Implications for Religious Scholarship

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Information on entheogens, spirituality, and religion

Overview of psilocybin research at Johns Hopkins

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Here and Now: Discovering the Sacred with Entheogens

William A. Richards, M.Div., STM, Ph.D. in Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science, vol. 49, no. 3 (September 2014), pp. 652 -665.

Abstract. Renewed research with entheogens (psychedelic substances) has been able to facilitate the occurrence of mystical forms of consciousness in healthy volunteers with a high degree of reliability. This article explores the potential significance of this development for religious scholars, especially those interested in the study of mysticism. The definition of "mystical consciousness" employed in this research is presented and differentiated from visionary/archetypal and other types of alternative mental states. The ways in which entheogens may be employed with skill and maximum safety are discussed. Implications for clarifying confusion in the study of mysticism are considered, along with suggestions for future religious research on this frontier of knowledge.

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