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Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is a class of psychoactive substances that induce any type of spiritual experience aimed at development.[2] The term entheogen is often chosen to contrast recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used, by curanderos, to heal people but also, by malevolent sorcerers, to allegedly “steal” people’s energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the genus Panaeolus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said to be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

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Entheogen – Wikipedia

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

This is a list of species and genera that are used as entheogens or are used in an entheogenic concoction (such as ayahuasca). For ritualistic use they may be classified as hallucinogens. The active principles and historical significance of each are also listed to illustrate the requirements necessary to be categorized as an entheogen.

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List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

Entheogen – PsychonautWiki

An entheogen (“generating the divine within”)[2] is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context[3] that may be synthesized or obtained from natural sources. Jonathan Ott helped coin the term “entheogen”.[4]

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years and their religious significance is well established with anthropological and academic literature. Examples of traditional entheogens include psychedelics like peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and iboga; atypical hallucinogens like salvia and Amanita muscaria; quasi-psychedelics like cannabis; and deliriants like datura.

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many of which are derived from these plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and synthesized chemically. These include the naturally occurring mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol, the semi-synthetic LSD, and synthetic substances (e.g., DPT used by the Temple of the True Inner Light and 2C-B used by the Sangoma).[5]

More broadly, the term entheogen is used to refer to any psychoactive substance used for its religious or spiritual effects, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure. This terminology is often chosen to contrast with the recreational use of the same substances. Studies such as the Marsh Chapel Experiment have documented reports of spiritual experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive substances in controlled trials.[6] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition; however, some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use.

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Entheogen – PsychonautWiki

Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is a class of psychoactive substances that induce any type of spiritual experience aimed at development.[2] The term entheogen is often chosen to contrast recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used, by curanderos, to heal people but also, by malevolent sorcerers, to allegedly “steal” people’s energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the genus Panaeolus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said to be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

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Entheogen – Wikipedia

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

This is a list of species and genera that are used as entheogens or are used in an entheogenic concoction (such as ayahuasca). For ritualistic use they may be classified as hallucinogens. The active principals and historical significance of each is also listed to illustrate the requirements necessary to be categorized as an entheogen.

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List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

What I think really happened, is that the DEA had no idea how large the Kratom industry was. They vastly underestimated the pro-Kratom movement, the number of Kratom users, as well as the size of the Kratom industry. After reading through the extraordinarily cherry-picked, and very biased notice they entered into the Federal Register, the truth becomes difficult to deny.

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Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

These articles are about the spiritual and medicinal uses of some of the plants we commonly use.

As always, please use a healthy dose of common sense and always seek medical treatment for any ailment. What has worked for others may not work for you.

Since humans shifted away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture, we began to gradually take plants for granted. Over time, we lost our respect for them, even though everything we are is because of plants from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

The gods have not forgotten about the plants and have continued their relationship with the plant spirits. Many deities have strong relationships with plants; Oya loves the eggplant, Mary Magdalene has long been associated with roses and any child of Apollo had darn well better have a large supply of bay leaves available.

A lot has been written about the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants. All of this material comes from somebodys point of view and it is important to remember that what worked for someone else, may not work for you. Hyssop is a great personal example. Many sources say that the Orishas love hyssop and its this great sacred plant that blesses everything it touches. Well thats all fine and good except that Ive never felt a connection to hyssop and have never had the urge to use it in any form. Do I believe the sources or my own personal experience? Personal experience should win out every time.

Plants are complicated. Some magickal sources like to drill plants down to a single element or a few key words for uses. This is great for editing but the truth is that you generally cant place plants easily into a couple of artificial categories. For example, chili peppers are strongly associated with fire but they also contain a lot of water in their flesh, which becomes more prominent when you remove the heat (aka a Bell Pepper). While I have included elemental information, consider it to be a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Take any information with a grain of salt and use your personal experience to give you clues to the deeper truth.

Using plants for spiritual healing is an effective method of healing wounds on the soul or karmic level. This type of healing requires you to contact the consciousness of the plant(s) so that they in turn can heal a persons spirit. This is more complicated than just casting a normal magickal spell. This is also different then the modern Allopathicherbalism that is popular.

So, why the differences? Let me illustrate. Let say that my next door neighbor shows up on my doorstep with an upset stomach because she ate some bad Mexican food last night. I boil some water and then mix chamomile, lavender, peppermint and a dash of cinnamon together, let it steep for 5 minutes, and then add some honey. I probably wont even pray over the cup because all 3 of the herbs have alkaloids in them that are quite wonderful at soothing the stomach plus the lavender and cinnamon are antibacterial. The honey not only sweetens the mixture but it also soothes the stomach. I make her drink 2 cups and she starts to feel better. This is what most modern herbalism is about.

Now, let say I have a second friend who has the stomach flu. She doesnt have a lot of money and she needs to keep working. I tell her to make the same tea mixture up that I gave friend #1and I tell her before she drinks it to place her hands over the cup and pray to Oshun. The herbs have physical components to help her feel better and Oshun is really great at soothing digestive problems and will work with the herbs and the cinnamon to help friend #2 feel better. I tell her to drink 2 cups morning, noon and night and she should start to feel better shortly. This would fall under magickal herb use.

Okay, so later on friend #3 shows up at my doorstep. She just had a huge fight with her husband of 6 years in which he informed her that he is leaving her for another woman. Not only is she devastated, but she is also nauseous and is having trouble keeping her lunch down. Okay, now we need to pull out all the stops. I start heating her up some water. As I put the chamomile, the lavender and the peppermint into the cup, I pray to Osain to help me contact the spirits of chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. I ask chamomile to heal to my friends heart, I ask lavender to bring peace to my friends soul and I ask peppermint to help clear my friends mind so that she can see in time that she will be better off without that piece of shit husband of hers. As I add the cinnamon and honey, I ask Oshun to lighten up my friends spirit so that she can face the things she now has to do (separation paperwork, property division, custody issues, etc.) and to help her find a good lawyer (who will help my friend gets what she deserves and will make that bastard pay). I make her drink 2 cups, everyday for the next five days, and she starts to feel better. Now, this is spiritual healing.

Plants can help us heal our spirits and our bodies. Besides working with the Orisha Osain, you can also do this by accessing the plants directly. Instead of going through the spirit of chamomile, you can use the energy of a specific chamomile plant. For example, an acquaintance of mine had a very sick puppy and I was able to channel the energy of a basil plant growing out on my porch to heal the dog. However, the plant died 2 days later. I dont recommend doing this type of healing unless you are dealing with strong plants, namely trees. Next time you find yourself upset, go out and huge a tree. I find it particularly useful to stand with my back to the tree. Trees are fantastic for grounding unwanted energy or settling a restless spirit. While you dont have to go through Osain to do this (because it is a one-on-one relationship and the tree is physically present), you may find it more effective if you do.

Plants are multidimensional beings. Their roots reach into the soil (earth) to pull up water and nutrients. They take in carbon dioxide and respire oxygen (air). They capture the energy from the sun (fire) and use that energy to make sugars. Plants are the basis for all higher level organisms. They created the elemental oxygen we breathe and they provide the food that the global food web is built upon. For most of human history, plants were the only source of food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Modern civilization however treats plants as either resources to be exploited or weeds that must be eradicated. Earth-centered traditions understand that life on this planet would not exist without plants.

Plants contain a vast number of phytochemicals. Evolutionary biologists believe that those phytochemicals are simply the result of millions of years of plants trying to out compete their neighbors. Some of those chemicals are beneficial to humans, some are harmful and many depend on dosage. Modern scientific theory sees plants as containers of chemicals and chemical reactions. Earth-centered traditions however believe that plants have spirits, as do all other living things on our planet. Each of these spirits is in turn connected to higher level consciousness. Many practitioners believe that just as human beings are spiritually part of a web of ancestors, saints, angels and deities, so are plants connected with elemental beings and higher order intelligences. In Scotlands Findhorn Garden, these higher order intelligences are called devas and landscape angels.

The belief in plant spirits is found in many traditions and cultures. Often, plant spirit workers will communicate with the plant spirits directly before using the plants for healings. Individual plants should be approached with respect before attempting to use that plants medicine. A healer might sing, chant or drum to the plants before and or during the harvest of plants. This gives the healer access to the spiritual aspects of the plants and allows for deeper level of healing. Relying only on the effects of the phytochemicals may achieve healing of physical symptoms but connecting to the plant spirit can achieve soul level healing.

Much in the same way that many Earth-centered traditions believe that each person or tribe has a predestined relationship with specific animals; some believe that the same type of relationship exists in the green kingdom. For example, there are four plants ( corn, beans, squash, and tobacco) that the Navajo or Din hold to be especially sacred to their tribe.

Shamans often develop relationships with sacred plants, called entheogens. They use entheogens, like ayahuasca, peyote, and the San Pedro cactus, in religious ceremonies such as initiations, healings, receiving messages from the divine, or traveling to other planes of existence.

In ourspiritual practice, wehave found that each individual has a predestined relationship to four totem plants and a higher level master plant. The four totem plants are the crowning plant, which rules the intellect and governs the self, the heart plant, which rules the personality and governs our interactions with others, and the yin and yang plants, which are a cool and a hot plant, respectively, and rule thought and action. Our yin and yang plants balance our personalities. If a person is right handed, then the yin plant will sit at the left hand and the yang plant will set at the right. If a person is left handed, then the placement is reversed.

Each individual also has a predestined relationship with a master plant. This plant gives a person access to the higher levels of consciousness. It is possible that a person may connect with more than one master plant however there is at least one that each person has in their personal totem constellation. Accessing ones master plant allows a person to strengthen their own relationship with the divine. Often, these master plants are considered to be entheogens. Wehave found that when a person is connected with their master plant, the person undergoes a profound spiritual change.

Ally plants are plants that an individual or group develops relationships with along the way. You may choose to intentionally work with a plant, or you may inherit the plant from your ancestors. For example, your favorite grandmother loved lavender. After she passes, you have an emotional connection to lavender. In your heart the memory of your grandmother and the smell of lavender are intertwined. When you need comfort, the smell of lavender takes you to an emotion place of comfort.

You might also have plant allies because of your genetic heritage. For instance, E.is Hawaiian and loves poi, the paste made from the Taro root which was a staple to the ancient Hawaiians. I love Hawaii, I love everything about Hawaii but poi to me tastes like wallpaper paste. E. on the other hand cant get enough of the stuff. Because of his genetic heritage, he probably has a link to that plant that I simply dont have.

Plant shamans may develop an intentional relationship with a plant through a diet. The diet is when a shaman specifically concentrates on one plant. The shaman will work with that plant, meditate with it and consume it. During this period, the shaman may also restrict the consumption of other things like spicy foods, salt, or sweets. Upon successful completion of the diet, the plant is now considered an ally and can be called for healings and spiritual workings.

Besides using my own experiences and the some of the stories I have heard from others, I have used the following sources in my plant articles:

Andrews, Ted Nature-Speak:Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature. Dragonhawk Publishing

Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Natures Medicines. Bantam Books

Cowan, Eliot Plant Spirit Medicine. Swan Raven & Co

Cunningham, Scott Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publishing

Davidow, Joie Infusions of Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies. Simon & Schuster

Heaven, Ross et al. Plant Spirit Shamanism Destiny Books

Mabey, Richard The New Age Herbalist Collier Books

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Spirit of the Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot. US Games Systems

Tull, Delena Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. University of Texas Press

Readers Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants. Random House

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Plants – Tribe of the Sun

Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is a class of psychoactive substances that induce any type of spiritual experience aimed at development.[2] The term entheogen is often chosen to contrast recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used, by curanderos, to heal people but also, by malevolent sorcerers, to allegedly “steal” people’s energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the genus Panaeolus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said to be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

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Entheogen – Wikipedia

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

These articles are about the spiritual and medicinal uses of some of the plants we commonly use.

As always, please use a healthy dose of common sense and always seek medical treatment for any ailment. What has worked for others may not work for you.

Since humans shifted away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture, we began to gradually take plants for granted. Over time, we lost our respect for them, even though everything we are is because of plants from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

The gods have not forgotten about the plants and have continued their relationship with the plant spirits. Many deities have strong relationships with plants; Oya loves the eggplant, Mary Magdalene has long been associated with roses and any child of Apollo had darn well better have a large supply of bay leaves available.

A lot has been written about the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants. All of this material comes from somebodys point of view and it is important to remember that what worked for someone else, may not work for you. Hyssop is a great personal example. Many sources say that the Orishas love hyssop and its this great sacred plant that blesses everything it touches. Well thats all fine and good except that Ive never felt a connection to hyssop and have never had the urge to use it in any form. Do I believe the sources or my own personal experience? Personal experience should win out every time.

Plants are complicated. Some magickal sources like to drill plants down to a single element or a few key words for uses. This is great for editing but the truth is that you generally cant place plants easily into a couple of artificial categories. For example, chili peppers are strongly associated with fire but they also contain a lot of water in their flesh, which becomes more prominent when you remove the heat (aka a Bell Pepper). While I have included elemental information, consider it to be a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Take any information with a grain of salt and use your personal experience to give you clues to the deeper truth.

Using plants for spiritual healing is an effective method of healing wounds on the soul or karmic level. This type of healing requires you to contact the consciousness of the plant(s) so that they in turn can heal a persons spirit. This is more complicated than just casting a normal magickal spell. This is also different then the modern Allopathicherbalism that is popular.

So, why the differences? Let me illustrate. Let say that my next door neighbor shows up on my doorstep with an upset stomach because she ate some bad Mexican food last night. I boil some water and then mix chamomile, lavender, peppermint and a dash of cinnamon together, let it steep for 5 minutes, and then add some honey. I probably wont even pray over the cup because all 3 of the herbs have alkaloids in them that are quite wonderful at soothing the stomach plus the lavender and cinnamon are antibacterial. The honey not only sweetens the mixture but it also soothes the stomach. I make her drink 2 cups and she starts to feel better. This is what most modern herbalism is about.

Now, let say I have a second friend who has the stomach flu. She doesnt have a lot of money and she needs to keep working. I tell her to make the same tea mixture up that I gave friend #1and I tell her before she drinks it to place her hands over the cup and pray to Oshun. The herbs have physical components to help her feel better and Oshun is really great at soothing digestive problems and will work with the herbs and the cinnamon to help friend #2 feel better. I tell her to drink 2 cups morning, noon and night and she should start to feel better shortly. This would fall under magickal herb use.

Okay, so later on friend #3 shows up at my doorstep. She just had a huge fight with her husband of 6 years in which he informed her that he is leaving her for another woman. Not only is she devastated, but she is also nauseous and is having trouble keeping her lunch down. Okay, now we need to pull out all the stops. I start heating her up some water. As I put the chamomile, the lavender and the peppermint into the cup, I pray to Osain to help me contact the spirits of chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. I ask chamomile to heal to my friends heart, I ask lavender to bring peace to my friends soul and I ask peppermint to help clear my friends mind so that she can see in time that she will be better off without that piece of shit husband of hers. As I add the cinnamon and honey, I ask Oshun to lighten up my friends spirit so that she can face the things she now has to do (separation paperwork, property division, custody issues, etc.) and to help her find a good lawyer (who will help my friend gets what she deserves and will make that bastard pay). I make her drink 2 cups, everyday for the next five days, and she starts to feel better. Now, this is spiritual healing.

Plants can help us heal our spirits and our bodies. Besides working with the Orisha Osain, you can also do this by accessing the plants directly. Instead of going through the spirit of chamomile, you can use the energy of a specific chamomile plant. For example, an acquaintance of mine had a very sick puppy and I was able to channel the energy of a basil plant growing out on my porch to heal the dog. However, the plant died 2 days later. I dont recommend doing this type of healing unless you are dealing with strong plants, namely trees. Next time you find yourself upset, go out and huge a tree. I find it particularly useful to stand with my back to the tree. Trees are fantastic for grounding unwanted energy or settling a restless spirit. While you dont have to go through Osain to do this (because it is a one-on-one relationship and the tree is physically present), you may find it more effective if you do.

Plants are multidimensional beings. Their roots reach into the soil (earth) to pull up water and nutrients. They take in carbon dioxide and respire oxygen (air). They capture the energy from the sun (fire) and use that energy to make sugars. Plants are the basis for all higher level organisms. They created the elemental oxygen we breathe and they provide the food that the global food web is built upon. For most of human history, plants were the only source of food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Modern civilization however treats plants as either resources to be exploited or weeds that must be eradicated. Earth-centered traditions understand that life on this planet would not exist without plants.

Plants contain a vast number of phytochemicals. Evolutionary biologists believe that those phytochemicals are simply the result of millions of years of plants trying to out compete their neighbors. Some of those chemicals are beneficial to humans, some are harmful and many depend on dosage. Modern scientific theory sees plants as containers of chemicals and chemical reactions. Earth-centered traditions however believe that plants have spirits, as do all other living things on our planet. Each of these spirits is in turn connected to higher level consciousness. Many practitioners believe that just as human beings are spiritually part of a web of ancestors, saints, angels and deities, so are plants connected with elemental beings and higher order intelligences. In Scotlands Findhorn Garden, these higher order intelligences are called devas and landscape angels.

The belief in plant spirits is found in many traditions and cultures. Often, plant spirit workers will communicate with the plant spirits directly before using the plants for healings. Individual plants should be approached with respect before attempting to use that plants medicine. A healer might sing, chant or drum to the plants before and or during the harvest of plants. This gives the healer access to the spiritual aspects of the plants and allows for deeper level of healing. Relying only on the effects of the phytochemicals may achieve healing of physical symptoms but connecting to the plant spirit can achieve soul level healing.

Much in the same way that many Earth-centered traditions believe that each person or tribe has a predestined relationship with specific animals; some believe that the same type of relationship exists in the green kingdom. For example, there are four plants ( corn, beans, squash, and tobacco) that the Navajo or Din hold to be especially sacred to their tribe.

Shamans often develop relationships with sacred plants, called entheogens. They use entheogens, like ayahuasca, peyote, and the San Pedro cactus, in religious ceremonies such as initiations, healings, receiving messages from the divine, or traveling to other planes of existence.

In ourspiritual practice, wehave found that each individual has a predestined relationship to four totem plants and a higher level master plant. The four totem plants are the crowning plant, which rules the intellect and governs the self, the heart plant, which rules the personality and governs our interactions with others, and the yin and yang plants, which are a cool and a hot plant, respectively, and rule thought and action. Our yin and yang plants balance our personalities. If a person is right handed, then the yin plant will sit at the left hand and the yang plant will set at the right. If a person is left handed, then the placement is reversed.

Each individual also has a predestined relationship with a master plant. This plant gives a person access to the higher levels of consciousness. It is possible that a person may connect with more than one master plant however there is at least one that each person has in their personal totem constellation. Accessing ones master plant allows a person to strengthen their own relationship with the divine. Often, these master plants are considered to be entheogens. Wehave found that when a person is connected with their master plant, the person undergoes a profound spiritual change.

Ally plants are plants that an individual or group develops relationships with along the way. You may choose to intentionally work with a plant, or you may inherit the plant from your ancestors. For example, your favorite grandmother loved lavender. After she passes, you have an emotional connection to lavender. In your heart the memory of your grandmother and the smell of lavender are intertwined. When you need comfort, the smell of lavender takes you to an emotion place of comfort.

You might also have plant allies because of your genetic heritage. For instance, E.is Hawaiian and loves poi, the paste made from the Taro root which was a staple to the ancient Hawaiians. I love Hawaii, I love everything about Hawaii but poi to me tastes like wallpaper paste. E. on the other hand cant get enough of the stuff. Because of his genetic heritage, he probably has a link to that plant that I simply dont have.

Plant shamans may develop an intentional relationship with a plant through a diet. The diet is when a shaman specifically concentrates on one plant. The shaman will work with that plant, meditate with it and consume it. During this period, the shaman may also restrict the consumption of other things like spicy foods, salt, or sweets. Upon successful completion of the diet, the plant is now considered an ally and can be called for healings and spiritual workings.

Besides using my own experiences and the some of the stories I have heard from others, I have used the following sources in my plant articles:

Andrews, Ted Nature-Speak:Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature. Dragonhawk Publishing

Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Natures Medicines. Bantam Books

Cowan, Eliot Plant Spirit Medicine. Swan Raven & Co

Cunningham, Scott Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publishing

Davidow, Joie Infusions of Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies. Simon & Schuster

Heaven, Ross et al. Plant Spirit Shamanism Destiny Books

Mabey, Richard The New Age Herbalist Collier Books

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Spirit of the Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot. US Games Systems

Tull, Delena Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. University of Texas Press

Readers Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants. Random House

Go here to read the rest:

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

This is a list of species and genera that are used as entheogens or are used in an entheogenic concoction (such as ayahuasca). For ritualistic use they may be classified as hallucinogens. The active principals and historical significance of each is also listed to illustrate the requirements necessary to be categorized as an entheogen.

