Our Psychedelic Honeymoon – A Valentine’s Day Special

Why Psychedelics?

I, and my newly minted husband Rod, recently embarked upon a Psychedelic Honeymoon Retreat in Alicante, Spain. Full confession, we had engaged in the year prior to our wedding in several therapy-assisted drug experiments: MDMA (love drug), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), and the mother of them all—Ayahuasca (from the Amazon jungle). What was missing was a group experience. Our honeymoon provided the excuse to explore. 

As a nerd with a biology background and decades of working with healthcare professionals, I dove into the research on the array of plant-based medicines. A plethora of scientific literature on MDMA and psilocybin led to hours of reading documented evidence to support the use of psychedelics in trauma care to treat depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. Both substances, I learned, will soon be recategorized from the Schedule I designation of the harshest drugs, to be available legally in the US for use by therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors by the end of this summer. Beyond the health benefits, we craved an experience that would deepen our bond as ‘oldly-weds’, expand our consciousness, open our minds to an undiscovered dimension, and increase our creativity while having fun together.

Given our retirement age, we took great care to search for experienced staff, referred to as ‘facilitators’ to guide our journey. Our intention, beyond self-discovery and spiritual awakening, was to launch our new marriage. From the online resource http://retreat.guru, we read reviews and testimonials that best matched our needs. The one that stood out was in Alicante, Spain called La Mezquita (www.mezquita.life/). It boasted of a beautifully renovated Moroccan interior and years of experience in the cultivation and spiritual use of ancient plant-based ‘medicines’ – psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and San Pedro (mescaline style cactus). The owner, Sanson, seemed a welcoming host. He held several meditative and therapeutic sessions during the year. In popular counter-culture parlance these substances would have been referred to as ‘drugs.’  The use of these therapeutic and medicinal substances for enlightenment and spirituality goes back many centuries in ancient cultures. The scientific research today is just beginning to examine and document in detail how these substances benefit patients.


You may be wondering how could a group enhance a couple’s honeymoon retreat? Rod and I consider ourselves open-minded and enjoy interacting with people.  In the last few years of the pandemic shutdown, we had ended much of our socializing. Additionally, we have been profoundly affected by the rising tide of violence in the US, and the increase in wars around the globe. We wanted a retreat that could serve as an antidote, a hope for healing. The other ‘seekers’ on our journey hailed from multiple countries of origin, including China, Syria, Switzerland, Germany, Pakistan, Russia, Italy, UK, and the US. We were a diverse group of multiple cultures, races, languages, religions, and ages ranging from 22 years old to the oldest—well, full confession, that was me! Four days and three psychedelic sessions later, our group had super-glued in emotional bonding. National origins, cultural differences, and age stereotypes dissipated as we openly shared with each other. We held heartfelt discussions referred to as ‘integration circles’, a type of support therapy that served as a bridge between our hallucinatory journey and the return to daily living. Together, this group of nine disparate people, over the course of four days, became a supportive international community of spiritual travelers. A communal gratitude heightened our shared experience. Through the many conversations, we came to accept the inner turmoil many of us carry. We became untethered from harm. We viscerally embraced group understanding, compassion, and respect. In short, we connected on a profound level. 

My Psychedelic Experience:

I found that intention was key to any successful psychedelic session. My intention in Alicante was to accept death—mine and others—partly to serve as a reminder to live fully in the moment. Although a seemingly vague and ghoulish goal, it led to a fertile response. On the first day, I met a lovely woman about my daughter’s age. She originated from China and had a successful career living in Germany with her husband and daughter. We began our journey by eating chocolate ‘magic’ mushroom squares. While waiting for the drug to kick in, we spoke of double standards imposed by motherhood, exhaustion, and guilt of wanting to be close to a child, while all the time screaming inside to be free again. As the medicine washed over me, I scanned the paintings on the wall. Intense geometric designs began to move along the shadows. The floor undulated in waves. This young woman and I reclined on mats and held hands across the floor between us. “I wish my mother was like you,” she said. I had to smile. “I think my daughter probably wishes she had a mother more like yours.” 

While live music from a guitarist and pianist emanated throughout the room, on the other side of me was a woman closer to my age. I could hear her talk of losing a friend. Her emotional trauma burst out in loud shouts at times. “Is she OK?” I asked the facilitator who came to her aid. She simply nodded. I rose from the mat to check on Rod. He was sitting on an overstuffed chair by the wood burning stove. He seemed semi-alert, but nauseous. I touched his arm and became alarmed, but he assured me, “I’ll be fine. I’m having wonderful visuals.” Since Rod is an architect, I knew the visualization was something he cherished. As he closed his eyes, I gazed around the room watching the others in various positions. A few appeared pensive and contemplative, while others seemed to be in dark places as if processing difficult episodes in their lives.  

I felt an intense anxiety all around as I stood in the middle of the room. Well, I thought, ain’t this romantic? Why in hell did I sign up for a this? It was then that the owner of the retreat stood by my side. This is where experienced and trained staff make all the difference. “You’re absorbing other’s pain,” he said as he took my elbow to guide me. “You’re too much of an empath. We need to get you out of here.” Before I could protest, ‘no, no I’m not an empath, I’m kind of self-absorbed really,’ he escorted me out the door, sat me on the outside patio, and played Beatles songs on the ukulele. After a few songs, I felt guilty for all the attention and asked him to go inside to check on Rod and the others. 

