lsd space man

Top Five Moments in Psychedelic History – Part 1

Sempai Knowledge, LSD, Natural, Psychedelics, Psychoactive Substances, Spiritual, Trippy

I’m taking a break this week from my still ongoing plant high series, to have a little look at a few of the movers and shakers in the modern psychedelic movement. This will be a new series, looking at different time periods in drug history in various cultures.

“When you study natural science and the miracles of creation, if you don’t turn into a mystic you are not a natural scientist” – Hoffman

Accidental LSD

Albert Hofmann synthesized LSD for the first time in 1938, looking for something else. It wasn’t until 1943 when he accidentally consumed some, that he realized it was hallucinogenic. Hoffman was a proponent of the new and modern practice of micro-dosing, seeing LSD primarily as a low dose tonic that improves the mind, and mental health. He also became quite mystical, like many who explore these drugs. He is still held as the symbol of increased research and legal acceptance for psychedelic drugs as therapeutics and mind expansion tools.

accidental lsd acid stop tripping hofmann

“I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view.” – Hoffman

LSD and Modern Psychedelics

Until more recently, most drugs were still available, legal, and at least purchasable via mail order. The military have studied LSD extensively, mostly for mind control, stress testing and as a truth serum. It was in 1967 after the boom days of LSD general psychiatric experimentation and personal use, that it was banned, following public hysteria.

lsd modern psychedelics

LSD has been connected to the hippy movement, psychedelic rock, psychedelic trance, rave, the micro-dosing business community, psychology/psychiatry, new scientific research, our understanding of consciousness and much more besides. It has driven culture in a way that is new for modern people.

Indeed, it has created an interest in eastern cultures, altered states, mindfulness and meditation, changed our very scientific understanding of ourselves. Psychedelic drugs have in a very real and tangible sense produced a revolution of the mind in modern society. There is no question we’d be different if we hadn’t discovered them.

In the Kitchen

Alexander Shulgin was a pharmacologist. He worked with the DEA, granting him a schedule one license for his lab. He developed and sampled over 230 psychoactive chemicals. He is one of the recreational pioneers of MDMA, and developed numerous drugs that eventually ended up on the street, and particular in the dance music community, and later the legal synthetic industry.

Drugs like 2-CB,  5-Meo-DALT. Almost everything we see today in chemical drugs, is touched by Shulgin’s work, and shaped by his understanding, and experiments with his friends, exploring the psychedelic chemical landscape.

Alexander Shulgin LSD kitchen

Alexander Shulgin

In the parlance on the street, he was the worlds ultimate cook.

“How long will this last, this delicious feeling of being alive, of having penetrated the veil which hides beauty and the wonders of celestial vistas? It doesn’t matter, as there can be nothing but gratitude for even a glimpse of what exists for those who can become open to it.” -Shulgin

Exploring Consciousness

Timothy Leary was a psychologist and activist, advocating for psychedelic drugs to be used in therapeutic and controlled settings. He conducted several experiments on LSD and psilocybin. He was a part of the 1960s counter culture movement, and he developed a philosophy of mind expansion and personal living. His writing style in his books are simultaneously intelligent and yet symbolic, contradictory and a trip of a sort in itself.

He is also credited with work with the profoundly psychedelic tryptamine DMT, in describing a sort of seemingly universal experience of those who take the drug, a vision of travelling through a tunnel or corridor of light patterns into a weird world populated by strange creatures, which has inspired more than a passing interest by the public in this drug.

how long does lsd last

“The PC is the LSD of the ’90s.” – Leary

Writer and Mystic

Aldous Huxley cannot be missed in such a quick tour of the big names. He is a writer, he wrote the predictive and culturally iconic ‘1984’. He also wrote the nearly as iconic ‘The Doors of Perception’, a psychedelic cultural go-to. His works are mystically coherent and socially profound.

 “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.” – Huxley

He created for example, the following interesting model. The idea is simply this, that the brain, the body, the mind, is simply like a radio. A receiver, rather than a source of consciousness. The consciousness is more like a signal we tune into and narrow down. That beyond our little narrow band of reception lies a seething sea of conscious experience – and that is what we touch on briefly, under the influence of psychedelics, altered states or in madness.

