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How San Francisco’s Summer of Love sparked today’s religious movements – Religion News Service

50th anniversary By Don Lattin | 8 hours ago

Guests view the Bill Ham Light Painting Room/Light Show during the opening night of TheSummer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll exhibit at the de Young Museum in San Francisco on April 8, 2017. Photo courtesy of BillHamLights.com

SAN FRANCISCO (RNS) Over the past few months, the Bay Area has been waxing nostalgic over the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, the 1967 season when hippies and tens of thousands of seekers, drifters and runaways poured into the citys suddenly chaotic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

To many Americans, the psychedelic counterculture of the 1960s, which the Summer of Love came to represent, may seem like an irrelevant little experiment involving LSD, tie-dyes, free love, shaggy hairstyles and rock bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane.

A crowd keeps a large ball, painted to represent a world globe, in the air during a gathering at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, to celebrate the summer solstice on June 21, 1967, day one of Summer of Love. (AP Photo)

It was all of that, but the mind-blowing revolution that rocked the streets of San Francisco that summer may also be seen as a new religious movement that profoundly shaped the lives and spiritual expression of millions of Americans who never dropped acid, grew a beard, burned their bra, or set foot in a hippie commune.

Anyone who has ever participated in yoga classes, practiced mindfulness meditation, looked into alternative medicine, or referred to oneself as spiritual but not religious, may want to find a 70-year-old hippie this summer and simply say, Thank you.

The Cosmic Car on a San Francisco street in 1967. Photo by Gene Anthony

San Francisco had been drawing adventure seekers and freethinkers since the 1849 Gold Rush, but the immediate roots of the Summer of Love date back to the 1950s and the influential work of the Beat writers like Jack Kerouac (On the Road, 1957) and poet Allen Ginsberg (Howl, 1956).

The psychedelic experimentation in San Francisco took off in 1965, when novelist Ken Kesey (One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, 1962) gathered a Dionysian band of artists, musicians and drug enthusiasts known as the Merry Pranksters and held a series of LSD-fueled happenings around the Bay Area. Their story was immortalized by Tom Wolfes 1968 nonfiction book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Those who were in the middle of the San Francisco scene in the mid-1960s say the best of times were over by the summer of 1967, when the drugs got harder and the unconditional love got conditional.

Timothy Leary addresses a crowd of hippies at the Human Be-In that he helped organize in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco on Jan. 14, 1967. Leary told the crowd to turn on, tune in, drop out.(AP Photo/Bob Klein)

It was all downhill, they say, following the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park in January of 1967, when Timothy Leary, the former Harvard University psychologist and LSD guru, took the stage and told the stoned multitudes to turn on, tune in, drop out.

To Carolyn Mountain Girl Garcia, the 1967 Summer of Love was very much a media distortion.

It drove people in vast numbers with expectations that were never met, she said. It was kind of a sociological disaster. But it was really wonderful when it was working.

Garcia, now 71, was only 17 years old when she arrived in the Bay Area with her older brother from New York in the summer of 1963. Within a year, she met Neal Cassady, the real-life version of a charismatic character in Kerouacs On the Road.

Judy Smith, wearing face paint and flowers in her hair as she and others gather at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on June 21, 1967. Fifty years ago, throngs of American youth descended on San Francisco to join a cultural revolution. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)

Cassady introduced Garcia to Ken Kesey who christened her Mountain Girl and fathered Garcias first daughter, Sunshine. Within a few years, Garcia was living with Sunshine and Jerry Garcia, the lead guitarist of the Grateful Dead.

She later co-founded an organization called the Womens Visionary Congress, a community of adventurers from generations and traditions united to explore a more vivid and profound awareness of our inner and outer worlds.

Carolyn Garcia sees psychedelic drugs and plants as a major inspiration for much of the broader spiritual experimentation in the 1960s, 1970s, and beyond.

It got people into a spiritual dimension without the religion attached. It was personal contact with the realm of spiritual energy, with an unseen force that connects everybody to life itself, to nature, she said. Many spiritual communities have evolved from the hippie times, including people taking on Buddhism and other Asian religions and recreating them as modern movements. If you want to find out about spirituality and psychedelics, just talk to your yoga teacher.

Some former psychedelic enthusiasts question whether the consciousness-raising counterculture was all that effective in transforming American society.

One of them is Robert Forte, who studied the history and psychology of religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School and has taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz and the California Institute of Integral Studies.

He sees the psychedelic counterculture as a microcosm of the best and worst of religion.

Religion is a very complex subject, spanning the whole spectrum of human behavior. It can be an ethical, exalted expression, but religion can also be a mind-control technique to subjugate the masses, said Forte, who edited two collections of essays in the late 1990s, Timothy Leary Outside Looking In,and Entheogens and the Future of Religion.

A lot of people in the 1960s had unitive experiences that informed their life in important ways.

Yet we also see all this fake New Ageism, he added. You hear a lot of cheerleading about the value of these drugs. But where is our anti-war movement today? Where are the visions we had in the 1960s about transforming the world in more ecologically, sustainable ways? Weve failed. Yet there are these people who think that by taking drugs and putting feathers in your hair and going to Burning Man you are somehow furthering this alternative culture.

For visual artist Bill Ham, the man who more-or-less invented the psychedelic light show, it was a magical time of creative freedom. Ham is now 84 and still living in San Francisco, not far from Haight Street. He arrived as an art student in 1958 and began hanging out with the Beats, who gathered in coffeehouses and poetry venues in the citys North Beach neighborhood.

Artist Bill Ham performs a light painting. Photo courtesy ofBillhamlights.com

Ham was among a small band of San Francisco beatniks and hippies who spent the summer of 1965 at the Red Dog Saloon in Virginia City, Nev., a old mining town about five hours east of San Francisco, on the other side of the Sierras.

Some fledgling musicians, including Dan Hicks, formed the Charlatans and became the Red Dog house band. Ham had just developed an art form he calls light painting, a kinetic abstract expressionism that used an overhead projector, layers of glass, oils, pigments and other liquids to project pulsating amoeba-like patterns of color onto walls and ceilings.

According to some rock historians, the Charlatans were the first psychedelic rock band. They returned to San Francisco and began performing with other fledgling groups in small clubs and dance halls and for free in Golden Gate Park. In the early years, there was little separation between the performers and audience, a connection that was intensified by psychedelic plants like marijuana and peyote, and later with powerful mind-altering drugs like LSD, which at high doses have the ability to blur the boundary between self and other.

In the early 1960s, Ham said, there was this whole city of creative people, including jazz musicians, artists, writers, dancers, avant-garde actors, and the early electronic music creators. Then it got overwhelmed by the rock and roll scene, he said, because it turned out that was where the money was.

Americas music critics discovered the San Francisco sound at the Monterey Pop Festival in the spring of 1967, a concert where the imported Texas blues singer Janis Joplin, the new frontwoman for Big Brother and the Holding Company, blew everyone away. That spring also saw the release of the hit pop song, San Francisco, with its famous lyric, If youre going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair.

But the most influential musical release that spring was the Beatles classic psychedelic album, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. Those songs inspired millions of people around the world to experiment with psychedelic drugs and explore the mystical promises of Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism.

Peace demonstrators fill Fulton Street in San Francisco on April 15, 1967, during a five-mile march through the city. The march ended at Kezar Stadium, where a peace rally was held. Groups came from Los Angeles and the Northwest to join in the march and rally. San Francisco City Hall is in the background. (AP Photo/Robert W. Klein)

This was all two years before the Woodstock nation gathered on Max Yasgurs dairy farm in upstate New York.

All of the media attention focused on San Francisco and the 1967 Summer of Love attracted throngs of baby boomers to the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

It was not all peace and love.

Among the waves of psychedelic immigrants were hordes of troubled, runaway kids. Many found freedom, while others fell into drug addiction, sexual exploitation, and the worsening of pre-existing mental illness caused by the careless use of psychoactive drugs. There were definitely casualties, Ham said, but when you compare it to Vietnam, we dont have too much to apologize for.

Photographer Gene Anthony, the author of a richly illustrated book, The Summer of Love Haight-Ashbury at its Highest, captured many of the magical moments during the Acid Tests and the early gatherings of the tribe from which the soon-to-be-famous San Francisco rock bands would emerge.

In some ways it did seem like a religious movement, but more in the communal and political sense. There wasnt one charismatic leader, Anthony said. There were groups of people like the Mime Troupe and The Diggers, who were feeding the kids and trying to do something positive. There was the Free Clinic and a store where everything was free.

A young San Francisco resident, far right, came out of his apartment across the street to welcome three new visitors arriving from Ohio for the 1967 Summer of Love. Photo by Herb Greene

Anything could happen. One Sunday in the summer of 1967, Anthony was standing at the corner of Haight and Masonic streets when a black limo pulled up and out popped George Harrison, the famous Beatle, with his wife, Pattie Boyd, both of them decked out in fashionable hippie garb.

Harrison would later reveal that he was not impressed with the scene in the Haight. I expected it to be a brilliant place with groovy gypsy people, he said, but it was full of horrible spotty dropout kids.

Starting in the fall of 1966, and continuing into the 1980s, laws were passed banning and increasing penalties for drugs like LSD and MDMA, known on the street as Ecstasy or Molly. Scientific research into beneficial uses of these compounds, which date back to the 1950s, was shut down in the 1970s and 1980s. Richard Nixon declared his war on drugs, and the Just Say No mantra of Nancy Reagan became the official federal drug policy.

Today, however, there is a growing appreciation of the potentially beneficial medical uses of still-banned, mind-altering compounds like, MDMA and psilocybin, the drug that puts the magic in magic mushrooms. Government-approved clinical trials are underway at UCLA, New York University and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore in which these drugs, alongside psychotherapy, are used to help people suffering from depression, substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Summer of Love exhibits have opened in San Francisco at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park and at the Mission Street offices of the California Historical Society.

(Don Lattin is the author of Changing Our Mind Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy, published this spring. Find him at http://www.donlattin.com)

Originally posted here:

How San Francisco's Summer of Love sparked today's religious movements - Religion News Service

The Poisoner: Pharmakos and Veneficus-Poisoner’s Apothecary – Patheos (blog)

Forest Pathway. Photographer Carey E. Ward.

Walking the Crooked Path

There are few words to adequately describe my nature as a practitioner of the Nameless Arte. There is not one single title that I identify with on a regular basis, but a collection of diverse practices that contribute to my identity. I am often hesitant to call myself anything when it comes to magical titles. Many of the words used to describe ourselves today originated during a time when people like us were feared. Many of the cultural terms for witch used in European vernacular during the Medieval Period were also associated with malevolent supernatural entities. If I had to choose a term that most closely describes what and who I am; it would have to be one of the old names used in the ancient world to describe sorcerous practitioners with the knowledge of botanical poisons and powers. The Greeks called them Pharmakos because of their knowledge of the powers of plants. In the Roman Empire they became known by the Latinized version of the earlier Greek title. The Veneficus of Rome specialized, not only in plant medicine, but also in botanical toxins. Assassination was a common occurrence in Roman political society, and the apothecary played a central role in the turning of political tides. With their knowledge of plant poisons and antidotes, a practitioner of the Venefic Arts could be an invaluable tool. Witchcraft was synonymous with the venefic arts in ancient times, and has remained a tool of the politically and socially oppressed.

In modern terms of religion I consider myself aPagan since I have never felt entirely comfortable using the termNeo-Pagan to describe myself or my practices. I dont see anything wrong with those who identify with this term, and I recognize it as a legitimate academic term. Just like other major religions, there are many diverse traditions under the umbrella of Paganism, Neo-Paganism included. Both titles are able to coexist simultaneously as they refer to different ends of the spectrum. The concept of religion as an institution based on specific doctrine is a relatively modern idea. Pagan spirituality as a whole does not fit into this compartment. I think as fellow Pagans we all follow a similar path when it comes to our reverence for nature and our relationship with the spirit world. There are many branches off of the path of paganism, each with its own unique cosmology.

Photographer Carey E. Ward.

The Path of Poisons and Witchlore

ThePoison PathorVeneficium as it has become known is a facet of traditional witch lore based on the ancient arte of plant magic. The story of the Fall, in which divine luminaries descended from the heavens is a central pillar of traditional witchcraft lore. The Fallen Ones brought knowledge of the arts to mankind, including the art of wortcunning. In addition to this knowledge, they made wives of the daughters of man, and through this union brought the legendary witchfire or Mark of Cain into the human gene pool. This ancient myth with its pre-Christian origins has been shared throughout human history preserved in occult lore. The Poison Path is just one of the ways in which we can unlock the secrets of the spirit world through communion and partnership with the spirits of nature.

Part of our practice on the verdant way is the collection and preservation of traditional plant lore. What we do not obtain from written sources we are able to learn directly from the plants themselves. Spending a lot of time in direct communion with plant-spirit allies is a great advantage to any practitioner of green witchcraft. Whether it be sitting with a single special plant of your own cultivation or immersing yourself in the forest surrounded by its collective spirit. One of the most effective devotional practices for building a strong bond with the green current is meditative walking in the forest, and cultivating traditional witch herbs. So much can be learned about the hidden nature of any plant by tending to it every day and watching it go through its life cycle.

Photographer Carey E. Ward. Lindenwood Nature Preserve.

Plants of Tradition

There are certain plants that are more associated with witchcraft and sorcery than any other. These are the herbs of traditional witch lore. The Nightshades are amongst some of the most infamous witchs herbs, including well known names like Belladonna and Mandrake. Other banes like Wolfsbane are associated with shapeshifting, sorcery and the Underworld. The infamous Fly Agaric Mushroom found across cultures has been used by shamanic practitioners to part the way between the worlds and travel back with newfound knowledge. All of these well-documented botanicals have been associated with magical practice and occult secrets over the centuries. I believe that these plants allied themselves with ancient men and women who were the first keepers of esoteric lore.

