Citation: Logan MacIntyre. "Turning Point: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp111829)". Erowid.org. Aug 20, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111829
I tried Salvia Divinorum as a person with some experience with psychedelic substances, but not an experienced user. I previously had done ‘acid’ twice, and was a compulsive marijuana smoker, having once tried shrooms as well. I have an unusual level of self-awareness cognitively – at the least, my psyche has elaborate ideas about its own state and composition, based on the balance of my neurochemistry along a trifold combination of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. I feel the changes in my levels of each neurotransmitter, as one would feel the taste difference from adding more or less sugar to a recipe, or from turning the saturation up or down on a TV screen. This has been one reason why I am very sensitive to drugs, and why I have an addictive personality.
In the Summer of 2016, my addiction to marijuana was, metaphorically speaking, beginning to kill me. It was bad enough that I had a very difficult time finishing undergrad, only barely squeezing out of school in bad standing. Living with my parents and sibling, I would habitually take any opportunity by myself to smoke weed, always putting myself in the same handicapped state where I lacked the capacity to read, write, think, or do anything except for wander around my home in a stupor. About a year and a half before this, I had introduced my young brother to marijuana, and he became an addict like myself, similarly fiending for weed as well as alcohol, although he was only in high school. Many times I would sneak into his room when he wasn’t around and steal small tidbits of weed from him, thence driving out to local parks and forest areas purely for the purpose of getting high. We obviously began to fight, at times, partially because of his increased mania, which made me uncomfortable, as I was often in the position of following him around and having to be under his influence, even though it added a great deal of anxiety and paranoia to my life. My relationship with my parents was nosediving, as they implicitly gave up on both of us and increasingly treated us like the burnouts which we were. I had an application outstanding for graduate school, but it had been an understandably difficult process, and as for myself personally I had no true interest in the work. My lethargy, of course, created severe acrimony in my home, as my parents hated to see me sitting around all day, as I hated too to be questioned by them when I felt absolutely no compatibility with material life within myself.
By chance, some odd jobs I had done for my old neighbor had left me with about $80 in cash, which was a boon for me as I made no money and had no bank account. My parents had only just moved to a new house in Massachusetts, and I lived there with them while my brother remained in Connecticut preparing to begin college. Long before, the two of us had come upon Salvia through our own curiosity on the internet, and it was not lost on us that our parents new house was also fortuitously in a state where the potent plant was not illegal. I promised my brother that I would make a point of finding some as soon as possible. When I had a free day, I called this place and then drove down to buy a pack of 20x extract. It turned out to be a bust, though; I had lost my pipe in the move, and the one I bought recklessly from a local tobacconist was awful for this substance. Despite several attempts to light, I couldn’t get even one hit. I knew I needed to go back to this shop, and buy a real pipe, as well as some more Salvia, since I had waste an amount and I knew my brother would also want to try.
One day very soon after, I got the opportunity. In fact it was a positive time, I had just acquired a full-time job nearby at a hotel, although I hadn’t been paid yet, and my parents guaranteed me a car so I could get to and from work. One day when my parents were both away, I woke up early and I made a long sojourn out to a shop where I knew Salvia was sold. I bought two quarter-sized packs of 20x extract and a small glass pipe, and raced home. As it was a day off for me, and my parents were still gone, I took my opportunity to try some right away.
From my research, I knew that Salvia was ultra-potent, and also that it was harsher than weed but had to be inhaled determinedly to get the effects. I decided to place a base of tobacco at the bottom of my pipe, which I knew would sustain the force of a large hit, and on top I layered a large pinch of Salvia. It was not lost on me that this was a combination, not the same as dosing purely. Indeed, the combinatory experiences of multiple substances interacting was a favorite of mine. It stemmed partially from the book The Teachings of Don Juan, which I had read about a year or two before. In that book, Carlos Casteneda describes his alleged time spent with an indigenous person of the American Southwest. This person was not a medicine man, he was a warrior, and the knowledge he taught to Carlos was the knowledge of the warrior’s path. That meant a lot to me, and from reading it I began to believe that I also felt similarly, I too was on the warrior’s path. And I too believed that mind-altering substances were analogous to gods, offering different magical potencies to those who used them, and the ‘warrior’ or shaman channeled these energies according to his need. Thus the combination of tobacco and Salvia together had significance for me; according to my own psychic rules, it meant that I was going out to meet with Lady Salvia officially, under the auspices of tobacco my guide, the salve of the warrior. It also colored my idea of what our meeting meant. As a warrior, there was more than a little inclination to think that I might test my strength against Salvia, and battle her, to try and acquire her powers. Just as I still believed, even as it destroyed my life and tangibly weakened my mental health, that marijuana when ingested gave me a power of understanding and insight, which ‘supercharged’ me mentally and behaviorally.
