Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Psychology and Religion: An Introduction to Contemporary Views.
Spinks, G. Stephens. (1965).
Boston: Beacon Press.
Description: hardcover, xvi + 221 pages.
Contents: preface, 12 chapters divided into 2 parts: Part 1.
Psychological Theories and Religion, Part 2. Psychology and Religious
Practices, Appendix 1. The Nature of the Soul, 2. Psychology, Theology
and the Soul, 3. Assimilation and Conventionalization in Religion, 4.
Ontogenesis and Phylogenesis and the Theory of Recapitulation,
bibliography, index of names, index of subjects.
Note: First published in Great Britain by Methuen & Co. in 1963.
Excerpt(s): If drugs produce experiences which seem to be pseudo-
transcendental in character then the experiences which follow the
self-inflicted tortures of ascetics, Christian and non-Christian
alike, are by the same token, open to the same objection. There is
psychologically and chemically very little difference between taking
a drug and submitting oneself to such masochistic mortifications as
those endured over many years by the Blessed Suso, except that the
former is pleasurable and the latter horrifyingly painful. The
nervous system is always being affected chemically. When the Lenten
fast is observed with strictness for forty days, the chemistry of the
body is strongly affected. Many of the most vivid visions of the
medieval mystics seem to have occurred during periods of prolonged
fasting. When ascetic practices include such mortifications of the
flesh as flagellation the effect of such beating is *the equivalent of
fairly extensive surgery without anaesthetics'. As a result large
quantities of histamine and adrenalin are released into the blood
stream and when, as usually happens among ascetics, the self-
inflicted wounds begin to fester, they release other toxins which
further affect the action of the brain. (page 172)
The chemistry of the physical processes does not necessarily
invalidate the quality of the result. It is the quality of the result
that is to be judged and not the physical or psychological processes by
which it is obtained. We may, therefore, adopt a suggestion made by
Evelyn Underhill that what are often described as *mystical
automations' are *the media by which the self receives spiritual
stimulus'; so it may be argued that drug-induced or ascetically
induced experiences can be the means by which the human personality
is laid open to the suggestion of the unconscious through whose
primordial imagery the deeper activities of the soul emerge as
conscious recognition of the transcendental. (page 173)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP