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Category Archives: Entheogens

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

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:22 am

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.

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

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

Posted: February 7, 2017 at 10:32 pm

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, 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.

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

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A conversation with Haroon Mirza – Ocula Magazine

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:35 pm

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]

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A conversation with Haroon Mirza – Ocula Magazine

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Entheogen | Psychology Wiki | Fandom powered by Wikia

Posted: February 4, 2017 at 1:58 am

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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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Entheogens – Reality Sandwich

Posted: at 1:58 am

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.

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Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

Posted: December 25, 2016 at 11:05 pm

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 30, 2016 | Features, Kratom | 0 Comments

What I think really happened, is that the DEA had no idea how large the Kratom industry was. They vastly underestimated the pro-Kratom movement, the number of Kratom users, as well as the size of the Kratom industry. After reading through the extraordinarily cherry-picked, and very biased notice they entered into the Federal Register, the truth becomes difficult to deny. In fact, in a discussion with an industry insider who had an attorney in daily contact with the DEA, an agent was quoted as saying; “If we had any idea what the public reaction was going to be, we never would have move to schedule Kratom in the first place.”

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 29, 2016 | Features, Kratom | 1 Comment

It turns out that the government isn’t as broken as we thought, that democracy still works, and we, as a people, do have the power to have our individual voices heard! From the horse’s mouth, a spokesperson for the DEA formally announced that they do not yet have a…

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 13, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness Kratom Letter There was a glimmer of hope for the absurdly unfair Emergency Scheduling of Kratom by the DEA today. If you’re not up on the current status of Kratom and how it’s in severe danger of being made a Schedule I substance,…

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 7, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

The unspeakable has happened; the DEA has decided that because of a fabricated public threat, thatKratom needs to be scheduled immediately. They cited 15 deaths from Kratom, yet when that number was researched, there was not a single death associated with Kratom….

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 29, 2016 | Features, Kava Kava | 0 Comments

What is a usual and safe Kava Kava dosage? We answer that question in detail here at Entheology.com to help give you a safe path to Kava consumption.

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 4, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

Shockingly, the current Congress of the United States has offered an official response to President Barak Obamas recent interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker (See our article entitled President Obama for Marijuana…

by Keith Cleversley | Feb 23, 2016 | Kava Kava | 1 Comment

I’ve spent more than half my life exploring and working with various plants. One of my favorite plants to help me relax is one that continues to gain steam in the mainstream, but is still very much in the shadows; Kava Kava. I’ve been in the Kava biz for nearly 20…

by Keith Cleversley | Nov 3, 2015 | Kava Kava, Research | 1 Comment

Ona late 2015 trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I had the pleasure of experiencing a cultivar of Kava unlike any other I had experienced previously. This variety was called Hiwa (pronounced HEE-vuh), and I had the pleasure of experiencing this incredible cultivar over a…

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 30, 2015 | Kava Kava, Research | 0 Comments

I was having difficulty finding an articles regarding Kava benefits in terms of health and nutrition, so I thought an article here would be appropriate. What I discovered, is that since Kava lost its “food” status (called GRAS) in the early 2000’s, and is only…

by Keith Cleversley | Dec 19, 2014 | Kratom, News Articles | 0 Comments

Recent developments in Florida indicate that Palm Beach County officials are backing away from an outright ban on kratom and may instead implement educational initiatives to teach consumers about kratom, its effects, and its potential risks. The initiative would include warning labels on packages of kratom, partnerships with schools, and distributing information at community events and through social media.

by Keith Cleversley | Dec 7, 2014 | Features, Kava Kava | 3 Comments

Now that Cannabis is legal for recreational use in three states as of the writing of this article, it feels important to address what will undoubtedly be a continuing flood of questions regarding combiningkava and cannabis (marijuana). Customers from both Washington…

by Keith Cleversley | Nov 25, 2014 | Kava Kava | 0 Comments

To indigenous peoples throughout the South Pacific, kava is a central aspect of social and religious life. In the spirit of exploring the lesser-known aspects of kava, this article brings you a collection of the myths, legends, and rituals surrounding kava in Hawaiithat piece of the South Pacific closest to our shores!

Excerpt from:

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

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What are endeogens entheogens? – 5-MeO- DMT

Posted: November 30, 2016 at 6:41 pm

And why are they so important?

