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Salvia Divinorum Experience

I had tripped on Salvia Divinorum once before and completely terrified myself initially with the first hit.  So now I took several little hits carefully with little effect. I experienced a reasonably strong body high and some mild throbbing in the walls and floors, but nothing truly visionary. Being foolish and thinking to myself “I knew it had to be too good to be true” I greatly upped the dosage and took a huge hit, keeping the lighter on it the whole time (my mistake on the first little hits). I was laughing to myself, once again expecting very mild effects, when I was suddenly plunged into some intense open eye visuals. I quickly became overwhelmed, and the experience was somewhat frightening, though afterwards looking back, I realized that I had made some stupid mistakes, and the negative aspects of the trip had come from that. Needless to say, I wanted a second crack at it and this time I was determined to be prepared for anything. I obtained some 25x salvia (salvorin A extract enhanced to be 25 times more powerful than the straight leaves) hoping for a deep experience.

A friend came over to play some video games and brought with him some pretty strong marijuana. While I don’t think my being high had any effect on the trip itself, I’m including it in this report because it certainly had an effect on my preparation of the setting, and on my relaxed state of mind. We smoked a small bowl of it and played for about an hour, and then smoked another and ate dinner. He then had to take off, leaving me alone, and excited for my trip. Some people will say to never trip alone and having never taken mushrooms or acid, I can’t personally say whether this is true for them or other psychoactives, but for salvia I can certainly say it depends on the person. I have never tripped on it with someone there, but given my experiences alone I am certain that having another person around me would have been very discomforting as I am very much an introvert especially with more profound experiences.

I now begin to lay the scene. I was convinced that it was my environment and attitude that brought the negative feelings associated with my first trip. I proceeded to clean the living room and kitchen of my one bedroom apartment thoroughly. I opened the sliding glass door to our 2nd floor balcony, remembering what a calming sensation wind provided during the most frightening parts of my first trip, and put a pillow on the end of the couch closest to this door. I turned off all the lights, allowing the natural light from the open sliding glass door to fill the room. It was about 6:00pm in the end of March so there was still plenty of light, and it had been a relatively warm day. The mood was very relaxing, and being slightly stoned I was very meticulous in having everything cleaned just right, and the couch I planned to lay on as comfortable as possible. The one mistake I made was that I could not find my CD wallet for music. Being too anxious to start to go out to my car and get it I decided rather, to put one of my favorite episodes of The Simpsons on TV with the rationale that because I loved it, it would contribute to the comfortable atmosphere.

With the room comfortable and clean, I was ready. I got on the couch and hit the salvia incorrectly once, and was frustrated at the minimal effects. Then I remembered again how hot it has to burn, adjusted the way I was hitting it and took a deep long hit, smiling to myself as I watched as the extract enhanced leaves melted into white. I was using some very potent 25x salvia. Even before I began to blow out I could already feel the sinking, rushing, almost slowly spinning feeling as it began and I remember thinking to myself, “Oh, yup! Yup! That’s it. Heeeeeere we go!” What follows will be my best attempt to recount the trip exactly as it happened. Because of the relatively short duration of the peak of salvia (though it certainly doesn’t feel short) and because time has little relevance during the trip, the timetable is virtually impossible to recall. Rather than using time, I will describe it in what seemed to be sections of the trip which will be titled Opening, Descent, Emergence, Encounter, Insight, and Return.

Opening: This stage marked the familiar first steps into the trip where my consciousness was still quite in control. As I exhaled I felt an intense body high, almost as if I were weighed down to the couch I was laying on. My vision narrowed inward more and more as I exhaled more and more, and what I could still see became distorted and stretched, as if narrowing my vision were squishing the image I could see, as it was forced into the smaller space. Then, as the blackness finally met and surrounded me, I felt as if the couch had suddenly disappeared with everything else into the black and I felt the sensation of falling into it myself. I am fairly confident that this stage actually took as long as it felt, lasting only around ten seconds, though I do not know for sure.

Descent: This is the stage that was disconcerting. The old adage that you shouldn’t fight the trip is very true here. This is also where the last time I tripped salvia, I allowed myself to become overwhelmed. As soon as the world went to black, and then began re-emerging in a very disjointed way (areas of blackness still in some places, lines through the black of the real world that I could see criss-crossed with lines from somewhere else with a strange terrain), small thoughts of panic set in and I fought it thinking to myself, “Not this time, I’m in control.” I fought for something from the real world to hold onto, and looked at the TV, being able to somewhat discern it still.

The harder I fought not to slip into this new, different world the more it seemed to literally mock me. I still was fighting and began to panic more thinking “No! No! Not again!” as I felt myself losing my grip on the real world, and the all too familiar overwhelming feelings of my last trip were returning. The picture on the TV then seemed to change, no longer being The Simpsons. It showed the image of a cartoon mouth, similar to the mouth of the cartoon joker from batman (though it wasn’t, just something I thought of in hindsight to compare it to) and laughed maniacally at me. The lines of the new world I could see also became images of this mouth laughing at me as I fought to stay out of its domain.

