Citation: Flinky Wisty Pomm. "A Lesson From the Lady?: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (Salvia) (exp69826)". Erowid.org. Oct 20, 2016. erowid.org/exp/69826
I had tried S. Divinorum on several occasions previously. On three of these occasions I had experienced severe distortions of perception which had all followed the same pattern.
Shortly after placing the pipe to one side, I become aware of a rushing sensation, a pulling, and I feel as though everything that I can see or 'perceive' - everything that exists for me - is tearing or smearing against a surface which runs at an impossible angle to the three dimensions I am used to.
I feel myself pulled out of reality and stretched out into infinity, as though each colour were a separate strand of rubber, and all these strands are twanging back into the rubber sheet from where they have been plucked.
This is not primarily a visual sensation, it is a complete awareness: tactile, visual and proprioceptual. There is no pain, but there is a tremendous fear as I am pulled out of existence and into something other. I frequently have the sense that this 'other' is the dream or the vision of someone else.
On the most recent occasion, with a friend as sitter, I smoked approximately 0.1g of 15x extract in two hits. I took a toke as deeply as I could before I felt the need to cough; held the smoke for around 10 seconds, breathed part of the smoke out through my nose, and toked what was left in the bowl. This second breath, I held for 30 seconds or so.
As usual, I felt myself stretching out into nothingness, becoming essence. My friend was whirled away before I was, he being further away in that 'direction', and as always I struggled against the sensation. I felt my feet stretching away from me as I fought to remain in ordinary space-time.
This time, though, my friend reached back toward me from the Salvia space - he was encouraging me to let go. I thought 'This isn't real, I have smoked Salvia and this is just the trip - I know this because my friend is here'.
Then I realised that I didn't know who he actually *was*. I heard a voice tell me that I would be unable to remember his name, unable to say it. I opened my mouth to try in sudden confusion and reality streamed out from my throat, I have the memory of a kaleidoscope of mouths, all opening up to Salvia - a rubbery, stretchy, multi-hued explosion of being. I remember my friend's eyes, like a Cheshire cat smile, hanging in empty space. My last thoughts were that it was *his* dream that I had become, and that this was why I was unable to recall his name.
In a flash it was over. I expect that in real-time the sensation lasted less than 10 seconds. The objects around me resolved again to their real shapes - what had been my friend's arm twisting into an infinite distance was just a scarf sat on a desk. I laughed hysterically at what had just happened - 'it happened again', I told him. There wasn't much more to say.
We went back upstairs. Futurama had just begun and my girlfriend and two other friends were doing ordinary things. 'It was very odd', I told them, and sat down.
As I looked at the TV, a sudden horror fell over me. I realised that I might still be sat downstairs, still under the influence of Salvia. I wondered - am I really here, or is this an hallucination?
Feeling slightly foolish, I turned to my friend and said 'Is this... really real, I'm not still tripping, am I?' and he smiled, giving me a strange look.
I looked at the DVD cases, they all looked like they were in order. Certainly, if this was an hallucination, it was a well constructed one. The TV showed a coherent and unfamiliar advert, people and things were where I would expect them to be, but the terrible uncertainty remained.
'I'm not still downstairs am I?' I repeated, 'this is REAL, isn't it?', but even as I asked, I realised that no answer could constitute proof.
'On the balance of probability', I said under my breath, 'I suppose it must be... yes'.
I sat down to have a think about things.
On our way home, I prattled to my lovely, understanding girlfriend. Bright-eyed and frothy-mouthed, I told her what I had seen, and the profound impression I had been left with. I was struck by the idea that any strange thing might happen at any moment. Cars, in particular, with their glossy, weighty solidity seemed as though they might blossom at any moment - burst open into puzzle-box flowers - unfolding in eight dimensions.
Even as I had returned to baseline, I had remained - and still remain, 24 hours later - vitally aware of my senses. I *feel* that what I can see is nothing but a two dimensional image on my retina. I am aware of the 'reality' of objects in my vision, but I am also profoundly aware of the subjectivity of my viewing them.
I am aware of the pressure of the keyboard on my hands, this pressure is distinct from my sensation that my hands are in front of me. The sense that an object is touching my body is not the same as the sense that my body is in a certain position. Indeed, the sense that there is pressure on my skin is a two-dimensional sense. I am aware that there is a point on my body map where there is pressure. The sense of my body as an object in space is profoundly altered, I have a new comprehension of the boundaries of each of my perceptions, and the way in which they are interlinked such as to form a coherent whole.
I wanted to stay up all night to look at the tiles in the kitchen. Some of them are cracked, mostly they are smooth. There are a thousand colours of white.
I had been reading, the day before the experience, a book on post-modernism. I scoffed in my fundamentalist rationalist way. Some of the words of that book keep playing in the back of my mind now. Everything seems as though it IS arbitrary, as though everything IS subjective. I see the reflected light from the objects in the room, but there is no reason why they SHOULD look the way that they do. There is no REASON for the smell of an orange, or the redness of red. I am deeply aware of the qualia of things. I am deeply grateful.
My fundamentalist rationalist self is ashamed. For I feel, and not for the first time, that I have met the Lady Salvia. I feel as though the experience was designed to make some things click into place. It feels as though the initial trip, the uncertainty of what is real, the afterglow and its hyper-sensitivity, all came together to teach me a lesson. I feel a new sense that what I see and experience are representative, that they are not in any sense 'true'. It is absolutely beautiful to discover that you can SEE objects on an ordinary Saturday afternoon. It is beautiful to become aware of your own limitations at the hands of a herb, a strange and frail relative of sage.
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