Citation: Moonshadow. "Radical Psychedelic: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (5x extract) (exp46999)". Erowid.org. Jan 3, 2008. erowid.org/exp/46999
1. Mindset. I took this at age 45. I'm very familiar with the main psychedelics and I fall into the once-in-a-while/spiritual focus group. I've practiced meditation for 25 years and have experientially explored the main mystical traditions and their techniques, including the shamanic approaches. I don't habitually take drugs, don't smoke tobacco, don't drink alcohol etc. For me the use of psychedelics is to explore the mind, the spirit, the soul, the world. For the record, I have a degree in psychology, am self-empoyed, home-owner, kids in university, and contribute to my community; functional, as they say. I was intrigued by the few tales I'd heard of Salvia so elected to try some. I bought some at a headshop and the pack included good instructions/advice regarding use/misuse. However, it had no effect that I could detect, apart from a moment when reality went a bit 'loose' on me. I went back to the shop and bought some x5.
2. Setting/Preparation. Having acquired the new Salvia, and after having read everything I could about it and discussed it all with my partner we settled in for the experiment. My partner was straight and was fully primed to be the anchor. As suggested, we used our bedroom, in semi-darkness, with me sitting crosslegged and my partner ditto to my right on the bed. I lit incense and spent some time in meditation to clear the mind. I didn't feel nervous, just very curious. We had taken the usual common-sense precautions of disconnecting the phone and locking the front door to avoid interruptions. I had not eaten recently, no other drug was involved neither directly nor within a month, and I was not under any medical drugs either. So what you have here is an account of quite a straight guy in many senses having a crack at Salvia.
3. Dosage/Timing. This is next to impossible to calculate accurately, but here's an idea. I filled a small hash pipe with the Salvia with an amount I guesstimate at one-fifth the length of a slim-line cigarette. Maybe a quarter, but no more. Having read that the technique is to attempt to inhale the lot in one go then hold on to it, this is what I attempted, vigorously inhaling. However, the effect came on instantly and I failed to complete the inhalation.
4. What happened/My account. As stated, I failed to complete inhaling as, half-way through it, the entire visual field collapsed into writhing geometric forms. The pipe went flying left, the lighter, right, and I collapsed to the right over my partner's legs. Thank God! If I'd gone left I'd have fallen out of bed and hit the tiled floor. There was a moment of complete blankness, zero, then I found myself lying on a floor or road made of coruscating orange energy. I couldn't move, but noticed to my left a wall with doors curving away beyond my feet. It, and everything else, was made out of energy, predominantly orange and yellow.
I felt quite content and very cheerful lying there and felt no desire or need to do anything else. However, the absolutely stunning thing was that, and I only knew this after the experience, was that I had absolutely no memory of who I had been, no memory of planet Earth and my life, no memory of so-called reality. And, of course, I had no idea whatsoever that this was the case during the experience. I was in every sense another person, but obviously self-aware and had no problem. Another point is that this place, this reality was completely familiar. It was as if I had at last come home. But from where?
So there I lay, inoffensively; it seemed the thing to do. After a while though, I realized that something was approaching, up the corridor, or road; it was 'the neighbours'. Yes, it seemed the local psychedelic entities had taken an interest in me and my plight, whatever that was. Maybe they didn't fancy yet another gate-crashing humanoid lying about in their street. Who knows? Anyway, maybe thankfully, they were invisible, but were floating in a group about head-height. They were EXTREMELY jovial and altho they found my plight worthy of help they were kind at the same time. The phrase they kept chortling was 'Ok, let's scoop Moonshadow up, ho ho, hee hee'. And they did.
The next moment I found myself in what appeared to be a viewing-box high up on the left-hand side in a 19th century French Theatre. I was dressed appropriately. The audience was restive in the extreme and I simply could not follow what was going on. There was an endless stream of people going on and off the stage, lots of doors banging, draughts and hubbub. My only thought was how strange it all was. In a flash I returned to my corridor. It was at this point that at the absolute back of my mind was the faintest of ideas that there was something to remember. As it was so far back I hardly registered it as I had become fascinated by the door nearest me. It had more violet energy in it now and was definitely shaping up. It began to resolve more and more out of the seething energy surrounding it. As it did so, and in parallel, the idea of something to remember became more insistent, until I knew I'd forgotten something, very important, and I had the growing realization it was somehow linked to the door.
At this point I had utterly brief flashes of my ordinary self, but instantly gone again. They became slightly more stable as the door resolved yet further, then finally, I realized the 'door' was in fact the free-standing shelf of books in my bedroom and I was, in fact, me, still lying across my partner's legs. With a tremendous effort I managed to say 'Sorry' to my partner as I thought she must have had a terrible shock when I collapsed over her, and with more huge efforts I managed to drag myself into a sitting position, only to find myself literally drenched in sweat. In a few minutes, perhaps 5, the effects as such had gone completely, also adding to my astonishment.
5. What happened/My partner's account. She witnessed the abortive inhale and the collapse. From then on I was apparently laughing like a hyaena, unstoppable, and very loud at that. In addition, I had broken out in a huge sweat that was drenching me, my pyjamas, and her's too. She'd been startled when I keeled over but having ascertained that I didn't seem to be in any critical state, simply took care of me, stroking my head, and trying not to laugh herself. She was taken aback by the floods of sweat but decided it was a purifying thing and wholly good.
6. Aftermath. In the immediate minutes following this I was walking around the room pretty well raving 'Radical! Radical! This is the most radical psychedelic I've had bar none. It's so radical!' Etc. What I want to impress is that although the 'visuals' were well up there on the entheogenic Richter scale, this was irrelevant. The arrival of the 'neighbours' was surprising but not unprecedented. There were no cosmic insights, soul teachings, that I generally associate with psychedelics. Nor yet was there the rather difficult to explain sense of the trip in itself and it's unfoldment being the inner and real meaning of the experience outside the sensorial, etc, effects. The radicality lay mainly in the effect of the absolutle loss of ordinary identity and any notion of any such thing ever existing along with the entire cosmos to which it belongs.
Despite long and happy experience with lsd, mescaline, and psilocybe mushrooms, I'd never vanished to myself to this degree, I'd always had some notion, however ludicrously tenuous, that 'this' was an experience that I was 'having'. Even tho I know that is not a very adequate description. If anyone is reading this and thinking 'Oh, happened to me loads of times', my reply is, 'Are you sure?' Look very deeply into it, the issue of witness consciousness partakes of layers of subtlety. The other thing which was so astounding was the brevity of such a radical event. Fifteen minutes from start to finish! And despite the extraordinary speed of onset (<1 second), and amazingly short landing (2-3 mins?) I didn't even slightly have the feeling of having been smashed into another world then booted out. Not at all, the whole thing was very very smooth! Which of course also made me feel it was radical. How can you have a truly radical experience which is also smooth and gentle?
7. Reflections. I had no after-effects and after a shower felt fine, no sweat. What I was left with, of course, was a sense of sheer astonishment. But what to make of it? Truth be told, not much. In the past I've approached psychedelics carefully with a lot of preparation, and plenty of de-briefing. Yet this experience was so short with few 'motifs' that I've never been able to de-brief myself, which I think is interesting in itself. I assume the 'neighbours' were real as this is part of my model of reality. Real or not, why hike me off to a 19th century French theatre full of inexplicable goings-on? They were, however, very congenial and kind and I'm glad they turned up. Again, in contrast to other entheogenic experience, this is the only one which I have come back from without a sense of lessons learned, of having gained some new insight and ideas. Yet, for all that, I have a sense of something positive having happened, that I've been afforded a glimpse of a reality that really doesn't solicit much contact with us humans, but is pretty ok about it if it happens, and of course, the common reminder that other complete realites are only a few molecules away.
I haven't repeated the experience as of 5 years, not because of any unpleasantness, quite the reverse in fact. I actually feel amusingly nostalgic about SalviaLand. Maybe because the entities were so very humourous and friendly, plus my thorough sense of 'being home'. I'd like to re-visit someday and hopefully meet the 'neighbours', at least to thank them. Altho I have the strange feeling that for them, I checked out 5 minutes ago.
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