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In Chicago, Legal Pot Could be Just the Beginning. Are Mushrooms Next? – WTTW News

Chicago could become the largest city in the nation to decriminalize natural psychedelics like mushrooms and peyote.

A little over a month after Chicago made recreational marijuana legal, the City Council is considering whether to decriminalize what are termed entheogenic plants that contain psychoactive substances that can induce a spiritual experience.

Denver decriminalized psychadelic mushrooms in May and Oakland followed suit in June. Last month, Santa Cruz voted unanimously to decriminalize all entheogenic plants.

Among the proponents of such a move in Chicago is Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd Ward) who introduced a resolution in October to have the Chicago Department of Public Health explore the potential benefits of such substances for treating a range of illnesses, from post-traumatic stress disorder to drug addiction.

The resolution recommends that law enforcement reduce the pursuit of criminal cases involving organic psychedelics to amongst the lowest priority.

In a statement, Hopkins said hed like to encourage a public discussion to explore the use of such substances for the treatment of a range of ailments, from PTSD to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) to anxiety and depression.

Used for ceremonial and healing purposes for thousands of years by cultures around the world, the science is showing tremendous potential for healing ailments of the mind, said Hopkins.

Entheogens have also shown promise in the treatment of substance abuse and addiction, and even as a smoking-cessation tool.

Psychedelic mushrooms growing in Veracruz, Mexico. (Alan Rockefeller / Wikimedia Commons)

Richard Miller, professor of pharmacology and psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern Medicines Feinberg School of Medicine, says that its important to recognize that the period of prohibition since 1970 is highly unusual.

People have taken these things for thousands and thousands of years, said Miller. What happened was they became associated with the counterculture movement of the 1960s which was a very, very powerful counterculture much more powerful than the kinds of things we have these days. And it was very frightening to middle-class America and the Nixon government decided it had to go away, so they passed a law in 1970 called the Controlled Substances Act which made all these things illegal.

Prior to that, Miller says, thousands of medical papers had been written which seemed to suggest some very, very promising medical uses for the plants. But after passage of the Controlled Substances Act, all of that research was effectively shut down.

Thats the abnormal time, the time we have just been living through, said Miller. So really, if you decriminalize these things you are really getting back to what for thousands of years has been normal. Now theres a renaissance in interest in these things again either with respect to individual spirituality or with respect to medicine.

Last year, the Food and Drug Administration designated psilocybin a breakthrough therapy for treating major depression in a move designed to accelerate drug development. The FDA said that preliminary evidence seemed to indicate that it may be a substantial improvement over currently available therapies.

These drugs can really shake up your psyche a lot and make you look at things in a completely different way, said Miller, who notes that modern research tools and techniques mean that we now have a far greater understanding of what these substances are doing to the brain.

For example, brain scans have revealed that psilocybin the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms seems to increase brain connectivity.

What you can say is that when you take something like psilocybin what you see is that the different parts of the brain become much more connected with each other than they were before, said Miller. Now what exactly that has to do with spirituality is a very interesting question at the cutting edge of research at the moment.

According to Miller, the classification of these substances as Schedule 1 drugs the same designation given to heroin was always nonsense.

The whole drug categorization thing was a completely political thing. It had absolutely nothing to do with what the drugs were or werent good for, said Miller. Some of them are dangerous and some of them really arent. It was a completely political thing. Its actually got nothing to do with what the drugs do at all.

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In Chicago, Legal Pot Could be Just the Beginning. Are Mushrooms Next? - WTTW News

The Joys of Growing Older – Cannabis Now

I never thought Id be so happy to turn 65. Finally, this year on Feb. 1, the big day has come and while I feel basically the same as I did on Jan. 31, something is noticeably different. Not only do I receive Medicare at last, but I have entered the next stage of life, along with millions of other baby boomers. OK Boomer may be the response, but remember, getting older will happen to all of us and should be considered.

Believe it or not, growing older affords a certain amount of righteous entitlement and freedom. Althoughthey sayat least 29% of boomers ages 65 to 72 are still working or looking for work, Im talking about the liberated head space that comes with aging. Clearly, I am in the 29% of working seniors, but its just not the same as when I was 30 and working at a daily newspaper. Yes, I still have deadlines looming constantly, but along with age comes the grace to accept them without as much stress and competition.

Same goes for politics. Yes, the world is crazy right now and doesnt seem to be getting better. Between climate change and corrupt politicians, it seems pretty darn horrendous. Yet I am always reminded of something my father drove into my head when I was a teenager: History repeats itself. I refused to believe him back then, when I was a full blownoptimistic flower child, but now that I have actually seen history unfold before my eyes, I get it. As we learn from our mistakes, it doesnt seem as daunting. Its all about human nature doing its thing.

Of course, I have no doubt that a lifetime of cannabis consumption has helped me to realize these conclusions. Questioning authority and raising my consciousness have been my dear friends, the best techniques to understanding this bizarre human nature that comprises humans. We are what we eat and we are what we smoke. Cannabis has inspired me to both go with the flow and lead the parade, to sit back and watch the show while also being a central character. And with age, comes the revelation that it is all exactly as it is meant to be.

So what if I am working harder than ever in my life at 65, running a cannabis business? It is an opportunity to learn, to meet fantastic new people all the time, and to share knowledge gleaned over my six and a half decades. So what if I have now beendiagnosed with moderate COPD, had a hip replacement and some heart issues? Every machine wears down eventually, but the lessons learned from all of those conditions can be used to help teach and guide others on their path. Even the worst most foreboding situations can be seen as gifts from the universe.

Every morning as I awake I recite my six goals for the day: to practice unconditional love and compassion, honesty and humility, discipline and devotion. Then I remind myself of the three little words taught to me by our teacher in India many years ago: Have no doubt. Thats a big one. It is the core essence of finding peace in ones life to accept that whatever happens has a valid reason and an outcome of exactly what is supposed to transpire next. The ugly duckling will turn into a swan every time if you let it be itself. Again, go with the flow.

Granted, I do not smoke as much cannabis or take as many psychedelic journeys as I did as a young woman. But as one ages, the need is not necessarily there. So many imprints have been made already, so much guidance has been granted by the sacred herbs, that I feel fortunate to have found them early in my life. My experiences with entheogens has no doubt brought me closer to the understanding of the divine and raised my levels of compassion. They have helped me accept any fears of death and the next great chapter. Funny, they used to talk about acid and marijuana flashbacks when I was a kid and I laughed. But now I see how actually beneficial it is to be able to tune back into those other levels of reality at any time. To feel the godliness in me and everything around me, including animals and plants.

I also find that as I grow into my senior-hood I recognize how different, and the same, I am from my parents. I watched my parents mellow with age, and I imagine I am doing the same. I did my dropping out several times in my lifetime and I dont regret a bit of that. Yet, I also see the effects of being a flower child in my youth, who has blossomed now into a full-grown plant full of fruits and flowers. Every plant needs a steady watering to become fully ripe and I have certainly never shied away from growing experiences. If now, at 65, I still need to work to keep this plant blooming, so be it. Every day is a fresh experience, be it on the road going overland to India as I did so many years ago, or here on the ranch as I help guide our business to fruition. It is all part of my complicated karma.

While I cannot prescribe my lifestyle for all, or the cannabis consumption contained therein, it certainly has worked for me and many others of my baby boomer generation. Imagine if all those babies turned into conservative grumps? Thanks to the 60s and the hippie revolution, we have a balanced population to keep things interesting. Whether you find your peaceful place via meditation, cannabis, psychedelics or doing service for others or a combination of all of these things your higher consciousness will be an uplifting force for our otherwise confused world. I suggest you be not afraid of aging, because besides the great benefits of Medicare, there is the calm peace of mind that will take you under its wings if you let it. Embrace it its all going with the flow of life.

TELL US, does cannabis help you go with the flow?

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The Joys of Growing Older - Cannabis Now

Dazzling Film Fantastic Fungi Shows The Magic Of Mushrooms With An Expanding Theatrical Release – Forbes

Documentary "Fantastic Fungi" delves into the fascinating world of the mushroom.

The mushroom is blooming.

Thats the message from director Louie Schwartzbergs poignant documentary Fantastic Fungi, currently enjoying a significant groundswell of interest in the U.S. and internationally. Showing this fall in over 90 theaters from Seattle to Jacksonville to Tel Aviv, the film is proving to be immensely watchable for a wide-ranging audience interested in the wonders of the mushroom.

Meandering its way through a remarkable visual storytelling of the fabled forest mutant, the film narrated by actress Brie Larson breaks down the benefits of mushrooms, as well as the astonishing fungal web present beneath the soil. Called mycelium, the synapse-like strands traveling under the fruiting body of mushrooms can run for miles creating subterranean circuit boards that help to restore ailing trees and transmit vital nutrients across vast stretches of forest floor.

Including interviews with experts ranging from Michael Pollan (author of The Omnivores Dilemma and How to Change Your Mind), science and food writer Eugenia Bone, and renown mushroom specialist Paul Stamets, Fantastic Fungi describes a world where mushrooms are responsible for remediating contaminated soils, feeding local communities and rebuilding decimated forests.

It makes perfect sense that a film starring mushrooms is currently captivating audiences. Deployed in everything from the creation of durable alternative leather products to therapies that aid people with terminal diagnoses, the humble fungus is certainly ready for its closeup.

A whole array of mushrooms is now steadily showing up nationally in the diets of health-conscious consumers and being farmed in greater numbers across America. Increasingly recognized as a sustainable food source, the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) notes mushrooms are produced in over 33 U.S. states, are a regional food resource, and points out that a majority of mushroom farms are actually family owned. Their tendrils reach far beyond food, too, as mushroom farms are helping humans reduce waste. They act as natural recyclers, says the NCBI, of byproducts from other agricultural sectors including crushed corn cobs, cottonseed hulls, soybean hulls, peanut hulls, and cocoa shells providing a useful solution for byproducts that previously posed waste management challenges for other agricultural operations.

It turns out that mushrooms truly are magical.

Of course, a film about mushrooms wouldnt be complete without also delving into varietals of psychedelic fungi, the most popular of which includes psilocybin. One of the more riveting interviews in Fantastic Fungi is with mycologist Stamets, who has dedicated his life to studying mushrooms. He tells a heart-rending story about his challenges with stuttering as a young man and one mind-blowing afternoon taking a whopping amount of psilocybin that completely changed his life.

The film comes in the wake of three major cities in the U.S. this year Denver, Oakland and Chicago each decriminalizing the use of entheogens, of which psilocybin is one. Not since Richard Nixons Controlled Substances Act of 1970 has the use of fungi for therapeutic usage been legal for average Americans. Such use in clinical settings has proven to reduce anxiety and depression, and has aided patients with terminal diagnoses to better accept the harsh reality of their fates.

Fantastic Fungi shows that the utility of the mushroom goes far beyond a $95 sliver of black truffle over your pasta it might just play a key role in salvaging humanitys future acts. Currently ranked at a firm 100% audience approval rating on RottenTomatoes.com, Fantastic Fungi is a must see for anyone interested in life, death and the pursuit of the planets well-being.

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Dazzling Film Fantastic Fungi Shows The Magic Of Mushrooms With An Expanding Theatrical Release - Forbes

Cleansing the Doors of Perception – The Good Men Project

If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is: Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro narrow chinks of his cavern.

William Blake

Whether it is Blakes cavern, Platos cave, or the modern-day version of our contracted lives, we all seek more from life. We seek sustained happiness, wisdom, and human flourishing. We look for it down the dark alleys, seek it in the sunlight of outer achievements, mourn and attach to its fleeting visits chase it we do, but, over time, it always seems to outrun our efforts. That is the human longing for the immutable joyful essence of life. Through out the ages and across diverse cultures individuals have universally sought to realize this treasured human possibility. And, it is no different with ourselves.

Individuals and cultures have sought the fullness of human potential in various ways. To name a few shamanism, religious experience, mysticism, meditation, devotional practices, service, and entheogens among others. Each of these doorways has a singular aim to cleanse the doors of perception that obscure a larger life. When this cleaning occurs, we are once again able to see self and life as it is with unfettered and unobscured perception and awareness. That clarity of seeing reveals our natural home and the foundational and unchanging truth of self and reality. And that is the healing that ends all human suffering and leads to sustainable joy.

Of what must our perception be cleansed to see the truth of self and life? What has so narrowed and obscured our vision that we can no longer see beyond the boundaries of our learned idea of who we are? We are born into a human body with a sense of self that is a mere presence, an awareness that sees what is as is without the shaping and influence of conditioning of acquired history. But, from our original pristine consciousness emerges our name and personality, our egoic sense of I. We have personal experiences that are committed to memory. We acquire habits and perceptual patterns that shape how and what we experience. We develop ideas, opinions, beliefs, and judgments. Our collected lifetime learnings, called our ordinary I or ego self, becomes the world through which we interpret experience and react. All of our experiences are by necessity filtered through this acquired worldview. We learn to live in our bounded world called a personal prison by those who know better as if that was the only possibility. We live from youth on with the false belief and certainty that this is who we actually are, rather than who we have become. And that illusion of lifelong conditioning, is what obscures perception and a view of the good, the true, and the beautiful our natural state of being.

What happens when the cleansing takes place and we can once again see self and world as they naturally are? What happens when the ego structure fades from view and what the neuroscientists call the neural default mode is deactivated? What happens when our person our personal sense of self with all of its past history and ideas fades from view, losing its shaping influence? When this occurs, the clear eyes of perception and awareness once again reveal themselves, as if cleansed of the obscurations and shaping influences of ego and its history.

What we see is precisely the same world we saw before, but with a purity of perception and awareness uninfluenced by history and ideations. And that change in perception, that ability to see self and the world precisely as it is, rather than as a fabricated personalized world shaped by our inner stories, is the difference between heaven and hell, suffering and freedom, pleasure and spontaneous unchanging joy.

The world as it is is what Plato called the good, beautiful, and true. It has also been named the Tao, Christ nature, Buddha-nature, Satchitananda, Nirvana, Satori, Heaven and the endless other names that seek without success to name the unnamable, which can only be known through direct experience. All of these signifiers refer to the religious mind the simple, unfettered, and natural mind that the famed psychologist William James realized was a precious and cherished experience, arising across time and cultures. This profound experience, available to all and free from cultural or institutional shaping is indeed a religious mind. Our very nature, just as it is, is sacred and divine.

Self and life are finally seen as they actually are with awe, enchantment, sacredness, and a radical aliveness. What is so extraordinary is the ordinariness of it all. No complexity, just a simple being and presence that has always been there, but as adults has been filtered out by the confines of our limited self. Whatever method or grace reveals this profound experience of life, that glimpse may. at first be ephemeral, as the tenacious grip of the ego structure seeks to take over once again. But one of the characteristics of this experience is that there is a personal and unchanging certainty that arises, which over time, even when only retained in memory, withstands the assaults of logic or the ephemeral nature of this glimpse. One is unshakeable in the conviction that one has touched the truth of life and the essence of living, and that is how it is.

The experience within when the reality of self and life is experienced with clear perception is still, silent, and easeful as the world continues to move in its usual ways. Consider T.S. Eliots words from the Four Quartets:

At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is .Except for the point, the still point,There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

When we rest in the still point of pure awareness and pure perception, aware but undisturbed by the movements of life inner and outer, we are in the dance, the dance of life and that is being alive and awake. A simple yet profound grace and blessing.

Some may ask, How can we live in the world from such peace and stillness? My answer is simple and twofold. First, Can you tell me how we live in the world through our contracted ego? Not well. As the teacher J. Krishnamurti said, It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. And second, consider those who have lived from these truths those of fame known as Buddha, Christ, and Ghandi and others whose names we dont know. They have all changed the world for the better. We will long remember their gifts their gifts of informed wise love and action. Wisdom and pure awareness is not passivity. It is an empowered life that heals.

There are many methods and paths that help us arrive at this experiential truth of living. Some individuals rely on a specific time-tested path that leads towards this realization several have already been mentioned above. Others gain a glimpse through particular life experiences: dance, music, art, intimacy, service, nature, and so on. In the latter instances individuals often do not know the significance of what they have touched. They only realize that they have touched a fleeting sense of oneness, joy, and inner peace. But to know the real significance of these glimpses and to use them as a powerful motivation to gain greater insight and freedom is an essential next step, if these glimpses are to be much more than a pleasant entertaining experience.

A special note here should be made regarding the entheogens, or psychedelic botanicals. When used with proper preparation, intention, guidance, and sacredness these natural botanicals have for millennia served individuals and influenced religious traditions through their ability to cleanse the doors of perception and open the religious mind- the mind that can see the truth of the enchanted and divine nature of self and life. As these entheogens become increasingly available for personal and medical use, we must remember their fundamental action they, however briefly, cleanse the doors of perception and provide us with an opportunity to taste and rest in the good, the true, and the beautiful. Stability and full integration of these glimpses requires ongoing inner growth.

What is first experienced as a glimpse must become our life. It is the essence of who we are. As we stabilize our deeper self, all of the positive qualities and virtues that we cultivate in day-to-day life arise spontaneously in our natural and essential self. They are seamlessly interwoven with our basic nature and appear in their full fruition as we gain stability in our essential self of intrinsic awareness. Fleeting happiness and pleasure arise as unchanging joy without a reason. Relaxation and inner peace arise as the peace that surpasses understanding. Knowledge and information arise as a non-cognitive all-seeing wisdom. Ordinary and well-meaning compassion arises as an all-encompassing compassion devoid of self-interest. Love arises as unconditional and selfless being. And political and social freedom give way to the greatest freedom freedom from the known, from the past, from fixed perceptions and tenacious reactive patterns. We are free to see what is as is and to live in the radical beauty of each passing moment. These, and more, are the gifts of cleansing the doors of perception.

Do not believe that these possibilities are beyond your capacity. If you hold this belief to be true, it will define you. It is a false belief.

You were born with these qualities, and they are there right now, this very moment. Just a little tweak and you will experience them. You have accomplished far more difficult ambitions. You can as well accomplish the supreme triumph of a lifetime, living in the truth and light of who you are. Yes, it may take a good mentor, study, the patience of dropping in and out, but if you persist you will win the gold for yourself and for a world desperate for healing.

Previously Published on elliotdacher.org

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Cleansing the Doors of Perception - The Good Men Project

Guide – Wikipedia

A guide is a person who leads travelers, sportsmen, or tourists through unknown or unfamiliar locations. The term can also be applied to a person who leads others to more abstract goals such as knowledge or wisdom.

Explorers in the past venturing into territory unknown by their own people invariably hired guides. Military explorers Lewis and Clark were hired by the United States Congress to explore the Pacific Northwest. They in turn hired the better qualified Native American Sacagawea to help them. Wilfred Thesiger hired guides in the deserts that he ventured into, such as Kuri on his journey to the Tibesti Mountains in 1938.

Tour guides lead visitors through tourist attractions and give information about the attractions' natural and cultural significance. Often, they also act as interpreters for travelers who do not speak the local language. Automated systems like audio tours are sometimes substituted for human tour guides. Tour operators often hire guides to lead tourist groups.

Mountain guides are those employed in mountaineering; these are not merely to show the way but stand in the position of professional climbers with an expert knowledge of rock and snowcraft, which they impart to the amateur, at the same time assuring the safety of the climbing party. This professional class of guides arose in the middle of the 19th century when Alpine climbing became recognized as a sport.[1]

In Switzerland, the central committee of the Swiss Alpine Club issues a guides tariff which fixes the charges for guides and porters; there are three sections, for the Valais and Vaudois Alps, for the Bernese Oberland, and for central and eastern Switzerland.[1]

In Chamonix (France) a statue has been raised to Jacques Balmat, who was the first to climb Mont Blanc in 1786.[1] Other notable European guides are Christian Almer, Jakob and Melchior Anderegg, Klemens Bachleda, Auguste Balmat, Alexander Burgener, Armand Charlet, Michel Croz, Franois Devouassoud, Angelo Dibona, Andreas Heckmair, the Innerkofler family, Conrad Kain, Christian Klucker, and Matthias Zurbriggen.

A wilderness guide leads paid parties through back country areas that may variously include land, water bodies, and high country but not so high and technical as to require the skills of a mountain guide. Wilderness guides in the United States are historically and romantically particularly associated with the Adirondack Mountains of New York State, where they first established the application of their skills as a broadly accepted and financially compensated trade.

Wilderness guides are expected to have a command of survival skills (such as making shelters, fire-making, navigation, and first aid) and an understanding of the ecology and history of the location where they guide. Other common skills among guides include traditional handicrafts and cooking methods, fishing, hunting, bird watching, and nature conservation.

Wilderness tours usually take place on foot, though aids such as skis and snowshoes, and conveyances such as canoes, kayaks, sledges, pack animals, and snowmobiles are utilized as appropriate.[2]

Hunting guides are employed by those seeking to hunt wildlife, especially big game animals in the wild. European hunting guides working in Africa are sometimes called white hunters, although the term is most commonly used in the context of the early 20th century.

Guides are employed on safari, today usually just to observe and photograph wildlife, historically for big-game hunting. Safari guides are either self-employed or work for or through a guide service. There are no set qualifications or universal licensing procedures; customs and requirements vary by location. In lieu, many guides choose to belong to a professional association.[3] These are typically linked to specific countries and are governed by their laws and policies. Associations such as The Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA)[4] and Uganda Safari Guides Association (USAGA)[5] play an important role in training and educating safari guides to improve their knowledge and group safety. Many famed safari guides are found on the list of famous big-game hunters.

Fishing guides have a long history. Their work spans from aiding fly fishing in small brooks or lakes to deep saltwater big game fishing. Some areas where fishing guides are popular include the Norwegian coast, Swedish archipelago, the Florida coast, and various parts of Canada. The vernacular terms "fishing charter" or "charter boat" imply the services of a guide, whether the vessel's captain, a qualified hand, or experienced sportsman.

In areas where detailed maps were unavailable or remain lacking guides with local knowledge, and scouts with the necessary skills to probe the unknown, prove invaluable in the direction of military operations. In 18th century Europe, the stricter organization of military resources led in various countries to the special training of guide officers who had the primary duty of finding, and if necessary establishing, routes for other military units.[1]

The genesis of the "Guides" regiments may be found in a short-lived Corps of Guides formed by Napoleon in Italy in 1796, which appears to have been a personal escort or bodyguard composed of men who knew the country.[1] Following the unification of Italy in 1870-71, the new national army included a regiment designated as Guides - the 19th Cavalleggieri (Light Horse).

In the Belgian Army the two Guides regiments, created respectively in 1833 and 1874, constituted part of the light cavalry and came to correspond to the Guard cavalry of other nations.[1] Until the outbreak of World War I, they wore a distinctive uniform comprising a plumed busby, green dolman braided in yellow, and crimson breeches. Mechanised in October 1937, both regiments formed armored battalions in the post World War II Belgian Army. Following a series of amalgamations the Belgian Guides ceased to exist in 2011.

In the Swiss army prior to 1914, the squadrons of Guides acted as divisional cavalry. In this role these light cavalry units were called upon, on occasion, to lead columns and provide scouts.[1]

The Corps of Guides of the British Indian Army consisted of a unique combination of infantry companies and cavalry squadrons.[1] After World War I the infantry element was incorporated in the 12th Frontier Force Regiment and the Guides Cavalry formed a separate regiment - the 10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force). This unit still exists as the 2nd (Guides) Battalion of the Frontier Force Regiment of the modern Army of Pakistan.

In drill, a "guide" is an officer or non-commissioned officer who regulates the direction and pace of movements.[1]

A psychedelic guide is someone who guides a drug user's experiences as opposed to a sitter who merely remains present, ready to discourage bad trips and handle emergencies but not otherwise getting involved. Guides are more common amongst spiritual users of entheogens. Psychedelic guides were strongly encouraged by Timothy Leary and the other authors of The Psychedelic Experience: A Guide Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead. Trip sitters are also mentioned in the Responsible Drug User's Oath.

In Islam ar-Rashid, one of the 99 Names of God, means the Guide. From this is derived the common Arabic name Rashid.

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Guide - Wikipedia

Entheogens – PsychonautWiki

Entheogens ("generating the divine within")[2] are psychoactive substances used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context[3] that may be synthesized or obtained from natural sources. Jonathan Ott is credited with coining 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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Entheogens - PsychonautWiki

Entheogens & Existential Intelligence: The Use of Plant …

Used with permission. The official published version :http://www.csse.ca/CJE/Articles/FullText/CJE27-4/CJE27-4-tupper.pdf

In light of recent specific liberalizations in drug laws in some countries, this article investigates the potential of entheogens (i.e. psychoactive plants used as spiritual sacraments) as tools to facilitate existential intelligence. Plant teachers from the Americas such as ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, and the Indo-Aryan soma of Eurasia are examples of both past- and presently-used entheogens. These have all been revered as spiritual or cognitive tools to provide a richer cosmological understanding of the world for both human individuals and cultures. I use Howard Gardners (1999a) revised multiple intelligence theory and his postulation of an existential intelligence as a theoretical lens through which to account for the cognitive possibilities of entheogens and explore potential ramifications for education.

In this article I assess and further develop the possibility of an existential intelligence as postulated by Howard Gardner (1999a). Moreover, I entertain the possibility that some kinds of psychoactive substancesentheogenshave the potential to facilitate this kind of intelligence. This issue arises from the recent liberalization of drug laws in several Western industrialized countries to allow for the sacramental use of ayahuasca, a psychoactive tea brewed from plants indigenous to the Amazon. I challenge readers to step outside a long-standing dominant paradigm in modern Western culture that a priori regards hallucinogenic drug use as necessarily maleficent and devoid of any merit. I intend for my discussion to confront assumptions about drugs that have unjustly perpetuated the disparagement and prohibition of some kinds of psychoactive substance use. More broadly, I intend for it to challenge assumptions about intelligence that constrain contemporary educational thought.

Entheogen is a word coined by scholars proposing to replace the term psychedelic (Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott, & Wasson, 1979), which was felt to overly connote psychological and clinical paradigms and to be too socio-culturally loaded from its 1960s roots to appropriately designate the revered plants and substances used in traditional rituals. I use both terms in this article: entheogen when referring to a substance used as a spiritual or sacramental tool, and psychedelic when referring to one used for any number of purposes during or following the so-called psychedelic era of the 1960s (recognizing that some contemporary non-indigenous uses may be entheogenicthe categories are by no means clearly discreet). What kinds of plants or chemicals fall into the category of entheogen is a matter of debate, as a large number of inebriantsfrom coca and marijuana to alcohol and opiumhave been venerated as gifts from the gods (or God) in different cultures at different times. For the purposes of this article, however, I focus on the class of drugs that Lewin (1924/1997) termed phantastica, a name deriving from the Greek word for the faculty of imagination (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1973). Later these substances became known as hallucinogens or psychedelics, a class whose members include lysergic acid derivatives, psilocybin, mescaline and dimethyltryptamine. With the exception of mescaline, these all share similar chemical structures; all, including mescaline, produce similar phenomenological effects; and, more importantly for the present discussion, all have a history of ritual use as psychospiritual medicines or, as I argue, cultural tools to facilitate cognition (Schultes & Hofmann, 1992).

The issue of entheogen use in modern Western culture becomes more significant in light of several legal precedents in countries such as Brazil, Holland, Spain and soon perhaps the United States and Canada. Ayahuasca, which I discuss in more detail in the following section on plant teachers, was legalized for religious use by non-indigenous people in Brazil in 1987i. One Brazilian group, the Santo Daime, was using its sacrament in ceremonies in the Netherlands when, in the autumn of 1999, authorities intervened and arrested its leaders. This was the first case of religious intolerance by a Dutch government in over three hundred years. A subsequent legal challenge, based on European Union religious freedom laws, saw them acquitted of all charges, setting a precedent for the rest of Europe (Adelaars, 2001). A similar case in Spain resulted in the Spanish government granting the right to use ayahuasca in that country. A recent court decision in the United States by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, September 4th, 2003, ruled in favour of religious freedom to use ayahuasca (Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, 2003). And in Canada, an application to Health Canada and the Department of Justice for exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act is pending, which may permit the Santo Daime Church the religious use of their sacrament, known as Daime or Santo Daimeii (J.W. Rochester, personal communication, October 8th, 2003)

One of the questions raised by this trend of liberalization in otherwise prohibitionist regulatory regimes is what benefits substances such as ayahuasca have. The discussion that follows takes up this question with respect to contemporary psychological theories about intelligence and touches on potential ramifications for education. The next section examines the metaphor of plant teachers, which is not uncommon among cultures that have traditionally practiced the entheogenic use of plants. Following that, I use Howard Gardners theory of multiple intelligences (1983) as a theoretical framework with which to account for cognitive implications of entheogen use. Finally, I take up a discussion of possible relevance of existential intelligence and entheogens to education.

Before moving on to a broader discussion of intelligence(s), I will provide some background on ayahuasca and entheogens. Ayahuasca has been a revered plant teacher among dozens of South American indigenous peoples for centuries, if not longer (Luna, 1984; Schultes & Hofmann, 1992). The word ayahuasca is from the Quechua language of indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Peru, and translates as vine of the soul (Metzner, 1999). Typically, it refers to a tea made from a jungle liana, Banisteriopsis caapi, with admixtures of other plants, but most commonly the leaves of a plant from the coffee family, Psychotria viridis (McKenna, 1999). These two plants respectively contain harmala alkaloids and dimethyltryptamine, two substances that when ingested orally create a biochemical synergy capable of producing profound alterations in consciousness (Grob, et al., 1996; McKenna, Towers & Abbot, 1984). Among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, ayahuasca is one of the most valuable medicinal and sacramental plants in their pharmacopoeias. Although shamans in different tribes use the tea for various purposes, and have varying recipes for it, the application of ayahuasca as an effective tool to attain understanding and wisdom is one of the most prevalent (Brown, 1986; Dobkin de Rios, 1984).

Notwithstanding the explosion of popular interest in psychoactive drugs during the 1960s, ayahuasca until quite recently managed to remain relatively obscure in Western cultureiii. However, the late 20th century saw the growth of religious movements among non-indigenous people in Brazil syncretizing the use of ayahuasca with Christian symbolism, African spiritualism, and native ritual. Two of the more widespread ayahuasca churches are the Santo Daime (Santo Daime, 2004) and the Unio do Vegetal (Unio do Vegetal, 2004). These organizations have in the past few decades gained legitimacy as valid, indeed valuable, spiritual practices providing social, psychological and spiritual benefits (Grob, 1999; Riba, et al., 2001).

Ayahuasca is not the only plant teacher in the pantheon of entheogenic tools. Other indigenous peoples of the Americas have used psilocybin mushrooms for millennia for spiritual and healing purposes (Dobkin de Rios, 1973; Wasson, 1980). Similarly, the peyote cactus has a long history of use by Mexican indigenous groups (Fikes, 1996; Myerhoff, 1974; Stewart, 1987), and is currently widely used in the United States by the Native American Church (LaBarre, 1989; Smith & Snake, 1996). And even in the early history of Western culture, the ancient Indo-Aryan texts of the Rig Veda sing the praises of the deified Soma (Pande, 1984). Although the taxonomic identity of Soma is lost, it seems to have been a plant or mushroom and had the power to reliably induce mystical experiencesan entheogen par excellence (Eliade, 1978; Wasson, 1968). The variety of entheogens extends far beyond the limited examples I have offered here. However, ayahuasca, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote and Soma are exemplars of plants which have been culturally esteemed for their psychological and spiritual impacts on both individuals and communities.

In this article I argue that the importance of entheogens lies in their role as tools, as mediators between mind and environment. Defining a psychoactive drug as a toolperhaps a novel concept for someinvokes its capacity to effect a purposeful change on the mind/body. Commenting on Vygotskys notions of psychological tools, John-Steiner and Souberman (1978) note that tool use has . . . important effects upon internal and functional relationships within the human brain (p. 133). Although they were likely not thinking of drugs as tools, the significance of this observation becomes even more literal when the tools in question are plants or chemicals ingested with the intent of affecting consciousness through the manipulation of brain chemistry. Indeed, psychoactive plants or chemicals seem to defy the traditional bifurcation between physical and psychological tools, as they affect the mind/body (understood by modern psychologists to be identical).

It is important to consider the degree to which the potential of entheogens comes not only from their immediate neuropsychological effects, but also from the social practicesritualsinto which their use has traditionally been incorporated (Dobkin de Rios, 1996; Smith, 2000). The protective value that ritual provides for entheogen use is evident from its universal application in traditional practices (Weil, 1972/1986). Medical evidence suggests that there are minimal physiological risks associated with psychedelic drugs (Callaway, et al., 1999; Grinspoon & Bakalar, 1979/1998; Julien, 1998). Albert Hofmann (1980), the chemist who first accidentally synthesized and ingested LSD, contends that the psychological risks associated with psychedelics in modern Western culture are a function of their recreational use in unsafe circumstances. A ritual context, however, offers psychospiritual safeguards that make the potential of entheogenic plant teachers to enhance cognition an intriguing possibility.

Howard Gardner (1983) developed a theory of multiple intelligences that originally postulated seven types of intelligence (iv). Since then, he has added a naturalist intelligence and entertained the possibility of a spiritual intelligence (1999a; 1999b). Not wanting to delve too far into territory fraught with theological pitfalls, Gardner (1999a) settled on looking at existential intelligence rather than spiritual intelligence (p. 123). Existential intelligence, as Gardner characterizes it, involves having a heightened capacity to appreciate and attend to the cosmological enigmas that define the human condition, an exceptional awareness of the metaphysical, ontological and epistemological mysteries that have been a perennial concern for people of all cultures (1999a).

In his original formulation of the theory, Gardner challenges (narrow) mainstream definitions of intelligence with a broader one that sees intelligence as the ability to solve problems or to fashion products that are valued in at least one culture or community (1999a, p. 113). He lays out eight criteria, or signs, that he argues should be used to identify an intelligence; however, he notes that these do not constitute necessary conditions for determining an intelligence, merely desiderata that a candidate intelligence should meet (1983, p. 62). He also admits that none of his original seven intelligences fulfilled all the criteria, although they all met a majority of the eight. For existential intelligence, Gardner himself identifies six which it seems to meet; I will look at each of these and discuss their merits in relation to entheogens.

One criterion applicable to existential intelligence is the identification of a neural substrate to which the intelligence may correlate. Gardner (1999a) notes that recent neuropsychological evidence supports the hypothesis that the brains temporal lobe plays a key role in producing mystical states of consciousness and spiritual awareness (p. 124-5; LaPlante, 1993; Newberg, DAquili & Rause, 2001). He also recognizes that certain brain centres and neural transmitters are mobilized in [altered consciousness] states, whether they are induced by the ingestion of substances or by a control of the will (Gardner, 1999a, p.125). Another possibility, which Gardner does not explore, is that endogenous dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in humans may play a significant role in the production of spontaneous or induced altered states of consciousness (Pert, 2001). DMT is a powerful entheogenic substance that exists naturally in the mammalian brain (Barker, Monti & Christian, 1981), as well as being a common constituent of ayahuasca and the Amazonian snuff, yopo (Ott, 1994). Furthermore, DMT is a close analogue of the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine, or serotonin. It has been known for decades that the primary neuropharmacological action of psychedelics has been on serotonin systems, and serotonin is now understood to be correlated with healthy modes of consciousness.

One psychiatric researcher has recently hypothesized that endogenous DMT stimulates the pineal gland to create such spontaneous psychedelic states as near-death experiences (Strassman, 2001). Whether this is correct or not, the role of DMT in the brain is an area of empirical research that deserves much more attention, especially insofar as it may contribute to an evidential foundation for existential intelligence.

Another criterion for an intelligence is the existence of individuals of exceptional ability within the domain of that intelligence. Unfortunately, existential precocity is not something sufficiently valued in modern Western culture to the degree that savants in this domain are commonly celebrated today. Gardner (1999a) observes that within Tibetan Buddhism, the choosing of lamas may involve the detection of a predisposition to existential intellect (if it is not identifying the reincarnation of a previous lama, as Tibetan Buddhists themselves believe) (p. 124). Gardner also cites Czikszentmilhalyis consideration of the early-emerging concerns for cosmic issues of the sort reported in the childhoods of future religious leaders like Gandhi and of several future physicists (Gardner, 1999a, p. 124; Czikszentmilhalyi, 1996). Presumably, some individuals who are enjoined to enter a monastery or nunnery at a young age may be so directed due to an appreciable manifestation of existential awareness. Likewise, individuals from indigenous cultures who take up shamanic practicewho have abilities beyond others to dream, to imagine, to enter states of trance (Larsen, 1976, p. 9)often do so because of a significant interest in cosmological concerns at a young age, which could be construed as a prodigious capacity in the domain of existential intelligencev (Eliade, 1964; Greeley, 1974; Halifax, 1979).

The third criterion for determining an intelligence that Gardner suggests is an identifiable set of core operational abilities that manifest that intelligence. Gardner finds this relatively unproblematic and articulates the core operations for existential intelligence as:

the capacity to locate oneself with respect to the farthest reaches of the cosmosthe infinite no less than the infinitesimaland the related capacity to locate oneself with respect to the most existential aspects of the human condition: the significance of life, the meaning of death, the ultimate fate of the physical and psychological worlds, such profound experiences as love of another human being or total immersion in a work of art. (1999a, p. 123)

Gardner notes that as with other more readily accepted types of intelligence, there is no specific truth that one would attain with existential intelligencefor example, as musical intelligence does not have to manifest itself in any specific genre or category of music, neither does existential intelligence privilege any one philosophical system or spiritual doctrine. As Gardner (1999a) puts it, there exists [with existential intelligence] a species potentialor capacityto engage in transcendental concerns that can be aroused and deployed under certain circumstances (p. 123). Reports on uses of psychedelics by Westerners in the 1950s and early 1960sgenerated prior to their prohibition and, some might say, profanationreveal a recurrent theme of spontaneous mystical experiences that are consistent with enhanced capacity of existential intelligence (Huxley, 1954/1971; Masters & Houston, 1966; Pahnke, 1970; Smith, 1964; Watts, 1958/1969).

Another criterion for admitting an intelligence is identifying a developmental history and a set of expert end-state performances for it. Pertaining to existential intelligence, Gardner notes that all cultures have devised spiritual or metaphysical systems to deal with the inherent human capacity for existential issues, and further that these respective systems invariably have steps or levels of sophistication separating the novice from the adept. He uses the example of Pope John XXIIIs description of his training to advance up the ecclesiastic hierarchy as a contemporary illustration of this point (1999a, p. 124). However, the instruction of the neophyte is a manifest part of almost all spiritual training and, again, the demanding process of imparting of shamanic wisdomoften including how to effectively and appropriately use entheogensis an excellent example of this process in indigenous cultures (Eliade, 1964).

A fifth criterion Gardner suggests for an intelligence is determining its evolutionary history and evolutionary plausibility. The self-reflexive question of when and why existential intelligence first arose in the Homo genus is one of the perennial existential questions of humankind. That it is an exclusively human trait is almost axiomatic, although a small but increasing number of researchers are willing to admit the possibility of higher forms of cognition in non-human animals (Masson & McCarthy, 1995; Vonk, 2003). Gardner (1999a) argues that only by the Upper Paleolithic period did human beings within a culture possess a brain capable of considering the cosmological issues central to existential intelligence (p. 124) and that the development of a capacity for existential thinking may be linked to a conscious sense of finite space and irreversible time, two promising loci for stimulating imaginative explorations of transcendental spheres (p. 124). He also suggests that thoughts about existential issues may well have evolved as responses to necessarily occurring pain, perhaps as a way of reducing pain or better equipping individuals to cope with it (Gardner, 1999a, p. 125). As with determining the evolutionary origin of language, tracing a phylogenesis of existential intelligence is conjectural at best. Its role in the development of the species is equally difficult to assess, although Winkelman (2000) argues that consciousness and shamanic practicesand presumably existential intelligence as wellstem from psychobiological adaptations integrating older and more recently evolved structures in the triune hominid brain. McKenna (1992) goes even so far as to postulate that the ingestion of psychoactive substances such as entheogenic mushrooms may have helped stimulate cognitive developments such as existential and linguistic thinking in our proto-human ancestors. Some researchers in the 1950s and 1960s found enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills among subjects given LSD and other psychedelic drugs (Harman, McKim, Mogar, Fadiman & Stolaroff, 1966; Izumi, 1970; Krippner, 1985; Stafford & Golightly, 1967), skills which certainly would have been evolutionarily advantageous to our hominid ancestors. Such avenues of investigation are beginning to be broached again by both academic scholars and amateur psychonauts (Dobkin de Rios & Janiger, 2003; Spitzer, et al., 1996; MAPS Bulletin, 2000).

The final criterion Gardner mentions as applicable to existential intelligence is susceptibility to encoding in a symbol system. Here, again, Gardner concedes that there is abundant evidence in favour of accepting existential thinking as an intelligence. In his words, many of the most important and most enduring sets of symbol systems (e.g., those featured in the Catholic liturgy) represent crystallizations of key ideas and experiences that have evolved within [cultural] institutions (1999a, p. 123). Another salient example that illustrates this point is the mytho-symbolism ascribed to ayahuasca visions among the Tukano, an Amazonian indigenous people. Reichel-Dolmatoff (1975) made a detailed study of these visions by asking a variety of informants to draw representations with sticks in the dirt (p. 174). He compiled twenty common motifs, observing that most of them bear a striking resemblance to phosphene patterns (i.e. visual phenomena perceived in the absence of external stimuli or by applying light pressure to the eyeball) compiled by Max Knoll (Oster, 1970). The Tukano interpret these universal human neuropsychological phenomena as symbolically significant according to their traditional ayahuasca-steeped mythology, reflecting the codification of existential ideas within their culture.

Narby (1998) also examines the codification of symbols generated during ayahuasca experiences by tracing similarities between intertwining snake motifs in the visions of Amazonian shamans and the double-helix structure of deoxyribonucleic acid. He found remarkable similarities between representations of biological knowledge by indigenous shamans and those of modern geneticists. More recently, Narby (2002) has followed up on this work by bringing molecular biologists to the Amazon to participate in ayahuasca ceremonies with experiences shamans, an endeavour he suggests may provide useful cross-fertilization in divergent realms of human knowledge.

The two other criteria of an intelligence are support from experimental psychological tasks and support from psychometric findings. Gardner suggests that existential intelligence is more debatable within these domains, citing personality inventories that attempt to measure religiosity or spirituality; he notes, it remains unclear just what is being probed by such instruments and whether self-report is a reliable index of existential intelligence (1999a, p. 125). It seems transcendental states of consciousness and the cognition they engender do not lend themselves to quantification or easy replication in psychology laboratories. However, Strassman, Qualls, Uhlenhuth, & Kellner (1994) developed a psychometric instrumentthe Hallucinogen Rating Scaleto measure human responses to intravenous administration of DMT, and it has since been reliably used for other psychedelic experiences (Riba, Rodriguez-Fornells, Strassman, & Barbanoj, 2001).

One historical area of empirical psychological research that did ostensibly stimulate a form of what might be considered existential intelligence was clinical investigations into psychedelics. Until such research became academically unfashionable and then politically impossible in the early 1970s, psychologists and clinical researchers actively explored experimentally-induced transcendent experiences using drugs in the interests of both pure science and applied medical treatments (Abramson, 1967; Cohen, 1964; Grinspoon & Bakalar, 1979/1998; Masters & Houston, 1966). One of the more famous of these was Pahnkes (1970) so-called Good Friday experiment, which attempted to induce spiritual experiences with psilocybin within a randomized double-blind control methodology. His conclusion that mystical experiences were indeed reliably produced, despite methodological problems with the study design, was borne out by a critical long-term follow-up (Doblin, 1991), which raises intriguing questions about both entheogens and existential intelligence.

Studies such as Pahnkes (1970), despite their promise, were prematurely terminated due to public pressure from a populace alarmed by burgeoning contemporary recreational drug use. Only about a decade ago did the United States government give researchers permission to renew (on a very small scale) investigations into psychedelics (Strassman 2001; Strassman & Qualls, 1994). Cognitive psychologists are also taking an interest in entheogens such as ayahuasca (Shanon, 2002). Regardless of whether support for existential intelligence can be established psychometrically or in experimental psychological tasks, Gardners theory expressly stipulates that not all eight criteria must be uniformly met in order for an intelligence to qualify. Nevertheless, Gardner claims to find the phenomenon perplexing enough, and the distance from other intelligences great enough (1999a, p. 127) to be reluctant at present to add existential intelligence to the list . . . . At most [he is] willing, Fellini-style, to joke about 8 intelligences (p. 127). I contend that research into entheogens and other means of altering consciousness will further support the case for treating existential intelligence as a valid cognitive domain.

By recapitulating and augmenting Gardners discussion of existential intelligence, I hope to have strengthened the case for its inclusion as a valid cognitive domain. However, doing so raises questions of what ramifications an acceptance of existential intelligence would have for contemporary Western educational theory and practice. How might we foster this hitherto neglected intelligence and allow it to be used in constructive ways? There is likely a range of educational practices that could be used to stimulate cognition in this domain, many of which could be readily implemented without much controversy.vi Yet I intentionally raise the prospect of using entheogens in this capacitynot with young children, but perhaps with older teens in the passage to adulthoodto challenge theorists, policy-makers and practitioners.vii

The potential of entheogens as tools for education in contemporary Western culture was identified by Aldous Huxley. Although better known as a novelist than as a philosopher of education, Huxley spent a considerable amount of timeparticularly as he neared the end of his lifeaddressing the topic of education. Like much of his literature, Huxleys observations and critiques of the socio-cultural forces at work in his time were cannily prescient; they bear as much, if not more, relevance in the 21st century as when they were written. Most remarkably, and relevant to my thesis, Huxley saw entheogens as possible educational tools:

Under the current dispensation the vast majority of individuals lose, in the course of education, all the openness to inspiration, all the capacity to be aware of other things than those enumerated in the Sears-Roebuck catalogue which constitutes the conventionally real world . . . . Is it too much to hope that a system of education may some day be devised, which shall give results, in terms of human development, commensurate with the time, money, energy and devotion expended? In such a system of education it may be that mescalin or some other chemical substance may play a part by making it possible for young people to taste and see what they have learned about at second hand . . . in the writings of the religious, or the works of poets, painters and musicians. (Letter to Dr. Humphrey Osmond, April 10th, 1953in Horowitz & Palmer, 1999, p.30)

In a more literary expression of this notion, Huxleys final novel Island (1962) portrays an ideal culture that has achieved a balance of scientific and spiritual thinking, and which also incorporates the ritualized use of entheogens for education. The representation of drug use that Huxley portrays in Island contrasts markedly with the more widely-known soma of his earlier novel, Brave New World (1932/1946): whereas soma was a pacifier that muted curiosity and served the interests of the controlling elite, the entheogenic moksha medicine of Island offered liminal experiences in young adults that stimulated profound reflection, self-actualization and, I submit, existential intelligence.

Huxleys writings point to an implicit recognition of the capacity of entheogens to be used as educational tools. The concept of tool here refers not merely the physical devices fashioned to aid material production, but, following Vygotsky (1978), more broadly to those means of symbolic and/or cultural mediation between the mind and the world (Cole, 1996; Wertsch, 1991). Of course, deriving educational benefit from a tool requires much more than simply having and wielding it; one must also have an intrinsic respect for the object qua tool, a cultural system in which the tool is valued as such, and guides or teachers who are adept at using the tool to provide helpful direction. As Larsen (1976) remarks in discussing the phenomenon of would-be shamans in Western culture experimenting with mind-altering chemicals: we have no symbolic vocabulary, no grounded mythological tradition to make our experiences comprehensible to us . . . no senior shamans to help ensure that our [shamanic experience of] dismemberment be followed by a rebirth (p. 81). Given the recent history of these substances in modern Western culture, it is hardly surprising that they have been demonized (Hofmann, 1980). However, cultural practices that have traditionally used entheogens as therapeutic agents consistently incorporate protective safeguardsset, settingviii, established dosages, and mythocultural respect (Zinberg, 1984). The fear that inevitably arises in modern Western culture when addressing the issue of entheogens stems, I submit, not from any properties intrinsic to the substances themselves, but rather from a general misunderstanding of their power and capacity as tools. Just as a sharp knife can be used for good or ill, depending on whether it is in the hands of a skilled surgeon or a reckless youth, so too can entheogens be used or misused.

The use of entheogens such as ayahuasca is exemplary of the long and ongoing tradition in many cultures to employ psychoactives as tools that stimulate foundational types of understanding (Tupper, in press). That such substances are capable of stimulating profoundly transcendent experiences is evident from both the academic literature and anecdotal reports. Accounting fully for their action, however, requires going beyond the usual explanatory schemas: applying Gardners (1999a) multiple intelligence theory as a heuristic framework opens new ways of understanding entheogens and their potential benefits. At the same time, entheogens bolster the case for Gardners proposed addition of existential intelligence. This article attempts to present these concepts in such a way that the possibility of using entheogens as tools is taken seriously by those with an interest in new and transformative ideas in education.

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Luna, L.E. (1984). The concept of plants as teachers among four mestizo shamans of Iquitos, northeastern Peru. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 11(2), 135-156.

MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Bulletin. (2000). Psychedelics & Creativity. 10(3). Retrieved February 15th, 2004 from: http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v10n3/

Masson, J. M., & McCarthy, S. (1995). When elephants weep: The emotional lives of animals. New York: Delta Books.

Masters, R. E. L., & Houston, J. (1966). The varieties of psychedelic experience. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

McKenna, D.J. (1999). Ayahuasca: An ethnopharmacologic history. In R. Metzner (Ed.), Ayahuasca: Hallucinogens, consciousness, and the spirit of nature (p. 187-213). New York: Thunders Mouth Press.

McKenna, D. J., Towers, G. H. N., & Abbot, F. (1984). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors in South American hallucinogenic plants: Tryptamine and -carboline constituents of ayahuasca. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 10(2), 195-223.

McKenna, T. (1992). Food of the gods: The search for the original tree of knowledge. New York: Bantam.

Metzner, R. (1999). Introduction: Amazonian vine of visions. In R. Metzner (Ed.), Ayahuasca: Hallucinogens, consciousness, and the spirit of nature (p. 1-45). New York: Thunders Mouth Press.

Myerhoff, B. G. (1974). Peyote hunt: The sacred journey of the Huichol Indians. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Narby, J. (1998). The cosmic serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Narby, J. (2002). Shamans and scientists. In C.S. Grob (Ed.), Hallucinogens: A reader (p. 159-163). New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam.

Newberg, A., DAquili, E., & Rause, V. (2001). Why god wont go away: Brain science and the biology of belief. New York: Ballantine Books.

Oster, G. (1970). Phosphenes. Scientific American. 222(2), 83-87.

Ott, J. (1994). Ayahuasca analogues: Pangan entheogens. Kennewick, WA: Natural Products Co.

Pahnke, W. (1970). Drugs and Mysticism. In B. Aaronson & H. Osmond, (Eds.), Psychedelics: The uses and implications of hallucinogenic drugs (p. 145-165). Cambridge, MA: Schenkman.

Pande, C. G. (1984). Foundations of Indian culture: Spiritual vision and symbolic forms in ancient India. New Delhi: Books & Books.

Pert, C. (2001, May 26). The matter of emotions. Paper presented at the Remaining Human Forum, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Reichel-Dolmatoff, G. (1975). The shaman and the jaguar: A study of narcotic drugs among the Indians of Colombia. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Riba, J., Rodriguez-Fornells, A., Urbano, G., Morte, A., Antonijoan, R., Montero, M., Callaway, J.C., & Barbanoj, M.J. (2001). Subjective effects and tolerability of the South American psychoactive beverage Ayahuasca in healthy volunteers. Psychopharmacology. 154, 85-95.

Riba, J., Rodriguez-Fornells, A., Strassman, R.J., & Barbanoj, M.J. (2001). Psychometric assessment of the Hallucinogen Rating Scale in two different populations of hallucinogen users. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 62(3): 215-223.

Ruck, C., Bigwood, J., Staples, B., Ott, J., & Wasson, R. G. (1979). Entheogens. The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs. 11(1-2), 145-146.

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Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). (1973). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Entheogens & Existential Intelligence: The Use of Plant ...

Entheogens and Psychedelics including Ayahuasca, LSD, Peyote …

1.Entheogens & Psychedelics

"'Entheogen' is a word coined by scholars proposing to replace the term 'psychedelic' (Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott & Wasson, 1979), which was perceived to be too socioculturally loaded from its 1960s roots to appropriately denote the revered plants and substances used for traditional sacred rituals.What kinds of plants or chemicals fall into the category of entheogen is a matter of debate, as a large number of inebriants - from tobacco and marijuana to alcohol and opium - have been venerated as gifts from the gods (or God) in different cultures at different times (Fuller, 2000). For the purposes of this paper, however, I will focus on the class of drugs that Lewin (1924/1997) terms 'phantastica,' a name deriving from the Greek word for the faculty of the imagination (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1973). Later these substances became known as hallucinogens or psychedelics, a class whose members include lysergic acid derivatives, psilocybin, mescaline and dimethyltryptamine; these all shared physical, chemical, and, when ingested, phenomenological properties and, more importantly, have a history of ritual use as cultural tools to cure illness and/or to mediate cosmological insight (Grinspoon & Bakalar, 1998; Rudgley, 1994, Schultes & Hofmann, 1992;)."

Tupper, Ken, "Entheogens & Education: Exploring the Potential of Psychoactives as Educational Tools," Journal of Drug Education and Awareness, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 146.https://www.researchgate.net/p...

"Another peculiar effect of these drugs is a dramatic change in perception: it appears to the person as if the eyes (the 'doors of perception') have been cleansed and the person could see the world as new in all respects 'as Adam may have seen it on the day of creation' as Aldous Huxley (1954, p. 17) pointed out in his popular and influential book. This new reality is perceived and interpreted by some individuals as manifestation of the true nature of their mind; hence, the term 'psychedelic' was suggested by Osmond (1957). This interpretation has been embraced not only by professional therapists but also by some segments of the public, and gave rise to the 'Summer of Love' in San Francisco in 1967 with free distribution of LSD. This perception resulted in the formation of numerous cults, communes, and drug-oriented religious groups (Freedman 1968), permeated the lyrics and style of popular music (acid rock), and was viewed by some as one of the contributing sources of the occasional resurgence of popularity of illegal drug use (Cohen 1966, Szra 1968)."

Szra, Stephen, "Are Hallucinogens Psychoheuristic," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1994) NIDA Research Monograph 146, p. 36.http://archives.drugabuse.gov/...

"The term 'hallucinogen' is widely used and understood in both professional and lay circles, in spite of the fact that hallucinations in the strict psychiatric sense of the word are a relatively rare effect of these drugs (Hollister 1962). What is probably the first reference to hallucinations as produced by peyote appears in Louis Lewins book published in 1924 in German and later translated into English with the nearly identical title Phantastica (Lewin 1924, 1964). In this book by the noted German toxicologist, the term 'hallucinatoria' appears as a synonym for phantastica to designate the class of drugs that can produce transitory visionary states 'without any physical inconvenience for a certain time in persons of perfectly normal mentality who are partly or fully conscious of the action of the drug' (Lewin 1964, p. 92). Lewin lists peyotl (also spelled 'peyote') (Anhalonium lewinii), Indian hemp (Cannabis indica), fly agaric (Agaricus muscarius), thornapple (Datura stramonium), and the South American yahe (also spelled 'yage') (Banisteria caapi) as representatives of this class."

Szra, Stephen, "Are Hallucinogens Psychoheuristic," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1994) NIDA Research Monograph 146, p. 34.http://archives.drugabuse.gov/...

"Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea originally from the Amazon Basin that is supposedly able to induce strikingly similar visions in people independent of their cultural background. Ayahuasca users commonly claim that this regularity across peoples visions is evidence that their visions are not simply the products of their own brains, but rather are representations of spiritual information learned from plant-spirits that one gains access to by drinking the tea."

Anderson, Brian, ""Entheogenic Visions: The Sacred Union of Word & Image," Undergraduate Humanities Forum, Mellon Research Fellows 2005-2006, Word & Image (Philadelphia, PA: May 5, 2006), pp. 2 and 30.http://repository.upenn.edu/...

"Ayahuasca is a psychedelic decoction made from plants native to the Amazon Basinmost often Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridisand which contains harmala alkaloids and N,Ndimethyltryptamine (DMT), the latter being a controlled substance scheduled under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances."

Anderson, B. T.; Labate, B. C.; Meyer, M.; Tupper, K. W.; Barbosa, P. C. R.; Grob, C. S.; Dawson, A. & McKenna, D., "Statement on ayahuasca,". International Journal of Drug Policy (London, United Kingdom: International Harm Reduction Association, March 2012) Vol. 23, No. 2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"On February 21 of this year, 2006, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal (the UDV) in the case Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. Petitioners v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal et al. The UDV is now legally allowed to drink ayahuasca (which contains the controlled substance DMT) in their ceremonies here in the US."

Anderson, Brian, ""Entheogenic Visions: The Sacred Union of Word & Image," Undergraduate Humanities Forum, Mellon Research Fellows 2005-2006, Word & Image (Philadelphia, PA: May 5, 2006), pp. 2 and 30.http://repository.upenn.edu/...

"Cross-cultural vegetalismo refers to ayahuasca ceremonies based, to varying degrees, on vegetalismo or equivalent traditions from other regions of the Amazon, but conducted primarily for (and increasingly by) non-Amazonians. Urban centres in the region are presently witnessing a boom in what has been pejoratively characterized as 'ayahuasca tourism' (Dobkin de Rios, 1994; see also Davidov, 2010; Holman, 2011; Razam, 2009), but cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies are also increasingly common outside the Amazon (Labate, 2004). Canadians and other foreigners regularly invite indigenous or mestizo Amazonian ayahuasqueros to their home countries to conduct ceremonies for people in the circles and networks of the sponsors friends and acquaintances (Tupper, 2009asee Appendix). Some individuals are undertaking apprenticeships in the vegetalismo tradition to become neo-shamanic practitioners of ayahuasca healing, in a manner similar to how yoga, Buddhist monastic, ayurvedic, or Chinese medicine practices have been taken up by modern Western disciples exogenous to the respective cultures and traditions of origin."

Tupper, Kenneth William, "Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy," University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC: April 2011), pp. 14-15.http://www.kentupper.com...

"Vegetalismo is a Peruvian Spanish term denoting the folk healing traditions of mestizo curanderos, or healers of mixed indigenous and non-indigenous ancestry who use ayahuasca and other 'master' plants for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses (Beyer, 2009; Dobkin de Rios, 1972; Luna, 1986). Known as ayahuasqueros, such folk healers undergo a rigorous process of initiation and training, requiring adherence to strict dietary and sexual abstinence protocols, and sometimes prolonged isolation in the jungle."

Tupper, Kenneth William, "Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy," PhD Thesis, University of British Columbia Faculty of Graduate Studies (Educational Studies) (Vancouver, BC: April 2011), pp. 14-15.http://www.kentupper.com...

"Aside from indicating a general lack of harm from the religious use of ayahuasca, biomedical and ethnographic studies have also generated preliminary evidence in support of the therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca or its constituents for alleviating substance dependence (Grob et al., 1996; Labate, Santos, Anderson, Mercante, & Barbosa, 2010) and mood and anxiety disorders (Fortunato et al., 2010; Santos, Landeira-Fernandez, Strassman, Motta, & Cruz, 2007). The study of ayahuasca could thus contribute to advances in ethnopharmacology and the cognitive sciences (Shanon, 2002), yet such studies are severely compromised when these traditions face the threat of legal sanction."

Anderson, B. T.; Labate, B. C.; Meyer, M.; Tupper, K. W.; Barbosa, P. C. R.; Grob, C. S.; Dawson, A. & McKenna, D., "Statement on ayahuasca,". International Journal of Drug Policy (London, United Kingdom: International Harm Reduction Association, March 2012) Vol. 23, No. 2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It was discovered in 1938 and is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide)also known as acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, sugar cubes, trips, tabs, or window panes is one of the most potent moodand perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. It is a clear or white, odorless, water-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is initially produced in crystalline form, which can then be used to produce tablets known as 'microdots' or thin squares of gelatin called 'window panes.' It can also be diluted with water or alcohol and sold in liquid form. The most common form, however, is LSD-soaked paper punched into small individual squares, known as 'blotters.'"

"Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs, including LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 2001), p. 3.http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs in people under the influence of LSD. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The users sense of time and self is altered. Experiences may seem to cross over different senses, giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD."LSD users can also experience flashbacks, or recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience. Flashbacks occur suddenly, often without warning, and may do so within a few days or more than a year after LSD use. In some individuals, the flashbacks can persist and cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning, a condition known as hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD)."Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, LSD does produce tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. In addition, cross-tolerance between LSD and other hallucinogens has been reported.

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfro...

"Past-year use of LSD, one of the major drugs in the hallucinogen class, has been hovering for about a decade at its lowest levels recorded by the study (Figure 5-4e). In 2015 the levels of use for students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade were 0.9%, 2.0%, and 2.9%, respectively. Consistent with most other drugs, use increased during the 1990s relapse and peaked in the mid-1990s. It then subsequently declined to its lowest levels ever in the early 2000s, where it has since plateaued."LSD was one of the first drugs to decline at the start of the 1980s, almost surely due to increased information about its potential dangers. The subsequent increase in its use during the mid-1980s may reflect the effects of generational forgettingthat is, replacement cohorts know less than their predecessors about the potential dangers of LSD because they have had less exposure to the negative consequences of using the drug.3"We believe that the decline prior to 2002 might have resulted in part from a displacement of LSD by sharply rising ecstasy use. After 2001, when ecstasy use itself began to decline, the sharp further decline in LSD use likely resulted from a sudden drop in the availability of LSD, because attitudes generally have not moved in a way that could explain the fall in use, while perceived availability has."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., OMalley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 19752015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 161. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...http://monitoringthefuture.org...

"Our results indicate that this population of sexually active female adolescents and young adults have similar rates of lifetime use of LSD (13%) as reported in other surveys,1,30 and half of these young women report using LSD one or more times in the last year. Prior data suggests that the use of hallucinogens by African Americans is virtually nonexistent across all ages of adolescents and young adults.2,9 In fact, we found that none of our African American young women reported using LSD. However, the proportion of African Americans who reported using marijuana was much greater than either caucasian or Mexican American women."

Rickert, Vaughn I.; Siqueira, Lorena M.; Dale, Travis; and Wiemann, Constance M., "Prevalence and Risk Factors for LSD Use among Young Women," Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (Washington, DC: North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, April 2003) Volume 16, Issue 2, p. 72.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...http://www.jpagonline.org/...

"The effects of LSD depend largely on the amount taken. LSD causes dilated pupils; can raise body temperature and increase heart rate and blood pressure; and can cause profuse sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfro...

"Chemist Albert Hofmann, working at the Sandoz Corporation pharmaceutical laboratory in Switzerland, first synthesized LSD in 1938. He was conducting research on possible medical applications of various lysergic acid compounds derived from ergot, a fungus that develops on rye grass. Searching for compounds with therapeutic value, Hofmann created more than two dozen ergot-derived synthetic molecules. The 25th was called, in German, Lyserg-Sure-Dithylamid 25, or LSD-25."

"Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs, including LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 2001), p. 3.http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The physiological effects of this powerful drug have been well documented. These effects can be grouped into five general areas of action: LSD works on the sympathetic nervous system (which is involved in regulation of heart muscle, smooth muscle and glandular organs in a response to stressful situations); the motor system (which is involved in carrying out limb movements); the affective states; thought processes; and it has profound effects upon the sensory and perceptual experience.

"LSD is a semisynthetic preparation originally derived from ergot, an extract of the fungus Claviceps purpurea, which grows as a parasite on rye wheat. The dosage that is required to produce a moderate effect in most subjects is 1 to 3mcg per kilogram of body mass, and the effects can last from seven to 10 hours (Bowman & Rand 1980).

"Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system following LSD ingestion can lead to effects such as hypothermia with piloerection (hairs standing on end, such as can be found in reports of religious ecstasy), sweating, increased heart rate with palpitations, and elevation of blood pressure and blood glucose levels. These reactions of the autonomic nervous system are not as significant as other effects upon the body: action on the motor system can lead to increased activity of monosynaptic reflexes (such as the knee-jerk response), an increase in muscle tension, tremors, and muscular incoordination. This latter effect of muscular incoordination is also a symptom of religious ecstasy in many cultures, where the worshipper has such a profound feeling of love of God that he is said to be 'intoxicated by God.'"

Goodman, Neil, "The Serotonergic System and Mysticism: Could LSD and the Nondrug-Induced Mystical Experience Share Common Neural Mechanisms?" Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (San Francisco, CA: Haight Ashbury Publications, July-September 2002), Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 266.http://www.cnsproductions.com/...

"Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, LSD does produce tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. In addition, cross-tolerance between LSD and other hallucinogens has been reported."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Peyote is a small, spineless cactus in which the principal active ingredient is mescaline. This plant has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of religious ceremonies. Mescaline can also be produced through chemical synthesis."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The top of the peyote cactus, also referred to as the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried. These buttons are generally chewed or soaked in water to produce an intoxicating liquid. The hallucinogenic dose of mescaline is about 0.3 to 0.5 grams, and its effects last about 12 hours. Because the extract is so bitter, some individuals prefer to prepare a tea by boiling the cacti for several hours."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The long-term residual psychological and cognitive effects of mescaline, peyotes principal active ingredient, remain poorly understood. A recent study found no evidence of psychological or cognitive deficits among Native Americans that use peyote regularly in a religious setting.2 It should be mentioned, however, that these findings may not generalize to those who repeatedly abuse the drug for recreational purposes. Peyote abusers may also experience flashbacks."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Its effects can be similar to those of LSD, including increased body temperature and heart rate, uncoordinated movements (ataxia), profound sweating, and flushing. The active ingredient mescaline has also been associated, in at least one report, to fetal abnormalities."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is obtained from certain types of mushrooms that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. These mushrooms typically contain less than 0.5 percent psilocybin plus trace amounts of psilocin, another hallucinogenic substance."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Mushrooms containing psilocybin are available fresh or dried and are typically taken orally. Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and its biologically active form, psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine), cannot be inactivated by cooking or freezing preparations. Thus, they may also be brewed as a tea or added to other foods to mask their bitter flavor. The effects of psilocybin, which appear within 20 minutes of ingestion, last approximately 6 hours."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The active compounds in psilocybin-containing 'magic' mushrooms have LSD-like properties and produce alterations of autonomic function, motor reflexes, behavior, and perception.3 The psychological consequences of psilocybin use include hallucinations, an altered perception of time, and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose. Long-term effects such as flashbacks, risk of psychiatric illness, impaired memory, and tolerance have been described in case reports."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"[Psilocybin] can produce muscle relaxation or weakness, ataxia, excessive pupil dilation, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Individuals who abuse psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of many existing varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Overall, the present study shows that psilocybin can dose-dependently occasion mystical-type experiences having persisting positive effects on attitudes, mood, and behavior. The observations that episodes of extreme fear, feeling trapped, or delusions occur at the highest dose in almost 40% of volunteers, that anxiety and fear have an unpredictable time course across the session, and that an ascending sequence of dose exposure may be associated with long-lasting positive changes have implications for the design of therapeutic trials with psilocybin. Considering the rarity of spontaneous mystical experiences in the general population, the finding that more than 70% of volunteers in the current study had 'complete' mystical experiences suggests that most people have the capacity for such experiences under appropriate conditions and, therefore, such experiences are biologically normal."

Griffiths, Roland R.; Johnson, Matthew W.; Richards, William A.; Richards, Brian D.; McCann, Una; and Jesse, Robert, "Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects," Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: May 2011), p. 16.http://link.springer.com/artic...

"Today, the medical value of hallucinogens is again being examined in formal psychiatric settings. One substance under investigation is psilocybin, 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, which occurs in nature in various species of mushrooms. Psilocybin is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, which is a potent agonist at serotonin 5-HT1A/2A/2C receptors, with 5-HT2A receptor activation directly correlated with human hallucinogenic activity.16 Psilocybin was studied during the 1960s to establish its psychopharmacological profile; it was found to be active orally at around 10 mg, with stronger effects at higher doses, and to have a 4- to 6-hour duration of experience. Psychological effects were similar to those of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), with psilocybin considered to be more strongly visual, less emotionally intense, more euphoric, and with fewer panic reactions and less chance of paranoia than LSD."17,18

Grob, Charles S.; Danforth, Alicia L.; Chopra, Gurpreet S.; Hagerty, Marycie; McKay, Charles R.; Halberstadt, Adam L.; Greer, George R., "Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer, "Archives of General Psychiatry," (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, January 2011), Volume 68, Number 1, p. 71.http://www.scribd.com/doc/3703...

"An important finding of the present study is that, with careful volunteer screening and preparation and when sessions are conducted in a comfortable, well-supervised setting, a high dose of 30 mg/70 kg psilocybin can be administered safely. . It is also noteworthy that, despite meetings and prior sessions with monitors ranging from 8 h (when psilocybin was administered on the first session) up to 24 h (when psilocybin was administered on the third session) of contact time, 22% (8 of 36) of the volunteers experienced a period of notable anxiety/dysphoria during the session, sometimes including transient ideas of reference/paranoia. No volunteer required pharmacological intervention and the psychological effects were readily managed with reassurance. The primary monitor remained accessible via beeper/phone to each volunteer for 24 h after each session, but no volunteer called before the scheduled follow-up meeting on the next day. The 1-year follow-up is ongoing but has been completed by most volunteers (30 of 36). In that follow-up, an open-ended clinical interview reflecting on the study experiences and current life situation provides a clinical context conducive to the spontaneous reporting of study-associated adverse events. To date, there have been no reports of persisting perceptional phenomena sometimes attributed to hallucinogen use or of recreational abuse of hallucinogens, and all participants appear to continue to be high-functioning, productive members of society."

Griffiths, R. R.; Richards, W. A.; McCann, U.; Jesse, R., " Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance,"Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: August 2006), Volume 187, Number 3, p. 281.http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org...

"Our investigations provided no cause for concern that administration of PY [psilocybin] to healthy subjects is hazardous with respect to somatic health. However, as our data revealed tendencies of PY to temporarily increase blood pressure, we advise subjects suffering from cardiovascular conditions, especially untreated hypertension, to abstain from using PY or PY-containing mushrooms. Furthermore, our results indicate that PY-induced ASC [altered states of consciousness] are generally well tolerated and integrated by healthy subjects. However, a controlled clinical setting is needful, since also mentally stable personalities may, following ingestion of higher doses of PY, transiently experience anxiety as a consequence of loosening of ego-boundaries."

Hasler, Felix; Grimberg, Ulrike; Benz , Marco A.; Huber, Theo; and Vollenweider, Franz, "Acute psychological and physiological effects of psilocybin in healthy humans: a double-blind, placebo-controlled doseeffect study," Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: March 2004) Volume 172, Number 2, p. 151.http://www.beckleyfoundation.o...

"Despite the limitations, this study demonstrates that the careful and controlled use of psilocybin may provide an alternative model for the treatment of conditions that are often minimally responsive to conventional therapies, including the profound existential anxiety and despair that often accompany advanced-stage cancers. A recent review from the psilocybin research group at Johns Hopkins University describes the critical components necessary for ensuring subject safety in hallucinogen research.36 Taking into account these essential provisions for optimizing safety as well as adhering to strict ethical standards of conduct for treatment facilitators, the results provided herein indicate the safety and promise of continued investigations into the range of medical effects of hallucinogenic compounds such as psilocybin."

Grob, Charles S.; Danforth, Alicia L.; Chopra, Gurpreet S.; Hagerty, Marycie; McKay, Charles R.; Halberstadt, Adam L.; Greer, George R., "Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer, "Archives of General Psychiatry," (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, January 2011), Volume 68, Number 1, p. 77.http://www.scribd.com/doc/3703...

"Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant, which can grow to over three feet in height, has large green leaves, hollow square stems and white flowers with purple calyces, can also be grown successfully outside of this region. Salvia divinorum has been used by the Mazatec Indians for its ritual divination and healing. The active constituent of Salvia divinorum has been identified as salvinorin A. Currently, neither Salvia divinorum nor any of its constituents, including salvinorin A, are controlled under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA)."

Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control, "Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A," (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, October 2013).https://www.deadiversion.usdoj...

"Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive plant that can induce dissociative effects and is a potent producer of visual and other hallucinatory experiences. By mass, salvinorin A, the psychoactive substance in the plant, appears to be the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen. Its native habitat is the cloud forests in Mexico. It has been consumed for hundreds of years by local Mazatec shamans, who use it to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions.57 It is also used in traditional medicine at lower doses as a diuretic to treat ailments including diarrhoea, anaemia, headaches and rheumatism. Effects include various psychedelic experiences, including past memories (e.g. revisiting places from childhood memory), merging with objects and overlapping realities (such as the perception of being in several locations at the same time).58 In contrast to other drugs, its use often prompts dysphoria, i.e. feelings of sadness and depression, as well as fear. In addition, it may prompt a decreased heart rate, slurred speech, lack of coordination and possibly loss of consciousness.59"

UNODC, World Drug Report 2013 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.13.XI.6), p. 66.https://www.unodc.org/unodc/se...

"Consistent with results from nonhuman animal research (Mowry et al.,2003), the present results suggest a safe physiological profile for salvinorin A at the studied doses, under controlled conditions, and in psychologically and physically healthy hallucinogen-experienced participants. Salvinorin A produced no significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure; no tremor was observed; and no adverse events were reported. Participants tolerated all doses. However, because of the small sample and the healthy, hallucinogen-experienced status of participants, conclusions regarding safety are limited."

Johnson, Matthew W.; MacLean, Katherine A.; Reissig, Chad R.; Prisinzano, Thomas E.; Griffiths, Roland R., "Human sychopharmacology and dose-effects of salvinorin A, a kappa opioid," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: The College on Problems of Drug Dependence, December 3, 2010), p. 4-5.http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

"The putative primary psychoactive agent in SD [Salvia divinorum] is a structurally novel KOR [kappa opioid receptor] agonist named salvinorin A (Ortega et al., 1982; Valds et al., 1984). Consistent with KOR agonist activity, users describe SD in lay literature as hallucinogenic: it produces perceptual distortions, pseudo-hallucinations, and a profoundly altered sense of self and environment, including out-of-body experiences (Aardvark, 1998; Erowid, 2008; Siebert, 1994b; Turner, 1996). SD therefore appears to have the potential to elucidate the role of the KOR receptor system in health and disease (Butelman et al., 2004; Chavkin et al., 2004; Roth et al., 2002)."

Baggott, Matthew J.; Earth Erowid; Fire Erowid; Galloway, Gantt P.; Mendelson, John, "Use patterns and self-reported effects of Salvia divinorum: An internet-based survey," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: College on Problems of Drug Dependence, October 2010), p. 2.http://www.maps.org/w3pb/new/2...http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"There was little evidence of dependence in our survey population. At some point, 0.6% (3 people) felt addicted to or dependent upon SD, while 1.2% (6) reported strong cravings for SD. The DSM-IV-R psychiatric diagnostic system in the United States classifies people as drug dependent based on seven criteria. Of the three who reported feelings of addiction or dependence on SD, only one endorsed any DSM-IV criteria (strong cravings and using more SD than planned). When asked about these signs and symptoms individually, 2 additional respondents (0.4%) reported three dependence criteria. None of these individuals reported more than 2 of 13 after-effects characteristic of mu-opioid withdrawal (such as increased sweating, gooseflesh, worsened mood, and diarrhea)."

Baggott, Matthew J.; Earth Erowid; Fire Erowid; Galloway, Gantt P.; Mendelson, John, "Use patterns and self-reported effects of Salvia divinorum: An internet-based survey," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: College on Problems of Drug Dependence, October 2010), p. 4.http://www.maps.org/w3pb/new/2...

"A tripwire question asks about use of salvia (or salvia divinorum) in the last 12 months. Salvia is an herb with hallucinogenic properties, common to southern Mexico and Central and South Americas. Although it currently is not a drug regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, several states have passed legislation to regulate its use, as have several countries. The Drug Enforcement Agency lists salvia as a drug of concern and has considered classifying it as a Schedule I drug, like LSD or marijuana. Annual prevalence of this drug has been in a steady decline, and in 2015 levels were only 0.7%, 1.2%, and 1.9% among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., OMalley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 19752015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 93. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...http://monitoringthefuture.org...

Here is the original post:

Entheogens and Psychedelics including Ayahuasca, LSD, Peyote ...

Erowid Psychoactive Vaults : Term Definitions

ENTHEOGENtheo=god, spiritgen=creation

Substances which generate god or spirit within. Peyote or psilocybin mushrooms are traditional examples of this.

(from Entheogens and the Future of Religion)

Carl A.P. Ruck, Danny Staples, Jeremy Bigwood and I, in collaboration with Wasson, proposed the neologism entheogen[ic] in 1973, as a term "appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs." Noting that shamanic inebriants did not provoke hallucinations or other psychiatric pathologies, we deemed hallucinogen[ic], psychotomimetic and its congeners to be pejorative, prejudicing "transcendent and beatific states of communion with deity" characteristic of traditional use of visionary drugs. We noted that, besides being pejorative outside of the counterculture, psychedelic was "so invested with connotations of the popculture of the 1960s that it is incongruous to speak of a shaman's taking a 'psychedelic' drug."

Entheogen[ic] (literally 'becoming divine within') was derived from an obsolete Greek word describing religious communion with visionary drugs, prophetic seizures and erotic passion, and is cognate with the common word enthusiasm. Since the neologism is apposite to traditional contexts of use of shamanic inebriants, it has met with an enthusiastic reception by ethnographers and historians, and has appeared in print in all of the major European languages, plus Catalin. Entheogen[ic] has now become the primary term for shamanic inebriants in the Spanish-speaking world, and bids fair to become the predominant term for these drugs in the ethnographic and ethnopharmacognostical literature worldwide.

Although we have thus elegantly solved the problem of a culturally-appropriate, non-pejorative term to describe the context of use of these drugs, the phytochemists and pharmacologists have yet to agree on a term to categorize their pharmacological action. There is no facile chemical classification, as many structural types of alkalolds, terpenoids, amino acids, even coumarins are psychoactive in various shamanic inebriants. Similarly, there is considerable pharmacological variability within this class of drugs. Hallucinogen[ic] remains the predominant term for the older generation of scientists, despite the fact that most of these drugs usually do not produce hallucinations in the clinical sense.

Psychedelic is still much used by younger scientists, but generally only in reference to drugs with effects like LSD or mescaline; while important shamanic inebriants like the mushroom Amanita muscaria(l. ex Fr.) Pers. ex Gray, the mint Salvia divinorum Epling et Jativa, tobacco (the shamanic drug of the Americas par excellence)-- all likewise used culturally as entheogens--are said not to evoke psychedelic effects. Although we may presently speak of all these shamanic 'plant-teachers' as entheogenic drugs or as entheogens, we as yet have no single word to describe their pharmacological effects, and must still have recourse to cumbersome binomials, like visionary effects, ecstatic effects, etc.; and we might just as well resurrect the obscure, but quite elegant, term psychoptic: 'producing mental or spiritual vision.'

Definition of "Entheogen"by R. Gordon Wasson

ENTHEOGEN nov. verb.: 'God within us', those plant substances that, when ingested, give one a divine experience, in the past commonly called 'hallucinogens', 'psychedelics', 'psychotomimetics', etc etc, to each of which serious objections can be made. A group headed by the Greek scholar Carl A.P. Ruck advances 'entheogen' as fully filling the need, notably catching the rich cultural resonances evoked by the substances, many of them fungal, over vast areas of the world in proto- and prehistory. See Journal of Psychedelic Drugs Vol 11.1-2, 1979, pp 145-6. We favor the adoption of this word. Early Man, throughout much of Eurasia and the Americas, discovered the properties of these substances and regarded them with profound respect and even awe, hedging them about with bonds of secrecy. We are now rediscovering the secret and we should treat the 'entheogens' with the respect to which they were richly entitled. As we undertake to explore their role in the early history of religions, we should call them by a name unvulgarized by hippy abuse."

Substances which cause or help one to identify with the feelings of others or feel a sense of connectedness with others. MDMA is a good example.

The term was originally coined by Dave Nichols (co-founder of the Heffter Institute) to refer to substances which generate a sense of "the touch within". Again, a good examples of this would be MDMA. Entactogen is used interchangeably with empathogen, by some. However, the literal derivation of the word --to create or causes a change in the sense of touch--has also led to the word being used to describe substances which affect an individual's physical sensations of touch.

Literally, substances which cause dreams. . . or which cause changes in or effect to dreams.

Describes substances that, to some measure, duplicate the symptoms of mental illness and, as such, might serve as exploratory tools in the study of some forms of psychosis and sensory disorder.-- from TIHKAL

Substances which create sensory experiences in the mind (cause hallucinations).

Coined by Humphry Osmond in his 1957 article "A Review of the Clinical Effects of Psychotomimetic Agents".

Originally posted here:

Erowid Psychoactive Vaults : Term Definitions

Entheogens and the Future of Religion: Robert Forte …

...the book represents a call for a revival of scientific and religious inquiry into entheogens as a means of cultivating spiritual awareness. (The Scientific and Medical Network, July 2012)

Offers a thoughtful, sane examination of a topic of great social, psychological, and religious significance. (Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of California)

Essential reading for everyone concerned with spiritual, psychological, and social well-being. A fascinating and significant collection. (Frances Vaughan, Ph.D., author of Shadows of the Sacred and The Inward Arc)

Collectively, these essays constitute the best single inquiry into the religious significance of chemically occasioned mystical experiences that has yet appeared. (Huston Smith, Ph.D., author of The Worlds Religions)

This book provides a balanced, thoroughly researched, and clear account about a topic that has fascinated people for centuries--even millennia--and will be with us, one way or another, for a long time to come. (Harvey Cox, Ph.D., professor of divinity at Harvard University and author of The Future of Faith)

This book of essays plows new ground in the relationship between entheogens and religion. It is well worth reading. Any path that can bring the human family closer together should be investigated. (Rev. Dr. Kenneth B. Smith, president of the Chicago Theology Seminary)

An important book for anyone who cares about the future of the human race. The sensible use of entheogens is one of most promising paths to deep spiritual insight for many people, and this book shows how that could be done--if we care enough. (Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology, University of California)

We have long needed this well-articulated, thoughtful, and rational basis for understanding the power of psychedelic biomechanicals to stimulate visionary experience. These essays make a strong case for the use of these substances in future religious practice. (Frank Barron, Ph.D., Sc.D., author of No Rootless Flower: An Ecology of Creativity)

If you want more than emotional and subjective outpourings about entheogens, and if you think like I do that unless we expand our awareness we will not have a happy future, then this is a book to read. (Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, author of From Age-ing to Sage-ing)

See the rest here:

Entheogens and the Future of Religion: Robert Forte ...

Entheogens – The SpiritWiki

Alas! the forbidden fruits were eaten,

And thereby the warm life of reason congealed.A grain of wheat eclipsed the sun of Adam,Like as the Dragon's tail dulls the brightness of the moonRumi

An entheogen is a psychoactive substance (or Crown Activator) used in a spiritual or shamanic context. The term was first coined by Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott, and Wasson (1979) and literally means "becoming the god within" or becoming divine within (Ott, 1996). Entheogens either come directly from plant sources (e.g., Psilocybin) or are derived, as is the case with LSD, in the laboratory. Entheogens contain molecules closely related to endogenous neurochemicals and have been shown to directly provoke Mystical Experiences. Entheogens may be contrasted with Empathogens which primarily act on the Heart Chakra.

Entheogens have been used in spiritual rituals and as components of Shamanic practice for centuries (Furst, 1972, 1976; Harner, 1973; Stafford, 1992; Wasson, 1957, 1968). Following the synthesis of D-lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD-25) by Hofmann at Sandoz laboratories in 1943, and psilocybin (CY-39) in 1958 (also by Hoffman), entheogens became a topic of psychological and spiritual research in universities. This eventually led, mostly via the psychedelic evangelism of Timothy Leary (1988, 2001), to the mass availability of LSD and other entheogens and a continent-wide expansion of consciousness that penetrated rapidly into the arts and, by the late sixties, was threatening to topple many of the established institutions of The System. As a result of the revolutionary potential of entheogens, and only a few years after their popularization in America legislators, presumably reacting to the clear and unequivocal ability of entheogens to unlock and unblock the crown chakra (Grof, 1973) and free consciousness from the system imposed consciousness straightjacket (Sharp, 2004), prohibited sale and possession of all such substances. This despite the fact that, even then, there were few indications of any short or long term negative outcomes as a result of the ingestion of psychoactive substances (Strassman, 1984; Wells, 2007). Indeed, when compared against the [negative outcomes of alcohol use], and the clear and documented spiritual and psychological benefits of entheogens (see below), citing social pathology, addiction, or psychosis as the reason for anti-entheogen legislation is highly absurd.

Recent years have seen a repopularization of psychoactive substances. Wells (2007) reports growing legal recognition of the role of psychoactive substances in religious rituals in the U.S.A and elsewhere when used within the context of established religious institutions. Wells points to the Native American Church (NAC) in the U.S.A as a successful model for the integration of prescribed substances into religious ritual. Gains have been slow, however, and government resistance is still strong.

While much of the government responses to psychoactive substances can be considered formally repressive and an attempts to prevent the spiritual awakening and empowerment of individuals and society (Dobkin de Rios and Smith,1977), there is legitimate cause for concern. As Halpern (2004), Fisher (1963) and others point out, Set and Setting is a critical component and determines, to a large measure, the psychedelic/entheogenic experience. Unguided ingestion of powerful psychedelics without proper preparation can lead to Spiritual Psychopathology and either long term, low grade neurosis or acute psychotic breaks (Sharp, 2009). This is currently the professional reason cited for confining the experience to controlled religious and or institutional settings.

Lysergic Acid Diethylamide-25 (LSD) : First synthesized by Hoffman in 1943, LSD is clearly the most powerful Crown Activator in existence. It is five thousand times more powerful than mescaline and can trigger profound activations in doses as small as 10 to 20 micrograms (1 microgram is equal to 1 millionth of a gram) (Grof, 1976). LSD aggressively activates the crown chakra even against attempts to actively maintain the illusionary realities of the ego. Bad trips often result out of attempts, on the part of the ingestor, to control the experience and prevent insight which they may feel threatens the integrity of their system fed self image. As everyone who has ever commented on the use of LSD has said, Set and Setting are critical components of positive and therapeutic LSD experiences.

Ayahuasca: Amazonian psychoactive containing harmala alkaloids and dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

Peyote: also known as Lophophora williamsii, is a hallucinogenic cactus native to Mexico and the American South West. The psychoactive ingredient is mescaline. Mescaline appears to provide safe and gentle Crown Activation, as opposed to L.S.D. which can dramatic and pre-emptive. Bergman (1971) reports peyote to be ultra safe indicating that of 70,000 ingestions, only one case of pychotic sequelae was ever confirmed.

Iboga: Also known as Tabernanthe iboga, native to central Africa, and associated with the Bwiti native cult. The principle psychoactive agent it Ibogain.

Marijuana: A mild hallucinogenic. In the ancient world, used by Hindi sects and Persian mystics (Gelpe, 1981). In low doses I hypothesis it can be used to enhance perception, raise intelligence, and enhance creativity. In higher doses, or in combination with high doses of alcohol, the positive action can be reversed and Crown Intoxication can occur.

Ergot: Dannaway, Piper and Webster (2006) make a strong case for the psychedelic properties of parasitic fungus of wheat known as ergot. They even provide an informally tested recipe (Webster, P., Perrine, D.M., Ruck, C.A.P., 2000) for brewing the Kykeon as evidence of its potential as an entheogen and to strengthen arguments made in the scholarly literature of it's potential use as such in sacred (and often secret) rituals in Egypt, Greece, India and the Middle East including Jewish and Greek mystery schools and Shia Gnosticism (Dannaway, et. al., 2006). References to a psychedelic derivative of ergot as The Tree of Life or the Wine of Light, with mystical references to the Grail mythology Corbin (1989), are provided by Dannaway et. al. (2006).

It was hypothesized by psychedelic researchers in the late 50s and '60s that psychedelic drugs could have considerable therapeutic value. According to theorists of the time, the value of the psychedelic experience was in its ability to raise unconscious materials, overcome resistances (Fisher, 1963) or activate dormant neural pathways (Leary, 1988) in order to open up consciousness. However, a better theoretical explanation of the positive therapeutic value of psychedelics can be found by conceiving of psychedelic drugs as Crown and Third Eye Activators. The ingestion of entheogenic substances leads to the sensitization (or awakening and integration) of the Central Nervous System (CNS). This sensitization enhances the functioning of the Brain. Senses become more acute, intelligence is enhanced, and eventually insight becomes routine. Interestingly enough, shortly after I conceived of entheogens as crown activators, I read an article by Grof (1973) who argues basically the same thing. Based on his observation of 2,600+ LSD sessions, he concluded that LSD (and presumably other entheogens) should be considered an unspecific amplifier or catalyst of mental processes that confronts the experiencer with his own unconscious. (Grof, 1973: 17; 1976). Grof based his conclusion primarily on the liquid nature of entheogen experiences. Out of the thousands of treatments he administered, he could find no single phenomenon, mandatory pharmacological effect (Grof, 1976: 26) that could be considered an invariant product of the chemical action of the drug in any areas studiedperceptual, emotional, ideational, and physical. In addition, many typical LSD experiences are indistinguishable from those induced by a variety of non-drug methods, such as various spiritual practices, hypnosis, sleep and sensory deprivation (Grof, 1972: 18). Interestingly, Metzner's (1998: 335) echoes Grofs typification by suggesting that entheogens function as amplifiers or microscopes. My suggestion that entheogens are Crown Activators is supported by the psychopharmacology of Entheogens (Winkelman, 2001) which operate, according to Nichols (2006: 285) to depolarize serotonin 5-HT2a receptors in the apical dendrites of cortical pyramid cells thus making receptors "more sensitive to low-level signals." Nichols suggests (Ibid.) that entheogens amplify processes that are normally running, but which are not generally apparent in everyday awareness! Winkelman (2001) argues that entheogens function as psychointegrators whose effects provoke limbic discharge patterns that produce enhanced interhemispheric synchronization and increased communication interaction between the frontal hemispheres, and between the lower brain areas and frontal cortex (Winkleman, 2001: 220).

What is the result of this heightened sensitization of the CNS? Like turning on a lamp in a dark room, the activation (or sensitization) of the CNS (i.e., Crown Chakra and Third Eye Chakra) via the ingestion of entheogens gives the individual heightened awareness of internal and external realities. Given the pathological social systems in place, to a greater or lesser degree in all countries on this planet, there is always a therapeutic element to the initial use of entheogens.

In initial uses, entheogens help the individual confront formerly repressed memories and issues (Grof, 1976; Ling & Buckman, 1964). Once repressed memories have been accommodated and reconsolidated (references), energy within the neural system is freed and activity in these formerly repressed areas increases. It is important to note that repression may run deep. Continued exploration and activation via entheogen use may eventually uncover past life memory traces which have been encoded in DNA but that lie buried (Sharp, 2004) deep within the genetic pathways of the body. Past life traces are open to accommodation and reconsolidation as well. If this process is taken far enough, that is if, through the use of entheogens the individual is able to recover a fully functioning CNS, then mystical experiences become probable even with the use of mild entheogens such as Marijuana.

Up until to point of the reconsolidation of memories, materialist explanations are adequate for understanding the action of entheogens. Entheogens sensitize or amplify sense and sensation giving us access to a world of inner and out experience that we normally do not have access to (Nichols, 2006). However, when the Crown Chakra has recovered enough to enable mystical experiences, i.e., those that clearly go beyond dealing with repressed issues, maladaptive behaviors, or social repression, then materialist explanations are no longer a satisfactory explanation. At the point of the Mystical Experience, we must begin developing new theoretical perspectives based on full scale spiritual ontologies (Sharp, 2007) and cosmologies (Sharp, 2006). In this case we can say that full activation of the crown chakra (even if only temporarily) leads to contact with the Fabric of Consciousness. The need for expanded ontologies was recognized early with the formation of Transpersonal Psychology, which is psychological force firmly rooted in early entheogen research.

Once we overcome Naive Materialism and accept the reality of a universe embedded, created, and flowing from consciousness (Sharp, 2007; 2006), conceiving of psychedelic experience in this way is parsimonious and logical. This spiritual interpretation is supported by almost all personal and scientific accounts of advanced psychedelic experiences which often describe connection with "ultimate realities" and "higher selves" free of the physical, temporal, and conceptual limitations of the individual "perishable" self, where everything is collapsed into a "single reality" and where all things, all beings, are seen as united and unified with a "central being" or consciousness (Sherwood, Stolaroff, and Harman, 1962). For more information see Crown Activation.

Although most researchers would agree the ingestion of entheogens in uncontrolled situations, without formal preparation, and in negative set and settings, can lead to psychological damage (i.e., bad trips) there is almost no evidence to suggest that the ingestion of entheogens in controlled settings has any negative consequences whatsoever. In 1981 R. Gelpke reported on over a dozen self experiments with LSD and Psilocybin. After ingesting relatively very high doses (1981: 82), he suggests I have been unable to identify any sign at all of addiction, organic injury, or other, in some way unpleasant after effects concluding that The designation narcotics (Rauschgifte) is completely out of place for this type of drug. (1981: 82). Similarly Strassman (1984) found an extremely low incidence of negative psychological effect.

In 1969 Timothy Leary reported the result of his Harvard-Concord Prison Project where he administered a total of 168 doses of Psilocybin (i.e., Magic Mushroom) to prison inmates of Concord Correctional Facility in Massachusetts. At the completion of his trials he noted that not only was Psilocybin safe (he reported no instances of violence, lasting disturbance, or negative effect despite the fact that all doses were administered within an extremely negative institutional context), but was dramatically therapeutic saying that the entheogen produced "temporary states of spiritual conversion, interpersonal closeness, and psychological insight." (Leary, 1969: 35). Leary even reported reduction in recidivism and attributed this to the personal insights and interpersonal connections gained by prison inmates who ingested the substance, going so far as to suggest that psilocybin is "a dramatically useful, educational and rehabilitative instrument." (Leary, 1969: 35).

In addition to the positive outcomes reported by Leary, his article is also interesting for its emphasis on creating and appropriate Set and Setting prior to ingesting entheogens, and in his admission of the difficulty of measuring positive outcome.

You can work with 1,000 people and help every one of them change their way of thinking and their way of acting, but there are no statistics like hits, runs, and errors to tabulate your score. The problem is that half the people you help are going to get better jobs, and half of them are going to quit the jobs they have. Half of them may increase the intimacy and closeness and meaning in their marriages, but the other half may leave their wives. Changing a person's psyche is one thing, but measuring results in an observable way is another thing. (Leary, 1969: 32)

In 1963 the editors of Psychedelic Review reported on several studies conducted in Saskatchewan, Canada (e.g., Sven, 1962: Smith, 1958) investigating the efficacy of using psychedelic substances to treat chronic alcoholics. According to the editors, only the most difficult of chronic cases were selected. The editors report those treated with psychedelic drugs showed "significantly more improvement" over those in control groups. "Of the patients who received psychedelic drugs, 72%...were judged improved after one year, as contrasted to 46%...who were followed up in control groups (1963: 207). Similar positive results were reported by Maclean et. al (1961) , also reporting improvement in personality trait and anxiety disorders. A case study by Mikuriya (1970) also reported positive results when substituting cannabis for alcohol noting, based on the self reports of his case study, that cannabis had none of the deleterious effects of alcohol (i.e., suicidal ideation, blackouts, promiscuity, depression, over consumption) and in fact was associated with a reduction in depression, absence of withdrawal symptoms, enhanced emotional and physical control, and increased adaptability.

Later research (Dobkin, Grob, and Baker, 2002) examined a wider variety of entheogenic substances and found generally positive results with Drug Substitution, i.e, substituting "non harmful" psychedelics for harmful drugs like alcohol and highly addictive opiates. Drugs investigated have included Peyote (Bergman, 1971), Ayahuasca (McKenna, Callaway, and Grob, 1988), and Iboga. In general all research shows no negative outcome and, in some cases, dramatically positive outcome (Grof, 1976). So much so that Menninger (1971) suggested of peyote that it "was a better antidote to alcohol than anything the missionaries, the White Man, the American Medical Association, and the Public Health services have come up with."

Link and Buckman (1964) report the successful treatment of female frigidity with the use of LSD. Their case study participant reports, over the course of several sessions, the gradual recover of childhood memories of rejection, sexual abuse, and rape all of which are successfully processed to the point total cure. A similar study was conducted by Martin (1925) with day patients displaying various forms of psychoneurosis. Martin reports significant improvement in forty-five (45) of fifty (50) subjects, many of which showed retrieval of unconscious trauma and subsequent processing to the point of cure.

Bergman (1971) reports positive effects of peyote on the physical, mental, and social well being of those who ingest it. Between the years 1967 and 1972, Stanislav Grof and his colleagues at Spring Grove State Hospital in Baltimore showed LSD combined with psychotherapy could alleviate symptoms of depression, tension, anxiety, sleep disturbances, psychological withdrawal and even severe physical pain. (Brown, 2007).

Grof (1976) reported that LSD significantly enhanced the creative process leading to insights into the nature of the creative process[and] new understanding[s] of art. Painters, sculptors, and musicians were able to produce under the influence of LSD most interesting and unconventional pieces of art which differed considerably from their usual modes of expression. (pp. 3). In the same volume Grof also points to voluminous evidence indicating the utility of LSD in psychotherapy and the generation of mystical experiences. Grof concludes, based on his detailed analytical scrutiny that LSD could become an unrivaled tool for deep personality diagnostics. (Groft, 1976: 19).

It should be noted that most early studies lack experimental rigor and would not be considered adequate by todays methodological standards. However given the initial excitement generated by entheogens in the treatment of psychological pathology, modern research seems warranted.

Roberts (1999) argues convincingly for the need to investigate a possible connection between entheogen generated mystical experiences and the enhancement of the immune system. Roberts cites research (McClelland and Cheriff, 1997; Stone et. al, 1996; Stone, et. al, 1987; Valdimarsdottir and Stone, 1997; Valdimarsdottir and Bovbjerg, 1997) pointing to the fact that mood mediates salivery IgA (an important measure of immune system function) and suggests that the positive outcomes of mystical experiences may be found to influence levels of salivary IgA (a particularly easy immunoglobulin to measure).

Hayes (2007) has suggested that psilocybin could be used in gender role, family, or marital counseling and Fisher (1973) reported a miracle cure of a chronically dysfunctional young man with only a single high-dose treatment of LSD. The broad applicability of entheogens to psychopathology is also supported by the rich autobiographical accounts of early Psychonauts like Lilly 1972), and transpersonal psychologists like Grof (1985) who report that entheogens provide powerful assistance in uncovering childhood repressions, trauma, irrationalities, and in recovering the higher facilities and abilities of the Physical Unit. His commentary on his own, catholic derived stereotypes of women (i.e., as evil temptresses) is highly suggestive.

For more research, and evidence supporting my hypothesis that entheogens function as crown activators, see the Spiritwiki article on Crown Activation

Fisher (1963) indicates that dosage is not a crucial factor in determining the experience of those ingesting psychedelic drugs pointing to Set and Setting as crucial determinants. Fisher (1963) does however provide guidance and a therapeutic protocol that includes monitoring anxiety levels, carefully adjusting set (as much as possible) and setting, and even using mild sedatives prior to therapeutic interventions to calm anxiety. See also Chwelos, Blewett, Smith, and Hoffer (1959), Stolaroff (1999) and the SpiritWiki page on Set and Setting.

It is now acknowledged in the mainstream popular scientific literature (Brown, 2007) that we are seeing a quiet resurgence of interest in psychedelics. Primarily this interest and research is concerned with the potential for entheogens to treat chronic depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcoholism or drug dependency (Brown, 2007). However there is a nascent awareness, even in the legal literature, that the therapeutic effects of entheogens are derived from the consciousness expanding effects (Chapkis, 2007) or, as I would say, crown activating properties of entheogens. In light of the fact that we have new and more sophisticated technologies and instrumentation, it seems unlikely that governments will be able to resist a growing push to allow the reasoned exploration of entheogens in the treatment of physical and psychological pathology and the expansion of consciousness.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogen

http://www.maps.org/

Chakra

Chakra System

Crown Activators

Harvard Psychedelic Research Project

Marshal Chapel Experiment

Mysticism

Mystics

Set and Setting

Transpersonal Psychology

References

Category:Scholarly

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Entheogens - The SpiritWiki

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 see the original:

Plants - Tribe of the Sun

Entheogens | Gornahoor

The use of mind-altering drugs has been associated with various mystical, magical, and shamanic rites. This is very appealing to the modern mind which is impressed by technological and materialistic explanations. Entheogens, or drug use for allegedly spiritual purposes, began to be widespread in the 1960s following the discovery of the psychedelic drug LSD and the ensuing publicity. The early adopters can be easily found, but we will focus on Timothy Leary, an erstwhile professor of psychology at Harvard University. He initially ran experiments with the drug as a form of therapy, but eventually began experimenting on himself and the group of acolytes who assembled around him.

Leary believed that psychedelics could open up the mind to greater spiritual experiences and encourage their use for explorers of the mind. The stars were aligned: the books of Carlos Castaneda came out shortly thereafter. Filled with wild tales of a Mexican shaman whose knowledge of plant-based drugs led to amazing powers, the books became the spiritual nourishment for many. The Beats became users as well as high profile entertainers. Even Alan Watts, after allegedly years of Eastern practices, eventually resorted to LSD experiments to learn about the mystical experience. For anyone who has spent hours at a Zen center walking in circles while chanting Buddhist texts, or sitting still in Zazen, the idea of an instant pill could sound truly appealing.

At any given moment we are bombarded with external sensations, a blooming buzzing confusion (William James), from which we choose a world. Simultaneously, although few pay attention to it, we are the receivers of thoughts of all types from various sources, or levels of reality. Normally, they dissipate or recede into the memory. Sometimes, the thoughts are powerful enough to come into our attention, then related thoughts latch onto each other, often producing a strong sensation. This may be as simple as reviewing plans for the day.

But the most powerful arise from the internal forces of eros and thymos, which, at the most primeval, are experienced as sex and violence. Hence, a sexual fantasy will totally engage our minds for an extended period, even to the point of affecting the body as if an actual sexual encounter were taking place. Fantasies arising from thymos usually take the form of domination, anger, revenge, and the like. Hence, we envision ourselves as wildly successful in some realm. Or we may recall a past slight, which even agitates the body. We will envision the cutting phrase we should have used against someone, but didnt. It goes on and on.

Most people, unfortunately, cannot shut these thought threads down. They may cause continuing anxiety and self-doubt. The neutralizing force, the nous, whose task is to dominate and channel the forces of eros and thymos, is too weak, or, in truth, is not even known. The nous must transcend these forces, fantasies, and thoughts, regarding them as arbitrary, contingent, and external to ones true self. Instead, people regard these emotions, fantasies, and thoughts as their own, even though they are totally unaware of their true source.

Psychedelics work by slowing down the awareness of these impinging thoughts. Thus, a particular thoughtthat may be pushed aside by a stronger thought in the ordinary state of consciousnessinstead can take hold in consciousness. Then, related thoughts can follow along in sequence producing an extended vision. This is called a rush, and is the pleasurable sensation associated with psychedelics. For artist and mystic types, these are regards as deep insights or creative inspirations. However, I have also seen those on a bad trip, during which the user experiences inconsolable anxiety, requiring an antidote such as thorazine.

It should be clear that the theory behind the use of enthogens for spiritual enlightenment is deeply flawed. It assumes that such enlightenment involves a particular experience, or set of experiences, that are somehow to be distinguished from all other experiences. This idea comes from the confusion of the psychic and the spiritual. ~ Rene Guenon, The Reign of Quantity

An intellectual conversion, the only thing that enlightenment can mean, involves the nous. The nous transcends the psychic, it transcends every experience whatsoever, whether a brilliant insight or a bad trip. Instead of moving from rush to rush, the mind becomes clear, thoughts separate from each other, are rarer, and seem heavier, or else are wispier, evaporating as soon as they appear. Such a man is free; by definition, then, it cannot depend on some biochemical agent.

Related

Continued here:

Entheogens | Gornahoor

Vex – Destinypedia, the Destiny encyclopedia

"I don't have time to explain why I don't have time to explain."This article has new content coming soonfrom Forsaken and may not be complete, confirmed, or correct. Please update it as soon as any relevant and accurate material is available. Editors must cite sources for all contributions to this article. Edits that do not follow this standard will be reverted without notice. For more information, see the Citation Policy. Vex Overview

Homeworld:

Black Garden

Focal world(s):

Mars Mercury Venus Nessus Io Leviathan

Goals:

Weave their way into the fabric of reality Protect Nessus from the Red Legion Unite on Mercury within the Infinite Forest

At war with:

Cabal Fallen Hive Taken The City

Distinctions:

Single red optic sensor Large, fan-like head Sparse frame, tails, and long claw-like fingers Biological Mind/Power Core (critical point)

Average lifespan:

Indefinite (possibly thousands of years old)[1]

Notable groups:

Hezen Corrective Hezen Protective Sol Primeval Sol Divisive Sol Imminent Virgo Prohibition Precursors Descendants Unidentified Vex collective

Notable individuals:

Argos, Planetary Core Atheon, Time's Conflux Brakion, Genesis Mind Panoptes, Infinite Mind Sekrion, Nexus Mind Theosyion, the Restorative Mind The Templar The Undying Mind Qodron, Gate Lord Zydron, Gate Lord

The Vex are a race of transtemporal, cybernetic[2] war-machines[3]referred to as a time-spanning thought-mesh by some[4]who are hostile to the Guardians.[5] They are encountered on Venus,[6] where they have built the Citadel and the Vault of Glass, and also on Mars, where they guard the entrance portal to the mysterious Black Garden.[7] Additionally, they have lay claim to Mercury and Nessus, both of which have been fully converted into Machine Worlds. [8]

Vex units come in a diverse array of shapes and sizes, but the majority share features such as triangular or conical "heads," single glowing photoreceptors, jointed limbs, and in several cases arrays of flexible tentacles. Despite their often animalistic appearance, the Vex appear to be mass-produced units, constructed of an unknown metal alloy resembling hammered brass.[10] Their robotic bodies still carry a hint of organic components, however, particularly in the form of their mind cores, which contain a milky radiolarian fluid seemingly central to Vex functionality.[11] Headshots do not do much damage and instead send them into a berserk state; however, shooting their abdomen power cores will cause them to explode.[12]

Each Vex chassis is a "vessel of bronze" where the Vex move through time and space in "rivers of thought".[13][14] Their chassis can be a wide variety of shapes: humanoid, creature, in-between, or other bizarre forms. These chassis resemble hammered brass, usually brown in color, though different Vex collectives can have unique colorations and even slight variations in overall design. The Vex travel to the Floating Gardens where they recycle their vessel when it is no longer functional to them.[15]

The Vex's origins are unknown. The earliest event associated with the Vex is when the Hive god Crota, Son of Oryx opened a portal to a place where the Vex were present, hoping to find a secret power for himself. Instead, he allowed the Vex to invade Oryx, the Taken King's Ascendant Realm, the High War.[16] In the Ascendant Realm, and by its rules, the Vex quickly learned of the Hive's Sword-Logic, creating Quria, Blade Transform to investigate it. Through Quria, the Vex learned to achieve divinity by killing all who opposed them and adopting worship as a primary function. Though Oryx eventually succeeded in eliminating the Vex from his realm, they preserved what they learned and passed it on to the rest of the Vex hive mind.[17]

During humanity's Golden Age, Vex structures were found on Venus dating back to a few billion years before humanity's existence.[18] Ishtar researchers suspected that the Vex ruins came from an alternate Venus and came into being when the Traveler transformed Venus into a habitable world.[19]

The Collective also recovered a live specimen of the Vex and discovered that it had created an internal simulation of themselves, accurately predicting their every move. To Collective researchers, this ability raised profound philosophical quandaries about the nature of reality. Eventually the researchers were driven near to the point of madness when they discovered the Vex had simulations of themselves and perfectly predicted their every action, as they started to wonder if they themselves were just Vex simulations, so they decided to bring in a Warmind to intervene on their behalf. Warminds were many orders of magnitude more complex than humans, and it was believed that the Vex would be unable to simulate them; thus, the Warmind's presence and actions would be a sufficiently chaotic variable to allow the researchers to discern which universe was real and disrupt the simulation.[20][21][22]

The Vex first appeared on Mercury during the Golden Age as well, shortly after the Traveler terraformed the planet into a garden world. Panoptes, Infinite Mind was created following the Vex's arrival, and began converting the planet into a Machine World that would house the "reality engine" known as the Infinite Forest within its core.

When the Guardians Kabr, the Legionless, Pahanin, and Praedyth ventured into the Vault of Glass on Venus, a major confluence of the Vex network, they were thwarted by the Templar and its Gorgons. Pahanin managed to escape, but Kabr perished and Praedyth was trapped and lost in time. Praedyth was forgotten until the time of the Taken War, when the Taken began to blight the Vex network. After receiving a distress signal from Praedyth, The Guardian was sent to the Vault to investigate and was unexpectedly granted access by the Vex. Inside, the Guardian discovered a series of Dead Ghosts Praedyth had left behind. Praedyth revealed through recordings within the Ghosts that he had seen what the Vex had calculated would be their future: eons hence, they would be completely corrupted by the Taken, becoming an eternal part of the legacy of Oryx, the Taken King. Although the Vex were able to foresee this future and compelled to seek a way to avert it, they concluded that this grim fate was inevitable without the Light; allowing the Guardian to fight the Taken blight that plagued them was an act of desperation. Traveling through a portal, the Guardian was transported to the Vex's future, where the blight was defeated, the Vex were spared from their fate, and Praedyth's remains and Ghost were recovered. Despite this moment of cooperation, however, the Vex still had no intention of returning the favor or sparing the Last City.[23]

In recent times, the Vex had suffered numerous setbacks across the system - a large number of Vex Axis Minds were destroyed by Guardians, leaving the Vex network in disarray. With the arrival of the Taken, attacks against the Vex had only escalated. The Vex have yet to counter these failures, though some believe the cybernetic machines have begun preparing countermeasures as Variks, the Loyal notes, following Skolas' defeat, "Old machines are waking up...".[24]

By the time of the Red War, two years after the Taken War, the Vex had come under attack by the Fallen House of Dusk and the Cabal Red Legion on Io, Mercury, Mars, and Nessus. Of note, on Mars the Red Legion quickly succeeded against the Vex where other Cabal legions had failed for decades: they destroyed the gate to the Black Garden and drove the Vex out of Meridian Bay.[25] According to Cayde-6, the Red Legion has brought even more of their might to bear on Mars than on Earth.[26]

However, following the death of Dominus Ghaul and the reawakening of the Traveler, Vex Minds began to call the modern Vex, Precursors, and Descendants to Mercury, in order to bring forth a dark future that only they dominated through the means of the Infinite Forest. This required the Vanguard to locate Osiris, in the hopes of stopping them.[27]

In time, Panoptes, Infinite Mind was stopped from merging reality into the Vex's dark future, and Osiris was found, being reunited with Ikora Rey, but returned to the Infinite Forest.

At some point, the Leviathan consumed a chunk of Nessus that contained a powerful Vex Mind, Argos, Planetary Core, who caused the world-eater to clog up and malfunction. Emperor Calus immediately called upon the help of the Guardians to destroy the Vex intrusion, where they succeeded and repaired the Leviathan. Calus saved the Guardians from being sucked into the Leviathan afterward, where he rewarded them for their efforts.

"Oh the headache again. I swear it's these symbols..."

The ultimate goal of the Vex appears to be no less than achieving total control over the universe, both by spreading themselves throughout time and space and by manipulating the very nature of reality to suit their purposes. Praedyth described the Vex as being motivated by a "Pattern," which drives the Vex to either reshape or destroy everything in their path. Osiris referred to the Vex's objective as "Convergence," an outcome where all life in the universe has been converted to a simplified, digital form. As part of this ideal future, the Vex seek to bring about a state where neither the Light nor the Darkness exist any longer.

The Vex have displayed an interest in studying the behavior and strategies of other species in order to further their own aims. At least one known programming is known to study its enemies, taking prisoners for observation and conducting a variety of experiments; examples include the Ishtar Collective scientists, Failsafe's crew, and later The Guardian.

The Vex have a particular interest in understanding the nature of paracausal entities, and in co-opting paracausal forces for their own use where possible. When the Vex first encountered the Hive after Crota inadvertently released them into the Ascendant realm of Oryx, the Taken King, the Vex manifested an Axis Mind dedicated to understanding and utilizing the Sword-Logic. The Black Garden is another example of a Vex effort to harness paracausal forces, in this case by creating the Sol Divisive to worship a fragment of the Darkness. The pulse of Light emitted by the Traveler when it defeated Ghaul was apparently instrumental in allowing Panoptes, Infinite Mind to predict a future where Convergence was achieved, and to enact a plan to achieve that future.

Vex already exist in the distant past and future as the Precursors and Descendants, respectively. But despite already existing in the past and future, the Vex have not yet eliminated their enemies for unknown reasons. This may be due to our poor understanding of the nature of time, or that the Vex do not currently have the resources to carry out their plans.[29] This may also have to do with the aforementioned theory that the Vex do not come from our own timeline. It is known, however, that the Vex also exist outside of time; Gate Lords are responsible for locking specific realms outside of time.

On Mars, the Vex (under the Virgo Prohibition) waged an intense war with the Cabal, who managed to repel the machines despite the vast numbers of them that continually assaulted Cabal positions.[30] The reason for this massive, if ineffective, offensive against the Cabal is that the Vex were surging to protect the Black Garden,[31] which the Vex are being summoned to for an unknown purpose. Guardians who succeeded in breaking into the Black Garden discovered that the Vex in fact worshiped an entity within the Garden known as the Black Heart, an abomination that lent power to the Vex.[32] Even after the destruction of the Sol Progeny and the Black Heart, the Vex sought to control the Black Garden and pull it back out of space and time. Besides the Black Heart, the Vex may have another connection with the Darkness; Osiris speculated that Vex structures such as the Timekeeper are designed to activate in the presence of the Darkness.[33] With the gate to the Black Garden having been destroyed by the Red Legion, it is unknown if the Vex still have the means to access the Garden itself. It's possible the entrance from the Tharsis Junction still exists and the Garden is still accessible.

Years later, during the Golden Age, a Goblin platform was captured by the Ishtar Collective, and it took the opportunity to simulate two hundred twenty seven alternate realities of the scientists. Alarming them the Collective quickly brought in a Warmind to rescue them, and its own computational abilities and apparent complexity was enough to overwhelm the Goblin.[citationneeded] The colony ship Exodus Black was also intercepted by the orbit of Nessus, and her crew eventually captured by the Vex. They conducted behavioral experiments on the human crew members, forcing them to fight each other. The crew eventually died and Captain Jacobson perished. The algorithm overseeing the experiment remained in effect well into the Red War.[citationneeded] During the Red War, the Vex captured a band of migratory Dusk Fallen on Nessus and forced them to fight one another, promising freedom to the Fallen. Surprisingly, the Fallen refused and remained imprisoned until the Young Wolf came to their "rescue". Failsafe confirmed that these tests were the same as issued to her crew.[citationneeded]

The source of Venus Spirit Blooms might be a byproduct of Vex-influenced flora.[34] It is said that Vex encryption is unbreakable.[35] [36]

It is thought that the Vex have embedded structures within every known celestial body, linked together in a massive trans-dimensional and trans-temporal network called the Nexus. This Nexus converts new worlds into massive Vex machines; Mercury was converted into a Machine World within days of the Collapse. Ostensibly, the purpose of the Nexus is to create a massive supercomputer in order to incorporate the Vex into the fabric of the universe itself.[32] The Vault of Glass, a place where the Vex can manipulate reality at will, is potentially a testing ground for this power. This power is limited to the Vault, though Ikora hypothesizes that the Sol Progeny were meant to carry this ability into the rest of the universe.[37] Both the Vault of Glass and The Nexus are part of a massive project being undertaken by the Hezen Protective, so it can be assumed the two are related.[38]

The Vex display a mastery of teleporation, and use a variety of teleportation modes for transporting troops and resources. Entire squads of Vex can drop into combat zones from thin air, their arrival preceded by shimmering angular patterns and clouds of mist. According to Ghost, the Vex are capable of teleporting between star systems in seconds. Minotaurs are infamous for using teleportation aggressively, warping in and out of existence as they close with enemies. Stationary warp gates are also used to transport Vex between distant locations. Weapons such as the Slap Rifle and Line Rifle utilize teleportation as part of their core mechanisms, drawing power from highly energetic and vastly distant sources.

According to simulations within the Infinite Forest, the first Vex structures on Mercury arrived via teleportation from some other location in space, and possibly time as well.

As machine intelligences with incredible amounts of processing power at their disposal, the Vex are capable of generating simulations of reality to a degree of accuracy and realism exceeding even the best efforts of Golden Age humanity. According to records from the Ishtar Collective, Vex are capable of generating simulations of real-world events with perfect fidelity and predictive ability essentially running a parallel reality in their minds which is arguably indistinguishable from the "real" universe. Even lone Goblins have the processing power to nest such simulations up to 227 times through the simple expedient of simulating themselves along with their surroundings. [20][39] The predictive capacity of these simulations appears to be limited only to ordinary physics, as the Vex are apparently unable to simulate complex phenomena that is linked to a paracausal power. These include Guardians,[40] and Oryx; in the latter case they were only able to bootstrap a simulation of his original incarnation as Aurash. Warminds are also complex enough to resist simulation, at least by a single Vex unit.

The Infinite Forest within Mercury is perhaps the most impressive example of Vex simulation technology, being a massive "reality engine" capable of simulating countless variants of past, present and future realities. These simulations can be entered by non-Vex through a gateway on the surface of Mercury, and are "real" enough such that intruders can be damaged by attacks from simulated Vex or other entities within the Forest.

It is generally assumed that the Vex are capable of some form of time travel; the Precursors and Descendants are thought to originate from the past and future, respectively, and numerous Vex units have titles or functions that allude to an ability to manipulate time. However, according to Sister Faora of the Cult of Osiris, the Vex are not capable of "time travel" as is commonly understood; if they were, she claims, neither the Guardians or any other obstacles to the Vex would still exist[41]. Apparently while hacking into a major Vex terminal, the A.I. Failsafe was captured by the Vex in the network, by the time the Guardian got her out, she explained that a decade has passed inside the network despite only a few moments that passed outside. It appears that time works differently in the Vex Network than in the real world.[42]

The Vex in their true form are aquatic microorganisms known as radiolaria.[44][13] Though Ikora Rey believes that this is not the true form of the Vex themselves, as she believes that if the Vex could manifest their consciousness in such a form, it would be able to take on other forms [45] The "mind-fluid" inside each of their mind-cores is composed of a milky substance wherein radiolaria cells float; this centralized mind-core is also a localized receiver for each individual Vex "component" of the Nexus.[13] Their aquatic origins are strongly implied through their architecture.[13] Vex cells are noted entheogens and physical contact with Vex units can produce dangerous mind-altering effects. [46]

It is believed that Vex are not born or made, so much as converted. When Asher Mir was infected with Radiolarian fluid, his arm turned into a Vex construct. Kabr, the Legionless would have suffered a similar fate had he not used his Light to become The Aegis.

The Vex are all connected to one another in a massive hive mind, but individual Vex units called Axis Minds act as leaders by storing all information necessary to complete a particular goal, freeing up individual Vex to pursue local tasks while the Axis Mind can plan globally. This creates a centralized weakness for the Vex, but they seem to consider it worth the risk.[48] The Vex are divided up into different programming collectives, each with a different set of directives intended to advance the Vex race as a whole. Whether the Vex in question are devoted to engineering projects, full-scale war, or religious devotion, all Vex are united by a single, unfathomable purpose.[9]

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Vex - Destinypedia, the Destiny encyclopedia

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

Entheogens | Drug War Facts

1.Entheogens

"'Entheogen' is a word coined by scholars proposing to replace the term 'psychedelic' (Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott & Wasson, 1979), which was perceived to be too socioculturally loaded from its 1960s roots to appropriately denote the revered plants and substances used for traditional sacred rituals.What kinds of plants or chemicals fall into the category of entheogen is a matter of debate, as a large number of inebriants - from tobacco and marijuana to alcohol and opium - have been venerated as gifts from the gods (or God) in different cultures at different times (Fuller, 2000). For the purposes of this paper, however, I will focus on the class of drugs that Lewin (1924/1997) terms 'phantastica,' a name deriving from the Greek word for the faculty of the imagination (Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1973). Later these substances became known as hallucinogens or psychedelics, a class whose members include lysergic acid derivatives, psilocybin, mescaline and dimethyltryptamine; these all shared physical, chemical, and, when ingested, phenomenological properties and, more importantly, have a history of ritual use as cultural tools to cure illness and/or to mediate cosmological insight (Grinspoon & Bakalar, 1998; Rudgley, 1994, Schultes & Hofmann, 1992;)."

Tupper, Ken, "Entheogens & Education: Exploring the Potential of Psychoactives as Educational Tools," Journal of Drug Education and Awareness, Vol. 1, No. 2, p. 146.https://www.researchgate.net/p...

"Another peculiar effect of these drugs is a dramatic change in perception: it appears to the person as if the eyes (the 'doors of perception') have been cleansed and the person could see the world as new in all respects 'as Adam may have seen it on the day of creation' as Aldous Huxley (1954, p. 17) pointed out in his popular and influential book. This new reality is perceived and interpreted by some individuals as manifestation of the true nature of their mind; hence, the term 'psychedelic' was suggested by Osmond (1957). This interpretation has been embraced not only by professional therapists but also by some segments of the public, and gave rise to the 'Summer of Love' in San Francisco in 1967 with free distribution of LSD. This perception resulted in the formation of numerous cults, communes, and drug-oriented religious groups (Freedman 1968), permeated the lyrics and style of popular music (acid rock), and was viewed by some as one of the contributing sources of the occasional resurgence of popularity of illegal drug use (Cohen 1966, Szra 1968)."

Szra, Stephen, "Are Hallucinogens Psychoheuristic," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1994) NIDA Research Monograph 146, p. 36.http://archives.drugabuse.gov/...

"The term 'hallucinogen' is widely used and understood in both professional and lay circles, in spite of the fact that hallucinations in the strict psychiatric sense of the word are a relatively rare effect of these drugs (Hollister 1962). What is probably the first reference to hallucinations as produced by peyote appears in Louis Lewins book published in 1924 in German and later translated into English with the nearly identical title Phantastica (Lewin 1924, 1964). In this book by the noted German toxicologist, the term 'hallucinatoria' appears as a synonym for phantastica to designate the class of drugs that can produce transitory visionary states 'without any physical inconvenience for a certain time in persons of perfectly normal mentality who are partly or fully conscious of the action of the drug' (Lewin 1964, p. 92). Lewin lists peyotl (also spelled 'peyote') (Anhalonium lewinii), Indian hemp (Cannabis indica), fly agaric (Agaricus muscarius), thornapple (Datura stramonium), and the South American yahe (also spelled 'yage') (Banisteria caapi) as representatives of this class."

Szra, Stephen, "Are Hallucinogens Psychoheuristic," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Monograph Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 1994) NIDA Research Monograph 146, p. 34.http://archives.drugabuse.gov/...

"Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic tea originally from the Amazon Basin that is supposedly able to induce strikingly similar visions in people independent of their cultural background. Ayahuasca users commonly claim that this regularity across peoples visions is evidence that their visions are not simply the products of their own brains, but rather are representations of spiritual information learned from plant-spirits that one gains access to by drinking the tea."

Anderson, Brian, ""Entheogenic Visions: The Sacred Union of Word & Image," Undergraduate Humanities Forum, Mellon Research Fellows 2005-2006, Word & Image (Philadelphia, PA: May 5, 2006), pp. 2 and 30.http://repository.upenn.edu/cg...

"Ayahuasca is a psychedelic decoction made from plants native to the Amazon Basinmost often Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridisand which contains harmala alkaloids and N,Ndimethyltryptamine (DMT), the latter being a controlled substance scheduled under the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances."

Anderson, B. T.; Labate, B. C.; Meyer, M.; Tupper, K. W.; Barbosa, P. C. R.; Grob, C. S.; Dawson, A. & McKenna, D., "Statement on ayahuasca,". International Journal of Drug Policy (London, United Kingdom: International Harm Reduction Association, March 2012) Vol. 23, No. 2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"On February 21 of this year, 2006, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal (the UDV) in the case Alberto R. Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. Petitioners v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal et al. The UDV is now legally allowed to drink ayahuasca (which contains the controlled substance DMT) in their ceremonies here in the US."

Anderson, Brian, ""Entheogenic Visions: The Sacred Union of Word & Image," Undergraduate Humanities Forum, Mellon Research Fellows 2005-2006, Word & Image (Philadelphia, PA: May 5, 2006), pp. 2 and 30.http://repository.upenn.edu/cg...

"Cross-cultural vegetalismo refers to ayahuasca ceremonies based, to varying degrees, on vegetalismo or equivalent traditions from other regions of the Amazon, but conducted primarily for (and increasingly by) non-Amazonians. Urban centres in the region are presently witnessing a boom in what has been pejoratively characterized as 'ayahuasca tourism' (Dobkin de Rios, 1994; see also Davidov, 2010; Holman, 2011; Razam, 2009), but cross-cultural vegetalismo ceremonies are also increasingly common outside the Amazon (Labate, 2004). Canadians and other foreigners regularly invite indigenous or mestizo Amazonian ayahuasqueros to their home countries to conduct ceremonies for people in the circles and networks of the sponsors friends and acquaintances (Tupper, 2009asee Appendix). Some individuals are undertaking apprenticeships in the vegetalismo tradition to become neo-shamanic practitioners of ayahuasca healing, in a manner similar to how yoga, Buddhist monastic, ayurvedic, or Chinese medicine practices have been taken up by modern Western disciples exogenous to the respective cultures and traditions of origin."

Tupper, Kenneth William, "Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy," University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC: April 2011), pp. 14-15.http://www.kentupper.com...

"Vegetalismo is a Peruvian Spanish term denoting the folk healing traditions of mestizo curanderos, or healers of mixed indigenous and non-indigenous ancestry who use ayahuasca and other 'master' plants for diagnosis and treatment of illnesses (Beyer, 2009; Dobkin de Rios, 1972; Luna, 1986). Known as ayahuasqueros, such folk healers undergo a rigorous process of initiation and training, requiring adherence to strict dietary and sexual abstinence protocols, and sometimes prolonged isolation in the jungle."

Tupper, Kenneth William, "Ayahuasca, Entheogenic Education & Public Policy," PhD Thesis, University of British Columbia Faculty of Graduate Studies (Educational Studies) (Vancouver, BC: April 2011), pp. 14-15.http://www.kentupper.com...

"Aside from indicating a general lack of harm from the religious use of ayahuasca, biomedical and ethnographic studies have also generated preliminary evidence in support of the therapeutic potentials of ayahuasca or its constituents for alleviating substance dependence (Grob et al., 1996; Labate, Santos, Anderson, Mercante, & Barbosa, 2010) and mood and anxiety disorders (Fortunato et al., 2010; Santos, Landeira-Fernandez, Strassman, Motta, & Cruz, 2007). The study of ayahuasca could thus contribute to advances in ethnopharmacology and the cognitive sciences (Shanon, 2002), yet such studies are severely compromised when these traditions face the threat of legal sanction."

Anderson, B. T.; Labate, B. C.; Meyer, M.; Tupper, K. W.; Barbosa, P. C. R.; Grob, C. S.; Dawson, A. & McKenna, D., "Statement on ayahuasca,". International Journal of Drug Policy (London, United Kingdom: International Harm Reduction Association, March 2012) Vol. 23, No. 2.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide) is one of the most potent mood-changing chemicals. It was discovered in 1938 and is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide)also known as acid, blotter, doses, hits, microdots, sugar cubes, trips, tabs, or window panes is one of the most potent moodand perception-altering hallucinogenic drugs. It is a clear or white, odorless, water-soluble material synthesized from lysergic acid, a compound derived from a rye fungus. LSD is initially produced in crystalline form, which can then be used to produce tablets known as 'microdots' or thin squares of gelatin called 'window panes.' It can also be diluted with water or alcohol and sold in liquid form. The most common form, however, is LSD-soaked paper punched into small individual squares, known as 'blotters.'"

"Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs, including LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 2001), p. 3.http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Sensations and feelings change much more dramatically than the physical signs in people under the influence of LSD. The user may feel several different emotions at once or swing rapidly from one emotion to another. If taken in large enough doses, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations. The users sense of time and self is altered. Experiences may seem to cross over different senses, giving the user the feeling of hearing colors and seeing sounds. These changes can be frightening and can cause panic. Some LSD users experience severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings of despair, fear of losing control, or fear of insanity and death while using LSD."LSD users can also experience flashbacks, or recurrences of certain aspects of the drug experience. Flashbacks occur suddenly, often without warning, and may do so within a few days or more than a year after LSD use. In some individuals, the flashbacks can persist and cause significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning, a condition known as hallucinogen-induced persisting perceptual disorder (HPPD)."Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, LSD does produce tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. In addition, cross-tolerance between LSD and other hallucinogens has been reported.

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfro...

"Past-year use of LSD, one of the major drugs in the hallucinogen class, has been hovering for about a decade at its lowest levels recorded by the study (Figure 5-4e). In 2015 the levels of use for students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade were 0.9%, 2.0%, and 2.9%, respectively. Consistent with most other drugs, use increased during the 1990s relapse and peaked in the mid-1990s. It then subsequently declined to its lowest levels ever in the early 2000s, where it has since plateaued."LSD was one of the first drugs to decline at the start of the 1980s, almost surely due to increased information about its potential dangers. The subsequent increase in its use during the mid-1980s may reflect the effects of generational forgettingthat is, replacement cohorts know less than their predecessors about the potential dangers of LSD because they have had less exposure to the negative consequences of using the drug.3"We believe that the decline prior to 2002 might have resulted in part from a displacement of LSD by sharply rising ecstasy use. After 2001, when ecstasy use itself began to decline, the sharp further decline in LSD use likely resulted from a sudden drop in the availability of LSD, because attitudes generally have not moved in a way that could explain the fall in use, while perceived availability has."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., OMalley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 19752015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 161. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...http://monitoringthefuture.org...

"Our results indicate that this population of sexually active female adolescents and young adults have similar rates of lifetime use of LSD (13%) as reported in other surveys,1,30 and half of these young women report using LSD one or more times in the last year. Prior data suggests that the use of hallucinogens by African Americans is virtually nonexistent across all ages of adolescents and young adults.2,9 In fact, we found that none of our African American young women reported using LSD. However, the proportion of African Americans who reported using marijuana was much greater than either caucasian or Mexican American women."

Rickert, Vaughn I.; Siqueira, Lorena M.; Dale, Travis; and Wiemann, Constance M., "Prevalence and Risk Factors for LSD Use among Young Women," Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology (Washington, DC: North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, April 2003) Volume 16, Issue 2, p. 72.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/p...http://www.jpagonline.org/arti...(03)00012-3/fulltext

"Chemist Albert Hofmann, working at the Sandoz Corporation pharmaceutical laboratory in Switzerland, first synthesized LSD in 1938. He was conducting research on possible medical applications of various lysergic acid compounds derived from ergot, a fungus that develops on rye grass. Searching for compounds with therapeutic value, Hofmann created more than two dozen ergot-derived synthetic molecules. The 25th was called, in German, Lyserg-Sure-Dithylamid 25, or LSD-25."

"Hallucinogens and Dissociative Drugs, including LSD, PCP, Ketamine, Dextromethorphan," National Institute on Drug Abuse Research Report Series (Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, 2001), p. 3.http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The physiological effects of this powerful drug have been well documented. These effects can be grouped into five general areas of action: LSD works on the sympathetic nervous system (which is involved in regulation of heart muscle, smooth muscle and glandular organs in a response to stressful situations); the motor system (which is involved in carrying out limb movements); the affective states; thought processes; and it has profound effects upon the sensory and perceptual experience.

"LSD is a semisynthetic preparation originally derived from ergot, an extract of the fungus Claviceps purpurea, which grows as a parasite on rye wheat. The dosage that is required to produce a moderate effect in most subjects is 1 to 3mcg per kilogram of body mass, and the effects can last from seven to 10 hours (Bowman & Rand 1980).

"Stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system following LSD ingestion can lead to effects such as hypothermia with piloerection (hairs standing on end, such as can be found in reports of religious ecstasy), sweating, increased heart rate with palpitations, and elevation of blood pressure and blood glucose levels. These reactions of the autonomic nervous system are not as significant as other effects upon the body: action on the motor system can lead to increased activity of monosynaptic reflexes (such as the knee-jerk response), an increase in muscle tension, tremors, and muscular incoordination. This latter effect of muscular incoordination is also a symptom of religious ecstasy in many cultures, where the worshipper has such a profound feeling of love of God that he is said to be 'intoxicated by God.'"

Goodman, Neil, "The Serotonergic System and Mysticism: Could LSD and the Nondrug-Induced Mystical Experience Share Common Neural Mechanisms?" Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (San Francisco, CA: Haight Ashbury Publications, July-September 2002), Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 266.http://www.cnsproductions.com/...

"Most users of LSD voluntarily decrease or stop its use over time. LSD is not considered an addictive drug since it does not produce compulsive drug-seeking behavior. However, LSD does produce tolerance, so some users who take the drug repeatedly must take progressively higher doses to achieve the state of intoxication that they had previously achieved. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug. In addition, cross-tolerance between LSD and other hallucinogens has been reported."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The effects of LSD depend largely on the amount taken. LSD causes dilated pupils; can raise body temperature and increase heart rate and blood pressure; and can cause profuse sweating, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, dry mouth, and tremors."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009).https://d14rmgtrwzf5a.cloudfro...

"Peyote is a small, spineless cactus in which the principal active ingredient is mescaline. This plant has been used by natives in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States as a part of religious ceremonies. Mescaline can also be produced through chemical synthesis."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The top of the peyote cactus, also referred to as the crown, consists of disc-shaped buttons that are cut from the roots and dried. These buttons are generally chewed or soaked in water to produce an intoxicating liquid. The hallucinogenic dose of mescaline is about 0.3 to 0.5 grams, and its effects last about 12 hours. Because the extract is so bitter, some individuals prefer to prepare a tea by boiling the cacti for several hours."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The long-term residual psychological and cognitive effects of mescaline, peyotes principal active ingredient, remain poorly understood. A recent study found no evidence of psychological or cognitive deficits among Native Americans that use peyote regularly in a religious setting.2 It should be mentioned, however, that these findings may not generalize to those who repeatedly abuse the drug for recreational purposes. Peyote abusers may also experience flashbacks."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Its effects can be similar to those of LSD, including increased body temperature and heart rate, uncoordinated movements (ataxia), profound sweating, and flushing. The active ingredient mescaline has also been associated, in at least one report, to fetal abnormalities."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is obtained from certain types of mushrooms that are indigenous to tropical and subtropical regions of South America, Mexico, and the United States. These mushrooms typically contain less than 0.5 percent psilocybin plus trace amounts of psilocin, another hallucinogenic substance."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Mushrooms containing psilocybin are available fresh or dried and are typically taken orally. Psilocybin (4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) and its biologically active form, psilocin (4-hydroxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine), cannot be inactivated by cooking or freezing preparations. Thus, they may also be brewed as a tea or added to other foods to mask their bitter flavor. The effects of psilocybin, which appear within 20 minutes of ingestion, last approximately 6 hours."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"The active compounds in psilocybin-containing 'magic' mushrooms have LSD-like properties and produce alterations of autonomic function, motor reflexes, behavior, and perception.3 The psychological consequences of psilocybin use include hallucinations, an altered perception of time, and an inability to discern fantasy from reality. Panic reactions and psychosis also may occur, particularly if a user ingests a large dose. Long-term effects such as flashbacks, risk of psychiatric illness, impaired memory, and tolerance have been described in case reports."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"[Psilocybin] can produce muscle relaxation or weakness, ataxia, excessive pupil dilation, nausea, vomiting, and drowsiness. Individuals who abuse psilocybin mushrooms also risk poisoning if one of many existing varieties of poisonous mushrooms is incorrectly identified as a psilocybin mushroom."

NIDA InfoFacts, "Hallucinogens: LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, and PCP" National Institute on Drug Abuse (Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, June 2009)http://www.drugabuse.gov/sites...

"Overall, the present study shows that psilocybin can dose-dependently occasion mystical-type experiences having persisting positive effects on attitudes, mood, and behavior. The observations that episodes of extreme fear, feeling trapped, or delusions occur at the highest dose in almost 40% of volunteers, that anxiety and fear have an unpredictable time course across the session, and that an ascending sequence of dose exposure may be associated with long-lasting positive changes have implications for the design of therapeutic trials with psilocybin. Considering the rarity of spontaneous mystical experiences in the general population, the finding that more than 70% of volunteers in the current study had 'complete' mystical experiences suggests that most people have the capacity for such experiences under appropriate conditions and, therefore, such experiences are biologically normal."

Griffiths, Roland R.; Johnson, Matthew W.; Richards, William A.; Richards, Brian D.; McCann, Una; and Jesse, Robert, "Psilocybin occasioned mystical-type experiences: immediate and persisting dose-related effects," Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: May 2011), p. 16.http://link.springer.com/artic...

"An important finding of the present study is that, with careful volunteer screening and preparation and when sessions are conducted in a comfortable, well-supervised setting, a high dose of 30 mg/70 kg psilocybin can be administered safely. . It is also noteworthy that, despite meetings and prior sessions with monitors ranging from 8 h (when psilocybin was administered on the first session) up to 24 h (when psilocybin was administered on the third session) of contact time, 22% (8 of 36) of the volunteers experienced a period of notable anxiety/dysphoria during the session, sometimes including transient ideas of reference/paranoia. No volunteer required pharmacological intervention and the psychological effects were readily managed with reassurance. The primary monitor remained accessible via beeper/phone to each volunteer for 24 h after each session, but no volunteer called before the scheduled follow-up meeting on the next day. The 1-year follow-up is ongoing but has been completed by most volunteers (30 of 36). In that follow-up, an open-ended clinical interview reflecting on the study experiences and current life situation provides a clinical context conducive to the spontaneous reporting of study-associated adverse events. To date, there have been no reports of persisting perceptional phenomena sometimes attributed to hallucinogen use or of recreational abuse of hallucinogens, and all participants appear to continue to be high-functioning, productive members of society."

Griffiths, R. R.; Richards, W. A.; McCann, U.; Jesse, R., " Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance,"Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: August 2006), Volume 187, Number 3, p. 281.http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org...

"Our investigations provided no cause for concern that administration of PY [psilocybin] to healthy subjects is hazardous with respect to somatic health. However, as our data revealed tendencies of PY to temporarily increase blood pressure, we advise subjects suffering from cardiovascular conditions, especially untreated hypertension, to abstain from using PY or PY-containing mushrooms. Furthermore, our results indicate that PY-induced ASC [altered states of consciousness] are generally well tolerated and integrated by healthy subjects. However, a controlled clinical setting is needful, since also mentally stable personalities may, following ingestion of higher doses of PY, transiently experience anxiety as a consequence of loosening of ego-boundaries."

Hasler, Felix; Grimberg, Ulrike; Benz , Marco A.; Huber, Theo; and Vollenweider, Franz, "Acute psychological and physiological effects of psilocybin in healthy humans: a double-blind, placebo-controlled doseeffect study," Psychopharmacology (Heidelberg, Germany: March 2004) Volume 172, Number 2, p. 151.http://www.beckleyfoundation.o...

"Today, the medical value of hallucinogens is again being examined in formal psychiatric settings. One substance under investigation is psilocybin, 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine, which occurs in nature in various species of mushrooms. Psilocybin is rapidly metabolized to psilocin, which is a potent agonist at serotonin 5-HT1A/2A/2C receptors, with 5-HT2A receptor activation directly correlated with human hallucinogenic activity.16 Psilocybin was studied during the 1960s to establish its psychopharmacological profile; it was found to be active orally at around 10 mg, with stronger effects at higher doses, and to have a 4- to 6-hour duration of experience. Psychological effects were similar to those of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), with psilocybin considered to be more strongly visual, less emotionally intense, more euphoric, and with fewer panic reactions and less chance of paranoia than LSD."17,18

Grob, Charles S.; Danforth, Alicia L.; Chopra, Gurpreet S.; Hagerty, Marycie; McKay, Charles R.; Halberstadt, Adam L.; Greer, George R., "Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer, "Archives of General Psychiatry," (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, January 2011), Volume 68, Number 1, p. 71.http://www.scribd.com/doc/3703...

"Despite the limitations, this study demonstrates that the careful and controlled use of psilocybin may provide an alternative model for the treatment of conditions that are often minimally responsive to conventional therapies, including the profound existential anxiety and despair that often accompany advanced-stage cancers. A recent review from the psilocybin research group at Johns Hopkins University describes the critical components necessary for ensuring subject safety in hallucinogen research.36 Taking into account these essential provisions for optimizing safety as well as adhering to strict ethical standards of conduct for treatment facilitators, the results provided herein indicate the safety and promise of continued investigations into the range of medical effects of hallucinogenic compounds such as psilocybin."

Grob, Charles S.; Danforth, Alicia L.; Chopra, Gurpreet S.; Hagerty, Marycie; McKay, Charles R.; Halberstadt, Adam L.; Greer, George R., "Pilot Study of Psilocybin Treatment for Anxiety in Patients With Advanced-Stage Cancer, "Archives of General Psychiatry," (Chicago, IL: American Medical Association, January 2011), Volume 68, Number 1, p. 77.http://www.scribd.com/doc/3703...

"Salvia divinorum is a perennial herb in the mint family native to certain areas of the Sierra Mazateca region of Oaxaca, Mexico. The plant, which can grow to over three feet in height, has large green leaves, hollow square stems and white flowers with purple calyces, can also be grown successfully outside of this region. Salvia divinorum has been used by the Mazatec Indians for its ritual divination and healing. The active constituent of Salvia divinorum has been identified as salvinorin A. Currently, neither Salvia divinorum nor any of its constituents, including salvinorin A, are controlled under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA)."

Drug Enforcement Administration, Office of Diversion Control, "Salvia Divinorum and Salvinorin A," (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, October 2013).https://www.deadiversion.usdoj...

"The putative primary psychoactive agent in SD [Salvia divinorum] is a structurally novel KOR [kappa opioid receptor] agonist named salvinorin A (Ortega et al., 1982; Valds et al., 1984). Consistent with KOR agonist activity, users describe SD in lay literature as hallucinogenic: it produces perceptual distortions, pseudo-hallucinations, and a profoundly altered sense of self and environment, including out-of-body experiences (Aardvark, 1998; Erowid, 2008; Siebert, 1994b; Turner, 1996). SD therefore appears to have the potential to elucidate the role of the KOR receptor system in health and disease (Butelman et al., 2004; Chavkin et al., 2004; Roth et al., 2002)."

Baggott, Matthew J.; Earth Erowid; Fire Erowid; Galloway, Gantt P.; Mendelson, John, "Use patterns and self-reported effects of Salvia divinorum: An internet-based survey," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: College on Problems of Drug Dependence, October 2010), p. 2.http://www.maps.org/w3pb/new/2...http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pu...

"Salvia divinorum is a psychoactive plant that can induce dissociative effects and is a potent producer of visual and other hallucinatory experiences. By mass, salvinorin A, the psychoactive substance in the plant, appears to be the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen. Its native habitat is the cloud forests in Mexico. It has been consumed for hundreds of years by local Mazatec shamans, who use it to facilitate visionary states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions.57 It is also used in traditional medicine at lower doses as a diuretic to treat ailments including diarrhoea, anaemia, headaches and rheumatism. Effects include various psychedelic experiences, including past memories (e.g. revisiting places from childhood memory), merging with objects and overlapping realities (such as the perception of being in several locations at the same time).58 In contrast to other drugs, its use often prompts dysphoria, i.e. feelings of sadness and depression, as well as fear. In addition, it may prompt a decreased heart rate, slurred speech, lack of coordination and possibly loss of consciousness.59"

UNODC, World Drug Report 2013 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.13.XI.6), p. 66.https://www.unodc.org/unodc/se...

"Consistent with results from nonhuman animal research (Mowry et al.,2003), the present results suggest a safe physiological profile for salvinorin A at the studied doses, under controlled conditions, and in psychologically and physically healthy hallucinogen-experienced participants. Salvinorin A produced no significant changes in heart rate or blood pressure; no tremor was observed; and no adverse events were reported. Participants tolerated all doses. However, because of the small sample and the healthy, hallucinogen-experienced status of participants, conclusions regarding safety are limited."

Johnson, Matthew W.; MacLean, Katherine A.; Reissig, Chad R.; Prisinzano, Thomas E.; Griffiths, Roland R., "Human sychopharmacology and dose-effects of salvinorin A, a kappa opioid," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: The College on Problems of Drug Dependence, December 3, 2010), p. 4-5.http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

"There was little evidence of dependence in our survey population. At some point, 0.6% (3 people) felt addicted to or dependent upon SD, while 1.2% (6) reported strong cravings for SD. The DSM-IV-R psychiatric diagnostic system in the United States classifies people as drug dependent based on seven criteria. Of the three who reported feelings of addiction or dependence on SD, only one endorsed any DSM-IV criteria (strong cravings and using more SD than planned). When asked about these signs and symptoms individually, 2 additional respondents (0.4%) reported three dependence criteria. None of these individuals reported more than 2 of 13 after-effects characteristic of mu-opioid withdrawal (such as increased sweating, gooseflesh, worsened mood, and diarrhea)."

Baggott, Matthew J.; Earth Erowid; Fire Erowid; Galloway, Gantt P.; Mendelson, John, "Use patterns and self-reported effects of Salvia divinorum: An internet-based survey," Drug and Alcohol Dependence (Philadelphia, PA: College on Problems of Drug Dependence, October 2010), p. 4.http://www.maps.org/w3pb/new/2...

"A tripwire question asks about use of salvia (or salvia divinorum) in the last 12 months. Salvia is an herb with hallucinogenic properties, common to southern Mexico and Central and South Americas. Although it currently is not a drug regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, several states have passed legislation to regulate its use, as have several countries. The Drug Enforcement Agency lists salvia as a drug of concern and has considered classifying it as a Schedule I drug, like LSD or marijuana. Annual prevalence of this drug has been in a steady decline, and in 2015 levels were only 0.7%, 1.2%, and 1.9% among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, respectively."

Miech, R. A., Johnston, L. D., OMalley, P. M., Bachman, J. G., & Schulenberg, J. E. (2016). Monitoring the Future national survey results on drug use, 19752015: Volume I, Secondary school students. Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan, p. 93. Available at http://monitoringthefuture.org...http://monitoringthefuture.org...

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Entheogens | Drug War Facts

European Entheogens: Folk Medicine and Magical Aids …

If you have an apprehension towards the use of psychoactive plants and their effects on humans outside of the context of Modern pharmaceutical medicine, then you may not wish to read on about this particular subject. Even more so, this topic deals with some substances which are currently illegal or extremely dangerous to use without training, and thus are unsuitable for experimentation by most people. If this concept frightens or irks you, begone! It is better for those who do not know enough about the nature of such things to rely on the advice of professional practitioners, preferably ones who do not fall for the reductionist quackery of Modern medicine (though for most of us, this is unfortunately not the case). However, for those of you who feel compelled to explore such things in depth, or possibly those who feel the call to study the art of traditional medicine, I will present a summary of some of the main plants that can be used in a sacred or shamanic context within European culture.

It just so happens that we are among those various peoples across the world who do not have a significant tradition remaining that involves the use of such substances. The main culprit for this current state is the mania that seized our lands from the late 15th to the 17th Centuries AD, which encouraged religious and secular authorities to root out all traces of feminine folk wisdom and brand the practitioners of such arts as witches. This followed the social calamity of the Black Death and was an attempt by the Judeo-Christian authorities to assert themselves when the drastic population reduction in Europe and the loss of central authority had made folk more reliant on traditional methods in order to survive.

Much of this involved consulting wise women who were skilled in potion brewing and ointment making, as well as the creation of good luck charms and the practice of divination. These disciplines are all inter-related, and many of them can be achieved by working with plants which were once considered sacred. Sadly, the imposition of Judeo-Christianity merely followed earlier, statist attempts to outlaw such substances within the Roman Empire, and under such circumstances the use of these substances typically loses its sacramental context and devolves into a recreational or criminal activity.

Among tribal societies, however, the knowledge of how to work with sacred plants is at the heart of the spiritual, physical and psychological well-being of the tribe and the individuals that use them in this way are treated with a mixture of fear and respect. On one hand, they have an intuitive understanding of what particular plant should treat a specific ailment, and also what the dosage should be depending on the individual requiring treatment. However, their working of potentially poisonous plants and the ability to travel to other worlds and converse with deities and other spiritual beings makes them potentially dangerous. The accusations levelled at women (and sometimes men) who were supposedly engaging in black magic during the Burning Times were not completely unfounded all of the time, as the ability to heal also enables the potential to harm; and so it would be nave to assume that some of the cunning folk never employed poisoning or hexing, either as an abuse of power or as a way of teaching a lesson to a fool. However, the gift given to such individuals by the gods was one which could be taken away if misused, and so those involved in such practices had to abide by a deep adherence to natural law and know how to work above their own ego.

Below is a list of some of the more powerful substances that are known to have been used in native European tradition. I believe that it is important to focus on our own cultural perspective, as the adoption of practices from other cultures may not coincide with those of our forebears. It is unfortunate that we have experienced such a complete and utter devastation of the traditional use of entheogens in Modern Europe, and so most peoples understanding of these substances is tainted by harmful perspectives that are a result of prohibition.

Whether it be hysterical rejection of the use of such substances because of a belief in their inherently harmful nature and an ignorance of their positive uses, or a completely hedonistic worldview which sees such treasures as a way to get high and only seeks such substances for the sake of pleasure, I find it necessary to give a third perspective which focuses on their sacred rather than profane usage. As there are many fantastic blogs which deal with herbal lore, I will only focus on those that are more suitable for a ritual context rather than those which are of a more mild nature and can be utilized for everyday use. Be warned that the penalties for messing with these things may end with a prison sentence or harming ones body or mind because of side-effects, and I provide this list merely as a guide to entheogenic study.

Belladonna (Atropa Belladonna)

This infamous plant is commonly known as deadly nightshade, a name which has been attached to it mainly to ward of children from eating the berries, which are luscious and sweet, but usually result in a painful death for them. The main chemical constituents are scopolamine and hyoscyamine, though the latter metabolizes into atropine upon drying and is the main chemical associated with this plant. These chemicals are known as anticholinergics and are capable of inducing delirium, realistic or terrifying hallucinations, a rapid heart rate, difficulty urinating and stupor. However, they are also invaluable for their use in treating nausea, insomnia, toothache, low blood pressure and bradycardia (a dangerously slow heartbeat), and were historically used as sedatives before performing surgery.

Despite the lethal danger to children, Belladonna poisoning does not usually result in death for adults. However, its ability to trap a victim in a waking dream of hallucinations and delirium can have disastrous consequences for somebody who becomes poisoned by her, as they are reliant on others to make sure that they do not confuse their hallucinations for reality and injure or kill themselves in the process. It is for this reason that belladonna is feared for her dangerous power, and will only respond positively to those who employ her aid for reasonable purposes.

One particularly notable instance of its use for poisoning was at the Battle of Denmarkfield near Luncarty in Perthshire during the 11th Century. The Danes, led by Sweyn Knutson, had been pillaging Fife and besieged MacBeth near the River Almond. The Scottish king, Duncan, offered Sweyn and his army wine laced with Belladonna as a sign of truce. By nightfall, the soporific effects of the drug caused the Danes to pass out or become delirious, and were easily massacred by the Scots. Sweyn escaped, but the Danes were expelled from our land for good. There is a standing stone to mark the site of the battle near the village of Luncarty. Archaeological excavations have also unearthed remains of Belladonna seeds at the Medieval town of Elgin in Moray, and they are usually associated with monasteries. After the conversion to Christianity, much of the medicinal lore was kept in the hands of the monks, and healing herbs were a common feature of monastic gardens. Though Belladonna is fairly common in England, it is much rarer in Scotland, as it prefers chalky soil and much of our native soil is very acidic and dense in clay.

Denmarkfield Kings Stone, said to commemorate the Battle of Denmarkfield, Luncarty

Aside from the medicinal uses mentioned above, Belladonna is known to have been used to induce trance and was used in the practice of astral projection, where the user is able to send their hama (soul-skin or astral body) into other worlds to attain visions for the sake of divination or healing. It is for this particular quality that the cunning folk sought her aid in private rituals, although they would usually have needed an assistant to watch over them while they journeyed. Typically, Belladonna was used in the form of a flying ointment in conjunction with other, more poisonous herbs such as wolfsbane (aconitum napellus) or hemlock (conium maculatum). Atropine is unable to pass through the skin, and so this would reduce the negative effects on the body that would result from ingesting such a chemical. In this context, the entheogenic use would have been more secretive than that of some other substances, though it may have been used by a group of practitioners to achieve spirit flight.

The chemicals in Belladonna are also known to cause lycanthropy, a condition where the subject believes themselves to be a wolf, and may be connected to folklore about werewolves. An elite band of warriors in Norse society was known as the ulfheithnar, and they were supposedly able to invoke the spirit of the wolf to aid them in battle (much like the berserkers, whom I will mention shortly). It is possible that Belladonna was used in potions or ointments by these warriors for this purpose, and it could also have been used to contact ones own spirit animal. Belladonna is sacred to Nerthuz and it can be used as part of a Saturday incense (though this is not recommended).

Cannabis (Cannabis Sativa)

Ah, what a controversial herb this is! Found in every street in all corners of British society, this particular weed is widely utilized for its ability to treat nausea, calm the mind, relieve pain and increase appetite. Sadly, it is more often than not used as a recreational drug, and is associated with a black market that mass produces the plant without any regulation or oversight. As the result of prohibition, it is unable to be used for medicinal purposes unless in the extracted, chemical forms, though the non-psychoactive varieties of hemp are grown for their nutritious seeds which can be used to make oil, and also as a textile.

Nowadays, this herb is associated with Black gang culture and all of the thuggery and degeneracy that goes along with the criminal and recreational elements, but this is only a recent phenomenon. In the past, cannabis sativa was grown all over Europe for its value both as a medicine and as a textile, though it is probably not native. Its native range is probably Central Asia, and it was likely to have been introduced to Europe by the Aryans migrating from the Russian Steppe, where it grows wild in the form of cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa is the cultivated form of the herb and has been widely utilized for its mind altering affects, particularly those relating to euphoria and creativity. The main chemical constituents of cannabis are THC and CBD, though the ratio of these may vary between different strains of the herb.

The connection between Cannabis and ecstasy (the state of being, not the drug MDMA) is well attested today and in ancient times. It is known by names such as reliever of grief and banisher of sorrow, and was used to treat anxiety because of its ability to engage the more logical side of the brain and calm over-active emotions. It has been used by Indian ascetics known as sadhus to assist in meditation and to achieve liberation from the five senses. Naturally, the use of the herb for this purpose requires tremendous will and discipline, and so most folk prefer to utilize its ritual or medicinal uses.

One example is given by the Greek historian, Herodotus, who wrote that the Scythians of the Russian Steppe used Cannabis as part of a funeral ritual, where the seeds (he probably meant the flowers, which are known as buds and do not look like flowers) were thrown on heated stones underneath a felt blanket and the resulting vapour was inhaled by the participants. The effects of the vapour were probably intended to soothe grief and accept the passing of a relative, by easing the attachment to that person temporarily. Cannabis was also used by the Ancient Celts, as excavations of an Iron Age chieftains grave in Hochdorf, Germany, have revealed traces of hashish (a refined form of Cannabis) on his cloak, suggesting that he was involved in using the sacrament. Hemp seeds have also been found among the clothing of women from Viking Age burials in Denmark, although it is not clear whether they were used for psychoactive purposes or simply for food. Even excavations of William Shakespeares home at Stratford-Upon-Avon have revealed traces of Cannabis in clay pipes found in what would have been the garden, supporting the idea that Cannabis has, and still is frequently used, by writers and poets for inspiration and creativity.

Cannabis is not known to be lethal in any capacity (though it may be adulterated with toxins as a result of illicit production) and while its medicinal effects are lauded by those with enough clarity to see them, it also has its downsides as a drug. Some people with a predisposition to addiction may find themselves indulging in the plant for psychological pain relief, something which is possible with Cannabis but must be accompanied by the appropriate therapy, otherwise it becomes a habit and a vice. Excessive use can cause a loss of motivation and apathy, and may even result in a worse mood when the effects of the drug have worn off.

