A comprehensive guide to the psychedelic journey covering preparation, the experience of the trip itself, and how best to integrate the experience back into this reality.
If you haven't already checked out the episode, head on over to The Lunita Podcast and give Episode 9: Tripping 101 - A Guide Through the Psychedelic Journey a listen. Remember to subscribe to the Podcast, leave us a review if you like the show, and give us a follow on Instagram for updates and conversations with the community.
Nina and Justin break down how to prepare for a trip, what to expect during one's trip, and some suggestions on how to integrate one's trip back into this reality so that one may learn from and grow through the lessons the plant medicines have shown us. In the episode, they share their personal experiences with psychedelics and best practices that have worked for them.
*DISCLAIMER: Many psychedelics are categorized as Schedule 1 substances by the federal government meaning that the possession, distribution, and use of these substances carry felony charges, large financial penalties, and possibility of incarceration. We do not condone or encourage the use of illegal substances; we are simply providing an educational foundation for those interested in the topic.
Key Information for Consideration
1. Everyone's experience on psychedelic medicines is different
The following information is what works for US. We're sharing because we at Lunita believe that everyone has the right to access and explore their consciousness in whatever way they see fit. Through the exploration of our non-conscious being, we have healed some of the traumas that caused the hurt and pain that led to self-destructive behavior. It's our hope that by sharing this, others may find the help they deserve to heal and grow into their best selves.
2. A difficult experience does not have to mean a bad experience
Everyone's largest fear is the "bad trip", and it's a completely natural fear to have. Our recommendation is that you shift your mindset to one of openness. A difficult journey has lessons, and those lessons can ultimately change your life in more positive ways than a happy, cheerful trip may be able to. Accept the difficult as a possibility; embrace it as a message of transformation. Life is a difficult journey, but as the saying goes, "The best views come after the hardest climbs."
3. There ARE risks involved
Psychedelic substances are not recommended for those with a history of mental health issues, specifically psychotic disorders.
These ARE still Schedule 1 substances according to the United States government, so there are very real legal ramifications to take into consideration
Parents: make sure that if you decide to take a journey, you are leaving your children in the care of someone you trust during the duration of your trip.
Lastly, ALWAYS test your substances. It's important that you ingest what you are expecting to ingest. We are grateful to ElevationChemicals.com for the opportunity to provide you with a 15% discount at checkout if you use the code LUNITA. You can also donate that 15% discount to MAPS, the Multi-Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, by clicking this link.
Before we get into the details of preparing for, experiencing, and integrating a trip, we need to know the basics of tripping. There are plenty of people that use psychedelics as a recreational experience, and that's totally OK, but for our purposes, we'll be focusing on the use of psychedelics for therapeutic healing.
The following factors are the essentials for understanding the journey and how to create the best opportunity for a positive experience.
A journeyer's mindset -- the mental state, the thoughts, the intentions, the mood, and the expectations -- can have a drastic influence on the journey itself. The set could also include your physical health and well-being, your social circumstances, and any looming responsibilities.
If you're in an extremely depressed state, full of stress and anxiety, then your trip may reflect that. If you are open to growth and prepared to learn, the experience may be more gentle and smooth. We'll discuss how to put yourself in a positive mindset below.
The setting is the physical and social surroundings of the space you will be taking your journey in. The setting you take your psychedelics in can also drastically influence your experience. Make sure you are safe and around people you trust! This is KEY, so we will discuss this in further detail below.
This is the amount of a psychedelic one takes for their journey. The doses can vary depending on the intentions, the substance, and the individual. Below is a quick reference for Psilocybin and LSD doses; check out the references at the end of this article for more information.
Dried "Magic" Psilocybin Mushrooms
2.0 grams = Full Dose
3.5 grams = Therapeutic Dose
5.0+ grams = Heroic Dose
LSD (extremely potent: ug=micrograms)
10-100 ug = Threshold / Low Dose
100-250 ug = Common Dose
250-450 ug = Strong Dose
450+ ug = Heavy Dose
**For information on Microdosing Psychedelics, check out our podcast episode and blog post on the subject:
This is the expected length of a trip. Again, this varies for everyone, but typically, a psilocybin journey lasts around 4-6 hours with the peak hitting around 1.5-3 hours in. An LSD journey lasts a little longer; expect an LSD journey to last anywhere from 6-12 hours (typically, the higher the dose, the longer the journey). The peak on an LSD trip seems to ebb and flow; there are multiple peaks that come and go as you experience the substance.
With that said, be prepared to feel an "afterglow" effect for hours or even days after the journey. This "afterglow" doesn't come with hallucinations; it's more of a feeling of immense gratitude and a profound connection to the world around us. Enjoy this warm feeling; sit in it; speak with it; embrace it; reflect on the journey you have just completed, and congratulate yourself on working toward a better you.
How Might One Prepare for a Psychedelic Journey?
A journey through alternate realities is not one to be taken lightly. Here are a few things to consider when prepping for a psychedelic trip:
1. Proper Set and Setting
As stated above, set and setting are two of the most important factors to consider when preparing for your journey with a psychedelic substance. The set and setting can significantly influence the experience of the journey, so be sure to be in the right headspace and in a comfortable location with people you trust.
To get your mind in the right space, we recommend meditation, journaling, breathing exercises, and prayers of gratitude. Basically, you're trying to clear your mind and open yourself to the experience to come.
2. Setting Intentions
Although we can never fully control where our journeys take us -- these substances tend to show us what we NEED, not what we WANT -- we at Lunita believe that it's important to go into these experiences with purpose.
Setting an intention can be as simple as stating that you are open to learning from the visions that the plant medicine is willing to provide, or it can be as specific as stating that you want to gain clarity on a matter from your past. No matter your intention, setting one is a great way to show respect for the medicine and the experiences.
3. Tripsitter or Solo?
Determine who, if anyone, will be with you during your trip. While Terence McKenna's mantra was "Five dried grams in silent darkness," it is highly recommended that you have someone sober there with you when taking doses at the therapeutic or heroic levels. This person, known as a tripsitter, should be someone that you TRUST and feel comfortable being your truest self with. A tripsitter wears many hats, and we'll cover tripsitting on another episode and blog, but some of their main responsibilities include:
Protecting the journeyer:
from dangerous situations (anything that may cause physical harm, like walking out into the street)
unexpected circumstances (like your landlord knocking on your door during your trip's peak)
and from their own negative thought loops (we all have them, and a gentle reminder that everything is alright goes a long way)
Taking Notes for journeyer:
These journeys tend to bring about some very profound realizations and epiphanies. Because of the altered state the journeyer is in during a trip and the difficulty involved with writing while under the influence, it's the job of the tripsitter to take note of these moments when the journeyer states them aloud.
Holding Space for the journeyer, but only when necessary:
A tripsitter is there to help the journeyer in any way they can; this could be helping them to the toilet, changing the music, grabbing water, etc., but the tripsitter's job is to also allow the journeyer the space to have their experience without worry of interruption. Sometimes, the best tripsitter is the one that does nothing at all except hold the space for the journeyer.
Ultimately, it is your choice whether or not you take this journey alone or with someone there to help. If you do choose to go with a tripsitter, be sure to have detailed conversations about expectations, requests, and how you see the support in connection to your journey.
Another important factor that can influence a trip is the music during the experience. This is all about personal preference, so choose music that you know will put you in a good, positive space.
Personally, we avoid music with lyrics and try to find music with good earthy tones and rhythm. We also recommend some good classical-focused music; there seems to be a consensus in the psychedelic community that classical music often-times brings about a quality trip.
5. Zero Obligations
As you probably already know, someone planning to trip should not have anything pressing to do the day of said trip. What you may NOT know, is that one may want to have no obligations the day before and the day after the trip as well.
This is so that one can properly prepare for their journey the day before and so that they have time to properly contemplate what they've experienced the day after. Remember, many people report psychedelic experiences as some of the most important, life-altering experiences of their lives...
Basically, you don't want to have this profound, life-changing experience and then have a powerpoint presentation on the benefits of swivel chairs in the office the day after.
6. Altar / Items for Grounding and Reflection
Create a space in which you feel loved and at peace. For us, this involves gathering photos and personal items to be available to us during our journeys.
The importance of these items, whether they be pictures of relatives and loved ones, old journals that we've held onto throughout the years, or a sentimental item that reminds us of a piece of ourselves, is in their ability to bring us joy, gratitude, and remind us of why we are working on ourselves in the first place.
7. Do Your Research
With all of this said, the single best way to prepare for a psychedelic trip is to DO YOUR RESEARCH (and since you're reading this blog post, a congratulations is in order!). There is plenty of information out there on the subject. Some suggestions from us would be:
Trip Report #1: Psilocybin - A great place to begin, check out OUR trip report for a detailed look at one of Justin's journeys inward on Magic Mushrooms.
Shroomery.org - a GREAT resource for all things psychedelics (but most specifically, mushrooms).
Erowid - A resource for all things psychedelic... and I mean ALL things psychedelic. Basically, this is the wikipedia of psychedelics, and even though the site is a little outdated, it's a great place for all the information on the subject you'll ever need.
Documentaries / Videos
The Mind, Explained: Psychedelics - a Netflix Series that covers many topics, but this one on psychedelics does a great job of informing the public about these medicinal substances.
YouTube Video: How LSD and Shrooms could help treat anxiety, addiction and depression - A short video on just that, treating anxiety, addiction, and depression with psychedelics.
TED Talk: The Future of Psychedelic-assisted Therapy by Rick Doblin, founder of MAPS - Rick Doblin is a damn hero in the psychedelic community, so it's most definitely worth a watch.
Fantastic Fungi - We have not personally seen this one yet, but we've heard great things and plan to watch it in the near future.
DOSED - A solid film on the impact of psychedelics on helping those fighting with addictions. The movie begins with a focus on mushrooms but takes a turn toward ibogaine, but it's definitely still worth the watch.
A HUGE list of 26 documentaries on psychedelics from Sociodelic - We haven't watched them all, but feel free to look through and find whatever catches your eye.
**We'll also throw a few book suggestions and additional resources down below at the end of the article.
What Might One Expect During a Psychedelic Journey?
Now that you've properly prepared yourself for the journey, it's time to take a look at what one could expect during the trip itself.
Describing a psychedelic experience is damn-near impossible -- one, because it's something in life that needs to be experienced, not explained... and two, because each and every person will experience a different trip each and every time.
1. The Come-Up
After the ingestion of your psychedelic substances, you can expect a waiting period of around 45 mins to an hour and 15 mins before you begin to experience the initial effects. This could come with a few discomforts that everyone should be aware of:
Increase in blood pressure
An increase in anxiety
Feelings of nausea
Shortness of breath
These feelings will most likely pass. A lot of it comes from anticipation of the experience to come, so let's remember what we can do to enter the experience as open and ready as possible.
2. Letting Go and Acceptance
This is a lot easier said than done, but the best way to enter this experience and receive the most from it is to let go of your fears, let go of your control, accept the messages you are meant to hear, and accept that you do not have control over everything.
Holding on to your control can make the experience seem terrifying. You are being stripped of your ego, and it can sometimes feel like death, but if you can remind yourself that its only a substance, your physical body is OK, and that you are prepared for this, then acceptance will allow you to gain the most from your experience and ultimately, have a more positive experience.
This is a given; depending on the dosage, you will most likely experience both closed-eye visuals (geometric patterns, beautiful colors, etc.) and open-eyed visuals (I once watched myself morph into a panther and meet with my two deceased grandmothers).
Visualizations could be hallucinations, seeing sound, meeting with spirits or beings, and more. Enjoy them, and if they seem terrifying, remember, this will pass and they are only the product of ourselves.
This is probably the most important piece to any trip -- you will find yourself exploding with epiphanies and realizations about life that could quite possibly shift your entire understanding of existence itself.
We HIGHLY recommend keeping a notebook or voice recorder nearby to capture these golden nuggets of information. You'll thank us (and yourself) later.
5. Spiritual / Other-Worldly Visions and Messages
Depending on the dose, there is a possibility that you may come in contact with beings that seem to exist outside of yourself -- call them extra-dimensional, extra-terrestrial, spiritual, whatever you wish, but be it's good to be mentally prepared for this possibility.
We've come into contact with deceased relatives, beings that seemed from another dimension, and even the all-knowing, "Universal Source" if you will. Embrace these experiences! You'd be surprised at how much these encounters can alter your outlook on Life.
6. Facing Fears and/or Traumas
When you hear of people's stories about having a "bad trip," they most likely encountered a part of themselves that they are afraid of or have buried deep inside.
Sometimes, traumas that we have experienced throughout our lives, even those we have no recollection or memory of, can resurface during psychedelic journeys. They often-times come to us as difficult or frightening hallucinations, thoughts, or feelings.
Much easier said than done, it's commonly suggested that instead of running from these frightening and difficult experiences, we face them and simply ask what they want of us or why they are manifesting themselves within our journey. This says to the traumas that you are ready to do the work and accept and release them so that you may heal.
7. The Come-Down and "Afterglow"
One of the beauties of psychedelics, another reason we raise it above other substances, is that after all is said and done, they treat you gently and bring you down with ease. They also leave you feeling accomplished and "bubbly" for hours or even days after. This is known as the afterglow.
The afterglow is a time when you've completed your journey, but you still feel enlightened and peaceful. Take time to bask in this; enjoy it to its fullest. You may feel anything from especially social to purely ecstatic, and you should be, as you have just put in some serious work. Give yourself a pat on the back, and congratulate yourself on your courage and the completed journey.
**Again, for additional clarity on what one may experience during a trip, you can check out our blog post, Trip Report #1: Psilocybin, for an in-depth, detailed look at an experience that Justin had whilst on a typical dose of mushrooms.
How Might One Integrate a Psychedelic Journey for Optimal Personal Growth?
Now comes the REAL work. For many people, a psychedelic experience can be one of the top five most life-altering experiences of someone's life. Integration is the process of using this life-altering experience to change yourself and your life in a positive way.
1. Journaling / Writing
It is important that you write down (or audio/video record) your experience. You could journal during your experience, but this is sometimes difficult and even counter-productive during your journey as it could take away from being in the present; our recommendation here at Lunita is to write out your experience immediately after the journey.
A good tripsitter will take quality notes that can be discussed after the journey and during the integration process.
**Some good questions to ask yourself during the integration process include:
What did I learn? What are some lessons I've received from this experience?
Have I changed as a result of this experience? How?
How can I transition this experience into my everyday life? (How does this experience manifest in my everyday life?)
How does this experience lead me to contribute to the seen and unseen worlds?
How is my Life different?
A good habit to practice even outside of psychedelic use, meditation is a great way of connecting to the messages we've received, re-experiencing portions of our journey, and clearing the mind of clutter.
Here are a few of our recommendations:
Meditate on the questions above (in addition to journaling them)
Create an altar with representations of your experience and meditate on those (example: You saw a spirit animal during your experience; place a picture of this animal on your altar)
Meditate on the images you saw during your experience
Meditate on the specific feelings that arose in your experience
3. Join a Community
Speaking with others that have experienced similar altered states of consciousness is a great way to better understand what to do with the profound shift in perspective you may be experiencing.
Although everyone's experience is different, and many online (and offline) groups cater to people with all different types of Spiritually Transformative Experiences (out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, alien contact experiences, deep meditative experiences, and so on), connecting with others that have had similar shifts in perspective can remind you that you are not alone on this journey, that you are not losing your sanity, and it can remind you of why you embarked on the journey in the first place.
This may be more difficult depending on where you live, and it requires a bit of honesty and openness, but we've found it extremely healing to be able to discuss these experiences without fear of judgement and with others that better understand what we may have gone through.
4. Creative Avenues / Hobbies
Creation is a Gift to the Universe; it's something that seems to be innately human. Explore your creative side, and don't be shy! Not everyone is naturally gifted at painting or drawing, but how will you ever know your potential if you never let it out to play?
A creative outlet is a great way to manifest the psychedelic experience because it doesn't require language; it's much less limiting by nature.
5. A Continual Process
When it comes to Integration, it is crucial to remember that we must be patient with ourselves. Even if you do all of the above and beyond, the integration process is one that lasts a lifetime; we are constantly growing, and the messages we receive during our journeys can take years to decipher and integrate into one's life.
It is important to remember that we must be patient with ourselves; growth is a continuous journey, and although we may not see the fruits of our labor for some time, the roots are growing and taking hold below the surface.
There is no such thing as a "magic pill" for healing the damage we humans receive during our time here in this existence, but psychedelics have helped us acknowledge the damage and find new perspectives to help in our journeys of healing.
For us, psychedelics have opened up new ways of thinking, creative avenues and opportunities, helped us find where we need to focus our healing, and helped us find an overall increase in our quality of life.
It's our hope that the research into these substances will continue, and it's our hope that our honesty and openness regarding these substances and our experiences will be of use to others.
We wish you the best of luck in your search for a happier life. We would love to hear from you, whether it's something you think we missed, something you would like to add, or an anecdote you would like to share from YOUR experiences, send it our way via Instagram, in the comments section, or to our email.
Lastly, down below, you can find a list of resources mentioned in the episode and that we have found helpful and informative. Thank you for reading, remember to subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and sign up for our monthly newsletter to get updates on what is new at Lunita.
Resources and Book Recommendations
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan - There's a reason this book is a bestseller; the author can write, and he explains in superb detail his experiences on psychedelics and gives us the information on current research in a way that is easy to understand and exciting to learn about.
Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change by Tao Lin - A beautifully-written book on the author's experiences on multiple substances and their impact on his life.
Your Psilocybin Mushrooms Companion by Michelle Janikian - An all-around resource for everything psychedelic mushrooms; this guide gives tips on using mushrooms for psychedelic therapy, microdosing, and even how to trip sit for others.
DoubleBlindMag.com - An up-to-date source on all things psychedelic
Paul Austin's The Third Wave - A great all-around resource on psychedelic use in general.
MAPS.org: The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies - Probably the single most-recognized name in psychedelic research today, MAPS is at the forefront of the new psychedelic revolution and a great resource for all things psychedelics.
Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research - The largest psychedelic research center in the world and the first of its kind in the United States. **They ALSO offer opportunities to join clinical trials if you meet the criteria.
ACISTE - An online community for those that have experienced STEs (Spiritually Transformative Experiences)