The plants within this category make powerful allies for any magical practitioner, and are not limited to those containing large amounts of toxins. Like many powerful plant spirits, just their presence and proximity is enough to bring one into a trance. Regular meditation with the living plant spirit is one of the best ways to develop a spiritual bond with the plant. Harvesting these plants is a sacrament in itself, and one of the primary practices of the green witch. The harvest ritual can be as simple or complex as the practitioner desires, and offerings are made to the spirit of the land. The plants retain their power within their bones long after their waters have left them.

Poisoners Accoutrement. Photographer Coby Michael Ward.

Underworld and Harvest

As plants of life, death and resurrection their bodies are transformed by their harvest-death returning from the Underworld as powerful spirit fetishes for artifice. Artificium is the creation of magical tools, objects and artifacts using sacred mineralogical and botanical materials, and is one of the artes of the path. Strangely enough the Nightshade plants of the Witchs Garden have roots that are perfect for the making of altar totems and ritually prepared homunculi. The berries, leaves and seed pods of these plants also produce natural amulets and tokens.

While different methods of ingestion and absorption have been utilized ritually and medicinally, it is imperative to gain ones own experience and understanding of the plants before any ritual ingestion is attempted of any kind. Any such ritual should be treated with reverence and rarity of occasion to maintain potency.

Green Witchcraft, or plant magic in general has associations with the Underworld via direct connection through the earth. The plants of the Poison Path draw nutrients up through their root systems, taking in energy from subterranean realms. While most plants draw their energy from the Sun, these shade loving denizens of the night draw their power directly from the Underworld. Their additional Saturnian correspondences further connect them to the Underworld. These witch allies nourish themselves with the dark and verdant light below, occasionally descending to its depths for protection. Because of their time spent in the Underworld during the winter months they are able to return more powerful or more numerous than before. Like a witch returning from a night at the Sabbath they bring with them new powers and lore.

The Underworld is a place of ancestral knowledge and where the hidden powers of nature reside. It is the repository for the Mysteries, where through initiatory experiences one returns with new understanding having communed with Elder Gods. The chthonic powers of the underworld are presided over by the Witch Queen or Queen of Elphame, whose consort and spirit retinue comprise the courts of the Fair Folk. It is the resting place of that divine fire that fell to Earth many millennia ago, still casting its dim green glow over the landscapes of the world below.

Plant-Based Magical Practices

The Poison Path or Crooked Way not only emphasizes the baneful herbs of medieval witchlore, but all plants with potent relationships with mankind. Understanding the balms and antidotes is the other side of the path as it weaves crookedly through the forest. Throughout history there have been certain plants that seem to have a special affinity towards humanity, plants like Ladys Mantle and Vervain are known for their powers as catalysts for magical operations. Such plants are also known for aiding practitioners in the practice of plant alchemy. There is a rich history of botanical lore that preserves medieval folk practices, and complex herbal preparations recorded in handwritten grimoires.

The historic relevancy and emphasis on academic research is another aspect that attracted me to classical witchcraft and the Poison Path. Part of my practice is piecing together bits and pieces of botanical folklore to create my own compendium of sorcerous allies. I am very interested in any documented historical use of the traditional plants of European witchcraft, and also any modern pharmacological research available on botanical entheogens. This path weaves together many facets of witchcraft mythos, including the Witches Sabbath and the infamous Flying Ointments of the Medieval Period. Interestingly we find many obscure pieces of magical practices hidden within the botanical folklore of the world. Many of the lost practices of antiquity can be regained through our direct communion with these elder spirits.

Learn More About the Poison Path Here

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The Poisoner: Pharmakos and Veneficus-Poisoner's Apothecary - Patheos (blog)

The Summer of Love was more than hippies and LSD it was the start of modern individualism – Metro Newspaper UK

Nicholas Campion, Associate Professor in Cosmology and Culture, Principal Lecturer in the Faculty of Humanities and the Performing Arts, The University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Something remarkable happened to the youth of the Western world 50 years ago. In the summer of 1967 a huge number of American teenagers nobody knows exactly how many, but some estimate between 100,000 and 200,000 escaped what they saw as their suburban prisons and made for the city district of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.

We now look back on the Summer of Love the name originated at a meeting of counter-cultural leaders in the spring as a lost golden age of bliss, excitement and adventure; a paradise which can never be recreated. But in actual fact, this centre-piece of the 60s still looms large over popular culture and social mores today.

Drawing on utopian traditions which date back to the founding fathers, and fuelled by the euphoric and hallucinatory powers of marijuana and LSD, the summer of 1967 saw an extraordinary culture rise in a remarkably short space of time.

There was a creative explosion in the arts, music and fashion combined with a belief that the world could be born anew. Characterised by the vivid, flowing colours of psychedelic art, and a belief that love was the solution to all problems, hippy culture set out to transform the world by rejecting every social, political, economic and aesthetic feature of mainstream Western society.

This hippy revolution became a media sensation with the release of Scott Mackenzies song, San Francisco, in May 1967, which was a huge hit in the US and much of Europe.

The story goes that a paradise of peace and love prevailed in San Francisco for much of the year, but came sadly unstuck very soon after. This new Garden of Eden was destroyed progressively by the sheer numbers of teenagers who descended on Haight-Ashbury. One leading figure described the resulting chaos as a zoo.

Commercialisation of the hippie dream compounded the problem and disillusion set in. The twin shock of the Manson murders in August 1969, and the brutal killing by Hells Angels of an audience member at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont a few months later, provided the epitaph to an era.

According to this version, the survivors renounced psychedelia, abandoned the vain belief that love would solve everything and knuckled down to political action gay liberation, second wave feminism and environmentalism. Or they found gurus and became new agers. The 60s were sealed off, preserved in aspic as a lost golden age, a time of innocence. It was over, finished, forbidden to anyone who wasnt there.

However, like all golden age stories, this narrative is largely bogus.

Criticism of the Summer of Love mythology dates back to 1967 itself, to the Diggers named after the English radicals of 1649-50. This guerrilla street theatre group regarded the hippy phenomenon as a media creation, a distraction from the true attempt to build a new and more just society. They denounced the irresponsible preaching of psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, who urged teenagers to take LSD and renounce work and education, and attacked the catchy nonsense of MacKenzies song as a marketing ploy.

The truth is that like all apparently simple cultural phenomena, the Summer of Love was complex. There was a deep tension between the Diggers back-to-basics idealistic communism, the commercialism of hippy capitalists selling bells and beads, the advocates of psychedelic transformation, and the politicos of the new left based in Berkeley, California.

The single issue all these groups opposed was American involvement in Vietnam. When the war came to an end with the Paris peace accord in 1973, there was no longer a binding external enemy. The illusion of a single, principled counterculture vanished.

In reality, there was no single 60s, no golden age, and nothing to come to an end. Instead there were three taste cultures that all coincided, and started to change societys values.

The first of these cultures was based in fashion and music. Peacock styles for men long hair and bright colours and women in mini-skirts or flowing hippy garb. The second group were political revolutionaries, post and neo-Marxists for whom the transformation of socio-economic conditions was the pressing priority. The third group believed in inner transformation and liberation achieved through marijuana and LSD.

Though the three groups priorities were fundamentally different, they shared a belief that the past was old and stale, along with a commitment to unfettered individualism. There were, of course, still significant overlaps, and when psychedelic culture met the radical left, notions of protest as play and performance took centre stage.

Half a century on from the height of the Summer of Love, all three taste cultures have survived, but with a different relevance. Individuality and self-expression in fashion and music has continued unhindered. Traditions of political protest flourish as new targets are found in environmental activism and sexual politics. And new generations of spiritual seekers find inspiration in psychedelic drugs, now also known as entheogens.

Defining the 60s as a single unique period, a lost golden age, seals it off from contemporary experience. The sun may have set on the Summer of Love, but the warmth of its rays are still being felt today.

Continue reading here:

The Summer of Love was more than hippies and LSD it was the start of modern individualism - Metro Newspaper UK

The Summer of Love was more than hippies and LSD it was the start of modern individualism – The Conversation UK

Heading to San Francisco.

Something remarkable happened to the youth of the Western world 50 years ago. In the summer of 1967 a huge number of American teenagers nobody knows exactly how many, but some estimate between 100,000 and 200,000 escaped what they saw as their suburban prisons and made for the city district of Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.

We now look back on the Summer of Love the name originated at a meeting of counter-cultural leaders in the spring as a lost golden age of bliss, excitement and adventure; a paradise which can never be recreated. But in actual fact, this centre-piece of the 60s still looms large over popular culture and social mores today.

Drawing on utopian traditions which date back to the founding fathers, and fuelled by the euphoric and hallucinatory powers of marijuana and LSD, the summer of 1967 saw an extraordinary culture rise in a remarkably short space of time.

There was a creative explosion in the arts, music and fashion combined with a belief that the world could be born anew. Characterised by the vivid, flowing colours of psychedelic art, and a belief that love was the solution to all problems, hippy culture set out to transform the world by rejecting every social, political, economic and aesthetic feature of mainstream Western society.

This hippy revolution became a media sensation with the release of Scott Mackenzies song, San Francisco, in May 1967, which was a huge hit in the US and much of Europe.

The story goes that a paradise of peace and love prevailed in San Francisco for much of the year, but came sadly unstuck very soon after. This new Garden of Eden was destroyed progressively by the sheer numbers of teenagers who descended on Haight-Ashbury. One leading figure described the resulting chaos as a zoo.

Commercialisation of the hippie dream compounded the problem and disillusion set in. The twin shock of the Manson murders in August 1969, and the brutal killing by Hells Angels of an audience member at the Rolling Stones concert at Altamont a few months later, provided the epitaph to an era.

According to this version, the survivors renounced psychedelia, abandoned the vain belief that love would solve everything and knuckled down to political action gay liberation, second wave feminism and environmentalism. Or they found gurus and became new agers. The 60s were sealed off, preserved in aspic as a lost golden age, a time of innocence. It was over, finished, forbidden to anyone who wasnt there.

However, like all golden age stories, this narrative is largely bogus.

Criticism of the Summer of Love mythology dates back to 1967 itself, to the Diggers named after the English radicals of 1649-50. This guerrilla street theatre group regarded the hippy phenomenon as a media creation, a distraction from the true attempt to build a new and more just society. They denounced the irresponsible preaching of psychedelic guru Timothy Leary, who urged teenagers to take LSD and renounce work and education, and attacked the catchy nonsense of MacKenzies song as a marketing ploy.

The truth is that like all apparently simple cultural phenomena, the Summer of Love was complex. There was a deep tension between the Diggers back-to-basics idealistic communism, the commercialism of hippy capitalists selling bells and beads, the advocates of psychedelic transformation, and the politicos of the new left based in Berkeley, California.

The single issue all these groups opposed was American involvement in Vietnam. When the war came to an end with the Paris peace accord in 1973, there was no longer a binding external enemy. The illusion of a single, principled counterculture vanished.

In reality, there was no single 60s, no golden age, and nothing to come to an end. Instead there were three taste cultures that all coincided, and started to change societys values.

The first of these cultures was based in fashion and music. Peacock styles for men long hair and bright colours and women in mini-skirts or flowing hippy garb. The second group were political revolutionaries, post and neo-Marxists for whom the transformation of socio-economic conditions was the pressing priority. The third group believed in inner transformation and liberation achieved through marijuana and LSD.

Though the three groups priorities were fundamentally different, they shared a belief that the past was old and stale, along with a commitment to unfettered individualism. There were, of course, still significant overlaps, and when psychedelic culture met the radical left, notions of protest as play and performance took centre stage.

Half a century on from the height of the Summer of Love, all three taste cultures have survived, but with a different relevance. Individuality and self-expression in fashion and music has continued unhindered. Traditions of political protest flourish as new targets are found in environmental activism and sexual politics. And new generations of spiritual seekers find inspiration in psychedelic drugs, now also known as entheogens.

Defining the 60s as a single unique period, a lost golden age, seals it off from contemporary experience. The sun may have set on the Summer of Love, but the warmth of its rays are still being felt today.

Read more:

The Summer of Love was more than hippies and LSD it was the start of modern individualism - The Conversation UK

The Entheogenic Evolution | Free Podcasts | PodOmatic

June 29, 2017 09:07 AM PDT

At long last, Ash and the Sea Mother have their encounter

June 26, 2017 10:21 AM PDT

Paul J Von Hartmann discusses SOMA - the Southern Oregon Ministry Association - and sacramental use of cannabis

June 19, 2017 11:25 AM PDT

Mardul Complex makes a proposal to Theo regarding BRC Station

June 12, 2017 11:08 AM PDT

Tom and Sheri from the Oregon Psilocybin Society get us started with talks from the 2017 conference. You can support their work at opsbuzz.com

May 22, 2017 11:09 AM PDT

Here's a rather lengthy talk from my presentation at the Mystic Rising festival from 2016. As usual, I talk about 5-MeO-DMT, nonduality, religion, spirituality, self-awareness, the ego, and all that good stuff. I hope you enjoy, and see you at Exploring Psychedelics!

May 12, 2017 11:43 AM PDT

Here's Mike's talk from last summer's Peace Village festival. Mike is heading to London for heart surgery, so let's all wish him well! Plus, updates about the upcoming Exploring Psychedelics conference and additional events

May 04, 2017 10:41 AM PDT

Postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Michigan, Alan Kooi Davis, discusses his 5-MeO-DMT online survey and forthcoming human research at Johns Hopkins. You can find the survey here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/433388667010024/?hc_ref=SEARCH

April 24, 2017 09:46 AM PDT

Aryshta shares her thoughts on cannabis and spirituality from her talk at Peace Village Festival. Aryshta will also be joining us again for Exploring Psychedelics 2017 with a talk on Blue Lotus

April 10, 2017 09:53 AM PDT

We now move on to a few recorded talks from the Entheogenic Wisdom Forums at Peace Village Festival. To start us off, we have Ana Holub discussing entheogens and forgiveness

March 22, 2017 09:04 AM PDT

Tom shares more info on psychedelic European witchcraft, all while stunning the audience by going au natural - catch more of Tom (with clothes on, presumably) at the upcoming 2017 Exploring Psychedelic conference in a debate about mushroom use in Christianity

Continue reading here:

The Entheogenic Evolution | Free Podcasts | PodOmatic

The History and Possibilities of Putting Weed in Your Witchcraft – Seattle Weekly

From your bong to your broomstick.

