For The Afterglow ...
Citation: MiddleAgedFather. "For The Afterglow ...: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp46516)". Erowid.org. Mar 15, 2007. erowid.org/exp/46516
I have recently taken to smoking salvia divinorum recreationally, and wanted to share my experiences of how salvia can be taken in a moderate way for recreational use.
A little background. Almost a decade ago I stopped recreationally consuming alcohol, mostly because I cannot stand the effects. It makes me feel sick and usually depresses me after the fact. I never was a heavy drinker but I did enjoy some beer on the weekends. So for almost a decade I was completely sober. My strongest inebriant was my morning coffee.
Somewhere along the way I finally got sick and tired of being stone cold sober every weekend evening, so I began to research alternatives to alcohol. I had smoked some weed when I was younger, and I prefer the effects of cannabis anyway, but I was (and still am) leery of the legal and employment hassles. Salvia was legal and seemed to be relatively safe when used respectfully - and most importantly it is not tested for when seeking a job - so I figured what the hell I'll try this as an alcohol/cannabis substitute.
I read the other experience reports on the net with great trepidation. I've never used any other psychedelic, not even LSD. In fact, in general, I'm not a big on drugs at all. Cannabis was my recreational drug of choice, because it was tame, smooth and very enjoyable. The last thing I wanted was to take some substance that was going to make my mind freak out or give me temporary insanity, no matter how pleasurable. Needless to say, I was very hesitant to try salvia. But being in a fluid job market professionally, with job changes happening fairly often, I was also very afraid of the possibility of drug testing. Plus, I had a loving family, had children, and was well respected by my peers. I had no desire to get into legal trouble just so I could catch a decent buzz on a Saturday night. So salvia it was.
I set out from the beginning to see if salvia could be used enjoyably in low doses. I wanted to explore the zone between 'I feel something going on but not much' and 'OMG I just saw Jesus', to see if there was a pleasurable middle ground. I ordered my dried leaf from a reputable buyer online and got a proper glass pipe for smoking it.
The first time I tried salvia, I smoked just a very little bit, maybe 1/3 of a leaf. I had much trouble with the glass pipe, because the leaf kept wanting to fall out of it. But I did manage to get a slight tingly feeling that lasted about five minutes. Obviously that dosage wasn't quite enough.
The second time I tried it, I smoked about 3/4 of a leaf. Again the glass pipe was a problem. This time I did get a strong tingly feeling all over, and got a moderate visual effect: everything seemed to stretch out in front of me. My fingers seemed to be about a foot long, though I could still type semi-accurately. This time, I got to experience the salvia afterglow. Now THAT was what I was looking for. A nice warm fuzzy glowy feeling, pleasantly inebriated but nothing extreme or absurd. I was encouraged.
The third time I tried it, I got no effect at all. I was having continued trouble with the glass pipe, and probably this time I simply didn't get enough smoke in my lungs to absorb a meaningful amount of the active substance.
After that I made my first breakthrough discovery: salvia is best smoked through a tobacco pipe. I tried an el cheapo tobacco pipe simply because the bowl was bigger and so I could better control the leaf and keep the flame over it constantly. What a difference! That was my first truly psychedelic experience with salvia, which I'll briefly describe here.
I put on some dark ambient music, packed a full dried leaf into the tobacco pipe, and put the flame constantly through it as I inhaled. Because the tingly feeling started to come on before I had even exhaled the first hit, I knew that I was in for a stronger experience than I had had before. Still, I managed to get a second huge hit into my lungs before the salvia made gravity so strong that I had to slump back in my chair.
That's when it really started. The earth's gravitational field was so strong that I couldn't lift my arm off the chair. The visual stretching / tunnel vision started up. But this time, it didn't stop. It kept right on stretching and stretching and stretching until I was unable to discern objects around me they were so smeared. I couldn't tell if my eyes were open or shut. All of reality became a huge plane tilted at a high angle to the left, along which I flew like a spacecraft orbiting a planet. The pulsing of the ambient music caused large blobs of energy to pulse in my peripheral vision. It was quite an amazing feeling.
At some point I became aware of some kind of being or consciousness that I was flying directly towards. Then I realized that I wasn't flying; I was falling! I became a little worried about falling into this being so I started resisting my fall by grabbing onto the surface of the plane. This being, who existed beyond the end of the plane, seemed to be encouraging me to release my inhibitions and stop resisting. Finally, I let go, both out of a sense of trust in the being and because I wasn't strong enough to hold on any longer anyway. I started free falling at a tremendous velocity.
At that point, my perspective shifted tremendously. The plane stopped being tilted and became horizontal. My motion stopped and I no longer was falling. 'Up' became the direction away from the surface of the plane, the way it ought to be. I felt a sense of relief that I didn't have to worry about falling anymore. The plane receded and became my familiar surroundings. The trip was over.
The resulting afterglow lasted about 45 minutes and was very enjoyable.
Looking back on that trip, which has been my most powerful salvia experience yet, I realized that that was as far into the drug that I wanted to go. The trip was enjoyable enough and definitely fascinating, but I could easily see how salvia could put me into a mental place that I did not want to be. But in addition, I realized that there was definitely a zone in there where the effects of salvia were not scary or overwhelming but a nice afterglow was still present.
This is how I'm presently using salvia. I tolerate the initial psychedelic effects to get to the afterglow, which is what I'm really after. I carefully consider the dosage so as to not push it too far, but still be enough to have an enjoyable afterglow. And the limited duration of the experience is also helpful. I can safely smoke a bowl after the kids have gone to bed, with minimal risk that they will wake up before I am coherent again.
I have tried the tinctures as well, and they are certainly worth exploring, but I have found them to be more nuisance than benefit. They are also rather disgusting. Try holding a mouthful of spit for 15 minutes - it's gross. They don't seem to give the depth of afterglow that I want. They also seem to make me feel a little dizzy, which I absolutely hate. I get motion sickness easily, so even the slightest bit of vertigo is anathema.
I hope this helps any readers who want to explore the milder side of salvia. It is possible to stay there without going into the realm of the gods. For those who want to explore the shaman's world, I salute your courage. For some of us, though, the afterglow is all the experience we want.
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