Tag Archive for: mushrooms

lsd shrooms psychedelics activities things to do

High doses are often seen as the ‘end goal’ of psychedelics.

Some psychonauts even have some level of pride around taking big doses. And while I certainly appreciate the benefits of a high-dose session, they are not the be-all and end-all of psychedelics.

Micro, mini and low doses-tiny to small amounts of psychedelics-can also bring a lot of value and benefit to our lives. It’s an area of psychedelics I’ve come to appreciate more over the last couple of years as I’ve expanded my repertoire beyond classic high-dose journeys.

Whilst high doses plunge us into deep journeys where it’s best to just lay back and take the ride, mini doses offer us the chance to explore activities and have other types of experiences.

Whether it’s psilocybin shrooms or LSD, in this mode, psychedelics can act as an enhancer, enriching and deepening our experience of other activities.

What type of activities? I’m glad you asked.

In this blog post, I will offer 6 types of activities that you may like to try with microdoses or mini-doses. We’ll look at nature connections, creative experiments, mindfulness, physical activities, learning, and social experiments. I’ll dive into each and offer you some ideas to help you get started. Then I’ll end with a couple of key considerations for your explorations.

And yes, I’ve tried them all!

As ever, I hope that this will help you to have more fruitful and beneficial psychedelic experiences.

Let’s get started…

1. Nature Connection

Time in nature has been shown to have many benefits on mental and emotional well-being. Adding a pinch of psychedelic to nature time is a classic combination for good reason: the benefits and enjoyment can be increased with a small dose.

The expanded awareness from a small dose can help us tune in more fully to our natural surroundings and deepen our appreciation of them. Connecting with fresh air and greenery can be rejuvenating and restorative. And something about nature can help us tune into the majesty of the natural world, the wonder of the universe, and the mystery of life. That sense of awe can be a key catalyst in positive psychedelic experiences.

The grandness and scale of nature can also help us to get a perspective on things. And, if we’re struggling with something about ourselves, in its unwavering presence, we can always rely on nature to fully accept us as we are.

You might explore parks, nature trails, national parks, or botanical gardens. If you’re heading out for the day, be sure to take the basic necessary precautions.

2. Creative Experiments

Engaging in creative endeavours or experiments can be an enjoyable activity whilst in a different state of awareness.

If you’re painting or working with crayons, you might have a deeper appreciation or joy at seeing how the colors fall onto the page, or how they mix together. I have loved seeing the ink spill from a pen and onto paper, seeing the lines appear before my eyes, like magic, to form an image.

If you’re a musician, you might like to experiment with your instrument.

Lower doses can be great for ideation, too. You might have new perspectives and insights bubbling up for your creative work. If you have a topic or project you’d like to expand your thinking or ideas on, take a pad and paper, and invite in any and all ideas. I’d recommend not to put a limit in this ideation stage: don’t judge your ideas, or put limits on them with voices like ‘that’s unrealistic’. Just allow your mind to explore.

You might try brainstorming under these loose topics:

Way to improve your social life/finances/health
Ideas for your next – song/poem/performance/drawing/piece of art/birthday gift

Your level of dose will affect the level of your ability to use specific tools, so take this into account. If writing is hard, you might dictate or speak directly to ChatGPT and ask it to summarize your thoughts for you.

If using paints or colours, just remember to take care of your setting so you don’t make too much of a mess.

3. Mindfulness Meditation

Why not combine psychedelics with another consciousness-expanding technology? I’m talking about meditation or breathwork.

A mini-dose can help us start at a slightly more expanded state to begin our meditation and may help to experience something deeper in our sit.

One study done in Switzerland, and documented in the great film Descending The Mountain, had long-term meditators take a dose of psilocybin and meditate in their monastery in the mountains. Their rates for peak experience were higher than in any other study! Though this study was done with high doses, I think it illustrates the potential of combining psychedelics with meditation.

Lower doses can also help us go deeper into other meditative practices like loving-kindness, tonglen, RAIN, or self-inquiry.

Breathwork can be used to intensify an experience, and has the added safety measure that you stop doing it if it’s getting too intense for you, and allow your experience to calm down again.

Take into account that it may be difficult to retain your focus whilst on a dose, so don’t be hard on yourself if you find it extremely hard and your mind keeps walking off.

4. Physical Activities

Of course, this comes with the usual caveat of being careful. But some physical activity with psychedelics can be a wonderful combo.

Yoga, much like meditation, is traditionally a spiritual discipline that can be paired with psychedelics. I once went to a yoga class on a mini-dose of LSD and it was a truly beautiful experience. I was incredibly present throughout the class with a great awareness of all my movements and breath. Even a few sun salutations can help to ground and become present.

You might also try tai chi. The wonderful flowing movements can help to loosen up, move energy, and find a greater sense of ease and peace. They can also help to tune into our bodies and breathing and enter a greater state of presence.

Depending on the person and the dose, psychedelics can also bring about increased levels of energy. Last year, I got quite into mini-dose runs. I take the dose and after 30-60 minutes, when I feel that surge of energy as it’s coming on, I lace up, put my headphones on, and head out. I’ve done 10-mile runs on LSD, feeling very present with running movements and flow of my breath. After a post-run bath and a lie-down, I’ve felt blissful in my body.

A mini-dose can increase awareness of the body and breath, and this can be utilized when considering any physical activity. Just remember that more complex movements may bring their own set of coordination challenges!

5. Learning and Study

Beyond using our bodies, what about our minds?

Reading philosophical or thought-provoking literature can be a great exercise on mild journeys. When exploring intellectual ideas, we may get new perspectives, a deeper understanding, or an enhanced contemplation of them. We may be open to a wider range of interpretations, seeing many ways to read the words. We might consider meanings on different levels; macro-micro, global-local, and societal-personal.

You might not read a whole treatise on ethics or society but just start with some great quotes. You can find some from your favourite philosophers or schools of thought. For example, the Buddha, Kierkegaard, or any intellectual you like.

You can also revisit some of your old favourite quotes. Reading and saying them out loud in an altered state of consciousness can help them enter your psyche more deeply.

Another way of taking in intellectual information is listening to podcasts. I sometimes like to combine a few of the ideas from this article and go for a long walk in a park with a good podcast. Podcasts you may enjoy could be around any topic. They could be dharma talks or interviews with spiritual teachers, conversations on creativity, personal growth, or any topic you’d like to explore more deeply.

6. Social Interaction

As humans, we are social creatures. Social interactions then, can also be worthy of experimentation.

Micro and mini-doses can help us to feel more connected to the people around us. This deepened connection can then act as something of a bridge to other people’s islands, enhancing our perspective-taking abilities, and helping us to see things from their vantage point.

You might try engaging in meaningful conversations with friends or loved ones. Conversations can become more than words. With the right dose and setting, they can even evolve into what feels more like a dance of souls, words penetrating a deeper level of interaction.

The psychedelic effects can help to heighten empathy and understanding during interactions. It can help to tune into and speak from the heart. This can help to deepen understanding and acceptance, and ultimately strengthen relationships and deepen bonds.

If you feel like trying something different and your company is into it, you might also try role-playing. You can play out imagined scenarios of certain interactions that one of you is nervous about, like a job interview or a difficult conversation that needs to be had. You might even try taking on the role of the person who will be opposite to you, to get insight into their headspace. I’ve done this a few times with a friend, and it’s been an enlightening (and fun!) experience every time.

Remember that when doing exploring social interactions on psychedelics, finding your own personalized and appropriate dose is important. As for some people, certain low doses may make them feel more agitated or irritated. Clearly, this won’t help to have an empathetic conversation!

If exploring this option in a one-sided format – with one person on a psychedelic and the other not – I’d suggest not doing it on the sly, but letting the other person know that you are on a psychedelic! That can help to keep a space open for understanding if the conversation becomes more challenging than anticipated, and the allowance of stepping away and taking a break.

With this in mind, it’s important to remember to be mindful of people’s boundaries and allow space when needed. Having a quiet room, or some agreements around the session can be helpful to create a safe space.

Considerations for Micro and Low-Dose Experiments

When considering your adventures in small doses, remember the importance of a safe and comfortable setting for you and any company you may have. This will vary for different people, so be honest with yourself and your company about what you are comfortable with and capable of. Some people may feel fine in public parks, for example, whereas others may find this setting to be uncomfortable. Some people may find talking to be easy, whereas others may find it very challenging.

If at home, create a conducive space for your experience. Try to create a clean environment and have any supplies you may need ready, like pens, colours, or instruments,

After your experiences, taking some time to reflect on them can be useful. You can highlight for yourself any key lessons or insights and make a plan to incorporate them into your daily life moving forward.

Final Thoughts

Exploring the realm of micro and mini doses of psychedelics can truly enrich our lives. Compared to higher doses, these smaller amounts have their own unique benefits. When used in this mode, they can enhance and enrich our experiences.

They can take our ordinary activities to new heights, deepening the connection we feel and intensifying the overall experience. They can help deepen our appreciation of nature, increase mindfulness, improve our relationships, and enhance our efforts to learn, create, and be present in our bodies.

Working with lower doses can also help to develop a healthy relationship with psychedelics, building the confidence to work with progressively higher doses – if that’s something you wish to explore.

Overall, I think it’s good to balance micro, mini, and larger doses. Working with psychedelics at the levels and in a rhythm that best suits you. If exploring psychedelics at the lower levels, then why not consider combining your dose with one of these activities?

If you already dose in this range, what are your favourite activities to explore with psychedelics? How do you spend those lightly bathed experiences? Did I miss something? Let me know.

Wishing you safe and wonderful experiences!

mushrooms microdosing protocol psilocybin

Can microdosing change your life?

Many people will tell you that it can. And not only that, but that it has already changed theirs.

Most people who know me know that I typically expound the benefits of larger doses, but I always like an experiment, and if that experiment includes psychedelics, even better. So I thought I’d give it a fresh go, and I recently finished a month of microdosing psilocybin.

In this post, I’m going to share a report of my experience. I’ll also share my protocol, how I incorporated it into my routine, and overall what I experienced during the month, including positives and negatives.

Let’s dive in.

My Motivation and Previous Microdosing Experience

Honestly, I didn’t have a specific intention for the microdosing month. The experiment came about because I wanted to incorporate taking Lion’s Mane mushrooms into my routine (a mushroom touted for a whole host of health benefits). Lion’s mane are regularly taken with psilocybin as part of the now fairly well known ‘Stamets Stack’. So I thought ‘why not give it a go’?

I’ve done microdosing experiments before with LSD to positive results. I’ve also experimented before with micro and low doses of psilocybin, but never consistently or on any kind of regimen.

As the results of microdosing are subtle, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s working exactly. And so far, there is no solid science that tells us that microdosing is more than a placebo.

That said, there is a whole, whole lot of anecdotal evidence that reports on the positives.

The best way to find out if something works for you is to try it yourself.

So, that’s what I did.

My Protocol

Here’s a high-level look at how I conducted the microdosing experiment. I’ll go into more detail on each below.

  • 5 days on, 2 days off
  • Taken in the mornings with mushroom coffee (including lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps)
  • Part of my morning routine
  • Kept a log

5 days on, 2 days off

stamets microdose schedule psilocybin lions mane

I dosed Monday – Friday and took weekends off. This is the pattern of famed mycologist Paul Stamets’ microdosing protocol I mentioned before. The main difference is that I didn’t take niacin, where Stamets’ recommends this. I typically work Mon-Fri so this fit in with my working schedule.

Served With Morning Mushroom Coffee

I incorporated my microdosing into my morning routine. Y’all know I love a good morning routine.

My morning routine for this period was:
– 3-5km run
– Shower
– 10 minutes Box Breathing
– Smoothie
– Microdose Mushroom Coffee whilst reading
– Start work

I would weigh out my dried and ground mushroom dose the night before and put it in a mug with a teaspoon of mushroom coffee. I’d cover the mug and leave it on my sideboard so it would be waiting for me the next day.

I used Mushies mushroom coffee. On weekends when I wasn’t microdosing psilocybin, I still took lion’s mane by way of their capsules and extract tincture.

mushroom psilocybin lions mane coffee microdosing

Keeping a Log

I kept a log during the period. Y’all also know I like to keep drug logs.

I made a makeshift table in my bullet journal with columns for:

  • Day and date
  • Dose
  • Strain
  • Time taken
  • Notes on the experience (with timestamps where relevant).

Notes on the experience included anything that seemed notable, and if nothing, just a few words about how I felt the day went. This included things like ‘good mood’, ‘productive day’, ‘tingling sensations’ etc. I included timestamps where they seemed relevant, like ‘tingling sensations’, so I could see how long after taking the dose I felt them.

Days 1-4: Finding The Dose

I generally have a higher-than-average tolerance for psilocybin, so I started with a decent dose of 0.3 grams of JMF psilocybin mushrooms.

I planned my first microdose day on a day when I had flexibility regarding my work schedule, just in case it was a bit high.

It was a good idea. I felt a slight tingling even before I had finished my coffee and thought ‘hmmm’. I then noticed the floor moving on a bathroom break not long after.

I knew that I’d taken more than a microdose and wouldn’t get much of the work I’d planned done, so I got comfortable, lay down, and put some music on my headphones. I did find it annoying as I had work I wanted to do, but there was nothing for it.

It wasn’t a real trip (basically level 1.5), so nothing major to report on. I just lay there listening to music. It was light enough that once it worn off, I was able to work in the afternoon.

The next day I scaled right down to 0.03g. I didn’t want to have to skip work again! It was a productive day.

On the third day I went up to 0.04g and reached a threshold experience. I was surprised that I could feel something from so low a dose, but it was unmistakable.  I could feel tingling sensations through my body, a slight sense of discomfort, and I needed to pee more often (which I’d experienced on threshold doses of LSD).

On day four I went down to 0.03g and had a good day, so I settled on this for the rest of the month.

My Experience

Positives: Good mood, positive, productive, focused

Overall, I had a good month. Most days I have notes which read ‘good mood’, ‘productive’, ‘positive’ and ‘good focus’, or some combination of those words.

To sum it up I would say I experienced good focus, good mood, general feeling of being upbeat and positive, and forward flowing with motion.

Microdosing by its very nature is very subtle, so it’s hard to say if I would’ve felt like this anyway, but regardless, those are the results. In general, I’d say these are typical of my days, but maybe not quite as noticeably. A friend of mine says he notices his microdose days more towards the end of the day when he reflects back and thinks ‘that was a good day’. So it could be something like that.

This fits in with a lot of the anecdotal reports and the general gist of Ayelet Waldman’s microdosing memoir: ‘A Really Good Day’, if not as radical.

On a smaller note, I also found it easier to make good decisions on a small level, such as making healthy food choices when shopping in the supermarket. That connecting-to-the-big-picture psychedelic effect.

Negatives: Anxiety

I did experience some unwelcome anxiety on two of the days.

One was on a travel day at the end of the month when my train was delayed multiple times as I was heading to the airport. I got fidgety and worried I might miss my flight.

Whilst this is understandable, I would say that I don’t usually feel this level of anxiety in this situation. I would guess that without any dose, I would’ve been more composed. This time, I did some box breathing via a guided audio on my phone which helped cool me down, if only a little.

There was another morning when I read an email that a payment processor was closing my account because of the nature of my business. I don’t normally go into my inbox in the mornings but I needed to get something out of there and the email caught my attention.

As I already had money sitting in that processor’s account, I found this stressful and worrying as I wasn’t sure if this would cause complications with getting said money out. It derailed my morning a bit and put me a bit out of whack.

Again, this would normally be stressful but I think the microdose intensified this. I was actually sweating! I’m not uber cool but I don’t think that would be my reaction on a normal day. It was only a few hundred bucks, not a huge sum.

Aside from my first days when finding my dose, these were my only two negative experiences in the month.

Final Thoughts

My conclusion from this month is that microdoses of psilocybin can intensify my present mood.

If I’m focused and positive, more so. If I’m anxious or worried, more so.

This fits in with psychedelics’ effect of state amplification, though I do find it surprising this happened on so low of a dose. It might have been due to a build-up of subtle effects over the month.

Overall it was a positive month. Even if it was nothing I would personally call groundbreaking, I have continued to microdose on carefully selected days in the meantime.

I would like to add that people experience microdosing very differently. A lot of people report that it lowers anxiety, or helps with depression. Or any other host of effects. This is just one man’s report.

If you’re curious, I would say, try it for yourself!

If you’re looking for a good source of mushrooms, I can recommend Mushies. I really enjoy their mushroom coffee!
Use code MAPS for 10% off!

how to handle anxiety psychedelic trip

How to handle anxiety during a psychedelic experience?

AKA how do I stop a bad trip?

This question comes up again and again, so I thought I’d pool together some techniques for you curious seekers.

It can vary for different people, but here are a few methods, many of which can be combined:

You’re Human

I think the first thing to say before getting into specific techniques is that the feeling of anxiety can happen to any of us.

If you feel anxiety during your trip, it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with you or your experience. It’s actually pretty common.

It’s not every day that your whole world is dissolving around you and you feel like you’re dying. A bit of anxiety can be expected. It doesn’t mean you will remain anxious or fearful, or that the experience won’t morph into something else. Psychedelic experiences can be very dynamic and your experience can entirely change in a matter of seconds.

Remember, like all feelings, anxiety can and will pass...

Remember It Will End

Both the feeling of anxiety and the trip itself are temporary.

Just remembering that can be very reassuring and help take the heat out of the most acute anxiety.

Say ‘Bring It On!’

Anxiety is a high-arousal state. Before trying to calm yourself down to a low arousal state, it can be easier to initially shift sideways to another high arousal state: excitement. Rather than nervously thinking ‘oh shit, what’s going to happen?’, try instead to come at it with a sense of wonder and excitement, and think ‘oh baby, what’s going to happen? Bring it on!’.

Relish the adventure you’re on. Don’t resist it, embrace it.

open bring it on adventure psychedelic journeys

You can practice this outside of your journeys. Every time you feel some nervousness about leaning into an edge, train yourself to smile and say ‘bring it on!’. This cultivates the bold explorer’s mindset. It’s also pretty fun.

Once you’ve remembered you’re on an adventure, that you signed up for a non-ordinary experience and now you’re having it and going to embrace it, it might actually serve you to center and calm down a little.

Breathe

Take long, slow, deep breaths. 

This has a physiological response that calms the nervous system down.

Breathe in deep, down into your belly. Use diaphragmatic breathing, filling your belly before your chest. If you’re lying down, your stomach should rise.

As you breathe, you can rest your attention on your breath. Aware when you breath in, aware when you breathe out.

Breathwork

Some people like specific types of breathwork. This can mean breathing in a specific rhythm.

For example:

  • 4-4-6-2
    Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for 4, exhale 6, hold for 2.
  • 5-2-7
    Breathing in 5, hold 2, breathe out 7.

Breathwork is a whole other beast and can also be used to intensify experiences, but I’ll leave that for another day. Basically, try and find something which works for you.

Try a simple 30-second one from Calm here.

One thing to bear in mind when doing controlled breathing is that you want to avoid building any tension that may come about from controlling with your breath. This will be counterproductive. If it is difficult to do your chosen pattern of breath, I’d recommend just trying to slow your breath down generally, rather than strictly following any type of pattern.

Relax Your Body

It can also help to systematically relax all the muscles in your body. Relax the muscles in your face, then your neck, then your shoulders, and so on. I find it helpful to relax one body part per cycle of in-and-out breath. 

  • Breathing in – relaxing the muscles in my face
  • Breathing out – relaxing the muscles in my face
  • Breathing in – relaxing my shoulders, allowing them to sink down
  • Breathing out – relaxing my shoulders

and so on.

Change Your Posture

Some people find specific postures to be helpful. These can help connect to a place of safety, strength or power.

For example:

  • A ‘bring it on’ open posture, such as lying down, legs open, and hands behind the head
  • One hand over the heart (can be combined with mentally connecting to one’s heart centre)
  • Prayer hands infront of the chest, or forehead

Pray

You can also actually pray, or just ask for help from whatever you pray to.

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
– Soren Kierkegaard

pray handle anxiety psilocybin

Hum, Make Sound, Sing, Use Your Voice

This is one that was brought up by one of the members on the last round of The Conscious Psychedelic Explorer course. Whilst experiencing some uncomfortable feelings on a group retreat on an experience with psilocybin mushrooms, they were taken to a private space where they felt less inhibited to make noise and tried humming. “The difference was night and day”.

sing hum voice vagus nerve psychedelics anxiety nervous

This creates vibrations that stimulate the vagus nerve and signifies safety to the nervous system. This triggers a state of well-being and relaxation.

This can also be combined with long breaths. One I’ve used to soothe myself during the jitters of an MDMA come up is to take a nice deep breath in through the nose, and then a long slow mouth-closed exhale combined with a low hum. I can feel the vibration inside, which is somehow comforting and warming. I’ve found this to work very quickly.

Take a few seconds and try it for yourself now and see what you experience. You might just equip yourself with a new tool to take on your next journey.

Recite a Mantra

Some people also find it helpful to recite a mantra.

For example:

  • “I am loved, I am safe”
  • “I am not my fears, I am not my thoughts”

Choose one that feels right to you.

Final Thoughts

Anxiety is typically at the core of a ‘bad trip’. It can be tied in with our resistance – the big no-no of navigation.

Besides the oft-quoted but very true and pith instruction of ‘surrender’, these are some practical techniques you can use. You can combine them, and try them for different types of sensations (i.e. come-up anxiety, trip peak anxiety, dreaded realization anxiety AKA uncomfortable truth, and yes day-to-day anxiety).

Long term I always come back to recommending developing some type of meditation and mindfulness practice. It will help you to notice anxiety and employ these techniques more quickly and effectively.

Best of luck out there.

The quiet room is something I picked up from friend and New Moon colleague Tuk a few years ago and is something I always try to arrange for group sessions whether it’s in a house or an apartment.

The Quiet Room

The quiet room is basically a designated room in which there is no talking and no music playing. It functions as a place anyone can go to for some quiet or solo time and is normally used as a secondary room to the main room where people will be together.

Quiet space is very useful when:

  • Being in a group or in a sociable setting is too much or becomes uncomfortable
  • If someone doesn’t want to or is finding it very difficult to talk
  • Anyone wants some time to themselves
  • Just want some peace

What I love about the quiet room is that you can still have a recreational style trip with friends and still have an opportunity to get introspective. At any time you can head to the quiet space and find some time in the session to do that.

For example, if you are taking truffles with friends then you could at some point head to the quiet room to spend half an hour journaling answers to some questions you have prepared for yourself. In this way you can still get some good introspective and reflective work done without having to devote a whole session to it and without having to choose between either a solo inner work style journey or a recreational style journey with friends.

Setting Up & Guidelines for a Quiet Room

To set up a quiet room all you need to do is suggest the idea to your friends and make sure everyone agrees on it beforehand. I would say its a good idea to agree that there is no talking in the quiet room and have this clear from the outset. This helps to prevent someone coming in and disturbing another while they are wanting some peace and quiet. This type of innocent mistake can happen for different reasons whilst tripping; it could be that someone is extremely excited and wants to share that with everyone, or that someone is worrying about another person who has been quiet for a while. Both scenarios can lead to someone unintentionally bothering another who is fine but just wants to be on their own for a while.

Having the quiet room clearly defined makes it clear that anyone who is in there will not be spoken to and it is fine for two or three people to be in there at the same time, each minding their own business and doing their own thing. It’s useful to remember to keep the door closed to stop noise from spilling in.

Creating Setting

Once you’ve decided which room you will use then the first thing you need is some comfortable places for people to lie down. Mattresses on the floor work perfectly, but otherwise any mats or even floor space for people to lie down and get comfortable. Cozify with blankets and pillows. Creating a cozy space with your fellow journeyers can be a fun activity in itself and building the set together is a great way to begin connecting before journey.

It’s also nice to leave a couple of music players and pairs of headphones in there. Load the music players up with a nice selection of music beforehand and if they are phones, make sure they are on airplane mode or even better, with SIM removed. It can also be nice to leave some pens, papers and art supplies in there for people to use for journaling or getting creative. Finally, equip with some basic supplies like water and snacks.

As with general setting space I would recommend a low lighting and cozy ambience. I would not recommend any open flames such as candles, but rather some nice lamps. With lamps, be careful not to use ones that heat up if they are left on a long time as these can also start flames if certain materials are left on them.

Allowing Space to Check in

The quiet room acts as a kind of designated safe space for group sessions. It can promote feelings of safety and relaxation for everyone involved, knowing that they can retreat if at any time they feel anxiety, social or otherwise. It can give you a chance to step out from the group dynamic, a chance to check in with yourself and really take a look at and see how you’re feeling. It can also be used to step out and actively investigate some things going on in your life that you don’t want to share with the group but would like some time to think about and reflect on. It can also be useful to maybe do some problem-solving by yourself.

A quiet room is definitely a key aspect to creating the setting and I would say it’s useful even if the group session is not a recreational or sociable one. For example, even if the main room is used as a formal ceremony room where journeyers are not speaking to each other, the quiet room can still be very useful because the energy of a group ceremony can be quite intense. Although a being in a group ceremony can be enlightening and a great way to learn about how we relate to others and our own social insecurities, it can still be quite a lot to take in and it can be nice to have the option of stepping away from that. It is something we arrange for retreats with New Moon and it was also nice to see a quiet room put in place when I worked on retreat with Truffles Therapy.

If you are unsure of whether you would like to do a group trip with friends I encourage you to suggest having a quiet room and ask them what they think about that.

Viel Glück!

headphones eye mask psychedelic therapy equipment

Music can play a huge role in psychedelic sessions and knowing how to use sound to shape and influence an experience is extremely valuable.

If you’re looking for pre-made music playlists for a therapeutic psilocybin journey geared towards introspection and personal growth, welcome, you’re in the right place.

headphones eye mask psychedelic therapy equipment

Two key pieces of equipment for a standard therapeutic journey

This post has links to six playlists that have been made specifically for use with psilocybin (magic truffles or magic mushrooms) with a little info on each of them and their creators. 

Playlists:

1. Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 1 – Mendel Kaelen
2. Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 2 – Mendel Kaelen
3. Sacred Knowledge – Bill Richards
4. A Playlist For Psilocybin – Kelan Thomas
5. Psilocybin2 – Kelan Thomas
6. A Playlist For Psilocybin – Matthew Baldwin

About These Playlists

Phases

These playlists are specially designed so that the lengths are matched to that of a psilocybin journey and take into account the various stages of a trip such as: onset, ascent, peak, return. There are variations on this depending on the creator of the playlist.

psychedelic music playlists phases journey baldwin therapy psilocybin beyond prague presentations

The phases of a psychedelic trip according to Bonny & Pahnke, the length of LSD is compressed 33% for psilocybin

Playlists are extremely useful in that you can press play after eating/drinking/ingesting your magical fungi and then not have to think about selecting music for the rest of the session – you just let it play out and ride the journey.

Although exploring different types of music intuitively and in the moment can be great on psychedelics, having to get up and try to find suitable music can be very difficult on higher doses and detract from the experience.

Read more: How To Set Up Music for Psychedelic Sessions (+ 6 More Playlists)

Language

These playlists all contain music without words in English (bar a couple of reasoned exceptions); this is the general standard in psychedelic therapeutic work to avoid ‘hermeneutic contamination’, to use Matthew Baldwin’s phrase; ‘to discourage the rational mind from following the content of the words’, as Bill Richards puts it.

There seems to be a general consensus in the field that understandable lyrics can be distracting and limit the experience.

Without further ado, let’s get into them.

Mendel Kaelen

Mendel Kaelen is probably the biggest name in the world when it comes to created playlists for psychedelic work (admittedly not the largest field, but still). A neuroscientist and music nerd, Kaelen created these playlists, which contain ambient and neo-classical music, for the groundbreaking psilocybin for depression study at Imperial College London.

mendel kaelen psychedelic science music

Kaelen presented at Psychedelic Science

Though they were created for the depression study, they can also work magic for non-depressed people too; I and many I know have journeyed to these amazing playlists, powerful stuff. The second one is an excellent playlist and would be my first recommendation.

You can read more about how he created these playlists in an article on Vice here.

Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 1 – Mendel Kaelen

Psychedelic Therapy Playlist 2 – Mendel Kaelen

Mendel is now working on Wavepaths, a person-centered music solution for psychedelic therapy. As a member of their community, I’ve attended a number of their deep listening sessions and find them to be a useful tool to go inside and develop a mindful listening practice.

Bill Richards

Bill Richards is a founding member of the Johns Hopkins psychedelic research team in the US and one of the most prominent names in the world when it comes to psilocybin research. His psychedelic psychotherapy research is wide ranging, from treating addiction to inducing mystical experiences, and Richards values music as a way to support a person’s experience.

“I make the best musical choices I can, trying to separate the ‘very good’ and the ‘excellent’ on the basis of years of experience with many different people”
Richards on compiling the playlist

There’s a lot of classical music in this playlist (Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Brahms) and a few tracks that I have to say are just inspired choices towards the end.

You can read more about Richard’s choices and how he compiled the playlist here.

Kelan Thomas

  • A Playlist For PsilocybinSpotify | Youtube (make sure there are no ads if listening through youtube)
  • Psilocybin2Spotify

I first heard of Kelan Thomas in an article about his first playlist and was excited to see Mogwai (awesome Scottish post rock) and Dirty Three (violin, guitar and drums together in rumbling, flowing rock) on there – familiar names I didn’t expect to see, as well as some other stuff that falls somewhere between ambient and post rock; one of my all time favourite genres that I’ve long wanted to make a psychedelic playlist to, feeling its epic and instrumental style would lend itself perfectly to cosmic journeys.

music concert

I tried the first playlist to a classic therapeutic style journey (setting intention beforehand, using eye mask and headphones, with a sitter) and had a beautiful journey, finding peace, contentment and joy on the journey and in the musical choices. I was moved in that I wanted to thank all the musicians who made the music on that playlist, and to Kelan himself for creating the playlist.

As it happened, a couple months later, whilst setting up a room at Insight conference in Berlin, I noticed the name tag on an early comer in the room – it was Kelan Thomas! I  told him I’d used his playlist and was able to thank him personally for putting it together before chatting a little about it and his choices; interestingly he described it as a ‘decolonising’ playlist in the world of psychedelic therapy.

He also told me he had made a second playlist which I could find on his spotify. I tried it recently and had one of my most beautifully expressive journeys to date. 

A Playlist For Psilocybin


Psilocybin 2

Matthew Baldwin

Matthew was a fellow student of Kelan Thomas in the Certificate in Psychedelic Therapies and Research Program at CIIS in San Francisco, and is clearly a scholar on the topic. He presented one of the talks I found most interesting at Beyond Psychedelics last year which you can watch here:
The Art Of Creating Musical Playlists For Psychedelic Work

music playlists psychedelic

Matthew presenting at Beyond Psychedelics 2018

Myself and co-retreat maker Tuk tried this playlist out during research for our retreats with New Moon and I was very surprised by a lot of the choices, this is certainly the most divergent of the playlist here on this list. This playlist emphasizes organic (instead of sequenced electronic) types of music.

Safe And Wondrous Journeys!

The relationship between music and how it affects consciousness and mood is something I find super interesting and consider creating playlists to be an art.  Do you have any tips? Personal preferences? Favourite music to use for a session? Would love to hear others thoughts on this. If you know of any playlists I’ve missed or have your own to contribute, leave a comment below.

Read more: How To Set Up Music for Psychedelic Sessions (+ 6 More Playlists)

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