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Books:  Entheogen theory origin religions. 1

Books: entheogens, mystery-religions, time/agency. 1

New books on entheogens and Western religions. 2

Repairing the rift among entheogen scholars. 3

Entheogen Books Only in English. 5

Plato, Ecstasy, and Identity -- Michael Rinella's Dissertation. 6

Book: Ratsch: Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas. 7

Book: Witchcraft Medicine...Forbidden Plants. 9

Entheogens in Freke, Acharya, Allegro. 10

Pinchbeck's book Breaking Open the Head. 12

Ott's Pharmacratic Inquisition found online. 12

Book: Pharmako/Dynamis BookParty. 13

Thomas Roberts' bk rvw of Shanon: Antipodes of the Mind. 13

Book: Thomas Roberts: Psychedelic Qunitet 15

Book by David Spess. 17

Book: Thorne: Marihuana, Burning Bush, Mysticism.. 18

Obit: Entheogen bookseller Bob Wallace. 23

Sting's autobiography Broken Music begins with ayahuasca. 24

New book: Sacred Secret (Amanita Christ) 24


Books:  Entheogen theory origin religions

Book list at Amazon.com:

Entheogen theory of the origin of religions


Books: entheogens, mystery-religions, time/agency

>The book list for sites such as ours could concentrate on:

1.  Entheogens in the origin of religions.

2.  Judeo-Christianity as mystery religion.

>We should work on this together, drawing from and adding to the psychedelics-and-religion bibliography.

There are plenty of general psychedelics-and-religion bibliographies already; it's nearly common knowledge by now.  There are already about ten books about entheogens in Western religions.  I will merely provide links to such comprehensive sites.

It is great that people are making a strong connection now between entheogens and the origin of essentially all religions, but this new common knowledge lacks a philosophy and theory of metaphysics and time.

I am going to be very selective and strive for books that especially support the convergence of the following areas.

o  Entheogens in the origin of religions, particularly the mystery religions.

o  Religious experiencing rationally and clearly explained.

o  Judeo-Christianity as mystery religion.

o  Metaphysics of time, theory of frozen time, including hidden-variables determinism and tenseless time

o  Personal control agency

I will not provide much coverage of these areas: shamanism, most Eastern religion, 20th-century psychedelics history.

http://www.egodeath.com/entheogenbooks2.htm -- new page in progress

http://www.egodeath.com/entheogenbooks.htm -- needs organizing

New books on entheogens and Western religions

Thank you for the table of contents and detailed description.

I ordered that book, together with recent periodicals -- that reminds me, I need to phone in to finalize the order.

I keep up-to-date about new books here:



Psychoactive Sacramentals, new essays on entheogens and religion

Essays on Entheogens and Religion

Excellent continuation of Entheogens and the Future of Religion, with 25 new essays on the spiritual benefits of entheogens. Authors include Huston Smith, Stan Grof, Alexander and Ann Shulgin, Albert Hofmann, Dan Merkur, Rick Doblin, Myron Stolaroff, and four clergy members. Recommended.

Thomas B. Roberts (editor) 2001; Council on Spiritual Practices (Promind Services) 1-889725-02-1, 286 pg pb, #PSM 16.95

This is a special Promind Services pre-publication preview offer for this book; the general publication date is November 1, 2001.


Eleusis (new), Issue 4, two new important kykeon papers, and more

What was the kykeon of the Temple of Eleusis? Two long papers take this research to the next level. Plus fly-agarics in Scandinavia; the dream plant of South Africa; plants of New Guinea; Boletus manicus; Maori kava; reviews.

Giorgio Samorini & Jonathan Ott (editors) 2001; SISSC, 186 pg lg pp, #EN4 21.95


Entheogen Review V10#2, latest entheogen news, DMT, Mind States II, etc.

The Entheogen Review, Vol X, #2

Ott on Schultes, DMT and Strassman, more Trichocerei cacti photos by Trout, Mind States II and Hofmann, Acornus and Anadenanthera, Salvia divinorum, Boire on Pharmaco Prohibita, Elizabeth Gips eulogy, events, more.

David Aardvark (editor); 36 pg lg pp, #E02 5.95

Repairing the rift among entheogen scholars

James Arthur ought to have tighter editing and more citations, more scholarly style than in the book Mushrooms & Mankind.  Dan Merkur convinced me of the importance of scholarly discipline.  It would be wonderful for Entheos journal to work with James Arthur to publish a respectable article of his even if his natural style is popular and undisciplined.  I have little patience for scholarly discipline, but unlike Arthur, I have a high respect for it.

Arthur has an interesting hypothesis that scholars already know the entheogen theory so there's no point in playing the charade of scholarly citation.  Like some of my experimental extreme hypotheses, there is some degree of truth in his assertion, mixed with some untruth.

I have to criticize the many typos in the Mithras article in Entheos journal.  I'm sure the editor is as busy as I am, but typos are very harmful for scholarly credibility, and are the most abrupt contradiction possible of the magazine's stated goal.  I have great respect for the work of all entheogen scholars, specifically including John Allegro, James Arthur, and Chris Bennett, and I intend to give them as much credit for their contributions and insights as possible.

There seems to have been a major rift in the entheogen scholar community pursuant to these two books:

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East

John Marco Allegro, 1969?


Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality

R. Gordon Wasson, 1972?


Much of the rift centers around the no-historical Jesus theory.  I was surprised to find that Jack Herer is quite a scholar and considers it very important to reject the historical Jesus assumption.  I was surprised to find that Jack Herer was even more critical of the book Apples of Apollo than I was, because of its assumption of a historical Jesus.  I am very forgiving of the way entheogen scholars assume a historical Jesus -- what scholars don't? 

I used to unthinkingly make the same assumption myself, as an entheogen scholar; it's hardly an outstanding reason to dock points for when reviewing an entheogen book.  But Herer seems to think that the presence of the historical Jesus assumption fatally undermines the legitimacy of an entheogen book about myth-religion.

I've been more tentative in postulating that literalist thinking about Jesus practically prevents one from comprehending the profound entheogenic mythic meaning of the Passion of the Cross.  It seems that Herer is more absolute: it is impossible to have a legitimate entheogen theory or a higher understanding of entheogenic myth-religion if one assumes there was a historical Jesus.

Now that Clark Heinrich has conceded the entirely mystic-mythic, ritual-metaphorical, and allegorical nature of the Jesus figure, Chris Bennett and the Mark Hoffman/Carl Ruck crowd are the only remaining entheogen scholars to assume or take for granted a historical Jesus.  Would it be good for all entheogen scholars to do away with the historical Jesus assumption?  I don't know; maybe a range of views and thinking styles helps the entheogen theory cause more than it impedes it.

Truly, the most critical of the critical thinkers are the no-historical Jesus scholars.  They have to be the clearest of thinkers.  In general, no-historical Jesus scholars immediately concede the high plausibility of the entire entheogen theory of religion, whereas the less critical thinkers, the entheogen scholars generally are completely uncritical about the historical Jesus assumption -- I know this mistake first-hand. 

Entheogen theorists typically haven't read books about no-historical Jesus, and yet they actively adhere to the assumption of a historical Jesus, and consider themselves to be critical thinkers.  After having seen how upside-down the world's assumptions are with respect to entheogens, these would-be critical thinkers dare to venture a strong affirmation of the historical Jesus assumption.

Upon Heinrich conceding no-historical Jesus, and upon finding that Jack Herer is (if possible) more intent than I am on dismissing the historical-Jesus assumption as a harmful impediment to progress in entheogen knowledge, and upon James Arthur's dismissal of the historical Jesus assumption, it looks clear at this point that the future of entheogen scholarship is moving in the direction I advocate: effectively *replacing* the historical Jesus assumption by, basically, Allegro's view -- give him credit for being too far ahead of his time, so far that he has embarrassed us and now we repent -- the view that Jesus, like Dionysus, is none other than the entheogen. 

The only flaw with Allegro is his disparaging attitude toward the early enthenogenic Christians, not his theory *that* they were entheogenists and the Jesus was none other than Amanita and its experiences and insights.  The only way forward for entheogen theory is to stop distancing itself by disparaging Allegro, and instead, give him credit for being so far ahead of his time, that even we would-be critical thinkers, have had to run to catch up with him. 

We must criticize and reject Allegro's bad attitude, while being in awe of his prescient conclusion that Jesus was none other than the entheogen -- otherwise, our field is broken and dysfunctional, a field based on a sandy foundation of untruth, leading to darkness as much as light.

I'm not sure of what constructive outcome can be had by entheogen scholars criticizing and critiquing each other's contributions.  I was extremely dismayed at the way the book Apples of Apollo insulted and disparaged John Allegro by kicking him in the footnotes and refusing to include him in the bibliography -- that was truly bad behavior, bad scholarly citizenship and is the opposite of the constructive criticism that is necessary for entheogen scholarship to progress.

Constructive criticism can be blurred into destructive criticism.  It's important to both criticize and praise other co-workers in this scholarly field, giving them credit and giving them their due.  That's the only way the field can really progress.  I'm highly critical to the point of being or seeming destructive, but critical, skeptical thinking has produced results in developing my own thinking or theoretical system.

The effective attitude among entheogen scholars is neither an uncritical love-fest nor the kind of insulting dismissals like the footnotization of Allegro or the disparagement of James Arthur's popularist, anti-scholarly strategy. 

There is some disadvantage of associating Entheos journal with James Arthur because of his popularism and anti-scholar attitude -- but the solution must be to work together to overcome each other's weaknesses and improve each other, which includes a great deal of critical wrangling as well.  It is very stressful, the hard work of both criticizing the limitations of one's fellow scholars, while also working to build up each other's work and contributions, to maximize the potential of each scholar together. 

Is there outright competition between these scholars?  I don't really think so; not significantly -- clearly there is enough territory for many more scholars in this field; we need to invite and create and encourage even more scholars to help work in this field.  The real problem, the reason for contention and insults -- each controversial scholar is terrified of the liability of being associated with each other. 

Bennett?  That marijuana-Jesus kook?  No, he's not my friend, his work sucks, he's totally wrong.  Arthur?  An embarrassment to us serious scholars!  Heinrich?  The fool assumes a historical Jesus; he's a terrible embarrassment and liability to us clear thinkers! 

Each controversial scholar aligns himself with certain other controversial scholars, and aligns himself against certain other controversial scholars.  Why?  Because being associated with another controversial scholar is partly a boon and partly a harmful liability for a controversial scholar. 

Allegro was tarred and feathered for his theory that Jesus is none other than the Amanita in conjunction with ritual sex -- no wonder entheogen scholars publically disparage him and distance themselves as far as possible from him and his theories.

Entheogen scholars should not try to distance themselves from Allegro (because of his no-HJ, and sex hypotheses) or Bennett (for his seeming marijuana-Jesus fixation) or Arthur (for his attitude against disciplined scholarly conventions).  Instead, the constructive attitude and the way forward is to praise each scholar for what one takes to be their insight, and to criticize just those aspects one disagrees with. 

My treatment of Ken Wilber is a good model: the hardest thing in the world is to legitimately critcize Wilber.  He's so right about so many things and has made huge contributions to Integral Theory and transpersonal theory of psycho-spiritual development.

I commend him and respectfully cite him, even while I consign to the flames his pathetic, totally inadequate, muddled and inconsistent attitude toward Hellenistic mystery-religion: he is practically oblivious to the entheogen basis of Hellenistic mystery-religion and myth-religion, assumes a historical Jesus, and has hardly thought about how cosmic determinism fits into the Hellenistic way of thinking.

Because of these omissions and severe under-treatment of these subjects, Wilber has an outright *weak* core theory of what ego-transcendence is about.  His theory of everything is as good as it could be, given the limiting factor, which is his weak core theory of what is *most important* in the mental transformation that is ego death and rebirth.

I don't try to publically distance myself from Wilber, like the way an entheogen scholar fearfully tries to deny any association with other entheogen scholars.  I associate my work with Wilber's work *selectively*.  It's dishonest and chicken of the book Apples of Apollo to take some of Allegro's insights, footnoting him repeatedly, and then insult Allegro on the whole, in an effort to publically distance their work from his by shunning him from inclusion in the bibliography. 

The book's insulting wholesale disparagement of Allegro is inexcusable (even if strategically understandable), whereas the book's gullible assumption of a historical Jesus is fully understandable and excusable.  Jack Herer seems to have been taken aback by both flaws of the book Apples of Apollo: the wholesale disparagement of and distancing from Allegro, and the gullible assumption of a historical Jesus.

Entheos journal ought to do penance and prove that it is as constructive as I wish to be, by publishing a favorable critical article about the whole Allegro affair and debate, and by working with James Arthur to publish a scholarly article (with no typos).

-- Michael "brushed off effortlessly like a gnat" Hoffman


Entheogen Books Only in English

Someone wrote:

>>Most of the Entheogen-Theory of Religion books are only available in English. The German market on books of these types seems to be nonexistant. In fact "Chemische Ekstase. Drogen und Religion.  ", 1971, by Walter Houston Clark ist the only title i found at Amazon.de. It's out of print.

>>I imagine that the other major European languages are no different (except English itself of course). No wonder people have not heard anything of these new ways of conceiving of Religion.

German-language scholarship about the roots of Christianty seems to be decades ahead of the English-speaking scholarship, which gave itself a lobotomy in fear of what it was discovering in the early 20th Century.


>>This resource (the yahoo group) esp. your postings are very valuable because they offer highly interesting new facts/theories which serve as  a basis (the blockuniverse theory of egodeath) as well as means of further exploration of the field.

>>As i see it, this seems to be a quite singular group. Other groups with similar topics (determinism)(religions & entheogens) seem very uninspired to this one.

I'm trying to get all the elephant, not just stopping upon feeling one leg of it or just the trunk or tail.

>>I'm wondering why this stuff still hasn't found its way to more people. But i guess that will take care of itself once a critical mass has heard of this.

By working with no-free-will, entheogen theory of religion, and mythic-only Jesus together, this has formed the right, effective key to leap years ahead of those who retain conventional paradigm and try to only change one of these at a time.  This theory sits atop the other theories but also greatly modifies them; this theory is possible by combining a potently modified version of each of the other more bounded theories. 

For example, I really shake my head at those who show there was no Jesus, and think their work is done -- and same with those who find mythic allusion to visionary plants themselves and think they are done.  The atheist no-Jesus scholars don't even know their own area of research, because they lack the key context, the bigger framework that as much revolutionizes seemingly unrelated domains.  Similarly, most entheogen researchers have no more familiarity with no-free-will than any educated person.

Plato, Ecstasy, and Identity -- Michael Rinella's Dissertation

Michael Rinella wrote:

>I had an article published in Polis in 2000, but it was primarily on Eleusis/the kykeon and mystery language in Plato's Phaedrus. 

>The work on wine was in my dissertation.  I've tried reorganizing it into a single article, and believe I presented it as a paper at one or two conferences in early 1998, but the material was rejected by a couple of classical journals, and political philosophy journals simply felt the material wasn't political enough.  I haven't looked at it in a couple of years now. 

>I did recently submit a paper titled "The First Drug War - Plato, Ecstasy, and the Poets" which has a few references to wine, especially in Homer. 

>You can order a copy of the dissertation from - (think it's called) - UMI.

>If you are looking for a single source, Nicander's Alexipharmakon (translated variously as "Antidotes" or "Poisonings") has some very interesting material, describing the negative effects of wine mixed with various substances - such as lower than fatal doses of hemlock - upon their users. 

>The important thing is that in ancient Greece the many meanings of pharmakon:  remedy, poison, intoxicant, pigment (as in painting), perfume, magical talisman, etc. blended and merged in all sorts of ways in ordinary usage, as the Greeks lacked the kind of expectation of clear categorization typical of "modernity" (which helps explain why some of Plato's later dialogues, like the Sophist, and the Statesman, are such tedious hair splitting of names to arrive at a universal definition of those two professions). 

>So in the case of wine, it wasn't just that the Greek wine was "entheogenic" though it certainly was that in many cases.  In the case from Nicander, which vividly describes individuals who drank wine with non-lethal doses of hemlock as crawling on the streets on their hands and knees, or on their backs, gasping for air, limbs numb, etc., there is clearly more than just alcohol at work, but neither can we describe this as "becoming one with god" or some such. 

>The same could be said for someone who drank wine mixed with what we would call perfume, or paint (like white lead, also mentioned in Nicander).  

>Although many new interesting sources have been published since my dissertation was accepted in 1997, I am not surprised to hear that many still cling to the notion of the ancient Greeks as a fundamentally "temperate" people, who had access only to wine, and who diluted that wine to dampen it's intoxicating effects. 

>Nowhere is presentism so strong in classical studies than, perhaps, on the question of drug use - religious, recreational, or otherwise - in the ancient (particularly Greek) world.   

Pages 296-327 are most relevant to wine.


http://wwwlib.umi.com/dxweb/search -- enter 9733831



Plato, Ecstasy, and Identity

Michael A. Rinella

State University of New York at Albany

457 pp.


UMI order number 9733831


UMI Dissertation Services

300 North Zeeb Road

P.O. Box 1346

Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106-1346

1-800-521-0600 or 734-761-4700

Book: Ratsch: Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas

Bill wrote:

>>Regarding entheogens in Asia, look into...

Book: Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas

Christian Ratsch, Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Surendra Bahadur Shahi


Nov. 2002

>>These are the people who worked and studied for years among these shamans and who conducted the week-long workshop/conference in which  my friends and I participated in 2001. You'll get the best insights of what I mean from this book. It's a translation from their German title of three years earlier.

>>Ratsch has published over the years the best work on psychedelics and has worked with many traditional people, notably the Mayans and the people of the Himalayans. I first got to know his work around the time of LSD's 50th celebration in 1993, where I heard him talk and subsequently at the Palenque conference in Mexico and then this one in Nepal. It's unfortunate that his most encyclopedic works on psychedelics have not yet been translated into English. But do some Web searching to check him out further.


>-----Original Message-----

>From: Michael Hoffman

>Sent: Monday, June 09, 2003 10:10 PM

>To: egodeath~at~yahoogroups.com

>Subject: RE: [egodeath] Re: Low, mid-level, and high religion; 2- vs.

>3-tiered model



>>Today though, I see more potential in the US for real entheogenic

>>Buddhism in the future, then I see in the orient.



>Western Buddhism at least grants entheogens 10% the efficacy, legitimacy,

>traditionality of meditation -- better than 0%.  Some Eastern Buddhism uses



>Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas

>Surendra Bahadur Shahi, Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling




>>Also of any of the religions on earth I see Buddhism as the most

>entheogenically inclined.


>But when looking at the Hellenistic origin of Christianity, it is

>child's play

>to recognize it as originally entheogen-based, and there are very

>clear traces

>of entheogens throughout -- the Eucharist liturgy and doctrine about it is

>obviously, clearly, recognizably, blatantly, and definitely based on and

>modelled after entheogens.  For those who are equipped to recognize it,

>Christianity is clearly and virtually explicitly about entheogen consumption,

>experience, and insights, but officially lacks the entheogen itself.


>In this respect, Christianity is blatantly entheogenic, while Buddhism isn't.

>In Christianity, there is the potential "Death Star vulnerability" ability to

>demonstrate that the Eucharist is enthoegenic, bringing the whole literalist

>view crashing down.  Theologians agree that the very heart and core of

>Christianity is the Eucharist or Lord's Supper -- that is the peak of the

>liturgy, the center of ritual, and it is clearly entheogen-shaped.


>To clearly point this out is to reveal to the world that

>Christianity rests on

>an entheogen-shaped basis.  We'd have to also demonstrate that the seder and

>all the sacred meals of Hellenistic religion were entheogenic.  Buddhism has

>no such vulnerable entheogen-shaped heart, no such entheogen-shaped pillar

>holding up the wobbly status quo.



>>from the viewpoint of High enlightenment experience we are talking

>>about more of hoping for a human mutation, then expecting these

>>institutions to ever wise up.





>As institutions, they are constitutionally designed not to ever wise up.


>As freely usable mix-and-match symbol systems or languages, the major

>myth-religion systems are an immensely rich reservoir of valuable resources

>for ergonomic religionists to utilize, as the gnostics did, but better, using

>a contemporary striaghtforward systematic scientific system of explanation,

>engineered for ease of use and straightforward expression, offering a variety

>of user-interface skins or letting you go straight to the command line.

Book: Witchcraft Medicine...Forbidden Plants

Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants

Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Christian Ratsch, Wolf-Dieter Storl



Sep. 2003

ISBN 0-89281-971-5

Inner Traditions

272 pages, 8 x 10

Includes three 8-page color inserts and 158 b&w illustrations

Paper, $24.95 (CAN $39.95)

About the Book

An in-depth investigation of traditional European folk medicine and the healing arts of witches

• Explores the outlawed "alternative" medicine of witches suppressed by the state and the Church and how these plants can be used today

• Reveals that female shamanic medicine can be found in cultures all over the world

• Illustrated with color and black-and-white art reproductions dating back to the 16th century

Witch medicine is wild medicine. It does more than make one healthy, it creates lust and knowledge, ecstasy and mythological insight. In Witchcraft Medicine the authors take the reader on a journey that examines the women who mix the potions and become the healers; the legacy of Hecate; the demonization of nature's healing powers and sensuousness; the sorceress as shaman; and the plants associated with witches and devils. They explore important seasonal festivals and the plants associated with them, such as wolf's claw and calendula as herbs of the solstice and alder as an herb of the time of the dead-Samhain or Halloween. They also look at the history of forbidden medicine from the Inquisition to current drug laws, with an eye toward how the sacred plants of our forebears can be used once again.

About the Author

Claudia Muller-Ebeling, Ph.D., an art historian and anthropologist, is the coauthor of Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and was editor in chief of Dao, a magazine about the health and longevity practices of the Far East. She lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Christian Ratsch, Ph.D., is a world-renowned anthropologist and ethnopharmacologist who specializes in the shamanic uses of plants. The author of Marijuana Medicine and coauthor of Plants of the Gods and Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas, he lives in Hamburg, Germany.

Wolf-Dieter Storl is a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist who has taught at Kent State University, as well as in Vienna, Berne, and Benares. He lives in Allgau, Germany.

The Web page includes detailed table of contents and excerpt.

Entheogens in Freke, Acharya, Allegro

Michael wrote:


>>>[Acharya] discusses the Jesus figure as specifically a personification of the Amanita cap, as one thematic source [of the Jesus figure].

Dave wrote:

>>This sounds like a rehash of John Allegro's _Sacred Mushroom and the Cross_.  What about her take on this sets her apart from Allegro?

The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East

John Allegro



Includes my review of Allegro's book, showing my general evaluation of his theory that Jesus was none other than a personification of the mushroom.

Acharya, Allegro, and Freke have all written about no-historical-Jesus and about the use of visionary plants in religion.  Of these, Allegro most closely connects the subject of entheogens and no-Jesus, while Freke seems to least connect the two subjects.

http://www.egodeath.com/frekeenthnofreewill.htm -- 4 of the 6 pages on visionary plants, from Freke's book "Spiritual Traditions/Encyclopedia of Spirituality: Essential Teachings to Transform Your Life" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/080699844X)

Acharya favorably supports Allegro.  However, the main proposal of Allegro's book is that Jesus was none other than the mushroom.  In contrast, Acharya's book has only the following references to visionary plants, and does not integrate them into its main proposal, which is that early Christianity was first of all a metaphorical allegory, grounded in the ordinary state of consciousness, ultimately referring to the literal, physical planets -- a conception that is typical of the 19th-Century fashion of demythologizing.


