Every year, for the last 10 years or more, I travel to a small island off the
west coast of Scotland to pick mushrooms (psilocybe semilanceata) – and to
have some ‘deepwater’ ‘shroom experiences whilst walking round the cliffs
and beaches (typically a 100 to 150 ‘shroom dose). More often than not these
experiences are not exactly ‘enjoyable’ as such, since they can be so
challenging and terrifying – and such hard work. The experiences are always
enlightening though, and I always end up learning loads of stuff about myself,
and what makes me tick...
I’ve just got back from this year’s trip – where things went a bit
differently – cos during the peak of the mushroom experiences, I tried smoking
some Salvia 10X. I’ve been smoking Salvia for a few years – but this was the
first time I’d ever tried it whilst on mushrooms. I’d have to say that the
results were extraordinary – not to mention extraordinarily enlightening...
It’s always difficult to describe power plant experiences – but then, on
one level – that kind of seems to be the point. There’s something in the
experiences suggestive of evolution – of being pushed, by the plants, into a
state of being, or an order of reality not normally accessible; somehow above,
or beyond, or more inclusive, or from an entirely different perspective to
everyday reality – and if anything is to be gained from these experiences –
then it seems necessarily ‘part and parcel’ that the language used to
describe the experiences should be part of that evolution. But we’re often
left resorting to metaphors and hinting at meanings. Nevertheless, there is
something I’d like to try and say about Salvia in relation to mushrooms.
The awesome power and energy of mushrooms is undeniable (especially on a 150
shroom dose). If you’re not already ‘unhinged’ – then the mushrooms will
certainly unhinge you. Something in the psyche seems to start moving, like rusty
cogs that suddenly start turning again – and one can realise (or remember)
that these cogs were built to turn – but have been seized for so long that
they had been forgotten about. It can be a moment of true realisation.
Sensations, emotions, feelings, memories and perceptions start coming in
thick and fast. There is a definite knack to relaxing the tension. Each moment
to moment perception can bring a new tension – and it can be bloody hard work
to keep an eye on it, and not be overwhelmed – either to be dragged down into
a deep pool of self-pity, or despair, or grief, or to get carried away laughing
so hard until you start to scare yourself. You can feel quite buffeted by the
onslaught – and sometimes it’s all too much – and you just want it to
I was with my brother – and during the peak of the experience I was working
hard not to get hooked – not to indulge – not to get wrapped up in any
single train of thought at the exclusion of all others.
In fact – a metaphor that sprung to mind at the time – was that I felt
like I was juggling five kittens.
When my brother suggested smoking Salvia – he might as well have said
"would you like to hold this puppy?" – my immediate response being
‘well – I’m actually extremely busy at the moment...’
I was scared. Scared of being reckless – of taking on more than I could
handle – and going off the deep-end.
In spite of my fear – I decided to smoke Salvia. It was a revelation. And
this is where it becomes even more difficult to describe...
I immediately experienced myself as a ‘higher-self’ (very poor term –
must come up with a better one), witnessing my ‘lower’ or ordinary self. I
realised my ordinary self – and the fear it had been feeling – as part of
the same phenomenon; that is, the self was a reflection of the fear, and vice
versa. In any case – it was now a non-issue – since the lower self seemed
nothing more than an inconsequential splinter of what I actually was (or what I
now perceived myself to be).
I felt myself to be outside of space and time. Not only that – but space
and time were things I had made – in order to create beings who had the
capacity to learn about themselves – so that I could learn about myself
What I actually experienced – was that space and time formed a relatively
inert matrix, or field – upon which I would press my ‘hyperdimensional’
finger – and the pressure of that indentation brought a new being into
existence. The being appeared as a ring of luminosity, made by the shape of my
‘finger’ pressing on spacetime – and this new being would then go
‘swimming’ off through space and time – very much like goldfish swimming
about in a goldfish bowl.
Not all the beings I created were the same intensity of brightness. If I
pressed lightly – I got a fairly dull being – actually a very dark shade of
grey. If I pressed harder – I got a bright one – sometimes bright white and
The being which was my lower self, was a tiny splinter of me which was now
attracting my attention, since it glowed so brightly, and I was reaching out to
touch it with my hyperdimensional finger.
It almost seemed to be a game I had made. I had created space and time for my
own amusement. I had created beings that were tiny splinters, shards or
reflections of myself – made in my image by the impression of my hyperdimensional
finger. I had made the game to have rules – to flow with a certain order –
because without the rules of the game – there would be no game at all.
Anyway – back to the mushrooms. When the Salvia wore off - the buffeting of
emotions and perceptions had stopped. No more kitten juggling. I felt peaceful
It occurred to me that mushrooms operate within the order of reality – they
follow certain rules. Not only that but they play certain tricks – they can
haunt you with moods and feelings you may not necessarily want to go into. In a
sense they always want to work things out from first principles every time.
Salvia is of a different order altogether. It operates outside of spacetime
and seems to lend itself to intelligence and understanding. There seems to be a
certain intent behind it. It’s like it comes along – reveals the game of
reality – and introduces itself as a cosmic player. It is more intelligent and
superior to the mushrooms simply because it is beyond the order of reality in
which the mushrooms work. Salvia is not limited by time or the fabric of
reality. It is more like another ‘higher-self’ that is playing with reality
like a game.
The upshot of all this was a totally weird and new experience I had a few
days later in the week. After taking mushrooms again – I felt the energy of
the shrooms begin to expand from the pit of my belly. Starting to play their old
tricks of making me deal with this emotion, making me deal with that perception
etc. After a while – I felt like I had a boiling cauldron of demons in the
depths of my abdomen. Raging, screaming, insane snarling demons were trying to
push their way up the muscles in my back – and I felt that I was wrestling
with the spectre of insanity.
So I threatened those demons with Salvia – and do you know what? They went
right back down into their cauldron. And every time they tried to surface –
even the very intent of taking Salvia was enough to smack those beasts on the
nose, and send them off whimpering.
I felt like I had ‘tamed the ally’ of the mushrooms – by pitting them
against Salvia. Salvia seems remarkably intelligent and totally extraordinary
– not only that – but it seems very friendly too (too me at least).
Gotta stay on your toes though. Don’t let the Salvia push you around
either. Push back on the experience. Don’t just let it take you wherever it
will. Don’t just let it impose itself on you. Impose yourself on it. It will