When doing a few drinks in the local watering hole, there is no need for a conscious assessment of the circumstances. If you like the bar when sober, a few beers won’t change that. You need to prepare yourself for hallucinogens. It’s not just about substance and dose, but also about your current disposition and surroundings – or set and setting.
Narcotics versus Hallucinogens
Alcohol is a narcotic. It slows your brain down and narrows the area you can see. A few glasses make sure you notice a little bit less of what’s happening around you. And when you’ve had a bad day, you can drink to forget.
What you experience when taking a hallucinogen is the exact opposite. You notice more of what’s happening around you. You see little details that you normally don’t. You are more sensitive to the emotions of those around you. Music and films can deeply touch you.
A hallucinogen also makes you more sensitive to what is happening inside your mind. No running away by tripping. Your current mood will colour the trip and old memories might surface. That’s why you shouldn’t take any hallucinogen for the sake of it, and only do so after the right preparations.
From about 1950 to 1965 hallucinogens like psilocine (shrooms), LSD, DMT and 2C-B where successfully used in psychotherapy. The phrase set and setting was coined in that period. Set relates to the mental aspect, setting to the environment you are in.
In psychotherapy hallucinogens were and still are used to help those battling trauma, addiction or depression. The set definitely isn’t rosy in those matters. That is why a therapist takes care of a good setting and guidance during the trip.
Nowadays, the luxury of a therapist at your side is no given. And therapeutic use of hallucinogens at home is ill-advised! When tripping, we strongly recommend to prepare both set and setting well.
Set: feeling good
Never just sit down and trip away on any given night. Plan the trip, make sure you have enough time to prepare. Choose a time where stress and obligations are at a low and make sure you are feeling well. You can’t force yourself into the last bit, but there are things to be done here.
What you can do for preparation is up to you. To put you in the right direction, we offer some nuggets of wisdom out of our own experiences. Take care of all the little things that need to be sorted out, so nothing looms over your head. Exercise regularly. Meditate. Don’t get caught up in troubled news or watch heavy documentaries. Again, look for what fits your unique personality and go with that.
Setting: good vibes
It’s best to choose a comfortable, quiet environment. Your own home, perhaps? Or with a good friend? Maybe a nice little spot outdoors, surrounded by nature? It is important that you are at ease. It helps to prepare the spot. By tidying up and cleaning. And by creating a nice atmosphere.
Adventures are best shared with friends. Psychedelic adventures are the same. Be a little picky here. You can definitely do without disturbances. If you are doing this together, pick friends who bring a positive set and take the adventure every bit as serious as you do!
And then there is the role of tripsitter, the “designated driver” of this little happening. Not always needed, but well advised for those with little mileage when it comes to hallucinogens. His role? To support and calm down the tripper when needed, and blend into the background when not.