Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered.
Grinspoon, Lester, and Bakalar, James B. (1981).
New York: Basic Books.
ISBN: 0-465-06451-5 paperback
Description: Harper Colophon
Edition, xiv + 383 pages.
Contents: Preface, acknowledgments,
introduction, 8 chapters, appendix: The Legal
Status of Psychedelic Drugs, annotated bibliography, index.
Note: Splendid annotated
bibliography by chapter and topic.
Excerpt(s): It should
not be necessary to supply any more proof that psychedelic drugs
produce experiences that those who undergo them regard as religious
in the fullest sense. We could introduce quotations from mystics
and other religious figures in the same way that we have used
the words of poets and psychotics. Every kind of typically religious
emotion, symbol , and insight appears during psychedelic
drug trips. (pages 267-268)
Drug-induced religious and mystical experience is
often reported to be unusually intense.
Clark and John Knight found that psychedelic
drugs produced more transcendental states than the services of
charismatic religious faiths, especially in the categories of
blessedness, peace, holiness, timelessness, loss of self, terror,
dying, and rebirth. Alan Watts describes his
second and third LSD trips as deeper than his previous spontaneous
ecstatic experiences. John Blofeld, an American
who had long practiced Buddhist meditation in an effort to reach
enlightenment, recounts that he took mescaline and surrendering
to what seemed like madness and death after an hour of mental
torture, attained a state of profound peace in which the truths
of Buddhism were revealed to him in immediate awareness. He says
that mescaline provided (momentarily) what he had not achieved
in long years of meditation. (page 268)
Despite all this, there has been a stubborn reluctance
to concede that drug-induced religious or mystical experiences
can be even subjectively as powerful and authentic as religious
visitations from other sources. The topic seems to evoke the same
annoyance and resentment as claims of consciousness expansion.
Obviously there is no way to convince an unyielding skeptic about
this, since the quality of two subjective experiences can never
be shown to be identical, and there is no in fallible authority-not
even a modest consensus-on what qualifies as genuine religious
experience. All we can say is that the testimony of those who
have undergone psychedelic religious experiences suggests that
the drug-induced kind is not obviously different or inferior in
its immediate quality. (page 270)
The religious life, holiness, salvation, enlightenment,
satori, moksha-no matter how this elusive condition
is described, it can never be guaranteed by a momentary ecstasy,
however profound and however often repeated; it requires some
form of tradition, discipline, and practice. That was what counterculture
leaders like Ram Dass
meant when they told their admirers to go beyond LSD. (page 272)
[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]
Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP