With the increasing acceptance within the mainstream, many people are seeking psychedelics for many reasons. Healing, meaning, spiritual awakening, pleasure… The list goes on. There are also many routes for meeting these medicines as well. Medical, shamanic, spiritual, self-experimentation etc… But this is still new territory and we are in a period of mass experimentation, both within approved institutions as well as the underground DIY scene.

As someone who’s been working with psychedelics for over 20 years, and who’s been committed to walking the plant path for the last six years as a practising psychedelic medicine facilitator, there are many questions, traps and pitfalls about the psychedelic path that I’ve encountered both within myself and others that I wish to share. These are often not discussed much, as we are still in the early stages of the psychedelic renaissance, where there’s a lot of hype and hoopla about what they can do and not much information about some of the illusions, delusions and hazards you might encounter along the way. This is especially true if you’re working in the underground DIY scene, where a lot of self-experimentation is taking place that could never be allowed or explored in approved institutions.

Are they the magical cure-all that they’re purported to be? Do you need an indigenous shaman or a Western doctor to heal you or can you do it yourself? What are the drawbacks and side effects of taking too much, too often? Are you really Jesus Christ or should you distrust spiritual awakenings that you smoke out of a crackpipe? Can one session of psychedelics reverse a lifetime of trauma, bad habits and maladaptive coping strategies? Do you have to start wearing a bunch of dumb feathers and crystals all the time after drinking Ayahuasca? Is it okay to like Enya when you’re candyflipping? Why are all the faces in the wall telling me that you’re crazy? Can you truly reach enlightenment by trying as many psychedelics that you can get your hands on for a year or are you just running away from facing your early childhood trauma?

I’ve experienced most of the above and here are my findings.

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