Where Madness Lies…

“So you think you know where madness lies?”

My answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “Yes.”

—The Psychedelic Experience

A manual based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead By Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., & Richard Alpert, Ph.D.


Stupid? I don’t think so.

Sisu. Definitely Sisu.


I was young once, not that long ago. I had left my very strict fundamentalist childhood church at age 12 (my parent’s divorce caused our ex-communication) and I began experimenting at that young age with the previously banned altered states of consciousness brought on by substances, specifically alcohol. Eventually, at 16, I was introduced to marijuana. I took to both like a duck to water. I was in emotional turmoil and it was the perfect hiding place.

When I moved downstate for freshman year at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, I found myself surrounded by friends deeply immersed in the 90s Rave culture. The use of ecstacy, crystal meth, and opium made their scenic appearances and I was introduced to the world of hallucinogenic mushrooms and LSD. Since my modus operandi was always to be one to “go with the flow”, I began to experiment.

In the leaving behind of my church’s dogma, I explored the religions of the world, even taking a class on World Religions. In my learnings, I came across the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, and that naturally led me to discovering Timothy Leary’s Book “The Psychedelic Experience.” I tape recorded the entire book in my own voice, took mushrooms, and then listened to it with a friend. Several times. I was maybe 19 or 20.

I experienced many amazing “trips” during the 4-5 years I used mushrooms and LSD. I had mind blowing insights into the meaning of life, awe-inspiring conversations, and produced some works that helped me start my life-path as a creator.

There were also a couple really, really “bad trips”. I fell into some vividly dark spots of my soul/psyche/personality. I felt like I was dying, like I was losing my sense of self. I encountered a great fear within myself, an ancient terror. I always managed to regain ground after the appropriate time, and filed it all away as a learning experience.

Then, at age 23, in 1998, I had my first experience “tripping” without taking any substances. It started out amazing. It resulted in my first hospitalization and the label of Bipolar. It has since turned into my biggest nightmare; resonating in the life I live today, vehemently fighting the mainstream medical model and the courts against the forced drugging of my body.

In essence, I feel that I would be an amazing person today had I not encountered psychiatry. The ‘exploration’ AND the ‘explosion’ of altered states of consciousness should not be labled, repressed and drugged away. They should be loved, supported, honored, and guided by people of a compassionate and learned nature.

There are great gifts there to be found, and the kids are gonna do it with or without our help. It is up to those of us who have survived emotional distress, dissolution of the ego, and spiritual awakening to adequately warn and guide the youth in exploring their consciousness.

So please, if you want to explore things like “The Psychedelic Experience” on hallucinogens, be prepared for a possible complete upheaval of all you have known. Be aware that the dangers of being medicated by those who have never had such experiences are very great, and can be impossible to avoid if you have great distress during your “trip” and someone reports you. Take my forewarning that although I deeply don’t regret such exploration of my own consciousness, I wish I had known of the actual real dangers inherent in our psychiatrized society as it currently exists today; real dangers of being diagnosised, such as losing your career, being injected by court order with neurotoxins, losing your house, being held down and injected in hospital, losing your physical health, and completely losing your human rights.

In a more loving, just and equal world, I would be respected as an awakening Shaman. Instead, I am looked upon as crazy, and a waste of space, resources and energy. Do not get caught by Psychiatry. In my humble opinion, if you encounter the mainstream mental health system, “Run quickly the other way.”

Madness lies in the mainstream biomedical model of psychiatry. This I know for certain.

Jill Kesti


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