How Psychedelic Mushrooms Support Me

Digital drawing of a blue mushroom with gold strands, circled by pastel painted green leaves. Artist: Nikolitsa Paranomos

This piece is my contribution to the #ThankYouPlantMedicine campaign to de-stigmatize and decriminalize psychedelic plant medicine. From microdosing to full dose experiences, psilocybin “magic” mushrooms have supported me tremendously me over the years. I also work intentionally with cannabis, which continues to bring me healing and positive transformation.

For context, I have struggled for many years with several mental health challenges including OCD, depression, and anxiety. I’ve been on many prescription medications over the years and am currently on an SSRI antidepressant. I’m from the Bay Area and live in the Netherlands where psilocybin is legal for purchase in the form of mushroom truffles. I’m the founder of a sliding-scale psychedelic mushroom truffle practice in Amsterdam — my team and I support people from around the world through psychedelic mushroom truffle sessions with the goal of helping to create a more just, equitable, and sustainable world.

Through my own personal transformations and the many client sessions I’ve facilitated, I’ve seen first-hand how with supportive preparation (set) and environment (setting), psychedelic mushrooms have tremendous potential to support people in a multitude of ways (something that indigenous people have known for a long time).

Learning to work with psychedelics has been an ongoing process: Along with euphoric and joyful moments in trips, I’ve also had very challenging experiences where I was grateful to have a nourishing environment and supportive person at my side. While psychedelics are not for everyone at all points in their lives, they are now a vital part of my wellness and social change work. They also complement and enhance the therapeutic benefits of my other healing modalities.

I believe that psychedelic plant medicine, including psilocybin and cannabis, should be decriminalized and widely accessible for people to grow and share in community. Our focus must always prioritize access, justice, and equity over profit — a significant battle under racialized capitalism. But any movement to reduce individual pain has a responsibility to address the systemic causes of suffering. The rise of psychedelic medicine must include reparations to address the generations of damage inflicted on Black and Brown communities through colonization, mass incarceration, and the war on drugs. The global struggle for indigenous rights is pressing and deeply linked to all plant medicine practice.

I write my story about working with mushrooms in part because my whiteness shields me from impunity — I can speak openly about substance use with less risk than my friends of color. My ability to work with largely illegal medicines as openly as I do and with as little friction as I experience is a direct result of my whiteness — all of the times I have not been stopped and frisked by police, for instance. I hope our collective stories shared today lead to positive, systemic change. Here are ways psilocybin mushrooms have supported me:

New Ways of Perceiving

Everything I encounter during a psychedelic journey can teach me a lesson, a mindset that also serves me well in daily life. I marvel with profound curiosity and appreciation for everything around me, even if I don’t have language to describe its complexity.

Creative Flow

Feel my feelings

Psychedelics let me access a well of inner wisdom which gives me a sense of safety, security, and groundedness in my daily life. In working with mushrooms and cannabis over the years, I now feel less resistance to change and more at ease in transition. Even though I have a long way to go in releasing my perfectionism and unnecessary fears, it’s been a relief to feel more at peace with the natural ebb and flow of things — endings, beginnings, birth, life, death.

Embodiment

Deepened Connections

Fuel to Imagine and Build a Better World

As adrienne maree brown, author of Emergent Strategy, wrote, “Where we are born into privilege, we are charged with dismantling any myth of supremacy. Where we are born into struggle, we are charged with claiming our dignity, joy and liberation.” I think psychedelics can support all sides of this work. For those who experience oppression — particularly Black and Brown folks — psychedelics can be an access point to feel tremendous freedom and healing from generations of racial trauma. They can usher in powerful joy, release, and ancestral connection. They can with the process of decolonization , feeling freedom, worth, and truth outside of systems of oppression. And for those with privilege, we can work with psychedelics to explore how to best leverage our resources and positionality for a more just world. Mushrooms can help us all to dream up a better society and then boost our momentum and capacity to actually build that world.

Explore All Things — Mind, Consciousness, Dimensionality, Identity, and Spirituality

With mushrooms I can deeply explore facets of my queerness, race, sexuality, and gender. I can melt walls I’ve built to shield and protect myself from pain. I can muster the courage to walk into the basement of my subconscious and see what I’ve been too afraid to look at — trauma, guilt, shame, death, failure, abuse, resentment, anxiety, sadness, uncomfortable truths. This work can be painful and exhausting, but it can also be gentle and fortifying. Each session I gain more embodied strategies to accept all parts of myself and traverse life’s challenges. It has been some of the most profound healing work of my life.

Abolition, psychedelics, mental health. Jewish anti-Zionist. Founder: www.psychedelicexploration.com ✨ Chief of Staff: www.vayaconsulting.com