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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 New Religious Consciousness.

Glock, Charles Y., and Bellah, Robert N. (Editors). (1976).
Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

ISBN: 0-520-03083-4

Description: xviii + 389 pages.

Contents: Foreword by P. J. Philip, preface, 16 chapters in 7 parts: 1. New Religious Movements in the New Quasi-religious Movements, 3. New Religious Movements in the Western Tradition, 4. The Response of the Established Religions, 5. The Historical Perspective, 7. Conclusions, about the contributors, index.

Contributors: Randall H. Alfred, Robert N. Bellah, Charles Y. Glock, Barbara Hargrove, Gregory Johnson, Jeanne Messer, Thomas Piazza, Donald Stone, Jim Wolfe, Robert Wuthnow.

Excerpt(s): This suggests that the rejection of the material benefits of American affluence was only a surface indication of a more deeply rooted, less tangible form of rebellion. The comfortable affluence of the life of the American dream seemed, for many youths , to lack a sense of ordeal, of challenge or hardship. Designated life plans (such as college, graduate schools , and professional employment) were merely carefully prescribed expressions of parental ideals. ...

The ordeals of politically oriented youth over the 1960s are well documented: this decade saw several variations on this theme, from the migration of northern white youth to rural southern poverty regions in the early 1960s to the jailings, police-riot beatings, and chemical warfare subsequently suffered by student dissidents. A different version of the same theme is offered by the segment of youths oriented toward drug use; these persons explored hazardous psychological territory while living in cold-water poverty in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury or New York's Lower East Side.

The strict adherence to a religious discipline can be comprehended as another decisive example of a selected ordeal. ... How did this transformation of the ego occur? The accounts of the devotees [to the Hare Krishna movement] suggest that the answers to this question lay in their experiences with hallucinogenic drugs prior to conversion. ...

When I asked Tamal how many of the other devotees had used hallucinogenic drugs prior to conversion, he replied: Almost all of us, I suppose ... maybe 95 percent or more ...

Although drugs were strictly forbidden in devotional service, many devotees freely discussed their past drug experiences. Several described drugs as a necessary but insufficient precondition to achieving a psychological state permanently sustained by the bhakti yoga discipline (its chanting and food especially). "It opened the door, but Krishna let me step through," said one devotee. "It freed my mind, it washed out the old structures," claimed another. Rather than the pleasurable or sensual aspects of drug use, the devotees stressed the use of psychedelics as a means to internal discovery. The sense of ordeal so prevalent in the discipline of devotion to Krishna seemed also essential to drug-induced enlightenment. (Gregory Johnson, "The Hare Krishna in San Francisco," pages 40-41)

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