In the conclusion of our conversation with James Oroc (author of seminal 5-MeO-DMT book Tryptamine Palace and The New Psychedelic Revolution) we discuss more aspects of how to set up a 5-MeO-DMT ceremony, including set and setting, synthetic 5-MeO vs toad secretion, and Oroc’s personal experience of doing 5-MeO alone or with others. To read our other conversations with James Oroc, click here, here, and here.
Thanks again for speaking with us James. In our last conversation you mentioned how some 5-MeO-DMT facilitators go awry by inserting themselves between the substance and the participant, which reminded me of assuming the role of priest in organized religion. Rather than seeing the substance as the teacher, they are saying “Well, I am the teacher, and I’m going to heal you using this. You’re not qualified to do this on your own, so let me, the expert, translate it for you.”
And the idea that a method is more instructive than the 5-MeO itself just cracks me up. Or the idea that toad is somehow superior to synthetic because it contains other alkaloids. Well, it’s the 5-MeO that induces the transpersonal experience which is the ultimate experience, so there is not an ultimate experience plus a little bit extra.
It’s like pin-striping a spaceship.
The ultimate is the ultimate, so how can you have the ultimate… with sprinkles?
But, you know, everybody has got to have a story to promote their own story… and that kind of is the story.
If someone is looking for a 5-MeO experience, what advice would you give them when it comes to how it is facilitated, or who they choose to do it with?
Man, that’s a tough question for exactly the reasons we were discussing. I don’t know where the practitioners are getting their stuff from. Personally, I would say you’re better off with synthetic than toad, while a lot of people will tell you the opposite. My reasoning is that synthetic is much more measured and you can know your exact dosage, which I think is extremely important with 5-MeO-DMT. If you do toad, no matter what they tell you, there is no way of knowing how much 5-MeO is in the amount of crystal that they pack in the pipe. They’re taking an educated guess. Now I don’t take educated guesses with something as potent as 5-MeO-DMT. I use a 3-decimal point scale.
Recently I’ve come to the opinion that whoever the practitioner is that appears for you is in some weird way your karma. So if you happen to run into any of these unsafe neo-shamans and they’re pumping toad and that’s the only way you can try it, go right ahead, just be ready for the ride. Tell them you don’t want to get tasered or have water poured down your throat, you know, stand up for yourself and take control of the situation. Otherwise, good luck.
Like I said, I would look for the practitioner who does the least. I know there are some great people out there who are just quietly doing it, I know there are psychiatrists who are giving it to end-of-life patients, I know there are loads of useful practitioners doing it all over the place, you just don’t hear about them.
I just wish it was more widely available. That’s the good thing about psychedelics starting to be seen as psychedelic medicines again, because if 5-MeO-DMT were to become a legal medicine that end of life patients could use, it would certainly shift things.
Do you think a more sterile, clinical environment that would be very neutral might work really well for something like 5-MeO-DMT because it’s so completely internal?
I think it’s nice to be in an environment that you vibe with generally. So a real clinical setting is not the best. The guys who were really into psychedelic therapy in the 50’s and 60’s were turning their offices into more cozy zones because everyone started realizing the value of set and setting. I would say that one’s setting is less important for 5-MeO-DMT than other psychedelics because it sends you to an out-of-body consciousness and your environment is pretty much left behind. But, it’s always nice to be in an environment that you’re comfortable with. Some people like doing it outside, but I don’t really like doing it outside because it’s just too unpredictable. I need to be inside and kind of locked up. [laughs]
Straitjacket on, and some incense burning? [laughs]
No straitjacket, but here’s a good one for you and something interesting that could be studied. So I’m one of those people who likes to smoke 5-MeO alone. The reason for this is that when I’m coming out of the experience and my ego is rebuilding, if there is anyone else in my environment it will interact with those people to rebuild my ego quicker. I don’t get to lie in the in-between state for as long as I like. If I do it by myself, I can kind of not allow my ego to rebuild itself as quickly, and just lay in there for a bit. Whenever I smoke it by myself, I wake up in exactly the same spot. Nothing seems to have been moved, nothing is knocked over, everything is just as it was.
On the other hand, whenever I smoke it with other people around, I get very active. They tell me I walk around my house, I go down a very long hallway, lay on my back throwing my feet up on the wall, laughing like a baby, I get up to all these antics! So my question is, is that the Heisenberg observer affecting the experiment? How come when I’m alone I don’t seem to do anything, but if there’s a watcher I put on a show?
Isn’t it? I think that’s the interaction between the egoic fields in the room, there’s just enough of a presence and a structure that my ego has something to interact with.
Yeah, that’s fascinating. One more question: you mentioned that you are a fan of Eckhart Tolle, and going back to what you said about when the ego is dissolved it has the potential to be rebuilt even stronger if we’re not careful. I’m curious: as a psychonaut, what is it that you do to ensure that you remain focused on your true self rather than on your ego, and what do you do to challenge and erode the ego?
Well, both Tolle and the Buddhists have the same advice: they say you just have to recognize it. It’s really pretty simple. You just have to be mindful that it is always there and always at work. I’m at the point where I can clearly see it in action at some points, and I laugh at myself. I’m like “Oh look at what you just did, that was a total egoic knee-jerk reaction.” I love how Tolle says that the ego is always trying to convince you that it has reformed itself, and it’s no longer a problem.
Sometimes you get these people who’ve smoked 5-MeO once or twice and suddenly they are 5-MeO apostolates, neo-shamans you know? Robert Venosa once told me you’ve got to do something for 10 years before people take you seriously. I kind of feel that you should have at least a decade of sustained psychedelic practice before you even think about taking on the mantle of being a teacher or a provider, and I don’t think most people would fit that bill. But there’s something about 5-MeO that brings out that thing in people where they want others to experience it. I understand that, but I think if you’re aware of the role of the ego and what’s going on, you can observe this tendency and say “Oh, look at that reaction.” Instead of running with it, you can just recognize it and maybe take a step back and say “Well, maybe I’ll give it to a few friends of mine, but I’m not going on tour.” Terence McKenna always said that drugs give you funny ideas. Yep, that’s for sure!
We are very grateful to James Oroc for speaking with us. Check out his new book The New Psychedelic Revolution here, and our other interviews with James on transformational festivals, how psychedelics an help save the planet, and the shadow side of underground 5-MeO-DMT facilitation.