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


Timothy Leary: Outside Looking In

Forte, Robert (editor)
Rochester, VT: Park Street Press.


ISBN: 0-89281-786-0

Description: Paperback, xii + 338 pages.

Contents: Acknowledgments, introduction, 40 unnumbered chapters.

Contributors: John Perry Barlow, Frank Barron, John Beresford, Walter Houston Clark, Ram Dass, Tom Davis, Maynard Ferguson, Allen Ginsberg, Nina Graboi, Gerald Heard, Anita Hoffman, Albert Hofmann, Michael Horowitz, Robert Hunter, Aldous Huxley, Michael Kahn, Ken Kesey, Carolyn Kleefeld, Paul Krassner, Jaron Lanier, Terence McKenna, Ralph Metzner, Michael Murphy, Claudio Naranjo, Mimi Raleigh, Thomas Riedlinger, Winona Ryder, Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Philip Slater, Huston Smith, Owsley Stanley, Myron Stolaroff, Danny Sugerman, Jeremy Tarcher, Hunter S. Thompson, Andrew Weil, Robert Williams, Robert Anton Wilson, Rosemary Woodruff.

Excerpt(s): Timothy Francis Leary was one of the most influential people of the twentieth century. What his influence has been, however, remains to be determined. Leary is loved and castigated for his spirited popularization of psychedelic drugs in the 1960s, surely his grandest achievement in a lifelong mission to joust with authoritarianism wherever he encountered it. This book is not a biography of Leary, nor an in-depth study of his ideas. Think of it as a mosaic of flashbacks and reflections, mostly in tribute to this mercurial character and the celebrated role he played as a leader of a social, philosophical, and religious movement. (Introduction, Robert Forte, page 1)

After eight months at Harvard, in the summer of 1960, Leary traveled to Mexico on vacation and tried the mushrooms himself. He described this event in his seminal paper, "The Religious Experience: Its Production and Interpretation," delivered to a group of Lutheran pastoral counselors at a meeting of the American Psychological Association. "On a sunny afternoon in the garden of a Cuernavaca villa, I ate several of the so-called sacred mushrooms. ... During the next five hours, I was whirled through an experience which could be described in many extravagant metaphors but was, above all and without question, the deepest religious experience of my life." (Introduction, Robert Forte, page 9)

Leary then announced his candidacy for governor of California. Federal prosecutors, their ire inflamed, then recharged him with transportation of marijuana, a different crime that carried a twenty-year sentence, as he was mounting his campaign. "Come TogetherCJoin the Party," his campaign slogan, was subsequently developed by John Lennon into the Beatles' hit song while Tim prepared his unsuccessful defense. His defense statement began:

I am pleading not guilty in this case, because I am an American citizen. As such, I am entitled to the free exercise of my religion. I am entitled to engage in scientific research. I am entitled to live in my home, travel in my car and bring up my children the best I can in accordance with my beliefs and values. My motives before and during the incident of my arrest are clearly spiritual, interior and not ulterior. These are not personal privileges that I claim, but constitutional rights of every citizen. In defending myself against this prosecution, I am defending the right of every American citizen to lead the religious life of his own conviction, to worship, to experience, to commune with universal forces, to transcend his ego and dissolve the petty differences that divide men whom love should bind, to seek religious ecstasy, revelation and truth as men have done throughout the ages. (Introduction, Robert Forte, page 16)

That creation was the psychedelic movement, or psychedelic revolution, or, perhaps better, the psychedelic evolution. It does not go under his name only, and it is not just or even mostly sustained by the psychedelic drugs. It is rather a commitment to fight for personal freedom, to oppose everywhere the war mentality and the tyranny of dogmatic beliefs. It stands for equal rights for race and gender, and for ecological Earth-respecting ways of thinking and acting. It respects the ban on certain "hard"drugs such as heroin and crack cocaine while pressing for the legalization and social use of the psychedelic drugs to speed up mental evolution and increase useful knowledge of psychochemical evolutionary agents.

I'm glad this celebration is taking place in the church it is, for Tim himself spoke here nearly thirty-five years ago. ...

