even that there was a dragon at all. Throughout there was elf-music, and elf-language in the background. I did not attend much to this since the visual component was so overwhelming. As the effect wore off I felt myself losing contact with this state, and knew that I would forget what was happening. It felt as if there were beings "waving goodbye". Once I was back I experienced a few minutes of the shudders, not uncommon for me. However, I felt good about this trip. It seems important to enter the DMT state in a calm state of mind rather than an anxious state. Meditation to calm the mind thus seems recommended before smoking DMT.

#15, 1990-04-08

Smoked 30 - 40 mg. in two inhalations. Apart from feeling very strange there was not much effect. Some small auditory hallucination, not much above the level of ordinary imagination. Some small confusion of thought, punctuated by reminders to myself not to forget to breathe. There was no visual hallucination that I recall and I did not lose awareness of body. I did, however, experience the post-trip shakes, to a lesser extent than usual. Definitely disappointing; I felt a little annoyed. Presumably just did not get enough. Perhaps the bacteria have been chomping on the DMT. Or perhaps contact with the flame destroyed some of the DMT. There were, however, some interesting psychological insights.

#16, 1990-04-14

I smoked the same amount as last time. I tried to avoid contact between the flame and the DMT but that didn't seem to work well. I recited mantras before smoking, and I wished to see whether, unlike last time, I could maintain the mantra into the DMT state. I succeeded in this but, as before, there was no visual hallucination. Either I got insufficient DMT or recitation of a mantra suppresses the effects (or both). I did, however, have the insight that it is part of Tibetan tantric practice to maintain recitation of the mantra of one's main deity during the transition to the death state; maintaining the mantra in that state will presumably lead to the realm of that deity. There is, however, the temptation to let go of the mantra (it may be difficult to remember); if the mantra is abandoned then presumably one is swept away to the lower bardos and eventual rebirth into one of the six realms of existence.

After the DMT had worn off (there was not much of the usual trembling) I took 100 mg. of MDMA. As the effect came on there was some interesting eidetic imagery not normally associated with MDMA. The images, which were colorful and which changed very rapidly, were pictorial rather than abstract. There were elves and other curious and improbable compositions, although they seemed to be only images and not real beings. This state did not last long, and was followed by the usual MDMA heart-space effect. Apart from this imagery the DMT predose did not seem to influence the experience significantly.

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