Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Clinical Psychiatry and Religion.
Pattison, E. Mansell. (Editor). (1969).
Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
Description: First edition,
xvi + 327 pages, International
Psychiatry Clinics Vol. 5, No. 4.
authors, preface, 23 unnumbered chapters divided into 4 parts:
Aspects of Religion and Personal Psychology, II. Clinical
Studies of Religious Behavior, III. Clinical
Aspects of the Mental Health of Religious Personnel, IV. Clinical
Collaboration of Clergy and Mental Health Professionals, index.
Clemens E. Boverman, Margaretta K. Casey, Carl W. Cox, Edgar Esau, James J. Kiev,
Ward A. Lubin, Robert J. Mc Midelfort, George Mora, Walter N. Pahnke, E. Mansell Pattison,
Leon Salzman, Philip Woollcott.
Note: Only Pahnke's chapter
mentions psychedelic drugs. It also contains a summary of the
little-known follow-up study of his Good Friday Experiment.
Excerpt(s): (All excerpts
are from Pahnke's Chapter 10: Psychedelic
Drugs and Mystical Experience) ... five major types of psychological
experiences can occur when psychedelic drugs are administered
to human beings.
First is the psychotic psychedelic experience,
characterized by an intense negative experience of fear to the
point of panic, paranoid delusions of suspicion or grandeur, toxic
confusion, impairment of abstract reasoning, remorse, depression,
isolation, and/or somatic discomfort; all of these can be of very
Second is the psychodynamic psychedelic experience,
characterized by a dramatic emergence into consciousness of material
that has previously been unconscious or preconscious. ...
Third is the cognitive psychedelic experience,
characterized by astonishingly lucid thought. Problems can be
seen from a novel perspective, and the interrelationships of many
levels or dimensions can be seen all at once. ...
Fourth is the aesthetic psychedelic experience,
characterized by a change and intensification of all sensory modalities.
The fifth and last type of psychedelic experience,
the focus of our attention in this paper, has been called by various
names: psychedelic peak, cosmic, transcendental or mystical.
The second series of experiments [following the
Good Friday Experiment] was performed at the Massachusetts
Mental Health Center during 1965 and 1966. Forty carefully screened
normal volunteers were selected. Most of the subjects were over
30 and held responsible professional positions in the community.
... Using the 60% level of completeness on the questionnaire as
the definition of a mystical experience, only one control subject
had a mystical experience, whereas at least 35% of the high-dose
psilocybin subjects (total N=30) did so in each of the research
projects. (pages 157-158)
Mystical experiences can be interpreted in religious
language, but not necessarily. Whether or not a mystical experience
is a religious experience depends upon one's definition of religion.
The definition of religion could be made so specific and narrow
that most mystical experiences by the above definition would not
be included. Conversely, all religious experiences are not necessarily
Organized orthodox religion has reacted in general
to the phenomenon of psychedelic mystical experiences with suspicion.
Yet with increasing numbers of serious people becoming interested
in psychedelic drugs as a possible means for spiritual growth,
the Church might do well to find ways to help persons integrate
their psychedelic mystical experiences in a healthful way. The
framework and symbol ogy of religion seem naturally
suited as an aid to the understanding of these experiences. Religious
themes and symbols many times are an important part of the content
of psychedelic experiences. One of the most important applications
of psychedelic drugs may be as a valuable tool for research in
the psychology of religion for a more scientific understanding
of the dynamics and psycho-physiological mechanisms of the mystical
experience. In addition, an excellent opportunity is provided
for a controlled study of the effects of such experiences over
time on stable, well-adjusted, adequately functioning members
of society who might volunteer for such psychedelic drug experiments.
At the Spring Grove State Hospital, for example,
more than 300 patients have been treated with LSD without a single
case of long-term psychological or physical harm directly attributable
to the treatment, although there have been two transient post-LSD
disturbances that have subsequently responded well to conventional
treatment. (page 161)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP