Fear and Loathing in East Campus

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Two Bwoggers report on a disturbing journey to the center of the mind…

Our reasons for doing Salvia had as much to do with irony as they did with recreation. Free of associations with the 1960s counterculture, the perfectly legal psychoactive escaped the social retrenchment our nation experienced during the 70s and 80s. So while Salvia gets you high on one of the most powerful hallucinogens known to man, it also gets you high on contradiction: going by our current standards (you know, the ones that don’t let you drink ‘til you’re 21), there is no conceivable justification for keeping this stuff legal. None. It’s like hypocrisy you can smoke.

I, however, was a bit confused when my co-experimentalist first floated the idea. A visit to Wikipedia turned up the following information (here I paraphrase):

Salvia divinorum is a naturally occurring herb related to mint and capable of producing strong psychoactive effects for a short amount of time when smoked and inhaled. Its twenty-minute trip has characteristics of both weed and stronger drugs, like shrooms. Salvia’s Latin name means “sage of the seers”; the word salvia is related to salve, used by the ancient Romans to mean “hello,” “be well,” and possibly ““care for a smoke?.”

After digesting this new knowledge, I thought for a few seconds, reveled in the narcissism of enlightened drug use, and replied: “Sure, why the hell not?” After all, I was in need of a psychoactively novel experience, and I didn’t see myself making it down to the Navajo Nation any time in the near future. So a few weeks later he and I, after pushing through throngs of hipsters and goths on St. Mark’s Place and purchasing our wares in a seedy yet comforting headshop (Addiction NYC, for the curious), found ourselves loading surprisingly odorless, fine brown leaves into a knobby and voluminous bubbler.

Unlike many drugs, the use of Salvia is governed by a more or less rigid set of guidelines: while pot can be vaporized, spliffed and even ingested whole, Salvia is wasted if it isn’t smoked out of a waterpipe and held in the lungs for as long as is physically possible. It can’t be smoked casually, partly because of its potency, and partly because its potency can only be unlocked if you give the thing the respect and attention it deserves. Like a late-night Spicy Special run, a Salvia trip is an event.

So lights were dimmed, the lighter lit, smoke inhaled and held until every synapse thirsted
for oxygen, before being exhaled in cumulus formations above the coffee table–at once the warm aura of an near-instantaneous and profound high washed over my being, and I told a stupid joke. From what I could surmise from my friend’s jittery, cackling reaction to said joke, he was feeling pretty much the same.

I munched on a cookie; the texture was transcendental. We took another hit, or two or three. For about a minute I felt myself ascending to unprecedented heights of highness. Then a most jarring paradigm shift took place: my entire world existed only within my visual field, and my brain began to segment it into windows of arbitrary size. My body tingled with entheogenic glee; my cognitive processes whirred and reeled.

I fixated inexplicably upon the orange Nalgene atop the table, which I promptly deified and worshipped as a symbol of something greater; the smaller green Nalgene right next to it became its divine consort. But no sooner was my new religion established than it began to fade away. The world came back into focus and I gradually came to the realization that there were a couple of people sitting next to me. The few thoughts I had were still obscured by an opaque mental haze, and after kicking my fellow psychonauts out of the suite, I crashed in bed and awoke ten hours later, still a little foggy but no worse for the wear.

My tripping partner now has about a half-gram of the leafy black powdery shit perched on his bookshelf. This is enough to make five people trip once, or, conversely, for he himself to trip another five times. He tells me that the mysterious, foggy-orange glass tube does tempt him–but he adds that one mind-bending, socially-hypocritical joyride is probably more than enough. After all, Salvia is a novelty both for its legality and the fact that it offers a vaguely psychotropic experience without exacting any major commitments in energy and time. But inevitably it is little more than that–a strange and discomforting novelty, albeit one that’s legal and considerably less scary than the alternatives.

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  1. i can't read this  

    this is bat country

  2. I did Salvia once  

    I could not stop laughing.

  3. caution:  

    a friend of mine took a bong rip of this stuff and spent the next half hour crying and rolling around in his own vomit.
    on the other hand, when i tried it i spent half an hour talking to oreos and giggling.
    soooo....be careful with salvia.

  4. hmmm

    If you can remember it well enough to recall on the Bwog, you didn't really trip...

    Actually, I have no idea. But this was interesting.

  5. yah

    just to add again from yet another source. salvia is not for beginners.

    most of the people i know have had bad trips with it.

    the few good ones (i had a relatively good one) should be done with stuff that's assured to be good and after understanding how to intake (which the post did a decent job off explaining the dangers of) and how much to use.

    Depending on where you live, its worth it getting the extract from some of the more reputable online vendors

    most columbia kids should just stick to shrooms

  6. If you're  

    using the word transcendental you didn't really trip.

    Actually, you might have tripped and decided you wanted to be an A1 jackass when writing about it. Cool!

  7. I don't think  

    you had quality salvia, because normally you are too messed up to be able to take more than one hit. this salvia must not have been very good...normally someone needs to be there to catch the bong when you drop it the moment the salvia hits your lungs.

  8. ...

    per the email that just went out --

    do we really need to trade in our old id cards in order to get the new ones? i realize the old ones won't be "valid" after 11/15, but there's some sentimental value in there having had mine for a few years. since it's not going to be accepted, why not let us keep it and just give us the new one?

  9. thank you for your  

    wonderfully crappy prose. i experienced a bad trip just from reading your sentences. did you just say 'socially-hypocritical' joyride? hahaha... and why would anyone want to try salvia if it is, as you say, a 'paradigm shift'? did you get your hippie mom to write this?

  10. ...

    yeah. i'll probably cough up the fifteen bucks. that's still sorta ridiculous though.

    thanks guys.

  11. hum...  

