Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad

Ancient Science, Books, Entheogens, Recommended / Monday, October 21st, 2013

5-MeO-DMT was the compound responsible for both my own spiritual awakening, my renewed interest in psychedelics, and for my subsequent sustained investigation into the endogenous entheogens. In an effort to keep track of my thoughts in the period after my original transpersonal mystical experience on 5-MeO-DMT in 2003, and with little thought or hope of publication, I wrote the original version(s) of Tryptamine Palace for the population of Burning Man (where I knew it would find an interested audience) and gifted it as a book on the ‘playa’ in 2006 and 2007 to my fellow ‘Burners’. (As far as I know this was the first book written for and gifted at Burning Man.) Encouraged by the reception at Burning Man, I was preparing the book for self-publication (with the help of EROWID’sJon Hanna) when I sent 2 copies of the original BM versions to 2 different publishers just so I could get used to getting rejected. To my great surprise the respected meta-physical publisher Inner Traditions actually accepted Tryptamine Palace for publication, and after considerable further effort (and infinite patience from my suffering editors) was published world-wide in 2009. Tryptamine Palace is the first major book written specifically about 5-MeO-DMT and contains numerous detailed descriptions of 5-MeO-DMT’s unique brand of (what Alex Grey calls) ‘experimental mysticism’.

By attempting to describe the impossibly intense and paradoxically fleeting “5-MeO-DMT experience,” (Hereafter abbreviated at points within this book as “5MDE.”) I am now moving onto purely subjective ground. I must stress that the chronology that I provide here is only my personal interpretation of my experiences on 5-MeO-DMT, gleaned from my own experimentation. And so while the following information is taken from “the front lines,” so to speak, it cannot be overstated that every individual’s experience is unique. And so what happens to me when I smoke 5-MeO-DMT will not necessarily happen to you, if you choose to smoke it.

But for myself, after 5 years of fairly regular usage of 5-MeO-DMT in both its natural and (lab-produced) synthetic forms, I have come to believe that certain consistent patterns have emerged:

1. I fully inhale the smoke, generally holding on until my vision of the physical surroundings has begun to break into fractals, and then I exhale. Virtually immediately upon exhalation, my vision experiences a field of light-fractals. My mind then dissolves into white light, and the vision of my eyes is no longer relevant (or at least no longer recognizes my physical environment). This white light—which blazes with the focused intensity of a laser and which is both whiter-than-white, yet also sparkling with brilliant color—may be the crux of the experience. The first time I smoked 5-MeO-DMT, the only instruction I was given by the friend who provided it to me was to stay in this light for as long as possible.

2. At this point a variety of inner phenomena can appear. Some people report seeing protector spirits (animals or angels), while others describe communicating directly with the light. In some of my early journeys, I walked across plains of stars and talked with a Goddess who appeared in a blend of changing forms, some familiar, some archetypical, and I remember she laughed and treated me like a child. Whoever is in charge in that dimension, they know to keep it simple when we visit there; we are children compared to them, and they teach us things in the slow methodical way any good teacher does, one simple lesson at a time.

The following quotation is from Stanislav Grof’s extensive road map of the transpersonal experience, The Cosmic Game:

“Immediately following the experience of total annihilation—‘hitting cosmic bottom’—we are overwhelmed by visions of light that has a supernatural radiance and beauty and is usually perceived as sacred. This divine epiphany can be associated with displays of beautiful rainbows, diaphanous peacock designs, and visions of celestial realms with angelic beings or deities appearing in light. This is also the time when we can experience a profound encounter with the archetypal figure of the Great Mother Goddess or one of her many culture-bound forms.”

