Citation: MediaMan. "The Reality Factory: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (10x extract) (exp42154)". Erowid.org. Jun 11, 2007. erowid.org/exp/42154
The initial stages were great. My entire body felt as if every one of my limbs were vibrating in tandem, as if I were more stoned than I have ever been in my entire life. Still, I paid money to see some god damned hallucinations, not feel happy. So I took another hit. At that moment, as soon as I put the bowl down, I see a rainbow outline around everything, but a faint one as if I just pressed my fingers against my eyes really hard and then released. That’s the last thing I remember before reality dropped out on me.
I remember what I felt, but it's difficult to explain in words. First I saw a reality factory where everything I see, everything I KNOW, everything I experienced and will ever experience is made, ever! Everything is made in this factory and it comes out in, like, 1-second sort of paintings, slides, like frames of film. They are thick, though, at least a foot, if not more. And they're made of plastic, sort of. Not smooth plastic, but like thick children's plastic. The kind some toys are made of.
Then I saw a loaf of bread, except the bread is all the reality slides that that were made at the reality factory. And everything we know of reality is the flipping of all these countless frames, all through eternity. Again, like frames of film. Another user wrote that it was like pages in a book. I'd be inclined to agree. I felt as if I had always known this, but it was at the part of my mind I tend to ignore, like what I ate for breakfast, but far, far more distant, as if when experiencing it, I had to remind myself that “Yes, I remember knowing this all along.” And then this memory comes back to me in one searing moment of horrible knowledge where I see everything, the backstage of reality, how everything is, the true nature of reality, in one instant.
I felt like, all of the sudden, there were other ways it could have been, other realities, other things. I felt like that if I went back to this world I came from, I would forget the true nature of reality, I would forget the truth, that perhaps reality could have been made differently in the factory, that we're not necessarily unique, that what we experience, THIS REALITY is not necessarily unique.
I became aware of my own existence as a character in a frame. But my old reality was trying to pull me back. I remember there was a point 'N' tried to remind me I was on salvia, but I didn't believe him. I thought it was a trick from my old reality. He was eventually just a head amid a swirling pattern and I didn't believe him when he said I was hallucinating. I was, like, 'No! It's a trap to get me to come back to this reality! I can't get stuck again! I can't go back to not knowing!' and so much of the trip was me swimming against this tide, against this fake world. I was being buffeted by these fake worlds, it was like I was swimming through it, but I wasn't really, that was the best way to describe it. It was like swimming in the ocean during a storm and wave after wave smacks me in the face as I desperately try to swim onward. Movement felt very difficult but extremely necessary, lest the old reality catch me and make me a part of it again.
I see a door and walk towards it. As soon as I take a step, I hit something made of plastic and I realize that I just hit what was a drawing, a very realistic drawing, upon a one foot thick sheet of plastic. Like in roadrunner cartoons, where the coyote draws a tunnel on a big rock, hoping that the roadrunner will smash himself against it. As soon as I realize this is fake, it falls over and I’m presented with another, slightly different view of my vision a little closer to the door. I move again, but once again I hit a wall and despite frantically clawing at the thing, I confirm it is indeed another fake. But then as soon as I realize this, it, too, falls over and another, slightly different view, presents itself. Whenever I realize a view is fake, it immediately looks surreal and cartoonish to me. I kept thinking I needed a safe place to go, like I was drowning in a pool. It was positively frightening.
I repeated this until my friend led me to the couch. I was blind - I was seeing things but interpreting what I was seeing in a totally different way as to lose all recognition of them. Socks, for example - when I grabbed my friend 'N''s leg, I saw his sock, but viewed it as something else entirely. It was as if instead of distinct objects, there were just shapes and colors which re-arranged themselves into other distinct objects that were totally alien. Sounds, too, became unrecognizable, despite the fact I could still hear them. I just couldn't understand them. In retrospect, it was almost as if I'd reverted into an infant mentality, where I didn't yet know what anything was yet and was still coming to grips with fundamental concepts we all take for granted.
On the couch, I went through stages. First I was desperately fighting to will my body back to the fight, so I wouldn’t get caught back in this reality. I felt like reality was closing in around me. I actually felt a physical pressure around all my limbs, my head, my whole body - it became almost impossible to move, as if I were in a me-shaped box that only gave me about 1/2 an inch of wiggle room and if I stood still too long, I would be trapped again in my frame, never again to know the truth. But, on the other hand, to not be as terrified as I was before. It was a Faustian bargain. Because it felt so good to be still. My fighting to be free grew less and less and I came down from the trip more and more. Eventually, I became more and more settled into the idea, more and more accepting, of me coming back to my old reality. 'This is where I belong anyway. May as well' I thought. Like I was sliding into it, very slowly. I went from convinced that this reality is fake, or if not fake, one of hundreds of ways it could be, to asking myself whether this was real, to thinking this was probably real and then thinking this was definitely real. Though, now as I type this, the lingering doubts have returned. Maybe I did access some cosmic truth.
I'm wondering whether I will ever try it again. I'm not terribly sure. It was amazing. The peak was frightening, but the comedown and buildup was great. As I was coming down, I felt this incredibly stoned feeling, but with less cognitive effects. So my mind was free to not only think all these crazy thoughts, but to remember them for more than five seconds. I was able to carry them to their conclusions. Most of it was spent thinking about my trip. I will most definitely use less next time.
Unlike dreams, I have almost perfect recall of what happened. It's just putting things in terms of human words that's the problem. I feel like by writing this down, I'm translating another language - the reality factory is a metaphor, for example. I didn't actually see the reality factory, but it's the best way to describe the thick plastic reality slides. When expressing this to my roommate, she asked me 'Well, what made that reality?' I knew it was a question I should contemplate, but I was far too scared. I felt like I was swimming in an ocean in the middle of a storm, desperately trying to keep my head above water, knowing that if I sunk between realities, between slides, it would be a fate far worse than death.
Me coming back to reality, coming down from my trip, was the slow process of me eventually getting tired of fighting, tired of swimming and being buffeted by waves, and just giving up and sinking back to where I belonged. And I remember thinking 'Sure, this reality might be fake, but I belong here. This is where I'm supposed to be. So there's worse places to end up, even if I do wind up forgetting the truth.' Even typing this out is giving me the willies again. I can feel my muscles tightening up.
I was seriously in fight or flight panic. 'N' told me he was afraid I was going to start swinging. The weird part was that I had this huge urge to run outside. It's a good thing 'N' stopped me. Who the hell knows what terrible things I would have seen out there. Incidentally, I also took care to put any sharp objects away before I did this.
I'm adding this last paragraph in about seven months after my salvia trip. I've taken it one other time (at a Halloween party - never, EVER do that, trust me!) but have noticed that I feel very different when on marijuana than I did before. I used to never, ever get paranoid and now, unless I'm in a safe and comfortable place around people I trust, I begin to get very disturbed when stoned. I begin to fear things no logical person in their right mind should fear, such as owls coming out of the place where the ceiling and walls intersect and eating me. I have experienced flashbacks, though it has been months since my last one. In one, a two foot tall man-shaped blob knocked on my door and then ran away. In all the others, about three times and each less intense than the last, I re-experienced the reality factory slides and the lingering doubts as to the reality of this reality, but they were not even close to the intensity of the first trip. I say this now: respect this plant. And for god's sake, if there's anything that justifies having a sitter, this is it.
COPYRIGHTS: All reports are copyright Erowid and you agree not to download or analyze the report data without contacting Erowid Center and receiving permission first.
Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.