[Edited for spelling and to change phrasing that came across as judgemental when i didn't mean it to]
My Journey to Wonderland
This story is long, and has a lot of detail about the setting and my experience. It is not indicative of how your experience might be if you take this journey. I don’t recommend or unrecommend it. It is your sovereign choice what medicines you put in your body.
I took a week off so I could take a journey at my leisure. I didn’t want to go on this journey in a bad mood. I had some anxiety about some obligations and other things going on later in the week, and I had the beginning of a cold sore. Nonetheless, I decided to go for it just after noon.
It was a warm summer day, sunny mostly, with the threat of rain in the evening. I live at a private residence, with a large garden tucked away out of sight. I have two room mates, one of whom owns the house (I’ll refer to him as the Landlord). He’s a retired gentleman. He was fine with me having my journey. My other room mate had to work. There are my three cats, the landlord’s three dogs, and my other room mate’s cat. I mention them because I’ll refer to them as characters later on.
I ate the whole white chocolate bar and went out in the outdoor, fenced in play area for the animals. I started reading my favorite chapter, Dulce Domum. That book is as meaningful to me as what the Bible means to some devout Born Again Christians. I wanted to get into the right frame of mind, as far as I could determine what it would be.
I aborted the chapter partway through when I realized I should probably get out to the garden before the medicine kicked in. So I left the peaceful sitting place, gathered my gatorade and my wide brimmed hat, and went out to the garden.
I kept feeling like I forgot something. That is usual for me, as I lug a lot of supplies with me to work, and it’s not uncommon to go back in and get a thing or another thing. I had my android tablet fully charged and connected to the wifi for music, and listened to that for a little while. After hearing “The Sound of Silence” by Disturbed and realizing I was crying harder than I normally would, I put the device away, and went to sit in the garden.
The medicine began to set in. I was paranoid about causing my landlord to panic. So I walked over, calmly, and told him I’d be fine no matter what I looked like. He said he wouldn’t worry, gathered his dogs, and went inside for a nap. I returned to the garden.
Then a wave hit me like a ton of bricks. I was sweating profusely, panic set in. I fought the panic. It was probably a mistake. The grasses and plants began to move as they might with a journey. I was tempted to give up and call an ambulance, but I knew that it would end badly for me and everyone else. All I’d get is a banana bag and strapped to a gurney, and my house searched, the residents harassed. No way. It was a temptation, and I passed the test. I tried to vomit, but only a little mucous came.
The panic drove me to ingrained fear and coping responses. My spiritual views are probably best described as Gnostic, but I found myself feeling very Catholic (as it was my upbringing, and with no disrespect intended to Catholics), praying to the Father and the Son to show me what I wanted to see. The Lord’s Prayer. I suppose someone else of a different religious tradition ingrained in their youth would do something similar. A feeling of terror causes emotional regression. I write all this with love for all of you who read this, regardless of your spiritual outlook.
After some time, I got to remembering I could change the sensory input, and looked up to the trees, and saw how they danced in the sunlight, and were glad of the sun. I embraced the hallucinations, and I was able to then get out of fear and into love and gratitude.
I will describe what I went through, but I think words are insufficient. Remembering my friend who helped me through my first trip, I got up and interacted with my surroundings. The leaves of the blackberry plants were soft. The oak tree wanted love, so I caressed its leaves. The hemlocks looked menacing, so I grabbed hold of branches and shook their hands. The long pine cones on the ground crawled like little armadillos. My hat turned into a happy snail, whose face was caressed by loving clovers.
I played outside for a while, delighting in intense color contrasts, and the visions when I closed my eyes. I noticed that the type of visions changed when I was in the sunlight versus the shade. At some point I took note that I saw a bas-relief of an unusual alphabet scrolling on my eyelids when I closed my eyes.
Eventually I needed to go into the house to get more vitamin C. The wood of the front porch had such amazing contrasts in the wood grain, and every detail, crack, or speck of dirt stood out. Opening the front door was fun in itself. I found myself walking as carefully as I could, so as not to break or damage anything. As I entered the kitchen, I looked over to the wall with the toaster, and saw the same characters scrolling on the wall that I saw on my eyelids earlier, only it was not a bas-relief. It scrolled upward and off to the side slightly. One character was bigger than the rest. I assumed it was garbage of my imagination, but fun nonetheless. Some invisible thing flung pasta sauce on the wall. It was actually splatter from a crock pot earlier, but it was showing up in real time for me.
The color contrast of the walls was so beautiful. I got to thinking for a moment of a few women I’ve known who liked this kind of décor, and at that moment said “No wonder I found them attractive.” It was a dark take on Alice in Wonderland, for lack of a better analogy. If you ever played American McGees “Alice” video games, you might understand what I’m talking about.
Think of horror movies where walls and wood look aged, stained, perhaps a little moldy. It had a touch of old world charm. Like finding a house from the 1880’s undisturbed in the current day, but with some modern equipment like running water and digital clocks.
In any case, I experienced all kinds of amazing sensations, some confusing, some a little disturbing, but most pleasant, and drank my orange juice. Remembering a friend’s advice to trip outside, I went outside, but I stole another look at the wall above the toaster, and the matrix code scrolled there like before.
I had a couple more difficult moments in the garden, where the waves were a little overwhelming, but I got through them. My orange and purple gatorade glowed and shined on things around them. The plants frowned in the shade, and rose to meet the sun when it came from behind a cloud. I realized I would be more comfortable if I changed my pants, but I was afraid to go in. So I went in. It was around here I realized that I could, and should, explore things that frightened me. I began to realize I could play in this new world.
In my bedroom I found one of my cats, who is 14, and is old, and has diabetes, curled up on the bed. When I turned on the light, the hallucinations faded. He looked like a baby. I quickly changed into PJ pants, and then down the hall to the bathroom.
I felt like I was exploring a parallel universe. One end of the bathroom had a lower ceiling or a higher floor. There is in reality a slight slope, but this was exaggerated, like that hallway in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
I took delight in the sound of urinating and the rainbow bubbles from peeing in the toilet. All kinds of subtle hallucinations, mathematical patterns, while I washed my hands. I noticed that my hands continued to feel soapy despite extended rinsing, so I wrote that off as hallucination and dried them.
Back outside, I took off my shoes and hat, and left them by the garden. This became a landmark, and I was always delighted to find my hat, shoes, and purple gatorade. It was my anchor.
Sometime later I was back inside, and a brown and black yorkie who lives here came up to kiss me. He became a wooly bear caterpillar and kissed my face. I had the patience for getting slimed with a stinky dog tongue, which I normally don’t. I was gentle, so gentle, careful never to harm him. Finding just where he liked to be pet. We also played with a squeaky lamb toy, but what touched me the most was my seemingly infinite patience for his affection. Why can’t I always give him the time we wants?
I went into the den, and noticed the cobwebs dancing from the air conditioner blowing. They began to glisten. One in particular seemed to stretch out toward me. It had eyes, and a cute nose, and it wanted to boop my nose. At first I felt “this is just a hallucination” and then I thought “Stop judging it and let it happen.” Upon putting aside judgement, it glowed brighter, and loops of brilliant orange and yellow light came out of it on two sides, like ribs. And it stretched out to reach me.
I eventually turned away, and decided to see if I could read. I grabbed a newspaper from a pile of newspapers we would use for lighting the wood stove. I flipped through it, experienced synesthesia and the text changed colors. I selected a grocery paper and sat on a chair. Thinking of Alice as well as Wind in the Willows, I settled into my most refined English country gentleman accent, and said “Well old boy, what shall we get from the deli?” as I browsed the paper. I then wondered how it would feel to tear the paper, so I tore it near the bottom. I then realized I tore the date, felt bad, and looked at the date. It was a current paper, and I felt sad. And then I realized my landlord hated that particular grocery store, and I laughed hysterically.
There are steps down to the laundry room, and they were different heights. Meaning the steps were not of uniform distribution. In the catboxes in this room there were large trilobytes rising from the sandboxes. Outside was my cat, and I went out to pet her. I loved her so much. I cried.
Back outside in the garden, I went to the perimeter and ate blackberries from the bushes. I got a seed stuck in my teeth. It was uncomfortable. I went back inside to floss. I delighted in seeing my own reflection. Seeing my cat come in the bathroom behind me, I made some joke about “Sir have you see my cat?” and I laughed. I was not very good at getting the seed out. It took two pulls of floss. I had to make a delibrate effort to put the used floss in the bathroom trash and close the lid. I succeeded.
