Citation: Neuman. "The Reality Generators Malfunctioned: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (leaves & extract) (exp48525)". Erowid.org. Apr 25, 2007. erowid.org/exp/48525
Disclaimer: I'm making an effort to put all of this into words, while at the same time knowing that these words will inevitably fall short of fully capturing and describing the experience.
It was about 2:30pm in the afternoon when we met at my friend S's house. I had brought a couple of music CDs that I got from a friend, real tranquil ambient type stuff that I thought might be appropriate as background. We put one of those CDs on, unplugged the phone, lit some white sage to clear the air, and got our space set up in S's living room. He had a small fire in the fireplace and comforable couches to sit on. There were three of us, myself, S, and D (four of us if you include S's dog).
We had a bag of loose leaf Salvia from the Oaxaca region, a small bag of 5X leaves, and a bottle of tincture obtained online. D and I both had quite a bit of experience with psychedelics in the past, but S had very little experience in that arena. I had also recently chewed a few small Salvia leaves noticing some interesting meditative effects, but that was the extent of our combined Salvia experience. I had also done a lot of research on Salvia in the proceeding weeks and D and S had done some reading as well. However, sitting down to begin we still weren't sure what approach we were going to take, so at a certain point we just decided to take several big hits of the regular leaves and see where that took us. D and I decided to flip a button to see who would go first and he was up. S, being the least experienced in this area said that he would act as the first sitter.
So D loaded a large bowl of leaves and took a pretty big hit. The first one didn't do much so he followed it up with a second big one and then sat back on the couch. We asked if he felt anything, and he said he didn't think so... but then we started noticing that he was smiling a lot, the smile soon turned into uncontrollable laughter on his part, which in turn caused S and I to starting laughing pretty hard as well. D said, 'I can't stop smiling' and/or 'I can't stop laughing'. Neither could we. He then tells us that he feels like he has a large pin running through the sides of his mouth horizontally. Ok then. Things are starting to get a little interesting.
Then it was my turn, I did the same loading up two bowls and took the biggest hit I could off of each. After the second, I felt something...a change in state, but really just a slight buzz and shift in awareness. At that point I decided to take several more large hits of the regular leaf. This may have intensified things just a bit, but still no breakthrough or anything like I had heard described in other reports. I wasn't sure that I was experiencing the effects to the degree that D was.
D then decided to try the 5X leaves. We loaded up some regular leaves on the bottom of the bowl and the put a decent layer of 5X on top. He hit it pretty hard and then sat back on the couch. At that point S and I could tell that he may have gone a bit deeper on this one. He gets this disoriented look on his face and starts looking around somewhat anxiously.
He then stands straight up like he's going somewhere. S and I calmly take him by the arm and sit him back down telling him that everything is ok, and he that should just sit back down on the couch. He's somewhat confused, but agrees to do so. He keepslooking at his hands and arms very strangely. He later tells us that he felt like he had steel pins as hinges in each of his joints like one of those skeletons that you see in science classrooms and doctor's offices. D now seemed to be in another place entirely. He had some other things to say about it, but the other details escape me now as I was feeling some mild effects of the Salvia as this time as well.
I then decided to follow up my previous 4 hits of the regular with a hit or two of the 5X. S loaded the bowl in a similar manner and I proceeded to take two large hits of the 5X. Shortly after the second one, things changed dramatically. I don't remember much about the transition now (this is the next morning of the day after), however I whatever bearings I previously had on 'reality' had shifted, dissolved, and were taken away. A good description of this part of the experience comes from a Steve Kilbey song, '...The Reality Generators Malfunctioned'. I was not sure why I was here, what I was doing, or what I should do...however at the same time there was a sense of urgency. Looking back I understood D's need to jump up off of the couch and go somewhere, but at the time there were no connections or realizations like this being made.
I remember looking around the room and on some level it may have registered that I was at my friend S's place...but even that thought didn't seem to hold much weight. I saw that there were two other people S and D in the room, but I wasn't quite sure of my relationship with them or how I should interact with them if at all. I wasn't really sure of who they were, why they were here, or what they were doing. Although I never thought that I was anywhere else (ie. other places, lives, etc. as some reports have described), I really wasn't sure where 'here' was... 'here' seemed absolutely real and the only reality there was for me at the time. It seems now that my previously held beliefs, thoughts, perspectives had been stripped away and I was experiencing some kind of essential existence. It seemed very direct... me and it..or I was just there.
A few fleeting 'thoughts' came into my mind but everything seemed 'ridiculous' (I'm not sure that's the right word). I briefly thought about spiritual teachings and they seemed ridiculous and all made up. I briefly thought about my martial arts practice (something that normally has a lot of meaning in my life as well), and that seemed ridiculous as well. Fleeting thoughts of my job (whatever that was), and family (I think I remembered having a wife and family) seemed to come and go, nothing really 'helping' or acting as much of an 'anchor' in the experience.
