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Maiden's Choice: A Personal Experience with Hallucinagenics and Waking Up

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*This Diary is a prelude to an article that is currently being edited regarding shamanic practices and alternative healing practices.

With a mind filled with visions and light shows in 1972, I walked past my grandmother as she sat watching television in the small living room of my family's middle section of a 5 apartment row-home.

I bade her a good night, trying hard to make sure I did not tip her off that I was high as a kite on acid, or LSD. I was 17 at the time, and breathed a sigh of relief as I lay down on that fall night in my small bedroom sitting on the second floor of a row house located in walking distance from the Baltimore City line. I thought I was safe. My grandmother knew nothing about my journey into "Acidland."

The kids I hung out with were high school dropouts and into doing drugs. Some were even experimenting with heroine, a drug I wanted no part of. Some of these kids were also into some minor criminal acts, such as shoplifting. I did a little of that, but not much. I was much too paranoid about getting caught. It wasn't going to jail that worried me as much as hearing my mother's guilt-provoking lectures about how I had hurt her.

Death would have been better than going through all that!

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Overall, I was an introverted kid. I was very shy and had little confidence. But I loved going inward. I saw my room as a haven in that regard. On this particular night, I had taken some acid, or LSD, and just wanted to be alone. I was like that when I tripped. I just wanted to go within myself. The external world only caused an increase in anxiety and, at times, paranoia. So, in my safe space, I shut my eyes in order to enjoy the inner visions that were sparked by my taking the drug.

This was MY world and nobody could mess with it. Acid or no acid, the inner world was a place that transcended the public school system, and the overall conditioning of my culture. It was a place where I could question reality from within myself....without external authorities. Indeed, I loved rolling with that word. Author-ities. As I grew up, I thought, "Who has the right to author our lives?" While not asking this question in those terms when I was a kid, I was asking it in my own way, including in my taking the drug.

On this particular night, my grandmother was safely downstairs, and all I wanted to do was enjoy myself. I smiled to myself realizing that she did not appear to realize that I was high. My fear was realized as just another manifestation of my paranoia.

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This was my 13th time taking the drug, and I realized that this "trip" was more powerful than any of the others. It was to become the last, for this was a night that led to deep questioning of myself, and how I was living my life and where I was going.

Yet I was always led back to these times in order to understand the teaching that I was being given through the drug. And, that teaching fit into the overall pattern of my life, holographically.

My immediate teaching for that particular night began when I suddenly heard people coming up the stairs. The inner visions were happening fast and furious. One image unfolding into another. It was powerful. Suddenly, I heard a light knock on the bedroom door. I then saw one of my best friends slightly pry the door open.

My friend's names was Chucky, and with him was another friend who was nicknamed "Lumpy." Chucky was an interesting kid. He was very struck on his beauty, and was always combing his shoulder length shiny black hair with his fingers. On a daily basis, he would brag about his sexual escapades with some young girl. He was quite the Man, or so he thought. I used to mess with him by telling him how wonderful he was in his sexual escapades and his ability to manipulate the ladies. Deep down, I realized his ego needed as much prodding to grow as that which resided between his legs (which probably didn't get massaged as much as he said it did).

"Lumpy" on the other hand was a bit of a scrawny kid, with very few girls on his arm. Lumpy was a music nut. The stereos he had were the best made according to him. And his amplifier system had the best speakers going. They brought groups like Black Sabbath into your bedroom.

Oh, Lumpy knew the technology and music industry all right. He knew all the rock and roll stars at the time inside and out. He was a goldmine of information! Talking music with "Lumpy" was diving into the depths of artistic reality. He and I could talk music all night long. We were always pulling out albums and discussing a particular group's work in depth. We were professional music buffs.

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We knew it all!

Both of these friends were drop-outs from school, which was a pretty normal scene in my neighborhood. The neighborhood existed just outside the boundaries of Baltimore City and was named "Maiden Choice." In hindsight, this name became a symbolic synchronicity as I grew up and became more and more devoted to the Goddess that I eventually named Sophia, or Wisdom. Indeed, my first visions of Her were in Maiden Choice when I was 5 years of age. These happened in an apartment my parents had rented, just down the street from the row house in which I matured into adolescence and encountered "Lumpy" and "Chucky".

"Lumpy" was in a bad sort of way that night, and "Chucky" was trying to help him out. He had taken the same drug I did, but was not handling it so well. He was crying and was paranoid about his future. Every few seconds he would state in tears, "what's going to happen to us." All I could do was assure him that he wasn't going to fall off the face of the Earth, while worrying about whether I was going to hang in, given I had taken the same drug. It angered me that he had messed up my "trip."

Then there was my grandmother downstairs. Would this get me caught? The pressures mounted on my shoulders as I tried to work through this crisis with my friend. Meanwhile, even though the drugs effects were calling to me to attend to them, I held steady and worked with Chucky in assuring Lumpy the world wasn't going to fall apart. Eventually it worked. He appeared to have gotten hold of himself.

So, knowing that my grandmother was downstairs and not wanting to get me into trouble for having friends past curfew, Chucky enticed Lumpy to move on. For me, it was time for them to leave with my blessings. But, this was not the end. As they reached the bottom of the stairs, "Lumpy" screamed "OH MY GOD" upon seeing my grandmother and came running back up the steps.

After saying a few curse words under my breath, so my Grandmother could not hear, I got hold of myself and began to work on calming "Lumpy" down by telling him my grandmother wasn't really THAT bad. Meanwhile I expressed my dismay at this scenereo to Chucky. "Holy Smoley (use your own choice word here, smoley was not the one I used)," I said, "I'm doomed, I'm caught. My mother's going to lecture me to death and geeze I really wish I were dead before this slow torture! A quick death would be better than suffer this slow agonizing one!"

In my mind, I realized my grandmother would disclose the whole escapade to my mother and step-father (whom later that night I thought was checking on me and whom, in my intoxicated eyes, appeared to be wearing Native American war paint...not a normal appearance for a man working the nightshift at Westinghouse Defense Plant).

I envisioned all kinds of horrors, including years of psychotherapy to fix me from this drug addicted world my mother would surely think I had become engaged in. I also imagined the horror of the hours on end hearing my mother's dismay at what I had done to her. "Oh, my God," I thought, "she's going to keel over dead, and its going to be all my fault."

Suicide would have been a better alternative for me. But, I was way to cowardly for that, for I still loved life and was chicken about the pain involved. And besides, that would anger my mother even more. I could neither live nor die with that. Indeed, I realized my hell would be to hear my mother's guilt-producing injunctions throughout endless eternity. Things were bad enough. I was in enough trouble. Killing myself and listening to my mother's guilt provoking speech in a Hell that was forever just wasn't an option.

I ultimately saved myself from this fate by lying. When all else looks horrific to the point things could become deadly, as most adolescent boys and girls will tell you, it is time to lie. Thus I stated that my friend was "slipped" some drug into his coca-cola and went ballistic. It appeared that my grandmother, mother and step-father were fine with this explanation. Though I often question my step-father, for he was better at being an adolescent than I was. But, my mother thought it wonderful that I helped "Lumpy" out. I was a "good boy." Jim, my stepfather, just had an ornery grin on his face. I could have sworn he said, "yea, right!"

That was the last time I did acid. But I remember the drug with deep fondness. It was very much a "fathering" or "teaching" drug. It helped me to understand the universe via uniting the religions and understanding gender and spirituality in terms of cosmic process. Acid was very much a part of my spiritual growth. In fact, it was one of my most profound teachers. It helped me to frame my intuitions about life that were most often hiding within my unconscious depths. Acid contained LSD, which was a chemical that mimicked many of the hallucinogenic plants that grow wild (e.g., magic mushrooms such as peyote). I am grateful that I was offered this link to Nature, even in the midst of an inner-city life.

Acid was eventually linked in my mind to the "visions" I had of a Goddess when I was 5 years of age. These visions led to my writing Sophia's Web and my current writings . Since 13 was a significant number to the Goddess, my 13 trips were very much significant to my deepest love and passion in my life.

Hmm, 13, a number sacred to the ancient Goddess and the number of months to a lunar calender...In psychiatrist Carl Jung's terminology, this would be called a synchronicity.

I was deeply enriched by the experiences and insights this unlikely teacher enabled within me.

The community in which I was raised: http://www.apartmentguide.com/apartments/Maryland/Baltimore/Westland-Gardens-Apartments-~-Townhomes/4347/


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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)

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