What started out as one diverse "best of the best" psychedelic playlist has evolved into 300+ songs, 40+ hours of music, in 6 playlists (soon to be 7 as new music is constantly being discovered and curated). Each playlist follows typical peaks and valleys of a mushroom trip but everyone experiences psychedelics uniquely and a playlist shouldn't decide when someone has finished their journey. So, each playlist is followed by a couple hours of additional music to welcome you back at a higher vibration.
Known for taking up to 40 grams of magic mushrooms at one time to explore what's beyond, the late Kilindi Iyi once said "If y'all are hearing music, y'all didn't take enough."
While it is possible to not hear the music on therapeutic doses (much lower than 40 grams, more in the 5 gram range) - for someone new to psychedelics, or even for a seasoned psychonaut - a thoughtful playlist can provide great comfort. Playlists can help bring thoughts and feelings to the surface, and if things get challenging the music can gently remind you that you're still lying in bed on planet earth, with your therapist, friends, or loved ones who are supporting your journey.
The songs vary from gentle and calming to purposefully challenging, all chosen to let your thoughts and feelings bubble to the surface so you can go deeper and get answers to important intentions. Many songs are powerful enough to invoke a wide range of emotions and each song can become its own journey. While together in a playlist lasting several hours the music guides you, and welcomes you back with familiarity, as your trip comes to an end. For LSD, or a longer acting psychedelic, there is plenty of music to journey onwards. These songs are also great for calming background music for any occasion (if you don't have access to psychedelics try meditating to a playlist... you might be surprised what comes up).
When using psychedelics it's strongly recommended you set up a container of safety which includes: mindset, setting, and dose.
1. Mindset is about setting intentions - write down 3 to 10 questions or intentions you want a deeper understanding of. Don't have any expectations because people find they get exactly what they need out of their journey when they set intentions without expectations, and let the medicine work deeply.
2. Setting is physically where you are - make sure you'll be comfortable and without interruption. The people who'll hold space for you is an important part of your setting. Ideally they'll be people with an understanding of the medicine, and it's often nice to have both male and female energy. They're there to keep you safe, take notes if needed, get you water, help you to the washroom, ensure your sleep mask stays on, get you an extra blanket or pillow, and hold your hand if things get challenging.
3. The dose is how much you take - 5 grams is the standard "heroic journey" coined by Terence McKenna. Although he suggested 5 grams of dried cubensis alone in dark silence - as more people turn to psychedelics as an alternative medicine safety is of utmost importance. So, we're not doing it alone, we're using playlists to help guide, and it's important to know that psychedelics aren't for everyone. Please do lots of independent research into possible risks and downsides, how to mitigate these, and when to avoid large doses all together. Mushrooms are statistically the safest drug of all and most experts agree around 5 grams is a good amount for a transformative experience.
***Start each playlist when the medicine is consumed and you're ready to lay down comfortably with your sleep mask on in order to achieve a meditative state of relaxation before the onset and peak. It's important to note that you absolutely can't listen to these playlists on the free version of Spotify because it will be forced on "shuffle" and there will be commercials. The songs are curated in a specific order so you don't want them to shuffle, and commercials are exactly what you don't want to hear on a deep psychedelic journey! Double check that shuffle play and repeat are turned off because often when the main play button is pressed Spotify defaults to shuffle and keeps these user settings. Turning on a 2 second "crossfade" in the Spotify settings helps with smooth transitions between songs. Be on airplane mode so no texts or calls interrupt your journey. And have good speakers/headphones that will play the full dynamic musical range.
1. Brain Clean - Playlist 1 begins with "Grande Mareacion" by Maneesh de Moor and is a "brain clean" with its focus on peeling back some of the layers that pile onto people. It has a wide variety of songs designed to send you through a full range of emotions and connect you to your core self, challenge you at times, and wrap you in a blanket of love during others. One of the most culturally diverse playlists it includes a few classical favorites from the Johns Hopkins Psilocybin Research playlist, and a favorite of many "Om Namah Shivaaya" by Russill Paul, along with beautiful songs from Native American artists, Middle Eastern, South American, etc. As well as one of my personal favorite songs, a lullaby "O, I Love You" by Essie Jain whose angelic voice peels many layers off and allows the soul of your inner child to feel loved again, or possibly for the first time for some people... an invaluable feeling. Towards the end you'll hear some African music including "Makambo" by Geoffrey Oryema which asks for peace, love, and togetherness... but all they got was war... "What is wrong with the world? What is wrong with the people? Why don't we want peace?" The final song, "I Can See Clearly Now" by Jimmy Cliff, was chosen by Adrianne who's featured in the documentary, DOSED, and has had an opportunity to experience psychedelics in profoundly life changing ways. Fitting as psychedelics allow people to peel back so many layers that you literally can see things more clearly from understanding what's important, what's undeserving of worry, what motivates you, and being reminded of the connection to self, others, nature, and everything around you in a way that allows you to move forward in life feeling light and refreshed. Following the playlist songs include "Calm" by Govinda, "Dreamer's Wake" by Rival Consoles, and while a psychedelic playlist doesn't seem like a home for "gangster rap" but as things wrap up, we have "Changes" by Tupac Shakur. This poetic and melodic song from the early 90s about the struggles of Black people in America is speaking about decades of oppression with a general lack of change, making it very relevant in today's society. With the War on Drugs being one of the most oppressive, racist, and politically motivated constructs in recent history - Tupac poignantly rhymes - "It's war on the streets and the war in the Middle East, Instead of war on poverty they got a war on drugs, So the police can bother me". Sadly, drugs are winning the War on Drugs and a pivot to a compassionate approach to drug use would help so many people.
