Citation: Cambioni. "Voices: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (exp47958)". Erowid.org. Apr 18, 2006. erowid.org/exp/47958
I will try to explain my experience in the most coherent terms, that is I will attempt to describe the experience in a way that can be understood by someone with little or no experience in hallucinogens. Although, that's probably not possible and this will just look like muddled trash, but hey I'll try. Keep in mind though, that Salvia is fucked-up, and like most psychedelics produces an experience 'above' the rational and coherent. Salvia really is completely different and incomparable to other drugs; but if you need some kind of model, the best I can do is that I have motor functions akin to that of being drunk or on inhalents, the light-headedness of cannabis, the hallucinogenic results similar to mushrooms and my memory(?) and the over all feel of a dream. See, I told you it wouldn't help.
I have smoked mainly cannabis and been on a few trips with shrooms, but since they were made illegal (I'm in the U.K.) they became nearly impossible to get a hold of. Acid, DMT and Mescaline and others are impossible to get a hold of, so I tried other avenues. Salvia interested me because a friend once told me of his experiences and they were very compelling. So I decided to order 1g of 20x extract from the Internet and go crazy.
I did alot of research on the Internet about Salvia and to my dismay almost every experienced user shunned the idea of a newbie starting of with 20x extract due to it's strength and added that a sitter was quite important. Seeing as how my Salvia was already in the post and there was no-one around, I foolishly ignored their pleas...
When the Lady arrived I planned my session and organised a comfortable area to smoke, where I could sit, stand, lie down and there was nothing near me that could be a potential danger. I also briefly wrote down my main fears about doing Salvia to get it out of my system, as well as doing a bit of meditation beforehand. I was quite nervous, particularly as some have claimed tha Salvia is more potent than DMT and I have a history of bad reactions to hallucinogens. It was about 1am and the room was dark, lit with candles. I began.
1st dose - 0 minutes into trip:
.Slight rumbling noises
.Minor visual inconsistencies - 'blending'
I started of with a very small amount (like, a quarter of a pinkie nail) loaded into my pipe, simply to test it and deduce how mush I would need. I was quite suprised when I got a buzz from such a small amount. The buzz was very similar to the coming up period of cannabis - 'pixel-vision', light-headedness, a weak but relaxed feeling etc. However, unlike cannabis this feeling doesn't feel like one is actually 'coming-up' to anything, as one is aware that this is the substance of the actual experience. I waited for a minute or so, before tripling the amount, which seemed reasonable at the time. This of course is when I became aware of what Salvia really
was capable of.
First of all, when talking about the experience of Salvia it should be understood that everything becomes very surreal in feeling
, which most user's report as 'dreamlike'. The best way I can describe this is that the experience becomes literally un-real; I enter a state of child-like imagination where all logic and rational thought is out the window. For instance, hearing voices is attributed to an actual presence without thought the ludicrous nature of this concept (people in my fucking room?!), as oppose to a distorion of a 'real' noise such as an plane flying overhead. Anyway, one doesn't really notice of this during the Salvia until afterwards, and so everything appears real.
The following is in the order that I remember it happening, though chronology is really no longer...applicable.
2nd dose - 1 minute approx into trip:
.Extreme vivid auditory and visual hallucinations
.Disconnectedness from body
.Feeling of being pulled downwards
.Considerable loss of subjectivity (ego)
.Loss of coherent, rational thought
.Loss of cocepts such as time, location, situation etc.
The first noticable feeling I had was like I was being pulled down, very similar to 'losing my tummy' when I go fast over a bump in a car, only much stronger, as if something was literally pulling me down from inside. Sweat was pouring down my back and face. I could feel it on my nose and taste it fall onto my lip. A candle's orange glow encompassed my entire field of vision, so that I didn't so much 'see' only an orange glow but my sight was
an orange glow. Around this point, the voices began, although I cannot specifically recall an exact point where they commenced.
