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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, 

  1. The visual components of a psychedelic experience.
  2. The cognitive components of a psychedelic experience.
  3. 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:

Increased visual acuity is defined as an enhancement of the acuteness or clearness of vision. This sharp increase in visual acuity 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 acknowledged previously. For example, when looking at sceneries, nature, and everyday textures, the complexity and beauty of the visual input suddenly becomes overwhelmingly obvious.

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More examples: Here.

Enhancement of colour: 

Enhancement of colour entails the experience of colours starting 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 on an appropriate substance.

imageMore Examples: Here.

Enhanced pattern recognition: 

Enhanced pattern recognition can be defined as a person’s ability to recognize significant imagery (usually faces) in almost any vague stimuli.

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. For example, every single leaf on a tree might look like many tiny green faces, scenery may look remarkably like people or objects, or clouds might appear to be easily recognizable as fantastical objects, all 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/clothing and on rugs such as oriental carpets.

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More examples: Here.

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:

Visual drifting is by far the most common open-eye distortion. 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.

This effect is capable of manifesting itself across 4 different levels of visual intensity which can be described as:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 person’s vision and the entirety of the external environment in its whole.

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.


More Examples: Here.

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.

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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.

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Colour Shifting:

Colour shifting can be described as 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 colour tinting which is when a black and white image or video begins to fill in with colour. This looks somewhat vague and is very similar to old black and white photos that have been tinted with oil paint. These often colour some spots while leaving others black and white.

If the image below is not animated, click here to load it on a separate page.

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More examples: Here.

Depth Perception Distortions: 

Depth perception distortions can be defined as the very common experience of both extreme and subtle distortions in depth perception during a hallucinogenic 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:

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:

  1. Transparent - The most basic form of tracer can be described as an almost completely transparent afterimage which disappears almost immediately and drags shortly behind moving objects with a maximum length of 2 - 3 inches.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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. It remains in the air for up to approximately 20 seconds.

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More Examples: Here and Here.

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. It is an effect that is universally interpreted as profoundly complex to perceive and physically beyond normal geometry in an indescribable way.

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More examples: Here.

Scenery Slicing: 

Scenery slicing is an effect which only occurs spontaneously and makes the visual field appear as if it has been cut in a remarkably clean way 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.

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More examples: here.

GeometryGeometry is a category of effects which directly effects the vision. It 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 visual geometry, each one increasingly dramatic and incomprehensible.

  1. 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 eyelids.
  2. Motion and Colour – This level is also easily obtainable without hallucinogens and can be described as the appearance of unstructured regions of fleeting flashes and clouds of colour.
  3. 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 are significantly more detailed with the eyes closed or in dark environments.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Level 7A and Level 7B - Once the geometry reaches its seventh and final level, there is not one singular pinnacle of visual geometry but two. It seems that depending on subtle environmental factors and the substance consumed, visual geometry is 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 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 visuals 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.

This is 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 its lower levels this effect is something that fluctuates wildly, pulling trippers in and out of the room in a fashion that many find extremely disorientating. Instead of remaining constant and static, the effect 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 mind’s 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 and completely disconnects the tripper from their external environment before re-stacking them back into the room, until something triggers the process again (usually immediately). The effect snaps 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. Movement stops the process from branching out into everything by not giving the effect the time it needs to lock onto 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:

7BA - 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.

7BB - Becoming the inner mechanics of the subconscious mind,

At the higher end of level 7B visuals, the experience manifests itself as a newfound 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, complex, and self-transforming geometric mechanisms which are immediately interpreted by anybody who undergoes the experience as the inner workings of the universe, reality or consciousness.

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 are often found to be ineffable afterwards due to the limitations of human English or are 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.

Click the image below for a large gallery of examples of visual geometry that have been sourced from psychedelic art across the internet.      

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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. 

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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.
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imageMore 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 2 distinct effects which come in a variety of differing intensity’s.

External hallucinations:

External hallucinations within psychedelics can be described as visual transformations of specific parts of environment into other concepts. 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 looks vaguely like abstract concepts due to our inbuilt sense of pareidolia) to transform 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 the intensity of the progressive transformation.

Internal hallucinations:

Internal hallucinations are experienced exclusively on the back of one’s eyelids and not within the external environment around oneself. They begin as imagery which are often 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 geometry themselves and are displayed in varying levels of detail ranging from cartoon-like in nature to completely realistic (although rarely holding form for more than a few seconds before fading or shifting into another image). These sets of imagery 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.

During certain experiences, imagery is often 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.

As these states of imagery and transformations become increasingly elaborate (proportional to dosage), they eventually become all-encompassing, fully-fledged 3D hallucinations which surround the tripper in a fashion similar to dreams. This creates the feeling that the tripper has broken through into another reality. The things which occur within this perceived alternate reality can 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. The content of these experiences 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 the hallucinations felt infinitely “more real” than anything the person has previously experienced throughout sober living.

Overall, the degrees of intensity can be broken down into five simple levels:

  1. 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.
  2. Partially defined hallucinations - This level of hallucination generally consists of ill-defined, faded imagery embedded with the visual geometry.
  3. Fully defined hallucinations - As the vividness and intensity increases, the imagery eventually becomes fully defined in its appearance and displays itself within the tripper’s direct line of sight on the back of their eyelids.
  4. Partially defined breakthroughs - These begin with random flashes of spontaneous scenarios similar to dreams. These are capable of becoming fully grounded and long-lasting, but are not completely defined in their appearance. They often display themselves as partially to completely blurred and transparent with the tripper’s physical body still feeling at least partially connected to the real world.
  5. Fully defined breakthroughs - Once the hallucinations become sufficiently elaborate they eventually become all-encompassing, permanent, ever-shifting alternate realities which appear completely realistic, extremely detailed, and highly vivid in the way they look along with the sensation of a complete disconnection from the physical body.

In terms of the general stylistic appearance of this state, it can range from hallucinations which are stylized and comprised of a condensed geometry-based material or they can be completely solid and realistic in how they look. This particular state can be broken down into three distinct subcomponents.

Autonomous entitiesContact with autonomous entities is very common. These entities generally appear to be the inhabitants of a perceived independent reality and 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 and 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.

Regardless of presentation, there are distinctly different types of entities which one may encounter, each of which represent a particular subsection of one’s own consciousness through both their visible form and their personality. These can be broken down into 3 separate categories and include:

  • Representations of the self - The simplest form of entity can be described as simply a mirror of ones own personality. It can take any visible form but clearly adopts an obviously identical vocabulary and set of mannerisms to one’s own personality when conversed with.
  • Representations of the subconscious - This category of entity can take any visible form but adopts the personality of what seems to be a conscious controller behind the continuous generation of the details behind one’s own mind-scape and internally stored model of reality. When conversed with, it usually adopts an attitude which wants to teach or guide the tripper and assumes that it knows what is best for them.
  • Representations of specific concepts - This category of entity is by far the most varied type in terms of its visual form and immediately perceivable personality. It can be identified as a simulated representation of any internally stored concept and adopts an appropriate personality to fit this to an amazing degree of accurate detail. For example this specific concept could include people you have met throughout your life, fictional characters or symbolic representations of abstract concepts such as emotions or key parts of one’s own personality.

When communicated with through spoken word, the level of coherency in which these entities can reply with is highly variable but can be broken down into 4 distinct levels of communication:

  • Silence - This level can be defined as a complete unresponsiveness from the side of the entity and an incapability of speech despite their obvious presence within the hallucination.
  • Partially defined incoherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which sound like words but do not contain any real content or meaning beyond a vague sense of emotional intent.
  • Fully defined incoherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which contain fully defined and understandable words but often lack grammatical structure or general coherency.
  • Fully defined coherent speech - This level can be defined as audible linguistic conversational responses and noises which contain fully defined and understandable words as well as fully defined grammatical structure and general coherency which conveys its point on a level which is on par with the tripper’s own intellect.

These entities and creatures may also 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.

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Landscapes, sceneries and settings - At level 4 - 5, hallucinations consistently manifest themselves through the essential component of extremely detailed imagined landscapes, locations and sceneries of an infinite variety. These exist for the purpose of acting as the setting in which the plot of the hallucination occurs. The geography of these settings is capable of rendering itself as static and coherent in organization but will usually result in a non-linear, nonsensical and continuously ever-changing layout which does not obey the rules of everyday physics. In terms of the chosen locations, appearance and style of these settings, they seem to be selected at random and are often entirely new and previously unseen locations. They do however play a heavy emphasis on replicating and combining real life locations stored within the tripper’s memories, especially those which are prominent within one’s life and daily routine. Aside from this they 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.

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 and intentionally propelling trippers in different directions at disorienting speeds. This forces them to view or pass directly through macroscropic and microscopic scale settings, including both previously experienced landscapes and previously unexperienced landscapes.

Scenarios and plots

Each of the above components are randomly shuffled and spliced into any number of an infinite variety of potential plots and scenarios. These may be positive or negative to experience and are difficult to define in a comprehensive manner in much the same way that we cannot predict the plot of abstract literature and films. They can however be broken down into extremely basic occurrences which generally entail visiting some sort of setting or a number of them which contain within them interactive, multiple, or lone characters. Alongside of these, completely unpredictable plot devices and events force the tripper to become involved within the specific scenario of the particular trip.

These scenarios and plots can be linear and logical with events that occur in a rational sequence which lead onto each other through cause and effect. They are equally likely however to present themselves as completely nonsensical and incoherent. This means that the plot will occur with spontaneous events which are capable of ending, starting and changing between each other repeatedly in quick succession and as they please. The plots themselves can either be entirely new experiences that are unlike anything experienced within the real world, old experiences such as accurate memory replays or a combination of the two.

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.

Perspectives - In terms of the perspective in which the hallucinations are perceived through, just like literary plots, dreams can be experienced through four alternate vantage points which are described and listed below.

  • 1st person - this is the most common form of hallucination and can be described as the perfectly normal experience of perceiving the scenario from the perspective of one’s everyday self and body.
  • 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 person, 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 dreamer’s physical body. It is worth noting that for unknown reasons, many people consistently and exclusively dream in the third person perspective.
  • 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 simultaneously.

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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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