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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


Psychedelics: The Uses and Implications of Hallucinogenic Drugs.

Aaronson, Bernard, and Osmond, Humphry. (Editors) (1971).
London: Hogarth Press.


ISBN: 0-7012-0348-X
0-385-08774-8 (Doubleday Anchor Original, 1970)
no ISBN (Schenkman hardcover edition, 1971)
Description: hardcover, viii + 512 pages.

Contents: introduction, 29 chapters divided into 10 parts: 1. Introduction, 2. The Nature of the Experience, 3. Anthropological Considerations, 4. Effects of Psychedelics on Religion and Religious Experience, 5. Psychedelic Effects on Mental Functioning, 6. Non-Drug Analogues to the Psychedelic State, 7. Therapeutic Applications, 8. Sociology of Psychedelics in the Current Scene, 9. Conclusion, 10. Special Sections: contributors, bibliography, index.

Contributors: John W. Aiken, Duncan Blewett, William Braden, Frances Cheek, Jonathan Clark, Walter Houston Clark, Arthur Deikman, Ira Einhorn, James Fadiman, Willis Harman, Abram Hoffer, Jean Houston, Kiyo Izumi, Eric Kast, Werner P. Koella, Stanley Krippner, Jeffrey Linzer, Robert E. L. Masters, Ralph Metzner, Tod Mikuriya, Robert Mogar, Stephens Newell, Walter Pahnke, Paul Radin, Jerry Richardson, Mary Sarett, E. Robert Sinnett, Peter Stafford, Alan Watts.

Note: Readers of this guide will be especially interested in Peyote Night by Humphry Osmond, Report of the Mescaline Experience of Crashing Thunder by Paul Radin, Mushrooms and the Mind by Ralph Metzner, Psychedelics and Religious Experience by Alan Watts, Drugs and Mysticism by Walter N. Pahnke, The Church of the Awakening by John W. Aiken, Psychedelics and Religion by Walter Houston Clark.

Two other editions, one with two states exist. In 1971 Schenkman Publishing of Cambridge, MA., published a hardcover with no ISBN. The first edition was an Anchor Doubleday [paperback] Original with two states, both published in 1970; the cover of the first state has a mandala on a gray field and the price of $2.45; the second state has the same mandala on a white field and the price of $2.95 and an ISBN at the bottom of the back panel of the wrapper: ISBN: 0-385-08774-0. The Schenkman edition misspells Osmond's first name Humphrey on the dust jacket, but not on the title page.

Excerpt(s): Movement within reaches the level of archetype and myth and may transcend these to a point of ultimate mystical union. ... [Archetypes] may derive from fundamental perceptions of our own structures and modes of functioning, Barron has noted an experience of Christ, i.e. of Christ free from the institutional embodiment known as Christianity, is common to many psychedelic trips. Christ on the cross may then be understood simply as *consciousness impaled on the human form, mind hung to die on body to expiate our voluntary participation in the world's heavy materialism. this manner of thinking and perceiving, the concentration on archetype, the sense of an indwelling, immanent God, and the interest in meditation have correspondingly created an interest in those forms of religion that stress these notions: Hinduism, and Tibetan and Zen Buddhism. psychedelic experience is fundamentally religious, as any experience of life taken as an experience of life must be. Braden has pointed out that the fundamental thrust of psychedelic experience is religious and its fundamental challenge is to the forms of organized religion. it is one of the forces contributing to the ferment in contemporary Christianity that is presently leading one of the oldest and most tradition-bound of Christian churches to re-evaluate its forms, its structure, and many of the engrafted beliefs of its development. (pages 15-16)

In our opinion, the Establishment has behaved as establishments usually do, bolstered with the authority they possess by virtue of their social and political position. They have not been any less admirable than members of the psychedelic movement who claim that as a result of their experiences they have a deeper knowledge of the human heart and a greater understanding of the meaning of things. By their claims, their actions must be judged by a higher standard than the actions of the Establishment, which does not make such claims. If one asks whether mind-expanding experiences have increased the ability of members of the psychedelic movement to understand the views and fears of their elders more compassionately than they feel themselves have been judged, we believe the verdict must be not proven. Aldous Huxley once urged a leading figure in the psychedelic movement to remember that it is important to do good stealthily. His excellent advice has not always been heeded. If indeed insights have been acquired as a result of psychedelic experience, they should be used for the general good rather than for personal ends. (page 467-468)



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