Entheogens and the Future of Religion

Entheogens and the Future of Religion

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1594774382

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

A study of the importance of psychedelic plants and drugs in religion and society

• With contributions by Albert Hofmann, R. Gordon Wasson, Jack Kornfield, Terence McKenna, the Shulgins, Rick Strassman, and others

• Explores the importance of academic and religious freedom in the study of psychedelics and the mind

• Exposes the need for an organized spiritual context for entheogen use in order to fully realize their transformative and sacred value

We live in a time when a great many voices are calling for a spiritual renewal to address the problems that face humanity, yet the way of entheogens--one of the oldest and most widespread means of attaining a religious experience--is forbidden, surrounded by controversy and misunderstanding. Widely employed in traditional shamanic societies, entheogens figure prominently in the origins of religion and their use continues today throughout the world. They alter consciousness in such a profound way that, depending on the set and setting, they can produce the ultimate human experiences: union with God or revelation of other mystical realities.

With contributions by Albert Hofmann, Terence McKenna, Ann and Alexander Shulgin, Thomas Riedlinger, Dale Pendell, and Rick Strassman as well as interviews with R. Gordon Wasson and Jack Kornfield, this book explores ancient and modern uses of psychedelic drugs, emphasizing the complementary relationship between science and mystical experience and the importance of psychedelics to the future of religion and society. Revealing the mystical-religious possibilities of substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, and LSD, this book exposes the vital need for developing an organized spiritual context for their use in order to fully realize their transformative and sacred value. Stressing the importance of academic and religious freedom, the authors call for a revival of scientific and religious inquiry into entheogens so they may be used safely and legally by those seeking to cultivate their spiritual awareness.

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threat of chaos, the shattering of what is known, familiar, and safe. The response to this threat can take the forms of banishment, burning at the stake, imprisonment, or—at the very least—warnings to keep discoveries private, lest they provoke the self-protective anger of the established order and of those who maintain power through it. This has been the history of human development on this Earth, a balance maintained—usually with great difficulty and often with violence—between the urge to

contrast to most Christian worship based on “learned” theological systems. In that sense the Christian religion of the Mazatec mushroom eaters is defined, like Pentecostalism, not by doctrine or by dogma but phenomenologically. Both religions are examples of the primal spirituality that Cox describes as “reaching beyond the levels of creed and ceremony into the core of human religiousness, into . . . that largely unprocessed nucleus of the psyche in which the unending struggle for a sense of

resurfaced in the suppression of entheogenic practices. It is not surprising that people take very seriously disagreements about what can actually bring them closer to the divine. But Americans decided two centuries ago that such arguments are too important to be settled by force or by majority vote (Madison 1787). They are best left to the decisions of spiritual communities or to the individual conscience. The First Amendment to the Constitution and a variety of statutes, administrative

Study of N,N-dimethyltryptamine in Humans. II: Subjective Effects and Preliminary Results of a New Rating Scale.” Archives of General Psychiatry 51 (1994): 98–108. Szara, S. I. “The Comparison of the Psychotic Effects of Tryptamine Derivatives with the Effects of Mescaline and LSD-25 in Self-experiments.” In Psychotropic Drugs. Edited by W. Garattini and V. Ghetti. New York: Elsevier, 1957. Vollenweider, F. X. “Evidence of a Cortical-subcortical Imbalance of Sensory Information Processing

continued to prosecute Indians, as well as non-Indians, for use, possession, or distribution of peyote. In 1990, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Employment Division v. Smith (a case originating with the religious peyote use by members of the Native American Church), abandoned well-established standards of protection for the free exercise of religion and ruled that religious peyote use was no longer protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Religious leaders around the nation were

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