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The whiff of peat briquettes
and glow of sodium-vapor
carry echoes
of this evening's Angelus,
It peals across satellite estates.

December's early darkness
dispelled by old streetlamps,
And the draught of winter
yet to solstice
held back by dreams of escape.

We swept through an altered town,
Familiar faces, I met someone I knew
but cannot remember; what would it mean
to experience a moment
without prior?
Recently I was misidentified as a psychonaut
so allow me to clarify,
I am not.

I am no longer
part of that cabal,
I am no more a psychonaut than I am a catholic;

But, as a philosopher, I will write of it.

Psychonautics is an act of configuration.
It refers to a methodology
for describing and explaining
configurations of consciousness,
And a research cabal
in which adherents explore
and harness those configurations.

The power of psychonautics
is that configurations of consciousness
have resonant effects on meaning and belief.
The psychonautic cabal emerges from a recognition of this.

Psychonautic exploration is not without risk
to the physical and psychological well-being
of the researcher, to their essence and beliefs.

An experienced and trustworthy practitioner
can provide a tether to your shared reality,
Advanced practices require caution and patience
to navigate safely; "[t]here is no casual experiment".

In the Western paradigm, classical psychonautics
was defined by contemplative and ritual techniques,
The religious or spiritual practices of a tribe or society.

Modern psychonautics has been increasingly defined by
the use of psychoactive substances, which is likely the result
of secularization, advances in pharmacy, and the war on drugs.

In contemporary society psychoactives are a valuable commodity
that many people use (or misuse) for a variety of reasons.

Some will seek out drugs they have not tried before,
Few shall devote themselves entirely, investing
their time and resources in learning about,
acquiring and assessing psychoactives.

This latter cohort aligns with the methodology
of psychonautics, they commit to understanding
through practice. Many become well-versed
in Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS),
Some academics assume this is the mark of the modern psychonaut
but it is mere specialization  rather than characteristic thereof.

As more initiates into psychonautics emerge from drug experiences
so does the cabal become more chemical. Nevertheless
it draws its adherents from a diversity of practices.

Psychonautic practices entail ontological risks,
The ranks of the cabal are full
of disordered, misguided, or warped adherents
whose heedless practice undermines
the meaningfulness of consensual reality.
A lack of formal training and mental health
likely contribute to this, although no equation
can encapsulate the qualitative experience which
compromises ontological security.

The cabal is decentralized, without singularly defined leadership
or ideals, and it operates through intrigue. Its adherents
may dispute the ethos or validity of some practices
and their corresponding configurations, and so
within the cabal there is an internal politics:

Cognitive liberals
believe anyone using responsibly
should be allowed their methodology and be able to practice.

Universalists or absolutists
believe everyone should be initiated, if not adherent.

Elitists and psychocrats
hold that only their method and practice is valid.

Cognitive dissidents
believe the methodology and its praxis must not be vested
in nation-states, corporations, or religions
if it is/they are to retain its power.

The cabal's politics of intrigue
represent an unspoken power struggle
where the stakes are unclear, if even communicable.

If the war on drugs comes to an end, psychonautics
will be redefined by its next wave of initiates,
May they be wise and kind.

I have written enough,
That part of my life is well and truly over.
My purpose here is to explore ideas, to experiment with poetry.
The place I allocate psychoactives
has always been secondary to that;

Rarely do I deign to sail the soul now
but when I do, know I am a philosopher

and do so as an inquiry into mind
rather than in service of alteration.
Line Twenty-Two from PiHKAL by Alexander & Ann Shulgin.

"When you see a headline extolling the virtues of “resetting your brain,”
What’s missing is the “visceral, sometimes hellish experience”"
-Rosalind Watts
Speak the phrase "Civis Europaeus sum"
and safety is guaranteed to one's data
when traveling through the internet.
All roads lead to FVEY.
Relativism does not usually trouble me,
That our knowledge is perspectival
and our morality, cultural;

I do not think this precludes communication,
We can still share in cause and meaning.

Physics and metaphysics can prove
the unity and continua
of matter and energy,
Of mind and body,
Of one and many,
And of opposite
properties, even being
and becoming, essence
and existence.

A relativism of the self
is something entirely else
which I find quite troubling;

Should one's experience change
uncontrollably, and of course
it will. That drastic instance

it diminishes one's choice.
That afternoon I took MPT,
An obscure base tryptamine.

Psychedelic compounds do not reveal truths and such,
They reconfigure mind to make associations potent.
I am concerned the intimate sense qualities of
this mental life are precarious, beckoned
by contextual substrate, they submit
to the sways and throes we feel
as the slings and arrows
find their mark.
Modern pop-politics
is rife with conflicts
over freedom of speech,
The use of language,
The shape of the narrative,
is always political, language
is often contested, consider
the language of drug use:
'Addiction', 'dependence', 'substance use disorder'.
Nevertheless a compassionate idealism strives
to contrast the weighty realism of suffering.

Alas, who can say whether drug use
is a set of choices, or the pattern of habits?
Vying between these drives, I try a few milligrams
of methoxyeticyclidine. This mortal coil, it harkens Absurdia.
The next morning I wandered town, wondering what dignity was.
I sat across from the theater, on the steps  of the courthouse, and
as noon struck some solicitors emerged. They would not look
at me due to my scangerly attire, my ropey vibe. Spurned
by 3-MeO-PCE, I understand.
The clever craft emerges from
intelligence, willpower. It allows
for healing, or human enhancement,
Provides a means to catalyze inspiration,
Or indeed proffers mere modes of recreation,
And of course a dark side which is unwholesome.

All the same I turn to those fabled schools of Alteration,
Of Conjuration, Destruction, Illusion,
Of Mysticism, and Restoration;
Its immanent applications

and its transcendent source:
Metaphysics. Knowledge, experience.
It is worth acknowledging recreation, playfulness.
I trial under 50mg of 3-MEC, fairly weak,
Temptation to re-dose but I refrain. For me
October's a great time to get ****** up, but
these days it would take true friends
to go there and come back again.
The pace of life quickens, recognition
dawns in the dark corners of my mind,
To come alive, it's been so long, too long
to feel some; embrace these sways, to seek
eternity. Town
was such a remnant today. I could sense that
buzz hanging on the dusk: electric, ecstatic, but
I did not give chase.
Is it anhedonia when one's pleasures become mere
intellectual pursuits: my love of pharmacy, of music?

That recognition flickers
like a candle in the dark,
It was lit for you.
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