The voices were for me the most primary experience of Salvia as they were what I was pre-occupied with. Not only that, but all visual hallucinations seemed to be a result of or attributed to the auditory ones. Auditory hallucinations with Salvia are very complex, much more so than simpy hearing a whisper or loud buzz (although these are heard too, at the beginning). Many times, conversations were held in my head between random characters, all while I was able to coherently think. Imagine being able to follow a train of thought about something, while listening to a conversation and following every word said. In this sense, my conscious mind is doing more than one thing simultaneously, which it never can usually do - this was quite amazing to me.
This is very difficult to describe to someone who has never experienced it. Basically, take the 'voice' in my head that considers all problems and issues etc. - my inner voice, if you will. Now usually, this is linear, it is positioned in my brain and is a 2D action - I may be listening to my favorite song on my earphones, but I don't even notice it because I was busy thinking about what to have for supper etc.
When on Salvia, this subjectivity and singular thought is completely shattered. I still have my inner voice, which constantly thinking and analysing the experience, while also hearing several complex conversations are going on between hallucinated characters of which I am able to follow every word. Also, a constant chant is usually being repeated, made up of a phrase or more frequently nonsense words. The conversations can seem to come out of nowhere and can change in the blink of an eye. There intensity is only exceded by their utter randomness! The really weird part is that each voice has a complex character of which trivial but minute details are known. For example:
A conversation between a black lady, wearing gold loop earrings, with a scarred face (maybe burnt as a youngster) talking to a white man with a grey beard and glasses about me and how fortunate I was and that I had a nice car. The black lady had a red beaded necklace on and had had a child as a teenager. She constantly spoke of how challenging her life was, being that she was a teenage mother of Carribean descent, and that she couldn't even afford nice pate to put on her bread and sometimes even stole pate from the local police station's evidence room.
So you're probably thinking...what the fuck? Well, that's exactly what I'm thinking too, trust me! However, within the experience stuff like this seems totally ordinary. It's, I am aware that this hallucination is going on, however it's so hard to believe that I kinda just flow with it. Another point to make, is that the conversation above like all others are completely out of the subjects control; they carry on, adapt and go places without any active effort on the part of the tripper. In short - It's fucking weird. All the while, several other equally complex conversations were going on, as well as a trebled voice chanting 'tye-yen' (or something to that effect) in rythym with my heart-beat, which was quite fast.
The most intriguing thing was the depth of each voices personality and appearance. Even the tones of voice were unique to each voice and language structure was that of normal speech. The only way to describe how I knew one voice was a man with a beard etc. to someone who is unfamiliar with hallucinations of this sort, would be to say that a picture is created in the mind, NOT like when imagining a blue car say, but much more like how I 'see' in a dream. The voices are attributed to a person with certain characteristics and I 'see' that person, as I am not 'restrained' by coherent, logical thought. I don't necessarily physically see the entity in front of me - yet at the time this is almost irrelevant, as they are just as 'real' to me as they would be could I actually see them. If I saw a man walking down the street with a black suit and white collar, I assume he is a priest. If I was able to also assume insantaneously and without hesitation
that he was born in a small town West of Paraguay and was recently reunited with his long-lost second cousin Susan who owned and operated a bottle-making factory in Scotland, I'd be a bit closer to the Sally experience. This probably makes no sense to you, but that is because it really is beyond language almost, it is an experience of a totally alternate way of thinking.
The voices were mainly split between internal and external - those that seemed to be within my own mind (usually sigular) and those outside myself (usually plural). Throughout the entire experience, I maybe heard 40-50 different voices each with their own unique personality, yet maybe hundreds of voices were heard altogether but too quickly (maybe just one word and then gone) to attribute anything. Objects too had voices. And I mean all objects! Their voices were almost onomatopoeic; the flames of my candles spoke in a flickery whispering voice, my carpet in a harsh, deep voice etc.
