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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

LSD: Still With Us After All These Years.

Henderson, Leigh A., and Glass, William J. (Editors). (1994).
New York: Lexington-Macmillan.

ISBN: 0-02-914395-0

Description: Hard cover, first edition, viii + 163 pages.

Contents: introduction, 7 chapters, appendix: Major Data Sources, notes, index.

Contributors: Michael Agar, Cynthia Favret, William J. Glass, Leigh A. Henderson, James MacDonald.

Note: To readers of this guide, this book's most remarkable feature may be its authors' outstanding ignorance of the entheogenic effects of LSD.

Excerpt(s): LSD exerts a fascination like no other drug. Although experience with it goes back fifty years, it remains one of the most poorly understood illicit drugs. ... The emotional response can be one of euphoria and contentment or, less often, confusion, fear, anxiety, and despair. Some users believe they achieve profound new insights into themselves, or even into the nature of God or the universe.

The appeal of drugs that tranquilize or sedate, such as narcotics and barbiturates, can be easily understood. We have all experienced times when we would like to close ourselves off, to make the world go away, or to relieve pain. Similarly, the appeal of drugs that keep us awake, dull our appetites, and seem to let us do more than we thought possible -- drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, and even caffein -- is also comprehensible.

The appeal of LSD, however, remains elusive. Our five senses are the tools we use to interpret the world. LSD alters the way these senses, particularly sight and hearing, function. Thus, like the sensation of an earthquake, LSD undermines the stability of the world as we know it. In the most literal sense, if you cannot believe your eyes, what can you believe? A receptive user may welcome these novel perceptions and become more aware of how the senses function and their interrelationships. To others who try LSD, however, these alterations of the senses can become profoundly disturbing. And to a large public, reasons for desiring such sensations are simply incomprehensible. (pages 2-3)

Danger is a positive part of tripping because it animates what would otherwise be simply a series of interesting illusions. Danger changes an amusing visual show into the adventure that the adolescents seemed to crave. Again and again the adolescents spoke of exploring and journeying while on a trip, and they spoke of LSD adding mystery and giving epic proportions to an experience. On LSD, wandering through the neighborhood park can be a dramatic voyage. By repeatedly emphasizing the dangers of the drug, those in authority make it seem more·rather than less·attractive to youths considering use. (page 29)

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