Citation: Comradez. "Salvia Meets Plato, Kant, Freud, and Bach: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (10x extract) (exp78263)". Erowid.org. Nov 24, 2021. erowid.org/exp/78263
What follows is an account of the most intense, revelatory experience of my entire life, an experience that I don't think I will ever want to repeat again in my life, but which I'm glad I did have. And, besides that, I believe it might be of some philosophical and psychological import.
The sparknotes summary: Freud was completely right, Kant and Plato were completely wrong, and Bach's harpsichord solo from the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 was waaaay too overwhelming to have playing during a Salvia experience. Or perhaps it was just right. It was not an unpleasant experience, just bat-shit-insane extreme.
That's what I chose to have playing. I had a feeling that the absolute mathematical perfection and periodicity of the piece, its chord progressions, etc., would be perfect for comfortably structuring the experience. I thought that it would be better to have something that is totally predictable and that comfortably fills up the room with a warm sound, than to risk having random noise interruptions come into play. To a certain extent, I think I was prudent in this respect, although the part about 1:54 into the piece, where he's going down the scales and doing that sort of electric guitar solo sort of thing, that was waaaay overwhelming, and literally impacted me physically as a sort of waterfall washing over me.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Now, given that it's legal and has no major side effects, why would I not want to take it ever again? Because one 'breakthrough' is more than enough, oh boy. The experience was so goddamn intense, the thought of doing it again just seems inconceivable right now.
Last night was actually my second time doing it, but the first time I did it, I didn't do as much (only half a bowl of 10x extract) or inhale as well, and I got a much milder effect. That time, I was listening to Bach's 'Air' from Suite No. 3.
Naturally, that was also bound to facilitate a gentler experience. Basically, that time, I never lost my ego or my grounding in reality. I felt a little dreamy, like an elusive 'something' was happening, but I maintained a consistent train of consciousness throughout. There were no 'discontinuous functions' of existence, if you will, just gentle, sloping functions. When I would open my eyes, everything continued to look as before, although there was a moment where there seemed to be a clear, viscous, rotating fluid filling the room, barely perceptible to my vision, like dissolved sugar in water. The one other notable moment in that 5-minute experience was one where I got a distinct emotional feeling of tender, innocent, and eager, quasi-erotic puppy love well up in me
I got a distinct emotional feeling of tender, innocent, and eager, quasi-erotic puppy love well up in me
for a brief moment -- the sort of feeling I had at first with my very first girlfriend, and that I've never quite felt since. I remember gently biting my lip at this point, sort of like when I'm are aroused during a sexual act. It was a rewarding, wholesome moment, a revisitation of something I now realize I've lost to a certain extent, and something that I would like to rediscover, if at all possible.
After that, there was a point where another friend walked in (there were already 3 friends trip-sitting for me in the room. We were all taking turns). I remember hearing his steps in the hallway and it seeming like the steps were echoing in some reaaaaally reaaaaaally long cavern. When he walked in, I opened my eyes and mumbled to him with a grin, 'Howdy thar' and I sort of gestured to him with a sort of salute, and at that moment I was overcome with giggles galore. The juxtaposition of the baroque music, all my friends sitting there in a college dorm room, and my 'howdy thar' all seemed so incredibly ridiculous. So I pretty much gleefully giggled for the rest of the time, for half a minute or so, until I had more or less come out of it. I came away feeling that it was a very worthwhile experience. Not exactly 'pleasurable,' but it upwelled some wholesome emotions in me and gave me some reflections on that puppy-love feeling that I've been missing in life.
This second time was, I guess, 'worthwhile' too, but in a totally different way. Again, none of it was 'pleasant' or 'unpleasant' in a sensory sort of way. It was just incredibly shocking.
I went into this second time thinking that it would be a bit like the first. I didn't really have a strong desire to do it again, but I was curious to see what would happen this time, and we had a little bit left, so we figured we might as well use up the rest of it (this time, I had 2 friends with me, trip-sitting and waiting to go for their turn).
I did about 3/4 of a bowl of the same 10x extract. It was nothing like the first. Well, I was also listening to a more energetic Bach piece, and I was a little keyed-up, but tired, after having had a busy week, so maybe that influenced it.
Here's the narrative:
I take two drags on the pipe. I could already feel some of the first effects during my second drag. My friends start the music. I lay down, close my eyes. A period of time elapses that seems vague, lacking in substance, and long, like when I go to sleep, wake up, but can't remember dreaming anything, but yet at the same time, not like those times where I just blink and wake back up again. I have a vague awareness that some time has passed, but that is all. In this case, even though it felt long, I have been able to ascertain (from reconstructing the timeline from my memory of the later parts of the song playing -- and the song was only a little over 3 minute long) that this part must have been like only 10 seconds. Then...
Next thing 'I' can remember, 'I' am trying to climb up and upon the floor and the music, which are both physically integrated as a sort of big wheel. But not only am I hallucinating -- I am hallucinating not even as 'myself' who understands what a hallucination is.
I say 'I' or 'myself' in quotation marks because I had no concept of 'I' at this point. I had heard of people talk about this sort of state before, of being separated from the ego, and I used to think, 'Ah, that's bullshit, how would that even work? The ego is, like, fundamental to existence. They've got to be imagining all of this stuff.' I never really believed in Freudian psychology... until now.
My consciousness was a complete blank-slate. Everything I had known and experienced from my entire life before that was gone, and I was totally lacking in any awareness of that absence in the first place. That moment felt like the beginning of my entire existence, and yet I had no concept of a beginning of an existence at the time. All of this I'm telling is from my re-realizations that occurred to me after I had reached the 2nd plane of consciousness and was looking back on my immediate past from the 1st plane of consciousness. What do I mean by 'planes of consciousness'?
*1st plane of consciousness: I am an id without an ego or a superego. I have no self-reflection, no Vernunft (Reason), no Wille (Will), no awareness that 'I' am an id, no awareness of what an 'I', an 'id', or an 'ego' would be. I don't have a concept of culminative feelings, such as pleasure or pain. All I have is 'Drive.' Trieb (to use the Freudian term in the original German). All 'I' had was aversion or attraction to acting on stimuli, with no awareness that this wheel that I am trying to climb constitutes a 'stimuli' or that I have a 'Trieb' that I am responding to in the first place. I had no idea why I was trying to climb the wheel, nor any concept of why I would need to have a reason to climb the wheel, nor any idea of what constituted a 'wheel,' or 'climbing' or cause-and-effect, or something as 'space-like' or 'time-like' or anything. I try to climb the wheel, not because I anticipate renewed pleasure from doing so, nor because I am aware of a drive to do so, but just because that drive is there, driving me (of course, nor do I have any concept of 'it', as a foreign force, driving 'me.' It's not foreign, it's just all there is, and I'm not even aware of it at this point.
And besides, although I had perfectly vivid and precise sensory information coming at me (in other words, even though I had no categories of reason to structure it, the 'world' as I knew it was still there as clear as ever), I would have been incapable of picking out this Trieb as something distinct from any other stimulus. All there was was the totality of stimuli, without any essential or categorical markers. Only after later reflection could I distinguish, for example, one aspect of the total stimulus as a 'wheel' with essential wheel-like characteristics. I consider this to be a resounding rebuttal to Plato's idea of the 'ideal forms' as fundamental to existence. Au contraire, my friend, apparently there can conceivably be existence outside of ideal forms. The material world is fundamental, and we manufacture ideal forms to summarize all of this stimulus so as to figure out a short-hand for how the world's cause-and effect-works so that we can react to it.
At this point, as far as I could tell, this was the only existence that 'I' had ever experienced (but I wasn't even able to self-reflect on it, nor was I aware of a lack of ability to do so). I now imagine that this is what it feels like to be a lizard, an ant, or a lobotomized human.
The first searing burst of revelation came after getting myself over one of the nodes of the wheel (the wheel had nodes like a paddle wheel (the paddles are the nodes) or a ferris wheel (the passenger cars are the nodes). As I came up over the node, an entire new filter of existence opened up before me. Suddenly all of the shapes 'slid' into their ideal forms. I recognized the wheel as a wheel. And I recognized myself as an 'I'. This burst of revelation was like being a devoted Catholic all your life, and suddenly learning without a doubt that God doesn't exist.
Now began the most interesting portion of my experience, the 2nd level of consciousness, me as an ego and with reason, but still without my life history. I began to reflect on my experiences that I just had during my 1st level of consciousness as one would reflect on an eternity of existence (at this time, my 1st and 2nd level existences were all that I knew). I had perfect, vivid memory of this 1st level time (and even now, I fortunately still have fairly vivid memory of the whole thing, even the earliest pre-ego stage, but I am writing this down now the day after, partly in order to also get this recorded, lest details slip away from me). I also began to reflect on my current existence around me, the wheel of the floor and the music spinning, which was still the center of my attention, and which I was still trying to climb, but now I found pleasure in it, and a desire to do more of it, and it became a rewarding sort of game to be doing it.
At this point, I thought nothing strange of the fact that the music was physically integrated with the floor and that I was climbing on it. Also, time would often seem to slow down or speed up depending on how fast the wheel was turning, as if those two things were mechanically connected as well. And when I would ponder my immediately preceding pre-ego existence, it was as if I could really time-travel and relive those moments again momentarily, but this time as my 2nd-level self with my 2nd-level self-reflection (I still had no concept of 'levels,' per se, just that the previous segment of existence was very very strange). Also, I had no idea that anything was particularly strange about this reality around me, with me climbing on the music and doing momentary time-travel
I had no idea that anything was particularly strange about this reality around me, with me climbing on the music and doing momentary time-travel
and whatnot. This seemed perfectly normal, just how the world worked. I guess I had no a priori ideas or structures to suggest otherwise. This does not seem to support Kant's case for a priori structures for perceiving existence, am I right?
