Tag Archives: rave

Telepathy on the dance floor

I was hugging my friend on the dance floor when all of a sudden a girl I have never seen before or since grabbed my arm.
– She needs your help, she said before vanishing into the crowd again before I could answer her.
I looked around and tried to find my girlfriend but couldn’t. When I looked toward the entrance I saw a friend gesturing to me to come.
– Your girlfriend needs you. She’s outside.
Police were moving in to close down the party and I found her outside the entrance a little stressed over the situation.
– I really wanted you to come so I asked your friend to get you and also called to you telepathically.

Photo: People on the dance floor, Capitol Hill, John Forbes party, Seattle, Washington, USA by Wonderlane on Flickr

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Declaration of love to a dance culture

Early 2006 I stepped into my first raves and was utterly astounded. I had been to tons of rock festivals before, where binge drinking, fights, vomiting and bad behaviour was customary. Suddenly I found myself in a context where quite different standards were upheld. Five steps inside the door at that first rave a guy began talking to me.
– I haven’t seen you before, he said.
– No, this is my first rave party.
– Oh, how wonderful. Welcome! Let me introduce you to some of the people here.
He took me on a tour and I got to shake hands with a dozen people, including a couple of the DJs who would be playing that evening.

There is a world of difference between a rave party and an alcohol driven party. One of the most striking things is that fights almost never occur. I’m not saying that they actually never occur, but violence is extremely rare at raves. The only violence I have witnessed at a rave is the violence that police have used against ravers.

Another thing that I feel is characteristic of raves is that they aren’t as shabbily sexualized as other nightlife places. Again, I need to voice a disclaimer and say that there might of course be creeps going over people’s limits here too, but the problems are definitely much smaller than at a regular pub. Above all it is ok to talk to both guys and girls, without it being assumed that one’s intention is to get inside their underwear.

But this sounds wonderful. What’s the problem?

10687219_739723502730828_7189171724004085676_nWell, some people claim that the rave scene is very drug-intensive. I can confirm that it is. There are those who in their eagerness to get the establishment to accept them, claim that is not the case. But it is. Ravers smoke cannabis, drop ecstasy, snort amphetamines, eat magic mushrooms and drink alcohol. Yes, those who want to demonize rave culture can easily dismiss their parties as drug orgies and be partly correct.

But not quite correct, because there is much more to the truth. My experience is that there are a lot of drugs at all venues, but they are handled much more discreetly at a regular nightclub. At a rave there is a silent agreement to respect each other, no matter what your drug habits are, as long as they do not affect the respect we have for each other. Therefore, no one will react if they see someone light a joint or snort a line, as long as they do not behave badly afterwards. Which they almost never do, should be added.

The nastiest people at a rave tend to be those drinking alcohol. People are wary of them, since they have a tendency to fall into people, to be unpleasantly loud and not respect others’ personal space. People behaving badly at a rave are almost exclusively drunk; not high.

Another very interesting aspect of drug taking at raves is that there are a remarkably high proportion of people that don’t use any at all. They are far more numerous than at any other night club. It is common for people to be drawn into the culture because they want to do drugs, but when they are there they find new friends who help them feel better about themselves and ultimately inspire them to stop using drugs.

If you call raves drug orgies you’re missing the bigger picture. For many rave culture is in fact quite the opposite – a salvation from destructive drug use.

Photo: HV4V5019 by Patrick Savalle on Flickr

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A starting point

Hi Daniel,

today I found your informational webpage.  There is wealth of knowledge of personal growth, and spiritual development.  These are subjects I am interested in experiencing more. I understand the notion of letting go of the past, and re-living/re-experiencing past traumas to heal the soul. I have been wanting to experience psychedelics. I live in the USA and do not know how to go about this. I am a regular person who wants to grow. I know that you can be of some guidance to me. I am curious to know what your thoughts are about this.

Warm Regards,

● ● ●

Thank you for your mail, Dewayne!