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” – Huxley

psychedelic mystics

Natures Highs: Part 3 – Opening the Third Eye

Sempai Drugs, Legal Highs, LSD, Psychedelics, Psychoactive Substances, Spiritual, Trippy

There are in fact loads of psychedelics in nature. Unfortunately, some of these plants are illegal to own, and some illegal to process.

So in this week’s addition about psychedelic plant drugs in New Zealand, I’ll be dividing the plants up into “Legal to own, but not process” and “Legal in general”. It’s important to note that some plants like San Pedro are common, legal to possess but processing them, such as making a tea from one, or extracting the Mescaline, as Mescaline is a Class A drug, is a felony – so please I advise you not to do this.

Remember also, that if you wish to explore the self, meditation, floatation and hypnosis are effective routes!

Fully Legit

The plants that are fully legal are often pretty mild in effect, but effective all the same.

On the less LSD like side, we have ‘Sun Opener’ which I have not personally tried, but it apparently produces a cannabis like psychedelia and colored vision. It’s well enough rated by others to be worthy of a mention, certainly not euphoric like cannabis, but relaxing and mind expanding. Kawa Kawa, a Maori medicinal commonly used is an odd one. Similar in some ways to nutmeg, but preferable – a strange stone and twilight subtle psychedelia, but overall more interesting and short lived than nutmeg. Not exactly recreational, but a possibly useful plant and some people enjoy the tea to relax.

On the more LSD like side, there is Calamus, or Sweet Flag. It’s used in herbal medicine for a variety of ailments, and was used by the American Indians as a hiking or travelling herb – chewed in low doses it produces a sort of cheerful, floaty, uplifted space. I used this one many times, and at this dose, it does create an enjoyable lifting of mood. In higher doses still it creates a deeper psychedelic state – deeply introspective, dreamy with brighter colors, and some melting and breathing visuals.  This might sound weird, but it is somehow dreamy like a rainy day, trance-like.

And Galangal is another interesting stop. It’s a root and spice used in cooking; it’s supposed to be pretty zesty. Brewed as a tea in sufficient doses it produces mild LSD like effects, visuals, and associated introspective mild space. But only a little bit, it’s mild. And the spice is very full on, so that’s also worth considering if you want to try it.

Great to Collect

Basically almost any plant is legal to cultivate – in New Zealand, even the famous Opium Poppy can be legally grown, as can the almost as famous Peyote – if you have a membership with the cactus society. But that doesn’t mean you can bleed your poppy pods, or manufacture mescaline. A lot of these plants have interesting cultural significance so I think worth collecting for that reason alone. And these next ones have strikingly beautiful flowers.

A common plant that grows wild all around New Zealand – Morning Glory, and it’s less common, stronger cousin, Hawaiian Baby Wood rose. The seeds of these plants contain the psychoactive d-lysergic acid amide; related to LSD. This is actually a very interesting set of plant relatives. Morning Glory was used in Aztec culture as a sacred ritual plant. The ticitl would use morning glory to determine the cause of illnesses, for healing and it was also used as a local anesthetic. Its effects are very reminiscent of a, less visual, more mental LSD.

“It makes one besotted; it deranges one, troubles one, maddens one, makes one possessed. He who eats it, who drinks it, sees many things which greatly terrify him. He is really frightened [by the] poisonous serpent which he sees for that reason.” – The Florentine Codex

The Remedy

Next up is a relative of the aforementioned Peyote – San Pedro. Also know as “El Remedio”: The Remedy amongst Andean healers. It’s a common as garden ornamental, and it has a long history of use as a healing plant by Andean cultures, and with at least one American Indian tribe. This cactus, like Peyote, contains Mescaline. It creates a long lasting psychedelic experience that is breathy, mentally calm compared to LSD, and yet powerfully psychedelic, emotionally changing and profoundly visual.

It’s longer lasting than LSD, with a main effect of 8 or so hours, but a tail off effect of mild effects that lasts just as long. Of course eating cactus or cactus tea is not only illegal but it makes one nauseous and tastes like cucumber juice and dishwasher detergent! The traditional users of this plant regarded the ingestion as a test of purity and fortitude.

“First, a dreamy state… then great visions, a clearing of all the faculties… and then detachment, a type of visual force inclusive of the sixth sense, the telepathic state of transmitting oneself across time and matter, like a removal of thoughts to a distant dimension”.

