Citation: Alchemist. "The Plastic Factory: An Experience with DXM & Salvia divinorum (5x extract) (exp16937)". Erowid.org. May 1, 2008. erowid.org/exp/16937
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To reward myself for my one week exile from the reefer I planned on trying a new drug and due to availability narrowed my choices down to DXM and a local datura tree (brugmansia). I settled on DXM, reasoning that it was much safer and more pleasant according to the vast amount of information I had read (few people seem to report a positive datura experience, it is a notorious poison after all).
On Thursday evening I sat with my girlfriend, who I will call Sarah, in her detached room and calculated the dose for a second plateau trip. At about 7:30 pm I drank almost half the bottle of Robitussin DX Extra Strength cough medicine, remarking on how easy it was to down. After half an hour or so I felt a light drunkenness in my head which gradually became stronger over the next hour. With this eventually came a feeling of distance from the physical environment and I could not focus my eyes on any object. When I stood up my balance was distorted and I soon became familiar with the robo-walk I had read about.
There were no visual effects, however, and music did not sound any different. At around 9 pm I drank another 20 ml of the syrup and soon began to feel almost feverish. Then nausea developed rapidly and I went outside to vomit and thankfully, the negative symptoms were expelled with the bile. If I had permitted myself the gentle ganja I might have avoided this altogether and possibly potentiated the DXM. I robo-walked with Sarah up the road to get a video but I was in a dissociative state and I could not look people in the eye, I could only look through them.
Back in Sarah’s room I decided to smoke some salvia 5X extract, as I did not feel I would get anything more from the cough syrup. I have smoked the magic mint more than ten times before this and had received extreme perceptual changes, minor hallucinations, etc, but I could never quite cross through the portal into salvia space. Thus I have always questioned its status as the most powerful natural psychoactive substance on Earth. No more! I packed the big brass bowl of my pipe, inhaled the dark green powder in two or three deep tokes, this time holding the flame over the plant matter the whole time, and relaxed against the sofa.
I was bowled over immediately as a tap dancing sequence in the video we were watching seemed to trigger my being flipped into an alternative reality, one which I had apparently been blind to all my life. In this cruelly ironic reality, life was a sort of plastic factory, and across my vision the procession of plastic slides that were people, everyone (many of whom I recognised), toppled in the fashion of dominos in an anti-clockwise circle from top to bottom, in time with the tap dancing, I believe. I had no recollection that I had just smoked anything and so this reality was absolute. I remember feeling bitter that reality was so negative and wanting to have nothing to do with it. It was as if the life purpose was to fall in with the pattern of the tumbling plastic procession and thus fall into oblivion.
On the television screen, the man was telling the tap dancer what to do and what not to do in the dance and so in my new existence I was being sternly told what to do and not do for my turn in the plastic procession. I was disoriented and I had the sense that I was the odd one out, not knowing when my turn was and reluctant to take it. Then the screen was occupied by women squabbling in an abrasive way and in my vision this woman’s face appeared against the sublime backdrop of the blue duvet cover (with its yellow suns, moons, stars), and the trippy pattern of the red chair beyond it, which somehow covered the entire visual field. This is a lasting image. Her face was connected to a plastic band, made out of the duvet cover, as if she was the second hand on a watch, and she was also a part of the procession which had now moved three quarters of a circle and so was pointing at 3 o’clock. But her face was cold and sarcastic and her words were hostile and biting, as she seemed to detest me for stalling.
The procession had now turned full circle, leading my vision to 12 o’clock where it met the TV screen and an enormous pressure seemed to rest on the words of the man on the box, but they were distant. At this point I seemed to come out of the plastic factory reality but I was in a dreamy, confused state and slowly realised that it was just me and Sarah in the room, that I was on the sofa, not in bed as I had thought, and I then remembered where I had just been. It only lasted a few minutes but was one of the most bizarre and intense experiences of my life and as I came out of my stupor I realised with joy that I had finally broken through and relief that the sinister plastic factory is not reality, thank God. I have often questioned the nature of reality, but I had never imagined that it could be torn away in return for plastic.
The following day I watched the part of the movie where I was ‘out of it’ and discovered the continuous connection between the film and the hallucination, which I had initially thought was confined to the beginning tap sequence and the man talking at the end. Seeing the second hand woman’s face again sent a shiver down my spine. It is said that the salvia experience requires zero sensory stimuli but in my break through I had a major source of stimulus (the telly) and also the main light on for the first time. Of course the hot smoke technique and the DXM may also take some of the responsibility here. After this experience, I felt a deeper understanding of the hallucinations my grandfather was having when I visited him on his deathbed earlier this year. They had personally implicated me and this seemed to make sense in light of the salvia trip: hallucinations are not as black and white as I had imagined! It did not occur to me that you could forget you are hallucinating.
On Saturday night, after a light salvia trip (like many others before it) earlier in the evening I had a very similar trip that pulled me back into the cynical plastic factory, even more ominous this time. I had put my ‘Yellow Submarine’ video on, thinking that a hallucination based on this would be soft and nice, but the movie did not intrude into my unfortunate reality. After what seemed like one minute but I later found out was actually about 20, my friend sitting next to me asked me for the salvia and as I looked at him he became part of the factory, which was now behind everything it seemed. I could not answer him as I did not want the answer to fit into the sadistic pattern of the factory. The factory was still real but my friend’s question had pulled me back into my physical environment and in fear I jumped up and ran away from him, across the room to where Sarah was and then to my immense relief she was not a part of it and reality was after all how it always has been.
The freedom that human life offers is infinitely better than being a meaningless piece of plastic and I will probably never appreciate this as much as I did in the moments after that trip. Where I had just been was so familiar yet I could not place it, a dream perhaps. Then I realised it was the same place I had been only two days before. My memory of the original plastic factory had been obscured and distorted after the first trip but now returned with lucidity.
It occurred to me the next day that the plastic factory mirrors society’s place in my psyche: foreign, hostile and something I cannot naturally fall into. Sarah said she thinks it is life and death. Salvia space for me was like a conscious dream, a trance, and this could explain the time warp and feeling of distance from the experience. It was difficult to bring the experience 'back' from the salvia dimension. Salvia is the most mind bending drug I have experienced, considerably more intense than acid; but ironically something tells me that it is somehow safe and pure, (hence the allusion to the Virgin?), perhaps it's the way it passes through the body so rapidly and cleanly without any residual effects, or the fact that it is a natural entheogen rather than a man-made drug. I have a sense that salvia is not so much a drug as a spirit that possesses one temporarily, and that the plant and active chemical is simply the earthly body for this spirit, which many have identified as the Green Lady.
The Green Lady does not provide any kind of genuinely pleasurable high or buzz (like MJ or speed, etc) for her followers but rather the possibilities of a dimension completely separate from everyday reality (unlike MJ or speed, etc). Her essence is ancient, dark, unique, powerful, even supernatural, but somehow still protective, like the wolf spirit of woman.
Note: After I smoked salvia, Sarah complained about my sausage breath. I thought about this and remembered that salvia is Latin for sage, as in sau-sage. Sarah confirmed that sausages were originally flavoured with sage, or still are :)
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