Citation: SpeechlessInAwe. "Horror-Land and Clarity: experience with Salvia divinorum (700x extract) (ID 94076)". Erowid.org. May 16, 2012. erowid.org/exp/94076
***NOTE TO EDITORS***: This is the revised version of my previous submission, which was submitted under the same e-mail address. The title and author names should mildly resemble this submission, too. I re-wrote this experience because I felt that my first attempt did not capture what happened as well as I would have liked. If it is not too inconvenient, could you disregard my first submission and consider this one instead? It is better-written and more intensive. Thank you. ***
Salvia divinorum is a terrifying substance. More accurately, my personal experience with Salvia divinorum was a terrifying occasion. My Salvia trip was the most traumatic and humbling experience I’ve ever known, and I am permanently changed because of it.
This absolute mind-f**k happened at the beginning of November, shortly after I turned 21. One evening, an acquaintance of mine and I were bored with the typical “college student routine.” He and I had always been obsessed with drugs, and we had talked about smoking salvia for quite some time. On this chilly night we decided to put our plan into action. With hopes of tempering our restlessness, we set out on quite the adventure.
It was a school night but we were both done with our studies. I had taken 60mg of Adderall much earlier in the day and I was gradually coming down, so I was moderately depressed and irritable. Overall, I would have called my mindset “neutral.”
We drove to a local unnamed tobacco shop. Upon entering, we immediately scouted out the salvia and purchased the strongest variety available. The package said the potency was 700x; it was very expensive. We obtained a water pipe and disappeared into the back of the shop. The setting was strange and foreign. We were in a large dark room, empty but for our presences, silent but for an occasional Nirvana song emitting from the jukebox. Egyptian murals were on the walls and looming couches were perched throughout. Everything was dim and somewhat indiscernible. There was a TV on in the corner. An episode of The Simpsons was airing.
My acquaintance packed the pipe and offered me the first hit. I gladly obliged. The lighter we were provided was strangely neon or fluorescent in color. I noted this and filed the thought away with the rest of my present apprehensions. Indeed, I was silently terrified. Drugs of a hallucinogenic nature have always had a strange effect on me, and often I find that even marijuana is overwhelming. Hallucinogens make me feel as if I am on the verge of insanity, suspended in a strange altered reality that has always existed but usually remains unconsidered. Would this experience transpire differently? I had dim hopes.
Since I had done salvia once before, I felt I was at least partially prepared for what was about to happen. I was dead fucking wrong.
I lit the herbs and sucked long and deep. The smoke tasted musty and strange. Undaunted, I held in the smoke for as long as my lungs could bear it. My acquaintance took a generous hit during this brief calm before the storm and I watched him with delight. Doing drugs is exciting, I thought to myself. After several more seconds, he and I exhaled simultaneously. A few more moments passed. I was in a state of guarded sobriety: My body was tense with anticipation and each passing second felt deliberately long and unbearable. Then, it started to hit me.
“Uh-oh,” I said aloud, as I began to sink into the couch and my vision blurred and intensified.
In retrospect, this was a perfectly fitting thing to say. It not only constituted an understandable apprehension, but it was also my last conscious thought before entering what I might inefficiently call Horror-Land. I was almost immediately thrown into this altered reality – Horror-Land – hostile and unforgiving in nature yet ironically whimsical or humorous. And it was without question the worst thing I have ever known.
Since time had no meaning during the trip, it is difficult to speak of time. But for the sake of making sense of my experience, I shall attempt to discuss the following events in chronological order.
In any case, there was no gap of time between my last conscious thought, “Uh-Oh,” and my perception of the entirely warped reality I was situated in presently. I perceived of no time at all, in fact. As far as I could tell, I had always existed in Horror-Land, and I would remain there forever. I could not recall a single memory or recognize anything familiar or comforting. This was my existence, it always had been, and it always would be, absolutely no question about it.
Describing Horror-Land is extremely difficult. I feel it is actually indescribable. The concepts and relationships therein were devoid of reason, order, and sense. As such, I cannot use any word or phrase to express Horror-Land with complete accuracy. It will be easiest if I imagine and describe how it might have looked from someone else’s perspective. Not that anything could have existed outside this new reality, but an outsider would have seen a strange sight. To consider from a distance what I saw subjectively, perhaps as an image placed in the middle of a TV-screen for easy observation, would have probably been equally terrifying.
I should imagine, first, that the whole image was of a strange color. There were angry, irritated hues of red. These expanded and curved with irregularity, and comprised a spectrum that ranged in color from dying-red-rose-petals to moist-and-cartoonish-gums-and-lips. These red hues randomly and sporadically covered an awful flesh-colored spirally roll of organic moisturized tarp that was ROLLING ITSELF UP. The tarp expanded infinitely: part of it was still flat and unrolled, but the other part was barreling and rotating forward, tucking into itself as it proceeded with such irresistible force. I myself existed as a part of this tarp, and this tarp was the only thing that existed.
This fleshy-tarp was steaming hot and blaringly unforgiving or violent. It was somehow living: conscious enough, at least, to experience great confusion and agony. My conscious mind, in fact, resided in the most unfortunate and painful location on this tarp. I was suspended in this horrific stretching flatness, embedded mere fractions from the advancing roll – mere moments away from being wrapped up and suffocated with the rest of everything. Escape was impossible. All extant matter had succumbed or would succumb to this fate.
At last my time came and I was lifted and turned by the advancing force, and thus I began a dizzying, suffocating and torturous eternity, in which my flesh was fused, in every direction, to the endless layers of tarp that had already been rolled and were still rolling and suffocating, like a burning peach-colored carpet of tortured souls.
All the while, an over-abundance of noise flooded my perception. This was too bizarre to make out. In retrospect, I can perhaps liken the noise I heard to shrill demon cries mixed with this cacophonous symphony of horrible instruments. Everything was out-of-tune and morbidly inharmonious. It was almost like someone had recorded the last dying noises of every organism that had ever lived on earth, combined all of these recordings over top of each other on one tape, and forced me to lie down and listen while the tape deafeningly blared from an infinite cluster of speakers surrounding me.
Then I remember that there was an ineffable chorus of chanting: uhh-ehh-uhh-ehh-uhh-ehh-ehh…uhh-ehh-uhh-ehh-uhh-ehh-ehh. With each uhhh, this horrible chorus increased in volume and moved one-half-step higher in pitch, and with each ehh, the chorus maintained the volume and pitch of the uhhh directly prior to it, obviously with slightly different inflection. This increase occurred in four stages. Then, there was brief silence. Then, the chorus started from the top and decreased in volume and pitch with each uhh, descending back down to the original pitch and volume; then the cycle was repeated again.
These images and noises kept repeating and resetting. I was moments away from being rolled, then I was being rolled, then I was suffocating within the infinite depths of the roll; then the process repeated. I cannot say how many times this happened, but each time was just as horrifying and painfully uncomfortable as the last. It was the most overwhelming and powerful feeling of claustrophobia I have felt. It was like I was one insignificantly tiny pore amidst an infinite sea of duplicates: an endless and immeasurable cluster of minuscule pores condensed so tightly together that they were crowding into themselves and then compressing into nothingness. Still, the pores were too small to be perceived by an outside observer; hence the roll of fleshy tarp would not have had any speckling.
Each of the tiny pores represented a different person, and the people I knew were the pores that existed closer to my pore-self. (Ill-timed pun, I know.) The pores that had been rolled up already represented people who were dead. Being violently rolled up represented the passage of death. The worst part, my pore-acquaintances were somehow communicating their disgust and contempt for me! I had no command over my senses, but I still managed to understand their horrible thoughts. Somehow I was responsible for this madness. Even further, all of the death and suffering that had ever occurred were entirely my fault as well! Everyone loathed me. I was scum.
I am not sure how I could have been responsible for such an odd event. This seemed illogical. Certainly I was not nearly powerful enough to cause such terror and destruction. Then again, in this warped existence, anything might have been possible. In Horror-Land, there were no perceivable laws of time. And there were definitely no laws of space. I existed as a replication and my consciousness was replenished and teleported time after time. There were no tangible faculties from the “real world.” Only strangeness and horror.
I could perhaps compare the entire thing to being caught beneath the bottom stair of an escalator, one that is made of a wet, flesh-like, membranous substance rather than metal and leather.
This whole time, my frame of mind was chaotic. I had no control over my thoughts, but I was able to shift my perspective with great effort. I managed to free myself of this terrifying fleshy-roll several times, but my view from the outside was no better. For each time I was freed, I looked back and saw these horrible EYES turning to meet me! Then I was slowly sucked down into the hellish realm again. Resistance was useless. This place refused to let me alone. It was me and I was it; we were bound, linked, destined to exist side by side in unparalleled anguish, forever and ever. I was helpless, infantile, pathetic, unrefined, inferior, and emotionally plagued.
When I did manage to shift my perspective, the images of Horror-Land from the outside were sinister. I do not know how to describe this. It haunts my innermost thoughts. What I saw was a gigantic and evil living-mutilated-thing; it spanned the entire frame of my vision and was the only thing I knew or ever knew; it was an enormous, frightening, mangled pouch of flesh with parts of a face; it was covered in an unkempt hide and spackled with dry, leathery skin and two patches of hair that resembled eyebrows; it was convulsing hysterically, laughing oafishly, undulating violently; bearing down on me with wide, malevolent eyes; giant putrid mouth opened to reveal infinite rows of jagged, tearing teeth; suffocating me with random bursts of noxious, black smoke; feeding or morphing “me” into “it” with sadistic relish; intending to consume me in a repeating cycle, awesome and endless; unchecked, all-powerful, the epitome of insidious. This indescribably evil image was repeating frame after frame after frame. It was forever. It was everything…
I could only assume that I existed within this horrible thing.
Then I would be sucked back inside, where a different eternity awaited me.
My soul was wailing with anguish and torture. This was the worst terror imaginable, and I would not wish it on anyone for any reason whatsoever. I felt like a confused infant, hysterical and panicky, suffocated and enclosed for no reason. Or perhaps a conscious amoeba, submerged in strange liquid, under sadistic experimentation.
Again this membranous rift, this fleshy tarp, was crushing into me with intense power and determined persistence. There was no mercy, no compassion. Instead, I was hopelessly trapped in this wet, aggressive, rotating chasm that existed just beneath the normal world. In this way, the experience was brutally humorous. I sensed mildly that some sadistic Supreme Being was controlling what was happening. The Being was clearly taking pleasure in my emotional and physical suffering, for He or She or It chose to tempt me with fleeting images of relief while keeping me confined to Horror-Land. Indeed, I remember seeing images that I could recognize, but only briefly. I saw my acquaintance in several flashes. I also remember seeing The Simpsons on TV. But even so, I could not remember what these things were or what they meant. Nothing made sense, including myself. My ego, my perception, so far as I could tell, was meaningless and non-existent. I was not I. I just WAS.
I was in an unwilling state of oneness with this bizarrely fascinating yet extraordinary horrifying place. I felt entirely helpless and exposed. I could neither move nor speak.
I cannot write of this without getting chills. It was so evil and indescribable.
Interestingly enough I felt no pain, though I remember feeling wondrous discomfort. The entirety of what I might inaccurately call my “physical body” was subjected to a relentless stretching, coupled with the feeling that trillions of ice-cold needles were pricking and jabbing at my skin. At the same time, I felt enclosed, suffocated, surrounded, and drenched in sweat. The fleshy wetness of this living membrane was DESTROYING me. And I knew with pure certainty that there was no escaping this torturous hell.
Then everything changed. Even more so than before, the place was utter chaos. Every tangible faculty was dissociated or segmented into its barest and most essential fragments. Things were morphing and forming and fusing into each other randomly, and I could not recognize where or even who I was. Blurry ridges of oscillating cartoonish color were expanding and snaking before my eyes, coalescing and piling together erratically, circuitously and repetitively forming this terrifying and massive rift-zipper that was violently busting and tearing and shredding through reality. And the rift was going to shred me too!
I was being sucked toward this destructive rift. I was even becoming it.
All past traumatic memories came flooding back to me in an instant. I could remember every single instance of pain, scorn, emotional abuse, sickness, and tragedy from my life simultaneously. Each instance was replicating in my “mind” with horrible, horrible stubbornness.
“WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GET OUT OF THERE! GET OUT OF THERE! A, DON’T GO IN THERE! OH, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, A!? A! A!!”
(“A” is my alias here.)
My mother and father were there, as were my sisters and our old family pets. They were all grouped together, just outside the rift where I was confined, sneering at me with utter disgust and disapproval. Overwhelming waves of guilt struck me. I was solely and directly responsible for every single instance of suffering or bad fortune that any person had ever experienced. I felt I had to pay for my actions.
I have described all of this very poorly. Again, I simply cannot describe Horror-Land accurately. It was far too bizarre and alien. What I can say, though, is that this existence is what I knew for a painful amount of “time.” My “existence” was a repeating cycle, a giant inexhaustible gear of duplication. I was trapped there forever, with this horrible entity that endeavored to consume me, or even fuse with me, aggressively and unceasingly.
It is painful and scary to reconsider these things. It is almost overwhelming.
The more I think of it, the more I realize that this trip was basically a huge set of impossibilities or paradoxes. I had no control of my senses, but my senses were overwhelmed. I could smell without smelling, hear without hearing, see without seeing, taste without tasting, feel without feeling, and think and perceive without thinking and perceiving. I was dead. Then I was alive but feeble and frail. Then I was very much alive. Then I was dead again. Then the cycle repeated.
I lost track of everything because there was nothing to keep track of. I was no longer a thing because “things” no longer were. Everything was destroyed and it was my fault.
This whole trip lasted for too long. Long enough for me to take action. Although my mind was elsewhere, my physical body finally started and kicked into survival mode. Fight or flight. My acquaintance and the smoke shop employees later told me what I did. At first I was convulsing on the ground. I was making guttural, grunt-like noises and they worried that I was having a seizure. After a few minutes, however, I stood up and walked out of the room and toward the exit. I collided with an employee on the way, and rammed headlong into the glass door when I tried to leave. I eventually made it to my acquaintance’s car. At this point I was still seeing the alternate reality I described, so instead of trying to collect myself, I circled the car frantically and pulled on the door handles. They were locked, and I was confused.
Sense and order were slowly returning to me by this time. I muttered something about nuclear holocaust and spread my arms over the top of the car. I rested my head on the sobering coldness of the roof, calming myself down and taking deep, refreshing breaths. I found with much relief that I was starting to remember things. At first I could only remember and understand the most basic concepts of our reality: light, darkness, color, noise. Then larger and more important concepts and ideas returned to me: my species, my sex, my name, self-identity. Then I could remember still more important concepts: definitions, essences, beliefs, thoughts. The entire rejuvenation took a mere five minutes. I spent the entire time leaning against the car.
Finally, everything came into place and I could understand this “current reality” again. I was flooded by relief but overcome by embarrassment. I started to realize how foolish I must have looked mere seconds ago. My acquaintance made sure I was all right and we walked back into the smoke shop.
We were greeted by a chorus of laughter and jesting. Everyone thought my clumsiness was hilarious. At first I was shocked by this lack of sympathy, but I realized they were merely joking, and in any event NOTHING was as bad as what I had just experienced. I didn’t care that I had looked foolish, I was just immensely glad to be part of a normal, ordered existence again (I shouldn’t say “again” because it felt like the first time). I had somewhat of a revelation, even. It dawned on me that life is fragile and precious, and that I should cherish each moment through loving, laughing, listening, and learning. I realized how privileged I am. I’m an American; I live in a country of pleasure-addicts and the blissfully lazy. My parents are kind enough to pay for my college education and my future is promising. I have the most beautiful and desirable quality: control over myself. I am reasonably free and unchecked in my pursuit of pleasure. I am extremely lucky and even spoiled.
I considered these things very deeply as the night wore on. My acquaintance and I smoked the rest of the salvia, and this time I was able to control the trip and nothing bad happened. After half an hour of broken conversation, we decided to call it a night. We were both exhausted and stressed. I, in particular, was still jittery and anxious. During the drive home and for the rest of the evening, I spent a significant amount of time trying to compose myself. My mind kept recalling images of the horror I had just undergone. The fusing, shredding, ripping, destroying…
In retrospect, I might compare this experience to being stuck on “God’s scroll of life.” In Horror-Land, God was raveling the scroll as time proceeded, tucking all past life into a giant roll of earth’s history. Existence as we know it now was just one part of a timeline. I saw the passage of time from prehistory to history to the present. Ages frittered away in mere seconds. Life evolved from simplicity to complexity, and all the while death loomed around the corner. I glimpsed life’s beginnings. At one point, I think I even became a single cell. It was awesome and cathartic, yet horrible and traumatic.
A month and a half has passed since the trip. I’m not doing too well. I’ve had a history of mental illness, and I think the salvia provoked some latent symptoms buried deep within my psyche. I constantly reminisce on bad memories now. I cannot find any joy or happiness in my childhood recollections, only terror and confusion. I notice things I once ignored. I see evil in things I once noticed. I ignore things I once cherished. I am afraid. I am alone.
But, I am better off. The experience was cathartic. I see now. It’s difficult to describe what I mean by this; I just see. I recognize the error in my ways and care more about setting things right. I’m more apologetic and I admit when I’m wrong. I lie less. I think I’ll be okay again, somewhere down the road. The salvia trip, I think, alerted me of what I have been doing wrong; and as I gradually fix these things, I will come into happiness again. I will evolve and grow into a comfortable acceptance of life and an embracive interest in causing good to flourish.
I just need time to recover. By our standard of time, the trip probably lasted for 10 minutes at the most. Though insignificant, this was enough time to change me. I feel I am altered irrevocably and drained unnecessarily. But I am changed for the good.
Stay away from salvia if you want a fun experience with a recreational drug. Salvia is not that type of thing. It is a trip into your soul and spirit, an inquiry into the deepest and darkest essences of nature and existence. If you’re in need of clarity or emotional reconciliation, on the other hand, I urge you to smoke salvia. The experience is humbling and ironically lucid. It will help you get on the right road again. It will expand your mind and open your heart. Most of all, it will fill you with terror so complex and unfathomable that you will have no choice but to examine yourself introspectively. And you will be all the better for it.
I hope I never go back to Horror-Land, but I think I will. It is calling me.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
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