After some time at home on my own in Lisbon I make a last minute decision to attend Boom festival with Alex who's attending with some friends. I pack my bags on the Wednesday and head out on the 6pm~ train to Castelo Branco; the closest stop on public transport. I've no idea how I'll get to the festival 50km from the station but have my tent with me, so assuming the worst I can always camp in a field somewhere for the evening.
The train is full of people heading to the same destination and I make friends with some folk who are getting a taxi for the last leg of the journey. I'm with three Germans; a designer, his girlfriend and another guy who's a loose end like me.
As we draw nearer to the festival there are cops blocking the road who proceed to flag our taxi down for a search. Three of us are largely left alone bar a pocket search but our loose end is checked thoroughly; he has some needles in his bag for a medical condition and no prescription with him along with some salts that are not for human consumption. They tear his bags apart to the effect of toothpaste explosions and ruined clothing.
After passing through that rather intense energy wave it turns out that this poor fella has had a hell of a ride; the airline lost his luggage meaning that he had to sleep in the airport till the next morning to pick it up; his bags were found but the tent was lost.
Arriving in at like 01:00 we traverse the grounds to get set up at a preliminary camping spot. Johnny "no cash" - a friend of a friend - is on steward duty and points us towards some open ground where we can make camp.
The stages are not yet open but I decide to take a look around the site; discovering the magic of the environment minus a crowd. The lack of activity is surreal; beautifully lit environments and landscapes with no one around and a still silence in the air - the peaceful serenity was one of my favourite moments of the week.
Rising the next day I grab a cold shower and get on with breakfast business before heading out to explore the grounds in the day; at this point I head pretty far out towards the edges and before tracing my way back in again.
Settling into the Chi temple I lay back and allow my heart to fill with the soft energies in the air before dancing a bit to shake out the impulses I'm carrying. At this point a selection of muddy naked folk start to amalgamate to the left of the tent and are mindful of the carefully prepared sign stating "no mud!". They begin to bend and sway to the wind and music like trees; it's both beautiful and psychedelic.
On my way back to the festivals epicentre I bump into my friend Fenix Stardust who's out with some others looking for coffee so I join them for the walk and exchange a few impressions. He shares a story about some people that he's just reconciled with as they had put him down at the start of his journey before assimilating parts of his narrative into theirs. Initially he was unsure how to feel about this but gracefully gave them the benefit of the doubt.
We discussed the phenomena of impulse arbitrage across time and space as spirits moving between us as resonant vessels, highlighting the importance of grace at all times. What goes around comes around or what comes from source returns to source. He admitted that he was struggling with this expressing a sense regret for occasionally snapping at members of the tribe.
Arriving at his crews meeting point just outside the supermarket before sitting down, he places a bunch of oranges on the table for people to pick up and take freely. A few others arrive and some take an interest in the geometries in my notebook - which brings me into a discussion on water.
I'm offered an exchange for some mushrooms which I turn down, though others take up the offer before we head towards the 'temple of boom' for an act called highlight tribe; a melting pot of pretty much every genre you could think of - psytrance, blues, swing, jazz, didgeridoo and so on.
I take the opportunity to get ecstatic, thoroughly shaking out the matrix before bumping into Ilias from Geneva, who informs me that he's looking for a few other friends I know from that neck of the woods. Having exhausted all the resonance in my system I head off for a tour of the other spaces before heading back to my camp to put on some trousers.
I'm barefoot at this stage and take a shortcut over the hill, which turns out to be covered with thistled leaves from the trees overhead before heading back out to grab some food and tour the grounds at night - hitting up the sacred fire stage to relight my flame.
On return I decide to take a counterfactual path back and am led up a hill past 'yellow camping 'where the path ends - so I trek over the grounds tripping on tent wires on the hill before finally emerging at a resting site close to my tent. I take a moment to have a smoke with one of the stewards on duty and discuss music before heading off to bed.
Waking up Saturday morning, I prepare for the day with a cold shower and head out for breakfast before going for a long walk on my own again. While exploring I receive message from Alex letting me know that she's arrived and is about fifteen minutes from the grounds.
I head back up the trail to meet her and help transport some of her luggage and set up her tent in 'yellow camping', which has much flatter ground than where I'm presently parked. Tasks completed, we depart for an orientation session of the grounds that she's not yet traversed.
