Citation: Faerie. "What If I Can't Come Back?: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (10x extract) (ID 35575)". Erowid.org. Apr 7, 2006. erowid.org/exp/35575
About six months ago, wondering the streets of San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury, me and Brian (my love of six years) ran across a smoke shop selling a legal drug called “Salvia Divinorum.” I had heard of it before, but I was extremely skeptical. After all, it’s completely illogical for a drug like marijuana, which is an overall mild and harmless drug to be illegal, while one that could supposedly cause intense hallucinations could be bought freely at the local smoke shop. But having easy access to either satisfied me enough, and we purchased 1 gram of 13x strength Salvia. However, I didn’t really think it would do anything.
And it didn’t. Despite decent bong rips, only some coughing, and holding the smoke in as long as possible, the effects were minimal, if not non-existent. I was disappointed, but I wasn’t expecting much in the first place, so we just smoked some pot and forgot about it. ...Until one day in April when we were walking Telegraph Avenue, looking for an escape from the mind-numbing studying that had been torturing us for the past hours. Passing by a smoke shop, in the corner of my eye I made out the words “Salvia Divanorum” on a sign on the open door. I had completely forgotten about Salvia until that moment, and remembered the “reverse tolerance” that was supposed to cause greater effects with each use. I thought maybe it would work this time, also considering that we were at our peak of taking bong rips. So we made the purchase of 1 gram of 10x strength (the strongest they had before 20x, and that was damn expensive) and went home.
I took a shower, dried off briefly, and slipped into some pajamas. We changed the bong water, pushed a screen into the bowl because the Salvia was so finely ground, and sat down in the room we’d inhabited for the past four or five months. I sat the bong down on the coffee table near the bed, and I took a seat directly on the bed while Brian pulled up a chair. Sitting across from one another, Brian gestured for me to take the first hit. I got the strange-smelling herb cooking and watched the chamber fill up with the white smoke that I took in deeply. Then I passed the bong to Brian. I was surprised at how much smoke I was getting out of the bong, and also how long I found I was able to hold it in. It seemed a lot easier than the first time we’d smoke it. I’d coughed before, but this time the smoke sat comfortably and deeply in my lungs. I was thinking about this briefly, midway through my third hit.
Then something happened. Something changed drastically, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Not wanting to panic, I tried to put the bong on the table, but I physically couldn't. I needed it to be far, far away, because somehow I knew I wouldn't be taking another hit. As I held it out I hoped Brian would grab it, because I was going to drop soon. In a half-conscious daze, I watched the thickest white cloud I’d ever seen escape from my lips, and as it filled my vision, my reality disappeared behind it. Unknowingly I slipped off of the bed onto my knees, just as this world slipped unknowingly from my mind.
I don’t know where I am. But I do, because this is all there is. There is no where. This is it. But how can that be? This room is all there is? Room. What is “room”? This isn’t a room... this is existence.
“The lamp was made to be on the table,” the narrator, a deep, distorted male voice sounded from somewhere above. I watched the blur of blue and white that was the lamp stretch vertically and fold sideways into the wooden strip that was the table. Then it went back to normal. Again in stretched and folded, becoming one with the table and then separating again, according to the perfect tempo of a musical score, or the mechanical precision of gears falling into place.
“The table was made to be on the floor” the voice echoed inside my head. As the lamp folded into the table and then reverted to normal, the table did its part to collapse against the blue of the carpet and then rise again to its regular shape. The lamp, table, and floor continued their sick dance, and I pitied them because I knew that they’d been doing that dance forever, and would continue to do it for eternity. But where am I...? This skin isn't mine. What is it that's pressing so forecefully against me? From everywhere. All directions. Me? Mine? Who am “I”? No, what is “I”?
“You were made to be on the floor.” I felt myself becoming one with the dance, and suddenly felt my body press into the carpet and then unfold from it. The blur of blue, white, tan, and blue forced itself up against my side and then unfolded. Each time it raised off of me, I knew that it would be only another moment before I became one with them again. Lamp. Table. Floor. Me.
Oh my God. I’m just another component to it. How ironic to pity them when I’m nothing more than them. I’m just another part of this dance, for someone else to watch. I’ll never have the chance to talk to anyone outside of this... I’ve always been here, doing this wretched dance that has no end. And this is what I’ll do until I die... But there is no dying. This is eternity. This world always has and always will be, and there’s nothing outside of it for you. There’s no escaping.
I felt as though I’d just woken up from a dream. I dreamed that I had free will, only to remember that this was my life: watching the lamp stretch sideways and fold into the table, watching the table collapse into the carpet, feeling myself being compacted into a strange blur with the other “components” and then being released from it momentarily, only to find the cycle begin again. For a brief moment I had wrongly believed myself to be some sort of higher being than them, but we’re just the same. Oh, it’s so sad...
I tried to remember the dream. Anything to think about other than this horrifying reality. Who was I? What was my life like in the dream? What did I look like? None of it would come, and I felt the deepest sorrow I’d ever experienced settle in the pit of my stomach. So this is it?
