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Slices of Life

Estimated reading time — 13 minutes

The following happened to me seven years ago while I was a sophomore in college, and it was my first experience with any drug other than weed (great choice, right?). There are many things in this report that are downright stupid and reckless, ranging from lack of research to reckless dosing. As I said, this was seven years ago, and I have learned how to be responsible with drugs now. However, at the time of the report, I was a fool. In fact, this experience is the main reason why I’m extremely cautious and heavily research any drug I am interested in taking to this day.

I first heard about Salvia a year before this experience from a friend who lived down the hall from me in my dorm. He described it as a legal psychedelic (it’s legal in Oregon and available in almost any smoke shop) that was super fun and a lot like weed (those who know how wrong this are probably rolling their eyes about now). I tried it a few times at parties in a social setting, usually in a circle of people (again, stupid, I know). I never experienced any effects other than slight spinning and loss of balance, mainly due to the fact that we didn’t know how to smoke it properly (we used shitty small pipes), didn’t hold in the hits long enough, and didn’t really know what to look for.

Fast-forward, one year later: I was at the local smoke shop in my town, buying a new glass bong (my first “real” piece). Since I was out of weed, I decided to pick up a gram pack of 20x salvia as well, since I wanted to test this new masterpiece out, although I had not the slightest clue what 20x stood for at the time. Remember, at this point, I thought it was kind of like weed but made you dizzy/giggly for a few minutes.


I tried it a few times in the proceeding week but didn’t experience any effects other than what I described above, likely due to my failure to hold in the hits and my poor bowl-lighting technique. I still thought this was “fun.” Eventually, I had most of the pack of salvia emptied, with enough for one large bowl left. I decided the following day would be a fun time to try it out and got some rest.

I woke up early the next day and went on a bike ride with my friends, who for the sake of anonymity I’ll refer to simply as S, T, and R. We got back, and after relaxing for a bit, I decided to finish off the bag of salvia once and for all (what a waste of money this was, I thought). With the exception of R, none of my friends were interested, so he and I stepped out into the garage, and I sat down on the stairs and get everything ready. Next to the stairs is an old wooden fence lined with saplings and one big tree. Behind it is my neighbor’s field, which had a bunch of little kids in it, running around and screaming playfully.

I packed the bowl (a big bowl piece) to the brim with the remaining salvia 20x extract. My friend R was too scared to try it since he’d heard from others about its potential to create nightmarish effects (“Yeah, right,” I thought), so he agreed to sit and watch me. Here goes nothing!

I leaned down and torched the bowl as hard as I could. The bong filled up with way more smoke than my old pipe ever could, and I torched about half the bowl in a single hit. Since this was the last of it, I decided to hold the hit as long as I could in order to maximize the effects (which is why it finally worked). After about 35 seconds, I exhaled and noticed I was feeling weird as fuck. So, like any sane 18-year-old who had no idea what they were doing, I torched the rest of the bowl in one gigantic hit and cleared the chamber, then held it as long as I could. After I exhaled for the second time, R asked me how I was feeling, or if it was bunk again. I tried to ask him how come he was talking so weird but all that came out was slurs. At this point my vision started “chopping,” like everything around me was being rendered by a flip book. I finally managed to say, “Oh, shit, I’m gonna need a minute.” R could tell something was up, so like a good friend, he went inside to watch TV while I proceeded to lose my mind.

The last thing I remember of this reality was R walking past me, back into the house. At that point, everything was just starting. As I said before, everything in my field of vision slowed down and was being chopped up. I moved my hand in front of my face and could see that it wasn’t actually moving in front of my face, but that it was actually being drawn across my field of vision like an animation or a flip book. This is hard to describe. The best I can say is: imagine it as a flip book. With each frame, the hand moved a little bit more across my vision, but it wasn’t actually “moving,” it was being rendered. As soon as I realized this I understood that I was watching reality being created instant by instant, and it isn’t a constant stream of conscious like we perceive. Weird, I know (imagine how I felt). As soon as this realization came upon me, I heard an incredibly high-pitched squeal and experienced the feeling of impending doom, like something of epic importance was happening. It was at this point that I completely forgot I had smoked salvia at all. Everything that happened after this was legitimately happening (or so I thought), and my reality was falling to pieces.

I closed my eyes, thinking this was too much to handle. As soon as I did, I was in another world. The prior two minutes of my life were laid out in front of me like snapshots, with each picture representing a single instant of time. The pictures were being flipped to demonstrate the effect I mentioned above (the flip book), and show how reality was being created. The pictures then split apart and I was shown what existed “behind” existence, what is actually happening behind the curtain of our day to day lives. At this point, I had no memory of my life at all.


As soon as the pictures split, I was sucked into the space between them, which I was told (by a disembodied female voice I could not place), that this was the place between moments. We perceive life as a continuous stream, but in actuality, reality is completely destroyed and re-created between each instant. In other words, each instant is a page of the flip book, and the previous page is destroyed and replaced with a new one. These “pages” were being flipped by an enormous wheel, which was the source of the noise I heard earlier. I could feel this wheel pressing up against me, threatening to destroy me and replace the current “me” with the “me” from the next moment. Naturally, I was horrified, and for some reason filled with déjà vu. I knew I’d been there before (which was weird, because this was the first time I “really” smoked salvia). I cannot stress how powerful and massive this wheel seemed. It was the source of reality as we knew it, responsible for creating the universe around us. And it was touching me.

The voice then told me that this wheel and this space is the only thing that “truly” exists. Reality as we know it is merely a side effect of the action of this wheel. My consciousness has existed in this space for all of eternity, being ground against this wheel, spinning with it and helping it create reality. I somehow “escaped” it years ago, which coincided with my physical birth, but now it somehow got me back where I belonged. I felt utterly hopeless. My entire life had been a temporary escape into a dream in order to cope with being merely a cog in the wheel (both literally and metaphorically), and now that that illusion was broken I was trapped here again, and the entire life I lived was merely a dream. All of my friends and family, as well as any experiences I remembered, never really happened, and were just a cheap trick I used to distract myself. This… was the real existence.

The feminine voice told me that everyone around me are her children, and our purpose was merely to spin with this wheel and create reality. I looked around, confused, and realized then that I was surrounded by trillions of other little people like me, all of them trapped and spinning in order to create reality. They all screamed at me, “Help us, help us spin. Stay with us. Now that you are here, you cannot leave. You cannot leave. You cannot leave. YOU CANNOT LEAVE. YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE. YOU ARE US AND WE ARE YOU. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY, AND IT ALWAYS WILL.” These were her children, and I was her child as well. I had escaped, but now I was back.

Naturally, this scared the shit out of me.

I was in Hell. I was always in Hell, I just forgot.

I was trapped there for what felt like an eternity. Time had no meaning in that place; each second felt like countless years. Slowly, I began to forget my life on Earth (it was a “dream” as far as I was concerned, and it felt like I was forgetting it in the same way you forget a dream minutes after waking). I was dysphoric and terrified, and resigned myself to spinning for the rest of eternity. After what felt like thousands of years (who knows? In eternity, nothing means anything. 1% of infinity is still infinity), I remembered that I had somehow “escaped” into the dream world (normal, Earth reality) in the past, and maybe I could do it again. I didn’t think I could get back into my old life, but maybe I could escape, and as the woman told me, be “born” again. Anything, even starting over in another life, would be better than that hell.

I managed to turn my head to look at the wheel head-on, desperately trying to see how I escaped in the past. I managed to turn my head so that I was looking at the wheel from the side (the flat side, so that it resembled a spinning two-dimensional circle). The wheel was divided up into slices like a pizza, or the wheel on Wheel of Fortune (the pieces were broad at the top and narrowed closer to the center). Each slice was a different color, and the edges were incredibly jagged and multi-hued. There were an infinite amount of slices and the wheel was spinning infinitely fast. This made perfect sense in salvia-space. In the face of infinite time, after all, what is infinite space? Each slice whizzed by my face, so closely that I could feel them pulling my face and grinding it down to my bones with an effect that felt almost electric. This felt pleasant compared to having my body constantly torn to pieces for all eternity on the other side of the wheel.