I have collected a few random thoughts for you this evening, just to get started. I’m posting it here, since others might be interested and have similar questions.

Is this my path?

It is very common that people that use psychedelics at some point believe that all the world’s problems would be solved if only all people would use psychedelics. Therefore you might from time to time meet people that will preach the gospel of psychedelics and try to convince you to give it a try. Psychedelics can be useful for many people, but it is a path of personal and spiritual discovery that is quite special and extremely powerful. Many people are far from being able to handle psychedelics.

I don’t want to convince people to try psychedelics. Instead I tell of my experiences. Some people will instinctively feel that I am speaking of a path that is similar to theirs, while others will feel the opposite. When using such powerful tools it is important that the will to use them comes from the seeker, and not from outside pressure.

In your case you already know that this is a path that you wish to explore, so I feel confident that psychedelics are for you. If they weren’t you wouldn’t be writing me on the subject. But other readers, please listen to your own inner voice and ask yourself if this is your path. Don’t let anyone else pressure you into it.

Why am I doing this?

If you are approaching this as a conscious exploration, you might want to have an idea why you are doing it and what you are looking for. It is often the case that the more precise you are, the easier it will be to reach the wanted effects. If you are looking for healing from trauma, as an example, your preparations might be different from if you are looking to connect with spirit or to explore your creativity.

Even though I think it is a good idea to have a clear intention, I don’t want to say that this is of paramount importance, because people’s paths are very different. Some work in a very structured manner, while others are much more intuitive and open to what happens in the here and now. But having said that I still think you should have some kind of idea what you are looking for in the experience.

What specific substance am I looking for?

The substance that you need will probably find you just when you need it. The universe has a way of working things out like that.

If you know what psychedelic you are supposed to start with – don’t settle for something else. We are sometimes tempted with lesser experiences to test our conviction. You might know that you need mushrooms, but you are offered MDMA. In that case, wait for mushrooms.

For healing and personal/spiritual growth I can only really recommend what I consider to be true psychedelics: mushrooms (psilocybin), ayahuasca (DMT), peyote (mescaline) or LSD. There are many others out there, but those are the most common. The three first are natural plant medicines. They are entities, plant teachers that will speak with you and teach you things. LSD is not an entity, but unlocks your own mental structures.

I don’t think of MDMA or cannabis as psychedelics and I wouldn’t suggest them for the kind of work we are discussing, even though I know they are being used successfully with that purpose.

On your own, with friends or with guidance?

What works best for you ultimately goes back to who you are and what attitude you have. Some people need someone to hold their hand. Others will jump off the highest trampoline the first thing they do.

If you haven’t used psychedelics before I don’t recommend doing it alone. Do it with friends that you trust, in a place where you feel safe and comfortable. Or do it with a proper guide or shaman in a safe setting, where you are taken care of by experienced people.

Be safe and feel safe.

Where can I find psychedelics?

If you don’t have any contacts this can of course be a little tricky, but you’ll need to go about it in one of two ways: 1. find contacts, or 2. find psychedelics.

You can find people who will help you out in cultures where such substances are being used, such as among ravers, psychedelic explorers, shamans, indigenous healers or in new age/yoga circles. Living in the US you have quite a lot of exciting places to explore. Coming up you have events like Telluride Mushroom Festival, Burning Man Festival, Horizons conference and Science and nonduality conference, to mention a few. You have communities like Reset.me and Sand. If you are keen on travelling close by you have Spirit Plant Medicine conference or you could go to the indigenous healers of Central and South America. There are plenty of retreat centers that work with psychedelics. You also have the peyote healers in the US, but I’m not sure how open their work is.

It is possible to find mushrooms and peyote in the wild. The plants in the area that you live are always the best to work with, so check out what might be growing close by. Be careful when picking mushrooms though, so you don’t pick mushrooms that are actually poisonous. Mushrooms containing psilocybin are often listed as poisonous, but aren’t actually.

There are a few thoughts for you, Dewayne. Please feel free to ask me more specific questions in the comment section or by mail.

