amsterdam netherlands

Planning a trip to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, or even just Europe, and want to make an inner journey too? This guide to taking magic truffles is for you.

What Are Magic Truffles?

magic galindoi truffles 15g packet

Magic truffles, AKA psilocybin truffles, are a type of fungus that contain psilocybin. Psilocybin is the naturally occurring psychedelic molecule that is found in ‘magic mushrooms’ and is what gives them their psychedelic effect and ‘magic’ title.

Truffles are at an earlier stage of fungal development than mushrooms but effectively the same thing. The only real difference is that the amount of psilocybin per weight is lower in truffles than mushrooms. More on dosage below.

Psilocybin

Psilocybin has been shown to have an impressive range of positive effects. It can trigger lasting personality changes, improve mood and alleviate depression, reduce anxiety, catalyze creative insights, and reliably occasion mystical experiences. Psilocybin has been shown to be safe, non-addictive, and non-toxic.

Why In The Netherlands?

There are only two countries in the world where psilocybin is legal: Jamaica and the Netherlands. You can find magic mushrooms in Jamaica but there are a lack of quality vendors.

amsterdam netherlands

In Holland, magic truffles are fully legal. Truffle production has reached a commercial level; you can walk into a store, choose from a variety of truffles that have been vaccum packed and refrigerated, and ask staff questions before making your purchase. These types of stores, often called ‘smart shops’, are plentiful in Amsterdam, which is a short journey from any major city in Europe.

Where Can I Buy Magic Truffles?

azarius amsterdam smartshop smart shop truffles

You can find magic truffles at Azarius at Kerkstraat 119. Azarius is a smart shop with an impressive range of goodies. They have friendly staff who will answer your questions and give you information and advice about magic truffles.

truffle menu amsterdam

Truffle menu

Full disclosure: I received a voucher for Azarius in return for linking them in this post. I chose Azarius because of their excellent selection of products and I happily recommend them because of their friendly and helpful staff.

Dosage

Generally, you can buy per dose. I recommend you to get advice from the staff in the shop you buy your truffles from; tell them your experience with psychedelics and what type of experience you are looking for, and ask them any questions you have.

Truffles are sold fresh in shops, so if bought, then kept for a long time and dried out, the equivalent weight will be significantly lower. As a rough guide here are dosages with fresh truffles, as sold.

5 – 10g Low dose. Those with a higher tolerance may not feel anything at 5g.
10 – 20g Medium dose. Could be strong for a first timer.
20 – 30g High dose
30g +  Very high dose – Potential spiritual or peak experience. Not recommended to do alone or if its a first psychedelic experience.

Would you like to take your psychedelic use to the next level?
I’m currently creating a course on psychedelics for intermediate users (no first timers, sorry!). If you are interested in taking part, please let me know your answers to a few questions you can find here. Thank you!

Serving

I have 4 options for you:

1. Eat them plain
2. Make a truffle tea
3. Make a truffle smoothie

4. ’Lemon Tek’.

  1. Eat them plain
    Eating them as they are straight out of the packet is the least appetising way but the simplest. Truffles don’t taste good and are crunchy in a bad way, but straight up chomping them will still get the job done. Chew well.

2. Truffle Tea is probably the most distinguished way to consume your truffles.

make magic truffle tea

To make your truffle tea:

  • Crush your truffles up well and put them in a mug or other container.
  • Bring water to boil and then remove it from the heat. Let the water sit and cool off for a few minutes – you want it to be hot, but not boiling. As long as it is cool enough to drink, that’s okay.
  • Optional step: Whilst your water is cooling off, add some fresh ginger. The ginger adds a nice flavour and can help to lessen any nausea. You can also add another type of tea.
  • Once the water has cooled slightly, pour it over your crushed up truffles.
  • Give it a good stir and let it infuse for for 10 minutes.
  • Add honey or a sweetener if you’d like to sweeten it.
  • Drink your tea and then eat up the truffles left in the bottom of your mug.

Extra note: If you prefer not to eat the truffles, pour over another round of tea, letting it sit for another 5-10 minutes and drink again. This will ensure that most of the psychedelic goodness makes it into your brew. If you want to be 100% certain that you don’t waste anything and get maximum effect, you should eat up any leftover truffles in the bottom of your mug.

