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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


Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History.

Ott, Jonathan. (1993).
Kennewick, WA: Natural Products Co.


ISBN: 0-9614234-2-0 hardcover

0-9614234-3-9 paperback


Description: Limited first edition hardcover, slipcase, 639 + i pages. Slipcase cover is a tempura painting titled Pregnant by an Anaconda by Pablo Amaringo.


Contents: Foreword by Albert Hofmann, A note on the Text, Proemium, six chapters in four parts: A. Beta-Phenethylamines, B. Isoxazole Derivatives, D. Appendices. 5 Appendices: I. Sundry Visionary Compounds, II. Putative Entheogenic Species, III. Index of Entheogen Chemistry and Pharmacology, IV. Botanical Index, V. Suggested Further Reading, bibliography, general index, acknowledgements and notes.


Note: A limited edition of 326 copies which were sold to subscribers is signed and numbered by the author from 1-300 with an additional 26 copies lettered A-Z being hors commerce. The first edition consists of 5000 copies.


Excerpt(s): As is immediately obvious from my title, I use the neologism entheogen(ic) throughout this book, a new word proposed by a group of scholars including Dr. R. Gordon Wasson, Prof. Carl A. P. Ruck and me. As we know from personal experience that shamanic inebriants do not provoke "hallucinations" or "psychosis," and feel it incongruous to refer to traditional shamanic use of psychedelic plants (that word, pejorative for many, referring invariably to sixties' western drug use), we coined this new term in 1979 (Ruck et al. 1979). I outline thoroughly the histories of words for sacred plant drugs in Chapter 1, Note 1. I am happy to say, fourteen years after launching the neologism on its literary career, that the word has been accepted by the majority of experts in this field, and has appeared in print in at least seven languages. The term is not meant to specify a pharmacological class of drugs (some, for example, conceive of psychedelic as implying indole and phenethylamine drugs with an LSD- or mescaline-like effect); rather, it designates drugs which provoke ecstasy and have traditionally been used as shamanic or religious inebriants, as well as their active principles and artificial congeners. (page 15)


This book is about those wondrous entheogens, these strange plant sacraments and their contained active principles. The term entheogen was first suggested by classical scholars Carl A. P. Ruck and Danny Staples, pioneering entheogen researcher R. Gordon Wasson, ethnobotanist Jeremy Bigwood and me. The neologism derives from an obsolete Greek word meaning "realizing the divine within," the term used by the ancient Greeks to describe states of poetic and prophetic inspiration, to describe the entheogenic state which can be induced by sacred plant-drugs. (pages 19-20)


Entheogenic (literally, "realizing the divine within") refers to the common perception of users of entheogens, which is anything but an hallucination, that the divine infuses all beings, including the entheogenic plant and its fortunate human user. (page 104)



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