Setting the Perfect Setting for Your Psychedelic Journey

Delve into the concept of “Set & Setting” for your psychedelic experience. Learn how your physical environment, the presence of others, and creature comforts can profoundly impact your journey. Natasha Lannerd serves as your High Guide in this exploration.

Setting: Creating an Ideal External World to Journey

On this week’s episode, The High Guide podcast takes on the 2nd part of the well-known phrase related to preparing for a psychedelic experience, “Set & Setting.” If SET are those things that inform our internal world then SETTING is all that surrounds: Your physical environment, others who are present while you’re in an altered state, and the creature comforts – sights, sounds, snacks & soft surfaces – that seem like nothing short of a miracle at the perfect altered-state moment.
Featuring breathwork facilitator Natasha Lannerd as your High Guide and with Sister Trippers Adelia Carrillo, Lalin St. Juste, and Maria Prieto.

Episode Guests

Adelia Carrillo | @missadelia
Lalin St. Juste | @lalinmusic |
Natasha Lannerd | @breathe
Maria Prieto

Episode Resources & Additional Reading

April’s favorite LED projection lights here
5 Steps to Prepare for Your First Psychedelic Trip [here](
More on archetypal energy here
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide recommends these specific recommendations: Hovhaness’s Mysterious Mountain, Faure’s Requiem, Gregorian chants, solo piano, piano with one or two other instruments, unaccompanied flute, ragas, and indigenous drum recordings.

More Episodes from the Podcast

Podcast Episode Full Transcription

0:00:01.1 Natasha: I think that’s one of the biggest things that instills a sense of safety is that if you need to call someone to talk, it could be someone else who knows what you’re doing and is trustworthy, and is somebody who can show up for you. That also too, just dramatically reduces the anxiety. ‘Cause you’re really not alone.

0:00:26.4 April: Hey, I’m April Pride, your host on The High Guide Podcast. This is the show for women who have an open and curious mind, and this is a show all about women changing their lives thanks to altered states. Today, we’ll walk through the external world that you can create to support the intention you set for your trip. If set, mindset encompasses the internal factors that influence your trip, setting is the catch all for your physical environment, including others who are present while you’re under the influence of psychedelics. I would say that if I had a super power, it’s my ability to design a setting for others to enjoy while they’re high, hint comfort, very important. And as Natasha reminded us, safety are essential to your ideal setting, I’ve really been looking forward to creating this episode for you, so I can share playlists, snacks among other things, to get you to your right high.

0:01:28.9 April: We start every episode with our word of the week and end every episode with trip tips. Please continue listening after I sign off, because we’ll close out each episode this season with 10-minute excerpt from The High Guide Psyched Audio Series that aired last season. Produced in partnership with Patchworks, these exclusive soundscapes are 30 to 60-minute guided psychedelic audio journeys, music to trip to. The sounds throughout this episode you’re about to hear are sampled from The High Guide’s journey number six. Episode Number 34 of this podcast. Titled Music To Come Down To was composed with the twilight of your journey in mind, the final hour so when colors remain bright, get soft and vivid thoughts are replaced with vibrant warmth. You know what else is good for the come down of your trip? Gummies.

0:02:24.5 April: I’m gonna hit you with one more of DankeSuper’s gummies, because snacks are a big part of creating an ideal setting for your psychedelic experience. DankeSuper’s Clarity gummies include 15 milligrams of CBD, 50 milligrams of caffeine and 250 milligrams of cordyceps, which will help you focus the next day, and that’s what I’m suggesting, I’m suggesting that you check out the Clarity gummies for the day after your psychedelic journey, because you’re probably gonna want some extra coffee, you haven’t had coffee since you’ve been fasting for a week or so, but if you want to ease into that and not totally shock your nervous system out of the gate, try the Clarity gummies and do not Google cordyceps.

0:03:11.1 April: Just trust me, just don’t do it. But do go to D-A-N-K-E-S-U-P-E-R dot C-O, and enter “guide” at check out for 20% off your purchase. Just in time for 420. You know what is like totally not the same as gummies? Ancestral communion. Has a different ring. Ancestral communion along with setting, these are our words of the week. Let’s start with ancestral communion, which is contacting the spirits of your ancestors to use their great wisdom and bolster your own knowledge. Yep, we went there already, because you already have your very own high guides and the sooner you know that and trust them, the easier this life can be. So what is setting? It’s the physical and social environment that you expect to have your psychedelic experience, and this is important obviously for the outcome of your psychedelic experience, so you feel supported and comfortable and safe.

0:04:13.4 April: And the more you can control or guide the course of your experience through these external stimuli, the more likely you are to have a good experience. I don’t wanna say the best outcome, because we’re not looking for a specific outcome, but you get it. Before we dive into the specifics of ancestral communion, we’re gonna cover the basics to getting your external environment in tip top shape, just like we prepared your mind for a psychedelic experience in last week’s episode on mindset, which you recall is the set of set and setting. At the top of the show, I know I boldly stated that my super power lies in my ability to design a setting for others to enjoy while high. I wouldn’t share this if it hadn’t been shared with me by many I trust. So take that for what you will.

0:04:54.9 April: I will share my secret with you, what is absolutely essential when you’re in an altered state? You wanna be comfortable, body and mind. It starts with comfort, which is then broken down into people, place, places, and things. Let’s walk through this in exactly that order, beginning with people. While our sister trippers have Natasha Lennard, our high guide this season, to help them before and after they consume psilocybin mushrooms, their conversations, which you hear throughout these episodes are recorded virtually, so these three women tripped alone. As we covered in episode 43, the dosage for each was two grams of whole fruit bodies or dried mushrooms, which is at the low end of a standard trip dose of 2-3.5 grams, this moderate dose produces visual, auditory and even tactile hallucinations. Natasha doesn’t recommend consuming five grams or more while tripping alone, so at two grams, these women were cleared to take off for psilo flight so to speak.

0:05:56.1 April: Okay. So our sister trippers went at it alone, but what if you have someone who isn’t consuming and has committed to stay by your side while you go there? You have a trip sitter. Chances are if a friend or family member is sitting with you, they’re not a trained psychedelic facilitator like Natasha, but there are three basic guidelines you can ask them to follow and support of you, and the intention you set. The first is, “Tell me I’m safe, loved and supported.” Just ask them to tell you that, it always works. The second is, “When in doubt, please hold my hand and hug me if I need it.” And the last, have them remind you to trust in the process and have faith that everything is as it should be.

0:06:43.1 April: I think we can all agree that each of these are a good way to reassure those we love on the daily. I know the last one, “Have trust in the process and faith that everything is as it should be” has been a mantra of mine for the last decade. I’ve shortened it to trust and faith, which my kids also say, and it immediately corrects my over-active or monkey mind, just like that. Repeating this to myself during a trip has caused me to cry with relief. The same is true when not under the influence, in fact, it’s super powerful for anyone who can get too far ahead in all that’s possible in our ever shorter lives. What about tripping with a group? Okay, when under the influence, you will be in a vulnerable position, especially if the need to freely confront unresolved trauma arises.

0:07:37.3 April: I found that medicine, whether it’s weed or mushrooms, heightens my defense mode spidey sense we shall say, sometimes people refer to this as paranoia, this only arises and puts me in a very uncool state when one, I’ve consumed more medicine than I should have, period. And two, I’m in public, a public place and surrounded by strangers. Some instances occurred over two decades ago when I was less experienced, and the most recent was within last five years. I guess the conclusion that I’ve come to is I think you can do one; you can either consume too much medicine but not be in public or consume just the right amount of medicine and be in public, but I’d advise to only choose one and not both. Either you’re high AF in a controlled setting or you’re properly dosed for a public outing, as for the latter being in public doesn’t mean the medicine won’t activate your need to go inward, so make sure a place of respite and reflection is possible.

