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Entheogen-Diminishing Attitudes: Christianity


Bernard McGinn: "Students of mysticism have no direct access to mystic experience" 1

Pop-Christian LaHaye novel on raves. 2

Don't say drug "abuse"; Gnostics & entheogens. 2

Placebo sacramentalism a product of profiteering priests/gurus. 7

Demiurge duality and entheogenic apple. 7

What keeps entheogenic Christianity on track while placebo sacrament used?. 8

4 Ezra: Firey inspiring drink. 9

Scholarly ignorance of & bias against Dionysian inebriation. 10

Strategies scholars use to avoid addressing entheogen theory. 10

Scriptural disproof of plant prohibition. 12


Bernard McGinn: "Students of mysticism have no direct access to mystic experience"

Bernard McGinn is the epitome of the academic type of spiritual Establishment bent on entrenching their paradigm of cluelessless, *dogmatic* cluelessness; establishing firmly the dogma of "we [modern academics and serious thinkers] cannot ever understand the mystics, though we can remotely study them; we certainly and necessarily must forever remain alien to the mystic state." 

He writes a fine forward to Gershem Scholem's book but page xi he writes something infuriating -- he in effect is pulling a fast one and writing entheogens out of history; they never existed and they don't exist, in his worldmodel he is trying to establish.

"Students of mysticism -- as distinct from mystics themselves -- have no direct access to such a form of experience."

On the Kabbalah and Its Symbolism

Gershom Scholem


Evidently the forward is not currently online at Amazon, though you can read the rest of the book there.

It is easy to forgive Scholem in 1960 for not writing about how anyone can have direct access to mystic experience by using visionary plants.  But it is impossible to excuse McGinn for writing the above statement in 1996.  Even the spiritual Establishment criticizes McGinn's dogmatic or doctrinaire deliberate and forceful distancing, amounting to a disdain, between "proper academic scholarship" and "mystic experiencing" -- a betrayal and contradiction of the perennial tradition of philosophy being first of all a matter of first-hand mystic-state experiential insight. 

McGinn is a good example of how we must rip out many pages and trash-can them, from even the best authors and theorists.  Icke has his lizards, McGinn has his utterly false, crackpot assertion that "students of mysticism have no direct access to mystic experience."  Pick up any theorist's book, and ask: how can he be so well-informed, yet so utterly stupid, false, distorted, and off-base? 

What a pointless, arbitrary, artificial, and suicidally self-defeating dichotomy, between "students of mysticism" and "mystics themselves".  McGinn is an example of the worst traits of scientism.  His subject matter is interesting, his coverage is needed, but his paradigm is painfully awful, dogmatically postulating from the start that there is no such thing as entheogens, no way for "us" to access basically on-demand the mystic state of consciousness.

What's really fouled up and sick is that half of McGinn's students, lecture audience, and readers in fact *have* had direct access to mystic experience and they know it -- through entheogens; they know he is full of it and writes falsely, and artificially holds mystic experiencing at a complete distance, holding it off and denying its accessibility to everyone today, certainly including scholars as scholarly investigators. 

The fact is, some half of today's scholars of mysticism were brought to interest in the subject as a *result* of their entheogenic experiences, same as American Buddhists, Christians, and Sufis.  Much of today's pretend-straight fascination with religion is not straight, but directly a result of entheogenic experiencing.  The spiritual Establishment was inspired by entheogens, and wouldn't exist without entheogens, but refuses to give entheogens the full credit they certainly deserve.

Book: The Foundations of Mysticism (Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism, Vol 1)

Bernard McGinn



Pop-Christian LaHaye novel on raves

Shows a pop-Christian perspective on rave culture, equating it with drugs.  I wonder if it talks about entheogens as the true flesh of Christ?  I once asked for books about drugs in a Christian bookstore, but they came up with almost nothing.  Evangelist scholar Dave Hunt has an almost favorable view of entheogens in a recent book; he only warns that entheogens have led to worship of spirits other than the Holy Spirit -- a complaint I can relate to; people experience encounters with fantastic creatures where I hope they would instead experience what it means philosophically to be a creature that is entirely produced-forth, in every thought and action, by the Ground of Being and as part of the Ground of Being.

All the Rave - A Novel, by Tim LaHaye, Bob DeMoss.  Published Jan 2002.  http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0849943205

"It's Labor Day weekend – and it is turning out to be a holiday that will not soon be forgotten. More than 15,000 ravers have gathered for a 72-hour dance party at the waterfront warehouse in Philadelphia. Kat is strung out on drugs and next to her lies the body of a dead boy who overdosed; Heather falls in love with a college freshman who threatens to leave her with nothing but feelings of rejection and serious regret. Experiencing firsthand the dangers of an unguarded heart, the girls are forced to reevaluate God's true place in their lives."  From the Back Cover -- "It was the first night of the Memorial Day weekend and Kat Koffman figured she'd dance the night away at a massive, East Coast rave. She'd go to the beach in the morning with friends from school. At least that was the plan. But when classmates Jodi Adams and Bruce Arnold found her, Kat lay unconscious on the second floor of a rat infested warehouse. Beside her was an empty syringe--and a dead boy. Jodi wanted answers--and justice. How did the boy die? Was Kat next? Why did the syringe look familiar to Bruce? And why did the police refuse to help? Nothing could prepare Jodi for the fact that some kids are worth more dead than alive. And, just when she thought she'd uncover the truth, she got more than she bargained for. The Russian Mafia."

>And why did the police refuse to help?

The ultimate answer for these questions is, "Because of the Prohibition gravy-train.""

Don't say drug "abuse"; Gnostics & entheogens

>Some people claim to be "shamans" to support their abuse of mind-altering chemicals.

"Abuse"?  That is a totally empty, nebulous, and meaningless term.  One should say "use", which sticks to the facts and is not a judgement based on the sand of arbitrariness.  There cannot be any debate about whether he used; the most debatable thing in the world is that he abused.  Why not stay on more solid ground, rather than speaking the forked-tongue language of deceipt crafted for us by those of the evil, phony prohibitionist gravy-train, vicars of Antichrist and haters of the true Christ.

There are plenty of things to criticize about McKenna without stooping so low as to hurl the prefabricated refuse at him provided by the prohibitionist, amoral, profiteering deceivers.  They are eager to say "abuse" as a synonym for "use", when one should reserve the term to a strict and narrow usage, for cases where the prohibitionists and decriminalizers can both agree that willful, voluntary use has crossed over into serious unwilled abuse.

>McKenna evidently lacked Gnosis, but he can be considered a Gnostic in that he encountered some sort of Intelligences like the noetic agencies alluded to in Gnostic scriptures.

McKenna should be dismissed because of his airhead nonsense about alien encounters.  We do sense being pulled and fabricated in every thought by an alien hidden God, Fate, or transcendent Puppetmastering force, but encounters with literalized personifications is weak thinking.  Again we see that a distinction is needed between Literalist supersitious Gnosticism and esoteric, rational Gnosticism -- low vs. high Gnosticism.

>The Gnostics didn't necessarily take entheogens.  Noetic agencies can be apprehended through non-chemical means as well as through entheogens; they can be intuited through introspection.

Entheogens are not needed to trigger the mystic altered state; meditation in a cave of sensory deprivation can cause one to be born from a rock, born a second time from the cosmic womb.  However, entheogens enjoy pride of place as the main, reliable method.  All mystery religions and related religions of antiquity, had sacred meals, symposions, Seder meals, and love feasts in dead center of their practice.  Search on "sacrament of apolytrosis". 


To the esoteric, higher Gnostics, circular time is a description of what is directly experienced in the mystic altered state -- profound deja-vu "remembering".  To the Literalist, supernatural, lower Gnostics, circular time is theory of how time and years actually work.

Popular entheogenics requires more critical evaluation.  The term "drug abuse" shouldn't be used for that evaluation, though, because whatever errors are found in popular entheogenics, the error isn't what's called "drug abuse", which phrase already has an established, different usage, an inherently propagandist usage.  The phrase "drug abuse" is essentially and inherently a propagandist term, as it is popularly used. 

The term "drug abuse" could be used to criticize neo-shamanism.  The legitimacy of usage of a phrase depends largely on how the user defines it. 

To assume that a phrase has only a single, fixed meaning would be a failure to master language.  The term "drug abuse" does also have a legitimate, technical, medical, non-propagandist usage.  But neither the correct medical usage nor the propagandist usage fits a novel usage of the term "drug abuse" to describe distorted, fake, pseudo-shamanism, or domesticated, ersatz shamanism. 

Although such a novel usage is perhaps justifiable, it is generally misleading and incongruous to use the term "drug abuse" to describe ersatz shamanism, and of gravest concern, such a usage implies support for the dishonest and immoral prohibitionism scam.  It's dangerous to use the term "drug abuse" to criticize ersatz shamanism.  We should seek a way to criticize drug-motivated ersatz shamanism without employing a novel usage of the highly problematic and oppressive term "drug abuse". 

