The Lilly Psychonautic Centre was a remarkable place. There was a special atmosphere in the air. There was a feeling of comradeship, of brotherhood and sisterhood in our shared vision and passion. We were explorers on the far reaches of consciousness, pushing the boundaries of the known, and dedicated in our mission of contributing to the sum of human knowledge.
The centre was first established in 2033. I was one of the founding members and eventually, a lead explorer. When we started out some people compared the centre to early experimental hippie communes, like Millbrook. In reality, it was much closer to places like the Kennedy Space Centre, or Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center: the facilities where astronauts did their training. We journeyed under tightly controlled conditions. We were systematic in our approach. Aside from a few experimental missions, we conducted all explorations under precise controls.
Psychonauts were sent off in mission rooms; padded, soundproofed, insulated, zero gravity containers. We’d essentially removed all variables from the physical plane. We were linked up by intercom to talk to ground control, when relaying information or needing guidance.
Explorations began at precise times. Doses were administered into the bloodstream on the second. Before taking off, we had checklists we ran through that were spoken out loud, like the old airplane pilots.
Around the camp you could feel a deep sense of belonging. Though each of us journeyed alone, we were all part the same team. Everyone there was supportive and encouraging of each other. Sure, there were some rivalries, especially at the top level, between those who wanted assignments for the missions furthest and deepest into the verse, but mostly it was healthy and playful competition. We pushed each other on in ways that were conducive to our shared goals.
At the camp all of the psychonauts were on training regimes. We focused on all the aspects that were fundamental to being explorers. Physical conditioning was key. We underwent specific physical regimes and consulted with the best nutrition experts in the world. This kept our bodies primed to handle the vibrational changes and recalibration that deep journeying required.
Mindset training was core to our programme. We conducted various training sessions in pods and VR simulations. The simulations were useful, but they never compared to the actual journeys. The best preparatory work was actually done in the test runs that were run on lower doses. If not in sensory intensity, they were closer to the real missions in terms of headspace. The VR states could never quite capture that sense of expanded consciousness.
We had flotation pods around the camp for recovery. The type of sensory deprivation tanks that Lilly, our namesake and one of our forerunners, had invented. Upon returning from missions, it was obligatory to spend time in the pods to aid our bodies in recovery and to mentally decompress. Some of those conditions in the deeper spaces were bewildering, and psychonauts often came back confused and shellshocked. We tried to incrementally increase doses and account for safety, but when you are pushing on the furthest reaches of awareness, you can’t account for the unknowns you’ll encounter. The undiscovered terrain was precisely what we were intent on exploring.
To assuage the the worst of it, we had reorientation processes in place, and teams of therapists to help crews’ mental health. Everyone felt supported, and that was important. That sense of support emboldened some of our bravest explorers to keep going further, no matter how crazy it seemed.
We had teams of psyche-cartographers, who would aid in the creation of the reports once psychonauts got back. And we also had dedicated teams whose work it was to bridge the gap between individuals’ experiences. At first it was difficult, because we psychonauts were from all around the world, and the difference in our native languages made it almost impossible to translate into a single unified theory and map of the terrains we were uncovering. So we experimented with various forms of relaying and mapping the information once explorers returned.
In time, we developed our own vocabulary, our own terms, and eventually our own language. Looking back, some of those early terms were so primitive that they are laughable now, like the ‘quasi-quantum loop jumps’, ‘arche-psyche-spirals’, or the ‘nothing-beyond-nothingness field’. Early on we often borrowed words from old spiritual traditions and wove them in, where states of being seemed to overlap. But in time we found that we had to create new methods based on our own base vocabulary. In that way we even made advances in linguistics.
We had our skeptics early on. We started out before psychedelics had been uncovered as the next great tools for discovery, able to unravel key information that would help us to understand spiritual matters that science hadn’t yet been able to touch. At the time psychedelics were mostly used for personal therapy, there was a mental health epidemic and it was through that lens that they were rediscovered.
But when the findings that we brought back continued to hold up, it came harder and harder for people to deny the value of our work. We made significant contributions to breakthroughs in multiple other fields. We unlocked problems in quantum physics and mathematics. Some of our protocols were even adopted by NASA, as our funding overtook theirs.
By the very nature of our field, we were obliged to incorporate epistemology, and eventually we created a whole new field of knowledge. We had discovered our next great frontier as a species, and in doing so, we made the largest strides in the evolution of consciousness that life had undergone in millennia.
It was as much a scientific endeavour as it was spiritual. They were so deeply intertwined that it was impossible to say one was more important than the other. In time it became known that they were one and the same.
It was the most incredible time. We had some of the most curious minds and courageous souls in the world in that centre, and we all knew it. For all of us on site, there was nowhere else we wanted to be. We woke up every day with a sense of inspiration, adventure, and belonging. It was the time of our lives.
Looking back, I feel truly blessed to have been part of such an incredible, pioneering and revolutionary venture of our species, which ultimately lead us beyond our previous conceptions of what we thought it was to be human.
How little we knew.
This retrospective report was transformed into old perception and translated into the English of 2021 to be sent back there as a vision of the future.
Inspired by all the great explorers. Especially John C. Lilly, Kilindi Iyi and Christopher Bache.
Featured for day 24 PSYJuly 2021.