Citation: Mystica Materiali. "From Whence the Afterglow: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp53306)". Erowid.org. Jun 21, 2006. erowid.org/exp/53306
My first experience with Salvia divinorum was, for me, a rather shocking introduction to the world of the truly mind-altering psychedelic drugs.
At the time of the experience (and at the time of this writing) I'm a twenty-year-old college student. I've been smoking marijuana pretty consistently for about a year, and quite heavily since this past 4/20 (that was a crazy day). But (besides alcohol) that was about it. No caffeine, no cigarettes... I'm pretty health-conscious.
One day a few weeks ago, a couple of my friends (A and B) decided that we should try acid (we'd never done that before), and they bought six blotters (two for each of us). They dosed at about 10pm, but I realized at that point that I had to be in top form to swim for a Lifeguard Certification exam the next day, so I, unfortunately, had to abstain.
When they started tripping about an hour later and I was still 'just stoned,' I started to feel a bit left out of 'the circle,' so I suggested that we move along and smoke another bowl with some other friends of ours (I'll refer to them as R and L). We went down the hall to R&L's room, and L was packing a giant bong bowl with some weird looking leaves. R was just sitting in his chair, staring into space with a dumbfounded look on his face.
'What kind of weed is that?' I asked. It was dark and I couldn't see the leaves properly.
'This is no weed,' L said with a grin, 'this is Salvia.'
'It's called Salvia. It's actually legal, you can buy it on the internet.'
'It's not really like weed. Here, try some.'
At this point R stands up from his stupor. 'This is all wrong. This is wrong.' he says. He seems disoriented 'There are far too many people in this room.' I wonder why he's acting so weird... but I'm stoned off my ass so I don't really care. R sits back down and looks like he's trying to comprehend what he had just been experiencing. Now I'm a little concerned.
'Um... did you not enjoy that?' I ask with a furrowed brow. R seems dazed and confused and doesn't answer. I turn to L. 'Have you tried that saliva stuff?'
'Salvia.' he says with a laugh.
'Yeah, whatever, have you tried it?'
'Yeah, I just did it a few times.'
'Did you like it?'
'Um... (pause) just try it.' He passes me the bong. 'I sprinkled some 5x extract on there to make it stronger. You need to burn up all the leaves and take it all as one giant hit, and then hold it in as long as you can, like thirty seconds.'
'Okaaay...' it's a very large volume of leaves, but I'm up for a challenge.
I pick up the bong. Suddenly, another friend of ours (D) gets up and walks out of the room without a word. I hadn't even noticed him sitting there the entire time I was in the room. L looks up as D leaves, and then he looks back to the task at hand. My sense of foreboding increases a bit, but I can't imagine why people are reacting so strongly to this herb. It's legal, after all... how strong could it possibly be? I shrug my shoulders and torch the herb.
It burns fast. The bong fills up with smoke quickly. L kneels on the floor to make sure I'm doing it right. 'Gooood. Very good. Keep going 'till it's all gone. Awesome. Now just hold it in.' I know, man, you told me before. I'm holding it. 'Now pass me the bong.'
T+5 seconds. I'm passing the bong. My body feels very weird and I'm surprised it's working so fast. L takes the bong and I'm extremely relieved, because I thought I was going to drop it. Now everyone is watching me. I sit back down.
T+10 seconds. I've just sat down. I'm really glad I did because I feel like I have no idea how to stand and I don't really want to think about it.
T+15 through T+20 seconds (span of five seconds or so). Is this what Salvia does? It's so weird, it just makes my body feel completely retarded, tingly, uncomfortable and... WAIT, no... no, now the world is closing in around me. Oooooh crap, this is waaaay more than I was expecting. This is NOTHING like marijuana. At all. I'm going to start exhaling the smoke now. I feel it begin to pour through my nostrils. It feels good. Everyone is still watching me, but I'm starting to forget that they even exist. I need to tell them RIGHT NOW that I'm going under, because I know I won't be able to communicate in about a second and a half.
I hear a small grunt come out of my own throat, though it seems oddly detached. My peripheral vision has been closing in (tunnel vision) from about T+17 to T+20. I notice that my SIGHT is not the only thing narrowing to one focus, so is my CONSCIOUSNESS. All peripheral thoughts are being stripped away. All I have left in my mind is 'please remain seated with your hands and arms inside the craft at all times.' I put my hands on my knees as my sight and consciousness close in around me and narrow to a point directly in front of me, and then cease altogether.
