Psilocybin Therapy Saved My Marriage

It was a profoundly powerful journey across centuries of marriage and mothering.

So I Tried Psilocybin Therapy Daniel Adams, Юлия Здобнова, Remains | Canva, photo of mother (r) | Courtesy of author

On the one hand, I’m not sure I should write about my guided psilocybin journey. On the other hand, of course, I’m going to write about my guided psilocybin journey.

The details are intensely personal, but if there’s one common theme that seems to emerge from most people’s psilocybin journeys, it’s a heightened sense of interconnectedness. The problems I’ve been wrestling with, the problems that led me to psilocybin therapy, are very much shared problems, even though we’ve been made to feel individually responsible for them.


If you’re a caregiver who feels emotionally depleted, if you worry about loved ones whose health and well-being are slipping beyond your reach, if you find yourself feeling resentful toward people you care for, if you struggle with a lack of support and lack of connection to a reliable community, if you know something has to give, but you don’t know what or how — well then, I believe my journey holds some relevance.

And particularly if you’re a middle-aged-ish parent who finds themselves, consciously or subconsciously, deconstructing all the things society has taught us to value, while at the same time grappling with growing children who no longer look to us for all the answers and whom we can no longer protect from the social toxins that are seeping into their young and thirsty pores — well then, I believe my journey will speak to you all the more.


These are the factors, broadly speaking, that led me to the Space Psychedelic Clinic on May 17, 2024. It had been a weird month. About four weeks prior, my husband and I had decided to take a break from our marriage. It wasn’t for lack of love. For my part, I felt like a sponge, absorbing the negativity, fear, and anger wrought by my husband’s complicated and traumatic past until I simply couldn’t take in another drop. I had little emotional energy left for my children, let alone myself.

Months ago, I wrote about an apartment my husband got on the campus where he’d recently started working. The distance afforded by him being closer to his job for three nights a week initially helped me recoup my energy, but I began to approach the weekends with a mixture of anxiety and dread. It wasn’t that I didn’t look forward to seeing him — I very much did — but I found it difficult to transition back into co-parenting and shared household management. The constant threat of conflict hung heavy in the air. More importantly, the distance alone wasn’t healing either of us.

I needed to wring myself out. I needed to stop absorbing anger I wasn’t solely the source of, and I needed to start focusing on my own anger instead. I knew my husband wasn’t the sole source of my anger, either. We were both just convenient proxies.

While my husband drove home on the weekend, I started driving down to his apartment. I took solo hikes and sought a higher power somewhere in the trees to help guide me. I delved into the literature for the 12-step recovery program I’d been participating in for nearly a year and started reaching out to more group members in earnest. And, having long been intrigued by psilocybin therapy, I began to investigate my options.


I live in Oregon, where psilocybin therapy is legal. I’ve tried it recreationally — that is to say, I’ve “shroomed” — a few times, but for some reason, I was never quite as affected as my companions. While they were having all kinds of adventures, my senses were mildly heightened, at best, and I felt slightly more energetic.

As psilocybin therapy is not covered by insurance, I signed up for the “high dose” because I wasn’t about to shell out this much cash to feel slightly more energetic. I wanted the full experience. Well, the full experience I got. Perhaps that and then some.

RELATED: How Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Helps People Who Are Haunted By Hard-To-Name Traumas


I was already familiar with the rather foul taste of psychedelic mushrooms, which I dutifully choked down as my facilitator and I talked. She had a few activities planned during the 30 minutes to an hour it would take for the mushrooms to have an effect, but I think we were both surprised by the speed and ferocity with which they took hold. I kept starting sentences, only to trail off, completely forgetting what it was I’d been trying to communicate. Also, my facilitator’s face was starting to look weird — it kept rearranging itself. She asked if I wanted to lie down. I said, yes, please. She handed me a weighted blanket and a weighted eye mask, both of which I gratefully accepted. 

Don’t worry — I won’t attempt to linearly narrate what exactly happened because not only is that completely impossible, but it’s also totally boring. I will share that the beginning was not particularly pleasant. It was dark and jagged, and I felt profoundly cold. I kept trying to succumb and let come what may — something I’m not particularly good at in my day-to-day life — but I was so, so, so cold. I pulled the weighted blanket against myself. I think I managed, at some point early on, to emerge from the depths I was being pulled into and request a space heater.