Gerald Heard, a brilliant philosopher and close friend of Aldous Huxley, came next. I had invited Aldous himself but he was struggling with disabling illness, and he suggested Heard take his place. Gerald spoke of the need to challenge assumptions in philosophy, and especially in the relation of the individual to the state. The individual, he asserted, had to be vigilant in resisting the encroachment of a developing, more sinister, hand-in-silken-glove form of the collectivist society. He also spoke of the need for new religious rituals and creeds, since those currently popular were made to fit an earlier and now disproved view of Nature, Life, and Humanity. He foresaw an increasing realization of the emptiness of the reigning religions. He stopped just short of saying empty churches. (An Unfinished [R]Evolution, Frank Barron, pages 24-26)

When I spoke with a friend whose life was saved by an experience with MDMA, which opened the heart chakra of this individual, and I brought up this great What IfCWhat if Tim stayed on at Harvard and became the futurist scientist I had in mind?Cthe reply was prompt. The answer was, my friend said without hesitation, that she would not be alive today. We all know that LSD (or MDMA) saves lives, again with the qualification that it is used properly, respectfully. But I don't mean to dwell on the extreme. The many millions who by today have had first-hand experience of the effects of LSD and those sister chemicals have you to thank for the "new wine" they no longer have to stuff into "old bottles." The spiritual revolution, long overdue, has started. Because of you. (To Tim from John, John Beresford, pages 34-35)

Shape-shifting is the Celtic visionary bard's task, reminding us first of life's infinitely rich possibilities and our joyful responsibility to explore them, and second of the empathic identification with all of life.

Tim Leary's assignment was to be an Irish Libran and therefore to incarnate the charming Celtic hero shape-shifter. Traditionally periodic fits of madness in the forest are both the balance for extroverted charm and the prerequisites of being the prophet/storyteller of a desirable future.

Charm is both an Irish and a Libran blessing/curse. The word itself is trickyCa charm is an incantation, which casts a spell upon both the charmer and the charmed. (Inviting in Tim Leary's Ghost, Caroline W. Casey, page 38)

Many people have asked me my opinions about Timothy Leary. When I first came to the Boston area in 1961 he was the most talked about professor at Harvard. He had much to say about the capacity of psilocybin to release religious experience and, though I was skeptical, I joined a seminar he had organized for scholars of religion, to learn what I could.

I was told at Harvard that his researches were useless, but I felt I should study firsthand some of the convicts he said were "talking like medieval mystics." To my amazement I discovered that what he said was in general true. ...

In 1961 the trustees at Andover Newton threatened me with dismissal, which I would have suffered had not my colleagues (unlike all but a handful of Leary's at Harvard) stood up for my right to teach my classes and live my life according to my own best judgment. ...

I can also report that though I have studied at Harvard since 1925 in pursuit of three degrees, he remains in my mind as by far the most creative Harvard professor I have known. Furthermore, as I detailed in Chemical Ecstasy, a clue to one side of his personality is to be found in the extent to which he illustrates the basics of William James's definition of saintliness, found in the Varieties of Religious Experience:

  1. A feeling of being in wider life than that of this world's selfish little interests; and a conviction, not merely intellectual, but as it were, sensible, of the existence of an Ideal Power. . . .
  2. A sense of friendly continuity of the Ideal Power with our own life, and willing self-surrender to its control.
  3. An immense elation and freedom as the outlines of confining selfhood melt down.
  4. A shifting of the emotional center toward loving and harmonious affections, towards "yes yes" and away from "no" where the claims of the non-ego are concerned.

These are not the popular stereotypes of the saint, but they apply to Tim. (Tim Leary: A Personal Appraisal, Walter Houston Clark, pages 45-47)

ROBERT FORTE: You mean that not just in terms of drug laws. There's an unconscious manipulation of our minds by the establishment, and we have a right to be free from that.

RAM DASS: Exactly. It's not necessarily conscious on the part of the establishment. The establishment is conned by it also. There's a conspiracy to define reality conceptually a certain way, and freedom is to get free of that, and that's what Buddhism is about, getting free of those conceptual traps of mind. So we are talking about something very deep, which is the freedom of human consciousness. Tim was seeing the relation between that spiritual or altered state of consciousness and the sociopolitical situation. He wanted freedom for the method of getting high, not just freedom for the state of consciousness. And that gets into the question of who controls the method. ...

ROBERT FORTE: Do you think Timothy's identifying the drugs with the counterculture made the mystical pursuits, the scientific mystical pursuits, more difficult? Professional psychedelic researchers today regard his behavior as a problem because he antagonized everyone, polarized society, and the drugs are now forbidden.

RAM DASS: Well, there was no way that wass't going to happen. Almost at the same time we were getting outrageous, Ken Kesey was having the acid tests in San Jose, L.A., and places like that. The San Jose News ran headlines this big, "Drug Orgy in San Jose." There was no way this wasn't going to become a very hot political issue very quickly. ...

NINA GRABOI: In recent years, perhaps since his imprisonment, his emphasis has been on the physical rather than the spiritual dimension. It almost looks as if he's not spiritual any longer. What do you think?

RAM DASS: Well, that isn't true. He's spiritual, but he's not interested in these other places of consciousness. I mean he's interested in the use of the mind, of the intellect and its capacity and how far out you can push it. He loves conceptual play, and the question is, is he doing it from a nonconceptual space, which is purely spirit? He might be spiritually way beyond, in the sense of nonattachment to any myth or model of himself or anything else. The question is, where is Tim standing? Is there any place you can catch him? I feel a certain somebody in there that I don't find with my guru, for example, and that somebody is where you're standing. I know I'm standing somewhere, and I'm not sure I'd see him if he wasn't standing anywhere, you know? So now I work in Tibetan Dzogchen, in realms of pure awareness that have no astral content at all, no dualism, no gods and goddesses, embracing the form into the formless constantly, enjoying the play of phenomena. That is a lot of what Timothy is. I never think of him as a Dzogchen master, but there is a way in which he does that. He does it without full compassion, perhaps, and that means he's not fully empty. But he has a quality that is very spiritual. . .

. ROBERT FORTE: Did you consider Tim to be a guru?

RAM DASS: Well, in India they make a distinction between Upagurus and Satgurus, and Upagurus are gurus along the way who open doors for you, but they may not be gurus in the sense of free beings. The difference between Timothy and Neem Karoli Baba was that Neem Karoli Baba, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find him. There wasn't anywhere he was standing and there wasn't anywhere he wasn't. I had to deal with that reality with Neem Karoli Baba, and I didn't have to deal with it with Timothy, so that's the difference. But Timothy freed me from many planes that I was trapped in. He did a tremendous amount for me. He was very patient because I was extremely trapped in certain ways. He was certainly playing on a lot more planes than I was. But he was still somebody playing somewhere. (Ram Dass Remembers Tim: Interview with Robert Forte, pages 55-62)

The influence of the psychedelic '60s on today's culture can hardly be overlooked. Yoga, meditation, vegetarianism, ecologyCthese and many other features that were introduced by the hippie subculture of the '60s have gone mainstream by the '90s. I believe that Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass, were the two most important men of the twentieth century, just as the '60s was its most important decade. Thanks to Timothy, an unprecedented number of people worldwide experienced nonordinary realities and had a glimpse of eternity. And then Ram Das came and taught them the ancient wisdom he had learned from his guru in the East. Between them, they opened wide the doors of perception that had been closed so long. I believe that they were spearheads, messengers, vanguards of a higher, better, kinder, more evolved human race. (Changing His Mind, Nina Graboi, page 81)

In fact, almost to a person, the founders of the computer industry were ex-psychedelic style hippies. Now the one person who might be outside of thatCa pretty major exceptionCwould be Bill Gates, who was hanging out with the hippies, but I remember him being a little different from the start. Nevertheless the impact psychedelics had is unquestionably enormous. Mitch Kapur, Steve Jobs, and many, many others. And on the science side, too. Within the computer science community there's a very, very strong connection with the '60s psychedelic tradition, absolutely no question about it. (page 131)

One of the things I hope this festschrift does is record a balanced picture of both Tim and the LSD movement, rather than the one that is falsely written into the mainstream memory now. I was one of the people who sat for the great physicist Richard Feynman once when he was taking LSD obviously eminently qualified, never having taken it myself. I bring this up now because the mainstream culture imagines LSD as sort of a bad dream that ruined people, that was destructive, while in fact a great many intelligent, creative, productive people found it to be an interesting, useful thing. A great many of them took Tim seriously even though Tim's public persona was at times outrageous and sometimes contradictory. I think that right now, lacking any possible external enemy, the culture is turning on itself and trying to call a part of itself false and bad and ugly. In doing so we are creating a distorted picture of ourselves. It's very important that we not do that; that the image we have of ourselves is more true and more balanced. I dearly hope that will happen. I find myself having to defend the '60s a lot and it's odd because I was only born in 1960. I do think the '60s represented a lot of good thingsCan incredible burst of creativity, of joy and trust, a lot of decency, and I hate to see us turn on ourselves. It's like an autoimmune reaction or something where the culture is attaching some of its best parts. (A Word from The Control Group, Jaron Lanier, pages 140-141)

ROBERT FORTE: What did LSD do for you?

