Tag Archive for: Psychedelics

mushrooms how often should i trip psilocybin

‘How often should I take psychedelics?’

This is a question I am often asked. And of course, there is no single right answer. So instead of trying to give one, I’ll share my thoughts on the topic.

What is the right amount?

You can’t really put a number such as ‘x times per year or month’ and say ‘that’s the right amount’, because it totally depends on the person and their circumstances. It’s like asking ‘what’s the right dose?’. It can’t simply be answered in any meaningful way. It depends.

It depends on you, your intentions, and your current circumstances. Why are you taking psychedelics? Where are you at in your journey, and where do you want to go next?

If using psychedelics for recreation or leisure, it’s like asking ‘how often should I watch a movie?’. With the intention of using psychedelics for healing or growth, there still isn’t a set answer. For many people, it seems like once or twice a year is enough to gain valuable insights and allow time in between to integrate the lessons. For others, a more frequent pattern may be most beneficial. I’ve also heard of people saying that once in their lifetime was enough.

Frequency varies depending on culture

There is a variety of frequencies in different cultures and types of use around the world. This ranges from modern clinical use to more traditional shamanistic use.

Within the field of modern research and clinical trials, there is variation. In a study with people who suffered treatment resistant depression at Imperial College London, participants received two doses a week apart. From just two doses, most participants saw statistically significant improvement in their wellbeing. That said, many patients saw depressive symptoms beginning to return after six months, so it seems they could’ve benefitted from another session or two around this mark.

In various smoking cessation studies at Johns Hopkins University there have been between one and three doses given. People have successfully quit with one session, whilst others had three. It is noteable that quit rates were higher for people who had more than one than one session.

With shaman of various Amazonian traditions, people drink ayahuasca on multiple consecutive nights, or on alternating nights. So it might be three or four nights of drinking ayahuasca in a row, or six nights of drinking over twelve nights total. There are also variations between. In some religious communities or churches that use psychedelic plants, groups drink monthly or weekly.

Philosophy professor Christopher Bache did 73 high dose sessions over 20 years, and as far as I know, no one in the psychedelic community has said it’s too much. In fact, he is seen by many as a courageous explorer and his work an incredible contribution to the field. He is a special case and was extremely conscientious in his use, I should add.

This variety shows that there is not really any standard which could be said ‘this is the right way’.

Can you take psychedelics too often?

When I would say taking psychedelics is too much is, the same as any other activity, when it starts interfering with one’s life in a negative way. When the downsides outweigh the upsides.

Gabor Mate’s view of an addiction can be useful here:

A behaviour which provides temporary pleasure or relief in the short term but has negative outcomes in the long term.

For some, psychedelics might be used as an escape from reality, or to avoid dealing with one’s problems. This can be known as spiritual bypassing. If one is re-entering journey space before or instead of integrating the lessons from the last journey, this could be seen as too soon.

However, I’d say that one’s problems can be shoved back in one’s face on a journey, so it’s not always an easy escape. In fact, for that reason, not taking psychedelics could be seen as an escape.

Is there a minimum frequency?

No one can say that someone should be taking psychedelics at least x amount of times per month or year. Although with medicalisation on the way, perhaps doctors or pharmacists will in fact be prescribing them in this way.

‘Go for three psilocybin journeys per month over the next 12 months and then we’ll meet back and reassess your treatment plan. If you feel you need a recalibration of your dose just give me a call and we’ll set up another consultation.”

I can see it already. But anyway, I digress.

Psychedelics can show us things that we are afraid to see and therefore unconsciously avoiding. Avoidance is no long term tactic to resolution, so for those that psychedelics have shown to be a useful tool for inner exploration and therapeutic shadow work, then there could be cases where it could be argued that someone should take them more often than they currently are.

The best amount and frequency is one that will bring the most healing over the long term. Knowing exactly what that is is difficult. We like to have answers or steady plans we can follow, but in the case of psychedelics, it can’t be pinned down as such. It needs our own continued consideration and adjustment, as well as our honesty. It also depends on the doses we are taking.

When should I pick up the phone again?

You’ve probably heard the Alan Watts quote, ’When you get the message, hang up the phone’. This has been commonly interpreted to mean ‘don’t trip too often’. Once you have some useful information, act on it before seeking more. What I would add to that is, feel free to pick up the phone again to get a reminder of the message.

Oftentimes a psychedelic journey will make absolutely clear an insight to be acted on. Good progress can be made on integrating that insight in the weeks directly after whilst the insight is fresh. As time passes, however, the clarity and raw obviousness of that insight may fade. And though the insight may not have been 100% integrated yet, touching back in with ourselves on a journey can be a refreshing reminder. If meaningful change has been made, space will have been cleared in our psyche for other useful messages, insights, and ideas to pour in. Integration is a life long journey and our lives are imperfect, so aiming to have integration of an experience totally complete before journeying again can be unrealistic.

The common interpretation of Watts’ quote also doesn’t consider the question of what ‘the message’ is, or if there are different levels of understanding the message. Or even, if there are multiple messages to be received.

Final Thoughts

I see the advice that ‘one should not journey too often’ commonly put out there, yet most of the people I know in the psychedelic community have ample experience and have journeyed dozens of times themselves.

In general I think there are many people could stand to benefit from more psychedelics sessions, rather than fewer. This is almost something of a faux-pas to say these days, but it’s what I believe, so I’m saying it. That is why the thoughts I have shared here have leaned towards illustrating this viewpoint, and not going into the dangers of overuse, which of course absolutely do exist. I should also make clear that I am talking about respectful, intentional, and careful use, done with the intention of learning or growth. And also that if insights are revealed, one should invest ample time and energy in to integrating them as best they can.

If we consider psychedelics to be teachers that allow us to access wisdom, what is wrong with visiting that teacher? Sure, you do not want to spend your whole life with that teacher, never stepping out of the classroom to practice your lessons. But likewise, you’d want to attend lessons to make the most of the wisdom they have to offer.


This post was day 20 of PSYJuly 2021.

psychedelic surrender

Welcome to PSYJuly day 17!
Today we have a post from Kerrie O’ Reilly from A Whole New High, a psilocybin retreat in the Netherlands.
In today’s post, Kerrie looks at one of the ultimate tenets of psychedelic navigation: surrender…

Psychedelic Surrender

“You just need to surrender”
Have you heard this before? This is probably the most common piece of advice I hear truly well meaning psychedelic explorers offer friends and first timers as they prepare to embark on their next or first ever psychedelic experience. I too received this advice myself at the beginning of my own journey with medicines. 

Many of our clients who come to work with us have been told this. They are both confused and terrified by what “just surrendering” may entail. Why? Well because there isn’t always an explanation included about what surrendering actually means, and more importantly guidance on how to do it…. 

Surrendering to the medicine and to the experience can often be understood as letting absolutely everything go, your identity, your awareness of who you are, your body, your sense of control. And it’s true, letting go of some or all of these things is to surrender, and if that feels good to you, this can be an incredibly beautiful and life changing experience to have. However in order to drop into a psychedelic journey it is by no means a requirement to completely let go of yourself. Nor is it always helpful to “try” to achieve this. 

The expectation we can put on ourselves to fully let go can be terrifying. It can cause the parts of us who do not feel safe to release all control, for incredibly valid reasons of it being unsafe to do so in our past, to feel the need to hold on even tighter in order to protect us when we do enter the experience. This can cause more resistance and potentially even an inability to sink into the journey that awaits us. Developing inner trust is what makes letting go a natural and spontaneous process. This comes by creating inner safety through respecting and honouring what is best for us in any given moment, which can often be something entirely different to what the mind may want or think it should do. Tuning into ourselves and our needs and fulfilling these needs nurtures that trust and our relationship within.  

Surrendering can ask so much less of us than a complete release of self or control. How I like to explain surrender is to simply be with what is in any given moment without trying to change it. So what does that look like on a practical level?

Lets say I’ve just taken the medicine and my mind has realised there is no turning back. I’ve begun the process now and I’ve no idea what’s going to happen. Suddenly my excitement has turned to fear. To surrender to this moment using my explanation above is to simply notice I’m super scared right now and thats ok. It is to let the fear in me be there and for me to be there with it, without trying to change it, get rid of it or push it away and to recognise it’s validity. It’s human nature to feel fear when we have no knowing of what’s ahead. This can be scary to anyone, its incredibly natural to feel scared in such a circumstance. So honouring this, rather than trying to push it away or denying it, and allowing the fear to be there while validating yourself in it. This is the exhale into surrender. 

After doing this I may feel more relaxed, my body has just been trusted, recognised and validated and may have softened a little. Sinking into this feeling of relaxation, allowing myself to feel it, trusting it, being with it, inviting it to be there, I have once again surrendered, we can surrender to comfortable feelings too.  

As the journey progresses I may suddenly feel very cold, I may even shiver. I can lean into the feeling I am having of being cold without judgement, being with myself and recognising this feeling. Noticing what it feels like in my body, noticing the discomfort of it, inviting the emotion it is creating in me to be seen. I may ask for an extra blanket, not in an effort to get rid of the feeling but rather supporting and comforting myself through it – any or all of these reactions is being with what is while in acceptance of it, and this allows me to drop deeper into surrender. 

Next the person beside me may be coughing and shuffling from side to side around their mattress, they can’t seem to settle, it’s really annoying me. Ugggghhhhh, I may think…… “They’ve taken me out of my experience”. Resistance would sound like “I shouldn’t be so insensitive and self-involved, maybe they’re going through something really challenging, I should just be able to allow this to be, like a meditation practice”. 

To surrender, however, is to allow myself to be angry in this moment and to feel the anger in my body while detaching from the moment that triggered it. I can use such moments as leads to bring me towards what’s unresolved inside me as opposed to seeing these triggers as the source of the anger or the emotion itself. By dropping back into my body, into my feeling state, I am surrendering to what life is providing for me, I’m surrendering to myself and I’m surrendering to the medicine. 

As feelings arise and I allow them to be without judgement, I’m surrendering deeper and deeper into the experience, deeper and deeper into myself.  I have not tried to let go of myself or surrender completely, I have simply taken one small step after another to surrender to what each moment has brought me. I created inner safety and from this place, my mind surrendered to me. Like drifting off to sleep my mind becomes less and less present, less active, until the journey and I are one. I am in a state of being, a state of trust of myself, of my emotions, of the medicine, and from this place I can experience my higher self, the divine. I have accessed a portal into the wisdom of my being, of life and of the magic of the medicine.

About Kerrie

Kerrie O’ Reilly is the co-founder of A Whole New High, a Trauma Integration Therapist working with clients both with and without psychedelics for 15 years, Artist and Writer. A Whole New High are a resource for Psychedelic Awareness and Therapy and have been at the forefront of the psychedelic movement offering private and group retreats where they combine therapeutic tools with the psychedelic experience. Integration, emotional and physical safety, and creating healthy behavioural patterns and relationships after the experience itself are some of their primary focuses.
liberate psychedelics freedom

The first cage is the mind.

Psychedelics break the shackles. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong. When you let go of every opinion, belief or conviction that you are consciously or unconsciously holding onto, you have the opportunity to finally be free.

From a blank slate, you have the possibility of consciously deciding which beliefs or frames you wish to adopt. You have agency in the perspectives you want to hold. Do you want to see reality from those that will support you, that are conducive to the life you want to lead?

Everything comes down to perspective. How we perceive reality comes down to the perspectives we take. Two different people in what looks like the same experience from the outside can be going through two totally different lived experiences. “Truth is subjectivity” as Kierkegaard once said, and there is no denying that our internal experience plays a central role in our experience of life and reality.

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Victor Frankl

As humans our ability to create meaning, to find it in our experiences, is what makes us unique. It’s what makes us who we truly are. Victor Frankl is someone who underwent an incredible atrocity, but yet still was able to find meaning, freedom, and purpose in his existence.

Psychedelics ability to enable us to see things from a new angle and offer a new perspective is ultimately their greatest power. It gives us a real chance to see difficulties or hardships from the past in a new light and find meaning and purpose in them. It also allows us to see new connections, sparking our creativity. 

“Psychedelics are illegal because they dissolve opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. They open you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”
Terence McKenna

It’s almost a bad joke that we are not free to use these plants and substances which can help us find inner freedom. That we do not enjoy cognitive liberty. That people are locked in cages for their use or involvement with them. The fact that people have had their physical freedom taken from them is a gross injustice. I believe this to be a key civil rights issue of our time and with psychedelics’ ability to help us to see past division, to see our unity and interconnectedness, they can inform and accelerate other civil rights movements present in the world today. Understanding our connection with the planet, they can help our ecological awareness and movement too.

Freedom is something I believe we all ultimately strive for. With their power to break boundaries and burn down limiting beliefs, psychedelics allow us to believe in the impossible. They allow us to dream. And for that reason psychedelics are the greatest tool that we have for freedom. And I believe we should legalize, and liberate, psychedelics.

liberate psychedelics freedom

Photo taken of a t-shirt from ICEERS, as part of their campaign to liberate plant teachers

This post is day 16 of PSYJuly 2021.

tripping as a tool for self realisation

Welcome to PSYJuly day 14 🙂

Today we have a post from fellow psychedelic blogger and comrade Cody Johnson. I first reached out to Cody whilst I was based in Mexico and setting up the first version of Maps of the Mind back in 2016. He gave me great support and advice as I started out on my blogging journey and I’m grateful to still be in touch with him to this day. I’m pleased to be sharing one of my favourite posts of his here, and notably, one that introduced me to The Secret Chief Revealed, an important book in my story. I hope you enjoy.

Tripping as a Tool for Self-Realization

Psychedelics are the chameleons of the drug world — amenable to a variety of uses, dependent on the user’s attitude. The importance of set and setting cannot be overstated. If you use them as intoxicants, you will become intoxicated. If you want to see pretty shapes and colors and “trip out” to music, then they will act as sensory enhancers. If you just want a new mode of consciousness that leads you to experience life in a novel way, they will satisfy that urge.

There’s nothing wrong with these approaches. “Getting fucked up” can be a completely legitimate reason to trip (though not the safest or most productive one). There’s no need for self-described “serious” psychonauts to condescend to recreational users. (See Sacredness is in the eye of the beholder for my thoughts on that issue.) Everyone enjoys sovereignty over his or her own consciousness — this is the meaning of cognitive liberty.

But the fact remains: these psychedelics can go much deeper than recreation. Those who never choose to explore psychedelics more seriously than as intoxicants or sense-enhancers will miss out on their greatest potential. Why stop at pretty sounds and colors when these medicines can catalyze deep epiphanies and lasting change?

Because they encourage such ruthless honesty, these molecules are ideal mirrors for the art of self-reflection.

And psychedelics are very much agents of change. They can show you your shadow self, dragging your insecurities and internal conflicts into the light for examination. They mediate a conversation, even a partnership, with the subconscious, unseating your deepest assumptions and leading you to question the most rigid habits and biases. Psychedelics are molecular battering rams, crumbling the castle called Ego, often raising from the rubble a profound feeling of pure love and unity.

They can introduce you to God, bridging for a time the seemingly unbridgeable gap between the human and divine spheres of existence. Perhaps more importantly, they can help you get to know yourself. Your real self, defenses down, moat drained, drawbridge lowered. Because they encourage such ruthless honesty, these molecules are ideal mirrors for the art of self-reflection.

Much of this potential is likely to pass the recreational user by. You often get what you ask for, and if your attitude does not predispose you to a therapeutic or spiritual trip, you are less likely to experience one. Of course, a casual user will sometimes stumble upon personal revelations quite by accident. Even the most stubborn eyes and minds can be opened, allowing some insights to filter in. Such is the power of these chemicals, and the human mind.

Leo Zeff

Leo Zeff, the underground psychedelic therapist profiled in The Secret Chief Revealed, believed that a trip’s value is in catalyzing personal growth.

