Personal Story: I’m A Scientist Who Was An Atheist Until DMT Opened My Heart

Photo by Yellowj.


by Ashley Booth

on April 24, 2014

As a little background, I am a scientist and for most of my life I have been an adamant atheist because all of the Western religions I had come in contact with seemed antiquated and did not encourage critical thinking. In the past few years, I had several opportunities to learn about Eastern spiritual traditions and immerse myself in different philosophies. I came to consider myself an agnostic because I had little data to prove one way or another. At that point it felt arrogant to say that I could understand the mystery of the universe. I felt sure that none of the gods of the most common religions were out there but I did not know what to think of it all.

Then, a year and a half ago, I was able to participate in a 5-MeO-DMT ceremony. 5-MeO-DMT, like its more well known cousin N,N-DMT, is made ‘endogenously’ by all human bodies and is in many plants and animals. Some research had been done on it over the past decades but the researchers that knew the power of this substance kept it quiet because up until 2011 it was not on the DEA’s radar and was still legal. Then in 2011 its status was changed to Schedule I, where the substances considered most dangerous are listed.

The ceremony I participated in consisted of a circle of about six people, and after some intention setting, each of us was given the ‘sacrament’ one at a time while the others held space for the individual. Our ‘guide’ vaporized the compound in a tube of inert argon gas (to prevent burning) that the individual would then breathe in. 5-MeO-DMT is made by the body naturally and it is one of only a few chemicals that can directly cross the blood-brain barrier so it takes effect within seconds.

When it was my turn I sat in the center of everyone and consciously calmed my nerves. After breathing in the vapor, I laid back on the soft bed and my entire visual field dissolved into a white and yet rainbow fractal pattern. I lost track of my body and past and self and I was just observing this beautiful whiteness. The music that was playing went into hi-fi and felt like it was echoing out into infinity. I then felt this loving, feminine consciousness look into my heart and saw that I had a question there which was, “Is there a god?” This consciousness said, “Yes,” and all I could feel was this infinite love and compassion for how difficult it can be to be human. This love was so powerful and it filled me and flew open my heart. I was then shown this golden sphere and the consciousness communicated to me that it represented all of creation and that all of it was a gift. I then returned to my body (about 30 minutes later) and I was immediately back. I came out griping my hands together, crying and saying thank you, thank you! I reached for my boyfriend and pulled him to me and said, “Don’t be afraid baby, there is a god, there is a god.”

Within 40 minutes, I had experienced a complete paradigm shift. Now I look at the world knowing that there is a loving consciousness at work behind it all. This is a difficult transition for my everyday ego mind to grasp. The past year and a half, I have been collecting tools to create a practice of remembering and I will probably spend the rest of my life with this practice. I have done several personal growth workshops and completed Kundalini yoga teacher training in an effort to clear myself of any blocks so that I can be a channel for the love and compassion that I felt. My heart is now open in a way I have never felt before and I feel like I am now fully human. This was by no means the magic bullet to all of my life’s problems; I am still human and prone to the pitfalls that make this life interesting. But now I face challenges with a big picture view that makes things more bearable.

The downfall of language is that we can never truly convey an experience to another. Maybe this is by design, so that we have to have an experience first hand to really know. To really “grok.” I now understand the difference between intellectually knowing something and then “knowing” something in a way that encompassed the core of who I am. It was more like a remembering than a learning. I know that there is a loving consciousness that is a part of me. I don’t think this is faith though, because faith means to believe something without having proof. I do have proof as direct experience. Our modern world has created an economy selling the stories of others’ experiences. Instead of traveling to far off lands, we can watch others do it on TV. There is no substitution for direct experience because it goes beyond the mind.

The fact that 5-MeO-DMT is a considered one of the most dangerous substances in existence is a crime against humanity and one of the most blatant acts of war against the awakening of human consciousness and spirit. But it makes sense, because, how would an economy run if its people were pacifists that were not driven by consumerism? The situation saddens me, but at the same time I feel compassion for the people that are so fearful and asleep that they do not know what they do. I find hope and solace in knowing that the information about these substances cannot be extinguished. They are too powerful. The consciousness unlocked by psychedelics has a long view of time and it’s patient. I feel an incredible responsibility to educate about and advocate for the mindful use of psychedelics. I want to encourage all who read this to do their homework and to keep probing the edges. There is so much more to learn.

also seen in