TERENCE McKENNA: I remember being nineteen years old, twelve hours into an LSD trip. I was sitting under a tree and I just started to weep, and I saw what my upbringing had done to me. I saw the resentment of my parents and my callowness and my immaturity and myCand I sat there for about an hour and cried this stuff out. And got up a better person. And to this day, I've never had to go back and revisit those things and then I could call up my parents and tell them I love them and I could accept their Catholicism and their conservatism and the differences. It was just like ten years of psychotherapy in an hour. And it was real. So that's worth everything. And that's what I saw LSD as. It wasn't to me about the far-flung reaches of metaphysics orCit was about getting straightened out. (The Archaic Revival, Terence McKenna, page 153)

Our thoughts became serious, almost grave. On the way to the session Mike and I had been talking about the idea of the sin against the Holy GhostCwhat used to be considered the one unpardonable sin. We had discussed it as a kind of universal projective test in the Middle AgesCrevealing whatever it was you considered your greatest failing. Theologically, it was the attribution to the devil of what really came from the Holy Ghost, thus cutting oneself off from the source of all grace and redemption.

During the session, Mike returned to this topic and related our earlier thoughts. George, who had a marvelous sense for practical detail, was wondering about borderline sins. He asked Tim, as the only Catholic present, "What did the Church do with those rare cases which the existing rules didn't cover? How did it handle totally new events or occurrences? For example, take a peasant who comes to the priest and says: 'I took these pills last night, and I met Christ, and we shook hands and spent a wonderful evening together, but somehow everybody goes around telling me I'm bad.' How would the Church handle that? What would the priest say?"

When we had all finished convulsing with laughter, I looked over and saw that George had stopped smiling and was looking at Tim and saying, "I'm serious."

I feel a wave of sympathy for George and looked at Tim. Tim said nothing. I looked at him very intently and repeated, "What would the priest say to George's question, Tim?"

Tim became very confused. He did not seem to hear and was fiddling with his hearing aid. We repeated the question. Then he looked at me in silence for a very long time. I became aware of how important the question had become to me. It was the question about this night, about our work, about our whole life, which had come to revolve so much around these drugsCwas it good or bad?

It had become a very basic question about existence, and personal worth, the question to which each one must find his own answer. This was what I felt Tim to be saying by not answering the questionCthat everyone must come to terms with their own condition. When I realized that this was what he meant, I felt tears streaming down my faceCnot tears of sadness. (pages 170-171)

Taking LSD made the religious dimensions of psychedelic experience inescapable. You were plunged into realms where all hitherto accepted belief systems and identity structures were suspended, as everything you called "you" dissolved in pearly streams of liquid color, in pulsing waves of ecstatic sensations, or shattered silently into perfect, symmetrical, crystalline lattices, or shimmering nets of electronic wave-trains. As you returned from these experiences of pure contentless energy, the world of images and categories in which we live our normal lives did indeed seem like a "plastic doll world."

People came out of these sessions reeling with awe, overwhelmed by experiences of oneness with God and all other beings, shaken to the depths of their nature by the grandeur and power of the divine live-energy processes going on within their own consciousness. ...

We ran a series of sessions for ministers, priests, rabbis, and theology students. Some of these were more dramatic and violent than any we'd ever experienced at the prison with hardened criminals. Some got caught up in hell-fire and judgment visions; others wanted to immediately force everyone around to convert, confess, and turn to Jesus; some forgot about God and turned to their wives for solace; some left the ministry; some were deeply confirmed in their calling.

One theology graduate student I worked with in a session, a huge, red-haired bear of a man, wrestled with some nameless monsters in his unconscious for hours, sweating and groaning and finally finding release and peace. However, the next day he announced that he didn't see any value to it, that it wouldn't help him write his thesis, or help America beat the Russians, and therefore he didn't want any more of itCan attitude I found frankly bizarre. (From Harvard to Zihuatanejo, Ralph Metzner, pages 184-185)

ROBERT FORTE: Wasson was the first to suggest that religion may have originated out of early humans eating psychedelic mushrooms. Terence McKenna has recently jazzed up Wasson's theory on the origin of religion, suggesting that mushrooms are the missing link in evolution that accounts for this exponential rise in brain size and culture and religion and so on. So do you think we saw a recapitulation of this in the '60s?

MICHAEL MURPHY: First of all, I don't even believe those theories. It gives much too short shrift to all our other activities. I mean, look, Robert, for twenty-five years I have been getting reports of mystical experiences on golf courses because of Golf in the Kingdom. I call golf "a mystery school for Republicans." (page 203)

... Psychedelics certainly had a role, no doubt. And sometimes a ritualized role. But as the only? Give me a break.

I would say it's the nature of this universe to keep graduating. We're not in the graduation business. We graduate to new levels of complexity and awareness. It's been going on for fifteen billion years or more in this universe. Since the first life appeared it's been going for 3-4 billion years on Earth. In the human race it's been going on from the beginning. To say it's all one mechanism--I say in The Future of the Body to watch for the fallacy of single mediation. It's the fact of our forward march, this opening up, of this stupendous event of the universe opening to higher and higher levels of functioning, more complex orders, ecstasies--reclaiming the world's latent divinity. To say it all depends on drugs is just ridiculous on the face of it. Forgive me for getting so heated up here. (The Esalen Institute, Sacred Mushrooms, and the Game of Golf, Michael Murphy, page 204)

ROBERT FORTE: This conversation might be something of a prologue to a book on Timothy Leary. Although you never knew him, there are some interesting parallels between your life and his. First of all, you worked on an LSD research project at Harvard seven years before Tim arrived there. ... First let's talk about your early work at Harvard with LSD that was sponsored by the CIA.

PHILIP SLATER: O.K. I had done a little research at the hospital, which is now called Mass Mental Health Center. It was then the Boston Psychopathic Hospital. I heard that they were getting funds from a foundation to study a drug that nobody had heard of at that time. The drug was something that would make you psychotic for a brief period of a day; you would learn what kind of psychotic you would be if you became psychotic. This wasn't necessarily the official view of the drug, but it was what everybody talked aboutCeverybody who was involved in the project and who later took the drug. It was the scuttlebutt around the hospital. ...

ROBERT FORTE: This is 1952C

PHILIP SLATER: '52, '53.

ROBERT FORTE: This was before Huxley wrote The Doors of Perception, before Wasson had discovered the sacred mushroom in Mexico. ...

PHILIP SLATER: Our little group went way beyond the psychotomimetic definition of the drug, and we had a lot of different experiences with it, and were bonded by it very much. People who had it felt closer to each other because of it. But I don't think we gave it any real spiritual significance.

ROBERT FORTE: Was "spiritual significance" even remotely in the vocabulary in the early 1950s in Cambridge?

PHILIP SLATER: No, not really. Because everything was taking place in this completely clinical setting. (LSD: Let's Save Democracy?, Philip Slater, pages 225-229)

ROBERT FORTE: . . . You've worked for over thirty years to express the common vision of the world's religions to revive a sense of the sacred in modern life. Yet in spite of your deserved stature you are still somewhat reticent to discuss this subject. Why is that?

HUSTON SMITH: Because the psychedelics are so ambiguous. They are like a two-edged sword. They can cut through to get to nirvana--which is to say, cut through the daze and doze of mindless existence and wake us up--while at the other extreme they can behead us. Just this week, in reading Peter Coyote's first person account of the psychedelic sixties, Sleeping Where I Fall, I came upon his mention of one of the Haight-Ashbury's Diggers who took acid on a bad day and became the three hundredth person to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge. The potential of these substances for both good and ill is so great that it is irresponsible to be glib about them. One should know one's audience before one speaks. (page 242)

They have sacred possibilities, I'm not going to back down on that. But Aldous Huxley was wise in calling them "heaven and hell drugs," and hell connotes what is demonic rather than sacred. We're back with my point about their ambiguous character.

Now to your question: did I have any idea as to what was in store? Not at the start. As you noted, during the first year or two the mood was wildly optimistic, for all signals seemed to read green. You have touched on the important ones. Psychologically, the psychedelics promised easier access to repressed unconscious materials, shortcutting the years and prohibitive expense of psychoanalysis. In behavior change, they held the promise of reducing the recidivism of paroled prisoners. And in the area of my prime interest, they seemed to hold the promise of rolling back the materialistic worldview that imprisons us by showing peopleCcausing them to see directlyCthat Nietzsche was wrong in announcing that God is dead.

ROBERT FORTE: Was it apparent right from the start that these were religious sacraments when they arrived at Harvard in 1960?

HUSTON SMITH: To me it was, though set and setting quickly entered the picture- "set" denoting the subject's psychological makeup, and "setting" the circumstances in which the chemicals are ingested. This again makes me restive when you refer to them categorically as "religious sacraments," for that seems to position them in a linear, one-to-one relationship with religion. ...

ROBERT FORTE: Do you continue to feel that psychedelics are a way to see into a spiritual plane of reality?

HUSTON SMITH: I do. (pages 243-245)

Underlying all these highjinks, what held us together was our feeling that we were on the cutting edge of knowledge. We were spearheading the acquisition of new and important truths and their potentials. We likened ourselves to explorers in Africa when that continent was still unknown to the Europeans. But given my temperament and my interests, it was always the spiritual value of the psychedelics that were the most important. They didn't change my worldview, which had already become that of the mystics. What they did was enable me to experience their worldCexperience it as more solid and real than our everyday world, which it demoted to the shadows on Plato's cave. And they taught me, again experientially, what awe is. For more than a decade I had been teaching my students that awe is the distinctive religious emotion combining two emotions, fear and fascination, which (apart from their religious joining) are in tension with each other. Fascination draws us toward the object in question while fear holds us back. (page 258)

ROBERT FORTE: ... [D]oesn't it seem strange to you that theological seminaries and monasteries ignore this "most powerful and most foolproof" way of accessing the divine? Religious training, or metaphysical inquiry, seems to provide the ideal context for these drugs.

HUSTON SMITH: Here I'm completely with you. Of course, legal space would have to be carved out for this to happen, and even with that space they should be offered as an elective, so to speak, and not part of the required curriculum. For I don't see that anything that has happened since the Wassons published their groundbreaking Russia, Mushrooms and History that counters the premise of that book, which is that "mushrooms" mean close to everything to half the world while the other half views them phobicly, as toadstools. ...

ROBERT FORTE: ... So the thrust of your question is whether our society will get around to giving the question the attention it deserves.

Who knows? As Bob Dylan sang, "the answer is blowing in the wind." I am not entirely discouraged, however, I never thought that I would live long enough to be invited to give a well-publicized lecture on psychedelics and religion at a major university. It was at Northern Illinois University, two years ago. It was as if I were back at Harvard when the topic was respectable. Still I don't know where we're headed. It's like when Dizzy Gillespie was asked about the future of jazz. He said, "Man, if I knew where jazz is going, I'd be there already." (Timothy Leary and The Psychedelic Moments, Huston Smith interviewed by Robert Forte, pages 268-269)

Myron Stolaroff: Tim appreciated the potential of human beings very much. I think he was very aware of the investment we have in our conditioning that results in the establishment of a kind of self-interest that interferes with clear perception. And he recognized psychedelics as a powerful tool to cut through such conditioning, to bring a person to direct understanding of their own true nature, and the nature of the universe. This is probably the most valuable tool that one could have. I think he was committed to it being understood and accepted. In that regard he and I are very much in alignment. ...

He told me that's what he wanted to doCturn everybody on. He was convinced that all you had to do was to take LSD and move into transpersonal areas. Unfortunately its only true for healthy-minded people. Ones who are not can have difficult times with this. That was the problem of his whole approach to setting up a national network for the purposes of turning on the country. (pages 280-281)

First of all, these sacraments, as I prefer to call them, are fantastic privileges. It is an undescribable grace, an undescribable privilege. And to not fully appreciate the experiences and act accordingly begins to create negative karma. And if you keep on using them, seeking the positive effects and not making the indicated changes in your life or not taking on the responsibility for the awareness that you have gained, I think that our inner awareness perceives a violation, which results in discomfort. I say this based on my own personal investigations, because it's true that for me the experiences have gotten far more uncomfortable as I've gotten older, but that's because I'm trying to do more with them. And almost every one turns out better than the last one. (Stolaroff on Leary, page 292)

ANDREW WEIL: ... [In] terms of discrediting psychedelic research, I don't know whether psychedelic research would ever have gotten going at American academic institutions. I think those drugs really push people's buttons, and it's too threatening, and I think maybe that's not the appropriate setting in which to study them.

ROBERT FORTE: What do you think is the appropriate setting. Who do you think is best suited to use the drugs?

ANDREW WEIL: Well, I think that we really need equivalents to shamans in our society. I'd love it if there were medical doctors who were qualified as shamans who could supervise and oversee that.

ROBERT FORTE: What is a shaman in your language.

ANDREW WEIL: Someone who has mastered out-of-the-body experiences, who knows how to mediate between the visible and invisible world, who's undertaken fairly rigorous training, on an individual level and with other people who are proficient at those things. But we don't have any normal mechanism of producing these people. (The Harvard Crimson Story, Andrew Weil, page 311)



This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP

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