As I stated in my Introduction to a Series of Blogs on Religion, I always intended to write about the darker side of the Mind and human Spirit, including the debauched and the drug induced experiences of my own past.
In-keeping with that original intention, I endeavour to outline, over the course of a succession of two articles, my experience with a very particular modern substance: spice.
Spice is one of the formerly ‘legal highs’ which plagued the news of many a Western country not all that long ago.
Spice is a drug to be smoked, made by spraying marshmallow plants with a solution containing varying amounts of synthetic cannabinoids – that is, substances designed to mimic the effects of marijuana, but often with much more extreme and unpredictable results.
Although I garnered a decent wealth of experience with many an illicit substance back in the day, my desire for spice was indulged on one occasion only, and never again.
This first article will detail the hallucinations themselves, while the second will deal with my interpretation of what I experienced during the trip as well as in the aftermath.
It was a surprisingly warm and sunny February afternoon, and I had only a week or two earlier returned from an eight-month stint in London, during which time I had worked my first hands-on, full-time job and simultaneously delved into one of the least healthy periods of my life.
At the time I was eighteen.
Although my time and work in London had been largely drug fuelled (admittedly, and to my shame), I had not yet had the displeasure of trying spice, despite the trend for it at that time.
Although I had bought the drug while still living in the capital, I feared that, given the reputation of the stuff, if I were to take it anywhere but in the seclusion of the garden of my father’s house that I would make a fool of myself.
So it was that I sat down in the sun, with my back against the back wall of the house, looking out down the garden, and filled a small pipe with the drug.
I placed the pipe in my mouth, as always, and lit up, taking a tentative hit of the alien substance.
A moment passed, and I wondered if anything was about to occur, or else if I’d been sold a low quality product.
No sooner than these thoughts had formed in my mind, did I feel my ears pop and notice my peripheral vision begin to morph, as well as a plunging feeling I couldn’t account for – all as if I had been plunged into a pool of water.
As I observed the sensation of being submerged, my vision became gradually more tunnel-like, and the garden seemed to grow further from me with every passing second.
At once, I could no longer support my body and so fell back, seemingly into the wall itself, and then downward, as if into a well.
I gazed up in the direction from which I had fallen, and to my horror the light of the sun and the green of the garden seemed to grow smaller as I plummeted, until there was only a speck of light left above me.
As I grew more aware of my surroundings, I realised that I was lying on some kind of a platform in my descent, and that around me there was only black – although the occasional shape whizzed by, I could never make out more than the vaguest of outlines of a person or a car or what appeared to be cathedral-like buildings.
I fell for what felt like hours, and then what I presumed must have been days.
I simply lay there, without hope of ever again reaching the ‘surface’ from which I had fallen.
During my fall there was much time for contemplation, and I thought over my life, often with regret and disappointment, as you might expect.
I fell for so long that I forgot my body – a realisation I came to after I don’t know how long, and one which I fear I would struggle to describe.
Upon reaching the awareness that I was no longer a creature with a body, I found myself viewing a circle of lights of all different shapes and sizes, but all golden and startlingly bright.
Around the circle, one further light darted in laps, leaving a comet trail of sorts behind it.
I found myself in control of that one light, and I was aware that God had given me a task to complete: I was to navigate my light a route in-between those which made up the circle, so that rather than orbiting, my light might traverse the circle and avoid colliding with any other.
To maintain proper and consistent control of the light proved to be a battle for the Will, and to react with enough speed and foresight to every twist and turn of the crossing seemed beyond me.
I failed again and again, and a long time passed.
Finally, I came to the realisation that I had but one more try, and as I collected myself for the challenge, I feared that if I were to fail then God would leave my company forever.
As the light zig-zagged in and out of the brilliant vision, my heart sunk as, in a moment of lost concentration, I failed once again in my task.
A split-second later, the lights went out and all around me the darkness itself seemed to shatter.
This was everything I had feared, and I believed with all my heart at that moment that I was truly alone, and had ‘fallen from grace’, so to speak.
In fact, I believed myself to have shattered the entire universe with my failure, and I mourned for the friends that were lost.
After a few moments of the kind of loneliness one can only describe as the abyss, I was seemingly rejoined with my body – only I wasn’t in the garden, or anywhere close to reality, but in a tube, with bright light all around, and a burgeoning heat too.
I quickly calculated that I was on the inside of a tube light bulb – the kind which schools, churches and other public spaces often use, and which invariably turn out to be the final resting place of a thousand flies and moths.
I rested for a moment, and struggled with my body.
I could not for the life of me make my body obey my mind; the two were unable to communicate effectively after being separated for what seemed like so long.
After around fifteen minutes, and as I grew more accustomed to movement, I began to scream and kick and punch the sides of the tube, but to no avail.
All the while I was aware that the bulb had been getting gradually hotter, and after so many minutes I felt myself sweating and my flesh beginning to grow red and burn.
After an unknown period of this torment, I felt a jolt forward and, with a rush, I opened my eyes to the garden.
The pipe was still hovering just in front of my mouth, and the lighter before it in my other hand.
I looked at my watch, and was disturbed to find that a full hour had passed since I had last been aware of my physical surroundings.
I had spent the past sixty minutes inside my own head, and I was emotionally exhausted.
Read Part II for analysis here: A Spice Experience Part II: Analysis