Salvia divinorum (5x and 10x extracts), Cannabis, Alcohol, Alprazolam (Xanax) & Amphetamines (Adderall)
Citation: Snopes. "A Few Trials: Advising Myself: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (5x and 10x extracts), Cannabis, Alcohol, Alprazolam (Xanax) & Amphetamines (Adderall) (exp67342)". Erowid.org. Aug 11, 2009. erowid.org/exp/67342
These notes are an attempt to articulate the status of a moderately experienced salvia smoker who intends to slowly go further toward higher potency extracts. I feel that what I have to share is a template for humility with regard to the substance, which has been known to hijack every single mindset that has attached itself to it too eagerly. Here's the sketch:
- I've used a broad range of psychoactives, although only alcohol and cannabis ever became habits. I've found acid to be unsuitable to my temperament, but mushrooms have proven highly therapeutic and insightful. Nitrous oxide, while I consider it a neurological hazard, and which I no longer use, is perhaps my favorite psychoactive. In fact, I find a great deal of similarity between salvia and N2O, both being dissociative.
- I'd read many, many experience reports online regarding salvia, and for a long time I'd considered it something I was going to avoid. It took a change of town and mindset in order to open me up to its possibilities.
- My initial dose was a small bowl of 5x, but my nervous system was bolstered by cannabis, amphetamine, Xanax, and alcohol at the time. What I experienced can best be described as a flash of cubist consciousness: my subjectivity was decentralized and the room I was in presented itself as a flat, kaliedescopic non-sequence of texture, color, and shape. Upon returning to baseline, I was shocked in a recreational, rollercoaster way: 'Holy Shit! Holy SHIT! That was un-REAL!' It was shatteringly unique and strange, ambivalent in emotional tenor, but ultimately something that seemed like a novelty: I didn't think there was much to learn that would translate into any sort of workable understanding.
- My second and third doses were very similar, 5x, nearly a week or two after the first, themselves separated by a one day interval. These experiences were very similar to one another and outright ecstatic. They were cathartic reunions with a childhood mode of time, that mode itself powered with intense alinearity: unattached to any one event from childhood but seeming to encompass all of it. I was able to move easily from closed-eye reverie to an open-eyed acknowledgment of the room I was in, and I felt as if I could willingly ignore the altered temporality behind my eyelids if I chose to. I didn't choose to. Incommunicable particularities from my early youth (such as wood paneling in my parents' bedroom and an intense emotion attached to it that seemed to filter into every other particularity and fuse them together seamlessly) arose with such comparative clarity and ease that I felt like there was something profoundly benevolent at work within me, which I'd never had such perfect access to, and assured me that everything had already returned already and I could return again, etc. Such linguistic loops and riddles seemed to do as much justice to the feeling as anything else. There was a strongly feminine, perhaps maternal presence behind the orchestration of all this, although it felt like a female potential within myself as much as a third-person entity. Later, I began to feel quite a strong erotic attachment to this feeling, and the sense of psychic exposure incited by the experience seemed to be quite naked and sensual. I can imagine that low level dose would make an excellent aphrodisiac. [note: both of these experiences were also bolstered by cannabis, alcohol, and xanax; this later became important for me to remember.]
- In the time following this second round of salvia, I became quite committed to cultivating my relationship to the plant and, reading Dale Pendell's writing on salvia, consciously thought of it as an 'ally.' I read up on the plant and purchased my own supply of leaves and 5x. I decided to mine my week for an appropriate setting for my next dose, and in the meantime I stayed sober, worked, and fostered a meditative calm throughout the day. When the evening came, I'd had three drinks with a friend, and I decided to smoke the 5x. After lighting it poorly, I was ushered into a realm that was highly reminiscent of nitrous and below my expected standard for salvia. After that disappointment, I tried again and felt a mere sustain to the initial smoke. My friend offered me his 10x and it did the trick, in a way. I was transported, but the inanity and sheer pointlessness of the world it unveiled were, ironically, profound. This was my first encounter with the sarcasm and self-protectiveness, if you will, of this plant. While I believe it useful and sane to personify or mythologize the plant as an entity, this is merely a technique, a metaphor, for keeping myself humble and reciprocal in my relation to this little dried up piece of leaf. In this instance, it was as though I'd told the plant to 'Do that trick again! Let me into the show!' This was heightened by having two interested friends watching me in a brightly lit room. The mental effects were gross parodies of the childhood particularities of my previous sessions, and they were far more elusive and less than worthwhile of being pursued; yet, I had no choice but to follow this recursive train of imagistic non-entity until it wore off. I was able to speak throughout the experience, and almost instantly, I was cursing the experience, and myself, lamenting the sheer idiocy and waste of my attempt. This put me in a foul mood for the res of the night, and to further the metaphor of plant-presence, I felt I'd been spurned. It was, pathetically, like the bruised ego of an adolescent heartbreak. I later gained perspective on the delicate balance between humility and cosmic largess that this plant initiates one into.
- While spending these few weeks essaying salvia and trying to establish an alliance, so to speak, I was also working with the I Ching, which I'd long referred to but only recently come to understand more deeply. I'm not a 'mystical' person, but my interest in all conscious phenomena is tempered by a lean pragmatic streak and a faith in the power of clear speech and basic humanism. I believe in metaphor and technique, not necessarily goddesses and magic per se. These things are all interesting and valid in so far forth (to quote a hero, William James). In so far forth as the I Ching hexagram I threw read 'Modesty' (in the Wilhelm version), I felt it right to gently reacquaint myself with a small dose of 5x just so as to test the waters again, if you will. Alone with lights off, I took a single hit from a small bowl and felt very much what I'd felt on the third session above before irritably overdoing it with the 10x. It felt very serene, orderly, and feminine, but distinctly modest, almost prudish. There was a delicate sense of re-acquaintance and gratitude, but only that much, only enough to show me slight benevolence, and then gently back to normal. That experience buoyed me for a few days.
- Ultimately, I have to qualify this small anthology of experiences by saying that I've been able to draw on the small residual effects of the leaf during sober hours and that it did quite a bit to direct me toward more beneficial and intuitive stances toward the world. The writing I'd been doing was very much aided by my connection with salvia, but not in any way bearing its particular stamp. As such, I want to express the elusive potential of salvia divinorum, its delicate 'persona,' its capacity for sarcastic refusal, and the benevolence of what it has to share.
- From here, I intend to continue exploring the rewards of a reciprocal attitude toward the plant. While my initial trials involved a cocktail of chemicals, I do believe there is much to be had in a sober approach toward salvia. Perhaps I'll someday discover otherwise, but for now I favor a more straightforward oppenness when smoking divinorum.
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