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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

The Aquarian Conspiracy:

Personal and Social Transformation in the 1980s.

Ferguson, Marilyn. (1980).
Los Angeles: J. P. Tarcher.

ISBN: 0-87477-116-1 publisher
0-312-90418-5 distributor
0-87477-191-9 paperback
Description: First edition, 448 pages.

Contents: Foreword by Max Lerner, acknowledgments, introduction, 13 chapters, references and readings, index.



The first stage is preliminary, almost happenstance; an entry point. ...

For a great many, the trigger has been a spontaneous mystical or psychic experience, as hard to explain as it is to deny. Or the intense alternative reality generated by a psychedelic drug.

It is impossible to overestimate the historic role of psychedelics as an entry point drawing people into other transformative technologies. For tens of thousands of "left-brained" engineers, chem ists, psychologists, and medical students who never before understood their more spontaneous, imaginative right-brained brethren, the drugs were a pass to Xanadu, especially in the 1960s. (page 89)

As one chronicler of the sixties remarked, "LSD gave a whole generation a religious experience." But chemical satori is perishable, its effects too overwhelming to integrate into everyday life. Non-drug psychotechnologies offer a controlled, sustained movement toward that spacious reality. The annals of the Aquarian Conspiracy are full of accounts of passages: LSD to Zen, LSD to India, psilocybin to Psychosynthesis.

For whatever glories the mushrooms and saturated sugar cubes contained, they were only a glimpse-coming attractions, but not the main feature.

The entry-point experience hints that there is a brighter, richer, more meaningful dimension to life. Some are haunted by that glimpse and drawn to see more. Others, less serious, stay near the entry point, playing with the occult, drugs, consciousness-altering gam es. Some are afraid to go on at all. (page 90)

For many people in many cultures, psychedelic drugs have offered a beginning trail if seldom a fully transformative path. Aldous Huxley, who had no illusion about drugs as permanent routes to enlightenment, pointed out that even temporary self-transcendence would shake the entire society to its rational roots. "Although these new mind-changers may start by being something of an embarrassment, they will tend in the long run to deepen the spiritual life of the commu nities ..."

Huxley believed that the long-awaited religious revival in the United States would start with drugs, not evangelists. "From being an activity concerned mainly with symbols religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition-an everyday mysticism." (pages 374-375)

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