NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

A Screw Falls Out of the Machine: The Birth of a Psychonaut

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The winds of change are blowing, fashions and fads are whipping by, relationships are experiencing turbulence, and technology is advancing faster than it takes for the battery to die on your old generation iPod.

We are pushing our limits as we ride the wave of novelty towards a whole new way of thinking, acting, and living. This is my story of drastic transformation during these crucial times, in a desperate society.

I grew up in the Coachella Valley, near Palm Springs, CA. Starting in elementary school, it was my dream to graduate from a four-year university as a computer scientist or engineer and make six figures sitting in an office, in front of my favorite machine, doing what I did best — math.  I put a very high value on money, religiously saving every dollar I received for Christmas. I did this for two reasons: the kind of presents I wanted (video games) were expensive, and I liked having the paper itself more than I did the other toys. I was consumed in a world of electronic violence, schoolwork, television, and Dr Pepper. I was detached from myself and from reality. For many years I was a proclaimed atheist, believing there was no higher power — nothing beyond this ordinary world and lifestyle.

In my senior year I developed a heavy drinking habit and was ready to join the Marine Corps Reserves in order to fund my education, and prove myself as a man. I desperately sought change — I wanted to get out of the hot, dry, isolated land where I had lived my entire life. I was ready to devote my life to college and the military. 

At the time I was only 17 years old, and the contract required a signature from each parent in order to be shipped out. Thankfully, my father refused to sign. Instead, he wanted me to join a safer, more privileged branch. I joined the Air Force Reserves to learn aircraft maintenance. My job was to service C-17s at Travis Air Force Base for a minimum of one weekend per month, and two weeks every summer for six years. The base is near Cal State Sacramento, where I enrolled as a freshman, planning on living in the dorms and making my way up the ladder with the help of the Montgomery G.I. Bill, and $11,000 worth of financial aid from the state (I took school very seriously and got good grades).

On October 14th, 2008 I flew to San Antonio, Texas to begin basic training. I proceeded to tech school in Washington, where my drinking problem became even worse. When I was done with training, I signed up to work on base full time for three months in order to make some money and gain some work experience. I was supposed to go straight from Washington to my home station to begin work. However, the person I talked to on the phone was misinformed, and told me to go home to Southern California until the next drill weekend.

I went home and returned to the same unproductive and depressed life style. Three weeks went by and I developed a 105º fever just before it was time to start work. My absence was excused, but I was stuck at home for four more weeks. During that time I met my first raver friend, and he convinced me to go to my first party. I needed something new. 

On April 24th, 2009, one week before I started work, I went straight from my freshman orientation for CSU Sacramento to “I Want More Kandie,” an underground rave located in downtown Los Angeles. An abandoned warehouse filled with a great variety of people, screaming, dancing, rubbing each other, and playing with lights. Most were overly friendly. I was a little intimidated until 30 minutes after I swallowed my first Pokeball — I instantly opened up and started smiling/dancing. For the first time in my life I looked into the sky and said aloud “THANK YOU, GOD.”

At that moment I was no longer afraid — I experienced overwhelming love that I never thought possible. Ecstasy opened my eyes to a whole new world. It showed me how beautiful life can really be. It made me more empathetic and taught me that everyone deserves a second chance. I feel that I had that experience just in time, because for the next few months it was all I could think about while I was at work. I took leave as soon as possible in order to drive back down and experience that magic again. When my 3 months of full time work was up, I drove back down to wait for school to start, and spent most of the money I had made going to raves and forgetting all my worries in dark, thumping rooms while chewing my binkie.

In September, I drove the 500 miles it took to get up to northern California. I stayed in a hotel Friday and Saturday night while I worked another drill weekend. I had my truck packed with my bags. On Sunday afternoon, after work, I cranked the music and drove straight back to the desert that seemed to be calling me back to it again and again. In the short time I had been at home, my attitude had completely changed — going to raves had me abiding by the acronym P.L.U.R. (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect), rather than D.G.A.F. (Don’t give a fuck). I had made new friends from the parties, and wanted to live a more relaxed, carefree lifestyle. Plus, I met my first girlfriend four days before the move. I still planned on going to community college; I just didn’t want to devote so much time to it.

