Psychedelic Toad Medicine; DMT and the Eternal Consciousness
If you’ve ever wandered the warmest areas of Arizona, Southern California, and northern Mexico, you may have been in the presence of the magical, mystical, psychedelic toad medicine. Loved by shamans and utilized by psychotropic experimenters, this little creature is fast becoming a legend.
The Sonoran Desert spans 120,000 square miles, covers large parts of the southwestern United States, and extends into Mexico. This vibrant area includes over 60 mammal species, 350 types of birds, 20 amphibian classifications, more than 100 families of reptiles, 30+ native fish, over 2000 unique plants, and millions of human beings.
The Sonoran Desert is also host to the only population of jaguars in the United States and the amphibian that produces psychoactive toad medicine, otherwise known as Bufo alvarius toad. Why do we care about the Bufo alvarius toad? We care because the glands of our North American salientian friend are filled with the happiest, hippiest, trippiest venom, otherwise known as 5-MeO-DMT.
“It may be that DMT makes us able to perceive what the physicists call “dark matter” – the 95 per cent of the universe’s mass that is known to exist but that at present remains invisible to our senses and instruments.”
― Graham Hancock
With street names like Businessman’s Trip, Dimitri, the Smoking Toad, the Psychoactive Toad, and Fantasia, DMT can open the spiritual portal within the human mind and open doors to alien realities and other-worldly realms. While not always a cure-all for sadness and feelings of being detached from life, many people report positive experiences and find it can alleviate depression following use of the drug.
South American shamans use DMT in ceremonies and rituals to initiate mind expansion and healing. Also known as Dimethyltryptamine or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, DMT is a hallucinogenic drug.
When consumed, the drug can cause the following remarkable feelings and experiences:
- Fascinating illusions and visions
- A profound embodiment of an observer
- It feels like jumping off a cliff or jumping onto a moving love-train
- Deconstruction of obsessions
- Unusual auditory experiences
- The sense of being a disembodied consciousness
- Heightened emotions
- Feelings of overwhelming significance
- Release of attachments
- Temporary connection to a deeper Self
- Release of negative aspects of the current self-identity
- Release of unprocessed emotions
- Unexplained coincidences
- Experiences of other realms
- Meeting mysterious energy-forms and disembodied spirit-Beings
While not widely considered addictive, DMT is not necessarily a pathway to self-awareness, although it can provide mind-altering and mind-expanding experiences. It can also be a distraction from processing emotions around trauma and life’s challenges. While it’s a natural substance that can provoke unusual experiences, not all of them will be positive. DMT can also cause the following negative reactions:
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Increased heart rate
- Overwhelming fear
- Feelings of disconnection
- Coordination problems
- Loss of memory
- Inability to sleep
- Deconstruction of foundational personal self-identities
DMT is a natural substance found in plants and within the human brain. It can also be extracted from specific plants to create the herbal brew, known as ayahuasca. Ayahuasca uses the root bark of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine, which contains DMT that is then combined with other plants containing an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor), a compound that inhibits enzymes in the stomach to allow the DMT to produce its psychoactive effects that last up to 15 hours. This is compared to the synthetic smokable form of DMT which elicits a trip between five and 20 minutes. Psychoactive toad medicine and all forms of DMT, currently remain illegal in the United States as schedule I substances.
“When you drink ayahuasca, and you get to see divinity, you can almost never speak of it because it’s too big for words.”
― Gerard Armond Powell
The 5-MeO-DMT Toad: How does it compare to other forms of DMT?
While it also occurs in many plants and animals, including the psychedelic frog, 5-MeO-DMT has not been found in humans. 5-MeO-DMT is distinctive in that, rather than solely birthing stimulating visuals for the consumer, 5-MeO-DMT inspires a unique spiritual experience in the form of a shift in attitude or perspective, possibly akin to the death of the ego or temporary self-identity. This might be why shamans will blow 5-MeO-DMT powder up noses during ritualistic ceremonies to provoke a stunning rebirth following the ego’s death.
5-MeO-DMT might also be useful in healing or decreasing the effects of addiction. Ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT work together in the creation of mystical experiences, oftentimes inspiring a more motivated or aware mindset. In pursuit of these positive experiences, there are drawbacks. Because 5-MeO-DMT tends to produce a brief journey, the user might have an elevated desire to repeat the experience.
This could lead to habitual use or overstimulation of the parts of the brain that 5-MeO-DMT tends to penetrate. In all, 5-MeO-DMT is useful in opening small windows that might lead to a brief encounter with the eternal consciousness.
Rick Strassman and his book “DMT: The Spirit Molecule”
Strassman is a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, with a focus on psychopharmacology. He has degrees from Stanford University and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University. Strassman was among the first people in the United States to experiment with psychedelics. Rick coined the term “spirit molecule,” referring to how DMT can produce fascinating visions, spiritual experiences and the disembodiment of consciousness. He documented his findings in his book, “DMT: The Spirit Molecule.”
The Lazy Lizard School of Hedonism
A renegade group of visionary drug researchers, led by Alexander (Sasha) Shulgin, Darrell Lemaire and their friends, experimented with a massive collection of home-made psychedelics, long before the US government scheduled the drugs as illegal substances. Imagine being on the cutting-edge of psychedelics and consciousness, working in a huge underground cave in a remote location, all in pursuit of helping humanity liberate itself. Seriously, what could be more exciting and fulfilling?
