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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


Entheogens and the Future of Religion.

Forte, Robert (Editor). (1997).
San Francisco: Council on Spiritual Practices.


ISBN: 1-889725-01-3

Description: Paperback original, viii + 183 pages.

Contents: Introduction, 13 chapters, Council on Spirtual Practices Statement of Purpose, Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides, contributors, acknowledgements, Isa and the Doubters.

Contributors: Robert Forte, Albert Hofmann, Robert Jesse, Jack Kornfield, Terence McKenna, Dale Pendell, Thomas Riedlinger, Thomas Roberts, Alexander Shulgin, Ann Shulgin, David Steindl-Rast, Eric Sterling, Rick Strassman, R.G. Wasson.

Excerpt(s): At the present time, nearly all the entheogens are listed in the Controlled Substance Act of the United States as having "no medical use and high potential for abuse," and are therefore subject to the most stringent controls. Criminal penalties punish unsanctioned use and virtually no use is sanctioned. ... In a survey of former psychedelic researchers, the late Walter Houston Clark, Professor Emeritus of the Psychology of Religion at Andover Newton Theological Seminary, found that governmental red tape was the primary reason why they have stopped working in this field. "It would seem that something is wrong if qualified investigators find it so difficult to obtain permission to work in an area that most feel will open important doors to the future of humanity." (page 2)

However, the sudden impact of entheogens upon a predominantly secular and materialistic society left no time for the appropriate educational, religious, or medical agencies to understand their effects. Laws designed to protect citizens were counterproductive. They effectively curtailed professional research while having the opposite effect on an underground society. The result is that many otherwise law-abiding citizens continue to use these substances in secret for fear of prosecution. The dangers of the entheogens are exaggerated by ignorance, and their potential virtues remain hidden.

(page 3) These writings aim to direct attention to the distinctly sacred nature of these substances with the hope that religious minded investigators, policy architects, and the concerned public will take note. It is our hope that this book will contribute to an honest reappraisal of the historic and modern significance of entheogens so that they may be used accordingly in today's world by those seeking to cultivare their spiritual awareness. (Introduction, Forte, page 4)

Collectively, these essays constitute the best single inquiry into the religious significance of chemically occasioned mystical experiences that has yet appeared. (Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions, back cover).

The sensible use of entheogens is one of the most promising paths to deep spiritual insight for many people, and this book shows how that could be done. (Charles Tart, Scholar of States of Consciousness, back cover).

This book of essays plows new ground in the relationship between entheogens and religion. It is well worth reading. (Kenneth B. Smith, President of Chicago Theological Seminary, back cover)



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