Cannabis has been included in magical, religious, and spiritual rites for millennia, from Hindu sadhus who use cannabis as a prayer to Lord Shiva to Coptic Christians who burned it on altars as a devotional offering. Witches and warlocks, too, have had a long history with this helper, utilizing it for everything from medical remedies to summoning spirits. Cannabis and hemp were both staples in folk traditions. In his 1653 Complete Herbal, author Nicholas Culpeper wrote of the plant: This is so well known to every good housewife in the country, that I shall not need to write any description of it.

Some classic uses for cannabis were in spells and rites dedicated to healing, love, money drawing, visions, and meditation. Lovestruck witches would wander out under the midsummer full moon to sprinkle hemp seeds while circling a church nine times in hopes of seeing their true love(s). Witches attempting to see into the future would burn an incense made of cannabis, mugwort, coltsfoot, and angelica in front of a magic mirror, watching for signs in the reflection of the glass.

Perhaps the most infamous usage of cannabis in magic is its inclusion in the famed Witchs Flying Ointment. Blended with other mind-altering substances like opium poppies, morning glories, datura, belladonna, and nightshade and mixed with butter or lard, witches would smear it on their broomsticks and ride them, flying off in ecstatic, orgasmic bliss. Modern witches can replicate this by blending cannabis with small amounts of other entheogens like ayahuasca, cyanescens (magic mushrooms), and of course poppies. For an entirely legal version, cunning folks can create a weed blend with blue lotus, wild asparagus root, and mugwort. Make a tincture or decoction from your herbal blend and mix it with coconut oil for a bewitching lube to help you open up and push into the Universe with lust and love.

But you can also turn your cannabis use into a magical act. Do you like to work with crystals? The next time youre having a puff while studying sacred texts or reading tarot, try smoking a sativa that enhances concentration through a pipe made of lapis lazuli, a stone known for facilitating intellectual activity, augmenting learning, and improving memory. You can also keep stones with your weed, or use fruit or vegetables with magical connotations as pipes: apples for love spells, cucumbers before attempting dream or astral work, and potatoes and other root veggies for grounding energy after a ritual.

For an abundance spell, mix a little ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, or thyme, basil, and mint, into fresh water and carefully paint sigils, a wish, or words of power onto a hemp rolling paper and let it dry. Roll up a joint and smoke it to release the energy into the Universe. Alternately, make some edibles with these spice blends, like cinnamon oatmeal raisin cookies. Dont forget to press a magical symbol into the top of the cookie.

Last but not least, smoking from a bong or bubbler is a special way for weed witches to commune with all the elements: Earth is represented by cannabis, fire is the fire you light your bowl with, air is your breath, and water is in the bottom of the bong. Make sure you charge your bong water, too, by thinking some good vibes at it.

stashbox@seattleweekly.com

Thanks to The Fat Feminist Witch Blog for serving as a reference for this piece.

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The History and Possibilities of Putting Weed in Your Witchcraft - Seattle Weekly

What is the Difference Between Entheogens and Drugs? – Waking …

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James Oroc, Guest Waking Times

The word Entheogen means God contained within and in some other translations it means to awaken the divine within, which is closer to the word Entheogenesis, describing the process of doing away with all that which is transient and impermanent, while allowing the unchanging aspect of our being to awaken to itself. An Entheogen is a compound that induces a spiritual or mystical experience. There have been many kinds of Entheogens or plant based psychoactive substances used by humans. However, there isnt much known about these plant medicines commonly, as a result of which humanity has been for long exploited by psychological manipulation at the hands of the powers that be. Constant repetition of lies and negative propaganda seem to be working well on the sleeping masses, however with more information and awareness on these subjects things are quickly changing globally.

It is good to see great change manifesting when people join hands and come together against this regressive oppression and tyranny that act out through the various world governments, big greedy corporations and the Military Industrial Complex. One of the ways to beat the system is through creating more awareness by disseminating useful information, sharing knowledge speaking your truth and more importantly, living it ! We came across this brilliant source of information on various drugs and their effects on human consciousness and thought it must be shared here

In 2010 I was fortunate to be a presenter on the subject of entheogens at a fascinating conference in San Rafael, California, titled Beyond the I the end of the Seeker. The conference organizers had recruited a remarkable collection of physicists, neuroscientists, consciousness researchers, and spiritual teachers, all with a common interest in what turned out to be the rather hazy subject of Science and Non-Duality. (I say that I was fortunate to present because I was also able to attend workshops and lectures with some of my personal heroes including the physicist/authors Peter Russell, Amit Goswami, NASAs zero-point scientist Bernard Haisch, anesthesiologist Stuart Hammerhof on his and Roger Penroses theory of Quantum Consciousness, and a remarkable presentation by Nassim Haramein exclusively on his paper about the Schwarzschild Proton). The entheogen section of the conference titled Entheogens as a Portal was a panel comprising of Rick Doblin (MAPS), Dr. Martin Ball, James Fadimann, myself and a couple of other speakers (whose names I must confess I dont remember) all who received 20 minutes to speak about entheogens and (I presumed) non-duality.

So for this conference, rather than discussing my usual subject (the endogenous entheogens, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT), I decided to consider the broad spectrum of different mood-enhancing compounds available, and rather than considering how each particular drug affects our bodies or our mental well-being as most scientific studies would, I would instead rank each drug on how it affected our sense of Ego, our sense of I. Since the total loss of Ego and the sense of I is the core of the transpersonal mystical experience (and I am an experiential-mystic at heart) I decided that I would assign each drug its own Mystical Value, with the drugs that can induce the transpersonal state of total loss of Ego and Identity having the highest value (most value to an experiential mystic), while the drugs that reinforced or inflated the sense of the Ego would have the lowest. After having ranked the various compounds (according to experiential reports in literature, EROWID, etc), it was interesting to note that the scale naturally descended by the chemical class of the compoundtryptamine, phenethylamine, opiates, amphetamines, alcohol and that this corresponded to a noticeable increase in toxicity.

Here is how I ranked the various compounds, along with my personal commentary on the effects of the compound, its toxicity, and human history.

The endogenous entheogens/ Simple tryptamines:

1. 5-Methoxy-DMT: Regularly capable of inducing a classical mystical experience of transpersonal oneness with complete dissolution of Ego and Identity, even at dosages as low as 5 micrograms. Endogenous. Which means that it is naturally produced within our own bodies and thus 100% physically non-toxic. Also present in nature in the leaf, bark, and roots of trees, and in the venom of the Bufo Alvarius toad. 5-MeO-DMT has been used in South America in the forms of snuffs for an estimated 3000 years. 5-MeO-DMTs modern use, first in the form of smoking toad venom, and then as synthesized 5-Meo-DMT, is approx 35 years old.

2. DMT (dimethyltryptamine): Capable of inducing a classical mystical experience of transpersonal Oneness, with complete dissolution of Ego and Identity, mostly at high dosages, and in certain individuals. Endogenous. Found in the leaf, seeds, bark, and roots of plants, DMT has been used in South America as snuffs, and as the active alkaloid in ayahuasca, for more than 1500 years. These plant admixtures are regarded as sacred medicines amongst the Amazonian cultures from which they originate. After being discovered to be psychologically active by the Hungarian psychologist Stephan Szara in 1957, DMT was used by IM sporadically throughout the early 1960s (most notably by William S Burroughs and Timothy Leary) before experiencing a brief burst of popularity in the late 1960s (after the underground chemist Nick Sand discovered that the fumurate was smokable), before disappearing almost completely by the end of the 1970s. The writings of Terence McKenna subsequently rekindled interest in the compound and its natural analogue ayahuasca, which combined with the unsubstantiated theories of Dr Rick Strassman presented in the more recent book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, has resulted in a significant modern mythology amongst the current psychedelic counter-culture.

The Complex Tryptamines:

3. LSD-25. (lysergic acid) Also a tryptamine, LSD is capable of inducing a classical mystical experience of transpersonal Oneness, with complete dissolution of Ego and Identity, in high dosages, and in certain individuals. Synthetic, with close analogues found in nature. The Eleusinian mysterieswhich could only be attended once in a lifetimewere considered the high point of Greek Society and ran for more than 2000 years, tremendously influencing Greek Philosophy and thus Western Thought. Kykeon, the entheogen at the heart of these mysteries, was most likely an LSD analogue produced from an ergot (grain) fungus. (The Temple at Eleusis was dedicated to Demeter, the Goddess of Wheat). LSD-like compounds have also been isolated from the Aztec ololiuqui (morning glory) seeds. Lysergic Acid LSD 25, which captured the public imagination like no other entheogen in modern history during the late 1960s and early 70s when an estimated 75 million people tried the drug is the synthetic counterpart of these natural plant analogues. While the very high dosages (800+ micrograms) recommended by Leary, Metzner, and Alpert in The Varieties of the Psychedelic Experience (1963) to induce a transpersonal-mystical experience ultimately proved to be more than most people liked to handle psychologically, LSD is physiologically one of the safest compounds known to man, since it requires the smallest known amount (1/10,000th of a gram) to be psychologically active, and is thus has an incredibly low toxicity to dosage. (You can ingest the same amount of cyanide, or even plutonium, and it will pass through your body with affecting you). Wikipedia reports a suspected fatal overdose (Kentucky, 1975) medical literature on LSD, which involved the IV injection of a ridiculously large amount of LSD (1/3rd of a gram more than 3000 of todays hits!) but notes most sources report that there are no known human cases of such an overdose.

4. Psilocybin (4-OH-DMT). Can induce transpersonal-mystical experience in high dosage. Naturally occurring in some 200 mushroom species. The presumed entheogen in Terence McKennas Stoned Ape theory. The least powerful of the tryptamines, psilocybin is of low toxicity although overdoses are reputedly possible on synthetic psilocybin, such as in the death of John Griggs, the leader of the notorious LSD-and-hashish cartel, The Brotherhood of Love, although none are reported on EROWID.

Ketamine/PCP

5. Ketamine/PCP: Capable of inducing a classical mystical experience of transpersonal Oneness, with complete dissolution of Ego and Identity, mostly at high dosages, and in certain individuals. The only legal PCP analogue (estimated 5-10% the strength of PCP), Ketamine, which acts as a stimulant on the central nervous system, requires inclusion due to its impressive record for inducing mystical experiences in individuals (mostly by IM injection) and it could be argued that it deserves a higher ranking than the complex tryptamines. Since it is used as a medical anesthetic, it is considered physically very safe and overdoses are rare. While PCP was first synthesized in 1926, with an illegal street use that peaked in the mid-70s, Ketamines illegal use as an entheogen (and increasingly as a party drug in small doses) is a relatively recent human development.

The Psychedelic-Phenethylamines:

6. Mescaline: Can induce transpersonal-mystical experience in high-dosages. Naturally occurring in various cactus species, mescaline is one of the oldest psychedelics known to man. The San Pedro cactus cults of Northern Peru are the longest known continuous shamanic tradition having existed for at least 3000 years, while there is evidence of peyote use in Mexico and North America dating back 5700 years. In these cultures, the mescaline-containing cacti were considered sacred medicine. Although very rare today, synthetic mescaline was the main subject of Aldous Huxleys The Doors of Perception, which helped spark the 60s psychedelic revolution. (Mescaline, Psilocybin, LSD, and DMT would be the 4 compounds listed in the introduction to Leary, Messner, and Alperts The Psychedelic Experience in 1965.). Like most psychedelics, mescaline is physically non-toxic and non-addictive.

7. 2-CB, 2-CI: Structurally related to mescaline, both 2-CB and 2-CI can induce transpersonal-mystical experience in high-dosages. Synthetic phenethylamines, these are notoriously dose-sensitive and little is known about their toxicity, but due to the extremely low toxicity of mescaline and virtually all psychedelics, they can be assumed to be physically non-toxic and non-addictive. Both are creations of Alexander Shulgin (most famous for popularizing MDMA), which rose to popularity in the LSD drought of the early 21st century caused by the infamous Kansas Silo bust, proving once again that prohibition simply results in diversity.

FATAL OVERDOSE LINE

The Empathagenic-Phenethylamines:

8. MDA: (Sassafras). Empathogen. The original 1960s Love Drug. As with all the compounds in this class, empathogens can decrease the effect of Ego by inducing love and compassion to others, weakening the sense of I. Empathogens also differ from psychedelic/entheogens in their acute toxicity, with deaths caused by cardiac arrest/brain hemorrhaging at a fatality rate of approx 2 in 100,000 users, approximately the same as the more popular (though less toxic) MDMA.

9. MDMA (Ecstasy). See MDA. Rediscovered and popularized by chemist Alexander Shulgin in the 1980s, MDMA held great promise for psychiatry before becoming illegal in a wave of Federal paranoia. Currently being used in hospital trials in Israel, the organization MAPS (Multi-disciplinary Association of Psychedelic Sciences) wants to start clinical trials on returning soldiers with post-traumatic stress syndrome here in the USA.

Other Popular Illegal Compounds:

10. THC (Cannabis or marijuana). Decreases the effect of the Ego by shifting perspective, often towards the humorous side. Relatively low toxicity, no possibility of physical overdose. While cannabis related crimes are the number one reason for incarceration in the USA, with over a million people in jail for its sale, distribution, production, or possession, there has never been a single death related to THC consumption itself.