Read the rest here:

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

What I think really happened, is that the DEA had no idea how large the Kratom industry was. They vastly underestimated the pro-Kratom movement, the number of Kratom users, as well as the size of the Kratom industry. After reading through the extraordinarily cherry-picked, and very biased notice they entered into the Federal Register, the truth becomes difficult to deny.

More:

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is any psychoactive substance that induces a spiritual experience and is aimed at spiritual development.[2] This terminology is often chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used by curanderos to heal people but also by malevolent sorcerers to allegedly “steal” their energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the genus Panaeolus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

Go here to see the original:

Entheogen – Wikipedia

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

What I think really happened, is that the DEA had no idea how large the Kratom industry was. They vastly underestimated the pro-Kratom movement, the number of Kratom users, as well as the size of the Kratom industry. After reading through the extraordinarily cherry-picked, and very biased notice they entered into the Federal Register, the truth becomes difficult to deny.

See the rest here:

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is any psychoactive substance that induces a spiritual experience and is aimed at spiritual development.[2] This terminology is often chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used by curanderos to heal people but also by malevolent sorcerers to allegedly “steal” their energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the genus Panaeolus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

See the rest here:

Entheogen – Wikipedia

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

This is a list of species and genera that are used as entheogens or are used in an entheogenic concoction (such as ayahuasca). For ritualistic use they may be classified as hallucinogens. The active principals and historical significance of each is also listed to illustrate the requirements necessary to be categorized as an entheogen.

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List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

These articles are about the spiritual and medicinal uses of some of the plants we commonly use.

As always, please use a healthy dose of common sense and always seek medical treatment for any ailment. What has worked for others may not work for you.

Since humans shifted away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture, we began to gradually take plants for granted. Over time, we lost our respect for them, even though everything we are is because of plants from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

The gods have not forgotten about the plants and have continued their relationship with the plant spirits. Many deities have strong relationships with plants; Oya loves the eggplant, Mary Magdalene has long been associated with roses and any child of Apollo had darn well better have a large supply of bay leaves available.

A lot has been written about the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants. All of this material comes from somebodys point of view and it is important to remember that what worked for someone else, may not work for you. Hyssop is a great personal example. Many sources say that the Orishas love hyssop and its this great sacred plant that blesses everything it touches. Well thats all fine and good except that Ive never felt a connection to hyssop and have never had the urge to use it in any form. Do I believe the sources or my own personal experience? Personal experience should win out every time.

Plants are complicated. Some magickal sources like to drill plants down to a single element or a few key words for uses. This is great for editing but the truth is that you generally cant place plants easily into a couple of artificial categories. For example, chili peppers are strongly associated with fire but they also contain a lot of water in their flesh, which becomes more prominent when you remove the heat (aka a Bell Pepper). While I have included elemental information, consider it to be a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Take any information with a grain of salt and use your personal experience to give you clues to the deeper truth.

Using plants for spiritual healing is an effective method of healing wounds on the soul or karmic level. This type of healing requires you to contact the consciousness of the plant(s) so that they in turn can heal a persons spirit. This is more complicated than just casting a normal magickal spell. This is also different then the modern Allopathicherbalism that is popular.

So, why the differences? Let me illustrate. Let say that my next door neighbor shows up on my doorstep with an upset stomach because she ate some bad Mexican food last night. I boil some water and then mix chamomile, lavender, peppermint and a dash of cinnamon together, let it steep for 5 minutes, and then add some honey. I probably wont even pray over the cup because all 3 of the herbs have alkaloids in them that are quite wonderful at soothing the stomach plus the lavender and cinnamon are antibacterial. The honey not only sweetens the mixture but it also soothes the stomach. I make her drink 2 cups and she starts to feel better. This is what most modern herbalism is about.

Now, let say I have a second friend who has the stomach flu. She doesnt have a lot of money and she needs to keep working. I tell her to make the same tea mixture up that I gave friend #1and I tell her before she drinks it to place her hands over the cup and pray to Oshun. The herbs have physical components to help her feel better and Oshun is really great at soothing digestive problems and will work with the herbs and the cinnamon to help friend #2 feel better. I tell her to drink 2 cups morning, noon and night and she should start to feel better shortly. This would fall under magickal herb use.

Okay, so later on friend #3 shows up at my doorstep. She just had a huge fight with her husband of 6 years in which he informed her that he is leaving her for another woman. Not only is she devastated, but she is also nauseous and is having trouble keeping her lunch down. Okay, now we need to pull out all the stops. I start heating her up some water. As I put the chamomile, the lavender and the peppermint into the cup, I pray to Osain to help me contact the spirits of chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. I ask chamomile to heal to my friends heart, I ask lavender to bring peace to my friends soul and I ask peppermint to help clear my friends mind so that she can see in time that she will be better off without that piece of shit husband of hers. As I add the cinnamon and honey, I ask Oshun to lighten up my friends spirit so that she can face the things she now has to do (separation paperwork, property division, custody issues, etc.) and to help her find a good lawyer (who will help my friend gets what she deserves and will make that bastard pay). I make her drink 2 cups, everyday for the next five days, and she starts to feel better. Now, this is spiritual healing.

Plants can help us heal our spirits and our bodies. Besides working with the Orisha Osain, you can also do this by accessing the plants directly. Instead of going through the spirit of chamomile, you can use the energy of a specific chamomile plant. For example, an acquaintance of mine had a very sick puppy and I was able to channel the energy of a basil plant growing out on my porch to heal the dog. However, the plant died 2 days later. I dont recommend doing this type of healing unless you are dealing with strong plants, namely trees. Next time you find yourself upset, go out and huge a tree. I find it particularly useful to stand with my back to the tree. Trees are fantastic for grounding unwanted energy or settling a restless spirit. While you dont have to go through Osain to do this (because it is a one-on-one relationship and the tree is physically present), you may find it more effective if you do.

Plants are multidimensional beings. Their roots reach into the soil (earth) to pull up water and nutrients. They take in carbon dioxide and respire oxygen (air). They capture the energy from the sun (fire) and use that energy to make sugars. Plants are the basis for all higher level organisms. They created the elemental oxygen we breathe and they provide the food that the global food web is built upon. For most of human history, plants were the only source of food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Modern civilization however treats plants as either resources to be exploited or weeds that must be eradicated. Earth-centered traditions understand that life on this planet would not exist without plants.

Plants contain a vast number of phytochemicals. Evolutionary biologists believe that those phytochemicals are simply the result of millions of years of plants trying to out compete their neighbors. Some of those chemicals are beneficial to humans, some are harmful and many depend on dosage. Modern scientific theory sees plants as containers of chemicals and chemical reactions. Earth-centered traditions however believe that plants have spirits, as do all other living things on our planet. Each of these spirits is in turn connected to higher level consciousness. Many practitioners believe that just as human beings are spiritually part of a web of ancestors, saints, angels and deities, so are plants connected with elemental beings and higher order intelligences. In Scotlands Findhorn Garden, these higher order intelligences are called devas and landscape angels.

