I recently attended an MM retreat, and it is with a profound sense of disappointment that I say that the experience was largely negative for me. That being said, I did certainly observe a number of my fellow participants having strong experiences with the mushrooms. I, however, was not one of them. Statistically speaking, I fully recognize that not everyone will respond to the mushrooms in the same manner, and this is fine. It was actually the response I received for not having a great experience that not only made my retreat disappointing, but, on a more serious level, emotionally unsafe. The MM retreat format is solely organized around the assumption that everyone who attends will have a powerful experience. However, if one falls out of these categories and really has little to no response to the mushrooms, Eric, the owner and primary facilitator of MM, feels threatened and goes on the defensive. His response was to blame the client and insist that it was “my fault” that the mushrooms were having little effect. The dosing of the capsules is arbitrarily done with Eric pulling from a giant bag of capsules, and, after ingesting them, clients have anywhere from 4-6 hours to experience the effects. There is also a lot of time devoted to hours long group discussions of said experiences. Other than this, the retreat offers little else. Anyone who does not have much of a response gets little benefit from the way the days are formatted. In addition, the retreat offers nothing in terms of therapeutic monitoring from a licensed professional, i.e. psychologist, counselor, or physician, so clients do not have an outlet to effectively and properly process their psychedelic experience. Despite this, the owner in particular freely and dangerously engages in armchair psychology and assessing/diagnosing/labeling clients without any proper training, knowledge, or authorization.
Highly questionable/dangerous practice also comes into play with dosing. On my first dose, I was given 4 g of mushrooms. While I was very relaxed, I experienced no bodily/cognitive response. Two days later I was given 9g worth of capsules. Not much happened. What did happen was that Eric came up to me during this time when he was well under the influence of mushrooms and, most likely, cannabis (some of the facilitators dose along with clients). Then, while I was waiting for the psilocybins to take effect, Eric shared that he did not know what to do with me in terms of dosing, and then minutes later proceeded to make a lot of culturally/racially based assumptions and comments about me that culminated in him crying and laughing and telling me that he feels I was not allowing the mushrooms to work because of my race and gender. My sense of relaxation instantaneously dissolved and was replaced with a deep sense of being judged and mislabeled. At that point I knew that continuing to stay at the retreat would be detrimental to my own well-being. Eric went on in this diagnostic vein for sometime---all the while under the influence---and then did his best to avoid me in the hours after he made the comments. Then, in an effort to preserve his ego, he fixated on the “it’s your fault” mindset for the rest of the time that I was at the retreat. He then proposed giving me 20g worth of capsules to see if that would work, but it was all very much guess work. Moreover, 20g sounds like a dangerously high amount of mushrooms to give someone who is new to psychedelics. It also sounds unsafe. Eric continued to engage in pop psychology and make therapeutic pronouncements about me despite having no psychological training whatsoever. His judgmental nature really only reveals itself when things are not happening as he wants them to. He is very upbeat and personable when things go according to plan, but the darker, more petulant side of his personality comes out in instances when he encounters an outlier. There is no plan in place for when this happens. There is also nothing in place for people who have devastating or difficult trip experiences. Ultimately, I did decide to leave the retreat early, knowing that it was the best choice for my own safety and emotional well-being. On the morning of my departure, I had wanted to Eric to say thank you and say goodbye, but he avoided me. Then, minutes after I left the property, I received incendiary texts repeating that it was my fault the mushrooms didn’t work and that I was choosing to “run away.” Biggest factors for anyone considering MM: The retreat has very little structure aside from dosing and talking about the experience, there are no trained therapists on hand, the owner freely makes uninformed psychological assessments about clients, and, aside from blaming the client, the format is such that there is no plan for people who have limited to no response to the mushrooms.
Number of Participants in ceremony: 11