Deciphering Symbolism in Psychedelic Experiences with Maria Prieto

Join LA-based videographer Maria Prieto as she shares her psychedelic journey and explores the symbolism that unfolded during her altered state. High Guide Natasha Lannerd assists Maria in deciphering the meaning behind colors, shapes, and cultural references, enhancing our understanding of psychedelic experiences.

Understanding Psychedelic Symbolism

For our final psychedelic integration for this season, we listen in as the last of our 3 SISTER TRIPPERS – LA-based videographer Maria Prieto – shares how her psychedelic experience unfolded. Our High Guide Natasha Lannerd is there to help Maria explore, “What does it all mean?”
Featuring breath work facilitator Natasha Lannerd as your High Guide and with Sister Tripper Maria Prieto.
After listening to this episode you will have a better understanding of…

  • Symbolism the occurs while in an altered state.
  • Interpreting symbolism in the form of colors, shapes, and cultural references.
  • The meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics.
  • Meaning of water and wind while tripping on shrooms.

Episode Guests

Maria Prieto
Natasha Lannerd | @breathewithnatasha

Episode Resources & Additional Reading

The High Guide on Spotify featuring the playlist curated by Natasha Lannerd for Sister Tripper Maria Prieto with music to trip to [LINK}
Max Richter [LINK]
Meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics [LINK]
Ido Hartogsohn [LINK]
American Trip: Set, Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the 20th Century

More Episodes from the Podcast

Podcast Episode Full Transcription

0:00:01.9 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: It’s crazy how with your eyes closed it’s almost like you’re seeing dreams.


0:00:10.6 April Pride, host: 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. You just heard from Maria Prieto, one of our three Sister Trippers this season. I met Maria exactly a year ago when I was looking for a video editor to take an idea I had, related to the color orange, and the role it plays in developing our psyche. More specifically, symbolism related to this color to orange, and our ability to trust ourselves. Go back and listen to episode number 28 of this podcast featuring a psychedelic audio experience, or trip music, intended to help you trust your gut, and inspired by the color orange.

0:01:04.0 April Pride, host: But first, we listen in as the last of our three Sister Trippers, shares how her psychedelic experience unfolded. I bet like her, you’ve asked yourself, “But what does it all mean?” [chuckle] I know it’s a big question so we’re gonna focus on the greater meaning, or symbolism that arises during a trip with psilocybin mushrooms. As with every episode, we’ll jump into the word of the week before listening to our High Guide Natasha Lannerd perform Maria’s intake and integration. And remember to stay to the almost end for our trip tips. Now, for the word of the week, symbolism. The use of symbols to represent ideas or qualities. The idea that things represent other things. Yellow represents the color, as well as optimism, energy, joy, happiness, and friendship. The meaning-enhancing properties of psychedelics lead us to assign significance to otherwise ordinary observations.


0:02:11.1 April Pride, host: We’ve arrived at our final Sister Tripper, Los Angeles by way of Mexico City, 20-something videographer, Maria Prieto, whose integration gave me an alternative mantra to my two-word mindset reset, trust and faith. Stick around to find out what those new magic words may be. For now, enjoy the quick rapport established between Maria and her psychedelic integration facilitator Natasha Lannerd. In this pre-journey intake, Natasha’s ability to immediately connect with Maria is crucial, since they will not be meeting face-to-face. Well, sometimes there’s more history between a would be psychonaut and their coach. Oftentimes, you arrive at ceremony and dive right in. Even this short exchange allow Natasha to find common ground, so Maria would have trust in her High Guide.

0:03:01.1 April Pride, host: Although Natasha won’t be physically or virtually with Maria while she’s under the influence, she did prepare a playlist, and for Maria knowing that there’s a playlist she’s listening to that was assembled with care, from someone who appreciates similar film composer, it goes a long way to feeling held, so to speak, in a vulnerable moment. So after establishing trust, and getting well-earned advice to set up for a psychedelic journey for success, our Sister Tripper is all set and ready to prepare for blast off.

0:03:34.2 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: So I looked at your intake and saw that you have a pretty new and developing relationship with psychedelics, yeah?

0:03:40.7 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yeah, yeah, I would say it’s been about a year since I started the process of experimenting with them, and it has been extremely just pleasant, the experience overall has always been positive. It really has felt like opening doors within myself, and seeing myself in a different light. So yeah, overall the experience has been really… I’ve been really grateful for it.

0:04:05.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: That’s awesome. Have you ever had an experience by yourself before?

0:04:09.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I have.

0:04:10.7 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: I think I read you’re from Mexico City.

0:04:13.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: You know, we left Mexico when I was young, and I felt like I really just wanted to assimilate to the American culture instead of honoring my roots, and it wasn’t until my early 20s that I really felt a desire to connect again with my heritage, because I think doing that for myself will just be a tremendous experience.

0:04:33.7 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Going into this experience that might be helpful would be building a nice altar that reflects your heritage.

0:04:41.1 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I am fascinated by the concept of guides and ancestors, really channeling them through my experience, because I guess some of the process that I’ve been working through on myself is that in the past, I have been that very schedule-regimented person, and it’s very myopic. Just this way, this way, this way. And what I found with this experience is that you kinda just open your eyes to the full picture of everything, and I think to get guidance from something that is outside of myself, would be incredibly beneficial.

0:05:18.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Absolutely, and it really, I think, is also a good reminder is 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 are not alone, you never were alone, and that’s why you’re here. Just because it’s not necessarily a scene, a scene sense experience doesn’t mean you can’t have a sensory experience otherwise.

0:05:47.5 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I think the reason I was really looking forward to our conversation was to find a way to set an intention, but it doesn’t really necessarily have to be set in stone, I guess. And just see what comes out of that, if that makes sense.

0:06:01.0 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: When you’re making an intention and it’s around a goal, it’s great to be hyper-specific, right? But when you’re making an intention as an explorer, you wanna make sure that you open the door for the nuance to bring messages, right? Because if we’re so on tracked on exactly, there’s one sentence, anything that might come up it’s like, “Oh well, that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m gonna set this aside.” One of the things that I kind of incorporate in my own personal process is, when I think about what my intention is, sometimes I’m like, I’m just open to hearing whatever messages, for instance, my body has for me today, or my heart. Or I’m open to receiving the guidance from the beings and angels and ancestors that surround me. I’m open to that dialogue, you know?

0:06:48.0 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: And so, I think that there’s some ways to welcome in the information, but one of the things that can be helpful is like, maybe getting clear on where you’d like to hear it. And that’s kind of what I think, it’s like, from the body, from the heart, from your ancestors and guides. Like, where would you like to connect, or I guess, put up your antenna? [chuckle] Will you be at your home or… Tell me a little bit about what you have planned for yourself.

0:07:12.1 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yes. 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 underwater type thing, and I always like to put music that’s really calming, like soundtracks, scores to films, classical music. I find that that kind of just always puts me in a very grounded space. And…

0:07:37.5 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Are you a Max Richter fan?

0:07:40.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Hmm? Yes.

0:07:40.4 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Are you a Max Richter fan?

0:07:42.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Love, love, love. Yes.


0:07:46.4 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Yes.


0:07:50.0 April Pride, host: And make sure to check out The High Guide’s Spotify, featuring music like what you’re listening to right now, a piece by Max Richter, which is on the playlist Natasha made for Maria. Natasha explains the importance of audio to connect seemingly separate segments of your psychedelic experience.

0:08:10.4 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: One of the things that I usually do is, obviously making sure that if you can, have a continuance of your playlist on your mobile device, so that that way… Like, I love when I do that in my own personal experience. I’ll just put on my headphones and then I come back home and it’s just… I’m still in it, I never left it.

0:08:27.8 April Pride, host: Why is this important? Because trips can last four to six hours, so you may wanna choose to venture outdoors, like Maria is anticipating, she’ll want to.

