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part 2 – wow no wow in huautla


cleaning magic mushrooms – foto by smith

i’ve always done my hallucinogens in daylight, or in the dark, or any time or place between. there’s as much to be said for walking though sun slants in the woods while tripping as there is for lying quiet in the dark and following the colors within. but, both online articles and both curanderos said they are to be eaten in the dark while lying down with a candle burning, so we tried to wait for dark for her to eat her first mushroom.

one curandero said start at 8, the other at 7. lady was impatient to begin and began eating 10 mushrooms at 6:45. but this was oaxaca daylight savings time – most huautlans refuse to acknowledge daylight savings time – so the curandero meant 8 our time, and lady had an hour of light to play with before dark.

i opened the drapes to the round topped bar-Y window (foto below) and put our pillows at the foot of the bed so we could lay and look out window up mountain where the town was strung hung on terrace after terrace climbing to the sky and cloud and changing light and large eagle birds soaring overhead in between back and forth.

after 30 minutes she didn’t feel enough and began eating the rest, slowly holding them on her tongue so her mouth membranes absorbed the hallucinogen more quickly. 90 minutes in she starts smiling. she’d look past me, say “wow.” look at me, said “wow” again. she saw an antenna leading upward from my temple into space, said i was alien. in artificial robot voice i said, “you’re not supposed to be able to see us. don’t fear. we come in peace.” she laughed, so i told her more surreal lies about missing stars and trip tied shoe laces. once everything kicked in, she was “i like this. i like this a lot. i could stay here.”

in the middle of her trip, our door was unlocked by 2 males with a pass key. we snapped “HEY” and they closed the door and left too fast for me to see but had the impression it was the young manager. i then screw-locked the door so it couldn’t be unlocked from without and filed it under another lesson learned – always dead bolt or screw lock. i surmise he knew our couple friends were staying overnight at the curandera’s* and assumed we were too, so he was coming in for look and take or simple curiosity. what was weird was lady didn’t freak out. calmly accepted this unexpected potentially mood damaging intrusion with a cool well it happened let it pass.

Y-bar window tv terrerium – foto by smith

i lit a ceremonial candle on the tv stand and we lay looking the other way out the window, watching the sky loose its light. as dark descended–and it moves fast in high mountains–the mountain disappeared in black and twinkled with the lights of huautla strung up and up and up uphill, cloudmist drifting in between the top of town and us.

drugs don’t cause things – they just let out what’s already in. lady glowed in goodness, kindness, caring. she’s a much nicer person than she thinks she is.

then the inevitable “i want to do this again. a lot. we have to get more.”

next day we go back to the government building, hoping someone will offer us mushrooms. way too early, so we try tracing our way back to the curandero’s place. lady asks wee child in door if daddy is home. we buy 4 more banana leaves. he lights incense and taps lady about the face and body front and back–with discrete detours for decency–with a piece of incense while chanting, then hands the incense to her to toss in the burner – all this in front of a virgin mary shrine alter. he did the same with me, then waved each of the 4 banana leafs through the incense smoke chanting more. he said my name over one while in the smoke so i memorized its folds for later.

we start wandering the town again but my groin starts hurting so we find our dirt path and walk down the mountain again, though this time there’s no boy running after us with offers of mushrooms and our legs are tired and sore from yesterday’s descent. and it had rained, so it was muddier, slipperier, and more difficult too. and i was tired – i hadn’t eaten much the day before because you need an empty stomach for the mushrooms and i was going to trip tuesday night with lady. didn’t, so ate crackers. didn’t eat much wednesday either for same reason.

waiting for my 6:45 take-off time, lady takes a nap while i air out my mushrooms – the curandero said unfold the banana leaf and let them breath before eating. rather like a good wine. i last until 6:30 and start eating.

that’s our second 24 hours in huautla – pronounced WOWt-luh.

* curandero / curandera – A Mexican man / woman who practices healing techniques inherited from the Mayans

mural on front wall of city hall and police building – foto by smith

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