After a swim in the lake I take her past Alchemy to the Sacred Fire and outer limits before ambling back through the being fields, ducking into merchant stalls and checking out the food stops together.
Along the way we spot an incredibly cosmic kimono and stop in to look at some of the stores offerings. One of the store owners hovers behind me and suggests I'd look good in a full length as I pull out a particularly interesting specimen. He suggests I try it on and yes this radical love kimono looks great, especially with my hat, but upon learning the price we depart. I feel a hole inside - fuck; I'd already fallen in love with it. We make it most of the way back to the food stalls before my frugal brooding is so obvious that Alex kindly offers to cover half as a birthday present so we double back and pick it up.
We tour back through Alchemy stage before returning to enable her to rest at the tent - while I head off to pick up my own belongings and shelter. I say good bye to the Germans and suggest that we'll likely be around the Alchemy stage in the evening. An hour later I've got my tent setup up again and bags stashed, so wake the sleeping Alex to grab some food before an evening dance.
Alchemy is pumping and the kimono seems to attract some new friends on the dance floor. After moving through a few spots we hustle on to the main stage which has turned into a psytrance swimming pool that we decide to paddle through for the experience. On our way back to the tents we visit the 'misty projections' on the lake shore; a bunch of organismic DMT shapes projected through smoke machines with ambient surround sound. Pretty cool installation!
The next day I lie in while Alex goes off to the supermarket to grab breakfast, charge her phone and get some writing done. By the time I make over to the meeting spot she's gone - so I head towards the music to raise my energy with a bit of a boogie. After a half hour or so I'm done and just as I decide to move on I'm greeted by a bouncing early bird who's spotted the kimono and is finished with her own priorities.
We head back in to Alchemy for a bit more dancing and swim about in the crowd for a while before I spot a juggler and move towards them. Another with clubs appears nearby next to whom I notice a slyly smiling Fenix who's already spotted me. He offers me "a shamans dose" of mushrooms which I accept before making arrangements to meet Alex at the tents for six, before departing on a solo trip for the day.
Wandering to the far outskirts of the festival grounds I begin my journey and arrive as the mushrooms are starting to kick in; baked from the sun I find a small patch of shade to lie under. A few feet away from me is a tiny pavilion with some gospel (style) musicians sharing the love; I'm melting and occasionally weep from the cathartic nourishment. As the harmony fades into natural ambience another call from the Being Fields summons me to move closer to its beauty.
Lying down, I once again let the harmony wash over me as the musicians lead a choir in praise to Lakshmi. I lay here for a bit before the music ends and head up through the fields to emerge near the Sacred Fire.
Stopping between some bike racks to roll a cigarette I hear a tortured fiddle weeping. It has the timbre of nails scraping across the chalk board of my soul and is unbearably pure in its essence; my upper chest opens up in sympathy to the expression and my feet drag me to the over to the sound check to clear out my heart chakra.
As the music fades once again I head past the Chi Temple of sensual bodies moving and swaying on my way to the water. Stripping off off for a dip in the lake I find myself surrounded by numerous beautiful women swimming around topless like mermaids of the sea; a sailors paradise!
Back on the shore shore I'm extremely moved by the beauty of this place. Wondering about how this landscape of music, people and plants came to be, I find myself considering it's initial conditions and generator function in relation to Ashbys law of variety; what kind of soul(s) have the internal complexity and coherence to give rise to this beautifully ordered plurality? It's certainly a very pure essence.
On the move towards the Chill Out Gardens I circle past the main stage and up to the Heart Box for a smoothie, before weaving back through the courtyard for some food. At this point I've nearly landed from my trip and am about ready to head back to the tent.
It's about an hour before six so I grab an ice tea before my return; no sign of Alex though so I sit about playing my guitar for a while and go to refill my water. At about quarter to six she arrives in from her expedition a little early and since I've my guitar to hand I improvise a brief song before we head off to get some food, taking the guitar with me.
We settle in some shade near the lake and someone wishes to borrow my guitar, which I give to them while Myself and Alex chat about the day. Another traveller interrupts us to say hello and tell us of his travels before offering us some Mescaline which we procure from him to plan a trip. As he departs we notice there's a rather saucy circus show happening over near the water. My guitars returned and we head over watch the hoola-hoops and a lady performing acrobatics on the silks.
As the show disperses a mad man accosts us with gibberish about his humming birds and umbrella, obviously to get some attention as I'm carrying a guitar - what he really wants is a song. Alex splits while I sing him a verse of 'the weight' and am rewarded with a cheap humming bird keyring for the trouble... I attach this to my guitar strap and aim to catch up with Alex, after some time serenading folk in line for the toilet expecting her re-emergence I determine that she must have gone somewhere else before busking my way back to the lake. I meet another strangers curiosity and improvise a tune for him and his wife before being found by Alex once again. At this point it's getting dark so we return the guitar to the tents and head out to meet some companions near 'Lunched Out Lizards' in the Garden.
After grabbing some chai tea we settle into a cosy seating area surrounded by a comfortably large twisting log. Most of our companions are on MDMA but we share some convo and a massage circle before they depart for a dance at another stage.
A this point Alex is tired so I drop her back to the tent and then head over to the Sacred Fire to catch the band I encountered a little earlier with the heart wrenching fiddle. The gig was an eclectic mix of world music and visual art marking a graceful end to a beautiful Sunday.
Monday we decide to take the mescal that cosmos delivered the day before, so after the morning ritual I meet Alex at the supermarket and purchase a watermelon slice to fuel my morning. We then weave ourselves through the pirate market and up to the Gardens to get some hot water from Lizards. After an attempt to station ourselves in some hammocks, I knock over my warm water and get some more before moving to the being fields for the day.
We find the ideal shady spot under a tall tree beside a nice big rock and to plant ourselves down to take root. Using my bed cover as a ground sheet we mix the powder and hot water before drinking the somewhat acidic brew.
Ceremoniously we read a little poetry and wait for the effects to take hold. Narrating the trip a little Alex asks "do you feel like a cactus?", to which I emphatically affirm "yes I do! I hadn't noticed until now but I really do" - before we fell apart laughing. "I feel like mescal is a pretty still and grounded energy, like taking root in a desert" she affirms herself.
Certainly I feel like a desert plant, a male spikey thing optimised for survival in harsh conditions. She may have considered the energy she received similar but for me it was like having a delightful little bird land on my shoulder, chirping away with observations about the plant life and trees.
There's no moving us; we're literally planted for hours and quite happy with the sounds of asynchronous wind chimes made of wood, rustling bushes, insects and the wind. At some point in our journey one of our friends from the previous night passes, sharing a few minutes with us. I don't remember much of the conversation or anything other than that she was wearing some home-made earrings made of sparkly dinosaurs...
As the sun becomes less intense we hold space for each other to move around the being fields without giving up our rock and shade as we settle from this wonderfully cleaning experience. I grab us some food to eat before departing for elsewhere and passing the Boom council we observe that reading instructions are extremely taxing. Seems in this state we cannot be informed!
Our adventures for the day are pretty much over at this point so we head back to the tents, get some food and go for a wander around the festival grounds finishing the evening off with some chai tea before heading to the lake to watch projections in the smoke.
Tuesday Alex desires to take a mushroom trip alone so after meeting some friends at Lizards around the garden we part ways. I make it my priority to go for a dip in the lake and explore the other side of the grounds so my feet take me over to Funky Beach where I sunbathe naked and tend to some messages.
Deciding myself comfortable in birthday attire, I head back towards the main grounds only putting clothes on again as I approach the epicentre, and only due to a need to load some credits onto my wristband. While looking for food I discover a place selling juicy Omelettes in crispy bread and return for a second helping before returning to the tents for a 6pm rendezvous.
Alex seems largely sober at this point so we head over to the lake shore and find a nice chill out spot to catch up on our day. Conversation ebbs through a few subjects and somehow lands on triangles; during which something I say upsets her terribly - which I believe to have been related to directing ones own formation - so I shut my trap and just console her. She comes round again to laughing at the situation, giggling sweetly about her upset and probably nowhere near as sober as initially assumed!
We grab some noodles and another omelette before heading over to the Sacred Fire to see what's happening around the being fields. On our way there we decide to swim through the dance temple, which is particularly weird tonight with an archetype we termed "the cosmic joker" on the decks; chaotic good as the puppeteer of an insanity circus... pure ludos driving what appeared as mania.
When we arrive at the Sacred fire, a sense of fragmentation becomes apparent; there's a guy on stage going full Jim Morrison with improvised poetics about the ride of life, which sound's exactly like Rick and Morty getting shwifty...
