When I first saw José Alfredo González Celdrán's Datura-lily article "Daturas for the Virgin" ( http://www.entheomedia.org/Entheos_Issue_2.htm ), I wasn't interested, because the topic was entirely unfamiliar. However, after I looked at the article later, and then thought about it and saw Mexican Catholic retablos (oil paint on tin) ( http://www.egodeath.com/retablos.htm ), I have come to consider the article to be a key piece of evidence for the entheogen theory of the origin *and ongoing* basis of religion.
Most scholarship treats the entheogen influence on religion as occurring only rare and a long time ago, and as isolated instances. Even the entheogen scholar-advocates tend to inadvertently portray entheogens as usually *not* present in religion. I have deliberately formulated the opposite, truly radical or rather extreme hypothesis ("the maximal entheogen hypothesis"), helped by the Datura-lily article, that entheogens have been present in all religions in all eras in all areas, in all social groups.
Of course, after thesis, antithesis, and finally reaching synthesis, the truth must be actually somewhere in the middle: "the semi-maximal entheogen hypothesis"; entheogens have been present in many religions in many eras in many areas, in many social groups. Entheogens in religion are neither ubiquitous nor rare -- they are common and standard, though not official, and not quite ubiquitous.
The question of the present phase of scholarship is, exactly how widespread have entheogens been in religion? What religions, which eras, which areas, which groups of people?
>>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 Annunciation 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
José Alfredo Celdran wrote on July 26, 2003 (paraphrased/edited):
Thank you for your comments on my lily-daturas.
How widespread have entheogens been in religion? I plan to write my theory on the subject, but I'm first collecting more evidence and data.
The important question is not whether entheogens were widespread across religions and eras. The important question is whether religion *began* from entheogens. We must answer "Yes."
Conventional speculation about the origin of religion imagines that primitive man was astonished by the celestial phenomena and then he invented or deduced gods to explain the movement of stars, the rain, and so on. This sounds comfortable to moderns, but it is insufficient and incorrect.
Mysticism was the origin of religion because religion is the product of an emotion (feeling, experience, sense), not the product of thinking. The first man being religious felt and experienced divinity, but didn't try to invent or deduce a divinity. In the first moment of religion, it entered into the spirit of the man exactly in the same way that the mystics of every culture feel and sense their gods, that come to be the same with different names -- as Joseph Campbell would say, gods with different masks.
When religion become an organization, not a personal experience, than the mysticism is abandoned and priests come to be even more important than god himself. This is something we can see every day since the dawn of time: the mystics perceive god in a way very different than their churches. The mystic language is similar in every religion, while the institutions and their rulers are different and disparate.
The only problem among the mystics comes when they, influenced by their cultural education, decided that in their experience they have specifically felt and experienced God, Allah, or Yahweh; that is to say, when they forget the experience itself, to baptize it into the bureaucratic difference and distinction of every church. Then you have discussions, fights, and wars.
How could a primitive man become a mystic? Thinking about a god who he doesn't know, and whose existence he can't imagine because he cannot understand the idea of "god"? No. He became a mystic, as Wasson thought, through the casual consumption of some entheogens -- we don't know which. In his entheogenic experience, he felt and experienced that he was in contact with something that wasn't himself: it was another thing, something superior. Then he tried to explain and show this experience to his friends.
Then the rulers and churches appear, and control the entheogen, and even eliminate it from the cult, but little groups preserve the ancient ritual and practice it in secret, converting into "mystery cults", always concealed in a great secret to be safe, until the rulers/churches cannot remember that there was once an entheogen. But even when the church and rulers have forgotten that the entheogen is the origin and basis of the religion, the mystics must act in secret if they want to be safe and enjoy the sacred entheogen by themselves, not ruled by others.
How can we support this hypothesis and model? It is difficult. We must find and study clues in myths, rituals, and texts, to find the evidence for the use of a specific entheogen. Myths were not only, as modern philosophers claim, an ancient way of explaining the universe before science arrived. Rather, myth was a conceptual or experiential language itself, so we must try to recognize, decipher, and translate this conceptual language, to understand the hidden or occluded meaning and reference of fantastic stories of gods, heroes and monsters in different and exotic places around the world.
If we want to understand the role of entheogens in every religion, we must study their myths without assuming that they are merely and only fantastic stories, because they are not; they are descriptions of mystic-state experiencing -- sensed and felt experiential phenomena. We need to find and identify entheogens in many religions; that is the right strategic path to enable us to state one day that entheogens were the basis, origin, wellspring, and fountainhead of everything in religion.
-- José Alfredo
That is the current predominant paradigm and approach of entheogen scholarship, which diminishes and weakens the role of entheogens in religion in the name of defending the presence of entheogens. It is strange, perhaps indicative and typical, to claim that "The important question is not whether entheogens were widespread across religions and eras. The important question is whether religion *began* from entheogens." That is the exact fundamental mistaken premise and starting-assumption that must be reevaluated.
I used to hold the above view or interpretive framework, which I now call "the entheogen theory of the (temporal) origin of religion". That framework concedes far too much to the currently dominant paradigm, which holds that entheogens have only a minor, deviant, incidental, or extremely outdated role and presence in religion.
Today's entheogen scholars maintain, without even stating their basis for this assumption, that it's only important that entheogens are the temporal origin of religion, and that it is not important to find whether entheogens have been widespread across religions and eras. This is both historically dead wrong, and strategically completely self-defeating. I have to argue *against* the supposed defenders of entheogens in religious history, who labor to demonstrate that entheogens are 1/10 of a percent present and important in religion.
Against today's entheogen scholars, who are holding back and diminishing the role and presence of entheogens in religious history, I have to argue that entheogens were not 1/10 of a percent present in religious history, but rather, were more like 50% present in terms of commonness and influence. Like Classic Rock/Acid Rock lyrics, mysticism is an entheogen-oriented conceptual language or experiential language which entheogen scholars must learn to decipher and use.
When we do so, though, the conventional entheogen theory of the late 20th Century is disproved, as being far too conservative in its estimate -- like back when I thought that two or three Rock albums referred to acid mysticism phenomena -- now I recognize that acid mysticism reference is the rule, not the exception; that Classic Rock lyrics are, first of all and above all, a body of entheogenic religious poetry.
Classic Rock is the authentic mystery religion of the late 20th Century, because that is where entheogens were present in greatest concentration in modern culture, from 1965 to present. The dominant view about psychedelics in Classic Rock is that they were present only in 1967 -- not 1965 or 1985, but only during the era of Psychedelic Rock, 1967-1968 -- that's all.
Against that view which diminishes the presence and influence of psychedelics in Classic Rock history, I have had to argue and prove that psychedelics were ubiquitous and clearly predominant all throughout the history of Classic Rock, from John Lennon's song "Help!" in 1965 (shortly after his first LSD sessions with Michael H. http://www.egodeath.com/johnlennonhelp.htm ) through almost all the great Classic Rock bands, on into Metallica's 1985 album Ride the Lightning and later; and in Pop Classic Rock such as Eddie Money, The Cars, and Tom Petty.