We shouldn't distort shamanism and shouldn't distort drug usage.  However, there is nothing wrong with innovative new blends of drug use and shamanism, forming a neo-shamanism.  Who are we to judge and condemn drug-oriented neo-shamanism as "ersatz shamanism" -- why not call it "genuine, valid, authentic neo-shamanism"?

Any new usage of the term "drug abuse", even if defined, should be done with caution and seriousness for the sake of the persecuted martyrs, and to avoid supporting the evil, phony drug war.  Criticism of popular entheogen mysticism should be done cautiously, so that our words and criticisms don't support the abusers of authority who rob, kill, poison, and imprison in the name of prohibition.

Some aspects of popular use of entheogens can be criticized, but the concept of "abuse" of entheogens is too problematic to be useful, because it asserts that there is a "right way" and a "wrong way" to use entheogens, or a legit and illegit way.  In contemporary entheogenic neo-shamanism, the worst abuse might be merely the abuse of language, redefining the term "shaman" so as to simply equate it with use of entheogens.  That might be an abuse of definitions, but isn't the "abuse" of mind-altering chemicals.

Some spiritual use of entheogens may be described as pseudoshamanic, or neo- or quasi-shamanic, "let's play Indian" type of hippie-style tripping.  That kind of use of entheogens isn't automatically or inherently "abuse" of mind-altering chemicals.  We can only evaluate the "abuse" of entheogens if we have some standards for assessing use versus abuse.  The mere fact alone of claiming to be shaman-identified, whether legit or not, isn't enough to determine whether one is "abusing" entheogens.

There are two distinct issues:

1. What qualifications are required to grant certain entheogen use as "legitimate" shamanic entheogen use?

2. What constitutes "proper use" versus "abuse" of entheogens?

A certain moralist attitude asserts that legitimate use of entheogens occurs only in serious exploration of mind and spirit.  But intentions don't control the outcome; from fun intentions can come the highest fall of enlightenment, as attested by Led Zeppelin.

In My Time of Dying:

If my wings should fail me,

Lord. Please meet me with another pair

Well, well, well, so I can die easy

Oh, Saint Peter, at the gates of heaven...

Won't you let me in?

I never did no harm.

I never did no wrong

I never thought I'd do anybody no wrong

Oh, Lord, deliver me

All the wrong I've done

You can deliver me, Lord

I only wanted to have some fun.


The moralists assume that we can divide entheogen use into these categories and then assign "abuse" to the last category:

A. Shamanism: divinatory, healing (legitimate use of entheogens)

B. Serious self-exploration of mind and spirit (legitimate use of entheogens)

C. Recreational and casual, or nonstructured exploration, experimenting with ascent (illegitimate use of entheogens; abuse)

We could just as well use dismissive language for A and B, and use respectful language to identify C, and then attach the word "abuse" to A and B and the notion of "proper use" to C.

A. Superstitious, primitive animal-identified wishful thinking (abuse of entheogens)

B. New-age mush-headed escapism and entity-multiplying frenetic Gnostic pseudo-spirituality (abuse of entheogens)

C. Contemporary, exploratory, open-ended experimentation with high-intensity ascent, with multimedia and varied contexts of activities (legitimate use of entheogens)

We should be both generous *and* critical of authentic shamanistic use of entheogens -- that's what it means to be a fair and trustworthy critic with balanced judgement.

We should be both generous *and* critical of use of entheogens for self-exploration of mind and spirit.

We should be both generous *and* critical of open-ended, social, exploratory, recreational, or adventure-seeking use of entheogens.

Corax wrote:

>I think I was being generous and critical. Those who are using the materials for fun and categorize their thrill seeking as "shamanism" invite criticism. there is nothing wrong with being critical of the self-proclaimed experts like McKenna and Leary, they in my estimation got it wrong in many regards despite their use of "entheogens".

>Case in point is the Leary-Wilson 8-Circuit Model which is not based in any solid science at all.

>If we cannot be critical and MUST assume that anything goes then the principle of virtue leaves your system, Michael.

I probably essentially agree with your criticism, and hope you further detail it.  Given the crisis situation of prohibition, I strongly caution against using the term "abuse" -- a much-abused term of abuse -- without specifying what's meant.  I'm interested in clear criticisms of McKenna, Leary, and other entheogenists, including the assertion that they dissemble about their real motives.  If people take entheogens within one framework with its motives, they shouldn't twist reality and claim to be using entheogens within a different framework and motives -- one which has greater credibility. 

