Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
E for Ecstasy.
Saunders, Nicholas. (1993).
London: Nicholas Saunders, the author.
original, vi + 319 pages. The cover is silvery holographic paper
composed of small squares with the title embossed.
Contents: 14 chapters,
7 appendices: A. Reference Section, B. Personal Accounts, C. Human
Rights and the Use of Drugs, D. Annotated Bibliography, E. Research
Projects in Britain, F. Sources of information, G. Glossary of
Terms, index, order form.
Excerpt(s): In 1992 researchers
in the US attempted to identify the effects of MDMA in psychological
terms through studying its effects on psychiatrists. The psychiatrists'
experiences varied, but apart from losing track of time, the most
commonly noted effects were that they related to other people
more openly with less fear of defensiveness. Half said the drug
had a lasting positive effect on their `social/interpersonal functioning',
and nearly half mentioned changes in their spiritual outlook and
values. (page 19)
It is also claimed that MDMA has some spiritual
effects. Recently Alexander Shulgin told
the story of a Japanese poet who tried MDMA and said:
`It has taken twenty years of studying Zen for me to reach this
clarity, but I'm glad I did it my way'. A Benedictine monk at
a monastery in Big Sur, California, tried to see
if MDMA could aid meditation, and concluded that the drug `facilitated
the search by providing a glimpse of the goal', but that it did
not replace the hard work required. A healer claimed that she
saw a client's aura brightened by MDMA, and there are many reports
of people becoming more spiritually aware. (page 20)
According to an article in the American
Journal of Psychotherapy, the effects of MDMA-heightened capacity
for introspection along with temporary freedom from anxiety and
depression-`should be of interest to Freudian, Rogerian and existential
humanist therapists'. It is said to strengthen the therapeutic
alliance between therapist and client by inviting self-disclosure
and enhancing trust. C lients in MDMA-assisted therapy
report that they lose defensive anxiety and feel more emotionally
open, making it possible for them to get in touch with feelings
and thoughts which are not ordinarily available to them.
Psychiatrists also suggest MDMA is helpful in marital
counselling by making it easier to receive criticisms and compliments.
`There's less defensiveness between us and more leeway for diversity',
observed an ex-client. Long-lasting and increased self-esteem
was also reported by clients. Greer says that
another use is working through loss or trauma, because the issue
can be faced and accepted instead of being shut away through fear.
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