11. Opiates/Heroin: Nullifies the Ego by negating all desire although not the sense of I. Highly physically addictive with regular fatal overdoses, heroin was involved in 213,118 Emergency Room (ED) visits in 2009. Meanwhile Oxycodon fatalities (OxyContin is a semi-synthetic opiod pain reliever derived from opium) have increased 66.7% over the last five years due to this pain-medicines relatively high toxicity. (14,459 in 2007 82,724 people died from FDA approved drugs in 2010.) ED visits involving nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals (either alone or in combination with another drug) increased 98.4 percent between 2004 and 2009, from 627,291 visits to 1,244,679. OxyContin sales currently exceed $4 billion per year.

12. Cocaine: The ultimate Me drug. Physically and psychologically addictive. Highly toxic. A nervous-system stimulant, cocaine dependence (addiction) can result in cardiovascular and brain damage. The Greed Culture of the 1980s that came only 15 years after the Psychedelic Revolution can almost be epitomized by its reverence to cocaine, the most expensive drug that does the least for the shortest amount of time. In 2009 Cocaine and crack cocaine overdoses were responsible for over 400 000 ED room visits in US hospitals. While the first cocaine epidemic in the USA was in the 1880s, cocaine has greatly grown in popularity since the 1970s, with the estimated U.S. cocaine market exceeding $70 billion in street value in 2005 a greater revenue than a corporation such as Starbucks. The multi-billion dollar War against Cocaine has been waged at the military level in foreign countries since the 1980s with no noticeable affect on supply, while drug violence long the border of Mexico mostly over the cocaine and methamphetamine trade is killing more than 5000 people a year.

13. Methamphetamines. Physically and psychologically addictive. Highly toxic. The highly lucrative illegal underground market of the USAs most-popular legal drug (Ritalin and Adderall are legal methamphetamines the USA consumes 85% of the worlds prescription speed.) Sometimes called white-trash cocaine, methamphetamine abuse is reaching epidemic proportions at many levels of American society with over 93,000 ED room visits in 2009. Crack cocaine and methamphetamine addiction have long been associated with both forced and voluntary prostitution in every country that they appear in, while the violence associated with Mexican drug cartels fighting for control of a cocaine and methamphetamine market valued in excess of 50 billion dollars is currently responsible for over 15,000 fatalities a year.

(And finally, our Societys chosen legal inebrient)

14. Alcohol: Considered a psychoactive depressant. Highly toxic and physically addictive. The United States Center for Disease Control estimates that medium to high consumption of alcohol leads to the death of approx 75,000 people a year in the USA. While the last three compounds on this chart Cocaine, Methamphetamine, and Alcohol are the only three compounds most likely to reinforce the Ego to the point of physical violence, alcohol is the one your most likely to do yourself physical harm on due to self-loathing. Alcohol is the most common extenuating factor for homicides, rapes, beatings, and suicides, not to mention vehicular fatalities. Alcohol is arguably the least sophisticated drug in both its production and its crude inebriating effects. The first alcoholic beverages can be traced back 9000 years to Neolithic times, which is why I like to call it our stone-age drug. Paradoxically, (or perhaps because of its ancient origins) alcohol it is the only 100% legal drug on this list in the vast majority of countries around the world.

My conclusion from ranking these various compounds by their unique Mystical Value and comparing their relative toxicity can thus be expressed quite simply (as):

Orocs Law: The more a compound disrupts the Ego (the sense of I), the physically safer (less toxic) that compound will be, while the more a drug reinforces and inflates the sense of Ego, the more physically harmful (toxic) that compound will be.

After my presentation a number of the enthusiastic audience asked me if I had ever written anything about this Mystical Value Scale and I had to confess that I had not, but that some time in the future I would try to. But in all truth, I would probably have stored it away in the back drawers of my very messy mind had not the former Chief Advisor on Drugs to the British Government published a very interesting report in the respected Lancet medical journal that was released just a month later (Nov 2010) and made world-wide news. In this report by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, every common drug in British society was scored by a panel of social health experts on the harm it created including mental and physical damage, addiction, crime and costs to the economy and the community, thus basically ranking the public health effect of the various drugs. The maximum harm score was 100 and the minimum zero. When the results were tabulated, the most harmful drug was alcohol (72), then heroin (55), crack-cocaine (54), methamphetamines (33), cocaine (27), cannabis (20), ketamine (15), and MDMA (9), with LSD (7) and magic mushrooms (5) being ranked as the least harmful substances to British society! (Neither DMT or 5-MeO-DMT were on the list). The esteemed authors also wrote that our findings lend support to the previous work in the UK and the Netherlands, confirming that the present drug classification systems have little relation to the evidence of harm.

Based on this highly scientific report, my observation about the related toxicity of my Mystical Value scale would seem to have been validated, with those drugs that most eradicate the effect of the Ego being deemed (by public health experts) the safest. Non-addictive and of low toxicity, psychedelic drugs offer no threat to your physical health, and yet they are considered by our Society to be extremely dangerous and are amongst the most illegal substances on the planet.

The word drug incidentallywhich means (in this context, according to the Websters dictionary) a chemical substance which enhances physical or mental well-being is a ridiculously misleading and almost meaningless word if you think about it, since nearly everything we eat and drink can be considered a drug. Nitrous oxide, a gas, is a drug. Coffee, tea, sugar, and chocolate are all drugs. Even McDonalds french-fries under this broad definition could be considered a (highly addictive) drug. Now, as much as I love chocolate, coffee, and even I hate to admit it the occasional McDonalds French-fry, I see little purpose in comparing them in any way, shape, or form, to LSD, DMT, or 5-MeO-DMT, which are far more likely to completely change your consensual reality then they are enhance your physical or mental well-being. But the very use of a word/term as broad as drugs (drug law, drug war, illegal drugs, dangerous drugs etc) to describe and legally regulate (DEA) such a ridiculously broad range of compounds is in its self a verbal smokescreen designed to help limit the distinctly society-changing possibilities of psychedelic-entheogens.

If I may diverge for a moment, it is my personal opinion that the first psychedelic revolution in the United States (1963 Saturday 6th December 1969) failed ultimately due to the mass influx of a variety of distinctly non-psychedelic drugs into the chaotic and highly exploratory youth culture of that time. Psychedelics when used in high-dosages have proven to be safest when used in a thoughtful and controlled set-and-setting, but as the Youth revolution took hold many teenagers were exposed to super-powerful entheogens like LSD-25 and STP (DOM) in what can only be described as a cavalier and Dionysian manner. Considering the fact that an average hit of LSD in 1968 (400-500mg) was 5 times stronger than a hit of street acid (80 to 100mg) today, and that first-timers LSD users were frequently encouraged to take two hits if they wanted to see Tim Learys promised white light, with little thought to their set-and setting, then it is easy to see how a large number of young hippies feared acid as much as others revered it. (You still witness this same phenomena today many of the 20 somethings that I talk to at festivals seem to love DMT but are terrified of LSD having already experienced a trip too long and arduous for them and they probably ate a quarter of what their parents did for their first time in the 60s!). This tendency to push all experiences to the limit (the Prankster ethic) opened the backdoor for the more seductive and much easier rides of first heroin, and then cocaine. (Which when it was first introduced was not thought to be addictive.)

Disregarding the potential (and well-documented role) that the CIA played in the introduction and distribution of virtually all the illegal drugs that became available, by failing to recognize the essential difference of psychedelics/entheogensthat they are best used carefully in a sacred manner with trusted guides and not wildly in recreation amongst crowds of strangersand then by lumping the wide-variety of compounds that followed into a singular Drug Culture that fails to distinguish between the wide variety of experiences that this vast family of so-called drugs can produce, the Alternative culture that had been inspired by psychedelics and the chance for change, ended up settling for uppers-and-downers and the Status Quo, as heroin, cocaine, and amphetamines became the most popular illegal drugs of the last thirty years of the 20th century. (And the use and abuse of legal prescription drugs sky rocketed).

It is interesting now with more than 40 years perspective to realize the fact that our Societys so-called Drug Culture has increasingly turned away from the 60s psychedelic ethos of the mystical destruction of the Ego (and consequently the social structures that the Ego creates) towards a range of compounds that actually reinforce the concept of the Ego (and thus maintain the existing social structures that Ego has built). It could be argued that the last thirty years of the twentieth century that came after the failed psychedelic revolution of the 1960s were the most egocentric years in human history, as television and a global communication network have relentlessly promoted the cult of the Ego as the highest human ideal to the post Vietnam generations of techno-capitalists, with the constant accumulation of individual wealth and power seen as a Darwinian function inherited from our hunter-gatherer days. This obsession with the role of the Individual has resulted in 5% of the worlds population now controlling 50% of its wealth, as multi-national corporations controlled by a handful of families continue to strip the globe of its resources to line the pockets of shareholders and board members in those industrialized nations whose military are effectively the World Law, a treacherous and seemingly unstoppable situation that is threatening life on this planet as the military-industrial complex lurches increasingly erratically through the last of its days. The cult of the Individual Ego has now grown so predominant, we have a societal case of what I call extinction denial where the fate of the individual has become paramount, best expressed in the concept You better get yours while you can.

A radical reassessment of the effect of capitalism and consumerism on both the human condition and our planet is clearly required, but what can bring about a change in a viewpoint that has been steadily being programmed into us by the very technology whose reckless use we need to reassess? According to the Dalai Lama achieving genuine happiness may require bringing about a transformation in your outlook, in your way of thinking, and this is not a simple matter and I believe this applies to us as much as a Society as it does to each of us individually. But what can any of us really do other than reorganize deck chairs on the Titanic? What action can actually have a chance of bringing about a fundamental transformation in the way Humanity perceives and values Life on this planet?

In July of 2003 when first introduced to the super-entheogen 5-MeO-DMT, I underwent what I now believe to be a classical mystical experience of transpersonal unity with the Source of Being. This event had a profound effect upon my world-view since I found myself changed from an agnostic scientific-rationalist to believing in the existence of a God far greater than I could have ever imagined, all in the space of a single 40 minute drug-induced trip. The result for my subsequent search for answers on how such a radical transformation could have occurred is contained in my book Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad. (Park Street Press, 2009), and within the pages of that book I make the claim that this discovery of a spiritual element to the Universe, and the realization that God not only CAN exist but exists as the mystics have always insistedas a part of you, is the most exciting realization that a human being can make. More than eight years have now past since I myself made that unexpected discovery, and while I still agree that is ultimately the most exciting discovery possible, I must concede it is not always the most practical, a dilemma that mystics have known and have suffered for since the beginning of time. The personal discovery of Godany kind of God or Buddha-State, for they are all streams of the same Cosmic rivercan never be scientifically proven and inevitably any entheogenic realizations or enlightenment can only offer the same proofs as any other spiritual system the sticky dual-problem of personal testimony and faith.

I have however come to realize that while entheogens can never prove the existence of God (rather one can only experience God-Consciousness through the use of them and thus form your own opinion), true-entheogens can be used as the most powerful tools of exploration available for investigating some of the most perplexing philosophical questions that humanity has managed to conceive, especially those concerning the role and reality of Consciousness, and its human-shadow, the Ego. As our Society and technology begins to progress beyond the Newtonian-Darwinian paradigm, we are coming to scientifically realize that nothing in the Universe exists as an individual point in space-and-time, since the emerging quantum view of the Universe states that all things are linked and connected thru a matrix of fields of energy that far surpass the energy of physical matter, matter is merely the froth on the wave of reality if you like, while our consciousness, the vehicle of this discovery, far from being an accidental by-product of chemical reactions produced within the matter of the brain as purported by the old paradigm, increasingly seems to be a part of an infinite field of consciousness that both permeates, and creates, the Universe itself. I can also personally testify that thru the use of entheogens one can actually experience a moment outside of time and space as pure Consciousness, with no idea or memory of who you are or where you came from, and in that instant the realization arises of the interconnectedness of all things, that all is truly Onethe transpersonal experience as Stanislav Grof calls itand that this is quite possibly the most profound human experience available, a speculation that the recorded history of all varieties of mysticism would seem to support.

Which brings about the about the very interesting possibilityas suggested by the psychologist Julian Jaynes in his increasingly influential book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mindthat the modern highly-individualized human Ego that has been so venerated in the 19th and 20th centuries may be a comparatively recent development in both human history (and perhaps the history of the Universe), and that the voice in our head that we now all constantly hear, a few thousand years ago would only arise only in times of severe crisis and danger. (And was often thought to be the voice of the Gods). The non-denominational spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle in his modern classic A New Earth argues that our highly refined sense of I has come from the development of our technology-driven Society, since the narrowing of our mental focus away from the transpersonal has allowed us to develop our fantastic technology, but at the expense of disconnecting us with another deeper layer of consciousness that we share with all other things in the Universe. We can no longer see the woods for the trees so to speak, as we have become prisoners of our own inflated sense of self.

As our scientists start to discover the outer realms of Quantum Consciousness, and our psychologists and spiritual masters begin to return our attention to the idea of a Cosmic or Absolute Consciousness that both unites and transcends all religion, with the role that the Individual Ego plays in our Society coming under increasingly critical scrutiny, then it would seem clear the lesson that the careful use of entheogens can teach virtually any of us. It is a scientifically verifiable fact that entheogenic compounds can cause a human ego to be disrupted or even momentarily wiped away, and that when this happens, to paraphrase the poetic words of William Blake, the doors of perception are cleansed, and all things appear to man as they are, Infinite. Throughout the recorded history of Humanity there has been no experience considered more profound or more valuable then the singular realization that All is indeed One, and now as the scientists have begun to catch up with the mystics on realizing the simple undeniable fact that all systems are linked, and that the very idea of the sacredness of the individual is somewhat absurd, we now need to reform our governments, our religions, our financial institutions, our schools, and most importantly ourselves, to this fundamental Universal Truth.

