Citation: Matt. "Stripped of All Humanity: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (20x extract) (exp57217)". Erowid.org. Mar 31, 2007. erowid.org/exp/57217
Last night was my first ever encounter with salvia and I must say: no matter what past experience I;ve had with other drugs, NOTHING could have prepared me for this.
I've done a number of different drugs in my time (Alcohol, Marijuana, LSD, Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), Dextromethorphan Hydrobromide (DXM), Nitrous, Ketamine, Ecstasy, Cocaine, Psilocybin mushrooms, Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, and any number of prescription medications) and have experimented with combining several of them together at a time. Despite those experiences, during which the mixed effects have been rather profoundly dizzying, only one of them comes even close.
After taking what seems to have been a slightly higher dose than I should've started with, Amanita Muscaria left me in a disassociative, coma-like state for nearly 18 hours, in which I was made to witness my own death and rebirth cycle over and over again at increasing speed. The reason I relate this to Salvia is because the only way I can think to explain my experiences last night is to say that Salvia nearly ripped my entire consciousness away from me, spun me through a chaotic black space filled with frightening visions of bewilderingly fragmented objects, and then slowly released me into the most profoundly terrifying confusion that I have ever felt. Amanita Muscaria, eat your heart out.
What follows is the best explanation I can muster, although it'll probably seem insultingly shallow to anyone who's done really strong Salvia. There really honestly is just no way of describing it. That being said, I'll try to be as systematic as possible about this now:
I invited over some friends (my wife's sister and her boyfriend) who had done salvia before, so as to have some familiarity in the people who would be sitting for me. My wife was also present and was rather skeptical of the experience, owing to her own bad trips on other various psychoactives in the past. We all ate a delicious meal: not too heavy, not too light. I ate a slightly smaller portion than I normally would have, just enough so that I wouldn't feel overtly hungry. I made sure to drink plenty of water during the whole day so I'd be hydrated. I lit dozens of small candles, turned the light low, and put on some soothing music at a really low volume, just so the room wouldn't feel awkwardly quiet. I moved all hard-edged objects out of my reach and prepared some large, comfortable cushions to fall back on behind me. I followed as many of the suggestions from other experience reports that I've read as I could remember. Overall, I feel as though I was a pretty good citizen about the preparation.
None of these preparatory moves would make even a little bit of difference in my experience, as far as I can tell in hindsight.
I stopped smoking Marijuana a few years back, so I decided to pack up the 10inch bong that we had with just the diced, dried-basil-looking Salvia leaves.
About 1/3 teaspoon of Salvia 20x leaves
I took what I thought was a medium-sized hit of the leaves and held it for 20-30 seconds. I expected to have to take another one, but one of my sitters said that the bowl looked like it was done with anyway, so I exhaled, set the bong back on the table, and laid back. Even before my head hit the cushion behind me, I began to feel the kind of electric body buzz that comes with the onset of an intense acid trip. Although this only last for about 20 seconds, I was excited by it, because, in all honesty, I think I expected Salvia to just be a lot like a really intense acid trip hitting me suddenly and only lasting a few minutes. By the end of that 15-20 period of electricity, however, I began to slip into something much more far-reaching than any physical sensation.
Almost all of what I remember of this stage is what I was able to reconstruct after beginning to come down. In other words, I was so disconnected from my consciousness at this point that I'm still debating whether or not I was 'awake' (or even alive) for it.
I lost all awareness of outside stimuli and even of myself completely. I lost all vision, all hearing, all smell, all taste, and all tactile senses, and was spinning, as if drifting into the absolute darkness of space. I found myself with absolutely no ability to control which direction I drifted, but the most frightening part of it was that I couldn't access any thoughts whatsoever. I did not have the internal dialogue that is the most constant (and yes, nagging) part of my conscious personality.
The powerlessness that I felt was vaguely similar to the multi-sensory, fractal-like spiraling effect that I was subjected to on Amanita Muscaria, but with A.M, I was at least able to sit back and tell myself, Alright, breath. You must have died somehow - somehow the only explanation that I can ever come up with during something like this is that I've died and this is what it's like after death. Lifetimes just speed up and I'm above that now, so sit back and let it just wash over you, enjoy the show.
I had no such internal dialogue on Salvia. Whatsoever. My consciousness was completely stripped of its ability to reason through or juxtapose information, or even to access memories. I was even beyond the decision of fear or acceptance, I was stripped of absolutely every part of the self I knew, wrung out like a wet dish rag, and laid sloppily back onto the framework of my self.
After what seemed like an extended period of absolute blank, dark nothingness, I came across these enormous contraptions that seemed as large as planets to me. They were made up of millions of tiny, fragmented objects, spinning in lock-step like the inner workings of an enormous clock. Picture a Hieronymus Bosch painting of the inside of a planet-sized clock, except all of the clock parts are made up of steak knives or boxwood bushes or Golden Retriever tails or grenades or shoelaces or eyebrows or whatever. I was just conscious enough during this portion to be able to identify some of the mechanized objects, but was not able to recall the context or significance of any of them. In other words, all memory was severed from what I was experiencing.
I drifted past several of these large, mechanized objects, each one threatening to slice me or suck me into its 'gears', although I'm not sure how or why I felt threatened. I had no sense of a physical presence at this point. I couldn't see or even feel my body. I didn't even know I had a body. This process of drifting seemed very, very slow and dreamlike. And, to be quite honest, rather reminiscent of a reoccurring dream of mine, which involves leaping down a set of stairs and floating downwards for what seems like hours.
Beginning to Come Down:
Apparently (since the whole experience lasted no more than 10 minutes) I moved into the next phase after not too long of being completely cut off from the outside world.
The next phase consisted of small, blurry details from the room around me entering my perception in a very kaleidoscopic way. I had no recollection of ever being in this room, even though I set up every atmospheric detail in the room before beginning, so all of these details seemed very alien to me. It was as though the voices that I heard of my wife, of her sister, of her sister's boyfriend were the voices from someone else's life altogether. I was a different species and the sights and sounds that were hitting me from all sides in a chaotic barrage were completely wrong for me.
It was then that I regained a tiny bit of consciousness, but just enough to realize that I was awake and alive, whatever that meant. I was still on an entirely foreign plane of consciousness and the stimuli I was getting served only to convince me at this point I had never been so sure of anything in my whole life, not even on Amanita Muscaria that I had been reincarnated or transported into the wrong body, the wrong vessel. Even as I slowly began to understand a few of the words that were being spoken at me, I was still completely convinced that these beings around me were of a profoundly different nature than I was. I felt as if my consciousness had been inserted into a complete stranger and the body that I was now occupying was rejecting me like some sort of bacterial infection or appendage implant.
The process of slowly regaining awareness of my physical being was inversely accompanied by increasing multi-sensory dizziness. I felt as if the strange things that turned out to be my wobbly hands were going to sink right through my head, and my body through whatever surface it was laying on, which, obviously, turned out to be our carpeted floor. Through a ridiculous expenditure of effort, I think I may have actually spoken a few words to the blurry balls of light that were trying to speak to me.
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