Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
Woods, Richard. (Editor). (1980).
Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co.
original, xii + 586 pages.
36 chapters divided into 5 parts: 1. Descriptions,
Analysis and Methodological Concerns, 2. The Field of Inquiry:
M ysticism in World Religions,
3. Scientific Investigations,
and Aesthetic Evaluations, 5. Theological
Appraisals, bibliography, index.
Contributors: W. H. Auden,
S. N. Deikman,
Robert E. Penelhum,
Raymond H. Scholem,
R. C. Zaehner.
Excerpt(s): The most
striking element in the American metaphysical movement today is
the preoccupation of middle-class youth with mystical experience.
Mysticism is strongly linked with the use of psychedelic drugs
on the one hand, and with a variety of contemplative traditions
on the other. (page 338)
... Let us, for a start, give the movement a name:
Neotranscendentalism. It includes the ever incasing number of
people who (1) reject traditional Western acquisitive and economic
values, (2) are concerned with the mystical, (3) wish to develop
more direct, less role-oriented interpersonal relationships, and
(4) are interested in communal and cooperative lifestyles of living
rather than isolationist, competitive patterns. As with all religious
movements, there is of course a core of dedicated practitioners
and a much large number of sympathizers. A characteristic which
distinguishes Neotranscendentalists from most other religious
movements, however, is its lack of homogeneity and dogma. ...
The Neotranscendentalists clearly have their parallels
in the bohemians of earlier eras, most directly in such bohemian
groups as those which occupied Greenwich
Village during the twenties and thirties. ... The Neotranscendentalists,
however, do not see salvation as a matter of changing locale but
changing consciousness. (page 345)
Neotranscendentalism, then, can be regarded as a
self-imposed rite of passage. Instead of the secret grove or sacred
hut, contemporary youth remove themselves to pads in the dim hearts
of cities, or to communes in the California hills.
They may withdraw for periods of months or years.
The essential task is a psychological metamorphosis-a kind of
cocoon work-shucking parental authority and making-ready to accept
the responsibilities for spouse and family. (page 348)
Wallace's concept of
revitalization movement should be considered. He has defined revitalization
movements as "deliberate, organized attempts by some members
of society to construct a more satisfying culture by rapid acceptance
of a pattern of multiple innovations." ...
He describes the various steps through which the
culture passes on the road to revitalization: from its original
steady state through a period of increased individual stress,
with widespread anomie and disillusionment; a period of cultural
distortion in which piecemeal and ineffectual individual solutions
are attempted, such as alcoholism, "black market," breaches
of kin or sexual mores, gambling, etc; and finally the period
of revitalization. He points out that revitalization depends on
the successful completion of a number of stages. First, there
is the formulation of a code. An individual or group must construct
a new utopian image of cultural organization. Not infrequently
the new code is formulated during the course of hallucinatory
revelation or mystical experience. The second step is the communication
of the new code to a band of followers. The code is usually offered
as a means of spiritual salvation for the individual and of cultural
salvation for the society. Finally, as the movement gains momentum
new institutions based on the code are organized, with subsequent
widespread acceptance and routinization. (page 350)
But whether these implicit goals of the Neotranscendentalists
will be found widely acceptable or socially viable is another
question. And how far they will get with such a Herculean task,
even armed with that most powerful of metamorphic engines-the
mystical state-only the future can tell. (page 353)
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This compilation by Thomas B. Roberts & Paula Jo Hruby, © 1995-2003 CSP