The Visual Components of a Psychedelic Experience
This article attempts to break down the visual effects contained within the psychedelic experience into simple, easy to understand titles, descriptions and leveling systems. This will be done without depending on metaphors, analogy’s or personal trip reports. The article starts off with descriptions of the simpler effects and works its way up towards more complex experiences as it progresses, using image examples wherever possible. This describes not my personal experiences but the universally reported effects that are consistently felt by most if not all psychedelic users. It is broken down into 3 different sections,
- The visual components of a psychedelic experience.
- The cognitive components of a psychedelic experience.
- The miscellaneous components of a psychedelic experience.
It is in reference to all of the classical Psychedelics and the huge variety of obscure and modern “research chemicals” that are becoming increasingly prevalent. More specifically this list includes but is not limited to,
LSD, LSA, DMT, Ayahuasca, Psilocin/Psilocybin, 4-AcO-DMT, Bufotenin, AMT, 5-MeO-DMT, Mescaline, MDA, MDMA, DOB, DOC, DOI, DOM, 2C-B, 2C-E, 2C-P, 2C-I, 2C-C, 2C-T-2, 2C-T-7, 25I-NBOMe, 25C-NBOMe, 25B-NBOMe, Harmine, Harmaline, Tetrahydroharmine
I’ve tried to keep this as accurate and detailed as I possibly can but most of these effects cannot be done justice with words. Especially once we get past low and moderate dosages, so feel free to make suggestions or nitpick any tiny point that you disagree with by sending me a message or commenting on the article below. I really am trying to make this as comprehensive a guide as possible so any help is extremely welcome.
This particular guide gives image examples where ever possible. Breaking the visual hallucinations into four basic categories of which I have come to name; enhancement of vision, distortions, visual geometry and hallucinatory states. I will start with the lower more basic effects and work my way up.
Most of the example images are randomly found from across the internet. Many of them however were all made by my girlfriend, whose tumblr is dedicated to the creation of such images and can be found here.
Enhancements - The first category of visual effects can be classified as an overall enhancement of vision. This is consistently reported at the lowest levels of psychedelic experience. It can be generally defined as an overall increase in the level of visual input, attributed to the external environment that a person experiences, and is manifested through 3 separate subcomponents.
Increased visual acuity:
Visual acuity is defined by the medical literature as acuteness or clearness of vision, which is dependent on the sharpness of the retinal focus within the eye and the sensitivity of the interpretative faculty of the brain.
The lowest reported level of psychedelic experience is a sharp increase in visual acuity, which can be described as a new-found ability to comprehend the entire visual field at once, including the peripheral vision. In comparison, during sober living human vision is only able to perceive the small area that a person’s eye is currently focused on. This sharp increase in the level of visual detail, attributed to the external environment, is consistently heightened to the point where the edges of objects become extremely focused, clear and defined.
This visual effect does not necessarily change the appearance of the external environment but rather the level of detail in which it is perceived in. During even a very low-dose trip it is common for people to suddenly notice patterns and textures that they may have never previously appreciated, or even paid any attention to whatsoever. For example, when looking at sceneries, nature and everyday textures, the complexity and beauty of the visual input suddenly becomes overwhelmingly obvious.
More examples: Here.
Enhancement of colour:
Alongside the above effect it is consistently reported that during a low level psychedelic experience colours start to stand out more, becoming extremely bright and vivid. Reds will seem “Redder”, Greens will seem “Greener” and all colours will be become much more distinct, powerful and intense than they could ever possibly be during everyday, sober living.
A consistent way to reproduce this visual is to be outside in nature.
More Examples: Here.
Enhanced pattern recognition:
A persons ability to recognize significant imagery (usually faces) in almost any vague stimuli is greatly enhanced during a low level psychedelic experience.
This innate ability which human beings possess in everyday life is referred to by the scientific literature as pareidolia and is very well documented. Common examples of this in day to day life include spotting faces in everyday objects, and viewing clouds as fantastical objects.
This effect can become extremely intense during a low level psychedelic experience. For example, every single leaf on a tree might look like many tiny green faces, scenery may look remarkably like people or objects, and clouds might appear to be easily recognizable as fantastical objects, without any visual changes actually taking place.
This is also combined with an increased interest and attraction to symmetrical geometric and organic patterns that often become
permanently grounded, with people often reporting to find a strange attraction to textures and patterns that they never would have thought twice about before. Some of these patterns include basic designs on wallpaper and clothing, and on rugs such as oriental carpets.
Distortions - The second category of visual effects found within a psychedelic experience is known as a distortion or a visual alteration. These can be generally described as changes in perception attributed to the external environment that are always obviously grounded in reality. These effects are manifested through 6 separate subcomponents.
Visual drifting is by far the most common open-eye distortion, experienced during a typical psychedelic experience. It can be described as the experience of objects and scenery appearing to become progressively warped and morphed across the visual field. These alterations gradually increase as a person stares, but are completely non-permanent - meaning that they reset to normal levels once a person double takes on the distortion.
The particular style of this visual effect depends on the specific continuously changing direction, speed and rhythm of the distortion, resulting in a small variety of different manifestations. The video below demonstrates this effect at a moderate level of intensity in an extremely accurate level of detail.
Morphing - This effect is completely disorganized and spontaneous in both its rhythm and its direction. It can be described as objects or scenery appearing to gradually change in their size, shape, configuration and general appearance in a limitless number of ways.
Breathing - This effect makes objects or scenery appear to be steadily contracting inwards and expanding outwards in a consistent rhythm, as if the object or scenery was breathing in and out in a similar fashion to the lungs of a living organism.
Melting - It is not unusual for objects and sceneries to be completely or partially melting. They begin at lower doses as a gradual liquidization of objects which causes them to begin to droop, wobble, and slowly lose their structural integrity. This gradually increases until they become impossible to ignore with the lines, textures, and colour between solid objects appearing to melt into one another in an extremely liquid fashion.
Flowing - Flowing, shifting, rippling, or moving surfaces are a strong visual effect that seems to occur almost exclusively on textures, particularly if they are highly detailed, complex, or rough textures. A classic example of this would be wood grain or carpets flowing like a river in a seamless, looped animation.
A consistent way to reproduce this visual is to stare at wood grain and lose focus.
The above effects which comprise Visual Drifting as a whole seamlessly blend and mix into one another. They are capable of manifesting themselves across 4 different levels of visual intensity which can be described as,
- Peripheral - The most basic form of distortion can be described as a ‘wiggling’ of straight lines within the external environment, which occurs exclusively within the peripheral vision and cannot be looked at directly.
- Direct - At this level, the distortions do not necessarily increase in visual intensity but can now be directly looked at within a person’s central line of sight. This partially alters the appearance and form of shapes, objects and sceneries within the external environment, causing them to subtly drift, bend and morph.
- Distinct - This is the level at which distortions become visually powerful enough to drastically alter and transform the shape of specific objects within the external environment, often to the point where they can become unrecognisable in comparison to their original form.
- All encompassing - At the highest level of visual drifting, the intensity becomes powerful enough to distort not just specific objects beyond recognition, but every single point of a persons vision and the entirety of the external environment in its whole.
It is very common for the colours of various objects, particularly brightly coloured out of place objects, to become subject to an effect that shifts and changes the colours through a repeated cycling of hues in a strange, fluid motion across its surface. For example, moss on a rock could physically shift from green, to red, to blue, and then back to green again in a very short space of time.
Another form of this is color tinting, this is when a black and white image or video begins to fill in with color, this looks somewhat vague and is very similar to old black and white photos that have been tinted with oil paint. These often color some spots while leaving others black and white.
If the image below is not animated, click here to load it on a separate page.
It is very common to experience both extreme and subtle distortions in depth perception during a psychedelic experience. This is where the depths and layers of the scenery in front of you can become exaggerated, skewed or completely mixed up in their organization. A classic example of this could be the swapping of layers in a scenery. This is where objects in the background come into the foreground and objects in the foreground get pushed into the background.
Another example of skewed depth perception is a complete loss of it, when the different sections of a scenery both close up and far away will unify into one flat image momentarily.
A consistent way to reproduce this visual is by laying down under a tree and looking through the branches at the sky. This consistently causes the sections of sky in between the branches to come into the foreground, whilst the branches get pushed into the background.
