From a fixture of the counterculture to a sector on the stock market, psychedelics have gone mainstream in a big way in 2020, and with that, the psychonauts in your life have likely come out of the proverbial closet. (If there isn’t a friend in your circle talking about microdosing yet, it’s only a matter of time.)
With the Covid-19 pandemic in full swing, vacations might be out of the question this holiday season, but “trips” are not. After a year like this one, venturing into the recesses of the mind with the help of an entheogen could be one way to bring some clarity to 2020—so long as you’ve put some planning and intention into your experience and you’ve prepared a safe and comfortable setting. Many of the gifts on this list are also complementary to meditation, yoga, and other wellness or spiritual practices.
While safety is priority number one when taking a mind-altering substance, enhancing the sensory effects of a psychedelic journey comes in at a close second. When the trip is over, integration is also key. This list was built with these things in mind.
A private online sound bath with Dynasty Electrik
Any experienced psychonaut knows the synesthesia that comes with a psychedelic experience begs for some sort of sound, whether it’s your favourite Tame Impala record or the sounds of nature. Now imagine floating along the vibrational waves of a private sound bath complete with gongs, singing bowls, flute, vocals, electronic tones, and more while your turned on, tuned in, and dropping out. Seth Misterka and Jenny Deveau, the musicians and practitioners of Dynasty Electrik, say their work at the Mystic Journey Crystal Gallery in Venice, California takes listeners “on a sonic healing and restorative journey,” promoting deep states of meditation and relaxation while helping to balance energy. The duo has adapted to Covid-19 by offering virtual events as well as private customized sound baths. You can assure the recipient of this gift this will be unlike any Zoom session they’ve had all pandemic.
Mindfold Relaxation Mask
Invented by legendary psychedelic artist Alex Grey back in 1978, the Mindfold has since been redesigned for comfort, and is not your average eye mask. It is a light-tight eye covering that allows the wearer to keep their eyes open, making it a great tool for “facilitating the journey within”—although customers also rave about its usefulness for things like meditation, sleep, travel, and headaches. Its high-density soft foam padding makes for a comfortable fit, while the adjustable strap means it will stay in place while you’re wearing it. The Mindfold comes with a pair of memory foam ear plugs to block out sound if you’d prefer to deprive your senses and fully dive inward.
A subscription to DoubleBlind Magazine
The beauty of a biannual print magazine is the buildup to each issue, and the two creators behind this psychedelia-centred publication have it down pat. Since Shelby Hartman and Madison Margolin launched the magazine in 2019, DoubleBlind has become a preeminent publication on psychedelics, curating a mixture of long-form articles, poetry, art, photo essays, and more in their twice-a-year print issues. Online, DoubleBlind offers readers features with headlines like“Why We All Need to Be Spanked and Trip Right Now” and “How Tripping Can Help Us Reimagine Capitalism Ahead of Psychedelic Commercialization.” The magazine’s store offers an assortment of options including the Essentials Kit with its three latest print issues, the choice to buy individual issues, or the option to subscribe.
Artwork by Chris Dyer
The work of Peruvian-Canadian artist Chris Dyer can be described as vibrantly colorful, impeccably detailed, and positively hallucinatory. For two decades the Montreal-based artist has been creating art inspired by the psychedelic experience, painting murals and sharing his work in cities throughout the U.S. and Canada as well as in Australia, Cuba, Jamaica, and Thailand, among others. The artist’s medium of choice is painting, but for those who aren’t on the hunt for wall fixtures, Dyer’s online shop offers a wide variety of merchandise for the multidimensional explorer, including clothing, bedding, skateboards, tapestries, yoga mats, puzzles, pillows, and more.
The Immortality Key by Brian C. Muraresku, foreword by Graham Hancock
Some theologians have said there is reason to believe Moses was tripping on a hallucinogen when he saw the burning bush. This is just one of several instances in the bible believed by some to be associated with psychedelic plant medicines. While there has been much speculation on the role psychedelics may have played in early Christianity and the origins of Western civilization, Brian C. Muraresku seeks to bring some clarity to the conversation in his debut book. In The Immortality Key: The Secret History of The Religion With No Name, Muraresku puts 10 years of research to paper, offering readers a deep dive into the connections between Ancient Greece, Christianity, and the ancient use of visionary drugs. Using scientific research, classical literature, biblical scholarship and art, Muraresku offers “the real story” behind Jesus and the biggest religion in the world.
Glow CBD Bath Bomb by Kush Queen
After a psychedelic trip, taking time to reflect and integrate is important. Olivia Alexander is the founder of CBD brand Kush Queen, and is an advocate for cannabis and psychedelics for health and wellness. She began her line of CBD-infused bath bombs for people to experience cannabis in a more approachable way. After an experience with psilocybin, one of her favourite ways to ponder it is with a bath. “When I trip, I think having a bath the next morning can really take the experience deeper, like putting a period on the end of the sentence of a trip by bringing you more into your body,” she says. The Glow bath bomb features 200 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD, a combination of essential oils, and a special non-toxic ingredient, mica, to make it glow in the dark. A little charge under a light before your soak and this handmade bath bomb will bring some groovy vibes to the tub. Use a black light for a more intense glow.
While some might be content to chew magic mushrooms whole, eating what tastes like a mouthful of dirt might not be the most ideal method of ingestion for some. It’s easy enough to toss a couple of stems and caps onto a pizza, but the shared history of mushrooms and chocolate (well, cacao) makes them a great combination—and one that’s much more delicious than eating the dried fungus on its own. The Aztecs sometimes combined cacao, “the food of the gods,” and mushrooms, “the flesh of the gods,” in a beverage to be consumed in religious ceremonies as the two ingredients are thought to have a synergistic effect. Making mushroom-infused chocolates is one way to capitalize on this connection. Combined with this DoubleBlind recipe for infused chocolates, a fun set of chocolate molds make a great stocking stuffer for the DIY-type on your list. Try Etsy for mushroom-shaped molds and Amazon for, well, anything else.
The Story of the Grateful Dead: A vinyl boxed set on 14 LPs
Because no psychedelic-themed wish list would feel complete without a nod to the Deadheads out there, this curated boxed set by VMP is for the people on your list who were tripping on psychedelics during the Summer of Love and the years that followed. This 14-vinyl set will “take listeners on a joyride through one of the deepest catalogs and richest legacies in rock history,” and comes with eight essential albums, a six-episode podcast series about the band, a booklet of liner notes featuring essays by contemporary musicians about the Dead, and a commemorative box to hold it all together. Pressed on 180-gram colored vinyl, all titles but one were cut from the original analog tapes. According to VMP, the quality is so good, it “sounds like the Dead is playing in your living room.”
A subscription to Synctuition, a meditation app that uses 3D sound
Meditation apps are nothing new, but for the psychonauts out there, one stands out from the crowd of existing tools for its rich layers of sound, personalization, and friendly user interface. Developed over the course of 10 years, Synctuition combines 3D sound, binaural beats, rhythmic sounds, and your own personalized frequency (determined with a voice recording when you set up the app) to provide a series of 25-minute soundscapes for meditation that promote better sleep, relaxation, clarity, lower stress, and reduced anxiety. On a personal note, I maintain a regular meditation practice and was intrigued to learn about Synctuition’s features. When I tried it for the first time (without the use of psychedelics), I found myself taken to a place far away from this world, but deep within myself—precisely where you want to be when you’re meditating or on a psychedelic journey. Subscribers rave about the app, lauding it for promoting more creative thinking, a deeper connection to intuition, and even spurring lucid dreams. Find it in the app store.