Citation: Vulpine. "Reality is a Five Spoked Wheel: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp45012)". Erowid.org. Oct 30, 2007. erowid.org/exp/45012
A friend gave me some '10x' salvia divinorum that was a mixture of homegrown leaf strengthened with a purchased extract. I believe my previous experiences were also with a 10x extract, although it could have been merely a 5x. I had kept it tucked away for future use. Tonight, my friend sent me a trip report of a salvia user in his household that sparked the notion that it was the right time.
Another issue involved was that I have recently been feeling some resurgence of my fear of mortality and death (perhaps because my usual ritual to come to acceptance of this, Burning Flipside, a regional Burning Man event, was less than transcendent for me this year) and thought perhaps the loss of ego I had found in previous salvia experiences might help.
Finally, one of the oddest notions that had come to me in the immediate aftermath of tripping recently on DMT (but still obviously experiencing the psychological effects) was that salvia and DMT were seeded on earth and/or allowed communication with opposing extraterrestrial (extraplanar?) forces. I didn't expect the trip to lend any further polish to this weird idea (and it didn't) but it definitely was on my mind.
I did my best to prepare the environment: I turned off my computer and the A/C because I remembered that distracting noises had been annoying during previous experiences. Expecting to take several hits, I prepared a sizable bowl in my bong. I shut off all the lights, but was once again struck by the fact that my apartment just isn't all that dark with all the lights out -- there is too much ambient light. I fished out a blindfold I keep for kinky purposes and placed it on my head but without covering my eyes, with the intention of pulling it over my face as the trip came on, to shut out all light.
My cat comes over as I am about to take a hit and I hope she doesn't bug me during the trip, but in actuality I have no awareness whatsoever of her until some semblance of normal consciousness returns.
I lift up the bong and the lighter. I take a strong, deep hit and hold it, expecting it to be the first of two or three. As I hold my breath and count to 60 in my head, I watch the blinking lights on my cable modem (which I had not shut off) across my apartment. I become conscious that they seem to be receding far into the distance.
A thought, remembered clearly: This is coming on very quick. I don't think I'm going to have time for a second or third hit.
Another thought that followed: Hmm, I didn't fix my intentions for this trip in my head as clearly as I normally attempt to do before taking a psychedelic.
I exhale and all concrete thought is obliterated.
As is so frequently the case with this kind of experience, the very act of putting it into concrete language diminishes the experience. The very nature of the psychedelic experience, by it's very real otherness
from everyday experience, means that it cannot be properly defined in the language of that everyday experience. Often, when 'coming up' onto a more gradual entheogen like mushrooms, I have had a thought along the lines of 'Oh yes, this is what it's really like to be here,' because I realize again anew how much my recollections and writings after the fact can only pale in comparison to the reality, or maybe more properly the un
reality of tripping.
This drastic shift is made perhaps all the more stark by the fact that on this salvia trip, as is so common with this drug, I completely forgot
that I had taken anything; indeed I forgot so completely that maybe I couldn't even have explained to you (to the extent that I could have done anything) that such a class of substances we call 'drugs' (or psychedelics or entheogens or whatever) even existed at all.
I set the bong down, and some part of me is aware that my torso is falling back so that I will lay prone on the bed, only it seems like an incredibly long fall. A very long fall indeed. I don't know if I actually pulled the blindfold fully on.
Because my time sense was temporarily non-functional, the rest of this paragraph seemed to happen/coexist simultaneously. All statements were true at once: I was a five-pointed wheel. Reality itself was the five-spoked wheel. It was actually not 'flat' in the way a wheel is flat. It had infinite depth, like each spoke of the wheel was a long shelf stretching out into the distance. It was kind of like a paddle wheel on a boat, only each of the five buckets was infinitely long and deep. I was actually a consciousness inside the tumbling object, rotating in it's chambers while aware of all the chambers. They were full of light and beautifully riotous colors. As I tumbled in my colorful bucket, through an opening in my chamber I could sometimes see out into another world, the base or real
reality. What I could see of this world consisted of a grassy green plain upon which an infinite number of feet (wearing sneakers??) were moving -- engaged in the act of rolling or rotating the bizarre wheeled object I was inside; I could even hear the feet striking the ground and feel the vibration from all those marching feet in my body. I became cognizant that my entire life, or what I had perceived it to be, all 27 years, were actually an illusion. They were merely a fancy I had generated while watching the interplay of light, color, and shadow in my bucket. Any minute now I would be tumbled out onto the grass, forever lost from this false, comfortable reality and loosed into the base reality outside, forever cut off from the illusion of my life I was used too.
A profound sense of panic and fear came over me. I didn't want to be cut off from the life I had known, I really liked it! I began to struggle and flail in my chamber, trying to pull myself away from the opening. If I pulled away at just the right moment I could return away from the base reality to the reality I was familiar with. If only I could just ...
Some tiny semblance of normality came back (remember, all of the above occurred to me within the space of minutes or seconds of normal time) as I again became aware I was lying on my bed with a blindfold on my face (I think maybe only partly covering my eyes) which I removed with great effort. The memory of smoking a hit of very potent salvia divinorum slowly, very dimly, struggled back into my mind. As if for reassurance of this fact, but really still with little conscious thought, I groped for the bong. Somehow I found it without knocking it over.
The panic and fear were fading but the room kept threatening to continue it's maddening rotation. Everything was jiggly and turning. It felt stiflingly hot in my apartment. Still not really sober, I got to my feet and managed to turn the A/C back on. I had the fleeting notion, obviously false, that for the last several minutes I hadn't been breathing at all. Realizing I shouldn't be moving much yet I sat for a few moments in the chair by my computer before I had enough balance and togetherness to go out onto my deck for fresh air. I sat by the door for a bit, breathing the humid but lightly breezy seeming night air, then went to lean on my balcony and look at the world.
Another fleeting, irrational thought: what if someone sees me on drugs and calls the cops? This paranoid impracticality was quickly suppressed by the everyday logic that there is nothing about a shirtless man leaning on his balcony to suggest a drug user or to otherwise merit a call to the police.
Probably because I was fighting so hard against the effects of the drug, which right then didn't seem pleasant at all, the comedown seemed to take much longer. I went back inside and pet the cat while sitting on the small bed in my living room that I use mostly as a couch. I thought about the notion I heard secondhand from the Tibetan Book of the Dead
which suggests that when you die entities come whose job it is to dismantle your ego -- what makes you the person who you are. If you are ready for them, they appear as angels but if you struggle they seem to be demons. That night, they had definitely been demons rather than angels.
I decided to go for a walk -- I felt trapped inside the four walls of my apartment and even more so inside the boundaries of my skull (a peculiar feeling). I managed to find a shirt and shoes and my keys. I walked around my apartment complex, then I decided I needed a shower to cool down and cleanse myself. I walked to the corner store and got some cold iced tea to drink and a bar of soap since I had run out. I felt more stable and balanced now, well enough grounded, but still distanced from reality as if I was watching everything from a remove.
The shower was very refreshing and pretty much cleansed the rest of the weirdness and brought me more or less back down to earth, leaving the customary feeling of groundedness I usually have after salvia trips. I feel quite alive and very glad (also, relieved) to be so. This is a good feeling. However, I don't think I've achieved increased acceptance of the impermanence of all things (what my new acquaintance earlier tonight referred to on IM as the 'law of undulation').
While I stood on my deck I had the certainty that I wouldn't want to try salvia again for a while. However, now I think I'll probably go back sometime soon with the intention to let go more fully and try to accept the angels as angels.
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