In his series on Viceland, chemist and journalist Hamilton Morris shares a fascinating story featuring Shulgin, Lemaire and a feisty protégé Casey Hardison. The Lizard school’s goals? Aggressively experiment with psychedelics in every form, mass produce them, and distribute them as widely as possible.
While these groundbreaking, psychedelic warriors gave birth to the bridge between the human brain and the mysteries of the universe, they have since moved on to more traditional pursuits, and they did so long before the feds could extinguish their fire. Shulgin died in 2014, and as of this writing, Lemaire is still kicking around at 92 years old. These two powerhouses produced a profound body of work and an almost unimaginable legacy.
Smoking Toad: What Happens After a Psychedelic Trip?
After consuming psychedelics, be prepared for a few days of confusion, as your mind, body, heart, and spirit adjust to your shifts in perspectives and attachments. You might be inclined to sever relationships or make drastic changes. You might feel as though your job is a waste of time or that you’d like to live off berries and prana and live eternally in a tree. You might also experience such a drop in energy that you’ll feel depressed and unable to communicate.
While these things might seem like normal reactions after ingesting psychedelics, some users have reported a complete demolition of their identities, beyond recognition. When our identities are destroyed to this degree, we might never find our way back to a stable persona. In all things psychedelic, be cognizant of set and setting, and ensure proper administration from a trusted practitioner.
“When love is expressed in life and imbued into every great work, the potential for evolution expands exponentially.”
― Jennifer Sodini, “Amenti Oracle Feather Heart Deck and Guide Book”
Psychoactive substances build temporary, illusive bridges. The ultimate pathway to experiencing and embodying the oneness of the universe is through meditation and love-in-action. These two things produce stable connections and foundations that give rise to peaceful and powerful personas.
Be aware that while psychedelics can be exhilarating and spectacular, psychedelic drugs can reduce one’s sensitivity to the eternal reality, rather than expand upon it. When we consume a mind-altering substance, whether it’s a drug or alcoholic beverage, we are taken beneath the mind, not above it. This isn’t morally wrong, but it can delay our liberation and send us off on distracting and less meaningful tangents. If expansion and transcendence are the goals, focus on the love and light within you. The use of drugs can sometimes alienate us, sending us in the opposite direction. They also have the potential to become dangerous to us and those we love.
In all things exploratory, remember that while you are eternal, you require a durable self-identity to maneuver through physical realities here on planet Earth. It might be that all you need is a little espresso and a bar of delicious dark chocolate.
**Gaia does not condone harmful practices against animals. There are responsible groups that extract the venom of the Sonoran Desert Toad without harming the animal. For more info visit this site.
Oldest Evidence of Ayahuasca Use Found in Ancient Shaman's Stash
Bolivian archeologists found what appears to be the world’s oldest evidence for the use of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca, in a shaman’s stash alongside a slew of other psychoactive substances. The ancient drugs were found in a 1,000-year-old pouch made of fox snouts in a cave in Cueva del Chileno in the highlands of the Andes.
The shaman’s pouch was originally thought to be a leather shoe when it was discovered back in 2010, but upon further inspection proved to contain a bundle with a headband, llama bone utensils, and various devices meant for crushing and inhaling psychoactive powders – a toolkit of primitive paraphernalia.
1000-Year Old Ancient Drugs
In addition, the shaman’s pouch contained a pharmacopeia of psychotropic herbs and plants containing DMT, such as chacruna, harmine (an ayahuasca compound), bufotenine (a DMT analogue found in toad venom), cocaine and a cocaine metabolite, and possibly psilocyn a psychoactive component of magic mushrooms.
According to Jose Capriles, an archeologist at Penn State University and one of the authors on the discovery’s paper, the array of psychotropic herbs found in the shaman’s pouch would have had to be sourced from very disparate areas of the Amazon, meaning this DMT shaman would have travelled many miles or had access to extensive trade routes to acquire his stash.
The history of ayahuasca in the Amazon is believed to have been passed down over centuries –about 5,000 years— according to indigenous cultures, despite debate by western archeologists studying its history. But when it comes to western studies of ayahuasca, western academia is often stumped by the many inexplicable facets of the brew.
Such as how, out of 40 thousand plant species in the Amazon, did indigenous people know to combine specific vines and plants containing DMT and a substance that negates a very specific enzyme in the gut, to produce the most potent hallucinogen known to man. Not to mention the vast troves of medicinal combinations of those plants, which indigenous shamans and doctors say were revealed to them under the influence of ayahuasca.
In Jeremy Narby’s 1998 book The Cosmic Serpent, documenting his time spent among the indigenous Ashaninka tribe of Brazil, he concludes that the discovery of the DNA double helix strand was influenced by visions seen under the influence of ayahuasca. Narby says he believes the brew allows shamans to shrink their consciousness to the molecular level to “gain access to DNA-related information, which they call animate essences or spirits.”
Now with this recent discovery, it has become apparent that the use of these psychedelic substances was widespread and likely considered extremely valuable as tools of knowledge and spiritual sacrament. And as these substances slowly become more popular tools of healing and medicine in the western world, it seems we may be on the verge of discovering what indigenous cultures have held sacred for so many years.
For more on the shamanic rituals involved with ayahuasca and other psychedelics check out our series Psychedelica: