The Only Game in Town
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 contact begins."
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.