Salvia divinorum is a powerful drug. If you’ve never done it before, it’s natural to ask: What is a Salvia trip like?
The answer, unfortunately, isn’t simple. The level of intensity can vary depending on the exact form of the Salvia — such as dried leaves, extract or tincture — and the exact experiences vary according to each individual person.
Salvia divinorum effects
Erowid lists a multitude of effects of Salvia, many of them (perhaps needlessly) complicated and academic-sounding, such as “radical perspective shifting” and “increase in sensual and aesthetic appreciation.” Whatever that means.
Nonetheless, there are some interesting effects listed, and I’ve compiled some of the ones I think are most significant below. You can read Erowid’s full list here.
- sense of peaceful appreciation for life in the afterglow, sometimes lasting days or weeks
- powerful closed- and open-eye visuals
- change in emotion, anywhere from happy, to sad, to angry
- change in body temperature, flushing
- sensation of entering or perceiving other dimensions, alternate realities
- feeling of ‘presence’ or entity contact
- dissociation at high doses, uncontrolled walking or standing
- loss of awareness of surroundings
- fear, terror and panic
- increased perspiration
Erowid’s list is divided into positive, neutral and negative effects; I’ve kind of lumped them all together, but I think it’s obvious which are positive versus which are negative.
Personally, my experience tripping on Salvia was terrifying. And I know I’m not alone. Many people report having intense, frightening experiences on Salvia.
But, on the other hand, some people report positive experiences, such as the “sense of peaceful appreciation” noted in the list. In fact, some researchers have investigated the possibility of using Salvia divinorum to treat depression and other mental illnesses.
So, what does someone actually experience when they trip on Salvia divinorum?
It depends. As stated above, some people have peaceful, enlightening experiences. Some people, like me, have terrifying, existential-crisis-inducing experiences. The weird thing is that, despite being frightening as hell, even these experiences can be enlightening.
As I’ve read about other people’s experiences on Salvia, I’ve noticed some similarities that many people experience. I explore some of these in my forthcoming book, but I’ll summarize these similarities briefly here:
Being pulled/dragged into a spiral or vortex
After smoking Salvia, it felt like everything in the world — myself included — was being dragged down and to the right, eventually forming a spiral or vortex, like everything was swirling on its way down some vast cosmic drain. This isn’t an isolated experience. Many people report this feeling of being dragged, and of experiencing a vortex sensation, as evidenced by the prevalence of spirals in Salvia-inspired art.
Reality isn’t real
Smoking Salvia is like going your entire life with your eyes closed, and suddenly someone pries your eyelids open and you see everything for the first time. This world of darkness you’ve always accepted as reality is suddenly revealed to be a lie; the world is actually full of vibrant colors, shapes and sensations.
Actually, tripping on Salvia is kind of the opposite of that: It makes the vibrant world of colors, shapes and sensations out to be the fabrication, and reveals, instead, an empty void in which your entire life is a lie. It’s kind of like The Matrix, where Neo realizes his life in the Matrix is a lie, and he’s actually living in embryonic goop in the “real world,” being used as a battery by robots.
Making contact with extra-dimensional entities
When I smoked Salvia, I had a sitter, and as the trip began and I lost touch with reality, she transformed into someone else — some thing else. She still resembled a woman, a female, but she did not seem human. Many Salvia users report encounters with what feels like some kind of extra-dimensional being, often a woman. This experience is so common that there’s even a name for this extra-dimensional shepherdess: Lady Salvia.
One of the things I felt while tripping on Salvia was that it was inevitable that I would trip on Salvia. It felt like my whole life was leading up to the moment I placed by lips to a bong and sucked in the bitter smoke, revealing that my entire life was a lie, and that nothing was like I thought it was. I’ve seen numerous trip reports where people describe this same sense of inevitability, that no matter what they did, they were destined to smoke Salvia and change their lives forever.
Visiting or reliving the past
Many people report visiting or reliving moments of their past, even their childhoods, while tripping out on Salvia divinorum. Personally, this is not something I experienced on Salvia, but it’s reported often enough that it’s worth mentioning.
Read More About Tripping on Salvia
A good compilation of people’s Salvia trip reports can be found at Sage Wisdom. I would also be interested in hearing about your experiences on Salvia; if you’d like to share a trip report, and possibly have it published on my website, please contact me.