Citation: Luke. "I Wondered How My Writing Would Be Affected: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp105817)". Erowid.org. Feb 13, 2017. erowid.org/exp/105817
I am writing a speculative historical novel about real people of whom very little is actually known as they have become larger-than-life legends. At various times, I have successfully used divination techniques such as the I-Ching and Tarot to provide insights into how the characters might have reacted in various situations. I have known about salvia for several years and thought that at some time I would like to try it due to its reported stimulation of insights. As I am more than half-way through with the novel, I felt this might be a good time to see what the plant might hold. With this in mind I ordered a sublingually administered essence online and waited for a time when I was confident I would not be disturbed.
In truth, I did not have very high expectations for the first attempt. Back in the Sixties, I had used LSD about a half dozen times; the first time which was a near disaster. Despite having researched the chemical, including talking with Alpert and other experts on neuro-chemistry, I was totally unprepared for the effects of morning glory seeds on my psyche and body. I did not want a repeat of this with salvia, so I determined to go slowly. This seemed the best way to learn about how I would be affected.
When the time came for the experiment, I put the cat outside and prepared the diluted mixture of tincture (2 droppers-full) and water in a shot glass. Let me say something here that I have not seen addressed in any other accounts: This is the foulest stuff I have ever put in my mouth. It is worse even than the Tonsiline brand cough syrup my parents dosed me with as a kid. It truly is nasty. Nevertheless, I had made up my mind to go through with this, so I held the mixture in my mouth and headed for the darkened bedroom where I planned to lie down.
One more thing to note on administering the tincture. One is advised to clear one’s mouth of as much saliva as possible before taking it. However, at least in my case, my salivary glands went into hyper-activity, secreting more to dilute the tincture further. As a result, I was only able to hold it in my mouth for a bit under 10 minutes rather than the recommended 15 minutes. Not to worry – the effects of salvia were making themselves felt after only a few minutes had passed.
After lying on the bed I found I had to sit up due to the increased salivation or else I would swallow the load in my mouth. This worked for a time, as noted above.
With my eyes open, I noted similarities with my LSD experiences of 50 years ago.
I noted similarities with my LSD experiences of 50 years ago.
Colors were vibrant and seemed to be broken down in a pointillist manner. Once I shut my eyes, the difference between the two chemicals became dramatically apparent to me. As I recall, the hallucinations or visions induced by LSD had a flat quality to them, as though they were being formed or projected directly upon the retinae or optic nerves. With salvia however the first thing I noticed was that the visuals had a real depth to them. 3-D which portended that things, beings, whatever, might come out of some unknown place to me or, vice versa, that I might be drawn into some deep place that I knew nothing about. Call it inner space or by some other name, but this was my first hint at just how tangible and beyond conceptualization this is.
I realized at this time that listening to relaxing music might be of help. I went to my home office and cranked up my desktop computer; then tried to bring up some meditational music on YouTube. For some reason, nothing would play, despite the fact that the day earlier had been listening to music at this site. I fooled around with it for precious minutes before deciding to look at art works and videos to test their effects while under the influence. Before long however, the salvia wore off and I came down, as the saying goes.
Later, I realized that what I was doing was classic avoidance: get involved in outside activities to avoid having to deal with my insides. Here was a vehicle for undertaking meaningful psychonautic journeys – and I had not been ready for it. I think this is because despite all of the reading I had done on the subject, nothing substitutes for phenomenological experience.
One more thing. On the come-down, I wondered how my writing would be affected. I wrote the next scene in the novel. The next day, I had to completely rewrite it, as it was so bad.
Will I use salvia in the future? I’m pretty sure that I will.
For the past 18 months I regularly take prescription meds for atrial fibrillation. These include Warfarin to thin my blood. I also take nonprescription herbal meds for this and other conditions such as high cholesterol.
I experienced no interactions whatsoever with the salvia.
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