In a world where we have been programmed by the constant sounds and flashy moving images of our rapidly developing modern technology since we have been born, the ancient schools of meditation and contemplation have had little chance to reform the Ego or the society that our love of technologythe human child of the Egohas built for us, since we have long since forgotten that the death of the Ego is a desirable goal. Deepak Chopra once wrote that synchronicity is the universe showing its intention, and therefore I do not find it strange that mescaline was first synthesized the year that Rntgen discovered radiation, or that Albert Hofmann had a strange dream to reinvestigate a compound that he had put on a shelf many years earlier, thereby instigating a chain of events that would cause him to discover LSD-25s remarkable psychoactive qualities while the Manhattan Project was months away from igniting the worlds first atomic bomb, arguably humanitys most egocentric invention. Lysergic Acid (LSD) is a remarkable 20th century invention in the fact that it is the only entheogen that a competent chemist can make a million hits of in an afternoon, and its mass-production qualities (for a mass-production society) should not be under-valued, since it has been responsible for reintroducing the mystical/shamanic concept of the death-and-rebirth of the Ego into our Society at a time when it is most desperately needed. An entheogenic moment outside of space of time can cause a lifetime of egocentric programming to come tumbling down like a house of cards, an illumination almost impossible to ignore, and it is for exactly this reason that our Governments so fear them. If we build the foundations of the Entheogenic Revolution the 2nd Psychedelic Revolution upon the basis of a constant awareness of the influence of the Ego, and seek out a deeper connection with the Mind of the Universe that we all share in a process of liberation theology, then we have a chance to rebuild our tribes into a true World Family that will find a way through the troubling times to come. For if there is one thing that is for sure, it is that none of us will make it alone.

James Oroc

References: DMT Site&Psychedelic Adventure

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Weve been busy this Spring, what with setting up our new home and lab, working in our yard, and catching up on all the work we set aside during our move. Somewhere in there, we managed to create two new Spagyrics, and more are on the way. Our first new Spagyric isnt a new herb for [...]

Years ago, before we even met, Paul was in the rare books business, dealing in out of print and special books on Western esoterics, Alchemy, Qabalah, philosophy, alternative healing and science, and related topics. When we met, it was in his bookstore in Boulder, Colorado, and since then, both our relationship and our stock of [...]

Each new single-herb Spagyric we create adds to our list of singles, but each one also increases the possibilities for new formulas, much like a painter mixing a new colour, which can then be used in countless paintings to come. In our last update, we told you about new Spagyrics of Solomons Seal and Vervain, and [...]

Note that this sale has expired; were leaving the post up so that the information about these Spagyrics is available. To see whats currently on sale, click here. Inspired by our new Vervain Alchymical Initiatic, we decided to have a 20% off sale on Old World initiatic [...]

To many of you, knowing and supporting our work for so long, that may seem like a very basic and easy to answer question. If so, thanks for paying attention all this time! But, if youre new to our work, or would just like a better understanding of what we do, this question is a [...]

February 26, 2012 by Micah Filed under News

Our newest Spagyric, an Alchymical Initiatic of Vervain,was inspired by my own Irish heritage and the deep reverence that many ancient European cultures held for this special plant. My own history with Vervain goes back a few years to a personal tradition I practice every year on Samhain, the ancient harvest festival more commonly known as [...]

Note that this sale has expired; were leaving the post up so that the information about these Spagyrics is available. To see whats currently on sale, click here. Looking out the window, searching the view for Nature to inspire us for a sale theme, all we see is water. Water falling from the [...]

Welcome to the conclusion of our series on the spiritual practice of flight and the plants that support it! In our first article, we talked about the legends and truths behind the witches flights, their brooms and ointments, and the tricky chemistry that practice entailed. In our second article, we discussed Eastern legends of gravity-defiance, including flying [...]

In our first article, we were inspired by the season, and talked about witches as practitioners of shamanic flight in Europe. We looked at their legendary flying ointment from a chemical perspective, and learned about its properties and dangers. Shamanic flight is not confined to archaic Europe, however, and examples of the phenomenon are common around [...]

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Entheogens : Al-Kemi : spagyrics and alchemy

Virtual Reality Takes Consciousness Research into Mystic Realms of the Divine Play – The Sociable

Virtual Reality is blazing new frontiers in the exploration of consciousness by adding whole new dimensions to the notion of what is real.

We will see in the near future extremely effective machines using modern technology to alter consciousness; some of them, including the virtual reality technology, are already quite advanced. Stanislav Grof

Similar to the psychedelic experience, Virtual Reality is opening new paths towards mystical experiences like those that have inspired the worlds greatest religions.

Through this powerful technology, we are closer than ever to being able to enter altered states of consciousness by being immersed in a realm where time travel is possible, where fantastical landscapes capture our imaginations, and where we can prepare ourselves for the next great adventure after this life.

Read More:Microsoft Predicts Terence McKennas Cyberdelic Vision of Virtual Reality

According to Dr. Stanislav Grof, a pioneer in psychedelic research since the 1960s and whom Ill be quoting throughout this article, The menacing specter of death that we harbor in our unconscious interferes with our everyday existence and makes our life in many ways inauthentic. In technological societies, the predominant reactions to the situation are massive denial and avoidance that are in their consequences destructive and self-destructive on an individual as well as a collective level.

How can Virtual Reality show us another way of looking at death one that puts us not in denial or avoidance, but one that helps us accept and embrace our own mortality?

The man who dies before he dies, does not die when he dies. Abraham a Sancta Clara, 17th century German Monk.

Harvard Divinity School reported that researchers were using consciousness hacking through a VR app called When We Die to prepare people for what happens when they shuffle off this mortal coil.

According to one of the apps developers, Paula Ceballos, Aging, death, and mortality are not topics that are openly spoken about in western cultures, so its [the app] addressing that, making it top of mind, and making you comfortable in the discomfort of mortality and dying.

Ceballos touched upon a key theme which corroborates both ancient teachings and modern psychedelic research as it relates to what it means to prepare for ones own death.

Separatingoneself from the ego, or separating the desires of the body from the mind, is an important step towards a living a fulfilling life without the fear of death.

To experience the loss of the ego is like experiencing death in that it is the end of how you perceive yourself in this reality we call life the death of the idea of the self as being different from everything else in the cosmos.

This notion of death before dying led Grof to write in his 1998 book The Cosmic Game:Explorations of the Frontiers of Human Consciousness:

The experience of pyschospirtual death and rebirth is a major step in the direction of the weakening of our identification with the skin-encapsulated ego and reconnecting with the transcendental domain. We feel redeemed, liberated, and blessed and have a new awareness of our divine nature and cosmic status. We also typically experience a strong surge of positive emotions towards ourselves, other people, nature, God, and existence in general. We are filled with optimism and have a sense of emotional and physical well-being.

With Virtual Reality, we are now able to step outside our own bodies and experience a realm completely separated from waking life. The key word here is experience because one has to experience this virtual reality, not just study it, in order to grasp what if fully entails. You cant fully describe in words the scent of a rose to one who cannot smell.

In VR, our identity with ourselves is suspended, like in a dream, where we can take off and fly to uncharted territories which gives us insight into new perspectives never before imagined.

Read More:Terence Mckennas cyberdelic predictions for Virtual Reality 25 years on

It can even be argued that what we call reality is a form of virtual reality what the Hindu mystics called maya or illusion and we are both actors and directors in this celestial drama.

As Grof said, The virtual reality simulating a material universe is worked out with such an acute sense for miniscule detail that the result is absolutely convincing and believable. The units of consciousness cast as the protagonists in the countless roles of this play of plays get entangled and caught in the complex and intricate web of its illusionary magic.

If we accept that the material universe as we know it is not a mechanical system but a virtual reality created by absolute consciousness through an infinity complex orchestration of experiences, what are the practical consequences of this insight? Stanislav Grof

The extent to which Virtual Reality can be used in exploring consciousness leads researchers to suggest that VR can affect our dreams to point of lucidity.

Lucid dreams are dreams where you realize you are dreaming. Its like waking up inside a dream where you can control what is going on around you.

Lucid dreaming is also the first step towards what is known as astral projection, but that is a topic for another time.

The Atlantic reported that MacEwan University Psychologist Jayne Gackenbach discovered that gamers report a greater sense of control in their dreams than non-gamers and that Virtual Reality would enhance that sense of control even greater.

When you alter peoples waking realities, their memory changes. The more you think youre in one reality, it alters your memory of other realities, said Gackenbach.

That means being immersed in a virtual reality can not only affect your dreams making them become more lucid but it also suggests that experiencing virtual reality can change ones perspective on everyday reality as well.

This is where we revert back to mystic traditions and psychedelic experiences as being in the same realm as virtual reality.

Its like the case of the Chinese philosopher Chuang-tzu who awoke from a dream in which he was a butterfly, and he could not fully determine whether he was not actually a butterfly dreaming of being a human.

Read More:New evidence for Holographic Universe backs up ancient esoteric teachings

The idea that we may be living in a computer simulation or that reality is some type of holographic illusion held together by consciousness be it collective or absolute seems a lot more plausible if we enter altered states of consciousness through the use of technology like VR, meditation, holotropic breathwork, or entheogens.

By undergoing death and rebirth in their initiatory crises, shamans lose the fear of death and become familiar and comfortable with its experiential territory. Stanislav Grof

The real world applications of Virtual Reality have led researchers to use this technology to treat depression much in the same way institutions like Johns Hopkins University is using magic mushrooms to helpterminal cancer patients.

Psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, has been used to induce mystical experiences in cancer patients that not only comforts them with their own mortality, but also as a way of allowing them to experience death before dying, much like the When We Die VR app.

Read More:Researching shrooms: The magic tripping dose, mystical experiences and the tech community

According to Grof, Many of the great mystical traditions developed specific technologies for inducing spiritual experiences and combined observation and theoretical speculation in a way that resembled modern science.

Shamanism is a worldwide phenomenon that preceded religion by thousands of years. Shamans were the first doctors, priests, and spiritual advisers of ancient communities.

Read More:The Deep Mind in the Cave: Awakening Consciousness in the Spirit of AI

In the view of the shaman, mental illness is a form of spiritual crisis, one that can be remedied by journeying into mystical realms.

Modern day shamans view psychiatric hospitals as horrific places where souls are trapped and tormented where they should be liberated and given spiritual treatment rather than be given mind-numbing drugs.

Read More:UW research into DNA storage backs up ancient shamanic knowledge

Virtual Reality is now being used to treat what our society calls mental illness.

According to an article in Big Think, So far the 285 studies published on virtual reality and mental health are encouraging. Sufferers of social anxiety, PTSD, and phobias are finding success.

Clinical psychology professor Daniel Freeman and his brother, writer Jason Freeman were paraphrased as saying, as in dreams, virtual reality is a safe space for us to engage in problem solving that wed normally be reluctant to attempt out there, and that they even foresee VR as being a diagnostic tool, cheaper and more accessible than fMRI machines and talk therapy sessions.

Virtual Reality has serious potential to unlock doors where modern pharmaceuticals and therapy have could not, but what are the higher implications of VR as it pertains to altering consciousness, and where can that altered consciousness lead once the doors of perception are cleansed?

The creative intention behind the divine play is to call into being experiential realities that would offer the best opportunities for adventures in consciousness. Stanislav Grof

I keep referring to the work of Stanislav Grof in this article as his more than 40 years of experience working with consciousness is astounding!

According to Grof, whose practical research into ancient cultures combined with thousands of holotropic sessions have revealed, consciousness is not an epiphenomenon of the brain as mainstream science suggests.

Instead of the brain as a generator of consciousness, Grof postulates that consciousness acts more like a TV or radio signal if the TV or radio is damaged, the signal still exists.

In that respect, consciousness cannot be ruled out as a driving force in reality and that consciousness may actually create reality, and the source of creation is one and the same as nothingness The Void.

Just as physicists postulate that energy cannot be created nor destroyed and that the universe is filled with dark matter and dark energy that cannot be perceived, only measured, is just one mainstream science observation of this phenomenon known as The Void.

According to Grof, When all the boundaries dissolve and we transcend them, we can experience identification with the creative source itself, either in the form of Absolute Consciousness or the Cosmic Void.

Experiencing identification with the creative source or the void is to identify with our own consciousness as we are both actors and creators in the Divine Play. In other words we are the conscious universe having a human experience, as if every living thing is a simulated avatar of the original source of creation.

In order to experience life, following this logic, we are bound to act in the Divine Play, otherwise life would not exist in this respect.

According to Grof, Each of us appears in the divine play in a dual role of creator and actor. A full and realistic enactment of our role in the cosmic drama requires the suspension of our true identity. We have to forget our authorship and follow the script.

What better way to have adventures in consciousness, to explore vastness of the universe, the complexity of atoms, or the intricacies of our own psyches than through the mind-altering, dream-changing, ego-breaking technology of Virtual Reality?

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Virtual Reality Takes Consciousness Research into Mystic Realms of the Divine Play - The Sociable

Entheogen

This is Entheogen. Elevate the Conversation.

Its March 12, 2017, and we are discussing psychedelic healing with Dr. Neal Goldsmith.

Neals book Psychedelic Healing: The Promise of Entheogens for Psychotherapy and Spiritual Development provides copious discussion points for our conversation today.

Neal's therapy practice, and how his use of psychedelics has informed his practice of psychotherapy

Imago therapy

LSD is a tool: Charles Manson becomes more Charles Manson; Richard Alpert becomes Ram Dass.

The substitution of the eucharist as a proxy for the original psychoactive sacrament. Can we please go back to the active version? What are the consequences of inactive substitutes in religious ceremonies? How have alternative spiritual practices sprung up in the absence of sanctioned Entheogenic rituals?

George Carlins Modern Man.

Are we in the midst of McKennas Archaic Revival? Is this another way to internalize the unfolding ecological apocalypse?

If were going to be post-post-modern, if were going to be integral, we cant have a fight between tribalism and modernity. We cant have a fight between spirituality and the material world.

Meditation, mindfulness, yoga, breathing

Deep breathing to expel carbon dioxide in addition to inhaling oxygen.

McKennas conjecture that its possible to get to the same state of consciousness that psychedelics provide access to, using meditation or chanting or drumming, but who has time for that?

What do you recommend to listeners who might be interested in some form of psychedelic therapy, present company included?

