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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 Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness.

Watts, Alan W. (1962).
New York: Pantheon.

ISBN: None

Description: First edition, xx + 94 pages.

Contents: Foreword by Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, preface, prologue, the main essay, epilogue, description of plates.

Excerpt(s): Medical, legal, and religious experts have recently been confronted with the problem of the so-called "mystic drugs," that seem to produce, without any apparent physical harm, changes in consciousness comparable to the highest forms of aesthetic and religious experience. This book, by one of the world's leading investigators of the psychology of religion, is an evaluation of these drugs both objectively and from the vantage of the author's own personal experiments. LSD-25 is a modern drug: derivatives have been used for centuries during the religious ceremonies of certain primitive peoples. These drugs are not, however, as Mr. Watts emphasizes, just "bottled mysticism." Their correct use requires skill, experience, and a certain quality of mind. He compares them to the microscope which, fascinating as it may be to the layman, is of maximum benefit only to the well-prepared student . The author's record of his owns experiments is a vivid, lyrical account of valuable transformations that can occur in the human mind. The heightening of consciousness ranged all the way from aesthetic insights into nature to a philosophical view of existence as a comedy as once diabolic and divine, resolving itself into "a cosmology not only unified but also joyous." (cover)

Slowly it becomes clear that one of the greatest of all superstitions is the separation of the mind from the body. (page 3)

To force or make propaganda for more affectionate contacts with others would bring little more than embarrassment. One can but hope that in the years to come our defenses will crack spontaneously, like eggshells when the birds are ready to hatch. This hope may gain some encouragement from all those trends in philosophy and psychology, religion and science, from which we are beginning to evolve a new image of man, not as spirit imprisoned in incompatible flesh, but as an organism inseparable from his social and natural environment. This is certainly the view of man disclosed by these remarkable medicines which temporarily dissolve our defenses and permit us to see what separative consciousness normally ignores-the world as an interrelated whole. This vision is assuredly beyond any drug-induced hallucination or superstitious fantasy. (Epilogue, pages 93-94)

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