🫠 Psychonaut POV

[5-min read] Q&A with Christopher Solomon, Somatic Salvia Guide

Welcome to Tricycle Day. Some people see carnival tricksters when they trip. The only clowns we see are the people who still think psychedelics are worthless. 🤡

Christopher Solomon’s first experience with Salvia was like a lot of other people’s—weird and confusing. But something compelled him to give it another shot with a different approach, and what followed astounded him. Now as a somatic Salvia guide, he’s on a mission to change peoples' minds about the world’s most misunderstood plant.

We asked Christopher what people get wrong about Salvia, why it's such a powerful ally for somatic healing, and how curious seekers can work with Salvia safely and effectively.

Soul Surgeon MD

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Christopher Solomon Psychonaut POV
What was your first experience with Salvia divinorum like? And what led you to working with it as a therapeutic plant medicine?

I first heard about Salvia in my 12th grade physics class. A kid told me it was a legal, short-duration trip you could get at any smoke shop. I was curious and open to trying it, having recently started exploring cannabis.

I bought some 20x extract at a smoke shop in Texas, where it was legal in 2000. The guy couldn't provide much guidance since it was technically not for human consumption. When I tried it at home with a friend, the experience was underwhelming. I felt myself stretching into a two-dimensional plane but couldn't really comprehend what happened. I tried it a few more times over the next year, but the experiences were similarly odd and meaningless.

Fast forward another year, I was alone in my apartment and decided to try Salvia again. This time, before smoking, a thought came into my mind telling me to meditate first. I took 10 slow, deep breaths, and on the 10th breath, I inhaled, held it, and exhaled. Right away, I could tell this experience was completely different. For the first time, I had visuals. Parallel lines came from my peripheral vision, met in the middle, and turned into undulating sand dunes. Then, a feminine energy appeared in front of me, made out of the same material as the sand dunes, and we communicated telepathically. There was a deep familiarity and recognition. She let me know she had always been with me. It felt like she wrapped me up in ribbons made out of love and smiles.

The experience faded away after a few minutes, leaving me refreshed and in awe. It was a pivotal moment in my Salvia journey because I realized that your approach makes a big difference with this substance. It's almost as if you can't use it recreationally. If you do, Salvia knows and will just ask you out of the room.

A lot of people have preconceived notions about Salvia. You’ve described it as a misunderstood plant. In your opinion, what are the biggest misconceptions about Salvia?

One of the biggest misconceptions is how it's commonly used. Salvia is a type of sage from the mint family, originally from the Sierra Mazateca mountain range outside of Oaxaca. Indigenously, the Mazatec curanderos use it for healing by chewing the fresh leaves. The leaves can also be dried and smoked, with different extract strengths like 5x and 10x.

The conventional idea is that you have to smoke a lot, load one bowl, rush through the experience, and use a torch lighter. However, the opposite is true. You can take your time, smoke a tiny amount, and wait between bowls. In my guided sessions, we smoke five bowls with at least five minutes between each one, using a regular lighter.

Salvia can be approached slowly, allowing you to stay engaged with your awareness and body. Contrary to common belief, it can be one of the most gentle plant medicines. Used with care and intention, it can offer support and grounding. It doesn’t have to be the dysphoric, dystopian out-of-body experience that many people expect.

What are the main motivations people have when they come to you to work with Salvia? Why do you consider this plant especially effective for somatic therapy?

People come for various reasons. Some are curious psychonauts who want to see what it's like, while others had a negative experience when they were young and want to rewrite it. Salvia is also a potent antidepressant and very effective at helping with anxiety.

Unlike other medicines, Salvia meets you where you are. It acts as a great stabilizer and neutralizer, bringing you to a rooted space if you're feeling manic or bringing you up if you're feeling lethargic. It's also useful for finding clarity, setting boundaries, and is overcoming opioid and kratom addiction.

The reason it pairs so well with somatic therapy is that Salvia is a tactile, kinesthetic medicine that leads to changes in the feeling body more than the thinking mind. It allows one to notice pulling, pushing, twisting, and turning sensations. At lower doses, one can engage with these sensations, finding stillness and bigness within the body while simultaneously existing in a larger space.

People may notice Salvia showing up in specific body areas, and can have telepathic dialogues with those parts through presence, awareness, and felt sensing. This can lead to realizations, such as using the shoulders as armor to protect pain felt in the heart, or the stomach becoming inflamed due to not fully feeling emotions. Salvia provides a space to feel these emotions while looking at painful experiences from an objective perspective.

What did you learn from participating in the Johns Hopkins study on salvinorin A? Any surprising insights or takeaways?

The purpose of the Hopkins study was to look at areas of interconnectivity in the brain under the influence of Salvia. There were 12 participants, and the researchers had us all smoke Salvia in an MRI to see what would happen.

One of the surprising findings was that Salvia affects the default mode network more than any other psychedelic, which makes sense because the default mode network is responsible for our autobiographical sense of self. At higher doses, amnesia is common, and one's concept of self-identity becomes completely overwritten. For example, one participant became the plastic bit at the end of a shoelace during the experience. At lighter doses, when there's a loosening of one's identity structure rather than complete identity erasure, it allows people to incorporate possibility thinking and realize they can be more than the story they’ve constructed over time.

It's difficult to be dishonest with oneself while smoking Salvia. In one of my experiences, Salvia chewed me out for not taking care of myself. She was like a stern, angry mother yelling at me with love. She saw my potential and the life I could be living, but I had to come to a place of true conviction within myself to make lasting changes.

During the study, some cheeky entities came into the room and mocked the researchers, saying their techniques wouldn't find anything and that neuroimaging wasn't going to tell them what's really going on. This surprised me as it wasn't a belief I consciously held. Even the researchers themselves acknowledged the limits of their methods. They admitted the more they learn and the better their imaging gets, the less they realize they know.

For someone curious about Salvia, what advice would you offer to ensure a positive and safe introduction? How can our readers obtain or cultivate Salvia responsibly?

For those curious about trying Salvia, I recommend reaching out to me for pre-dosed, consistent, and accurately measured Salvia. While other vendors sell Salvia, there's often inconsistency between their batches, making dosing unreliable. My extraction process removes waxy impurities and chlorophyll, taking it as close as possible to pure salvinorin A, which is then re-infused onto a small amount of Salvia leaf to ensure each dose is the same.

If you choose to purchase Salvia from other vendors, start by smoking just a few flakes of extract, wait a few minutes, and see what happens. Don't expect DMT-like visuals or creative thinking like with cannabis; instead, focus your awareness on your body and the physical space within and around you.

In my guided sessions, I send clients a Salvia pipe, a five-bowl water pipe that can be preloaded before the session for harm reduction purposes, along with pre-dosed capsules of Salvia. We then go through a two-hour session together, exploring how things come up bit by bit. The focus is on fostering an open-ended, dynamic, and relational experience between the user, Salvia, themselves, and me, rather than having a strict agenda.

For those interested in growing Salvia, I can also send cuttings. It prefers airy soil—equal parts potting soil and perlite—and indirect sunlight, as direct sun can cause the leaves to burn and curl. Frost damage will kill the plant, so it's important to protect it from freezing conditions. Salvia is relatively hardy. It’s a wonderful plant to grow.

Want more from Christopher?

Book a free consultation with Christopher, or join the Somatic Salvia Network to find others interested in somatic therapy and Salvia divinorum.


That’s all for today, Cyclists! Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can help.

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DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. The use, possession, and distribution of psychedelic drugs are illegal in most countries and may result in criminal prosecution.

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