I was sitting on the concrete floor of our garage, with the right-side door opened to let the smoke out. Our driveway is short but it’s a steep decline running down to a fairly busy road. On the other side of the road is a golf course, and that day there were our two trash bins sitting at the foot of the driveway. From where I was sitting (eventually laying), I could see basically just the road and the golf course beyond, with the driveway mostly invisible from that angle.
Beforehand I was fairly nervous, but as I habitually do, I dealt with my anxiety by talking to myself and laughing nervously about many little things. This was one of a collection of behaviors, or complexes, which I had at that time that were atypical. In addition to compulsive laughter, as a de-stressor, I also dealt with a severe paranoia that those I came into contact with on a daily basis were secretly organizing a great harm for me, and the harm was supposedly because they did not accept my personality and would not allow me to live because of who I was. I also had a chronic compulsive thinking issue where I simulated the monologue of an indefinite other person who criticized me viciously for anything I did which was not perfectly skillful, especially including mistakes I made with my motor skills or my memory. The other side of that problem was a chronic anger issue I had, where I would often wind up flying off the handle and yelling or (eventually) whimpering at the criticisms I imagined receiving. But because I had the house to myself, and because I was so nervous, I enjoyed a fairly smooth headspace for this trip, and plus I was chattering away as I prepared my dose, and this frankly boxed out any complex conscious thinking about my experience, my only preconceptions were the ideology of the warrior which I had. After a few deep breaths I lit the mixture and I took the largest hit that I possibly could.
I blew it out towards the open garage door, after only being able to hold it in for perhaps a couple seconds – the harsh tobacco didn’t help. I remember there was maybe a second, less than a full moment, where I was in a normal headspace. It was actually too short for me to think basically anything. Before I could come around to thinking anything, I experienced a sudden rush across my whole vision, which kind of like effortlessly and immediately removed me from normalcy, even though it didn’t have a clearly defined effect. It was like these ripples literally ran down my vision, they could even be compared to floaters, like deep inside the fabric of my vision. There was also a pulsating effect, like the ‘volume’ of the objects in my view was suddenly turned up, and this actually had the effect of distancing them from myself experientially. At this initial point (this was within 10 seconds) I was experiencing an ‘immersion’ into the psychedelic experience, although there was little tangible which was changed. I especially felt a body dissociation, like the ripples also were affecting my skin.
I remember I think I exclaimed something, like ‘woah’, and I reached out and laid my pipe aside. I distinctly remember how heavy the gesture felt, like I had nearly slammed it down and the pipe was now nailed to the floor or something. At this point I was still largely not engaging with my feelings, my mind was kind of deliberately blank, because of my attitude, but at this point an element of fear appeared underneath my consciousness, even though it didn’t achieve any prominence. In particular, I remember getting a very sinister feeling from the pipe as I set it down and looked at it. It was an orange green color, with a mass of black incinerated material in the bowl. I specifically recall that I felt an instinctual apprehension about the pipe, reminding me of the one a person would feel for a hornet or a dangerous insect. That pipe seemed to radiate an aura of danger at a subtle but distinct level. Nature was saying: “this is dangerous”.
Turning away from my pipe, I had previously been seated Indian style, but now I felt a powerful urge to lay down on the floor. Physically it was like all of the will to sit upright was evaporated, as if I had suddenly been stricken with 15 doses of alcohol, while mentally I felt distinctly that the drug itself was ‘asking’ me to lie down. Basically I felt the physical urge to keel over and it translated into me, with my mind and ideations, understanding that as the intention of the Salvia.
I felt the physical urge to keel over and it translated into me, with my mind and ideations, understanding that as the intention of the Salvia.
I began to do so and I rested sideways with my elbow propping me up. Suddenly I stopped. Lying down was dangerous, I believed. It meant defeat, and it meant loss of control – total submersion into the Salvia. I resisted, trying with all my might to remain propped up on my one elbow.
This was at about 15 to 30 seconds. I began to laugh hysterically. I was laughing because the immense mysterious authority of the Salvia effortlessly, deeply speaking to me to command me to lie down triggered something deep in the part of my brain administering humor. I believe I laughed as a succor against the invasive effects of the Salvia. Specifically, what was so funny to me at the time was the idea that I was resisting, and going to resist. I literally was saying to myself aloud, cracking up: “Imagine if I was just like ‘nah’…I almost just said like ‘nah, no thanks’…” to this irresistible, unstoppable impulse from my brain, from the Salvia, to lie down
But the impulse didn’t go away, and as it became ‘dangerous’ (composite of several different subtle feelings at that moment) to resist any longer, still in unnaturally good spirits I said out loud “fine, okay”, or something similar, and I officially collapsed lengthwise onto the garage floor. I barely felt my body, except that I knew it was heavy as could be and I felt almost no ability to move it at all. But I also felt that it was deeply relaxed, and my breathing level went into a kind of trance-like mode close to sleep. It felt vaguely pleasant at that moment, when I first laid down, to be separated in that way from my body. I think I felt myself getting a little temperature increase as well, which was nice on the concrete floor.
From where I lay collapsed on the ground, I was looking straight out my garage at the road and the golf course beyond. At this point, a weird divergence happened in my experience, which I believe was because of the fact that I intermittently had my eyelids opened and closed. I hallucinated that I saw a different reality, a different scene, not necessarily superimposed, but coexisting with the real scene, as I looked out my garage. Later, because of my beliefs, I fancied that this was the ‘spirit world’ which I was seeing, looking underneath the plane of mortality. The ‘spirit world’, as I saw it, was influenced a great deal by the appearance of my inner eyelids. In fact I’m like 80 percent sure that it was. I saw it as a purple-blackish-grey backdrop. As I’m looking out at this scene, this represents probably between 1 and 3 minutes after I took the hit. There appeared then a sudden ‘pie slice’ in my vision, which was like the shape of a radar scanner or a wedge, and this slice that I witnessed occupied indeed a fraction of my vision considered as a circle, appearing across what would probably be the space between the 12 o’clock and 1 o’clock markings on a grandfather clock. As it did so, it had a peculiar effect on what I saw occurring in the real world as well. Within this illuminated fraction, the corresponding part of the real world was ‘cartoonified’. Everything contained within became spikey, like it had literally acquired sharp and distorted edges, and the color and texture also became like chalk or pipe cleaners, or rice or some such thing. Many times, objects caught inside also began to dance around, and move.
My field of vision developed in this manner; in a clockwise fashion, it proceeded through one slice after another, each time adding its unique effects to the scene. In some sections, new images would pop up as well, both traditional lines and shapes, as well as some pirhanna plant looking creatures. I believe it was while this process was occurring, that I noticed a bizzare phenomenon. I realized that I seemed to have some form of (limited) dialogue with the Salvia. I’m not confident, it’s possible I may have noticed it earlier. It’s hard to describe or remember clearly, because the voice of the Salvia was…all I can say is that it was not completely real, in some respect it was subliminal, or may even have been comprised of another component of my own consciousness. It was not clear speech and it did not have the full resonance, with me, of being speech heard by myself. But it was a distinct component of the trip nevertheless, and one of the strongest hallucinations. As I was watching my vision ‘transform’ one slice at a time, I imagined that I heard the Salvia singing a tune, which was (I swear, literally):
“This is the Salvia, this is the Salvia, this is the Salvia, this is the Salvia!”
It was a very rudimentary tune, which only repeated a simple back and forth progression of rising and falling alternatively. Up and then down. Like much of the trip, I didn’t have a deep feeling about it at the time, except that it was trippy. I was really deep in the mindset of not thinking too hard, so as not to worry myself. In fact, this attitude was central to my brief resistance at the beginning of the trip. It was part of the reason why I kept talking to myself throughout the whole process: it was important to me not to lose my grounded place within my own consciousness, and my power of affirmation. I hadn’t thought about this a great deal before the trip. But once it had begun, I implicitly believed that the challenge for me, as a warrior, was to keep my awareness. As a consequence, I was really an observer (albeit a talkative one) during the trip. Emotionally, I was detached and not very active.
