Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Mind Possessed: A Physiology of Possession, Mysticism and Faith Healing.
Sargant, William. (1974).
Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott.
xii + 212 pages.
Contents: List of illustrations,
preface, 21 chapters divided into 2 parts, bibliography, index.
Excerpt(s): It is a pity
that modern proponents of the use of marijuana, L.S.D.
and the rest have so seldom inquired into the vast literature
of this subject, for the effects produced by various different
drugs have been reported time and time again in the past. In the
East, the early Vedic hymns sang the praises of soma,
the `King of Plants', omnipotent, all-healing, the giver of immortality,
consumption of which elevated the worshipper to the level of the
divine, and which was itself considered a god. What soma was is
uncertain, but it may have been a mushroom , Amanita
muscaria or fly agaric. (page 99)
Frenzy, induced by sex, drugs, mantras, concentration,
rhythmic music, chanting, dancing, jumping, twirling, over-breathing,
is undoubtedly immensely effective in creating an absolute conviction
of the presence of a god. For reasons already explained, it produces
intense faith, not only in those who experience it but also very
often in onlookers, who become much more suggestible in response
to the excitement of the `possessed' and who will then accept
as true claims and beliefs of which they would normally be critical.
And so the argument proceeds between those who have
`experienced' and so `know', and those on the sidelines, who observe
the variety of `knowing', the contradictory variety of `certainties',
to which drugs, tran ces, mystical states of possession
and the rest give birth in human minds. (page 105)
Whatever the truth of the matter, people have frequently
acquired unshakable faith from drug revelations, and continue
to do so. Christopher Mayhew was convinced
by his own experiences of mescaline that God exists, and that
he had been in God's presence. When argued with, he would point
out that he had experienced God under the drug, which the
critics who questioned the reality of his experience had not done.
He showed, after the mescaline experience, the calm unshakable
assurance of belief which can equally come from the other methods
we have described.
... People seem to obtain under drugs, or equally
through mystical or revivalist or sexual techniques, what they
want to obtain, or what they expect to obtain, or what conforms
to the general setting and background. Converts were not possessed
by Buddha at Wesley's revival meetings. (page
Yet if we start using L.S.D. in a non-religious
setting, we get all sorts of non-religious effects, and the same
applies to mescaline. But the non-religious `truths' which take
hold of a person under drugs can impress themselves on him with
a religious certainty and fervour. (page 107)
And the overwhelmingly vivid and convincing nature
of so many experiences reported in the same states of brain activity
induced by meditation, drugs, sex, hellfire preaching, mob oratory
or other mind-bending agencies, provides no evidence of their
truth. (page 110)
[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]
Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP