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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

A Psychology of Spiritual Healing

Taylor, Eugene. (1997).
West Chester, PA: Chrysalis Books.

ISBN: 0-87785-375-4

Description: Paperback, xxii + 208 pages.

Contents: Acknowledgments, introduction, 13 chapters, notes, index.

Excerpt(s): Carl Jung pointed out the manner in which, in the West, belief in the resurrection has become transformed into a secular goal of consciousness. Psychologically, we have separated science from religion but have transmuted the spiritual idea of the resurrection into a secular psychology of character development. In this sphere of psychological consciousness, therapeutic healing is believed to take place. Transcendence, the experience of going from the lesser state of suffering to the higher state of grace, has now become equated with progress. We do things in order to become better persons: we diet, we work hard and invest, we acquire knowledge that changes us. Everywhere about us we are encouraged to better ourselves. In secular terms, for Jung, these injunctions represent the secularization of a Christian, particularly a Protestant, idea.

Another common example of transmuting a religious idea into a secular one is the confession. In modern terms, the confession of the church has been secularized into one of the primary techniques of psychotherapy. We reveal secrets hidden in the unconscious to our therapist and relive on the couch past emotional traumas, sometimes long forgotten. We reintegrate these experiences back into waking consciousness as part of our recovery. The kind of insight that takes place in psychotherapy performs a function similar to the sacrament of confession and the remission of sins within the church. Even the goals of certain forms of therapy, such as those of Jung or of American transpersonal psychologists such as Stanislav Grof, are self-consciously defined in terms that make them psychotherapies of transcendence, their main purpose being to explore states of consciousness beyond that of the normal waking condition. The patient is encouraged particularly to actualize states that, in the conceptual framework of the treatment, are considered more spiritual than the waking state, for it is in the experience of transcendence, transpersonal therapists believe, that we are truly healed. (pages 24-25)

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