by Sasha

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It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

The Salvia divinorum Research and Information Center
is created and maintained by
Daniel Siebert

Alone and relaxed in my house, I tried a Salvia divinorum extract. I did a lot of research prior to that and knew I should have a sitter with me if I wanted to try a really deep experience, but because I was going to try just a tiny bit and because in my previous years I had a lot of experience with LSD, I foolishly thought I was prepared enough and would be OK alone.

I packed a very tiny amount in a pipe. The total amount would probably not even cover a thumbnail if it was spread on it. I burnt everything in the bowl in one hit and held in the smoke.

The result was the most powerful, real, and disturbing trip I have ever experienced, with absolutely ferocious, shocking intensity. After holding in the smoke for just a few seconds, the onset of the trip was instantaneous and without any "getting stronger" phase. I guess for some time I completely blacked out, because I do not remember putting down the bowl.

At the point when my memory returned, neither I nor this universe and reality any longer existed. I was now part of a completely different existence with absolutely no connection to the outside of it. There was absolutely nothing to help me. I was immediately aware that every molecule of my matter was being pulled out of me, down and to the left, towards the corner where the floor intersected the wall. So was every molecule of everything else around me. During this there was a very loud sucking noise, and it felt like everything was being sucked into something like a vacuum plastic wrap sealing machine. Everything was being compacted.

My existence was no longer a fact to me. In fact, nothing existed any longer, and memories of the previous existence and events were like dreams that were implanted, but definitely were just dreams. I keep saying “I,” but at that point there was no I, and I knew that there never really was. I no longer was an individual. I no longer had a concept of being anything at all but some entity whose entire perception of previous life was implanted, was fake, was like a staged play. I knew it never really existed that way outside of our made-believe world that was implanted on us; yet I, and people, and animals, and nature, and air, and empty spaces between objects were put through our paces of fake existence, until suddenly the master decided to close down the show—that was instantaneously clear, and that unambiguous clarity was very disturbing. There was no denying or analyzing it. Where I found myself was real, I knew it, and there was no contemplating about it—that was it, and always was. There was no escape, because there was nothing but this now. It was as if the entire universe and existence was like a spectacle in a theater, and all of us, everything around us, even air and emptiness, were always just puppets and various props, who, in a cruel joke the master played on us, were given a feeling of independent existence, an awareness of self, and awareness of things around us. But now the show was over, period, and everything was now being folded and put away. Everything. It was like the universe, us, and our reality was in a container, and now the spectacle inside that container was over and the container was being destroyed.

There was no air around me. There were no empty spaces between objects. There were not even individual objects, not in my room, and not anywhere in the universe, and there never were. Everything was always one, meaningless, lifeless substance. We were just fooled into a different reality for our entire misconception of existence; but in that instance the master ended his play, got tired of his joke, and now the spectacle, which was our existence and the universe, had ended, and what we thought was our reality was being folded and put away into nothingness. And I and everything else in the universe were crumpled into one, indistinguishable, homogeneous mass. I knew that all the objects, people, and feelings I encountered in my whole life, and my life itself, were just someone’s imagination or a game. They were just like a play in a theater, and now all of the props and costumes are being folded and put away.

I had only a single, overwhelming, all-encompassing thought during this. A single, basic, helpless, animal, uncontrollable thought, “Why me? Why is this happening now? Why have I been fooled for so many years? This is so unjust and there is no way to change this now. What have I done? Why did my mother ever bring me into existence? It was so cruel? Why have I not been granted a gift of ceasing to exist in a reality as I knew it before, as people I knew did, instead of being put through horror of a reality being taken away from me?”

The most intense realization was that I was completely alone, there was absolutely nothing but me, anywhere. Not that there were no people anywhere, but that there was absolutely nothing anymore, nothing! Any pain or tragedy I have ever experienced in previous reality seemed like a gracious gift compared to where I now was, and where, I knew, I will always now be. I knew that even my mother's love for me and my love for her were never real. My mother was not real. It was all a disgustingly cruel joke played on every being in the universe. And now the game was over and the true reality was revealed. It was so unimaginably horrifying. It was like a permanent condemnation.

I started running. I don't know where or why. I was not aware I was running, I just knew I was moving through substance around me. There was no plan, no reason, no conscious thought. There could not have been any of that. All of that had seized to exist, even the continuity of time. There was no escape, no way out of this. I knew that all awareness, existence, and life I previously saw was never real—that is why there will never be a way back to it. And now things simply were returning to "normal," as they truly have always been, lifeless, like puppets and props on a theatrical stage, except that even empty spaces and air were all part of this make-believe world. So it's not a distortion of a thought, this is a distortion of consciousness, of very existence. I guess I was running out on some primitive animal instinct. I and the universe had seized to exist, and the only thing I could do was to run. But every motion just reminded me of the reality where I now was. With every motion I was being sucked further into walls around me, and objects were being sucked into me, everything was becoming one. Actually, there was no concept of individual, independent objects or empty space around me, every motion I made was like forcing my being through something that felt like plastic. It was pulling me down, and that substance was everything. There was nothing but it. It's like everything in the universe, everything we see, was like paintings on this plastic-like substance. There no longer were different materials, different matter, different substances—everything was one, and I was one with it all as well. Moving through what used to be empty spaces or objects was exactly the same.

I saw and felt everything being sucked down and to the left, and so when I ran, I ran on the edge between what used to be the floor and the wall. I remember seeing objects of my previous life around me (they used to be objects, now they retained recognizable colors, but they no longer had shapes, they were not independent of each other, they all were a single one) and thinking what a cruel joke it was to let me think they were real, to let me care about stuff that is completely meaningless and not real. But this was not about material possessions, it was about every feeling and interaction I ever had—they were all meaningless. And the cruel joke was that we were fooled into believing that things, and words, and feelings we used to experience had meaning and mattered. They were never real, they never existed.

Gravity is just one of forces, the one with which in our common reality we are the most familiar. On Salvia, there can be a force that completely changes your up and down. You can open a door and your entire being would start pouring out of the door, as if you were water in a bottle that someone tipped on its side and it started to pour out. I think I did open the front door, while trying to escape, but every instance of me suddenly began to pour out of that door, and it felt and sounded there exactly as the plastic that was pulling everything together inside. It was the entire existence that was transformed, not individual matter or objects or perceptions, it was the reality that I knew before that ended up being just a theatrical stage that was now revealed to us and was being taken down.

I kept running through matter around me, which was what used to be empty spaces and objects. I do not remember a path or anything like that. I just know I ran, because there was absolutely nothing I could do but to keep trying to get away, until I could not try anymore. I did not think I could get away, it was just some animal instinct, to run.

Suddenly, with no indication of anything starting to subside, I was jerked back out of that horror and into reality as I knew it before this. At that instant, I found myself hanging half way out of my bedroom window with the screen busted out, trying to climb out and screaming something like, "Mama, why?!"

I pulled back and fell on the floor. I was still extremely fucked up. But no level of being fucked up can even come close to not being in this reality to begin with. I could almost cry I was so happy to be back. It took about 5 more minutes before I became more or less coherent of definitely being back in this world. Where I was just seconds ago was so real and intense it took some time to sink in that I now am back in the universe as I knew it before. I had a sense that I've been yelling, wherever I was just moments ago, but I knew absolutely nothing for sure, except that I was back in the world I left some time ago (I had no concept of time at all). But that made me feel really paranoid about whether I had ran outside and whether I really was screaming while climbing out of the window. That paranoia really spoiled my comeback into this world. I remember feeling really sorry I did not bring a friend to be my guide for this trip. I kept trying to tell myself that everything was OK, but I couldn't reassure myself enough for a long time after everything was over. Another disturbing feeling was that I no longer was sure that where I now was, in this reality, was any longer undeniably real, because now I had experience of being in that other world, and I could only pray that I will never be there again and that that world was the one that was not real, instead of this one. Having been there, I knew of a possibility of its existence (eventually, it took days for that feeling to subside).

As I left the bedroom I saw something like a path of destruction throughout the house, starting in the room where I smoked that bowl of Salvia divinorum. Couches were moved around, tables tipped over, carpets bunched up. I also started feeling pain in my left shoulder and saw it being all red with cuts and bruises on it. When I looked at my watch it seemed that I was in this different reality for about 10 minutes. However, I cannot be sure of that because, unfortunately (or maybe, fortunately), I do not remember the very first part of the trip at all. I do not remember ever putting down the bowl. The first thing I remember is when I was uncontrollably running and the universe had ceased to exist, along with me. That was the most intense and the most terrifying experience I've ever had sober or tripping. This was as real as you know yourself now, or as any pain or fear you've ever felt. Except that there, in that world, you feel absolutely helpless and alone.

When you're too fucked up and your trip becomes scary, you keep asking, "Is this how it is going to be now?! When will it be over?!" On Salvia you don't ask these questions, because where you are is all there is. It is all there ever was, and it is all that you now can possibly imagine. On Salvia it is not a parallel reality, it is a complete substitution of reality. There is no other reality but the one Salvia gives you, and there never was any other reality but something that was staged. That is probably the single most disturbing aspect of a Salvia trip—a complete substitution of reality.

I would never advise anyone to take Salvia. This is something a person should decide for himself. But if you end up curious, like I did, I strongly recommend to take Salvia journeys only with a sober friend you trust. I believe that single difference would have made my experience much less terrifying.

Also, keep in mind that this was not a typical Salvia journey (if there ever is one), which I read and heard can be very interesting. This was only my experience. Nevertheless, it was so fascinating that I will do it again, but only with a sitter.

Salvia's world is like a change in perception not on 1, or 2, or 3 levels; like vision, and/or hearing, and/or textile sensing. Salvia's world is a simultaneous and powerful change in all receptors of awareness and time, of everything that makes a person be conscious of his own existence and reality. This is the single most unique, unnerving, and extraordinary aspect of Salvia divinorum. This plant opens up a door, which, perhaps, we were not meant to peek through.