3. Truffle Smoothie
This can be a nice yet simple way to mask that truffle taste. Chuck them in a blender with some fruits or juice, then enjoy. Throw in some slices of raw ginger to help with the nausea.

4. Lemon Tek
It has been claimed that the ‘lemon tek’ method will make your trip come on faster and harder. I can’t neither confirm nor deny this claim, but I will say that the lemon flavour helps to mask the taste of the truffles.

lemon tek psilocybin psilocin truffles

To lemon tek:

  • Crush your truffles up well and put in a glass. The more crushed up, the better. You can also use a coffee grinder if the truffles have been been dried out.
  • Cover your truffles with freshly squeezed lemon juice, enough to cover them, so they’re bathing in it.
  • Let sit for 20-25 minutes (not longer), stirring every 5 minutes.
  • Drink the whole mix. It won’t taste beautiful, so you’ll probably want to get it down fast.

N.B. Whichever method you choose, I’d recommend taking them on an empty stomach – to make the most of your dose and to lessen any nausea – a common side effect.

Where To Take Them?

The setting of the trip will influence the experience so it’s worth considering. Here are a few options. Scroll down for more info on each one.

1. Private apartment / AirBnB
2. Find a natural setting
3. Go on a psychedelic retreat

1. Private apartment / AirBnB

If you’ve got access to a private place, this is a nice option. One way is to find a nice place on AirBnB. You can set the place up to be cosy and clean and get some nice playlists ready to guide your experience. You also don’t have to worry about speaking with strangers or dealing with other similar unforeseen circumstances.

apartment indoor

Having a private space allows you to have a controlled environment and this can help to relax. I would recommend this if you are inexperienced with psychedelics and are planning a deep experience. Have enough food at base so that once your appetite returns, you don’t need to go out in to the big scary world if you don’t feel like it.

2. Find a natural setting

nature forest psychedelic trip

This can be a great way to connect with the beauty of the natural world. If you’re gonna do this, I’d recommend going further than finding a park in the city and finding nature that is out of Amsterdam, at least out of the city centre. Forests and beaches are nice. Better still, go camping. There are a couple of nature options in a blog post written here.

If you are planning this, be well prepared.

First, check the weather forecast. If it looks like weather you’re happy to be tripping in, pack well but also don’t overdo it.

Here’s some things to take:

• Suitable clothes – Fairly obvious but can be overlooked. Don’t forget your sunnies for good weather and a raincoat if there’s a chance of showers. If you’ll be out after sunset, make sure you have enough clothes to keep warm.
• Something to lie on – Though nature is nice, so is being comfortable. Think sleep/yoga mat or picnic blanket.
• Water and food – Common sense. Nuts and fruit are always a good option.
• Music/speakers – Come on, you’re gonna be tripping.
• Pen and paper – For drawing or writing.
• Pre-rolled joints – I wouldn’t recommend this if you’ve never smoked before but if you do smoke weed, your tripping self will thank you for the pre-rolleds later; trying to roll a joint whilst tripping hard can be a difficult and tedious process.  Having one or two ready is nice even if its just for the end of the trip to relax. Plenty of good weed and hash to be found in Amsterdam.

3. Go on a psychedelic retreat

The unique legal status of psilocybin truffles in the Netherlands combined with increasing interest in psychedelics has lead to a rise in retreats. Now there are a few and you have a choice if you wish to have a psilocybin experience on a retreat.

The context and container of the experience – how one is prepared for it and the company and environment in which it is held – plays a large part in the experience and how it will effect you, so a retreat can play a huge role in maximising potential benefits. Different retreats can vary on many factors, including length, focus, cost, comfort level etc., so I’d recommend looking through and getting a feel for the different options, before making a decision on one which most closely aligns to what you are looking for.


Come on retreat with me! New Moon Retreats is a psychedelic retreat I’m co-creating which integrates meditation and mindfulness practices. We have a small yet amazing team working towards our aim of increasing access to psychedelic experiences in a way which is designed to maximise benefits and help people on their journey. You can find out more and apply here.

open sunrise

Safe Travels!

