Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Mysticism Sacred and Profane: An Inquiry into Some Varieties of Praternatural Experience.
Zaehner, R. C.
London: Oxford University Press.
xvi + 256 pages.
Contents: Preface, introduction,
10 chapters, 3 appendices: A. Some Recent Mescalin
Experiments, B. The Author's Experience with Mescalin, C. Transliterated
Note: First published
by the Clarendon Press in 1957, first issued as an Oxford University
Press paperback in 1961. Chapter 1: Mescalin, and Chapter 2: Mescalin
Excerpt(s): Thanks to
the good offices of mescalin Mr. Huxley claims
to have known `contemplation at its height' though, he is modest
enough to add `not yet in its fullness'. On reading these prodigious
syllables it occurred to me that I too must have known `contemplation
at its height' and that I was, on these grounds alone, qualified
to offer some mild criticism of Mr. Huxley's more extravagant
conclusions. At the impressionable age of twenty I was in fact
the subject of a `mystical' experience which combined all the
principle traits described in The Doors of Perception ...
I know now that it was a case of what is usually called a `natural
mystical experience' which may occur to anyone, whatever his religious
faith or lack of it, and whatever moral, immoral, or amoral life
he may be leading at the time. (pages xii-xiii)
It is at this point, it would seem, that the natural
mystical experience would fit in. All the sources we have quoted
... would seem to agree that what they experienced was an enlargement
of the ordinary field of consciousness in a vision that seemed
to comprise all Nature; and Nature showed herself to be marvelously
beautiful-far more beautiful and with a far deeper unity than
the normal consciousness could even suspect. But the soul
realizes equally well that, according to this dualist system,
this is not its end, and that having seen the beauty of Nature,
it must pass on to its own proper state of original isolation,
there to contemplate its own far greater beauty for ever and ever.
Thus the human psyche, normally restricted to a
very narrow range, may, and obviously does, on unaccountable occasions,
or through the use of a deliberate technique, or by the taking
of drugs, catch a glimpse of the workings of Nature as a whole.
This total vision, as Rimbaud instinctively understood, is what
Cath olics mean by Limbo. It is the highest happiness
that man can attain to in isolation from God. ...
The difference between Proust
and the nature mystics, the manics, and the expanded personalities
is that the first experiences the eternal in himself as an integrating
force appearing as a `second self' which deposes the mere ego
from its previous supremacy, whereas the manics exhibit a limitless
expansion of the ego in which there is no directing, co-ordinating
principle at all, and in which all sense of values is lost. Natural
mystics proper, when they are sane, may fall anywhere between
the two poles. (pages 99-100)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP