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Excerpts from Psychoactive Sacramentals

This book is apt to stretch a reader's consciousness a few notches. All the more so because it is not pushy.

Brother David Steindl-Rast, Ph.D., O.S.B., "Foreword"

All except one of us who got the drug said afterwards, "Yes, this definitely was a religious experience." And that one has significantly changed his mind over the years. I know, because that one is me.

Rev. Mike Young, M. Div., "If I Could Change Your Mind"

What, practically speaking, should be the interface between entheogens and religion? It is encouraging that a respected theological seminary is co-sponsoring this conference, but what might the next step be? My personal, very tentative suggestion is to see if the drug authorities would be willing to approve a duly monitored experiment on the issue.

Huston Smith, Ph.D., "A Thirty-five Year Retrospect"

[E]ntheogens are most likely to be effective for stabilization of altered traits and for continued development if they are used in conjunction with a contemplative discipline.

Roger Walsh, M.D., "From State to Trait"

I had a completely atheistic background when I encountered entheogens. For me it was not so that my first entheogenic experience confirmed or deepened something I already believed in; it was a 180-degree turn.

Stanislav Grof, M.D., "The Potential of Entheogens as Catalysts of Spiritual Development"

Characteristics commonly used to describe such experiences are feelings of positive affect (awe, wonder, sacredness, profound peace, joy), a sense of immediacy and temporality, a sense of timelessness and spacelessness, a noetic quality (an intuitive, nonrational certainty), and a sense of oneness or unity. This last characteristic - a feeling of spiritual unity - seems to be the most essential aspect of mystical experiences.

Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D., LCPC, "Unitive Consciousness and Pahnke's Good Friday Experiment"

This long-term follow-up, conducted twenty-four to twenty-seven years after the original experiment, provides further support to the findings of the original experiment. All seven psilocybin subjects participating in the long-term follow-up, but none of the controls, still considered their original experience to have had genuinely mystical elements and to have made a uniquely valuable contribution to their spiritual lives. The positive changes… had persisted over time and had deepened in some cases.

Rick Doblin, Ph.D., "Pahnke's Good Friday Experiment: A Long-term Follow-up and Methodological Critique"

In later months this insight helped me resolve my animosity toward God and Christianity. Eventually I came to see the crucifix as representing something very different than I thought before, both as a Christian and during my years as a practical atheist…. A sea change had occurred in my relationship to God.

Thomas Riedlinger, M.T.S, F.L.S., "A Pilgrim's Visit to Marsh Chapel"

When used with experienced people in sacred context a safety net is created. Following extensive investigation, the Brazilian Federal Narcotics Council (CONFEM) proclaimed in 1992 that they had found no evidence of Hoasca (or Daime) causing ill effects or abuse, and granted legal status for the use of Hoasca in religious contexts.

Annelise Schinzinger, "Mysterious Tea"

A synthesis of religion and pharmacology lies just below the surface of this meeting. This union must be explored, with the acceptance of the personal right to believe as one chooses.

Alexander Shulgin, "A Scientist's View of Miracles and Magic"

In my childhood I experienced spontaneously some of those blissful moments when the world appeared suddenly in a new brilliant light and I had the feeling of being included in its wonder and indescribable beauty. They remained in my memory as extraordinary experiences of untold happiness, but only after the discovery of LSD did I grasp their meaning and existential importance.

Albert Hofmann, Ph.D., "LSD as a Spiritual Aid"

A particularly noteworthy aspect of LSD mythology is its existence among both users of the drug and experts in the substance abuse field. Among professionals, some of these myths are pervasive enough to have received mention as "facts" in prominent professional publications.

David E. Presti, Ph.D., and Jerome E. Beck, Dr. P.H., "Strychnine and Other Enduring Myths"

There are two unequivocal references to the psychoactivity of manna in the Hebrew Bible. ... Many previously obscure passages become comprehensible, however, when manna is understood as an entheogen.

Dan Merkur, Ph.D., "Manna, the Showbread, and the Eucharist"

Entheology is that branch of theology which deals with the experience and/or knowledge of the divine, and of the revelation of that divine, through the agency of psychoactive substances (used as sacraments), be it revelation of the divine within and/or without the individual.

Rev. Aline M. Lucas, M. Div., "What is Entheology?"

This chapter relates the wisdom gathered from supervised, structured use of various entheogens before the substances were made illegal. This information is presented to preserve it for the benefit of future students of the entheogens at a time when such use is once again permitted.

Myron J. Stolaroff, M.A., "A Protocol for a Sacramental Service"

I believe that systemic social and legal pressure have split the inner work in which healthy aspects of the "psychedelic culture" engaged from the outer work of those of us engaged in social action. This split has contributed to the continuation of what Robert McAfee Brown has called the "great fallacy": that inner and outer transformation are falsely separated.

Rev. George Cairns, Ph.D., "A Theology of Human Liberation & Entheogens: Reflections of a Contemplative Activist"

In the last fifty years, the world's population has doubled. We have lost over half a billion people due to starvation. We have lost untold number of species, we don't even know how many. The world has spent over fifteen trillion dollars on weapons during that time. The global problems we are facing - pollution, starvation, ecological degradation, overpopulation - are in each and every case a product of human behavior. The state of the world now reflects the state of our minds. What we call our global "problems" are actually "symptoms" of our individual and collective mind states.

Roger Walsh, M.D., "Consciousness and Asian Traditions: An Evolutionary Perspective"

I soon realized Zen is LSD ... in slow motion. The same strata of mind are revealed. I began to think of consciousness as a bowl with a lid on it; no matter what tool is used to lift the lid (be it fasting, prayer, meditation, yoga, or entheogens), the content of the bowl is the same.

Kathleen O'Shaughnessy, "The Strengthening Aspects of Zen and Contemporary Meditation Practices"

I refer to spirituality as a subjective experience of the sacred, whereas religion usually refers to an organized institution that provides a creed, a code of ethics, and community rituals for believers. Religion may or may not provide a supportive structure for a person's spiritual life.

Frances Vaughan, Ph.D. "Transpersonal Counseling: Some Observations Regarding Entheogens"

In 1993 I became part of a sorority that I did not seek to join, but which I deeply value. It is the sisterhood of those diagnosed with breast cancer…. In the words of the Rabbi Hillel, "If not us, who? If not now, when?" It is my prayer that the legitimate practice of Transcendental Medicine will be made so.

Rev. Karla A. Hansen, M. Div., "The Birthing of Transcendental Medicine"

The Court has viewed religious beliefs as causing or directing the subject's conduct…. In contrast, the causal vectors at play in an entheogen-based religion move in the opposite direction: from conduct (incidental to ingesting the entheogen) to religious experience (during the entheogenic experience) to the religious belief (having experienced the Godhead, one now believes it). For religious users of entheogens, then, prohibiting the conduct entirely prevents the belief or "mental operation" that is the sine qua non of all entheogen-based religions.

Richard Glen Boire, J.D., "The Judicial Architectonics of Psychoactive Sacramentals"

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