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Salvia Divinorum Extract - Unknown Strength
Last night, I ate an edible with 10 mg of THC in it, which is something I do every week or two. I had not intended to do anything more, but after a few hours, I decided to smoke Salvia Divinorum extract to see if I could experience a great insight of some sort. After two hits, the roof of my mouth felt different, not like flesh and blood but like something inorganic being exposed to a gentle force. Then, my whole body felt like it was being subject to forces gently pulling downward. I sat like this for a few minutes, still feeling objective and in control, trying to analyze the effects, which were far from usual but familiar: Over a decade ago, I had several experiences with Salvia Divinorum in which I did let my mind go and lost my usual frame of reference. Those past experiences were always very strange and extremely interesting but never put me into a state of great fear.
I had been wanting to try Salvia again for a long time, feeling that there was much I could still learn from it yet. Then, over a year ago, I tried it at a friend’s house. I experienced the forces on the roof of my mouth and on the rest of my body but still felt very much in control. This time, like that last time, I still had my usual frame of reference and wondered if I had only lost it decades ago because I was undisciplined or naïve. Or maybe the strength of the extract was lower this time around. This Salvia was from the same batch as what I did last year, but I didn’t know the strength of the extract. I took another hit to find out more.
Immediately after, the gentle forces moved from the background of my conscious experience into the foreground. Right away, I felt like I was on the verge of breaking through every day consciousness. I felt conflicted between (1) giving into it even more and (2) trying to regain control so I could come away from the experience with a more “real-world” analysis of Salvia. The first option would surely have been an illuminating journey and maybe a smoother one, but I must have decided on the second option because I got up to try to walk it off. I remember having the thought that it wasn’t safe to be standing up. The strong forces I felt in my body were now even more apparent, and I was truly losing my frame of reference. For some reason, panic was setting in as well and felt that I needed to act.
By that time, I had already forgotten why I was feeling this way (that it was Salvia) and did not have much of a sense of where I was in the house. I smoked the Salvia in a room in the basement while my wife was on the main floor sleeping. As I was moving through the house, it felt like I was being pulled out of my own body and that my window of opportunity to get help was quickly passing.
Salvia has never been painful or uncomfortable for me. On the contrary, I find the sensations it brings on to be pleasant. They are so strange and disorienting, though, that they can provoke very unpleasant thoughts. At this point, I felt like I was being pulled against surfaces (in retrospect, maybe it was the floor) and that if I didn’t resist, I would be flattened like a pancake or sucked into a vortex. I could not even think in English. The words that came to my mind were gibberish, something I also experienced in the past with Salvia. I had the distinct feeling that this is what it was like to die and that I had died in other lives. I had only ever had that feeling accompanied by this level of fear once in my life when I experienced Ayahuasca.
Every time I had the feeling that I was being squeezed out of my body in some way, I resisted, fearing that if I were to give in to it, I might not be able to get back to where I should be. I thought I was forgetting how to breathe or might trigger some other kind of psychosomatic lapse. I did my best to call for help but was doubtful that it was doing any good. Then, somewhere in the jumble of disjointed sensory perceptions, I noticed my wife. I reached out to her as best I could but felt that I was still very much stuck in an alternate reality. Even the notion that I had a wife seemed so remote from this alternate reality that I wasn’t sure if she was really there. At the same time, though, the recognition that I needed to be in her world flashed before me enough times that her world eventually started to feel like it was winning out.
After a while, I realized we were sitting on the floor together in our bedroom where she had been sleeping. I felt so grateful for her but also realized for the first time how much I must have scared her and felt terrible. I apologized a few times. She was very calmly trying to communicate with me, but I still couldn’t find many words or remember what exactly I had done.
My wife knows about my history with entheogens like psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, ayahuasca, and Salvia Divinorum and that I have found them extremely useful in a spiritual/philosophical way. In the nine years we have been together, though, I’ve mostly only used Cannabis. Sitting on the floor, she asked me if I had done any drugs, and I answered yes but still couldn’t remember the name of the drug, only that it was nontoxic. I communicated that much and eventually remembered that it was Salvia, so I told her that as well. She asked me if my heart was racing and I noticed that it was not. I told her that I had only temporarily lost my mind.
Reflecting on the experience, Salvia Divinorum is remarkable in that it (like DMT) offers the privilege of a short-lasting near-death experience without any risk posed by the drug itself, the drug being nontoxic. Of course, a person on Salvia could do great damage to them self without supervision, not to mention scare those around them. I was definitely overconfident in thinking that I could just dabble in it last night. On the other hand, it was worth reconnecting with the reality of groundlessness and uncertainly that can be overshadowed by the false sense of permanence that comes with routine life.