Then I saw someone else. Should I know him? No... He’s outside of the dance it seems, holding a bottle. Tequila. WAIT! I almost remembered my dream... That bottle reminds me of something from when I was dreaming... But damn. It’s gone. It slipped away. “He was made to stand by the wall.” The voice was firm and unrelenting. From my right side, the familiar blue, tan, blue pushed against me, and a blur of an all consuming white wall pressed against the tan and green that was the boy, which folded into me from the left. He had been sucked into the dance, or had he always been there? I don’t know... The dance grew less detailed, and now all I could see were the colors pushing into one another, mixing, pushing away from one other, and then coming together once more.
I can’t believe I’d never realized that this was my existence. Why did I have to find out now? I wish I had never realized. Ever. I would have been much happier existing this way and not knowing it. It’s so meaningless, so repetitive; so, so nothing. But this is how it is. And how it always will be. I can’t change it. Oh God, I can’t change it.
Very suddenly I was no longer on the floor, but I didn’t know where I was. Wherever it may be, I could still see the dance from there, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from it. But it was no longer precise. It grew distorted, slower, and the colors lazily flopped onto one another. I had been ripped from the dance, but I knew it could only be momentary. I was doomed to go back to it eventually.
“ASHLEY!” a different voice sounded from above me. What is that supposed to mean? I tried to glance away from the dance, but I could only manage to for but a second. The boy was floating above me, trying to communicate with me. How silly. That’s not the way it was meant to be. He should know that we don’t have free will here. I can’t talk to you, I wish I could, but I can’t. But it has always been this way. If you’re here too, you must know that. “Look at me! LOOK AT ME! ASHLEY, LOOK AT ME!” Ashley. It seems almost familiar. Familiar like the tequila bottle. Like from my dream. Come to think of it, he reminds me of my dream, too. But it was just a dream after all. Who knows when I might have another chance to dream? Maybe never. “You’re going to be okay, ASHLEY, LOOK AT ME, it’ll be fine.” Bitterly, I thought it wouldn’t be. How cruel to tell me it would, because I knew it wouldn’t. I’m stuck here forever, mindlessly folding, stretching, and mixing. Breaking?
I broke away and for a moment I slipped back into the dream. His hand clenched my face and forced me to look straight at him. I was on the bed, and he was above me. “Look at me!” he sounded frustrated now. I looked at him, but couldn’t help but let my eyes wonder at the surroundings, to see if the dance was still persisting. It was, and I saw the next component that was to be folded in.
“The blankets were made to be on the bed.” The blankets and the bed folded into one, and I knew I was next. Why did this boy offer me a glimmer of hope, if it was only to be snatched back in a moment? How cruel. He must have been playing a joke on me. That was merciless. “LOOK AT ME! ASHLEY!” Ashley. Ashley. So familiar. But wait, I do know him. He was my lover in my dream. What is he doing here? Then I remembered smoking. Could it be I was hallucinating? Salvia. Salvia. Right, I smoked. But my memory’s so fuzzy.
Suddenly it all made sense, and I felt more relief than I knew was possible to experience in one moment. I let out my best attempt at a laugh, realizing Brian must have been pretty worried, but I suspect it sounded more like a whimper. I was on the bed, with Brian looming over me, his hand still on my face. “I need to go outside,” I said quietly. “I need to go out.” “You’re not going anywhere!” he told me. He didn’t understand. I just had to make sure. I had to make sure there was something out there, that this room wasn’t the limit of all existence for me. Then I’d be okay. “Please? Please? Just outside the room?” I asked. I couldn’t muster the strength or the command of my mind to explain why at the time. He slowly rose from off of me and let me get up. I found my feet and the floor, and made it to the doorway. There was everything the way it had been before.
What had occurred in “this reality” was that I had slipped off the bed and stared ahead for a few minutes, my face filled with something like “hopeless terror.” Apparently, Brian had grabbed the tequila bottle to put away, as to not get in more trouble than necessary when he called the ambulance (we’re under 21), which he didn’t have to because I came out of it pretty quickly. But it seemed like so much longer. In all honesty I felt like I learned what eternity was in those few minutes. The “body high” that I felt throughout the entire trip could only be compared to the weight of the entire universe pushing in on every inch of my body. I completely forgot all aspects of my life, forgot who I was, and couldn’t recognize my boyfriend of six years.
Shrooms are for experiencing an altered reality, but Salvia transports me to an entirely new dimension, where the schemas that make so much sense in this world just don’t apply. I didn’t know it was possible to be transported to a different world and come back in a matter of minutes. Now I do, and I’m afraid. It felt like dying, where the afterworld was far from what you’d expect and you know you can’t come back.
Note: I have experienced some ongoing negative psychological effects due to this drug, so if you have a weak grasp on reality I wouldn’t suggest doing it. It has been almost four months since the described experience, but three times in those four months I have almost fallen back into the same trip. On none of these three occasions was I exposed to salvia. During one of them I had smoked absurd amounts of marijuana, and during another I was on shrooms. However, there was one time that I was completely sober and began feeling salvia-like effects: the unbearable body high and the feeling that this reality was fading rapidly. I offer no explanation because I don't know enough about it, but there's no mistaking the feeling of salvia. Just as acid has put many people in the crazy house, I suspect that this drug could do the same.
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