The belief in plant spirits is found in many traditions and cultures. Often, plant spirit workers will communicate with the plant spirits directly before using the plants for healings. Individual plants should be approached with respect before attempting to use that plants medicine. A healer might sing, chant or drum to the plants before and or during the harvest of plants. This gives the healer access to the spiritual aspects of the plants and allows for deeper level of healing. Relying only on the effects of the phytochemicals may achieve healing of physical symptoms but connecting to the plant spirit can achieve soul level healing.

Much in the same way that many Earth-centered traditions believe that each person or tribe has a predestined relationship with specific animals; some believe that the same type of relationship exists in the green kingdom. For example, there are four plants ( corn, beans, squash, and tobacco) that the Navajo or Din hold to be especially sacred to their tribe.

Shamans often develop relationships with sacred plants, called entheogens. They use entheogens, like ayahuasca, peyote, and the San Pedro cactus, in religious ceremonies such as initiations, healings, receiving messages from the divine, or traveling to other planes of existence.

In ourspiritual practice, wehave found that each individual has a predestined relationship to four totem plants and a higher level master plant. The four totem plants are the crowning plant, which rules the intellect and governs the self, the heart plant, which rules the personality and governs our interactions with others, and the yin and yang plants, which are a cool and a hot plant, respectively, and rule thought and action. Our yin and yang plants balance our personalities. If a person is right handed, then the yin plant will sit at the left hand and the yang plant will set at the right. If a person is left handed, then the placement is reversed.

Each individual also has a predestined relationship with a master plant. This plant gives a person access to the higher levels of consciousness. It is possible that a person may connect with more than one master plant however there is at least one that each person has in their personal totem constellation. Accessing ones master plant allows a person to strengthen their own relationship with the divine. Often, these master plants are considered to be entheogens. Wehave found that when a person is connected with their master plant, the person undergoes a profound spiritual change.

Ally plants are plants that an individual or group develops relationships with along the way. You may choose to intentionally work with a plant, or you may inherit the plant from your ancestors. For example, your favorite grandmother loved lavender. After she passes, you have an emotional connection to lavender. In your heart the memory of your grandmother and the smell of lavender are intertwined. When you need comfort, the smell of lavender takes you to an emotion place of comfort.

You might also have plant allies because of your genetic heritage. For instance, E.is Hawaiian and loves poi, the paste made from the Taro root which was a staple to the ancient Hawaiians. I love Hawaii, I love everything about Hawaii but poi to me tastes like wallpaper paste. E. on the other hand cant get enough of the stuff. Because of his genetic heritage, he probably has a link to that plant that I simply dont have.

Plant shamans may develop an intentional relationship with a plant through a diet. The diet is when a shaman specifically concentrates on one plant. The shaman will work with that plant, meditate with it and consume it. During this period, the shaman may also restrict the consumption of other things like spicy foods, salt, or sweets. Upon successful completion of the diet, the plant is now considered an ally and can be called for healings and spiritual workings.

Besides using my own experiences and the some of the stories I have heard from others, I have used the following sources in my plant articles:

Andrews, Ted Nature-Speak:Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature. Dragonhawk Publishing

Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Natures Medicines. Bantam Books

Cowan, Eliot Plant Spirit Medicine. Swan Raven & Co

Cunningham, Scott Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publishing

Davidow, Joie Infusions of Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies. Simon & Schuster

Heaven, Ross et al. Plant Spirit Shamanism Destiny Books

Mabey, Richard The New Age Herbalist Collier Books

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Spirit of the Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot. US Games Systems

Tull, Delena Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. University of Texas Press

Readers Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants. Random House

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Plants – Tribe of the Sun

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

These articles are about the spiritual and medicinal uses of some of the plants we commonly use.

As always, please use a healthy dose of common sense and always seek medical treatment for any ailment. What has worked for others may not work for you.

Since humans shifted away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture, we began to gradually take plants for granted. Over time, we lost our respect for them, even though everything we are is because of plants from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

The gods have not forgotten about the plants and have continued their relationship with the plant spirits. Many deities have strong relationships with plants; Oya loves the eggplant, Mary Magdalene has long been associated with roses and any child of Apollo had darn well better have a large supply of bay leaves available.

A lot has been written about the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants. All of this material comes from somebodys point of view and it is important to remember that what worked for someone else, may not work for you. Hyssop is a great personal example. Many sources say that the Orishas love hyssop and its this great sacred plant that blesses everything it touches. Well thats all fine and good except that Ive never felt a connection to hyssop and have never had the urge to use it in any form. Do I believe the sources or my own personal experience? Personal experience should win out every time.

Plants are complicated. Some magickal sources like to drill plants down to a single element or a few key words for uses. This is great for editing but the truth is that you generally cant place plants easily into a couple of artificial categories. For example, chili peppers are strongly associated with fire but they also contain a lot of water in their flesh, which becomes more prominent when you remove the heat (aka a Bell Pepper). While I have included elemental information, consider it to be a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Take any information with a grain of salt and use your personal experience to give you clues to the deeper truth.

Using plants for spiritual healing is an effective method of healing wounds on the soul or karmic level. This type of healing requires you to contact the consciousness of the plant(s) so that they in turn can heal a persons spirit. This is more complicated than just casting a normal magickal spell. This is also different then the modern Allopathicherbalism that is popular.

So, why the differences? Let me illustrate. Let say that my next door neighbor shows up on my doorstep with an upset stomach because she ate some bad Mexican food last night. I boil some water and then mix chamomile, lavender, peppermint and a dash of cinnamon together, let it steep for 5 minutes, and then add some honey. I probably wont even pray over the cup because all 3 of the herbs have alkaloids in them that are quite wonderful at soothing the stomach plus the lavender and cinnamon are antibacterial. The honey not only sweetens the mixture but it also soothes the stomach. I make her drink 2 cups and she starts to feel better. This is what most modern herbalism is about.

Now, let say I have a second friend who has the stomach flu. She doesnt have a lot of money and she needs to keep working. I tell her to make the same tea mixture up that I gave friend #1and I tell her before she drinks it to place her hands over the cup and pray to Oshun. The herbs have physical components to help her feel better and Oshun is really great at soothing digestive problems and will work with the herbs and the cinnamon to help friend #2 feel better. I tell her to drink 2 cups morning, noon and night and she should start to feel better shortly. This would fall under magickal herb use.

Okay, so later on friend #3 shows up at my doorstep. She just had a huge fight with her husband of 6 years in which he informed her that he is leaving her for another woman. Not only is she devastated, but she is also nauseous and is having trouble keeping her lunch down. Okay, now we need to pull out all the stops. I start heating her up some water. As I put the chamomile, the lavender and the peppermint into the cup, I pray to Osain to help me contact the spirits of chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. I ask chamomile to heal to my friends heart, I ask lavender to bring peace to my friends soul and I ask peppermint to help clear my friends mind so that she can see in time that she will be better off without that piece of shit husband of hers. As I add the cinnamon and honey, I ask Oshun to lighten up my friends spirit so that she can face the things she now has to do (separation paperwork, property division, custody issues, etc.) and to help her find a good lawyer (who will help my friend gets what she deserves and will make that bastard pay). I make her drink 2 cups, everyday for the next five days, and she starts to feel better. Now, this is spiritual healing.

