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Observations placeholder

Keen, Roger - The Mad Artist - Mushrooms again



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Roger Keen – The Mad Artist – Psychonautic adventures in the 1970s

Looking back at the mushrooms, I felt they were calling to me, saying, ‘Eat me, eat me, eat me ……..'  So I divided the collection into two equal halves, put one-half back in the vitamin pill box and picked up some specimens from the other and commenced to chew.

They tasted acrid and musty - in fact just like old leather might taste if one was forced to chew it.  I got myself a glass of water to help the process and it wasn’t easy getting through the whole fifty mushrooms, though I didn't gag or feel like throwing up, which was a relief. Next came the process of waiting for something to happen, often a nervy period, especially if the substance involved was acid. But I didn't feel that kind of foreboding and I realised that after my ten mushroom taster trip, I trusted them in a way I didn't trust acid.

Holding these good thoughts, I paced the hallway for a while and then went down into the lounge and read Dad’s Daily Express.

After around fifteen minutes I noticed an acceleration in my heartbeat coupled with an increase in my breathing rate, as though I needed to take in more air. I got up to walk again and my head felt light and woozy and my breathing became deeper still.  Soon the house came to seem oppressive, claustrophobic, as though it was hemming me in. Also, I felt in great need of fresh air. It had been raining earlier but now a reasonably pleasant late afternoon waited outside for me, and I had to get out there, so I put on boots and a jacket and grabbed my keys.

The moment I stepped into the front garden, everything was transformed.  I took in the air, which was fragrant, seductive, uplifting and mysterious.  Droplets of rain clung to the blades of grass on the lawn and the shiny leaves of rosebushes, arresting my attention with the precise beauty of how nature is organised.  My vision seemed to be improved a hundredfold, not only in terms of acuity but also in terms of perceptive depth and resonance – in intelligence, so to speak. This was definitely different to acid, which tended to induce an experience of unreality in the way it intensified the senses. What I was experiencing wasn’t unreal it was more real,  - hyper-real. The garden was marvellous and fantastic in itself and I was really seeing those qualities - this was no 'hallucination’!  I wanted to laugh as I thought this,  and then I walked onto the driveway and looked upwards………

The sky…. Oh fucking hell…..

Its blue colour was just so utterly sublime in its blueness that it transfixed me and made my jaw drop. Similarly the clouds, with their layers within layers of delightful fluffiness just catching a pinkish tinge from the western light, were bursting with the more so-ness of cloud nature………..


It was fully dark when I emerged from the cinema and I was nicely down from the mushrooms, some five to six hours on from when I'd first felt the effects. I'd undergone a smooth, almost unnoticeable transition back to...well, not quite normality. With mushrooms there was none of that acid-like aftermath where the effects cling on in residual form, hour after hour. Now I was my regular self again, but with a superb afterglow that was keeping me two inches off the ground.  What a fantastic experience!  Really nothing had changed….. and again everything had changed

The source of the experience

Keen, Roger

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps