It is said, that Hellfire will publish anything worthy as long as it is loosely music-related, and as the following article is considered an insightful piece of writing by many, including a drug counselor, it seems a shame that it remains as yet unpublished. So in order to publish this thing I need to somehow connect psychedelics to music... Now how could I possibly do that!?

I jest of course, the connection is there without any effort from me, I think it was the wise, erudite and hilarious legend Bill Hicks who said “You see, I think drugs have done some good things for us. I really do. And if you don't believe drugs have done good things for us, do me a favour. Go home tonight. Take all your albums, all your tapes and all your CDs and burn them. 'Cause you know what, the musicians that made all that great music that's enhanced your lives throughout the years were real fucking high on drugs. The Beatles were so fucking high they let Ringo sing a few tunes.”

Says it all really. Many of today's bands would benefit from psychedelics.....just saying.....  You could list off endless, endless names of great musicians directly inspired by psychedelics Pink Floyd, Dylan, Doors, Stones, Hendrix, Cream, and let’s face it, if I continued any further with this list the article will be at least twenty pages longer!

With this in mind then, let’s focus on the psychedelic aspect, why is it such a great muse? Below you will find an account of my experience with a specific hallucinogen, a legal one! Relatively new in the eyes of the street, but that has long been used by countless generations of shamans and sages over the centuries. I myself have done plenty of experimenting with many different types of psychedelics over the years. Hell, me and my flatmate took a different psychedelic every single Tuesday for eight solid months, Psychedelic Tuesday, just so we could experience as much of the A-Z of trips as was humanly possible, from mushrooms to chemicals, to seeds, cacti, bark, moulds, mosses, leaves, we did it all. I would like to focus here however on my experiences with Salvia, that it may educate and inform, and spread forth what is ultimately a good message that has long been understood through the subcultures counter-revolutions and musical movements of the years (Yellow Movement!).

As The NHC Gonzo Division we carry an instant disclaimer on any work we produce, it is worth noting though, that the drug described here, salvia, is legal and readily available to anyone, so nothing illegal occurs throughout this writing.


Now, before we get started. I want to go on record that I’m not saying go out and get fucked up, some people are designed to take drugs, some aren’t (well we all are, evolutionarily speaking, but some have lost their way in modern consumerist society, and that’s another story). It’s like Hunter S Thompson so famously said ‘I don’t advocate drugs, violence and insanity, but they’ve always worked for me!’ If you’re not a drug-user this report will give you a valuable insight into Salvia’s magic, if you are, it will let you know exactly what to expect from the drug…although as we shall see, you never can know fully what to expect from Sally!

About two years ago, I was heartbroken, washed-up, and despondent for a period. Somewhere in that miserable time it was France vs Britain, chess championships, round two. Me against my authentic resident Frenchman Loic Monerat, raver, bonghead, psychonaut and would-be-shaman. Somewhere between half a bottle of whiskey and checkmate he whips out his bong, not an unfamiliar action for him, but instead of his usual hit of weed he asks me in his thick French accent ‘You wanna’ do some Salvia?’, ‘Yeah, sure, why not…’ I didn’t even think about it, I just moved rook to knight and he filled a bowl. Now at this point, my only involvement with Salvia was about eight years previously, when it first came out, people were raving about it, this new legal high, me and my mates bought a pre-rolled blunt of the stuff from some legal high store, took it home, passed it round, I felt slightly numb…and that was it! It wasn’t even as strong as being stoned on council hash! Salvia was swiftly dismissed. So here I am, putting a bong to my lips, concentrating on the chess board, on my next move, not even giving a second’s thought to the Salvia I was inhaling…deeply.

What happened next is quite unbelievable, possibly a little hard to explain, but if anyone can have a bash at putting it into words, it’s probably me. The effect of salvia is almost unique in that its onset is immediate, and potent, very fucking potent, but only lasts for five minutes, maybe thirty seconds coming up, two minutes peaking, two minutes coming down. So because it’s the length of a song, nowadays we generally select a single track for the journey, as opposed to when you take LSD and have to sit for a while making a specific and hand-selected playlist that must run for at least seven hours (Music mention!). But back to the trip, within thirty seconds I’ve gone from swigging whiskey and playing chess in the living room, to the actual end of the universe and life as we know it. You see, a common phenomenon among Salvia users, and an effect we see repeated time and again, especially with inexperienced users, is you completely forget you’ve taken a drug, the fact conveniently slips your mind, if you’re on a drug and you don’t know that you’re on a drug then you’re in trouble, you’re in dangerous territory, that’s how people lose their minds with LSD – acid casualties.

So I was therefore, completely and utterly unprepared for what happened next, one second I’m moving a piece on a chessboard, the next, there is some kind of monumental tear in the space-time continuum and a huge black hole has opened, right in the middle of the fucking fireplace, and everything is being sucked into it, myself included! My mind and body recoil in horror, I reacted exactly how a person would react if they really did think the Universe was finally about to implode upon itself - we are after all, the generation that will face Armageddon - and it’s happening right now, in some kind of monumental fuck-up of quantum mechanics, the whole fucking multi-verse, all its galaxies and planets and stars, it’s folding in on itself! I lurch to my feet, chess pieces, bong and whiskey are scattered everywhere, I’m completely off balance, I’ve almost completely lost the ability to stand, let alone walk, but I didn’t expect that and went careering headfirst towards the fireplace in what felt like a monumental clatter of ornaments and furniture, it’s a goddamn miracle I didn’t bust my head wide open, but some sort of in-built ability to function drunk, stoned and fucked-up throughout my life, kicked in, and I managed to aim my trajectory back towards Loic, away from the fireplace, away from the black hole, spewing its filth while we’re all getting sucked into the fucking thing! I can see things turning to ashes, carbon and stardust as they enter it! All I can do is reach out to Loic for help, but what I don’t realise at the time, remember, is that I’m on drugs, and this dumb fucker is too, so I’m outraged and appalled that he won’t at least stretch out his hand to help me, the bastard is catatonic, he’s just sitting there like a tribesman by a watering hole, waiting for beasts, he must be frozen in panic, I thought, maybe time has frozen, I can’t believe it, it’s finally happening, the End of Days, we’re all going to die! After the monumental journey across the small living room where everything is getting sucked into a vacuum behind me, I get to where Loic is sitting on the couch, and I go to slap him in order to maybe bring him to his senses, or perhaps at anger from not trying to help me, after all, I’m dying here! We all are! But before my hand can connect with his cheek, it begins to disintegrate, it starts to, what I can only describe by making up a word, demolecularise, and the atoms and molecules it becomes, like pollen in the wind, are floating off and being absorbed into the crack in space-time at the fireplace, within a few seconds my entire body has demolecularised, and I’ve watched as it happened, and I’m floating around the room as a million separate consciousnesses, I’m experiencing each and every atom I have become individually, and I’m just swirling and eddying around the room like dust motes in sunlight, then…ZANG!

With a great whooshing sound everything reconstructs itself, including me, and I land back down on the couch with a physical thump! Balance is completely restored, life begins to flow as usual, as though nothing has happened, the music floats back into hearing, the chess set is back where I left it, and most importantly, all my cells, DNA, and atoms are back in the correct order, just where they should be. Needless to say I’m flabbergasted, totally fucking gobsmacked! There isn’t a flabbersmacking gobgasting word to describe it…I’m GODsmacked!

My sister rushes in from the other room to see what all the fuss and commotion is. I’m sitting white-faced on the couch and Loic’s only half-way through his trip so he’s still in a hypnotic trance. I tell my sister that I think the Universe may have just ended, and we’re all dead, or that I’ve experienced some glitch in the fabric of time, a hiccup in the matrix. ‘Chris,’ she says patiently, as she can probably see the shock and horror etched into my face, ‘You took Salvia, you were on drugs.’ My mind starts to slowly, slowly formulate this possibility, my gaze falls to the bong on the table, still smoking guiltily, next to a clearly-labelled packet – ‘Salvia’. A rush of euphoria overcomes me, an intense wave of relief. ‘Phew! Drugs, drugs, drugs! Right! Drugs, drugs I can handle, that was drugs, thank fuck, I thought the world had ended! But drugs…drugs…fine.’ (I seem to remember repeating drugs over and over, perhaps to solidify the new concept in my own mind.) Loic comes down from his trip and I immediately accost him. ‘What…the…fuck…was…that!?’ I ask him, I explain what happened, I start babbling, I explain I’d taken it before and it had done nothing, the key to the universe was the bong, you need an intense hit, taken in one go, I’d done it in a joint, Salvia’s powers are diminished greatly in a slow-burning reefer, the bong was the crucial element to the drug, I hadn’t realised.

Suddenly all these possibilities open up, as if I’ve suddenly been granted the powers of an omnipotent deity. The Universe is my oyster, as it were. I become all pious; I’ve found the door to the Other Side, the Doors of Perception that all the acid-freaks are always searching for, out there in tripping-space, it’s right here, in this bong, with this plant, after ten years of tripping regularly the search is over, like a child on a rollercoaster, I want to go again, right now! And Loic, like a faithful, dogged, Parisian bartender, loads me another bong. This time I’m not going to make the same mistake, this time I must remember I’m on a drug, so I can experience it this time with its full effect. I put the bong to my lips and inhale…remember you’re on drugs…remember you’re on drugs…remember you’re on drugs… remember you’re on drugs…remember…you’re…on…………

…I’ve often used this metaphor when describing a hit of Salvia. It’s like bungee-jumping into the maw of a black hole, demolecularising on the way down, and remolecularising on the bounce back up! This metaphor comes from what happened the second time with Sally. I was immediately transported into space, but I remembered this time that I was tripping, I had once again become atoms and molecules, but we floated in formation, like a fleet of Tie-fighters, we floated from one end of the galaxy to the other, at super-super-hyperspace-warp-speed, and although I crossed the galaxy in less than five minutes I still felt as if my eyes and brain (disembodied as they were) took in, absorbed and processed every single minute detail it encountered on the way, I can only compare it to sci-fi movies, when someone implants a chip into your brain and you download all the knowledge of the known world into your mind in a matter of mere minutes. At the end of my journey, when I floated back down to my little blue and green harmless planet, back to the poky little living room, and its battered couch, the last sensation I experienced was a huge, warm, glowing presence above me at the back of my neck. I didn’t want to look up at it because I felt like that might blind me, or horrify me, my mind wouldn’t be able to absorb what I saw, the presence was that dominating, it’s warmth bathed and comforted me, it brought me gently back to Earth and set me down nicely where I’d began.

Okay, I’m not a religious man, quite the opposite! Hell, I’m not even a spiritual man, I’m an antitheist and I denounce God and all religions, and yet, I have no other way of describing this presence I felt other than to say it was god-like, it was the closest I’ve ever came, by far, to being able to say I touched God, in this case Salvia seems to be the God, or maybe the Universe as a collective conscience, but either way, unless you’ve experienced this for yourself you can’t really understand it, fuck your alien abductions, screw your spiritual encounters, balls to divine intervention, I shit your outer-body experiences and your possessions by demons or your LSD freak-outs and ecstasy highs…Salvia, is where it’s at.

So then I was hooked. I firmly believed you could unlock the Meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything, with the help of this humble Salvia plant. ‘That’s it,’ I said to Loic, ‘This is the big one, this is what scientists, spiritualists, philosophers, druids and shamans have been searching for all this time, this Salvia shit has the potential to take the human mind to levels and perhaps even places it has never been! Fuck it, I’m going to double-dunt it, I want to see what it’s like on the other side, I’m going in!’ I go through a brief background history of the drug with Loic (Loic is a very knowledgeable, experienced and responsible drug-user, he’s a go-to-man if you want to know about a new drug, so I was in safe hands) and after ascertaining that there was no possible way to die on this shit I was ready to go – a double-dunter - the plan; to load two bongs, take one, then the other, in quick succession so that I peak on both hits at the same time, I’m going to discover the Meaning of Life, or at least find the Question…

…Usually when you trip on any hallucinogen, there is always that feeling - that overwhelming but unexplainable sensation of knowing, but not knowing what, just knowing, like something profound is just inside the door of the LSD user’s mind, but you can never quite open that door, you can, if you’re lucky, crawl up to the doorstep and scratch at the cat-flap, but nobody ever lets you in, we don’t know what they’re doing on the other side of that door, but we know it must be something very, very special, it’s the next step in human consciousness, it’s the Answer and the Question, or the Question to the Answer. Salvia doesn’t just bring you to this door, it blows the fucking lock off and kicks your arse right through the doorway whether you like it or not. The only problem is, once you’re in there, you’re experiencing so much, so very, very much, all simultaneously and with nerve-frazzling mind-shattering results, so it’s difficult to concentrate, you’re blinded by patterns, paisleys, stripes, dots, flashes, explosions, emotions, divinity, rushes of inspiration, understanding and fulfilment. I might sound like some stupid fucking hippy-freak here, but I promise you I’ve done every drug (the good ones anyway) from here to Timbuctoo, I’ve tripped the Enpsychedelicopaedia, I’ve tripped on chemicals, powders, acids, roots, seeds, bark, plants, cacti, moulds, fungi of all varieties etc. but I’ve never been into that whole Timothy Leary, peace and love bullshit, I take drugs to get fucked up, just like I drink to get fucked up - consciousness expansion, yeah, with LSD, sure, I’m all for that and I absorb experiences from it, but Salvia takes it not just to the next level, it rides that motherfucking elevator up forty-thousand floors, at break-neck speed and goes right out the fucking roof! Only to deposit you safely back where you were, a mere five minutes later. If you imagine the seven hour long trip you get from acid or mushrooms, but condense all of that, all of it, into just five concentrated minutes, that’s the potency of Salvia.

