THE FOLDED CONTINUUM

H. I. D.

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Daniel Siebert


I was in a cabin in the wooded foothills with a friend who had experimented with the sage before. It was night, cool and peaceful, in the territory of the coyote, the mountain lion, and of a legendary rattlesnake that was said to be as long as a man is tall and as big around as his leg.

“So, what’s the procedure, here?”

“Take as big a hit as you can, and hold it as long as you can. Here; I'll light it.”

It had been a long time since I'd smoked anything, so I hyperventilated to clear my lungs and head, and took the hit. I set the pipe on the table between us. I told myself that I was on my way, and to be brave. I reminded myself that I'd been around the psychedelic block a time or two before, and that there wasn't much the world could throw at me that would be weirder than anything I'd thus far undergone. When I could no longer hold the smoke, I exhaled heavily and took a few deep breaths of clean, mountain air. Then I waited. My partner had told me that the stuff came on pretty quickly, but my head seemed still to be quite firmly on my shoulders. Something, though; something seemed to be…

As suddenly as if it had been the inception of time itself, I realized that I was, and had been for some while, elsewhere, or elsewhen, or somehow seriously otherwise. Sight and vision had been translated into another sense and sensation, as if hearing and sound had become taste and scent, except that this new sense was one I'd never exercised. The world, the space-time continuum, had been folded through its four dimensions from a point in the vicinity of my heart, as if to be cut into some galaxy-spanning paper snowflake. My heart, and not necessarily the one pumping blood through my cosmos-swimming body, but the one my ancient Germanic ancestors considered the seat of consciousness, as in the Old Norse poetic phrase “the mind within his breast”, was at the center of this infinite and infinitely folded universe. And although everything was awry and I adrift within it, I felt a balance that was not to be shaken.

I realized that I was sitting across a table from a friend of mine, and then remembered that I had partaken of this new herb. I felt no fear, but a concern insistent enough to lead me to remind myself that the effects were said to be of short duration. But what, I had to ask myself, is duration, when time and space themselves had been twisted into this bizarre origami?

I shifted focus between the cabin and the cosmos a few times. At one point I found my hand resting on my leg, and did what I could to lay it on the table. It was hard work, but someone had to keep that darn table from folding into itself and fanning out to the edges of the universe.

My focus was again more thoroughly wedded to the cabin, although I still felt my heart to be a compass needle drifting at the center of infinitely curved space. I took a mental breath, knowing that I was coming down, or coming back. I tried to describe my experience to my friend, who nodded kindly and knowingly at my babbling. I raised my arms and drifted about the room a bit, almost in a little dance. Yes, my heart was at the center of the world, and though the world was stranger than I'd ever understood, more crazily and elaborately folded, I was absolutely balanced. It was nice to know.

Then it was his turn, and after that, time to step out into the wooded darkness and try to catch a glimpse of that legendary rattlesnake.