Council on Spiritual Practices About CSP | Site Map | ©
Search CSP:   

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

Eleusis: Journal of Psychoactive Plants & Compounds

Roverto (TN), Italy: Museo Civico di Rovereto.

ISBN: none

Description: Periodical, stiff wrappers, New Series Number 1, 128 pages.


The partonage of the Museo Civico
of the Municipality of Rovereto

by Franco Finotti
p. 3
Chemical Euphoria and Human Dignity
by Antonio Escohotado
p. 4
The Post-Wasson History of the Soma Plant
by Jonathan Ott
p. 9
The Role of Cohoba in Taino Shamanism
by Constantino M. Torres
p. 38
Leaves of Endurance: The use of Khat in
Northern Kenya and Ethiopia

by Robert W. Gess
p. 51
El peyotl y la ayahuasca en las nuevas
religiones mistericas americanas

by Josep M. Fericgla
p. 65
The "Mushroom-Trees" in Christian Art
by Giorgio Samorini
p. 87
Psychoactive Card IX:
Desmanthus leptolobus

by Steve A. VanHeiden
Reviews p.121
New Releases p.124


Chemical Euphoria and Human Dignity
by Antonio Escohotado

When talking about ritual ebriety, we must make the distinction between possession and journey. Possession inebriation - is favoured by drugs like alcohol, tobacco, the jimsonweeds, cannabis and others similar to these that induce frenetic bodily rapture which wipes out consciousness. Accompanied by violent music and dancing, the less lucid you are, the more beneficial the state of rapture will be. On the other hand, voyaging inebriation requires drugs which dramatically enhance perception without wiping out lucidity. Use of these drugs may be accompanied by music, but at some stage the psychic journey becomes conscious and introspective above all else. (page 4)

The Post-Wasson History of the Soma Plant
by Jonathan Ott

Summary: - This paper reviews the publications by R. Gordon Wasson on the identification of the ancient Aryan entheogenic plant, soma. Eight major reviews of Wasson's well-known soma : Amanita muscaria theory are also discussed, along with Wasson's responses to two of these; and one serious challenge and five alternate proposals to his hypothesis are examined. Revised and enlarged version of a Castilian article. (page 9)

Psilocybe cubensis as Alternate Fungal Candidate for Soma

When Roger Heim and Wasson were studying in the Simlipal Hills of Orissa and West Bengal, India, work which led to the unexpected identification of the primary soma substitute putika as the Santali mushrrom putka, they were told of the existence of an inebriating mushroom which grew in cow dung, answering the description of Psilocybe cubensis.

Unfortunately, owing to unseasonably dry weather, they were unable to collect specimens, nor to learn more about this intriguing lead. In the early sixties, in correspondence with poet Robert Graves and mycologist Heim, Wasson had considered the possibility that soma might have been P. cubensis, but evidently discarded it, having been convinced of the existence of soma-urine, and believing [mistakenly] that Amanita muscaria was unique among entheogenic plants, in that its active principle passed through to the urine of the user. In fact, as I reviewed in Pharmacotheon, psilocybine, the main active agent of P. cubensis, is dephosphorylated in vivo to an active metabolite, psilocine, which is excreted in substantial quantities in the urine of laboratory animals. This, according to Wasson's and Doniger's soma-urine criterion, and pending experiments on human metabolism of psilocine, psilocybine mushrooms like P. cubensis remain plausible candidates for soma and for soma-urine. (pages 19 - 20)

We cannot escape the conclusion that, in the main, Wasson's original theory has stood the test of time, has worn well; has weathered criticism and remains better substantiated than any alternative so far proposed.

Furthermore, most of the new evidence adduced since 1968 has tended rather to strengthen Wasson's theory than to weaken it. (page 32)

The Role of Cohoba in Taino Shamanism
by Constantino Manuel Torres

Summary: - The Tainos, Awawak speakers of the Greater Antilles, were the first Native Americans to establish contact with the Europeans. Tainos religion centered around a category of supernatural beings and spiritual forces known as zemis. The term refereed to formal deities, but could also be applied to features of the landscape, such as caves, rocks, streams, and trees. Zemis also served as intermediaries between the worlds. In order to communicate with the zemis, the Tainos snuffed a psychoactive powder they referred to as cohoba. This article presents an overview of the early reports of shamanic practices and psychoactive plant use among the Tainos, and attempts a reconstruction of the cohoba ritual through archeological finds and the descriptions of Christopher Columbus, Ramon Pane, and Bartolome de Las Casas (c. 1494 - 1510 A. D.). The work also includes a discussion of the botanical source of cohoba, Anadenanthera peregrina var. peregrina (then Piptadenia, Leguminosae), and its preparation. (page 38)

"Mushroom-Trees" in Christian Art
by Giorgio Samorini

Summary:- In this article, various examples of the so-called "mushroom-trees" to be found in early and mediaeval Christian art works from a number of churches in Tunisia, central France and other regions of Europe are presented and discussed. The author makes it clear that the works of art presented here are considered from the point of view of the possible esoteric intention of the artists in their inclusion of the mushroom motif. This paper, based on the most recent research, reaches two main conclusions. Firstly, the typological differentiation among the "mushroom-trees" of these works would appear to due to natural variation among psychoactive mushrooms. Secondly, on the basis of analysis of the works in question, a call is made for a serious and unprejudiced ethnomycological study of early Christian culture. (page 86)

This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2002 CSP

[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]