"Only in this human realm do we feel the need to pretend to be something we aren't. It's so silly!" - Jessica Howarth
For many people, psychedelics can provide us with life-altering experiences. Whether it's your first time or you're a seasoned psychonaut, these powerful substances can reveal invaluable insights about yourself, others, and the world around you. In this blog post we want to explore some of the life-changing realizations people had on psychedelics – along with some stories from those who have experienced them firsthand! Read on for an enlightening look at how psychedelics truly can open up unexpected truths about the human condition.
“MDMA helped me and my partner to reconnect”- Jenny Neal, 34
Whenever my partner of 5 years and I aren’t seeing eye to eye or need to reconnect, we do what we call, “heart check-ins”. We take MDMA and allow our busy overthinking minds to shut down and begin to tap into our hearts, allowing for us to move through anything that isn’t helping our relationship grow.
My partner and I struggle sometimes to speak what’s on our hearts and/or our minds. Whenever we feel like we just aren’t in sync, are disagreeing, or just are having a hard time in our relationship, instead of running away (which is a technique I unfortunately learned at a young age due to my divorced parents) we run TOWARDS.
My initial habit is to withdraw, but MDMA has helped me explore new layers of myself and my intimate relationship.
About once a year we decide to do our “heart check-in”, which is where we set an intention for the MDMA experience, and we each take our dose. I personally take 150 milligrams of MDMA where he takes 200 milligrams due to our tolerance level. I can openly share the reason we are still together and going strong is because of these potent experiences together. This medicine, I realize, plays a key part in my healthy partnership!
“Microdosing was like correcting the tracking on a VHS tape.” – Brian Sanner, 42
My story begins just over five years ago when I endured a traumatic event. I went on medication for depression, anxiety and panic attacks as well as for multiple counseling sessions a week. During this time I went full bore into the world of macro cannabis photography because it had always been a dream but was always too afraid to do prior because of social stigmas. I made a promise, though, that I would live a life I was too afraid to do before. Photography has been a lifelong passion of mine, but I was not familiar with the inner workings of macro photography. I taught myself almost everything about macro photography that I could and am still learning, but I wouldn't be where I am today without the help of other photographers who were kind enough to give me tips from time to time.
Fast forward about three years into my journey, and I start reading about studies on microdosing, the Paul Stamets protocol, and many other articles. This new information and view of psychedelic mushrooms had me eager to try microdosing to help with my mental health because I was not fond of being on three pharmaceutical medications for my mental health conditions. I tried and tried to find a source in my area but I was always a week late. I ended up empty handed. That is when I went down the rabbit hole of modern mycology and how to grow mushrooms myself. Quickly after I started growing, I started photographing them, naturally haha! With my collection of genetics and obsession with this magical fungus growing.
Mushroom photography quickly became my new focus. I found out in my readings that there are over 200 psilocybin containing mushrooms in the world, and I have a goal of attempting to photograph as many of them as I can. The cubes are cool, but there are so many other cool varieties in this world. I am fascinated by the infinite structures of mushrooms.
Through my photography I have been able to connect with some of the coolest people, shoot some interesting genetics and projects. The most exciting thing was being published in Leaf magazine's psychedelic issue (August 2022). I shot the photos for my buddy Sacred Fruits. Since making the decision to point my focus towards mycology I have not looked back. I will always shoot cannabis, but mycology has my heart.
“Only in this human realm do we feel the need to pretend to be something we aren't. It's so silly!” – Jessica Howarth, 37
My first full-blown mystical experience. It was gorgeous. I had tripped before, but never like this. I was at the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. They say the veil is thin there, so maybe it was part LSD/part Suwanee. Either way, I will never forget it.
I was laying in a hammock in “the amp”, a natural amphitheater filled with hundreds of oak trees that stretch above into a canopy. Colorful hammocks fill the amp and if one is open, it's all yours. The leaves were captivating. The normally small oak leaves looked huge and almost metallic when the light would shine on them. I had always felt a connection to nature on psychedelics but never like this. At that moment, I was nature and nature was me.
The download I received that day was about the importance of authenticity and acceptance. This tree just IS. Simple, authentic existence. Humans are so much more complicated. We hide behind what others want us to be and what we want ourselves to be. We often wait half of our lives to “come out of the closet” from something, if we ever come out at all.
In the midst of this mystical experience I had the foresight to leave myself a voice memo, knowing I would want to relive this moment and remind myself of the beautiful lesson that was unfolding before me. During part of the voice memo I say, “I feel like what I'm seeing is everything around me exactly for what it truly is. It's so beautiful and everything makes sense. When you see things this way, how can you see them any other way? It changes how I perceive myself and everything around me. We…and by we I mean people, nature, animals…we are all the same thing – energy. We just exist. Humans feel the need to hide behind labels, but we should just BE.”
That day I learned to be more like the tree. Just exist authentically and accept others for being authentic. Existing authenticity is beautiful!
Jessica is the founder of “I Trip”, a movement to destigmatize psychedelics.
“3 grams of Golden Teachers taught me that wearing fabulous shoes is okay.” – Sacha Hebbert, 43
Perhaps my submission sounds more humorous than others in this article, but make no mistake, it took a lot of tears, 3 hours, 3 grams of magic mushrooms and a loving fiancé to help me through the realization that I had been holding onto a lot of judgment and guilt over wanting to fully embrace my stylish inclinations.
Growing up in some seriously religious constructs and with a family that didn’t exactly embrace my origin or lifestyle as an artist or philosophical punk left me as a walking dichotomy with some rigid thinking and hypocritical behaviours. The worst part is that I wasn’t even aware I was holding on to so much guilt about self-expression. Worse, I was holding my own expressions back, even though many who know me would be surprised to read this.
Obviously, the roots of this story go as deep and as wide as a mycelial network, with regards to the subtexts and indications of being a product of a patriarchal construct, a survivor of the male gaze, a loser of one’s religion, an embracing of my divine feminine, a creative and a stylish street brand owner.
I now own several pairs of insanely cool shoes and way too many jackets.
“I felt like my brain was a hard drive, and shrooms helped me defrag, deep clean, and organize it.” – Rodri XO, 28
My first experience with shrooms was one of my most potent and life-changing ones. I was 23 at the time, working as a high school biology teacher. I had read some stories here and there of mystical experiences people had, but it’s hard to have any sort of understanding of what to expect until you do psychedelics.
I knew that I needed an intention before taking shrooms, so I mentally told myself I wanted clarity in life. This was at a time where I was beginning to hate my teaching job because my school’s administration treated me awfully, which made me question my purpose. On top of that, I was struggling with both relationship and generational trauma that was only making my years-long battle with depression worse.
My shrooms trip taught me how to process through years of trauma and make sense of my life. I felt like my brain was a hard drive, and shrooms helped me defrag, deep clean, and organize it.
The experience was so profoundly touching that it changed the course of my life. I quit my unfulfilling job shortly after, switched research focuses during grad school to studying psychedelics as antidepressants, and blossomed into a more artistic person. This experience helped me get in touch with my true self. Had I not done shrooms that day in 2018, my life would be very, very different today.
All in all, psychedelics seem to be pretty powerful substances that can change people's lives for the better. If you're ever feeling lost or confused in life, maybe it's time to take a leap of faith and try out psychedelics for yourself. Who knows, you might just have a powerful realization that changes your life for the better.
Disclaimer: Psychedelic Spotlight does not condone the use of illegal substances. The purpose of this article is for educational and harm reduction purposes only. If you suffer from a medical or mental condition, please consult with your doctor before taking any substance.
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