Citation: Returned From Now. "Experiencing Infinity Between Here and Now: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (21x extract) (exp39071)". Erowid.org. Apr 25, 2007. erowid.org/exp/39071
I had stumbled upon Salvia Divinorum on the internet and became interested with finding out more about it. I searched through trip reports and was amazed at the descriptions of the experiences. Even with my research however, nothing could have really prepared me for what my experience was like. I did not partake of this herb to escape anything. I am not a recreational drug user. However, I am fascinated with the human mind, perceptions of reality, and how our limitted perceptions prevent us from seeing our world as it truely and completely is. Reading about salvia showed me it must be capable of exercising your brain in ways it is not normally utilized and with appearently no long term effects afterwards. So I wanted to briefly explore more.
I thought about ordering it off the internet from a reputable supplier but then decided to see if I could find it in a local headshop. I had no luck with the shops in my town, which lies just north of San Francisco. Being so close to the city, I knew I could find it in the Haight-Ashbury district. So one morning, I googled up a list of headshops in the Haight and headed to San Francisco to shop and have breakfast. I found salvia in the second shop I entered and I bought a vial of 21x and a very small glass pipe.
I bought the stronger extract for several reasons. I am not a smoker, so I am not used to large quantities of smoke in my lungs. Also, I planned to use a regular bic lighter as I did not want to have to shop for a hotter butane torch lighter nor pay an arm and a leg for one. My reasoning was I would have an easier time reaching 'breakthrough' with a higher extract under the circumstances I was about to partake.
I tried the Salvia immediately when I got home with only very slight results, though at the time I thought them profound. Perhaps I will write of that experience in another report. I waited a week, and decided late one evening to try it again. Having had a rather mild experience the first time, I reasoned that a sitter was not necessary and I wanted one last attempt before throwing the rest away. I packed the bowl of the small glass pipe took two hits using the bic lighter and laid back to relax.
The first sensations I feel are what I can only describe as a 'stuttering' or strobing effect of my consciousness. This feeling comes on immediately after the first hit but stays rather mild at first. Nothing really appears out of the ordinary in way of space or time and the 'strobing' is happening so fast at first that you initially just feel a 'buzzing' effect. Then I took my second hit. Inhaling deeply and holding it for 10 to 15 seconds. I put the pipe down and WHAM... the intensity of what I am feeling increases exponentially instantly. It happens so fast, I panic at what I feel.
My perception of reality completely changed. The best way I can describe it is that space/time becomes very distorted and stretched out in a series of wavefronts radiating in all directions away from me. The wavefronts are like concentric soap bubbles that propigate away from my consciousness. Temporality as I normally know it only exists on the thin membrane of each bubble. The time and space between the wavefronts begins to widen at a very rapid pace as the experience begins to peak.
This is accompanied with a rushing sound sort of like a passing train as each temporality wave propigates away from me with a roar. Between the wavefronts is total utter eternal void, and I don't just see it, I feel it. When my sense of self is in the void between the waves, I have no body, nothing physical, I am just conciousness and I can see and feel infinity and eternity. It actually feels like I experience a hundred thousand years of nothingness waiting for the next temporality to propigate from my being.
I had never percieved infinity or eternal nothingness so clearly until I took salvia. It terrified me and I panicked. I have a sense that as the wavefronts of my temporality become stretched out farther and farther, this void I feel between them becomes longer and longer approaching eternity which I am not ready or willing to enter into just yet. Motion seems to help me stay in the present, and I feel the need to 'chase' the wavefronts as they move away from me in order to try and stay in one. It caused me to get up and run fast down the hall and out my front door at 2:00am. I ran to chase the here and now as it radiated away from me. I wanted to go faster so I tried to get in my car but fortunately it was locked and I did not have a key on me. So I finally just wrapped my arms around a vertical column in my carport and hung on tight, trying to stay anchored in the tactile present.
I was conscious of having taken the salvia but I so much wanted the experience to be over. I wanted to stay in my normal temporal world, my 'illusion of the present' which only existed on these thin wavefronts rushing away from me one after another. I feared falling into one of the voids between these wavefronts and being stuck there and conscious in eternal nothingness forever. I rushed out into the cool night air seeking and grasping at anything tactile that would ground me out and back to my normal reality.
Even though I was panicking, I sensed a benevolent presence, a voice which I can only describe as the voice of my mother my father and my wife all rolled into one....the people in my life who most loved me and cared about me. The voice said my name and repeated to me over and over again...'its OK...it will be over in just a few seconds.' In my mind, I knew this, but I also saw that each moment of what I normally perceived as reality had an eternity between it and the next. I was terrified thinking of my future existing on the otherside of an eternal expanse of time.
It is like a sense of futility that overtakes me when I contemplate my next experience will only occur after passing through the infinity of time that lies between my last temporal experience and my next. Worse still, beyond that next moment will be another eternity to pass through yet again. I finally ran back into the house and to my sleeping wife whom I woke up and told her to hug me ... 'tell me you love me,' I said to her. I wanted to experience anything that I felt could help me to stay in the here and now. I had this dire need to feel love and to be loved right then, right there.
As the experience ebbed, my perception of time and space began to just naturally fold back into itself like the closing of an accordian. Back towards the way I normally view and precieve things to be. The voids between the wavefronts become smaller until temporality once again moves toward what seems to be the fluid and continuous illusion I have always known. As I am coming off the peak, there is a very real feeling that my normal perception is the illusion, not the hallucination I was experiencing with the salvia.
The thought comes to me that salvia does not take you down a rabbit hole, it brings you out of the one you have been living in. My temporality only exists on these whisps of reality propigating away from me and is small and insignificant to the eternal void that lies between. I contemplate that somehow our conscious minds are 'tricked' by our brains into perceiving our reality as a free flowing continuim of time and space. A sickening realization that comes over me that I am going back to living a perception of reality that is an illusion, that it is not truely how the world exists, but it is the only perception of reality I am comfortable with so I am anxious to get back.
All of these thoughts are both fascinating and terrifying to me as I come up out of the experience. I am so amazed at the things I perceived while under the influence of this plant. Utterly and completely amazing and terrifying in its implications. Suffice it to say, the experience convinced me that our brains are capable of precieving our world and a reality that is much different than what we normally see. Perceptions are just that, perceptions. They are niether real nor inaccurate. They are just how our minds respond to stimuli.
To say that perceptions experienced while under the influence are inaccurate would be like saying that the color purple or the taste of chocolate are inaccurate. Taken in their context, they seem very accurate and very real. Our understanding of our world is limited by our perception of it. Usually, seeing something in a different light tends to enhance understanding as long as we keep that new perception in proper perspective and context.
I did not give myself over to this experience very well. I fought it as I neared the peak. I am currious of how I would have felt had I just let go. Would I have ever been able to relax and just ride it out, or would I truely have gone insane at consciously experiencing being locked into a widening infinity void of time and space? I may try it again someday. Definitely with a sitter this time and definitely in a safer situation where I can not hurt myself or someone else.
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