Citation: Hamshackled. "Reset / Reboot / Rejuvenate: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (6x extract) (exp55296)". Erowid.org. Apr 2, 2007. erowid.org/exp/55296
DISCLAIMER: The following is a subjective description of what happened to me after smoking Salvia divinorum. It is by no means comprehensive, i.e. much of what happened and what was felt / thought afterwards can probably not be conveyed.
BACKGROUND: Over the past 10 years I have experimented with different kinds of psychoactive substances. Drawn into the realm of drugs by a fascination with nervous systems in general and the human brain in particular, it always intrigued me that psychopharmacological intervention can induce or reveal a fragility that seems to be inherent to the mind as we perceive it in everyday life. From subtle manipulations to ego-shattering experiences – I always felt there is so much out there waiting to be discovered, and that there is more to reality and personality than I have hitherto acknowledged. Some of my experiences were glowing and beautiful so as to never be forgotten, others were painful and left scars, but there are no regrets in my vita and every trip held a lesson to be learnt.
The first and last time I tried Salvia divinorum were about seven years ago. Of the couple of attempts to break into the realm of Ska Pastora, only two were really successful and impressive. Being eager to repeat my experiment and to thrust deeper into what I remembered as being a strange and somewhat frightening universe, I ordered 6x and 10x extracts off the internet and prepared for a session at home. I decided to start by smoking about 1/8 of a gram of 6x extract through an ice-cooled water bong. Being somewhat anxious and expecting rapid onset effects, I inhaled a lungful. Then another. This seemed to finish the dose, there was no more fume entering the bong’s corpus.
The lights of the candle in front of me flickering, I closed my eyes while I exhaled. Seconds after that mild effects set in. To me, Salvia always conveys a sense of forest, a wooden, green, plant-like presence. Feelings of serpentine shivers crawled up my spine, stretching me so that I could hear my intervertebral discs clacking as they snapped into position. Vivid thoughts crossed my mind and revealed some interesting aspects and ideas – but nothing more happened.
Wiping off the sweat from my forehead I decided to take another load, roughly equal in size to the previous hit. Number two induced a similar sense of vivid thoughts, but effects were short-lasting and there was nothing particularly remarkable, leaving me a little woozy and somewhat affected in the motor department of my brain’s routine functions. Cleaning my bong I realized that I had not burned (and thus not inhaled) the entire dose intended, so it appeared reasonable to repeat the experiment. But not until the next day.
Before trying to convey some of the impressions derived from the second day of summoning Salvia I have to quickly introduce the reader to my mindset at that particular time. Work dominated my daily routines and my thought processes heavily, I was faced with problems I had not myself created over the course of several weeks, and I needed to be more assertive and authoritative in professional terms than I ever was before. One can say that I was going through a challenge and was somewhat stressed. Nevertheless I felt something good coming out of all this already, so it was not the kind of troubled situation in which fooling around with psychoactives would be highly inappropriate. I felt ready.
Together with three Italian friends I had a rich Chinese dinner at home that Saturday night accompanied by two bottles of beer (I drink beer quite regularly). As Salvia had turned out to be a substance sensitive to set and setting I waited for everyone to go to bed before I lit two candles in my room and prepared my bong again. I grabbed a piece of paper from my bedroom floor to spread and measure the 6x extract and – waddya know! – it turned out to be a print of a scientific article about Salvia! I had printed the article months before but never read it, and found this to be an interesting coincidence.
Approximately 1/7 grams of extract were loaded and I was determined to burn it all this time. None of the precious material was to be wasted. One deep preparatory breath. Ignition. The first lungful of characteristic smoke hits my alveoles, followed by a slight pre-sensation. Do not waste, get it all in! Two more deep drags and my task is accomplished. I can feel something coming. It is difficult in retrospect to reference any time points, but by the time I exhaled the last drag I was beyond the point of no return (onset within seconds).
I do not remember putting down the bong. Pulled towards the floor by multiple times normal gravitation I stretched out fully on the bedroom floor and (probably? maybe?) closed my eyes. Damage was done. What had happened can only be described as somebody / something pulling the power plug from my ego’s energy source. I was no more. I had lost all sense of being, literally. No body, no here or there, no vision.
How long this persisted I can not tell, but at some point I snapped back into at least some sort of visually perceiving state, seeing my room and some of it’s interior. Yet I was not really back. Visual effects were absent or at least not appreciated. Something pulled me towards my bed and it was not me who made it up there. It was a wooden, crawling, ant-like pulling force field sensation that, in a laterally drifting motion, heaved me onto my mattress. I was conscious enough to know my name and to hear the front door of my house slamming shut (my French roommate returned) but I was clearly not in control of the events.
A moment of panic set in: I tried to pick up the Salvia from the paper I had spread it on and pour it back into its source container, but to no avail. Somehow I managed to hide the bong in my closet. Back on my bed (I did not “decide” to go there, it just happened) I thought “sleep it over” but surely felt that this was not an option. The force field started dragging me through my bed. Wow. Almost too much. Flicking the light switch (that had turned off most of the effects in my trips years ago) and going to the bathroom (not a voluntary action in the common sense either) I searched for relief. But it was still there, they were still there – whatever it was that was pulling me.
Consciousness was recovered sufficiently to allow for turning on the computer and putting on ear phones. The music (progressive house, techno) banging through my ears slowly dampened the effects and after (maybe) 20-25 minutes I knew I was on my way back to baseline. After listening to some tunes that I have known for many years, further strengthening my sense of reality, I went to bed. I could not fall asleep and had to get up several times to write down hastily some of my thoughts / feelings. Finally I nodded off, still exuding the familiar Salvia sweat.
After about 5 ½ hours I woke up feeling very refreshed. Knowing that the night had generated a lot of insights and aspects (most of which are somewhat unspeakable) I stepped outside my house (approximately 10:00 AM) and had a glass of grapefruit juice. Sun shining, birds in the trees, a soft breeze blowing through my quiet neighbourhood – the world felt fresh, and I had a rejuvenated sense of being here.
In summary I have to say that this was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. As a neuroscientist of almost thirty years of age I have academic as well as personal experience with different psychoactives, i.e. I know many a molecular mechanism of drug action (“how drugs work”) as well as the subjective effects (“how drugs feel”). Nothing ever hit me like this. The “reset” button was pushed on my personality, my ego was dissolved, and the resultant loss of control was slightly disturbing if not frightening. Yet after the system had rebooted, I felt stronger than before and equipped with plenty of useful things to think about.
Given the rapid onset and short time course of Salvia’s effects on my brain I am impressed by the plethora of things I can know integrate and use in future endeavours. Salvia pointed out very clearly, once again, that our minds are fragile constructs subject to a myriad of influences, some of which can severely dissociate and detach one from any common sense of reality, disrupting normal thought patterns as well as extero- and introceptive perspectives. To me it has a unique quality in that, instead of GIVING instantaneously, instead of providing me with add-ons to my common set of sensual modalities, it TAKES my senses away transiently, seizes control, and DEMANDS it mercilessly. It is HER realm, her kingdom, her territory, her rule once I choose to summon her cathartic spirit. Once the Salvia lets go, however, I feel that a lot has been given to me in terms of insight and change.
Similar to other drugs, but more powerfully than any of them, Salvia has provided me with a sense of appreciation for my intact mind and the wide range of interesting substances that can be used (carefully and with good preparation!!!) to manipulate and study how our magnificent nervous system works.
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