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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


Clinical Psychiatry and Religion.

Pattison, E. Mansell. (Editor). (1969).
Boston: Little, Brown and Co.


ISBN: None


Description: First edition, xvi + 327 pages, International Psychiatry Clinics Vol. 5, No. 4.


Contents: Contributing authors, preface, 23 unnumbered chapters divided into 4 parts: I. Clinical 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.


Contributors: 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 powerful magnitude.

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. (pages 150-151)


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 mystical. ...

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. (pages 159-160)


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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