Usually, the voices would narrate my every thought, though they still felt independent from my interaction. For example, for some strange reason, despite the intensity of the experience and the fact that I was very uncomfortable. I decided to take another hit. One voice shouted positively 'Yeah! Smoke some more Sally!', another negatively 'Go for it you pussy, unless you're so pathetic you can't, or you'll just fail again.' My pipe beckoned 'Load me up, load me up, load me up' while monks chanted a nosense sound over and over which, despite it's lack of literal meaning, symbolised the ingestion of more Salvia somehow. Often voices would chant or say words like this that were somehow illustrative of the action they represented. I picked up the pipe, and the voices shouted 'Pickin' up pipe, pickin' up pipe', I put it to my lips and they shouted 'taste the pipe, he's tasting it and he's gonna smoke it probably'...etc. etc. constantly narrating everything I thought or did.
3rd dose - 3-4 minutes into trip:
.Overwhelming auditory and visual hallucinations
.Feelings of extreme panic and fear; often without reason
.Total loss of sense of 'self'
.Objects appear 'painful' upon sight
.Feelings of euphoria
.Inability to distinguish actions, such as opening or closing eyes
.Inability to walk, speak or move for prolonged periods - i.e. motor functions disabled
.Confusion/Meshing of reality with hallucination
.Increased irritability and anger
.Moments of child-like playfulness, lost sense of appropriate behaviour
.Out of body experiences
This pipe hit was about 3-4 minutes into the experience, though as time loses any real meaning, the experience seemed much longer. As soon as I breathed in the smoke everything went into overdrive. My viewpoint became a black, patchy screen and I felt seperated from my body, like I was watching myself though from no particular angle. I couldn't finish the bowl (I have no idea ho much I put in there) and was mocked by the voices. The ash had a voice, the left over Salvia had a voice as did the smoke. Everything was ripe with personality, which confused and irritated me massively to the point that I regretted considerably taking the hit, which led me to be very uncomfortable in the experience.
I guess I was having a bad trip, thought it wasn't like a bad trip on mushrooms. On shrooms, I'm like 'everyone hates me' or 'parents are dead' and I am filled with anxiety and fear. On Salvia, I simply become incredibly irritated and claustrophobic. I couldn't say it's better or worse becuase it's just not comparable to something like shrooms. Every hair on my head began to hurt, burning my skin. I got angry, thinking that it was stupid that my hair could be painful. Voices and people were coming at me like cars on a motorway, I thought I should lie down and was pelted with songs, chants, criticisms and existentialist conversations about the concept of lying down. After being assured by one voice that 'lying down worked for Barry and Michael,[no idea who they are supposed to be] it worked for them, lie down, you're shoulder will meet the red carpet you'll like it' I lay down. It's hard to say when my eyes were open or closed, it's almost like I don't differentiate between the two distinctions, nevertheless I actively decided to close my eyes for the first time.
I was begging for it to be over by this point, I had completely lost my sense of control.
My upper body 'exploded' upwards and my legs kicked out, suspending me magically in the air. I was surrounded by a bubble of blurry, gel-like stuff which acted like an extension of my body - breathing, thinking and blinking as I did. I suddenly let out an uncontrolled yell, though my voice was totally different and distorted. It felt like an eternity since my voice had been used and I wasn't even sure what my voice sounded like, which terrified me. I shouted a broken sentence, not of conventional words but sounds that imitated what I was feeling. Even though I can't imitate words like 'I' and 'is' I felt as though I could and did, as if the sounds I made were concepts of ordinary language. I suddenly stopped myself, as I was afraid I would wake up my parents - this was particularly odd as I am 23 and live with a flatmate, who was away for the week. But, ths all made perfect sense to my inebriated self and I didn't question it, or any other of the thousand other equally nonsense thoughts I was having.
However, once I stopped shouting, I was left with the most terrifying problem - I had no idea whether I had actually spoken out loud. Even now, I cannot say for sure whether what I 'said' was really in my head. I was totally lost after this; thoughts, images and sounds were being fired at me a million rounds per second, like a strobe-light of perceptions that was eating my soul. It was the kind of thing that I may have been able to handle should I have ACTUALLY KNOWN IT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. But I didn't, so it was awful. From what I had read and what was maybe most appealing to me, Salvia trips last only minutes and I kept thinking how long three minutes would be as I was convinced this would mark the end. I was probably 7-8 minutes into the trip, though if someone had told me I had been like that for 7-8 hours, I would have believed them. It really did feel like forever. I repeated the mantra 'stop this shit' as did all the voices in my head, or at least the ones I decided to pay attention to.