”Tracers” are the simple experience of trails being left behind moving objects such as people, birds or cars. Tracers are usually very obvious and are similar in appearance to the same sort of trails found behind moving objects in long exposure photographs, manifesting themselves as smooth trails or multiple layers of the same repeated image which progressively fades into the background with each repetition. The trails can be exactly the same colour as the moving object that is producing it, or can sometimes be a randomly selected colour of its own.
A consistent way to reproduce this visual is to move your hand in front of your face or throw an object.
Tracers can be broken down into 4 basic levels of visual intensity which can be described as,
- Transparent - The most basic form of tracer can be described as an almost completely transparent after image which disappears almost immediately and drags shortly behind moving objects with a maximum length of 2 - 3 inches.
- Translucent - At this level, tracers increase in their length to become at least roughly half as long as the distance across the visual field which the object it is following has moved. In terms of clarity, the tracers shift from barely visible to distinct and only partially transparent in colour.
- Opaque - This is the level at which tracers become completely solid in appearance and opaque in colour, with distinct and sharp edges to their shape which draw a clear contrast between the tracer itself and the background behind it. They become equal in length to the distance across the visual field which the object it is following has moved in, and can remain in the air for up to several seconds.
- All encompassing - The highest level occurs at the point when a person’s visual field has become so sensitive to the creation of tracers that the entirety of a person’s visual field smudges and blurs into one all-encompassing tracer at the slightest movement of the eye. This can make it extremely difficult to clearly see unless the eyes are kept still, and remains in the air for up to approximately 20 seconds.
A consistent way to reproduce this visual is to move your hand in front of your face or throw an object.
Symmetrical texture repetition:
Symmetrical texture repetition is a distinct and obvious distortion which specifically manifests itself through rough textures, such as grass, carpets, asphalt, tarmac, towels, bathroom rugs, gravel, general bracken, dense vegetation, fallen leaves, tree bark and more.
It can be described as the texture becoming mirrored repeatedly over its surface in an extremely intricate and symmetrical fashion that is consistent across itself, maintaining a constant level of extremely high detail and visual clarity within a person’s direct line of visual focus and their peripheral vision. This maintains itself no matter how closely you attempt to look at the distortion.
As these repeating textures are generated they begin to give rise to a huge array of abstract forms, imagery, geometry and patterns that are embedded within and across the symmetry. Something that is universally interpreted as profoundly complex to perceive and physically beyond normal geometry in an indescribable way.
More examples: Here.
Scenery slicing is an effect which only occurs spontaneously and makes the visual field appear as if it has been cut remarkably cleanly into separate slices with some sort of razor blade. These separate slices then proceed to drift slowly away from their original position and can be as simple as three separate sections, or as complex as multiple slices of a moving interlocking spiral that’s been cut into your field of vision.
More examples: here.
Geometry - The third category of effects which directly effects the vision can be described as the sensation of a person’s field of open and closed-eye vision being partially or completely encompassed by fast-moving, kaleidoscopic, and indescribably complex geometric patterns, form constants, shapes, fractals, structures and colour.
Visual geometry never stands still at any point and is often extremely fast-changing and self-transforming in terms of its shape and style within itself. This happens whilst the geometry is naturally drifting laterally or radially across the visual field to create overlapping webs of many arising and decaying geometric patterns, all of which are visible within a single perceptual frame.
When experienced, every single frame of visual geometry somehow has a deep sense of profoundness and importance attributed to it, often feeling as if they are perfectly fitting geometric representations of your current mind state.
There are seven different levels of psychedelic visuals, each one increasingly dramatic and incomprehensible.
- Visual Noise – This is the most basic level of visual geometry and can be experienced in a completely sober state. It can be described as visual noise or static combined with random light and dark red regions that can be seen under the eye lids.
- Motion and Colour – This level is also easily obtainable without psychedelics and can be described as the appearance of unstructured regions of fleeting flashes and clouds of colour.
- Partially Defined Geometry - This is the level where things start to get distinctively psychedelic, and complex indescribable shapes and patterns begin to show themselves. At this level, however, the patterns can be described as strictly 2-dimensional. They are fine, small, and zoomed out in size with a dark colour palette that limits itself to a couple of different shades such as blacks, reds and dark purples. They are displayed on both the open and closed-eye visual field across a flat veil of geometry, but significantly more detailed with the eyes closed or in dark environments.
- Fully Defined Geometry – This is the level where the detail in which the geometry displays itself becomes profoundly complex but remains strictly 2-dimensional. At this point the visuals become large in size and extremely intricate in detail with a colour palette that is limitless in its possibilities. They are displayed on both the open and closed-eye visual field across a flat veil of geometry that floats directly in front of the eyes, remaining significantly more detailed with the eyes closed or in dark environments.
- 3-Dimensional Geometry – At level four the geometry will become fully 3-dimensional in their shape and position across the visual field. This adds a whole new layer of visual complexity and leaves them sprawled out across the surfaces, walls, objects and furniture of your environment, instead of displaying themselves across a basic and flat veil.
- Overriding Physical Perception – This is the point at which the geometry has become so intense, vivid and bright that it has begun to block out and replace the external world. At level six the environment begins to be replaced by visuals, with objects and scenery transforming into sprawling masses of geometry. As this increases the environment eventually becomes completely replaced, creating the sensation that you are breaking through into another reality.
- Level 7A and Level 7B - Once the geometry reaches its seventh and final level, there is not one singular pinnacle of the psychedelic experience but two. It seems that depending on subtle environmental factors and the psychedelic consumed, visuals are capable of forking off into two separate versions of their highest possible level. The deciding factor between the two options are not yet known, but it appears to be almost completely random, meaning that level seven visuals will have to be separated into two distinct categories of equal intensity. These are known as levels 7A and 7B. Once visual geometry reaches level 7A or 7B, they begin to become structured and organized in a way that that presents genuine information to its tripper far beyond the preceding six levels. This is done through the experience of innately understood geometric representations that feel as though they depict specific concepts and neurological components that exist within the brain. At this point, concepts can be seen as not just embedded within your closed or open-eye visual field, but simultaneously felt through complex physical sensations.
7A - Exposure to entirety of neurological structure -
This level occurs when the environment has been completely replaced with visuals. As they reach their highest possible level, the mind feels as if every point within the brain has become completely interconnected with every other point. This feels as if you are being visually and physically exposed to every single internally stored concept, memory and neurological structure of the subconscious mind, all at once, leaving the tripper under the literal sensation of experiencing everything within the universe simultaneously; something that can be described as an infinite sea of geometry, concepts, structures, memories, and fractals that is always perceived to contain within it all of existence, all that there ever was, and all that there ever will be.
This vast ocean of mind is not just seen in front of the eyes but physically felt in an incomprehensible level of detail throughout every point across itself. The experience is immediately perceived to be the “entire universe”, or at least “everything” by everybody who undergoes it.
At it’s lower levels this effect is something which fluctuates wildly, pulling trippers in and out of the room in a fashion that many find extremely disorientating. Instead of remaining constant and static, it is triggered by the experience of a concept. For example, if somebody were to say the word “internet” to a person who is currently in this state, they would see the minds concept of the internet immediately manifested in a perfectly fitting geometric form amidst the very centre of their visual field. This form quickly branches out from itself like some sort of ineffable spider diagram, enveloping the concepts which you associate with the internet and then branching out to include the concepts you associate with those. This spreads out exponentially and within 2 - 3 seconds quickly grows in a sudden flash to include every single stored concept within the entire universe, completely disconnecting the tripper from their external environment before re-stacking them back into the room, until something triggers the process again, usually immediately. Snapping trippers in and out of the room repeatedly as the process is triggered continuously.
However it can, to a certain extent, be held at bay through continuous physical movement, stopping the process from branching out into everything by not giving it the time it needs to lock on to a concept.
As dosage is increased, however, the process becomes easier and easier to trigger whilst extending in length and duration - eventually resulting in a stable state of complete disconnection from the external environment and a lasting sense of neurological oneness with the universe.
7B - Exposure to inner mechanics of human consciousness -
This level can be described as the profound feeling of becoming completely detached from the external environment and falling into a place that is universally interpreted by anybody who undergoes the experience as “the inner workings of the universe”. This is a place that feels as if you have literally entered the inner mechanics of reality or the very source of existence itself, with the underlying programming of the universe and the true nature of our consciousness presenting itself to the tripper in an array of innately readable geometric forms.
It can be broken down into two basic sub-levels:
Becoming the inner mechanics of the conscious mind,
At the lower end of level 7B visual geometry, the experience manifests itself as becoming and being able to feel and see the organization and structure of your current thought stream. This is presented to trippers in the form of a fast-moving and infinite web or network of condensed visual geometry that branches off of itself in a level of organization and intricacy far beyond any possible arrangement that could be experienced within the external physical world.
The ever-shifting network follows the pace and rhythm of your internal dialogue perfectly. This creates and manifests new connections in a way that is both physically felt through a powerful sensation, and seen embedded within your visual field every time any piece of new insight or knowledge is gained.
This vast network of visuals that represents a person’s thought-stream contains within it innately understood and thought-stream-relevant geometric representations of specific and abstract concepts, embedded into each and every one of the connecting points across itself. The experience of these innately readable geometric representations triggers the mind’s eye to envision the concept perfectly on an internal visual field which exists separately from this one.
Becoming the inner mechanics of the subconscious mind,
At the higher end of level 6B visuals, the experience manifests itself as a new-found and consistent ability to physically feel, see, and become one with the architecture of the subconscious mind. This is presented to trippers in the form of extremely vast and complex, self-transforming geometric mechanisms which are immediately interpreted by anybody who undergoes the experience as the inner workings of the universe or the inner workings of reality.
This state is capable of bestowing specific pieces of information onto trippers regarding the nature of reality and human consciousness, through the simple experience of them. These specific pieces of information are always immediately felt and understood to be a profound unveiling of an undeniable truth at the time, but usually found to be ineffable afterwards; due to the limitations of human English, or nonsensical due to the disorientation of the accompanying cognitive effects.
Occasionally, however, genuine lessons or coherent messages are innately interpreted through the experience of becoming and descending down into the subconscious faculties of the brain. It’s extremely important to note, however, that the scientific validity of these lessons are very uncertain and should never be immediately accepted as fact without an extremely thorough and sober analysis.
Below are a collection of examples that could be considered somewhat accurate. How ever, the vastness and complexity of true psychedelic geometry is impossibly more intricate, meaning that in reality no physical image could even come remotely close to the real experience.
Click the image below for a large gallery of examples of visual geometry that have been sourced from psychedelic art across the internet.
Click the image below and to the left for a large gallery of anthropological examples of psychedelic visuals. The Shipibo people are a large tribe in the amazon rain forest whose culture is heavily involved with ritualized ayahuasca use. These textiles patterns are deliberately made by the Shipibos as artifacts of ayahuasca hallucination, capturing the specific styles of repeating forms better than most modern psychedelic artwork.
Another extremely common component within visual geometry are fractals. These are a concept that exists within mathematics and can be described as complex patterns that repeat infinitely into themselves allowing for the same self similar image to be found no matter how far you zoom into any part of the image. Below is a collection of psychedelic fractals similar in appearance to those found with visual geometry. Click the image below to open up a gallery of examples.
More Examples: Here.
Hallucinatory states - The fourth sensory effect is perhaps the most profound subjective sensory effect that the psychedelic experience has to offer. They are manifested as 3 distinct effects which come in a variety of differing intensity’s.
Hallucinatory states begin at lower doses as imagery embedded within visual geometry. These can be described as spontaneous moving or still scenes, objects, people, animals, concepts, places or anything you could possibly imagine. They are often formed out of visuals themselves and are displayed in varying levels of detail ranging from “cartoon like” in nature to completely realistic, rarely holding form for more than a few seconds before fading or shifting into another image.
On certain psychedelics, the imagery is manifested as an exact visual representation of whatever you are currently thinking about within your mind’s eye, turning abstract ideas into a concrete images and remaining consistently limitless in its abilities. This is an experience which is also found by some people during hypnagogia (the state between awake and sleep) or sleep deprivation and is known by the scientific community as “auto-symbolism”.
Psychedelic transformations are essentially open-eye imagery. They are progressive in nature, which means they form by arising from patterns or objects, and then over a period of seconds by drifting, smoothing or locking into an entirely new appearance of still or animated objects, people, animals, concepts, places or anything you could possibly imagine. This is greatly enhanced and fuelled by the separate visual effect of enhanced pattern recognition, causing vague stimuli which already look vaguely like abstract concepts thanks to our inbuilt sense of pareidolia, to transforming into extremely detailed versions of what they were already perceived as.