But those who approach the psychedelic experience with respect and intention will learn much more from their trips, and will be better prepared to integrate those lessons into their daily lives. As Leo Zeff, a pioneer of the underground psychedelic therapy movement, used to say, the quality of a trip is measured not by your experience that day, but how you grow in the subsequent months as a result. If we commit ourselves to being accountable to the insights received, then every trip can become a transformative event, a tool for self-realization. The best kind of trip is one you grow from.

Casual trippers often overlook two important stages of tripping: preparation and integration. Without attending to these steps the user is unable to reach the pinnacle of a truly therapeutic trip and maximize the learning process. Many people don’t realize that psychedelics are a school — and like any school, you need to do your homework. I’ll elaborate on preparation and integration in future posts; they are terrific methods for making the most of the dose.

Myron Stolaroff, a researcher and advocate of psychedelic psychotherapy, describes how recreational use tends to taper off:

The use of psychedelics is self-regulating in most cases. Their true purpose is to enhance growth and interior development. Used only for pleasure, or abused, the Inner Self is thwarted, which leads to unpleasant experiences and depression. Though everyone who pursues the use of psychedelics for personal growth must be prepared for the “dark night of the soul” experiences, those who seek only entertainment will lose interest in these substances.

Tripping for entertainment may lose its charm, but tripping for personal growth can lead the intrepid psychonaut to ever greater heights over years of directed use. Rewards increase as self-understanding deepens.

Transformation is the highest purpose we can set for ourselves when exploring consciousness. “Psyche-delic” means mind-revealing, and indeed, seeing oneself more completely may be the most psychedelic activity there is. I take Leo Zeff’s advice, measuring a trip’s true value by how much I grow from it afterwards. Heck, that’s a great way to rate any experience, psychedelic or not: how has it changed your life?

While I honor every individual’s right to choose how to explore consciousness, I encourage those of you who have never had the pleasure to try out the self-discovery approach. If you trip, trip with intent. Bring questions to explore. Treat it with gravity and respect, like a therapeutic session. That’s what the psychedelic experience can be: a deep and honest interview with yourself. Plan to dig deep, committing yourself to confronting all conflicts and negative feelings as they arise.

Best of all, “tripping with intent” not an alternative method so much as a complementary one. People use psychedelics for all sorts of reasons — to improve sex, deepen their connection with nature, channel the divine, explore their internal emotional landscape, and so on. A focus on self-discovery, with proper preparation, method, and post-trip integration, will help bring more meaning to all of these activities.

Focus on your deepest emotions before, during, and after the trip, and you will wind up with extraordinary lessons from the other side of the psychedelic frontier.

Besides, an LSD trip can last twelve hours, and shrooms is at least six. That’s plenty of time for a variety of activities and settings. If you’re accustomed to recreational tripping, especially in a social setting, try setting aside some alone time on each trip for quiet introspection. Then ask yourself, what’s holding me back in life? How does my behavior compare to my goals and self-beliefs? What would I like to change about my life? Don’t just think through the questions; feel them. Focus on your deepest emotions before, during, and after the trip, and you will wind up with extraordinary lessons from the other side of the psychedelic frontier.

If you’re looking for more specific guidance about tripping for self-discovery, stay tuned! That’s the main goal of this blog — to awaken people to the highest potential of psychedelics; to help you make the most of the dose. In the meantime, you can read up on psychedelic psychotherapy and trip guides. Researchers like James Fadiman, Myron Stolaroff, Leo Zeff and others have shed some light on the best techniques for therapeutic tripping. You don’t need a psychology degree to gain insight from psychedelics; you just need to pay attention.

psychedelic-explorers-guide-fadiman secret chief revealed

If you’ve experienced positive results from tripping with intent, share your experience with others! Give your “recreational” friends the opportunity to take tripping more seriously. Some people will resist, but others will be ecstatic that you opened their eyes to the higher potential of these chemicals. You never know, it just might change someone’s life.