If you think that what I have said above sounds unintelligible, that's not even the half of it. What came next was a feeling like no other, a feeling that really is beyond words. This terrifying yet terrific feeling coated me in fear; I became trapped within a feeling, literally. Well, not literally but you know what I mean. I had never heard or read anyone describe this before and was convinced that I was going insane. When I truly believe, with every ounce of my soul, body and mind that I am going mad, there is nothing that can be expressed in human words the completely horrific experience that this is. One of my favourite books on the subject of psychotropics is called 'A Yaqui Way of Knowledge' by Carlos Castenada. One of the book's main characters is called don Juan, a Yaqui Indian, who is very knowledgeable about pyschedelics, specifically the spiritual side of them. ONe part of the book was cycling in my mind over and over, a part where don Juan states that some men who are not prepared before a psychedelic experience can lose there mind and never come back.
I kept thinking about never coming back from this state, which terrified me. It's so strange; I was desperate to come down, to sober up a bit, yet the experience just seemed to constantly intesify and never fade. Understand, at this point I couldn't speak, move or even tell for sure if my eyes were open. I was so scared that if I didn't snap out of it I would be unable to live a real life forever. The concept of being in the state for one's entire life, was the definition
Anyway, I decided I had to get a grip on myself. I got up and started to focus, to try and hear and see things properly, like pretending that I wasn't really high anymore. Walking around, proved quite difficult - it reminded me alot of the scene in Grease at the end, where Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta are dancing in a fairground 'House of Fun' with see-saws and what not, making me assume I was in that scene. I was stumbling all over the place, holding onto things to keep me sturdy. I was still saying 'stop this shit' over and over and was forcing myself to become sober, trying to ignore my hallucinations. At one point, I actually turned(?) to Oliva Newton-John and asked her politely to stop asking me to dance, as I was trying to concentrate on ignoring my hallucinations! I then nonchalantly went back to trying to ignore my hallucinations.
As the fear gripped me and I failed to sober up, I searched my mind for a sort of mantra to keep me in control. I lay on my couch. My couch hugged me and I liked it; it soothed me with songs from my childhood. But the voices caught up with me and mocked and laughed at me. I moved onto my bed. My bed had a totally different personality, but was not as nice. He was cold, skinny and unkind. I was very upset; inconsolable. Don Juan reappeared, assuring me that I was going mad and that I was going to die in some horrible way, which was nice. However, he (Juan) continued and repeated something else from the book, about stopping and just listening to the drug and what it was trying to say. So, I stopped, closed my eyes and just sort of let go, it was weird. All voices started to fade and became seperate from my mind - I could think clearly. One word came to my mind, spoken as clear to me then as any other word I've ever heard - 'Food'. Immediately, I knew - I needed food! Food always sobered me up when I was on anything else, so hopefully It would work again. I rushed into the kitchen.
The above is all described, ignoring frequent points of which I have no recollection whatsoever. I remeber running out my door, chanting louder than ever 'STOP THIS SHIT' and the next thing I know, I'm in the kitchen eating homous and peter bread. I have no idea why I chose these items, but I did. I sort of awoke - suddenly became sober like someone breaking out of hypnosis to find themselves acting like a chicken; I 'broke out' of my trance to 'find' myself in the kitchen, eating this stuff, with no shirt on (I don't recall taking it off) talking to myself and narrating the action of eating humous and peter bread. I just stopped and said to myself...What the fuck just happened?!
It's really weird reading this and writing it because it doesn't really do justice to the actual experience - the experience really is beyond words. At the same time, what is above seems more extreme than actually experiencing it. So how do I feel after the whole thing? Well, that was about a week ago and I have since done it twice though not nearly as much as I am working my way up this time! Despite the immenent fear of death and/or destruction, a fear that was perhaps the most profound I've ever felt, I am forever grateful for the experience and enjoyed it (in hindseight) thouroughly. It really was just a case of taking too much without knowing what to expect - the classic mistake to make.
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