Magic truffles can have powerful effects so I wouldn’t recommend taking the decision to take them lightly. However, if you do decide to and prepare well, you may be in for an ineffably beautiful and potentially life-changing experience. I’d love to hear how about your experience, so if you do, please share in the comments. I’ll leave you with some basic guidelines found at Azarius below. Safe travels!

magic psilocybin truffles guide advice

“Only three things go fast in Jamaica: the cars, the runners, and your money”

Having just spent the last 10 weeks based in Treasure Beach, a rural area on the south coast of Jamaica, I can definitely agree with the above expression. I was working there in a number of roles with a magic mushroom retreat operator and though there was plenty to do, the pace of life was slow. The high heat and humidity was probably at least partly responsible for this, but even when pushing past that, any top speed was always kept down by frequently occurring periods of enforced waiting and delay. A few examples;

During the retreats – which warrant posts and memoirs of their own – the ‘schedule’ was loose and changing. When people asked each other what time a meet up would be for a meal, meeting, or departure; the scheduled time would be given, usually semi-jokingly followed by ‘Jamaican time’ – i.e. allow for tardiness.

meeting jamaica treasure beach

Morning meeting with the team – think this one actually ran on time

Between retreats, when trying to set up video interviews with the locals on the retreat team, I suggested a time and day, and got at most a tentative confirmation. When that time came the interviewee was either elsewhere or doing something else. When I caught up with them later…
‘OK, so can we get the video tomorrow?’
‘Yeah man we got plenty of time.’

I did finally get those interviews, the following week. Getting them online was impossible though, because of the – you guessed it – slow internet on site. Even just getting a few photos online wasn’t easy, a batch of 20 onto dropbox could take over 10 hours, when the internet was working.

Uploading…

Expectation Versus Reality

As someone who is high in conscientiousness, I like and expect things to run on time and to a schedule, especially when its work-related. Suffice to say, the time in Jamaica was at times difficult and frustrating. This is an example of a clash between expectation and reality – I expected things to run to my schedule and at my speed, and the reality was that they simply wouldn’t.

Trying to resist the inclination to get frustrated when things weren’t ‘how I liked them’, I tried to remain like any good traveller in a new place – flexible, adaptable, and open – and in my attempts to adjust to a new pace of life, I found some guidance from the locals and their language.

Switching To Jamaican Time

jamaica jamaican flag

“Soon come”

Guidebook wisdom

‘Soon come’ is one of the first Jamaican expressions you’ll learn after arriving on the island and is really all I needed to remind myself when I was becoming impatient. A perfect mantra for when things aren’t going as fast as you’d like, on or off a Caribbean island.

Considering Jamaica’s history from early slave rebellions through the anti-slavery movement – which was only able to make progress in its goals over a number of generations – its not surprising that ‘soon come’ is one of many Jamaican proverbs that counsel patience and forbearance…

One one coco full basket

This means that you’ll get a full basket by adding one coconut at a time, so take it easy and you’ll get there. For me, perhaps ‘one one photo full dropbox’ may have been more appropriate, but I got the message.

jamaica rasta dreads dreadlocks

Konga, patriarch of the house. Photo by Jason Anderson

Every mickle mek a muckle

One evening sat out on the veranda with Konga,  I asked him about the meaning of this expression. He pointed to the rolling paper I’d laid down in front of me and the weed in my hand that I’d slowly been tearing into small pieces. He told me it was like how I was making my spliff; little by little, slowly and steadily, we get there. Obviously I enjoyed learning about the meaning of a Jamaican expression through making a joint, and I think smoking it helped too.

I like this expression because it also applies to thriftiness, something worth cultivating when you consider that money translates to time and freedom. And especially when you’re in a place where cash goes as fast as the cars and runners.

Changed Man… ?

So did a couple months in Jamaica transform me into a slower and more laid-back guy? Not exactly. My inclination towards schedule and punctuality remains. I believe schedules are the most efficient way to get things done and my conscientiousness is a trait that I like in myself. However, this isn’t how everyone operates and, though I expect fewer outside of Jamaica, there will always be unforeseen delays popping up in life. But having now spent this time on the island, I hope that when I’m forced to wait or proceed with anything at a speed slower than desired, I’ll be able to tap into that Jamaican spirit, let go of that urge, and patiently tell myself ‘soon come’.

shroom magic mushroom tea

Eating magic mushrooms high up in the mountains of Oaxaca and enjoying the incredible views there remains one of my most treasured memories. If you’re travelling through Mexico and in search of some exploration via a psychedelic adventure, well good news, you’re in a country with an incredible legacy of psychedelic use that continues to the present day.

As well as peyote to be found in the desert and salvia to be chewed with Mazatec shamans, there are plenty of mushies to be munched.

