Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Ayahuasca Analogues: Pangaen Entheogens.
Ott, Jonathan. (1994).
Kennewick, WA: Natural Products.
Description: paperback, 127 pages.
- ISBN: 0-9614234-5-5 paperback
- 0-9614234-4-7 hardcover
Contents: exordium, 4 chapters, notes (some quite extensive), bibliography,
Excerpt(s): The entheogenic drug psilocybine, isolated from Maria Sabina's mushrooms by Albert Hofmann, together with LSD, a semi-synthetic muchroomic entheogen discovered serendipitously by Hofmann 12 years before Wasson lifted the veil of the holy mystery in Mexico, went on to become key catalysts in an anachronistic international revival of archaic religion, which was destined to shake western society to its core. The resulting "countercultural" movement of the "Psychedelic Sixties" marked an unprecedented departure from business as usual, setting the stage for a modern Entheogenic Reformation, which promises to evoke more radical and far-reaching changes in western religion than did its predecessor. Indeed, Martin Luther's 95 theses of October 1517 packed far less punch than did Wasson's one thesis 440 years later -- for Wasson had peeled away the ossified accretion of many, many layers of symbol and dogma which enshrouded the core mystery in impenetrable obfuscation; had laid bare before the eyes of the astonished world, in all its dazzling quotidian humility, the holy sacrament itself, a sacrament which "carried its own conviction" and did not limp along encumbered by faith in an absurd Doctrine of Transubstantiation; a sacrament which obviated the necessity of faith itself, allowing every communicant to attest to "the miracle he has experienced." (page 9)
Furthermore, the last six decades have seen the growth of a remarkable syncretic Neo-Christian religion with ayahuasca as its sacrament. Following humble beginnings in the state of Acre in Brazilian Amazonia, these contemporary religious groups communing with Santo Daime or Cha Hoasca (as ayahuasca is known to them) have grown into major international religious movements with thousands of members. Far from being an aberration or anachronism, these churches, and the African Bwiti religion centered on the entheogenic sacrament eboka, rather represent the future of Christianity, stripped of its Doctrine of Transubstantiation by the Entheogenic Reformation, and with one or another genuine entheogens replacing the placebo sacrament! (page 11)
In 1985 the Brazilian Divisao de Medicamentos do Ministerio da Saude (or Dimed) and Conselho Federal de Entorpecentes (Confen) added Banisteriopsis caapi to the controlled substances list. The [Uniao do Vegetal] petitioned the government to annul the ban, and a commission was appointed to study the issue. After two years of field work among urban and rural UDV and Daime groups, during which ritual use of the sacrament was observed and commission members themselves tried it, the commission recommended overturning the ban! No evidence of social disruption was observed, and the ethical and laboral behavior of church members was exemplary. Accordingly, in 1987 ayahuasca was removed from the controlled substances list. A year later there occurred an anonymous denunciation of the ayahuasca churches to Confen in Rio de Janeiro. The preposterous complaint alleged there were 10 million "fanatics" of the sects, the bulk of whom were "toxicomaniacs of ex-guerillas" (we get a notion of the right-wing political origin of the complaint), given to smoking Cannabis and taking LSD during the rites. Confen once again appointed a commission to study the issue, and the ayahuasca churches again received a clean bill of health. Not only did the second commission reaffirm the 1987 decree legalizing sacramental ayahuasca in Brazil, but it recommended permanent exemption of ayahuasca from Brazilian controlled substances law.
This is the state of affairs today in Brazil, where ayahuasca churches continue to grow and prosper. In weekly mass, ayahuasca is dispensed in lieu of the Eucharist from a sort of "Fount of Wisdom," and in Santo Daime groups singing and dancing may follow. (page 79)
In the psychopharmacology of the entheogens, we have the means to reconcile the unseen, mystical worlds of the physicists and poets. For the entheogens consitute, as Albert Hofmann asserted, something like "cracks in the infinite realm of matter," and operate "at the borderline where mind and matter merge." They are to philosophy and pharmacology what the radioactive isotopes are to physics—cracks in the materialistic edifice of reality, where matter spontaneously transforms, or profoundly alters consciousness. (page 88).
Far from taking the mystery out of religion, the restoration of genuine entheogenic sacraments puts the Mystery back into religion, obviating the necessity of faith in sophistical doctrines. the Entheogenic Reformation is our best hope for healing Our Lady Gaea, while fostering genuine religious revival for a new millennium. That revival is underway in the vast tent of this watery blue planet... Gi'me that Old Time Religion! (page 90)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP