Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness.
Watts, Alan W. (1962).
New York: Pantheon.
Description: First edition,
xx + 94 pages.
Contents: Foreword by
Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert,
preface, prologue, the main essay, epilogue, description of plates.
legal, and religious experts have recently been confronted with
the problem of the so-called "mystic drugs," that seem
to produce, without any apparent physical harm, changes in consciousness
comparable to the highest forms of aesthetic and religious experience.
This book, by one of the world's leading investigators of the
psychology of religion, is an evaluation of these drugs both objectively
and from the vantage of the author's own personal experiments.
LSD-25 is a modern drug:
derivatives have been used for centuries during the religious
ceremonies of certain primitive peoples. These drugs are not,
however, as Mr. Watts emphasizes, just "bottled mysticism."
Their correct use requires skill, experience, and a certain quality
of mind. He compares them to the microscope which, fascinating
as it may be to the layman, is of maximum benefit
only to the well-prepared student . The author's
record of his owns experiments is a vivid, lyrical account of
valuable transformations that can occur in
the human mind. The heightening of consciousness ranged all the
way from aesthetic insights into nature to a philosophical view
of existence as a comedy as once diabolic and divine, resolving
itself into "a cosmology not only unified but also joyous."
Slowly it becomes clear that one of the greatest
of all superstitions is the separation of the mind from the body.
To force or make propaganda for more affectionate
contacts with others would bring little more than embarrassment.
One can but hope that in the years to come our defenses will crack
spontaneously, like eggshells when the birds are ready to hatch.
This hope may gain some encouragement from all those trends in
philosophy and psychology, religion and science, from which we
are beginning to evolve a new image of man, not as spirit imprisoned
in incompatible flesh, but as an organism inseparable from his
social and natural environment. This is certainly the view of
man disclosed by these remarkable medicines which temporarily
dissolve our defenses and permit us to see what separative consciousness
normally ignores-the world as an interrelated whole. This vision
is assuredly beyond any drug-induced hallucination or superstitious
fantasy. (Epilogue, pages 93-94)
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