Citation: Psychonym. "The Universe is a Paint Brush: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (20x extract) (exp112484)". Erowid.org. Oct 19, 2018. erowid.org/exp/112484
Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve always been fascinated with psychoactive drugs, and one in particular, Salvia Divinorum, has been on my radar for several years. I’ve used various drugs in my life, mainly weed, amphetamines, MDMA, and LSD. I have done extensive research about the Salvia experience, read several trip reports and felt like I had a good understanding of the physical and mental effects one could experience. If the opportunity to try Salvia arose, I thought I was prepared.
A week or so ago, my curiosity got the better of me and I decided to just fucking do it. I ordered 1 gram of 20x Salvia extract from, what I determined to be, the most reliable online vendor. It arrived much quicker than I thought it would. I had ordered on Friday and by the following Wednesday I was holding it in my hands. Because of work and other more important things in my life, I decided to wait until the weekend. My girlfriend and one of my really close friends had a few weeks prior to all of this, decided to go to a college football game in the city we lived in. I felt like the free time we had before heading to the game presented the perfect opportunity to try the Salvia I had purchased. I asked my friend, who has an incredibly extensive amount of experience with various psychedelic drugs, to trip sit me and he gladly agreed, despite having no desire to try it himself.
The day came and after leaving work, I ran a few unrelated errands and then headed over to his apartment with the goods. The new Call of Duty game had just been released and he was playing it on the couch. I plopped down on his insanely comfortable recliner and drank a beer while watching him play. After probably an hour or so, I decided it was time and started preparing by weighing out the right dosage.
My goal from this was to visit what many others described as Salvia Land, but I didn’t want to take such a high dosage that it became mentally unbearable. From what I’ve read, most of the people who have poor experiences are usually taking much higher dosages than they should. Salvinorin-A, the psychoactive chemical in Salvia Divinorum is lightly active in the 100’s of ug range, moderate dosages are about 1-2 mg, with strong/intense dosages being anything higher than 2 mg. With this in mind, I weighed out about 35 mg of dried leaves, supposedly enough to intake 1 mg of Salvinorin-A per the information provided to me by the online vendor, and mixed it into my pipe with some tobacco to fill it. I walked out onto my friends patio where I had set up a camping chair. I sat in the chair, a bit nervous and anxious about what I was about to experience.
It took me quite a bit to put the pipe up to my mouth because of this but my determination powered through. I was going to use a butane torch to light the bowl and it was a bit unwieldy to handle. As a result, I was slightly worried I was going to burn myself while bringing the flame up to the leaves but I managed to do so without incident. As the leaves started to burn, I pulled the smoke into my lungs while keeping the flame in place. It was a bit harsher than I anticipated and my lungs were burning from the heat. I held it in for as long as I could manage, maybe 30 seconds, and shortly after exhaling, started to feel my body pull to my right. I didn’t blast off to space like most others describe however. I definitely got a high from it, that I would liken to being slightly stoned. I think the most prominent effect, other than the sideways pull, was the laughing fit I found myself in. For some reason, I just found everything humorous. To provide a bit more historical context about what I expected, a part of me wondered whether the effects from Salvia were a weird placebo effect in combination with typical teenage exaggeration. I could definitely tell that the effect from the Salvia was not a placebo and I made the conclusion that the concentration of Salvinorin-A in the extract I had was lower than reported.
I wanted to try again, with double the amount of dried leaves, and so I waited about 15 minutes for the weak high to subside. I repacked the bowl with approximately 80 mg and sat back down on the patio. I put the flame on the leaves and basically vaporized the plant matter immediately while pulling it all into my lungs. Nothing I had read, or will ever read, could prepare me for what I was about to experience.
As I was holding in the smoke, my vision began to wobble (nystagmus) and I knew immediately that I was in for a ride and that I should put the pipe down while I’m still able. I blacked out shortly after doing so. My friend and girlfriend told me I stumbled back into the apartment and was pointing at things around the room. The only sound I apparently made during this blackout was a grunt. They managed to get me to sit back down into the insanely comfortable recliner I was in earlier and this is where my memory kicks back in. I remember sitting in the chair in my friends apartment, which I could not for the life of me recognize, with no recollection of how I got there or that I had just taken a drug.
It’s really quite hard to verbally describe what happened next, but it was like the room I was in started to get torn apart from the fabric of the universe. I was watching this happen very intently and I think I realized at some point, that the room, my friends, and myself, were actually a part of some multi-dimensional paint brush. The walls were pulling apart like the bristles in a paint brush when you push them with your fingers. As this happened, the space beyond the room we were in began to develop into the most beautiful and green pasture I have ever seen. Up until this point, I would describe the experience as pleasurable. My experience began to shift when I realized that my entire existence was this “paint brush” and I visually followed the fibers to the handle area of the brush. What I saw there was the most fearsome and frightening thing that I have ever witnessed. A dark, shapeless creature, that I likened to the ring wraiths in Lord of the Rings to my friend afterwards, was grasping the handle of my entire universe. I was physically unable to look at it after taking that initial glance. It was like I had just witnessed some innate secret of the universe I wasn’t supposed to know, that it was controlled by this evil trickster god.
It was like I had just witnessed some innate secret of the universe I wasn’t supposed to know, that it was controlled by this evil trickster god.
I was overcome with thoughts that my entire life was some sort of cruel prank, that the trickster had chosen this moment to reveal it to me for some odd, indeterminable, reason. It was saying something to me but I am unable to figure out what it was. My memory of the words is unintelligible.
To zoom out of my experience for a moment, my girlfriend told me that while I was sitting down I had been saying loudly, “what am I looking at” and “no”. Looking back, I’m fairly certain that I said these when the creature/god began to speak to me. The intensity of everything started to fade shortly after this and the millions of fibers of the “paint brush” began to reassemble back into my friends apartment. I would describe this as the most uncomfortable part of the experience as it was like my normal life and this wacky “paint brush” universe were coexisting on-top of each other and my brain was unable to determine which was actually true. While this was happening, I noticed that I was sweating a bit and was quite lightheaded. My first thought was that I needed to get out of the apartment and make sure that the world outside of it still existed and that I had indeed taken a drug. Everything began to fall back into place and the intensity of the experience slipped into memory. I remember the first words I uttered when realizing what had just happened were “what the fuck?”. My memory is a bit hazy but I think I might have said that several times actually. It perfectly describes my feelings towards what had transpired. It’s really quite a challenge to rationalize it.
Salvia Divinorum is a hell of a drug. The experience was so unique, wacky, and fantastical that it left me awestruck. I’ve walked away from the experience with a new take on life, though I’m not quite sure the specifics of that. I just know I experienced something profound but need more time to mentally come to terms with what I witnessed. I would not describe my experience as pleasurable and I wouldn’t describe it as terrifying or bad. It was just... interesting. It’s incredibly fascinating to me that a very small quantity of a chemical substance can so fundamentally alter my perception of reality and cause the experience that I had. The hallucinations and delusions were so vivid, more real than any dream I have ever had. It’s fortunate that Salvia only lasts for 5-10 minutes.
I have a new appreciation for the sober experience that my brain is able to provide daily. While I have no interest in immediately trying Salvia again, I do want to experience its effects again at some point in my life and reflect back on what I have described here.
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