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I Saw An Angel On a Bad LSD Trip

And it told me some mindblowing things about God and the nature of the Universe.

By Alvin AngPublished 7 months ago 19 min read
3
Source: Giovanni Bellini, Wikimedia Commons

After that trip I became something of a psychedelic evangelical.

I talked to anyone and everyone I deemed safe about them. Psychedelics are the future, I argued. Taking them has given me a new perspective, a spiritual awakening that would have otherwise taken me a lifetime to achieve. And hell, they’re not bad drugs at all. Those were all government propaganda, enforced lies funded by corporate dime―and did you know that the pattern of the 12-helix human DNA was discovered while the scientist was high on LSD? And did you know that there is strong evidence that humans have been taking magic mushrooms for centuries, that the use of soma and mescaline and ayahuasca predate and quite possibly kickstarted the genesis of organized religion itself?

The people I spoke to, they didn’t believe me. Or if they did, they only humored me before going on with their lives. Singapore’s culture of anti-drug use was too strong, and our love of materialism too deep. We would never be able to break out of this cycle of suffering, not for another generation or two at least.

My friend Marcus was chief among the disbelievers. It was easy for him to disbelieve me because he had been my friend for years, and it was easy for me to try and convince him because he was now crashing on my couch. “If what you say is true, why then does the government not encourage drugs but criminalize them? Why then, if what you say is true, do governments all around the world seek not to promote these drugs, but instead ban and burn them wherever they’re found?” He argued. Spoken like a true government supporter, I thought, then countered, “You see, not all governments ban drugs. Countries like America and Canada and even nearby Thailand have unanimously legalized marijuana. Hell, you can even buy products such as weed edibles and psilocibin truffles over the counter in Amsterdam―and go to any rave in Europe, you’ll find MDMA in its purest powdered form offered to you in silver trays everywhere. And hell, if you’re into the medical side of things, what about MDMA being used for post-traumatic stress therapy with a 67% success rate, and psilocybin and LSD being used against treatment-resistant depression and end-of-life anxiety, with both drugs demonstrating a whopping 75% cessation rate against these morbidities by the end of 12 months?”

Marcus crossed his arms, unimpressed, and to impress him I said, “Look, it’s obvious that our society has been conditioned against drugs. The War on Drugs, Just Say No, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s pack of lies that ultimately resulted in what? Millions of their own citizens being jailed for non-violent crimes, thousands of people hanged in jails and shot in the streets in a senseless war that should not exist at all. It’s like we learned nothing from the Prohibition. ‘History never repeats itself,’ Voltaire wrote. ‘Man always does…’”

But Marcus was still not sold. I could tell it from the look in his eyes, the cold, detached look he gave me as he lay back on my couch. I became convinced that there was only one way I could convince him.

“Look,” I said. “I have two tabs of LSD. We can take them if you want, and then you’ll see. Tonight.”

“Tonight?” Marcus said, eyes widening slightly.

“Yes, tonight. As a matter of fact, let’s take them right now!”

Marcus was an egoistic guy. That was why I liked him so much. He had a rare ego that could hold up against my own. And now this ego was being challenged. Unafraid of the challenge he rose to his feet and said, “Fuck it, bro. Let’s do it. Let’s see what your rants are all about!”

He was calling my bluff, and I smiled because I knew LSD would be calling his bluff soon. I had a Full House, a Royal Flush and he didn’t even know it, and I smiled as I handed him the drug. Wanting to be safe, I told him, “Look, maybe we should take half first. We could share one each, grab a pair of scissors and trim the tab cross-wise. It would be safer this way…”

Marcus wasn’t having any of it. It was his first trip and he wanted the full experience, God damn it; he was the one in charge and he wanted the whole nine yards. Saying this he grabbed the tab and threw it in his mouth. “It tastes like nothing, bro.” He said with a smirk.

Just wait, I thought.

A few minutes later he said, “I still feel nothing, bro.”

“Just wait,” I said.

A moment later it began to come. Feeling the first rush of the drug hit me, I turned to Marcus. “It’s coming,” I said. “Do you feel it?” Marcus only shrugged. I growled. Grabbing his hand, I led him towards the door. I opened it and brought him to the world of the outside. There was a corridor. I took him there and pointed out beyond the balcony. “Look there,” I told him. “What do you see?”

The view outside my apartment was spectacular. I lived in Yishun, in a U-shaped enclave with my apartment in the middle and two apartments by my side. Northland Secondary School was in front of us. It was a large school, built out of sturdy red brick, meant to last centuries. During the day the school would be noisy, full of the sounds of students and school bells, but it was night now, and the school was empty. Its brick eyes stared blankly at us through the silence of the night.