Eventually, the progression of my visual hallucination came across the area between roughly 9 and 10 o’clock. I noticed then that there was a dark circular object apparent within this section. I immediately perceived that it was some kind of ‘entity’ (exactly the word I wanted to use, which instantly popped into my mind), an entity which was located inside my brain. In fact, the discovery triggered an association for me, and I can’t remember if it happened right then during the trip, or afterwards, but it left me with the conclusion that, what had actually happened, was that Salvia had scanned my brain one region at a time, doing a diagnostic – which would make sense because of the plant’s traditional use. At the time I had some speculative ideas at a lower cognitive level about what this discovery might mean, even though I avoided engaging with them. I don’t remember my words exactly, but I remember that I asked the Salvia if it was dangerous or not (if it was friendly or not? Sorry don’t remember…). I do, however, remember the answer, which cracked me up for awhile afterwards. I do recall the Salvia saying something like “eh, should be fine”, which to me was evasive and cavalier well beyond the acceptable level for a dark entity I had suddenly discovered inside my head. Luckily I found that pretty funny.
For the record, the Salvia had a tiny and childish voice, sounding like some type of little fairy or woodland creature
the Salvia had a tiny and childish voice, sounding like some type of little fairy or woodland creature
At a certain point, I believe that the ‘diagnostic’ scan actually crossed back where it had gone before, and began to go around again. I honestly think I do remember some additional effects when this happened, like the repeat slices would acquire even more, further permutations. But at this point, I can say for sure that the ‘hold’ Salvia had on me was wearing off, and because of that it was like I lost interest a little bit. I no longer felt like I was in a trance or like I needed to lay there and observe anymore. In fact it suddenly occurred to me to stand up, and doing so I felt a rush of laughter and joy; it was hilarious to me, that I had just survived this imposing encounter. Also part of what was funny was the notion that I had been compelled to lie there at all, and that I had finally received permission to stand up again and leave, although there had never been any need to force me to do that in the first place, kind of an unreasonable move, which was part of what was funny to me. Literally as I left the garage into my house I stopped and I looked back at the open garage door as if I was looking back at Salvia herself, and laughing I said something like: “alright, are we done now? God!” It was clear that we were, and I went inside.
Parents still weren’t home. At this point, I was back in total command and there were also no hallucinations. There were some lingering effects, however, as my vision still felt wavy and I had a head cloudiness like I was drunk. I was laughing nonstop, laughing each time as a consequence of some thought or idea that entered my brain from my cognitive side. I decided to try and go listen to some music in my room. I have to say that I do think it was enhanced a little bit, perhaps some detail was added to the music, but I couldn’t get very into it as I was distracted by my lingering effects. Then, actually only 5 or 10 minutes after, my parents came home. I was still a little loopy but I could talk to them fine, they didn’t suspect anything. I went and took a run around my neighborhood and by the time I showered and ate, I didn’t feel anything anymore.
I have a hard time remembering, were there any effects in subsequent days? I think I would say that there weren’t any novel effects. However, my imagination in general, which is very active, was excited a lot by my trip. It became something I thought about a lot in subsequent weeks. This included some extent of the Salvia experience getting included into my paranoid train of thought. It was one of the things which I thought obsessively about, willing myself to make a spontaneous breakthrough in my understanding and abruptly apprehend everything the vision meant. Through my reflections, I developed an idea of what I thought my trip meant symbolically and psychologically, whereas during the trip itself I had been almost totally blank-minded. I came to think, as I mentioned, that Salvia had done its traditional function of taking me out of the mortal world, analyzing me, and making an assessment of my health. It hadn’t seemingly found anything except for the ‘entity’ which had appeared in the left side of my brain. This made sense to me, because at the time I was bombarded by stress, anxiety, anger, and poor concentration, all of which to me made the suggestion of a disturbance in my left brain very logical.
At the same time, the Salvia had told me it was alright. Was it possible that the entity was also a source of strength for me? Was the mass formed within my left-brain also a big part of who I was, or something special about me, and who I was?
