Serotonin, Psilocybin and Fairy Castles

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September 12, 2012 by NowChangeYourLife

I was well again. But still lost. I had glimpsed something wonderful and, goddamit, it had been real. The echo of it still resonated.
While reading Psychology (B.Sc. not B.A.) at Brunel, I had become fascinated  with neurotransmitters. Noradrenaline, dopamine and seratonin. These minute chamicals regulated how and when neurons fired. Dopamine had been implicated in a variety of mental disorders. It was serotonin though that was the mistress of all. It regulated the others, stimulated their release, modified their actions. 5-HT, 5-Hydroxytryptomine, had been called the “happiness” chemical. In the investigation of the action of pyschotropic agents (LSD, mescaline, psylocybin) it was serotonin that was affected.

There is no pathology for bi-polar, manic depression. There are treatments but these are management not curative. It has been said “The mind is the  forerunner  of all conditions” (Dhammapada) I could quite safely hypothesise that it was an imbalance in my brain chemicals that was responsible for the mind fucks I periodically ecksperienced. (btw my ecks key is broken). It would also ecksplain the slight feeling of euphoria I lived with. How ecksciting I found everything to be! Perhaps if I changed my chemicals…..
It was Autumn, the season of mellow fruitfulness. My fav month in every country I have lived in. The trees would be turning copper. I need to see them. Of course! Charleville

King Tree

with the oldest stand of oaks in Ireland. The King Tree at the gate of the castle was over 400 years old, 20 mins walk from my flat. Charleville Forest Demesne was the one redeeming feature in Tullamore, and, at one time, my second home. I would take a cab, only 5 euros, save my strength for the two mile walk along the avenue of oaks to the fairy castle that is Charleville. Wiki says :

Charleville Castle grew from paper doodles in early 1798 to grandiose plans by the end of that very eventful year in Ireland. It was built by Charles Bury, 1st Earl of Charleville. It was designed by Francis Johnston, who also designed the GPO in Dublin, one of the leading architects of the day.

It owes its “Tin Soldier Fortress” look to the celebration of victory over the third French revolutionary expedition to Ireland – the first decisive victory by Britain over the revolutionary republican movement, which was sweeping across the monarchies and their colonies at that time. It took fourteen years to complete this gothic dream, a monument not only to a now forgotten power, but also to the people who made it possible, the Irish craftsmen and impoverished people.


The castle had to be temporarily closed at times, due to the castle owners living beyond their means. However, each subsequent re-opening was usually marked by a suitably flamboyant gesture, which included engaging the talents of William Morris, who designed the ceiling within the dining room. Additionally, Charleville is said to have helped start a craze of building castles within Ireland.

The castle played host to Lord Byron, who held many parties here. In fact, whenever he visited Ireland he always went to the castle. This was due to the castle owner’s eccentricity.
Hehehehe “eccentricity” Me, Dudley and Keith invented the word. My Selfgrow Ltd company documents were hoisted by us, with a very long rope, to the second floor. We put an Internet ariel for our wi fi on the tallest tower; we had loads of fun. Happy days, I had a castle to play with!

The tacksi let me off at the gate and I walked to The King Tree. It had been left to grow “naturally”. Limbs stretched out 20ft, one dipped down to the ground, so I climbed it and sat in the oldest tree in Ireland, pondering natures glory if it was left alone. How ephemeral we are. I strolled through the oaks to the castle. I rang the front door bell, no answer so  I let myself in through the tiny side back door that led down winding steps to the kitchen. I poked the fire in the huge hearth, Dudley had been trimming again and there were loads of logs. Nobody. I went up to the main ballroom and sat in a chaise longue.

One of the two fireplaces in the main ballroom

Laughed! Dudley had lent me the castle for the weekend for my 50th. It was wild. About 100 people came. We had all taken e. Stupid Eta W took 3 never taken them before, silly cow! The police came about 4am and shut us down. Just close family and friends left sitting in groups by the fireplaces. By candlelight. Ahhh good memories, will never forget my 50th. I looked out at the yew trees that had been planted in the shape of a union jack when the British were here. Lord Byron probably felt right at home. lol. Thought I would pop outside to the early ancient ruins. People have been here since the 6th centuary. In spring the whole area is covered in bluebells. Autumn now. Autumn!!!!! Mushrooms!!!!!

I hurried to The Field! When I first arrived in Ireland, living with M’s parents all our friends were druggies. It was common knowledge in our set that Charleville had mushrooms, Psilocybin Mushrooms. It was a secret too. The year I arrived we picked two carrier bags full. The following year there were less. We used to dry them out under M’s bed, the only room we didn’t share.  12 years on I wondered if they had respawned.

Nota Bene : Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms, collectively known as psilocybin mushrooms. The most potent are members of the genus Psilocybe, such as P. azurescens, P. semilanceata, and P. cyanescens, but psilocybin has also been isolated from about a dozen other genera. As a prodrug, psilocybin is quickly converted by the body to psilocin, which has mind-altering effects similar to those of LSD and mescaline. The effects generally include euphoria, visual and mental hallucinations, changes in perception, a distorted sense of time, and spiritual experiences, and can include possible adverse reactions such as nausea and panic attacks. Imagery found on prehistoric murals and rock paintings of modern-day Spain and Algeria suggest that human usage of psilocybin mushrooms dates back thousands of years.

I found the field after mutch toing and froing. Head down I scanned the around. For an hour. Nothing. I felt a breeze pick up. Now if I was a mushroom spore where would the wind leave me? I walked in the direction of the wind. Found a clump of 5. Scanned around…More!!!!! I stuffed my pockets! Ate some! Ate more….lay down in the damp grass, looked up at the blue sky, felt light headed, felt a warm glow suffuse my body…..I was tumbling, tumbling down Alice’s Rabbit Hole…..Elysium?


The serotonin molecule                             The psilocybin molecule


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