The dichotomy of tribalism vs. modernism: our human ancestors living naturally but for shorter time, vs. modern humans living longer but disconnected from nature. Spiraling up vs. retreating to tribalism.

Spirituality vs. science. The concept of rational mysticism. Einstein quote via Rick Doblin: There's no real conflict between science & religion; there's a conflict between bad science & bad religion.

Please support Entheogen by making a donation on Patreon. Become a Patron for as little as $1. Pledge just $3 or more, and get early access to new episodes, plus exclusive Patron-only features. Head over to EntheogenShow.com and click on Support.

Find the notes and links for this and other episodes at EntheogenShow.com. Sign up to receive an email when we release a new episode. Follow us @EntheogenShow on Twitter and like EntheogenShow on FaceBook. Thanks for listening.

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Entheogen

Psychedelics touted as solution for society – Ashland Daily Tidings

By John Darling for the Tidings

While psychedelic drugs rose to prominence in the 1960s, the attendees at an Ashland conference say the nation and world would be a better place if the non-addictive drugs regained their footing in society.

The peace and love message of the '60s inspired in part by psychedelic drugs hasnt changed over the last five decades, speakers told the approximately 300 attendees at the fourth annual Exploring Psychedelics conference, held May 25-26 at Southern Oregon University.

Pointing to a spiritual crisis in the west, conference organizer Martin Ball, an SOU adjunct faculty member, said mind-altering substances such as psilocybin mushrooms have been a positive part of culture since the beginning of history. But the federal government's War on Drugs over the last 50 years demonized the non-addictive entheogens (literally: generating god within) and pushed the movement to the periphery of society.

A psychedelic renaissance is underway as researchers and society learn of its benefits in health, healing and creativity in art, music, philosophy and a greater understanding of how to solve societys problems, says Ball. Were not talking about back-alley druggies and Grateful Dead concerts here. These are important members of our society.

Ball produces a podcast, the Entheogenic Revolution, with a motto, Just Say Know, a play on the Drug Wars just say no credo. Noting that psychedelics are not in the same category as meth or crack, he said they should stop being criminalized.

In the wake of the states legalization of marijuana, Tom and Sheri Eckert of Portland have organized the Oregon Psilocybin Society, which they said is promoting a ballot measure to legalize the mind-altering substance. The measure would set up a process for overseeing and training facilitators of trips, licensing, getting medical clearance for users who must be over 21 but would not legalize personal possession.

The psychedelic movement is rising to prominence and if humanity is to survive, we need to heal the culture, said Sheri Eckert. "Its bottoming out and forcing us to look at ourselves. We have to evolve and claim our higher consciousness or else. Psilocybin helps us reclaim our truth.

The plant offers relief for depression, end-of-life anxiety, addiction and PTSD, the Eckerts said.

When the history of this time is written in a thousand years, said Tom Eckert, a therapist, I bet they wont focus on our absurd politics but how we valued the inner dimension.

In a talk on marijuana, Michael Scott said psychoactive drugs are at the tipping point, with less and less suppression. More and more folks are talking about changing the world to a better place.

John Darling is an Ashland freelance writer. Reach him at jdarling@jeffnet.org.

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Psychedelics touted as solution for society - Ashland Daily Tidings

So A Minister, A Rabbi And A Buddhist Took Drugs For Science… – Huffington Post South Africa (blog)

On April 20, 1962, a group of theology students and professors gathered outside Boston Universitys Marsh Chapel, waiting for Good Friday services to begin. These particular services were to be unlike any other: On their way into the chapel, Harvard psychiatrist Walter Pahnke administered the group a dose of psychedelic mushrooms.

As part of his Ph.D. thesis under Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass), Pahnke sought to test his hypothesis that psychedelic drugs, taken in a religious setting, could provoke a genuine spiritual experience. His investigation would go down in psychedelic history as the Good Friday experiment.

He was right. Nine out of the 10 students who took the mushrooms reported having a mystical experience.One of those students was the historian Huston Smith, who went on to writeCleansing the Doors of Perception, a classic philosophical work exploring the potential of psychedelic drugs as entheogens, or God-revealing chemicals.

The experience was powerful for me, and it left a permanent mark on my experienced worldview, Smith, who passed away in December, reflected. I had believed in God... but until the Good Friday experiment, I had no personal encounter with God of the sort that bhakti yogis, Pentecostals and born-again Christians describe.

Today, another research project is taking up where the Good Friday experiment left off this time, with modern research tools and leaders from not just the Christian faith but an array of world religions.

As part of a small pilot study, psychologists at Johns Hopkins and New York University are giving psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to spiritual leaders. Their aim is to demystify the transcendent and deeply meaningful experiences that people often report having under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

A Zen Buddhist roshi and an Orthodox Jewish rabbi have embarked on consciousness-expanding journeys in the name of science, along with Episcopal, Presbyterian and Eastern Orthodox Christian clergy. The research team is about halfway done with the study, which will include a total of 24 participants. (Theyre still looking for Muslim imams and Catholic and Hindu priests.)

Theyre helping us map out this landscape of mystical experience with their incredible training and experience, Dr. Anthony Bossis, project director of the NYU Psilocybin Religious Leaders Project, told The Huffington Post.

By working with leaders of different faiths, the researchers hope to learn something about the shared mystical core of all the worlds major religions what the author Aldous Huxley called the perennial philosophy. Understanding these mystical experiences might also shed light on the therapeutic benefitsof psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs, which researchers are exploring as treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life anxiety and depression, addiction and other psychological conditions.

If you give psilocybin psychedelics to 20 different people, you get 20 different experiences, Bossis said. But there is a common mystical experience... It seems that the efficacy of these medicines is in their ability, pretty reliably in the right set and setting, to activate or trigger this mystical experience.

This experience of deep connection with the sacred can have long-lasting effects. Mushroom-triggered mystical experiences have been linked with positive changes in behavior and values, and with lasting increases in the personality domain of openness to experience, which encompasses intellectual curiosity, imagination, adventure-seeking and engagement with music and art. People commonly reportthat the experience is one of the most personally and spiritually meaningful of their lives.

The term mystical experience might not sound especially rigorous, but its something that has actually been studied in depth. Psychologists define the experience based on its major components, including a sense of sacredness, feelings of unity, ineffability, peace and joy, transcendence of time and space and feelings of being confronted with some objective truth about reality.

The experiences are often said to be impossible to put into words. But Bossis and his colleagues hope that the unique expertise of these spiritual leaders will provide greater insight into their workings.

One of things I was struck by, doing this research, was the experience of love that they spoke of, he said. Its quite striking to witness... people speak about this overwhelming experience of love loving-kindness to self, love towards others, and what the Greeks called agape,this kind of universal, cosmic love that they say permeates everything, and which recalibrates how they live.

You may feel tempted to brush off this sort of talk as mere drug-induced reverie. (One thinks of the Onion articleUniverse Feels Zero Connection To Guy Tripping On Mushrooms.) But early research and anecdotal reports suggest that chemically induced mystical experiences may not be so different from those that occur as a result of years of meditation and prayer.

Mystical experiences, whether drug-induced or spontaneously occurring,seem to connect the individual with the mystical core of all the worlds major religions a sense of unity, oneness and interconnection with all beings.

I think to understand the depth of religion, one needs to have firsthand experience, saidJewish Renewal movement leader Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomiin an interview published in 2005. It can be done with meditation. It can be done with sensory deprivation. It can be done a number of ways. But I think the psychedelic path is sometimes the easiest way, and it doesnt require the long time that other approaches usually require.

The psychedelic path has led many people, including the American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, to take up more traditional spiritual practices as a way to stay connected in their daily lives to the sorts of insights and sensations they first experienced with psychedelics.

In spiritual communities, we need an honest exploration of this delicate and sometimes taboo topic, Kornfield wrote in 2015. Let us approach the use of these drugs consciously.

While psychedelics may have a stigma attached in todays culture,altered states of consciousness have long been an aspect of human spirituality, and theyve featured in religious rituals around the world for thousands of years.

For the past several years, entheogens have been quietly making their way into modern medicine.A landmark study from NYU and Hopkins, published last month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, showed a single dose of psilocybin to be effective in relieving death-related anxiety in cancer patients.

In a majority of the patients, the psilocybin triggered a mystical experience, which may be largely responsible for the renewed sense of meaning and relief from existential distress described by the patients. In fact, the extent to which the patients experienced reductions in depression, anxiety and fear of death correlated directly with the intensity of the mystical experience.

Increasingly, it appears that the mystical-type experiences measured immediately after a session is predictive of enduring positive effects, Dr. Roland Griffiths, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins and one of the studys lead authors, told HuffPost. Thats consistent across studies of healthy volunteers, addicted cigarette smokers, and in psychologically distressed cancer patients. Theres something about the nature of those experiences that is predictive of subsequent positive effects.

Dr. Craig Blinderman, director of adult palliative care services at Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said the research presents an exciting meeting of the minds between modern medicine and ancient healing modalities.

A return to entheogens for the treatment of psycho-existential suffering may signal that medicine has come full circle, Blindermanwrote in a commentary published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, to embrace the earliest known approach to healing our deepest of human agonies, by generating the divine within.

See more here:

So A Minister, A Rabbi And A Buddhist Took Drugs For Science... - Huffington Post South Africa (blog)

So A Minister, A Rabbi And A Buddhist Took Drugs For Science… – Huffington Post

On April 20, 1962, a group of theology students and professors gathered outside Boston Universitys March Chapel, waiting for Good Friday services to begin. These particular services were to be unlike any other: On their way into the chapel, Harvard psychiatrist Walter Pahnke administered the group a dose of psychedelic mushrooms.

Those services would go down in history as the Good Friday experiment. As part of his Ph.D. thesis under Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (aka Ram Dass), Pahnke sought to test his hypothesis that psychedelic drugs, taken in a religious setting, could provoke a genuine spiritual experience.

He was right. Nine out of the 10 students who took the mushrooms reported having a mystical experience.One of those students was the historian Huston Smith, who went on to writeCleansing the Doors of Perception, a classic philosophical work exploring the potential of psychedelic drugs as entheogens, or God-revealing chemicals.

The experience was powerful for me, and it left a permanent mark on my experienced worldview, Smith, who passed away in December, reflected. I had believed in God... but until the Good Friday experiment, I had no personal encounter with God of the sort that bhakti yogis, Pentecostals and born-again Christians describe.

Today, another research project is taking up where the Good Friday experiment left off this time, with modern research tools and leaders from not just the Christian faith but an array of world religions.

As part of a small pilot study, psychologists at Johns Hopkins and New York University are giving psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, to spiritual leaders. Their aim is to demystify the transcendent and deeply meaningful experiences that people often report having under the influence of psychedelic drugs.

A Zen Buddhist roshi and an Orthodox Jewish rabbi have embarked on consciousness-expanding journeys in the name of science, along with Episcopal, Presbyterian and Eastern Orthodox Christian clergy. The research team is about halfway done with the study, which will include a total of 24 participants. (Theyre still looking for Muslim imams and Catholic and Hindu priests.)

Theyre helping us map out this landscape of mystical experience with their incredible training and experience,study co-author Dr. Anthony Bossis, a psychiatrist and psychedelic researcher at NYU, told The Huffington Post.

By working with leaders of different faiths, the researchers hope to learn something about the shared mystical core of all the worlds major religions what the author Aldous Huxley called the perennial philosophy. Understanding these mystical experiences might also shed light on the therapeutic benefitsof psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs, which researchers are exploring as treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder, end-of-life anxiety and depression, addiction and other psychological conditions.

If you give psilocybin psychedelics to 20 different people, you get 20 different experiences, Bossis said. But there is a common mystical experience... It seems that the efficacy of these medicines is in their ability, pretty reliably in the right set and setting, to activate or trigger this mystical experience.

This experience of deep connection with the sacred can have long-lasting effects. Mushroom-triggered mystical experiences have been linked with positive changes in behavior and values, and with lasting increases in the personality domain of openness to experience, which encompasses intellectual curiosity, imagination, adventure-seeking and engagement with music and art. People commonly reportthat the experience is one of the most personally and spiritually meaningful of their lives.

The term mystical experience might not sound especially rigorous, but its something that has actually been studied in depth. Psychologists define the experience based on its major components, including a sense of sacredness, feelings of unity, ineffability, peace and joy, transcendence of time and space and feelings of being confronted with some objective truth about reality.

The experiences are often said to be impossible to put into words. But Bossis and his colleagues hope that the unique expertise of these spiritual leaders will provide greater insight into their workings.

One of things I was struck by, doing this research, was the experience of love that they spoke of, he said. Its quite striking to witness... people speak about this overwhelming experience of love loving-kindness to self, love towards others, and what the Greeks called agape,this kind of universal, cosmic love that they say permeates everything, and which recalibrates how they live.

You may feel tempted to brush off this sort of talk as mere drug-induced reverie. (One thinks of the Onion articleUniverse Feels Zero Connection To Guy Tripping On Mushrooms.) But early research and anecdotal reports suggest that chemically induced mystical experiences may not be so different from those that occur as a result of years of meditation and prayer.

Mystical experiences, whether drug-induced or spontaneously occurring,seem to connect the individual with the mystical core of all the worlds major religions a sense of unity, oneness and interconnection with all beings.

I think to understand the depth of religion, one needs to have firsthand experience, saidJewish Renewal movement leader Rabbi Zalman Schacter Shalomiin an interview published in 2005. It can be done with meditation. It can be done with sensory deprivation. It can be done a number of ways. But I think the psychedelic path is sometimes the easiest way, and it doesnt require the long time that other approaches usually require.

The psychedelic path has led many people, including the American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, to take up more traditional spiritual practices as a way to stay connected in their daily lives to the sorts of insights and sensations they first experienced with psychedelics.

In spiritual communities, we need an honest exploration of this delicate and sometimes taboo topic, Kornfield wrote in 2015. Let us approach the use of these drugs consciously.

