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This is Not a Cool Drug
Salvia, first time
Substances: Salvia divinorum
hmm... reading much about Salvia on the internet piqued my curiosity... after reading good reviews of Kava Kauai's dried leaves, i ordered some.
it arrived on friday. i called up a long-time friend, "W.", and she enthusiastically said "wanna bring it over?"... i'd showed W. about 4 salvia reports from Erowid, which in retrospect was probably not enough, but she too was interested. i'd read all the trip reports on Erowid and Lycaeum, but didn't do as good a job as i could have of describing the variety of Salvia experiences i'd read about.
W. is fairly experienced with altered states, generally fearless, and was eager to try this new plant ally: "you didn't want to go first, did you", she said smilingly as she packed about half of a four-inch-long leaf into the bowl of her 18" Graffix. "how much do i smoke?" she asked. i told her i didn't really know, as the effective amount seemed to vary greatly from person to person. i said i'd heard 3 large bong hits, but it could be less, and then again it might not do anything for her at all. so i said, if it were me, i'd smoke 3 hits or until i feel it, whichever comes first. she mentioned that she'd smoked a little pot an hour earlier, and i ventured that there might be some synergy but i wasn't really sure.
i tend to forget that W. takes LARGE bong hits. that first bowl was gone in one hit, and she quickly packed the remainder of the leaf, asked me to get her a glass of water, and took another hit. from the kitchen i heard her cough violently, exclaim "nasty!" (though the first hit had gone down perfectly smooth) and call for her water.
i hurried back. she took a sip of her water and handed the glass back to me. she'd only consumed half of her second hit. seconds later the hand that was holding up her bong dropped to her side, and bong water spilled on the couch. i rescued the bong before any damage could occur and focused my attention on W. she quickly got very disoriented, she looked like she was in a very unfamiliar place and didn't know what to do about it. "what's happening?" she asked, "what's wrong? am i okay?" she had a strange look in her eyes, helpless, almost vacant, and scared. it was a look unlike any that i have ever seen in W. in the almost five years that i have known her, and it frightened me somewhat. i tried to tell her that she was okay, that nothing was wrong with her. she said "no, i'm not okay..." and tried to explain what was not okay about herself but she couldn't. it seemed to have something to do with her perception of her body.
at this point i couldn't remember just how long the effects were supposed to last. luckily, three minutes later she was "down" enough to no longer be so scared. "the bong's broken," she said. "no, it's not," i told her, and she realized that the bong only looked broken because of the Salvia. still somewhat out of it, she was coherent enough to talk. "this is not a cool drug," she said. twenty minutes later, though, she was smiling and laughing about it, despite feeling somewhat nauseated. she said she might consider doing it again, in a much smaller quantity, sometime down the road. W. knows that my fellow entheogen-loving friends are intelligent and aware individuals who generally don't do "uncool drugs," so i doubt that she will discount the ally before doing more in-depth research. one hour after inhalation she was back to her normal state of slightly-stoned consciousness.
when she was feeling all right, this is what W. described experiencing: she, i, and her dog were all made out of Muppet material. our lower halves were flat (as though the stuffing had been taken out?) and were horizontal, velcroed to the surfaces we were sitting on. thus we (she, at least) couldn't get up, but only move slightly from side to side with considerable effort. our upper halves were coming up at right angles from those surfaces and were animate. in addition, i gather that there was some somatic and other sensory distortion, however she was unable to describe it in a way that made sense to me.
she also commented on the fact that the thing that was going through her head as she inhaled was that she hoped we didn't get too tripped out and end up lying in bed together because bad things happened the last time we did that. (W. and i once took acid together and acted out some lingering romantic feelings in a way that was quite inappropriate to the interpersonal context of the time...) she thought it apropos that we should have therefore found ourselves velcroed to where we were sitting. she remarked that this observation might be indicative of an entheogenic potential in Salvia that she hadn't recognized when she was busy being scared of what she was experiencing.
after W.'s experience, i decided to remain sober so that i could "babysit"/help her in her comedown. in any case, she was in no state to watch over me if i were to have a similar experience.
however, having discovered by watching W. that Salvia could be quite overpowering, i was not in the least afraid to try it. when i got home, i locked myself in my room, vowed to be cautious, and smoked about one-third the amount that W. had. i got kind of dizzy in a way i've never felt before, and felt the urge to lie down. i lay down and closed my eyes. i was listening to ambient music. as long as i was lying still, i felt essentially nothing. if i opened my eyes and tried to move around, i felt dizzy. no other observable effects. 15 minutes later i could get up and move around comfortably.
so, W. got pulled into another reality, i felt almost nothing. however, from everything i've read, Salvia does have quite an interesting learning curve, and i am looking forward to experimenting further.
i recognize that i did not approach my first experiences with Salvia as carefully as i should have. beyond that, any advice that anyone would like to share regarding future communion with this ally would be greatly appreciated.