Message-ID: <202322Z09041995 at anon.penet.fi>
From: an235382 at anon.penet.fi
Date: Sun, 9 Apr 1995 20:13:56 UTC
Subject: The Leaves of the Virgin
The Leaves of the Virgin
Let not the printed word enslave you.
Think for yourself
before you act on the thoughts of others.
[The author hereby finds the doctrines
of intellectual property
to be so patently absurd
that laughter peals
from every orifice of his body.
Please, copy rightfully.
All Fool's Day, 1995.]
In the autumn of 1962, in the rural hills of Oaxaca, Mexico,
Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of the entheogenic effects of
lysergic acid diethylamide, and R. Gordon Wasson,
of ethnomycology, travelled by mule in search of one of the
flowery dreams of this subtropical landscape. The object of
their expedition was a specimen of the Mint Family
(Lamiaceae/Labiatae) used by Mazatec curanderas to summon
healing visions. From the plants collected by Hofmann and
Wasson, Linnaean taxonomists deemed this species
theretofore unidentified and christened this plant-teacher
/Salvia divinorum/, the Sage of the Diviners. To the
Mazatec, it was known as Ska Maria Pastora, the Leaves of
the Virgin Shepherdess.
Thirty-two years later, during October of 1994, five clones
of the plants gathered by these two great explorers came
into my possession. By providing these specimens with high
humidity, indirect light, and adequate nitrogen fertilizers,
I soon had a robust collection of these plants to provide me
with an ample supply of leaves with which to explore its
As an entheogenic connoisseur, I had long been intrigued by
what I had read concerning Ska Maria Pastora. From my first
knowledge of the plant (gained when I was fifteen years old
from a little book by Richard Evans Schultes), I found
myself desiring its teachings. For a decade and a half
thereafter, I casually sought more information about the
species. The works of Leander J. Valdes III have been
invaluable in my education. Valdes has done a remarkable
job of pursuing the chemical, pharmacological, and cultural
facets of this plant-teacher. Without the guidance provided
in his writings, I would probably have never encountered
this remarkable entheogen.
About the same time I acquired my specimens of the plant,
Daniel J. Siebert published some remarkable findings in the
Journal of Ethnopharmacology concerning the psychoactivity
of Ska Maria Pastora's entheogenic molecule, salvinorin A.
When smoked, this compound is active in doses of 200 to 500
micrograms, making it the most potent naturally occurring
phantasticant known, comparable to lysergic acid
diethylamide in strength.
If vaporized and inhaled, full effects are felt in thirty
seconds without a transition period into the experience.
The most intense effects last five to ten minutes and then
gradually lessen over the next twenty to thirty minutes.
The experience can include a sense of metamorphosing into
inanimate objects, seeing two dimensional geometric
patterns, remembrance of things past, loss of physical and
mental identity, sensations of extraordinary motion,
uncontrollable laughter, and simultaneous existence in
different times and places.
With dosages above one
milligram, out of the body experiences occurred frequently.
Siebert's subjects who were experienced users of entheogens
all agreed that the forces of Ska Maria Pastora were
fundamentally without parallel.
I began my explorations of this plant's powers before I had
become acquainted with Siebert's research. I first
experienced this entheogen by administering it in one of the
traditional Mazatec ways: I chewed on a quid of I5
leaves. Lying in the darkness, I felt light-headed, cool in
my extremities, and giddy, all lasting less than an hour.
The leaves were profoundly bitter, and some attendant nausea
colored the encounter.
My next few meetings with the plant-teacher were through
smoking some of the dried leaves. Smoking intensified the
experience, and a strange other-worldliness hovered about my
thoughts for close to twenty minutes. Time seemed
disjointed, its passage perceptibly notable even in its most
(like in Haschich)
All in all, my curiosity had been
more than piqued; indeed, it had been goaded.
After reading some Usenet posts alluding to the chloroform
extract of Ska Maria Pastora (and still before I was
familiar with the research of Siebert), I decided to
experiment with preparing a snuff from the plant. Taking
thirty-three leaves, I chopped them finely and soaked them
in 100 ml of acetone for four hours. Decanting off 80 ml of
a brilliant emerald liquid, I evaporated the solvent mixture
a tablespoon at a time on a Pyrex plate over a steam bath.
I then scraped the residue from the plate using a razor
blade and was left with two substantial lines to take as a
snuff. Retiring to my chambers, I used a straw to inhale a
line into each nostril and deep into my nasal mucosa.
Immediately, I suffered an extreme burning sensation in my
nose and throat, and my eyes watered profusely. Within a
minute, the discomfort had totally passed. For another
minute, I rested quietly in my well-lit room. Then, I grew
light-headed and broke into a clammy sweat. I felt both
warm and cool. The colors about me intensified in their
depth and brilliance. I was enveloped by the peculiar
perception of micropsia, wherein I felt to be physically
smaller than I actually am. The sensation of conflicting
body temperatures became so extreme that I disrobed in one
instant and wrapped myself in a quilt the next. Four
minutes had passed.
And then, quite simply yet quite extraordinarily, my doors
of perception were wrenched from their hinges.
I sat on the floor of my bedroom. I stood in my bathroom
and looked at my distorted face in the mirror. I felt
extremely cool in my limbs and climbed under the blankets on
my bed. I found the light to my disliking and turned it
off. Mundane occurrences all, except for the fact that I
carried them out simultaneously. I perceived my existence
as phase space. The envelope of the present was extended to
where I glimpsed that what are normally seen as sequential
actions occurred all at once in the here and now. Time was
not a cycle or a wave or a line. Time, all of it, was a
point, a singularity.(Intéressant)
I had a sense of sleep-walking. The experience was somewhat
similar to the hypnagogic state, that space between
wakefulness and sleep when the surreal swarms the mind.(this reminds exactly high
doses of cannabis!)
uncertainty of the reality of my situation pervaded my
thoughts. I was uncertain if my recent actions had occurred
or not, and I felt as if I might be compulsively repeating
them. (Again,SIMILAR to haschich) The effect was not unlike my sole experience
Panther Amanita. With Ska Maria Pastora, as with that
mushroom, I could not tell if what I was doing had happened,
was happening, or was going to happen. My mental milieu
mirrored the state of anterograde amnesia (a dissociative
phenomena wherein there is a loss of memory of events as
they are experienced, with the individual forgetting
continuously from moment to moment what she has just been
thinking, feeling, and doing).
Lying on my bed in the darkness, I closed my eyes and lost
all sense of my physical self. I roared through a void. I
was surrounded by a space of myriad expanse, yet there was
nothing there. I was exploding in all directions at once,
expanding, twisting outward, yet there was nothing through
which to be moving. I flew, I floated, I flourished. The
dark matter which filled me and which I encompassed sang
with energy. Just as the abyss about me had a form, so its
silence was an ecstatic polyphony. My senses rang with
And while all of the preceding transpired, the long arm on
my clock had swept but a third of its way around the wheel
of an hour.
Over the next sixty minutes, I gradually returned to the
homeostasis of waking consciousness. In addition to still
feeling light-headed and retaining peculiar temperature
sensations in my extremities, my pulse rate was a strong,
steady 60 beats a minute, leading me to believe that
salvinorin A is a potentiator of vasodilation, perhaps of
the sympatholytic variety. Siebert's study found on the
basis of one particular type of receptor site screening that
salvinorin A is not a significant inhibitor of
neurotransmitter binding sites. This conclusion is not
particularly surprising considering the infinitesimal weight
of a dose necessary to initiate the substance's powers.
Coupled with this entheogen's short duration of action and
its powerful effects on emotion, memory, and time, my
informed intuition leads me to believe that the drug
initiates some sort of cascade reaction in the hippocampal
and amygdalar regions of the brain (particularly in snuff
form, where a neural pathway exists between the olfactory
bulb and the limbic system). From here, the cascade could
very well proceed along fiber tracts running through the
cerebral cortex of the frontal lobe.
Indeed, based on salvinorin A's molecular similarities to
forskolin (a vasodilator originally extracted from a coleus
plant, also in the Mint Family, and which acts on the
release of adenylate cyclase) and on my experience's
similarity to my encounter with the Panther Amanita, I would
say that Ska Maria Pastora could easily tap into those
channels of the mind where adenylate cyclase acts to
potentiate the release of acetylcholine. Of course, this is
all wild conjecture. However, no matter what the
neurophysiology involved, all thought is flesh.
I look forward to preparing a smokeable extract of this
plant-teacher. This entheogen has opened new vistas for me
that I had not yet encountered in my fifteen years of
psychonautic voyaging. I have found this to be a plant with
which not to trifle. I do not foresee this as becoming a
"recreational drug," or, to use Jonathan Ott's much
preferable term, a ludibund drug. Its effects are too
drastic for it to lend itself to casual social situations.
However, I do look for it to become a tool for the
entheogenic exploration of consciousness among those who
feel that such endeavours are worthwhile. Until the
political repression of psychognizance through entheogen use
is overcome, we must continue to practice our alchemies and
seek out new plant-teachers. And by spreading word of what
we have learned, we will hopefully raise the consciousness
of those who stand against us.
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