Having a marvellous trip is more than just taking the right substance. Obviously no (psychedelic) experience is predictable, but you can definitely improve your journey by taking the right precautions.
Timothy Leary already pointed out how important set and setting are for the psychedelic experience. Set broadly refers to the user’s character, expectations and intentions, while setting reflects the social and physical surroundings in which the trip takes place.
So have you watched your San Pedro growing for ten years and you finally want to have a go at it? Did you order some LSA seeds and have you studied the recipe? Or are you planning to take truffles for the first time? We are happy to share our experience-based insights to make your trip unforgettable, so here's our top eleven tips.
Why eleven? Because we like to go one step beyond.
Where are you going to trip? Make sure you find a place where you won’t be disturbed by the outside world, and turn off your mobile phone. If it’s your first time a place indoors where you feel comfortable is a good idea. Outdoors can be very nice as well, especially if you go to a beautiful spot in nature.
Many people consider festivals a good tripping ground, and they could be. Just be aware that psychoactives make you more sensitive to all perceptual input, which might get too intense: beware with large crowds and loud music.
2) Together or alone?
If it’s your first time with a new substance, make sure you have a friend or other person around that you trust. If this person isn’t taking the substance, or just a low dose, he or she is called a sitter. If you have more experience you might like to trip on your own, which will allow you to travel more deeply into your inner world.
3) Study the substance
Some substances require extra precaution. Smoking salvia, for example, should always be done together with a sitter, and has the best effect in a dark or dimly lit space. Be sure to read around on the substance before you take off.
The effect of any substance is most clear and pure with as few other influences in your system as possible. That’s why fasting is usually recommended at least a couple of hours before you take something. You can go as strict as you feel like, but in generally healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, juices and herbal teas are recommended, whereas heavy, greasy foods, nicotine and caffeine-containing products are discouraged.
Alcohol is a definite no-go with psychoactives. Be sure check for substance specific interactions as well. Ayahuasca for example contains an MAO-inhibitor and shouldn’t been combined with specific types of food and medicines. Check our encyclopedia to learn more about MAOi’s.
5) Right dose
Not everybody has the same sensitivity for substances. Usually it takes some experimentation before you’ll find the perfect dose for you. And even then personal circumstances like (lack of) stress or sleep can alter your sensitivity. If you don’t know about yourself just start with a regular, moderate dose. To get some idea of a safe, you can check our website, other trusted sites such as Erowid or browse online forums where you can find recommendations and experience reports of others.
6) The days before
Take some time to prepare for your trip: meditate, rest, think about your intentions. What kind of trip are you looking for? Do you want to explore deep inside of your own mind? Do you want to connect with others?
7) Go ritual
Remember lots of psychoactive plants (San Pedro, peyote, ayahuasca, salvia, mushrooms) were used as sacraments in their traditional context – and they often still are. A ritual might help you direct the trip and it doesn’t have to be too complicated. Making music together is always a great experience, even if consists of no more than singing and clapping hands. Or just burn some incense and light a candle.
8) During the trip
Do you prefer music or silence, or maybe both? Be sure to prepare and discuss beforehand with your trip buddy. Do you want to have light or darkness? Candles are beautiful to look at, but put them in a safe spot. Cleaning or decorating the place beforehand will definitely be appreciated during the trip.
9) Get back to your regular routine
Before and during the trip you usually don’t eat much, but afterwards food can be very nice! Be sure to have foods and drinks that you like in reach the moment you’re coming down. Even if you don't feel like eating much, try to do so anyway.
Also save enough time for sleep and rest before obligations of daily life start again, you'll thank yourself for this consideration later.
10) Rest and reflect
Take some time to rest and reflect on the experience. Maybe you like to write it down, maybe you like to share your experience with others.
11) Don't panic
Sometimes, despite the best possible care and intentions, a trip can take a turn for the worse. Perhaps you'll start to feel overwhelmed or become lost in dark thoughts. If this occurs, remind yourself that a trip is always a temporary thing.
If you have a friend or sitter present, don't be afraid to tell them what you're feeling or thinking. If you're alone, comfort yourself with the knowledge that you can pull through this. Try to remain calm and don't do anything rash.
Read more about trip preparations in our encyclopaedia article Using Psychedelics Safely.
Written by: Juniper