There are three paradigms:
o The entheogen-denying official view: Entheogens were not significantly present in the history of religion -- they were only used by deviants during a short early period.
o The entheogen theory of the origin of religion: Entheogens were significantly present in the history of religion -- they were only used at the beginning, and later were used only rarely and by fully suppressed individuals.
o The maximal entheogen theory: Entheogens were significantly present throughout the history of religion -- they were not only used before the beginning and at the beginning, but were also used commonly, in great abundance, by mainstream and only slightly suppressed individuals and groups. Only starting with the Reformation and scientific Deism in the 1500s do we have a significant drop in the commonness and influence of entheogens.
Today's entheogen scholars argue against the entheogen-denying official view, insisting that entheogens were present at the origin of religion. Against today's entheogen scholars, I argue that No, once you learn the symbolic language of entheogen mysticism, it is plainly clear that entheogens were present all throughout the history of religion, especially before the Reformation era or modern era.
Today's entheogen scholars urge us to learn the symbolic language of entheogen mysticism to recognize and perceive that entheogens were present at the beginning of religion, but their instruction produces a result that contradicts that assumption that entheogens were restricted to the temporal beginning and to later rare, suppressed deviants.
When you take the advice of today's entheogen scholars, it produces results that contradict their entheogen-diminishing paradigm, showing instead that entheogens were more like 50% than 1/10% present and influential in the history of religion.
Clark Heinrich's Strange Fruit serves as a framework for tracing the maximal entheogen theory throughout Western history, filling in the blanks in various eras, locales, and religions. Dan Merkur's book Psychedelic Sacrament provides a valuable case for several leading mystics using entheogens. James Arthur covers entheogens in Bon shamanism and Vajrayana Buddhism, and ancient Egypt.
Still, the entheogen theory strongly tends to be merely the entheogen theory of the temporal beginning of religion, resulting in a puny and feeble, self-defeating case, contradicted by the evidence that is spoken loudly to us through the language of entheogenic mystic symbolic reference.
Against "How widespread have entheogens been in religion? ... The important question is not whether entheogens were widespread across religions and eras. The important question is whether religion *began* from entheogens."
The important question is *not* whether religion temporally began from entheogens, but rather, whether entheogens have always been the perennial wellspring, fountainhead, timeless origin, and continuous beginning of religion. The main focus of the field of entheogen scholarship should not be the temporal beginning of religion, but rather, deciphering the language of entheogenic mystic symbolic reference and allusion, to recognize the ubiquity of entheogens in all religions, eras, and locales throughout religious history and practice.
Background information about Datura:
http://www.erowid.org/plants/datura/datura.shtml -- Datura (Solanaceae Datura spp.), also known as Jimson Weed, Devil's Apple, Thorn Apple, Stinkweed, Mad Apple, Devil's Weed, Malpitte, Moonflower, or Witch's Thimble.
The Solanaceae Family: Datura, Belladonna, Brugmansia and Brunfelgia -- These are varieties of the Solanaceae family. Species formerly classified as "Datura aurea, Datura candida, Datura sanguinea, and Datura suaveolens" are now classified as "Brugmansia aurea, Brugmansia candida, Brugmansia sanguinea, and Brugmansia suaveolens".
Atropa belladonna (deadly nightshade), which is native to Europe, contains the psychoactive alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. The Daturas are a closely related cousin to Atropa belladonna. Datura inoxia (sacred datura) is native to the American Southwest, and has a long history of shamanic use among the Zuni, Navajo, and several other tribes. Most recently, it has been made infamous by Carlos Castaneda who wrote about its use by his Yaqui teacher Don Juan. Datura stramonium (thornapple, jimsonweed) is a mostly eastern species and was probably introduced to the Americas from the West Indies.
Brugmansias, also known as tree daturas, are tropical varieties which also have a long history of shamanic use in South America. They are often included as admixture ingredients in traditional Ayahuasca and San Pedro brews. Brunfelsias are another species native to South America and the West Indies.
Background information about Jose Alfredo:
>José Alfredo González Celdrán's Datura-lily article "Daturas for the Virgin" ( http://www.entheomedia.org/Entheos_Issue_2.htm ) I have come to consider the article to be a key piece of evidence for the entheogen theory of the origin *and ongoing* basis of religion.
>Mexican Catholic retablos (oil paint on tin) ( http://www.egodeath.com/retablos.htm )
>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 Annunciation to Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven, that she bears Christ.
>Daturas for the Virgin -- Full Article in Spanish in MS Word -- http://www.entheomedia.org/Daturas_art/Daturas_Spanish.doc
>José Celdrán and Carl Ruck -- Online gallery of ancillary illustrations -- http://www.entheomedia.org/datura_gallery.htm
I give much credit to José Alfredo González Celdrán's Datura-lily article "Daturas for the Virgin" as inspiring my maximal entheogen theory of religion; a key piece of evidence for the entheogen theory of the ongoing basis of religion, as opposed to religion only having entheogens way back at the beginning.
Yet ironically, Alfredo himself backpedals or rejects this emphasis on the ongoing origin, the ongoing wellspring for religion, and conceives of the history of entheogens in religion according to a model which I reject: the model of "early foundation and later minor continuation" of entheogen influence in religion.
Alfredo discovered a thriving use of entheogens in middle-ages religion, and yet positions that as of little significance for the entheogen theory of religion -- no fundamental significance -- and instead continues the predominant entheogen scholars' position of putting all emphasis on the issue of how religion got started by entheogen use in prehistory.
I have a seemingly small, yet actually fundamental, key quarrel with this way of conceiving of entheogen history, and a significant concern about strategy for rejecting the status-quo spiritual Establishment which diminishes the importance of the role of entheogens in religion. I consider time from a timeless point of view: the timeless ongoing perennial origin of religion via entheogens is much more important than the temporal origin of religion via entheogens.
I have a huge argument against Alfredo; we must not brush it aside as a minor quarrel of no real import. It makes all the difference and is not a quarrel over a minor detail. It amounts to two conflicting paradigms, of which only one can stand; the other must fall.
I reject, as what actually happened and for strategic reasons, the conception that separates the temporal beginning of religion in entheogens from the ongoing role of entheogens. Today's dominant paradigm maintained by most entheogen scholars severs the temporal origin apart from the ongoing history, and permits entheogens to be present more importantly in the temporal beginning of religion than in later religion.
Despite his finding evidence for important entheogen use in medieval Christianity, Alfredo treats that as having significance can't stand on its own and must depend fundamentally on what happened more than a thousand years earlier. Alfredo says that medieval use of entheogens cannot be significant *if* entheogens weren't the basis for earliest religion. He makes the significance of later entheogen-religion fundamentally *dependent* and *conditional* upon the much earlier entheogen-religion.
He repeatedly asserts that the later significance is dependent upon the earlier significance, but offers no substantial defense of why we should consider there to be a dependent and conditional relationship. The only defense offered is an analogy that is a doubtful and easily debatable assertion: "you cannot explain a tree if you don't first study its seed". Here again I advocate whole all-at-once paradigms of understanding rather than fragmented stories of "first pick your foundation methods and then afterwards, gain resulting conclusions".
One understands a tree by degrees by studying all various aspects of it; one does *not* "first" study a seed and only after understanding the seed, then gain understanding of the tree. For me, studying entheogens at the early start of religion is just one more *minor aspect* of a full study of the maximal entheogen theory of religion. There are merely minor interconnections and minor dependencies between early entheogen inspiration of religion and later entheogen inspiration in religion.
Entheogens in religion are a timeless tradition -- yes, it is valuable to emphasize that entheogens in religion were present at the start, but it is *just as important* to emphasize that entheogens are present at *all* times. The later does not essentially depend upon the earlier, even though the earlier does offer some support and confirmation of later legitimacy.
Alfredo seeks to erect a cult of temporal antiquity which is misguided and a vulnerability. I think this is due to accepting the logic of religion, making a religion out of the mere fact or claim of antiquity: "We are old, therefore we are true. If something is not old, it cannot be true." We must treat early use of entheogens in religion as being merely one *among many* justifications and confirmations, *not* the sole and only basis upon which later entheogen legitimacy wholly depends and is based.
Modern entheogen religion doesn't *depend on* early entheogen religion in a significant and wholly dependent way; presence of entheogens in early Christianity does *not* offer a substantially crucial confirmation that is any better, any more crucial than finding entheogen use anywere else in religion. Early use of entheogens is not magically somehow greater at conferring legitimacy on entheogen religion any more than any other, later use of entheogens.
This cult of earliness, making today absolutely dependent on yesterday, is a serious strategic error and a distortion of the exact role and legitimacy of entheogens throughout history.
This may appear to be a minor difference between my entheogen history and Alfredo's story of entheogen history, but listen to him: "It is not important by itself that a particular image of mushrooms is found in a particular religious artwork or manifestation." I greatly disagree!
It is *very* important, even in isolation, that mushrooms are found here, and that they are found there, and in each other individual place, and altogether, putting equal weighting on each find no matter whether early or late, the end result is more overwhelming evidence and justification than the approach of saying that all significance conditionally derives from early evidence.
We have a fundamental argument about the nature of significance of evidence: Alfredo holds that the significance of late evidence "derives from" the significance of early evidence. What basis does he assert for this "deriving" of significance, that the significance of the later evidence must derive wholly from the significance of the earlier evidence? He has no argument for such dependent derivation of significance, only the incorrect assertion, which is of unclear relevance, that "you cannot explain a tree if you don't first study its seed".
That's not a defense of the claimed dependent derivation of significance; it's merely a doubtful analogy of doubtful relevance. Alfredo has repeated his assertion that the later depends on the earlier, but he still has not addressed the key question: *why*, *on what basis*, can we assert that the significance of later entheogen use in religion is dependent upon and derives from, the early use of entheogens in religion?
Entheogen use is everywhere in religion and is everywhere significant in religion; the significance derives from the efficacy now and now and now, ongoing, of entheogens in religion. The early is not magically more important just because it is temporally first. If we make the legitimacy of entheogen religion conditionally dependent upon the temporally early "foundation", and then find that the evidence fades away into ambiguity in hazy prehistory, we are left with no way to defend timeless legitimacy of entheogens in religion!
What a needless dismissal of a ton of perfectly valuable and significant evidence for the central, timeless, perennial role of entheogens all throughout religious history.
This cult of earliness, in which all later significance is wholly dependent on and flows strictly from the early, is nothing but the Catholic fake and impressive church history, rewritten to apply to entheogens, in which the authority and power of the Catholic church is founded on the temporal chain of restricted transmission of authority from the (actually nonexistent) Historical Jesus through Saint Peter the first pope, strictly through the other popes.
"Our religion is legitimate for one reason only: it is very old. If it weren't very old, it could not possibly be legitimate. Any other religion that's not the first, that's not old, cannot be legitimate. Our social-political authority derives strictly from one source, one restricted source: our antiquity." But studying the history of the Catholic church, that authority crumbles into late fabrications based on a cult of literalism.
The Catholic church is based on today's pope's authority, which is based on yesterday's, based on pope Peter, based on Jesus -- but when we kick out pope Peter, who never literally existed, together with Jesus who never literally existed and the apostles who never literally existed, that Catholic church comes crashing down to the ground in total catastrophe. That catastrophe is exactly what the entheogen theory of religion could suffer if it were actually dependent on the details of what the first religionists happened to do.
My position, my model of history instead is, it doesn't crucially *matter* whether the first religionists used visionary plants. It so happens that they did, but even if they didn't, it would still be true to say that the main legitimate religion has always been based on visionary plants as the ongoing perennial wellspring; the significance of entheogens in religions flows from each and every instance of entheogen use in religion, which in no way "derive" from earliest use.
Earliest use is not one bit more important than later use; the sigificance of entheogen use derives from all instances together, regardless of time. My theory, inspired by Alfredo's discovery of late daturas in Christian art, is more durable and robust than Alfredo's. Away with this distortion which is just a liability, this distortion of the nature of sigificance and its origin. Significance doesn't flow from the early; it flows from the perennial.
Arguing about this point is vastly more worthwhile and valuable than collecting yet more pieces of data. It is crucial that we work through this debate.
José Alfredo wrote (paraphrased to enable the best reply to the points):
>>My angle of research poses the main question as whether religion began from entheogens. It is not important by itself that a particular image of mushrooms is found in a particular religious artwork or manifestation.
>>We can conclusively see the mushroom on an ancient Greek vase or the architectural works of Gaudi, and with reasonable certainty conclude that it is there, where we look at, and that this probably means that the author, the church or the cultural group in question are or were using the mushroom for some unknown and/or deducible purposes -- but nothing more.
>>If we pay attention only to the fact that the mushrooms appear but don't question ourselves why, we'll never understand the real essence of the entheogen, that is to say, as its etymology explains, its religious use, its capacity of inducing an experience of the deity. Going to mine and Carl Ruck's article "Daturas for the Virgin", we could argue that a use of this solanaceous plant took place in some Christian rituals; the Datura was there, concealed under the disguise of a supposedly innocent flower, the lily -- but *why* is Datura there?
>>Datura is represented in medieval Christian art because the image of Datura reveals a psychoactive rite that was alive much earlier than the era when the painters put the stramonium in his or their paintings.
Why such focus on emphasis on "earlier"?
>>In fact, as we revealed, the use of Datura is for a previous use of entheogenic mushroom, so that the plant is a substitute for a more ancient botanic species.
Why such focus on emphasis on "more ancient"? Why is "more ancient" of such crucial importance that it must be placed at the center, as the all-dependent foundation?
>>Therefore, the entheogenic rite is older than the paintings, so much that you can go backwards and find more mushrooms in religious contexts even centuries before Christ, even when History could not be written. But why? May Christian, Pagan and Tribal art be absolutely different, or better the separate manifestation of a reality that joins all of them in an only link? In other words, why did every culture in every time to represent a psychoactive plant used in religious rituals and generally in a misty way, so that you cannot understand or see the plant unless you spend a lot of your time searching it or be an initiate?
>>Why not paint Jesus with a fly agaric in his hand, or even hung from a fly agaric during the Crucifixion, or put a fresh Datura in the Virgin's lap? Because every church wanted to control their faithful and the best way to get it was preventing from a personal, individual and free way of feeling the spirit, what was much times translated as preventing from the use of the entheogen.
The latter is a valuable and true explanation, but it doesn't support the supposed all-primacy of finding entheogens in earliest religion; it doesn't support your assertion that finding entheogens at the temporal beginning of religion is significantly more important than finding entheogens all throughout religious history.
You are confusing the issue of "why suppression" with the issue of "earliest use" -- there is no great connection between the two issues, and you haven't really defended your repeated assertion that there is such a great connection. You are firmly pressing the two issues together, but they are actually distinct issues. You jump arbitrarily from the "why suppression" issue to the separate, "earliest use" issue, and you never actually justify this jump from the one issue to the other.
>>And once more, why? It doesn't matter if you study the Eleusinian rites or the Christian mystic: every time a experience of god is present, the entheogen is floating in the air and you can smell its scent, though not its shape, only its silhouette if you're lucky. When the artist wanted to express the way of acquiring a divine experience through the entheogen, he had to be obscure, dark, even twisted, giving clues perceived only by others like him, initiates too. And why did the artist have to veil the entheogen portrayal?
>>Answering this question means to go more and more backwards in time,
No, I don't see that point at all. Please stop here and explain exactly why answering the question "why did the artist veil the entheogen?" requires, above all, that we look back in time to try to discover an era without suppression of entheogens.
>>travelling to the moment when there was not an open persecution of the entheogen, because we all know that before a prohibition there is a free use of the forbidden thing, act or rule. Freedom is previous to tyranny, and tyranny obliges to communicate in a secret key.
>>But this raises the question of whether the free [non-suppressed] state of free use of the entheogen in an individual or social religiously free [permissive] context was at the beginning of religion itself.
Yes, the question is raised, or is present, but that's merely one question among many, in the quest to comprehensively find *independently significant* instances of entheogen use in religion.
>>This is always the main question, because if you can ever answer this and find the truth, you'll have the answer of whatever human [artistic?] manifestation that decides to engrave the entheogen in itself as seil. [veiled?]
No, the earliest use of entheogens at the start of religions is *not* the main question -- I have specific arguments to justify my position. Do you have specific arguments, or merely debatable arbitrary analogies (of building floors, and seed/tree) which merely amount to further bald assertions out of the blue, to support your assertion that the earliest entheogen use is the "main question"? The seeming train of logic implied by the use of the word 'because' in your paragraph above doesn't actually make any sense.
Your argument goes: "There is evidence of late use of entheogens in religion. To find the significance of this late use and its veiling, we must look to earliest use. Late suppression implies early non-suppression. It raises question of whether there was a time before suppression. The question of whether there was a time before entheogen suppression is the main question, upon which understanding late use of entheogens in religion is crucially dependently based."
What are you implying -- that if earliest use wasn't entheogenic, or isn't provably dependent, then late, suppressed use of entheogens throughout two thousand years of religion then all becomes illegitimate? What needless folly and needless weak, invented vulnerability for the entheogen theory of religion!
We must reject this assertion that two thousand years of entheogen religion would collapse the moment we find that earliest religion wasn't openly entheogen based -- or to assert that the legitimacy of two thousand years of entheogen-inspired religion must remain forever in doubt just because it is impossible to prove that earliest religion was openly entheogen based.
>>This is the basement of the building, the point, the part that sustain the whole: you can destroy the first, second or third floor, but if the basement is firm, the building will stay there, though in ruins; if you destroy the basement, nothing remains.
You provide no argument, no basis, no evidence that earliest entheogen use in religion must be thought of as the "basement", no evidence or even argument for the particular point asserted above, that late use is dependent upon early use, that there is such a relationship of dependency. On what basis do you assert that the legitimacy of late entheogen use in religion is dependently *based on* earliest use, and must collapse if entheogens aren't found in earliest religion?
Why exactly must late entheogen use be considered as an upper floor of a building that must collapse if the ground floor, earliest use, is disproved or unprovable? Why is a "building" a correct analogy? It is not a correct analogy, and it cannot be justified as a fitting, accurate, helpful analogy. A building does not serve as a correct analogy; late use is *not* like a higher floor that wholly depends on and rests on early use; early use of entheogens is *not* like a ground floor of a building upon which the remainder of the building is dependently based.
You advocate a cult of earliness and the only thing you can find to defend it is bad, doubtful, unjustified analogies, never actually addressing the key point, which is: why must we treat the legitimacy of late entheogen use in religion as deriving solely and entirely from earliest entheogen use in religion?
Could you please say why you think and assert that there exists such a relationship of substantial dependency of the later use of entheogens in religion upon the earliest use -- not just asserting yet another debatable analogy that amounts to merely another bald assertion that such dependency exists, but instead, directly address this specific point, explaining why you think there exists such a dependency of the later upon the earlier?
>>Was the entheogen at the beginning of religion? We don't really know. We must study to discover it and try to find every entheogen represented in religious art to elaborate a sustainable and reasonable theory that let us, perhaps, sometime to state not a theory, but a truth.
You seem to be asserting that we can only have a sustainable and reasonable entheogen theory of religion *if* we find entheogens at the temporal beginning of religion. I maintain that instead, we should avoid a needless strategic vulnerability, which is both harmful to the cause and simply untrue; the legitimacy and influence of late entheogen use in religion does not in fact derive from or depend substantially upon earliest entheogen use in religion.
The most sustainable and reasonable entheogen theory of religion treats each instance of plant-induced mystic experiencing as independently legitimate as well as legitimated by each other instance of mystic plant use, regardless of the detail of when each instance happened to occur -- earliest, late, or modern.
>>So we must follow the crumbs to return home, and the crumbs are scattered over all human period in some specific places that we must investigate as detectives, using our glasses to discover the exact clue.
>>The entheogens we see in Art are clues to decipher a mystery that lays in a crime committed before the investigation, never after.
No, the crime is ongoing, a series of repeated instances, all throughout known history: the perennial semi-suppression of entheogens. With your article as evidence, I also reject the status quo history according to most entheogen scholars, who are their own worst enemies because they always portray entheogens are being rare and highly suppressed throughout the main religions.
Using your article on Daturas in Christian art, I now perceive that entheogens were used very frequently all throughout all religions in all eras in all locales -- against the current dominant paradigm which is asserted by most entheogen scholars.
>>We are studying to understand our past and the question "did religion began with entheogen?" is a working hypothesis which tries to explain why we can dedicate ourselves to search for mushrooms and other psychoactive plants in paintings and engravings.
>>I guess that the entheogen was at the beginning of religion, but I can't prove it. I am working on getting the answer, including by examining the present in order to understand the past, because you cannot explain a tree if you don't first study its seed.