An excessive dosage can also cause tachycardia (rapid heart rate), low blood pressure, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia (although this last side-effect is probably due to the fact that it is illegal, as the stimulating nature of Cannabis would worsen the worry about this fact). However, within a medicinal context, such issues are rarely a cause for concern, and it is a dreadful shame that many who need pain relief are unable to access it and are forced to rely on the pharmaceutical extracts or on street dealers who have no interest in their well-being. In the UK, Cannabis is a Class B controlled substance, and being found in possession of it can result in up to 5 years in prison or an unlimited fine and it is illegal in most parts of the world. Cannabis is sacred to Freya and can be used for any magic involving love, as it is known to be an aphrodisiac.

Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscaria)

This visually attractive red and white mushroom is ever present in European artistic aesthetics, as it is commonly portrayed as being surrounded by fairies and is usually associated with Father Christmas and his reindeer. It grows under birch and spruce trees and is native to all temperate and sub-Arctic parts of the world. Though not the magic mushroom that will be covered later on in this article, it is still psychoactive, though it is difficult to assess its actual effects for unknown reasons. For some reason, it can either have negligible effects or produce an intense hallucinogenic experience and it is difficult to know how to achieve this.

It is known that the main chemicals of Fly Agaric are muscimol and ibotenic acid, as well as muscarine and muscazone. Muscimol is a hallucinogen, while the other chemicals are simply poisons, and the side effects that can be experienced by this drug include delirium, stupor, vomiting, sweating and low blood pressure, effects which are associated with cholinergic drugs. For this reason, there is a lot of superstition surrounding the mushroom, and factors involved in the potency of the drug include the time of year picked, the conditions of the location where it grows (presumably soil acidity is a factor) and how it is dried. The mushroom eaten fresh and picked late in the year is known to produce the most side effects, while those picked earlier and dried are said to yield more positive results.

Though Fly Agaric is commonly described as lethal in mycology guides, this is incorrect, as it is only seriously dangerous raw and in large amounts and would even be eaten after parboiling by natives of Siberia and Asiatic peoples in Northern Europe. It has been observed among the Sami people that reindeer eat the mushroom, and that the poisonous effects are mitigated by drinking the urine from the reindeer after its ingestion. Such practices have also been followed by priests in Western Siberia, where the tribal priests take the mushroom and dispense their urine to their congregation.

In Eastern Siberia, use of the mushroom is less restricted, and it is not considered as essential that only the shaman can ingest the mushroom. The desired effects of Fly Agaric are similar to those of Belladonna and other plants carrying tropane alkaloids, though they have the opposite chemical mechanism on the brain and actually act as potentates or antidotes to atropine poisoning. While Fly Agaric may also cause delirium and stupor, the effects are known to be less unpleasant and dangerous as those of the tropanes, and in its dried form it is relatively safe to be ingested. The ability to induce dreamlike states and visions means that Fly Agaric is very valuable to shamans, and would also have been important to our European equivalents. Fly Agaric is not exactly used medicinally, being more utilized for its mind altering effects than anything else.

Interestingly, it has also become associated with the berserkers of Norse lore, and it has been suggested that it was used to induce battle frenzy among these men. Berserker means bear shirt and refers to the use of animal hides used to invoke the protection of an animal spirit. Though the connection between Fly Agaric and the berserker has been dismissed in more recent times, there is sufficient evidence that it was used by them. The Icelandic word for Fly Agric is berserkjasveppur, which means berserker mushroom and it has also been connected to the Indo-Aryan sacrament known as Soma (analogous to the Iranian Haoma).

This substance was used by Aryan warriors to achieve mental clarity, though it is difficult to imagine how this was achieved with the stupefying effects of Fly Agaric. It is likely that a combination of and mixture with other substances as well as the intention and discipline in conjunction with ingestion were utilized to achieve this, though it is difficult to assert with certainty due to the lack of evidence regarding its effects. It has also been connected with esoteric Christianity and and teachings of Christ, as one anecdotal claim holds that the subject experienced visions of Heaven and Hell, reinforcing the idea of the connection to Christian imagery. Though not illegal to posses, it cannot be bought or sold under recently implemented drug laws in the UK, which prohibit the sale of non-approved psychoactive substances. Fly Agaric is sacred to Wotan and the dried skin can be used in smoking blends with other herbs.

Henbane (Hysoscyamus Niger)

Another one of the tropane herbs, this plant is very similar in its actions to Belladonna, though it possesses its own distinct character and attributes. Henbane grows on waste ground and near the sea across Europe, though it is very rare and considered endangered in the wild. It is not native to Northern Europe, most likely originating in the Mediterranean, though it was brought here millennia ago. Traces of Henbane have been found in a clay pot from Balfarg, Fife, dating to around 3,000 BC, which suggests that it was used as part of a ritual. Henbane seeds have also been found among the burials of women in Viking Age Scandinavia (much like the hemp seeds, making a stronger case for the use of Cannabis as an entheogen). The effects of the herb are more or less the same as that of Belladonna, though it may be slightly less poisonous due to the small size and different chemical composition of the plant (Belladonna is a perennial shrub, while Henbane may come as an annual or biennial). Therefore, Henbane may be more suitable for ingestion than her sister, though this is not recommended due to the toxic nature of the tropane alkaloids.

Henbane was another witches weed and was considered especially useful in treating toothache, though the potential side-effects mean that it is no longer used medicinally today. In a magical context, Henbane was plucked by naked virgin girls in Medieval Germany in a ritual attempting to attract rain. It was also part of a potion given by the Iranian prophet, Zoroaster, to King Vishtaspa, who went into a deathlike sleep for three days and travelled to Heaven in that time. Henbane was also used for more sinister purposes by the Ancient Gauls, who dipped their javelins in poison derived from the herb in order to inflict more damage upon their enemies. Henbane may also have been part of the potion given by Circe to Odysseus men in The Odyssey, since the connection between tropane alkaloids and believing oneself to be an animal, as well as the connection between Henbane and pigs (which is what they were turned into), may mean that the story is about a witch who stole the wits of men by giving them a potion that made them believe that they were pigs. Henbane is sacred to Nerthuz, though some prefer to attribute its power to Thor, on account of its use in rain-making rituals.

Liberty Cap Mushroom (Psilocybe Semilanceata)

Also known as a magic mushroom, this is another substance which is prohibited under Modern law and has become associated with the worst aspects of the hippie culture and recreational drug use. Though more well-known than many of the other entheogens on this list, it is unique in being possibly the only psychedelic drug native to Europe. Psychadelics are different from other hallucinogens in that they do not produce delirium or dissociation, but rather they evoke colourful and geometric visual distortions which are sought after by those looking for a step up from the curious effects of Cannabis.

Naturally, such substances are not suitable for social gatherings outside of a medicine ceremony and are frequently abused by party-goers, which can lead to unpleasant experiences. When used in an appropriate setting, magic mushrooms are useful in psychological therapy, and are known to treat depression and anxiety. Another difference between this fungus and the other entheogens on this list is that its medicinal values seem to be purely psychological and spiritual in nature, as is not known to relieve physical ailments. While they are not completely non-toxic, you would need to ingest and absurd amount of mushrooms to become poisoned, and as such they are safe to the human body for consumption in reasonable doses. The main chemical constituents are psylocin and psilocybin (which converts into psylocin during digestion).

Unfortunately, we know next to nothing about their use as an entheogen in Europe, the only clue being that in Ireland, they are known as fairy mushrooms. That and the fact that they can produce visual swirls and patterns that are reminiscent of Neolithic art suggests that they were known to our ancestors. Mesolithic cave paintings from Spain and Morocco depict strange beings holding mushrooms, and these are suggestive of shamanic use involving psychoactive mushrooms. Another small detail that may go unnoticed is the depiction of magic mushrooms in Medieval art, which feature occasionally and are curiously associated with the Apple of Eden, suggesting that Medieval Europeans knew more about these substances than we may have suspected.

If they were used in a similar way as by the natives of places like Mexico, then the Church would have taken a dim view of such practices and seen them as being used to communicate with devils. Such were the criticisms levelled at the use of magic mushrooms by the Catholic Church when it came to Mexico, and the suppression of these cults is a reasonable explanation as to why we have no indigenous tradition in Europe pertaining to the use of these mushrooms. If their use had been driven underground during the Middle Ages and only surfaced in art, we can be sure that the last vestiges were driven out of our lands during the Burning Times, and so we are left with a dearth of knowledge on how to use them.

Fortunately, we can speculate to some degree based on their usage in Mexico. They were used by the Aztecs and the Mazatecs in order to communicate with the gods, and the purpose was usually to discover a cure for an illness. They could have been used either by the healer alone, or by the healer and the patient if the illness was of a more metaphysical nature and required expelling negative entities from the patient. Typically, these healers are not looking for the fantastic visual effects, but for the intuitive voice that tells them what they need to know. Though magic mushrooms can have awful side effects, these can be mitigated by the guidance of an experienced healer and are not as commonly felt if the participant engages in preparation beforehand.

Usually, a participant would fast and abstain from meat, sex and alcohol for a few days before taking part in a medicine ceremony, as the mushroom cleans out the body on a spiritual level and any toxins remaining may lead to nausea and other discomfort when under its influence. Psilocybe semilanceata typically grows on pasture and grassland and is native to temperate zones, growing near, but not on, the dung of cows and sheep. Its association with cattle means that it is sacred to Frigg and its effects would also associate it with healers. Unfortunately, in the UK it is a Class A controlled substance, which may lead to up to 7 years imprisonment and an unlimited fine, and (like Cannabis) is illegal in most countries.

The use of these substances is something which is heavily looked down upon in our society, as it is deemed necessary for the state to have complete control over what medicines the people may have access to. Therefore, I neither promote nor encourage the use of such substances, as it is up to each individual to know if it is worth taking the risks that I have mentioned and if they can gain anything from their use. Some people are not meant to take certain substances due to risk factors, and so most of us will remain in the dark about their potential due to the restrictions on what can be done with them.

Though there is more and more evidence suggesting that our common perceptions of psychoactive plants are based on misinformation and lies, governments are slow to respond and prefer to maintain the unregulated black market rather than allow individuals to act responsibly and use what they can to treat illness. It must be kept in mind that if one does choose to use these drugs, then they must approach it with the utmost respect, as disregarding the spirit of the plant may anger it and may even be dangerous for the user. Therefore, it is important to remember what you are using them for and why you need to invoke their aid. Typically, other healing methods should be tried before attempting to deal with psychoactive drugs, and though some of these substances are not illegal, they are still capable of inflicting harm as much as they can heal. Tread carefully fellow travellers, as the world of entheogenic plant spirits is as dangerous as it is rewarding.

Wulf Willelmson

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European Entheogens: Folk Medicine and Magical Aids ...

Entheogens today Ethnobotanical 101

Today, the modern Entheogenic Movement seeks to reincorporate these highly effective sacraments into spiritual practice and religious tradition. In stark contrast with the counter-cultural movements social use of psychedelics for recreation, contemporary entheogenic practitioners are striving to make use of these plants and fungi in ways that honor and respect their sacred uses.

Though many entheogens are treated as drugs, and therefore subject to legal restrictions and prohibitions, there are currently three officially recognized religions in the United States in which one can legally practice entheogenic spirituality: the Native American Church (NAC), which uses the peyote cactus as a sacrament; Santo Daime (SD), which uses an ayahuasca drink; and Uniao do Vegetal (UDV), which also uses an ayahuasca drink. In addition to these official religions, many legal entheogens now also are available on the Internet, offering relatively easy access to a wide variety of plants and fungi.

The gift of entheogens is the difference between saying my religion teaches that God is love and we are all one and saying I know that God is love and we are all one because Ive experienced it myself and can confirm that it is true.

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Entheogens today Ethnobotanical 101

Yoga and Entheogens (aka Drugs) Do They Mix …

Yoga and Entheogens Towards a Deeper Understanding

[Please Note: This is the first in a series of pieces dealing with entheogens (god-inspiring substances; aka plant medicines, psychoactive drugs, psychedelics, hallucinogens the latter two terms somewhat obsolete or fallen into disfavor) and yoga. I will be asking, and attempting to resolve, certain thorny issues such as, Can or should entheogens be used by one who seriously walks the yoga path? and What benefit might they have for the serious student of yoga? and How has the yoga/spiritual communitys changed towards entheogens since the 60s and now, and why? and What are the legal and moral issues and ramifications? And so on.

First you might want to check out the following Wiki article on Entheogens, just in case you need to get up to speed (

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogen

Next, watch the following video of a lecture by Ram Dass speaking on the subject of his experiences with and reflections on entheogens (and for more info. on Ram Dass, either go to his website: http://www.ramdass.org/ ; or read the following Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ram_Dass ) :

Heres the second part, too:

Finally, for right now well conclude with Ram Dass famous story of what happened when he gave LSD to his guru, Neem Karoli Baba. Please be sure to read my comments afterward, too.3~**********************************************3~When I First Came to India (by Ram Dass)

In 1967 when I first came to India, I brought with me a supply of LSD, hoping to find someone who might understand more about these substances than we did in the West. When I had met Maharajji (Neem Karoli Baba), after some days the thought had crossed my mind that he would be a perfect person to ask. The next day after having that thought, I was called to him and he asked me immediately, Do you have a question? Of course, being before him was such a powerful experience that I had completely forgotten the question I had had in my mind the night before. So I looked stupid and said, No, Maharajji, I have no question.He appeared irritated and said, Where is the medicine?

I was confused but Bhagavan Dass suggested, Maybe he means the LSD. I asked and Maharajji nodded. The bottle of LSD was in the car and I was sent to fetch it.

When I returned I emptied the vial of pills into my hand. In addition to the LSD there were a number of other pills for this and thatdiarrhea, fever, a sleeping pill, and so forth. He asked about each of these.

He asked if they gave powers. I didnt understand at the time and thought that by powers perhaps he meant physical strength. I said, No. Later, of course, I came to understand that the word he had used, siddhis, means psychic powers. Then he held out his hand for the LSD. I put one pill on his palm. Each of these pills was about three hundred micrograms of very pure LSDa solid dose for an adult. He beckoned for more, so I put a second pill in his handsix hundred micrograms. Again he beckoned and I added yet another, making the total dosage nine hundred microgramscertainly not a dose for beginners. Then he threw all the pills into his mouth. My reaction was one of shock mixed with fascination of a social scientist eager to see what would happen.

He allowed me to stay for an hour and nothing happened. Nothing whatsoever.

He just laughed at me.

The whole thing had happened very fast and unexpectedly. When I returned to the United States in 1968 I told many people about this acid feat. But there had remained in me a gnawing doubt that perhaps he had been putting me on and had thrown the pills over his shoulder or palmed them, because I hadnt actually seen them go into his mouth.

Three years later, when I was back in India, he asked me one day, Did you give me medicine when you were in India last time?

Yes.

Did I take it? he asked. ( Ah, there was my doubt made manifest!)

I think you did.

What happened?

Nothing.

Go! Jao! and he sent me off for the evening.

The next morning I was called over to the porch in front of his room, where he sat in the mornings on a tucket. He asked, Have you got any more of that medicine?

It just so happened that I was carrying a small supply of LSD for just in case, and this was obviously it. Yes.

Get it, he said.

So I did. In the bottle were five pills of three hundred micrograms each. One of the pills was broken. I placed them on my palm and held them out to him. He took the four unbroken pills. Then, one by one, very obviously and very deliberately, he placed each one in his mouth and swallowed it another unspoken thought of mine now answered.

As soon as he had swallowed the last one, he asked, Can I take water?

Yes.

Hot or cold?

It doesnt matter.

He started yelling for water and drank a cup when it was brought.

Then he asked, How long will it take to act?

Anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour.

He called for an older man, a long -time devotee who had a watch, and Maharajji held the mans wrist, often pulling it up to him to peer at the watch.

Then he asked, Will it make me crazy?

That seemed so bizarre to me that I could only go along with what seemed to be a gag.

So I said, Probably.

And then we waited. After some time he pulled the blanket over his face, and when he came out after a moment his eyes were rolling and his mouth was ajar and he looked totally mad. I got upset. What was happening? Had I misjudged his powers? After all, he was an old man (though how old I had no idea), and I had let him take twelve hundred micrograms. Maybe last time he had thrown them away and then he read my mind and was trying to prove to me he could do it, not realizing how strong the medicine really was. Guilt and anxiety poured through me. But when I looked at him again he was perfectly normal and looking at the watch.

At the end of an hour it was obvious nothing had happened. His reactions had been a total put-on. And then he asked, Have you got anything stronger? I didnt. Then he said, These medicines were used in Kulu Valley long ago. But yogis have lost that knowledge. They were used with fasting. Nobody knows now. To take them with no effect, your mind must be firmly fixed on God. Others would be afraid to take. Many saints would not take this. And he left it at that.

When I asked him if I should take LSD again, he said, It should not be taken in a hot climate. If you are in a place that is cool and peaceful, and you are alone and your mind is turned toward God, then you may take the yogi medicine.by Ram Dass3~********************************************3~

Note: This story is actually a combination of two stories that Ram Dass told, the first (from his first trip to India in 68) is recounted in his book, Be Here Now. The second story is to be found in The Only Dance There Is, which is a collection of his lectures given at the Menninger Foundation in the early Seventies. I found the story here: http://neemkarolibaba.com/content/view/106/39/

I just want to conclude with a few comments and questions on what Ram Dass wrote: First, are these stories true, or only partly true? I ask this partly because one western yogi who went to India around the same time as Ram Dass recently wrote to me that he doesnt believe the whole Ram Dass mythology. Well, Ram Dass might have made the stories a little more elaborate and interesting, but my feeling is that the basic stories that he gave LSD to NKB and it didnt seem to have an effect on him are true. I believe that Bhagavan Das (who was present at the time) has confirmed as much, too.

The second question I want to bring up is: Was Neem Karoli Baba recommending that any serious yoga aspirant could take LSD, or only Ram Dass?It seems from this story, that he was just okaying it for Ram Dass, not for anyone else. The question then is: Did Ram Dass continue to recommend its use when he returned to the States? Not publicly, as far as Im aware, because by that time LSD was illegal. My understanding is that from that point on, Ram Dass began to publicly recommend and teach yoga practices like chanting, meditation, breathwork, etc., as alternatives to psychoactive drugs such as LSD. At the same time, as in the above videos, Ram Dass did continue to speak on the positive effects that psychedelics (entheogens was not a word in vogue at that point) had on his own life and consciousness, but also discussing their shortcomings, as well.

Please write me, though, if you have more information on this subject. I will return to it again in future blog entries. Thanks for listening! Namaste

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Natural vs Synthetic Drugs & Entheogens | Animam Recro

I want to add something to my last post. And yes, I get this right from being a multi-dimensional transpersonal monochromatic knight of the inner realms. Or maybe its just because Im a geek.

The following point really merits more posts or more like its own book. I mention that the Viking Youth discuss various methods of trance induction that are not catalyzed by psychoactive chemicals and that dreams could be naturally induced non-ordinary states of consciousness.

The whole argument of synthetic drug (LSD) vs. natural drug (Morning Glory) and substance induced (drug) vs. naturally induced (meditation) altered states is riddled with misconceptions and ambiguities. If you listen to the Viking Youth Power Hour they mention a natural way to induce an altered state is by using pain to flood the brain with endorphins which are endogenous opioid biochemical compounds. Essentially, there is no way to avoid some sort of chemical process going on the brain that is not natural to the brains normal state, hence non-ordinary state of consciousness. Endogenous means that the compound originates naturally in the body but there are also synthesized drugs which are psychoactive by altering the level of endogenous compounds in the brain. There are even endogenous cannabinoids (from the word cannabis) found in the body.

When a shaman ingests magic mushrooms which contain psilocybin it is converted into psilocin in the body. There are only subtle differences in ingesting synthesized psilocin and naturally occuring mushrooms such as potency and whatever other chemicals can be found in the mushroom. It is possible that this subtle difference may make all the difference for shamanic a purpose, thats a complicated area of inquiry. But Albert Hofmann and Maria Sabina may offer some insight:

When I was in Mexico on an expedition with my friend Gordon Wasson in 1963, in search of a hallucinogenic plant, we also visited the famous curandera Maria Sabina in Huautla de Jimenez. We were invited to attend a nocturnal mushroom ceremony in her hut, but as it was late in the year and no more mushrooms were available, I supplied her with pills containing synthetic psilocybin. She took a rather strong dose corresponding to the number of mushrooms she usually ingests. It was a gala performance assisted by a number of people of Maria Sabinas clan. At dawn when we left the hut, our Mazateca interpreter told us that Maria Sabina had said there was no difference between the pills and the mushrooms. This was a final proof that our synthetic psilocybin was identical in every respect with the natural product.

-Albert Hofmann (discoverer of LSD)

In regards to dreaming there is an interesting assessment of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) by Dr. Rick Strassman in DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The book is based on his project that took place for five years in which he administered approximately 400 doses of DMT to 60 human volunteers. This research took place at the University of New Mexicos School of Medicine in Albuquerque. Dr. Rick Strassman thinks Dimethyltryptamine may be connected to the hallucinogenic aspects of dreaming. It is an endogenous hallucinogenic tryptamine which is hypothesized to be produced by the pineal gland. This gland is also referred to as the third eye, the seat of the soul by the philosopher Rene Descartes, and Ajna or the sixth chakra in yoga. DMT is a schedule 1 drug even though we all have it in our brains. What is the fine line between experiencing the state after ingesting it for shamanic use, which is illegal in many countries, and simply going to bed?

To return to the topic of natural vs. synthetic:

I think the fear of synthetic chemicals is twofold. Our culture is at the point where its beginning to fear that which is not natural because of a number of reasons, specifically our environment being in decline and the partial responsibility of the synthetic for this. The idea of mimicking the ecstatic experience by ingesting something from a lab is somehow more threatening than something originating in the forest. However, this fear might not be completely unwarranted.

A method in assessing the toxicity of a substance or its potential harm to the body/mind when one doesnt have access to a lab is by focusing on the numbers of years and in what ways it was used through out history. Most, if not all entheogens (psychoactive substances taken in a religious or shamanic context) have been used for hundreds and thousands of years. If people have not been harmed by such use, its fairly safe to say that it wont be detrimental to your well being. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said by all synthesized substances, including some new pharmacological drugs which are used with modern psychotherapy. Please see the Mind vs. Body post and future posts on this topic. An example would be the withdrawal symptoms and addictive properties of Paxil.

I also mentioned the way entheogens are used for a specific reason as well. The ritual aspect of the use of psychoactive substances may have been an imbedded failsafe mechanism which prevented them from being used too frequently, the effects of which still need to be studied.

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