Ultimately I totally respect anyone's personal decision when it comes to how
(and if) they chose to proceed with Salvia or any other plant ally.
Terence Mckenna said of his experiences with ayahuasca, "[it] reconvince[s]
me that even with our modern methods of scientific analysis it is going to take
courage to understand what these plants show. We have reached the point where we
must accept all responsibility for the direction we follow and then go alone
without the comforting delusion that what we are trying to define is not unique
and unprecedented. These are the realms of chaos into which one can go only as
deeply as one's understanding shows the way. We each have different capacities
to understand and different forces driving us toward or away from these
mysteries; finally, when one finds the edge of what one knows and even the edge
of what anyone knows, then perhaps one has reached the point where the real
I think it's worth stating this as point of view that I'm broadly sympathetic
to. I realise, particularly being in the position of someone who supplies
Salvia, that I have to exercise caution in encouraging anyone to proceed, so I
will instead only state how I see it.
Broadly I agree with much of what you have said, and relate to much of what was
in the account of your experience. Where I perhaps differ the most, and this may
be simply because I don't really understand what you meant by it, is in where
you suggested that the experience was perhaps a backward looking one.
Of course, we can each only relate our own experiences, and there may be
something almost ineffable that gave it that feel for you, but I'd have to say
in my experience that I have found practically the opposite. I find that the
experience is more premonitory, a suggestion of a future
realisation rather than something past.
Experience of altered states induced by plants does go way back in humanity's
history, and may have a great deal to do with the evolution of consciousness
itself. But I do see that our 'modern' sensibilities make our experiences
potentially, as McKenna says, "unique and unprecedented" rather than,
say, simply a return to pagan ideals.
I'm not really suggesting that this is what you meant either, but there is a
phenomena, let's loosely label it here 'The New Age Movement', which seems to be
an expression of a basic human desire and tendency, not to go forward into the
unknown, but to reclaim and preserve. - All well and good, when this is pitted
against capitalism and globalisation, the rape of the environment and the
plundering of the Earth's natural resources. But, make no mistake, a different
thing altogether from pushing the envelope with regard to the exploring the
frontiers of consciousness. In fact, by and large, the 'New Age' movement can be
seen as generally a move away from such realms.
I mention this because, until reading your experience account and the follow up,
I have tended to see Salvia’s message as coming from the future. But you seem
to suggest that Salvia is potentially a backward looking experience, an
experience of where we have come from, so it would be interesting to hear
you expand on that and find out whether and how you believe it could not also
relate to our futures.
I can see how the idea of plunging into infinity could be seen as
self-indulgence if one were trying to escape one’s own or the world’s
problems. I can see how even if it were understood as exploration, it
could be still argued that one’s time could be better spent trying to create
beauty and end suffering in this world. In fact, many people would use
that argument against, for example, sending a manned mission to Mars, that the
time and the money would be far better spent feeding the starving millions.
But my take, on Salvia in particular, is that the realm that’s revealed has
untold possibilities, and is where our future lies, in some sense.
My occasional pessimism is when I feel that Salvia’s vision is so
uncompromising. - That the two realms are really so far apart that they bear
practically no relation. Or I think about how little difference a few people
taking Salvia can really make.
But at other times, as for example hinted at in my musings on Parallel
Universes, I think that what’s spun in Salvia-space does have some
bearing, or if you like some effect on what is happening in our ordinary
reality. I still see the appearance of Salvia on the ‘scene’ as potentially
suggesting something very spooky indeed. And at such times I can think that the
plant-realm is the only game in town.