The Secret Chief - Chapter 4: The Group Trip
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The Group Trip
Jacob: One of the things that I've had a lot of experi-ence with is the group trip. People get a great deal out of the group trip. It allows them to try a lot of different things, and connect with a lot of other individuals. The way we've worked it out, it lets them go through a progression of growth.
One of the most important things for a group trip is to have a nice setting. I have a very good friend in Washington, D.C., a psychiatrist who loves this work. He has a place on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, not too long a drive from the city. It's perfect - a nice view of the water, lots of trees, secluded, excellent security. We've been running group trips there for a long time. I used to fly out every month until his own people got so experienced it wasn't necessary any more.
We generally have between ten and twelve people come, trippers, and three gurus who stay straight. They all arrive Friday evening around eight o'clock and they greet each other with love and joy since they haven't seen each other since the last trip they had together. They meet the new people and the new people get to meet all of them. We only have one new person a weekend unless there's too many backed up. Then we'll take two new people a weekend. There'll be some snacks set out there for them to nibble on and they'll have some wine. It's a nice occasion until they all arrive. When they've all arrived and greeted each other, then we all gather in the living room and sit around the room.
The leader makes announcements about things and all of that. Then we induct the new people, the new person or people, into the structure of the group. It's the same set of agreements except no sex takes place during the weekend. This is a very important thing. I want to tell you how important this is. I'll tell you right now, otherwise I'll forget it.
The experience evokes such a tremendous feeling of love and closeness that people love to be close and hug each other and love each other. They have love puddles where they all get together and just hug each other and love each other. When they know there's not going to be any sex nobody's worried about what might happen. They can let go to their really loving feelings without being concerned about, "Is he trying to make out?" or, "Is she wanting me to make out?" or whatever. All these crazy thoughts that occur to people. Then they just have a marvelous time. That's after they've all come down, you know. But the instruction is that no sexual activity take place at any time during the weekend.
The last one is the same as the last one I gave about the individual trip - do what I tell you to do or stop doing what you're doing - it's the same structure. But now it's with the group. They're being inducted and everybody else is renewing the structure for themselves. The leader presents them with the questions and asks them if they agree and they say yes. He says, "Thank you," and they say, "Thank you," and then they go on.
The next thing is that the leader may read something or talk about something that he's currently working on or something like that. Not really much more. He asks, "When you talk tonight, I want you to just talk out of your experience and tell whatever's going on in your life that you want to share with us, whatever you're hoping will happen this weekend." There's a variety of things that he mentions.
By the way, the new person has already been briefed about the whole procedure for the whole weekend so they know what to expect. Then the leader says, "Who would like to start?" Somebody raises their hand and starts talking about where they're at, what's going on, what's happened since the last time. Anything that occurs to them. We ask them to talk to the whole group, not just talk to the leaders. We don't go around the circle, because no one should feel under pressure. Whatever they want to say, and as much as they want to say is fine.
It's only when you're ready to speak that you do it. There are frequent breaks. After about four persons there's a break. They all get up and pee, drink some water, have some more nibbles or something and talk and catch up on things until we've gone all the way through everybody. That includes the three staff. We all participate; we say what's going on in our lives, what we're into. And, as I've explained it to them, each comes there as a separate link, and in this process they forge the link into a chain, by this process of sharing with each other. You learn a lot, too. You sure do. And we see how far so-and-so has gone since the last time or whatever.
It takes a number of trips before you get to trip with everybody who comes, and you don't get to trip with everybody who comes because some people come once every six months or once a year so they're tripping with different people all of the time. There's always somebody there that they know from other trips, two or three maybe. So you really get the experience of a whole bunch of people.
Then the leader talks about going to bed - what happens is when they're ready to go to sleep, they stake out their pads where they're going to sleep. Pads with blankets. They pick places all around the house. When they're ready to go to sleep, they smoke some grass sometimes to help them to go to sleep. Whatever. It's all okay. When they want to go to sleep they go over to their pad, lie down, put the earphones on and there's music playing, going- to- sleep music, until they go to sleep. They wake up early in the morning, around 6:30, and complete their toilet. We ask them to be very quiet, not silent but quiet and reflective. If they meditate, do some meditating. Move around outside, just not a lot of unnecessary yacking. They follow that pretty well.
One at a time each person sits down at a table with me and the leader and we go over what medicine they're going to take. (The various agents available and their effects are described in Chapter 5.) We decide what they're going to take and how much. It depends upon what they're trying to achieve, what they're looking for, what they hope will happen and what kind of medicine they think they want, if they've had different ones. Frequently they know just what they want to take, and we've already got the standard dosage for that person. Fine. We put it in an envelope, until we've gotten everybody.
We all gather in the living room again and we have our dropping ceremony, which is a very nice ceremony. After everybody's dropped, they wander around, they're quiet. We ask them to still be quiet, until they feel themselves starting to turn on. Before that they've staked out tripping spaces, which may or may not be different from the sleeping spaces. If there's two people coming together as a couple we want them to trip in different parts of the house, whereas they might have slept together.
When they start to turn on, they go to their pads, lie down, put the eyeshades on and the earphones on and there's music playing already. They just lay there until they turn on. The only time we ever hear from them is when somebody feels they haven't turned on and want a booster. They'll call one of us over. Or if they have to get up and pee later on. We've got it down now so we know everybody's dosage, so we rarely have to give a booster. They lay on their pads, and we're in the kitchen sitting and talking and all that stuff and waiting, just being available.
Myron: All the time they're really in it, they're laying there listening to music?
Myron: You don't encourage any interrelationship.
Jacob: No! We don't want anybody to talk. Sometimes, somebody when they have MDMA, Jesus Christ, you know, they want to hold hands, it's so loving and all that. That's all right. If somebody doesn't want to hold hands, they're on a different material, all they have to do is hold their hand back and everybody respects their position. The MDMA people like to get up and do some hugging and then we set them right back down. We'll all hug them, they'll call us over just for a big hug. They're so full of love, it's really fantastically beautiful.
By middle afternoon they start coming down and they start moving around. They'll go outside in the patio or just sit around in the house and they're still turned on or coming down, whatever. Later on there are some things put out on the table - salad, some crackers and some fruit and some things for nibbles. Then when they're all down, when they're all down enough so that they're quite functional, we all gather in the living room and we have our champagne ceremony. All of this is tradition that's built up over the years. It's hard for me to trace all the different activities that we went through to get to this point. But this seems to be the most fruitful. The old timers who come back to trip with us once in a while who went through that early stuff say this is a helluva lot better way to trip.
After the champagne ceremony we have dinner. After dinner, we'll all sit around and laugh and giggle and tell jokes and have fun, or sit quietly and just observe the others that are still tripping. Or if they want to be alone they go off somewhere to keep going on their trip. The music continues so they can listen to it if they want to, until they're ready to go to bed. When they're ready to go to bed they find an empty pad and lay down. There's no staking out because they're pretty stoned. They get up in the morning oh, by 7:30 anyway. We have breakfast at nine. We ask them to be quiet again in the morning, too, because their trip is still going on even though they're not stoned.
After breakfast they all gather in the living room again. And the leader usually has a reading. I always had a reading, it's a nice thing, very appropriate, no matter what the hell you do, it's appropriate. From where they're at, everything's appropriate. They go around again and they talk about what happened.
One of the last things that's said on Friday night - it's traditional, too - "I want you all to now take a look at yourselves, close your eyes and look at yourself and just see what you're experiencing now, that's all. Just see what you're experiencing now." They give them about a minute to do that and then the leader says, "We'll ask you to do this again on Sunday morning." And he does.
This sharing is the high point of the trip for everybody. Not only have they had their trip, they're going to have ten other people's or eleven other people's trips, too. And the feeling and the sharing and the talking out of where they are, sometimes the deep crying that comes out. Everybody is just pulled into it. And we are one. Until then we do not know what happened on anybody's trip. We don't know! That's our payoff for having been there all that time and handling it like we do. When they're all through we have lunch and we get ready to leave. By mid-afternoon they go home. They sign up for the next one they want to come to. They are available every month.
Myron: So if you only have it once a month and you can only handle ten to twelve, probably you have a much larger group moving in and out of the group experience.
Jacob: Oh, yes! Oh, yes!
Myron: What would you say is sort of a working number?
Jacob: The active members of the group are about 40 or 50 who are coming every third or fourth month. There are about 100 who come less frequently. Something like that. You see, we have a priority list. The priority list is this. First trippers have first priority, the first time they're coming to the group. The second priority is somebody who hasn't tripped for a long time. Third priority is somebody who is in some kind of space where they really need a trip, want very much to have a trip, and we agree that it would be a good thing for them to have it, if there isn't a possibility for them to have it another way. But they don't generally want to the other way, they'd rather trip with the group anyway. And then there's another priority: we try to keep a balance between men and women.
Well, that fills the group, you see, if we get through all of those priorities.
Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Epilogue | Appendix I | Appendix II | Acknowledgements