psilo psolo journey manual psoiree

Movement.
Stillness.

Stillness.
Movement.

These are the four modules that make up the high-dose journey arc and outline, as proposed in the Psilo Psolo Journey Manual, from Psoirée founder Ray Christian.

psilo psolo journey manual psoiree

I recently connected with Ray over our shared love of high-dose solo sessions, and being the idea nerd that I am, today I wanted to give a quick outline and share this framework. Let’s take a look…

Four Modules

Ray outlines four modules for a high-dose trip. They go like this:

Module 1: Pre-trip
Movement

Module 2: Liftoff
Stillness

Module 3: Cruising Altitude
Stillness

Module 4: Landing:
Movement

The idea is that physicality has a powerful impact on the journey. So it’s good to toggle between both movement and stillness. Although movement and stillness both repeat, each one is different. Here’s a closer look at each of the modules (M):

M1: Pre-trip

Movement

Duration: 20–30 mins
Description: After consuming but before it has taken effect
Directions: Utilize MOVEMENT to get endorphins flowing. Your mind and body state as you enter the “Stargate” portal will dictate the tone of the journey.

M2: Liftoff

Stillness

Duration: 1.5–2 hours
Description: The most intense module
Directions: Engage complete physical STILLNESS: this is key for going deep. Your body should be still for long stretches of the journey so your mind can travel.

M3: Cruising Altitude

Stillness

Duration: 30–60 minutes
Description: A stable equilibrium within the journey. You won’t feel “normal,”
but you’re finding balance
Directions: Aim for continued STILLNESS.

M4: Landing

Movement

Duration: 60–120 minutes
Description: Journey & “reality” merge
Directions: Gentle MOVEMENT. Dance or play an instrument, but take it slow. You’re like a newborn gazelle on the African plains.

Music And Modules

Ray also shares music suggestions for each of the modules. Here’s a peak…

music and mo

Final Thoughts

If you know me, you know I love frameworks, systems, and methods. And when I see them applied to psychedelic work, it’s an easy fun geek-out moment.

I am happy to see stillness as the centerpiece of this framework. I consider inner work journeys to be like condensed meditation sessions, so an element of stillness is key. It means really being with the experience, being with ourselves. My own MO for these sessions is probably closer to stillness, stilness, stillness, stillness.

However, I like the movement at the start, getting the instant benefits of movement or exercise to induce the ideal set. I have tried this before, and a 20-minute low-grade run before an MDMA session, or a creative session with weed, have worked tremendously for me. Though much movement toward the end of the journey is rare for me, I know for sure that others benefit from it.

I also like the “1-2 punch” cadence suggested for music in module 2. It reminds me a lot of the “pendulum” effect employed by Mendel Kaelen in his psilocybin playlists, where he moves between intense songs (to get the emotional catharsis flowing), and more mellow songs (to give the journeyer a little respite from the intense emotional work).

I remain method agnostic when it comes to working with psychedelics and continue to champion a personalized approach, everyone finding what works for them. I think this four-module framework can work well for many, many people, and the ideas are certainly worthy of experimenting with.

You can check out the full Psilo Psolo Journey Manual here and Ray’s community at Psoirée, a hub for solo high-dose explorers.

the conscious psychedelic explorer course

Next week I will begin The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, a comprehensive six-week course on developing the ability to use psychedelics for insight, healing, and growth. We start on Monday, and signups close in 3 days, at midnight this Friday, the 14th of October.

Ahead of the course, I wanted to refresh and share my intentions for this cohort. This will be the second group, after having run it with the first group over 4 weeks in November last year.

Support

My primary intention for this course is to support others on their path of growth, exploration, and healing, through the conscious use of psychedelics. It’s something I know, something I feel good at, and an area I feel I can help other people in a valuable and meaningful way. Psychedelics are a personally meaningful topic for me, having helped me hugely in my own life, so I naturally have an enthusiasm for sharing on this subject and helping others where I can.

I will offer support primarily by way of video lessons, live calls and a group chat.

The video lessons will run through the core content of the program. My intention with these recorded lessons is to create a body of work that can support the members, and people who are using psychedelics for years, and hopefully decades, to come. I put a lot of thought into this and devised a four-part framework to approaching work with psychedelics that covers all of the key topics. I call this The Path of the Psychonaut.

