Salvia: Everything You Need To Know
4 min

How To Perform The Salvia Divinorum Ritual

4 min

Steeped in a rich history of shamanic use, salvia was an integral part of spiritual rituals to allow communication with the spirit of salvia. Now, you too can convene with the spirit of the salvia plant. However, the world's most powerful psychedelic should not be taken lightly. Follow our guide to the salvia ritual for unprecedented enlightenment.


To understand the origins of the salvia ritual, we first need to venture into the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico. Classed as Salvia divinorum, this perennial plant thrives in tropical rainforest regions, growing 300–800 metres above sea level.

In the mountainous regions of Mexico, the Mazatec people used the salvia plant as part of spiritual rituals. Consumption of salvia was not as straightforward as chewing a few leaves. The Mazatec believed that the spirit of the salvia plant could aid them in finding lost items or visiting loved ones far away. The theme of floating and being transported to alternate realities is common; the salvia plant contains salvinorin A, the world's most potent naturally occurring psychedelic.

The ritual for interacting with the spirit of salvia required a number of steps. Traditionally, ceremonies would not take place on a Monday or Friday. They also needed to be conducted at night. The silent darkness was seen as a conduit for the state of mind necessary for the visions to present themselves. Fresh leaves would be rolled into a cylinder and chewed, but not swallowed. Instead, the juice was kept in the mouth to be absorbed through the mucous membranes. In its entirety, the ritual would generally last no longer than 1–2 hours.


How Does Salvia Work And What Is The Correct Dosage?

To put the salvia plant's potency in perspective, it is roughly ten times more powerful than psilocybin, which can be found in magic mushrooms and truffles. Salvia’s intensity is the result of two diterpenes, salvinorin A and salvinorin B, where salvinorin A is the main driving force behind salvia’s psychedelic properties.

It is not only far more formidable than psilocybin, but also interacts with a different series of receptors. Salvia is an agonist of kappa opioid receptors, rather than our serotonergic system. As such, salvia sits in a class of its own, a theme that continues when users compare the type of trip experiences. Salvia is always unlike anything psychonauts have experienced before.

Taking the correct dosage is absolutely vital. Salvia is far more potent than other psychedelics, so a lot less is needed. Too much salvia and things can take a turn for the worse, especially if you are inexperienced. Compared to mushrooms, psychoactive effects begin after just 150 micrograms. The most popular option is to chew dried salvia leaves, in the same way as the Mazatecs. In dried leaf form, an average dose is 3–6g, with high doses requiring you to chew up to 10g of dried leaves.

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The key to a successful trip is to treat yourself and salvia with the care they deserve. Given salvia’s intensity, it is not uncommon for users to abstain from trying it after a few experiences. However, the same users often fail at preparing both the surrounding area and their minds before a salvia trip. Don’t make the same mistake, instead follow our five golden rules to experience unparalleled sensations.


Purify Both Body And Mind

Cleansing your mind and body is a practice that should be commonplace for experienced psychonauts. If this is your first time trying salvia, try the following at least a few days before you plan to consume the plant. Eat healthy foods (yes, that means plenty of veggies) avoid drinking any alcohol, or taking any other drugs. All too often it is the interaction between the compounds in salvia and other chemicals in our body that can result in a bad trip or negative experience.

To purify your mind, spend time reading, enjoying nature, and getting plenty of exercise. Taking a long walk is a fantastic way to clear your mind and reduce tension.


Prepare The Space For Your Salvia Trip

Mazatec rituals would always take place in the dead of night. For today, this means without the distractions of light, sounds, or passing traffic. To that end, you should try to do the same. If staying up late doesn't sound appealing, at least try to close blinds or curtains so that the room is in complete darkness. Choosing a quiet time of day will also help limit any external distractions.

Your chosen location should be free of any dangerous objects or trip hazards, just in case you move about unexpectedly. Music can be played, although it should be calming and faint. The Mazatec people would also lay on the floor so that their bodies were completely relaxed. Ensure you have pillows or blankets on the floor, so you can do the same. Laying on a bed is okay, but you do not want to risk falling off. Moving during a salvia trip is usually very rare, but it can happen.

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Set Up A Small Personal Altar

The purpose of an altar is twofold. Firstly, some of the objects will act as an offering to the plant spirit. After all, it is her blessing we need for a successful out-of-body experience. Salvia produces dissociative effects, disconnecting your current thoughts and feelings from your body. You want to become one with the plant spirit and embrace every sensation you experience.

Secondly, the feeling of being disconnected from your own sense of identity is more prevalent in stronger doses. The remaining objects on your altar should have sentimental value or meaning, helping to channel the subsequent vision. Belongings you associate with positive thoughts can also help if you start to become scared or agitated during a trip.


Visualise And Vocalise Your Intention

Continuing with the theme of controlling the intent of your trip, visualising and vocalising the purpose of your experience is like setting the mood for a relaxing evening. To help unwind after a tough day at work, you would play calming music, use low lighting, and take a scented bath. With such a profound and potent psychedelic effect, salvia needs the same kind of guidance and preparation.

Assuming you followed the advice about cleansing your mind beforehand, the chances of becoming paranoid, frightened, or overwhelmed are slim. However, as you chew the leaves, repeat either out loud or in your mind the intention of the trip. What is it you want the plant spirit to help with? Continue channelling these thoughts as salvia takes hold. Doing so will help to prevent any negative thoughts from entering your mind and disrupting your trip.


Have A Trustworthy Guide Present And Ready To Assist You

This is probably one of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure a positive and enjoyable salvia trip. If it is your first time trying salvia, or your first time taking psychedelics, we must emphasise the importance of having a trusted trip sitter. As we alluded to, moving about during a salvia trip is incredibly rare, however, it can occur. The chances of tripping over and sustaining a trauma are high, especially if you have not prepared the area correctly beforehand.

A trip sitter acts as a guide. They make sure you do not put yourself in harm's way, and if the experience is too overwhelming, can be a calming influence. In cases when too much salvia is chewed, the user can become so disconnected from their identity that they forget salvia was consumed in the first place. This can make the entire experience even more confusing. As a bonus, a trusted sitter can chant or take control of the music during your trip. Then, all you need to do is focus on enjoying the most potent naturally occurring psychedelic in the world.


We have teased you enough with how to prepare for a salvia trip, here is what we recommend to get you started. As dried leaves, salvia should be rolled into a small ball (quid) and chewed. Up to 5g for a mild dose, up to 10g for a strong dose, and up to 20g for a truly divine experience. Immerse yourself in the incredible psychedelic powers of salvinorin A. Just make sure you clear your schedule first!

Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl
Luke Sholl has been writing about cannabis, the wellness potential of cannabinoids, and the positive influence of nature for over a decade. Working with several cannabinoid-centric publications, he publishes a variety of digital content, supported by strong technical knowledge and thorough research.
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