Wakarusa: Part 4 (Love)

Wide Lens

Our ego's eyes know only the symbolic. Our symbols are rooted in our evolutionary history. If we choose to modal consciousness as a computer program, downloading symbol-interpreting software will act as a data-compression algorithm, that is to say, if you teach yourself how to understand the symbolic life, you will understand life's sea of data more clearly, more wholly, thus making life more holy. Symbols are the stone blocks to the pyramid of Myth. Imbuing your life with myth imbues 21st century materialistic existential existence with magic. Myth is my religion; symbols the language of my Goddess, and Growth my daemon. 

We are free to choose our reality tunnel. This is our Promethean gift. You waste your godhead when you unconsciously live through someone else's reality lens. Waking up is consciously molding your own. This blog has been, and still is, my attempt at consciously molding my own. Thank you for following along. I hope at some point you'll share your reality perspective with me. I love you. 

Narrow Lens 

Today is Saturday, day three of Wakarusa. I know today is my last day taking drugs. I need a recovery day, but today anit that day, SON  * que Joe Rogan voice.*

I throw back 3 grams of mushrooms, chew ferociously, (ironically my favorite symphony of atoms makes me gag every time), and gulp it down with water. Not consciously, but likely consciously subconscious, I'm dehydrated and haven't ate since last night, so these 3 grams are going to feel like 6. And maybe this is physiologically true, or maybe its placebo, but subjectively, it's going to be as true as true gets. 

As I wait with most of my tribe, I start thinking about Katrisa. And thus, not knowing at the time, I kickstart the spiraling, fugue like, recursive loop that would be my psychedelic adventure today. 


I'm at the campsite with almost the entire tribe. The time is around 5 in the evening. Our base is a good 20 minute hike from where Wakarusa's main action is vulspating. The only people down in that mesh is my girlfriend Katrisa, and Hannah. They're going to be roommates soon and they have been bonding this trip. Katrisa is down there metabolizing with Lysergic acid diethylamide. It's only her second time playing with Lucy and of course I'm worrying.

I'm projecting my psychological shortcomings onto her. The chaos of Waka would send me spiraling into a bad trip, but Katrisa is on a higher level than me when it comes to navigating the psychedelics terran. She embodies Grace. Where I'd trip on some negative energy, she dances around, laughing, looking to help me up.

Earlier this day she decided she'd eat 3 grams of mushrooms in the morning then head to Wakarusa in the evening on LSD. Flowing from a place of fear, I tried talking her out of doing this. She gently brushed off my worries. Aggravated, convincing myself I was moving from a place of love and not fear (I was definitely moving from a place of fear), I accused her of being greedy in front of our entire group.

I felt the words land like a slap and I regretted it. She very honestly responded that the remark hurt her feelings and that she genuinely didn't think she was being greedy. She was right. The calmness with which she offered each word convinced me. I apologized, measured out her mushrooms, apologized again, and watched her nibble on the fungus while we all talked.

After about an hour, I asked her if she would like to go on a walk. Wide-eyed, she beamed, "Of course." Her, myself, and another friend, Marge, started walking around the forested campsite we were settled in.

I've worn the mushroom googles enough to almost place myself behind Katrisa's eyes without the fungus. I asked observational questions to her that I knew would spark her to settle into the mushroom trip. "What does that tree's leaf feel like it's function is?" "Does that plant look like its safe to touch?" "What does the ground tell you happened here last night?"

Her answers hugged my heart. With the awe of a child, I witnessed her experiencing nature in a novel way. I love her, I love that fungus. I love being a guide. We walked, talked, and observed for an hour or so. It is a beautiful memory.

This is what I thought about during my come up. 


We started our trek towards Waka. Like last night, we headed to the party in the evening. The beaming sun was starting to relax and Luna was beginning to take over. But where last night's hike into the festival was bursting with color and life, today's adventure, as experienced through my eyes, was very different.

About 10 minutes into our descent, I knew today was going to be harder for me. Yesterday was all positives, no lessons. Today, Mama Mushy was going to be teaching me.

I was hinted to the trip to come by the kind of visual alterations I was experiencing. Instead of a master painter's splashing paint brush, my vision was filtered through a low saturation lens. I was reminded of Mad Max. Color seemed as if it had been sucked out of the environment. I felt my mind starting to worry, "Is this a reflection of your neurons?" "Have you exhausted your neurotransmitters?" These kinds of unknowable, existential questions tend to be automatic when I'm high enough, but I've done the work, and I can guide my mind away from them. 

Rising Action

There is a little hill you walk onto that is about 5 minutes away from the festival. Once you've gotten to the top of, you can see the entire organism. This image is where my stomach dropped and the trip turned from mildly unpleasant to gut-clenching nausea.

How was I going to find Katrisa in that? No phones. No plan. My ego shook.

As I started feeling worse, my thoughts started growing in their irrationality. I thought "what if I'm sensing Katrisa's bad trip?" As soon as that spell entered my consciousness, I entered the hardest 90 minutes of my Wakarusa adventures. 

As we're walking into Wakarusa, the crowd is starting to really get to me. My nervous system is sensitive and there is so much information to process. My mind is frantically worrying. 

"I'll never find her is this crowd." 

