Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching.
McKenna, Terence, and McKenna, Dennis. (1993).
San Francisco: HarperCollins.
xvii + 229 pages.
Contents: List of figures
and tables, foreword to the 1994 edition by Jay Stevens,
preface to the 1994 edition, acknowledgments to the 1975 edition,
acknowledgments to the 1994 edition, introduction to the 1994
edition, 14 chapters divided into 2 parts: 1. Mind,
Molecules and Magic; 2. Time,
Change and Becoming; epilogue; appendix: The Mathematics
of Timewave Zero by Peter Meyer; bibliography; index.
Note: Originally published
in 1975 by the Seabury Press.
Excerpt(s): The search
for liberation, a paradisiacal state of freedom
that mythology insists is the ahistorical root of the historic
process, has always been the raison d'etre of the human species'
conscious pilgrimage through time. In the name of drawing near
to this liberation, humankind has built and then partially rejected
an endless procession of societies, governments,
phil osophies, and religions. ... Systems as divergent
as Buddhism and Marxism, National Socialism and Christianity,
have all claimed possession of a set of concepts that would in
some sense "free" their practitioners. The entire human
experience, individual and collective, can be described as the
pursuit of that which frees. (page 3)
... Our interest then centered upon primitive societies
where a connection with the timeless world of the unconscious
is maintained through the office of the shaman, the technician
of the sacred. We believed that the widespread use of psychedelic
drugs in modern society was somehow rooted to the intuition that
exploration and reassimilation of so-called magical dimensions
was the next valid step in humanity's collective search for liberation.
... Indeed, in the institution of shamanism we felt
that the normal and the paranormal were somehow merged, and in
the shamanic world, physical manipulation of psychic space via
hallucinogens is raised to the level of "science"-more
precisely a folk science. We assumed that the merging of the normal
and the paranormal and the use of hallucinogens were directly
related. (page 4)
It is our contention, to be amplified in later chapters,
that the presence of psychoactive substances is a primary requirement
of all true shamanism, and that where such substances are not
exogenously available as plants, they must be endogenously available
either through metabolic predisposition to their synthesis, as
may occur in schizophrenia, or through the various techniques
of shamanism: dancing, drumming, singing, and the confrontation
of situations of stress and isolation. Where these alkaloids are
not present, shamanism becomes ritual alone, and its effectiveness
suffers accordingly. (page 15)
Let us now focus our attention on a more speculative
question: whether there are, or could be, institutions in modern
society that draw their models from shamanism. There appears to
be occurring in modern life a progressive alienation from the
numinous archetypal contents on the collective unconscious, which
has engendered a gradually encroaching sense of collective despair
and anxiety. The archetypal motifs of the Western religious tradition
seem to have lost their effectiveness for the large portion of
civilized humanity or, at best, have been depotentiated to the
level of a "merely psychological" reality. Western humans
have lost their sense of unity with the cosmos and with the transcendent
mystery within themselves. ... From the point of view of religious
symbolism, this preoccupation of modern humanity with its historical
and existential situation springs from an unconscious sense of
its impending end. (pages 16-17)
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Compilation copyright © 1995 2001 CSP