0:08:40.3 April: And this brings us to place. Just as you have to decide how people fit into your trip, there are a couple of options for choosing the right place. Are you gonna be inside? Are you gonna be out in nature? If it’s indoors, then will it be at home or in another indoor environment? Or maybe you wanna have the option to dip inside to use the loo or grab some water, but your happy place is among the plants and trees or by the sea. Preferably the beach, which is my number one spot to find myself lost or to lose myself to find myself. The third wave is a resource that I’ll link to in the show notes, and it offers very specific considerations for when choosing your safe sacred space and reminds us that the goal is a simple environment that supports inner peace.

0:09:28.7 April: If you decide to take a psychedelic indoors, pick a clean un-clutter place with a couch or a bed and access to a toilet, make sure there is a variety of soft pillows and playing kits and some sort of stereo system. If taken outdoors, psychedelics will create a more extroverted experience rather than putting on an eye mask and going inward, connecting to nature, looking at the colors and shapes, really getting lost in the wonder becomes integral to how you experience the medicine. And because you can expect to wanna stop and stare and contemplate, it’s an essential part of the experience; however, even if tripping outdoors, make sure there’s a space you can lie down so you can do all these things and you don’t feel too conspicuous. Bring a blanket, so you can lie down and have music on hand, which is helpful if there’s traffic or other people in close proximity. Having options is always good.

0:10:22.7 April: So maybe a little bit of both. Begin outside and retire to an indoor location, alternatively write out the most intense period of a psychedelic trip inside and then explore nature. Each of our sister trippers have very clear ideas of where their psychedelic experience will take place. While Maria and Adelia plan time indoors with a carefully crafted space, Lalin knows nature is her calling.

0:10:49.8 Lalin: For me, I’ve always preferred being close to nature. I’m planning to look for a space probably in Guerneville, California, which is a place that has a lot of red woods, there are some Airbnbs that you can find that have a creek that you have access to, or maybe there’s a big red wood right outside. So for me, that would be the number one priority, is being able to touch ground with the earth than with trees and fresh air. If possible, that’s a priority for me.

0:11:31.5 April: Just as she knew the need for nature was crucial, Lalin is with me on prioritizing comfort while indoors.

0:11:39.7 Lalin: I plan to just have lots of blankets. [chuckle] I wanna be cozy when I am indoors, I want to feel held. I’ve actually never tripped by myself, so I just want to feel as comfortable as possible.

0:12:02.7 April: I’m so excited for you to hear exactly how this trip went for Lalin in a future episode this season, but first, let’s hear more from Maria about her set up.

0:12:12.6 Maria: So I will be at my apartment. And the way I’ve done it before in my own space is usually I’ll set up, I have these lights that are really mellow, they almost make the room look a little like under water.

0:12:27.0 April: See, the sea, it’s a thing, or maybe it is for water signs like me. Either way, lights are super important, and I love LED projection lights that transform the walls and ceilings, both of which we’ve stared at for a couple of years, at nausea. The one I have projects stars and the moon, or colorful swirls that could qualify as sea-like on the ceiling and walls. This is an idea I totally stole from my 12-year-old son, who has the most fun room in the house, but is for obvious reasons, off-limit for tripping. Hope I don’t have to explain that. So I got my very own on Amazon, and I’ve linked to it in the show notes. I would say this LED projection or one like it is the first thing I’d recommend for your indoor psychedelic experience. Maria continues with her ideal setting.

0:13:19.0 Maria: And I always like to put music that’s really calming, little like soundtrack scores to films, classical music, I find that that kind of just always puts me in a very grounded space.

0:13:30.1 April: This is our second “thing” music. Many of you know how The High Guide feels about music, its importance is right up there with integration itself. Our second season, it’s titled “Psyched Audio” and simply put its music to trip to. The music you hear in this episode is a sample of the audio we created for you in partnership with electronic music supply house Patchworks. Like the medicine itself, music can transport us. And the Psychedelic Explorers Guide explains this best: Most cultures that use plants for healing, divination, or spiritual revivification use music to facilitate the transition from one level of awareness to another and to enhance the feeling of safety by providing non-verbal support. And while this research, which I’ll link to in the show notes, recommends to focus on classical music, it also suggests that when choosing a soundtrack for your journey, to think calm yet expansive, and we can assure you that The High Guide Psyched Audio delivers exactly this.