"Why didn't we use walkie-talkies or phones?" 

"Fuck, there are like 10,000 people throughout this place." 

"What if she's freaking out? Can Hannah help her?" 

I'm shaking. I'm sweating. I'm either dehydrated or having a mild panic attack. (An interesting perspective to explore from my comfortable sobriety is whether my thoughts caused the physical symptoms (panic attack), or whether I was physiologically dehydrated and my mind was trying to think thoughts that justified the physical reality my body was experiencing. This is a one of the fundamental questions of psychology and we don't have a hard answer for the question.)

I waddled over to a vendor and did my best to not look like a bearded Jew having a psychological crisis, "Can I get a green juice please?" Once that sweet nectar met my lips my visual field splashed with color. The peak was arriving, I was hydrated, but I was still emotionally contorted. It was a very weird experience, visually my present was beautiful and vibrant and dancing, mentally, I was still constricted, worried, and weak. 

We headed to the stage where Glass Animals would be playing in about half an hour. We knew Katrisa and Hannah would be there eventually. We laid down a few blankets in the very back of the venue and sat. I remember having pleasant conversations with my friends, and admiring the shroom lenses, but internally, I was only focused on finding Katrisa. 

As a quick aside, I need to mention, A small whisper in me knew everything would be okay. I'm at a weird stage in my life. I've inherited very powerful anxiety and paranoia from both my parents. I think most of us have. Yet, my personal experience of life has only validated the perspective that all is meant to be, that I am being watched after, and that if I listen carefully and pick my wishes wisely, sometimes reality will even bend for me. I look forward to the day I heal completely the paranoid child I had to cultivated that protected me through my childhood. 


After waiting cross-legged and anxious, I saw some people walking toward us. They were a good 50-60 yards away but I knew. I stood up and started walking towards them. I was ecstatic. Those cheesy scenes in bad rom-coms flickered through my mind but fuck that. This was genuine bliss. As Katrisa got closer I could see the glow in her eyes. She hadn't had a single negative moment on LSD. It was all in my mind. Our smiles resonated off each other until our facial muscles started cramping and we hugged. 

All negativity washed away in the glow of her presence. She didn't know what I had been through so after she hugged me she went to each person in our group and had genuine greetings with all of them. 

The biggest lesson of today's trip was starting to take form. 

I returned to my spot on the blanket. After the reuniting, Katrisa, Kalyn, and Zach left our little encampment and started to the front for Glass Animals. Paige, an energy more connected to mine then most, after Kat and them had left, asked me about the moment I saw Katrisa. 

'What happened there? You looked so happy. It was really sweet to see."

She knew something significant had to have been churning in me for me to act that way when I saw Katrisa. I tried explaining my trip to Paige. Words were not surrendering themselves to me adequately, but she got it. She smiled and offered me the only sound that was need. "Aww." 

About halfway through Glass Animal's set, Katrisa and them came back. I was still processing my emotional bungee bump but Katrisa was on a higher plane. She came to me, eyes blowing, kissed me, and grabbed a friend's Poi balls, (they're these neon lights at the end of a string that dancers use at festivals.) 

She only started using this toy yesterday. Glowing orbs in hand, she walked away from us, totally in her own headspace, and started dancing. She moved in a way completely beyond her skill level. Those of us paying attention looked on in gentle disbelief. 


This is when the vacation, the night, and my relationship with Katrisa culminated. Her dancing, dancing for only her own enjoyment, without a fucking care who saw or who judged, was the symbolic completion of our relationship as it had been up to that point. 

I think all of us in our early adulthood are wounded. Life afflicts us. I think the highest purpose of relationships, both sexual and non sexual, at our stage of development, is to heal each other. I think both sexes have it rough, but I think girls have a harder time than men. 

Our culture is weird. Life is weird. There seems to be a built in tragedy to parenting and loving. Loving someone completely, correctly, heals them in a way where they no longer need the loving. There are too many wounded people to be selfish with the good ones. Katrisa is one of the good ones. Her love is going to heal other people. 

We're going our separate ways when she leaves for college. This had been a subconscious wound in my  mind for months that had been treated by this trip. This moment. 

This day, with the mushroom hike and the LSD night, I witnessed Katrisa's healing complete itself. She didn't need me anymore. Thats what was at the core of this entire trip. Honestly, she had probably reached this new level of wholeness awhile ago, but this trip was for me to realize it. 

The moment this lesson landed, bittersweet tears filled my eyes. I had done a good job. This has been the type of relationship I dreamed of, but I hadn't adequately prepared for what success would feel like. Success is us walking away, healed, ready to heal others. I'm confident our paths will intersect again. Until then, this quote will hold me over; 

(Aldous Huxley and his about-to-be-wedded wife talking moments before the wedding)

"You know, darling, I love others, too." 

To which Aldous quickly responded;

"It would be awful if you didn't." 

And that succinctly sums up how I feel. 

I love you Katrisa. Thank you for healing me. 


After the drugs wore off, we stayed late and caught Major Lazer. We danced in Luna's light late into the night. Together, in a crowd of thousands. We left after hearing my favorite song. We shared other favorites and laughs. Cuddled on a cramped air mattress, still whispering love. Lazer's bassnotes lulled us to sleep.