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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

The Inner Eye: Mysticism and Religion.

Johnston, William. (1978).
London: Collins.

ISBN: 0-00-215823-X

Description: Hardcover, 208 pages.

Contents: Preface, 20 chapters divided into 4 parts: 1. Mysticism, 2. Mystical Journey, 4. Mystical Action, books and articles quoted in the text, index.

Note: While this excerpt has only a passing reference to psychedelics, it portrays an area which religion and psychology share-exploring the human mind to its greatest, religious depths. Many contemporary psychologists would say that Johnston is in error when he accepts the psychodynamic assumption, "In our waking states ordinarily it is the higher voices that dominate and lead, ..." They claim that the highest voices are best heard in some altered states, specifically those produced by entheogens.

Excerpt(s): In order to understand the nature of mystical knowledge it is helpful to reflect on the human psyche as seen by some modern psychologists. With them we can picture the mind as a huge iceberg of which only the tip rises above the water, while underneath lies a whole world of wonder and terror, of light and darkness, of good and of evil. Or we can see the psyche as composed of many layers of consciousness, one superimposed upon the other. Or we can reflect on the mind as a huge polyphony in which there are higher and lower voices. In our waking states ordinarily it is the higher voices that dominate and lead; but our conduct is all the time influenced by the lower voices too. In this way of thinking the word unconscious is, strictly speaking, a misnomer; nothing is unconscious in the psyche.

Whatever way we envisage it, the microcosm or inner universe is investigated by psychologists and explorers in consciousness from Huxley and from D. H. Leary. What precisely it contains we do not yet know but one thing is clear; the deep forces of the so-called unconscious are profoundly stirred by love. Love of man for woman or of woman for man, love of mother for child or of child for mother-this is the power that moves the inner universe and stirs mysterious, unknown, uncontrollable forces within us.

But there is a human question which psychology never asks and which leads people to religion; namely, what is at the deepest realm of the psyche? What is the basis or centre or root of it all? Put in Jungian terms I might ask: When I go beyond the ego, beyond the personal unconscious, beyond the collective unconscious, beyond the archetypes, what do I find? And in answer to this all the great religions speak of a mystery which they all call various names; the Buddha nature, Brahman and Atman, the divine spark, the ground of being, the centre of the soul, the kingdom of God, the image of God and so on. They use different terms; but all, I believe, are pointing towards a single reality. (page 32)

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