I could go on and on, documenting everything I experienced. More important than details are the realization that I could play in this parallel universe. What I mean is, while I was in this real universe, I perceived the parallel universe. I could play and try things and see how my mind responded. We have an island in our kitchen with pots and pans hanging above. So I decided I would see how it felt to get my head inside and look around. I was in a little maze of reflective pots and pans. I tried all kinds of things. I tried one hand in warm water and another in cold, then reversed hands. I burned myself lightly with hot water from the faucet. The only limit on my actions was morality, and the non-aggression principle.
I had a moral revelation on how I treated my room mates. I could get better. I wrote myself a note, and as I wrote it I noticed that the hallucinations I experienced changed depending on my mental state. If I was writing or reading I experienced one set of hallucinations. If I wasn’t, a different kind of hallucinations. As I wrote, the table felt damp and sticky, and the matrix code appeared on my hands. All kinds of emotions I can’t explain. The note came in handy when I was done, and I’m doing my best to love my room mates better than I did before, human, dog, and cat. I know to remember to consistently do the hard work of love and not just the easy work.
Eventually my landlord woke up and went outside with the dogs. We had a pleasant exchange, though he seemed to think I was creepy. It’s all good. I think I was projecting my own insecurity onto him, and he was chill and just doing his usual thing. By then I was on the downswing of the journey, and the waves were fewer, and far less intense. Part of me was curious what he would have seemed like as a character in my other world, but it was too late, as I was returning to this world.
It was a good four hours of intense emotional, sensational, and spiritual enlightenment. And all the while, through good feelings and bad, I felt gratitude and love. Huge gratitude for getting to see our world through this new lens. Love for the animals, the bugs, the plants, for God. I couldn’t bring myself to slap mosquitoes until I started to come down.
I tried to explain my journeys to my friend group in the past, as they are experienced veterans. It’s either something you’re not supposed to talk about publicly(like some folks won't discuss sex outside of their marriage) , or they’re jaded and don’t care as they’ve heard it all and then some. Or maybe they just don’t give a shit, in which case so be it. I do long to compare notes with other people, but this may not be the crowd for comparing notes. Part of the journey is learning to accept that others, as much as I might want them to, will not share my interests. They like to take the same medicine, but with a different perspective.
I find it quite interesting, especially since I figured out how to experiment while in the state, and make it work for me. I can’t control outputs (results) but I can control inputs: ie. looking at the same wall resulted in the Matrix code scrolling by. Thinking different thoughts changed my experiece. I wasn’t held hostage to one situation as I was on previous journeys. Not that unexpected hallucinations and feelings didn’t come up, they did, and not that it wasn’t difficult at times, it was. In my opinion, I had a glimpse into the nature and possibilities of the universe – just a glimpse – while others would just call it getting my neural wires crossed by chemicals.
Two days later I figured out the symbols I saw in the matrix. It was on accident. Due to my internet searches and activity, I get many ads geared toward what we might call Hippie subculture: clothing, musical instruments, etc. So I got an ad for Tibetan singing bowls, and there was a bowl with a prominently engraved character and many smaller characters. They are the Tibetan alphabet. I don’t recall seeing Tibetan before. Maybe I have, and it was just a buried memory that came out thanks to the medicine. Maybe it means something else – perhaps the divine revelation I prayed for – and I should investigate it further.
The thing I’m most grateful for is learning how to treat my roommates better. All the entertaining visions are nothing if I don’t become a better person. I also know what I need to do with my life: I need to let go of people and situations that no longer serve my needs. I knew this, but the experience made it obvious I cannot ignore this any more. I need to do those peaceful things that make my life better, and lift up those whom I keep in my life.
I can’t say whether you should or should not use this medicine. I can’t say what your experience will be like. But I will offer a couple suggestions for if you do:
1) Remember the golden rule if there’s other characters in your parallel universe. When you’re sober again, anyone you harmed will still be harmed. Anything you broke will still be broken. Being tripped out is no excuse for harming others. I found myself picking mosquitoes off me gently and setting them down. It’ s not wrong to slap mosquitoes if you feel like you need to. Far be it for me to tell you not to defend yourself against possible disease carrying parasites. I ate a dandelion leaf and some blackberries, that’s about all the damage I was willing to do to anything.
