At risk of sounding cliche, anything can happen during a mushroom trip. The mind-manifesting quality of psychedelics can make for some very colorful experiences, and shrooms are no exception. Buckle up!
For tips on How to Prepare for the Best Shroom Trip Possible, read this article first!
The come up
Twenty minutes to an hour and a half after ingestion, the mushrooms should start to take effect. Commonly known as the “come up,” this is a period of change where you are entering into an entirely different state. It can be uncomfortable, so remember to breathe and focus on your intention without trying to control what’s happening. You could try working with affirmations such as let go, be open, and trust the process.
If the mushrooms take some time to produce noticeable effects, try to be patient. For some people, they don’t produce any subjective effects for over an hour, so it’s important to stay patient and trust that whatever happens is what needs to happen. If you have some food in your stomach, it can take your system a while to get around to digesting the mushrooms.
Feeling like “nothing’s happening” can lead some people to take more mushrooms. If you are new to tripping, you might be better off waiting longer for the effects to kick in. There are all too many stories of a person waiting, not feeling anything, getting impatient, eating more mushrooms only to have the prior mushrooms kick in five minutes later.
There is also the possibility that the product is not potent. If your mushrooms are old, were not dried or stored properly, were exposed to heat or moisture or left in the light for too long, they could have lost some potency.
Once the come-up begins, you may be flooded with thoughts, ideas, images, emotions, and/or overwhelming sensations. Having a journal to record any profound ideas can be useful; a voice recorder may be used to speak thoughts out rather than writing them. Just staying present with what is unfolding is a great option, too. Writing and/or talking can take away from the journey’s process for some people. A guide or a sitter can be useful as they can take notes about what you are saying.
After the come-up is “the peak”: the period when the strongest subjective effects of the mushroom are usually experienced.
The peak typically lasts about 2-3 hours, depending on the type and potency of the mushroom as well as your metabolism and any medications you take. During this time, you may experience a range of emotions that change as quickly as they arise. You may also find yourself feeling an intense level of emotion, or even a lack of emotion or feeling, a state sometimes called dissociation. Try to make room for whatever arises, whether it be fear, sadness, anger, confusion, agitation, excitement, happiness, grief, or anything else. See if you can lean into any difficult things that arise. You may feel strange bodily sensations such as tingling, pressure, temperature changes, floaty feelings, dizziness, and more; this is information being experienced through the body. You might even tremble or shake. If you experience this effect of the shrooms, try to stay present with it; it should pass by the end of the trip. The nervous system may be expressing an autonomic response to past trauma as the trip unfolds. This may actually be a trauma release.
You may also experience memories or visions arising in your mind’s eye. These can have a dream-like (or nightmarish) quality to them. If you come across something scary, unpleasant, or confronting, try asking friendly questions like, “What do you have to teach me? What are you doing in my mind?” Maybe try leaning into the difficult feeling or vision and ask it what it has to teach you.
Shrooms can also bring on visual hallucinations, commonly called visuals; these are different from visions, which occur in the mind’s eye similar to the way the imagination works.
When you open your eyes, the room may look different, or things in the room may look like they’re moving. This is normal and commonly called “open-eyed visuals”. Other people may look strange, even menacing; can seem to morph into faces or they can appear really old, or really young, or make any other number of changes. Looking at yourself in the mirror can be a powerful experience; if it doesn’t feel good or you don’t want to do it, then avoid the mirror.
Closed-eyed visuals are shapes, colors, and other visual phenomena experienced when the eyes are closed. Many people report seeing symbolic writing, fancy patterns, fluorescent colors, geometric patterns or symbols that can feel as though they are ancient and/or have profound meaning. Strange as this may seem, these phenomena are fairly common and can be quite enjoyable for people who are on magic mushrooms.
At the risk of sounding cliche, when it comes to visions and visuals, just go with it. They may not make sense during the trip, but afterward, they could be worthwhile to explore.
After the peak is “the comedown”. Depending on the aforementioned factors that impact the length of the peak, this period can last 2-4 hours or more. As the body metabolizes the psychedelic, the subjective effects become less intense. This may be a time of emotional catharsis, reflection, and processing of the experience internally or outwardly with your sitter, guide or therapist. If you are alone, you could take this time to journal your thoughts and observations or maybe listen to some bilateral music to help with the grounding process.
After the journey
Be gentle with yourself. A mushroom trip can be a really big experience. It’s normal to feel uncomfortable afterward. Make time for practices and activities that are nurturing, grounding, restorative and supportive. This is called aftercare, and doing it can help ease your transition back into the world of consensus reality.
Psychedelic trips can be sacred experiences. Whether your journey was difficult, amazing, bizarre, or all of the above, try doing some integration afterward. Integration is the process of examining your journey experiences and finding ways to weave the new insights into your day-to-day life to keep them alive as you move through the world. What would you like to bring back from the experience? You get to decide how you want to put yourself back together.
Check out this thorough guide about psychedelic experience and a beginner’s guide to psychedelic integration.
If you’re concerned about the way you’re feeling after a trip, consider finding an appropriate coach or therapist to assist you in the integration process.