So You Want a Career in Psychedelics…


The Professional path of the modern “Medicine Man”

Career in psychedelics – Alexandre Porto Mar 26 · 8 min read

psychedelic professional dream trip
The Dream — Henri Rousseau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Professional Tripper

Psychedelic means manifestation of the mind.

Oxford Dictionary — Psychedelic
Origin
1950s formed irregularly from psyche + Greek dēlos ‘clear, manifest’ + -ic.

Any event that results in the broadening of the mind can be classified as a psychedelic experience.

The mystical mental trip does not require the use of substances, though by consuming a psychedelic substance — like the psilocybe present in the magic mushroom — we can greatly increase the chances of a deeply meaningful journey.

mexicana psychedelic mushrooms
Psychedelic Mushroom — Cactu, via Wikimedia Commons

Consider this:

External events are capable of changing the chemistry of our body.

Sometimes our surroundings offer us a deeply transformative psychedelic-like journey.

screaming afraid trip snake

For a quick illustration, imagine that you walk distractedly lost in thought and suddenly, with the corner of your eyes, you spot a scary snake!

Automatically, your body engages in fight or flight mode and changes the state of consciousness in order to improve your chances of survival.

This involves changing the very chemical balance of your body — as indicated in this article published at harvard.edu

This change can chemically resemble states induced by psychedelic substances.

By learning how to navigate challenging psychedelic landscapes, you are training for life.

How to prepare for a challenging experience and bring the gold back home?​

Preparing For a (life-changing) Psychedelic Experience

Mind-Exploring Context

The great thing about psychedelics is that they provides us with a deeply meaningful context of self-discovery.

For example, mescaline — the main active substance responsible for the effects of the psychedelic cactus — is scientifically proven to simultaneously stimulate and connect the entire human brain.

peyote mescaline cactus psychedelic
Peyote, a popular Mescaline rich cactus — Frank Vincentz, via Wikimedia Commons

As the body digests the psychedelic substance the individual opens a door to the full extension of the senses.

The process of metabolization of the substance, coupled with a ritualistic context, provides psychonauts with a favorable state of spirit for self-discovery and self-improvement.

William blake psychedelics
William Blake — Thomas Phillips, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

“If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.”

― William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

The professional psychonaut is someone who can help others develop their own relationship with themselves by offering safe psychedelic exercises meant to promote mind-expansion and self-exploration.

The keys to offering a professional psychedelic trip are:

  • Safety;
  • Freedom;
  • Objective;
tripping in the river painting
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Safety;

Offering a secure space and a sound psychedelic experience is fundamental for a professional in psychedelics.

A safe space makes the individual more comfortable, willing to “let go” and enjoy the trip.

If the ritual — or whatever name you wish to give to the trip — includes the consumption of a psychedelic substance it’s important to make sure that it’s from legitimate origins.

Nowadays it’s possible to find a legal psychedelic alternative in every country in the world, so there are no excuses to get psychedelics from doubtful sources.

admiring a grape tripping
Karl Bryullov, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Freedom;

The ability to openly express oneself sincerely has to be cultivated from the first interaction with the aspiring psychonaut all the way to the last moment of the trip and integration.

In order to do this, the space is relevant, but more importantly, it’s imperative to make sure all the participants are comfortable with each other enough to reveal something potentially intimate about themselves with the group.

From my perspective, the biggest obstacle keeping people from a meaningful psychedelic journey is the rationalization:

“I’ll look dumb! Imagine how I look right now…”

People stop the journey just as the substance invites them into deeper into the trip because they are super aware of how they look and of what other people might think of them if they let go and surrender themselves fully to the experience.

An interesting point: in principle, the professional must not guide the psychonaut.

The job is to simply act as a safety net in terms of logistics and keeping the tripper comfortable.

Objective;

I believe that what differentiates a casual trip from a professional psychedelic journey is the presence of the objective.

psychedelic journey objective
Caspar David Friedrich, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As I referenced before, the mystical psychedelic experience usually happens with the simultaneous connection of the entire human brain.

This allows for a supercharge of information and sensations.

The Psychonaut is aware of EVERYTHING!

This can easily induce what is called an oceanic feeling.

Oceanic feeling is the acute sensation that everything is one and one is everything.

oceanic feeling painting psychedelics
John Martin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Let’s say we have some issues we want to work on with the benefit of the open doors of perception.

In this state of cosmic awareness, it may be difficult to focus on the mundane issues that we originally intended to work on during the psychedelic experience.

The job of the professional psychonaut is to keep the main issue in the frame during the experience but without forcing it.

The doors of perceptions are open and directed to a certain objective.

To build something relevant out of the psychedelic journey we must create mental limits.

One good way to achieve this is to engage in an activity.

This painting represents the never ending cycle of life— Nicolas Poussin, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Look for an activity that is, rhythmic, and cyclical, progressive

Rhythmic:

Keep in mind that whatever happens inside is reflected externally and whatever happens outside is going to be reflected inside.

Our objective is to create a healthy and constructive mental structure.

If the psychonaut is interested in working on a specific idea by opening the doors of perception and thinking about it, then we need a certain rhythm.

By engaging in rhythmic activity, like painting or drawing, the mind will also synch with this rhythm. This is necessary to induce a state of mental flow.

Cyclical:

To solve a problem we must look at it from several points of view and think about it.

The cyclical nature of something like walking (step after step after step after step) can be a perfect resource to keep the mind focus on the issue.

Why is it so good to walk when we need to think?

Progressive:

It’s not enough that we are in a state of flow and going in circles.

We also need progress.

An activity like building a Lego city is rhythmic, cyclical (piece after piece after piece….), and progressive as we see the city take shape.

As we engage in activities with these characteristics our mind tends to take the same shape as what we do outside.Can Psychedelics Induce a Non-Religious Spiritual Awakening?A not so ordinary way of understanding everythingmedium.com

-Example

Magic Truffles are rich in psilocybe and when consumed in a proper dose start a 4-hour psychedelic experience.

Usually, the first 30 minutes are difficult to do anything else than just feeling all the new sensations.

After this period, most people become comfortable enough to engage in an activity, like painting.

monet mushrooms experience
2:30–3H after ingestion:

It’s common that the peak starts during this stage.

Very often this peak manifests itself in the form of a 20–30 minutes long mystical meaningful psychedelic journey.

It may be challenging to engage in anything other than paying attention to the trip.

Psychedelic Afterglow

After the peak, the effects decrease greatly and the psychonaut is left with what’s called “afterglow”.

In this part of the trip, our consciousness is basically back to the ordinary state but our mind still benefits from the enhanced brain connection.

This stage of the journey is great because it’s the most eloquent and usually results in incredibly productive ideas and insights.

swinging around how to trip
Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

First:

Open the doors of perception. This may involve the consumption of psychedelic fungi or plants but it’s not necessary.

It’s possible to achieve enhanced consciousness simply with trance-inducing exercises, for example.

Find a comfortable environment with people you trust. Be prepared to let go.

Second:

Define an objective and keep it as a general goal.

To help to create a favorable state of mind it’s interesting to engage in cyclical; rhythmic and progressive activities.

A substance-induced psychedelic journey is ordinarily like a spiral. Starts slow and progressively develops into a meaningful climax, which is often called a “mystical experience”.

If this climax results in the closure of the issue in hand, then I consider it a great success.

Third:

I think this is the most important step and it’s the part in which we incorporate the lessons from the experience.

This integration can be challenging because of the disruptive effect of the psychedelic journey. This means that during the trip we discover new fundamental truths that shine a light on past misconceptions.

To fix this misconception many times means to take down our entire system of beliefs and work on them from the ground up.

Depending on how deep our misconceptions go the more challenging this can be.

It’s even common that the person changes so much that they get a metamorphosis fever.

How I Landed a Job in Psychedelics

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References:

The entropic brain: a theory of conscious states informed by neuroimaging research with psychedelic drugs;

Harvard article talking about the change in the chemistry of the human body when facing danger;


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