|Lycaeum > Leda > Trip Reports > Accordion Universe|
Some strange distortions..
Substances: Salvia divinorum
Friday night I was tired, ending a full work week in which I worked hard. I rested up in preparation for my experiment and, the edge having been taken off my general exhaustion, W herself tiredly downstairs watching TV, I decided to make first acquaintance with the sage of the diviners. As I soon discovered, this is definitely a power plant to be approached cautiously with preparation and respect.
Entering the study I selected some music, Ensemble Pan's Isle of St. Hylarion, music of Cypress from the 1400s, and put it on to play on the CD Drive. Kaleidoscope screensaver enhanced the calm beauty of the setting. Darkness was impracticable at that time so I left a lamp lit. I then lit a candle in the bedroom and came back into the study. Loading a pipe with a leaf I noticed its unfamilar texture and flexion and, following the written advice of some other anonymous adventurer, drew deeply on the bowl of leaves as I set it aflame and held the smoke for as long as I could.
The experience has a steep on-ramp, no more than ten or fifteen seconds. By the end of the first exhalation something was different, a kinship with cannabis at first blush, but only at first blush. I took a second draw and my sense of self was radically altered in a way that seems difficult or impossible to describe. At first I had the sense of being extremely narrow, squeezed, almost flattened along the vertical length of my seated body. It was weird in a dramatic and frightening way, and following some once-adaptive childhood pattern I hid the pipe and bit of leaf that remained, as though I had done something naughty that needed to be hidden lest I be punished. I thought to run down to W for an instant to tell her what I was going through, but decided the better of it and resolved to ride the wave out on this odd surf. Anxiously I stumbled awkwardly back into the bedroom and blew out the candle, and then to the bathroom to dump ash off the plate. How weird that we stumble around on these legs; wouldn't it be infinitely easier and more graceful to glide? My legs felt like two of the corners of the shape in Figure 2 below. At some point I realized I could ride with the experience and my anxiety diminished, leaving me freer to explore the intrigue of this newly discovered dimension. I left the office and sat down on the bed.
Soon it seemed that my identity--not my body, not my mind, but the very entirety of my self and the fabric of its universe, was corrugated, enfolded like an accordion. This corrugation existed in an ordinarily invisible space, like the three-dimensional objects so strangely visible in the "magic eye" paintings after coming to an entirely different focus. The angular, accordion corrugation of my identity within its universe's fabric had a strange, giant-sawtooth-wave zigzag (Figure 1):
/\ /\ /\ /\ /\ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \ / \/ \/ \/ \/ \
I thought of the sawtoothwave-type zigzags I have seen in Huichol peyote art. Yet I had always interpreted those zigzags as flowing and liquid, with rounded corners, while this was simutaneously structurally angular and rhythmic. Also I thought of the paradox that the sound of a sawtooth wave is a "buzz", the same term used to describe the onset of an altered state of this nature. I began to realize that this was fun, that the Salvia and I had this shared secret of its tremendous power, and I felt a familiar, trippy glee that I recognized from other forays into psychedelic territory many years ago.
I soon reloaded the bowl with a small leaf and drew deeply again and while I drew, I seemed to be standing outside and behind myself, watching a play or a moving painting of which I was a part, or rather the whole animated tableau of drawing on the pipe was simultaneously me and other than me. As I drew on the bowl and sensorily experienced the grainy, particulate quality of the dried burning plant material with my mouth and lungs I had a distinct intuition that it wanted to be smoked, that it spoke with me in a distinct voice, or more than one voice, that it commented on what I was doing, on the whole tableau, that it encouraged me as I drew; there was an otherness to the voice that distinguished it from the usual mental chatter, and I understood that dialog with the voice was part of how one learned from the plant.
During another aspect of the experience, which first began to emerge as I stumbled about, I seemed to be a shape:
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
I felt that I actually was this shape, which I interpreted as a star, and that it had some symbolic significance for me. I was this star, and I radiated light.
I remember realizing the importance of dialogue with the plant, and I remember beginning to ask it questions, but by the time this kind of dialogue would have begun W came upstairs, complaining about the window being open in the winter (which I had opened to dissipate the smoke). I was not in a space to interact effectively with W, and the plant's effect was waning.
I am interested in learning further from this plant, in a measured, balanced way, to speak with and hear its many voices and discover its what it has to teach.