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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

Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady: Women's Writings on the Drug Experience.

Palmer, Cynthia, and Horowitz, Michael. (Editors). (1982).
New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc..

ISBN: 0­688­01387­2 hardcover
0-688-01385-6 paperback
Description: Hardcover, 285 pages.

Contents: Preface, acknowledgements, introduction, 8 chapters.

Contributors: Jane Addams, Lisa Alther, Sarah Bernhardt, Enid Blyton, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Charlotte Bronte, Pat Lorna Dee Cervantes, Mordecai C. Cooke, Sara Davidson, Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Isabelle Eberhardt, Harriette Frances, Else von Freytag-Loringhoven, Margaret Fuller, Emily Hahn, Billie Holiday, Joyce James, Lenore Kandel, Mina Loy, Mary White Lowell, Alice Margaret Mead, Susan Nadler, Constance Anais Nin, Chicago May, Pythia: The Delphic Oracle, Jeannine Parvati, Carol K. Rachlin, Charlotte Riddell, Mary "Perdita" Robinson, Linda Rosenkrantz, Maria Sabina, George Sand, Scheherazade, Susan Sontag, "Box-Car Bertha" Thompson, Alice B. Toklas, Valentina Wasson , Edith Wharton.

Note: Available from Flashback Books (who are also the author­editors of this book): 40 Fourth St., Suite 260, Petaluma, CA, 94952. It is a well­designed book with both aesthetic and intellectual interest.

Excerpt: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Edith Wharton, Louisa May Alcott, Margaret Fuller-these women are part of a virtually unknown tradition in women's history and a rich genre of drug and altered states literature. Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady is the first collection of women's writings on their experiences with mind­altering drugs. These powerful memoirs, poems, short stories, and book excerpts span the Victorian to the present post­psychedelic eras. ... The editors, who direct the Fitz Hugh Ludlow Library, have selected from hundreds of books and magazines, many rare and out of print. They provide insightful introductions to each era and writer. There are over 130 striking portraits and evocative art work, including an illustrated essay on women and drugs in mythology and history. (cover)

And there on the roof, and out of my head, the heavens rent their veils and vision came clear. I saw Monty ... For an instant my gaze held clear, but shame overcame and I hung my head. The light was a great wide halo-from toe to the head to the sky, and the light was myriad rays divided, and each pulsing ray was the soul of a man. The multiple light of all men's souls was forming the halo, like great shimmering wings, converging his center which held them contained.

"Everyman must come through Me. For I am the Way, and The Light of the World."

Thundering, awestruck recognition of the Christ spirit, resident within him. That is the path that Everyman must travel!

I know why people grovel and touch the head to the ground before the radiance of The Light made human. One knows one's humblest state on the scale of spirit married to form.

And as I, humble, worshipping, was ready to prolong, from every part of consciousness the words blared forth as trumpet:


I lowered lids, and there with the completest understanding saw the center of creation-The Light of The World issuing from Itself the Center, eternally departing triad, like a universe of fleur-de-lys, golden moving of the lotus which is ever a becoming.


And light was sound issuing forth to penetrate the ether, welding sound to thought to form, apprehended by the impact of any eye. And as the sun to earth is, to the sun is this inner model of a universe. (Joyce Shouted from the Housetops: A Peyote Awakening, pages 206-207)

The question of validity has troubled every religious group that has accepted the possibility of mystical experience. As in the case of miracles, visions are subjected to the most intense scrutiny. ... In the Western Christian tradition, validity turns essentially on the relationship between an individual's mystical experience and the religious beliefs of others. That is, it is the miracles, the stigmata and the visions that come to have relevance to the community of the faithful that are judged, in the end, to be valid. In this sense the question of whether or not LSD users have valid mystical experiences is beside the point. (Margaret Mead, Psychedelics and Western Religious Experience, page 208)

In his [Huxley's] interpretation, psychedelic drugs become adjuncts to religious experience comparable to but more effective than fasting, isolation, prayer, meditation and highly controlled exercises in breathing or in taking physical postures. The means are new, but the quest for religious experience is part of an ancient tradition in which the individual who feels a vocation makes a long, disciplined effort to attain a closer relationship to the supernatural. Even when the vision comes to an unbeliever like Saul of Tarsus, who neither sought it nor prepared for it, the experience is within a living tradition. ...

From one point of view the battle between those who wish to enlarge their experience through the use of LSD and other drugs and those who are exercising all their powers to prohibit this use is a very old one in Western cultures. On the one side are those who believe that control over consciousness is crucial to human living and that loss of control inevitably leads to the emergence of dangerous, bestial impulses. On the other side are those who believe that control of consciousness is itself inimical to true spirituality. (Margaret Mead, Psychedelics and Western Religious Experience, page 209)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

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