Citation: Memnoch. "The Mind Blank Spell: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (20x extract), Mushrooms & Alcohol (exp74891)". Erowid.org. Oct 24, 2009. erowid.org/exp/74891
After having five or six pints of Blue Moon, I got up the balls to try this trippy herb. It smelled harmless enough, like something you’d find growing amid the undergrowth of a dark forest, or the way damp straw smells covering freshly-sewn grass seed. This was a first-time experience and, wary of any exhalation affecting my cats, I decided to smoke it out of doors. I stood on the balcony and took a deep drag from my little glass pipe. The cloud I blew out tasted almost metallic--what I would describe as the flavor of neon gas calmly lining the interior of a glass vacuum--but not at all harsh. What a gorgeous, vibrant leaf-colored, warm sunlit, blue-sky autumn day it is. This was my last thought before turning to walk up the stairs leading to my loft, but I must have taken one step and collapsed on the first couple of carpeted stairs.
My next recordable sensation was being lifted or floating up through a green corridor whose walls had no tangible structure—as if they were incorporeal and the bright green color swarmed around me tightly with a cylindrical shape if any shape at all. The sense of a warm, green birth canal comes to mind on writing this, but at the moment I really didn’t have the brain power to conceive metaphors or similes. Within this green floating space, I heard a woman’s voice. “Come on, buddy,” she said repeatedly. “Come on, we’re almost there.” Her voice was soothing and the next visualizations I had included a vivid, floating red square in front of me, and above that, this woman’s face.
I had no idea who she was, but in reality the crimson square was the red t-shirt worn by my girlfriend of four years, and the voice was hers, too. Tabitha really was there, pulling me up the stairs; she knew I was going downstairs to smoke the stuff, so she wasn’t completely shocked to see me in such a zombified state. Despite her profound anxiety over my condition, she had the wise sense to keep smiling and comforting me so as not to alarm me or send me into some anxiety-driven fit. The moment immediately preceding my inhalation, she was upstairs in front of my computer reading one or two experiences, so she fairly knew what to expect… but 20 seconds later she found me at the bottom of the stairs with my eyes wide open, glaring at her with an expression of deep fear and helplessness. I didn’t particularly feel afraid, but the look on my face betrayed otherwise, Tabitha said.
What I did feel was the sensation of floating up the cozy green corridor (my stairwell is in fact painted a bright, neon Post-It Note kind of green) and although my motor skills were virtually nonexistent, I managed to propel myself up the stairs with her while she tugged on me and assured me that things were okay. “Come on, buddy,” she kept saying and it took several seconds for me to understand language again until I was trying to figure out where the hell I was, and why I was just now being born; I felt like a toddler in nursery school and this pleasant-looking face who was comforting me was the embodiment of my teacher or babysitter, yet I could only make out her face hovering above a red square…
or perhaps I was an infant and hadn’t yet learned to speak at all, which was confusing because I also had the sense that I’d learned a lot and forgotten it—as if the hard drive containing all that I’d ever learned and seen in my 32 years of learning and seeing things had crashed. I felt like I’d left that heap of experience at the bottom of the stairs, as if the landscape of my mind had completely vanished, and this was troubling because part of me wanted it back but there was positively nothing I could do about it. I was indeed helpless—only on reflection can I say that I felt like a small child or perhaps a mentally handicapped person; again, in the moment I didn’t have the brain power to articulate to myself, “Am I retarded? Is this what it feels like to be a mindless person or a really young child, since it’s been so long since I was a really young child and have forgotten what it felt like? …Is this death? Is it birth? Or rebirth?” I was merely sensing things with no higher cognitive capabilities, perhaps the way an insect might perceive things roaming about the earth—not understanding anything but merely reacting to variations of light and temperature. Frankly, I didn’t even have the wherewithal to feel worried about my state.