    So does this mean Bwog will take my stories about doing mushrooms in Riverside Park? I don't quite know if we're all ready to hear about marching tree armies with the voice of my dead father and watching entire civilizations emerge from asphalt.

    Goddamn, are mushrooms fun.

    P.S. There is no "taking another hit, or two or three" with Salvia. Come get us when you've really broken through.

    • me!  

      this is all true. salvia is kind of a binary drug, you either break through or you don't. sounds like you guys didn't... whatever, you're not missing much, ive done it about 10 times and usually it just makes me reallly sad. now acid on the other hand, now that's a drug worth writing about.

  12. Close Encounters  

    I did it on a dewy August night. I ended up rolling around on the grass outside my friend's basement for about 10 minutes, while these thick, neon bars - like the northern lights - came flying out of the sky and spoke to me in music, saying the most profound things yet providing no room for translation. For the next 30 minutes, all of the nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs I used had to be at least three syllables long (I was mostly silent). The End.

  13. psychonaut  

    These stories are so much more fruitful than the original post. Talking about psychoactives is so much fun.

  14. fuck salvia  

    i smoke pot several times a day, and I freaked the fuck out on salvia. That shit is scary....never again.

  15. I count the ways...  

    you've botched a description of salvia:

    1.) salvia does not have to be smoked from a bong. though a bong is preferred, a pipe will work as well. and yes, it can be vaporized.

    2.) salvia can also be chewed, which is the most common and traditional way of inducing

    3.) from the way you described it, you didn't trip, and thus didn't experience salvia properly. try again, and then write a real report.

  16. drugs

    what is the most popular drug at Columbia? aside from weed or alcohol…

  17. anyone

    want to guess who wrote this? i've got one good guess.

  18. Hey there  

    Look at me, I'm so rich and disaffected that despite my hyper-privileged background and access to exclusive educational opportunity, I'm blowing my fucking mind on drugs just because I can. Sucks for the rest of you.

    • umm  

      what you fail to realize is that drugs are not mutually exclusive with education and self-enrichment. for me and many other intelligent people, they allow you to think outside the patterns of thinking with which we are ingrained since childhood, to conceptualize the world differently and critically examine the systems around us. systems which you are clearly buying into with this comment.

      • of course not  

        you bastard, that's the point. While others have to work overtime to afford to attend this school, you're "conceptualizing the world differently" instead of doing something constructive. Just thought I'd point that out.

        How many people working to pay their way through school do you know who experiment with drugs? I'll admit freely I'm pretty bitter about it, but seeing the way people act so "high" and mighty for knowing the best way to trip is kinda fucked up, ya dig?

    • Alex  

      Hey look at me, I'm so poor and disadvantaged that when I take drugs and fuck up my mind, it's not as bad as when rich kids do it since people like me have nothing to lose! Sucks for the rest of you, huh?

  19. initially  

    i thought we were talking about saliva

  20. and  

    to echo what's already been said... this account is fairly unrepresentative of a salvia high, it sounds like the trip never really took off. salvia is a very short but very intense high/trip, and for many people takes them to a different world, so to speak. i'm a big pothead who has done shrooms and acid on various occasions, and i had a horrible time on salvia. the effects are so intense that it can be easy to forget you're on drugs and just become terrorized by the alternative reality you are in. i think pretty much anyone would have a much better (and much more enlightening) time on pot than on salvia.

    but good to know there are so many drug aficionados at columbia. if only i had an easier time finding people like you!

  21. Um...  

    what part of "illegal" do you people not understand?

  22. yo chill  

    salvia was good, but idk if it's worse than shrooms.

    it was short intense and funny as hell since i couldn't stop laughing, and then all of a sudden it stops.

    you should always read up on what you're going to do before you do it.

  23. everybody chill  

    1.) All you know-it-alls who try to bash this dude for 'not tripping' need to settle down and remember that everyone trips everything differently. Get off your high horses.

    2.) Just because there are stigmas surrounding drugs, doesn't mean they're bad. Go back to your conservative friends and bitch about the hippie liberals some more.

    3.) More people than you think experiment with drugs and still make a living, not to mention work their ways to afford to go here. Like #33 said, stop making sweeping statements. Are you bitter because you have to work and these people don't, or is it because you don't realize that doing drugs and paying your way through school are not mutually exclusive? ...or that you simply can't manage to do both?

  24. square

    I'm waiting for the day one of you jumps out a window because you think you can fly. That'll be fun.

  25. hahahaah  

    hallucinogenic drugs are so uber- trendy now. not even joking.
    salvia can make you feel lost in a john jay single for sure. Use for temporary expansion of your room.

  26. Matthew

    Salvia is way more scary than othr hallucinogens.

  27. hey man  

    so my first or second time with salvia, everyone is getting pretty freaked out, some girl is in the corner knawing at her toenails and shit, but i hadnt really got into it. i took three or four hits, smoked a joint, and then sort of forgot about it. driving home, i light up a roach and take a hit - of weed, that is, not salvia - and instantly, all that salvia trip i should have gotten hours ago rushes in. two problems though. one, im driving. two, the most marked aspect of my trip is total and complete visual imparity. blindness. i screamed for my friend to grab the wheel ("im blind! im blind! drive!!!") and then smoked one of the strangest cigarettes of my life, the one begginning in total darkness and ending with me thinking fuck salvia, cheap ass bullshit hippie shit. point? get a friend of yours to try the salvia you buy until you get a decent batch. and dont drive.

  28. tetris

    i took one hit while standing out in a field, waited less than a minute, and my world turned into tetris (which was friggin cool) and i could no longer stand because the act of coordinating my legs to balance myself became impossible. that lasted about 5 minutes which was more than enough... and then the next couple hours were like a shitty weed hangover.

    so what is the best way to buy some?

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