Two or maybe three weeks passed. I was working 3 to 11 pm at the hotel, 40 hours a week. It felt good but there was still a LOT of trouble in my life. My mental health was still poor. My paranoia and anxiety were both acute, causing me a lot of fear and discomfort in my day-to-day life. And I still remained aimless, wishing I had more of a sense of direction or purpose, left with a lot of time out of which I felt like I didn’t do very much and got little satisfaction from what I did. There were some great resources in my life at the time, but they were defensive tools. They kept me afloat, but I made no progress.
After maybe 2 or 3 weeks, I told my brother the good news. I had some Salvia, we planned to do it as soon as possible. I got the weekend of his High School graduation off from work. Then I got the news, less than a week before I was supposed to see him. He messaged me and eventually told me that he had been arrested for a DUI, also caught in possession of alcohol and marijuana. His license was suspended and he would have to go through probation. He was shaken and I was heartbroken, miserable and despaired to hear such a crappy thing happen to him and ruin his life, adding further despair to my family, making it impossible for anyone to feel a sense of progress, creating the artificially imposed notion that there was nothing good for us. Despite the sting, he asked me to still come, and I would show him the Salvia.
He was staying with our grandparents at the time; while I was in town, I stayed there too. The night before we were going to do it, I was secretly very apprehensive about doing Salvia again, knowing now what a powerful and weird substance it was, which really took away normality. I became markedly more apprehensive as my brother asked me questions about it, and I found I could only answer by referring to the drug’s incredibly commanding force and total surreality. As I laid in bed that night, I urged myself to formulate an affirmation, a mission statement which would serve as the bedrock of my return to Salvia. That way, I felt, she might be pleased that I had a clear request, and as an intellectual, I knew that it could help me to keep focus and not lose perspective, as I had tried to do before. Over and over again in my mind, I addressed ‘Salvia’, and it went as a dialogue. I had ‘Salvia’ ask me: what is your objective? To which I continually answered, “to study under you, if you would have it, and to learn about the entity inside my head.” Again and again I repeated this process until I felt a sense of total affirmation.
The morning came. My brother and I readied ourselves and then we left out grandparents and went for a drive to a local conservation area with a nice hiking mountain. We trekked up into the hills, eventually stopping at a clear overhang which surveyed a large stretch of woods for some miles. There was a campfire-type setup here, where we bivouacked and established ourselves. My brother had a bong and I packed him a minimal filter of tobacco with a hit of the same size as my original ontop. I was fairly nervous, because I knew that he was a person far more energetic and rowdy than I, and it was possible that he would freak out and do any number of things inimical to himself on this mountain cliff. I was fairly controlling of him during the process and I was stern and serious. I felt no particular fun myself as I watched him clear the rip and I asked him how he felt. He wasn’t sure he felt anything, he said, as he stood up and began to wander around the clearing. I kept very close to him physically, my answers to anything he said were very terse and serious. As he neared the edge of the cliff, he looked out over the forest, and I intervened myself between him and the horizon view. He was irritated by my close presence like this, but I very plainly refused to consider leaving him alone and I told him, mildly but very frankly, that I wasn’t going to let him alone while he was doing this drug.
He hadn’t felt much, he seemed to experience nothing except some very small sensations, and he asked for another hit. This one was larger by an uncertain amount. He ripped it, and after there may have been a moment or two of naïve happiness, you could tell that he had suddenly been struck by it. “Woah,” he said, and he trailed off. Then suddenly he cried out to me, something along the lines of it being weird and asking how long it was going to last. I told him just a minute or two, I think he had a hard time appreciating the answer. I began to tell him that he should relax, etc. but it upset him a lot, he snapped at me not to talk as he sat there mostly silent. He was unable to describe much of his experience. He is notoriously unlike to divulge very much of his internal monologue, he hates to do that for whatever reason. He did tell me that, at one point, he looked at a rock on the edge of the campfire area and there appeared to him a Roman legionary, which spoke to him. This was one of the onset events which took him out of his comfort zone.
In a couple minutes it wore off, and I think he was left feeling a little weary, but similar to myself, he had kind of not totally engaged with it to a huge extent. He asked me if I was going to take one myself. I was apprehensive, but partly because of the occasion and since I hadn’t said anything about not doing it, I went ahead and took one perhaps a little smaller than my first. It was admittedly nice to do it out of the bong. Within seconds, the familiar rippling effect descended on me, except it wasn’t as strange this time as I was somewhat familiar with it from before.
I was sitting on a log, and while I didn’t need to lie down this time, I again felt an oppressive feeling, like my body and mind were seized under the auspices of this external force. I felt a need to close my eyes and droop my head. In my minds eyes, there began to appear a sequence of numerals appearing as stark white numbers, like the kind you would see appear on a cell phone screen. Very hard to remember, some of the numbers were like “14”, “21”, “23” – they were, as I recall, largely in the 10s or 20s. These numeral sets flashed in my mind’s eye, fairly vivid. Then, I don’t remember at what point, but about a minute into the trip, I made the realization that these numbers were actually a physical chain. They formed a column, a line. And I realized that these lines of numbers emanated from a gravitational distortion – literally, it was for all intents and purposes a black hole. I was seeing the edge, a fraction, of this black hole, and the numbers extended out from the black hole in lines, being angled according to the distortion that the black hole was having on ‘space-time’. And then suddenly it hit me all at once, and I jumped up and began telling my brother all at once:
I realized, I said, that the black hole I was seeing was nothing less than the entity itself. It was a zoomed-in picture, like a microscope. And I realized something about the entity which I cant even put into words – I realized that the entity occupied there in my left-lobe of my brain was the cause of the anxiety, the confusion, the weakness, the poor mental health, and the lack of cogent thinking and speaking ability I had experienced for years now. And effortlessly I had the realization, that this was a deep truth about myself as a person – I had to admit to myself, after years of addictedly smoking weed for no purpose, at any chance I had, just because, that I HATED that feeling, it was contrary to everything I wanted and hoped for in my life experience and about myself. I realized how important it was to me, to be able to speak and think cogently, to represent myself well to others and to be able to handle my business, that was hugely important to me and yet I made these terrible decisions all the time, to smoke weed any chance I could get, that made me feel confused, distracted, tired: EVERYTHING I didn’t like to feel. And I had the realization, that to master myself, to achieve a high-level of self-control as I desired, and recapture a strong command of thinking and speaking, I needed to grapple with that entity, and by some means I had to take it and relocate it; specifically, I believed I had to relocate it inside my chest, at my physical center – I called this ‘achieving superposition’ – to attain a grasp on my own mind and to be able to express myself articulately.
It was evident what I had to do. I needed to stay sober, I needed to exercise, I needed to read and study and learn, to develop my brain and rebuild my mental strength. I told my brother about this, but not one person else. Nevertheless, I was determined. At the end of that weekend, coming back home I found that the Latin textbook I had ordered off Amazon arrived. I cracked into it right away, and throughout the rest of that June, July, and August, I completed the entire book from front to back, and I taught myself Latin, translating passages of the Gallic War, just before I left for the MA History program in New York. Every day that summer I ran in the morning, as hard as I could until the sweat covered my body and the fatigue threw away all of the toxins in my body, so that when I got to school I ran a mile almost 5 minutes exactly on the track. And I worked 40 hours a week every week, at a grueling job, where even as everything everywhere around me collapsed in hostility or decay I was unscathed, I was bulletproof, there was no thing, no person, or anything which would affect me, and my incredible command of myself, which made it so that I could act without any hint of anger or ill-will whatsoever, no matter what I dealt with or how much.
Since that summer, I have completed my Master’s degree in Ancient History, in only 3 semesters. And I have NEVER lost my newfound sense of priorities, which have given me the responsibility and discipline to account for myself in the best possible way at any occasion, always capable to provide for myself and answer to my fellow citizens.
Long after my second trip in the woods with my brother, looking back on it, I had the curious idea that I had been seated on that log similar to a samurai lord, or a boxer sitting in the corner between rounds. I felt it was a reasonable analogy, that Salvia had come to me like a coach during a confusing time, and given me the advice I needed to stand up for myself and win a serious fight. From this idea, I developed a limited imagination of what Salvia the coach had said: that I needed to stand up for myself, that it was the simplest thing in the world because the issue was entirely in my own head; I was in this shitty place, deprived of things, dealing with challenges, for no other reason than because people wanted to see that I couldn’t do it and I let myself buy in to that idea. But it was totally an illusion. There was nothing I even had to do, in order to be respectable – if I even cared enough to just do the basic amount of what I needed to do each day, to just look after myself in a basic way, to listen to even my simplest feeling moment to moment and use that as my compass instead, then there was no reason why I couldn’t do anything that would ever be asked of me in this country. There would be absolutely nothing for anybody to cast aspersions about. And that was because so much of the issue I had behaviorally and mentally stemmed from anxieties and paranoias totally unique to myself, and my own brain.
