"Caution: Mushrooms!" by Vasok-JF

Review by Borodutch

The author of this book is lost to oblivion, and we'll never be able to communicate with them (this is by design). We don't even know their real name. "Caution: Mushrooms!" is a bootleg self-published book that surfaced in the Russian segment of the Internet around 2017. Unfortunately, the book is in Russian, but you can easily use ChatGPT to translate it into English if you get a copy. Just over 70 pages, it outlines the author's mindset, who went through hundreds of weekly psychedelic trips. I got a copy from a friend in a random online chat room.

The author has to be incognito (the name "Vasya" is sometimes used similarly to "John Doe" in English) due to vulturous anti-drug policies in Russia. Vasok doesn't outline how to grow or what doses to take psychedelic mushrooms in but goes beyond, explaining what to do and what you'll feel after going through a series of trips. As a beginner psychonaut interested in psychology, I read through the whole book in one take. And what a take that was!

If you're scared of psilocybin, don't be. It doesn't affect your body as much (unless you have a mental disease — only take doctors' advice on any substance). It simply tricks your mind into feeling like you're dying. Well, maybe feeling is all that matters — after all, as the author suggests, there are myriads of things to do after you've been "on the other side." After finishing reading this book, all the mysterious aspects of psilocybin trips (including bad, hard, and horror trips) will no longer be hidden away from you. They will be as clear as the water you (hopefully) drink.

Vasok tells us about his experience after he got through so many rounds of intense self-remedy psychotherapy under the influence of psychedelics. He claimed that he was no longer concerned by many things in the perceived reality; he now plays with the illusions (the second name for the book is "Conscious Games with Illusions"). Going to work, having friends over, going to the cinema, perceiving and consuming — all this stops mattering. Paradoxically, the things around also start making more sense and matter... more?

See, this is the difficult part of the book. If one hasn't had a psychedelic (or even the ego death) experience, all of the above sounds like gibberish. However, the "initiated" will probably want to learn more — hence, I am mentioning the translation route above. I'm sure people will seek out and read the book no matter the language barrier, as there is so little good literature on the topic.

Anyway, one thing is for sure: demystifying the mushrooms worked, and I'm no longer afraid of what I've seen and how it affects my life. In fact, I now see that the fear itself was a ploy by the mind to prevent further exploration, for instance, during the meditation sessions. If you're on the same path, read the book — I firmly believe you won't regret the time spent.