First voyages with Salvia Divinorum

The Entheogen Review, 14, 102-3, 2005

I took Salvia Divinorum as leaves smoked in a water pipe, in the evening at a friend’s apartment. I sat cross-legged on the floor. We both meditated for ten minutes before beginning. The room was quiet and almost dark.

My friend prepared the pipe and told me to take one lungful and then relax. He said he would then offer me a second hit which I should accept or refuse according to how strong the initial effects were. I took the first hit at about 10.15. Nothing happened for a few seconds and then Whoosh. I disintegrated very rapidly into an extraordinary state in which any normal sense of self was gone. I seemed to be (dreamlike) involved in some situation in which lots of people were in the streets and observing what I did, which seemed to be important. I remember thinking (and saying?) that possibly there was only the two of us in his room and that this was due to a drug and the other people did not exist.

Meanwhile I had become like a thin sheet or film lying between two worlds; one the world of streets with these people in, and the other the world I could see in front of me which was not three-dimensional but multidimensional. It was mostly stunningly beautiful mixtures of yellow and white in typical psychedelic patterns that bubbled up in many dimensions. There were hints of streams and forests and other natural scenes but the yellow and white predominated for some time.

If I tried to move at this point my arms seemed to break the skin and make unpleasant crackling noises, as though tearing crackly paper.

After a while all this subsided and I wanted to move. I crawled around the floor and lay down, stretched and stood up before sitting down again. Then we began to talk and I learned that I had apparently been offered the second hit and had accepted it in a tiny high voice. I remembered absolutely nothing of this and found it worrying that my memory could be so totally blank.

At this phase I had the overwhelming sense that I was not up to this drug – that it was a very important and powerful drug and that I was not capable of appreciating it properly. I felt inadequate and ill-prepared. I had been told I should have a question but did not have one. I could not see the spirit of the drug and did not know how to look for her. I considered that possibly I had not had enough (although looking back I probably had). I did not want to leave the experience with the feeling that I had not given it my best attempt, so I asked for some more. This was possibly about half an hour after the first two hits.

I took one large lungful, felt very strange and could not take more. The effects were similar to those before, I think, and wore off smoothly as before. There then followed another phase in which we talked. I realised then that although the hallucinations had gone away the drug effects had not. This was a most special and interesting state. I realised that I was, if anything, the spirit of the drug. It was I who could answer questions, rather than asking them. My companion had his own question which he talked briefly about and we sat there saying little with the question between us. I stopped feeling inadequate and just loved the slow and gentle communication. My companion (who has a lot of training in this kind of thing) could see my aura as blue and my whole body glowing. I could feel his aura but not see it clearly. We discussed what this was (both being scientifically interested) as well as just enjoying and exploring. I saw him as hovering above the ground and was convinced that I could put my hands under his floating body – though I could not.

At some point I settled down to wonder whether I could still enjoy hallucinations and, more mildly, they returned. I thought that I could fly (though well aware that physically I could not). I sprouted magnificent wings, lots of them. I said “I’ve got wings, lots of wings, and legs, lots of legs.” It reminded me of Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I was a dragon fly with huge compound eyes, sitting in a human living room.

I am sure there is lots more that I could write about but my memory for the experience is rather more hazy than with most other drugs and I find it difficult to remember more with any clarity.

The most amazing thing about this drug was the long, gentle continuing effects. That night (about two and a half hours after taking it) I had a hot bath and enjoyed a very open and spacious feeling, and carefully reminded myself of the various effects. I felt a great need to integrate all this into my life and to let the effects continue to work through me, which they did. I am writing this nearly 4 days later and I believe I am still feeling the effects. Last night a smoke of home-grown grass had hallucinatory effects quite unlike its usual effect and much nicer and more interesting. This morning I woke still feeling spacious and open. I have enjoyed these after effects very much, although I do not know what, if anything, they are teaching me.

Salvia Divinorum was a scary and challenging drug but I am very glad that I took it.

See also some thoughts on the legalisation of drugs.