Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Gateway to Inner Space: A Festschrift in Honor of Albert Hofmann.
Ratsch, Christian. (Editor). (1989).
Bridport, Dorset: Prism Press.
first edition, x + 258 pages, translated by John Baker,
published in Australia by Unity Press in 1990.
by Christian Ratsch, 12 chapters, bibliography, contributors to
Contributors: Wolfgang Greer,
Stanislav Leuner, Terence K. Metzner, Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Charles Naranjo,
Tom Schlichting, Richard Baker, Bernd Warmbier.
Excerpt(s): For thousands
of years, psychedelic drugs have been used during sacred rituals
in almost every ancient culture throughout the world. Ethnopharmacological
research has shown that the aim was to attain direct spiritual
experience, during which the individual made contact with higher
worlds in order to gain knowledge and wisdom for his further life.
In Western industrialized societies, where spiritual experiences
are no longer an immediate aspect of our culture, it is hard for
us to understand the unity of this continuum of experience.
The break with our own mythos which occurred during
the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution left us with only
"half" a culture. Rationalism, the belief in science,
materialism, and Christianity all offered hope, but none was able
to compensate for the lost half, through which it had been possible
for each person to find wholeness through the direct experience
of his own divinity. In addition, the triumph of rationalist worker
societies went hand in hand with the social prohibition of psychedelic
Instead, a marked preference emerged for such sedative
and narcotic drugs as alcohol, tranquilizers,
and barbiturates, which resulted in rendering large sections of
society dependent or even addicted to the point
of self-destruction. (page 133)
There are a variety of spiritual techniques which
can lead to states similar to those attainable through drugs:
Breathing techniques (hyperventilation, pranayama, rebirthing),
meditation, abstention from sleep and food, ecstasy in dance,
music, or tantric sex. Because specific psychedelica enable us
to attain certain states with an ease which varies starkly from
that of other often strenuous and sometimes medieval methods,
the former are usually preferred. The danger lies in assuming
a passive attitude to the consumption of drugs. The two paths
are by no means mutually exclusive; they can complement one another
and result in a new, more intense path where cosmic experiences
attained using drugs provide the motivation to greater exertions
along the path of the spirit. The anticipation of such an experience
may yield new perspectives along a developmental path which would
otherwise be threatened by forgetfulness and daily routine. (page
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