Over the next few months I got a job at the Palm Springs Airport handling and transporting luggage. I continued to rave and roll just about every weekend. I continued to put on my uniform once a month. The amount of alcohol I was drinking sharply declined. In October I fried on LSD and snorted Ketamine for the first time, and had a VERY profound experience. I learned that everything happens for a reason, including my returning home. Although unsure of what it was, I realized that there was a purpose to my life. Everything I believed and everything I thought was real was ripped out from under me. I spent the next morning lying on the cement with my arms hanging in the pool. I took another long, hard look at my life and the world we live in. I wanted to run into the desert and crawl into a hole. I seriously considered the option, but decided to stay.

Later that day, I was still slightly fried when I went to Wal-mart with my sister. The phony smile of the greeter and the relentless advertisement pushing me toward consumerism made me sick to my stomach. For the first time I felt sorry for the children in China slaving away to bring us low prices. I saw through the façade. A friend told me that if you get caught with large amounts of acid, they can charge you with conspiracy to overthrow the government. Now it makes sense to me.

I soon separated from the girl that helped motivate me to pass up the university, and met Jeanne, just when I needed her the most. We hung out four times before we moved in together, into a small guesthouse in San Bernardino. I am still with her today and consider her my soul mate.  We are the perfect match. She has taught me a lot, and I give her much credit for my being the person I am today. We continued to party hard together for a few months while we experimented with LSD, DMT, and mushrooms.

We took two classes at a community college before deciding that it was a total waste of time for us. I applied for the G.I. bill money that I was promised, and was rejected. They said I didn’t qualify because my contract was only for four years. They said I had one year to schedule a trial to contest their decision. I took this as a sign that college was not the right decision.

I followed Jeanne’s lead and went on The Master Cleanse by Stanley Burroughs. This really helped me develop a mostly raw, organic, vegan diet, with the exception of fish and eggs. I learned that it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves. I used to eat hardly anything but meat; I especially loved cheeseburgers. I started to realize how cruel the meat industry really is. My eyes were opening to the world around me. I started researching 2012 and Shamanism.

In Febuary of this year, I was shrooming at a hotel in Arizona when I received a sickening text message. My squadron had been activated, and they were calling us all up to work for nine months, and soon. Half of us would work in the states, and half would go overseas. It was a rude awakening for me — the war was not showing any signs of stopping, even though Obama had spoken of retreat. I was part of the war machine, one of the country’s puppets. What had I gotten myself into?

One thing the mushrooms have taught me is that karma is real. Everyone gets what he or she deserves. DMT taught me that there is life after death, and every little thing counts. How could I fight a war knowing that my efforts were contributing to the terror in the Middle East? And, that I would face consequences in this life and/or the next?  March 5th was the day I was supposed to get on a plane and fly up to the base for duty. No doubt that’s when they would serve me my deployment papers. It was a pivotal and novel day in my life, and maybe for the rest of the world. According to Terrence McKenna’s Time Wave Zero software, it was the most novel day of 2010.

Not only did I decide to miss my flight and go AWOL, but instead I went to the premier of “Alice in Wonderland” and ate a 7-strip, over twice as much as my previously highest dose of acid. I’m not sure what exactly went on in that theater, but it gave me total confidence that I was doing the right thing. 

I waited until July to turn myself in. I wanted to show them how serious I was about my decision. Just before I went up there, I wrote a letter to my commander explaining my feelings on the situation. I told him my views have changed and that I have learned to lead by example. I told him world peace doesn’t start with killing the bad guys, but with you and I putting our weapons down (whatever they may be — rifle or wrench).

I turned myself in to security forces on July 3rd in my tie-dyed T-shirt. I was arrested and sat in a holding cell where I meditated for 20 minutes before being released. The guards had called my commander, and he had told them to let me go.

I am now 19 years old, and my life is dedicated to enlightenment, healing, and object manipulation. Through the use of psychedelics I have been able to open my heart and my eyes to a much bigger picture. Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known, and it is our responsibility, as well as our greatest gift, to be able to pursue it. The substances I speak of, as well as a few others, have guided me towards truth, acceptance, and love. I want to sell vegan pizza and tie dye to the public. I want to spin fire in front of the crowds in order to show people something new, something radical, something they won’t forget. I want to inspire people into believing that anything is possible. This is my story of transformation. It is important for you to know that there are people out there who are standing up for what they believe in, and making an effort to contribute to the revolution that will lead us into the new age.

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