‘Space travel’ has always been a favored metaphor for psychedelic trips. Exploring the ‘cosmos of the mind’ — blasting off — connecting with the universe. Even the name ‘psychonaut‘, the term for those who use psychedelics or meditation as a way to explore the soul, is certainly reminiscent of the term astronaut. (Pleasing, ‘psychonaut’ translates from the Greek into ‘soul sailor’, and ‘astronaut’ into ‘star sailor’. Pretty cute huh?)
Shrooms in Space
Lately however, psychedelics such as magic mushrooms, have been introduced into the discourse of real space travel rather than as an extended metaphor. As we recently reported, researchers are suggesting that taking psilocybin could be beneficial to astronauts to prepare them for, and to treat, both the enormity of experience and the trauma that space travel brings. Researchers also acknowledged that psychedelic trips do bear striking similarity to space travel in terms of transcendental and life-changing experience. A win for psychedelic-space-metaphor fans!
Additionally, one can’t wax lyrical on the topic of psychedelics and space if you don’t include the fact that watching videos of the cosmos, black holes, galaxies, comets and whatever else shiny and epic up there, is one of the funnest things to do while tripping! It’s true. And, it tends to make Buzz Lightyears of us all…. (To infinity and beyond etc. etc. etc…)
The magic and majesty of outer space was first presented to millions people by just a few familiar faces. Yes, we learnt all the names of the planets in class, but the real, cool, blow-your-mind stuff came from watching TV, after school. This month happens to be the birthdays of two of those — let’s call them — space ambassadors. The late Carl Sagan and Bill Nye the Science Guy, whose birthdays fall on the 9th and the 27th of November respectively. Maybe being born in the growing darkness of Fall gives you an affinity with the endless darkness of space….
We thought that celebrating their birthdays was a cool excuse to check out some of their most iconic TV moments — perfect to watch while tripping!
Pale Blue Dot – Carl Sagan
This video almost reads like a magnum opus of the transcendental psychedelic experience. An excerpt, taken from Carl Sagan’s book of the same name, was inspired by an image taken by Voyager 1 on February 14th 1990. The spacecraft was 4 billion miles away, departing our planetary neighborhood when it turned back to look at Earth. Being so close to the sun, the Voyager 1’s photo registers Earth as a tiny crescent 0.12 pixels in size.
Sagan’s philosophical meditation on this image blows your mind while sober, let alone while high;
“There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”
Bill Nye on the Webb Telescope
In this recent video Bill Nye analyzes, for the layperson, the incredible images taken from the James Webb Space Telescope, explaining what we’re actually looking at. He explains the Southern Ring Nebula, the Carina Nebula and Stephan’s Quintet among others. He also asks the important questions like;
“Is there some other living thing out there with its own James Webb Space Telescope looking at us?”
Cosmic Calender – Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan was an innovator as well as a world-class turtleneck wearer. He was the first to introduce the Universe in One Year concept, making an understandable visual for viewers trying to get their head round the idea that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. In Sagan’s ‘Cosmic Calendar’ he explains that each month represents just over 1 billion years. Therefore early humans don’t show up until 10:30pm on the 31st of December! We don’t know what’s more trippy — remembering how tiny we are in this ever expanding universe, or the fantastically 1980s visuals. Either way, your ego will be on the backburner in no time.
Bill Nye on Outer Space
In his mad-cap TV show Bill Nye frantically explains the solar system, lunar eclipses, and constellations with a few random songs thrown in for good measure. Perhaps more for shroomy giggles than breathtaking-majesty-of-the-universe type vibes, thanks to Youtube, everyone can enjoy the educational quirks of Bill Nye, not just the 90s kids. Yippeee!
Neil deGrasse Tyson on The Multiverse Hypothesis
Our final one is a bit of a cheat, but we couldn’t not include Neil deGrasse Tyson — his birthday was just last month! (October 5th for Neil fans!) So, we’ll make an allowance. Here deGrasse Tyson explains the complex concept of the Multiverse Hypothesis — that there are multiple universes existing simultaneously. It’s trippy and confusing, but maybe being on shrooms might actually make it seem less ‘out there’. Stranger things have happened!
We hope you enjoyed our delve into some of the hits of the cosmic birthday boys. May all your shroom trips sparkle as bright as 1000 parallel galaxies !