Once, early on in my experimentations, when I was hyper-excited by some of the strange and wonderful ideas I had encountered in Terence McKenna’s wild book The Archaic Revival, I meditated with serious resolve on the questions, “What are you? Can you let me know?” before I made my journey to that other dimension. After reading McKenna’s book I was intoxicated with the ideas of gods, aliens, and other-dimensional beings and I was certain that this was the correct way of attempting to communicate with them: surely they would respect my intent. Then, as soon as I exhaled, the answer from the other side blasted me like a million volts of pure electricity threatening to fry me to my core:

Love. That is all you need to know. I am Love.

This answer is one of the oldest known to man, and the core of many great religions; but it was not one that I had expected, nor one that I had been looking for. In fact, I would probably have never had considered it as an option at all. But as an answer to a child who is making his first frightful steps into the unknown, it could not be paralleled for its effect. “Do not fear,” this other dimension declares, “There is an ocean of love over here.”

After that experience, I stopped asking questions.

3. In this tunnel of light I relive all the experiences in my life in an instant. Your whole life flashes before you like the wave of a hand – the passage of time is like a game here. All the people I have known and loved surround me as I become a part of them and they become a part of me as I expand out of my form towards realization.

Everybody seems very happy and excited at this point, with a keen sense of humor attached to the fact that I/we have had the great secret-and-answer contained within us all along. The multitude of faces around me keep laughing and silently shouting at me, “You knew it all along! We knew it all along! It’s all right! We all knew it all the time! You exist! This is real! This is it! Now just relax! And just … Be.”

4. Everything that has come before in my life seems to have led to this point, to this moment. There is no sense of time. I am somehow splitting, growing, spreading outwards, and becoming a part of everything. I am permutating and connecting with the entire universe from within my very being. As I expand out and integrate into the happy multitudes and the universe beyond them, then my ego/identity begins to dissolve as the realization dawns that I am returning to the Source from where everything came. Looking around, in a dimension without time or space, I recognize everything and everyone as One, as the embodiment of all those beings who I have managed to love the most unconditionally. There is a definite feeling, that to go past this point, I have to relax, believe, and somehow, let go.

At this point I have also heard a sound —and this is another experience commonly reported by tryptamine smokers—which grows to become the most incredible, all-encompassing note. It is pure other-worldly angel music, which I can only describe with the word Aum (or Om). The primordial noise. The logos. The original sound of creation. A transcendental note that I effortlessly dissolve into.

Dissolution into an omniscient state of Oneness. A place where there is no difference between G/d, the physical universe, or me. We have ceased to exist as separate entities and now resonate as One. Resonating with the possession of a knowledge that radiates with the surest sense of Love—a love that is in everything, and is everything, and is so much more. A conscious Love more intelligent than anything we have ever known. A Love so great that it defies the need for a physical form, and yet paradoxically realizes itself in us, and in all of creation. Aum. I become that Love and I know that everything is One, everything is;


An infinite pulsating field of intelligent energy that all physical forms manifest from, and into which one day everything shall return: an all-encompassing brilliant bejeweled light of Love. The Godhead, the Supreme Mystery, the Conscious Infinity, the Pure Light, Brahman, Yahweh, whatever you wish to call it—it is the Unnamable Name, and yet paradoxically it is also the Creation Principle—and yet I recognize It. I know that It is real, that I am a part of It, and that in this moment I am able to return to It, like the Sufi ‘moth to the flame’.

Resonating as one with my G/d and now having ceased to exist other than as a part of that divinity, all I have to do is breathe to feel the waves of omniscient energy radiate in and out of my ocean of bliss. My friends, my lovers, my life, my species, my world, —we are all One and we are all part of G/d. Atman (individual consciousness) and Brahman (universal consciousness) as One. There is no way to differentiate between anything: I am lost in waves of an awestruck ecstasy that cannot be described, an ego-less bliss. Rudolf Otto’s mysterium tremendum et fascinans is revealed within the singular realization of the true nature of my G/d: that G/d paradoxically resides both without and within.

Physically, I believe this is when I go into the quietest part of my journey—I’m generally peacefully lying down and saying nothing. I am only in this indescribable cosmic resonance for a few short minutes, ten or fifteen at the most, but it makes no difference to me, since I no longer have any concept of time, and its passage could just as easily be considered infinite. This is the period of an intense singularity for some: the white-out (as it is sometimes called), a total dissolution. It is my belief that my consciousness exists during this state in resonance with a realm that is actually beyond ordinary human comprehension. Freed of the matter of my body, my consciousness is able to function in a manner that it can’t understand, or barely even remember, once it has returned to the limitations of its corporeal form.

I believe that what I have been experiencing is the universal state of consciousness before the knowledge of ego and self, a state of undifferentiated ‘Cosmic Consciousness’ that historically William James has described as ‘Absolute Consciousness’, that Aldous Huxley called “Mind (with a capital M)”, and what is now commonly known amongst the entheogenic community as  “God Consciousness.” Me, I just call it G/d for short. Which is a very clinical way of describing what has historically proven to be the most important and awe-inspiring force upon the development of humankind: our ability to achieve some kind of mystical resonance with this G/d; the subsequent realization that the source of this G/d lies within; and the energy and inspiration that this realization has subsequently released into our human society.

5. “I” have now ceased to exist; there is no knowledge or recognition of “myself”. And yet my consciousness remains, clearly still thinking and experiencing, while seemingly now knowing everything, all knowledge and information within my grasp

Suddenly (probably as the 5-MeO-DMT first starts to wear off) there is the taste of fear: This is all too much. At the apparent pinnacle of the experience, when time has ceased to exist and I have dissolved into this G/d consciousness and lost all sense of my own identity, then I find myself abruptly searching around wildly in this out-of-body dimension, surrounded by layers of information and understanding, struggling to remember how this has all been possible. I exist as pure formless consciousness without limitations – until “I” consciously realize this anomaly. Asking myself; “How did this happen? How have I come so far?” And then finally the killer. “Who am I?”

“I” begins to think: “I must have an identity? How long has this been going on? What is going on here? How is this possible? I must exist! Something really weird is happening here…” From the moment that I recognize that the experience can be recognized, instead of simply being in the experience—then my ego-based identity begins to assert itself, and suddenly it is way, way, too much. I struggle to remember a beginning, a start to “my” own existence – and with this search comes the terror, followed by an abrupt departure from this indescribable state of grace.

6. “You have smoked 5-MeO-DMT,” I usually hear a voice say. And then the remembering pours back in a tellurian wave as my being inexorably flows from a dimension without matter or time back into this physical one. My vision suddenly focuses – I can see bizarrely for a moment between the two worlds, seemingly vibrating in both of them at once – before I am suddenly dropped disorientated back into an awe-struck heap on the floor.

The time between remembering that I exist and then reentering my body is terrifyingly quick and very disorientating, and I think that this specific period is often what people remember from their own experiences. This is especially the case on the first time, and/or if they have smoked too much (which can be easy to do). There is a razor-fine line between smoking enough 5-MeO-DMT to fully experience its out-of-body wonders, and smoking too much, which results in the participant remembering little or nothing of the experience: an often bizarrely terrifying ‘white hole’.

And to further complicate the issue, every person will have his or her own ideal dosage, which takes some experimentation to determine. (This will require owning a gem scale capable of measuring within plus/minus 2 mg to do so accurately.) If you are one of the rare breeds who have the desire to smoke 5-MeO-DMT regularly, then I recommend that you consistently reduce your dosage until you find the minimum required for release, as this is where you will have the best chance of remembering the largest amount of the experience. I believe that too much happens in too short of a time to really have a chance of remembering it all, but some people do emerge with remarkably coherent accounts of their experiences.

7. Now I am fully back in this reality and over-awed by the sheer POWER that I have just experienced, the remnants of which still pulsate through my trembling body. For the following ten or fifteen minutes I am technically still feeling the effects of the 5-MeO-DMT, but my descent back to ground zero is quick. I am usually fairly ecstatic during this period, my eyes filled with wildfire, and I can laugh great whooping belly laughs, deeper than I have ever laughed before. It’s a cosmic laughter at this on-going humor we call life and the unbelievable joke that I have been let in on. Although these days I prefer to smoke 5-MeO-DMT alone, this period is a good time for witnesses to ask what I have seen and experienced. I will respond with great authority on a variety of subjects—as if channeling from some higher force—only to have no memory of my statements thirty to sixty minutes later. The overwhelming sensation that accompanies this phase, even now after years, is that I still have no clue of the depth and breadth of the power of the substance I am so blindly imbibing, and that I should strive to treat the 5MDE with sacred respect.
Forty-five minutes to an hour later, I am completely “straight” (and usually looking for ice cream). All chemical traces of the tryptamine have disappeared from my brain and I am physically free of its influence. Except now, having experienced a full out-of-body mystical experience, my world and my paradigm can never be the same again.

At this point let me recap my interpretation of the series of events that generally occur when I smoke 5-MeO-DMT:

1. Dissolution into fractals of light upon exhalation of the 5-MeO-DMT.

2. Transportation via rapid acceleration into the coherent white light.

3. The subsequent recognition of the unity of All, and that Love is the principle that organizes the universe.

4. Complete dissolution from ego/identity and any concept of time, as I dissolve into resonance with the One; with G/d. (William James “Absolute consciousness”).

5. Fear from disorientation caused by transitioning back into a restricted consciousness, caused by the return of “my” ego.

6. An abrupt repossession of my physical body as the last effects of the 5-MeO-DMT fade away.

7. A period of fading resonance between physical consciousness (consciousness with a small letter “c”) and G/d consciousness (Mind with a capital “M”), as I return completely my normal “baseline” state.

It is important to state once again that within the rudimentary framework that I have provided there is the possibility of an infinite variety of experiences for any given individual. The scenario I have described here is purely from my own voyages and the experience is completely open to other interpretations. It is possible that the order in which I have catalogued these events occurring is completely incorrect, since no linear passage of time is evident within the experience. Rather, it is more like being “hard-wired” into another dimension, where you are somehow able to experience everything simultaneously while being channeled towards the “Core.”

~ James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad. (2009).


A journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field that suggest how 5-MeO-DMT triggers the human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field

Examines Bufo alvarius toad venom, which contains the potent natural psychedelic 5-MeO-DMT, and explores its entheogenic use

Proposes a new connection between the findings of modern physics and the knowledge held by shamans and religious sages for millennia

The venom from Bufo alvarius, an unusual toad found in the Sonoran desert, contains 5-MeO-DMT, a potent natural chemical similar in effect to the more common entheogen DMT. The venom can be dried into a powder, which some researchers speculate was used ceremonially by Amerindian shamans. When smoked it prompts an instantaneous break with the physical world that causes out-of-body experiences completely removed from the conventional dimensions of reality.

In Tryptamine Palace, James Oroc shares his personal experiences with 5-MeODMT, which led to a complete transformation of his understanding of himself and of the very fabric of reality. Driven to comprehend the transformational properties of this substance, Oroc combined extensive studies of physics and philosophy with the epiphanies he gained from his time at Burning Man. He discovered that ingesting tryptamines unlocked a fundamental human capacity for higher knowledge through direct contact with the zero-point field of modern physics, known to the ancients as the Akashic Field. In the quantum world of nonlocal interactions, the line between the physical and the mental dissolves. 5-MeO-DMT, Oroc argues, can act as a means to awaken the remarkable capacities of the human soul as well as restore experiential mystical spirituality to Western civilization.


5-MeO-DMT is Not “DMT” Differentiation is Wise

When the Impossible Happens ~ Stanislav Grof

“I became Consciousness facing the Absolute.” – Stanislav Grof

“It is impossible for anyone to start understanding what he thinks he already knows.” Epictetus … Greek philosopher

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