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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index


The Archaic Revival:

Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFO's, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History.

McKenna, Terence. (1991).
San Francisco: Harper.


ISBN: 0-06-250613-7

Description: Paperback, xvi + 267 pages.

Contents: Foreword by Tom Robbins, acknowledgments, introduction, 17 chapters, bibliography, index.

Contributors: (Coauthors of various chapters) David Jay Brown, Nevill Levin, Rebecca Noffke, Michael Toms.

Excerpt(s): I believe that the psychedelic experience was the light at the beginning of history. That this is actually the thing; that we have now reached a sufficient level of analytical sophistication to discern the force that pushed the animal mind onto the human stage. It is a process that, once it is set into motion, will not end. It is as though these botanical hallucinogens were exohormones, message-bearing chemicals shed by Gaia to control the development of the historical process in the catalytic trigger species that is introducing change on the planet. It isn't merely a matter of noetic archeology that we have now learned something about the past. This is also true of Albert Hofmann's discovery about Eleusis; this may ultimately have a greater impact than the discovery of LSD itself. It is a discovery of a skeleton in the closet. There are skeletons in the closet of human origins and of the origin of religion. I would wager that these skeletons are all psychedelics. If we can come to terms with them, we can begin to understand the shape of the human future. (page 54)

These things are all part of the New Age, but I have abandoned that term in favor of what I call the Archaic Revival-which places it all in a better historical perspective. When a culture loses its bearing, the traditional response is to go back in history to find the previous "anchoring model." ...

In the twentieth century a global civilization has lost its bearing, and as we look back in time for a model to anchor us we have to go back before history to around twelve or fifteen thousand years ago. So the important part of the human potential movement and the New Age, I believe, is the reempowerment of ritual, the rediscovery of shamanism, the re-cognition of psychedelics, and the importance of the Goddess. There must also be an authentic religious mystery driving this. Psychedelics put you in touch with something that is both real and immediate-the mind of the planet. This is the oversoul of all life on earth. It's the real thing. The Gain hypothesis, which began by proposing that the entire planet is a self-regulating system, has now been brought to the level where some people are saying, "It's almost alive." But I would go much further than that. Not only is it alive, but it is "minded."

I take very seriously the idea that the Logos is real, that there is a guiding Mind-an Oversoul-that inhabits the bamboo of the planet, and that human balance, dignity, and religiosity depend on having direct contact with this realm. This is what shamanism is providing. It was available in the West until the fall of Eleusis and the Mystery traditions-to some people-but then it was stamped out by barbarians who didn't understand what they had destroyed. (pages 248-249)



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