Even at the higher dose that I’d asked for, I’d envisioned a long session of intermittent talking, moving, and occasionally lying down. There was a garden area I imagined I’d spend some time in, becoming one with nature. Perhaps this is how sessions go for some people, but most of my journey was entirely interior. I spent all but the last hour in a horizontal state with my eyes closed.

Eventually the darkness, cold, and sharp-edged shapes receded. That was when I first felt flooded by light, and I started to see things more clearly. I saw women rising from the earth. I’d expected my immediate family to take center stage in my journey, but it was my ancestors who came to me first. Not just my ancestors, but my children’s ancestors — all of them with ample bosoms and sturdy outstretched arms.


I saw the pain my multiracial children carry in their blood. African ancestors, ripped from their land; Cherokee ancestors, their land ripped from them; Jewish ancestors, fleeing persecution; European ancestors, seeking promise.

I knew that my physical body, the one lying horizontally on the couch, was crying. I knew because I could hear my ragged breaths, and feel rivulets trickling down to my earlobes. I didn’t really cry, though — I wept. We cry over the pain we know we will pass; we weep over the pain that will live with us always.

Yet braided through the tears was an overwhelming sense of serenity. It looked like sunbeams and felt like a womb. It held me, in a way I can’t imagine I’ve been held since those early days, when life is bewildering and sometimes uncomfortable, but also filled with milk and skin and song.

What happened next, I can’t say. Images and feelings appeared in no discernible order, and some looped through my journey, appearing multiple times and in multiple forms. I saw my fingers working through my daughter’s hair, tugging gently through the tangles, then braiding into it the entwined pain and love of generations. I felt my fingers twisting my husband’s dreadlocks — the slight ripping of the locks at their roots, the smell of wax, the rough tendrils of hair gathering and turning and smoothing between forefinger and thumb.


My grandmothers and my great-aunts appeared to me, perhaps not entirely in focus, but I felt their presence and their mischief, their quiet and not-so-quiet ways of straining against the molds to which their mortal lives had been confined. My husband’s grandmother came to me with great clarity. She had my daughter’s wide smile and my son’s crooked teeth. I’d never had the opportunity to meet her in the flesh, but she was there with me that day. So was my husband’s mother, who rose from the ocean with the awe-inspiring magnificence of Urusla, mermaid Ariel’s nemesis, but minus all the evil. Instead, she was billowing and resplendent, radiating light and wisdom and love.     

My mother-in-law and her mother continued to weave themselves in and out of my journey. I hadn’t been expecting to see so much of them. My husband lost his grandmother, his second mother, when he was eight years old. His relationship with his mother has been a complicated one, pockmarked by periods of estrangement.

My mother was there, frozen in a black and white photo, a laugh poised on her open lips. Even in my altered state, I recognized it as a photo my uncle had randomly texted to me two days prior. I’m a baby on her lap, and her whole being radiates with that joyous singularity of purpose that defined my experiences of early motherhood, those precious weeks before the outside world started making its ceaseless demands.

Author and her mother Photo from author


Through it all, I could feel my anger dissipating, a slow ooze, like oil weeping from poison ivy blisters. Everyone I had ever known and cared for, and even some people I’d never particularly cared for, undulated by me. They didn’t have human forms, per se. They looked more like fireflies, alternately radiating love and pain. It seemed preposterous that I could have ever felt anger toward any of them. I saw all of us stripped down to our purest states, our visceral needs to love and to be loved through our pain.  

It was, undeniably, a journey about mothering. Not about all the BS heaped on real-life mothers, but about the act of mothering across generations. 

And by mothering, I’m not referring to a gendered act, to an act performed exclusively by females, or performed exclusively for children we physically birth. By mothering, I mean the care we all give to all living beings across generations, the innate love that transcends our best attempts to label and divide.

RELATED: 6 Benefits of Microdosing Psychedelics — Can It Really Help?


When I finally opened my eyes, I spent an undetermined amount of time staring up at the curtain, watching the sunlight seep around its edges. I knew my facilitator was sitting beside me, but I wasn’t ready to look at her or attempt to produce coherent sentences.

Eventually, she said gently, “It’s 1:30.” On the one hand, time meant nothing. On the other hand, I thought, Holy crap. I’d spent four hours lying prostrate on that couch. My ancient ancestors could care less about four hours. But the part of my brain that was beginning to rewire itself, to adjust to life as we know it, told me that I had a mere 90 minutes to pull myself together and reintegrate into the world beyond those curtains.

I sat up and tried to talk here and there. I was desperately thirsty. After the bone-chilling cold, I had, at some point, sweated profusely, and my clothes and hair were matted to my skin.

For the last hour, I intermittently talked and wept. I laid out a haphazard collection of photos I’d grabbed on the way out the door that morning at my facilitator’s recommendation that I bring some images or objects of significance. I remember feeling annoyed that my printed collection of photos was so disorganized and so old. I hadn’t printed a photo in eight years — a lingering item on my ever-expanding to-do list.


I now spread out random snapshots on the chair next to me, and every image seemed to hold monumental significance, as though it had specifically selected itself for my journey. There was one of my daughter delighting over a worm in her cupped hands. My son happily chewing on one of my husband’s dreadlocks. My stepson, with his own dreadlocks, dreadlocks that I also once twisted, holding his baby brother. My husband and I at the altar, smiling through a kiss. Nearly every photo outside in some form of nature, all the happy places that have offered their beauty to us over the years, all of us holding each other and being held.

I talked about how I wish I’d held my children more, back when they wanted me to. How much I grieved the time that had been stripped from me by the relentless demands of Earning a Living, by the grinding gears that insist on Production over Caregiving, by the profound drudgery and isolation of a society that insists on Privacy and Individualism and the Nuclear Family at the expense of Connection and Attachment and Interdependence.

And yet, despite my still free-flowing tears, I felt that deep interior sense of serenity, like a root in my core with warm winding tendrils. I knew that no matter how my husband and I might eventually find our footing, no matter how many items might linger on my to-do list, no matter how and when my anger might eventually resurface, no matter how caught up I might get in the demands of my professional life, no matter what cruel sacrifices society might corner me into making, I knew everything — everything — would always come down to the care and love I give and receive along the way.

In other words, the seeds of all mothering across plains and oceans and centuries.


RELATED: Why Moms Are Using Magic Mushrooms To Deal With Motherhood

In retrospect, I suppose I had my own Eat, Pray, Love journey — though over a day rather than a year. I wonder if Elizabeth Gilbert felt at all disappointed that the cumulation of her soul-searching odyssey was the so-called “revelation” that it’s all about love. How anticlimactic, in a way, to arrive weeping at a spiritual awakening and find nothing more than the clichéd subject of nearly all the Top 40 hits of the past seven decades.

But really, aren’t clichés just universal truths we repeat so often they become unoriginal? It doesn’t make them any less true.

After my session, I sat in a park and pressed my palms into the grass. I spent that night and the following night at my husband’s apartment, grateful that I had some time alone to process. When I entered the apartment, I found a Hershey kiss on my pillow — a glittering teardrop that radiated my husband’s love.


The next day, I walked a trail that passed 10 waterfalls, and I paused at each one to watch the water plummet and shatter. I thought about the rhythms and patterns that sustain us. When I came home on Sunday, I held each child in a hug, perhaps a moment or two longer than usual. The best thing about being gone a few days a week is that both my children willingly hug me when I return.

Later that evening, I danced alone in the kitchen to two different, asynchronous hip-hop songs that were blaring from my children’s respective rooms. My son caught me on his way to the bathroom and giggled — that giggle! — as he passed. My daughter emerged from her room moments later, and a smile escaped her lips — that smile! — before she rolled her eyes.

I danced, and I thought: This.

It’s funny, isn’t it? As adults, we need psychedelics to remember what we were born knowing.


RELATED: What To Expect From Your First Psilocybin Therapy Session

Kerala Taylor is an award-winning writer and co-owner of a worker-owned marketing agency. Her weekly stories are dedicated to interrupting notions of what it means to be a mother, woman, worker, and wife. She writes on Medium and has recently launched a Substack publication Mom, Interrupted.