If its shrooms that you’re after, I wrote this for you.

mushrooms shrooms psilocybin

Where Can I Find Shrooms?

The state of Oaxaca. There are two towns in Oaxaca where you can source shrooms; Huautla de Jimenéz and San Jose Del Pacifico. Huautla de Jimenéz is where Maria Sabina lived and famously gave Gordon Watson his historic first dose that ended up turning on the West. I’ve heard there are many shamans in Huautla and that people might even be greeting you as you get off the bus. I haven’t been myself so I can’t give advice. Here’s a link to an interesting blog post from someone who has been.

Would you like to take your psychedelic use to the next level?
Join R/EVOLUTION, our one of a kind psychedelic course! R/EVOLUTION is a deep dive co-creative experience designed to empower you to find a personalised approach to using psychedelics for transformation and growth. Starts November 1st 2021

San Jose Del Pacifico

San jose del pacifico oaxaca

San Jose Del Pacifico is a small village nestled up in the mountains between the city of Oaxaca and the pacific coast. The views from this village are sublime and watching the sun set over the mountains after a trip is something out of a fairy tale.

There is a tradition of ‘hongos’ – mushrooms in Spanish – in San Jose and they are easy to find and buy. Just ask around once you arrive, a basic level of Spanish will suffice.

san jose del pacifico mexico sunset

Cost

The cost will depend on the season. If you go during the rainy season, July to October, when the shrooms are sprouting, you can find them for as little as 50 pesos ($3) for a pre-packaged dose. The rest of the year, you might pay up to around 300-400 pesos ($15-20) for the same amount, depending on your source.

Dosage

Speak with your seller. They will typically sell you per dosage. Or tell how many doses what they’ve sold you has.

shrooms magic mushrooms mexico

Serving

You can get them served in a tea, dry, or preserved in honey. Depends where you get them from. However you take them, I’d recommend taking them on an empty stomach – to make the most of your dose and to lessen any nausea.

shroom magic mushroom tea

Mushroom tea

shrooms magic mushrooms honey

Preserved in honey

How & Where?

This is of course up to you, but here are a few options. Scroll down for more info on each one.

  1. Go to the woods
  2. Journey in a private accommodation
  3. Find a temazcal ceremony

1. Go To The Woods

woods nature trip mexico

Classic nature trip option. Head up the hill and into the woods. Or off the main road to find a quiet spot. This was my MO every time during my visits mainly because even though I had a private room with a nice view where I was staying, it was kinda noisy cause of the other guests.

If you’re heading out to nature, be prepared: It can be roasting hot in the sun during the day, and very cold in the mornings and evenings. And pay attention to your route, you really don’t wanna get lost in the woods. I wouldn’t fancy an unplanned night out there.

Things to take:

  • Clothes suitable for heat and cold – Like I said, climate can vary wildly.
  • Something to lie on – Though nature is nice, so is being comfortable. Think sleep/yoga mat or blanket.
  • Water and food – Common sense. Nuts and fruit are always a good option.
  • Music – Come on, you’re gonna be tripping.
  • Pen and paper – For drawing or writing.
  • Pre-rolled joints – I wouldn’t recommend if its your first time tripping, but if you’re partial to a smoke, the hash in San Jose is really nice. Your tripping self will thank you for the pre-rolleds later. A highlight of my time in San Jose was gazing at the clouds whilst enjoying a hash joint and listening to JJ Cale. That guy could seriously play.
woods forest nature

My spot for an afternoon

2. Journey In a Private Accommodation

If your own accommodation is relatively quiet and away from distractions, this would be a good option. If it’s with a view over the mountains, even better.

Here I’ll direct you to a post on warrior.do about creating your own mushroom retreat – the post is about doing one in Bali but the advice is excellent and still applies. On the page scroll down to where it says “How To Hold a Mushroom Retreat”.