Looking back, I don't know how long I blacked out for, but I can't imagine it being more than a few seconds. The next thing I experienced is impossible to describe, but it is certainly in the realm of what people describe as 'ego death.' There was no concept of 'I' at all, or space or time for that matter.
First, there was oblivion. That was the blackout. Then, there was oblivion with consciousness (very hard to describe). I actually EXPERIENCED oblivion for some unknown amount of time. It was as if there was no sensory input to my brain AT ALL, external OR INTERNAL. So no sight, no sound, no thought, no memory, no touch or smell or taste. No nothing, just consciousness.
When I say that there was no memory, it's not an 'amnesia' kind of thing. An amnesiac knows how to take a breath, knows how to speak, knows that he's alive. My consciousness knew none of this.
Anyway, somehow in the midst of this nothingness I feel like I'm being suffocated. I suddenly see a blanket covering me, my entire consciousness. The blanket is heavy and 'feels' rubbery, and it's entirely composed of yellow school busses. Yeah. Not only do I not find this ODD, I have no concept of what odd is. This school bus blanket is my ENTIRE existence, I have no reference point other than this. I don't like being suffocated, and I climb frantically to get air by climbing over the blanket.(Several minutes have passed... I really don't know how long, but it was probably under five minutes).
I am making no progress with the blanket, this thing has no top or bottom, but I continue to climb anyway. Suddenly, I look PAST the blanket and see the room that I'm tripping in. I'm confused because I somehow realize that this room has been here all along, and I've been SEEING it all along, I'd just never noticed it before. Here's the best analogy I can think of for this: imagine staring at your reflection in a window, and completely forgetting that it's transparent (you're using it as a mirror), then when you focus on something past the window, your reflection kinda disappears and you realize that there's something right in front of your face that you were staring straight at and did not notice.
Anyway I look up at all the people around the room. They're sitting on chairs (I'm on the floor) so I'm looking up at them like gods or kings or some kind of powerful beings. The room is spinning sideways (it does this sometimes when I'm really drunk, too). I'm really confused and I don't recognize anyone, but I feel somehow that these people are friendly, and know how to help me out of my confusion.
I grab onto my friend A's knees for support as she's sitting in a chair. I'm repeating (yelling?) something in a language I don't understand and I'm barely conscious of the fact that I'm saying anything at all. My friend B is (of course) taking a video of me on his cell phone, but I don't notice at all. When I watched the video afterward, I was able to make out the words 'You don't know what this is like,' repeated over and over.
My friend A, of course, says 'I wanna try a hit of that stuff!' I beg her incoherently not to do it. I need her to be in control until I can properly understand what just happened to me. L tells me 'Don't worry. You're on a drug. You'll be back to normal in about two minutes.'
I'm on a drug? What? How did I get on a drug? Did I take something? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like? Did someone trick me into doing this? I definitely didn't do this voluntarily. Did I? What did I do? I've completely fucked up my life. Now I'm retarded and insane. Forever.
'You'll be back to normal in a couple of minutes.'
'Are you sure?'
'Do people actually do this?' I sit back down on the makeshift couch I'd been sitting on. I'm getting a little more lucid. Yes, I smoked some weird 'saliva' leaves, I remember now. This must be what it does.
'Huh? Uh... Yeah.'
'On purpose?' I'm coming back to reality nearly as fast as I left it.
(laughing) 'Yeah.' L tries to pass the repacked bong to A. A shies away from it.
'Actually, I'm kinda scared to do it now.'
I nod at her with a look like, 'That is a very wise choice.' I'm thinking at this point: 'I NEVER want to experience that ever again for the rest of my life. That was the most terrified I've ever been.' Now that I think about it, the closest analogue I can come up with is how a baby feels when it leaves the womb (oblivion=womb, first subsequent experience=life). It has no idea what to expect, all it knows is that it is completely helpless, with no understanding of its surroundings, and that it must trust others to help it.
Anyway... A and B pull me back out of the room, they want to go smoke their cigarettes outside.
'Dude,' I say, 'That was inSANE.' I'm completely aware of my surroundings again, but everything still seems a little surreal and trippy.
'Yeah,' says A, 'you were freaking out.' She laughs. 'You BEGGED me not to do it, remember?'
B looks superior. 'We're the ones on acid and YOU were the one bugging out.' I stop walking. B and A stop too. I address B directly.
'OK then, you try it.'
B laughs. 'OK, I will.' A laughs.
B takes a big hit. He sits there for about five minutes in silence with a blank look on his face, staring into space while I recount my experience to the semi-sober people in the room (those only on cannabis and acid). Suddenly, B gets up and walks out of the room (A and I have been standing by the door, so we leave with him). He keeps walking without saying a word. We're outside now, and he's still walking.
'So?' I ask him. 'Stronger than you expected, right?'
'Hmmm.' He looks confused.
'Well...' he answers reluctantly, almost shyly 'I'm pretty sure you two are real.'
'Huh?' I'm trying to figure out how that answers my question.
'I'm pretty sure you're real 'cuz I keep taking you with me when I switch realities.'
'Oh, WOW...' I hadn't realized he was still tripping. A laughs nervously.
We're walking past my car now, and I decide to drive back to my quad to get some sleep. I tell A to take care of B, and I tell B 'Don't worry, you'll be back to normal in a couple of minutes.' He seems extremely relieved to hear this. I, however, am just trying to make him feel better, because my trip was over in about five minutes, while he's still tripping balls nearly ten minutes after dosing... I don't know why he's taking so long to come back to reality.
[I found out later that B did not come back to reality for the duration of his acid trip... another 8 hours. Before taking the Salvia he hadn't gotten any visuals and claimed that he wasn't tripping very hard. A's acid trip was pretty lame for the entire night. Apparently the blotters weren't very potent... but the combination of the acid and the Salvia sure did the trick for B.]
Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]
As I drove back to my dorm I noticed that everything looked surreal. I regretted driving at that point because I was worried that I was still tripping a little bit and that it could be dangerous. I was glad that there were no other cars driving on the campus roads that late at night. I made it back without incident and went to sleep.
I woke up the next day, and I wasn't as worried about my lifeguard exam as I'd expected to be. I was far more relaxed during the exam than I usually am even when swimming for leisure. I felt completely sober... just RELAXED.
This relaxed feeling continued throughout the day. I met up with A and B during the day, and I mentioned this to them. It was a beautiful day and I smoked a bowl of cannabis outdoors, about twenty feet away from a couple of campus police officers, and I didn't even care at all. I felt like the cannabis was actually a waste, because I already felt like I was 'high.'
This 'afterglow' continued for THREE STRAIGHT DAYS, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I was VERY glad that it was the weekend. During this time, I didn't care about any of the problems I'd normally care about (schoolwork, etc). Life was just beautiful. I would just sit on the couch and enjoy BREATHING for a few hours, talk to myself outloud, play video games with my friends for an entire day, lay in the grass and just enjoy the fresh air and the tickle of the grass on the back of my neck... stuff I'd normally do while stoned. I didn't smoke any cannabis for the rest of the three days. I had no need for it.
I raved to my friends about this newfound peace of mind during the second and third days... I didn't know whether it was psychological or physiological but I could only attribute it to the Salvia (my friends were skeptical of this possibility, the drug is only supposed to last for a few minutes).
Either way, I thought that I would be in that state for the rest of my life, and I was happy beyond words. It faded after the third day though. Oh well.
After it faded, my friend from Chicago (I'm from New York) who knew nothing of my afterglow sent me a link to a website, where I found mention of reports of a persisting afterglow effect. So I wasn't crazy after all.
Anyway, I've smoked the leaves without the extract a few times since then and haven't gotten anywhere near that effect. I always get weird, uncomfortable, tingly body feelings at low doses, and slight detachment from reality at higher doses (bigger leaf-hits). Two other friends of mine got mild open-eye visuals with moderately small doses (large leaf-hits), but it's always an uncomfortable feeling.
Another friend of mine (an experienced acid tripper) belittles Salvia (calling it 'weak') because he doesn't understand what a real trip on it can be like. He considers it a weak psychedelic because all he's gotten from it are the above-described mild effects. He urged me to try other psychedelics for comparison.
I took 40mg of 2C-I a few days later (that was a BEAUTIFUL trip). While it was definitely more enjoyable than the Salvia trip -- and obviously much longer lasting -- I can honestly say that even at that high dose, it wasn't nearly as intense as the Salvia.
Overall, I'd say that I'd definitely do Salvia again. My trip was terrifying, but the three days of bliss afterward were totally worth it. I don't yet know if the afterglow is just a first-time thing or if I can get that with every major trip (like restarting a computer). I've ordered 1g of 20x extract online (it was only $10US) to test this out.
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