Hallucinogens for Spiritual Purposes

by Special Guest Writer..... Krystle Cole of  www.NeuroSoup.com April 13, 2009        During the peak of one of my first LSD trips I came to the realization that all the knowledge of the universe was at my fingertips. So, I seized the moment and asked myself some the universal questions I had always wondered about. I started with, "Why are we all here?" And the answer came into my head as one word, "LOVE." Then I asked myself, "What is the purpose of this life?" And again, instantly I knew it was "LOVE." I asked yet another question, "Who or what created us?" And again "LOVE" cascaded throughout my being.     As you can begin to see, hallucinogens (or entheogens, as many of us like to call them) have helped shape, or unshape, my psyche and attitudes toward life. Before I used entheogens, I was not very interested in spirituality or discovering the answers to any of my questions about the universe. This is because I was the type of person that needed to see it, in order to believe it. I figured that there was really no point in trying to figure it all out, because no one could really ever know until they died.     Entheogens were a complete wake-up call for me; they totally changed my perspective on the nature of reality. They enabled me to see it, so to speak. By far, my entheogenic journeys were the peak experiences of my life – I wouldn’t trade them for any other experience in the world.     I am not alone in this belief; during a study at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, researchers gave 36 volunteers psilocybin, the active constituent in hallucinogenic mushrooms. Two-thirds of the participants described the effects of psilocybin as among the five most meaningful experiences of their lives (Griffiths et al., 2006). Overview of Spiritual Use: Entheogens have been used as a spiritual tool for exploring consciousness by many different cultures throughout history.  Some examples are the kykeon of Eleusis, the soma of the Rg Veda, the peyote of the Native American church, the teonanácatl of the Aztecs, and the ayahuasca or hoasca of the Santo Daime and União do Vegetal.     The word entheogen has a very spiritual connotation, unlike many of the other words used to describe psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs. Entheogens, like LSD, DMT and mescaline, can help you understand the timeless divinity that links us all together. The word entheogen was originally created by Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonathan Ott, and R. Gordon Wasson (1979). Here is what they wrote about its meaning: All languages grow together with the peoples who speak them, borrowing or inventing terms to keep pace with what is new and retiring others when they are no longer needed. When the recent surge of recreational use of so-called "hallucinogenic" or "psychedelic" drugs first came to popular attention in the early 1960s, it was commonly viewed with suspicion and associated with the behavior of deviant or revolutionary groups.... Out of the many words proposed to describe this unique class of drugs only a few have survived in current usage. It is the contention of the authors who have subscribed their names to this article that none of these terms really deserve greater longevity if our language is not to perpetuate the misunderstandings of the past.... [N]ot only is "psychedelic" an incorrect verbal formation, but it has become so invested with connotations of the pop-culture of the 1960s that it is incongruous to speak of a shaman's taking a "psychedelic" drug. We, therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs. In Greek the word entheos means literally "god (theos) within," and was used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one's body. It was applied to prophetic seizures, erotic passion and artistic creation, as well as to those religious rites in which mystical states were experienced through the ingestion of substances that were transubstantial with the deity. In combination with the Greek root gen-, which denotes the action of "becoming," this word results in the term that we are proposing: entheogen. Spiritual Use of DMT DMT, or dimethyltryptamine, is one example of an entheogen that has been used in a spiritual setting for millennia. As previously mentioned, two South American churches, the Santo Daime and União do Vegetal, use ayahuasca, or hoasca, as their sacrament. This is a tea made from boiled plants. One plant contains DMT and another plant contains MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors. DMT is only orally active when it is combined with an MAOI. Otherwise DMT can be insufflated, smoked, injected, or administered anally without an MAOI. Despite the fact that DMT is classified as a Schedule I drug, the United States Supreme Court still recognized its spiritual significance. In the case of Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente União do Vegetal, the Supreme Court heard arguments on November 1, 2005 and unanimously ruled in February 2006 that the U.S. Federal Government must allow the União do Vegetal to import and consume ayahuasca for religious ceremonies under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Even our own Supreme Court recognizes the spiritual significance of these substances. Conclusion There is so much that I could say or explain about this topic.  In fact, there's far too much to explain within a short article.  I tried to give readers a brief introduction to the topic of using a hallucinogens for spiritual purposes. If you would like to learn more on this topic visit: http://www.NeuroSoup.com References Griffiths, R.R., W.A. Richards, U. McCann, R. Jesse. 2006. Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology. DOI: 10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5 Maslow, A.H. 1964. What is the Validity of Knowledge Gained in Peak-Experiences? Religions, Values, and Peak-Experiences. Appendix D. http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/lsd/maslowd.htm Ruck, C.A.P., Bigwood, J., Staples, D., Ott, J. & Wasson, R.G. (1979). Entheogens. Journal of Psychedelic Drugs. 11(1-2);145-6. Yensen, R., D. Dryer. 2007. Addiction, despair, and the soul: successful psychedelic psychotherapy, a case study. In Psychedelic Medicine. 15-28. Praeger Publishers. Please Visit Krystle's Web Site....
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