The entheogenic neoshamans might be guilty of stealing credibility from the shamans.  Don Juan seems to have been fiction dishonestly posed as literal truth (I have a book about this).  Entheogenists shouldn't be dishonest, and shouldn't distort shamanism, entheogen use, and their own motives in order to dishonestly inflate the own legitimacy of their own use.

As explained in the book On Drugs by Lenson, the contemporary West needs to stand on its own feet instead of assuming that all entheogenic legit tradition lies elsewhere, among the Other -- American Indians, shamans, the East.  This is complicated by the certainly legitimate need to, while we find our own truly native entheogen framework, relate and connect it to previous frameworks. 

Ken Wilber has predicted the rise of a true native contemporary Western religion via combining Course In Miracles (a Christian framework) with LSD.  Similarly, I have highlighted acid-oriented Rock as the authentic mystery-religion of our time.

>Actually I was not making a moral position at all with regard to shamanism.

Yes, I thought afterwards that my use of the term "moral" was incorrect. 

You caution against the term "shaman" in a contemporary entheogenic context; I caution against the term "abuse" given today's prohibition climate.  Both terms may be more misleading and distorting than enlightening.

There are 3 main positions:

A. All entheogen use is bad; all use is mis-use.

B. Some entheogen use is legitimate use, some use is mis-use.

C. All entheogen use is legitimate; there are no grounds for the concept of "mis-use".

I don't understand position B, which Maria Sabina, Wasson, and possibly Huxley hold.  What would drive a curando or Gnostic to label other people's use of entheogens as "mis-use"?  Does that claim have any objective grounds, or is it purely a free-floating value-judgement that can't have any basis but personal worldview-preference?  Suppose a hippie in the early 1960s in Oaxaca who takes mushrooms casually and recreationally, and has a traumatic or crazy experience -- is that "mis-use"?  On what basis can such a judgment rest?  Casual or foolish use is casual, foolish use -- but is it mis-use?

I hold position C: some use is foolish, harmful, ill-advised -- but generally, the concept of "mis-use" or "proper use" doesn't apply to entheogens any more than to coffee, cola, or tobacco.

By some measure, Leary was East Coast in attitude, treating LSD as a ceremonial serious tool (position B), compared to the Ken Kesey, West Coast attitude of deliberately pushing LSD to the crazy limit (position C).

Position B is hardly viable, because any given entheogen session can include supposed mis-use and supposed correct use.  When the mind loosens and largely dis-integrates into a blizzard of thoughts and attitudes, one can only laugh at the notion of pinning down a trip to characterize it as "correct" or "incorrect", "proper" or "mis-use".  If a session includes both careless levity and profound revelations about the nature of the self, is the one part of the session then "misuse" and the other "proper use"?

It's an arbitrary judgement to say that person 1 in circumstance 1 is using entheogens legitimately, while person 2 in circumstance 2 is mis-using entheogens.  On what basis does the throne of judgment rest, from which a Judge can declare the Acid Test festival to be "mis-use"?  Personal vision, personal preference, personal taste for what the "right attitude of respect and seriousness" is -- a basis of a stack of turtles standing on cosmic sand.


Jerry Garcia, 1971, quoted in Guitar Player magazine, Oct. 2002, page 152:

[Ken Kesey] lived a block away from where we were all living in Palo Alto, in '62 or '63, and he started having these scenes in La Honda and we would go up there and play.  All of a sudden there was a big commotion: "Hey, what are these acid tests? What's LSD?"  Anthropologists like Stewart Brand and other guys decided, why not have a gathering of these new infant forms that are coming up and are mostly related to getting high?  So they had the Trips Festival for three nights in San Francisco.  Nobody had ever seen anything like it.  Time magazine did a big story, and reporters are coming around, and somebody came up with the term "hippies."  What's a hippie?  All of a sudden we were all hippies.  These labels-- none of it has a whole lot to do with music.  Playing music is playing music, no matter who you are.  You've got to have discipline, and al the rest of it.  We've been trying to undo the whole thing of labels and "acid rock."  It was something that was laid on us, and it really doesn't have anything to do with how we play.

Q. Where do you thing the new culture is going?

Everything is going to pieces on the one hand, and coming together on the other.  The revolution is over.  The important changes have already happened.  It's mostly a matter of everything else catching up.  Music is one thing left that isn't devoid of meaning.  You listen to a politician and it's like hearing nothing.  Whereas, music goes way back before language, and it's the key to a spiritual existence this society doesn't talk about.  The Grateful Dead plays at religious services, essentially -- religious services for the new age.

Strategically using entheogens in order to gain power over others can fairly be called "mis-use of entheogens".

Trampling someone with a horse while on drugs is bad, but would we call it a "mis-use of drugs"?  That would miss the main point and put the focus on the drug rather than the action.  Let's stay with more physically inactive type of scenarios. 

The main scenarios under contention are:

1) Reverent spiritual or philosophical use, or serious scientific use

2) Recreational use, daredevil use, casual experimental or exploratory use out of curiosity

Is the former "legitimate use" and the latter "mis-use"?  What is particularly at issue in this thread is:

Can we fairly call it "mis-use of mind-altering chemicals" if someone actually initiates an entheogen session for reason #2 but tries to legitimize their use by appealing to reason #1?  I say no, that may be dishonesty, that may be foolishness, that may be a lame approach to entheogen use -- but it can't fairly be called "mis-use of mind-altering chemicals". 

Whatever aspects can be criticized about McKenna and Leary, "entheogen mis-use" is not among them, because the concept of entheogen mis-use in this type of case is too nebulous and confuses criticism of their philosophical and historical and anthropological methods and interpretations with criticism of their use of entheogens. 

They may possibly mis-interpret entheogens and shamanism, they may possibly be reality-twisting credibility thieves who abuse anthropology and history, but it's meaningless and vague to say that they "mis-use" entheogens.  More likely, they mis-use scholarship. 

Entheogenists ought to fully study shamanic use of entheogens, and ought to create a distinct contemporary approach to entheogens, but shouldn't distort their contemporary approach and the research about shamans to artificially cheat and force shamanism to offer some kind of support to contemporary use.  Shamanism in fact supports and justifies contemporary entheogen use in certain limited ways, but the two aren't the same and should be differentiated rather than conflated.

There is no inherent harm in affecting a certain "neo-shamanism", and that couldn't be a "mis-use of mind-altering chemicals", but only a misuse of scholarship and justification.

Leary's 8-circuit model of the mind is only bad because it's so ordinary and standard, with only a veneer of novelty.  His may be a lame theory of the mind's interaction with drugs, but coming up with a lame theory has nothing to do with "mis-use of mind-altering chemicals".  Accusing him of "mis-use" here is simply using the term "mis-use" as a generalized term of abuse; that is, an epithet, name-calling.  A poor theory of mind and entheogens can't be called "mis-use" of entheogens, but only a "poor theory".

>This is what I am saying with regard to the ignorance of people like Leary,

>etc., who only look at a small and very narrow use of these medicines the

>psychotropic effects. These guys have no clue.

Dan Russell's excellent book Drug War has enlightening coverage of Indian medicine vs. white man's medicine.



Placebo sacramentalism a product of profiteering priests/gurus

Complete fixation specifically on the notion of 'transubstantiation' seems to begin in the late middle ages, according to one book.  Many priests over the course of European history knew well enough about the real sacrament to know that the looming potential for popular knowledge of the real sacrament was the "Death-Star vulnerability" of the entire profitable Church infrastructure.

"When the priest invokes the descent of the spirit in the Mass, he does not expect to see it or feel it; he accepts by faith that the wine has become the blood of our Lord, the bread His flesh.  The priest knows that all he can do is wait.  The business of religion is to teach men


Patience while they pay for Jungian therapy year after year, or donate their wealth to the guru's Rolls fleet forever, or contribute to their diocese year after year and at their death bed -- have patience, and time is money.  These professional spiritual leaders always are against fast paths to enlightenment; according to their calculations, the fast path to enlightenment threatens to be unprofitable. 

Thus they preach patience and avoidance of mystic states, and methods that are proven not to work but with sufficiently rare exceptions so that such meditation methods, dream analysis sessions, visualization excercises, drumming, and so on, are no real threat. 

The officials prefer methods that work at a fraction of a percent efficiency -- not zero, not the 90% range like entheogens could, but slightly above zero -- just enough to have a bit of a legitimate claim to efficacy.  Once in a thousand years, one person does get enlightened through meditation: the professional priests and gurus then whip us into worshipping with gaping jaw that odd rare case. 

All of this is flatly contradicted by the utter routinization of the intense mystic state and metanoia/ regeneration/ transformation evidenced in the Hellenistic Mystery Religions and banqueting clubs.  The fast path is the true effective path; the slow path is no real path.  Either you have a method that works, or not; if so, it works straightaway, quickly.

Demiurge duality and entheogenic apple

Gnostic God-Duality and the Entheogenic Apple in the Garden of Eden

As per Pagels' book Adam, Eve, and the Serpent, there are many ways to read the Garden of Eden allegory.  Here is an entheogenic- determinism reading.  The creator-God is the demiurge, who judges upon conventional moral agency.  *He* is the God who objects to eating the entheogenic Amanita apple. 