Plants can help us heal our spirits and our bodies. Besides working with the Orisha Osain, you can also do this by accessing the plants directly. Instead of going through the spirit of chamomile, you can use the energy of a specific chamomile plant. For example, an acquaintance of mine had a very sick puppy and I was able to channel the energy of a basil plant growing out on my porch to heal the dog. However, the plant died 2 days later. I dont recommend doing this type of healing unless you are dealing with strong plants, namely trees. Next time you find yourself upset, go out and huge a tree. I find it particularly useful to stand with my back to the tree. Trees are fantastic for grounding unwanted energy or settling a restless spirit. While you dont have to go through Osain to do this (because it is a one-on-one relationship and the tree is physically present), you may find it more effective if you do.

Plants are multidimensional beings. Their roots reach into the soil (earth) to pull up water and nutrients. They take in carbon dioxide and respire oxygen (air). They capture the energy from the sun (fire) and use that energy to make sugars. Plants are the basis for all higher level organisms. They created the elemental oxygen we breathe and they provide the food that the global food web is built upon. For most of human history, plants were the only source of food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Modern civilization however treats plants as either resources to be exploited or weeds that must be eradicated. Earth-centered traditions understand that life on this planet would not exist without plants.

Plants contain a vast number of phytochemicals. Evolutionary biologists believe that those phytochemicals are simply the result of millions of years of plants trying to out compete their neighbors. Some of those chemicals are beneficial to humans, some are harmful and many depend on dosage. Modern scientific theory sees plants as containers of chemicals and chemical reactions. Earth-centered traditions however believe that plants have spirits, as do all other living things on our planet. Each of these spirits is in turn connected to higher level consciousness. Many practitioners believe that just as human beings are spiritually part of a web of ancestors, saints, angels and deities, so are plants connected with elemental beings and higher order intelligences. In Scotlands Findhorn Garden, these higher order intelligences are called devas and landscape angels.

The belief in plant spirits is found in many traditions and cultures. Often, plant spirit workers will communicate with the plant spirits directly before using the plants for healings. Individual plants should be approached with respect before attempting to use that plants medicine. A healer might sing, chant or drum to the plants before and or during the harvest of plants. This gives the healer access to the spiritual aspects of the plants and allows for deeper level of healing. Relying only on the effects of the phytochemicals may achieve healing of physical symptoms but connecting to the plant spirit can achieve soul level healing.

Much in the same way that many Earth-centered traditions believe that each person or tribe has a predestined relationship with specific animals; some believe that the same type of relationship exists in the green kingdom. For example, there are four plants ( corn, beans, squash, and tobacco) that the Navajo or Din hold to be especially sacred to their tribe.

Shamans often develop relationships with sacred plants, called entheogens. They use entheogens, like ayahuasca, peyote, and the San Pedro cactus, in religious ceremonies such as initiations, healings, receiving messages from the divine, or traveling to other planes of existence.

In ourspiritual practice, wehave found that each individual has a predestined relationship to four totem plants and a higher level master plant. The four totem plants are the crowning plant, which rules the intellect and governs the self, the heart plant, which rules the personality and governs our interactions with others, and the yin and yang plants, which are a cool and a hot plant, respectively, and rule thought and action. Our yin and yang plants balance our personalities. If a person is right handed, then the yin plant will sit at the left hand and the yang plant will set at the right. If a person is left handed, then the placement is reversed.

Each individual also has a predestined relationship with a master plant. This plant gives a person access to the higher levels of consciousness. It is possible that a person may connect with more than one master plant however there is at least one that each person has in their personal totem constellation. Accessing ones master plant allows a person to strengthen their own relationship with the divine. Often, these master plants are considered to be entheogens. Wehave found that when a person is connected with their master plant, the person undergoes a profound spiritual change.

Ally plants are plants that an individual or group develops relationships with along the way. You may choose to intentionally work with a plant, or you may inherit the plant from your ancestors. For example, your favorite grandmother loved lavender. After she passes, you have an emotional connection to lavender. In your heart the memory of your grandmother and the smell of lavender are intertwined. When you need comfort, the smell of lavender takes you to an emotion place of comfort.

You might also have plant allies because of your genetic heritage. For instance, E.is Hawaiian and loves poi, the paste made from the Taro root which was a staple to the ancient Hawaiians. I love Hawaii, I love everything about Hawaii but poi to me tastes like wallpaper paste. E. on the other hand cant get enough of the stuff. Because of his genetic heritage, he probably has a link to that plant that I simply dont have.

Plant shamans may develop an intentional relationship with a plant through a diet. The diet is when a shaman specifically concentrates on one plant. The shaman will work with that plant, meditate with it and consume it. During this period, the shaman may also restrict the consumption of other things like spicy foods, salt, or sweets. Upon successful completion of the diet, the plant is now considered an ally and can be called for healings and spiritual workings.

Besides using my own experiences and the some of the stories I have heard from others, I have used the following sources in my plant articles:

Andrews, Ted Nature-Speak:Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature. Dragonhawk Publishing

Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Natures Medicines. Bantam Books

Cowan, Eliot Plant Spirit Medicine. Swan Raven & Co

Cunningham, Scott Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publishing

Davidow, Joie Infusions of Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies. Simon & Schuster

Heaven, Ross et al. Plant Spirit Shamanism Destiny Books

Mabey, Richard The New Age Herbalist Collier Books

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Spirit of the Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot. US Games Systems

Tull, Delena Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. University of Texas Press

Readers Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants. Random House

Originally posted here:

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

Entheogen – Wikipedia

An entheogen is any psychoactive substance that induces a spiritual experience and is aimed at spiritual development.[2] This terminology is often chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. For example, entheogens are used by curanderos to heal people but also by malevolent sorcerers to allegedly “steal” their energy.[3]

The religious, shamanic, or spiritual significance of entheogens is well established in anthropological and modern contexts; entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including white and black magic, sensory deprivation, divinatory, meditation, yoga, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, hymns like peyote songs, and drumming. In the 1960s the hippie movement escalated its use to psychedelic art, binaural beats, sensory deprivation tanks, music, and rave parties.

Entheogens have been used by indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use. However, in the mid-20th century, after the discovery of LSD, and the intervention of psychedelic therapy, the term entheogen, invented in 1979, later became an umbrella term used to include artificial drugs, alternative medical treatment, and spiritual practices, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years.

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[6][7] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed][8]

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol.

Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed. Alexander Shulgin developed hundreds of entheogens in PiHKAL and TiHKAL. Most of the drugs in PiHKAL are synthetic.

Entheogens used by movements includes biotas like peyote (Neo-American Church), extracts like Ayahuasca (Santo Daime, Unio do Vegetal), the semi-synthetic drug LSD (Neo-American Church), and synthetic drugs like DPT (Temple of the True Inner Light) and 2C-B (Sangoma[10]).

Both Santo Daime and Unio do Vegetal now have members and churches throughout the world.

Psychedelic therapy refers to therapeutic practices involving the use of psychedelic drugs, particularly serotonergic psychedelics such as LSD, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, and 2C-i, primarily to assist psychotherapy.