An introduction by James Oroc, 1/11/11

This web-site is dedicated to the only two known endogenous entheogens, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-Methoxy-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT).

These two compounds are of unique interest to humanity for a number of extraordinary reasons probably the best-known being the simple fact that they are the most powerful of the known natural psychedelics. Found in the leaves, roots, and bark of a wide variety of trees, plants, and grasses, (and in the case of 5-MeO-DMT, also in the venom of the Bufo Alvarius or Sonaran Desert Toad), both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been utilized by Amazonian shamans for at least three thousand years in a wide-variety of sacred methods including snuffs and the now-legendary jungle brew most widely known as ayahuasca.

DMT and 5-MeO-DMT both have the reputation of being so powerful that when snuffed, drank, or in these modern times, smoked, they can produce a myriad of near magical effects, including the classical shamanic death-and-rebirth, and the ultimate mystical realization of Union-with-God. Psychedelic compounds this powerful are now often classified as entheogens a term which means ‘God-generated-within’ – in an attempt to recognize the often spiritual or even mystical nature of the experience they produce.

DMT can create extraordinary visual tapestries that seem to be able to mine the entire mythos of the Collective Unconsciousness, while 5-MeO-DMT allows for an out-of-body experience that can result in a singular resonance with The Void, which like so many mystics before, many users often identify as The Source of All Things. Both compounds are capable of producing intense intuitions about the sacred unity of all life, and even the transpersonal experience itself, where one actually feels the connectivity of all things and experiences a state most commonly described as Oneness. Both compounds have been known to produce genuine religious conversions, even converting hardened atheists to a more spiritual interpretation of Life. Because of its similarity to the near-death experience, 5-MeO-DMT has proven useful for easing the suffering of people dying of terminal illnesses, and also has a reputation of being able to break addictive patterns.

Within the psychedelic community itself these two compounds now have an almost mythical status thanks to both the advocacy of Terence McKenna and the scholarship of Alexander Shulgin, and more recently, the publication of simple extraction recipes on the Internet, coupled with the enthusiasm of today’s crop of psychedelic authors such as Rick Strassman, Daniel Pinchbeck, Martin Ball, and myself. Due to the intense and often fantastical visions that DMT creates it has been particularly influential with visual artists such as painters and video artists. The art, music, and video forms being produced by this neo-tribe of artists influenced by DMT and other psychedelic compounds is known as Visionary Art or Visionary Culture, and is at the heart of a now global web of psychedelic influenced electronic music, performance, and art festivals with illustrious names like Burning Man, BOOM! (Portugal), Symbiosis, Lightning-In-A-Bottle, the Rainbow Serpent Festival (Australia), Moksha, and Alchemeyez.

But as extraordinary as the effects of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT may be, as fascinating their history with humanity, or as influential their role may be in our spirituality or art, the most extraordinary fact about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is the fact that they are both endogenous, and are in fact the only endogenous entheogens we know of. Endogenous means that a compound is found and produced within the human body itself; Serotonin is another endogenous tryptamine natural to our bodies and brains, just as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been discovered to be. But what makes both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT so unique is that they are the only endogenous entheogens compounds that can invoke a mystical experience and are in fact two of the most powerful entheogens we have ever discovered.

One would think that the discovery in the early 1970s of the two compounds most known to be capable of invoking a mystical experience naturally within the human physiology would have been the cause the cause of tremendous scientific and social excitement, since such a discovery could obviously have potentially extraordinary implications upon the age-old search for the source of Human Spirituality; these two compounds may well be the link to that Source itself. But thanks to the draconian world-wide laws imposed against virtually all psychedelic compounds at around the same time (1971) there has been a virtual ban on research on the endogenous tryptamines (or any other psychedelics) in the United States since then. DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are now both highly illegal Schedule 1 drugs in most countries, the possession of which could result in lengthy jail time even though we all possess both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that is produced naturally from some where within our own bodies.

This website was created to collate and share what is known and what has been speculated about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, in the hope that our Society can realize how important these two extraordinary compounds may be to both understanding ourselves, and our relationship with the spiritual dimension within Life itself. It is intended as a web-companion to my book also titled Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad: A Journey from Burning Man to the Akashic Field. (2009). I realized upon completion of that book in 2009 that after 6 years of research into the endogenous tryptamines I had a lot of information that I had gathered (and especially on DMT) that did not fit within the parameters of that book itself. And now, thanks to the publication of Tryptamine Palace to a global audience, even more information continues to pour in, and my own theories and intuitions continue to develop as I have been fortunate to travel and speak about my book and my experiences around the world.

