Citation: Captain Greenleaf. "The Shepardess Calls: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp50999)". Erowid.org. Feb 11, 2007. erowid.org/exp/50999
This could be considered a retrospective of four separate Salvia divinorum experiences. All but one, my first time with this powerful substance, was with an ethanol based tincture available for purchase on the Web.
Experiences #1 and 2: Peeking Over the Threshold
The first time I tried it was an interesting experience, but compared to my later ones, could hardly even be called noteworthy. I was with two friends, M and J, just hanging out and smoking pot. Suddenly M stood up and announced that he had purchased some Salvia in a concentrated, smokeable form. J and I were certainly interested. Despite our wide experience with pot, LSD, MDMA, and P. cubensis mushrooms, we were aware of it but had never gotten our hands on any. We filled our trusty glass pipe first with a bit of extract and some pot on top. M and J took a few healthy hits, but reported nothing more than feeling more stoned.
I went last. I too, took a large hit, held it in for around 15-20 seconds, and exhaled. I didn’t feel much, passed the pipe to M and leaned back to relax. As I did so, my field of vision started to shrink. The room the three of us were in began to spin slowly clockwise and a rift in space appeared directly ahead of me. The rift enveloped my surroundings and soon I too was being pulled inside. I can only describe it as similar to being sucked through a wormhole, as in Deep Space Nine when a spaceship is traveling through. I was vaguely aware of some sort of Destination and a strange but benevolent Presence telling me, “You’ve come through this far, but I’m sending you back. It’s not time yet,” and that was it.
Time had no meaning during all this. I came back to myself and my friends were still there. J said he was aware of something changing in my behavior, as if I had nodded off or something and I asked him how long it was since I had passed the pipe. All told, my aborted journey, which to me might have lasted ten thousand years, had been about thirty seconds.
I had no further experience with Salvia for about three years when I came upon a website run by an entheogenic researcher. Remembering my first time, I read through some of the trip reports submitted by various users. Most were much the same as mine, although there were a few who seemed to have made it farther through the rift than I had. Many had reported being slightly aware of discarnate entities observing or communicating with them. My interest reignited, I was determined to have another go. This particular site also sells various Salvia preparations for use, ranging from seeds, to dried leaves, to the extract I had smoked the first time, but my interest was pulled toward a tincture.
I entered my information and ordered a vial containing half a fluid ounce. A few days later, I was due to visit my friend J, the same one as before, who had since moved to New York. With his approval, I had the package shipped to his apartment in Queens. I arrived and the package had come the day before. J had read the notes enclosed and was very excited about this new preparation. We had decided to leave the house, take the train to Manhattan, have a walk and a light lunch, before retreating to a secluded area of Central Park and ingesting the substance, the recommendation being a sublingual route, diffusing through the oral mucosa.
After an hour or so of tromping though the park, we found ourselves a nice private spot, complete with rocks and fallen logs to rest on, not far from Belvedere Castle. We measured out our doses and used a dropper to place them beneath the tongue and hold them in for about 10-15 minutes. A very negative aspect of this liquid is the fact that it is ethanol based and burns like a bastard for the first few minutes. Eventually you get used to it, but for a day or so afterward the sublingual space and tongue felt numb and ragged, as if I'd eaten soup that’s much too hot. It also tastes terrible, and I recommend spitting it out and drinking a good deal of water after the 15 minutes have passed unless you want the yucky taste to stick around.
As time passed, I became aware of some force pulling me down. My first thought was that, as I was leaning on a rock, perhaps I had a bad hold and was just slipping off. I attempted to right myself a few times and the feeling was still there. Eventually I just sat on the ground but the feeling wouldn’t go away. We both still had the juice in our mouths, and I spit mine out.
I looked at J, whose face had taken on a green hue, and he was swishing his around his mouth and gargling it. This struck me as really funny, partly because of its deep green color, burning sensation upon ingestion, and “almost minty” flavor, it reminded me of Listerine. I started to feel “the swirl” as experienced before and came to the conclusion that this stuff did indeed work.
There was also a feeling of timelessness and confusion as to my surroundings. Although we were in Central Park in the middle of the most bustling metropolis in the world, the relative seclusion and thickness of foliage in our location made me think we were in some rocky Ozark forest back home in Missouri. Forming coherent verbal sentences was also difficult. I had trouble finding the right words as I informed my friend of my inebriated state.
“I don’t know about you J, but I feel…I feel…I feel pretty fucking weird,” I said. He spit his tincture out. “Yeah, I feel something too, but I’m not sure what,” he answered. “It’s kind of like being really, really stoned, I think,” I offered. Wanting a bit more, I focused on a rock in front of me. The LSD-like visual patterns I’d expected failed to materialize. “You’re not going to trip off anything just by looking at it,” J began. “Concentrate on what’s beyond your eyes.”
I wasn’t really sure what he meant by that, and I was getting bored in our little corner. I was starting to crave more social contact, and our real surroundings came back to my memory. “We’re in the most beautiful urban locale in the world right now, J. Let’s walk around a bit. I feel weird perched up here like a couple of hermits.”