MAPS has pursued a number of other research studies examining the effects of psychedelics administered to human subjects. These studies include, but are not limited to, studies of Ayahuasca, DMT, ibogaine, ketamine, LSA, LSD, MDE, MDMA, mescaline, peyote, psilocybin, Salvia divinorum and conducted multi-drug studies as well as cross cultural and meta-analysis research.[11]

L. E. Hollister’s[who?] criteria for identifying a drug as hallucinogenic are:[12]

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times, like alcohol. Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use, perhaps because their users could not access traditional entheogens, as shamans, considering non-visioning uses of their entheogens as hedonistic, were very secretive with them.[citation needed]

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[13]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[14]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[15] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex.

Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche introduced “Mindful Drinking” to the West when he fled Tibet.[16][17]

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.[citation needed]

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.[citation needed]

Bah’s are forbidden to drink alcohol or to take drugs, unless prescribed by doctors. Accordingly, the sale and trafficking of such substances is also forbidden. Smoking is discouraged but not prohibited.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.[citation needed]

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[18]

“Don Alejandro (a Mazatecan shaman) taught me that the visionary experiences are much more important than the plants and drugs that produce them. He no longer needed to take the vision-inducing plants for his journeys.”[19]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[20] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

In some areas, there are purported malevolent sorcerers who masquerade as real shamans and who entice tourists to drink ayahuasca in their presence. Shamans believe one of the purposes for this is to steal one’s energy and/or power, of which they believe every person has a limited stockpile.[3]

The Native American Church (NAC) is also known as Peyotism and Peyote Religion. Peyotism is a Native American religion characterized by mixed traditional as well as Protestant beliefs and by sacramental use of the entheogen peyote.

The Peyote Way Church of God believe that “Peyote is a holy sacrament, when taken according to our sacramental procedure and combined with a holistic lifestyle”.[21]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from meraya and majja (the two fermented drinks used in the place and time of writing) to heedless intoxication.” Although the Fifth Precept only names a specific wine and cider, this has traditionally been interpreted to mean all alcoholic beverages. Technically, this prohibition does also not even include light to moderate drinking, only to the point of drunkenness. It also doesn’t include other mind-altering drugs, but Buddhist tradition includes all intoxicants. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[22]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[23] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[24] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[25] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament.

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (founder of Jewish Renewal) and Richard Alpert (later known as Ram Dass) were influential early Jewish explorers of the connections between hallucinogenics and spirituality, from the early 1960s onwards.

It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[26][27] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[28]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[29] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[30]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[31] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.[citation needed]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[32] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[33]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi- Christian groups,[34] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[35]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.” These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions. The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[36] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[37]

It has also been proposed by Scott Hajicek-Dobberstein that the Amanita muscaria mushroom was used by the Tantric Buddhist mahasiddha tradition of the 8th to 12th century.[38]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[39] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[40] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[41]

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[42][43] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[44] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[45] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[46] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[47]

The artificial drug 2C-B is interestingly used as entheogen by the Sangoma, Nyanga, and Amagqirha people over their traditional plants; they refer to the chemical as Ubulawu Nomathotholo, which roughly translates to “Medicine of the Singing Ancestors”.[48][49][50]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazon. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[51] Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[52]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[53]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[54]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[55] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[56]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[57]

Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials.[58] Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition.

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[59] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[60]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[61]

Peyote is listed by the United States DEA as a Schedule I controlled substance. However, practitioners of the Peyote Way Church of God, a Native American religion, perceive the regulations regarding the use of peyote as discriminating, leading to religious discrimination issues regarding about the U.S. policy towards drugs. As the result of Peyote Way Church of God v. Thornburgh the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978 was passed. This federal statute allow the “Traditional Indian religious use of the peyote sacrament,” exempting only use by Native American persons. Other jurisdictions have similar statutory exemptions in reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), which held that laws prohibiting the use of peyote that do not specifically exempt religious use nevertheless do not violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[62] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[63]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[64]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[64] Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the Panaeolus genus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[65]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an old man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[66] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of Ancient Greek, (ntheos) and (gensthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[67]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

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Entheogen – Wikipedia

List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

This is a list of species and genera that are used as entheogens or are used in an entheogenic concoction (such as ayahuasca). For ritualistic use they may be classified as hallucinogens. The active principals and historical significance of each is also listed to illustrate the requirements necessary to be categorized as an entheogen.

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List of entheogenic/hallucinogenic species – Wikipedia

Plants – Tribe of the Sun

These articles are about the spiritual and medicinal uses of some of the plants we commonly use.

As always, please use a healthy dose of common sense and always seek medical treatment for any ailment. What has worked for others may not work for you.

Since humans shifted away from a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture, we began to gradually take plants for granted. Over time, we lost our respect for them, even though everything we are is because of plants from the air we breathe to the food we eat.

The gods have not forgotten about the plants and have continued their relationship with the plant spirits. Many deities have strong relationships with plants; Oya loves the eggplant, Mary Magdalene has long been associated with roses and any child of Apollo had darn well better have a large supply of bay leaves available.

A lot has been written about the spiritual and medicinal uses of plants. All of this material comes from somebodys point of view and it is important to remember that what worked for someone else, may not work for you. Hyssop is a great personal example. Many sources say that the Orishas love hyssop and its this great sacred plant that blesses everything it touches. Well thats all fine and good except that Ive never felt a connection to hyssop and have never had the urge to use it in any form. Do I believe the sources or my own personal experience? Personal experience should win out every time.

Plants are complicated. Some magickal sources like to drill plants down to a single element or a few key words for uses. This is great for editing but the truth is that you generally cant place plants easily into a couple of artificial categories. For example, chili peppers are strongly associated with fire but they also contain a lot of water in their flesh, which becomes more prominent when you remove the heat (aka a Bell Pepper). While I have included elemental information, consider it to be a starting point, not the end of the conversation. Take any information with a grain of salt and use your personal experience to give you clues to the deeper truth.

Using plants for spiritual healing is an effective method of healing wounds on the soul or karmic level. This type of healing requires you to contact the consciousness of the plant(s) so that they in turn can heal a persons spirit. This is more complicated than just casting a normal magickal spell. This is also different then the modern Allopathicherbalism that is popular.

So, why the differences? Let me illustrate. Let say that my next door neighbor shows up on my doorstep with an upset stomach because she ate some bad Mexican food last night. I boil some water and then mix chamomile, lavender, peppermint and a dash of cinnamon together, let it steep for 5 minutes, and then add some honey. I probably wont even pray over the cup because all 3 of the herbs have alkaloids in them that are quite wonderful at soothing the stomach plus the lavender and cinnamon are antibacterial. The honey not only sweetens the mixture but it also soothes the stomach. I make her drink 2 cups and she starts to feel better. This is what most modern herbalism is about.

Now, let say I have a second friend who has the stomach flu. She doesnt have a lot of money and she needs to keep working. I tell her to make the same tea mixture up that I gave friend #1and I tell her before she drinks it to place her hands over the cup and pray to Oshun. The herbs have physical components to help her feel better and Oshun is really great at soothing digestive problems and will work with the herbs and the cinnamon to help friend #2 feel better. I tell her to drink 2 cups morning, noon and night and she should start to feel better shortly. This would fall under magickal herb use.

