Council on Spiritual Practices About CSP | Site Map | ©
Search CSP:   

Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy

Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy.

Eliade, Mircea. (1964).
New York: Pantheon.

ISBN: None

Description: Revised and enlarged for the present edition. Originally published in 1951 as Le Chamanisme et les Techniques Archaiques de l'Extase, Paris: Librairie Payot, translated by Willard R. Trask, Bollingen Series Number 76.

Contents: Foreword, note on orthography, 14 chapters, epilogue, list of works cited, index.

Excerpt(s): The importance of the intoxication sought from hemp is further confirmed by the extremely wide dissemination of the Iranian term through Central Asia. In a number of Ugrian languages the Iranian word for hemp, bangha, has come to designate both the preeminently shamanic mushroom Agaricus muscarius (which is used as a means of intoxication before or during the seance) and intoxication ... The hy mns to the divinities refer to ecstasy induced by intoxication by mushrooms. These facts prove that the magico-religious value of intoxication for achieving ecstasy is of Iranian origin. But what does this prove concerning the original shamanic experience? Narcotics are only a vulgar substitute for "pure" trance. We have already had occasion to note this fact among several Siberian peoples; the use of intoxicants (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique. Narcotic intoxication is called on to provide an imitation of a state that the shaman is no longer capable of attaining otherwise. Decadence or (must we add?) vulgarization of a mystical technique-in ancient and modern India, and indeed all through the East, we constantly find this strange mixture of "difficult ways" and "easy ways" of realizing mystical ecstasy or some other decisive experience. (pages 400-401)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

[Error Creating Counter File -- Click for more info]