The goal is to understand entheogen use all throughout history, not only to understand the remotest past. Discovering entheogens at the temporal start of religion is not all-important; it is merely one instance among many of the perennial philosophy and how the perennial philosophy has always, within each era and locale, derived from current use of entheogens. The late legitimacy does not derive from the early legitimacy; it directs always directly from the use of visionary plants now and now and now, within each era.
Terrible extreme bodily fatigue for several hours (with no mental effects).
Such fatigue is reported by Hofmann and company for LSA.
Then fear of loss of control, and no real perceptual distortion.
Extract experiments were a waste of time -- no effect. Simply grind the seeds with a Turkish coffee grinder, then gelcap, then take some.
The original Alcoholics Anonymous founder, Bill Wilson, was inspired to stop drinking alcohol by use of a visionary plant, a deliriant.
Gnosis magazine, issue #34 (Winter '95): Healing
News & Notes: The Forgotten Father of the Twelve Steps, by Caetano Salomone, M.A., M.Div., contributor to the Journal of Rational Recovery (p. 9-10)
p. 10 - "Wilson overcame his drinking after tripping on belladonna. Thereafter he had a voracious interest in all things spiritual."
Info about belladonna:
AA: The Way It Began
Bill Pittman, Daniel J. Anderson
http://www.aabacktobasics.org/archives/archive6.html -- Page content:
Tom C. asked the following question...
"What exactly was the belladona treatment that Bill Wilson underwent?"
The belladona treatment is described best in Bill Pittman's book: AA The Way It Began, ISBN 0-934125-08-2, available from Hazelden books.
I will quote that section:
"Upon Wilson's arrival at Towns Hospital, he was placed in a bed and the Towns-Lambert Treatment was begun. Dr. Lambert described the belladonna treatment as follows:
Briefly stated, it consists in the hourly dosage of a mixture of belladonna, hyoscyamus and xanthoxylum. The mixture is given every hour, day and night, for about fifty hours. There is also given about every twelve hours a vigorous catharsis of C.C. pills and blue mass. At the end of the treatment, when it is evident that there are abundant bilious stools, castor oil is given to clean out thoroughly the intestinal tract. If you leave any of the ingredients out, the reaction of the cessation of desire is not as clear cut as when the three are mixed together. The amount necessary to give is judged by the physiologic action of the belladonna it contains. When the face becomes flushed, the throat dry, and the pupils of the eyes dilated, you must cut down your mixture or cease giving it altogether until these symptoms pass. You must, however, push this mixture until these symptoms appear, or you will not obtain a clear cut cessation of the desire for the narcotic... (17, p. 2126; 209,p.186)
The exact contents of each ingredient is outlined below:
Tincture belladonnae = 62. gm.
Fluidextracti hyoscyami = .31 gm.
Belladona - Atropa belladonna
Deadly nightshade; a perennial herb with dark purple flowers and black berries. Leaves and root contain atropine and related alkaloids which are anticholinergic. It is a powerful excitant of the brain with side effects of delirium (wild and talkative), decreased secretion, and diplopia.
Xanthoxylum - Xanthoxylum Americanum
The dried bark or berries of prickly ash. Alkaloid of Hydrasts. Helps with chronic gastro-intestinal disturbances. Carminative and diaphoretic.
That's it. All the references from Bill's book. The numbers in the (brackets) are page number references from the sources that Bill used from the sources he has.
Hope this does it.
God bless you and in the Fellowship of the Spirit,
These are excerpts focusing only on the psychoactive potentials of nutmeg. http://www.erowid.org/plants/nutmeg/nutmeg.shtml.
Here is an amazing, creepy photograph of nutmeg suggesting Attis' testicle.
Nutmeg was a very important trade item in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was a precious commodity due to the enormous medicinal properties of its seeds. Slaves on the ships bringing nutmeg to Europe got in trouble for eating part of the cargo. A few large kernels of nutmeg would bring a pleasant, euphoric feeling, and relieved their weariness and pain.
Convicts and sailors sometimes have recourse to nutmeg. Results are vaguely similar to cannabis.
It is common knowledge in drug culture that taking nutmeg is a potent way of tripping.
There are a number of narcotics of the nutmeg family in use among the Indians of South America. They are usually administered by sniffing a dried powder of the plant. The medicine men take these noxious substances, and go into convulsive states. Their twitchings and mutterings are thought to have prophetic significance.
... the psychic experiences of adult prison inmates following the ingestion of powdered nutmeg. Nutmeg has been mentioned as one of the substances now prominent in illegal or quasi-legal use among adolescents.
Euphoria and hallucinations.
Blurred vision, dizziness, tingling, and feelings of depersonalisation and remoteness.
Light-headed, slightly disorientated.
Saw faces and the room appeared distorted, with flashing lights and loud music. She felt a different person and everything seemed unreal. Time appeared to stand still. She felt vibrations and twitches in her limbs. When she shut her eyes she saw lights, black creatures, red eyes and felt sucked into the ground. Her mood was one of elation. For the next week, however, she felt that she was walking in a cloud and complained that her thinking was confused and she found it difficult to follow what people were saying.
Has been known to have psychotropic effects.
Things went funny. He felt as if he had stayed awake for two days without sleeping and things started to look unreal. His head shook back and forth, and when somebody said something to him, he could not see the connections between the sentences. He said he remembered that he spoke up and nobody understood him either.
Feeling as though he had drunk fifty cups of coffee. He could not stop shaking, he was giggling, he was saying stupid things he would not have said otherwise. His friend became aware of the change in him. The patient remembered she asked him whether or not he felt all right. Peoples' voices appeared to come out of a porthole above my head. He felt a tingling in his hands, and presently his whole body felt numb. He opened his eyes, looked at the lights on the ceiling, and felt they were cylinder-shaped. He raised his hands, grabbed one of those cylinder light beams, and sat up, pulling himself up by that beam. He was still aware of his surroundings and noticed that people were watching him. His heart was beating fast, he was breathing hard, and his throat felt dry. He felt as though he was floating but he knew that in reality he was not floating. His legs felt numb and as if he was walking in a lake with the water up to his waist. His hands appeared white and wrinkled to him.
At that point, he started feeling as if he was in a trance, and it was the first time that he did not know that people were around him. As he gradually came out of the trance, he could feel a ball in his hands; this ball would expand and contract as he moved his hands, but he could not see the ball. His friend said, Touch something real! He then touched the table and felt real again.
Subsequently, he felt he kept going in and out of a trancelike state and could, on several occassions, even induce it himself. As he was walking, he felt that the floor was bow-shaped, and he had to hold on to the wall.
He would sit on a couch and he would drift away completely, a great fog would be closing in on him, and when he was surrounded by this fog everything would turn black. Spots of color, blue and red, would shine through this black cloud. Beyond the cloud, there seemed to him to be infinity. He heard a massive confusion of sound, although to his knowledge there was no one talking and there were no sounds of any other nature at that time. But, again, when his friend called his name, he came out of it. At times he felt excited, at times he felt relaxed.
When he looked at the picture of a countryside with deer in it, he felt as though he were floating into the picture and it took on a three-dimensional character. The deer were alive, the trees had shape. He started feeling everybody in the world could hear him. When he went out of the house and stepped onto the lawn, he anticipated that he would fall into it, as if into an ocean. He started writing in mirror writing, Help! I'm trapped behind the world.
He played a few notes on his recorder and felt that each note was a brown disc. He then played a record; the sound of music made a pattern of color. There was a central color and lines around it. The center was composed of the low notes, the bass, and the high notes were on the periphery. He remembered that sound made by cymbals were silvery. This configuration kept changing, beating, and throbbing. Finally, he could not stand it no longer, and he turned the music off.
By this time, some eight or nine hours had elapsed from the ingestion of nutmeg. He started becoming confused, and memory became very poor.
He felt high or sometimes weird; music sounded better although it did not sound louder.
Feelings of depersonalization and unreality, changes in perception, as well as illusions and hallucinations, especially visual. ... A temporary break with reality which he experienced with nutmeg.
>>DXM is a supreme entheogen. DXM hasn't reached the recognition it sbould deserve in entheogenic circles.
I have no opinion on the entheogenic utility and efficacy of DXM. A glance at Erowid provides inadequate information. Reading everything there would be required. Erowid is the best source of information, yet often is not good enough. http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/dxm/dxm.shtml
I can't find info on this. Does hashish produce LSD-like or psilocybin-like mental effects after eating a significant amount, such as 4 grams?
It would be interesting to combine opium, eaten hashish, and ephedra. The category of "entheogens" is somewhat misleading. Usage method and combinations largely determine whether something is entheogenic. This is why lately I prefer "visionary plants" to "entheogens". For example, henbane is classed as a deliriant, but surely belongs with LSD and psilocybin and cannabis in the broader category of "visionary plants". Also keep in mind various 2-plant ayahuasca combinations in South America.
I read that space-cakes are prohibited in Amsterdam due to common panic reactions -- a sign of entheogenic effects.
With 6 grams, for a first-timer experience (thus much less value) with strong dose of eaten hashish, Weil reports:
http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_writings5.shtml - A Hashish Overdose, from The Natural Mind, Andrew Weil, p. 50-51
Onset 40 minutes, pleasant but strong for the next 30 minutes, then confusing.
Inability to understand what was said to the subject
Felt physically sick
Unable to do anything but lie in bed and wait for morning
Strong auditory hallucinations
Threatening voices that rose in volume to a crescendo, the faded out
For 12 hours, a state of consciousness between sleeping and waking
Lucid intervals rare
For much of the time subject did not know where he was, and thought he was six years old, sick from measles.
By morning, most of the worst symptoms had disappeared
Powerful hangover that left subject prostrate for another twenty-four hours
Merkur shows that ergot is the Christian entheogen.
Bennett shows that cannabis is the Christian entheogen.
Heinrich shows that Amanita is the Christian entheogen.
Please directly address, critique, and refute the assertions of the other entheogen theorists that claim a particular plant as the Christian entheogen. I hope you can provide a full critique, not just a footnote, regarding the plausibility of other plants for which complete theories have been published.
I wish to find more than a footnote by Merkur responding to the Amanita and cannabis Christian-origin hypotheses, more than a footnote by Bennett responding to the Amanita and ergot Christian-origin hypotheses, and more than a footnote by Heinrich responding to the ergot and cannabis Christian-origin hypotheses.
Why would it matter which entheogen Jesus is? The theories have been laid out, but the theorists have not refuted each others' work, so far as I have seen.
Merkur's second book on the subject is still forthcoming, and I have not read all the journal articles on the subject of identifying the Christian entheogen. We can feel assured, as the most simple and reasonable bet, that Chrisitianity has entheogenic origins -- the only real question is the specific identity of the Christian entheogen.
I would like the various researchers to critique the theories which postulate a different plant as the Christian entheogen. I hope Merkur's new book discusses the Amanita theory, and I would like to read a critique by Heinrich of the ergot theory.
I consider Jesus to be the Amanita, where the Amanita, like the venom-possessing skin-shedding snake, represents all psychoactive plants (an association covered by Dan Russell). Eleusis and the threshing floor are associated with ergot and the scriptures may allude to ergot in addition to Amanita.
My current feeling is that Amanita is the main Christian sacrament and that ergot and cannabis (see Chris Bennett) are secondary Christian sacraments. The most profitable question is which is the main entheogen and which are the secondary entheogens.
o Chris Bennett says the main Christian entheogen is cannabis and he's willing to consider other entheogens as secondary Christian sacraments.
o Dan Merkur says the main Christian entheogen is ergot. I suppose he might be willing to consider other entheogens as secondary Christian sacraments.
o Clark Heinrich says the main Christian entheogen is Amanita and he's willing to consider other entheogens as secondary Christian sacraments (he considers ergot).
o James Arthur says the Christian entheogen may well be a mixture. The picture on the cover of Mushrooms and Mankind depicts mushrooms but they might represent other plants.
o Dan Russell talks of the Gnostic Plants of Truth, in the plural, and portrays the phallic mushroom as the main of multiple sacraments. Early Christians would no more have restricted themselves to a single entheogen any more than we would. If you use one plant, you use the pharmacopoeia -- multiple plants.
Russell is the most consistently pluralist theorist of Christian sacraments.
The idea of symbolic replacement is essential. The word 'represent' and the phrase "is like" are centrally useful in allegorical exegesis of entheogenic plants and experience.
What about the mystery-religions and other sacrament-centered mystic schools in general? Did they all mainly use ergot? Did they all mainly use cannabis? Did they all mainly use Amanita?
We've read that the mysteries of Demeter used ergot, and the mysteries of Christ used Amanita or ergot or cannabis, but what about the identity of the sacrament or sacraments used by the many other mystery religions and mystic groups?
As suggested by a glance at the http://www.erowid.org home page, I think the safest bet is the entire pharmacopoeia.
>> Ergot is very different from Muscaria and all knowledge [including specific Christian entheogenic origins] is good.
>What does it mean *about Christianity* for it to have been one or the other? In what way(s) does it change the cult, the history, the mysteries; how would an "ergot Christianity" be different from an "amanita Christianity"? I'm not saying it wouldn't be interesting to know the truth of the matter.
>I'm asking why the emotional investment in all this, the importance of "being right"? *So what* if it turns out to be ergot, amanita, neither, or nothing at all?
>> Where are the references to Amanita Muscaria in the New Testament - and please no repetitions of Allegro's philological gymnastics. Real proof please...
>If ergot was the body and blood of Christ, where does that leave the liquid form and red color of blood? Ergot sclerotia are hard, grey-black, low-moisture fungal bodies.
>Does ergot "die on a cross"? No, but Muscaria does.
>Does ergot "bleed from the forehead with a crown of thorns"? No, but Muscaria
>Does ergot "rise again in 3 days" No, but Muscaria does.
>Does ergot lift away stones upon its resurrection? No, but Muscaria does.
>Does ergot have the exact profile of the crucified Christ, of the common chalice of the Eucharist, of the familiar image of the robed Christ with outstretched arms, or of the familiar image of angels with outstretched wings? No, but Muscaria does.
>Does ergot's natural shape, consistency, and aroma remind one of a wafer of unleavened bread used in the Eucharist? No, but Muscaria does.
>Muscaria more readily leaches its chemicals into water, and turns the water a wine-red color.
>The mature form is a cross (profile), at which point is dies/rots.
>the Tree of Life, which also has obvious relationships with the sacred mycorrhizal mushroom (coincidentally, Trees of Life's were usually [always?] potential Muscaria-host tree-species).
>When the muscaria's cap gets faded in the sunlight, it turns a golden brown and wrinkles a bit to look just like a loaf of baked bread, with the semi-glossy caramelized crust. Touching it will feel just like the consistency of that same loaf. Smelling it will astound you in its similarity to sweet bread.
>-Mark, cloque at iquest-net
According to my theory of what ego death is *really* all about, the apple represents the potential of various plants to kill you as naive ego without killing you bodily. Ingesting this type of plant causes a mental trial about morality and a subsequent punishment by death, but a death that leaves one alive.
The apple is the plant of species "ego killer". The main meaning of the garden of Eden is the entheogenic meaning, where I define 'entheogenic meaning' as the discovery of the illogic of the ego as moral control-agent held responsible for originating the person's actions as a would-be prime mover.
Judgement in a legal court and punishment by death for eating the apple are entheogenic allegories for what experiences occur and what insights are gained through the entheogen.
Sexual morality in the garden story is not just a red herring, a false distracting issue. Sexuality is connected to self-control enlightenment due to the inability to stop or *control* erection.
Elaine Pagels suggests looking along these lines, but I am pointing out that the inability to stop sexual arousal is a sign or allegory for the philosophically problematic -- fatally problematic -- nature of the ego *as* a would-be time-mastering self-controller.
I define the concept of cybernetic enlightenment -- enlightenment is, above all, a discovery about our cybernetic nature and limitations, where cybernetics means self-control cybernetics and the collapse of the metaphysical illusion of being prime movers.
It is only half a discovery to find that the sacrament is entheogenic. That in itself is not the inner secret. The entheogen is the key, but the key is merely the way of opening the door to the inner sanctum.
What do you find in the inner sanctum of the maze of self? Self-control and its overthrow -- I here give away my scepter. King Ego is reduced to a helpless slave of the Ground. *That* is the secret greater than the entheogen-key secret. I put down my life and am able to pick it up again. I put down my scepter of self-command and yet pick it up again.
>From there, we hope there is some way to transcend this untenable situation of experiencing the absolute nullity of the accustomed self-controller agent. We regain practical self-control and retain our life after this death, including our egoic life as practical self-controller as well as our mere bodily life.
This suggests that we can discover our metaphysical slavehood and yet continue to walk as kings, as masters, as authors of our own future, and as self-controllers. In this way, we have evidently conquered time and escaped the prison of the spacetime block, with Mithras (David Ulansey).
A psychological theory of entheogenic ego-death is not enough; we need a philosophical theory of self-control and metaphysics of the apparently time-voyaging continuant agent (Quentin Smith).
Without the central focus on the problematic nature of self-control in light of time, the psychological theory doesn't add up to any more than a theory that merely asserts that the entheogen is the ultimate secret.
The ultimate secret is the principles about self-control illusion that the entheogen reveals. The entheogen is the (secret) key to the (ultimate inner) secret.
Ego death is logical self-control cancellation. That is my theory. The forbidden apple is any plant which is an entheogen. An entheogen is any plant which logically kills ego after revealing its nature and enabling the mind to judge it as a false sovereign, a delusion of self-command.
Certain scriptural allegories may allude to cannabis or ergot or Amanita, but trying to identify the plant can miss the point of the plant, miss its primary action -- what is the judgement and death sentence all about, in terms of metaphysics principles?
Eating this kind of plant causes a judgement and death-sentence followed by life in a transformed mode. The judgement is specifically a condemnation of the seeming potency of the illogical egoic self-control structure.
The death-sentence is specifically the cancellation of the self-concept of the person as a metaphysically free, sovereign control agent that authors its own not-yet-established future.
Cannabis can be, by the definition I've formulated, a true entheogen. Strong doses of cannabis, such as the now-illegal space-cakes in Amsterdam, can cause panic attacks -- a hallmark of the ultimate religious experience, which is insight into the self-control delusion, along with perceiving the ego as self-controller to be cybernetically void in its efforts to control or truly create its future actions. A panic attack can indicate the highest religious experience, because it can indicate a revelation of self-control cancellation.
After discussing this question with several authors, and reading their latest works, it seems that the scholarly consensus is that there was more a use of a class of plants, entheogens, rather than the existence of an uber-plant that towered over the rest in Judaism, Christianity, and the Mystery Religions.
I tend to say "Amanita" as a symbol of all psychoactive and especially entheogenic plants; Merkur uses the term "manna" that way. He insists that there is no question about it: manna is psychoactive; it reveals the glory of God.
Once that is established, that manna is something psychoactive eaten, it becomes relatively irrelevant which exact plant or plant complex was used; manna could just as well be an extinct entheogenic plant. The only thing that really matters for those trying to find a more sensible understanding of the scriptures is that manna is entheogenic. That is enough to explain everything that matters.
Picture of a trumpet of Heaven:
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 ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton University
Is Gabriel a chick angel or a dude angel? The orthodox say dude, the esoterics say chick -- like the Beloved Disciple.
>What does it do to your brain? I don't mean while you're tripping, I mean what are the negative effects? Does it really make holes in your brain?
According to trustworthy experts such as Bob Wallace of Mind Books promind.com, the only lasting side-effect, for a minor but significant percentage of people, is fairly long-term, gradually decaying visual artifacts - a variety of artifacts, as I recall. Other alleged side-effects are propaganda and false urban legends. However, science does not know whether or not there is some correlation between tripping and schizophrenia -- it's completely tentative and hypothetical at this point, due to prohibition of scientific research on the subject.
I've seen enough reports to warn that temporary yet serious depression can result, as part of an induced manic-depression. Few people recognize this, but I've been a trend-spotter here.
Generally, such intense transcendent experiences can destabilize one's overall mundane living and make mundane life difficult.
There definitely are not holes formed in the brain from the standard kind of trips.
The first and fastest place to find about substances is http://www.erowid.org.
Ken wrote (paraphrased for clarity of reply):
>>If the only way to follow the one true path is to routinely take mind-altering drugs, could you tell us what drugs, and how often one needs to take them?
Classic entheogens such as psilocybin or modern equivalents such as LSD, some 8 times, necessarily interspersed with study of perennial philosophy. This one true path -- that is, the original and main path of religious initiation and maturity by far -- is the fastest and most effective way to experience, explore, and experientially and intellectually grasp and secure one's understanding of determinism. The end result is not literal heaven or magically and automatically solving all the world's problems.
The end result of this original and main path of religio-philosophy is a change of one's own mental worldmodel from freewillist thinking (which is the original sin we all start out with during our social training as responsible agents) to no-free-will thinking.
