Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Sacred Cacti and Some Selected Succulents: Botany, Chemistry and Utilization
Trout, K. (1997).
Sedona, AZ: Narayan Publications
Description: paperback, xliii + 245 pages.
Contents: Foreword, A brief background and discussion of the context in which we find ourselves, A Few Similarities between the Drug Wars and the Witch craze, 8 chapters, index, Appendix A: Cactus Alkaloids other than Mescaline.
Note: First released at Mind States: Current Perspectives on Visionary Plants, held at the International House, Berkeley, California on the 22nd and 23rd of November 1997, on the hundredth anniversary of Arthur Heffter's discovery of the activity of mescaline by human bioassay and the world's first pure mescaline trip: 23 November 1897.
Excerpt(s): The sacraments are sacred even if profaned by the unknowing who also sometime use them. They do not function as spiritual tools for all who use them any more than membership in a particular church ensures that the member is devout and sincere. Spirituality is an individual and subjective experience and must come from the heart to be functional. It cannot be legislated, prescribed or dictated by others.
No religion that promotes a placebo sacrament and forbids direct access to and knowledge of the sacred infinite, can ever hope to persuade us to abandon the true sources of original Communion as provided to us by our creator. The most that can be done is to drive the religion underground as has frequently happened in its past and current history. (page iv)
In an era of political and legal persecution, such as we currently are enduring, quite often the only time the truth can be published is anonymously. For myself or any of those who have helped co-author this piece to be openly identified, opens us up for retribution, prosecution and possible imprisonment simply for exercising our rights to basic religious freedom. If it was a viable option I would be proud to attach my name to this work. Anonymous authorship of 'politically incorrect' topics is well established as both necessary and acceptable under repressive regimes such the one we now live in. Those who are not directly threatened by this repression may have a hard time believing we are in an era of attempted cultural, ideological and spiritual 'cleansing'.
The German people of the late 1930's would have had a hard time believing that the cleansing of society and the elimination of the 'Jew problem' was in any way a bad thing for German society. They similarly were brainwashed into perceiving that a minor and primarily politically powerless subclass of society were somehow undesirables, pariahs, the cause of their woes and THE major threat to social order and stability. As with the drug users of today, the Jewish people were publicly misrepresented as dangerous and worthless VERMIN not even worthy of normal human considerations under the law; subhuman SCUM to be cleansed from society's fabric without guilt or remorse. That Jews were being used as scapegoats for enabling a larger agenda was not even considered by the average German citizen. Our situation today is little different.
Drugs users are the Jews of the 1990's.
We also are viciously attacked and persecuted for no reason other than our readily perceived differences of belief and sometimes appearance. Our crime is our insistence that we and we alone have the right to dictate how we worship, what we think and how we feel in the privacy of our own mind.
As with the German Jewish people, we also have been relentlessly demonized in the media and portrayed as criminals and undesirables to such a degree that it is rare to find an average mainstream citizen who has not been affected. We also have no support or advocates within any bodies with effective political input. Any open and visible stances we might take would be dealt with as Hitler would have dealt with a Jew who dared to stand up openly and visibly defy him in print or speech.
The necessity of anonymity when voicing opposition to such an unjust and oppressive regime is not limited to such gross and extreme examples. Had James Madison not written the Federalist Papers under the anonymity of "Publias", he would have rapidly been arrested, imprisoned and probably hanged as a traitor. The American Revolution only succeeded because its membership was able to stay invisible until the time for action arose. It should be remembered that the majority of colonial Americans never supported the establishment of an independent nation founded on the principles of democracy and freedom and were not in favor of our breaking away from England. (pages iv-v)
We who worship in this way are not bound together in a formal dogma or organization, we only know the truth as it is written in our hearts. Each of us knows we must find our own personal path, as we are individuals and not mindless clones to be spoon fed a mass marketed religion. Our only shared point is that each of us believes that we have a right to govern our own consciousness and that the only valid spiritual path for us is the cultivation of a personal relationship with our creator. (page v)
Hitler targeted the Jews, the Inquisitions targeted witches, scientists, and other 'heretics', Pot Pot's Khmer Rouge targeted the educated and those 'contaminated' by exposure to foreign cultures, and the current American medically approved and religiously sanitized version of the long-standing Christian pogrom targets those who alter their consciousness. (page v)
Even if they somehow succeeded in destroying every single follower, the faith will be born anew as soon as one person with the right biochemistry eats of the sacrament in any one of it's many varied forms. My religious and spiritual beliefs are incorporated into the biochemistry of my body. The 'temple' is within. My religious and spiritual beliefs cannot be destroyed as they are incorporated into human physiology; encoded within the heart and soul of my DNA. I did not create my religion; I was born with it. My religion was created by the same forces that created me. It came with the planet. It needs neither prophets and creeds nor threats and dangled promises to ensure our obedience. Those of us who believe and merge with these substances do so because we ACCEPT who and what we are: HUMAN BEINGS. (page vi)
Entheogenic drugs are not for most people. It is not that they are somehow reserved for only a privileged few; but rather, apparently only a relatively few people respond to them this way. The majority of people do not like them and either have no desire to experience them, or to experience them again.
The minority that does respond this way to them does so because this is who we are. It is not clear why they do what they do for us and apparently do not have the same effects in others. We are not missionaries wanting to promote their use among others. We are who we are because we were born this way. We will use these substances because it is right and proper, this we know in our hearts. It is less matter of choice than one of conscience. We ask only for the right to worship in our own way as our creator has taught and enabled us. (page xii)
Drugs do not do the spiritual work. We do the work. Entheogens are just tools (software) to enable an enhancement of sensitivity for the enrichment and broadened range of our experience. This is why a person who approaches these sacraments shallowly or callously is unlikely to achieve the same results as one who approaches them with preparedness, respect and sacred intent. They are not 'magic bullets' for spiritual growth and understanding; simply power-filled teachers. It is always the student who must do the learning.
Entheogenic drug experience is often dismissed as a "short cut" completely missing the fact that such drug use is not a short cut. To successfully integrate what has been learned into one's waking reality requires diligence, hard and strenuous work, endurance of immense fear, intense stress and, in some cases, what is often a strict and limited diet (as specified by the plant). There is a much higher degree of risk faced, due to the novice's intimate level of exposure to the spiritual world and its myriad inhabitants (be they "good", "evil" or indifferent). Many observers have pointed out that the human teacher's primary function is protecting the novice from harm while learning. The actual teaching is done by the plant(s), sometimes by other plants used as specialized admixtures, and spiritual forces that may be associated with the plants, the payee, the novice or the chosen locale itself.
This direct awareness of an interaction with the spiritual world is probably what causes most people problems. Not everyone can handle a dissolution of ego/boundaries and shift in world view. (pages xiii-xiv)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP