25 Apr 2005

If it looks like a duck, swims like a ceiling tile, and quacks like a reptilian carport, it’s probably salvia

I’m a day removed from a super threshold experience. I have no clue how to sum it up. I wish I’d done some writing soon after, or recorded myself during the trip. I have to go on memory. I’ll try a chronological report.

My first attempt, which I’ve reported here, was more powerful than expected and suggested amazing potential. I tried a higher dose a week later, indoors, but I didn’t feel significantly greater effects. I did a series of extra hits about a minute or two apart. Each time I would bump up to a short peak like a little nitrous spike with a wave of anesthesia. There would be a loosening of all assumptions and solidity – increase in possibility. Colors would brighten, space would elongate, edges would sharpen, the floral pattern on the couch would grow, warp, suck me in. I would feel on the verge of opening a window or a doorway, but then I would return to a mildly psychedelic plateau before it got really interesting. It seemed the gravity of my personality and personal reality was still stronger than the salvia, and would pull me back. I could never boost myself past the threshold. I realized that I was just wasting the drug. Climbing gradually over the threshold was not an option. I had to concentrate the required amount of salvinorin in my bloodstream over the course of a minute. That was the ticket.

So that is what I had in mind when I began my third journey. I decided to trip indoors, in the afternoon, with the windowshade open a crack, on the same couch as last time. I had a friend with me who was acting as a sober sitter. He brought his bubbler. I packed its tiny bowl to the brim with 5x, then loaded a slightly smaller hit in my glass pipe that I planned to smoke immediately after pooching the bubbler’s bowl.

Bubblers kick ass, especially for salvia. The hit was very large, but the smoke was cool. I took it in easily and held it for what I thought was thirty seconds. I torched the bowl again and lit up what was left. Got some more salvia in and held it for less, then exhaled and went for the pipe. At this point I was feeling the fringes of the warp creep up on me, but nothing too strange. I flamed the pipe with gusto and hit it hard. Held the smoke in, noticing that I was starting to feel really weird. The gravity sensations were beginning. I had just dosed myself with an estimated 60 mg of 5x (870 mics of salvinorin).

The transition occurred halfway through the second toke and it was so rapid I didn’t even notice. I don’t remember what was happening during this period but I do remember whispering to my sitter that no, I don’t need a third toke. I was clearly past the threshold. I whispered a few more things, like: “holy shit”. Then my memory is gone. This black period might have been the peak but I can recall nothing from it.

My memory returns in the middle of some raging sea of mutating consciousness. It did not feel expansive, it felt constricted, like I’d been forced to occupy the headspace of something not meant to contain my new form. I felt like I was taking in too much information, and the unprocessable excess was spilling over into a physical energy I didn’t know what to do with. There was no question of doing anything though, the energy was doing me, changing me. I was the energy.

The change felt violent and intense. I can’t imagine anyone having a tranquil trip on this substance. As I was assimilating/being assimilated into the new paradigm, the oddest associations flung out of my collapsing core – an unrecognized memory of the backyard of my grandma’s house and a plastic tricycle subsumed into a duck-lizard on a spinning checkerboard landscape. Checkerboards, tiles like cells in a hyperorganic circuit, flowing, conveying, attached to something, whipping back and forth in a 3d figure eight. I was part of this manic motion. The tiles might have been scales on some vast liquid amorphous reptile, but the reptilian motif was part of the species warp which tied into a pre-verbal child-like nonsense thread that made perfect sense in the moment. I can't isolate any part of it, it was all a fuzzy bubbling gestalt with myself knotted through. On this plateau I was in no position to be able to freak out because I was beyond freaking out - far beyond myself. It was beyond psychological, it was a brutal dismemberment of identity and assumptions that attach me to my species, let alone personality. It was becoming a new life form, with consciousness forced to wrap around the novel angular contours of a non-Euclidean object.

My perception of the outside world was completely gone but I had a vague sense that I was tripping on something and someone was watching me. I felt impelled to communicate with this person because what was happening to my mind was unbelievable. It was impossible. It was inhuman, it broke all the rules. I couldn’t connect the state I was in with my past experience at all – it was ludicrous. I tried to speak, but the act was so foreign to me I couldn’t finish a syllable without drawing it out in a spastic moan. Then it would wrangle into glossolalia of its own accord. I was fascinated with trying to speak and hearing what I was saying. After twisting into jabberwocky and recognizing it as that, the jabberwocky itself twisted into some new language that seemed to explain everything. I’m told I laughed hysterically around this point. I do remember a feeling of enormous hilarity, like I was comprehending a cosmic joke. The feeling was epic, my self and life were only tiny fragments of it, and I was compelled to express it. Even though it was impossible, the attempt to express it felt ecstatic and revelatory and part of the joke.

It wasn’t the kind of clear white light above-it-all transcendence I’m used to from 5MeO-DMT and DXM. It was like being yanked into a parallel continuum that is connected to our world in subtle, intricate, and vital ways. Time was very distorted around this point. Not stretched, but meaningless. I could conceive of no beginning or end to what was happening. It was a place out of time. I felt less inside a room and more spread through a nonlocal field of mind. Physical space was a distant, trivial notion. I was totally disoriented – I had no name, no conception of what tripping was or what had happened to cause this. I did have a sense of body, but not a human body. My “body” seemed to be twisting into fluid shapes and words and concepts.

What I’m saying doesn’t come close to conveying the strangeness of it. I wouldn’t call it alien, though “extra dimensional” seems apt. Whatever it was I was falling into, or becoming, or being snatched up in, it had some vague connection with humanity, but it was like humanity was one small node in its superstructure. I later had the idea of humans as surface stubs way out on the fringes of a vast organic order, a pattern within a pattern, and consciousness need not be confined to the personal stubs we inhabit and mistake for separate inviolate entities. But the salvia experience was less like contacting the Gaian mind and more like having portions of my personal pattern of awareness scrambled arbitrarily throughout the larger organic order.

It was not like any other psychedelic experience I’ve had. It was far too bizarre to relate to any past trip. And yes, it DID have much of the character that other voyagers ascribe to salvia, mainly because of its idiosyncrasy. But it was nothing like what I’d imagined or could have imagined.

The room was blotted out by a sensation that consisted of all my senses put into higher context. Anything I saw with my eyes was interpreted in ways that bore no resemblance at all to its traditional identity. I thought that I was lying down with my eyes shut the whole time, but I later found out that a lot of the time I was actually sitting up and staring at things, the window, the room, the cat which jumped off the couch as objects took on lingual associations once again.

My thoughts began to condense to more rational, lucid, human-style questions like “what the fuck is happening to me?” I finally got out an actual word “BULLSHIT!” as the salvia’s hold relaxed. It seemed the only thing to say. Now it felt that my regular world was doing the pulling, pulling me back, hard. Like the transition into the salvia trip, the transition back was hard to pinpoint.

I blurted out a bunch of astonished “what the fucks?” before realizing I was coming back to something. The shift from visual perception making no sense at all to seeing people and tables and pipes again was rapid and jarring, and probably the cause of my unease and paranoia. It was not a smooth transition back. The mindfuck was still intense, and the confusion. I felt a heavy body load, extreme dizziness. I was back in my regular world, but it made no sense in juxtaposition with that five minute jaunt which seemed to demand answers. The joke was fading, I couldn’t remember why I’d laughed or what I’d figured out.

Now I felt a fear that is common to my trips which is that I’d perversely modified my perception and it would never properly re-assemble. I was stuck comprehending my world and the human game from a point of view that would never allow me to participate in or even deal with such patterns. The mental alteration was almost gone but the resonance was strong, and the physical heaviness and strain were not abating. I felt extreme difficulty in reconnecting with my organic niche, once taken for granted, now seeming ridiculous. I was not enjoying being halfway in/halfway out of the salvia state. I proclaimed that I wasn’t likely to do the drug again.

My sitter said something about “plant consciousness” and I thought “if that’s what plant consciousness is, it must take a LOT of getting used to.” But somewhere in the back of my mind, I was convinced that whatever I’d gone through, it had about as much to do with plant consciousness as a duck has to do with a floor tile. Which might be a lot, who’s to say?

Over the next few minutes I did come back all the way and my tension eased. I felt relief. Everything was alright. Except for the fact that I COULDN’T FUCKING REMEMBER what was so damn important. What was hilarious. What I’d been trying so hard to express. Five minutes later and it was all gone except for a vague sensation of… something. I asked, “What can I possibly learn from this? What good is it?”

In retrospect it felt like a delirium – but it also felt real, like it was something important and substantial, cotangent with ordinary awareness and waiting for me to join it. But it’s not something that fits easily into human standards and assumptions and modes of perception.

I can say how the peak made me feel, but I still can't say what the peak was. There was a visual component to it, but visuals were not the primary information conveyed. The experience was more about the mindfuck. But it was not psychoanalytical in the way that most other psychedelics are to me, and I like that about the mint. It didn’t seem to be very concerned with my issues, anxieties, superstitions, paranoias, hopes, and dreams, except in that difficult period of re-integration.

Bullshit is still the key. "Bullshit" is the only artifact that I can confidently say is part of the heart of the trip, that crazy core that is beyond my understanding or recall. I think what I was calling bullshit was not the trip itself, but everything ELSE - what was happening to me seemed so out of the bounds of everything I knew as a human being and a personality that my universe was rendered utterly unbelievable in the sense that I didn't buy it. It was like I couldn't believe in the human game anymore. Salvia was the sacrilege sacrament for the monkey ego trip.

It seems that when I finally broke through I might have gone too far to take much back with me. I might want to try for a middle ground. But I can see that maybe what I experienced was too much for my brain to process - whereas some people CAN remember, understand, encompass, feel, see, and explain more. It may be that my mental design specs can't handle an alteration that severe. My personal version of perception may not support a salvia peak, like trying to view a 32 bit color image on a 256 color monitor. Maybe further experimentation will help me figure this out.

1 comment:

netinous said...

You're the color wheel man, man. Wish I was there--leaf envy. Most profound words that ever came from one of my trips was when walking--a task in itself--magically occuring as if preordained--driver in a truck looked at me & I thought I could hear him thinking, "I'm going to chew on your head like a pickle." Bullshit as the key to knowing. Turette's and oceania. This sounds better than DXM for you; introspection is almost always a guided effort, even when loose--I think the more revealing experiences about yourself are done when you are not the pilot, when your identity is spinning like a fucked up compass.

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