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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


Marriott, Alice, and Rachlin, Carol K. (1972).
New York: New American Library.

ISBN: None

Description: A Mentor paperback book, reprint of the 1971 hardcover edition published by Thomas Y. Crowell, x + pages 11-128.

Contents: Acknowledgments, introduction, 10 chapters, selected bibliography, Diagram: Altar and Ashes in the Thunderbird Design, Diagram: Inside the Peyote Tipi, index.

Excerpt(s): Our intention in writing this book is to clarify the mysteries that have long surrounded peyote in the minds of general readers. (page ix)

Granted that the plains Indian ethos is particularly hospitable to cults and new religions and that most normal individuals of the plains Indian tribes have subscribed to at least two-usually more-Christian faiths during their lifetimes, why has the religion spread along the Rio Grande southward from Taos Pueblo, among the Tewa and Keres-speaking villages at least as far south and west as Zuni Pueblo, 400 miles southwest of Taos? It would seem that the belief has demonstrated a vitality as a way of life for its adherents, whether their socioeconomic structure was based on hunting or horticulture. (page x)

As the night goes on, the "good" feelings are heightened. Colors become more vivid, music is more pleasing to the ear, and the prayer and confessions of other worshippers gain an intense philosophical and ethical quality, whether they are spoken in a language familiar to the listener or not. The door of beauty and perception has been opened. There remains only to step through it.

Sleepiness disappears. What happens then, when the feeling of euphoria reaches its peak, seems to be culturally conditioned although it is not always predictable.

Among the members of the plains tribes in general there seems to be withdrawal and inner peace. It is at this time that individuals may experience visions. (page 70)

Peyotists are hesitant to identify themselves to officialdom as belonging to the Native American Church. They give their religious affiliation officially to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, draft boards, and hospitals as Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopalian, and even, in one known case, as Jewish.

For this reason-lack of official identification and records-it is difficult to give exact figures on the number of members in the Native American Church. ...

In the Rio Grande Pueblos of central New Mexico, the use of peyote has spread from centers near Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. It is possible that since these communities are also centers for LSD usage and non-Indian "communes," transculturation has taken place, and the Indians have learned the use of hallucinogens from the whites. (page 109)

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