Following your dream, or just getting high?
Over the weekend, I’ve thought a lot about this old Rigorous Intuition post, rediscovered. Here is the pertinent extract:
In Breaking Open the Head, Daniel Pinchbeck tells the story of Robert, who one day in the Sixties consumed three Fly Agarics with some friends. To their disappointment, nothing seemed to happen. Until he went to the kitchen to grab a beer:
I took out the beer, turned around, and across the kitchen there were three huge mushrooms staring at me - a five foot tall, a four foot tall, and a three foot tall mushroom. The mushrooms were red and yellow and they had little eyes and little mouths. They looked just as solid and real as me or you.
Robert and the mushrooms stared at each other, until the largest asked, "Why did you eat us?" Robert thought, and then replied, "I was just following my dream."
The mushrooms conferred with each other. Finally they seemed satisfied by his answer. "But are you prepared to follow this path?" the tallest Fly Agaric asked. Robert answered, intuitively and without hesitation, "Yes I am." Whereupon the mushrooms vanished. Fifteen years passed before Robert realized that the path he had agreed to follow was plant shamanism.
(Unknown at the time to Robert, Paul Devereux writes in The Long Trip that "the spirits of the mushrooms might appear to the individual and converse with him directly.... The number seen depends on the number of mushrooms consumed.")
A friend of Robert's who also ate Fly Agarics received a similar visitation, and was also asked "Why did you eat us?" But he answered, "I was trying to get high." The mushrooms told him, "Well, if you ever do this again, we're going to kill you."