Okay, so later on friend #3 shows up at my doorstep. She just had a huge fight with her husband of 6 years in which he informed her that he is leaving her for another woman. Not only is she devastated, but she is also nauseous and is having trouble keeping her lunch down. Okay, now we need to pull out all the stops. I start heating her up some water. As I put the chamomile, the lavender and the peppermint into the cup, I pray to Osain to help me contact the spirits of chamomile, lavender, and peppermint. I ask chamomile to heal to my friends heart, I ask lavender to bring peace to my friends soul and I ask peppermint to help clear my friends mind so that she can see in time that she will be better off without that piece of shit husband of hers. As I add the cinnamon and honey, I ask Oshun to lighten up my friends spirit so that she can face the things she now has to do (separation paperwork, property division, custody issues, etc.) and to help her find a good lawyer (who will help my friend gets what she deserves and will make that bastard pay). I make her drink 2 cups, everyday for the next five days, and she starts to feel better. Now, this is spiritual healing.

Plants can help us heal our spirits and our bodies. Besides working with the Orisha Osain, you can also do this by accessing the plants directly. Instead of going through the spirit of chamomile, you can use the energy of a specific chamomile plant. For example, an acquaintance of mine had a very sick puppy and I was able to channel the energy of a basil plant growing out on my porch to heal the dog. However, the plant died 2 days later. I dont recommend doing this type of healing unless you are dealing with strong plants, namely trees. Next time you find yourself upset, go out and huge a tree. I find it particularly useful to stand with my back to the tree. Trees are fantastic for grounding unwanted energy or settling a restless spirit. While you dont have to go through Osain to do this (because it is a one-on-one relationship and the tree is physically present), you may find it more effective if you do.

Plants are multidimensional beings. Their roots reach into the soil (earth) to pull up water and nutrients. They take in carbon dioxide and respire oxygen (air). They capture the energy from the sun (fire) and use that energy to make sugars. Plants are the basis for all higher level organisms. They created the elemental oxygen we breathe and they provide the food that the global food web is built upon. For most of human history, plants were the only source of food, clothing, shelter, and medicines. Modern civilization however treats plants as either resources to be exploited or weeds that must be eradicated. Earth-centered traditions understand that life on this planet would not exist without plants.

Plants contain a vast number of phytochemicals. Evolutionary biologists believe that those phytochemicals are simply the result of millions of years of plants trying to out compete their neighbors. Some of those chemicals are beneficial to humans, some are harmful and many depend on dosage. Modern scientific theory sees plants as containers of chemicals and chemical reactions. Earth-centered traditions however believe that plants have spirits, as do all other living things on our planet. Each of these spirits is in turn connected to higher level consciousness. Many practitioners believe that just as human beings are spiritually part of a web of ancestors, saints, angels and deities, so are plants connected with elemental beings and higher order intelligences. In Scotlands Findhorn Garden, these higher order intelligences are called devas and landscape angels.

The belief in plant spirits is found in many traditions and cultures. Often, plant spirit workers will communicate with the plant spirits directly before using the plants for healings. Individual plants should be approached with respect before attempting to use that plants medicine. A healer might sing, chant or drum to the plants before and or during the harvest of plants. This gives the healer access to the spiritual aspects of the plants and allows for deeper level of healing. Relying only on the effects of the phytochemicals may achieve healing of physical symptoms but connecting to the plant spirit can achieve soul level healing.

Much in the same way that many Earth-centered traditions believe that each person or tribe has a predestined relationship with specific animals; some believe that the same type of relationship exists in the green kingdom. For example, there are four plants ( corn, beans, squash, and tobacco) that the Navajo or Din hold to be especially sacred to their tribe.

Shamans often develop relationships with sacred plants, called entheogens. They use entheogens, like ayahuasca, peyote, and the San Pedro cactus, in religious ceremonies such as initiations, healings, receiving messages from the divine, or traveling to other planes of existence.

In ourspiritual practice, wehave found that each individual has a predestined relationship to four totem plants and a higher level master plant. The four totem plants are the crowning plant, which rules the intellect and governs the self, the heart plant, which rules the personality and governs our interactions with others, and the yin and yang plants, which are a cool and a hot plant, respectively, and rule thought and action. Our yin and yang plants balance our personalities. If a person is right handed, then the yin plant will sit at the left hand and the yang plant will set at the right. If a person is left handed, then the placement is reversed.

Each individual also has a predestined relationship with a master plant. This plant gives a person access to the higher levels of consciousness. It is possible that a person may connect with more than one master plant however there is at least one that each person has in their personal totem constellation. Accessing ones master plant allows a person to strengthen their own relationship with the divine. Often, these master plants are considered to be entheogens. Wehave found that when a person is connected with their master plant, the person undergoes a profound spiritual change.

Ally plants are plants that an individual or group develops relationships with along the way. You may choose to intentionally work with a plant, or you may inherit the plant from your ancestors. For example, your favorite grandmother loved lavender. After she passes, you have an emotional connection to lavender. In your heart the memory of your grandmother and the smell of lavender are intertwined. When you need comfort, the smell of lavender takes you to an emotion place of comfort.

You might also have plant allies because of your genetic heritage. For instance, E.is Hawaiian and loves poi, the paste made from the Taro root which was a staple to the ancient Hawaiians. I love Hawaii, I love everything about Hawaii but poi to me tastes like wallpaper paste. E. on the other hand cant get enough of the stuff. Because of his genetic heritage, he probably has a link to that plant that I simply dont have.

Plant shamans may develop an intentional relationship with a plant through a diet. The diet is when a shaman specifically concentrates on one plant. The shaman will work with that plant, meditate with it and consume it. During this period, the shaman may also restrict the consumption of other things like spicy foods, salt, or sweets. Upon successful completion of the diet, the plant is now considered an ally and can be called for healings and spiritual workings.

Besides using my own experiences and the some of the stories I have heard from others, I have used the following sources in my plant articles:

Andrews, Ted Nature-Speak:Signs, Omens & Messages in Nature. Dragonhawk Publishing

Castleman, Michael The Healing Herbs: The Ultimate Guide to the Curative Power of Natures Medicines. Bantam Books

Cowan, Eliot Plant Spirit Medicine. Swan Raven & Co

Cunningham, Scott Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Llewellyn Publishing

Davidow, Joie Infusions of Healing: A Treasury of Mexican-American Herbal Remedies. Simon & Schuster

Heaven, Ross et al. Plant Spirit Shamanism Destiny Books

Mabey, Richard The New Age Herbalist Collier Books

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Desert & Canyon West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Moore, Michael Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West.Museum of New Mexico Press

Tierra, Michael The Spirit of the Herbs: A Guide to the Herbal Tarot. US Games Systems

Tull, Delena Edible & Useful Plants of Texas and the Southwest. University of Texas Press

Readers Digest Magic and Medicine of Plants. Random House

See the rest here:

Plants – Tribe of the Sun


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