As each slice rolled by, I stared intently at them. Slowly I began to realize what I was seeing (the slices were moving so quickly that it took a while). Each slice was a moment in time belonging to someone in the dream world (Earth reality), and maybe I could use them to escape!

As soon as I thought this, the female voice spoke to me again. She told me that escape was useless, and that even if I managed to escape into reality again, my return there was inevitable (either through death, or by being stupid enough to smoke salvia again). I began to desperately claw at the wheel, trying to squeeze myself into one of the slices, in the hope of inhabiting one of the bodies I saw represented. However, the wheel was spinning too fast, and when I touched it, it felt like electricity coursing through my body. Very painful.

I fought through the pain and clawed at the wheel more and more until, very briefly, the wheel appeared to stutter and slow down! Hope surged through me and I began to claw harder, which caused the electric grinding feeling to increase, but I didn’t care. I pulled and pulled until the wheel slowed down enough for me to look at each slice individually. As I pressed each slice I temporarily “became” the person in the moment the slice belonged to. I became an alcoholic old man sitting on a couch watching TV, wishing his children were still around. I became a young girl, talking on the phone with her friends. I became a father, screaming at his children, looking at his kids cowering in the corner of his kitchen. I became a junkie in an alleyway, waiting for someone to walk by so that I could rob them.

Each slice belonged to a person, and as I moved my hand up and down the slice I went through their life. The top of the slice (the broad part near the edge) was the beginning of that person’s consciousness, and the tip in the center of the wheel was the end, their death. Moving left to right on the slice represented the different realities that person existed in based on the decisions they made. This is why the slice was broad at the top and thin at the bottom. At the beginning of one’s life, they have an endless amount of paths to choose, and as they get older (and closer to death), there are fewer and fewer paths to take that can steer them away.


I realized that each one of these people had smoked salvia at some point in their life, which is what “opened their slice” to me being able to enter it. In salvia space, you have access to the infinite timelines of others who have smoked it.

For a brief second, I could see into the slice where I came from. I saw myself sitting on the stoop in my garage, sitting there with my head down and my eyes closed. Everything was distorted, though, as if I was viewing it through the window. I touched the slice and briefly became myself again. I opened my eyes and looked around, feeling incredible joy to be back here. I instantly felt my hands slip as the wheel sped back up, and I was torn back into salvia space, and away from my body. I desperately clawed at the wheel but it was moving too quickly. I would have to wait another eternity for the wheel to revolve again so that I could reach my slice. I debated trying to jump into another person’s slice to get out of that hell, but I didn’t know if it would work, or if it did, if I would effectively kill that person and take over their body.

At that point, after experiencing so many other realities, I was having trouble remembering which one was mine. For those brief times, I fully believed myself to be the people in those moments. Who was I to say that the one I remember, of me on the porch in my garage, was really the reality I came from, or simply the one I touched last and remembered best? “Fuck it,” I thought. “Anything is better than this.”

I waited until the wheel came around again, and I could see my slice coming up. I clawed at the wheel again, once more experiencing the electric, bone drilling feeling, until it slowed down. I grabbed my slice at the edges and thrust myself headfirst into it as hard as I could, desperately trying to get back to where I had been. As soon as my head made it through the slice, everything exploded. My skin was peeled off of me into countless dimensions, and my body was torn and twisted into shreds. I fell into blackness. Surrounding me were pieces of the slice I tried to climb into. Each one was a porthole (like on a submarine) into reality, but at different times of “my” life. There was no order; the windows were scattered around me. I could see a moment from when I was in middle school, practicing the saxophone. I could see another of me sitting on a couch with my sister, arguing about something stupid. I saw several more that I did not recognize, with people I didn’t know.

