Psychedelic Self-Therapy
Salvia divinorum
Citation:   Unwinder. "Psychedelic Self-Therapy: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp31569)". Aug 10, 2006.

T+ 0:00
0.75 ml sublingual Salvia divinorum (liquid)
  T+ 4:00 0.75 ml sublingual Salvia divinorum (liquid)
  T+ 8:00 0.75 ml sublingual Salvia divinorum (liquid)
After spending the last few weeks engrossed in reading about the work of Stanislav Grof, I had been preparing for my first psychedelic session.

Previous to encountering the whole subject of psychedelic therapy at the beginning of this year, I had no interest in drugs or mind-altering chemicals. For a short while I was sort of playfully interested in the idea of taking some Amanita Muscaria, but that really never transpired. I have never taken any other drug and with the exception of someone spiking my drink once, which led to a momentary buzz, I have never consumed alcohol.

Long story short, my main 'quest' in life is to get beyond all my petty neuroses and begin living life. I have so many issues with the world-- some mild, some not-- that I started to notice myself running around in circles, and seeing the futility of many of my outward pursuits. So I know I have some inner situations which need confrontation. I have dabbled in many self-help systems but have only discovered that my particular constellation of issues is unresponsive to anything which relies on my own active, willful involvement in the process. Thus I was looking for something more like a 'reset button' to help me proceed, temporarily against my own will, if need be. Combine this perspective with my interest in Stan Grof's work and one can see why chemicals interest me all of a sudden.

So my intention in using any drug is to confront my own past, especially the birth trauma, and whatever else exists before that. I am intentionally seeking out that which is unbearable and painful, because I believe that is the key to being healed and made free.

Okay, now the setting:

I was initially looking for a house in which to spend an entire day preparing for the experience, but I did not succeed in arranging that, and so decided to simply use my apartment. In fact, many of the preparations were sub-optimal, but I didn't want to put this experience off any further, because I know conditions will never be perfect.

I put my bed mattress on the floor and prepared myself to lie down during the experience. I intended to use the standard protocol for psychedelic therapy: eyeshades and headphones. (The music was Aphex Twin's 'Selected Ambient Works Vol. II') However, due to an annoying car alarm outside, which was bothering my sitter, I unplugged the headphones and opted instead to fill the room with the music.

My apartment is nothing fancy, but very simple and I don't have any particular emotional charge attached to my bedroom (not having lived here very long). The windows were covered to admit no light and so the room was entirely dark except for a night-light. It was about 2pm in the afternoon before we got underway.

The dosage:

I took the tincture, using the staggered dose method: 1 dropper-full held sublingually for 4 minutes, swallowed, and then followed by another-- a total of 3 dropper-fulls. I did not dilute the mixture and so my mouth did burn quite noticeably, and even now, 24 hours later, beneath my tongue is still raw. I think I will use a diluted mixture in the future (my reason for not doing so was to preserve the efficacy of the tincture, which is apparently weakened when diluted).

I am not sure if this interfered with the absorption, but due to the irritation caused by the alcohol in the tincture, my mouth filled up almost entirely with saliva on the second step of the dose-staggering. But the 3rd step was not terribly affected this way.

The experience:

The most immediate, noticeable effect upon swallowing the final dropperful (after holding it), was the laughter. This probably kicked in about five minutes after swallowing. I didn't laugh too much, really, but after a short while I found it odd to be laughing, as I did not find anything particularly funny. But it was a really genuine laugh, and I was glad to be confirming the archetypal salvia experience so soon. I vaguely recall some kind of strange felt observation about my sitter (who is my girlfriend), something about the nature of being attracted to her. But it was very dreamy and not terribly forceful and so I do not recall what it was.

The second track on the Aphex Twin CD, 'Radiator,' was driving me nuts. I asked my sitter 'how long has this song been on??'-- a little unsure if I could still talk, but glad to find out that I could indeed-- because it seemed to be playing without end. I was having memories or just general impressions of some kind of playful, childlike atmosphere-- very Willy Wonka-esque. So I was glad when the CD moved to the next track. This was the first time I listened to said CD; in the future I will use something I am more familiar with, so as to have a better idea of where I am-- 'tripping or not?'

I was trying to recall various things from childhood, to test my memory, as I have read that Salvia expands one's access to early memories. I wouldn't say I was having trouble remembering, but the associations seemed much slower in forming than I was used to. Compared to my Salvia experience, normal mental functioning feels sharp and precise, maybe even a little hyperactive. I remember wondering if the sort of mental dreaminess I was experiencing was how plants experienced the world. I have not experienced LSD, but I remember wanting to tell my sitter that it felt like I was experiencing 'tracers'-- not visual, but mental. It felt like one thought, one feeling was blurring into another.

I started to remember some sort of idea, or complex feeling ('gestalt'?) from childhood, but I couldn't really get a handle on it. I was remembering some toys in the garage at my old house, but it wasn't very clear to me. Just a general impression that they were there, and sort of the mental 'feeling' associated with it. Like a younger view of the world. But that sort of morphed into another feeling or vision of the car my mom drove when I was much younger. This impressed me but I couldn't really go further with it.

After that, I do not remember anything concrete, as I fell asleep. When I awoke I asked my sitter how long it had been since the beginning of the experience, but she had fallen asleep too. We estimated about 40 or 50 minutes.


I didn't notice any sluggishness or lack of motor control or anything like that after waking up. I made it to my bathroom just fine and even drove my girlfriend to her house about 25 minutes after my experience. Granted, my dose was (apparently) too small, but I figure that was worth mentioning.

In conclusion, this experience was inconclusive :) It rates fairly low on the Salvia scale, judging from other reports. It is my intention to assess the possibility of using Salvia as a mental exploratory tool for opening up my unconscious and getting rid of my 'junk.' I would use LSD if it were legal and easy to obtain in a pure form, but that seems a bit difficult in this day and age.

I still have a whole bottle of this stuff left, so I am going to continue experimenting with it until I run out, or determine conclusively that it is not conducive to the sort of experience I am looking to have. The fact that people can experience such horrific things while under the influence of this plant is part of my attraction to it; I want something that will 'tell it like it is,' and show me the dark aspects of my own psyche. To that end I am also interested in Ibogaine.

Exp Year: 2004ExpID: 31569
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: Not Given
Published: Aug 10, 2006Views: 19,621
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Salvia divinorum (44) : General (1), Small Group (2-9) (17)

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