Citation: Myshkin. "Insanity and Sinewy, Vibrating Meat Machines: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (10x extract) (exp64737)". Erowid.org. Aug 20, 2007. erowid.org/exp/64737
I tried salvia divinorum for the first time, smoking 10X enhanced leaf.
My past experience with drugs has been moderate, having smoked pot semi-regularly as a teenager and on a few occasions in the past several years, and having done mushrooms a few times, the last time the trip was pretty powerful both mentally (looking at my life from new perspectives) and physically (feeling that I was becoming one with objects) compared to the mere “body highs” I had experienced on mushrooms as a teenager, but I was still completely conscious of what was going on the whole time.
Based on my experience with mushrooms and pot, knowing people who have done a lot of LSD, and having read a lot about salvia and other hallucinogens, I thought I was prepared to do salvia. Prior to going to purchase it we (my wife, her friend, and I) watched videos online of people smoking it and they ranged from people laughing uncontrollably to babbling unintelligibly to lucidly describing experiences that sounded similar to what I remembered from mushrooms. Thus I expected an experience similar to mushrooms in which I would remain conscious and in control.
I wanted to do it outdoors rather than in some dim room surrounded by clutter, but the meadow we wanted to use had people picnicking in it, so our back up plan was in the woods next to the meadow. We sat on a moss-covered log and I put a pinch of salvia in a glass pipe, loosely filling the bowl. I didn’t know exactly how much to smoke but this seemed like a reasonably “safe” amount. I took the hit, and within five to ten seconds I felt a high coming on very quickly. I said, “There’s definitely something happening here.”
The next thing I knew I was emerging from what must have been a momentary state of unconsciousness. I regained sight but reality seemed to be shaking/vibrating back and forth on an axis around me, so that my consciousness was being pulled down and to the right, while I was trying to lift my head up and to the left and struggling to focus on the reality and not lose control. Reality felt very meaty and sinewy, and I felt like I was hanging from reality by a sinewy thread and that if that thread broke I would never recover and would simply go insane. For a few minutes the experience was extremely unpleasant, disturbing, terrifying. I don’t know how to describe in words the terror I experienced, especially now that it’s hours later and I’m completely clear-headed.
I felt like my eyeballs, or any other part of my body, might tear or split open at any moment, like the way my mind was being torn in all directions with the vibration of reality might also happen to my body. I struggled desperately to focus, and I tried to look left at my wife and her friend, but no matter how far left I tried to turn I could only get them in the corner of my eye, as I was still being pulled downward and to the right. The terrifying feeling was that if I were pulled far enough in that direction the thread would break and I would permanently go mad.
I also felt at the time that I had experienced this feeling on drugs before and that I was a fool for having forgotten it and subjected myself to it again, but since I’ve only ever done pot and mushrooms, I can’t think of a specific time that my grip on reality has ever felt half as threatened as it did today. The feeling that was familiar is also the feeling I have the most trouble describing: connected to the feeling that only one thread remained between my mind and reality was a generally alien way of seeing and perceiving, in which things and people were monstrous—on the one hand they seemed like robots or machines, and at the same time all too organic, like they were meat machines, like terrifying animals that were native to this new reality in which I could only be an alien and a madman, and with whom I could not communicate.
Mind you, this meat machine reality was not a physical high, a way of perceiving animal bodies in a new and different way as if on mushrooms, all the while understanding that it was simply the effect of a drug. It was a mental high, terrifyingly convincing, as if the chemicals in my brain had been completely scrambled for good and I would never be able to process reality in any way remotely resembling sanity ever again. All this time I was vibrating on this axis right on the line between sanity and madness, horrified that each vibration might break the thread holding me there and I would never recover, but be trapped in this terrifying moment forever.
When I could get my wife’s face in the corner of my eye and her friend’s face in my peripheral vision, they were standing there completely sober and smiling expectantly, casually and innocently, waiting to see what I might do or say about what I was feeling. Little did they know that I was terrified to the verge of madness and was unable to speak. Their smiles, with their mouths hanging slightly open in waiting, frustrated me terribly, they didn’t get it that I was struggling between reality and madness while they were standing there casually waiting to see what would happen, that they were a monstrous part of my madness even while I could still barely understand who they were and that I knew them. Later when the experience was over their casual smiling faces and the way it frustrated me at the time was the most haunting image that stayed in my mind.
After what felt like a couple minutes of struggling mentally, I was able to get out syllables of sound, trying to re-learn how to speak. I was very confused about where I was and what was going on. Since I seemed to have blacked out briefly between the onset of the high and the moment when I began to be conscious of my physical surroundings again, I had virtually no memories from before the blackout and I couldn’t remember why I was there. The range of my knowledge was extremely limited and primitive: I knew who I was with, and that I was struggling to regain a grip on reality but they did not understand. That was literally all I knew. For a time I couldn’t remember what I had taken, if I had taken anything, or why I had done it. It was like awakening after a years-long sleep—or being born, even—to find myself in the situation I was presently in. I felt like an amnesiac and was terrified that all memories had been deleted from my brain and would never be recovered.
I managed to stand, and I looked around me, trying to figure out more of the details of the situation I was in. I saw the pipe on the log, which confirmed only that I had taken something, not what, or why. There were two pieces of tinfoil we were using as screens for the glass pipe, and the presence of the foil felt very dirty, as if I was on a drug I ought to feel ashamed to be on, and that added to the unpleasantness of the situation.
Finally after a struggle with my memory banks I remembered that I had in fact deliberately smoked a specific substance, and that it was called salvia. I remember pointing to the pipe and managing to get the word out—“salvia”—the first word I had remembered how to speak. It was later confirmed to me that indeed I spoke only that single word. Now I was beginning to get a grip on the situation, but I was still extremely confused about the sequence of events leading up to the situation I was in, and what I was supposed to do next.
I knew deep in my being that the drug I had just smoked was very, very bad, as it had just intensely threatened my sense of my own sanity, and not knowing then what I know now, I was still quite frightened that I would remain insane forever. I was beginning to get words out now, and I started telling them that this stuff was “bad”, “not good”, that I didn’t understand where I was or what was happening, and that I needed to get out of the forest. I felt that the dim level of light in the forest had been responsible for my blacking out, that if I had been somewhere better lit and with more to look at that I would have maintained more awareness of reality throughout the experience. I also still felt that all of reality was meaty and sinewy and that I was attached to it and that the forest with its twigs and pine needles was tearing at me and that if I could get out I could begin to recover and calm down.
As we walked out of the forest, I was still trying to explain that the drug I had just done was very bad and that I was very upset, but to my dismay my wife and her friend didn’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation that was so obvious to me, and they were saying that my wife’s friend was going to smoke some now. That blew my mind, that after what I had just been through they were acting and talking so casually and saying that she was going to do it even though I was telling them right then what horrible stuff it was. The problem was that they were still aware that we had come to the forest planning for the two of us to smoke it, me first and then her, whereas I was only working with the very limited knowledge I had been able to put together since I had woken up in the forest five minutes earlier, the plan, that I had come here to do this on purpose, and that she was going to do it next, was very unclear to me, and their saying that she was now going to do it seemed crazy.
We came out of the forest and I saw the blue sky and clouds and trees and I realized that I knew what they were and where I was, and that I was calming down. I still was not confident that I would ever return completely to normal, I felt like I might have killed large portions of my mind and might live the rest of my life as a mentally disabled person. I followed them across the grass, as they were looking for somewhere to sit so she could smoke it, which was still very upsetting to me. They came to an area and said “this is a good place” and we sat down. At this point I was recovered enough that I was rambling a lot about how upset I was and how salvia was really bad stuff and that I would never do it again and might never do any kind of drug again and I was upset that no matter what I said my wife’s friend was still about to smoke the stuff anyway. Again, the main thing here was that I didn’t understand that we had come there planning to do it, and that since they were still sober, they were still following the plan, while the plan was entirely obsolete as far as I was concerned and I only knew that salvia was terrifying and bad and that I had just woken up in a forest on the godforsaken stuff in a state that I would never wish upon anyone.
She proceeded to smoke it. Later they told me she smoked half as much as I did, though I wasn’t paying attention at the time as I was still coming to grips with reality myself. She basically said that she felt like someone was lifting the ground and tilting it to the side, and then she laughed hard for what felt like five seconds, and then it seemed like it was basically over for her. She said she loved it and would like to do it again. She was very casual about it. We sat there for a while longer while I kept rambling, unable to resist, about what my experience had been like.
Once I was recovered enough that I no longer felt insane or amnesiac, that I knew that I was going to be okay, the after effect was much as I’ve read it to be, very soothing and serene for a half hour or so. I felt childlike and safe and happy and comfortable in the world. Perhaps it was simply the contrast of sober consciousness against the terror of fifteen minutes earlier.
That soothing, childlike feeling slowly faded over an hour or so and I was back to normal, though for the rest of the day I felt on an intellectual level that I had been through and exhausting and traumatic experience. But there was no mental cloudiness or side effects of any kind, whereas when I smoke pot I feel very cloudy for hours afterward and have impaired memory and concentration for days.
Now that I’m back in reality and know that I was 100% back to normal within an hour after the experience, I’ve already changed my mind about never doing salvia again. I would like to try a smaller amount and see if I have an experience more like the one’s I’ve seen and hear about in others. At the same time, I wonder if this is simply because I already can’t fully remember how terrified I felt at the time, and am going to remember it the hard way.
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