Psychedelic experience  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A psychedelic experience, or trip, is characterized by the perception of aspects of one's mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ordinary fetters. Psychedelic states are one of the stations on the spectrum of experiences elicited by sensory deprivation as well as by psychedelic substances. On that same spectrum will be found hallucinations, changes of perception, synesthesia, altered states of awareness, mystical states, and occasionally states resembling psychosis. The word psychedelic comes from a combination of two Greek words: psyche (ψυχή) and delos (δήλος). Literally, it means "mind manifesting".

The psychedelic experience is an intimate experience, but there are many common themes, and ranges from a sense of connectedness to everything in the immediate vicinity, to a sense of oneness with everything in the universe. Potentially, the range of the drug-induced psychedelic experience goes far beyond other drugs, illicit in particular. Simply because "trip drugs", or hallucinogenic drugs have these effects, in contrast to say heroin, and its depressant effects.

Many who undertake such experiences come to see them as an ordeal, and mentally overbearing. For many, such experiences come to be seen as personal re-enactments of the hero's journey. Psychedelic drugs can be used as a means to achieve states of mind in which different perceptions unhindered by everyday mental filters and processes can arise. Hallucinations and the mental, emotional and long term impact of the experience are positive and enduring for many.

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