Outline of Project

In Search of the Ultimate High: is a book for people who want to know more about the spiritual uses of psychoactives.

The focus is on exploring the spiritual quest through the use of psychoactives, rather than focusing on the psychoactives themselves.

Personal accounts from people who have had a spiritual experience induced by a drug are combined with factual information on 'entheogens' (drugs used for spiritual purposes), well researched background material and contacts.

Section One


A foreword by Alexander and Ann Shulgin discusses the value of entheogens and his own experiences with them. An introduction by Anja Saunders places the book within the context of Nicholas's death and discusses the wider issue of the place of drugs in society. Guidance on how to use the book is also included.

Section Two

Chapter One

This wide-ranging chapter sets out the framework of the book by considering what is meant by a 'spiritual experience'. We argue that the conventional wisdom that drugs and spirituality are incompatible is misguided if one looks at history, at advances in scientific knowledge, and at contemporary accounts.

Chapter Two

We then move on to the various settings in which psychoactives are used. A different kind of church looks at religions which use a psychoactive in a sacramental way. Churches covered range from the well-established ayahuasca churches in South America and the peyote-using Native American Church to the Temple of True Inner Light in New York and the ibogaine-using Bwiti religion in Gabon. The history and beliefs of each church are described, along with personal acounts from those who have attended services.

Chapter Three

The use of psychoactives within world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam is a subject which is little explored due to the taboo of drug use in most long established religions. A number of practioners, such as Buddhist and Benedictine monks, as well as practising Christians, speak out about the way psychoactives have aided them in their chosen path.
Read an extract from this chapter

Chapter Four

In Shamanism for Westerners we look at the pleasures and pitfalls of searching for a shaman, the opportunities for 'entheotourism' in the Amazon, and the phenomenon of workshops in the west which incorporate shamanic teachings.
Read an extract from this chapter

Chapter Five

We then focus on those psychoactive explorers who seek a spiritual experience outside of the structure of a church or workshop. Many of the accounts in this chapter come from a survey which was placed on the Internet, and a wide range of experiences and psychoactive substances are covered.
Read an extract from this chapter

Chapter Six

Rave Spirituality is the subject of the next chapter. The feelings of overwhelming love and unity experienced at raves are expressions of a most contemporary form of spirituality. Could that spiritual energy be transforming society on a wider scale?

Chapter Seven

Before, During and After discusses guidelines that may help to facilitate and integrate a spiritual experience.

Section Three

The last part of the book contains practical information:

  • Medical information and first aid

  • Legal information

  • Glossary

  • Resources and Contacts

  • Annotated biblography

    Back to spiritual book index

    Council on Spiritual Practices Home Page