The two Salvia trips themselves had collectively made me admit to my mental health issue and they made me realize how I wanted to feel. But it was really through my reflections subsequently that the true significance of Salvia for me developed. Not necessarily the drug itself, but the attitudes I had formed because of my experiences, became a huge part of my sense of self. As time passed, the experiences came more and more to represent a watershed moment in my life when I committed to applying myself to accomplish real goals and do what had to be done. It allowed me to feel like a change had happened, and that it was possible I had achieved a ‘better’ me and that negative attributes of myself had been positively purged. It meant a lot to know that Salvia had vindicated me, and stood up for me to show that there was nothing wrong with the way I lived my life except for my failure to listen to myself and act according to the seat of my feelings.
After those experiences, which happened about 2 weeks apart in the first half of June 2016, I was left with a serious ideation of changing my life by adopting a new ethic: I wouldn’t do drugs because of any long-gone romanticism about how it would feel. I would only do them when I felt comfortable doing them and when I desired the effects which I knew, as an experienced user, that I would actually have.
I was left with a serious ideation of changing my life by adopting a new ethic: I wouldn’t do drugs because of any long-gone romanticism about how it would feel. I would only do them when I felt comfortable doing them and when I desired the effects which I knew, as an experienced user, that I would actually have.
In the majority of my time, I would listen to my feelings, and instead apply myself to healthy and productive activities instead. When this resolution combined with my new daily regimen of learning Latin and exercising, I openly developed a new concept of myself. I ceased to see myself as an outcast, or someone who lacked an idea of themselves; instead, I formed a more definite self-concept, and I openly saw myself as somebody who was trying to improve themselves, and as a person who persevered through diligent work. My positive first experiences with both Latin and exercise helped considerably to reinforcing this shift. It became an immense source of pride and satisfaction to progress so quickly through this challenging language, and it lent itself to similar ideas about other things in life – I began to transfer my sense of competency in language to a feeling of competence in many different situations. But there was also an undeniable element of pushing myself, and some blatant fear in my heart that I would turn out to lack the ability to turn my life around or function normally. After my Salvia experiences, I also became a workaholic and a severe critic of myself, and I agonized over my mistakes and shortcomings more so than I ever had before.
My anxiety, OCD, and paranoia all remained. But it was hard to overstate the value of adding a rock solid foundation of responsible behavior combined with regular and objective evidence of my personal skills. These things transitioned me from a person living inside their mental health delusions into a person living life in spite of them. They no longer posed an existential threat to my place in society, and when they would act up and cause me any grief, they were truly externalities, not invading or taking away the treadmill of prosocial behavior that I focused on.
Salvia was one major chapter in a lengthy psychological odyssey I passed through, which originally began with an acid trip I did my sophomore year of undergrad. https://erowid.org/experiences/exp.php?ID=106589">That trip report, “Insight”, is an interesting choice as the starting point in comparison to this trip report, which could turn out to be a halfway point. To tell the full story of my psychedelic journey up to the present, a third and final trip report will be necessary: a synopsis of my use of marijuana, which by far contains the most there is to say about my psychotropic activity. Then at last would be revealed the ideas which defined my psyche for many years, and which were permanently altered after my Salvia trip, and eventually peaked into a mixed material-psychological crisis and then finally died and withered away, a little over a year after trying Salvia.
It’s almost two years since my Salvia experience now, and I can truly begin to see a ‘road’ which I traveled in the past, and which increasingly fades away from the present. For me, the added perspective of time continues to show just how much my psychedelic use of the past was a deluded phenomenon. As I begin to put years between now and my use of drugs in college, I begin to see how harmless but also innocuous my drug usage was, whereas at the time I had thought it was both very serious and very real. That story, although it will contain some ideas of crushing gravity, ends in an almost surreally stoner-like fashion – the author will realize that he is just high at the moment, and ought to shrug it off.
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