While psychedelics may have a stigma attached in todays culture,altered states of consciousness have long been an aspect of human spirituality, and theyve featured in religious rituals around the world for thousands of years.

For the past several years, entheogens have been quietly making their way into modern medicine.A landmark study from NYU and Hopkins, published last month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, showed a single dose of psilocybin to be effective in relieving death-related anxiety in cancer patients.

In a majority of the patients, the psilocybin triggered a mystical experience, which may be largely responsible for the renewed sense of meaning and relief from existential distress described by the patients. In fact, the extent to which the patients experienced reductions in depression, anxiety and fear of death correlated directly with the intensity of the mystical experience.

Increasingly, it appears that the mystical-type experiences measured immediately after a session is predictive of enduring positive effects, Dr. Roland Griffiths, a psychologist at Johns Hopkins and one of the studys lead authors, told HuffPost. Thats consistent across studies of healthy volunteers, addicted cigarette smokers, and in psychologically distressed cancer patients. Theres something about the nature of those experiences that is predictive of subsequent positive effects.

Dr. Craig Blinderman, director of adult palliative care services at Columbia University Medical Center/New York-Presbyterian Hospital, said the research presents an exciting meeting of the minds between modern medicine and ancient healing modalities.

A return to entheogens for the treatment of psycho-existential suffering may signal that medicine has come full circle, Blindermanwrote in a commentary published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, to embrace the earliest known approach to healing our deepest of human agonies, by generating the divine within.

Read the original post:

So A Minister, A Rabbi And A Buddhist Took Drugs For Science... - Huffington Post

A conversation with Haroon Mirza – Ocula Magazine

Haroon Mirza, 2011. Photo: Simon Pollock.

I've worked with organic materials before quite a lot, mainly water and ants. I've also worked with plants before, but not in any great detail. I've always been interested in organic matter, material, and organisms because of their chaotic, unpredictable and autonomous nature, and also as a metaphor for other things - water and the sound of water is quite interesting because it produces white noise. Ants are chaotic systems, so you can create truly chaotic systems from using natural material. But then, on top of that, I've used a natural material constantly in my work over the last 10 years: electricity. Electricity is also a natural phenomenon, which we kind of think we control but we don't really. Electricity is completely chaotic.

The most recent piece I developed with ants was called Pavilion for Optimisation (2013). To talk about the ants in the work, the term 'optimisation' is a mathematical reference to a kind of logic. So for instance, satellite navigation systems use optimisation algorithms, which they derive from ants. Ants find a food source and use pheromones to communicate where that source is in relation to their nest, and then find the shortest route from the nest to the food and communicate that. That method of communication and of finding the shortest route is also how navigation systems work. And it's similar with water. If you think of a window when it's raining, you get the little droplets of water coming down a window. The water works as a whole to create the shortest routes, and then other particles of water can join and follow the same route. It's partly to do with gravity as well, but there is sort of this optimisation logic that takes place, which is chaotic but controlled. So there is that tension in nature. Chaos theory itself is about those sorts of structures and logic in chaotic systems, like patterns, recognition, and microcosms. These are really exemplified by fractals, like in geometry. Fractals kind of work their way back round to psychedelics and entheogens, because they're a part of what's more commonly known as entoptic phenomenon, which is commonly what's seen when you ingest psychedelics or you have endogenous-altered states of consciousness. Whether it's induced by psychedelics or by other natural means - stress to the body, for instance - that's the first stage of psychedelic experience: images of geometric patterns and fractals.

The first thing that led me to psychedelics was just being a teenager and doing LSD. Taking acid as a kid, that was my first interaction with psychedelics. Then it kind of went away and I sort of made sure to not really take drugs and concentrate on other things. But I know full well those kinds of experiences have had a profound influence on my aesthetic and theoretical taste, specifically the aesthetics of audio or the timbre of sound that I adopt in my work. It predates going to Brazil, but that trip did lead me to ayahuasca.

My interests lie in consciousness, and how consciousness relates to scientific endeavours: what we know about the physical world and universe, and how that doesn't make sense in terms of metaphysics and consciousness, because we don't understand consciousness in scientific terms. But we claim to understand it through either religion or other forms of spiritual engagement, whether it's yoga, Vedic traditions or more westernised traditions of spiritual practice, or these mind-altering substances or practices that do the same thing. It's the same effect. It's not a proven thing, but it could be argued that a high-level effect of yoga is DMT releasing in the mind, which is the same as meditating or other spiritual experiences. It's linking these metaphysical and physical things, which are what we know about the world and the universe. But what joins these two together is consciousness, and that's the crux of my interest.

That's a funny one, because those words literally refer to objects that are in the piece. There's a speaker that's branded an 'Adam' speaker and there's another that's branded 'Eve' - they're kind of similar marketing schemes. Then there's a little LED device that is called a UFO. So 'the others' are just the other speakers in the installation, but at the same time they set up this sort of narrative that has all these references. It's a two-fold thing. It's about the real, everyday reality of the physical, reductionist, materialist world that we live in, which we sort of have to accept somehow to come to consensus. But then it also refers to this metaphysical, spiritual world that we don't really have any access to. We're not allowed legally to take a plant out of the ground and ingest it; we literally don't have access to this other world, or other level of consciousness.

There are various processes that are going on. The caps of the mushrooms are placed onto the copper and release spores to reproduce, so you get prints that are the fingerprint of the mushroom. Some are done like that, some are electro-etched. Through the mushroom you run a negative charge, and you complete the circuit with a positive charge on the copper so the moisture in the mushroom will actually oxidise on the copper itself. That can be quite beautiful, and specifically beautiful with the peyote cactus and the San Pedro cacti. A lot of the titles refer to what they look like, so there's one that looks like a cosmological nebula, and one that looks like a comet. Sometimes the titles are just descriptive of what they are - some of the mushrooms refer to constellations.

Yes, there's a sort of cosmological narrative in there - this relationship with cosmology, ritual, and psychedelic experience that kind of collapses. That's identified mostly in Dec 21 [a work included in the Contemporary Art Gallery show], which is a representation of an astrotheological idea. Astrotheologists are a group of people who believe that many religions are tied to celestial events. One of the most famous is the astronomical event happens every 21 December: Winter Solstice. If you look up at the sky on 21 December, you will see Orion. Orion's Belt has been known throughout history as the Three Kings, and also referred to as the Three Wise Men. Southwest of that is a very bright star called Sirius, which is in the Canis Major constellation. If you make a line from the three stars of Orion's Belt to Sirius and continue that line to the horizon, on that point is where Virgo and the sun both rise. Astrotheologists believe it was the personification of this event that led to lots of religious ideas. Nativity, for example, is apparently based on this: the Three Kings in the story follow the brightest star in the sky, and then the Virgin Mary gives birth to the Son. When you personify these celestial objects, the story and the myth grows.

It's pronounced 'ahh,' like you're thinking about something. It's a funny one, because it's playing with typography. This has more to do about typography and syntax, typography and its relation to sound and linguistics. It comes from, in a convoluted way, McLuhan's idea of acoustics in visual space. He talks about how pre-linguistic man perceived visual space and acoustic space as one form of perception. It was only with language and the advent of syntax and spoken word that we started abstracting the thing itself. -[O]

Continued here:

A conversation with Haroon Mirza - Ocula Magazine

Entheogens – Reality Sandwich

A selection of the best articles on entheogens:

In the Beginning: The Birth of a Psychedelic Culture By John Perry BarlowThe introduction of LSD may have been the most important event in the cultural history of America since the 1860s. Before acid hit, even rebels such as Thoreau, Emerson, and Whitmanbelieved in God-given authority. But after one had rewired one's self with LSD, authoritybecame hilarious, and there wasn't much we could do about it.

Voyaging to DMT Space with Dr. Rick Strassman, M.D. By Martin W. BallDr. Rick Strassman, pioneering psychedelic researcher, discusses his new book,Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies as well as Zen Buddhism, psychedelics and spirituality, Old Testament prophecy and more in this fascinating interview.

LSD as a Spiritual Aid By Albert HofmannThere is common consent that the evolution of mankind is paralleled by the increase and expansion of consciousness. From the described process of how consciousness originates and develops, it becomes evident that its growth depends on its faculty of perception. Therefore every means of improving this faculty should be used.

Positive Possibilities for Psychedelics: A Time of Tentative Celebration By James FadimanFor those of us involved with psychedelics, this is a time of unexpected changes, a time of tentative celebration. After decades of winter, the ice is thinning. The warming trends toward legalization; increased religious, medical, and psychotherapeutic use; scientific exploration; and cultural acceptance are encouraging.

2012 and the Psychedelic Shamans By Thomas RazzetoIn my opinion, world conditions are not the point of the 2012 message. The message is more profound. It is about the fundamental principle of reality, as revealed by the psychedelic experiences of the shamans.

Heart of the Great Spirit: The Peyote Cactus By Stephen GrayI've been hesitant to share details regarding the NAC. It was only the approval of Native spiritual elder Kanucas that gave me the feeling it was appropriate to share this information with a wider audience. This church is a refuge of sanity in a disturbed world. It's a sacred treasure to be protected and nurtured with the utmost respect and sensitivity.

Mushroom Gnosis: Simon Powell's Psilocybin Solution By Diana Reed SlatteryPracticing xenolinguist Diana Slattery writes about Simon Powells new book,"The Psilocybin Solution, The Role of Sacred Mushrooms in the Quest for Meaning," that concerns the ability of the psilocybin experience to deliver high-speed downloads; information transmission as communication with the Other; and especially, information delivered as a visual language of intense concentration.

Consciousness and Asian Traditions: An Evolutionary Perspective By Roger WalshThe original shamans and their external technologies induce a sense of freedom from embodiment. The early yogis carry that freedom into the disentanglement of consciousness from phenomena and the world. The Vedantic tradition recognizes that the self and the divine are actually one, and the non-dual traditions recognize that all is divine.

The Universal Heart By Daniel MolerThe shaman is the pure embodiment of Love. He spent every waking moment giving of himself and healing our spirits, as the true embodiment of self-sacrifice. I understand now why the Peruvian shamans had no issue with adopting the Christ story into the Pachakti Mesa tradition.

What Can Entheogens Teach Us? By James OrocThe more a compound disrupts the Ego, the physically safer (less toxic) that compound will be, while the more a 'drug' reinforces and inflates the sense of Ego, the more physically harmful (toxic) that compound will be.

The First Supper: Entheogens and the Origin of Religion By Ruck Hoffman Gonzalez CeldranIt has been speculated that the rapid increase in hominid brain size 1.5 million years ago occurred when our ancestors began to consume consciousness-altering foods. Perhaps our species became truly human when we began eating sacred foods ritualistically in groups, in what can be seen as First Suppers.

On the Edge of Life and Death: The Nios Santos Way By Sarah MaidenWhen I first encountered the mushrooms, I had been taking antidepressants for years. The mushrooms told me I was an addict and that the pills were toxic to me. After being hospitalized due to my reaction to Paxil at age 19, I decided the mushrooms were right. Eventually, I met a Mazatec grandmother who holds a Nios Santos lineage of curandisimo.

Energy, Ego, and Entheogens: The Reality of Human Liberation from Illusion By Martin W. BallRecently, I published an article criticizing Terence McKenna's lectures on DMT. The article generated a great deal of backlash and some serious questions. Now I'd like to follow up on the issue of human liberation from self-generated illusions.

Meditation and "Drugs" By Jay MichaelsonIt's a not-so-dirty little secret that most of today's leading meditation teachers were interested in drugs. By "drugs," of course, I don't mean alcohol or Oxycontin, but rather that subset of chemicals which our society has deemed unfit for human consumption, including cannabis, psilocybin, MDMA, and others.

Salva Divinorum: Intensification By J.D. ArthurSalvia allows one, even instructs one, to gradually, and without fear, abandon the framework of reason that's based on a cumbersome conceptual reference. It can lead to a unique state that one might characterize as "thoughtless awareness." This state, although on the surface seemingly paradoxical, is actually strangely and reassuringly familiar.

When Prayer Meets Medicine By Stephen GrayWhen the peyote takes effect and the energy really gets rolling, the songs begin to sing the singers, the drum is a living spirit, and the fire has things to show us. It's a radically different way to pray. If we can find skillful ways to combine the visionary, teaching, healing medicines with our intentions, with our prayers, a whole new landscape of possibility opens up.

Adventures with Mazatec Mint: Exploring the Mind-Bending World of Salvia Divinorum By David Jay BrownAnumber of researchers think that salvinorin A, the potent dissociative psychedelic compound found in this perennial herb from Oaxaca, may have applications as an antidepressant, an analgesic, and as a therapeutic tool for treating drug addictions, some types of stroke, and Alzheimer's Disease.

Divine Voyeurs: Salvia on YouTube By Rak RazamSalvia divinorum, also known as "Diviner's Sage," has been called "the most powerful hallucinogenic known to mankind" by enthusiasts on the net. So how does it feel to be on salvia with a camera phone in your face? In the post-Jackass, reality-TV generation nothing is sacred.

Entheogenic Spirituality as a Human Right By Martin W. BallU.S. law sees "freedom of religion" as referring primarily to the freedom to believe and secondarily to the freedom to practice. However, something sorely missing from our legal protections is any recognition of the significance of direct spiritual experience itself, including with sacred plants.

Emerging from the Dark Age: The Revival of Psychedelic Medicine By Charles ShawAfter a forty-year moratorium on research driven by propaganda and political repression, treating some of lifes most challenging illnesses with psychedelic compounds has made a miraculous comeback. A deeply personal story about some of these miracles.

Drugs and Dharma in the 21st Century Allan BadinerTwo great directions in human thought and activity have recently been coming into sharper focus.Interest in Buddhism has not been greater since it was first introduced to China where it proceeded to grow steadily for 500 years, and the serious and thoughtful use of psychedelics is making a resurgence, perhaps more profoundly than in the Sixties.