“Oh my God,” Marcus whispered.

It was my turn to smirk. “You see?”

And see Marcus did. He saw that the road, the road that led from my apartment to the school, was meandering from side to side like an old and ancient river. A fog that did not exist obscured the lines of the road. There were cars that drove by, magically on the river-road, their headlights like white stars cutting a lonely swath through the dark.

It was an LSD-infused night, a night where anything was possible, anything at all. The lights of the surrounding apartments were a bright contrast against the dim road below. As I focused, I found that I could see into each and every window. Here was the living room of the apartment across mine. There was a family gathered around the sofa, lounging and watching TV. I looked at the apartment opposite theirs, and beheld a slightly less wholesome scene. Through a crack in the curtains, I could see a young couple making love. The man was really working, and the woman’s hands were up and sweating, leaving mist-soaked imprints against the window. They looked like they were enjoying themselves. I was enjoying myself too, reveling in the power of my new-found godhood. I was beyond it all now. I was Hermes the messenger god, invisible and peering into houses, into worlds, into other people’s apartments and most intimate moments. I was a voyeur and I found that I liked it.

“What the hell?” Marcus said. His eyes were wide open, glazed with wonder and fear.

“We are gods in the chrysalis,” I told him seriously. “Let’s go down!”

I took his hand and led him to the void deck below. We chose a path randomly and walked it. Our feet took us through the communal gardens of Yishun Town. Compared to the concrete bleakness of the void deck, the gardens were a wonder to behold. Every delicate flower and blade of grass was infused with a sense of child-like wonder. It was as if we were seeing plants for the first time. As we passed a rosebush, its petals seemed to open up for us like a woman’s willing legs, and as it did its fragrance sprang out to tickle our noses with invisible fingers of sweet-scented nostalgia. We stopped before a Chinese willow. This was a plant that grew near rivers and streams, except there was no river here. It was transported here by foreign hands to this land where there was no water, only dreams, and its leaves sagged forever downwards, in hope and in mourning, searching forever for the river it was promised.

We stared at the willow for a long time, Marcus and I, and who wept first, we did not know. All I knew was when we abandoned the willow for the hills Marcus’s eyes were glassy, and both our faces were silver-streaked with tears.

Our feet led us up to Yishun Hill, a local lover’s lane of sorts. We were halfway up the hill when the path before us diverged. One of them led right, further up the hill, where there were lights and people aplenty. The other forked left, to a remote section of the woods, an area where there was nothing but darkness and trees. Recalling the first line of Dante’s Inferno, I recited:

Midway upon the journey of our life

I found myself upon a forest dark,

For the straightforward path had been lost.

Without saying a word, Marcus turned and headed left. I looked at him quizzically, but all he said in reply was, “The path is telling me to walk it, bro.” He said this so seriously I had to laugh, and laughing I followed him into the dark.

The streetlights became a distant memory as I trudged through the forested hill, but despite the eerie atmosphere, I wasn’t at all scared. To my Acid-soaked mind, the forest looked like a magical place, fog-filled and shimmery, like something out of an old Irish fairytale. Here was a moss-covered Angsana, its trunk full of strange cracks and patterns that looked so much like faces smiling at me. There was a conifer, evergreen and arrow-straight in the night, littering the path with many lemon-scented needles. As I walked, I imagined that I had lost myself in the lands of the Fae. I imagined running into a Leanan Sídhe, a beautiful fairy maiden, famous seducer of poets and artists alike―and you know what I would do? I would bump into her hard, accidentally on purpose, and she would smile and forgive me. And apologising I would allow myself to be seduced. I would ignore her too-large eyes and the twin bumps on her ears that proved that she was not human but elf, and holding her hands I would follow her into the timeless barrow hall she calls home.

But it was no good. For all I tried, I could not picture the fairy maiden’s face. Every time I tried her face would morph and turn into Linda’s.

There was a crunching of leaves ahead, and an old man appeared out of nowhere. He was four meters or so away from me, close enough for me to make out his features. He was Indian. Tall and very skinny. An old gray singlet covered his body, and a threadbare sarong obscured his legs. His sudden appearance shocked me, put me on edge. Uneasy, I whispered to Marcus, “Hey bro, you see him too, right?”

“Yeah.” Marcus said.

“So he’s real?”

“Yeah, he’s real alright.”

So the old man was not a hallucination, but that only seemed to make things worse. His sudden appearance was not the only strange thing about him. He was whispering to himself, this old man of the forest, and I could not make out what he was saying, but I would hear him soon, for he was inching closer to me. Four meters became three, three meters became two, and when he was right next to me I made the mistake of meeting his eyes. They were bright and beautiful and utterly insane. He did not look at me but right past me, and when he passed I could hear him whispering, “Trees, trees. The headsman’s in the trees. He’s taking the lady to the trees. Trees, trees…”

It was his mantra, repeated again and again, not in Sanskrit but in English. Something about the way he said made me violently scared, made me want to swing The Arm at him and clock him flush in the face.

“He’s just a schizo, bro. Forget it.” Marcus said.

And I tried to forget it. I tried to forget about the old man as I traipsed through the trees; but the more I tried to forget, the more he stuck with me. Trees, trees, the headsman is in the trees, and he’s taking the lady with him. What in God’s name was he going to do to the lady? And was the old man truly schizophrenic, or was he simply high? And was this what was going to happen to me if I get high one too many times? Am I going to become a skinny schizophrenic in a sarong, whispering about invisible ladies, wandering through the trees?

These thoughts, they unnerved me, frightened me, and frightened I began to walk faster and faster until we broke through the trees to arrive at a clearing. The clearing was a perfect circle, utterly empty, devoid of people. A ring of pine trees surrounded it. And under those pines were people. Shadow people.

The shadow people looked like reflections, like blurry shapes so much like inkblots. But this was no reflection, I realized, this was real life, and as my incredulous eyes watched another shadow sprang up to join with the first. Then another appeared. Then another. And another. Soon there were dozens of them, a veritable army made up of indistinct sentinels, watching us under the trees. They were still and unmoving, and somehow, their stillness made them all the more menacing. For the second time that night I felt a tendril of fear slide down the back of my neck.

“We’ve got to go,” I told Marcus, grabbing him by the arm.

“What’s the rush?” Marcus asked.

I didn’t answer him. I turned back instead, barging back through the path from which I came. I could hear Marcus following closely behind me. The rocks and roots under my feet threatened to trip me, but I stood firm. The passing branches clawed at my hair and my clothes, begging me with petrified fingers to please oh please just stay, but I pressed on. I was gunning for the bottom of the hill. I knew that if I could make it to the bottom and make it back home, I would be safe. So fuck you, hill! And fuck you, creepy old man! If I see you again I’m going to give you a good walloping, if I bumped into you again I’m going to beat you up with The Arm, bang you over the head with it and set you whispering: “The fighter, the fighter’s in the trees, and he’s handing out ass whoopings.”

With these panicky thoughts in my head, I descended the hill and walked all the way home. My apartment was dark. I flipped a switch. The light hurt my eyes, so I switched it off again. Light. I needed some light. Light dispelled the shadows. But soft light, that was what I needed, soft light, not hard light, so thinking this I made my way to my fridge. I opened the fridge door, and at once a cool orange glow surrounded me, comforted me, set me immediately at ease. I was so grateful I almost wept. And Calvin said let there be light, and there was light! And he opened the fridge door and saw that the light was good.

There were grapefruits in the fridge: sweet, round, delicious things, red and ripe for the eating. I grabbed one and went to my room. Marcus was there waiting for me.

“What happened in the hills, man?” He asked. “I was having fun!”

“Nothing, bro. I just needed a change of scenery is all.”

Needing a change of scenery I switched on my speakers and hit play. A jangle of discordant music rose from it to greet my ears, but I saw that this too was good. Anything was better than being stuck with the shadow people on the hill.

Now that I was in my room I was beginning to calm down. My four walls were a familiar panacea against my panic. They soothed me, calmed me, and feeling calm I started peeling the skin off the grapefruit. As I was peeling, I noticed that the song on the speakers sounded familiar. I recognized it: it was Time by Pink Floyd. I knew the lyrics, and softly I began to sing along. ..

It was a nihilistic song full of nihilistic lyrics, but its familiar nihilism made me feel good. No more existential bullshit, Calvin! No more going out for trips. Now, whenever you trip, you’re going to stay in your room, the room where it was safe, where the atmosphere could be controlled and there was no chance of seeing schizophrenic old bastards or shadows of ghost-like men. Reaffirming this to myself, I held the peeled grapefruit up to my mouth.

And froze.

There were ants all over the grapefruit, red ants teeming and swarming like blood. I held it away from my face―and the ants disappeared. I brought it close to my mouth, and they reappeared again. Disgusted, I flung the grapefruit at the floor.

“Hey, you want that?” Came Marcus’s voice. He sounded hungry.

An experiment, yes, let us conduct a little experiment. “No man, you can have it,” I said. Marcus picked up the grapefruit. I could see the ants crawl up and disappear into the tiny hairs in his arm. He brought it up to his mouth. And bit.

