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The Ecstatic Adventure

  Reports of Chemical Explorations of the Inner World

    Chapter 20 — Ecstatic Childbirth


THE MOTHER WHO describes giving birth under LSD in the following pages is one of a growing number of women who realize that there is something inappropriate about the way our culture has conditioned us to think of childbirth, and who look to LSD as a way of breaking that conditioning. The doctor who delivered her baby, a perceptive and courageous physician unafraid to risk total professional opprobrium and censure in order to explore a promising new approach, has delivered four or five babies for women on LSD trips, in their own homes. He naturally takes all the necessary precautions, and will consent to do it only when prior X-ray and other examinations have assured him of the absence of probable complications, and only where the mother-to-be herself has had previous experience with LSD.
    The basic assumption behind such a procedure, which stands in flagrant opposition to established medical and social opinion, is that childbirth is not a disease or an injury, and it is therefore quite unnatural to have a baby in a hospital and to treat the mother as if she were undergoing a great physical trauma. The human species and the animal species which preceded it in evolution have given birth to their offspring for millions of years without hospitals, drugs or expensive medical emergency equipment. This is not to deny the undoubted medical advances of the last hundred years which have led to a dramatic decrease in the infant-mortality rate. Modem medicine has learned extraordinary techniques for sustaining life. But in the normal case, childbirth is a natural biological function which the mother knows, instinctively, how to perform. The well-known "natural-childbirth" systems attempt to tap this hereditary knowledge by means of breathing and relaxation exercises. For many women these work. For many they don't, and the reason is that they depend on a certain attitude, an attitude of allowing the body to take over. This is an internal attitude difficult to bring about through external movements. But this "allowing the body to take over" is exactly what LSD is about. One of the other women pointed this out very clearly: when, in anxiety, she fought the LSD effect, the contractions were painful; when she "went with it," they were painless. The broad outline of what Karin Harvey reports in the following interview is confirmed by the other four women and their doctor: childbirth with LSD (and only a small dosage is necessary) is an ecstatic trip, which requires no anesthetics or mechanical or surgical intervention; it tends to be short and leaves the mother feeling relaxed and energetic. Since LSD is an ergot derivative, a direct uterine stimulant effect can also not be ruled out, although the pharmacological literature does not indicate a strong oxytocic action of LSD. (Black-market LSD which has been insufficiently purified is more likely to have oxytocic ergot derivatives.) The primary change seems to be, as this report makes clear, in attitude: the mother, instead of being overly concerned about the pain occurring in her body, becomes involved in the process of helping the baby be born. A rhythm is established which does not require the mental, intellectual understanding of the mother, and may even be hindered by too much thinking. The 95 per cent of pain which is psychological dwindles in importance.
    Interestingly, Dr. Eric Kast's observations with terminal cancer patients who were given LSD are exactly analogous: pain is felt, but not reacted to as pain, because the person's consciousness is occupied with "higher" matters.
    Sometimes the question is raised of the direct chemical action of the mother's LSD on the baby. Why the same question is not raised in regard to the opiates or barbiturates that are usually given childbearing mothers is difficult to see. The plain fact of the matter is that most of us were born junkies. We had to be slapped into awakeness and spent most of our early days asleep. LSD "tunes" the nervous system, opiates and barbiturates depress it.
    The two great transition points of life, the beginning and the ending, birth and death, are for us dangerous and somehow taboo. We negotiate them anxiously, in hospitals, surrounded by the appurtenances of sickness and injury. We deny mothers the opportunity to be conscious of their most sacred function. We deny each other the right to approach the inevitable ending of our days with dignified affirmation. In some cancer wards I have visited, nurses are not allowed to even mention the word "cancer." The patient is deceived by vague circumlocutions such as "a tumor." "Don't worry, Uncle Charlie, you'll be up and about next week. We'll go for a picnic." Whom are we really protecting with such deceits: the patient, or ourselves?
    Perhaps we may envision a time, as Aldous Huxley did in his greatest and yet to be fully appreciated work, Island, when men will be prepared for the final journey through the use of "liberation medicines," when they will die surrounded by their friends in a joyful, serene environment. Perhaps, also, it will become natural for a child to be born into a happy family communion, an environment of love. Our most popular religious festival celebrates just such a birth: the arrival of the god-child. Is not every child a divine being worthy of this reception?

    R.M.: When did you have your baby?
    KARIN: About three weeks ago.
    R.M.: And this was your first baby?
    KARIN: Yes it was.
    R.M.: But it wasn't your first LSD session?
    KARIN: No
    R.M.: No, you'd had about how many before?
    KARIN: About thirty.
    R.M.: What did you expect and what did you hope for by taking LSD?
    KARIN: Well, I thought that it might help me to relax and also to feel the experience of giving birth more strongly... of feeling each contraction more clearly than I would if I hadn't. Also, I thought it would be... like... taking LSD is beautiful and I thought childbirth could be beautiful too, and I wanted to try and see what would happen if I did it... you know, I thought it would be beautiful, and it was, luckily.
    R.M.: So, at what point did you take the LSD?
    KARIN: Well, I took the LSD at ten o'clock Wednesday night, and I started my labor at ten o'clock Thursday morning, so I was—I had already really gone through most of the trip.
    R.M.: Did you know you were going to have the baby that coming day?
    KARIN: Well, not really, but pretty much, because I had gone to the doctor's on Tuesday and be sort of planned that I was ready to have it, and we had taken X rays and knew it was coming either that day or very shortly.
    R.M.: So that the baby actually arrived about four hours after you took the LSD?
    KARIN: No, about twelve to fifteen or sixteen hours after.
    R.M.: So you actually were already pretty far, coming down.
    KARIN: Yes I was—it seems that when I take a strong dose of LSD and smoke some grass at the end of the trip, I go up again. It happens to me every time. In fact, one time it happened so strongly it was like I was more high than I had ever been twelve hours after I took LSD. So I was very much on it. In fact, when I was on the delivery table, I was hallucinating on the paintings. When the baby actually came out, I was looking at this bull on the wall and I was hallucinating, seeing designs and everything, and I know that I was still in the LSD during my labor, too, because of what happened between contractions. That's when it helped me actually, the last two hours of labor.
    R.M.: In what way did it help you there?
    KARIN: Well actually, because at that time the contractions were coming very close together and it's hard work getting over one. The LSD made time in between much more valuable. It made... like... what was a minute or two minutes—I don't know how long it was even, I was looking at the clock but not really at the time—it made one minute or two minutes seem like an eternity, so that I really got a lot of value out of the time in between; whereas usually you don't, you're usually very nervous and it's of no value.
    R.M.: Were you thinking about things during that time, or having visions, or what?
    KARIN: I wasn't. You know, it's funny, I wasn't thinking about the baby. In between, I would just sort of go completely off into something else—like outer space. As soon as a contraction would come, I would feel it very clearly. By the time I was in my third hour of labor, I could really tell when it was coming and I'd say to him, "Here comes another one," and I'd feel them coming on stronger, and then it would really get to the peak, and then it went away, and once it went away I wasn't thinking about the contractions or the baby or anything. I was practically asleep. I wasn't really asleep, but I was very relaxed. I was just sinking into the bed.
    R.M.: How about pain, did you have any pain at all?
    KARIN: Well, I don't think it's fair to call it painless childbirth. I don't think that it kills the pain. I think it just... I was concentrating so much... well, I could feel myself opening up and that was like, well, I was concentrating on that because I knew that was the most important thing, and I was concentrating on relaxing and the breathing. And then between contractions I wasn't concentrating on anything. I was just high. So it was painful when I was having contractions—it hurt. I don't know if you can call it pain technically, but it didn't tickle, I can tell you that. But I wasn't thinking about the pain by that time, I was thinking about what I had to do to make each contraction do what it was supposed to do—and he was helping me.
    R.M.: You were collaborating with the contractions?
    KARIN: Right. That was it. I can't say whether it was pain or not. I really haven't figured that out myself, yet.
    R.M.: Well, so much of pain is psychological as opposed to purely physiological, it might make a difference in that way.
    KARIN: I don't know if it's that either. If it's psychological, I was prepared for not pain because I figured, well, I know what I'm doing and it shouldn't be painful, it should be this other thing. I figured it would just be a very way-out feeling, and my body would be doing this thing that I called contracting. I didn't know what a contraction was. It was all very abstract to me. I really don't know whether it was painful or not. All I know is that, for the first two hours before I knew what was happening, before I realized about how far I had to go and everything, I'd say it was painful because I wasn't working at it right. I was concentrating on that feeling and I was thinking I was going to have twelve more hours of it, and then it was painful. For the last two hours it wasn't. It wasn't pain. It was the same feeling, but it didn't hurt because I wasn't concentrating on the feeling, I was concentrating on doing my job. You know, relaxing and getting the baby born.
    R.M.: Now, you were in your own home?
    KARIN: Yes.
    R.M.: The doctor came?
    KARIN: Yes. I had my first pain, if you want to call it pain, at ten o'clock. The doctor came at twelve—twelve-thirty, and the baby was born at 2:36 P.M.
    R.M.: Well, what about the time of the actual birth itself?
    KARIN: That was just beautiful. By that time I just by the time the doctor came, I just... Why I got confused in the beginning was that, first of all, I was freezing. There was no heat. I think that was when I started thinking about really what made my labor bard. The weirdest things did. It was freezing cold and I had this feeling I wanted to be naked—I didn't want anything touching me. You know, they told me I would want him to rub my back and things like that, but I didn't. I just wanted to be free, and by the time the heat came I was fine, but I was freezing cold and they were putting blankets on me, or pillows under me—I felt so smothered that I just couldn't move. But by the time the doctor came, and he told me it was only going to be about two and a half more hours, from that time on, it was beautiful, I would say. Really, the only part that was difficult at all was the first two hours when I thought that I had twelve hours to go. I thought, gee, this is going to go on till midnight; and then the doctor came and he said: "Are you kidding, you're going to have it in no time." From then on it was beautiful. And the birth itself was beautiful, it was the greatest. I can't remember any pain at all. It was just like insane, it was so beautiful.
    R.M.: Who was there besides you? Your husband was there?
    KARIN: My husband, my sister, the doctor. That's all. We were supposed to have a nurse, but it happened so fast that while she was getting all the sterile equipment, the baby was born. I mean, it was really completely natural.
    RONALD: When she arrived with the sterilizer you had already had the baby.
    KARIN: Yeah, we had already had the baby—but when the baby came out—well, first of all I had worked for months making all the things you're supposed to wear, all the sheets and stuff. So while his nurse was getting all those things, the baby was already born. I had the baby on the table on a plastic tablecloth, and when the baby came out we needed something to tie the cord with and we didn't have anything. So I told my sister there was a ribbon in the sewing machine. To cut the cord we used a pair of barber shears. She came out with a knife, a pair of barber shears and masking tape, because we didn't have anything to tie it or to cut it with. So we cut it with barber shears and tied it with the ribbon and the nurse came in... how long?... about ten or fifteen minutes after the baby was born. She missed the whole thing. I went to all the trouble of making all these sterile things and we didn't use anything. The whole thing was totally unsterile, I guess.
    R.M.: You didn't use any anesthetics either?
    KARIN: No. Well, during the first two hours I asked for a muscle relaxant because I thought that I wasn't relaxed. I couldn't tell whether I was relaxed or not, I was so confused, and then he said, "You're plenty relaxed." I guess I was just concentrating on it so hard and these real things kept happening to my body—my back kept arching and things that I didn't expect, I just couldn't stop it—it just arched completely and he would be pushing my stomach down.
    R.M.: You were right there at the time of the birth and so you didn't feel confused or lost? I mean you were right there in the situation?
    KARIN: At the time of the birth, I was. I got a little bit confused. I had gone to these natural-childbirth classes, and they really get you ready for something that doesn't happen at all. At least it didn't with me. But she was telling me about—you're supposed to have the urge to push, and I couldn't tell whether I did or not, and the doctor was saying to me, "Do you feel like pushing? Do you feel like pushing?" and I was saying, "I don't know." I couldn't tell, I was so confused. But then he helped because he told me what kind of breathing I was supposed to do, and as far as that went, that was the smoothest part of the whole thing.
    RONALD: It was the easiest part.
    KARIN: It really was. We didn't have any stirrups. We were supposed to get stirrups from B.'s husband (he made them for her), so we called up... it must have been twelve-thirty and the doctor was already here... we called up to get the stirrups and he said, "Oh, I took them apart and used all the pieces for something else." So I... you really need them because you've got to have something to push against, so he had one leg and my sister had the other leg. For a while I had my foot on the doctor's shoulder, you know, I just needed something to brace myself. I had my foot on his shoulder and it was wild. I was watching—mostly I was watching their faces—my sister and him because I couldn't really see what was happening, I was too busy working, but then when the bead started coming out, he told me to sit, up and he said, "I want you to see this."
    R.M.: You sat up? You actually sat up?
    KARIN: Oh, yes. I was wide awake. I really was.
    RONALD: Because he gave you instructions that you followed very clearly. And if she forgot any of them I would tell her about breathing, moving or relaxing, and she'd respond instantaneously. In fact, the doctor said what he felt about the LSD was that we always have associations and we cling to these associations; he felt that LSD permits the mother not to necessarily associate the physical reaction with pain or anything that anyone ever told her about childbirth.
    R.M.: How much did you actually take?
    KARIN: I don't know. I would say it was more than the minimum, but it was off the street, so who knows? I've taken much more than that, so I would say it was more than the minimum dosage because I was very, very... I was really... I wasn't just high, I was really... I was very high even after twelve hours.
    R.M.: You said that the pot added a contribution?
    KARIN: Oh, that it did. I smoked at nine o'clock in the morning, and my water broke at nine o'clock in the morning, in fact, and I didn't have any pains until ten. I smoked a lot of grass at nine o'clock because I was having trouble sleeping, and I didn't know that the reason I was having trouble sleeping was because all night long I was in labor, and evidently I was very relaxed. I was up all night long the night before I had the baby and didn't even know I was in labor because the contractions start out every twenty minutes, and I was just high on LSD, and he was asleep, and I was just smoking by myself. I had spent the night looking at him through this thing. Watching him sleep, through the crystal, and the whole time I felt uncomfortable. I was doing the breathing anyway because I just did the breathing for about the last month of my pregnancy. I was having some contractions and I was using it already by then, so I guess I was just getting through it without even knowing that I was in labor, because of the LSD.
    R.M.: You found the natural childbirth training that you'd had helpful? How much of that had you done?
    KARIN: Well, actually I don't think it did anything. The only thing that it helped me with was the breathing and knowing physically what was happening to me. You know, I actually had an idea in my mind of—I knew what my cervix looked like, and I knew that it was opening up, and I could picture about where the baby's head would be, so that it helped. I think that was the good thing about it. The rest of it was a waste of time, like the exercises. In fact, we missed two of the classes. I don't really think it did much, in fact it really gave me... I expected a lot of things to happen. I could give much better classes myself. I think that really they set you up for things that just don't happen. They make you think everything's going to happen at a certain time, and my labor, though it was an unusual one, just didn't go the way I expected it to, which was why I was scared the first two hours. I thought, well, they're going to come every twenty minutes, ha ha—well I'll do a little bit of breathing and, you know, it'll be twelve hours of that and then, all of a sudden, like at ten o'clock, I started having them every four or five minutes. That's how it started, so I had the wrong idea from the classes.
    RONALD: You want to say something about the breathing. You discover how there seems to be your own natural breathing rhythm.
    KARIN: You're just like an animal. When I started having the urge to push—it was quick, you know—the doctor was on the phone, and my sister—my sister had a baby before so she knew how to examine me, she could tell what was happening—she said, "Oh, the head is showing," and he didn't expect it, and I was trying to do the breathing that they taught me, or you were saying to me, you were saying, "Listen, you're supposed to be doing this or that." Yes, he said to pant, and I tried it, and it didn't work, and I said that I tried it and it didn't work, it didn't help then. It helped at an earlier point, but by the time then, it was about forty-five minutes before the baby was born, I was doing breathing that nobody had told me. I was just like an animal. I just did what helped. He said, "You're not doing the right thing,' " and I said, "Well, doing the right thing doesn't help," and, "This is doing the numbers, so this is what I'm going to do," and it was nothing like anything she had told me. But then, I don't think I would have done that naturally if I hadn't had the classes either. I wouldn't have known. I probably would have just yelled, because I know that's what my sister did. I mean, she had a baby, and had fifteen hours of labor and screamed the whole time. I'm sure I would have too, because I almost did a couple of times.
    R.M.: Of course you wouldn't know, because this is your first baby, but have you noticed anything unusual about the baby at all?
    KARIN: I know one thing, that I can't follow any of the books because he's—and the doctor said the same thing—he really is at least about two weeks ahead of other infants. He's very alert and I'm reading in these books that he's supposed to be sleeping twenty-two hours a day, you know, that's what they say, and he's up, lie's up as long as—well, he's been up as long as ten hours in a row with maybe five minute naps or something. He's very much awake and alert, and the first thing that he did when he was born was that he opened his eyes. He can't focus yet, because he can't, but he does move his eyes around. He's got control, and he's very relaxed also.
    R.M.: That is the same thing that B. said.
    KARIN: Yes.
    RONALD: He cried the very second that his mouth cleared.
    KARIN: Right—he didn't need the spanking.
    RONALD: He wasn't even out and he was crying. I mean he was that alert and his eyes were already open.
    R.M.: Usually they have to spank them?
    KARIN: They have to wake them up.
    RONALD: Because of the drugs.
    R.M.: In other words, if the mother uses a drug that puts her to sleep, then the baby's asleep too.
    RONALD: That's why we thought—the baby gets whatever the mother gets—so if she's taken LSD, I presume the baby gets LSD.
    KARIN: Oh, I'm sure, I'm sure, I mean—well, first of all, he's so relaxed, I mean, if you see most infants—you dig that they're like this all the time, I mean, that's their riff. He was like that from the minute he was born, wasn't be? He was just beautiful really. The doctor said that he was about two weeks ahead of other newborn infants, more awake and just physically more relaxed. It takes them that long to get used to being out of the womb, I guess. They still react to being in the air. Also, the fact that I didn't go to a hospital was one of the main things.
    R.M.: Did you have any anxiety about that at all?
    KARIN: None whatsoever. When I started going into labor, all I could think about—and I really mean it too—I'd look at the clock, and first of all I wasn't going to call the doctor—my sister called him—I said, "Well, I think I'm in labor, but it's not the real thing, so let him relax because it's his day off," right! My sister was smarter than I was, so she called him, and when I was just waiting for him to come, the thing I was conscious of most was that if I had gone to a hospital, I'm sure I wouldn't have made it through it at all as well. No, because there are screaming women in the hospitals, and also when you go in the first thing they do is two strange nurses come up and they shave you and they give you an enema, and I can just imagine myself like trying to use a bedpan when I was in labor. I mean, that's really what made it most comfortable, was the fact that I was here and there was nobody around, only people I loved: my doctor, my husband and my sister, you know; it couldn't have been better. I couldn't go to a hospital for anything, I would have him deliver almost first, I think—I really think I would, you know. Would you want to do that? Well, I would almost, I really—that would blow my mind to have to go to a hospital.
    R.M.: Do you have any general impressions of the thing that you remember?
    RONALD: Well, the most memorable thing was that afterwards she had so much energy, and I was completely exhausted. It's a very emotional experience.
    R.M.: You didn't take LSD at the time?
    RONALD: No, I didn't take it. She has better connections than I do. As far as the LSD goes, I know one thing that can be clear from it, and that is that using LSD in birth-giving has to be investigated more because: number one, I think that it does help the contractions to come on, and secondly, I think it relaxes the person.
    KARIN: And I think it makes it much faster.
    RONALD: Right, there seems to be something about LSD that causes contractions in the body, and I think it gives you greater muscular control and that's what you're looking for in LSD—that's what you can get and it's something that you need. And if you're looking for relaxing, you can get relaxing in LSD.
    KARIN: When he told me to push, boy, first of all I was hallucinating, and when he said, "Push," you know, I just was seeing all these things and I didn't believe the strength that I had, I just didn't believe it. Something really clicked and I just knew that it was really coming and he said, "One more push and you've got it," and boy, and I did it in one more. It was really something.
    R.M.: You said she had a lot of energy afterwards. You were awake afterwards?
    KARIN: I didn't go to bed for two days. I was so up afterwards, I was so up. I was just lying on the table and the baby had just been born and I wanted to get up and take a shower I was eating an apple while he was delivering the placenta. I climbed up on the delivery tablethey were trying to figure out how to get me up on the table, and they were saying, "Well, how are we going to get her up there? How are we going to lift her up?"—and while they were doing that, I climbed up on the table and I walked off the table.
    RONALD: We ate a large Chinese dinner after the birth.
    KARIN: We just cleaned off the table that the baby was born on and we moved it in here, and we all sat and had a Chinese dinner. He wasn't even two hours old, he was right here on the bed and we were just looking at him.
    RONALD: We have some photos of them we had taken right after the birth. You can see how she's smiling and you can see that she's alive and alert and aware.
    KARIN: I was grooving. I just couldn't sleep.
    R.M.: That's the way mothers feel after birth throughout the animal kingdom.
    RONALD: The doctor said that he thought that the LSD made you more like an animal, more like a human animal.
    KARIN: It sure did, it sure did.
    RONALD: Because you forget what kind of a social being you are and become more like an animal.
    KARIN: And just like on LSD—the honesty—and you don't care if you cry in front of your friends—that's what it did to me. I didn't care about anything else, I was just doing this thing and I was giving birth and nothing else made any difference and that's what I was doing, and I did a good job evidently, because it went fast and it was groovy.
    RONALD: Also, the doctor considered the fact that since her labor only took four hours it was more than likely that through the night, while she was high on LSD, she was going through labor; it was just that she wasn't aware of it.
    KARIN: Oh, I'm sure I was, really, when I think about it. When I took the LSD, I was with a friend of mine and specifically took this trip to prepare myself for the baby, because I didn't feel that I was getting into it. In fact, the doctor said to me you've got to get into it, you know, get a place ready for it. So, the night I took the LSD, I cleaned the house, I painted the room and I hung my favorite paintings. I was preparing for the baby and the LSD trip. I took the LSD because I wanted to have the feeling of the baby moving. I thought that would really accentuate the way, you know, when the baby would kick or something. I figured that maybe I'd have a vision or something, and 1, just didn't have anything like that. But the next time I have a baby, I want to take it when I'm really in the middle of labor. I couldn't take it again this time, because after I went into labor I wasn't even coming down from it yet, so it would have been insanity to take it again. But it was very good. I was with this girl, and we took the trip together, and I wanted to feel the baby moving and kicking, and I thought that would get me into it. But it was funny, I just didn't—I wasn't even thinking about the baby at all, it was the furthest thing from my mind. That was the reason I took the LSD and I just couldn't get into it. I kept on trying to, and you know how it is, you just have to let the trip take you where it wants to. I wasn't thinking anything about it and I was just thinking, well, I'm not going to have it for a while, because I just can't get into it tonight, and then there I was; I was in labor and I didn't even know it.
    R.M.: Did you have any difficulty finding a doctor to agree to deliver the baby at your home?
    KARIN: Oh, are you kidding? I hadn't even looked, no, I wouldn't have even done it—it was as much his idea as it was mine. I had thought about it, but I just wasn't that attuned with having a child or pregnancy or a doctor either. I mean, he was the sixth doctor I went to, so I was looking for something. I knew—well, I just wanted to go to someone who would let me do what I wanted to do but who would make sure that I was always all right.
