Any psychedelic experience is characterized by the perception of aspects of one's mind previously untapped and unknown, or from the creative exuberance of the mind in a more liberated, free state of thought and free from its usual limits. Psychedelic states are on one of the stations on the spectrum of experiences elicited through sensory deprivation (the hindrance of one or more sense to enhance or stimulate the remaining) or psychedelic substances. The term "psychedelic" originates from a combination of two Greek words: "psyche" meaning "mind" and "delos", which means "manifesting". "Psychedelic" can be literally translated as "mind-manifesting".

The psychedelic experience has the potential of being a tremendously intimate journey, but there are many common themes. They can range from a sense of connectedness to certain things in the vicinity to feeling a profound oneness with everything in the universe.

Few who undertake such experiences come tor recognize them as burdening, or mentally overwhelming; however, most come to realize that the experience was a personal re-enactment of a hero's journey and that it is positive and enlightening. Spiritual practices, such as meditation, and the use of psychedelics can be used as a gateway to achieve states of mind in which novel perceptions arise, unhindered by the brain's natural blockades.

Drugs that can help achieve a psychedelic journey can be overwhelming, but if properly dealt with, they can be transcending and profound. LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, salvia divinorum, ketamine, phencycledine, DXM, 2C-B, and dozens more can cause these psychedelic experiences. Currently, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Heffter Research Institute, and the Beckley Foundation have continued research the psychedelic experience.

Psychedelic HierarchyEdit

No psychedelic experience is the same as another. They sometimes are not as strong, sometimes stronger. This idea was strongly expressed in Timothy Leary's novel The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The books classifies five levels of the psychedelic journey one can experience.

Plateau OneEdit

This level produces a "stoning" effect similar to a moderate cannabis high. Visual enhancement is slightly apparent and comes with color brightening. Communication between the left and right sides of the brain changes, ultimately causing music to sound "wider" than normal.

Plateau TwoEdit

As one enters the second plateau, a brightening of colors and mild "breathing" of objects become noticeable. Some two dimensional patterns become apparent upon closing the eyes. Confused or reminiscent thoughts, sometimes known as thought loops, begin to occur. Vast increase in creative and abstract thought is experienced as the brain's natural filters are being bypassed.

Plateau ThreeEdit

When one experiences plateau three, very obvious visuals are in effect. Everything appears curved or warped. Mild kaleidoscopic patterns become visible on walls. Mild hallucinations such as "flowing rivers" might be seen in carpets or other repeated-texture surfaces. Closed-eye visuals become three dimensional. Mild synesthesia may occur with a blending of the senses. A user would "see" sound, "hear" color, "feel" taste, etc. Large time distortions become obvious; "moments of eternity" (where time seems absolutely stopped) may crop up. Movement at times becomes overbearingly difficult and pointless.

Plateau FourEdit

Same effects when on the third plateau, but vastly intensified. Objects begin to morph into other objects, walls "breath" and ripple, colors change hue and luminosity, and geometric patterns replace some ordinary textures. Things start communicating with you and you might feel contradictory emotions (for example: empathy and arrogance, anger and tranquility, happiness and depression, etc.) simultaneously. Time becomes absolutely and vastly meaningless. Your ego may be split or whisked away, causing "ego loss" or depersonilization. You would most likely obtain out-of-body or near-death experiences and extra-sensory perception type of phenomena arise. Synesthesia becomes easily identifiable.

Plateau FiveEdit

The last platform takes you through a complete loss of visual connectedness with reality. All senses cease to function normally. One may feel they are merging with space, other objects, or the cosmos itself. A sense of oneness between you and the world or universe overtakes you. There a colossaly powerful, sometimes brutal, psycho-physicalreactions that some users interpret as reliving their own birth. A user might "realize" that they are reaching the beginning or termination of space and/or time (which can cause some people to become excessively frightened). The loss of all reality becomes so extreme that it becomes ineffible. Users have commonly reported seeing themselves in entirely different times and settings as when they started. Most people experience religious and spiritual profoundness upon reaching this level. Often reported is an "all-powerful presence" or "universal knowledge" which many equate to the representation of God or transcendence. Many people percieve communication with an omnipotent being or entity that seem otherworldly or even alien and manufacture interminable fractal-like patterns of objects that are aware of themselves. These visuals and experiences cause users to feel a part of and see extra-dimensional realities beyond a third. Derealization and depersonalization are almost inevitable. The boundary between "self" and juxtaposed reality ceases to exist, and all that one is conscious of are the abstract visuals and feelings caused by the experience. Throughts become processed in ways other than words and an "inner voice" as in everyday life; in the midst of a level five psychedelic experience, it is virtually impossible to distinguish conscious thought from the hallucination itself. This indistinguishibility is often described as the oneness with the universe. This resulting otherworldly reality is often difficult to descibre, but has been likened by some to be "transformed into a Picasso painting". Many people reported living in multiple dimensions and having lived thousands of years while on a trip—not as a human but quite often as an abstract entity such as a shadow or color—though, in the case of salvia divinorum or DMT, the experience only lasted roughly five to twenty minutes.