After a few moments of this, I rounded another node on the wheel and got my 2nd and most shocking searing burst of re-realization: an awareness of my entire life history flooded back to me, I realized that there was existence that preceded the 1st level, that I was myself, a college student, and that I had just smoked some Salvia. I saw myself climbing a wheel of floor and music in my friend's dorm room, and realized two things:
1. The world does not actually work like this. I'm tripping balls.
2. I *should* (now with more of the superego tinge of meaning) not be up out of the bed, trying to climb imaginary things, or else I'm going to freak my friends out and look like a psycho. (So, yeah, this is also, apparently, when my superego came flooding back, the most brutal re-realization of them all. Before that, I didn't have any thoughts of 'should' or 'should not').
So this is when I started to freak out and desperately yearn for the experience to be over. At this point, I'm hallucinating, and I know that I'm hallucinating. I guess that's worse than hallucinating, but being totally unaware, like being totally in the Matrix, vs. being re-introduced to the Matrix.
This is also the point when the Bach harpsichord solo got to the part with the fast descending scales at about 1:55 seconds in. The music now looked and felt like a pillar of water shooting out of my friend's computer, over the wheel, and splashing down from the wheel and drenching me. It was overwhelming and scary, but at the same time I felt elated, kind of like the first time I had an ejaculation. That feeling that my whole body is going into an electrical spasm, and for a split second I think it's too much and that I'm not going to be able to withstand it, but also at the same time I like it and feel charged by it. So at this point, I start laughing (both in reality, and in my mental world), and in the real world I try to get up from the bed and reach towards the computer (in reality I had simply been laying there the whole time), and in my mental world I jump from the wheel and run to hug/wrestle with the pillar of music/water.
That seemed to relieve some tension. I also at this time realized that it was Bach's harpsichord solo from the Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 that I was listening to, and that I had selected it, and I was thinking to myself 'This is way too overwhelming, I should have picked something else... I just need to hold on a little longer, it's almost going to be over.' Apparently my friends directed me back onto the bed at this point, and were laughing along with me (I was laughing, and I even kinda remember laughing, even though I felt half-terrified inside. At the time it felt like a release of tension, of the sense of everything being so overwhelming, and a recognition that 'I'm not in control yet, I just have to lay back and take it easy and ride it out.) In my mind, I see my friends again, and I think that I am trying to excuse my behavior (my trying to scale the imaginary wheel) and reassure them that I'm okay. Things start to seem real again. I stop paying attention to the wheel and the water, and when I glance back, they are no longer there. The music no longer produces a physical sensation, but just sounds like music again.
Suddenly I had the 3rd burst of revelation (going to the 4th and final plane of existence, real reality), and this one felt like waking up from a dream within a dream. (Like, the previous coming back to reality had been not entirely real, like how when I wake up in a dream, and then wake up again and realize that I had just woken up into another dream). I had some minor doubts that *this* was finally the real reality, but it seemed like it was, and it was, as a matter of fact. I saw that I was in bed, rather than standing up and talking to my friends, and my first thought was a sense of relief, a thought of 'Oh good, I wasn't really standing up and interacting with imaginary things and saying weird things to my friends and stuff. I had just imagined that.' At this point I could move around and sort of talk again, but the feeling of weirdness was still there, and all I could say was, 'Holy shit! Mindfuck! Man, aw fuck!! That was crazy!'
Now, as the previous terror subsided (the shock and terror of being suddenly thrust into new planes of brutal existence and going basically from age 1 to age 21 in 3 minutes), I now had a feeling of superego-fear and paranoia that this feeling of 'weirdness' would never go away, and that I'd have to write papers and go to class and live the rest of my life in this real, yet weird state with this lingering disorienting dreaminess. That fear lasted a few minutes. I was suddenly pretty thirsty, and I could still taste the Salvia in my mouth, and I had this idea that it might help get it out of my system more quickly by getting that taste out of my mouth, so I drank some water, and sat down and started to try to explain some of this experience to my friend, just as, meanwhile, the other friend was firing his experience up. I remember thinking, unsettled/distressed, 'Noooo!!!! What is he doing???!! He doesn't know what's about to happen! He's not ready!'
So, anyways, after a few more minutes, that sense of paranoia went away, and I felt like my old self again, and I felt relieved, and now a little cleansed by the whole experience. I guess I could call this the '5th level,' real reality without any lingering weirdness or paranoia. But it wasn't realized by any sudden transition, but just a gradual, but very distinct shaking off of a weird feeling.
All of what I have described took place in about 10 minutes. It felt muuuuuuch longer than that, but that's not to say that things were happening any less rapidly. They were still rapid and overwhelming. It was just so much stuff crammed into that window of subjective experience, even if that subjective experience seemed to last longer and seemed like it should have allowed for more stuff than the time duration of real reality. But maybe this longer subjective duration was an illusion created by precisely the fact that there was so much stuff going on. I don't know.
I continued to be very talkative for the rest of the night, trying to convey a fraction of what had befallen me.
I slept very well last night/this morning and woke up feeling pretty sharp.
Will I ever do Salvia again? Probably not. Do I recommend Salvia? I think this account speaks for itself. I do see diminishing returns from having any more than one 'breakthrough,' though, which is why I probably won't be doing it again, even though I found this trip worthwhile.
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