On the edge of two realities...

I took Salvia for the first time last night. I was given a small quantity of 10x herb by a friend, and smoked about two pinches in a pipe.

I imagined it might be a "nice" laid back trip with pretty colours, and as it was a balmy evening and I was in the house on my own I put out our new red deckchair and prepared for a peaceful 10 minutes experience with pretty colours.

Within 10 seconds of smoking I was whisked into another place - it was like the experience of getting on a major new funfair ride and deciding after 2 seconds that you were not going to like it. I dropped the pipe on the floor and stumbled into the deckchair. I felt a hit akin to the rush of amyl nitrate, but soon the mental effects became more prominent than the physical.

I felt that over my right shoulder there was a veneer between this reality and another that I had never experienced before. I was being pulled to the right, where a centrifuge would dissolve me into this other reality. There were animate beings there, laughing, exuberant beings who clearly understood something that I did not. I was terrified.

They were clearly not animal shapes - in fact they were snapshot mental representations of a visual impression over my right shoulder - of a section of concrete - of a bit of the deck chair, of a watering can - incarnate and humming with an intense rhythm.

They were all right on the edge of the two realities, like a breaking wave. They were talking to me, and I knew that I might break into the wave and be no more.

I knew that if I let myself go to the right I would dissolve. I fought with all my might, and kept moving to the left - if any of my neighbours had observed me I imagine that I would have made a fairly comical sight, staggering round in circles in the garden.

The clearest image that I could come up with was as if someone (a god) was pulling the veneer of reality away from its surface, just as someone pulls away a sheet of sticky back plastic from a 1960's kitchen table. As it comes away, it stretches and becomes transparent, and your fingers mould in to the plastic itself.

As a teenager I went through a phase of sniffing glue, and the characters I met in glue hallucinations were the closest to what I met on this salvia trip. It was unlike any acid or mushrooms I had ever experienced - stronger and more intense than any rush I had ever had before.

In the peak of the trip I was definitely thinking of God and the universe, but found it hard to really focus. In truth, I was fighting the effect as strongly as I could, because I was fairly sure that I would die, dissolve, or change and not come back if I relaxed. I wanted to take off my coat as I was claustrophobic, but for some reason did not. I know that I picked up my pipe and put it in my pocket at some point, I think because I felt paranoid that I would be "found out".

I thought about going inside to lie down, but felt that if I closed my eyes or relaxed too much the temptation to "give in" would be too much, and adverse consequences would follow. So I stuck it out, and eventually felt like I was getting on top of the experience. I could sit down in the deckchair and begin to breathe (in fact I believe that many of the paranoid and fear-related feeling may have been the result of something like a panic attack and not being able/remembering to breathe). I stroked my rabbit, which was very comforting - to think that there was an animate being that I could see "outside of the drug experience. For the previous 10 minutes or so EVERYTHING had been within the salvia universe.

Finally things calmed down and my wife came home. I needed reassurance from her, and felt dislocated for the rest of the evening. Every time I went into thinking about the trip my thoughts were "fucking HELL! that was weird".

Today I have been coming to terms with the experience. I have been feeling palpitations of my heart, which is concerning as I am a keen cyclist, but perhaps these are either psycho-somatic or related to something else (I am on a strict diet at the moment).

On reflection, I am glad that I have experienced this, but if/when I do it again I will certainly take a smaller dose, and would like to be with an experienced user who could encourage me to breathe naturally, and spot if there was anything they could do to relax me. I will also research more on the herb, particularly on the effects on the heart of smoking the herb.

I wish that I had been able to stop fighting the rush, as I am sure that there is potentially an infinite resource the "other side of the veneer". I hope to explore this again.

I have always been interested in shamanic experience, and salvia did not disappoint in this regard. I think it needs to be treated with respect, and would like to thank it for giving me a new insight, if a somewhat harsh and violent one.