The process of smoothing or locking, which transformations seem to be generated through, requires some minimal amount of focus and concentration to sustain. Losing concentration for an instant can cause the image to fade away or shift into another image.
Holding the eyes still will increase intensity of the progressive transformation.
As these states of imagery and transformations become increasingly elaborate (proportional to dosage), they eventually become all-encompassing, fully-fledged 3D hallucinations. These could be anything but generally fall under common archetypes such as contact with autonomous entities, imagined landscapes, spirit dimensions, and situations that seem so unlike anything previously experienced that they are, in all probability, untranslatable into English. Hallucinations are often described to feel transcendental, mystical, spiritual and religious in nature, regardless of the tripper’s theistic beliefs. It is not uncommon for people to report that psychedelic hallucinations feel infinitely “realer” than anything the person has previously experienced throughout sober living.
In terms of their general stylistic appearance they can range from hallucinations which are stylized and comprised of a condensed visual geometry-based material, or they can be completely solid and realistic in how they look. This particular state can be broken down into four distinct subcomponents.
Autonomous entities - Contact with autonomous entities are very common. These entities generally appear to be the inhabitants of a perceived independent reality - they are expectant of your appearance and enjoy interacting with you in various ways. The behaviour of a typical entity is one of a loving, kind intelligence, teacher or healer that simply wants to show you their particular dimensional space, bestowing specific pieces of knowledge upon you as quickly as possible before you begin to come down or slip into another hallucination. Once the comedown inevitably begins to happen they are genuinely saddened by your disappearance, often wave goodbye, and encourage you to visit more often.
Entities can literally take any form but common subconscious Jungian archetypes are definitely present, these include:
bodiless super intelligent humanoids, aliens, elves, giant spheres, insectoids, cat beings, beings of light, plants, robotic machines, gods, goddesses, demons, human beings and more.
These entities and creatures communicate with trippers via a combination of telepathy, visual linguistics, mathematics and morphing coloured structures of different textures. This complex visual language is capable of expressing pure meaning and concepts in a way that our current system of labelling concepts with small mouth noises will never be able to become close to matching.
Landscapes, sceneries and settings - An intrinsic component of high level hallucinatory states is the experience of extremely detailed imagined landscapes, settings and sceneries of infinite variety. These are manifested spontaneously, surrounding the tripper and acting as the setting in which the plot of the trip trip occurs. At other points they act as something which is flown over but are also often experienced through the act of autonomous entities, directly manipulating what you can see and view; intentionally propelling trippers in different directions at disorienting speeds, forcing them to view or pass directly through macro and microscopic scale settings, including both previously experienced landscapes and previously unexperienced landscapes.
These commonly include:
planetary systems, galaxies, quasars, jungles, rain forests, deserts, ice-scapes, cities, natural environments, caves, space habitats, vast structures, civilizations, technological utopias, ruins, machinescapes, rooms and other indoor environments, neurons, DNA, atoms, molecules, mitochondria and more.
Concepts - this particular component of hallucinatory states is extremely common throughout typical psychedelic imagery. It can be described as the visual experience of an infinite array of internally stored concepts that can include both everyday objects, subjective concepts, previously non-experienced concepts and impossible mixtures of each three.
At lower levels they are manifested as spontaneous imagery but at higher levels they become embedded as objects within the scenery, or as objects which are presented to you by autonomous entities.
These concepts commonly include:
everyday objects, living things, plants, animals, insects, architecture, structures, shapes, atoms, molecules, complex mathematical formulae/concepts, linguistic concepts, mechanisms, technology, machine creatures, self-replicating machines, people, faces, eyes, body parts, organs, food, cultural references, fictional characters, logos, religious symbolism, creatures, monsters, demons, mythology, furniture and more.
It’s worth noting that the hallucinatory experience of concepts which contain writing such as imagined books, documents, street signs, websites or floating text are usually represented through blurred, fuzzy or alien symbols. However, they are still occasionally capable of containing coherent English and readable messages at high enough levels of detail but will always reset, change, or simply disappear if a person attempts to read over them twice or double-take. This is consistent with the way that text is reported to behave within dreams by the lucid dreaming community.
Scenarios and plots - Each of the above components are randomly shuffled and spliced into any of the infinite plots which are capable of being experienced under the influence of high dose psychedelic experiences. These are difficult to define but can be broken down into extremely basic archetypes which generally entail visiting some sort of alternate reality, or a number of them which contain within them interactive, multiple, or lone autonomous entities among an organized array of concepts and objects depending on the specific plot.
The plots can be linear but can also be completely nonsensical.
In terms of the perspective in which they are perceived through, hallucinations can be experienced in four different forms.
- 1st person - this is the most common form of hallucination and can be described as the perfectly normal experience of perceiving the hallucination from the perspective of the self.
- 2nd person - this can be described as the experience of perceiving the hallucination from the perspective of an external source of consciousness such as another beings life, an animal or an inanimate object.
- 3rd person - this is essentially an out of body experience and can be described as perceiving the hallucination from a perspective which is floating above, below, behind, or in front of the trippers physical body.
- 4th person - this is particularly rare but entirely possible and can be described as the experience of perceiving the hallucination from the perspective of multiple vantage points and, occasionally, infinite amounts of alternate lives.
In terms of the amount of time in which they are experienced, hallucinatory plots and scenarios usually feel as if they are being experienced in real-time. This means that when 20 seconds have been felt to have passed within the hallucination, the exact same amount of time will have passed in the real world.
At other points, however, distortions of time can make themselves present, resulting in plots and scenarios that can feel as if they literally last days, weeks, months, years, or even infinitely long periods of time. When this does happen, however, it is not felt as if thousands of years of experience have literally been undergone within 15 minutes of real-world time, but as if the memory or feeling of thousands of years having passed is formed after the experience itself and not during.
As for the content of these hallucinatory plots and scenarios, they can contain experiences so unlike anything contained within the real world that they are completely untranslatable into human English, but they can also contain previously experienced memories from any point in a person’s life that feel truly identical to what really happened. These memory replays are often long-forgotten scenes from childhood, people who have not been seen or even thought about in years, and the visitation of important buildings, places and settings throughout a person’s life. At other points, however, the content of these hallucinations can be somewhere in between a memory replay and completely new experience, containing aspects of real life but easily deviating far from the original plot of what actually happened.
The above effects can be broken down into five simple levels,
- Enhancement of mental visualization - The lowest level of hallucination can be described as a powerful enhancement of a person’s ability to mentally visualize concepts. This internal visualization feels like one extremely vivid daydream after another, and follows a person’s thought stream in a way that can be seen at a moderate level of detail within the mind’s eye.
- Partially defined hallucinations - This level of hallucination generally consists of movement in the peripheral vision and ill-defined, faded imagery within the visuals, as well as transformations or false sightings within the peripheral vision which disappear as soon as a person double-takes.
- Fully defined hallucinations - As the vividness and intensity increases, the imagery eventually becomes fully defined in their appearance and within the tripper’s direct line of sight. Transformations will also manifest themselves as fully-detailed and within a person’s direct line of sight.
- Partially defined breakthroughs - These begin with random flashes of spontaneous psychedelic scenarios. These are capable of becoming fully grounded and long-lasting, but are not completely defined in their appearance. Often displaying themselves as partially to completely blurred and transparent, with the tripper’s physical body still feeling at least partially connected to the real world.
- Fully defined breakthroughs - Once the hallucinations become sufficiently elaborate they eventually become all-encompassing, eventually increasing to permanent, ever-shifting alternate realities which appear completely realistic, extremely detailed, and highly vivid in the way they look along with a complete disconnection from the physical body.
Miscellaneous, Unique and Rare visual effects:
Although there are many universally experienced visual components of a psychedelic experience, you should not allow this guide to give you preconceived notions for two separate reasons. The first reason is that although these descriptions have been carefully worded and extremely thought out, text and images they will never come close to the real experience, the real thing is incomprehensible, logic defying and impossible to translate into two dimensional images and words. The unenglishable factor is one of the few things that all psychonauts can all agree on when it comes to the psychedelic experience.
The second reason is that the psychedelic experience is still a subjective experience and not by any means confined and limited to these visual components. As spontaneous visual effects which are not described anywhere within this article will manifest themselves into trips on the odd occasion. These effects can be anything and usually occur at higher doses. Unique visual effects are completely personal to you and something that nobody else on the planet has ever seen before or will ever likely get to experience again. So remember, do not limit your perception to the components described above, because there is more to the psychedelic experience than words can ever say.
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