Before eating the apple, we believed in the supernaturalist Christian religion of eternal life in heaven.  After eating the apple, we are given knowledge *about* the *true* nature of good and evil, and the illusory aspect of freewill moral agency.  We become associated with the higher, deterministic God, which is painful because we no longer believe in eternal bliss of heaven. 

I used to hope for eternal heaven, reigned by a god of conventional morality.  The wise venomous self-biting serpent brought egodeath and rebirth, and now I have been kicked out of that heaven and have entered the deterministic kingdom of the high god.  I now face a different kind of eternal life, by identifying with the cosmos- transcendent god of determinism. 

The god of determinism does not forbid eating the entheogen; the god of conventional moral agency forbids eating it because we thereby reject and transcend him.  Orthodox Christianity jams the god of conventional morality together with the high puppetmaster god of deterministic insight.  In the end, these can be considered two distinct levels within a single God. 

At first, God mostly conceals his higher, deterministic, puppetmaster nature and acts like a god over conventional moral agency.  Then God zaps the mind with the Holy Spirit, revealing his higher nature which cancels the reality of his lower nature and this cancellation is represented by the crucifixion -- you could say that the man on the cross is the demiurge, the sacrificed god of moral agency who had to be sacrificed to reveal the higher sovereignty of God.  The lower god accuses us of rebellion against him, the higher god admits he's to blame for everything. 

In such a way, I admit some of the Gnostic "demiurge" concept into orthodox Christianity by using (in a specific way) the "revealed mystery" aspect that is generally admitted by orthodox Christianity.

What keeps entheogenic Christianity on track while placebo sacrament used?

What has kept the thoroughly entheogenic shape of Christianity on track while the merely placebo sacrament is so often used?

It is clear and certain that there are two forces shaping Christianity: psychoactive and placebo sacraments.  The Christianity we have ended up with is a combination, a product of two types of Christian practices and assumptions.  Christianity is thoroughly shaped and guided by entheogens at its heart: the true, psychoactive Eucharist.  Christianity is also shaped by the common use of a merely placebo, inert version of the Eucharist. 

How was it that entheogens were both strongly present throughout Christian history, and yet also very absent?  How could entheogens be so strongly influential, and yet also so often not understood or recognized?  The good thing is that we can now generally recognize the presence and tension between these two worldviews.  The only puzzle remaining is the details of how exactly the entheogenic and placebo versions of Christianity played out.

We must depend heavily on the research of those who are investigating entheogens and Christian history -- James Arthur, Entheos journal, Mark Hoffman, Clark Heinrich, and Jack Herer, Eleusis journal, Chris Bennett, and perhaps Robert Thorne. 

There is an overwhelming amount of clear *indirect* evidence for the common presence of psychoactives in Christianity, but frustratingly little *direct* evidence.  Same with psychoactives in Hellenistic-era religions in general.  There are holes, but there are now clear frameworks for research as well.  We can list all the indirect evidence, and define the general framework of Christianity being shaped by tension between psychoactive and placebo versions.

It is early, in contemporary scholarship; recent scholars have barely begun.  At this point, it is fairly easy to write a bibliography of all research about entheogens in Christian history.  I'm increasingly recognizing how thoroughly ancient philosophy, neoplatonism, and Hellenistic myth and religion were influenced and originated by the use of entheogens; it's really all about entheogens -- this is a maximal view not just of religion, but of ancient culture and ideas in general.

If ancient religion and philosophy was based on entheogens above all, why does it seem like there is so little direct evidence of entheogen use?  Were the ancients low-key about that, or was the evidence burned, or are we blind to what evidence remains?

There is an entheogen-shaped hole at the center of religion, or at the center of Christianity.  But more than that: the "hole" is as big as the whole of religion, and not just religion, but Hellenistic-era philosophy as well, or ancient philosophy, myth, and religion in general.  If entheogens were universally influential across all these areas, and remained so throughout Christian history, then what happened to all the direct evidence of this? 

How could it be, that we have such massive, overwhelming evidence but it is strictly indirect evidence?  How is it possible to have so much indirect evidence, with so little direct evidence -- what are the exact details of this dynamic?  *That* this dynamic happened, is clear, and how this dynamic works in general is fairly clear, but the details of how this dynamic works aren't clear.

What if all the religionists in Christianity heavily used entheogens and conceived of Christianity from an entheogenic framework, but consistently denied knowledge of entheogens and pretended to think that the Eucharist is non-psychoactive?  We would end up with the Christianity we have.  This is the only mystery of Christianity remaining: how could Christianity *be* so strongly and evidently entheogen-oriented, while so consistently pretending to be oblivious to entheogens? 

This suggests something like a game theory of Christianity, an insider put-on approach like worked well for me in cracking the puzzle of the "kingdom of God" idea.  There has always been a strong True Church; insiders to the entheogenic rather than literalist knowledge.  Christianity has always been a tension between two churches or approaches or assumptions; it is a result of the interaction between true, entheogenic, higher Christianity and false, literalist, lower Christianity. 

The shapers of doctrine were evidently intent on fully developing an entheogen-based systematic allegory, while suppressing the explicit entheogenic aspect and putting forth a literalist historical Jesus in its place.  What were the motives for the doctrine shapers, to consciously utilize the fruits of entheogens, while publically eliminating entheogens and substituting literalist historicist thinking instead? 

General motives aren't hard to find -- establishing a profitable franchise by co-opting and distorting and stunting entheogenic Christianity, creating literalist Christianity in its place, designed not to deliver the core of what entheogens deliver, but only the shell, leaving people unfulfilled.  There are parallels in prohibition, in which the authorities know the truth but suppress and distort it strategically. 

How could the Christian authorities pull off such a massive scam, of knowingly shaping religion in the form given by entheogen mysticism, while effectively removing away the actual entheogenic core? 

Look for a parallel in prohibition.  How could the prohibition authorities pull off such a massive scam, of profiting in many ways from drug trafficking and prohibition-for-profit, and from corporate-state funny money, all at the same time, while tricking the public into supporting the whole project that is based entirely on lies and distortion?

Distorted, placebo Christianity, like prohibition-for-profit, is a huge system.  It systematically looks to entheogens to shape doctrine, at the same time as systematically covering up this entheogenic basis and origin.

4 Ezra: Firey inspiring drink

Dave H. wrote:

>>Some of the Jewish merkabah mystical writings also suggest that a psychoactive substance was used, but these writings describe a method of inducing an ascent in which passages of scripture are repeated in various combinations until they sort of unlock a gateway into a trance state. However, look at 4 Ezra 14:37-43 (a.k.a. the Latin Apocalypse of Ezra) for a description Ezra going into a trance to receive the lost books of scripture by revelation, after being handed a bowl of a liquid like water but with the color of fire.

From 4 Ezra, chapter 14:


37: So I took the five men, as he commanded me, and we proceeded to the field, and remained there.

38: And on the next day, behold, a voice called me, saying, "Ezra, open your mouth and drink what I give you to drink."

39: Then I opened my mouth, and behold, a full cup was offered to me; it was full of something like water, but its color was like fire.

40: And I took it and drank; and when I had drunk it, my heart poured forth understanding, and wisdom increased in my breast, for my spirit retained its memory;

41: and my mouth was opened, and was no longer closed.

42: And the Most High gave understanding to the five men, and by turns they wrote what was dictated, in characters which they did not know. They sat forty days, and wrote during the daytime, and ate their bread at night.

43: As for me, I spoke in the daytime and was not silent at night.

44: So during the forty days ninety-four books were written.

45: And when the forty days were ended, the Most High spoke to me, saying, "Make public the twenty-four books that you wrote first and let the worthy and the unworthy read them;

46: but keep the seventy that were written last, in order to give them to the wise among your people.

47: For in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain of wisdom, and the river of knowledge."

48: And I did so.

Scholarly ignorance of & bias against Dionysian inebriation

>Come here to see the excellent essay on the Miracles of Dionysos by Sannion:


"According to Carl Kerenyi, it was not intoxication which was the essential element of the religion of Dionysos, but the "quiet, powerful, vegetative element which ultimately engulfed even the ancient theaters, as at Cumae." (Dionysos, pg xxiv)"

Kerenyi doesn't know anything about inebriation.  Inebriation with visionary plants is the essential element of the religion of Dionysos.  Likewise, Mircaeu Eliade says that use of visionary plants in shamanism was a degenerate trend -- Eliade the "expert on religion" doesn't know anything about the foundation of religion.

Strategies scholars use to avoid addressing entheogen theory

Michael Rinella wrote:

>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.

Typical scholars seem to all know these names -- and no others: Tart, Grof, Allegro, Wasson, Huxley; kykeon, soma/haoma.  By limiting the entheogen theory of religion to just these names or terms, people can "safely" cordon off and effectively dismiss the subject -- the "familiar Allegro crackpot theory".  Everyone loves to chuckle over silly Allegro and quickly wave aside the entire subject of the entheogen theory of religion.

Another strategy to avoid dealing with the "uncomfortable" and "controversial" entheogen theory of religion is to keep each of these names/terms separated -- mention Allegro alone, dismissively; or mention Grof alone, or think about kykeon alone, or soma alone, or Huxley or Tart alone.  Never acknowledge that there is a whole range of scholars, an entire school of thought -- not just an isolated lone crackpot scholar or two -- reaching the same kinds of conclusions or interpretive frameworks. 

The evidence is present but strategically scattered and kept apart; the typical scholar needs to be brought to think of an entire school or general theory -- not merely this or that isolated maverick scholar.  Ironically, this status quo causes entheogen scholars -- who want nothing more than recognition -- to dismiss and not quote each other. 

Who wants their entheogen speculation to be associated with that lone crackpot Allegro, or that maverick Tart, or the odd case of that foreigner Grof, or the quirky unique topic of anciently irrelevant kykeon, or the even more alien and antiquated soma?  Today's strategy is isolate and distance the various scholars and ancient sacred drinks from each other. 

Even the entheogen scholars fall into this conventional trap and, for example, insult Allegro by dismissively "covering" (more like covering over) his theory in a footnote, and refusing to include him positively in the bibliography.  Due to prohibition (legal and cultural), such odd distortions and dynamics coerce the entheogen scholars into snubbing each other rather than pulling as a team.

Like Ruck's book on mythology, and like Neitzsche's philosophy of writing style, I believe in writing about the entheogen theory in a completely matter-of-fact way.  I refuse to buy into the dominant paradigm and act like the entheogen theory is "controversial" or "uncomfortable".  Let readers own their own crazy conventional responses.  This lack of cowtowing and apologizing can get people banned from online discussion areas. 

If you cowtow and apologize and treat the subject in a self-dismissive way, that is considered acceptable.  But taking for granted an affirmative stance on the entheogen theory, treating it just like any major school of thinking on a subject, is breaking a taboo.  Refusing to acknowledge the taboo is breaking the taboo, like profaning the mysteries.

José Alfredo González Celdrán wrote [paraphrased]:

>>...an email you wrote lamenting the dark situation of scholar mind ... In Spain ... the situation is the same everywhere; our consolation is that we are [as though] sinners, while the traditional scholarship is a collection of [those considered as] "saint men"; but Science always make progress thanks to the scientific sinners.  This is our joy and prize.  They will have to admit you [the entheogen theory of the origin and basis of religion] are right one day, and this day will come, that's sure.

Celdran is author of an article in Entheos about the lily in Christian art as symbol of the visionary plant Datura.  Datura-lily of the Anunciation to Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, that she bears Christ.

Daturas for the Virgin

Full Article in Spanish in MS Word


José Celdrán and Carl Ruck

Online gallery of ancillary illustrations


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

>From: Michael Hoffman

>Sent: Sunday, August 25, 2002 1:25 AM

>Subject: [egodeath] Trumpets of Heaven: The Datura Annunciation

>Picture of a trumpet of Heaven:


>Datura info:


>Good Egyptian picture of Daturas:

http://members.tripod.com/~parvati/datura.html - "The light is the light of Horus, realized in the psychoactive flowers of Datura which "illuminate" Tuth-Shena in allegorical fashion. It is the power of Horus before which she throws up her hands in awe. Vitis, Nymphaea, and Datura are the intoxicating elements portrayed in this scene of shamanic manifestation."

http://www.entheomedia.org/Entheos_Issue_2.htm -- Daturas for the Virgin


>n 1: a quarter day in England, Wales, and Ireland [syn: Annunciation, Lady Day, Annunciation Day, March 25] 2: (in Christian religions) the announcement to the Virgin Mary by the angel Gabriel of the incarnation of Christ [syn: Annunciation] 3: a formal public statement; "the government made an announcement about changes in the drug war" [syn: announcement, proclamation, promulgation]

>Source: WordNet R 1.6, C 1997 Princeton University

Scriptural disproof of plant prohibition

A search on the distinctive term 'draught' in King James reveals the chapters Matt15 and Mark7.

The word "plant" is in Matthew 15:13.  But the statement about what is clean to eat is far more inclusive than just "plants": it is "that which goeth into the mouth" (Matthew 15:11), or Mark 7:18: "whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him".


Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:


Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.

And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand:

There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man.

If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.

And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable.

And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him;

Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats?

And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,

Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:

All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.


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