Since then, we’ve done Salvia plenty of times, recreationally of course. Shit, we even done it while on LSD! A few other notable times I took Salvia are, not to mention the monumental-king-hell-bastard HUGE seizures of giggles, near-death-suffocations with the dreaded ‘Salvia Net’, reversions back to the womb, and actually being transported inside songs and living them as they played out. Not to mention the time I took it and suddenly I was a mountain, just a mountain, thousands of years old, sitting overlooking a small primitive village in some undisclosed location, through the eyes of a mountain I watched millennia unfold, civilisations rose and crumbled and were replaced, lands flooded, waters shrank back, beasts and animals and whole evolutions of species rolled past me, basically I sat motionless as a mountain and watched the course of time unfold over the epochs, eras and ages, through the perspective of a motionless piece of rock. But when I came to from the trip, I had an overwhelming sensation of actually knowing what it was like to be a mountain for thousands and thousands of years, and that gave me an awesome feeling of peace and serenity, wisdom and humbleness.

These Salvia trips are difficult things to explain, especially to someone who hasn’t experienced one, but another time I sat on the chair after a bong of the stuff and I looked through the living room door and I witnessed and experienced, stretching out infinitely in the hallway, every single second of my thirty years of life in five short minutes, every emotion, experience, face, tear, smile, anguish, hurt, moment, memory - it all just flew through my mind, like sorta’ when people say you see your life flash before your eyes as you die, like that, except when your brain takes in that amount of information all at once it is an extremely powerful sensation, experiencing my entire life, all at once, almost snapped my mind, the physical and mental exertion of it was penetrating, deep and immense, but afterwards, when you’ve survived (and you can’t die anyway), you’re left with a feeling of profoundness that is surely unmatched by anything else!

Remember I said earlier that my first hit of Salvia was during a period of heartbreak in my life, well it seems like when that hit demolecularised and then remolecularised me, it put me back together, but it conveniently left out the heartache and the misery, I was cured of heartbreak! A condition that is often considered incurable, but I did it! With one hit of Salvia! I felt completely fine after that night, no more wallowing required. At the risk of sounding like some fucking cult-leader-weirdo I’ll move away from that and say in conclusion that Salvia has some very serious mystical potential in it that requires deep probing and research. I’ve often said that when you hallucinate on psychoactive substances, you’re not hallucinating, you’re unhallucinating! You’re seeing the world as quantum physics describes it, watery, insubstantial, atoms, molecules and energy condensed to a slow vibration, the barriers of your conscious mind have fallen away and you’re peering head-on into the truth of the matter, literally, the matter! Nothing is solid and we are all just one entity, one long and everlasting entity. Hallucinogens and especially Salvia, are a doorway into another world, a world that is dismissed by non-drug users as just ‘druggy talk’, ‘all in the mind’, the mind is a very powerful thing and there are things out there we can’t see, but drugs, drugs sometimes let us have a peek. Believe it or not, it’s true, if you don’t believe me, take a strong hit of Salvia and get back to me motherfucker…ha, there you go.

Salvia is a legal drug, which means anybody can walk into a specialist high street shop and purchase it. I wouldn’t recommend using this drug unless you have at least a basic understanding, history and experience with hallucinogens. Somebody taking a hit like the first one I took who hasn’t got a firm tolerance to drugs and who has an untrained mind for handling these situations would have come away from it a sticky mess. DO NOT DO SALVIA if you don’t know what you’re doing. Hopefully this report will be a useful and valuable insight for positive reasons into the world of Salvia. And with a Frenchman as my co-pilot I will see you again very soon Sally!

C.T. Herron