Praying To The Mantis – Experiments With Consciousness Pt. 1: Mind and Matter

by Leo Leo

Marmalade Sky

The mysterious Leo Leo shares dispatches from his psychedelic journey to find himself, and to meet The Mantis.

Reader discretion advised. Proceed with caution.

Psychedelics opened me up to new possibilities.

My understanding of myself, and of how I relate to the universe, changed forever. Psychedelics woke me up, shook me up, and sent me in a new direction. I am now a dedicated explorer of the far reaches of consciousness, committed to finding the ultimate destination: Our Highest Self.

Harvard Psychologist and Philosopher William James said: “Our normal waking consciousness is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different.

“We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in all their completeness.”

William James

You know you’ve made it when your bearded face appears in black and white next to some of the wise shit you said

For me, psychedelics provided that “requisite stimulus”. They opened the door to other forms of being. In this new, previously unknown state of consciousness, my thoughts and feelings created reality. With these eyes, I was not just a separate observer of the universe. I was the universe, and to marvel at the stars was to be the Universe admiring its own beauty. Here the world was alive, mysterious and wonderfully vibrant.

LSD revealed to me the naked miracle of existence – beyond words and labels.

My exploration of consciousness started chemically, with LSD. I then moved onto psilocybin Mushrooms and DMT. For a period of about two years I took over 30 trips and explored dimensions of myself, and of the world, that I had no idea even existed.

Starting with the first time I took LSD, I will attempt to describe those experiences.

LSD – 2012

We had been waiting for our connection in a graveyard for hours. Then, whilst smoking a joint, we had a close shave with the police. They had shone a light on my face just as I went to light up. Fortunately, I was able to throw the spliff over my shoulder before he noticed.

The police told us in a helpful manner that this graveyard was used by unsavoury characters for taking drugs. We thanked them for looking out for us and promptly left – but not before retrieving our joint, which had landed by a near gravestone.

Dennis Hopper Easy Rider

At that point, I was staying at my parents’ house out in the country. They had a beautiful little house on a hillside, overlooking fields filled with horses and wildlife.

That evening I sat and wondered: What exactly will acid be like? What’s going to happen? Will I, like I had read about on the internet, see music? Will I experience synesthesia? Eventually, curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to take two of the tabs.

A few hours passed, and I was starting to get a little impatient. Nothing was happening. I began trying to induce the effects; first by staring into a candle, and later through trying to empty my mind of thoughts. No joy. I was still stuck in boring old reality.

I was this close to giving up, but then I began to feel a bit strange. Energy began bubbling up from inside of me. I started laughing at nothing. Colours became more vivid, and my senses felt razor sharp. I enjoyed these new perceptions and feelings for a while. Then I decided to go for a walk.

I began walking up towards the hill outside my house. I looked at the trees, which were creating an archway over my head. I was struck immediately by their majesty and mystery.

The scene stood in an eternally present moment. The world felt magical and enchanted. Perhaps the world had always been this marvellous, but up until now I was blind to it. Now, with new eyes, I surveyed the world and saw its naked wonder.

Golden Path

I walked to the top of a small hill, where I looked up at the stars. I felt a tremendous presence all around me; a presence that I never felt as vividly before, yet recognised immediately. A presence I knew had been with me my entire life, watching, orchestrating, guiding.

In an instant it showed me that everything in my life had been leading me towards this moment. It showed me that everything was exactly how it was supposed to be. No mistakes. No accidents. Just the lawful unfolding of existence.

Psychedelic Wonder

My body became light, as if I was floating. Feeling exhilarated, I continued my walk down the hill towards the forest at the end of the path. As I went over a bridge, I took a moment to survey the sky. Looking upwards, the sky had become a beautiful golden orange, which, considering it was past midnight, seemed strange. Not only was the sky golden and radiant, but it was raining with shooting stars.

Whilst marvelling at the masterpiece that lay before me I had a worrying thought: Why was I walking into a forest, late at night, by myself, high on LSD?

The effect of all the 1960s propaganda films kicked in, and I began to panic. What if I’m not safe? What if I go mad and try to hang myself from a tree branch? The dog walkers won’t find my swinging body for days.

The moment these thoughts went through my mind, the marmalade masterpiece disappeared. The sky went black and the trees groaned and contorted, their branches twisting and curving in upon me with a horrible moaning sound. I had stumbled into a nightmare.

“Oh shit”, I thought, “I must be having a bad trip”.

Scary Trees

In my terrified state I searched for the memory of the golden skies just moments before. What had changed? Why was I now in this dark, twisted world?

Tracing back, my thoughts about being alone in a forest, high on acid, had scared me. In my panic, my hallucination had turned from a beautiful landscape to a nightmare realm. My thoughts were changing my experience.

“My thoughts create my reality.”

No sooner had I had this realisation, the sky exploded in colour again. It rained shooting stars, and the world shone in vibrant aliveness. What a wonderful sight it was! A marvellous demonstration of the power of the mind. A display of the effects of positive and negative thinking laid out before me in glorious technicolour.

Marmalade Sky

Although I had gained control of the situation, I still thought it best to head back towards the house. The creepiness of the trees was still lingering, and I did not want to be catapulted into that nightmare again.

When I got back to the house I decided it might be best to hang out outside for a bit. Parents might harsh the vibe, and my dilated pupils would certainly give the game away.

So I found myself sitting on the floor at the bottom of the drive, back propped up against a tree. My gaze fell onto the ground before me.

The more I looked at the gravelly tarmac of the drive, the more detail I could see. I continued to gaze at the floor and soon I began seeing into the very fabric of the ground itself. The solidity vanished and the surface became amorphous, moving and flowing like magma. It became a golden, reddish colour and the swirls of light formed shapes like rotating cogs.

The cogs became pulsating, animated faces, beaming up at me with happiness. The very ground itself was alive and was made of conscious, pulsating pieces of joy!

At that moment it was like I had just got the cosmic joke. Yes, I thought, there is suffering in the world. Yes, there is unfairness, and there is pain, and there is sorrow, and there is death. But look at those little joyful motherfuckers down there! They get it! And they’re laughing their little heads off!

The ridiculousness of the situation hit home. I began laughing uncontrollably, pumping the ground with my fist in sheer disbelief. The Universe is alive! The floor is alive!

Faces in the Ground

Then I began to feel the same swirling movement inside my head. My brain had become the mosaic of light I had just witnessed on the ground. I felt the light surge and swirl and rearrange the constitution of my mind. Whilst my mind was in such a malleable state, I thought it might be a good idea to go along with whatever was happening and allow myself to be reprogrammed. When I surrendered, the feeling intensified, and I watched as my mind became mush and was re-ordered into something unrecognisable.

Light entered my body and slowly began to fill my whole being. As the light filled me up and approached my head, I began to feel uncomfortable. I felt pressure pushing up from inside my head towards the top of my skull. The feeling intensified as light continued to fill my being. Eventually the pressure became too much.

The light broke out of the top of my head and exploded straight up into space.

Then I felt a tug. It was as if someone had grabbed my feet and yanked me. I felt myself slide along the floor a little.

What the hell was that?

The tugging continued, and I felt as though something had been yanked out of my soul – a being, a part of myself that was offensive to the light.

It was time to head back inside.

As I got to the door my dad was just heading out. It was around 5am, and he worked morning shifts from time to time. When I saw him I hugged him. I told him that I loved him, something I had probably not done since I was 10 years old.

He knew I was off my tits.

I went into the house, and I thought that the best thing to do was call my friend and tell him that this was some seriously strong shit.

I called him and spent the first five minutes in hysterical laughter, followed by five minutes of sobbing tears, followed by another five minutes of more hysterical laughter.

I think he got the message. He took his tabs almost immediately.

The intensity of the experience began to diminish, and eventually I retired to my room to sleep. As always in the shell shocked, post-psychedelic state, sleep did not come easy. It was only later that I learned the value Valium could play at this time of the morning.

This experience opened my mind to new possibilities. My doors of perception had been blasted open, and over the next few years, all manner of beautiful and terrifying things were allowed to slip inside.

To quote William Blake: “If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is: Infinite.”

That evening I was allowed to peer around the veil of myself and see the world as it exists without the labelling of the mind. I found the world to be transcendent, eternal, and luminous, and I wanted to know more.

Leo Leo will be sharing more dispatches from his psychedelic journey, when he can be bothered.