I’ve learned that dosage, mindset, and setting are the most important aspects of a good trip.
Mindset: I wanted to respect the salvia. I researched it a bunch before I even bought some. Documentaries, trip reports, archetypes, you name it. I read that the goddess Pastora is embodied through the salvia plant. People even often hear a voice of a woman directing them through salvia trips. I decided to cover my bases and say a little prayer asking to be given a lesson that would help me grow and understand myself and reality better.
Setting: I cleaned up my room and made my bed, which is where I smoked the salvia. I also put on some nice relaxing music that I like. I had hoped that my girlfriend could trip sit for me, but she was busy tonight and I was excited to try. I let my roomate, who also has a fair amount of experience with psychedelics, know that I was trying it and that I’d likely like to talk about it afterwards.
Dosage: Salvia is traditionally chewed on for the best effect. It takes quite a bit of leaves in order to get the effect, but it lasts quite a bit longer. I really only have the extract enhanced smoking herbs available to me, and I chose to start with an extract that is 10x the strength of a leaf. I read that you want to just lightly coat your bowl with salvia and torch it all at once. I coated my bowl, tried to torch it but did the whole thing in 2 or 3 passes, but didn’t hold them in very long.
Experience: I felt much lighter and a little dizzy, which is common with psychedelics. I waited about 7 minutes to feel “it”, but I didn’t feel anything too crazy. I decided I wanted to try some more.
Dosage: I did about half a bowl, and did it in 2-3 passes, and held each of them in longer. I didn’t feel it, didn’t feel it, didn’t feel it, and then all of a sudden I FELT IT.
Experience: I began looking at my pipe, and I realized what an odd tool a pipe is. It is like a mixing bowl with a straw at the end, and what you mix is some sort of herb and fire. This mixture can be used for some very powerful experiences. I perceived it a lot like a staff for a moment. I looked at my lighter and also thought that it was a very strange tool. Then I thought the same thing about my hands and body. I can’t really explain it, but I felt like I was being laughed at by an unseen force or person. When I told my girlfriend later she laughed and said it was cosmic beings saying “look, the monkey is using the tool!”. It kinda made sense.
I was laying down in my bed that I had just made, which has a teal blanket on it, and not much else besides the pillows at the top. I looked at my blanket and it felt like by bed was very large and I had shrank to be about 4 inches tall.
I looked around while I still had this perception of my body being a tool that I was using, and I saw how things are just so empty, so impermanent, so fleeting and passing. Everything, including me.
The music that I normally find relaxing seemed ridiculous and hollow, and I tried to change it, but ended up just turning it off.
To put this in perspective, this all took place in the span of about 20 seconds. It hit hard and it hit fast. Even with the right dosage, mindset, and setting I became intimidated. I got up to go talk to my roommate, because I started freaking out a little. I got up, and even held the knob of my door for a moment, and realized that I would be sending a strong message if I went and got my roommate. I asked for this lesson, and I should try to learn it while it was still being taught. I decided to lay back down, and knew it would be over in a couple minutes.
Once I got comfy and was laying down, it was clear I had already peaked and was on the come down. I thought a lot about how I seemed to have shrank. There had only maybe been one other time when I had peaked as hard as I had with salvia, and I was amazed at how fast I had peaked.
Once I felt like I could stand and communicate, I went out and told my roommate what I had experienced. I realized that I felt touch starved, and asked her if I could give her a hug, and she was happy to oblige.
Aftermath: I have been thinking about the concept of a soul and reincarnation recently. They’re fascinating subjects that are found in many cultures. Since I am Buddhist, there are many people who talk about reincarnation around me. I personally didn’t hold a lot of weight in the theory until I thought of the concept of living many lives during the same 80-year span. For example, I feel like a completely different person now than I did while I was still LDS.
During my trip I had the distinct feeling like my hands were tools that were no different from the pipe I was holding. I felt as if was using a tool (salvia) to realize that my body was a tool. I became very aware of my body, and tugged on my mustache and thought about how weird it is to have facial hair.
I saw my dog and my roommate’s cat kinda sniffing at each other, and I realized that in the same way my body is a tool for me, their body is a tool for them. I then thought about what it would be like to wield a tool that was different than mine. What would it be like to wield a canine or feline tool? Would I like it better than mine? I then thought about how reincarnation could play into this. What if I HAD wielded one of those tools, and chose to wield a human one for a while? What would I choose to wield after this tool wears out? Do I only get to wield tools found on Earth? Is time a factor in what tool I get to use? Is there a waiting line to wield certain tools? Could I just take a break from wielding tools for a while and relax instead? Am I being compelled to wield these tools? What if I didn’t want to be compelled anymore? What are the rules to this system and are they physically able to be broken?
I would 100% not recommend salvia for anyone not seeking an entheogenic experience. It would KILL any party vibes for you and everyone around you. I would not recommend it unless you can handle your psychedelics. I would not recommend it if you’re scared of having your worldview radically changed. I feel as if salvia has a lesson to teach you. However, because I took it in the form of an extract enhanced smoking herb, it had to teach me the lesson in a hurry and had to yell it. I can see how someone who has the wrong dosage, mindset, and setting would trigger their fight or flight line the videos you see on YouTube. It is meant to be used as a teacher.
I wanted a lesson and felt like I was being pulled to learn it from a psychedelic source. I became intensely interested in how salvia could teach me, and I am very glad I had this experience. I felt as if I was able to learn something valuable.