Citation: Awed. "Becoming the Membrane: experience with Salvia divinorum (ID 345)". Erowid.org. Aug 19, 2001. erowid.org/exp/345
I'm an experienced psychedelic user, having taken LSD, mushrooms and MDMA many times over the last 14 years or so. Even after reading many trip reports, Salvia has struck me as remarkable in its near-absolute lack of similarity with any of these other drugs. This report chronicles my first two substantive experiences with salvia, both of which were remarkable.
Just before we began our first session, we were greeted with a surprise visit from the friend who supplied our leaf days earlier. He lives 15 hours away by car, and happened to pop by on his way home. He knocked on the front door just as we were loading the pipe. A remarkable synchronicity!
Music was playing in the room - a very ambient, slow sound-scape, electric and soothing. The lights were dim, and the curtains drawn. After the second hit off the full glass pipe, I began to feel I was losing motor control. My limbs were heavy and a little tingly. My vision seemed to be lengthening such that I could see incredible detail and color, but in a much smaller peripheral field than normal. So, quickly, I took a third hit, and then sat back. I exhaled, and closed my eyes.
Almost immediately, I felt as if I were being sucked down and backward through some kind of barrier or membrane, and that everything that got sucked back into this emptiness was turning hard, or to stone. I felt as if I weren't breathing, and that the blood had frozen in my veins. Immediately intimidated by this encompassing sensation of death (this is really the only way to describe what it felt like), I seemed to stop my passage by sheer force of will. I felt as if my face, feet and hands were sticking out above/below/in front of the infinite membrane that bisected my body.
The membrane itself was totally two-dimensional and visually lucid. The best way I can describe it is to compare it to a vast field of creamy white taffy, with chocolate swirl patterns stretching into the distance. The swirls made compartments that looked like the Star Trek logo, almost, or even like the numbers you pull out of the machine at the deli line (in shape, not in color or texture). They moved with the music.
I don't know how long I was stuck in between this odd reality and whatever was behind/under me, but I remember my friend saying something (what, I wasn't sure) and then felt myself snapping back into the room. A matrix of clear visuals similar to LSD or mushrooms remained for several minutes, but I felt as if I had either 'jumped out' or been 'spit back' by Salvia.
In the next half-hour of reflection, I decided that what I felt wasn't my body hardening, but disappearing, as my consciousness attempted to pass backward through the membrane. This feeling was unspeakably REAL, as real as consensus reality, and proof positive for me about the illusory nature of our bodies and perceptions. Admittedly, my stunted passage was a horrifying feeling, not unlike getting something caught in your throat - the thing that's stuck there (in this case, my consciousness) either needs to go in or out. But I sensed that had I held that third hit longer, I would have simply propelled all the way through before my fear got me stuck. So I ordered more and waited.
A week later, my friend visited again. At first, he had considerable trouble getting through with the potency of leaf that I had bought. My own first try (three big bong hits) was a bust; it landed me back in that stuck-in-cement feel that I had the first time, but with enough consciousness left to know that I wasn't going to 'break through.' But I felt considerably more comfortable with the pressing sensation now, and a half-hour later, I was ready to go again.
I smoked four lungs full this time, and as I leaned back into the couch, the familiar pressure set in. This time, however, it gripped me from the top of my head and peeled me open like a banana, splitting me into two. My body became the membrane, which began as a plain, shiny white this time, and split into two directions. These 'half-me's' - which were not me at all - wound around my visual field until they re-merged in front of me, like lava flows melting into one another. Embedded in the membrane were what appeared to be countless different realities, vivid and timeless. I noticed in particular that one was a street corner, but wasn't thinking fast enough to read the sign.
It was then that I felt like I was enveloped in some distinctly feminine presence, almost as if a womb were weaving itself around me, or that I was becoming a womb inside a mother. I asked, without asking, what these realities were, and the answer (which was not spoken) came back: they were realities that I could choose to return to from this place. At this time, the room I was in (including my friend) passed through this membrane, and I suppose I chose it. I said, 'okay,' as if I were ordering off a menu, and then I felt my body return. I opened my eyes, looked at my friend, and laughed out loud. Minutes later, I was up and about. Baseline.
Fascinating! Please know that the words above are the best way I can find to describe the experience, but cannot even remotely encompass it. There is no context for this plant, and I sense that it will take many visits with her to understand what she is trying to show me. One final note (okay, two): sitters are important, and please don't venture into the realm of Salvia unless you have given it careful consideration. If LSD or psilocybin provide a gradual, staged loss of ego, salvia is a rapid ego-ectomy with no anesthesia. It seems in some way to model the cycle of death and rebirth, and I can see the death phase giving some people real trouble.
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