Salvinorin: The Psychedelic Essence of Salvia Divinorum
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 plant...it'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."
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.
- "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."
- "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."