2. Let Go - Playlist 2 begins with "Essence" by Laraaji and is about letting go and forgiveness, both forgiving yourself and others. This playlist is overall slightly calmer than Playlist 1 and designed to draw out deep pain, allow you to process the feelings, and let it all go. Sometimes it's as simple as realizing it's not your fault, and you don't need to live your life with those feelings hanging over you anymore. "The Channel" by Essie Jain and "Pure Realm" by Maneesh de Moor and Winson Liao will take you across the threshold, followed by some enchanting classical music including "Adagio for Strings, Op. 11" by Samuel Barber, London Symphony Orchestra. "Existence: Life" by Hafez Nazeri, Shahram Nazeri, Paul Neubauer, Matt Haimovitz, and Glen Velez will challenge you to get to your deep emotions if you haven't by now. "The Finishing" by Stavroz offers the most gentle saxophone with brain cleaning bass, followed by "The Mad Man's Laughter" by Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou and piano that'll have your brain cells dancing and making new pathways. The first mainstream songs are "Paradise" by Coldplay and "O-o-oh Child" by The Five Stairsteps which remind us about how we can escape the trauma of childhood and live free. Ending with "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong. And meditative sounds like "Always" by East Forest follow the journey.
3. Dark Places - Playlist 3 begins with "Meditation No. 1" by Laraaji and starts out with some of the calmest psychedelic-meditation music available to settle in for nearly 2 hours into your trip. "In The Labyrinth Garden" by Alio Die will put you into the most peaceful meditative state as it takes you across the threshold. Then, as Adrianne says in DOSED "It took me to some really dark places, but I guess that's where I needed to go" as we near 2 hours "Dreamcatcher" by Bahramji & Maneesh de Moor will finish out the gentle vibrations. "For The Damaged Coda" by Blonde Redhead will precipitate a journey into the deepest abyss that begins with "Mount Kilimanjaro" by Iridis followed by 5 mysterious and moody songs over the next 45 minutes meant to challenge your darkest energy. Challenging trips teach us lessons and on the other side of this section of the playlist, which will be challenging but rewarding, we'll hear our first English words with "Breathe (In the Air)" by Pink Floyd. Deep breaths are always welcome and several calming gentle songs will follow but we're not finished visiting dark places yet. "Tod und Verklärung (Death and Transfiguration), Op. 24, TrV158" by Richard Strauss, Zdenek Kosler, Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra is a 25 minutes masterpiece that'll take you on a riveting journey full of highs to lows. As we head towards the end of the playlist you'll be welcomed back by "Into the Wind" by Saariselka, "Fix You" by Coldplay, "A Love Song" by Garth Stevenson, through to the final songs, "Don't Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" by The Beatles.
4. Feels - Playlist 4 begins with "Lux 4" by Brian Eno and has a calming vibe throughout allowing you to experience deep feelings with less guidance from the music, and more of your own intuition combined with the medicine. With classical favorites sprinkled throughout you can relax deep into this journey with songs like "Hymn" by Ashana, "The Atomium Part 2" by Stars Of The Lid, "Apana" by East Forest, and "Om Mani Padme Hum 1" by Jane Winther. The first mainstream song is "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. and it's a reminder you're not alone, it's only sometimes, so hold on. Ending with "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley & The Wailers because in the end, everything little thing gonna be alright.
5. Sweet Life - Playlist 5 begins with "Everlasting Moments" by Mark Banning and is another calming vibe throughout with sections focusing on origins of life, humanity, and the universe. "Medicine Buddha" by Maneesh de Moor is a 43 minute long song that'll take your peak to the root of everything. Cultures are being lost as technology takes over and several songs following will transport you over land and time, "Kahalu'nyuhe" by Joanne Shenandoah, "Vuoi Vuoi Me" by Mari Boine, "Cuatro Vientos" - Rey&Kjavik Remix by Danit and Rey&Kjavik, and "Kindred Spirit" by Deuter to name a few. "Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?" by Moby is the first mainstream song - and a question for everyone to ponder at times - hopefully after your journey it doesn't. Ending with "Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole and followed by songs like "Immunity" by Jon Hopkins and "A Walk" by Tycho to bring you back at a higher vibration.
6. Healing - Playlist 6 begins with "Dawn" by Garth Stevenson and is a warm hug followed by several gentle songs for the onset. The simplicity of songs like "Airworthy" by Hakobune, "Ayé Yewo - Tylepathy Remix" by Liquid Bloom, Poranguí, Spice Traders, and Tylepathy, and "Standing Waves: 1976" by Stuart Dempster can be challenging but we learn the challenges are merely crossing the threshold towards the peak that bring up feelings. Sit with those feelings, it's where the medicine does its most profound work. And soon enough feelings resolve as beautiful songs await like "Devi Prayer" by Craig Pruess and Ananda, "Teyata" by Deva Premal, "Regenerative Being" by Desert Dwellers, and "Dream Raga" by Jami Sieber. "(Sittin' On) the Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding is the first mainstream song. Followed by "You Can't Rush Your Healing" by Trevor Hall to remind you that you can't rush it, but you're on the right path, and it's been happening this whole time. Ending with "Why Worry" by Essie Jain and "Strawberry Fields Forever" by The Beatles.
7. Simplicity - Playlist 7 is being curated and will be live when it's ready.