8-Circuit Model of ConsciousnessEdit

First introduced into the western world by Timothy Leary, this model details a theory about the platforms of consciousness. The first four involve survival; the last four reside in the right brain lobe and are for uses in the future evolution of humans. They can be activated via psychedelic drugs.

1: The Biosurvival Circuit (Consciousness)Edit

Imprinted in infancy, concerned with suckling, nourishment, cuddling, bio-security etc. The imprinting of this circuit sets up the basic attitude of trust or suspicion which will last for life. First activated when a human being is born, and programs perception onto an either-or grid, divided into nurturing-helpful and noxious-dangerous (approach/accept vs. flight/flee). Leary thinks that this circuit is stimulated in adults by drugs. This circuit is said to have appeared in the earliest evolution of invertebrate brain. This circuit begins with one spatial dimension, forward and back.

2: The Emotional-Territorial Circuit (Ego)Edit

Imprinted in the toddling stage, concerned with emotions, domination and submission strategies, territory etc. The first imprint on this circuit identifies the stimuli which will automatically trigger dominant, aggressive behavior or submissive, co-operative behavior. This circuit is activated with abundant quantities of alcohol. This circuit appeared first in territorial vertebrate animals. This circuit introduces a second dimension; up and down.

3: The Symbolic Circuit (Rational Mind)Edit

Imprinted by human artifacts and symbol systems. Concerned with handling the environment, invention, calculation, prediction, building a “map” of the universe etc. It is associated with physical dexterity and caffeine, speed, cocaine, and a high protein diet activate this circuit. This circuit supposedly appeared first when hominids started differentiating from the rest of the primates.

4: The Domestic Circuit (Adult Personality)Edit

Imprinted by the first orgasm-mating experiences and tribal “morals”. Concerned with sexual pleasure (instead of sexual reproduction), local definitions of “moral” and “immoral”, reproduction, nurture of the young, etc. This circuit is basically concerned with operating within social networks and the transmission of culture across time. This circuit is said to have first appeared with the development of tribes.

5: The Neurosomatic Circuit (Zen Consciousness)Edit

Concerned with neurological-somatic feedbacks, feeling high, somatic reprogramming, etc. The fifth circuit, according to Leary, is consciousness of the body. There is a marked shift from linear visual space to an all-encompassing aesthetic sensory space. A hedonic turn-on occurs, a rapturous amusement, a detachment from the previously compulsive mechanism of the first four circuits. This circuit is stimulated by ecstatic experiences via physiological effects of marijuana, MDMA, yoga, tantra (Leary's name for tantra was hedonic engineering), Zen meditation, and free fall.

6: The Neuroelectric Circuit (Psionic Consciousness)Edit

Concerned with re-imprinting and re-programming all earlier circuits, relativity of “realities” perceived, cybernetic consciousness, so-called ESP/magical powers, etc. The sixth circuit consists of the nervous system becoming aware of itself. Leary says this circuit enables telepathic communication and associates it with peyote, psilocybin, MDA, and yage, as well as being associated with computer games.

7: The Neurogenetic Circuit (Buddhist Consciousness)Edit

Concerned with evolutionary consciousness (past and future), DNA-RNA brain feedbacks, etc. The first to achieve this mutation spoke of “memories of past lives”, “reincarnation”, “immortality”, etc. This circuit is stimulated by LSD, yoga, etc.

8: The Psychoatomic Circuit (Overconsciousness)Edit

Concerned with quantum consciousness, non-local awareness (information from beyond ordinary space-time awareness which is limited by the speed of light), illumination, out-of-body experiences, astral projection, contact with alien entities (which does not necessarily specifically refer to only materially based creatures from outer space, but rather all beings, including e.g. angels) or with a universal consciousness. Some of the ways this circuit can get activated are shock, near-death experience, etc. Leary associated large doses of LSD (1,000 micrograms), ketamine, and DMT with this circuit.