The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold

Acharya S


Sep. 1999

Page - theme

114 - Osiris as plant of truth eaten in communion

186 - venom inebriation to induce prophetic and hallucinatory trances

203 - datura, opium, 'wine' with spices - in sacred king tradition

270 - eating sweet scrolls followed by visions in Ezekiel & Revelation, "it has been suggested that these scrolls represented hallucinogenic drugs, which were commonly used in mystery schools and secret societies."

275-276 - introduction to the sex and drugs section. 'God-given' sacramental drugs as avenue to the divine, paths to "God" or Cosmic Consciousness, gifts from "God", to create union with the divine, use of drugs as part of the esoteric religious or "mysteries", these "sacraments" constituted a significant part of the mysteries, many schools and cults used drugs in their initiation rites, there have been a number of pro-drug rituals, esoteric Judaism and Christianity used these rites and rituals; need to utilize these powerful devices wisely, the "instruction manual" of initiation, entheogens as generating God. 

Disparages "the potent extracted chemicals causing such turmoil today".

293-295 - main section on drugs.  Strong defense of ancient widespread tradition of visionary plants ("opium, cannabis, hashish, sacred plants, herbs, amanita, fungi") in religious practice.  Plants as teaching-gods, for initiation, spiritual physicians, Therapeuts, medicinal herbs.  Alcohol is "truly drugging and stupefying, whereas entheogens, including the "magic mushroom, " have the ability to increase awareness and acuity".  "Much of the world's sacred literature incorporated the mushroom in an esoteric manner"... "manna from heaven" as psychedelic. 

"In fact, Allegro's suggestion that "Jesus" was a mushroom god is not implausible, considering how widespread was the pre-Christian Jesus/Salvation cult and how other cultures depict their particular entheogens as "teachers" and "gods."  However, this mushroom identification would represent merely one aspect of the Jesus myth and Christ conspiracy, which, as we have seen, incorporated virtually everything at hand, including sex and drugs, widely perceived in pre-Yahwist, pre-Christian cultures as being "godly."" - p. 294


Dave wrote:

>>I felt Allegro made way too much out of way too little real evidence.

The construct "real evidence" is problematic; facts are theory-dependent.  A smoking gun according to one interpretive framework is non-evidence according to a competing interpretive framework. 

When Allegro's book is considered within an interpretive framework that is only now beginning to form -- the maximal entheogen theory of religion -- and considered together with all the other books on entheogens and religion, and with all the other books on no-historical-Jesus, according to that interpretive framework, there is more than enough evidence for Jesus' being none other than the personification of visionary plants, metaphorized as 'manna', 'bread from heaven', and 'mixed wine'.

Most entheogen scholars assume uncritically the historicity of Jesus and crew.  In contrast, no-Jesus scholars commonly accept the entheogen theory of the origin of religion.  I'm almost alone in instead promoting the entheogen theory of perennial philosophy in general, which is far more extreme than the entheogen theory of the mere origin long-ago of religion.

Timothy Freke and I are in nearly complete agreement about what I consider the key aspects of religion and perennial philosophy.  However, he has said that we lack evidence for visionary plants in early Christianity, though he devoted 6 entire large pages to entheogens.

John A. wrote:

>I have suspected for some time that the basic Christian myth was acted out in rites by the converts and initiates. I think that when "Paul" says, "We have died, been buried, raised, and ascended with Christ"(paraphrase) that it is indicating that this cosmic drama was acted out by the converts in secret mystery rites. We know about baptism/death, so why should the other mythical deeds of the redeemer have no reenactment? I think that the  experience of participating in these secret rites is the shared background knowledge between writer and audience in the Pauline writings (rather than knowledge of an historical person).

>I have posted about this in the past, but must admit that thus far it has fallen short of proof. However, I think that Michael Hoffman would concur, with the addition that the participants partook of hallucinogenic drugs to enhance the mystical experience. (Michael, please correct me if I have misstated your position).

I would not say 'enhance', but rather, 'induce'.  The perennial philosophy is based on the ongoing wellspring of mystic experiencing induced by visionary plants.  This is true for the Mystery Religions, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Judaism in the Greco-Roman era, as well as Persian and Egyptian religion, all of them being superficially different metaphor-systems describing the same realm of experiencing, the mystic state of consciousness. 

Only the modern loss of the integrated use of visionary plants in religion, and therefore the loss of the key to the conceptual metaphorical language of mystic experiental insight, causes scholars to assume that there are significant divides and differences between Greco-Roman Christianity, Gnosticism, Mystery Religions, and Judaism. 

Scholars publish tomes struggling to figure out whether one derived from the other, but the short answer is that a wide variety of different metaphor systems mutually influenced each other easily, because they all were rooted in the same garden, the mystic state of consciousness, routinely administered as a series of initiations ergonomically producing a change from the uninitiated mental worldmodel to the fully initiated mental worldmodel.

>There is nothing implausible in the above. We know Christianity started as a mystery religion, and that mystery religions had secret rites that were guarded from outsiders. We know that other mystery religions acted out their divine dramas, so why not Christianity? The use of drugs is much less certain, although not impossible. Maybe Acharya and Allegro are onto something.

Freke hasn't explicitly addressed that particular question in writing -- the connection between no-Jesus and the use of visionary plants in early Christianity -- otherwise, I would add "and Freke".  Talking with him, I did confirm my take on the strangeness of the passage in the book _The Jesus Mysteries: How the Pagan Mysteries of Osiris-Dionysus Were Rewritten as the Gospel of Jesus Christ_, about the ancients having been lightweights with their 'mixed wine'.  He wrote that the ancients had a different physiology than us moderns.

Pinchbeck's book Breaking Open the Head

Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism

Daniel Pinchbeck


Sep 2002

It's a journalistic approach, which often works very well.

Average rating 5/5 in 16 reviews is high, and this is also a high rate of posting reviews.

Ott's Pharmacratic Inquisition found online

I found a chapter of this top-notch book online.

The Age of Entheogens & The Angels' Dictionary

Jonathon Ott

Chapter 2: The Pharmacratic Inquisition


Book: Pharmako/Dynamis BookParty

Pharmako/Dynamis: Stimulating Plants, Potions, & Herbcraft

Dale Pendell


Sep. 2002, rank 9K (very popular)

Oakland, Calif.

-----Original Message-----

From: dale c/o botanikos.com

Sent: Thursday, September 12, 2002 12:27 PM

Subject: Pharmako/Dynamis BookParty--MercuryHouse Benefit

BOOK PARTY for Dale Pendell's Pharmako/Dynamis

& a Benefit for Mercury House

Sunday, September 22 at "21 GRAND" (which is actually at 449B 23rd St., Oakland between Telegraph and Broadway), 6 to 11 pm, or whenever we get out of there.

Music and Words by ORACULAR MADNESS, CRYSTAL AWARENESS, JACOB MAX NASIM, and others. Surprise appearances by famous poets.

Books, the author, and sundry interesting characters will be present.

Suggested donation $20.


What's the benefit thing?

The benefit is for Mercury House, a non-profit literary press, to help them pay the printing bill (and, eventually, even the author). Mercury House volunteers and friends put in months of totally unpaid work to help produce this book, and I am glad to do a bit to help them out. The donations to Mercury House are tax deductible. If you are like me and aren't making enough income to pay taxes but still want to come, get in touch and we'll work something out. It's a donation benefit and not meant to exclude anyone.

We'll have food and other refreshments. Ghiradelli's is donating chocolate. Peets is donating coffee. Dale is donating some of his famous wormwood mouthwash, along with other R&D updates.

Oracular Madness, fresh from Burning Man, will perform some new pieces, as well as their signature surprise oraculation. Jacob Max Nasim will perform with his Psychedelic Jews Harp, and the Crystal Awareness Ensemble is likely to appear. Other weird drummers and musicians are rumored to be planning to attend.

In the spirit of Pharmako/Dynamis, someone may bring an interesting tea.

Thomas Roberts' bk rvw of Shanon: Antipodes of the Mind

From Anthropology of Consciousness, 2003, Vol. 14, No. 1, pages 75-79.


The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience

Benny Shanon. Oxford University Press, 2001. 475 pages.

Reviewed by:

Thomas B. Roberts

Northern Illinois University

Someone casually glancing at Antipodes' subtitle - Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience - might mistakenly suppose this is yet another collection of the I-drank-ayahuasca-and-saw-jaguars ilk. Few things could be further from the truth. This is the first professional study of ayahuasca from the perspective of cognitive psychology, and so far as I know, it is the most academically sophisticated example of how the cognitive sciences might approach other diverse mindbody states too. In data collection, detailed interpretation, and theoretical grounding, Antipodes sets a standard that future cognitive psychologists will strive to live up to.

As Shanon points out, his intent is to "present the case for the cognitive-psychological study of Ayahuasca," (page 13) and at the same time "…the visions and other non-ordinary experiential phenomena that Ayahuasca induces present a new, uncharted natural cognitive domain. Since the number of natural domains is very small, this makes the Ayahuasca experience of paramount interest for the student of the mind." (pages 34 - 35) Thus, he is constructing a two-way bridge between cognitive studies and consciousness research.. Each, he claims, can inform the other for their mutual growth.

Does Shanon hold the professional credentials to design this intellectual architecture? A Stanford Ph.D. and professor of psychology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem since 1976, Shanon has held visiting professorships in France, England, the US, Poland, Italy, Brazil, and the Netherlands. He served as an associate editor of New Ideas in Psychology, and Pragmatics and Cognition.. He has reviewed articles for over 2 dozen journals; those most immediately germane to Antipodes are Consciousness and Cognition and the Journal of Consciousness Studies. Along the way he has written over 100 professional articles and presented papers at half again as many meetings.

Recently there as been a swarm of books about people's experiences with ayahuasca, most of them based on a few sessions. Many are fun to read in the nature of a tourist's impressionistic travelogue, but most lack the intellectual depth that comes with repeated experience and carefully considered analysis.

One of Antipodes' strong points is the number of ayahuasca experiences in Shanon's sample. Over a period of 10 years he "actively participated" in more than 130 sessions, including some in the Amazonian regions of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia as well as in some private settings outside South America. Added to this, in both structured and unstructured interviews, Shanon questioned 178 people: 16 indigenous or of mixed race, 106 residents of urban South America, and 56 people residing outside of South America, totaling approximately 2,500 sessions. This is likely to be the largest number of ayahuasca-experiences ever studied scientifically and may even top the total of all previous scientific reports together.

In the first 3 chapters, Shanon describes the general background of this study, its theoretical foundations, and methodology. Chapters 4 - 17 present his phenomenological observations and typologies. And in 5 concluding chapters on theoretical issues, he reflects on some implications of consciousness studies for cognitive studies and for broader philosophical issues. Detailing his data, informants, main findings, and codification schemes, the appendix, "Quantitative Data," sets a high empirical standard for subsequent consciousness researchers to meet.

Given Shanon's goals, his professional qualifications, and the breadth of his data, what does he foresee from hybridizing cognitive studies (psychology in this case) with consciousness studies (ayahuasca-induced in this case)?  Organized descriptive typologies are one goal.  After dividing visualizations into eyes-opened vs. eyes-closed, he proposes a systematic typology of their structural types, noting 7 major categories with several subcategories: Visualizations without Semantic Content, Primitive Figurative Elements, Images, Scenes, Virtual Reality, Visions of Light, and Visual Style (pages 86 - 98).

Many readers of this journal will be especially interested in the two chapters on consciousness. "Consciousness I" sketches this task:

The great potential contribution of the study of non-ordinary states of consciousness to the scientific understanding of the mind lies precisely in their rendering the parameters of the cognitive system apparent and in their revealing the various possible values that these parameters may take. (page 196)

Shanon identifies 11 structural parameters of consciousness and some of the unusual values they can take: (pages 198 - 98)

Agenthood - experiencing thoughts as not being one's own

Personal identity - personal identification with whatever one is looking at, a sense of unity with the other

Unity - being oneself at the same time being someone or something else

Boundaries - erasing the boundary between inner and outer reality

Individuation - self transcendence but with consciousness still maintained

Calibration-change in perceptions of one's size, weight, posture, etc.

Locus of consciousness -consciousness located outside one's physical body

Time-variations in time, including its speed or even feelings of eternity

Self-consciousness -a "residue" of the normal self after other facets of consciousness are completely altered

Intentionality - no object to which thought is being directed and no content entertained by the mind, often leading to a sense of "the Void" or "pure consciousness."

Connectedness, Knowledge, and the Conferral of Reality - a noetic feeling that one is privy to true knowledge.

Just as William James's and Ralph Hood's descriptors of mystical experience advanced studies of those states, Shanon's parameters offer parallel advances for studying other non-ordinary states. Impressively, this typology is just one of Antipodes' descriptive categorizations of non-ordinary states. Antipodes illustrates a paradigmatic blueprint that future consciousness researchers might follow whatever their favorite mindbody psychotechnologies.  This book is as much about methods for future consciousness research as it is about its ayahuasca-specific findings. I can well imagine a graduate seminar using Antipodes first as a text then as a model for students to follow in their own cognitive-consciousness research projects.

In "Consciousness II," his second chapter on this topic, Shanon considers independent issues that relate to consciousness: paranormal experiences, spiritual and mystical experiences, sanity and madness, and awareness and reality judgments. These lead him to wonder about the comprehensiveness of our usual Western scientific approach.

I hope scholars of cognitive studies will follow Shanon's pioneering work and take the opportunity for expanding their specialties into the underdeveloped state-of-consciousness lands across the cognitive-consciousness bridge. As Shanon challenges in Antipodes' last sentence: "Yet, from a cognitive-psychological point the moral of the story is clear: The Antipodes of the mind reveal a geography that is much more amazing, much more wondrous than most, if not all, contemporary cognitive scientists seem to surmise." (page 402)

Similarly, I hope anthropologists of consciousness will increase their attention to the cognitive aspects of their investigations. Shanon's Antipodes of the Mind enriches the anthropology of consciousness by reminding anthropologists to ask questions from cognitive studies: How does cognition vary from state to state?  How do perception, learning, intelligence, and development vary from state to state? What thinking processes lie across the cognitive-consciousness bridge in the far - and not so far -antipodes of the mind?

Book: Thomas Roberts: Psychedelic Qunitet

I'm looking forward to Roberts' work.

Thomas Roberts (Council for Spiritual Practices; csp.org) --


-----Original Message-----

From: Thomas Roberts

Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2003

To: maps-forum

Subject: MAPS: Shanon's book "Antipodes of the Mind"

... here is an excerpt from "Psychedelic Qunitet," a book I'm working on. This draft is in-process ...

-- Tom Roberts


The Hunt for the Wild Parameters

[begin quotation]

[T]he bringing together of Ayahuasca research and cognitive psychology defines a two-way interaction. Not only can a cognitive-psychological analysis make a crucial contribution to the study of Ayahuasca, the converse is also the case - the study of Ayahuasca may have implications of import to our general understanding of the workings of the human mind. Ayahuasca (along with other mind-altering substances) expands the horizons of psychology and reveals new, hitherto unknown territories of the mind. Thus, the study of Ayahuasca presents new data pertaining to human consciousness, and thus new issues for investigation, new ways to look at things, new questions, and perhaps even new answers.

Benny Shanon

The Antipodes of the Mind, page 37

[end quotation]

An unresolved problem with thinking about different mindbody states - states of consciousness, psychophysiological states, mindbody programs - is: As we move through these states, what kinds of things should we pay attention to? It's easy to get so absorbed with the specific things we think, the oddities we see, or intense feelings we have that we fail to notice that thinking, seeing, and feeling are themselves characteristics that mind explorers should take note of from state to state. The things that change from state to state are called "parameters," and a list of important parameters reminds us to report on them so that we'll have a full account of each state. Parameters are a sort of check list.  They remind us to pay attention not only to the specifics of various experiences but also to the broader kinds of mindbody characteristics that alter along with altering states.

What kinds of things change when we use psychedelics or other mindbody techniques? A book by Benny Shanon, a professor of psychology at Hebrew University in Jerusalem gives us a partial list. He has served as a visiting professor internationally, including held visiting professorships in France, England, the US, Poland, Italy, Brazil, and the Netherlands. In addition to having over 100 articles published and presenting over 150 papers at meetings, he has served on the committees that review submitted papers for over 2 dozen journals.

His book "The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience" illustrates the value of psychedelics as a method of exploring our minds. They alert us to parameters that we might otherwise miss. The chapter "Consciousness I" sketches out this  task: "Thus from a structural point of view, consciousness can be defined as the set of parameters that specify the particular way human beings experience the world, both physical and mental." (page 195)

The great potential contribution of the study of non-ordinary states of consciousness to the scientific understanding of the mind lies precisely in their rendering the parameters of the cognitive system apparent and in their revealing the various possible values that these parameters may take. (page 196)

Shanon identifies 11 structural parameters of consciousness and some of the unusual values they can take:

" Agenthood - experiencing thoughts as not being one's own

" Personal identity - personal identification with whatever one is looking at, a sense of unity with the other

" Unity - being oneself at the same time being someone or something else

" Boundaries - erasing the boundary between inner and outer reality

" Individuation - self transcendence but with consciousness still maintained

" Calibration-change in perceptions of one's size, weight, posture, etc.

" Locus of consciousness -consciousness located outside one's physical body

" Time-variations in time, including its speed or even feelings of eternity

" Self-consciousness -a "residue" of the normal self after other facets of consciousness are completely altered

" Intentionality - no object to which thought is being directed and no content entertained by the mind, often leading to a sense of "the Void" or "pure consciousness."

" Connectedness, Knowledge, and the Conferral of Reality - a powerful sense of knowing, a noetic sense.


This list of parameters - - things to pay attention to - - can guide other consciousness researchers who want to, say, describe non-ordinary experiences during different types of meditation, construct surveys of people who practices various martial arts, or develop interview protocols for other psychoactive drugs. Because Shanon is a cognitive psychologist, the parameters he selected reflect cognitive interests. People with other interests would choose to pay attention to other parameters.


As dependent variables, we can examine how to produce various states and what these states' characteristics are. What states do LSD, mescaline, caffeine, nicotine, or other drug psychotechnologies produce? How do states produced by different forms of meditation differ from each other, and how do they resemble each other? What states do various forms of ritual dancing and chanting produce? How should we go about describing them? Again, given the plentiful supply of mindbody psychotechnologies and with new ones being invented and imported from other cultures, there is enough to keep decades of mind explorers busy and generations of university researchers busy.

One example of how to approach these questions, which I especially like, is Benny Shanon's excellent book "The Antipodes of the Mind: Charting the Phenomenology of the Ayahuasca Experience." As a cognitive psychologist, Shanon describes the cognitive aspects that the Amazonian sacrament ayahuasca produces and its effects on thinking processes (at least on his and his informants' minds). By brining together this mindbody psychotechnology and cognitive studies, Antipodes sets the standard for systematically exploring ayahuasca's "programs in our mind." More important than Shanon's specific findings, Antipodes illustrates how researchers in, say, the cognitive studies might examine various states - the questions to ask, the observations to make, how incorporate information from other people, and so forth.


From a wider perspective still, Antipodes exemplifies a research strategy that might be adapted by explorers from other psychological approaches and from other disciplines. I expect Antipodes' long-term importance will be because it illustrates how to combine an existing academic area (here cognitive studies) with mindbody states (here ayahuasca). Other disciplines can parallel Shanon's approach and ask their disciplines' typical questions too.

Book by David Spess




Thread about entheogens in buddhism:




>-----Original Message-----

>From: rialcnis2000

>Sent: Saturday, November 22, 2003 11:34 AM

>To: egodeath

>Subject: [egodeath] New book by David Spess Coming out


>I received this e-mail from David Spess a few weeks ago.

>"A book on Buddhist use of Entheogens will soon be published with full documentation from Buddhist texts. Many Buddhist want to know about the early use of drugs by certain Buddhist teachers and where their ideas came from.

>The key to Buddhist entheogen use is the teachings derived from the "Nagas" given to many Buddhist teachers.

>David Spess

>Taos, New Mexico"

Book: Thorne: Marihuana, Burning Bush, Mysticism

Places psychoactives firmly at the heart of myth-religion and mysticism.

Below are some excerpts from the website.

Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses: Mysticism and Cannabis Experience

Robert Thorne

Sep 1999



There is an Amazon page, with large picture.



Cover picture:


Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses: Mysticism and Cannabis Experience

Robert Thorne

Sep 1999

http://www.clarusbooks.com - I ordered it here and received it quickly.


Cover picture:


Detailed table of contents & ISBN:



1. The Mysteries.................1

Isis and Osiris..... 9

Dionysus..... 15

Demeter & Persephone..... 19

Adonis and Astarte..... 24

Attis and Cybele..... 26

Mithras..... 28

India..... 32

Judaism & Christianity..... 34

2. The Sacrifice.................59

The Aryans..... 64

Shamanism..... 67

Thanks..... 74

Manna..... 78

Soma..... 88

Haoma..... 96

The Mysteries of Eleusis..... 103

Dionysus..... 111

Cannabis..... 115

3. The Journey...............137

Moses..... 141

Meditation..... 147

My Experience..... 154

The Waters..... 161

Synesthesia..... 178

The Emotional Connection..... 181

The Light..... 187

The Experience Continued..... 206

The Times Before..... 212

4. Mystical  Experience........216

The Unseen Power..... 223

Illumination..... 230

Mystical Phenomena..... 241

The Big Three..... 255

The Ancient World..... 259

The Middle Ages..... 270

Modern Experience..... 287

Today..... 297


Appendix 1 Alchemy..... 317

Appendix 2 Witchcraft..... 324

Appendix 3 Rastafarianism..... 332

Appendix 4 Kundalini..... 338

Appendix 5 Peyote..... 351

Appendix 6 Laws and Lies..... 358



1. What exactly is a mystical experience?

2. How does an average person go about having a mystical experience?

3. What is the relationship between psychedelic drugs, mystical experience and religion?

4. Why haven't the scholars and theologians shown how to have this experience?

5. If mystical experiences are NOT caused by the concepts associated with religion what is a better theory which both explains their manifestation and also describes a reliable method to achieve them?

There are a whole range of experiences available with cannabis that were unavailable to those not initiated into the higher grades of the ancient mystery religions. It was only there you would be taught the secret psychedelic ingredient in the Elixir of Immortality, which plant became the mind manifesting Eucharist, and which herbs were included in the holy incense. Most importantly, you would learn the correct way they must be used in order to produce the awesome experience of Inner Light spoken of by the ancient prophets. The Mystery Religions were following an even older way of the Shaman. All the grand motifs of the world's oldest religions such as: death and resurrection, pilgrimage to a holy place, Eucharist sacrifice, baptism, rebirth, Inner Light and many others are related to aspects of hallucinogenic experience (cannabis included).

The enlightenment experience of the Buddha, the experience known to the prophets as revelation, the experience the ancient Greeks called catharsis, the experience the medieval mystics called ecstasy, and the Gnostic experience of Gnosis are available to all with the correct use of cannabis. All the books on mysticism from many religions and cultures contain parts and pieces of the big picture. But, Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses is the first book to bring all the pieces together in such a way as to show the true nature of, and a proven way to, the mystical experience of Inner Light.

Mystical experiences have been with humankind from the beginning of our self-awareness. Mystical states of consciousness is another way of saying altered states of consciousness. These altered states were the original method the ancient soothsayers, shamans, prophets, oracles and witchdoctors used to have the experiences they misinterpreted as experiences of god. The original way to achieve these altered states was drugs. Only some of these substances known to our ancestors were hallucinogens they also used narcotics and deadly poisons. The holy hallucinogenic sacraments that the pagans and shamans used in their initiation ceremonies evolved into the placebo sacraments of the Church.

Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses demonstrates that religious mystical experience are natural human phenomena achieved with the correct use of cannabis. Marihuana plays a central historical role in bringing these incredible experiences about. It is one thing to talk or write about mystical experience and quite another to explain how to achieve the very experiences described by the mystics. This is what makes Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses unique among all the books that have been written thus far about hallucinogens or Mysticism.

Mystical experiences have been with humankind from the beginning of our self-awareness. Mystical states of consciousness is another way of saying altered states of consciousness. These altered states were the original method the ancient soothsayers, shamans, prophets, oracles and witchdoctors used to have the experiences they misinterpreted as experiences of god. The original way to achieve these altered states was drugs. Only some of these substances known to our ancestors were hallucinogens they also used narcotics and deadly poisons. The holy hallucinogenic sacraments that the pagans and shamans used in their initiation ceremonies evolved into the placebo sacraments of the Church.

In the final analysis, the proof of my theory cannot be found in words. All of the religious arguments are for naught. All the denials based on belief in fairies and fantasies will not succeed. All the religious insults, hatred and violence heaped upon me will not win out. All the theological books ancient or modern are worthless in the debate. For there is no debate, except the one that concerns whether you will, or will not, allow yourself to have the experiences described. The proof is in the experience and no where else.

Anyone one can potentially experience the same mind manifesting mystical phenomenon that the ancient shamans and prophets spoke of. You do not have to have a 'near death experience' or wait until after you die to experience your Inner Light. What has been missing up until this time is a reliable method to reach the Gnosis and enlightenment of the mystics. There is only one book that brings all these ideas together along with a tested method to reach the phenomenon described and that book is  Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses.

Detailed table of contents & ISBN:


In the book Mysticism as the Crossing of Ultimate Boundaries A Theological Reflection, Wayne Teasdale starts out with the statement:

"It is inevitably and invariably difficult to write about mystical experience and the whole inner process of contact with the Divine, or Ultimate Reality; it is completely surrounded by mystery. This difficulty is compounded when we try to speak about mysticism theologically. Most theological topics deal with issues that have been ostensibly settled by the Church in councils, the Magisterium, papal encyclicals, and sound theological studies."

Naturally it is, "inevitably and invariably difficult to write about mystical experience" if you have never had one! Theologians and their fellow travelers always want you to think you are too stupid and cannot understand what is going on.  They speak in terms like: "difficult to write about", "completely surrounded by mystery" and "difficulty is compounded when we try".  My response to that is: Hogwash!  Mysticism and mystical experience are only MADE TO BE difficult by "Church in councils, the Magisterium, papal encyclicals..."  When these are left behind mysticism is not so difficult to understand at all.  Once you understand that belief is irrelevant and that the only prerequisite for having a genuine mystical experience is to be a human being, then, the difficulties disappear.  This does require that one leave behind the need to justify one's stand and outlook with naive notions about gods, goddesses, boogy men, devils and the like.  When a person finally matures beyond the need of these products of stolen mythology the understanding of mysticism and mystical experience comes easy.

All the major religions of the ancient world had, as a central theme, a sacrifice or holy food. Whether it was called Ambrosia, Soma, Manna, Kykeon, Wine, or Elixir of Immortality. Its function was to build a closer relationship between the worshipers and their god. The names change but the idea of a holy food, libation and/or incense reoccurs time and time again. More and more the human race is discovering that the holy elixir of the ancient religions were drug preparations of one type or another.  In Magic and Religion, Mr. Vetter writes:

  "Almost without exception the drugs and intoxicants found in nature or discovered by primitive technology were used more or less as the nucleus of rituals and ceremonials of a profoundly religious character, not to forget or overlook the role played by wine in "communion," a peculiarly revealing term for the ideas and beliefs of yesteryear."(5)

   The greatest evidence in favor of evolution is the evolution of belief systems.  From the prehistoric people's shamanistic cosmogonies and cosmologies through the age of mythologies to the dogmatism of theologies runs an unbroken thread of mystical ideas and themes.  Indeed, if it were not for the fact of evolution, from the original bases of Western theology in Judeo-Catholicism, from where came Protestantism, Mormonism, Moonieism or Umbonda of South America?  They are all synchronistic mutations of what came before.  And what came before, in the beginning, was Shamanism.

...In conclusion, the thing that is most striking (by its absence) [in Teasdale's book] is [that there is] no talk whatsoever about how to go about having a genuine mystical experience.  MARIHUANA the Burning Bush of Moses, Mysticism and Cannabis Experience is still the first book ever to show a tested method to achieve the genuine mystical experience of Inner Light with the CORRECT use of cannabis.  All these subjects and many more are covered in depth in the book.


Mr. Staal (Exploring Mysticism) opens his chapter Drugs and Power by saying, "It seems difficult to deny that there are numerous parallels and similarities between mystical and drug-induced states."(5)  When discussing the similarities between descriptions of mystical experiences and the description of LSD and mescaline, he also says:

"It is important to bear in mind that interpretations and doctrines are never simply "drug induced" or merely based on experience; they are also related to other traditional concepts of a civilization. Perception does not take place in a vacuum but is always interpreted in terms of preconceived notions."

What one takes into an experience determines what they will get out of it and how they explain what had happened to them.

Shamanism, the original religion on planet earth, was inexorably linked to the drugs found in nature.  The Shaman evolved into the priests of the pagan religions and brought with them the ecstatic experiences of their forbearers.  Christianity appropriated Paganism's grand motifs and iconography into itself but could not amalgamate the mystical practices because the secret drugs they were based on were hidden behind the wall of silence which surrounded all the Mystery Religions.  But they were there all the same.  Mr. Braden makes the statement:

"The issue of chemistry cannot be avoided, it seems; psychedelic cultists and religionists alike should be prepared to face squarely the possibility or even probability that their metaphysical systems are in fact inexorably linked to biochemistry."

Psilocybin was the drug used in the Good Friday Experiment.  Psilocybin is a powerful drug.  Cannabis is a much less powerful substance and yet it is capable of producing all of the experiences spoken of by the mystics from the ancient world.  Merely being stoned will not in and of itself produce these experiences this is why I consistently say that they are possible only with the CORRECT use of cannabis.  Still, all in all, throughout the literature on the "Good Friday Experiment" there is no clear cut method to arriving at a mystical experience other than the mere taking of the drug.  The only experience described by the participants that might approach a genuine mystical experience would be the mild experience known as ecstasy.

This is the main thing that makes Marihuana the Burning Bush of Moses, Mysticism and Cannabis Experience the only book available that gives a tested method to reach the enlightenment experience of the Buddha, the experience known to the prophets as revelation, the experience the ancient Greeks called catharsis, the experience the medieval mystics called ecstasy, and the Gnostic experience of Gnosis.  These are available to all with the correct use of cannabis.  This book is packed with information on these and other subjects.

Robert Thorne wrote: [paraphrased]

>I understand your reluctance to include meditation with the use of psychedelic sacraments in the ancient world.  Consider a combination of the two.

>I certainly do not glorify meditation over entheogens.  I would never say "entheogens can approach the legitimacy of meditation".

>I find the term 'entheogens' reprehensible'.  Modern religion is no more than plagiarized paganism, stolen mythology, a ripped off religion. The only thing original about

Christianity is the few place names and individuals that place the pagan myths in a Jewish integument. The use of the term 'entheogens' is another example of how theists steal any idea and use it to glorify their defeated theology.

>Meditation came about in India when the Soma became scarce and was replaced with other psychedelics.  I suspect it happened when someone wanted to feel the full power of the drug but did not have enough to bring about those tangible effects/feelings. Someone finally realized that if one were to be calm, quite and stop the interference of outside distraction the drug affects could be felt more completely. Then, there came a time when the Soma was no longer available but the art of meditation continued. The goal of mystical experience was still the same.

>I have been able to bring about some of these peripheral effects during meditation without partaking of any psychoactive substance.

Like others on this subject, this book needs to be professionally edited and reprinted.  I encourage having the book professionally edited, typeset, and republished.  Adhering to scholarly standards of presentation is important and will pay off in influencing the general scholarly world.  If I were writing a book, I would hesitate to cite this book, because although it contains valuable combinations of ideas in a field that urgently needs all the contributions possible, it has not been professionally edited and typeset, and the reader has to constantly apologize for the typos and awkward citations of authors such as "Mr. Wasson".

Despite the off-putting title word "Marihuana", this book covers "cannabis" instead and is not overly focused on cannabis; its actual focus is on entheogens in religion.  The actual scope of the book is wider than the narrow title and subtitle.

Has a relatively full development of the "'water' = visual distortion" hypothesis, including 'baptism' = visual distortion.  This takes the same ideas I covered in acid-rock lyrics and suggested for the Exodus, and systematically develops them, with critical commentary on literalist religion, pointing out the ritual of water baptism as empty literalism.

Refreshing disparagement of the Christian mystics as they are reflected in the writings that were permitted to be published.

Rejects a close relationship between ethics and enlightenment, page 294.

Refreshing disparagement of Bernadette Roberts -- her style is a great test case to divide feeling-oriented from scientific investigators of transcendent knowledge.

No citations of Jonathan Ott, unfortunately.

Valuable for the combination of bibliography entries on world mysticism and entheogens.  Thorne is basically a good writer and clear thinker, with original combinations of ideas, perspectives, and presentation.

Portrays "light" as an ultimate mystic-state phenomenon.  I portray ego death, rather than the experience of light, as the highest or most amazing mystic-state phenomenon.  I treat light as merely perceptual feedback, of no more import than visual distortion or the raw sense of timelessness.  Similarly, I think Forman is off-base in his emphasis on "Pure Consciousness Events (PCE)" as the ultimate goal or experience of the mystic state.  I settled upon the construction "ego death and other common phenomena of the mystic altered state".

How does the book measure against my four key points? (tentative - I've read half the pages)

o  Timeless block-universe determinism -- I haven't found this topic covered yet, in this book, but talks casually of "freedom" as though metaphysical freedom is unproblematic and not a central problematic or pivotal axis of Hellenistic religion.

o  Non-historicity of religious founder-figures -- seems to have an average Euhemerist position, tending to assume historicity overlaid with later mythic legend.

o  Entheogens over meditation -- seems to want it both ways, portraying entheogens as far better than meditation, yet also promoting meditation heavily.

o  Rationality of mystic insight -- portrays reason and science as better than mythic metaphor and symbolism for conveying and expressing mystic insight and mystic experiencing.  Has a different view of what rational principles are contained in mystic insight than my model (I'm not sure if the book puts no-separate-self in the center, and I don't see any awareness of the no-free-will issue).  So far, it seems the book equates mysticism with mystic experiencing rather than discovery of rational principles in the mystic state, and when the book talks of the "rationality" of mysticism it intends the rationality of the *means* to mystic *experiencing* -- those means being, entheogens combined with certain attitudes.

I need to determine whether the book contains a rational interpretation of the Cross -- did it not happen, does it happen mystically, is it rationally profound, does it comment on the metaphysics of no-free-will, was it a meaningless unfortunate event showing how bad literalist establishment religion is?

I think of the experience of supernal light and PCE's and meditation-type thought-suspension as mere milestone events along the way, with ego death and rebirth (deterministic self-control seizure and release) as being the highest goal.  These are judgments of relative import, interpretations, and value estimations -- such is knowledge, such is the nature of theories and interpretive frameworks.

I'm enjoying critically engaging with Thorne's perspectives, ideas, judgments, and interpretations.  Everyone agrees that religion is good and bad, but everyone has their own unique signature style of characterizing what is good and bad in religion, or what a healthy scientific equivalent of religion would entail, or what a future healthy entheogenic transcendent practice would be like. 

I recommend this book for its content in this much-needed field.  This book is as good as the other entheogen-positive books that explore the origin and nature of religion and mysticism.  Anyone researching the entheogen theory of religion will surely find this book useful for sparking ideas, and it deserves (except for typos) to be in a library with books by researchers such as Jonathan Ott, Dan Merkur, James Arthur, Clark Heinrich, John Allegro, R. Gordon Wasson, Christian Ratsch, Terence McKenna, Dan Russell, Chris Bennett, and Carl Ruck. 

This book needs more publicity.  I like the choice of mystic, religious, and entheogenic books the author draws from.

Obit: Entheogen bookseller Bob Wallace

Unexpected.  I emailed him a couple times recently.  His company is http://www.promind.com -- Mind Books -- entheogen books.

-----Original Message-----

From: CCLE 

Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 11:21 AM

To: Alchemind Society

Subject: CCLE September Update

* The Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics wishes to honor Bob Wallace, who died in his home on September 20th.  We extend heartfelt condolences to his family and numerous friends. Bob Wallace has been an important advisor, supporter and friend to us in our work from its inception in January of 2000. His steadfast commitment to cognitive liberty as a core human value is but one among many of the ways that Bob worked to make the world a better place. We will sorely miss his agile mind and good-natured idealism. For more on Wallace, see Seattle Times article:



Bob Wallace, a pioneer in Seattle's early software community and Microsoft's ninth employee, died unexpectedly at his home Friday in San Rafael, Calif.

He joined a circle of local enthusiasts who early on realized the potential of "microcomputers" that brought the power of computers to the masses, invented a popular early word processor and coined the term "shareware" for software distributed free with the idea that users would voluntarily pay if they liked the product.

Idealistic, straight-talking, political and intense, Mr. Wallace, 53, became a programmer because he thought computing was the best way to expand the mind. He also thought drugs had similar potential, and in 1998 he established a foundation to fund research into psychedelic drugs.

An autopsy report was still pending yesterday, but it appeared Mr. Wallace died of natural causes, said Gary Tindel, assistant Marin County coroner.

Before joining Microsoft, Mr. Wallace worked at the Retail Computer Store, Seattle's first computer store and a hangout for hobbyists. It was there that Bill Gates taped up a sign advertising for programmers to work at his new company. Mr. Wallace took the bait and moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where Microsoft started, then moved back when it relocated to the Eastside.

"Bob was a great early contributor to Microsoft," Gates said yesterday. "He was one of our first employees and he built our first Pascal product. I want to extend my personal sympathies to his family and friends."

[Friend Ken Berkun said] "He was unconventional, he really cared, he cared about the world and wanted to change the world for the better," he said.


http://www.promind.com -- Mind Books -- entheogen books

Sting's autobiography Broken Music begins with ayahuasca

Sting's new autobiography opens with his Ayahuasca experiences.

Book: Broken Music: A Memoir



Oct. 2003

If Amazon adds page scans, you'll be able to read the passage online.


Ayahuasca Tourism in South America

... In a recent Rolling Stone interview, popular singer-songwriter Sting speaks of his experience with ayahuasca, what the interviewer calls dead man's root. ...


New book: Sacred Secret (Amanita Christ)

The Sacred Secret; the Return of the Christ.

Donald E. Teeter



The whole of revelation is not simply identifying Amanita as Christ.  However, entheogens soon enough reveal the fullness of revelation, which is a list of more like 7 secrets, which can be plugged into the missing pages of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, in which she tells the dense and slow-to-believe other apostles what the risen savior told her.  The missing pages should tell of a set of several revelations, including:

o  Our identity as consciousness

o  The deterministic block universe and some sense of transcending it

o  Literalist, lower-level Christianity is designed to be false and self-killing to reveal its higher-level, allegorical, entheogenic, ego-sacrifice meaning.

o  Metaphysically free moral agency is an animal/childish delusion.


Home (theory of the ego death and rebirth experience)