The physical sensation I had overall was comparable to that feeling of sleep paralysis (known as hypnopompic paralysis), where you’re aware of being awake, yet you can’t open your eyes or move a muscle. Perhaps what kept me from feeling slightly freaked out is that I did have the colorful visuals and wasn’t confined to just blackness behind my eyelids. And even though Tabitha’s face and voice weren’t at all familiar to me, she was certainly comforting. This all occurred within the time it took for us to lumber up the stairs; apparently, Tabitha was hauling me up like a wounded soldier, and I’d slobbered quite a bit on myself. (Is ptyalism a common side-effect? Is it coincidence that the words salvia and saliva are one letter transposed apart? Yes, actually it is coincidence.) Naturally, I had no awareness of the drooling I’d done.
Near the top of the stairs, I began to come around and could finally put some words together, but initially they were incoherent. I felt like I had a huge smile on my face during this ascension (toward heaven?) and now I felt certain I’d left something at the bottom of the stairs, and it had to be my whole life experience and I think I pointed toward it, but we came to find what I’d left down there was my pipe. Rat farts! Nothing magnificent or preternatural about that.
Now I was on my feet again and talking to Tabitha. I exclaimed gleefully that this was fantastic and I hopped around the room excitedly, whooping joyously. Second by second, I could feel the effects waning, and I had certainly regained my sense of self because during the stairwell trip I really had no idea who I was or what plane of existence I was on. Probably I was more excited about surviving the experience than the experience itself; experiencing new things is something that will always infuse me with passion, and I understood that this particular sensation was not something I could have achieved on my own. Within minutes I was back to normal, which means I was slightly drunk from the Blue Moons… and I was in a delightful mood. Tabitha remained shaken by the expression on my face in the stairwell and my utter inability to speak. She said I “looked like Jack Nicholson after the lobotomy.” 1
So I drank another beer and ate two small mushroom caps that I had in my fridge with the rest of my stash. For the next hour I gleaned information from Tabitha’s perspective and tried my best to delineate all I’d seen in those few seconds of the trip. Despite her description of the fear she felt for me at the bottom of the stairs, I figured it would be worth trying again. But this time we agreed I should lie down on my bed, and it was dark outside by now so no light came in from the window. We turned on the song Wake Up by Layne Staley because we felt its blues-inspired sexy, groovy peaceful sound would provide a calming aural environment.
After another huge hit, I set down the pipe and sat on the bed and immediately was unconscious. Tabitha reported that whilst reclining on the bed I began to make choking sounds, and this time I’d drooled on myself even more—something like 10 CCs of slobber—and I’d decorated my shirt with it plenty. But Tabitha was now seriously worried about the possibility of me choking on my own juice, so she sat me upright, noting that my limbs and torso were completely dead weight and all I could do for the next thirty seconds was lean forward, crouched on my own lap, and this time my eyes were shut. I’d managed to say, “This isn’t good,” just before passing out entirely and then anything else I tried to say came out as complete gibberish. Close to panic because she felt responsible for letting me go on the trip again, Tabitha steeled her exterior once more and kept assuring me (and herself) that it would be okay. “I love you, buddy. I love you and it’s going to be okay,” she refrained for about two minutes… which she declares seemed like a much longer window of time because I wasn’t responding, just slumped there drooling on myself. My memory of hearing her talk to me—because I had absolutely no visuals—is tenuous at best. Very vague if not nonexistent. This sucks because it means the trip itself was nonexistent for this second go-around.
“What? What? …Where am I? What happened?” I muttered suddenly. Then I opened my eyes and spouted, “I’m okay? Okay, I’m back. Woo!” and I sprang up from the bed because now I was experiencing spectacular visuals. Every surface I looked at was surrounded by a tight gold and blue glow, a solid 2mm thick line of pure light—the bookcase, the door frame, Tabitha’s face, my hand and fingers were all encased in this light yet the essence of it glowed brightest around living things. I was talking and feeling celebratory now as I stood in the threshold of my doorway under the red rope lights that illume my loft, but I may not have been making much sense. I was trying to articulate that I felt as if I were made of plastic or metal… or perhaps I was wearing some sort of protective space suit and it comprised this aura surrounding my body with soft warmth.
