|Learn about Salvia Divinorum at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_divinorum
Summer, 2003. I began my affair with salvia in early summer, researching online, discovering it was legal, and trying to decide from where to purchase it from. The majority of info I came across compared it to cannabis with having a slight psychedelic element and that immediately prompted my interest in wanting to experiment with it. I found an online store based in Madison, Wisconsin that claimed to have 10th generation (or something of the sort) offspring plants from Albert Hofmann's original salvia plants, also known as the Wasson-Hofmann strain. I think reading that solidified the deal and I ordered a half ounce of regular leaf and a packet of 30x extract leaf. Anxiously, and with a bit of paranoia about mail ordering a psychedelic substance, I waited for it to arrive.
I grabbed the two packages of salvia - one, a puffy half ounce zip-lock bag of dried leaves and the other, a tiny zip-lock packet containing the few grams of what looked to be finely ground 30x extract leaf material - and assessed my state of mind and physical ability to drive. My senses appeared to be fully intact and I headed down the stairs, got in my car, and started the 15 minute drive to R's house.
At this point, it was dark outside and the drive was uneventful. I arrived at R's place, a mutual friend (who I'll call "B") was there sitting in a chair playing a video game called Civilization on the Playstation, and I took a spot next to R on the couch. We had the lights turned off except for the glow of the television and I unveiled my vegetative treasure. I asked B if he was going to participate but he declined as he didn't want to take any chances with an upcoming drug test for a job he was starting soon. R then handed me his pipe, and after revealing my initial experience, I packed it full of the regular leaves. We took turns, with R smoking the bowl first and me observing and waiting until his whole session was done. From what I remember, he had a similar effect as I did in Session 1. I was up next and I filled the pipe, making sure I was going to ingest more material than the first time. The sensation came on instantly as I cashed the bowl. I was sitting with my eyes closed, an amorphous space of darkness in front of me, when B said something about making a city in the game he was playing. Immediately, a first-person vision emerged of me standing on a boardwalk by the sea. Old buildings manifested on my right with the water on my left and I noticed I was walking on a cobblestone street in what could have been a seaside town in centuries-old England. The detail was incredible and as I walked, it became apparent that I was a small child, my left hand holding the right hand of an unseen adult. As we progressed down the street on this misty, overcast day, I felt my body become less heavy and I started walking into the air. Each footstep carried me upwards to the sky on invisible stairs with the scenery and buildings eventually seen from above. Just past the rooftops, my eyes slowly opened, the humming of this vision fading away like a dream. I realized that during this scenario my thoughts were completely sober, as well as my sense of hearing, and putting the puzzle of my vision together I concluded that salvia trips were very sensitive to audio input. I thought this was an interesting observation.
In round two, R and I decided to try some of the 30x mixed with the regular stuff and see what happens. Again, he went first and unfortunately I don't recall the details of his session except that he felt "close to reaching something". I went through the same protocol, this time adding a pinch of 30x extract on top of my leafy portion. My sensation this time around was more ambiguous, more dream-like, but I remember being outside of a large circular concrete building that had a metal awning-type structure under which I stood. There was a blue door with no handle on it and I had the notion that I couldn't get in and resolved to hang out by myself. Feeling a little down, I stood and listened. Instead of actual sound there was the impression of sound, like there was a party with music happening on the other side of the door. It was low and muffled and no discernible details were evident. I came out of this vision much like the last one with my eyes coming open and the images dissipating quickly. Normal consciousness resumed, although, overall I really felt that it had not been greatly disturbed thus far with smoking salvia.
I stayed for another half hour or so before deciding to call it a night and return home. We came to the conclusion that while salvia didn't seem intense in and of itself, there were very interesting properties about it and could warrant trying it out once in awhile.
SESSION 4 - Naked at the carnival
|Some of my psychedelic inspired artwork.
After I got back home, I milled about for awhile recalling the night's escapades. Something was irritating me, something like unfinished business. I wasn't sure what to do as I, like R, felt so close to reaching or achieving a goal and finally decided I was going to rid myself of the "what if" that was eating away at me and go for broke into the unexplored region of hyperspace. Now that I was alone, I set about to prepare my space. I lit a small tealight candle and placed it in a corner, pulled a dining room chair into the living room and put it in front of the stereo system, and moved a side table next to the chair. I positioned things like this so I could plug in and wear my big over-the-ear headphones and listen to something while partaking in this ritual. The table was set with my pipe and stash and I filled the bowl with a lesser amount of regular leaf material and the rest with the 30x. I made another little pile just the same as was in the pipe, ready to be scooped up and smoked consecutively with the first bowl. In the cd player, I put in a disc of nature sounds, specifically a soundtrack of thunderstorms and rain as I didn't want to be influenced by any certain song. The lights went out, I sat at my improvised psychedelic smoking station, and donned the headphones.
I took several deep breaths and brought the pipe to my lips. Within one great inhalation I disintegrated the entire contents, tapped out the ashes onto the table, and packed the next one right away as I exhaled. Another fantastic toke was taking place and right before I was able to finish the second bowl everything stopped. I had not even become aware that I was transitioning into such a psychedelic state. I heard the rain and distant thunder in my headphones but it was almost background noise and this time I kept my eyes open. In front of me spiraled a giant translucent chrysanthemum, a brief but beautiful image of organic geometric cohesiveness. This lasted but a moment as it moved closer and shapeshifted. I was soon enveloped by this thing as it became a holographic representation of my brain and I was sitting in it looking out. Within the semi-darkness of the room it glowed with faint purples, blues, and greens. This vision then faded as I found myself to be seated on a stage in a theater, an audience of a couple hundred people in front of me applauding. I think I grinned but didn't know why I was being applauded. The grip of the headphones over my skull made me itch and I grabbed them and carelessly tossed them to the ground yet everyone still clapped. It was then I had the feeling I wasn't alone. My peripheral vision caught the appearance of someone standing to the right of me, slightly back. This being is what I've come to refer to as "The Tall Man". He was all black, a faceless shadow, yet I could tell he was dressed in the uniform of a circus ringmaster. How strange it was that his top hat scrunched against the height of my ceiling. Was he physically in the room with me? A voice entered my mind, "Welcome to the carnival! We're all so glad you made it! We've much to show you!" There was more to this telepathic conversation as I'm sure I was talking back but this was a chaotic moment within the trip. The Tall Man made no movements and just stood there. The audience calmed down to a distant echo. I then wondered to myself how long had it been that I was tripping this hard? Flashes of scorching heat swept over my body and I peeled the clothes from me and flung them to wherever they might land. An instantaneous fleeting thought of needing help, of calling R to come save me from this insanity, came and went. The Tall Man was gone and I sat there naked and had my next thought that I should go outside for a walk. "Wait! No! Don't do that you fucking idiot! Why not? It's a pleasant summer night and going for a walk would feel so nice! No, you better sit right where you are and forget about it!" This continued for a minute longer as I couldn't believe I was actually having an argument with myself.
My living room surroundings faded into view. I glanced about, barely able to move, without clothes, and slithered over to the couch. Normal reality came back like coming up for air after holding my breath in a swimming pool. I checked the time on the VCR below my television and it had been just over nine minutes since I left the planet. I made it back alive and I'm very happy I had been physically unable to go out for a nighttime walk.
While only a relatively short trip, salvia immediately became the most intense psychedelic experience I've ever had in my life so far. It blew away my numerous interactions with mushrooms and LSD by any measure and should not be taken lightly. In retrospect I should have had a babysitter but the majority of times I've taken these substances has been by myself, mostly to avoid distractions and perhaps not wanting to be judged for what might be deemed strange behavior. I'm a creative person and I like to involve myself with thinking, drawing, writing, and music and during these experiences I tend to get fully immersed. Let me tell you, Session 4 was full immersion. To this day I will swear that the Tall Man physically manifested into my living room...or perhaps instead it was me that went to the carnival. One day I may return, now that I have the key to the blue door...