Apparently I was reaching for something, trying to make some sense of what was going on...ie. how to go forward, what should I do...should I just sit here? At least once I thought that I might need to leave where I'm at, to get up up and go somewhere else...although I wasn't sure where. I thought that I might have a car outside, but luckily that didn't seem like a good idea or anything to act on either. The only thing that came close was some vague thought that the only thing I could do going forward was to try to be a 'good person' to 'be good to people'... and that might serve as some kind of rudder in all of this. But not really.
So I sat back on the couch, periodically looked around the room at D and S and then fixated on S's dog who seemed to me at the time to be a little concerned with what was going on. I also saw the fish playing in the bubbles in the the fish tank in front on me and was somewhat content to just focus on them for a while.
I'm not sure how much time passed like this (I later asked S and he said about 20-30 minute since the last 5X hit, but somehow that didn't seem right). What's really odd is that it seems that I had also forgot that I had smoked Salvia and that drugs were involved. Once I realized that there were in fact drugs involved, as I saw the bong on the table and that there was some substance that we had probably smoked, the next issue became whether the bong had taken me into this reality/space or taken me out of another equally real or unreal reality. Or in other words, I couldn't remember which reality was more real and whether I needed to smoke more... and which direction the drugs would take me.
I slowly began to realize that there was another reality, not just this one, and that I either needed to smoke more to get there, or not smoke any more and I might move back into it. This occurred as a pretty big revelation at the time, and I began to relax a little more and attempt to converse a bit with S and D. Part of this process involved trying to figure out if things were 'ok' (whatever that was), and if I was going to be 'ok'. Everything seemed 'ok' and at some point I realized that D and I did in fact take a substance which was responsible for what was going on and that S did not (and that he actually was 'ok').
I soon found myself in a more comfortable space...content to just sit on the couch talk a little with S and D and observe what was going on. Our sense of time was still pretty off and S, D, and I couldn't agree on how much time had passed and that it was either too much or too little compared with our experience of it. It took some time, but I slowly started piecing things back together. S asked, 'well, how was it? was it good or enjoyable'? I said, 'no, enjoyable is not a word that comes to mind...hmmm... educational, perhaps, but not really enjoyable'. He then asked whether it was 'worthwile'. I said that I'd probably have to get back to him on that.
Once D and I were more or less back, S decided to try some of the tincture. He used about 3 small droppers diluted in a little bit of water. He seemed to get a slight buzz off it, but really didn't feel too much. He then tried a couple of hits of the regular leaf and one off of the 5X, but they may have been spaced out a little too much and I'm not sure he could get a high enough concentration of it in his system. He may also just be one of those Salvia 'hard-heads' and need to use more to breakthrough if should decide to do so in the future.
After an hour or so we were all pretty much back a little more than baseline, and D decided to jump back in again. He took another couple of hits of the 5X and each time seemed to get back in quicker and with less anxiety. But during each peak, he still kept jumping up off the couch forgetting that he had smoked something, and feeling that he had somewhere to go. We kept sitting him down and telling him that it was cool, he had nowhere to go and nothing to do. He obliged, but at one point thought that this was some kind of trick or joke that S and I were playing on him. I think I know where he was coming from.
Its interesting to note that didn't seem to get any of the visuals that D seemed to be trying to talk about... however he speak quite a bit about 'folds' or more specifically 'reality folding'. While I didn't really trip too hard on that, I did understand was he was experiencing and had a sense of some kind of dimensional or reality folding effect. It was pretty odd and elusive, but part of my experience as well. I also took a few more hits of regular leaf, which brought the experience back a little but not so intense as before as I was now aware of the clock and time, and that I need to 'sober up' sooner than later so I could plan my drive home that night.
Going into the experience one of the ideas that I had been contemplating in the previous weeks was the realization of how much of our reality is created by our individual thought patterns and constructs, by our past and our conditioning. Looking back, my experience on Salvia seemed to center around this observation, but in a very intense experiential way as opposed to just thinking about it.
There was also some kind of recognition that things were somehow connected. That there were people in the world and that we're connected in the sense that we are all in the same boat (ie. we spend most of our lives asleep as fragmented human beings) and that we just make up things to comfort ourselves and to try and move forward, in an effort to make sense of our lives.
Now having had some time to process and try to make sense of what happened, I'd have to answer yes, that it was a worthwhile experience... but to the degree that I am able to take some of these observations and realizations back into my everyday 'reality' and live my life better as a result.
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