I have thus created this related website and blog in an attempt to share my own ever evolving view of both the mighty Tryptamine Universe and the emerging global Visionary Culture that it is inspiring. It is also my hope that this web site will help to separate some of the facts from the rampant speculation that is unfortunately most common. I hope the information you find within this endeavor both resonates within you, and is of some value in your own journey life, for regardless of your position on the Drug Laws or your personal experience with psychedelics, if you simply consider the facts, personal accounts, and tremendous art that you will find within this website, it is hard to argue that there are many things more capable of putting some Mystery back in the world then the remarkable endogenous entheogens, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT.

In 1956, Humphry Osmond derived the term ‘psychedelic’ from the Greek words (psyche, “soul”) and (delein, “to manifest”), translating the new word to mean “mind-manifesting”. He created this new word in an attempt to differentiate the experiences of certain compounds that he believed were being insufficiently classified by the psychiatric community as ‘hallucinogens’. Many of today’s researchers, writers, and psychonauts, now prefer the term ‘entheogen’ over the term ‘psychedelic’ as way of further differentiating the unique and sacred properties of certain fascinating compounds that can induce a lasting sense of spirituality, or even the mystical experience of union-with-god itself.

Creating a new term is obviously easier than assuring its definition, an anomaly that Humphry Osmond undoubtedly realized when the word ‘psychedelic’ left the confines of the psychiatric community and over the following decade took on a life of it’s own. The definition of what compounds should be classified as ‘entheogens’ remains at large up to the discretion of the user, since it can be applied to compounds that are capable of inducing out-of-body mystical experiences, such as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT, more broadly as compounds that promote a heightened sense of awareness or ‘love’ such as MDMA, or even compounds that are used in a spiritual context or ceremony, such as cannabis. The majority of the compounds classified as ‘entheogens’ belong to the tryptamine family or are closely related to it, and include DMT (di-methyl- tryptamine), 5-MeO-DMT, DIPT, psilocybin, and LSD.

While an entheogen can be entirely created (such as LSD or 2CB) or synthesized (DMT and 5-MeO-DMT) in a laboratory, and are sometimes packaged as ‘research chemicals’ (AMT, DIPT, etc), many entheogens also occur naturally and have been utilized by human beings for centuries in numerous inventive ways. (Rain-deer urine leaps to mind). The natural tryptamine-containing entheogens can be eaten directly, or as a tea (‘magic mushrooms’ – 4-HO-DMT), administered as snuffs of powdered barks (such as y-kee, y-to, and yopo, in Colombia, epna in Brazil and Venezuela, and paric and nyakwna in Brazil; 5-MeO-DMT, 5-HO-DMT, and DMT in varying degrees), as plant admixtures (brews like ayahuasca; DMT/and sometimes 5-MeO-DMT), or even by smoking dried Bufo alvarius toad venom (5-MeO-DMT).

The consumption of entheogens has been at the core of humanitys search for the sacred since the earliest days of our societies, and examples are abundant. Some 3,500 years ago the ancient Hindus worshipped a lost entheogen called Soma as if it was a God and created their greatest legacy (the Vedas) in tribute to it. Mescaline-containing Trichocereus cacti were used by the Chavin culture of Peru as long as 3000 years ago and continue to be used by the northern Peruvian shamans today. Psychoactive kykeon was drunk for the two thousand-year period of the Eleusinan Mysteries, which were considered to be the pinnacle of Greek civilization. Tryptamine snuffs have been used in South America and the Caribbean for at least 2000 years, although their origins, along with the origins of ayahuasca as well, now appear to be lost in the mists of time. Peyote has been used by the Mexican Native Americans for the past 400 years, and the Amanita muscaria in Siberia for the past 300 years. A wide variety of many additional visionary plants – Psilocybe mushrooms, morning glory seeds, Salvia divinorum, Cannabis, tobacco, Datura, and so on have been used ceremonially by other traditional peoples the world over.

~ James Oroc, Tryptamine Palace (2009)

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Homepage of Martin W Ball

Posted: at 6:41 pm

Greetings fellow travelers and welcome!

I’m honored that your journey has brought you here and I pay respect to the Divine Being that you are. You are welcome to all that I have to offer.

Here you will find information about my work and creations from my various projects in life: awakening, entheogens, music, books, podcasts, art, and more. My goal is to help others through creativity, knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration. What motivates me is the love of Truth and the quest to live in Reality as a Fully Awakened Human Being, centered in the knowledge of our Unitary Being. I am here to serve as a mirror; clear, reflective, and free from distortion and illusion, offering to help other versions of the Self find clarity and self-knowledge within.

As an independent artist, musician, author and publisher, I depend on the support of others to continue my work. If you find that what I have to offer speaks to you, then I encourage you to consider purchasing a book, CD, or art product. I am also always happy to field questions about entheogens and personal experience and encourage you to explore my podcast, “The Entheogenic Evolution.”

My latest release, which is now available, (June, 2014) is Being Infinite: An Entheogenic Odyssey into the Limitless Eternal – A Memoir from Ayahuasca to Zen, which chronicles my personal awakening and transformation through exploration of the Self via 5-MeO-DMT, Ayahuasca, Salvia divinorum, and other entheogenic medicines. It is available in paperback and digital ebook formats.

Being Infinite, 2014. 330 pages. $19.95, plus shipping (international order, please use Amazon)

Being Infinite, paperback

And to get you in the mood for the book, here’s a short promo video. Full-screen HD version recommended

May your journey bring you to the only place there is to go: into who you really are.

Martin

For more information about my nondual understanding

of the nature of being and role of entheogens in

cultivating personal awareness, visit my site:

http://www.entheological-paradigm.net

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Urban Dictionary: entheogen

Posted: October 8, 2016 at 10:30 pm

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.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

Smooth, soft, slim fit American Apparel shirt. Custom printed. 100% fine jersey cotton, except for heather grey (90% cotton).

Can you define these popular missing words?

‘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

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Lotsa space for your liquids.

Your favorite word on a white mug.

One side has the word, one side has the definition. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Lotsa space for your liquids.

Soft and offensive. Just like you.

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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

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Entheogen – New World Encyclopedia

Posted: October 3, 2016 at 1:02 am

This entry covers entheogens as psychoactive substances used in religious or shamanic contexts. For general information about these substances and their use outside religious contexts, see psychedelics, dissociatives and deliriants.

An entheogen, in the strictest sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious or shamanic context. Historically, entheogens are derived primarily from plant sources and have been used in a variety of traditional religious practices. With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic substances with similar properties.

More broadly, the term entheogen is used to refer to such substances when used for their religious or spiritual effects, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure. This terminology is often chosen in contrast with recreational use of the same substances. These spiritual effects have been demonstrated in peer-reviewed studies (see below) though research remains problematic due to ongoing drug prohibition.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years. Examples of entheogens from ancient sources include: Greek: kykeon; African: Iboga; Vedic: Soma, Amrit. Chemicals used today as entheogens, whether in pure form or as plant-derived substances, include mescaline, DMT, LSD, psilocin, ibogaine, and salvinorin A.

The word “entheogen” is a neologism derived from two words of ancient Greek, (entheos) and (genesthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed,” and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a substance that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.

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 the experienced is within the user (as opposed to having independent existence).

It 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 “mind manifest,” 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. In modern usage “entheogen” may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same substances.

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

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

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:

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 sacramental catalyst faces the problem that the descriptions of religious experiences by those using entheogens are indistinguishable from many reports of religious experiences which, are presumed in modern times to, have been experienced without their use. Such a claim, however, depends entirely on the assumption that the reports of well-known mystics were not influenced by ingesting visionary plants, a derivation which Dan Merkur calls into question.

In an attempt to empirically answer the question about whether neurochemical augmentation through entheogens may enable religio-mystical 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 subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled version of this experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, yielding very similar results.[1] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards. However, there is little doubt that entheogens can enable powerful experiences that are subjectively judged as important in a religious or spiritual context. Rather, it is the precise characterization and quantification of these experiences, and of religious experience in general, that is not yet developed.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine, also known as N,N-dimethyltryptamine, or simply DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca) were 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.

Entheogens have been used in various ways, including as part of established religious traditions, secularly for personal spiritual development, as tools (or “plant teachers”) to augment the mind,[2][3] secularly as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use.

The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga).[4] 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 plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science.

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa who live in what became Oklahoma. Used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, its use spread throughout North America, replacing the toxic entheogen Sophora secundiflora (mescal bean). Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include psilocybin mushrooms (known to indigenous Mexicans under the Nhuatl name teonancatl), the seeds of several morning glories (Nhuatl: tlitlltzin and ololihqui) and Salvia divinorum (Mazateco: Ska Pastora; Nhuatl: pipiltzintzntli).

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. Additionally, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.

Over and above the indigenous use of entheogens in the Americas, one should also note their important role in contemporary religious movements, such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

The indigenous 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 presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant and (somewhat debatable) entheogenic properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada.) However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian Rue, Cannabis, or some combination of any of the above plants.

An early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads, was fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead; its cult uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

The extent of the use of visionary plants throughout European history has only recently been seriously investigated, since around 1960. The use of entheogens in Europe may have become greatly reduced by the time of the rise of Christianity. European witches used various entheogens, including thorn-apple (Datura), deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) and henbane (Hyoscyamus niger). These plants were used, among other things, for the manufacture of “flying ointments.”

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the 2,000-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 responsible for the visions of the equally long-lived Delphic oracle (Hale et al. 2003).

In ancient Germanic culture, cannabis was associated with the Germanic love goddess Freya. The harvesting of the plant was connected with an erotic high festival. It was believed that Freya lived as a fertile force in the plant’s feminine flowers and by ingesting them one became influenced by this divine force. Similarly, fly agaric was consecrated to Odin, the god of ecstasy, while henbane stood under the dominion of the thunder godThor in Germanic mythologyand Jupiter among the Romans (Rtsch 2003).

An ancient entheogenic substance in the Middle East is hashish. 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.

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria which was later forgotten by its adherents, though this hypothesis has not received much consideration or become widely accepted. Allegro’s hypothesis that Amanita use was forgotten after primitive Christianity seems contradicted by his own view that the chapel in Plaincourault shows evidence of Christian Amanita use in the 1200s.[5]

Indigenous Australians are generally thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand. Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[6]

Kava or Kava Kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3,000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of Kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors (Singh 2004).

There have been several examples of the use of entheogens in the archaeological record. Many of these researchers, like R. Gordon Wasson or Giorgio Samorini,[7][8] have recently produced a plethora of evidence, which has not yet received enough consideration within academia. The first direct evidence of entheogen use comes from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP. Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the fifth to second century B.C.E., confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. The 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:

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

The Kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl 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.

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

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

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

According to The Living Torah, cannabis was an ingredient of holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[9] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the Hebrew Bible. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[10] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines [from the Aramaic: “to heal”], this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah, and goes firmly against the accepted teachings of the Holy See. However Merkur contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation and prayer.

Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea Scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of the psychoactive sacrament, furthermore they seem to conflict with the position of the Catholic Church in regards to the exclusivity of the non-canonical practice of transubstantiation and endorsement of alcohol ingestion as the exclusive means to attain communion with God. Allegro’s book, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults; and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the Mind of God [Avestan: Vohu Mana], persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 1200s with reoccurrences in the 1700s and mid 1900s, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita Muscaria as the Eucharist.

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[11] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many ‘mushroom trees’ in Christian art.[12]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including so-called “heretical” or “quasi-” Christian groups,[13] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within “orthodox” Catholic practice.

James Arthur asserts that the little scroll from the angel with writing on it referred to in Ezekiel 2: 8,9,10 and Ezekiel 3: 1,2,3 and Book of Revelation 10: 9,10 was the speckled cap of the Amanita Muscaria mushroom.[14]

The substance melange (spice) in Frank Herbert’s Dune universe acts as both an entheogen and a geriatric medicine. Control of the supply of melange was crucial to the Empire, as it was necessary for, among other things, faster than light navigation.

Consumption of the imaginary mushroom anochi as the entheogen underlying the creation of Christianity is the premise of Philip K. Dick’s last novel, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, a theme which seems to be inspired by John Allegro’s book.

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

Bruce Sterling’s Holy Fire novel refers to the religion in the future as a result of entheogens, used freely by the population.

In Stephen King’s The Gunslinger, Book 1 of The Dark Tower series, the main character receives guidance after taking mescaline.

The Alastair Reynolds novel Absolution Gap features a moon under the control of a religious government which uses neurological viruses to induce religious faith.

All links retrieved September 23, 2013.

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Entheogen – New World Encyclopedia

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