It covers two levels of preparation and two of integration; preparing to work with psychedelics, preparing for a single experience, integrating a single experience, and integrating on the path of using psychedelics. You can find out more on the program page, or hear me talk about it with Josh Gonsalves on a recent episode of the Mind Meld podcast.

the path of the psychonaut

The framework is cyclical, as the path continues

Community

I also intend to continue building a community of mindful psychedelic explorers. I really enjoy hosting live calls with members of our group and having a chance to interact with people in real-time. It offers an opportunity for a deeper level of learning, and a chance to connect with like-minded others. 

I’ve met a few of the first cohort in person, in Switzerland, Amsterdam, and Berlin, as well as those I’d previously welcomed on retreat, and hope that these online connections continue to spread into the real world.

It’s beautiful when a group comes together with a common cause, or of course, common-unity. It was something I experienced growing up, primarily in sports teams and music groups. In both of these, I experienced a sense of kinship and bonding with my teammates or bandmates. When we stepped out onto the pitch, or the stage, we were in it together. We had each other’s backs and would’ve (and often did, in rugby), taken blows for each other if it helped the team and our common cause.

I’ve also experienced this sense of community as an adult in yoga and meditation groups. More recently, a meditation group that I helped to organize for a couple of years in Berlin. Though individual motivations may have varied, what we all shared was the desire to develop in some way. Everyone wanted to be a better person and saw the group as a means of helping realize that goal. We practiced together, and I practiced guiding the group in all kinds of meditation and mindfulness exercises. And like all the other communities I’ve been a major part of, I found some great friends in the process.

This group also had a shared interest in psychedelics, and I’ve organized sessions with most of the regular members at one time or another over the last few years. I’ve sat, I’ve been sat, and I’ve journeyed alongside them. And the nice thing was, I knew everyone had experience in mindfulness, which is a recommendation I offer to anyone working with psychedelics. That is a practice that I’ll bring more of into The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer Community with this next cohort.

Awareness

My deepest level of intention is to do work that contributes to the evolution of consciousness. I believe we are here to learn, and to expand our awareness, and that psychedelics are an invaluable tool that can accelerate this process.

In doing so, I hope to spread positive ripples and benefit humanity with whatever contribution I can.

Join Us for The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer

If you’d like to go deeper in your use of psychedelics for healing, insight or growth, then I invite you to join us.
Whatever your level, beginner or pro, you’re welcome.

Registration is open for 3 more days, until Friday 11:59pm Eastern time.
The group will be capped at 10 and there are still some spots left.

You can find information on the course page here and sign up here.
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out and contact me or book a call.

If you feel you’d benefit, then I hope to see you inside!

Warm wishes,

John

mind meld podcast psychedelics john robertson conscious explorer

I had a great conversation with Josh Gonzalvez from Mind Meld back in June and it’s been released today!

On the podcast, we talk about the four stages of preparing for and integrating meaningful psychedelic experiences.

I really enjoyed this conversation with Josh, he has such great, friendly vibes and a warm, enthusiastic curiosity that’s infectious and fun. It was a real pleasure, and probably the favorite podcast episode I’ve recorded to date.

If you’re at all interested in my course The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, and the four part framework I use for it, then this is the episode to listen to today!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. You can watch it on youtube or catch it on your usual podcast app. Find the links here or click on the image below ⬇️

mind meld podcast psychedelics john robertson conscious explorer

On a side note, we recorded the podcast before I renamed the course, just to clarify.

My course, The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer, opens again for registration next Wednesday.

If you’re interested and would like to take your psychedelic practice to the next level, to develop your understanding and ability to effectively use psychedelics for insight, healing, and growth, then sign up for the waitlist here.

psychedelic compatibility group who

The cast of characters you trip with is one of the biggest parts of the setting. It’s certainly the most alive, and in some ways, unpredictable.

A helpful metric to consider when choosing your company is psychedelic compatibility.

I define psychedelic compatibility as:
The level at which two or more people are able to trip together without problems or conflict.

It might also be understood as the ability for multiple people to successfully journey together.

This can be thought of in the same way that you might consider which friends you travel well with, work well with, or could live with. You might have friends who you love, but wouldn’t want to live with. You might have a friend who’s a bestie and hanging out is awesome, but you don’t travel well together. These are all types of compatibility. This is the same for psychedelic trips.

Contributing factors to psychedelic compatibility include like mindedness, alignment of intentions, expectations, and flexibility or openness.

If there is low compatibility, it may result in mismatched experience and some disappointment from people in the group. I’ll give an example to illustrate how this might occur.

