After that first mind-boggling salvia experience, I was intent on trying it again. It was too strange to ignore. I got back to California and took my new boyfriend, Mark, up to Alum Rock Park, in the dead of night, to try it. He had a lot of experience with other plants- but never salvia. He thought it would be a piece of cake.
We set up a blanket in the middle of an open field which was overlooking the city below. Beautiful scene. I loaded the pipe- I was going to go first, and them him right after me. I took a big hit- and the heavy laughs took control over me. I still had my eyes open, and everything changed- all the physical-ness of the world around me seemed fake- an illusion. It wasn’t real. I then closed my eyes, fell back onto the blanket, and began traveling the stars. The same lady came. I again was in my parents backyard as a toddler. The language words kept repeating over and over in my mind recirculating. Lots of swirling colors. There was no me. There was no such thing as thought or thinking. No recollection of me being a person in a body on a planet called Earth. I was just swirling energy. Separating and reconvening. This was real. And this was all there was.
I slammed back into my body. Opened my eyes, looked up to the brilliant stars and the hovering moon shining its light onto our bodies. A feeling of absolute wonder took over. Who was I? I mean, I intellectually “knew” I was living in a body in a girl called Megan- but this was not the fundamental truth of “who” I was, and I could feel that very strongly.
I looked over to Mark. He started saying “turn off the lights! Hurry, turn them off!” There were no lights on, and his eyes were closed. I laughed and cuddled him. He came back. Just as confounded as I was. He described it as entering a inverse bubble of reality that’s not normally there. Like pressing down on a plastic bag and waiting for it to return to it’s normal shape. He felt perturbed that he had no “control” over the experience. How you can control something, when there is no “you” present?
The next morning, he woke up and wanted to do it again.(Note- it is very rare for anyone to ever want to smoke salvia after the first time, because it can be such an unpleasant and jarring experience). He wanted to “figure it out”, and “conquer” it. I watched him inhale, and I watched him go.
His body stiffened. Tightened up like a corpse. His breathing became focused and heavy. His brow furrowed. All of a sudden he opened his eyes, turned his head toward me, and said in a very unusual voice “They’re not going to take Mark away again, are they?”
Holy shit. That was just a little bit freaky.
I smoked it about five more times- each time presented with the lady, language, early childhood scenes. One time I even was able to bring a word from the language back- “gesticadibidabrae” . Really bizarre! But I began to get a feeling that smoking it was “wrong”. Returning from the trips, I would feel an ominous energy in the air. All desire to further explore the plant was gone, due to the increasing unpleasantness of the experiences, and I abandoned the idea of more experiments.
THOUGHTS ON SALVIA DIVINORUM TODAY
It’s been years since I’ve smoked salvia. My take on salvia now: It still confounds me, but so far what I have personally deciphered from it: I think smoking salvia is a very quick and precise teacher. It automatically shows you, usually in an unpleasant way, that you are not really “you”- that there really is no such thing as a separate individual distinct from the universe- you are everything, and everything is you. We are normally so embedded in the illusion of separateness that suddenly having this jarring merging of all reality taking place is extremely uncomfortable. I think it must also bring one to an “in between” realm of some sort. I can’t put my finger on it. It unpleasantly brings to attention the sort of “hollowness” of physical reality- that the physical is not ultimate truth. Living in a hologram. Almost like a video game, in a place governed by certain rules and laws of existence. I think it also shuttles the consciousness to enter into a stage known as the “dark night of the soul” (for more information on this, refer to Daniel Ingram’s book “Mastering the Core Teaching’s of the Buddha”)
Although I do feel I have benefitted from my relationship with Salvia, I don’t recommend anyone smoke it. I have a sense that the plant wants to be chewed, not smoked- especially not smoking a strong extract of it. I have spoken with many other people who have smoked salvia that get the same sense that she doesn’t want to be smoked- almost like the plant is mad at them for smoking it. Salvia is very straightforward. Intense. She feels a little bit like a trickster, too. Smoking it for the reason of “having a good time”, or using it as a party drug, it NOT a good idea, in any instance. This is a powerful plant that commands utmost respect when approaching her. If you try to seek a relationship with her with the wrong attitude, chances are you will be scared shitless during and after the experience. You can also get flashbacks from smoking it. These can be extremely unpleasant.
A couple of years ago, I was participating in a faetio, which is the activity of picking medicinal plant leaves and making into a tea called ayahuasca. It is a tradition to drink some of the plant medicine before picking the leaves. The medicine can be very strong- it shows you that everything is vibration and energy, among many other things.
The medicine was soaked up by my body in a pleasant way. I felt wonderfully connected to the earth, my bare feet gripping down into the sun-warmed mud. I knelt down picking the chacruna leaves, humming, happy. Suddenly, out of no where, I felt the left side of my body being pulled into what felt exactly like a salvia trip. The salvia language began circulating through my mind. I felt like I was fighting to keep my consciousness from exiting out of the left side of my body. It was frightening and a heavy, ominous feeling weighed over me. I looked over to my friend Josh, was about to tell him what was happening, when he exclaimed,
“Hey, look! That’s a salvia divinorum plant right there!”, pointing down to my left, at a plant which was entangled in the leaves of the charuna tree which I was picking from.
All I could do was smile, and quickly move away from the plant. Lady Salvia taught me a lot, but I had no desire to enter into her world anymore.