J didn’t protest, except that we should be careful to watch ourselves. I couldn’t disagree, since I imagined my behavior might seem odd to onlookers. It only took a second to get to a more open area, and affected by the agressive gravity, I was walking very strangely, bounding about like a country drunkard. “Slow down,” J advised me. “We’ve got all day, you know.” I stopped to wait for my friend. As I stood there, I decided to “look beyond” my eyes for a minute and I shut them. I became aware of tiny leaves and vines growing and outstretching in my mind’s eye.
J caught up and mentioned that he thought I must have received a larger dose than he, and all he was feeling was like having had just smoked a bowl of good bud. We made our way to a tiny brook and lay down on the cool rocks above the softly whispering stream. It was a hot September day, and at this point, I wanted nothing more than to disrobe and lay there naked, but remaining cognizant of our public surroundings, I stayed clothed. We lay there and spoke a bit, though I still had trouble verbalizing my thoughts, on the nature of existence, time, what little the two of us understand about quantum physics, and the new places to which our lives have taken us. After a while J mentioned that we should head back to Queens as we had dinner plans with his girlfriend, whom I affectionately refer to as Hippity-Hop, and a friend of hers from college.
This had been a decent experience, but I feel we both would have gone a lot farther had the set and setting been different. Central Park was a very pleasant environment, but there were too many outside distractions to really lose ourselves. Also there was the fact that we were a little paranoid, feeling that everyone was watching us. However, as experienced trippers, J and I have a tremendous amount of self-control in maintaining a semblance of sanity when under the influence, that is, when it matters.
Experiences #3 and 4: Through the Rabbit Hole: Death, Disembodied Inter-Spatial Travel, Finding the Green Lady, and Rebirth
The next two experiences were far past threshold doses. I meditated for about an hour, using mantras written by Timothy Leary, based on the Way of the Tao. I set the mood by dimming the lights and offering prayers to my patrons Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, her brother Mercury, friend of travelers and protector of healing magic, as well as the vague spirit I’d recalled from the first time. I had decided to take about twice what J and I did back in NYC, remembering Terence McKenna’s advice of “When in doubt, double the dose.”
It came on pretty quick, and both times I was seized by that same odd force. I’m reminded of the Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows” with John commanding the listener to “turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.” I had my eyes closed, headphones on, the first time playing the Ray Spiegel Ensemble’s very mystical yet fun “Raga Jazz” CD and the second a live Grateful Dead album containing the mostly instrumental “Dark Star”, “The Eleven” and other extended jams. I became part of the music, flushing myself down the Void.
Again, I was aware of entity contact. Both times the first stop was in a sort of anteroom, where I was being examined by what seemed like doctors or psychiatrists, who were curious but largely ambivalent about me. I found out that they were judging whether or not I was worthy. The first time I was here I was nervous, but not frightened. Above all, I didn’t want them to send me back again. A Word inserted itself into my consciousness, although it meant nothing to me. It could have been a name, or a powerful incantation. Whatever it was, the doctors granted me passage through the next door.
The second time, they remembered me, and let me right through. The secret door opened, I only vaguely remember certain settings and feelings. I floated through cityscapes, jungles, stone pyramids, Dali-esque plains and deserts and finally through Space itself. All through both trips, alien-insectoid creatures escorted me. I became aware of an ancient, motherly spirit. She had been aware of my kind before. She revealed herself to me, and we held palaver. Not in the verbal type we humans are used to in everyday communication, but in some way of knowing without speaking.
She was as huge as a planet, reminded me of a grandmother and encouraged me on not only this voyage, but in the current course of my life, extolling me to continue feeding my curiosity, seeking, and teaching others. The next spirit I encountered was also female, but much younger, although still unimaginably ancient. She also revealed herself and she was as a beautiful, albeit green, young woman. She was as curious about me as I was of her, and again we held communion.
This was in some respects similar to the preceding spirit, but was almost sexual in a way, touching me, feeling me, filling me up with her power. Again she supported my choices and sent me on with feelings of warmth and love. We continued with a sort of dance before I eventually fell asleep.
Conclusions: Is Salvia Offering Plant Consciousness?
I can only assume that Salvia divinorum opens one’s mind to some vestigial floral consciousness hidden behind doors of evolutionary constructs, reptilian and mammalian. In both of my more profound experiences, I felt as a flower opening myself up to the sun. In addition, I feel that the insectoid creatures I felt were friendly companions, even though I usually have a bit of a bug phobia. One must understand the close and symbiotic relationship between plants and insects, i.e. pollination, etc.
The powerful female entities are more evidence of this, their green auras filling me with a sense of growth and the power of life. Who were they? An Earth Mother/Gaia sort and her daughter the flower princess, a kind of Persephone analog? And how much farther could I have gone? The comfort and gnosis the sprits filled me with notwithstanding, I remember feeling frustrated that another immortal, ineffable, supremely more powerful force was just out of reach. Were they stops on the Way to the Tao, the One, or were they distracting me? I don’t know yet. I intend to find out.
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