    R.M.: Oh, but you hadn't thought about taking it, about taking LSD?
    KARIN: I had thought about it, but I hadn't really considered it. No, because I didn't know.
    R.M.: But you wanted to have it in your home?
    KARIN: I always wanted to, but I wouldn't even have looked for that. It was the doctor really.
    R.M.: He suggested it to you?
    KARIN: He didn't exactly, you know, but he knew that I had taken LSD. I always tell any doctor that I go to, as a part of my medical history, that I smoke grass, and that was why I went to six doctors, because I kept on telling these doctors, "I don't drink and I don't smoke cigarettes, and I take vitamins, and I eat right, but I do like to smoke grass," and I would say, "Well, is it all right?" and most of them would just flip out at the idea that I was smoking MARIHUANA, not even thinking that it's not as had as a woman who has a cocktail every night before dinner or smokes a pack of cigarettes a day. So finally, the fifth doctor said that well, no, he didn't know where it was, but he figured it was not as bad as drinking or something, and then finally the sixth one, which was him, he turned me on to the whole thing. Well, he told me about B. He knew that I'd taken LSD and he told me about her, and then I said, "Oh, yeah?" and I was immediately interested.
    RONALD: We didn't even know about having the baby at home in fact.
    KARIN: Yeah. Well he said to me, he told me he couldn't deliver it in a hospital. I said, "I'd like you to deliver my baby," because I wasn't getting along with these other doctors because I felt I could take care of myself better than any of them could. Really—they were getting me fat.
    RONALD: Well, he first suggested it and I remember I heard about it and I thought it was very way-out and said, "Gee, are you sure?" and so I went up to speak to him and he explained to me that he felt that she was a good candidate and why he thought it was better to have it at home and why he thought it was good to have it on LSD, and it made sense to me. I was quite surprised that he seemed to really know what he was talking about. He'd done it before and it had been very successful.
    KARIN: I saw photographs and I went to B. and I talked to her about it and I asked her what she thought and then what really convinced me, I think, was when I saw the photograph of her when she was delivering her baby, and she was like smiling and it was beautiful and I just dug the look on her face. It just couldn't have been fake, you know. Why would anybody go to all that trouble to make you think it was beautiful if it wasn't? And nobody else had told me that it was. Everybody was saying oh, the pain and the cramps and the swollen feet and everything, so I figured I'd like to try it.
    RONALD: We didn't make up our minds until I think my third visit to the doctor. Then we decided that it was a good idea.
    R.M.: Then you thought about it for quite a while?
    RONALD: Oh, yeah. I would say about three months we thought about it.
    KARIN: The way I felt about it was that I didn't think about it that much because I knew what I would have done. just like anything else, I would do it if I felt like doing it at the minute. I never said that I was going to do it and never said that I wasn't. I always told him, "Well, I might take it and I might not, but don't count on it." But if I didn't feel in the mood for it psychologically, then I wouldn't have.
    R.M.: You took LSD during your pregnancy?
    KARIN: Yes. I never took it unless I knew where he—he wouldn't let me take it unless I knew exactly where the doctor was going to be. And the doctor also wanted to know when I was going to take it.
    R.M.: How many times did you take it?
    KARIN: Only twice.
    R.M.: During the whole pregnancy?
    KARIN: Yeah. And then this time. I took them all toward the end, because I was afraid.... It's bad, you know, in the beginning. It was all toward the end. In the fifth month I just figured, well, I don't know whether it could induce labor or not, but I didn't want to risk it because, like, you could have a baby who would have to be in an incubator and all that, and I just never thought it was worth the risk. Then at seven months, I asked him if it was all right for me to take it and he said yes, at the seventh month the baby was formed enough so that it would live if it were born, and it most likely wouldn't induce labor at that time.
    RONALD: Well, also we know that the one time when she took the LSD it definitely affected the baby because—
    KARIN: Right. That's right, I did start contracting but it was the trip, like we were on different things because he was into this business thing and I didn't want that kind of a trip.
    R.M.: When was this?
    KARIN: This was about the seventh month—and so I was not having a good trip. I had to concentrate too much on what he was doing, and the baby reacted to it. It didn't move for about eighteen hours, which was a long time, no movement at all, and he was kicking all the time usually by then.
    R.M.: Normally he was moving?
    KARIN: Normally. But then it got up tight because I was up tight.
    RONALD: The baby was very high toward the chest and after she took the LSD, the baby dropped and curled up into a little ball and lay that way for eight hours without any movement.
    KARIN: Eight! It was more than eight—I was really scared. I swear it was almost twenty-four hours. I was really scared. I didn't think it was dead, because I could tell that it was contracting. But it was actually scrunched up in a little ball. Because normally I was carrying very even, you could hardly even tell that I was pregnant at that time, I was still quite small. But what happened was the baby dropped and I became completely flat all the way down to my belly button, and it was just all curled up all the way down there, right?
    RONALD: In this very tiny ball.
    KARIN: It was weird, 'cause I was up tight, and it reacted to me. I guess it just sensed it or something. Later on when I calmed down, when I relaxed, then it relaxed. It was a long time, actually I was relaxed, I sort of calmed down before it did. I remember finally being cool. I had asked him about it and it was all right, and I knew it was all right, and I was just waiting for it to move, and it still took a long time.
    R.M.: It gives you a real sense of the relationship between mother and child?
    KARIN: Oh, yes, it does. It's funny how the doctor won't let me take LSD now. He says that it's not cool to take it because the baby would get it through my milk, and it really wouldn't be fair to give him LSD, I guess because be's too young or something.
    RONALD: I know one child, he's five years old now and his mother took LSD from the beginning of pregnancy.
    KARIN: And she gave it to him too.
    RONALD: She's given it to him several times and he's probably one of the most brilliant five-year-olds you'd meet. Other kids, the), play, and they get overheated, and they eventually get into a fight, or they collapse, and that's the end of it. But he'll—I watched him one day—he'll run up and down the block with kids, and then he'll say, well, we've played long enough now. I'm gonna sit down and rest before we get too involved, and he always excuses himself at the table. He's extremely polite. He reads. I mean, he does amazing, amazing things. He's one of the most rational children even to the extent that his father feels he deals too intellectually with everything, not enough emotionally. Because kids are very emotional.
    KARIN: I tell you something: I know that I'm going to want to take it sometime in the next six months, and that's how long I'm supposed to be nursing him, and if he gets a little bit of it I'm not going to worry about it. Because I figure he must be high. I smoke grass while I nurse him, and I mean anybody who gets as much grass as lie gets for a kid his age probably could just sort of move right into an LSD trip without much trouble.
    RONALD: When I was seventeen years old, I took mescaline. That was the first time, and I would say for a period of four years I never encountered anyone who ever had a had experience with it. Then when I was about twenty-one or twenty-two, I started running into people who said they had a bad trip. Something wasn't right. Part of the reason might be because the chemical was adulterated, but the major reason, I think, was because by then, any civil authority would tell you that you would have bad experiences on it, and you would keep reading and bearing about it, and it's just a funny kind of drug that way. if you think about something, it can amplify it.
    R.M.: I know that's true because I got a telephone call once from a psychiatrist, a friend of mine, who had taken LSD and he called me up in the middle of the session because he really began to get freaked—because he'd read this report published in the New England Journal of Medicine in which three psychiatrists described a number of cases of psychotic reactions to LSD—case number 1, number 2, number 3, number 4... there were about seven cases—and he started to think, "Oh God, I'm going to be number 8 in some psychiatric report," and imagining all kinds of things.
    KARIN: That's what happened to me. I thought I wasn't breathing properly—I was scared.
    RONALD: There's a book—what's the name of it? The Psychedelic Experience? If we had read this book before we would have had no problem, but unfortunately, it wasn't till about six months later that I got hold of it. All the symptoms that we thought were bad symptoms were listed very clearly in the book as very normal and average symptoms, and if we had only known it before we would have had no difficulty. It was only after reading the book that we understood that we would never have another bad experience again. All bad experiences were listed in that book as normal. It's only relative to say what's a bad experience. Like I had one symptom once that was disturbing, because I felt that I was submerged under water and I read there are many experiences where you are and it doesn't necessarily mean that you are submerged under water, and if you are—so what?
    R.M.: Do you know anything about the chakras? This Hindu system in which the body is organized on seven levels of energy which you can contact. They're like lenses, like interior sense organs that tell the brain or tell you what is going on in the body. The hormones regulate the chemical composition of the blood circulation, breathing and so forth. In the Hindu system, each chakra is associated with a particular element, and the second chakra is associated with the element water. If you look at the water chakra and see where it corresponds in location—the location of the chakra is very exactly described—the water chakra corresponds in location to the adrenal glands, which sit on top of the kidneys, which are concerned with water, that is, what the water volume is in the cells and between the cells. So that if you were looking through that lens your imagery would be watery, obviously, because that's what's going on in there.
    RONALD: Well, LSD is funny, because you can sometimes actually feel your body being, you can feel your hair growing, you can feel your fingernails growing, you can feel your pores.
    KARIN: You can feel the blood rushing through your veins. Oh, I started my period once on LSD and I swear, I told you about it before, that was one of the things that made me start thinking about taking LSD in childbirth too, because I actually felt myself start. I had always had cramps and I didn't just suddenly stop getting cramps, you know, I still get them, but now I realize what I felt then. I actually felt them starting and I realized what was causing the cramps, just like the contractions in childbirth, and it's weird, it just changes your whole attitude. It doesn't bother me as much because I know what it's doing because I actually felt it once when I was high. I could actually feel it and I caught it when it came. Really—I just know that I really could feel it.
    R.M.: How long have you been married?
    RONALD: A little over a year.
    R.M.: You both had taken LSD before then?
    KARIN: Yes. That's how we fell in love: in about two weeks. We took LSD together about three times and it was like I had been with him for a year instead of two weeks.
    R.M.: How do you feel that LSD has affected your marriage?
    RONALD: I know LSD helps you love more, just in general, and if you have someone to express the love to, it makes it much easier. All the arguments you get into, all the problems you get involved in, it's so much harder to get involved in if you take LSD. And especially if you take it together, it's so difficult to compete with one another or want to hurt someone. People who just argue with each other, not because they don't like each other, but because that's what they like to do, you know, it helps them; you don't do that on LSD. On LSD you just look at each other for a two-hour period and just love each other, and it does help you. Because I don't think I ever loved as much as I did after taking LSD.
    KARIN: Me neither. Like you know, you accept it. I had this thing before I met him and took the LSD. I didn't want anybody to love me and I didn't want to love anybody, and then the LSD just sort of made me like accept it and really actually want to try it for the first time. I was just running around and just fucking up and going out with nineteen different guys at once, and then I really decided to try it. You know, I probably wouldn't have tried it for real for a long time if I hadn't taken LSD.
    R.M.: Some married couples have felt that it seems to—well, as you said, it compresses a great deal of experience into a relatively shorter period.
    RONALD: When you spend an LSD trip with somebody—like, I don't know you all that well, but if we took LSD together, we would know each other very well.
    KARIN: So much goes down that...
    RONALD: Time is expanded because you can see more into each minute.
    KARIN: Sometimes I'm still a little bit afraid of it though.
    R.M.: I've taken it maybe three hundred times and I'm still scared every time I take it.
    RONALD: I always get scared until I finally get up high. As soon as I get high, I get relaxed. All of a sudden I realize there's nothing wrong.
    KARIN: I always decide, well, I'm going to take it at two in the afternoon and then it takes me, even if I don't have anything to do, sometimes it takes me from two until nine at night before I'll actually take it. I sit and I think and I clean, you know, because I can't stand to be around dirty places when I'm high. I'll always clean everything up before I take it. It takes me about eight hours before I really settle into actually being ready to take it. I don't know, I think you can take too much of it, though.
    RONALD: And too often—I don't think it should be taken too often.
    KARIN: I know I sort of got a little loose for a while, you know, I was taking too much of it. I would take it twice a week, but even once a week I think is too much. Maybe it's not. I don't know. Maybe it's too much for me.
    R.M.: Do you feel it's religious? Are you at all religiously inclined?
    RONALD: When I was religious and took LSD, I got my deepest and clearest understanding of religion and what I was believing. However, I'm not religious now, and I don't get any religious experience out of it.
    KARIN: I do, to the extent that I still see beauty in everything and I start wondering where I came from and what it's all about and everything, so in that sense it's still religious for me. It's just not anything about God or anything like that, definitely. I think it's a religious feeling.
    RONALD: I always make business plans under LSD.
    KARIN: Yes, he does. But you didn't used to.
    RONALD: The greatest change LSD ever made in my life was just about a year and a half ago. I had no money at all—I had absolutely nothing—and I was high on LSD and for some reason or other I'd gotten very dissatisfied with my state. I became very unhappy about it and decided at that point, well, maybe I would work and use my mind that way, and now, a good portion of the time when I take it, I think about my business and about what I'm doing and I think up ideas to try to promote what I'm after and then—I don't do anything about it when I'm on LSD—but usually the next day, I've got about fifty ideas.
    KARIN: You know, you always look so beautiful, your skin and your eyes and everything. And I want to look at him (baby) on it. I want to take it—I probably will. I'm going to have to try and talk to the doctor about that and see if I can get him to think otherwise, because I don't think he's thought about it much. I think when I asked him he probably hadn't really thought about it much for some reason and just said no because of that. I think it's a great idea. Why shouldn't he take LSD, this little baby? So what's he going to do? He's going to see things, he's going to be doing more if he takes it than he is now, that's for sure. Now he's doing nothing, right? He can't even focus, so he might as well hallucinate or have some inner experience. I'm sure he can too, because he must feel something, like when he's hungry or when I feed him, so when I feed him it'll feel ninety thousand times groovier than it does when he is straight.
    RONALD: I'm sure your tit will feel thirty times larger and longer and nicer than he ever had in his life.
    KARIN: That's probably what would be happening too, right? I wonder if they dream, I mean, what would he be dreaming about? Maybe he dreams about the voices, or maybe he dreams about the ceiling or something. What could he be dreaming about? He probably dreams that he's eating because I see him going umm, umm, umm, in his sleep. I wonder what kind of hallucinations he would have. I don't see why it could hurt him though, except physically, dammit. It might be a nice trip, but it might not be good for him.
    R.M.: Well, there's no way of telling. I'd like to go back to what you were talking about before, the ways in which LSD had affected your thinking about work and money.
    KARIN: You looked at your dirty pants.
    RONALD: Yes, I remember that. I looked at my pants and they were filthy, and I always dressed very dirty. My hair was always very long, and I never shaved, and I did it for a couple of years—I was a painter, of course—I never really thought there was anything wrong with it. It was just at that point I felt that I wasn't giving myself enough selfrespect. First of all, I think I realized how old I was and just felt that.
    R.M.: How old were you?
    RONALD: At that time I was around twenty-four years old. I just felt that it was time that I had my own strengths in society and moved toward an end rather than just staying in one place. I'd always been mystified by everybody else out there, and so I decided that maybe I would get in on it too. I know it's a thing that most of the other people I know always shied away from. They always stayed away from commerce, from playing social games. It's not a thing they look up to. But I feel it's also a phase of my life. People go through different changes, and somewhere along the line I think everybody has to be—
    KARIN: We have to make some money so that we can sit around and just take LSD for the rest of our lives.
    RONALD: I do know that sometimes I would take my ideas and put them on paper and then I would start to work on a show or plan something to make money, or take money to make more money, and it always works, every single time. I know a millionaire in Dakota who uses it all the time; he's made more millions with it. My accountant is an LSD head and he has a business that does over 50,000 tax returns every year; he owns a couple of hundred stores in the city and he dreamt it all up on LSD. I know another guy who's in industrial supplies and started with a nothing business, and in two years built it up into a fairly large industry, and he takes his LSD, and goes to work. I think LSD makes people smart. I think you can take an average non-intellectual person, a non-thinking person, and give him LSD, and then two years later, he'll be a hundred times smarter than he was before. I don't know how it can be proved or whether it's even true, it's just my feeling. You get smarter. You read a book and you retain more; you get more out of what you read. I think there's like a bidden knowledge inside of everybody, and you can draw on it. I know a lot of people who use LSD to better themselves, a lot of people in show business, they use it—I won't say who, but I know some very famous people who do. America would shudder, because one happens to be a movie idol who is the all-American American.
    I'm expanding my gallery operation, so I hired this girl friday; she's an excellent, fantastic secretary and she makes a great assistant director. Then I hired this guy as an associate director, and he's a very brilliant director and I don't know anything about them—but I like them, they're very strait-laced, all-American, and they're working here two weeks and I find out that they're both LSD heads and they smoke hash all the time. Prior to that he was an account executive at an advertising company, and all his friends at the advertising company are LSD heads. I know so many fashion designers, top fashion designers in this city, who are LSD heads. There are just so many people involved in it but they—well, just like I won't put my name on it because it would affect my career too adversely, unless I was so wealthy that it wouldn't make any difference. But it's very difficult to have a going career and be associated with it. Even in your daily life you're constantly meeting people, left and right, who are involved in it. We have no idea how many senators and judges take LSD.
    KARIN: Judges are pretty old; I think it's mostly the younger ones who are taking it.
    RONALD: I know a computer specialist who designs and programs computers who's an LSD head, and a number of people in different businesses, professions, also take LSD all the time. And they all say that they are better at it than other people, because they're all making it because they take LSD. just like this artist here, he got to be so good only because he took LSD. He was on LSD and he developed his technique, thought about it and tried it right afterwards, and he's doing something that no one else is doing and everybody I know, they'll take it and they'll think about a couple of things and they'll act on them.
    KARIN: Artists don't like to admit, though; even R. doesn't like to admit, but you know that his paintings change.