0:08:38.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Let’s say, if I wanted to go out for a walk, would you recommend that I remain kind of at home, or if I’m called to be outside with the sky, ’cause… Well, at night time, I don’t think I would do that. During the day, sometimes it can be nice to be outside with fresh air. I’m just curious.

0:08:55.0 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: I couldn’t agree more. Nature is our greatest teacher.

0:08:57.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yeah.

0:08:57.5 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Right? If there’s ever any confusion in life, probably the fastest way to find an answer is to look at the natural systems. So, I strongly encourage…

0:09:09.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Okay.

0:09:09.7 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: If you’re able to and you’re comfortable, to obviously go outside. I think one of the biggest things is like, you know, there’s an arc to these types of experiences. Sometimes when you’re at the very top of it, it might be good to be at your house…

0:09:20.7 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yes.


0:09:21.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Or whatever it is. [chuckle] Or maybe not, I mean, who knows, right? Choose your own adventure.

0:09:25.0 April Pride, host: Choosing your own adventure takes confidence, and we here at The High Guide know psychedelics can help us trust ourselves in our decisions to walk our own path. Maria is truly a woman who does exactly this. So let’s join Maria on the other side with Natasha, who is integrating our Sister Tripper after consuming 2 grams of Golden Teacher, and you can learn more about this strain, and psilocybin dosage, in episode number 43 of this podcast titled The Medicine. The best version of herself, Maria feels, is a person who is more open to experiencing life in a less rigid, or fixed way. With that in mind, and now that we’re on the other side, post-trip, let’s begin Maria’s integration, so we can connect her intention with the symbolism of what came up. Natasha begins by explaining to Maria the purpose of integration.

0:10:21.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: The purpose of integration is kind of multi-faceted, right? It’s awesome to share, and I definitely wanna hear about what happened, because I’m deeply fascinated by these experiences. And then the second part is coming to some opportunity to make meaning of the experience, right?

0:10:38.6 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Mm-hmm.

0:10:38.7 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Like, sometimes it can be very easy to get caught up in the phenomenon of what happened, and then find yourself on the other side of it and be like, “Well, what did it mean?” The secondary aspect of integration is like, what to do with the information, if there is anything to do.

0:10:55.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Okay. Beautiful. Alright, how should I start?


0:10:58.1 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Why don’t you just… Why don’t we just start by you telling me about what happened, maybe the setup? Anything that you wanna share.

0:11:05.4 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yeah. No, I’ll run you through the day, ’cause I think it was just really important for me to go into it with a very, obviously an open mind, but being really mindful of my headspace the whole day. So you know, waking up, doing a good workout, treating myself to a delicious breakfast that I cooked, and all the while just kinda like, taking my time and not rushing through my day. And then I went to get flowers and everything, to build the altar as you’d suggested. And yeah, it was really nice, ’cause I find that I tend to rush through my day, and that’s something that I really wanted to work through. So being incredibly mindful that day helped just keep me in a very calm, even-keeled space. And then, yeah, putting the altar together was really relaxing and meditative. And I chose to take the medicine during the day, around like 2:30, just ’cause I wanted that afternoon sun, I wanted to go on a walk.

0:12:05.5 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Oh, really?

0:12:07.2 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yeah, and the playlist you made me… [chuckle] I mean, that was just I think the best part, ’cause I ended up spending the majority of my experience kind of laying in bed with my eyes closed, just kinda listening to the music. And during that time, it’s just… It’s crazy how with your eyes closed it’s almost like you’re seeing dreams. It’s funny ’cause then I opened my eyes and I’m fully present, like, I’m in my room, I know it’s me. What I was kind of seeing was, being on a viking ship, [chuckle] and I was just kinda like a Viking captain and…

0:12:47.9 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Awesome.


0:12:50.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I was working through issues with my son, we had a tumultuous relationship.

0:12:56.5 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: With your son?

0:12:58.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Yeah, with the son that was more of like a feeling. Like, I never actually saw the son.

0:13:04.6 April Pride, host: Let’s rewind and repeat what Natasha shared with Maria during intake.

0:13:10.7 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: It’s not necessarily a scene, a scene sense experience doesn’t mean you can’t have a sensory experience otherwise.

0:13:18.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Do you have a child?

0:13:19.8 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: No, I haven’t…


0:13:22.4 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Okay.


0:13:24.5 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: That’s what I’m saying, like in my dream, I was this kinda like red-headed Viking. But in terms of the imagery, I could see being on a boat and the water rushing through and feeling the kind of wind, like the gusts of wind, and I think it was more like the feeling of being on a quest, [chuckle] I guess, what it was, just really present.

0:13:52.2 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Yeah. You were on a journey. You know, I’m always so deeply fascinated the way that elementals show up in these experiences. And the reason that I had kinda brought that up is because you know, water is the element of feeling, and air is the element of the mind, and so, it’s interesting that you would be kind of experiencing these two elemental forces in your experience, right? Like, you’re navigating the waters of your own internal landscape, it’s just so fascinating.

0:14:26.2 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I have to say that water is definitely something that comes up a lot when I’m going on these journeys, especially when I’m with the eyes closed, I just feel this movement and yeah, also the breezes, like, that happens often.

0:14:41.0 April Pride, host: Let’s dive into the symbolism of Water and Air. Remember, psychedelics enhance our perception of meaning, things appear to be more meaningful than they would otherwise seem to be. So, let’s make meaning from nothing, so to speak. Water, on a recent trip to Israel I was reminded at every ruin where once stood an ancient civilization that the absolute need for water drove remarkable innovation, including side of mountain man carved cisterns as large as the entry foyer for Serena van der Woodsen’s penthouse, and each of the 20 cisterns fed by a pinball machine inspired tract to catch and transport rain water, I mean, amazing stuff. Water’s utility is irrefutable. It is the source of life for all living things as is air, which in the form of wind or breeze, as is the case in Maria’s trip, is the messenger of divine intervention.

0:15:41.7 April Pride, host: Water is aligned with feminine energy, which is about receiving. I would say that the symbolism of water is very much a reminder for Maria and us all to ride the wave that moves us forward simply by receiving not only doing or making it happen. The wind, as divine intervention reminds us that we have a breeze at our backs, help from others, our ancestors to move us safely and swiftly through life. And while in Maria’s trips, it’s a breeze, we all know that air can move directions, that it can pick up speed. So perhaps there’s also symbolism and the fact that we don’t know which way the wind will blow.

0:16:22.8 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: Did you notice when this was playing out, if you had any particular emotional experience, like, feelings or any memories or anything, or was it just mostly transpersonal, just kind of outside of you, you know, you as a Viking?


0:16:40.0 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: A lot of them didn’t stick as much. Like, that one for me was the most vivid one, but something… Once I processed everything and I woke up the next day, something that kinda hit me that morning, I actually wrote it down in my journal, but it was basically about… So I wrote patience and presence, I felt immense calm and power, honestly, I wrote power as well.

0:17:05.6 April Pride, host: Did you catch it? The two new words I’m adding to my say it to slay it phrases and I mean slay as in kill intrusive thoughts, patience and presence. Listen on as Maria conveys what she sketched in her journal.

0:17:20.7 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: So I wrote this kind of circle, like this loop that presence leads to you being more patient, ’cause that’s something that I really wanna work with… Work on is just breathing and having more patience and letting time just kind of do its own thing and me not feeling like a need to control it, and yeah, I think just being present is what can help with that.

0:17:46.4 April Pride, host: I would order these three words presence, power, and then patience. Presence, being in your body in the moment, confident in your intuition of what’s currently transpiring, steer the ship and noticing the water and the wind. Power, standing in your choices despite [chuckle] their popularity or lack thereof, or the immediate impact that they may have. Riding with the forces that be. And patience, you’ve chosen a path and you’re committed to showing up, which includes trusting that if this is the right path for you, The Universe has your back. And if it’s not, trust there’s meaning in that too. Stay the course, powerful Viking. This is the secret, these three P’s, the hard part is living by each with unwavering consistency, and that’s where the medicine comes in.

0:18:40.6 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: How was your experience with the medicine?