How To Have A Magic Mushroom Retreat – warrior.do

3. Find a Temazcal Ceremony

I’ve heard that some of the local temazcals (sweat lodges) offer mushrooms as part of a ceremony. I didn’t take part in one of these so can’t comment but it might be worth investigating if you’re interested. If you have experience or information, please post in the comments below.

san jose del pacifico sunset

Safe Travels!

jamaica mycomeditations sea landscape shrooms

At the end of last year I went to Jamaica to work at a psychedelic specialists psilocybin mushroom retreat. In case you’re wondering if you read that right, I’ll repeat. Psychedelic specialists. Magic mushroom retreat. In Jamaica. Yes, I know. My life sucks.

jamaica myco meditations treasure beach

Put on by Myco Meditations, the 10-day retreat was on the south coast of the island and had plenty going on outside of the 4 psilocybin sessions – there were group activities like art integration and guided meditations, presentations on psilocybin and session prep, and optional day trips to local areas. Comedian Shane Mauss did some of his ‘A Good Trip’ standup on psychedelics and a talk on DMT, and psilocybin researcher Katherine Maclean gave talks and acted as a facilitator for the sessions. Frankly speaking it was as awesome as it sounds and definitely a highlight of a what was personally an unpredictable roller coaster of a year.

myco meditations jamaica psilocybin retreat

shane mauss poi lights trippy psychedelic

How Did I End Up There?

A question I asked myself a few times. The short answer: by following my passions. The longer version is that I came across Myco Meditations online some time last year and after a brief email exchange with founder Eric Osborne we set up a skype call. Over the next couple of months we continued to connect and the next thing I know I’m booking a flight to Jamaica to film at the event.

eric myco meditations mycomeditations jamaica shrooms

Eric – a man who is happy whenever around mushrooms

Filming & Integration

I was there primarily to film some videos for the MycoMeds website and youtube and the filming interestingly merged into psychedelic integration, an emerging field I’m becoming increasingly interested in and one I think will develop rapidly in the coming years.

I sat down and did interviews with those on the retreat, asking them about their experience of it – the group dynamic, the facilitators, Jamaica – and more specifically their experiences during the psilocybin sessions. Doing these interviews was rewarding in itself and as people opened up I was reminded how important and powerful this work is. It really got me, and during one interview as someone talked to me about family troubles and how they’d come up in one of his high dose sessions, I was struck deeply with compassion. People were gaining new perspectives and the ability to see things in a more positive light. Good to know the mushies were working their magic.

jamaica beach landscape

The interviews gave me ideas for a type of video integration – where people can speak about their experiences and have the videos to help reconnect them to their experience and their new perspective, and continue to work with the insights they’ve gained. If you have any further ideas on how this might be developed, contact me.

Sitting

As well as filming I was also a sitter/facilitator for half of the sessions. Being entrusted in this role to be there for people during their psychedelic experiences is an absolute honour and privilege. Truly humbling. There is a lot to get into here and too much for this post so I’ll just say that sitting really is a skill and something which I learn more about with each experience – this was no different and I learned things which will inform my approach next time. Until then, my basic advice as a sitter to a tripper would be: if you encounter difficult emotions, relax, go towards and into them, and explore them with curiosity.

Let your guard down and walk naked into the fire.
(Metaphorically speaking. Please don’t actually walk into a fire.)

The Importance Of Vulnerability

The retreat made me realise that this willingness to vulnerability isn’t just important in the psychedelic experience – it’s important as a part of life. The group on this retreat bonded as the week progressed and conversations became deeper as we started opening up to each other more and more. I was reminded, yet again, that we’re all human and all have our troubles and struggles in life. Something that’s surprisingly easy to forget.

This is something that should be acknowledged because ignoring problems is never a good long term game plan. Whilst I don’t think it’s healthy to focus too heavily on problems – of course we should take time to count our blessings and enjoy life as it is – I do believe that the areas of our life we struggle with should be looked at honestly and strategically. If problems are left without inspection they may grow into a beast that is hard to even look at, let alone begin to decide how to take down. Naturally, looking at our problems isn’t comfortable, sharing them with others less so, and that’s exactly why it takes courage to be vulnerable. It seems natural to think of vulnerability as a weakness but the truth is the opposite. The ability to be vulnerable is a strength.

deep conversation mycomeditations jamaica

Having a group setting where you can sincerely share your problems is powerful. Talking about your problems or fears can give you the chance to say out loud things that have never been truly acknowledged. This can lead to a new understanding of your own feelings and opinions on things. Having someone patiently and sympathetically listen to you reinforces that its OK and normal to have problems and that we don’t need to hide from them. Once they are acknowledged then we can start to formulate a plan to tackle them. By talking with others we can receive support and advice on how to do this. If it is something out of our control, we can begin to learn acceptance.

