I've had two more attempted goes. The first
was very enjoyable. As before, I stayed in the driving seat throughout, and
had a good time. I used 5 leaves, I think 5 leaves is an ideal amount. I want
to take stronger doses, but not until I've got some kind of strategy in place
to deal with the monsters.
Another time I decided to cut off a bit of
stem. There were 3 inches of stem above a top node, and clearly nothing was
going to happen above that point, so why not cut it off. The stem was 3/8 inch
square, not counting the wings, and I figured that it contained more solid
mass than any number of leaves I'd ever taken, so it might be quite a trip.
But when I cut it off, I found it was hollow, so it wasn't such a mass after
I tried it on its own, without really
expecting anything, just as a learning experience. It was very mild. It was
hard to tell whether there was any real effect or just the so-called placebo
effect that a mental attempt to tune into Salvia is bound to bring. I think
there was a very mild real effect, in which case in future a piece of stem
like that can count as one or two leaves towards the total needed for a decent
trip. Have you any experience with stems?
Now lets talk about how to deal with negative
experiences. Maybe you can help me.
All my Salvia trips have the same structure,
good or bad. This is how they go. I experience the presence of a group of
"people", "entities" or "personalities", who are
usually very similar at any given time, though sometimes they form a varied
group such as a family or other cohesive team. From one occasion to another
they can be absolutely anything. In my first goes they were often Mexicans or
Mazatecs, but that doesn't happen these days, they can just be anything at
all, and sometimes their personalities are staggeringly complex and
"ordinary", just like the real person in the street would be if you
could really get to know them. By "ordinary" I mean that they are
not like archetypes or stereotypes but have all the complex contingent clutter
of the walking wounded who go about the earth.
Now before I go on I must tell you the mindset
that I bring to a Salvia trip. I realise this mindset is one among many
possible ones, and that it would be beneficial to me to try others, but once
you've fallen into this mindset there seems no way out of it. The mindset is
that I'm a person who needs "therapy" or "healing" (not
primarily physical healing) and that I'm hoping the trip will give it to me.
Because of the books I used to read, and the
experiences I've had in dreams and hypnagogic states, and with other
psychedelics too if I remember rightly, I've come to regard any entity that
you see in an altered state of consciousness as a potential "part of
yourself", which, if you play it right, you will get
"integrated" with and end up a more whole person as a result.
This does NOT work with the entities I see on
Salvia, and this is where I always get thrown. To treat them as parts of
myself is always quickly shown to be as crass a mistake as if I was to go into
a cafe in real life and treat all the people there as parts of myself.
Whatever these entities are, they are not parts of myself, and I need to find
a different approach to them.
A weaker version of the "parts of
myself" theory is that everything I see during a Salvia experience is
"exactly what I'm meant to see at that time", i.e. it's a picture
designed by some power to show me exactly "where I'm at" or
whatever. As a rather mundane example, say I was planning to visit someone
tomorrow and I saw in my mind's eye a vision of them on a sunny beach, then I
remembered that of course they were away on holiday. Here there's no point in
taking the person on the beach as "part of myself", the message
involves them being themselves. But still the vision was "precisely what
I needed to see at that time". Only normally it will be what I need to
see for psychological or spiritual reasons rather than practical ones.
Well, even this weak form of the theory won't
stand up on Salvia. Instead, I'm always forced to the conclusion that it's
like in real life, when you go into a cafe, the people there aren't placed
there by some power that's trying to give you a personal message, they've just
arrived there by various contingent reasons of their own which as far as
you're concerned are blind chance.
On the other hand, there's one way in which
the Salvia entities are very different from people in a real life cafe. On
Salvia you can find yourself becoming one of these entities, experiencing
their existence from the inside. Note that this does not prove they were
"part of myself" all along. One could have a world in which it was
possible to do this with the random people in a cafe. In fact, it leads to
further proof that they're not parts of myself. If you manage to merge with a
character who's "part of yourself", then this means you have now
accepted that aspect of yourself, and you feel integration and recognition.
This doesn't happen with the Salvia entities. They're as foreign to me when
I'm being them as they are when I'm watching them.
Well, because of all this, and because it's so
new to me, I simply don't know how I should relate to them. What is the
etiquette of that realm? If they're someone nice, it's not a problem, I just
be them and have a good time. But if they're someone nasty, it is a problem.
Under the "therapy" mindset, it is
particularly valuable to integrate with a nasty aspect of yourself, because
this will be one that was causing you all kinds of trouble so long as you
disowned it. So I'm often tempted to put on the nasty virtual selves that I
see on Salvia in the hope of some "growth". This is where I go
wrong. First off, they are not virtual selves just waiting to be put on like
clothes on a rack. It's rather like if you went into a clothes shop and tried
to put on a coat that you thought was hanging on a rack, only to find that
someone was wearing it!
I'm reluctant to chase away the nasty
characters because I'm conditioned to think of this as a "cop-out",
like you're avoiding facing something. This was the barrier I finally broke
through on trip n+1. I just shooed all the nasty ones away and had a party
with the nice ones. But in your email you seem to agree that maybe I'm
avoiding facing something by doing this.
I really need a policy settled in advance as
to how I'm going to deal with these entities, before I next take a really
What really freaks me is when you allow
yourself to be one of the entities and it becomes so real that you think
you're entering a world which from now on will take over the status of
"real life" for you, and you'll never be able to get back to the
real life you used to have. That was what seemed about to happen to me with
the dog, which was why I wrote a word in the air so as to make it be a
miraculous dog and weaken its credibility as an alternative real world.
Anyway, back to how the entities operate. They
sort of crowd round you, and it's like they're a "thought" which
you're about to have. If you decide to go on and have that thought, they get
nearer and nearer, but if you decide not to have that thought, they draw back,
but will soon be replaced by others, because if the mind decides not to have
one thought it will soon think of another one it does want to have.
If you fully decide to have that
"thought", you become one of the entities. If you change your mind
at the last moment, it may be too late, or at least it may be very unpleasant,
- an ugly scramble for safety.
But if you do go all the way, you are then a
person (or dog!) in some scene, often with other people around, or if there
aren't any at first there will be before long. Sometimes one of the other
people in the scene gets closer and bigger while you get smaller and fainter,
and it's like they are a "thought" which if you go ahead and
"have" it, then you will now be that person in the scene instead of
the one you were before, though it will still be the same scene. If you decide
not to have that thought, and draw back, then the person you were recovers
strength and the other one goes back to their normal size and distance.
With my rational mind I'm pretty sure that
there's nothing to worry about. I strongly suspect that if I'd gone all the
way into being that dog, I'd have woken up out of it back into my normal self
before long. But it's very scary at the time. There is the overwhelming
conviction that the "real life" you had been living was just some
dream and that the experience you're now entering has the real status of
"real life" and will take over as your reality for years and years
until the you in that life dies.
You are shown that this could happen - and you
don't have a shred of argument to disprove that it could happen - it is plain
as anything that it could happen, because the resulting state would be
self-consistent and not contradict anything.
You are also shown that if the powers that be
decided that this would happen, you would be putty in their hands, with no
hope of bucking their decision.
So you lie there, aware that this thing could
perfectly easily happen, that if it does you have no power to prevent it, and
that it seems very much to be happening - well, that's all pretty scary. On
the other hand, if I really make the wholehearted decision to risk it next
time, then that's what I'll do. It will only take courage, after all.