A few notes to add to John Metcalfe’s excellent article about Manon Cleary (“Queen of Beverly Court,” 7/2).
It’s unfortunate that some people referred to the group MDA experiences as “toe sucking.” The term falls far short of describing what to some of us were spiritual experiences. It’s a bit like calling the Mother Teresa a chick—yes, perhaps, but there is so much more to her.
Let me preface any comments by saying that I would discourage anyone from experimenting with MDA. It is a powerful drug in the amphetamine family, and it seems to deplete a store of something inside that would be better off left alone. It was an “experiment” we did very rarely, because of the toll it took on our systems.
We would carefully arrange conditions beforehand so we would be safe and secure during the eight- to 10-hour experience, with people we cared about, who cared about us. About 45 minutes after taking it, some were overcome by an amazing sense of well-being…but more than that…some experienced feelings of perfection, of being exactly as God wanted them to be. Those clattering labels of “inadequate,” in all its forms, that we seem to go through life having dangling from us dropped away, and one was left with a brilliant sense of purity…a Garden of Eden innocence and perfection….that whatever one was capable of was available to one at that moment….all one’s energy in its purist form. Many found themselves staring un-self-consciously into each other’s hugely dilated eyes (pupils)…or just holding each other for a while at the beginning…but then there was so much more that these feelings awakened. For some artists, the experience brought about a considerable and positive change in their (our) work.
We had incredible experiences, some of which we wouldn’t believe except for the Polaroids. But, I would not want my children or grandchildren to take the drug, because I’m convinced that there was a big cost to our systems that is impossible now to gauge, impossible to know how our lives would have been different without.
San Rafael, Calif.