The other side – hearing other people’s problems – is also helpful. We usually get so caught up in our own worlds that it’s easy to forget that everyone else is fighting their own battles too. But when someone is sat in front of you telling you they struggle with a difficult relationship, social anxiety, depression, direction in life, or whatever it is – you can’t ignore it. It shatters the facade of the world that deceives us through advertising – that everyone is supposed to be happy all the time – and hearing it directly from someone else gives you a very real reminder that you’re certainly not alone in your struggles. This can be empowering; a shared burden feels lighter and you can share with each other things that have helped you.

The Necessity Of Retreats

Most people don’t really take the time to properly reassess their position and direction. Too busy distracted. Or trying to earn or spend more money. Because apparently that’ll make us happy. But we know that really this isn’t true and instead of chasing the next hit of fleeting pleasure we should just stop for a second (or a week, or a month). We should take the time to see where we are and where we’re going, otherwise we’ll unwittingly end up somewhere we never wanted to be – ‘somewhere’ being the type of person we are and the life we’re living.

reflection retreat jamaica

Retreats by their nature offer us that opportunity to stop, reflect, have those important conversations, and realign ourselves. They give us the distance from our normal lives that is needed to get some perspective, and after we can go back into the world with our priorities in order. Combine this with psychedelics and a deeper mental reset and you have a powerful combo. But even without psychedelics I think that making time for this type of self-assessment is important. This is my way of saying; take time for yourself where you can really look at your life without distractions. Find your own retreat or ‘workation’, however it might take shape, where the work isn’t job-related but is work on yourself. Then take an actual break after, because if you’ve been working hard, you’ll need it!

Final Trip, 7.5g

Back to Jamaica, I figure I’ll finish where we did – the fourth and final trip. After facilitating for the second and third, I took part in this session as a tripper. The first three were in the evening but the final trip was to start in the afternoon so that there could be an outside and daylight option for those that wanted it. As well as the outdoor which would be a more sociable setting, there was an indoor option for those who wanted to do more internal personal work. I went for the indoor.

There was around 7 of us in the room, most people with doses of at least 5g, some going up to 9. We all lay down on and mats and music was played through a speaker. I can’t really comment on the music as I opted for headphones and put on a playlist by Mendel Kaelen – a psychedelic neuroscientist whose job it is to select music for people on psilocybin. I figured it should be fairly appropriate.

psilocybin capsules magic shrooms

I was allowed to choose my own dose and went for 7.5 grams. I know that might sound like a lot but I have a really high tolerance to psilocybin and I’d guess that 7.5g for me is probably what 3g would be for the average person. After knocking back the capsules I went for the classic therapeutic procedure –  sleep mask and headphones – and tried to relax myself as much as possible.

About 2 hours in the vivid sight of a family member on their deathbed came to me. I could see them so clearly that I could see the lines on their face. I felt sadness and fear at their imminent passing and started to cry. I tried to cry quietly to not disturb the others in the room, but at the same time to let it go. As I cried, I felt a hand softly rubbing me on my back. It was one of the facilitators, their touch told me “It’s ok for you to feel that sadness, it’s OK for you to cry. You are OK here”. After probably 10, 15 (?) minutes the sadness and accompanying tears eased up. I dried my eyes, blew my nose, and lay waiting to see if there was more to come. After a short time I could feel there was no more – the chapter had ended and the sadness had passed. And I kinda needed a pee.

I got up and went to the bathroom. I still had the Kaelen playlist playing in my ears but the purging was done and I was in a different space – I had a real urge to listen to some dirty riffs and big ass pumping rock tunes. Time to go off playlist. I grabbed a lighter from the kitchen and then went out on to the back balcony where I remembered there was a half a joint that had been hanging out there for a couple of days. I didn’t realise it before but I knew it now: that joint was waiting for me. I pulled up a seat to get a view of the lush green landscape and interrupted a soft and soothing tune for some Japandroids – crunching garage punk rock with anthemic choruses. Cranking the volume as the intro began, I lit up that joint.

smoke

Ah man. Glorious. The sweet ganja washed over me with a warm fuzz that somehow fused with the gnarled distortion on the guitars, and in a crazy life-affirming haze of noise, I felt fucking great. I heard the detail of the tone on those guitars like I haven’t heard in a long time and I closed my eyes tight, feverishly bumping my head to a beat that was pumping me up with a fresh lust for life, simultaneously satisfying and whetting my appetite for adventure and exploration. Wild, ecstatic, euphoric. It was reminiscent of my first ever trips and again reminded me that all life is an adventure, the message echoed by the chorus flying through my headphones…

“It ain’t shit, it’s just kicks… And like the world I’m going on and on and on.”