Laughing our asses off at the evenings energetics we follow our trials back past the dance temple (which is grounding back into normal abnormality) and then up to the Garden. The vibe here has become similar to alchemy, while alchemy seems to have transformed into hard minimal psytrance. Something's in the air tonight!
Our last day on Thursday is spent taking things pretty easy; Alex is wiped out believing herself to have sun stroke from her Wednesday explorations. I leave her in her tent while I go for a wash and while returning from the showers I bump into some friends from Geneva who are leaving early to beat the traffic; I knew they were around but found it a shame we only bumped into each other as they were leaving but I guess synchronicities like that.
I return to pick Alex up from the tents and we head towards the shade of the being fields to get some smoothies beside the sacred fire. Ducking into an underground seating area to avoid the sun we find some Irish lads having the craic with whoever's around them; seemingly they're going pretty hard on the wine and also just took MDMA so they're bit much to handle, yet also friendly and entertaining.
They give me their glasses to claim the refund back from the wine bar, which turned out to be non-refundable, so I leave those at the counter and return to the under ground bunker with some food.
As we pass our mescal rock again, the realisation that I never experienced the joys of becoming one of the mud people. I figure Alex can lie down in the Chi Temple while I coat myself and go for a swim after but she's unable to handle the music and find some nearby shade instead before I leave to coat myself in mud.
This is actually a pretty disappointing experience as, by now, the pool is mostly empty of thick stuff and has largely turned to stony brown water. I do what I can with the resources available before heading to the lake to wash off again and collect Alex.
As we walk back to the centre, we stop to get coconut water for her and we Chai from Lizards for me. Around the corner I find a funk band has setup in the space between stages so we stop for a while to enjoy them. I note that the singer sounds like the same guy that was getting shwifty at the sacred fire a few nights before; though they seem more coherent at this point - defiantly a lot less drunken galactic super genius.
We grab some food and a lemon aid before an wander which is probably the most 'collected' evening of the week; main stage has shut down and Alchemy has taken over the primary directive of tribal psytrance. The gardens has a new groove to it that's more energetic but not too hard and before long I bring Alex back to the tents to recover from her 'sun stroke' before one final exploration of my own!
As I coast around I notice a sense of grace present that wasn't available before; so I walk past the Sacred Fire to the edges of the being fields and through them. There are various closing ceremonies happening in each of the tents; I stop for water and end up walking beside a girl who comments on the sense of peace and stillness before tiredly parting directions for me to check out the foggy projections one last time.
To my surprise the smoke machines are gone and the projectors have been moved; theres now a highly pressurised fountain in their place with a much larger surface area of spray for visuals. Walking close to the shore, I stop for a while to watch some tango dancers informally putting on a show, who after some time sit to watch the projections as well.
A woman tripping on acid walks into the shallows to perform as a naked silhouette before playing with the pressurised fountain; messing with the spray to warp the visuals - all the while shaking her thing in an exaggerated manner. Soon enough an accomplice (in white shorts) joins her to mess about in the water for a bit and coordinate on the performance. It kinda works between them but also had at least an element of cringe as well; not sure it was really much my kink but they did a reasonably job replicating the 'flirty fairies' phenomena some people experience while tripping. Guess that was their archetype!
As the clock strikes midnight, I head back to the tents to retire for the evening. Alex intends to be out super early but it doesn't pan out that way so we casually pack up before searching out the Castel Branco bus.
Once again I'm playing guitar and quietly free styling in the queue, when one of the girls next to us starts to compliment the humming bird that's hanging from my strap - the one from the kinda weird guy that stopped us on Sunday. I respond by saying "ok, well it must have been for you then" and detach it to give to them. She seems delighted with the gift, which I'm only too happy to give away as Alex knowingly giggles to herself about the exchange.
On the bus I'm seated next to an ex-protugese lady who now lives around Devon. She's been up all night tripping 'till sun rise before kipping in a hammock, so absolutely delightful company while on the bus. As we get off in Castel Branco she grabs her bike from under my bags and heads off on her merry way for coffee.
Without much concern for departure times myself and Alex seek out an Indian to nourish ourselves and then make haste back to the bus terminal; her journey home starts as soon as we reach the terminal but I've still a couple of hours to go before the train. Consequentially I park myself at the station cafe and make a friend while sitting for coffee.
Finally arriving back in Lisboa, I take the long way home before dumping my bags on arrival and collapsing; I've about a week before my next stint of adventures start with other travels...
Ad Astra ✨