Citation: SoaV. "Backwards Into Oblivion: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (20x extract) (exp65340)". Erowid.org. Apr 7, 2008. erowid.org/exp/65340
Date: 24 August 2007
Experience type: First time
Previous experience: Alcohol, magic mushrooms, cannabis (oral/smoked), amphetamines (oral/snorted), MDMA crystals (oral/snorted), ecstasy (oral/snorted), herbal ecstasy, H.B. woodrose
Other substances used:
T-11:00 -> T-3:00: eight alcoholic drinks, mainly vodka with mixer
I came home from a party last night moderately inebriated after having consumed a fair number of alcoholic drinks between 18:00 and 02:00, and as I sat down by the computer I instantly felt tempted to have a try of my precious 20x salvia extract, purchased online about a week ago. I was warned by an instant messenger acquaintance that it would really be advisable to wait until I was sober and had a sitter to watch over me before smoking the stuff, however I was too excited to pay much attention and swiftly decided to throw caution to the wind and have a couple of puffs anyway.
I waited until 05:40, when I had started to sober up a bit, before preparing my flat for my impending journey by shoving a door stop under my door to make it difficult to for me to make a prat of myself by trying to escape, and slapping a half-hearted sign on my window handle reading 'NO!' in huge, scribbled letters. I then replaced my computer chair in front of my laptop with a comfy armchair, threw a large blanket on it and placed my polar bear teddy on the desk within easy reach – I reasoned that should I become frightened at some point, it might be a good idea to have something familiar nearby with which to ground me to reality.
At 05:45 I loaded my pipe with a few crumbs of tobacco and one fourth of my one-gram salvia vial's contents, went to have two bites of a tiny blueberry cheesecake (in spite of having no real basis for believing so, I find that a slight glucose fix before the consumption of drugs helps to keep potential nausea and headaches at bay), and then sat down in the comfy chair with a racing heart. I had chosen to listen to Underworld's 'Born Slippy' on repeat – a very old favourite of mine on which I used to trip when I first started smoking weed and taking mushrooms – again to infuse some familiarity into the impending experience.
I was extremely nervous and apprehensive, having read many salvia reports online and knowing that I might be in for quite a ride, 250 mg is not exactly a gigantic dose but I've heard of people tripping on less. I wrapped myself up in my blanket and carefully, with trembling hands, brought the pipe to my lips, lit the plant material, took a deep drag of the surprisingly mild-tasting smoke and counted anxiously to 20 before exhaling. I thought I could already feel something going on but decided to take another large toke just in case. I puffed, counted to 20, leaned back and watched the media player visualisation whilst exhaling. It looked oddly flat and two-dimensional, leading me to think for a split-second that the trip was going to be more visual than psychological.
Slightly disappointed with the non-extreme effect so far (after about five seconds – perhaps I am just a tad impatient), I leaned forward to place the pipe in the ashtray, and as my gaze traced my hand’s journey toward the desk I was suddenly overcome with a sense of the abnormal. I began to notice that my pulse had increased so much in strength and speed that I was trembling slightly with each heartbeat. With great interest I mumbled to myself, 'So tha-...', when suddenly, out of nowhere, an ultra-gravitational force apparently originating somewhere behind me sucked hold of my body and seemed to try to pull me through and past the chair. In shock, I took hold of my desk with both hands in a death grip and clung on for dear life, all the while giggling hysterically. What the fuck was going on?! I started talking dazedly to a group of people standing behind me, mumbling 'Oh myyy goood... oooh myyy goooood... sooo thisss is hooow...'
My voice was trembling and sounded drawn-out and distorted, as though it was coming from the far end of a long tunnel, and to match that theme my vision had also turned tunnel-inspired: the walls of this narrow tunnel appeared to consist of a dense web of particle-like matter, making me unable to see anything beyond my most immediate peripheral view. At one point during this experience I somehow opened Notepad – which I had closed along with all other applications during my rather haphazard preparation procedure – and managed to type:
'so this is what is it is it is moer different'
I remember with distinct clarity just how much of an effort it was to type that handful of words. The gravitational energy dragging me backwards forced me to cling on to the keyboard as though I was dangling from it, and every single keystroke felt like carrying my bodyweight by my fingertips. Whilst keeping up a slurred monologue aimed at the people around me, I hit enter twice and typed:
'OOOOOOOOOOOFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK OK, I've sni'
I believe that the message I was attempting to convey was something along the lines of, 'So THIS is what it’s like? Well fuck me – it’s really strong!' I remember looking at the pipe, still containing some salvia remainders, giggling nervously and mumbling, 'Haha, nooo! No more of youuu!'
As the peak climbed ever upwards I was finally given the opportunity to see what people mean when they say that one of the most fascinating characteristics of salvia is that you temporarily forget actually having smoked it: for a minute I was displaced into an alternate universe, its entirety the size of the room I was inhabiting, with strange presences demanding my attention from the shadows. I was laughing almost reflexively throughout, not quite knowing why. I had completely lost concept of where or who I was: I seemed to believe that I was in a room looking similar to the bedroom of a distant ex of mine, surrounded by a group of people I don’t know in real life. I could picture them in my mind as I spoke to them, in particular one not-quite-human female aged about 20, quite short and with bushy, dark hair.
I continued to talk to these people, standing predominantly behind me and to my left but also to my right, trying to put into words the intensity of what was happening to me whilst struggling to remember how to speak. It came as quite a surprise when I turned around to face my friends only to find that there was no one there. This realisation made me feel suddenly lonely and brought the peak down slightly as I began to grasp that I was in fact in the midst of a salvia-induced trip. Deeply impressed, with the peak now starting its slow descent toward baseline, I looked around me and noted how strangely slippery and metallic everything looked, almost as if all objects in my room had been polished to a gleaming sheen.
Even though I felt extremely dissociated from the world and could barely remember who I was (in fact, I’d go so far as to say I didn’t actually care), I was still gripped by a wave of paranoia at the thought that I was sitting smoking salvia in my flat. What if someone came? It took a fair bit of talking myself down to slow my racing heart and convince me that no one was going to come looking for me at six o’clock in the morning. The snippets of thorough lucidity that were afforded me during this time had me realise that the feeble measures I had taken to prevent myself from trying to escape my flat either via the door or the window had been unnecessary: overwhelmed as I was, I knew with certainty that this high was not going to affect me that way. From this point onwards until the end of the trip, I developed an unexpected super-responsible alter ego. When I felt uncomfortable, thirsty or warm, this apparently completely sober persona built into my mind took over and sorted everything out. It was very strange because I truly had the impression that two separate personalities were at work within me.
My concept of time, like my concept of the world as a whole, was very distorted and blurry. Once the pulling force had let up somewhat I was able to glance at my wonderful, mirrored wall clock and see that 10 minutes had passed since my first hit. I could not determine whether this seemed insanely long, ridiculously short or perfectly reasonable, but I did know that I wanted a repeat of the peak I had just experienced. With a great deal of work, still wrapped up tight in my blanket, I managed to control my shaking hands enough to grab the pipe from the ashtray and put it to my lips once again. I sucked out of it the last few fragments of salvia still remaining from the last round, but it was obviously not enough to rediscover the feeling I had just left behind.
I felt myself getting bored with ‘Born Slippy’ and made the decision to load the entire ‘Everything, Everything’ album into the play list. Unfortunately I discovered quickly that I was not in the mood for any of the songs on offer and so swiftly returned to the smooth safety of ‘Born Slippy’. I also decided impatiently that I wanted some water, and on the way to fetching a glass I took a look in the mirror to see if I looked different. To my great surprise I looked outwardly normal, if a little startled, with entirely regular-sized pupils. I did however not seem to identify with the person reflected back at me: on mushrooms, I have experienced many times the sensation of not recognising my mirror image, here it was more that I felt completely detached from it, not feeling bothered or even interested in the fact that I no longer identified with my reflection.
Upon returning to the computer I continued to feel restless: my body could not decide if it was too hot or too cold and my mind wanted to return to that strange other world. However, deciding to give my current high a fair chance, I switched from loudspeakers to headphones, curled up in my chair and relaxed into my trip. It had turned a lot milder at that point and I thought to myself that in small amounts I could probably enjoy salvia recreationally as I used to enjoy cannabis until a few years back: I was not experiencing any powerful visuals or 'fractured world'-type hallucinations, as salvia users often report, however this will almost certainly have been due to the modest amount I had consumed.
Besides, the CEV’s that I did have were not bad: I kept seeing immense, faintly rainbow-coloured wave-like structures flowing upwards side by side like water in a fountain, splitting outwards and downwards, curling around themselves and then flowing off into the distance to be replaced by different patterns of similar waves. I was mentally riding along on them, my breath catching with the rollercoaster-feel of the experience. The music shaped what I was seeing to some extent, but it appeared that the light emitted by the visualisation was a much greater determinant: when the patterns on the screen increased in brightness my whole internal world changed completely. I still had the distinct sense that there were people behind me, only now it was actual friends and colleagues of mine rather than obscure strangers. Fragments of what they were apparently trying to tell me kept flashing through my mind, exclusively random sentences and words that they would be likely to say in real life being repeated over and over.
At six o’clock in the morning, or T+0:15, the peak was well and truly gone, and I decided to fill the pipe with a smidgeon more salvia, from how much was left in the vial afterwards I estimate it to have been about 150 mg. As before, I managed to hold in the smoke for the requisite 20 seconds without much hassle, then sat back and returned to my mind’s eye’s own little visuals. After a couple of minutes, at T+0:17, I smoked what was left in the pipe, restarted ‘Born Slippy’ for the nth time and tripped for another 15 minutes. At a quarter past six, half an hour after my first dose, I surprised myself by feeling almost back to baseline. A little bit uncoordinated I made my way to the bathroom, brushed my teeth, filled up my glass of water and lay down on the bed.
I could sense immediately that rest would not come for a long time yet, and I was right. I lay awake writhing with exhaustion until somewhere around a quarter to 10, at which point I finally drifted off into a fitful sleep. Over the course of the day I kept waking up at a quarter to every hour until 14:45, when I was forced to get up and get ready for work. I had a seemingly infinite series of very bizarre dreams – this is not too unusual for me but they took on a particularly realistic and lengthy quality this time, as often happens after I have experimented with hallucinogens – that were if not frightening then certainly all stressful. Mind you, alcohol too has an insomnia- and dream-enhancing effect on me, so the salvia may not have been responsible at all. The hangover effects were exactly what one might expect after a night (or rather, day) of poor sleep: I have been tired, hazy and unfocused all day. Again, however, I would be inclined to blame this on the alcohol rather than the salvia, as I often suffer quite bad hangovers after overindulging in drink.
As a word of closure I want to state that I will definitely be taking salvia again, probably already this weekend. This time I will make sure to be sober, rested, and have a variety of relaxed, trippy tracks at hand as well as better visualisations than the ones afforded to me by my current media player of choice. I will also smoke a larger amount, 50 or so mg, and being prepared for the experience will hopefully make me more able to absorb exactly what goes on in my mind as I’m about to be sucked backwards into oblivion.
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