Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Salvia divinorum is some crazy shit.

I tried Salvia divinorum for the first time about a month and a half ago.

I went to a cigar shop on Chestnut Street and sifted through a dusty box of tiny plastic bags, which contained a black powder and were marked with different strengths: 5x, 10x, 15x, 20x, 30x, and 40x. I choose the 15x, which was $40.

That night, I turned off all the lights in our apartment except for a single gentle floor lamp in the living room. Ed put Merriweather Post Pavilion on the record player. I poured myself a glass of ice water, because I had read that the smoke would be harsh and unpleasant. As I nervously settled myself on the couch, I repeated, "Don't laugh, don't laugh," over and over in my head, because I had also read that many people see and sometimes even interact with a female spiritual entity when tripping on Salvia, but that laughter scares her away.

I leaned forward and took a single hit of Salvia from a bong. I held it in for as long as I could before exhaling. The smoke was harsh and unpleasant, so I immediately took a sip of my ice water. But as I held the glass to my mouth, I realized that this was a mistake, because people tripping on Salvia are known to drop and break things, especially glass things. So just as the Salvia took effect - and it does so very, very suddenly - I panicked about the possibility of dropping the glass, and I froze in an awkward crouch between the couch and the coffee table.

I'm not sure if I managed to place the glass on the coffee table, or if Ed took it away from me, but either way, I was stuck in this awkward crouch. As a child, I often had nightmares in which I was unable to move, and in retrospect, this experience was strikingly similar to those nightmares. As I struggled to free myself from my frozen position, I saw and felt colorful pixels trickling down the outline of my body. They seemed to be the force holding me in place.

I was extremely confused and disoriented. I felt as though I had flashed back to a long-forgotten childhood version of myself, and I was trapped in a dream. I asked Ed what was happening to me, and he reminded me that I had just smoked Salvia. I couldn't remember anything that I had read about Salvia. I couldn't quite grasp the concept of mind-altering drugs, in general. I asked him why I had done this to myself, and he told me that I had wanted to try it and see what it felt like. This sounded ridiculously foolish and reckless to me. Ed assured me that the sensation would go away if I just waited a little while.

He helped me get unstuck, and into a reclining position on the couch. I relaxed and stared at a framed Kandinsky print on the wall and listened to the music. The colors in the Kandinsky print ebbed and flowed pleasantly. The music was dramatically enhanced. For the first time, I was able to confidently perceive the sound of a record as being significantly "warmer." I got lost in my own thoughts for what felt like an eternity, but was actually only a few minutes. I can't remember what I thought about, only that it was incredibly fascinating and wonderful.

Once the peak had ended, I gradually came to my senses, but remained in a vaguely childish, dreamlike state for the next hour or so. I decided that although the experience was frightening at first, it was also interesting and enjoyable, and that I would like to try it again sometime, but that I would remember to use a plastic cup instead of a glass. I felt sure that if it hadn't been for the glass, I wouldn't have panicked at the beginning.

In the days after my trip, I felt exceptionally energetic, content, and optimistic. Also, ever since then, whenever I listen to Merriweather Post Pavilion on my iPod, I go into a mild trance, which is lovely and relaxing.

I'm sure that I looked silly during my Salvia trip, but I certainly never felt silly. I never felt like laughing, and I couldn't fathom why that is such a common response. For me, the experience was very serious and intense, and not something to be taken lightly. There is still a fair amount of black powder left in that tiny plastic bag, but I have yet to try Salvia a second time. I want to, but whenever I consider it, I feel apprehensive and unprepared. I will do it eventually, though.


jh said...


Rosie Saraha said...

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