Alone in the cold night, I watched feral cats slither back and forth under what I referred to as the ‘penis’ sofa due to the sausage-like curvature of the armrest. I wasn’t sure if the visit to the Erotica Museum in Barcelona a few days before had created this illusion, or my own sensually focused mind, molded by psychedelics, had turned the furniture into a phallus. Either way, I found it humorous as the chair waved at me in a curious fashion.

The cold air hit hard and cleared my mind of hallucinations. My intention to accept death had evidently been heard. I envisioned freezing to death on the patio. Surely, they would find my dead body being chewed on by feral cats in the morning. I could hear someone note at my postmortem, “Isn’t that amazing? She fulfilled her intention.” 

Throughout life I have been surrounded by people. I grew up in a small house with a large family. I worked in communications constantly within groups. I mentored in packs. I held parties with 40 or more people in attendance. I discovered that what was missing in my life was more opportunities for solitude, calm, and feeding my inner introvert. With the aid of psychedelics that night, I got my chance. I credit La Mezquita’s staff with the ability to respond to individual needs while keeping our little community together as we traversed the hallucinatory journey. 

A while later, a gentle young facilitator came to check on me or maybe to save me from the hungry cat demise. He began to structure an architectural artistry of wood in the firepit and lit a match. Flames warmed the air around us. We sat in silence for a bit, but then, we talked. For a long time. He worked as a social therapist to children from war-torn nations. The kindness in his temperament offset the pain of his experiences. It was evident in his voice. He believed he was unable to do enough. I asked him what success would look like. “If I can help one child in ten.” Our conversation, our tripping on psychedelics, our purpose to seek the truth, and my finding the acceptance of death, led to one of the most satisfying conversations I’ve ever had in my life. 

In the distance, I could see Rod walking outside slowly, arm holding tight to a female facilitator dressed in a brown robe that flowed in the wind. Rod said he followed my voice and finally made it to the sofa. Both facilitators gently covered us in blankets and left us alone, together—the honeymooners. Rod said he had heard me guiding this young man. “You sounded so coherent, like you were conducting a mentoring session,” he said.  “It was a mentoring session,” I told him, “For both of us.” 

We held hands for a good portion of that night, grateful for our warm existence in a cold world. I had fulfilled my intention and learned to accept death while helping another accept life. I also rediscovered the value of balancing solitude with the gift of togetherness. It was a honeymoon moment to cherish.

Integration Sessions:

The next day we stayed sober and dove into the cold wintry Mediterranean Sea after lathering clay mud on our bodies.  The ritual was meant to awaken and reset our physical bodies.  With water temps in the 50’s, after diving in and jumping back out immediately, I felt awakened alright. Wimp that I am, I raced back to the warm sand. That evening we began our shared ‘integration’ session discussing our experiences. Afterwards, we were instructed to remain silent, to not gesture nor touch anyone on the way back to the lodging until the next morning session. As a chatter box, this was not an easy task for me. As a honeymooner, it was insane!  Yet I soon found that the silence and solitude fostered introspection and processing of the journey. The next morning, we gathered. A burst of energy flowed among us as we shared insights. A dam of bottled emotions burst forth in a flow of group discussions. The hugging commenced, and I realized that the reflections, silence, and lack of intimate touch had allowed us to make sense of the experience and incorporate new perspectives into our lives. Or, as one young fellow traveler noted, “Reality is just another experience.” 

We embarked on one last psychedelic ritual. This time we drank a bitter tea of San Pedro, a mescaline type cactus, then traveled up the mountain road north of Alicante. We followed a trail to a small plateau marked with a tree twisted by wind and the fates. There, with views of mountains on three sides and the ocean to the south, we took one last dose of psilocybin, the magic mushroom chocolates.  We sat together on a communal blanket. The San Pedro mellowed the effect of the psilocybin. Some reclined in silence. A few chatted. Others played guitar music. Over the course of the day, the mountains waved in reds and grays and the green leaves of the trees breathed in unison contrasted by an azure sky. Rod walked slowly in circles for most of that day. At one point, he came over to me and extended a hand. We gazed at the mountains and slowly began to dance; a reminder of our wedding filled our minds.

The group started to come down from the effects of the medicine as the sun started to set. The evening grew chilly.  We donned warm jackets to walk back to the van. The sky burst into spectacular hues, reminiscent of those I had seen when I lived in the Arizona-Sonoran Desert. The group dynamics had embraced us in a multi-dimensional spiritual connection. In the end, our psychedelic journey gave us an unforgettable honeymoon experience. 

Searching for Your Own Retreat:

Participating in group psychedelics was one of the most heart-opening experiences of my life. You can read more about enhanced emotional connection, increased empathy, ego dissolution, spiritual and therapeutic potentials for dealing with trauma in the scientific literature, on YouTube, or in documentaries such as “How to Change Your Mind” on Netflix. To search for a retreat, you might begin your journey by attending Psychedelic meetups, sharing videos, and attending psychedelic support groups. The best source we found for a safe environment with a mind-blowing adventure was through https://retreat.guru/.  Traveling to other countries connected us to people from all over the planet with like-minded goals—fellow adventurers searching for peace, love, kindness, and healing in a troubled world—just like the original hippies of our own forgotten era. 

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