0:14:32.5 April: A lot of it was created while composers were under the influence, PS. Other guidance the Psychedelic Explorers Guide offers that I think is worth noting includes avoiding any music with words after the first hour as it may be distracting. When listening to music, headphones or stereo system will work, closing your eyes or using an eye mask, basically total darkness, will enhance the impact of the music and the effect of the medicine. One of the most satisfying moments in producing this season for you was listening to the recordings between our High Guide Natasha and the sister trippers. Natasha is able to connect with each of them in seemingly small ways that are anything but insignificant, like this exchange with Maria, who is a videographer, about wanting film scores to be the audio backdrop for her trip.

0:15:26.2 Natasha: Are you a Max Richter fan?

0:15:28.2 Maria: Yes, Max Richter, love, love, love, yes.

0:15:32.5 April: Natasha created a playlist for Maria and we’ll link to that in our show notes as well. You can also find it on The High Guide’s Spotify channel, along with other playlists featuring music to trip to. While Maria’s appreciation for music stems from her love of film, sister tripper Lalin St. Juste is a Haitian-born vocalist, so the music she is seeking is super specific to both her craft and her heritage.

0:16:02.1 Lalin: I’m guessing just ’cause of where I’m at mentally and spiritually, it will be things related to Haitian culture. There’s a lot of beautiful singing and drumming that I could see elevating the experience.

0:16:22.5 April: In a future episode dedicated to Lalin’s integration with Natasha, you’ll hear more about the role music played in her trip. You don’t wanna miss it. But that’s it for the thing of music. Let’s get into the thing that is our word of the week, ancestral communion, which is one more time, contacting the spirits of your ancestors to use their great wisdom and bolster your own knowledge. Our High Guide Natasha explains why communing with ancestors, while having a psychedelic experience, is beneficial.

0:16:54.5 Natasha: So many times in our life, it’s so easy to feel alone, and when you, through the act of reconnecting to the shoulders that you’re standing on, it can be a really great reminder that you’re not alone, you never were alone.

0:17:09.3 April: As the intention set by both Maria and Lalin, let’s break down the thing that personifies such a quest. An altar, which can be thought of as a way to offer private devotion. Listen on as Natasha connects dots for Maria, a person born in Mexico City and raised in LA.

0:17:27.1 Natasha: I think I read you’re from Mexico City. So I would say going into this experience that might be helpful would be building a nice altar that reflects your heritage.

0:17:38.0 Maria: We’ve been making altars every… [0:17:40.1] ____ those my whole life, and my mother in her own closet has a section that’s like this little altar and yeah, there’s such a beauty in that, and I think the ritual of putting that together will… As you say, it just kinda ground me and put me in that head space of opening up the panel.

0:17:57.3 Natasha: Building a beautiful altar is a great way to do that. I think another thing too that is always helpful is leaving offerings, some common offerings would be flowers, if you wanna make them maybe a little bit of play to food or something like that, that really welcomes them in maybe poor little glass of wine or tequila or whatever you think that they would like. And I have found also that’s helpful is when you get into this space and you go to build the altar, it can help sometimes to center yourself and begin that connection in that moment, asking, “What would you like to see on this? Are you hungry? Are you thirsty? Do you want some water?” And just kind of allow the process to begin that way, and in that way, it becomes a living kind of visual representation.

0:18:41.0 April: The more I understand the importance of setting an intention for a psychedelic experience, the more I value creating opportunities in the weeks and days leading up to a trip to reinforce what you wanna receive from your time under the influence. Building an altar allows you to do this. What as Natasha says, does this living visual representation look like? The simplest way to think of an altar is in terms of the four main elements of nature; earth, wind, water, and fire. For earth, oftentimes people choose flowers and salt is a common object that’s used in an altar to represent earth as well. For wind, anything with scents, so incense or [0:19:23.0] ____. Water, water is left in a pitcher so the spirits can quench their thirst. And fire, which one might just assume candles, right? While most of these items are self-explanatory, and I’ll leave you to creatively Google or intuitively Google altars on your own, I wanna pause on this last item, fire, candles. Natasha explains.

0:19:50.9 Natasha: Though it sounds cool and romantic, I would not light anything on fire, no candles.

0:19:56.5 April: Put more succinctly.

0:19:58.7 Natasha: I would not light things on fire, while you’re in an altered state.

0:20:02.5 April: Okay. Safety first, right? Natasha gently breaks this to Lalin who looks forward to the low ambient lighting candles provide.

0:20:12.6 Natasha: May I make a suggestion.

0:20:13.1 Lalin: Sure.

0:20:15.4 Natasha: I’ve never really want to do this, but in this instance, I have to interject, I highly recommend you get the electronic ones.

0:20:23.9 Lalin: Oh, really?

0:20:24.0 Natasha: Oh yeah, I wish I could say, I don’t know personally, someone who almost burned their house down, but I do.

0:20:32.2 April: I have the 99 cent battery-operated electric candles from IKEA, and I use them all the time, even when I’m not tripping. You know what else I always have on hand when I’m not tripping? The snacks, but psyched snacks are legit and be serious about them. I personally get ravenous when I’m shrooming, and I know I’m not the only one, I do not get as hungry when I smoke weed as I do on mushrooms, take note.

0:20:57.7 Natasha: As far as nuts and bolts go, I would say have snacks for yourself cut up and prepared or whatever you need so that you’re not fumbling around, not getting what you want or need. Right? I make snacks in advance, things that are gonna be like… I usually would have a nice soup that’s already made that can just easily be heated up. When you start to come off of the experience and you’re looking for a snack, I always find that it’s helpful and also kind of one of those activities of showing love to the self to have beautiful snacks for yourself so that there’s never any moment of not having. A lot of the benefit that can come from these experiences is re-patterning our relationship to self-care, and that is self-care is required if you’re ever gonna get to the task of understanding self-love.

0:21:45.6 April: We’re going to touch on this more in our next episode when we cover the trip, and that is physical discomfort caused by the medicine. Spoiler alert that happened with one of our sister trippers. Natasha suggests preparing by having ginger chews on hand.

0:22:02.2 Natasha: The other thing too, is I throw out for people is those little ginger candy chews if for some reason your stomach becomes uncomfortable.

0:22:08.5 Lalin: Oh okay, that’s true ’cause I have had the tummy sometimes hurts, but ginger chews, that’s a good tip.

0:22:16.0 April: And another reason to have snacks around…

0:22:19.3 Natasha: Well, it honestly, in my personal experience with substances in general, is I do the whole fasting thing before I partake, and I frequently find, and this is consistent with, honestly, every plant medicine I’ve ever done is that if I’m not really feeling it before I go back for more medicine, I have a snack, because every single time there’s something about the digestion of the food, it initiates the digestion of the medicine for me, and again, this is just me speaking personally. And even if it’s just like a bite or two of an apple, I’m not saying you need to eat a full meal, but just something to stimulate digestion for me, that usually just ups the ante.

0:23:07.5 April: Let’s conclude by reviewing the essentials for your ideal setting in today’s trip tips. People, maybe, but not too many. Place or places, whether you’re indoor or out, make sure you have place to rest and things, blankets and pillows, definitely sweatshirts or cozy sweaters too I love. Electric candles, snacks, including ginger chews. You can pick ’em up at Trader Joe’s, music and an altar is optional, but I really think it’s a good idea.

0:23:42.7 April: Thank you for listening to this episode of The High Guide. I’m your host, April Pride, and please tune in next week when our three sister trippers actually trip and check out our website, the for more information on The High Guide and for this episode’s show notes. Please remember to rate and review the show on Apple Podcast. Give us a heart on Spotify. It really does help more people find our show. I leave you with a 10-minute sample from The High Guide psyched audio series. You’re listening to psychedelic audio journey number six featured in episode 34 and produced in partnership with Patchworks. See you on the other side.


Episode Credits

Producer & Host: April Pride Audio Engineer: Nick Patri, Cloud Studios Theme music: Cheri Dub, Morris Johnson

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