DMT, Creativity and a Philosophy of Psychedelics By Terra CelesteIn this interview, Mitch Schultz, director of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, describes how a DMT experience inspired him to create a series of documentary films exploring quantum awareness, humanity's relationship to the life force of Earth, and the role of music, open source ideas, and the cyber-realm in generating new, non-destructive meta-mythiologies.

Back to RS Gnosis Files.

Go here to see the original:

Entheogens - Reality Sandwich

Urban Dictionary: entheogen

A term derived from the Greek 'entheos', directly translated to mean having "God (theos) within" or more loosely translated as "inspired" and 'genesthe' meaning "to generate". 'Entheos' was typically used to describe poets, musicians and other artists who were believed to receive their gifts from the divine. The word entheogen thus exposes itself as meaning "that which generates God/the divine in a person". The term was first coined in 1979 as a replacement for 'psychedelic' and 'hallucinogen' which both carry with them certain denigrating connotations. The cultures of those who use psychoactives that fall within the category of entheogen (or enthnobotanical, a related term which refers specifically to psychoactive plants) and those who use such substances for 'recreational' or secular uses are in some cases, strongly at ends, and in others allied. Entheogen is a term to be used in strict reverence of substances that act as divine sacraments and facilitate transcendent experiences.

I participated in the ritual use of the entheogen, Mescaline/Peyote when I went on a spirit walk at the Peyote Way Church in Arizona.

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'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."

Side note - an example is pretty obsolete, as the only people that actually use the word in every day conversation are wankers;)but if you have too, its pretty interchangable with hallucinogen or psychedelic (within the terms of the definition above

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A drug used to bring about spiritual connections.

We ate some entheogens and saw jesus.

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Generally used in place of "psychedelics" or "hallucinogens" by wannabe Hippies playing as much semantics as the Bush administration.

Actual shaman probably would laugh at the people who call hallucinogens this term because physical and psychological trials usually accompany the ingestion of hallucinogenic substances in shamanistic cultures and these people just sit in the comfort of their air conditioned parents' house and think they're getting in touch with the divine.

Used by people with no knowledge of anthropology and those who would probably be considered Orientalists by those who don't live in Western societies.

Funny how white people say entheogen s are a pathway to god when there is no definitive proof for the existence of a deity and most indigenous societies don't use psychedelics.

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Urban Dictionary: entheogen

Entheogens including Salvia, LSD, Peyote, and Mushrooms …

(Entheogen Defined) "'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;)."

Source:

(Entheogens as Psychedelics) "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)."

Source:

(Entheogens as Hallucinogens) "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."

Source:

(Description of Ayahuasca) "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."

(Description of Ayahuasca) "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."

Source:

(Ayahuasca Folk Healers) "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."

Source:

(Ayahuasca Healing Ceremonies) "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."

Source:

(Legal Status of Ayahuasca) "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."

(Therapeutic Potential of Ayahuasca) "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."

Source:

"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's Description of the Physical Characteristics of LSD) "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.'"

Source:

(LSD Effects According to NIDA) "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.

(Prevalence of and Trends in LSD Use Among Youth) "LSD, one of the major drugs in the hallucinogen class, showed a modest decline in use among 12th graders from 1975 to 1977, followed by considerable stability through 1981 (Figure 5-4g). Between 1981 and 1985, there was a second period of gradual decline, with annual prevalence of use falling from 6.5% to 4.4%. However, after 1985, annual prevalence began to rise very gradually to 5.6% by 1992, making it one of the few drugs to show a rise in use in that period. The increase continued through 1996, with annual prevalence reaching 8.8%, double the low point in 1985. After 1996, annual prevalence declined, including sharp decreases in 2002 and 2003, reaching 1.7% in 2006, the lowest LSD prevalence rate recorded since MTF began. By 2011 the rate was up slightly to 2.7%, having risen by a significant 0.7 percentage points in 2010. 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 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."

Source:

(LSD and Marijuana Use by women) "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."

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(Effects of LSD) "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.'"

Source:

(Creation of LSD) "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."

Source:

(Addictive Properties and Tolerance) "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."

(Physical Effects of LSD According to NIDA) "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."

(Description of Peyote) "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."

(Description of Peyote) "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."

(Effects of Mescaline and Peyote) "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."

(Physical Effects) "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."

"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."

(Methods of Use) "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."

(Effects of Psilocybin) "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."

(Physical Effects of Psilocybin) "[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."

(Psilocybin and Mystical Experiences) "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."

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(Safety of Psilocybin) "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."

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(Medicinal Potential of Psilocybin) "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

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(Safety of Psilocybin in Clinical Setting) "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."

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(Psilocybin and Treatment of End-Stage Cancer Anxiety) "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."

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(Description of Salvia Divinorum) "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)."

(Effects of Salvia Divinorum) "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."

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(Description of Salvia and Its Effects) "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"

(Effects of Salvia Divinorum) "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)."

(Potential for Abuse or Dependence of Salvia Divinorum) "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)."

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(Prevalence of Use of Salvia Divinorum Among Youth) "A tripwire question about use of salvia (or salvia divinorum) in the past 12 months was added in 2010. Salvia is an herb with hallucinogenic properties, common to southern Mexico and Central and South America. Although it currently is not a drug regulated by the Controlled Substances Act, several states have passed legislation to regulate its use. The Drug Enforcement Agency has listed salvia as a drug of concern and is considering classifying it as a Schedule I drug, like LSD or marijuana. The drug has an appreciable annual prevalence: 1.6%, 3.9%, and 5.9% among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in 2011, while lifetime prevalence would be somewhat higher."

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Entheogens including Salvia, LSD, Peyote, and Mushrooms ...

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The word entheogen is a modern term derived from two Ancient Greek words, (entheos) and (genesthai). Entheos literally means "god (theos) within", more freely translated "inspired". The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means "to cause to be" or becoming. So an entheogen is "that which causes God (or godly inspiration) to be within a person".

In its strictest sense the term refers to a psychoactive substance (most often some plant matter with hallucinogenic effects) that occasions enlightening spiritual or mystical experience, within the parameters of a cult, in the original non-pejorative sense of cultus. In a broader sense, the word "entheogen" refers to artificial as well as natural substances that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional shamanic inebriants, even if it is used in a secular context.

The word "entheogen" was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The literal meaning of the word is "that which causes God to be within an individual". The translation "creating the divine within" is sometimes given, but it should be noted that entheogen implies neither that something is created (as opposed to just perceiving something that is already there) nor that that which is experienced is within the user (as opposed to having independent existence).

The term was coined as a replacement for the terms "hallucinogen" (popularized by Aldous Huxley's experiences with mescaline, published as The Doors of Perception in 1953) and "psychedelic" (a Greek neologism for "soul-revealing", coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, who was quite surprised when the well-known author, Aldous Huxley, volunteered to be a subject in experiments Osmond was running on mescaline). Ruck et al. argued that the term "hallucinogen" was inappropriate due to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term "psychedelic" was also seen as problematic, due to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture.

The meanings of the term "entheogen" were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

Since 1979, when the term was proposed, its use has become widespread in certain circles. In particular, the word fills a vacuum for those users of entheogens who feel that the term "hallucinogen", which remains common in medical, chemical and anthropological literature, denigrates their experience and the world view in which it is integrated. Use of the strict sense of the word has therefore arisen amongst religious entheogen users, and also amongst others who wish to practice spiritual or religious tolerance.

The use of the word "entheogen" in its broad sense as a synonym for "hallucinogenic drug" has attracted criticism on three grounds. On pragmatic grounds, the objection has been raised that the meaning of the strict sense of "entheogen", which is of specific value in discussing traditional, historical and mythological uses of entheogens in religious settings, is likely to be diluted by widespread, casual use of the term in the broader sense. Secondly, some people object to the misuse of the root theos (god in ancient Greek) in the description of the use of hallucinogenic drugs in a non-religious context, and coupled with the climate of religious tolerance or pluralism that prevails in many present-day societies, the use of the root theos in a term describing non-religious drug use has also been criticised as a form of taboo deformation. Thirdly there are some substances that at least partially fulfil the definition of an entheogen that is given above, but are not hallucinogenic in the usual sense. One important example is the bread and wine of the Christian Eucharist.

Ideological objections to the broad use of the term often relate to the widespread existence of taboos surrounding psychoactive drugs, with both religious and secular justifications. The perception that the broad sense of the term "entheogen" is used as a euphemism by hallucinogenic drug-users bothers both critics and proponents of the secular use of hallucinogenic drugs. Critics frequently see the use of the term as an attempt to obscure what they perceive as illegitimate motivations and contexts of secular drug use. Some proponents also object to the term, arguing that the trend within their own subcultures and in the scientific literature towards the use of term "entheogen" as a synonym for "hallucinogen" devalues the positive uses of drugs in contexts that are secular but nevertheless, in their view, legitimate.

Beyond the use of the term itself, the validity of drug-induced, facilitated, or enhanced religious experience has been questioned. The claim that such experiences are less valid than religious experience without the use of any chemical catalysts faces the problem that the descriptions of religious experiences by those using entheogens are indistinguishable from many reports of religious experiences without drugs. In an attempt to empirically answer the question about whether drugs can actually facilitate religious experience, the Marsh Chapel Experiment was conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In the double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences under the influence of psilocybin. (A brief video about the Marsh Chapel experiment can be viewed here.)

Naturally occurring entheogens such as Datura were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents which were respected, or in some cases revered. By contrast, artificial and modern entheogens, such as MDMA, never had a tradition of religious use.

Currently entheogens are used in three principal ways: as part of established traditions and religions, secularly for personal spiritual development, and secularly in a manner similar to recreational drugs. A lesser use of entheogens for medical and therapeutic use is rarely pursued due to legislative and cultural objections.

The use of entheogens in human cultures is generally ubiquitous throughout recorded history. The number of entheogen-using cultures is therefore very large. Some of the instances better known to Western scholarship are discussed here.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga).[1] A famous entheogen of ancient Egypt is the blue lotus (Nymphaea caerulea). There is evidence for the use of entheogenic mushrooms in Cte d'Ivoire (Samorini 1995). Numerous other examples of the use of plants in shamanic ritual in Africa are yet to be investigated by western science.

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa of Oklahoma. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_E._Schultes) Used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, its use spread to throughout North America in the 19th century, replacing the toxic entheogen Sophora secundiflora (mescal bean). Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include psilocybin mushrooms (known to the Aztecs under the Nahuatl name teonanacatl), the seeds of several morning glories (Nahuatl: tlitliltzin and ololiuhqui) and Salvia divinorum (Mazateco: Ska Pastora; Nahuatl: pipiltzintzintli).

Urarina shaman, 1988

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi plus admixtures) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazonia. Other well-known entheogens include: borrachero (Brugmansia spp); San Pedro Trichocereus spp); and various tryptamine-bearing snuffs, for example Epen (Virola spp), Vilca and Yopo (Anadananthera spp). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America.

In addition to indigenous use of entheogens in the Americas, one should also note their important role in contemporary religions movements, such as Rastafarianism and the Church of the Universe.

The indigeneous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was appropriated) have used the fly agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria) as an entheogen. The ancient inebriant Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, may have been an entheogen. (In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was fly agaric. The active ingredient of Soma is now presumed to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with entheogenic properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada.)

The use of entheogens in Europe was all but eliminated with the rise of post-Roman Christianity and especially during the great witch hunts of Early Modernity. European witches used various entheogens, including deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) and henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). These plants were used, among other things, for the manufacture of "flying ointments". In Christian society, witches were commonly believed to fly through the air on broomsticks after coating them with the ointment and applying them to the skin. Consequently, any association with these plants could have proven extremely dangerous and lead to one's execution as a practitioner of witchcraft. The imposition of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a possibly entheogenic substance known as kykeon. Similarly, there is evidence that nitrous oxide or ethylene may have been in part resposible for the visions of the equally long-lived Delphic oracle.

In the Christian era the Eucharist plays a symbolic role in religious tradition that has occasionally attracted the label of "entheogen" or "placebo entheogen", even though it does not conform to the original definition involving the use of vision-inducing substances.

The entheogenic use of substances, particularly hashish, by ancient Sufis is well-documented. Its use by the "Hashshashin" to stupefy and recruit new initiates was widely reported during the Crusades. However, the drug used by the Hashshashin was likely wine, opium, henbane, or some combination of these, and, in any event, the use of this drug was for stupefaction rather than for entheogenic use. It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian Rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen. John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian sects and cults were based on the use of Amanita muscaria,[2] though this hypothesis has not achieved widespread currency.

Indigenous Australians are generally supposed not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[3] It has been suggested that the Mori of New Zealand used Mori Kava (Macropiper excelsum) as an entheogen (Bock 2000).

Although entheogens are taboo in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of other cultures is unquestioned. The entheogen, "the spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god's spirit had to offer." (Ruck and Staples)

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

The Kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kereny, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the poppy, Datura, the unidentified "lotus" eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narkissos.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought with them was knowledge of the wild Amanita mushroom. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks "recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the 'pressed juice' of Soma but better since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable" (Ruck and Staples). Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, argues that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes were amanita and possibly panaeolus mushrooms.

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

Even in cultures where they are acceptable, improper use of an entheogen, by the unauthorized or uninitiated, has led to disgrace, exile, and even death. The expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden can be understood as such a parable of an entheogen misused, for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge by its very nature is clearly part of what is denoted by "entheogen" a point made clearly by God:

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

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

Consumption of the imaginary mushroom anochi as the entheogen underlying the creation of Christianity is the premise of Philip K. Dick's last (science fiction) novel, "The Transmigration of Timothy Archer".

Aldous Huxley's final novel, Island (1962), depicted a fictional entheogenic mushroom termed "moksha medicine" used by the people of Pala in rites of passage, such as the transition to adulthood and at the end of life.

In his book "The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East", [2] John M. Allegro argues etymologically that Christianity developed out of the use of a psychedelic mushroom, the true body of Christ, which was later forgotten by its adherents.

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