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Observations placeholder

Marcia Moore and ketamine



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Marcia Moore – Journeys into the Bright World

As I relaxed, Rama explained that he would be the one to administer the injection. The sterilized needle would be inserted not into a vein but directly into the muscle tissue. I was simply to let go and enjoy the experience. It was clear that Rama was an expert with the hypodermic which he thrust into my arm smoothly and painlessly. I noticed that the fluid was as clear as water and took only a couple of seconds to leave the syringe. In less than two minutes, far sooner than expected, the rush began.


April 1976     BigSur, California     50mg

It started with a slight giddiness and a noise like the chirping of crickets. The cricket chorus rapidly swelled to a smooth purring roar similar to that produced by the motor of a well-tuned racing car. This was not one solid sound but rather a propeller-like staccato whirr which seemed to come from an external source. I felt effulgently happy and at ease, even though the traceries of dark beams against the white ceiling were now dancing back and forth and dissolving into a kaleidoscopic reverie of geometrical designs. The sensation was reminiscent of the times I had inhaled nitrous oxide at the dentist's office. But that had been like standing at a door. This time I was going in. It also felt like going home. My voice thickened; speech was impossible, and then I was spinning round and round like tumbleweed and the sense of familiarity was becoming greater and greater....

In the next half hour, during which the drug was operating at maximum potency, I never lost consciousness, even though ordinary body awareness was totally gone. To an observer I would have appeared completely insensible, deeply anaesthetised. Yet, even though the memory of that state remains it can only be called "indescribable." To speak of a thunderous silence, or a multidimensional sphere turning upon itself, or of identification with un differentiated vibratory energy is probably as close as words can come to portraying a truly ineffable condition of existence. This inner realm, full of sound, color, and sensation was itself entirely formless. Here there could be no distinctions between subject and object, this and that,  I and thou. Only the vast nameless faceless process remained, churning on and on and on. Somehow it seemed evident that it would continue to roll around that way forever like a ponderous wheel upon which the chariots of the gods might ride on to eternity.

It came to me that this was also a millwheel by whose grinding ac­tion my small personal concerns were being entirely rubbed out. The last husks of "I-ness" were wrested from my grasp, pulverized, and shucked off like chaff reduced to dust. Yet the light of awareness shone on undiminished. That is, the ego was gone—yet the Self was exactly as It always had been.

…. In all this I did not feel that I was being elevated to a higher level of existence. Rather, the substance of my earth-bound psyche was being inexorably reduced to its own common denominator, like molecules and atoms dissolving into some intangible substratum of electricity.

To summarize that instant—and insistent—transformation I would say that the lesson this and subsequent ketamine trips taught me was that one can discard all traces of ego awareness and individual volition and still be more than one was before. The loss of personality does not bring extinction. It seems to me, therefore, that any thoughtful person who tries the same experiment and achieves similar results must be disposed to accept the fact of immortality. How else can it be possible to drop the body, emotions, and mind and still exist as a self-aware entity in a realm of infinite and animate potential? How else can one suffer the loss of every known form of sensory perception, pass through that roaring void of hyperkinetic numinosity, and then return intact to the human condition? Even though we sink down through the bottomless abyss, falling all the way to its nethermost depths, there is something in us that endures and rises again into the light of a new day.

For years I had read of such states of being in the writings of Eastern philosophers and Western mystics, but most of what they had said had of necessity remained book knowledge. In general, their word pictures related about as closely to my ketamine experiences as the blueprint of a house relates to the daily exigencies of functioning within that structure. We are indeed fortunate that blueprints are pro­vided and they are indisputably useful. On the other hand, such line drawings can convey only the barest impression of how it actually feels to live, move, and grow up within that home situation.

Unquestionably the most interesting part of this first ketamine trip was the gradual process of spacing back into the body. As it dawned on me that I still possessed a physical form and would have to repossess it my first thought was, "Oh dear, I have completely blown my mind. Now my friends will have to deal with a zombie. What a bummer for them!" At that point it didn't seem remotely possible that I could ever return to the phenomenal world of things and doings in which I had formerly functioned.

When once again I was able to look at my watch I realized that the entire experience had lasted less than an hour.

The source of the experience

Ordinary person

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps