Citation: Shot in the dark. "Lessons in Psychic Sharing and Humility: An Experience with Salvia divinorum (5x extract) (exp86855)". Erowid.org. Feb 9, 2019. erowid.org/exp/86855
Simple interest. No other drug use, either recreational or prescription, and no mental health problems.
SETTING AND PREPARATION:
The following is a description not of a single use, but of a series of between five and ten uses over the course of about four years. For convenience I will write in the present tense.
Each time I am alone, in my apartment, with minimal light (just a few LEDs from electronics) and sound. I use about a sixth of a package of 5x-salvia extract which, claims the website, contains 20 mg of Salvinorin-A. I ignite the salvia with a butane lighter and consume it entirely in a single inhalation from a small water pipe. I recline or lie down on the couch, pull a blanket over me, close my eyes (usually) and hold my breath for as long as possible.
Physical effects are limited to tactile distortion and motor control changes. I have never experienced auditory or visual distortions, let alone hallucinations.
I have never experienced auditory or visual distortions, let alone hallucinations.
Common tactile sensations include extreme heaviness, great skeletal length, and a (usually uncomfortable) preoccupation with the volume occupied by my flesh. Motor control can become difficult, or vanish entirely, or (disturbingly) move to the subconscious. In the last case, I might watch my hand “respond” to a question I had posed in thought, without having consciously willed my hand to do anything.
Tactile distortions disappear after a minute or two. Motor control, if lost, is regained at about the same time, although the desire to move might take fifteen minutes or more before reappearing.
Psychoactive effects typically begin upon exhalation. A certain energy and inspiration to write might linger for hours after. All other effects dissipate within a few minutes – ten at the most.
My thinking becomes unusually metaphorical. I will look at physical objects, and see metaphors for life, love, thought, time, and other abstract notions. The particular metaphors I fixate on vary from trip to trip.
Remarkably, though, the following three effects do not vary from trip to trip – they have happened every time.
EFFECT 1: Association of objects with people, real or hypothetical
As stated above, aside from a few physical effects, my sensory experience is unchanged. However, my interpretation of sensory data changes in one dramatic way: I associate people, real or hypothetical, with objects. For instance, a few things on my table might look like a manifestation of some person – as if the person were magnetic, and had walked by, leaving an impression on the objects. I will refer to this apparent property as “psychic magnetism”.
I should stress that I am not attributing personhood to the objects themselves. I won’t think the lamp is a person – that would be insane. However, I might feel that certain aspects of the lamp are reflective of some person in my life, or of my relationship to them. It is in this sense that I might “feel the presence” of people who are not present. (I will continue to use the phrase “feel the presence of”, for convenience, but I don’t so much “feel” them as see what looks like psychically magnetic evidence of them.)
Feeling the presence of a person I know, however, is rare. More often, I will feel “abstract” presences, and a very large number of them at once – for instance, every human that has ever lived, or all of my ancestors, or even the set of all people that might one day live. I never quite know what set of people I can feel the presence of, but it usually feels like an enormous number.
EFFECT 2: Perception of, and identification with, a larger mind
Invariably, I feel the presence of a mind “larger” than human minds. Sometimes it feels like it belongs to the earth, sometimes the entire universe; sometimes it just feels big, without being attributable to anyone or anything in particular. This larger mind will survive my death, and might even be permanent – and somehow, these facts are comforting, even though I still know I will die. I feel the larger mind’s interest in the world. Sometimes I feel its sense of perplexity in trying to decide how the world should be. (Sometimes the larger mind feels volitional – capable of acting on the physical world. Other times it seems merely to watch, but even then, it wonders what ought to happen.)
In the presence of this large mind, my concerns feel very small. They do not lose their legitimacy – I am human, after all, and it is right for me to do the things humans do. But this sense of perspective, of my place in the universe as a whole, is humbling and hugely relieving.
This perspective can also be scary. Whether it is depends largely on what I identify with. I have the choice of identifying with my “small”, human self, or with the larger mind. (I realize that rationally, this might not make sense – you are what you are, regardless of how you feel. But such is my experience.) If I identify with the larger mind, my knowledge of my own death remains a concern and a disappointment, but there’s not much to do about it, and it’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, so I don’t get too upset about it.
EFFECT 3: Feeling conjured from others’ minds
This last effect seems so specific and unlikely that I would have passed it off as a fluke if it had only happened once. But, just like the other two, it has happened every single time.
On salvia, the “fact” that I am feels less like a fact and more like an optical illusion. It is as if I had thought I was a rope, when in fact I was a knot. I, that knot, could be untied and retied anywhere, on any other rope, and still be “myself” – to the extent that I am anything at all.
Weirder still, my self feels created by or out of others’ selves.
In my earliest experiences, I felt like I had been constructed physically, molecule by molecule, from other beings. Neither they nor I knew why I had been built from them, and they felt angry with me – for not recognizing their sacrifice, for not taking my life seriously enough after what they had given me. (These early visions could be interpreted literally, as my feeling the presence of all the animals I have eaten.)
Sometimes it feels as if others have conjured me, intentionally, out of themselves. In my most recent experience, I felt like a lasso that some collection of minds had cooperatively thrown into existence.
In my most recent experience, I felt like a lasso that some collection of minds had cooperatively thrown into existence.
They were happy about it, and trying to see how long they could keep it in the air – for which I was grateful.
Still other times, it has felt like I am nothing but an aspect of other minds – like I am a way of understanding them. My interests, my concerns, the things that define me – they are all aspects of the minds that conjured me. These aspects are (for reasons unknown to me) so interconnected, and so in need of exploration, that they have been bundled into a living being, myself.
The experience is tiring. Months will pass before I feel any desire to do it again. Also, my interest in the drug has waned over the years, as I seem to confront the same lessons each time, and I believe I have at this point largely internalized them.
Aside from what feel like intellectual and spiritual learning, I have noticed no other long-term effects, either mental or physical.
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Some of the activities described are dangerous and/or illegal and none are recommended by Erowid Center.