All the best to you!

Photo: Walking Around (52th52) by Alexandre Normand on Flickr

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Alexander Shulgin and the story of MDMA

The Shulgins and their Alchemical Angels - artwork by Alex Grey, www.alexgrey.com
The Shulgins and their Alchemical Angels – artwork by Alex Grey, www.alexgrey.com

– It extends here, he explained, while he built the molecule with hand gestures.
For a chemist, it was probably obvious what was happening there in the thin air in front of him. For me it was completely incomprehensible, yet incredibly fascinating. There is something very beautiful and attractive about people who are so involved in what they do.

The rest of the audience seemed to know exactly who he was, but I stumbled into the lecture without a clue. Alexander Shulgin, and next to him his wife Ann Shulgin. Both gray-haired, old, but with a sparkling natural glow that lit up the room. Together they spun the story of his life’s work.

Alexander made it his life’s work to synthesize and develop new psychedelics. He then tested them with his wife, before they tested them together with friends.
– How do you usually do when you try them the first time? asked one of the audience.
– Well, usually we’re in the bedroom. Many of these substances have lovely erotic effects, said Ann Shulgin and made the audience giggle in recognition.

His two books PIHKAL and TIHKAL (Phenethylamines and Tryptamines I Have Known And Loved) include all the basic information on the magical molecules which he discovered. He published all the recipes, so that the pharmaceutical industry could not patent them, and thus keep them away from the public. Best known of all the substances attributed to Shulgin is not a discovery, but the rediscovery of MDMA – the sought-after ingredient in Ecstasy.

MDMA releases serotonin in the brain, leading to extremely happy and emphatic states. In this lies both the substance’s blessing as its curse. If you are over using MDMA, it is easy to burn out the reserves and plummet into depression and feelings of emptiness and meaninglessness. However, if you use it with proper caution and with an intention, then it can be a miraculous remedy for such things as depression, anxiety of death, post-traumatic stress, substance abuse, empathy disorders and the like. That was the main area where the substance was first made available – it was used with excellent results by therapists to help people who were stuck in different ways. However, the substance was soon picked up in club and rave culture, and when the establishment saw how strangely the youths started dancing and behaving it was banned.

What do you think happened next?

Well, criminal organizations took over the manufacturing and distribution of the substance. MDMA became big business for the Mafia, militant groups, motorcycle gangs and suburban gangs. Quality control disappeared and consumers could not be sure that the substance was pure or what strength it held.

Young people continued to experiment in such a high degree that it can rightly be considered the single most important ingredient for the development of rave culture. The availability is high and many people use it, but because it is illegal, many safety nets fail. For example, if someone would feel acutely bad, many would avoid contacting authorities because they would risk getting caught.

Of course some people are getting caught, but it is rarely at the level in the criminal organizations where it actually matters. Many people who get caught are very young and are at the bottom of the chain, sometimes only as users. They are judged and stigmatized accordingly and lose opportunities in life, with no effect on supply or demand.

The big losers, however, are all those suffering from death anxiety, depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress and empathy disorders. They are war-traumatized, rape victims, cancer patients, drug users, those who have lost children, those who no longer dare to feel emotions and those who see life in gray. They are the ones that are deprived of a legitimate and powerful therapeutic tool.

Only now, 30 years after MDMA was banned, clinical studies are beginning to be permitted on a very small scale. Not surprisingly they show stunning results and cures.

The psychedelic godfather Alexander Shulgin died on 2 June 2014.
Thanks for letting me watch you play with molecules in the air.

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When the rave police attack

delectation by mayeesherr. (in West Bengal!) on Flickr
delectation by mayeesherr. (in West Bengal!) on Flickr

Many people associate raves with drugs, which I find to be quite correct. But it is however not the whole truth. At raves there are also very many more people that are completely sober than you will find at a regular nightclub on a Saturday night. My friend Andrew is one of them.

He gets his kicks by dancing sober, so when the police raided the party at three o’clock at night, he was drenched in sweat. The police started harassing the party people and did not seem to have a clue on how to spot a drug user, so when they went for Andrews sober girlfriend, Andrew stepped in.
– She is sober. I can promise you that, he said.
Suddenly the police took an interest in Andrew instead.
– Well, you don’t seem to be. What have you taken today? Smoked pot? Snorted cocaine?
– I don’t do drugs.
– You mean you have stopped taking them? You’re coming with with us, kid, and we’ll get to the truth of the matter.
Soon enough, Andrew was in the back of the police car with handcuffs on.

Let me tell you a little more about the party. It was held in a community center, tucked away in the countryside, many miles from the closest bigger city. Only with precise directions or a gps was it possible to find the place. It was March and icy cold. And there sat Andrew in the back of the police car in a sweat soaked t-shirt. The trip went winding left, left, right, uphill, downhill, dirt road, country road – until they arrived at a tiny police station in a small, small village. There they brought Andrew into the toilet to piss in a cup.

They then pushed him out the door of the police station.
– Good luck. We will contact you when we received the test results.
And there was Andrew. In a tiny village that no one knew where it was, in the middle of the night, in below zero temperature, without his phone and wearing a sweat soaked t-shirt. Sober.

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For ever grateful

My first LSD trip pretty much cured my alcoholism. The second and third put me well on my way to working through my four year long depression. I was utterly astounded by the miraculous effects, so of course I had to google it.

A few clicks and I had, among other things, learnt that:
* LSD had, before being criminalized, been used with fantastic results to cure addiction problems, such as alcoholism, where it often took only one trip to cure the person.
* One of the founders of AA was a strong advocate of LSD and was actually well on his way to start a program to distribute it throughout AA.
* LSD had a far greater success rate in curing alcoholism, than the AA 12 step program has ever had.
* LSD has also been used with great success to cure depression.
* Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday was right around the corner and he was alive and kicking.
* In his honour there was a LSD conference being arranged in Basel, Switzerland, and everyone who was somebody in the psychedelic community would be there, along with the guest of honour, Albert Hofmann himself.

Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby
Albert Hofmann at the LSD symposium in Basel 2006. Photo: Daniel Wilby

I had to go.

I was flat broke, but there are moments in life that are just too important to miss. This was one of them. I was probably the most inexperienced of the whole crowd, having taken LSD four or five times by then. The lectures were absolutely amazing and confirmed scientifically the effects and experiences that I was trying to describe to friends and family.

On the final night, after having listened to Albert Hofmann tell about his first experience, there was a wonderful party on a boat. It was full of psychedelic explorers, psychonauts of all generations. There were academics and hippies mixed up with ravers and artists. And of course the best LSD I have ever encountered.

I had never been to a rave before. My first encounter was on two drops of LSD and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Everyone on the dance floor was dancing in the same direction and they were rediscovering and reinventing what dance, body language and social interaction was. It was as if they had taken out social programming A, and were busy programming social programming B. People were friendly and caring, not at all the type of interaction that I was used to from night clubs.

I had no idea that this was what the ravers were up to.
– I have to find these raves, I told myself. They seem to have LSD.
They sure did, I soon found out. They sure did.

Hofmann on his bicycle.

Today is the 19th of April. It is Bicycle day. Today it is 71 years ago (1943) that Albert Hofmann first took his first intentional LSD trip to try to determine the effects of the peculiar substance that he had synthesized, while looking for a migraine cure. He took 250 micrograms, which he thought would be a threshold dose. It turned out that LSD was really potent. A threshold dose is approximately 20 micrograms. 250 micrograms is a powerful trip and feeling uneasy Hofmann early on decided to go home. Due to war time restrictions he took his bike and it was under that bike trip that the LSD really came to full effect.

Thank you, Albert Hofmann, for this truly miraculous substance. Thank you LSD for saving my life. In honour of you I have named my son Albert. I am forever grateful.

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