2) If you’re feeling badly, you can embrace the bad feeling, and be thankful for it, or you can let it go, and do something else. Change the input, and you may change the output. While on the journey, I became thankful for the negative experiences. I was glad I was tempted to call an ambulance, I was thankful for those moments of fear and confusion. I grew as a person because of the little hardships.
My final thoughts. I didn’t come all the way back from my journey. A tiny piece of me is still in that world. I find myself taking delight in washing dishes, walking through my house, observing cobwebs, and getting slimy dog kisses on my face. I like looking at the stairs to study the cracks, scratches, and imperfections. I like the subtle slope of the bathroom. I remember how I felt that day, and part of me has not lost the wonder. It is my hope I do not forget the lessons learned. It is also my hope I figure out why I saw the Tibetan alphabet. I don’t even know where to start figuring that one out.
I want to go back to Wonderland
I want to go where giant snails are greeted by loving clovers
Where pine cones crawl about on their business
Where plants raise their leaves and branches to greet the sun
Where I befried a hostile hemlock tree with a handshake
I want to love the color contrasts that I used to ignore
and the geometry of a house creates different moods
I want to go where the cobwebs dance and glow
and want nothing more than to boop me on the nose
and I can read the grocery paper and laugh
I want to go where a wooly bear caterpillar will lick my face
and wants just to be loved
I want to go where the water bowl is filled with tiny glowing gems
I want to know exactly where to pet my cat
I want to go where the stairs are different heights
and trilobytes rise from the catbox to say hello
I want to go where my hat and shoes will always be waiting by the garden
as a landmark, so I don’t get lost
I want to walk into the bathroom, and have both ends be a different heights
I want to floss my teeth to remove a seed, and be mesmerized by my reflection
I want to delight in rainbow bubbles in the toilet when I pee
I want to put one hand in warm water, and the other in cold
I want to go where I have infinite patience
and time is an illusion
I want to see the code of the universe on the walls
so I can learn to read and write it
I want to close my eyes and see in four dimensions
I want to go where I love everything, and harm nothing
not even mosquitoes
I want to go back to Wonderland
and live there forever
Here is an excerpt from my book Zootaloot. It is the beginning of adventures starring the chief of the Cow tribe. Until I can research Swahili names the way I did Gaelic names for the Pig tribe, I’ll use whatever names come to mind as placeholders.
Fabian and the Rhino Village
Three months before arriving at Zootaloot Farm, Oak stood on the periphrary of a Rhino village in on the Southern Plain. It was late spring, and it was hot, and the grasses were tall, and the crops of corn, and yams, and other delicious vegetables were in full bloom. Behind him were many of the clay brick huts of the Rhinomen, as well as many of his people going to and fro about their business. Some carrying weapons and shields, others carrying baskets of supplies. Here and there were sullen looking Rhinos, with bandages wrapped around their noses. Also going to and fro were several chocolate colored humans of the Cow tribe, some carrying buckets of water, some baskets of fruit, some had spears and swords. They all wore light, flowing robes and tunics that helped them stay cool in the hot sun of the region. A couple humans tended to the sick Rhinos, changing their bandages and washing the wasting flesh on their noses.
Two of the humans were wizards, they carried leather bound books, and their chin whiskers were twisted into thick braids that descended a foot or more, as was their custom. These two spoke with several persons: a Rhino physician who augmented his usual armaments with pouches of herb and salves; a wizard of the Horse tribe, his light, freckled faced accented with a dark and thick red beard with braids from the corners of his mouth; and last a sea elf wizard, his gaunt and petite frame decorated with assorted dried fish tails, crab claws, and other fetishes of a seafaring shaman. They all spoke Elvish, the trade dialect of the continent. “I don’t think the cause is a bacteria,” said one of the Cow Wizards. “Tree didn’t see anything unusual in her microscope.” “Could it be a fungus?” asked the Horse Wizard. “Nay, the usual anti-fungal ointments didn’t help,” answered the Rhino physician. And on they debated.
About thirty yards away, Oak stood Fabian, the chief of this group of humans. Tall, quite handsome, and hairless, he had a sincere smile devoid of stress lines or wrinkles, and wore a beaded necklace with a small golden bull head. Tied to his waist was a belt with a finely made sword, and he had a gourd of fermented punch in his hand as he talked with Oak and a large, elderly bull cow. The three spoke frankly together as old friends.
Oak said, “I appreciated your kind words at the funeral last night, Fabian. Maple really loved you.”
Fabian replied, “Let’s drink to her memory. She was a great warrior.” With that, he tilted back the gourd and took a massive gulp, and some punch ran down his chin, and handed it to Oak, who also took a large draught, and offered it to the bull.
“Nay, I shouldn’t drink alcohol,” said the Bull. “But I will instruct my cows to fertilize a coffee field in her name, as she loved coffee.”
They chatted on about this and that. The wizards and physicians were stumped as to the cause of the infection afflicting some of the Rhinos. There were healers or wizards arriving from many lands. Fabian’s people sent messages to all the tribes of free poeples, elf, men and dwarf, but none seemed to have the answer to the mysterious disease that plagued the Rhinos.
Oak had arranged to send scouts to scour the contintent for help, and would take his son and go to the land of the Pigs to find Artur.
“Artur?” asked Fabian. “I have some coffee beans for his wife. I know how much the Frogs love their coffee. Could you bring it?”
Oak said, “Of course my friend.” He caught the sight of a juvenile Rhino woman, his own daughter. “Perhaps, Fabian, you could do me a favor.” He turned and called to his daughter. “Samarra, come here girl.”
A few seconds later a Rhino female, about age 9 (they become full adults at 10), almost six feet tall, arrived. She wore two swords, two axes, and leaned on a spear. “Hello father! Hello Fabian. Hello cow?”
The bull nodded.
“Fabian,” said Oak. “I’d like you to look after Samarra, and keep her out of trouble.”
Fabain smiled, “I’ll look after her as if she were my own daughter.” And with that he put his arm around her shoulder.
Samarra was about to return the gesture, when a cow galloped around one of the huts at high speed, kicking up a cloud of dust. Standing atop the cow was Fabian’s fourteen year old daughter K’Tanga, a cute, hairless girl with round cheeks, and she let out a whoop as she approached. “Zootaloot father! Whoa!” and lost her balance as she passed the four persons, and tumbled into a gorse bush, laughing hysterically at her own clumsiness.
“Like that daughter?” Oak laughed. They all laughed, even the bull, who mooed his amusment. “If my beloved daugher can avoid standing on charging cows without a harness, I think she’ll survive.”
I took a jaunt in Fox Forest and found myself pondering a hillside that would be foolish to climb.
So I decided to climb it. After all, I had my pack, and my favorite stick, I thought I could do it. More importantly, I decided I needed to learn to climb a cold, slippery, treacherous hillside.
So I trudged through a frozen swamp and started on my way up.
The snow was crunchy and hard, so I had to dig my heels in and rely heavily on my stick for support. I had a lot of fun checking out the trees that grew on this hillside. In the distance some bird was making a honking noise: not a goose, maybe a duck?
I neared the top, and stopped to admire a beech with a hollowed out spot. I wondered who lived in the hole.
At the top, I took a moment to look down and reflect on my journey. Now that I was at the top, it was time to look around a bit.
There was a snow covered boulder at the top. If I had written a fictitious story about my ascent, there would have been an animal prophet or oracle to congratulate me. Alas, I found no one.
I was cold, so found a spot under some little hemlock that was sheltered from the wind, and with lots of dry leaves to rest on. I set my gloves in the sun and drank a tallboy hard iced tea.
The trek down was perilous, and I could not take any photographs as I needed both hands to keep me from falling into the rocks. I found a rabbit trail, and slid down on my butt most of the way. My butt was cold and I had some snow in my boots, and the wind was bitter.
At the bottom, I quickly found the park trail and made my way back to the parking lot.
All in all it was a great little adventure. I gained some experience ascending and descending a snowy, icy hillside (+1 to wilderness rolls), and got some inspiration for my stories as well.
Do your adventures inspire your writing and gaming?
On Wednesday, 11/18/2020, I had to euthanize my cat Peeps. He was in kidney failure. Peeps lived with me for almost 15 years. He was an impressive creature. At times he seemed almost human. He raised two younger cats from infancy, his younger brothers Pumpkin and Pickles.
He was patient with me when I was less than a good father. He always loved me even when I was wretched. He comforted sick cats at the Veterinary clinic. He grazed on grass while I foraged for dandelions and plaintains and sorrell.
When I moved into my new home, there were four Yorkie dogs here. He led his younger brother Pumpkin in a battle with the Yorkies. It was like something out of a fantasy film. Nobody got seriously hurt. From then on, the dogs and the cats lived mostly in peace.
There are so many tales I could tell about Peeps, but it would take forever. He was my son, and now he’s gone. On our American holiday of Thanksgiving, I miss him greatly, because I always made a plate of food for him and his siblings. Peeps was cute in that he made sure to eat his vegetables (all veggies were ones healthy for cats) as well as his meat.
His three siblings are sad, and seem lost without him. He was their father, leader, and king. Hail to the King. King Peeps. May he rest in peace.
A big thank you for your prayers and well wishes. I moved in with a friend of mine who had a spare room. It’s been a difficult journey but thankfully my feline children and I have a place to live. We moved in two days ago, and today the cats had their first encounter with the four Yorkie dogs who live here. There was a bit of a skirmish with my oldest two taking the lead in confronting the dogs, but they established their boundries. Over time all parties will adjust.
It was quite inspiring to observe the tactics my cats used in dealing with the tribe of dogs living here. There is a tribe of cat people (actual hybrids) in my story, so the behavior of my cats inspires the in-story actions of the major cat-people characters. My oldest cat, cancer stricken, aged 15, led the charge and was so brave. He was like a King leading his people. Theoden charging out of Helm’s Deep. His brother, only one year younger, joined him as soon as he let out that infamous feline devil moan. It was glorious. There were no real injuries, just some cuffing, lots of barking and hissing, chasing and retreating. And I must say, part of me was glad my tribe of cats came out on top, though I bear no ill will toward the dogs. They are sweet creatures.
I finally took time that should be spent sleeping to work on the book a bit. I revised the last two chapters, “First Blood” and “Konnor’s Trade Post. I chose to have Naranbaatar live, so as to illustrate, through his interaction with Artur, the respect that the different tribes of men have for each other, though their customs are different.
I’ll revise them further, I think, to give greater character depth.
Attached is the latest copy of Zootaloot!
I’d also like to ask you to pray for me – if you are willing – as I’m trying to find a new place to live. My landlord is going to renovate the building and radically raise the rent, and I must find room mates or move out. I need a home for myself and my four cats. They are my children. If that is outside your spiritual tradition, then I place no burden on you. Peace.
This whole pandemic has blown up my gaming group. Most of my gang was in seclusion in fear of catching this bug. This is not a political blog judging pro or con, it just was the fact that my group was in seclusion.
I’m grateful in a way, because I was getting tired of my out of control Sci Fi game. My hope is when they feel comfortable enough to at least meet outdoors at a distance, we can play a different game together.
What I want to play is Pits & Perils or Blood of Pangea but instead if I have a hacked up version of D&D 3.5 and all the skill inflation bullshit that goes with it. No matter how much I tried to simplify it, it got out of hand. I forgot to put the Master in Dungeon Master.
I worked part time for a month but didn’t touch my book during the whole time. Troy hasn’t left for magic school, but I did write a story of Tana’s first Orc kill, and how she felt about that. I fleshed out a little how the different tribes of humans communicated with post riders travelling long distance. With how the world is going, I doubt I’ll ever finish this book now. It almost seems futile.
Click the link to download the story.
Another friend challenged me to write a story about a trans-gendered pilot who was kicked out of America’s new Space Force and then sought revenge.
I wrote a piece of revenge fiction. Be forewarned, there’s explicit violence, swearing, sexually explicit descriptions, racism, politics, terrorism, and other R rated content not really suitable for young readers. If any of that bothers you, please do not read it.
This is not a political blog nor will it ever be. Nor is this work of fiction out to prove a political point. I merely work with available trends in political and social thought and weave them hopefully into an interesting character who does interesting things. In the end, whether you love or hate my hero/heroine, I hope you find the story entertaining.
After my surgery in December, my friend called me and gave me a one hour challenge to write a story about his dog. So I did. I was glad of the challenge, as I had no substantive pain medicine. It was nice to focus on something creative.
There are inside jokes, such as Huck taking a slice of pizza from Oden half asleep on the couch. But if you look past the inside jokes, I hope you find it entertaining. Click the link below to download it.