About Cody
Cody Johnson is an intrepid psychonaut and humanist who writes about mind-expanding plants and compounds at PsychedelicFrontier.com. His book, Magic Medicine, is an armchair adventurer’s guide to all things psychedelic: their history, emerging scientific research, therapeutic and spiritual applications, and legality.

new full moon ritual psychedelics

Here we are, day 10, PSYJuly, Welcome back 🙂

Today we have a post from my great friend and spiritual ally Lucy Porter. I met Lucy in Mexico some years ago and we had some epic adventures together, spending our first days together in the desert eating peyote. Thrilled to share this piece from her today…


Syncing Psychedelic Sessions with Moon Cycles

Do you like entering into non-ordinary states of consciousness? How about surfing the ether on a wave of mutilation? 

I get it babe, me too. 

The use of psychedelics to open dormant parts of the psyche is no new practice. Hallucinogenic plants have acquired a sacred, animistic place in indigenous cultures for thousands of years. These psychoactive plants were consumed ritually and treated with the highest respect and intention. Being used primarily to commune with deceased ancestors and to receive important messages for the community. 

The dialogue around psychedelic usage is rife, and with practitioners emphasizing the importance of set and setting, clear intention and emotional safety; there is very little conscious integration of the why and the when. 

When is the Right Time to do Psychedelics?! 

Pre Christianity, The Ancient Sumerian Calendar was centrally focused on the moon’s transits. Infact, so focused that each month began on the darkest night of the month; the New Moon. There were no weeks in the Sumerian Calendar; the people lived solely on Moon Time. Astrologically, the Moon represents a person’s inner world. It’s the centre of receptivity and introspection. It’s their subconscious, their relationship to the mother, the womb, and the portal of life and death. Pretty cool right? Each month the Moon passes through four stages; New, Waxing, Full and Waning. Each phase symbolises a different living archetype, from birth, right the way through death and to birth again. Now, for those of you who have sat through a few psychedelic sessions; you know the feeling of dying to who you were and then being born again? But… then dying again?! 

I believe that committing to the conscious use of psychedelics is like the self signing a contract to transformation with a sharpie. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Priestess, it’s timing. Syncing up psychedelic ritual with the moon cycles is one of the smartest ways to utilize the direction you want your ritual to go. Ask yourself, am I taking this to call something into my life? Or, am I taking this to release something in my life? These are wildly different intentions and align with different points in the calendar month. 

New Moon and Waxing Moon

The New Moon and Waxing Moon are perfect for calling in. The New Moon is the very beginning of the month energetically and aligns with birth. Perhaps you’re using mushrooms to get inspired or to visualise a new way of doing things. Practicing ritual on the darkest night of the month helps you to bring in fresh energy from an open, receptive slate. 

The Full Moon and Waning Moon

The Full Moon and Waning Moon are for letting go rituals. Biologically the Full Moon marks the time of each month where the water retention in human bodies is at the highest. Equally, the tides come in and the oceans rise. Symbolically, Full Moons are emotional. They are a time for your sacred waters to flow. This is a great evening for a release ritual, and pairing psychedelics can help aid that process. It’s also important to note that having additional emotional support in the form of a friend or partner at the Full Moon ritual is recommended. 

We are part of a much greater tapestry, we are pawns in the eye of great spirits’ misty game of chess. In fact, we are eerily connected. The Moon is our sister and the Sun is our Brother, and you are both a small child, and an old man simultaneously. We are not an isolated incident but a fusion of interconnected energy. The more we can communicate with the Solar System’s natural rhythms, the deeper and more magnificent our rituals and psychedelic journeys shall be. 

I recommend the New Moon to start, call in some juicy goodness and learn to trust that Lunar Magic. Trust me, it’s worth it. 

Lots of love 

Lucy AKA Priestess in the City xo


About Lucy
Lucy Porter is an Astrologer, Astrology Writer, Tarot Queen and Priestess living in the big, juicy city of London. She spends a lot of time sitting in her hot pink office talking people through their Birth Charts; and exploring their souls gifts and burdens through Astrology. Her mission in life is to make magic mega mundane and the mundane mega magic. She wants to see people reading each other’s palms on the tube and doing psychic readings at the pub.