Citation: Mother Nature's Son. "A Cleansing Therapy: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (fresh leaves) (exp15393)". Erowid.org. Apr 15, 2005. erowid.org/exp/15393
I was first introduced to Salvia Divinorum in July of 2001. I was living in New York City at the time, and two months previous I had my first experience with Psilocybin Mushrooms. I found that experience incredibly rewarding and divine, and thus my interest in the world of psychotropic plants was sparked.
One evening after work, on a crowded subway car, I glanced over the shoulder of a man reading an article in The New York Times entitled 'New Cautions Over A Plant With A Buzz.' In the hustle and bustle of the subway car, I was able to read the first few lines of the article and knew that I would need to buy the newspaper and read the entire article after my run in Central Park.
I read the article, and was subsequently astonished at the Salvia trip reports I researched online. Two weeks later I had my first experiences with a Salvia extract, and smoked Salvia leaves. Those experiences solidified my views of perception and the nature of our experience and reality. Although I did not partake of Salvia again, that summer was filled with much personal and spiritual growth…and then the events of September 11, 2001 changed the course of my life, and my views of the world.
Due to the economic downturn following the September 11th attacks, I found myself among the over 100,000 people unemployed in New York City in the autumn of 2001. Reluctantly, I was forced to leave New York City in January of 2002. I moved in with in-laws living in a warm, semi-tropical climate.
Still unemployed, but in a new environment, I filled my days with my new favorite pastime, gardening. I found gardening incredibly creative and fulfilling. Since I was now living in an ideal environment for growing Salvia Divinorum, I ordered two cuttings of Salvia (one Hofmann-Wasson, and one Blosser strain.) I raised the two plants with great attention and care, and they quickly grew to many times their original size.
After several months of unsuccessful job hunting in my new home, I found myself longing for my old life in pre September 11th New York. I was still unemployed after eight months, and had no job prospects. My career seemed over. I wondered where my life was going, and what my future held. I had lost my enthusiasm and much of my hope for the future, especially given the tottering world situation. I was mildly depressed.
I had been waiting for the right time to partake of my Salvia plants, but up until now, the time did not feel right. I did not want to utilize the Salvia because I was simply bored and restless. I respected my plants and myself too much for that.
Then, one night I had a dream about the Salvia plants. In the dream, I saw that someone had made cuttings from my plants, and planted them into a new container. In my dream, I knew it was my mother who had made the cuttings, although I did not see her do it. In the morning, when I woke up, I thought that perhaps this was a sign that it was time to partake of my Salvia, and then I realized that it was exactly nine months to the day of September 11th, 2001. The passage of nine months felt very symbolic to me. The time was right. I was ready to partake of the Salvia I had been cultivating.
I decided to attempt a mild dose of Salvia in solitude. That evening was a warm, rainy night. I thanked the two Salvia plants for their presence in my life and asked for their permission to use their leaves. I also said a little prayer for a positive, rewarding experience. I then began plucking six medium to large sized leaves off of the two plants, and as if on cue, a gentle rain started falling when I harvested the last leaf.
I decided that I wanted to partake of the Salvia outdoors in the warm, rainy night, so I set up a reclining chair near the two Salvia plants and settled into the chair with the leaves on my chest. I was laying in such a manner that the rain was gently lapping at my feet and lower legs, while the rest of my body was under a roofed canopy and was kept from getting wet.
Putting the six leaves directly in my mouth would have been difficult because of their size, so instead I lay the six leaves on top of one another, and tore them into bite size pieces, which I put in my mouth and began to chew, little by little. I did not find the bitterness unpleasant, and I noticed that the fresh leaves produced much less extraneous saliva than the Salvia extract did. As I lay there chewing, I was trying to have positive, grateful thoughts, and again thanked the plants for allowing me to partake of them.
I felt no effects for the first several minutes. Then the rain started to fall more intensely, and I wondered if I should move indoors. I decided to stay where I was. I was eagerly anticipating the effects of the Salvia, but I apprehensively wondered if I should have used a sitter since it had been such a long time since my last Salvia experience, and fresh, personally grown leaves are supposed to be stronger than other leaves. It was then that I began to feel the subtle and instantly familiar waves of movement passing through and around me. I began to get excited and a little nervous. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and felt a slight pressure there. I relaxed and told myself not to worry.
I began seeing subtle and fleeting closed eye visuals moving in slow waves from my right field of vision to my left. The closed eye visuals were faint greenish glows that corresponded with the waves of movement that I felt moving through me, but when I opened my eyes the visuals were gone. My vision of the yard with my eyes open was completely normal. I closed my eyes to get back into the rhythm of the Salvia.
I then felt a second wave of movement flowing through me. This one was more intense. It felt as if I was being gently massaged through the fabric of the reclining chair I was laying on. My arms and legs began to feel like jelly. I don’t know if it had stopped raining, but if it was, I was no longer feeling the raindrops on my legs. My mind quieted and the feeling of movement became stronger.
The sheer physicality of the Salvia experience always astounds me. I could have sworn someone or some force was supporting me by my elbows and legs and slowly moving my extremities in gentle, soothing circles. I then recalled the sensory memory of when I smoked Salvia for the first time, and felt like I was being pulled out of my body through the top of my head, the way that one removes ones arm out of a tight fitting sweater. The feeling was strangely euphoric, and I had not remembered its intensity until this moment and prepared for that sensation once again.
The closed eye visuals grew stronger, but instead of a greenish glow, I was focusing on a black void that was forming before me. The void felt utterly calm, empty and vast. I wanted to move into it. I felt as if something would be shown to me there. I began to feel as if my body was dissolving into my surroundings. Unfortunately, at that moment a light in a neighbor’s yard was turned on, and the light that it cast on my eyelids lessened my perceptions of the void and the sensations that I was feeling. I covered my eyes with my hands, and that seemed to add to the depth of the void, but holding my arms in that position was not relaxing. I wished I had goggles to completely cover my eyes. I then found noises from my neighbor’s yard distracting, and decided I should move indoors.
I slowly stood up from my reclined position. My body felt very awkward and heavy as I moved indoors to my bed. I put a pillow over my eyes for complete darkness, and in the void that I was perceiving, a smoky greenish glow seemed to be taking shape. I noticed that if I looked into the void, as if I were peering at something at a very great distance, the shapes would be activated more, and perception of depth and three-dimensionality would grow. I tried to concentrate and look into infinity, but the effects of the Salvia were dissipating.
I had a peculiar sensibility as the Salvia was wearing off. Curiously, I had this same experience the last time I had used Salvia. I felt a negative, angry, hidden part of myself attempting to attach itself to my ego and thoughts. In my mind’s eye, I saw it as a scowly-faced version of myself. I became aware that this part of me lurks in my subconscious like a parasite, and that I must be vigilant in fighting off its negative influence if I want to remain a happy, fulfilled person.
When I fell asleep that night, I had exceedingly pleasant dreams of my family, and of taking a joyful walk in the streets of New York City. I felt a positive energy with me throughout the next day, which I still have. I had not felt so assured in some time.
I am grateful to the Salvia for cleansing me of my scowly-faced self, and for showing me that vigilance is required to fight off negative thoughts and emotions which can color my experience, and life in detrimental ways. Salvia set me back on a positive path.
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