Citation: Mudskipper. "Hurtling Nowhere: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp21657)". Erowid.org. Feb 27, 2003. erowid.org/exp/21657
I am in my late thirties, work in a profession, have not smoked tobacco for several years having previously been a heavy smoker, and drink very little alcohol.
I have not used controlled substances in the last twenty years - as a youngster I used cannabis quite regularly, but that's really about it.
I do meditate occasionally and can sit for half an hour quite comfortably.
I am educated to postgrad level in rational disciplines (Physics, Maths, Computers) though I had a strong religious upbringing (Catholic Christian). Whilst rationality has dominated my adult life, certainly since I turned from the Catholic church at the age of ten or so, before this I had quite a mystical understanding of existence. Anyhoo, to the experience...
I'd seen advertisements for Salvia in various magazines and thought it very unlikely that any effective substance could remain legal - but I was half curious...
And so, I read as much as I could find on the internet and elsewhere I thought I'd give it a try.
From what I'd read I expected to lose my identity and be separated from a consensual sense of my surroundings - I half expected to pass out into total insensibility, which would have been pointless. I thought I'd give it a try anyway.
The pipe and Salvia 10x extract were ordered and arrived. I chose to experiment on a day when, as a family, we'd been able to get out and have a walk in the country. We were all chilled, the world was as good as ever and the kids were in bed.
I gave my wife a print off from the FAQ, clocked the frown on her face (she has no interest in psychoactive substances) and explained that it was worse case scenario - it wasn't going to happen. I must admit I was a little apprehensive myself having read some of the reports about salvia I’d found, but I felt relaxed and I was determined to go on with it.
My wife seemed reassured, asked if she would be able to get on with her studies (aye) and I settled down with the DVD Baraka playing - thinking that there'd be nothing there to send my thoughts anywhere negative. I'll say right at the outset that I had four blasts, and each was similar and yet very different.
Number 1 (T=00 min): Seatbelts On and Chocks Away
The pipe was loaded with a minute amount of tobacco to cover the bottom of the pipe (no screens) and I judged a light twentieth of the contents of the phial by eye.
I sat and watched the film for five minutes and then took my first drag on the pipe drawing a match flame through the leaf which burned very easily. The smoke was quite easy on the mouth and chest. The effects began to come on whilst I counted thirty and I quicky lit another match and took another drag to finish the pipe. Having lit the pipe with a fair amount of resigned trepidation I was immediately elated by the sense of the trip.
Firstly, there was an enormous sense of increased weight, but I easily sat upright, pulled a few cushions down into a bed and got myself more prone - this seemed much more appropriate. I seemed to have interpreted the increased sense of weight entirely as acceleration and so had this very profound sense of hurtling forward and yet testimony of my eyes was that I was not moving at all.
This was not at all confusing, it seemed perfectly natural.
The universe then split into planes, a total Cartesian breakdown of reality. The strangest thing is that everything looked exactly (and I mean EXACTLY) the same, but it wasn't - it was completely different.
I turned to my wife at this point to reassure her that I was cool and she wouldn't have to contend with a berserker around the house but I just laughed instead as I tried to speak but couldn't be bothered then I laughed some more because she was certainly seeing me as a giggling idiot on the usual living room floor when I was in fact in a completely alternative universe - but anyway, I figured the laugh would reassure her and I got on with MY studies :-)
This Cartesian universe, you might wonder just how that shaped up. I was compelled to see the universe as planes continuing from objects in the room and in the scenes of the film - there really was no differentiation between the film and my own reality, planes extended out of the television and into my room and vice versa. The planes ran in three orthogonal directions and were constantly shifting. There was an enormous sense that this was the real universe, much more vibrant than (but remember, visually identical to) the universe my wife was in, over there at the table. So this continued and then slowly and gently settled to normality. I was able to speak to my wife and tell her I was fine, and decided I'd be having another pipe with a little more in it.
Number 2 (T=15 min): A Brief Eternity
The gravity has weakened and I'm sat up cleaning the pipe and preparing it again. I light the match and take a long drag and immediately I'm out into the other universe - still looks the same as the old one but it isn't. I take another drag without a match this time, using the heat of the embers - probably not good, but lets not be greedy I'm already there. Here I discover that I am accelerating towards whatever I am looking at, the television before, the ashtray now. My personality disintegrates whenever I don't attend to it and returns on request, but always there is a very clear consciousness which I readily identify as 'I'. 'I' look toward my wife, pull in the personality and recall all the familiar facts - wife, two children, sat in living room, smoking Salvia - but it's different. I consider moving around to confirm the similarities (check the kids are where they usually are, that the bathroom is where I last saw it, that sort of thing), but there's no point. They're in another universe like the one I left. I came from there a moment ago and I'll be going back there in another moment, but I've been here forever and I'll stay here forever. Again, two contradictory senses sitting quite happily together. No sense of incompatibility about it at all. I wondered whether to panic about this incongruity but thought 'Nah!', because I knew both senses were right and I'd be back with my family, and was in fact still with them and then I was indeed back with them. I sat with it a few more minutes and then got up to speak to my wife, feeling relaxed, and offered her a coffee. We sat and chatted about her work. Then I left her to it, popped Koyaanisqatsi on the DVD, built another pipeful and finished my coffee (decaf, by the way). Ready to go...
Number 3 (T=50 min): Reality is in My Attention
My wife has had enough work and sits behind me on the sofa as I light the pipe for the third time. I feel the movement out into the other sense count and then exhale. I have another match ready to finish off the load and this is the larger part of the dose. I'm away. But on the way I've a strong sense, as I figuratively turn to her, that I would like my wife to give up her reality for a moment and come and check out this real reality. I have a strong sense of distancing from her even though I know she's only a few feet away there's also a sense that she is a universe away too. There's no fear or anxiety about this, just an almost emotionless desire that she should see what's going on here. Well, off to real reality we go. Real reality was soaring no, hurtling with the bubbling clouds that were now flowing across the screen in front of me. I could differentiate between the images on the television, knowing intellectually exactly what they were, and the images of my living room - but there really was no difference either. My hurtling through the earthscapes of Koyaanisquatsi was every bit as real as my hurtling nowhere on the cushions on my living room floor. And then a slowly back. This was probably the most intense experience and the return to normality came in fragments until I was aware of place and circumstances (strange I should say this because during the 'trip' there was no sense at all that I was ever unaware of place and circumstances). So we have another pair of contradictions sitting quite happily together - consensus reality and a representation of the same being subsumed and merged in a more real reality which can reside only in my mind. I'd intended this to be the last smoke but, well, you know...
Number 4 (T=80 min): And When My Attention is Gone?
My wife has been napping and sees I'm building another, asks me in that tone how many I'm having. 'One more than I thought I would, just checking that I've got it straight.' So I fill the pipe, no tobacco to hold it this time, then pop a bit back in the phial - 'Don't want to be silly about it!' Lit up and smoked and now my eyes are drooping. And my ears are drooping. And the alternative universe I've been tied to by my senses, the one I've just left, the one I've been observing from this new more real reality is turning inside out in a schluppy kind of way. I'm aware that I'm going, but remain perfectly relaxed about it - just give in to it. I see my descent/movement/shift. I see/hear the universe turn inside out at the rim of my eyelids and at the auditory nerve or somewhere deeper. I am nobody no one in a grey formless nowhere nowhen. Just that. And I know it too. That 'I' is absolutely all there is. It knows it's relationship to all the universes I've mentioned here and opening my eyes it finds its way back. But I close them, and there 'I' am again - just consciousness, and perfectly familiar to me. Then I decide it's time to surface and I'm back as simply as that. Eyes open, calm and cheerful.
The overall feeling, following the experience, is that what I'd been experiencing was a one hundred and fifty decibel version of the Tao, the unity of the buddah, the am that Jesus was. I was in a state where there simply were no contradictions in senses, thoughts and experiences that were intellectually contradictory. They are very similar to transient fragments of experience I've had in meditative states, both sitting and in the world at large - but delivered with a sledgehammer. I was deeply comfortable with the experience - euphoric and entirely relaxed. I had a drink as I half watched the end of the film and then went to bed. We made passionate love and I slept very soundly. I am not aware that I dreamed at all, but I did surface from sleep feeling very well and settled down again.
I awoke feeling quite refreshed but with a mild wooliness about my mind and a slightly trippy sense. Bear in mind I probably had an unusually large amount for a first try. I rescheduled my plans for paragliding the next day - I really was not up to that. I won't be doing it on the evening before a work day, just to be sensible about it. At a very concrete level I have had demonstrated to me that I am not what I appear to be at any particular moment, nor is the world around me what it appears to be.
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