Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Against the drug war but not sure what to do about it?
Join Erowid and help spread accurate, independent information.
Salvinorin: The Psychedelic Essence of Salvia Divinorum
by D.M. Turner
Effects and Experiences


Many who use salvinorin A spend the peak of their journey lying down or reclining, apparently engrossed in an internal world. At the onset of the experience there is often a complete separation of consciousness from the body and personality. similar to what occurs with Ketamine. What is experienced after this is quite variable, possibly more so than with other psychedelics. The visions seen with salvinorin A seem particularly real and convincing. Quite often people accept these visions as reality and forget they are under the influence of a psychedelic substance. Siebert has reported on a number of themes which are frequently experienced with salvinorin A.

1. Becoming objects (yellow plaid French fries, fresh paint on a drawer, a pant leg,
    a Ferris wheel, etc.)
2. Visions of various two-dimensional surfaces, films and membranes.
3. Revisiting places from the past, especially childhood
4. Loss of the body and/or identity.
5. Various sensations of motion, or being pulled or twisted by forces of some kind.
6. Uncontrollable hysterical laughter.
7. Overlapping realities. The perception that one is in several locations at once.

There has been little written regarding first-hand experiences with Salvia divinorum or salvinorin A. Although recently reports from individuals have appeared in publications such as The Entheogen Review and on internet BBS such as alt.drugs.

Dale Pendell is one or the few to have taken a liking to Salvia divinorum. His book, Pharmako/Poeia, devotes an entire chapter to it and offers many poetic insights into the nature of this mysterious ally.
    "Some say it is a sensual and tactile thing. Some say it's about temporality and dimensionality, that it's about time travel Somesay it's about the Root Energy Network, or that it's about becoming a's like a mirror with no frame: some don't see it at all; some do, but don't like what they see... Consciousness has to do with energy and light. It is really very simple, neither animals nor people have consciousness. It is plants that have consciousness. Animals get consciousness by eating plants."
These poems may seem arcane to those not familiar with the Salvia divinorum experience, but are likely to be easily grasped by those who are. An experimenter who chewed Salvia divinorum leaf reports in The Entheogen Review; five minutes of uncontrollable laughter, followed by visions "similar to those in fantasy paintings or ancient oriental palaces: the Alhambra of Grenada. A large, almost endless empty hall with beautiful arches and hundreds of columns: all in a strange, gloomy, blue-gray light with colors of deep magic and majesty." This person later went on to feel as if he'd become a tree, similar to an Oak. He experienced his bark as a sense organ, and remarked "while it was happening I had no doubt that a tree feels that way." Subsequent to this his experience changed from entheogen to aphrodisiac.

An excellent description of encounters with Salvia divinorum can be found in a tape by Bret Blosser. While on a cave hunting expedition in the Sierra Mazateca in the late 70's, Blosser quite accidentally came upon Mazatecs who use this plant, and was able to participate in several sessions with native shamans. He had the opportunity to receive instruction and learn about the plant's use over a span of several years, during which he periodically revisited the area. In his tape, Blosser discusses the uses for Salvia divinorum within the Mazatec culture, which includes; medicinally - to treat both physical and "psychic" illnesses, and in divining - the future, the cause or cure for an illness, and information about friends, family, and enemies. He provides insightful descriptions of his journeys, and of the preparation and guidance of his sessions. The curandero who administered Blosser's journeys works with psilocybe mushrooms more frequently than Salvia divinorum, and indicated that Salvia divinorum is "too fast" for most people.

Prior to his extraction research with Salvia divinorum, Leander Valdes. together with Jose Diaz, had taken part in ceremonies conducted by a Mazatecan shaman during which they ingested leaves from the plant. Valdes reported the following visions in an article appearing in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology :
    "I see something between a cross and a sword which is covered with gold and has many jewels... It has everything inside, lights, animals, people, plants. Everything, of many colors. like a picture. Very very vivid colors." Valdes characterized his experiences with Salvia divinorum as involving sensations of "flying, floating, traveling rapidly through space, twisting and spinning. as well as a heaviness or lightness of the body." Later that evening Valdes' visions continued. He saw a purplish light that changed into a bee or moth like shape which became a pulsating sea anemone. The imagery expanded into a desert landscape full of moving prickly pear cactus shapes. Suddenly he found himself standing in a bizarre landscape with brightly colored flowers, talking to a man wearing a shining white robe who was either shaking or holding his hand. Next to them was something that resembled the skeleton of a giant stick-model airplane made from rainbow colored inner-tubing. The "reality" of what he was seeing amazed him.
The following experience was reported on the internet from a person who had smoked two deep bong hits of dried Salvia divinorum leaf.
    "There was an edge, made of something between plastic and flesh, set about a foot in front of my face, running diagonally, upward to the right. I could touch this edge. and it had resistance when I did so. It's visual qualities were a bit less intense initially, pastel colors, some glistening. I started to pull at it, peeling it back, and it seemed then that the 'stuff' was simply "reality". I collapsed into a couch, closed my eyes, and unfolded the folds of this "stuff' (or rather it unfolded me; you know how it goes, very reflexive,) a very sensual, sexual experience, moist, son and hard all at once. Or, a distinct sense of losing my "mental faculties one by one, in very specific levels, until I could not form a thought. Space had become very peculiar, rich with crevices, stretching far down past what I could see. At this point I felt uneasy. A voice called up from one of the crevices "Do you want to stay like this forever?" I called out "No!", and the voice replied, "Then stop doing that!" "That" I took to mean the Salvia. Then I fused with a piece of furniture. A very odd experience, like I was simply the hidden other leg of the furniture, completing the gestalt, but in a very immediate bodily way."
A recent issue of The EntheogenReviewreports on one person's journey following the smoking of two dried Salvia divinorum leaves, consumed in two large hits from a water pipe:
    "I felt like and saw myself as a tree. Branches began growing out of my body, filling up the room, and I felt, and saw, my roots growing all over the floor and out beneath the door. At thispoint I could no longer remember if I had smoked anything, or if my mind had just flipped on me. My room had turned into artwork from Where the Wild Things Are, a kid's book. The room was a garden of geometric twines and leaves from my own body." This trip was much more intense than any previous Salvia divinorum journeys of this person, who also reported seeing
    entities, including, "one who was pushing a wheelbarrow along one of my
    vines while smiling at me."

Table of Contents