Our trip guide April helps clients find that solitary image worth a thousand words.
Guided Tripping’s guide April has documented her personal experience with black holes and bad trips on this blog before. The image of the black hole has come to represent multitudes for her in personal growth, her life’s journey with psychedelic experience, and in her work with clients.
“I know a lot of psychedelic trip guides who mystify ‘the bad trip,’ or don’t believe it’s a thing,” April says. “I know it’s a thing. I know first-hand that on the road to a bad trip there are many exits. I’ve been there, and I respect its power and am curious about what it can tell us about ourselves.”
The image of a black hole loomed large over April’s bad trip, and she’s dedicated a lot of her professional and personal life since contemplating what that image can mean in her own personal growth, and in that of her clients’.
“You can’t actually photograph a black hole,” April says. Black holes are, in a strict and astrophysical sense, the absence of light. They, like the images and experiences that form the bedrock of our consciousness, are ineffable. They cannot be perfectly captured. They can only be partially circled, or approached.
In deep space, representations of black holes involve photographing the way that light interacts with the black hole’s structure. Similarly when our minds undergo psychedelic experiences, we might produce strings of words and metaphors in an attempt to get to the bottom of what’s being communicated or shown to us… we might traverse the depths but come up lacking the language to describe what we’ve seen. Without assistance, sometimes we can only orbit the truth.
This is where a trip guide like April comes in. April has a special ability to listen deeply, absorb emotional information and make complex connections to help clients make sense of the beautiful mess of their human experience. She helps people empower themselves to embrace and integrate deep parts of themselves that may have never seen light before.
As April puts it with a chuckle, ‘I think it’s an empowering and even rebellious thing to accept what’s really inside ourselves. All of it… the good, the bad, the ugly, and the really stupid.’ And in guiding clients through their own empowerment through intentional psychedelic experience, she uses an approach she likes to call inverse dream interpretation.
Inverse dream interpretation
Over the years and through her experience as a guide, April’s noticed some patterns. “People spend a lot of time trying to use a lot of words to capture the essence of extremely meaningful experiences. But, describing the ineffable is like photographing negative space. You can’t.
So April uses her knowledge of Jungian archetypes and the language of the subconscious, experience with shadow work, her years of involvement in Circling and Authentic Relating, and her own personal experience – like her bad trip, which she embraces and draws from as a life-changing event – to condense her clients’ many words into a single image that evokes the heart of their experience.
“Freudian dream interpretation involves using lots of words to get to the bottom of an image, a dream,” she says. “Inverse dream interpretation is therefore the process of boiling lots of words down to a single image that communicates complex thoughts and feelings best for the tripper. By making complex psychedelic experience easily digestible, answers become more easily integratable into our lives. ”
This is, to April, the essence of intentional psychedelic experiences with the potential to continue to carry meaning, and foster personal growth, through time and space.
Intentional experience, with April
As a guide (and as a human), April is not afraid to lead with strengths and scars simultaneously. We all have weaker points, and when we name them we can use them to guide our interactions with the world. This is also always a form of growth. By drawing from this growth we can use it as a tool to determine next steps, and better understand our thoughts and feelings.
The only way to draw from personal growth is to accept our imperfection, though. And April laughs at the thought of herself as some guru. It’s her transparency, her openness, and the way she embraces her own experiences in all their messy complexity that equips her to do the same with her clients.
To April, psychedelic experience is a microcosm of life in the trenches. It’s all about a complex relationship with the dark and the light and all that messy grey in between.
And April doesn’t flinch.