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The Secret of Smoked Salvia Divinorum

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by Michael S. Smith

After numerous attempts I finally came upon what I call the "Secret of Smoked Salvia." I will not discuss the subjective effects except in a limited sense, but what I do wish to discuss is how one might better feel these effects.

First find a comfortable position, preferably sitting down in a quiet environment. Load a water pipe (bong) with a full hit of Salvia, light and inhale as deeply, and hold as long, as possible. A water pipe is often the only effective tool due to its ability to cool the smoke and allow for large volumes to be inhaled easily. While holding in the hit it may be advantageous to poke out the left over ash/foliage and reload. Upon exhalation take a couple deep breathes of fresh air then inhale a second hit as above. Before taking another hit you may want to empty the water pipe of the stale left over smoke from the previous hit. By simply blowing it out you can make the next hit less difficult to inhale and hold for a length of time.

Depending on unknown factors, or insufficient inhalations, one may find it necessary to do a hit or two more. Two deep hits has always been good for me, but I have unusually large lung capacity. Those who are used to smoking cigarettes or Cannabis are more likely to feel the effects of Salvia simply due to the fact that their lungs are much better prepared to inhale a large amount of smoke. One technique I have used to bring in large volumes of smoke is to take a few deep breathes, exhale all the air in the lungs and then inhale deeply and slowly from the water pipe. One other technique is to continue loading and smoking until you no longer have the coordination to load anymore. Iíve tried this last technique before and it is helpful if one wishes to have open eye visuals.

After taking the necessary hits close your eyes, lay your head back on a comfortable support, and get your arms and legs in a comfortable open position that wonít require you to move after the effects have begun. When the effects begin you might have a strong desire to open your eyes or change your position to reestablish an equilibrium. It is important that you not do this. Lay perfectly still with eyes closed for the duration. If you desires to attempt the experiment with eyes open I highly recommend staying still as possible, having no moving objects in sight, and fixing ones eyes upon a motionless object for the duration. The initial peak lasts for no more than three to five minutes while residual effects may carry on for ten. With continued usage over time one becomes more adept at both noticing the effects of Salvia and at exploring the new landscape. As I continued using Salvia I reached a peak experience and now the visions are rather mundane, failing in their once spectacular glory.

The three most important factors I have found in feeling the Salvia experience are appropriate silence, lack of movement, and closed eyes. I have found that a lack of dialog, either from other participants, or from TV is of primary importance, but that instrumental music makes for a quite intriguing experience, especially if 4 speakers are properly placed surrounding ones head. Since silence is such an integral part of the experience Iíve conducted sessions with only one person experimenting at a time. The participation of others during ones Salvia experience can at times be a hindrance. If others are present when you are experimenting it is important that they be as quiet as possible, both vocally and in their physical movements (no creaking in chairs or traversing hardwood floors, heavy breathing, or, the hardest thing for an observer to hold back, laughter). Iíve always required of other participants/observers that they be completely still so as to cause absolutely no noise. During the experience a new landscape is opened up, one without borders, and space can appear to go on infinitely. Usually this landscape is one that can shift from one scene to the next without apparent provocation and which resembles a rapid succession of unconscious material forcefully trying to push itself into conscious awareness. If someone makes a noise or speaks the vision may be lost or altered since the noise, and where it is located in space, can still be comprehended by the conscious and rational mind of the person under the influence of Salvia. Such distractions to the mind of the experimenter, who can be quite conscious of two realities at once, can cause them to become aware of the inconsistency between these realities, and this can, and in my case usually has, disrupt the experience.

What the motionless body allows the mind to do is to slip deeper into the 3 dimensional nature of the vision. If the body is moved the vision will often alter or slip away. In some way the physical body defines the inner landscapes of the vision. My only way to explain this is to say that the conscious rational mind retains awareness of consensus reality while under the influence of Salvia. Since Salvia creates a non-consensus reality body movement causes a dichotomy of awareness that can cause the mind to attempt a reconciliation between these realities. Consensus reality often wins, causing the vision to dissipate, or at least lose its convincing nature.

This sort of dual awareness is also played out with sight, which may be why many who attempt to feel the effects of Salvia, and have failed to try closing their eyes, cannot. By having ones eyes open the mind appears to be unconsciously forced to recognize one reality over the next and therefore cannot fall deeply into the full Salvia experience. Of course this dichotomy of forces appears to be overcome depending on how much is smoked, and obviously extracted salvinorin-A forces consensus reality to the wayside in many cases.

The main physical effects that I have noticed are a feeling of a rise of body temperature and a slight tightening of the muscles, especially in the hands. I found that if I consciously focus on relaxing my body during this tensioning that I would be pulled further into the vision. This fits into my theory of dichotomy. Iíve also found that after the main effects have worn off short-term memory may be slightly impaired. For example, I kept forgetting about my lit cigarette in the ashtray. I would lay it down and then, in what appeared a couple minutes, it would be completely burned down to the filter.

One may also notice an inability to recall many of the aspects of the vision and may suffer from incoherent speech. The incoherent speech is very important in attempting to interpret the experience. Just as in Freudian dream psychoanalysis the mind make attempts to fill in the blanks of the vision with coherent structure, basically by adding material to make the vision make sense. But the visions in themselves are unconscious material coming up to a conscious level and this is very difficult to adequately interpret.

When a participant comes down from the experience within my presence I remain completely silent, allowing the partaker to speak freely without my interjections or my attempts to make sense of what is being said. Let them freely speak, without the criticism of the all to common laughter, and try to form a new mental picture from remembered material. Let them have enough quiet time without comment or question to digest what has happened so that they might come to their own personal understanding. And if questions are asked of you answer them very slowly and in a very mild tone lacking in emotional overtones.

The main psychical effects seem to be a dissociation from ones physical surroundings. One becomes aware of other surroundings and of communication with alien, though not necessarily extraterrestrial or spiritual, beings. One of the more interesting factors I have found with Salvia is its ability to cause laughter, sometimes even uncontrollably so. Rarely have I seen fear from smoked foliage, but with Salvinorin-A it can be common.

Of course these are only my own observations and I make no guarantees of the same effects for others. Two last, though not thoroughly tested observations are that marijuana smoked beforehand interferes with the effects of Salvia and that the effects of Salvia plateau, thereby requiring a rapid succession of hits. I have yet to see if any other entheogen limits Salviaís effects. I look forward to testing and hearing about othersí experiments with smoked Salvia during mescaline, Psilocybin, ayahuasca, and LSD excursions. It might also be interesting to try Salvia (masticated or smoked) in conjunction with smoked DMT. I have personally tried a smoked Salvia/5-MeO-DMT combination with highly dissociative effect on the "ego" (due to "Id" influences) while keeping a sense of "superego" awareness. I became my superego aware of my ego as it was being affected and effected by my id. You could also say I became my super consciousness aware of my conscious mind being affected and effected by my unconscious mind. Quite a spectacular feeling. Tripartite Being recognized as one.

This document © 1997, 2000 by Michael S. Smith

Created 9/12/2000 22:58:34
Modified 12/8/2000 16:57:18
Leda version 1.4.3