I assumed these were from my future (or from the future of whichever person was being displayed, at least). I didn’t even know if this was me anymore, or if this was just the slice I chose. I was afraid to touch these, as I didn’t know if it would cause me to experience the moment as the slices had done earlier. I also worried it might toss me in at that point of time (further forward or back in time from where I had been). Then I finally saw something that looked familiar: I was sitting in the garage, loading up the bowl, and R was talking to me. The perspective was weird, though, and it seemed like I was looking up at myself from thirty feet away, as if I was deep in the concrete floor.

I grabbed the window by the sides and again thrust myself forward as hard as I could. As soon as my feet made it through, I was back in my body (well, in someone’s body, I don’t know if it was mine). At that point, I still had no memories. I was an empty shell, in an unfamiliar body, in an unfamiliar place. Slowly my recollection started to return to me. I remembered events from my childhood and my family. I remembered I was a college student. I came out to do something… what, though?

I looked around and saw the bong at my feet, and suddenly it all came back to me.

“I smoked salvia!” I cried out. “That’s what caused all of this?!”

I looked behind me and discovered I could still see the tear in space where I had pulled myself through. I heard children – her children – laughing and chanting. I looked at the trees around me and could see them frantically working and creating everything around me. The trees stretched out and were trying to push me into the hole I came from. I instantly got up and ran to the other side of the garage, away from the trees and the rip I’d created.

I turned around and looked through the door into the house. Everything was still distorted and spinning, and I could still hear the wheel’s high-pitched shriek, emanating from some unknown space. Slowly the world became less choppy. I looked at the tear I had come through and saw millions of tiny children’s hands reach through the other side, laughing hysterically the entire time, as if they found it hilarious that I had escaped. Did they know something I didn’t?


They pulled the rip closed, and it slowly melted back together as they chanted, “See you soon! See you soon!” As soon as the hole closed I could no longer hear the scream of the wheel. I heard the female’s voice one last time, however. “Don’t worry,” it said. “You’ll be back soon enough, my child. Enjoy your time.”

* * * * * *

To this day, this is still one of the most traumatic experiences I have ever gone through. Immediately after I came down, I ran into the house and locked my bedroom door. Everything felt incredibly fake. I was shown how everything was made and how empty and pointless it all is. I had trouble talking to my roommates for a while because I saw them as philosophical zombies, rather than as real people. From my newfound perspective, they were nothing but constructs, empty shells pretending to be people. Perhaps they even were part of the wheel. After all, I was the only person in this world. Everything else was created by the wheel.

The most significant issue I had after this was that for a while afterward, I was convinced that I wasn’t back in the “right” body. I was certain that my present body had existed normally until its former occupant decided to smoke salvia, at which point one of the wheel’s children – my consciousness – hopped in while he was absent. I only have the memories I do because they are stored in this body. If I had grabbed onto another slice, I would have been thrown into that body (or shell) instead, and I would have slowly remembered all of “their” memories. In short, I hijacked this body, and its prior resident is now trapped in that nightmarish realm. I know this sounds insane (and I realize that now), but it felt so incredibly real that I still have my doubts every now and then.

Now, eight years later, I feel comfortable enough to talk about this experience. I have PTSD-like nightmares once every few months, where I find myself back in that hellish place, and I always wake up in a sweat and run across the room to get away before I realize where I am and that it was a dream.

I bought more salvia off of the internet (plain leaf and 5x, nothing stronger) in order to conquer my fear of the substance (cue laughter). I now smoke plain leaf rarely and 5x even less often, and achieve an altered state of mind, but nothing of the magnitude I experienced on 20x. I am working up the courage to try and go back there, so that I can see what really happened, but I know it will be a long time before I am comfortable enough to go that far.

I’ve grown comfortable in this body the past few years, and I can’t help but wonder… what will happen if I can’t make it back?

Credit: SmokinTuna

Publisher’s Note: This story details a purportedly true experience, and is one of many reports of salvia-induced trips cataloged on the Salvia subreddit, on To read additional trip reports on the forum, please click here. This story’s publication on is not intended, in any way, to encourage drug use, and does not represent an endorsement of the use of salvia or any other drug, stimulant, or hallucinogen, and is presented here for entertainment purposes only.

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