Low Psychedelic Compatibility

Dave and Lisa are friends. They both want to trip and decide it might be nice to do it together. However, they are some differences in how they approach the session…

Dave is looking for an introspective experience. He’s at a bit of a crossroads in his life and would like some clarity on how to move forward.
Lisa is up for a more recreational experience. She’s just moved to a new city, started a new job and generally things are going pretty well. She’s up for letting loose and having fun.

Dave wants to create a setting that lends itself to an introspective experience; soft lighting and music. He wants to use a psychedelic therapy approach, listening to a preset playlist which brings him through emotions, and includes flowing music for reflection.
Lisa wants doesn’t want to choose all the music up front. She wants to be able to choose and change music as she feels like it.

Lisa wants to dance around the room.
Dave finds that distracting.

Dave wants to lie down with his eyes closed.
Lisa finds that boring.

Lisa wants to talk and interact with Dave. Make jokes, silly sounds, explore philosophical topics and look at art.
Dave wants to lie down with his eyes closed.

Dave wants to journal, Lisa wants to cuddle.

Clearly, Dave and Lisa have a low psychedelically compatibility.

Psychedelic Compatibility Can Change

It’s useful to bear in mind that psychedelic compatibility between people isn’t fixed permanently. Whilst Dave and Lisa are not very compatible for their next session, that doesn’t mean that can’t change at a later date. Maybe in the future Dave would like to have a fun session. Or, Lisa will be more open to trying an introspective experience. It can depend on the time of life, so it’s useful for parties to talk before, to check their level of compatibility before going ahead for a session.

Compatibility can be increased if parties talk about potential scenarios in advance that could prove to be a problem. This can improve the ability to successfully navigate differences that come up.

For example:
What if one of us wants to go outside for a walk, and the other/s wants to stay inside?
What if someone really can’t stand the music that is playing?
What if, in a dyad, one person wants to be left alone and the other wants to talk?

Finding High Compatibility

If intentions and expectations are aligned, there is a much higher possibility that groups will be psychedelically compatible.

To reach a high level of psychedelic compatibility, everyone has to be more or less on the same page. This can include things such as intention, expectation, session style, agreements. Here are a few examples:

Intentions:
What are everyone’s intentions for the session? Do they align? Intentions might include: fun, exploration, introspection, emotional release, partying, spiritual exploration.

Expectations:
Is there an expectation that the group will be spending the whole trip together, or that each person will have time to themselves? Is there an expectation that you remain in one place for the session, or that you may be on the move?

Style:
Is the session formal or casual? It is highly structured, ritualised even? Is it free flowing? It is inner journey style? Are you doing any activities together? Will you be making art or music? Watching a movie? Will you prepare for any of these? Will you just flow into it and see how it goes?

Music:
Will you listen to a collaborative playlist? Will you select songs as a group together? Does one person play DJ, taking requests? Or will you just wing it? Is everyone cool with that?

How to Assess Psychedelic Compatibility

The way to assess psychedelic compatibility is through honest communication and conversation. If you’re planning to share a trip with friends, you can simply share what are your intentions and expectations for the experience. How does each person envision it going? What is the setting? What is the level of interaction? Are you all in the same room? Is talk to be kept to a minimum? Is communication limited and only use for practical purposes (e.g. things like the level of music, water and tea, blankets, opening windows for air flow etc.). Are you aiming to avoid getting into conversations?

If you’d like a list of questions to run through with a friend before a trip, check out my guide, which you can get by signing up to my newsletter.

I hope you can find high compatibility with your next journey buddy or crew. Best wishes and safe travels!

psychedelic service sheet altar ritual

Taking a high dose of a psychedelic still scares me. This is true even after having embarked upon many high dose sessions. One thing that I’ve found helps me to find a sense of calm is having some kind of structure to the session.

Sometimes for my trips I will have a very minimal structure. Usually, with low or medium doses, I’d be more on the recreational tip; more loose and informal. On the other hand, for higher dose formal sessions, what I might call ceremonies, I tend towards a more formal and structured approach. For these more ritualistic high-dose experiences, I create a service sheet.

Psychedelic Service Sheet

Much like you might find at a ceremony such as a wedding, funeral or other church service, a psychedelic service sheet contains the order of proceedings. It may also include the words of any prayers, songs or readings that are part of the service.

I usually only create a service sheet for inner journeys. As I’ll be lying down with my eyes closed for these sessions, my service sheet is mostly just an order for opening and closing the session.

I really like having a service sheet because it makes the occasion feel special. It is also very practical. It gives me a clear step-by-step run through. Having this clear to do list, or, order of service, helps me to go through specific steps in order to bring about a sense of ease, order, and structure. This helps to create something of a container for the experience. When I’m a little anxious or fidgety before a high dose session, having this clear and simple run through helps me to follow steps one by one and sets me up nicely for my session. It’s similar to some athletes or musicians’ pre-show rituals. 

Contents of a Service Sheet

My service sheet will typically contain the steps for my opening and closing rituals, and the prayer that I read aloud as part of my opening. There is also space for me to write my intention, as well as other key details like the location, style of the session, the people present, and the date. It may include some navigation reminders or guidelines, and/or a couple of lines to help me connect to my inner resources. It also has a section for me to fill in the dosage, substance, and start time. 

Helps Create the Desired Set

On my service sheet I include things which help to move me into a desired state: feeling safe, relaxed, humble, and open. Here is a quick summary of items that I include and what they help connect me to.

Resources: safety, strength
Meditation: calm, open
Prayer: humble, open
Gratitude: heart opening

They are all, in some form or another, centering practices.

How & What I Use for my Service Sheets

Sometimes I have the sheet printed off on a sheet of A4 paper. More often I will use the double page of a notepad, which I lie open on a flat surface in a designated place. Depending on the setup and space, it may be part of or next to an altar. The pad then remains open there for the duration of the session, and is only put away once the ceremony has been closed.

psychedelic service sheet altar ritual

I typically like to include a sound, such as ringing a bell or making an OM, to both open and close. I also like to light and then blow out a candle as bookends, with the flame symbolizing the journey. When I blow it out at the end I can make a wish and do a little candle magic. This is, by the way, for you cynics, performed every day across the country when children blow out little flames on their birthday cakes.

My Influences

I think the ayahuasca ceremonies I attended in the Amazon were a large influence on me adopting service sheets into my practice. They were easily the most formalized ceremonies that I’d attended. They had a very clear structure to them, with distinct stages, or rounds, of the service. They also included many preselected readings and prayers. I really appreciated that approach and how special it felt. It also added to a sense of containment and made the whole thing feel more safe. I also think the Japanese tea ceremony has influenced my adoption of service sheets, as well as using to-do lists and practicing productivity concepts like ‘masterpiece days‘ and deep work.

Record of Doses and Journeys

Service sheets also work as a handy record. They can be used to look back on previous trips. For practical considerations, having things like doses noted can be helpful for calibrating and titrating your dosage over time. So if you think like ‘oh yeah, that time we tripped at Lisa’s place, that was a good level, how much did we take?’. You’ve got it there in your written records.

It’s a large part of ritualizing use which has many benefits of its own, and is also kind of like Taking Drugs Like a Nerd.

Making Your Own Service Sheet

If this idea interests you, I would recommend trying to create your own service sheet. If you find it’s not for you, you can go ditch it and go back to your usual approach. Here I will include a few examples of orders that might be included. You can consider them a starting point and take this idea wherever you like. Your service sheet might look totally different to mine.

Examples

Example 1: Group Inner Journeys Style

Once everyone is ready:

  • Opening Circle (A stick goes round the circle, and everyone shares how they feel)
  • 3 minutes silent meditation
  • Pass doses round in circle and bless them
  • Music begins (Inwards, by Tommi)
  • Take doses
  • Journey
  • Playlist Ends
  • Closing circle

Example 2: Group Dynamic Session

Opening

  • Ring Bell
  • Opening Circle
  • Eye gazing in pairs
  • Take Dose

Session (modeled on Osho Dynamic Meditation)

Playlist begins

  • Section 1: Loosening
    Shaking
  • Section 2: Activation
    Free flowing movement & dance
  • Section 3: Calm
    Standing or seated meditation
  • Section 4: Stillness
    Seated or lying meditation

Playlist Ends

(When participants feel ready to re-engage, they may move to the reintegration room)

Closing

  • Closing Circle
  • Give Thanks
  • Ring Bell

Example 3: MVO (Minimum Viable Order of Service)

  • Cheers
  • Take dose

[Session]

  • Closing joint

Would you ever use a service sheet? Is it too formal for you? Would you prefer a more relaxed approach? For high-dose sessions where things can get a little more out of control, I find a service sheet helps to make myself feel more grounded and ready to embark upon a journey. I believe it might help you, too.

Safe travels and best wishes.