0:18:43.3 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: It was great, it was definitely, I would say, a little bit more intense than usual, ’cause when I take it for recreational purposes, I take very, very, very small doses, but I still was able to feel present, like at no point did I feel out of it, [chuckle] like at all. Like, it was, the colors were really pretty, sounds are just majestic. For me, what I enjoyed most about this entire experience was the reverence that I had for the whole thing, and it’s not… You know, it wasn’t this taking the medicine as a recreational activity, which is so great, big fan. Big fan of that. [laughter] But going into it with the mindset that I went into it with, really made it for like a transcendental experience and I guess, I have an idea of how to continue integrating this, but is it something that just kind of sticks or…

0:19:45.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: So, I would say a few things. Usually the way I would describe it in my own personal experience is that one of the most powerful things about this and integration, is the awareness of what was maybe unseen before. And you can’t really… You’ve heard that line like, you can’t un-see something. And so, I think one of those things is like, Alright, now that you’ve seen what you needed to see, choose not to unsee it. Where I notice my integration coming in way after the fact, is when something comes up that tests me, and maybe something that I feel like, I would normally have reacted in a certain way and I’m able to show up with more presence. I’m able to show up with more patience. I’m able to just show up as a better version of myself, that’s like another stage in the integration, right?

0:20:44.4 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: Mm-hmm.

0:20:45.4 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: I think the other thing too, that you could do is have a space that has some items, or symbols, or the words, or whatever you want it to be there so it’s visible. And honestly, even something as simple as having a thing on the background of your phone with your words on it. Or, setting yourself a calendar reminder that just pops them up. And so, it’s really… It becomes one of those things, it’s like, one of the things that I feel is amazing about these experiences is it gives you an opportunity to unlock that inner healer. Your psyche has an opportunity to talk to you in a way. And your psyche communicated that really some magic could be had through a presence and a patience practice. Alright, so now you know, it’s up to you to take that guidance and develop it and develop those skills. How can you in the midst of chaos be at the center of the storm and not on the far edges getting totally tossed around?

0:21:51.3 Natasha Lannerd, High Guide: I think the thing that’s the most important to me in the work that I’ve done with other people in these types of settings, it’s like, remember who you are, right? Before people tried to sell you stuff, before people told you what was and not, how to think or whatever conditioning it is, but at the core, who are you, remembering who you are at that soul level. And these experiences are such an amazing opportunity to serve as a reminder at beneath of all of the stuff that might be a little bit more surface level and still very important, don’t get me wrong, but that at that core, right? We’re not our titles, we’re not our jobs, we’re not what we have accumulated in our life at the deep, deepest level. And that presence is really… That’s the jumping board for diving into that. Well, it’s been a pleasure, I have to say.

0:22:51.4 Maria Prieto, Sister Tripper: I feel really blessed to have you in my orbit.

0:22:54.9 April Pride, host: I couldn’t have said it better myself, Maria. Natasha, we’re also lucky to have you in our orbit. We definitely need to follow up with Maria to see how she’s further integrated the symbolism of her psychedelic experience. And for you, today’s trip tips are methods to consider when looking for meaning through symbolism in a psychedelic journey. For today’s trip tips, questions to ask when investigating psychedelic symbolism. Which elements, colors and cultural references are present? Where am I intuitively making connections? What is the emotional and physical response I have to these revelations? What greater meaning could these symbols have beyond my interpersonal landscape? Who are the real life players represented by the symbolism?


0:23:49.0 April Pride, host: Thank you for listening to this episode of The High Guide, and thank you to today’s Sister Tripper, Maria Prieto, as well as Natasha, who’s been our featured psychedelic integration facilitator this season on the High Guide. I’d also like to thank Adelia Carrillo, and Lalin St. Juste for joining us this season. I’m your host April Pride. Tune in next week for a special treat as we wrap up this season, and please check out our website,, for more information on the High Guide and for this episode’s show notes. Please remember to rate and review us on Apple Podcasts or give us a heart on Spotify. It really does help more people find the show. Thank you and 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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