Now I know that might sound like some cheap adolescent wisdom but it’s a message that is much needed when life starts to seem heavy and a little too serious – ultimately life is nothing, it’s just kicks… pressure’s off, don’t sweat it too much, go explore and have fun.

Message received, I jammed out to another stone-cold rocker on the balcony as the rest of the group did a final meditation inside. The closing of the meditation signalled the end of the formal session, and we headed for the beach to meet up with the outdoor group.

jamaica mycomeditations sea landscape shrooms

jamaica mycomeditations sea landscape shrooms

We arrived at the beach to find the others already there, some in the sea, some exploring the nearby terrain. I found a spot to lie on the sand and got comfortable. “Inspiration and beauty for the next half hour!” Eric said announcing the immediate schedule. As I looked out to the colours starting to appear over the horizon, I had to agree. I lay there smiling to myself until Kristjan, an Estonian retreater with a brilliant accent that I’d come to love over the course of the retreat, appeared from behind a mound of sand. He wandered over with a characteristic smile and typically perfectly rolled joint in hand. Holding it up, he asked “Wanna try some of this sweet hash?”

As advertised, it was sweet. As was pretty much everything else about that evening on the beach. I caught up with the others about their journeys as we bobbed on the waves, and shared joints over conversations about dreams and the world. After the sun had set we made it back inland for dinner where Shane let our table in on some more of his crazy brilliant ideas. Engaging and heartfelt conversation over dinner with good people, before stepping out to gaze up at the full moon. What else can I say? It was the perfect end to the retreat.

psilocybin shrooms

Hey, I’m back. September has been jam-packed. What have I been doing? Well for one I spent a week in Copenhagen. Here’s what I got up to in Denmark’s capital.

copenhagen

Freetown Christiania

On my first day I visited Copenhagen’s counterculture haven: Freetown Christiania – a self-proclaimed autonomous anarchist district in the borough of Christianshavn. An abandoned military base that was taken over by squatting hippies in the 70’s, around 1000 people live in the area making up a community that has its own rules and where decisions are made through meetings.

christiania

It was my second time to visit and on arriving at ‘pusher street’ I was taken back to my first visit, 5 years ago, by the pungent smell of hash that fills the air there. Yes, weed and hash are openly sold and smoked there. It reminded me of Uruguay with people freely toking in public. Pretty cool.

smoke christiania

See no evil, hear no evil…

I love the ideas and values that Christiania represents so it was great to be in that environment. I walked by the canal, got some green from a friendly seller, smoked a little too much weed and then walked around Neuhavn slightly paranoid before returning to Christiania to meet a friend for a veggie dinner. The food was great, paranoia less so. Ha. All good in the end.

neuhavn copenhagen

Neuhavn

On the Friday I attended a tripsitting workshop (yes, that’s a thing now), spent Saturday and Sunday at the Psychedelic Symposium, and on Monday I went to see Daniel Pinchbeck talk about Social Ecology at a gallery in Christiania. These were all awesome and warrant their own posts – more to come.

Kierkegaard & Existentialism

Kierkegaard

On Tuesday I visited the graveyard of Søren Kierkegaard. Born in Copenhagen, Kierkegaard was the founder of the philosophical school of existentialism and I took the opportunity to explore some of his ideas whilst there. I’m really glad I did, taking time for philosophy is always rewarding. Very briefly, here are some ideas from him I enjoyed that I thought would be fun to share.