As I struggled to keep looking at the TV it was as if, someone had opened a portal between the real world I was fighting to stay in, and this new plane into which I was rapidly descending. The image of the cackling mouth began to spiral, as did the lines from the real world, and from the new one (also the mouth now) until they all met in the middle of the blackness and formed the one image of the mouth laughing at me. It continued spiraling and got smaller and smaller, and if it were literally going down a drain, and I remember thinking “No!” one last time, before I ducked my head into my lap and covered my head with my arms, as if I could hide, and felt as if my body was spiraling down through the drain as well.

Emergence: It was then that I had the presence of mind enough to realize I needed to regain my composure. I kept my head where it was, in my lap beneath my arms and just sat for a moment in the black. It felt as if I literally was sitting there floating, completely surrounded and enveloped in a black sort of limbo. There was nothing beneath me, above me, or anywhere around me, but there was the sensation of very slight movement, almost as if I were floating through space. It was actually relaxing, especially when I realized I needed to calm myself and not let things get out of control. What happened next I can only label as an out of body experience.

When I had become calm, I raised my head again to look with surprise upon the room from the real world again. I remember thinking for a brief moment that the trip was over already and I was back, before I realized that something was not quite the same. I was watching the real world almost as a spectator. It was even hazy as if I was looking at it through a window and I could feel that behind me was still the void in which I was floating. The sound from the TV seemed muffled and far away. I watched for a moment in awe of the fact that I seemed to have truly become separated from that place. Then things took an interesting turn.

The sound on the TV suddenly became very clear again, but I ignored it as I was still spellbound by the fact that I appeared to be looking directly at my home, from someplace far away. I remember thinking distractedly “Am I… am I still…? Am I somewhere else…?” just kind of disjointed back of my mind thoughts you could expect in any awestruck situation. However, then something caught my ear. The sound had indeed become clear on the TV, but it wasn’t that of the show. Marge Simpson was standing in the center of the picture shouting at me, “You are! You are! Relax!” and sounding frustrated that she couldn’t get my attention. This of course caused me to jump, and a small measure of panic, simply from the bizarre turn of events, especially when I had been distracted. However, the strangest sensation was yet to come.

As I looked over to her on the TV I felt a strange lurch as if I had stood up, but I wasn’t moving (Because of the circumstances before and after, and the way things were arranged, one thing I can be sure of is I never physically left the sitting position I had on the couch). It becomes difficult to explain here. I could still see myself through the window into that real world, but barely, almost the way that we think of seeing ghosts, where it’s a very insubstantial being. I was nearly transparent, and most of the time impossible to see altogether, depending what was behind me. I watched myself get up from the couch, and stranger, I could feel myself moving around not as if I was actually doing it myself, but just that I was acutely aware of the space my body was occupying in that other realm and of its movement. Almost an internalizing of an external situation and movement. I could also feel that my body and my being in this other realm were distressed. It also seemed to be at an almost diminished consciousness, as if it weren’t functioning quite properly because it was missing me. It was child-like in a way and frightened.

Marge was still on the TV and was getting angry now because she’d lost my attention again. She was shouting something at me about not listening to her, but I wasn’t paying attention enough to hear exactly what she was saying. I felt my body walk to the TV almost as if it knew that’s what I was looking at, and ponder it though it seemed frightened by it. I briefly felt as if I could occupy my body again, but it was only a fleeting sensation where I seemed to be looking through its eyes again. It then began getting more panicked, which in turn caused feelings of worry start to bubble through my awe. I watched my body rush into the bathroom where I could no longer see it against the white walls, though I saw the things it was going through on the counter moving around through the air as it picked them up (exactly as we think of poltergeists and the like) and again I still acutely feel what it was doing inside.

Marge was still yelling at me. My body then rushed back out and looked for someone in the kitchen, but unable to find anyone in the house it panicked more and began heading for the open sliding glass door. I began to feel sad for it, almost pitying its vain search. It felt as if it were searching primarily for me and, unable to find me, some kind of help. The “window” through which I was looking into this realm seemed to be set slightly in front of the sliding glass door however, and as it walked passed I could no longer see it, as when someone walks around a corner. I remember panicking then, as I could feel the distressed nature of my body and its panic thinking, “Oh my gosh I’m (meaning my body) going to yell outside! Everyone will see me!” I tried to reach out to it then almost as you would try to calm a screaming baby thinking “No! It’s ok!”

It was at that time that Marge seemed to realize why she couldn’t get my attention (I have no idea what she had been yelling up to this point, but she had been the whole time) and she erupted with anger yelling, “You’re on drugs! Oh my god, I can’t believe it!” I turned briefly to tell her to calm down, and went back to trying to reach my body somehow, though I was completely the observer from far still and had no power to do so physically at least. “I will not calm down!” she yelled. I could feel that my body was trying to find words to yell, though it seemed unable to speak quite right, truly very, very childlike. I began to get overwhelmed again as I wanted to stop my body from getting in trouble by attracting so much attention to itself in its childlike state, but at the same time I couldn’t tune Marge out who was now yelling some kind of lecture about the perils of drugs at me. I stopped trying to soothe my body again for a moment to turn and yell at Marge, “It’s just a plant!” and then returned to trying to see further into the realm where my body was so I could see what it was doing, only being able to feel it now. Marge yelled back, “We don’t want any of that in our town!” Everything was happening at once and felt very chaotic and almost overwhelming when the next very bizarre thing happened.

Encounter: Another cartoon character, a black woman in a Victorian style dress walked onto the screen (she looked like just like any other Simpson character in style and appearance but she is not a character I have seen before to my recollection) and said “Marge Simpson could you sit down for a moment please.” She did and the two began to talk. The realm through the window then seemed to get far away again for a moment and the sound muffled as I felt a presence behind me in the void. I wanted to turn and look at it, but for some reason I couldn’t. However, I seemed to be able to see it in my mind, and hear it, though it wasn’t speaking. It was almost as if it were simply imparting information to me telepathically. I never heard it speak aloud, and never saw it, though I could describe exactly how it looked through the feeling it imparted upon me. It had an almost birdlike head and the body of a man. I somehow knew its name was “Eros” (eh-rows) and its name appeared in my mind. It imparted to me that I needed to calm myself so that my being could, and not strain to reach it, but rather allow it to find me. The rest of the things it imparted upon me were not so much words, but feelings. A great feeling of relaxation and self-validation were very strong. I remember looking to the TV for a moment and thinking “Of course Marge is angry. It’s Marge. She wouldn’t understand this at all.” I finally felt completely comfortable and somehow knew how I was meant to exist in this realm. As soon as it came, it had gone.

Insight: The sound on the TV became clear again and I was able to actually step through the window through which I had been looking and into that world, though it wasn’t stepping back into the real. More so, that the two different worlds were now aligned and so I was in that space of my apartment, but on a plane that wasn’t the real one. Marge began “You again!” But I cut her off saying, “Now wait just a minute! I am sick and tired of this! You don’t even know what you’re talking about!” She tried to argue back with me, when I yelled again, “This is ridiculous! Calm down and we’ll discuss this like adults!” I then sat on the couch, relaxed, and as I sat, though I had forgotten about it for a moment, I felt my being return to me, or at least that we also, were now again aligned. It was a strange feeling that basically added to the sense of confidence, and wholeness that I was feeling. Marge then conceded saying, “You’re right” and sat down as well.

I won’t bore you with the exact details of the conversation, but suffice it to say that we then had a long conversation about our thoughts on drugs and drug use, that allowed me to delve deep into my personal feelings about them and explore the different aspects of what I consider acceptable. It ended with my convincing Marge that if you’re careful, there are some substances that can provide you with great insight, “Just like I’m getting now,” and others that have a certain soothing, recuperating, or healing aspect. We agreed that there are some that are more reckless to use than others and some that have little to no positive effects, but in the end it is a personal choice, and not something to be hounded. It was really a nice conversation, especially considering it was with a TV character.

Return: As our conversation ended, things began to change again. I felt lighter and a light, misty smoke seemed to fill the room from the ground up until I couldn’t see through it. The most strange sensation of coming off of the peak of the trip was that suddenly I felt as if something had skipped as I found myself immediately back in my original position, sitting on the couch under my blanket and facing the far wall, rather than with my foot crossed onto my knee and facing the television as I had been a split second before. The smoke also disappeared in that split second. As I reoriented myself I turned immediately to look at the TV, which was back to being the episode of The Simpsons that I had put on when I started, though about 15 minutes into it.

Another thing I will say of salvia is although the trips are relatively short, that is not all there is to it. The come down is wonderful. Being described as “the glow” is an excellent way to phrase it as I did feel almost as if I was glowing. It was extremely euphoric and although there are no substantial visuals there is still definitely the feeling every now and then of something being slightly different. It is similar to the highest highs of marijuana though not the same. I have much more clarity in a salvia glow than in a marijuana high. I merely spent most of it with a huge grin on my face, pondering all that had just happened to me, and watching The Simpsons of course (I must say, I do have a newfound respect for the character Marge, and I like her much more than I used to). It felt like it had been hours, and had all elapsed in the space of somewhere between ten and fifteen minutes (rather long compared to my other trip which lasted about 7).

I ended by smoking one more small bowl of marijuana as I had to go meet some people and was afraid I would look ridiculous as euphoric and giddy as I felt, unable to stop contemplating what had just happened. It served to calm me enough that I could not look like a little kid in a candy store, but I definitely still thought extensively of what had happened.

Originally published in Erowid Vault.

[tags]salvia divinorum, entheogens, shamanism, drugs, psychedelics, plant teacher, smoking[/tags]