I looked at my forearm, my wrist, and fingers and was amazed that I could move parts of my body, fascinated that without putting conscious effort into it I could move my limbs so freely. I wiggled my fingers and smiled at them. My olfactory senses seemed to cling to that earthy scent that salvia has before smoked, but this effect wasn’t too intense or noticeable. But the glowing feeling and tactile sense of being made of some inorganic material were very salient for a few minutes, and surely this was the by-product of having eaten the shroom caps as well. I was giddy about these hallucinations and even though I failed to articulate them appropriately to Tabitha, I kept trying to describe my sensations. Within minutes that effect had also dissipated and now I felt (mostly) normal again and was enjoying the subtle kaleidoscopic color fractals that come with the usual fungus trip.
While I proceeded to eat ¾ of a 20” Spinelli’s pizza, Tabitha and I discussed this episode of the salvia experience for a while and I remarked that I had a bit of a headache—nothing too uncomfortable but I certainly felt like the capillaries in my brain were markedly engorged. Tabitha expressed a grave concern for anyone who smokes this stuff—especially because any teenager or child could walk into the store we bought it from and go home and choke on his own saliva.2 …Or result in a total king-hell freak out. From my research, it appears that excessive salivating was a condition unique to me, but it really is a good thing that Tabitha was there to sit me upright, and I suspect that the potency of this 20x strength of herb simply zonked my core motor abilities, resulting in total relaxation of all smooth muscle tissue and the subsequent drooling. Fortunately, I didn’t shit myself—which would have made for a better story—but done nothing for my testimony of this stuff.
In the end, the experience was not scary for me—just truly psychedelic. I’d have preferred the second time around to be more palpable/memorable… As a result of the first try, it is certainly interesting to now know what it feels like to have no sense of identity at all (often described as an “ego death”), and to feel what it’s like when your central processing unit is functioning on the most reptilian level. I titled this article The Mindblank Spell because I compare the effect to what the old Dungeons & Dragons spell mindblank might be like.
However, for my sitter, Tabitha, it was a scary, unsavory experience. Mainly, she felt even more terrified the second time around compared to when she saw my pie-eyed expression on the stairs, perhaps because she felt responsible for the fact that she allowed me to do it again and I started with the choking sounds. I should say that I was of completely sound mind when I decided to give it a second try. Sure I’d consumed some beers and a few caps of fungus, but I can operate more or less normally under these circumstances…
Note: Sitter’s experience.
It is true that Carter has a very high tolerance for drugs and their affects and is not at all prone to panic or anxiety as I am. I will say that for me it was awful to see him look so fearful and helpless when I have never seen him like that before. He went to his deck to smoke it and I thought I might as well go ahead and read up on this just in case. There are statements about it not having any affect at all on certain people and given his high tolerance level you can imagine my shock at finding Carter on the bottom two stairs is this state. It looked like he had just had a seizure—his right arm was bent, legs curled up like he had fallen over but he was trying to move but because he had no control over his body he couldn't. He honestly looked like he was dying.
The expression on his face was terror and helplessness so I knew I couldn't let him know from my expression how utterly frightened I was. The thing is I didn't know what to do (hadn't read that far!) or what to expect so I was just holding him up and telling him it would be okay then decided to take him upstairs. He moved but barely, and when we got up to the top of the stairs he laid down. About a half a minute later he jumped up and started asking what just happened and where we were. At this point his control started to come back rapidly and he could have a clear conversation and was happy and excited—no anxiety whatsoever. I think for Carter, with both experiences it only lasted 15 - 20 minutes from start to finish.
The second time, as Carter said, I felt responsible and he was completely out cold, immediately. I checked his pulse and it was steady but when the choking started I freaked and knew I needed to set him upright. He was dead weight and it was really hard to keep him upright. I just kept saying to him that I loved him and it would be okay—this was for me too! Anyway, this experience is not something I would ever try—prone to anxiety as I am—but for Carter it was something he wanted to experience and I am glad that I could be there to help him through it even though it scared the shit out of me!
1 In One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
2 Many such stores uphold a policy not to sell this kind of substance to minors, including the one where I purchased.
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