    RONALD: Well, usually whenever he gets stale I always give him a dosage and he comes back to life.
    R.M.: It's been said that American business runs on aggressive competition, but if LSD makes you more loving, then wouldn't that conflict with that? How does it actually affect your attitudes in business?
    RONALD: Well, the way I look at business, everything you do should bring in a reasonable amount of profit and I think LSD might permit you to make money just by being clever in the way you do things rather than through being a crook. I'm very straight with everybody, and all the people I know seem very ethical; they would never dream of screwing anybody or doing anybody out of anything. Even J., who has a ton of lawyers, feels that every move he makes is protected by his lawyers and gives everybody else ample opportunity to be protected. I think the trick in business is mainly not getting hurt by the others, it's not so much trying to do somebody out of something. If you can go through ten years of business without letting somebody beat you, you're probably extremely wealthy and successful because that's where people lose most of their money. I don't think aggressiveness necessarily means doing somebody out of anything, like selling a bad piece of property to somebody when you know it's bad. If you buy a good piece of property that someone else doesn't know is good, it's different than if you sell somebody something you know is bad. I know some people in real estate who make pretty good buys, and they know where to go where somebody would never think there'd be a valuable piece of property, and buy and sell it on a very handsome return. But I doubt that they would buy something bad to sell to somebody else, which a lot of real estate people will do. A lot of real estate people will sell land that they don't have deeds for, and things like that.
    R.M.: Do you think that LSD is an aphrodisiac?
    RONALD: I don't think that it's really an aphrodisiac.
    KARIN: For us it really wasn't.
    RONALD: I think that if you take it and you happen to want to—I don't think I've ever really had sex under LSD, but I know that any sexual experience or embrace on LSD is immediately heightened.
    KARIN: We never really actually got down to screwing, everything else was so beautiful. Finally, toward the end, we always would, like after about the twelfth hour. If we took it at eight at night, maybe by eight or nine in the morning we might feel like it, but generally everything else was so beautiful.
    RONALD: The first time I looked at her and I told her that I loved her, she told me later, "Oh, when you said that, everything was exploding."
    KARIN: Yes, I swear—it's just like you see it in the movies and cartoons. You know, somebody says, "I love you," and the girl sees stars. That's what happened. It was wild—it really was—I did, I swear—up until that instant I didn't even want you to. I was more scared of that than anything else—and then, it just seemed right at that time. It's true. It was just like lights, like stars, but sort of exploding. I can see how people, I mean, one of the things that I got scared of, I can't see how it would happen, but one of the things that sort of scared me on my trip is, like, thoughts of jumping out of the window, because I remember when I was high on LSD going up to R.'s and looking out on the street and it looked so soft, the whole air just looked so soft... I wasn't going to jump though, I mean, because that wasn't my scene, I guess, jumping out of windows. But I remember thinking, Gee, I don't know why—I'm sure I'll just float right down.
    RONALD: I know, it always looks so soft, but then I never jump either because I know it's going to hurt.
    KARIN: That's about the same thing I thought. I thought, Well, I know that if I fall down there I'll get hurt—
    RONALD: I remember one time M. and R. were going by the window and I was very high on LSD and I looked out the window and I screamed, "Look at the moon," and they looked up, and they got panicked and they ran upstairs, and they came and said, "Don't jump," and I said, "Don't be ridiculous, do you realize what would happen to me, I'd get all broken up, so what do you think, I'm crazy or something?"
    KARIN: I've taken it and walked down the street, taken it and done all kinds of things. I went to the World's Fair once on LSD, can you believe that?
    RONALD: I know people who worked as waitresses on it. That must be tough.
    KARIN: I'd rather not—I'd rather not. I couldn't do much in about the first five hours.
    RONALD: I think that if you concentrate on something, you can almost get rid of its effect.
    KARIN: Yes. I've had to straighten up, and been able to.
    RONALD: She's been telling me for a year now that I should stop concentrating on LSD or that I should just lie back and relax and not really think about anything, which I decided to do after my last trip. My last trip I was concentrating on—as it happened I saved myself thousands of dollars—but in any case I felt afterwards it was very confusing and I got very depressed. I'd been thinking about business matters and I stayed up all night because I got in a panic about somebody who had a tremendous amount of paintings of mine and it looked like a good deal and he had hooked a lot of people, putting a lot of money and a lot of paintings into a deal, and I was on LSD, and I said, "You know what, it's a swindle and this guy is going to beat me out of forty paintings." So, going by the book you once wrote, you can think anything you want under LSD, but don't do anything about it. So I thought, all right, I won't do anything until the morning and at eight o'clock in the morning I called up my trucker and had him Pick up all the paintings, and it turned out everybody got swindled and everybody got beat out of money. I had decided after that, that next time I'm not going to think about business at all. I'm going to think about something else, or nothing, or just relax. But ever since I have been taking it, I always think about things. In fact, I always felt it was more mental than it was physical, and that all the seeing and the feeling and the hearing and everything was very temporary and would go away in a few hours. To me the most enjoyable part was everything that I thought about. I always think on it.
    KARIN: Yes, so do I, but then, with my eyes closed, lying flat on the bed—I mean, I bet you I think a lot more things when I'm on it than you do because you're spending time concentrating on what you're thinking while I'm just like—all these things just go—of course, then I don't record anything either and I forget a lot of the brilliant thoughts that I have on LSD. So I don't know, I guess your way is all right too. For me LSD is a vacation, for you it's not.
    RONALD: Well, its good to have a tape recorder when you're on LSD, because the most surprising thing about hearing your voice is that you don't really sound very strange on it, you sound almost like you do when you're your normal self. And secondly, you find that you actually really are wittier, you really do think much more than when you're straight. Because that was my first surprise: that afterwards I would listen to tapes and it was there—and we were talking, and we were legitimately funny you knowother people would crack up also. And you find, well, I think you're very truthful about yourself. You say things which you never would normally or which anyone would know that you were thinking or feeling.
    R.M.: Well, okay, thank you.

    Chapter 21

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