Red juice squirted down his chin, red ants swarmed up onto his face. Marcus didn’t seem to notice. He chewed and he chewed and he puckered his lips with relish. “Oh my God, Cal, food tastes so good when you’re on LSD!”

“It does, right?” I replied.

I watched Marcus with morbid fascination. The ants, they didn’t seem to affect him at all. Maybe he was immune, I thought. Maybe Marcus was the Chosen One, destined to lead us all to the promised realm.

Then the ants swarmed into his eyes, and Marcus began dying in front of me.

Like Linda before him, Marcus began to grow old then young then old again, except the changes in him were far more drastic. I could see the skin on his face stretched thin and paper-tight. When I took a closer look, I could see that there were patterns on his face, and these patterns looked like skulls. Marcus had dead faces on his face, and these faces appeared to leer at me, to lunge at me. Their threatening visage reminded me very much of the shadow-men in the hills. The shadow people. They had followed me here!

I covered my eyes with my hands and buried my face in a pillow. But I couldn’t cover my ears. Time kept playing, kept running inexorably on.

God oh god―when will this ever stop? Time has no meaning, Life has no meaning. Our lives are nothing but one ecstatic dance to the grave. The skulls on Marcus’s face proved that. And there was no escape for me too, no escape from the song that kept on playing.

Yes, even with my eyes closed there was no escape, for it was then that I began to hallucinate. Visions appeared before me, each more terrible than the last. I saw a grand and ancient city, burning. The streets of the city were paved with gold but covered all over by blood. Then the sky overhead opened, and a flood of water descended from it to drown millions of screaming men. At the peak of it all, an angel appeared. It was not a modern angel, with feathered wings and a handsome face, but a biblical angel, as old and as incomprehensible as the sun. He―or more accurately, It―was made out of many interlocking wheels. They were revolving, winding time and time again around the angel in an endless unstoppable cycle. There were eyes on those wheels. Those eyes gazed at me unblinkingly as I looked back in horror. Then those wheels parted, and I was almost driven mad as I beheld its true and terrible form. For within those wheels were teeth. Many, many teeth. Molars and incisors, razor-sharp fangs and razors, all surrounding the center of the angel, which consisted of a single ball of molten-white light. On and on the angel burned, and as I watched what seemed to be flames leapt from its core to caress its outer teeth like tongues. The angel was licking itself, cleansing itself free from dirt and dust and sin, and everywhere the fiery tongues touched they left a trail of destruction in their wake.

We hung there, the angel and I, in a dimension where time did not exist. The world ended. The pyramids fell. The earth was covered once again by cool spring grass. The first of the apes dug mushrooms from cowpats and ate them, re-learning how to walk, to talk. Then the angel spoke to me. Its voice was cold and dispassionate. “Calvin, my son.” It said. “Do you know what God is?”

“What?” I replied in a small voice.

“God is a single all-seeing eye falling a million times into itself.”

It was then that I truly went mad. I was weeping, laughing, falling sideways and sprouting wings. I flew first into heaven then into hell. I saw that I was the old man, lost in the hills. I saw that I was the myriad of ants crushed so mercilessly in Marcus’s mouth. I saw that I was everyone I had ever hurt and loathed and loved. I saw that I was Nick, entangled in Linda, and I saw that I was Linda, a-straddled on Nick, riding him on in waves and waves of passion.

I saw it all and it was so much, too much. My Sight was driving me crazy. I wanted to reach up and scoop out my eyeballs, I wanted to blind myself with concaved fingers like spoons. And I would’ve done it too, if my physical body wasn’t paralyzed by the effects of the drug. Dimly and far away, I could hear Time play ceaselessly on, and I was surprised that according to the song only a few seconds had passed and not the span of an entire lifetime.

I came to life when Time ended and Shine On You Crazy Diamond started to play. Rolling over, I looked at Marcus. He was still eating his grapefruit.

“Wow,” I managed to say.

“Crazy trip, right?” Marcus chuckled.

You have no idea how right you are, I thought. All around me, Gilmour’s soulful guitar keened, playing Shine On You Crazy Diamond, a heartrending song meant to be a tribute to their founding member Syd Barret who went mad from taking too much LSD.

-

The above story is an excerpt taken from my memoir, Confessions of a Singaporean Weed Smoker.

Memoir
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About the Creator

Alvin Ang

👑 Writer of scandalous stories. Author of "National Service: Confessions of a Skiving Soldier" and "Confessions of a Singaporean Weed Smoker." Buy my books here!

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