Ayahuasca, a Level 5 Psychedelic Experience

With the right ayahuasca recipe and proper shamanic guidance, the ayahuasca journey can best be categorized as a Level 5 Psychedelic Experience.

A psychedelic experience is an altered state of awareness induced by the use of psychotropic drugs such as psilocybin, LSD, and mescaline. Many spiritual practices utilize psychotropic drugs to achieve states of mind unhindered by normal mental filters.

Timothy Leary’s book, “The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead,” describes characteristics of increasingly deep levels of awareness induced by psychotropics.

The Vaults of Erowid provide a partial overview of the characteristics described by Leary, and classify Five Levels of the Psychedelic Experience.

In the video below the Five Levels of a Psychedelic Experience are explored in detail, including the peak level of an ayahuasca trip–a level 5 psychedelic experience.


The following is a quick summary of the 5 Levels of a Psychedelic Experience as presented in the video above:

  • Level One: The first level involves a mild “stoned” effect, with some visual changes such as brighter colors in one’s surroundings. There are some anomalies in short term memory, and a shift in the communication between left and right brain, changing the way users experience sensory input (e.g.: music is experienced as “wider”).
  • Level Two: Brighter colors are experienced, as well as visual anomalies such as inanimate objects moving or expanding. A user may experience confused or reminiscent thoughts and continual distractive thought patterns. There is a vast increase in abstract thought as mental filters are bypassed.
  • Level Three: People who reach level three usually say it is a thought provoking and life changing experience. Obvious visual distortions occur, with surrounding objects looking curved and warped and kaleidoscopic patterns apparent on walls and faces. Individuals may experience some mild hallucinations such as iridescent surfaces or wood grain flowing like water. Synesthesia may occur, with users “hearing” colors or “seeing” sounds. Physical movement becomes difficult and disorienting. There is some time distortion and feelings of experiencing eternity.
  • Level Four: This level may involve strong hallucinations, such as objects morphing into other shapes and a blending of the senses. There are many patterns to these hallucinations such as waves, spirals, and Mandelbrot patterns. Visuals containing imagery of the Hindu, Aztec, Mayan, Native American, African, and Indian cultures are quite common. There is some loss of reality and a feeling that time is meaningless. People who have reached this level may have out-of-body and extrasensory experiences.
  • Level Five: A level 5 psychedelic experience involves a total loss of visual connection with reality. Senses no longer function in the normal way, so there is a sense of not being human or not existing in a physical form, and the universe within which things are normally perceived actually ceases to exist. There is a total loss of ego, and individuals feel a merging with space, other objects, or the universe. Religious phenomena are reported, such as a connection to an “All-knowing Presence” which may equate with extraterrestrials, artificial intelligence, God, or spiritual ascension. Users commonly report being thrust into outer space or an alternate dimension consisting of bright, fast-moving colors or mathematical constructs, and encountering super-intelligent beings made of pulsing light or resembling such things as insects, humanoids, elves, cephalopods, or complex robotic machines. These beings often attempt to communicate or impart knowledge to the user, forcing them to view both macro- and microscopic scale objects such as planetary systems, galaxies, quasars, neurons, or DNA. Auditory experiences of a high vibrational whine and a deep throbbing “heartbeat”-like tone are often reported. Many who reach this level of psychedelic experience report feeling uninhibited and clear-headed, and able to think clearly even during the peak effect of the drug.


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