Reality Wobbles

Last one is an odd one. Salvia divinorum. You probably won’t find this at your local plant store. It’s unique effects at the kappa opioid site create some of the strangest psychedelic effects I have ever experienced. The Mazatec Indians used this plant traditionally for healing, and medicine and it is often believed that perhaps the Aztecs also did. It’s not uncommon for the Mazatec to wash the chewed leaves down with tequila:

“It lights up the mouth like a rainbow, it’s like a pastel sunrise breaking in the east.”

An experience this drug can result in strange experiences such as; completely forgetting you ingested a drug immediately after you have done so, feeling like the world is tilting, or that you are being drawn somewhere without being able to resist like a magnet. You may experience being an actual table leg for thirty minutes (I’m serious), or travel to other places in your mind with eyes closed. It’s honestly quite an overwhelming and strange experience, almost like travelling fully to another dimension. It may not be illegal to consume (so far as I am aware), but the obscurities of the psychoactive substances act, however, like suggest it is illegal to trade/sell in extracted or processed form.

It’s like cat paws, soft cat paws pressing, or like a bunch of bird tongues lapping the mind. Or like tiny fingers, the way ivy fingers reach out to climb a wall”


Sempai Drugs, Knowledge, Legal Highs, Natural, Psychedelics, Psychoactive Substances, Spiritual

Nature is pretty abundant with relaxing chemicals. And we are familiar with many of them without knowing it, like lavenders powerful “linalool”, or the theanine in tea that gives you a chill feeling.

When it comes to relaxing legal plants in nature, there is a lot of options here in NZ.

They presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Ancient painkillers

First used by the Egyptians, and introduced to medicine before opium as a painkiller; Myrrh is culturally protected as a staple of Christian ritual and religion. It was given to Jesus on the cross, in wine, to relieve his pain, and of course, it’s in the nativity story too. It’s of course mainly used in aromatherapy and church incense. Recreationally, it produces a stony dreamy space, via similar mechanisms to opium, which some have compared to Kratom in feeling.

There are a variety of ways to ingest plant oils, with transdermal (rubbed onto the skin) and via steam probably being the healthiest. We don’t know a lot about overuse, and the health effects so don’t smoke oils, take it easy if you experiment and be smart! Of course a lot of essential oils have psychoactive effects, even perhaps things like rose oil.

Something more commonly used at recreational doses in the modern world, is Black Seed or Nigella Sativa. It is an effective painkiller used in herbal medicine and gives mild opiate effects. Again described as a dreamy or floaty feeling, like a mild opium like experience. It in fact is a general regular health tonic, with a wide variety of medical effects. And as well as having its own dreamy mild opiate effects, it also potentiates other opiates.

Straight Chill

Of the mentally relaxing herbs, my picks for most pleasant chill are – Indian warrior, and Prickly poppy, which also have a range of medicinal properties in traditional herbal medicine.

Prickly poppy has its origin in Aztec culture, where it was referred to as the ‘food of the dead’.

I think that refers to its ability to help those sad – potentially it’s actives bear possibility as acute short term anti-depressants. It provides that deep emotional detachment one finds with stronger doses of morphine – without any euphoria, and a mild physical relaxation. Obviously this has positive effects if one is upset, it just puts you in a cloud emotionally, distant from all your troubles.

Indian warrior is a nerve tonic that promotes healthy immune function. It creates a mental and muscle relaxation similar to cannabis. It’s not so much the psychedelic side, but rather the deep meditative calm you get going on after a while on THC – stillness. There’s no euphoria but it’s a great chill, pretty nice when one wants to escape stress, meditate, or seek peace. The buds can be smoked too, and taste okay, if that’s your thing.

Note: Neither can be overused, in a similar manner to alcohol, they do have some toxicity, and Indian warrior should not be used by those with liver disease. Occasional use of these in healthy people should be fairly safe however. For both of these you might have to use the extracts, I used 10-15x in teas.

Subtle Magic

It was believed that it was a giant lotus blossom that first emerged from the primordial waters of Nun and from which the sun-god came forth – Creation Myth of Ancient Egypt

One very subtle delight is blue lotus (or white lotus, both technically lilies but commonly called lotuses). It was also used back in Egypt, in wine, both at parties and during sacred ritual and is a subtle sublime experience without much comparison.

It combines warm bonding social feelings and appreciation of natural beauty, with mild pleasurable tingly sensory feelings, a cannabis like mental relaxation or trance.

All very subtle, such that many, perhaps even most will not notice much at all!

Often used with alcohol, which both enhance each other (to the point most people may notice something is different, even if still fairly mild). This plant is quietly profound and uplifting – It’s nice for romantic bonding, social bonding, dance music events, and experiences in nature as well as anything spiritual. Subtle, but special. A favourite of mine.


Legal natural highs in New Zealand

Natures Highs Part 1: Chocamine, the limitless legal stimulant?

Sempai Drugs, Legal Highs, Natural, Psychedelics, Psychoactive Substances, Research

Legal Highs are still available in New Zealand

I’m writing a series here on entheogens and legal highs in NZ. It’s been a confusing time since the psychoactive substances act came into force. While the law has not yet provided a scientific path to legal high drug testing (at least not without animal testing), it has however opened up a black market far scarier than what Peter Dunne and the public had ever imagined.

The only two things you technically enjoy

Dopamine and Serotonin

The new law also created some confusion around the definition of a psychoactive substance and what natural plants may or may not fall under the new bill.

Getting high or catching a buzz from your local health store or supermarket in NZ

As it turns out… nature, industry and the majority of middle class kiwis got to keep all their habitual highs, and some of them are pretty good.

The way the law was applied allows for religious, cultural, gardening, food and medicinal exceptions. It quite rightly ignores the majority of herbs that are mild enough to be sold in most major supermarket chains. You’d be surprised that there are a number of effective and useful plants still available to use.

Don’t expect any of these to be exactly like illicit drug experiences, or to replace your current habit, there’s a reason they aren’t banned, most of these are either ‘quirky’ or ‘mild’.

Though most hardened drug users with dopamine-depletion and serotonin synaptic fatigue may not get the “high” that they’re looking for, getting little out of them comparatively, they’re certainly effective both on their own, or to assist with tapering off harder drugs.

They are effective, but in their own way. Alternatives but not in the strict sense.

For the first article in this series, I am going to focus on the stimulant and psychedelic plants, and not those strictly prohibited from processing, like Salvia, Morning Glory, or San Pedro.

Getting amped up on Chocamine, natural legal speed

Chocamine is a stimulant. It’s the concentrated extract of cacao.

It’s mildly sensual, stupefying and very wakeful.

It’s significantly more stimulating than caffeine, it’s central substance Phenylethylamine, was also the main substance in the recent generation of dance pills, and also numerous current workout products.

Legal Speed in New Zealand? Try Phenethylamine

Phenethylamine (PEA)

You can still find those too, and they may provide even more kick than Chocamine alone as they often contain the PEA enhancing hordenine. PEA, gives a tingly strong stimulant effect without much of the euphoria of classical stimulants.

Legal High or Performance enhancing drug?

Both… In a Preliminary clinical study from 2005, a 1000mg dosage in health adults resulted in improved ability to react quickly to alternating auditory and visual commands. It even improved their ability to ignore interfering auditory commands while remaining focused on a visual task.

Chocamine improves information processing speed

Chocamine super drug

In 2009 a clinical study was conducted using an IMPACT Cognitive Assessment tool used by scientists in the field of neuropsychology. They tested 40 healthy volunteers and the results were impressive.

Significant improvement in test assessing short-term memory and visual-motor response speed. Up to 39% improvement after Chocamine consumption. Positive trends in tests assessing reaction time and impulse control.

It’s mildly sensual, stupefying and very wakeful. Chocamine also has mood enhancing cannabinoids and theobromine, which means that Chocamine does actually give a little mood lift as well as extra energy and performance enhancement.

Chocamine, the ultimate natural nootropic… so what’s the catch?

Have too much and it’ll make you shaky and anxious. The doses are small (like a fraction of a teaspoon) so measure carefully, start small and do your research.

Overall a useful substance, especially in a time when good legal festival pick me ups are hard to come by or you need that study drug to get you through exams without all the energy drinks and coffee.

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Non-drug paths to altered consciousness

Sempai Knowledge, Legal Highs, Life, Natural, Spiritual, Trippy, Uncategorized

There’s a number of ways to altered consciousness.

I’ll start with the more everyday changes in conciousness.

Sleep deprivation is the altered state the most people are familiar with. It is anxious,  with tunnel vision, vision disturbances, muddled thinking, and yet in other places it is pleasant, where the cannibinoid Oleylethonalamine is released producing sleepiness, warmth, hunger and ease.

A variety of body caused ‘highs’ can be produced. The body releases its own opiates, the beta endorphins with a variety of things, like food, sex. Also in exercise, where anandamide, natures THC is released at the same time. A good high intensity work out will give you a great clean buzz. Oxytocin, with it’s MDMA like effect on the brain is connected to bonding.

But when talking about altered states, euphoria may not be what people have in mind. A number of physical conditions can produce altered consciousness, such as lack of oxygen, infection or epilepsy. Some epileptics have profound religious like experiences. A fever can in itself produce hallucinations, creating a delirient effect. When I had this, I saw totally realistic snakes slithering over my body! Eww

Trance and fasting

“I achieve an altered state that I can’t explain; I have a secret that I cannot share.” Omar Khayyám

Fasting, a practice used for religious purposes often to this day, results in a lowered blood sugar, which produces a detachment from events and reality.

‘Trance state’ – In trance, a person is in a relaxed state between wakefulness, and sleep- a focused state that is powerfully imaginative, where one may access the subconscious self. A trance state is also used for achieving transcendent spiritual experiences.

It doesn’t matter any scepticism you might have, hypnosis works. Imaginative experiences can feel sometimes real under hypnosis, allowing things like past life regression, or healing visualisations to have a powerful impact on our psyche. Hypnosis can be used for pain relief during brain surgery – that’s how powerful it can be.

“My eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” – Meister Eckhart

For a more egoless spiritual experience, a deep mindfulness or meditation is required. Traditionally, shamans and mystics have used drumming, chanting, mantras and other repetitive sounds, along with focus on the breath. Also mandalas, or simply observation. These day’s we also have technology to enhance trance, such as light and sound machines and binaural sound to help alter the brains state, although traditional tools like tibetan singing bowls are just as popular as ever.

Daydreaming actually works in a similar manner. It is the activation of the ‘default network’, the creativity state, the part of the brain that activates under low stimulus (sometimes under highly practiced tasks). Indeed between this and dreaming, perhaps we can see why altered states in general are so useful – for their role in meta-cognition, to inspire new ways to think about old things.

Visions and loss of self

Staring at a candle or mirror, or another person’s eyes can alter consciousness, and this has been shown in science. It is important the room it dimly lit. For caring for your eyes, I suggest a mirror or person would be better. Another person’s eyes seem to have to most powerful effect. In an experiment on this, staring into each others eyes – subjects describe:

“Higher levels of attenuated colour intensity than controls, with noises seeming louder than they should. Time seemed to slow down and they felt spaced out. Additionally, almost 90% of them said their partner’s face appeared deformed, 75% saw monstrous beings and 15% even saw traits of a relative’s face emerge on their partner.”

There are some methods of altering consciousness that really take all this a step further into the self. Sensory deprivation can induce visuals, as well as, offer deeply enhanced introspection and creative thinking. Joe Rogan is a huge proponent. He like others, mentions that it takes a few floats before you ‘relax into it’, so don’t be disappointed if not much happens at first.

“It shows me all the different issues in my life that I don’t like and that I need to fix ….then it’ll show me some things where I’m on the right track” – Joe Rogan

Pain, can induce a spiritual or ecstatic experience. In BDSM, this is referred to as ‘subspace’, and people often use this form of pain, such as in ‘suspension’, for spiritual rather than sexual purposes. It is described as a feeling of floating, or flying, detachment from one’s body. Clearly I cannot recommend this approach to ‘try at home’ without supervision, experience and knowledge.

When you can’t refuse anything and can’t even move, those voices in your head go silent. All you can do, and all you are permitted to do, is feel.” ― Cherise Sinclair

Are we awake or asleep?

Lucid dreaming. It’s something I do myself on occasion, and it’s something you can train yourself to do. Basically, on some level you become aware it’s a dream. And when you do, you gain control of it – you can manifest objects, fly or express supernatural abilities, change your setting by going through doors, mirrors or pools, summon settings, objects or people by thinking about them.

Asking yourself while awake ‘it this dreamlike’ can help give you a sense of checking periodically, make you subconsciously aware of what to look for, to realize you are dreaming when you are. And if you feel like you are waking from such a lucid dream, prematurely, you can stay asleep by spinning in circles, or by touching something physical in the dream.

“You must learn to control your dreams or your dreams will forever control you.”
― Wayne Gerard Trotman