“Truth Is Subjectivity”
Kierkegaard didn’t believe in the utmost importance of objective absolute Truth, but rather of personal truth – how one relates oneself to Truth – and what you experience subjectively: feelings and emotions. 4+4=8 may be an objective truth, but is it as important to your existence and experience of life as how you feel today? Maybe you’re nervous for a first date, or pissed because someone cut in front of you in line. These feelings are crucial to how we experience life, and are what make up our existence – they are ‘existential’. They are our lived truth.

soren Kierkegaard grave

Kierkegaard’s grave

“The Crowd Is Untruth”
At odds with the prevailing intellectual norms of his time, Kierkegaard was a loner and what we would now call a non-conformist. As a social critic he challenged many widely held beliefs of his time and told us that just because an idea is broadly accepted does not give it a sense of credibility – it actually points to the probability that it is an untruth. The individual should never defer one’s personal responsibility to the crowd – he must think for himself.

crowd untruth kierkegaard

The Individual
Naturally then, Søren emphasised the importance of the individual. He proposed that each individual—not society or religion—is solely responsible for giving meaning to life and living it passionately and sincerely, or “authentically”. He highlighted the importance of personal choice and commitment. Here are a couple of quotes I enjoy that this brought to mind:

“A sensitive and honest-minded man, if he’s concerned about evil and injustice in the world, will naturally begin his campaign against them by eliminating them at their nearest source: his own person. This task will take his entire life.” – Fernando Pessoa
“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self” – Aldous Huxley

Yes, I love quotes. Here’s one more from Kierkegaard himself which I think is totally relevant today:

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”

Yep. Think about that for a minute.

9/20: Psilocybin & Hash

My last day in Copenhagen was Wednesday 20th September, or 9/20 – Psilocybin mushroom day. Not as celebrated as 4/20 or bicycle day yet but of course, I was down.

shrooms psilocybin

I tried ‘Lemon Tek’ – mixing dried ground shrooms with fresh lemon juice and letting them soak for 30 minutes before knocking it back. Lemon Tek is supposed to intensify the trip but the shrooms I had were quite weak so I can’t really comment on that. I will say that it was a nice way to consume them though.

3g and a hash joint sent me into a spacious, thoughtful, and analytical headspace as I lay in bed listening to ragas by Ravi Shankar. My stream of thoughts was moving quickly and I used the time to think some things through that have been on my mind recently – related to my personal life and my life’s direction – with a nice level of insight and novelty. I didn’t plan on this type of session going into the trip but it naturally went there so I went with it. This main part of the trip was very mentally stimulating and felt productive, though there has since been a level of amnesia that I suspect came from the hash.

hash

Tasty chunk of hash

There were too, of course, ventures into some broader themes. ‘One must be capable of standing alone’ is a note I have scrawled in my pad from the session – Kierkegaard’s emphasis on the individual and how it relates to independence clearly came through. I love when an idea really hits home like this, it’s so satisfying.

As the thought-spurring effects of the hash faded off, I tuned in more to the music. Some of Ravi’s sitar lines just seemed to embody the essence of ‘play’. I could almost see the music as a child dancing. Very fun.

Three takeaways from the trip:

  1. When taken with a low dose, hash is good fuel for a thinking, analytical trip. Probably good for a problem solving session or making a plan of action.
  2. Noise cancelling headphones are the shit.
  3. Ravi Shankar’s The Spirit Of India is awesome.

shankar spirit india

Celebrating Mushroom Day – A 9:20 Event

After coming down I had a cup of tea with a couple of friends and we cycled to a massive old shipyard-warehouse for an event celebrating International Mushroom day. Outside of the city to the East, we pulled up to the container leaking flashing lights and pumping music. Upon entering I was greeted by a friendly Norwegian guy who straight up told me he had some mushrooms I could eat for free. Ha. I told him thanks and that maybe I’d find him later.

The warehouse was a huge indoor skatepark that had been separated into different areas. In the main area was a DJ and dancefloor, psychedelic visuals projected onto a wall, and an organic smoothie and tea bar. The event was alcohol-free and I guess this might have played a part in the nicely balanced ratio of guys and girls. The atmosphere was chilled and friendly though I can’t say much for the Danish climate at that time of night – a little too chilled.

psilocybin shrooms

The event was in celebration of these treasures

There was a foam pool (the kind that skaters can practice tricks into) that people were swinging from a rope into, another area showing documentaries on psychedelics with mattresses for people to lie down on, and an outside area with a fire for people to sit around and chat whilst passing doobs. Having not yet truly partaken in mushroom day, my friends got into the spirit of the event and we ended up staying for a while and settling by the fire before finally heading home in the early hours. Overall it was a fun event and I hope to go to more like it in the future.

The cycle home was littered with stops to ‘appreciate the beauty’ and by the time we’d arrived home and said our goodbyes I had just enough time to pack my bag and have a coffee before heading to the airport for my morning flight home.

What a week. Copenhagen, thank you!