Below are details and development of the above conclusion.
Yes, after reviewing my reply, I didn't feel I had focused enough on addressing your specific question. Let's see, which group am I in: No Historical Jesus? Gnosticism? Hellenistic Religions? Entheogens? Philosophy? Theology? Quantum Theory? Oh, this is called the Determinism group.
Consider the one true path in terms of determinism, attending to the surface description of determinism, the study of determinism as a finite-length path which is neither instant nor endless, determinism as a peak/core experiential insight, and determinism as a final state of one's mental model. Which mind-altering drugs are well-suited for providing a series of experiences of determinism? Visionary plants, entheogens, psychotomimetics.
For ease of discussion, can we simply say "drugs", or generally say "mind-altering drugs"? No, we need to be more specific. However, the category of "entheogens" is too specific; it oversegregates the ideal classic psychedelics from other plants that have been used in religion to experience determinism: it incongruously removes opium, cannabis, and datura. I could use the term 'entheogens' and define what I mean as opposed to the current narrow view of which plants are "legitimate" members of this category.
I define 'entheogens' in a broad sense and sometimes equivalently write "visionary plants", which are centered around the classic hallucinogens but not strictly limited to them, paying attention instead to historical usage of various plants in myth-religion-mysticism. Another problem is the notion of "poison", as in "Don't eat Amanita Muscaria mushrooms, they are poisonous". (The latter half-truth is reminiscent of "Don't eat of the apple, for you shall surely die that day.")
Consider the question of "what drugs are the classic, effective path to realizing the deterministic truth" as a loose "family resemblance" question, and also consider the usage context and the combination of multiple drugs. So it is not just a matter of using particular plants; but rather, the usage context; one's approach to psychoactive plants in general. Which plants, plant combinations, and usage contexts are the classic, effective path to realizing the deterministic truth?
Another complexity or detail is the relation between plants and chemicals. There is no need to labor the point at length, but just to clarify for a reasonable audience: some psychoactive chemicals are not found so far in plants, or a different version is found so far in plants, and other chemicals are found in plants -- so there is a hazy overlap between the categories of 'psychoactive chemicals' and 'psychoactive plants'.
It is futile and unrealistic to think that a single simple label is adequate, given these details and distinctions. A disadvantage of the term 'visionary plants' is that is leaves out chemicals that have not yet been exactly found in any known plants, such as LSD (LSA *is* found in plants, such as Morning Glory and Hawaiian Baby Wood Rose). So I will use the term 'entheogens' and 'visionary plants' but will also use other terms, and define a core of classic entheogenic plants and chemicals while also defining a very important outer ring of similar plants including opium and datura.
Datura, henbane, brugmansia, hemlock, scopalamine, thorn apple, may be categorized as "deliriants, not entheogens/psychedelics" but that's just true when one is being highly precise, discussing fine subdivisions. The witches' plants such as Datura -- given by the archangel Gabriel to Virgin Mary, Queen of Heaven -- straddle the core 'psychedelic' category and the outer, 'semi-visionary' ring in which opium resides.
Cannabis too is both inside and outside the strict core family of 'entheogens'. For one thing, eating a large amount of hashish will cause religious experiencing of determinism, but so will smoking a little cannabis kick in the peak overdrive during a psilocybin or acid session, bringing a sudden insight into determinism and no-free-will. Like Terrence McKenna, my favorite perfect example of the definitive psychedelic plant is psilocybin mushrooms.
Amanita is relatively dirty and very unreliable as to whether any psychoactive effects at all will be induced -- an extremely fascinating plant in its lifecycle and mythic metaphors, but actually a poor entheogen, and those who have only a basis of experiencing using Amanita are hardly qualified experts on entheogens or visionary plants in general. I would sooner trust the pronouncements from one who raises cows, providing psilocybin mushrooms from the "mud, dirt, and clay" thereby produced.
If a philosopher were so illiterate that they had experience with only one entheogen, I would most readily trust psilocybin mushrooms, or in the 20th Century, LSD or perhaps, somewhat hypothetically, synthetic psilocybin capsules. Leary, who had synthetic psilocybin capsules before LSD, considered LSD to be superior to psilocybin. In fact, LSD -- commonly combined with smoked cannabis -- *did* produce a great deal of discovery of determinism in the late 20th Century.
Classic Rock and related Popular music has a house religion of entheogen-based, specifically acid-based determinism. Who used the most LSD? Rock artists. What group of artists and poets produced the most dedication to determinism? Rock artists. Entheogens and determinism are hand in glove.
The core entheogens or psychotomimetic hallucinogenic poisonous intoxicants include psilocybin, LSD, and Salvia Divinorum. Slightly outer are the so-called 'deliriants': solenaceous plants -- the witches' plants -- containing scopalamine: datura, brugmansia, henbane, and that plant that screams when you pull it, so loud it can 'kill you'. And also cannabis and Amanita. Slightly outside that ring is plants that are useful in combination with the inner plants, such as opium, which can also be visionary in its own right.
As a popular reference point, Erowid's main page, mostly emphasizing entheogens, lists these groups:
Core classic psychedelics or entheogens: Ayahuasca, LSD, Cacti, DMT, Ibogaine, Mushrooms, Peyote, Salvia, 5-MeO-DMT, 2C-T-7, Mescaline. I would also add 4 ACE (4-HO-DiPT) http://www.erowid.org/chemicals/4_acetoxy_dipt because it appears to give classic psychedelic effects for an ideal unit of duration: an hour.
Near-core classic psychedelics or entheogens: Datura, DPT, Ketamine, 2C-B
Peripheral but effective psychedelics or entheogens: Inhalants, Nitrous, 5-Meo-DiPT
Peripheral psychedelics or entheogens: Morning Glory, Nutmeg, Cannabis, Absinthe, Amanitas, DXM, Opiates, GHB (don't know), AMT (don't know)
Peripheral visionary plants and augmenter plants: MDMA (Ecstasy), Alcohol, Caffeine, Cocaine, Heroin, Kava, MAOIs, Methamphetamine, Tobacco
The more effective the plants one uses, and the more one studies perennial philosophy, the fewer visionary-plant sessions will be required, to experientially transform one's thinking to the determinism worldmodel. As a guideline, most traditions pose around 8 levels of spiritual development leading to "saintly" knowledge of determinism and "purification of sin", suggesting a reasonable number of initiations: a series of some 8 visionary-plant sessions.
For example, if one studies perennial philosophy and good modern philosophers such as Richard Double, Reformed Theology and the history of theological debate about the regeneration of the will, and most of all my own compact and ergonomic systematization (the Cybernetic Theory of Ego Death), one would typically need to use a strong dose of psilocybin mushrooms during some 8 sessions spread over at least the duration of a university course, more likely a year, in order to explore the direct experience of timeless determinism and no-free-will well enough to basically learn determinism at a deep level, resulting in transforming one's mental worldmodel from freewillist thinking to determinist/no-free-will thinking.
One could hypothetically meditate in a cave but this is a minor, ineffective derivative from the original and highly effective and percentwise efficacious technique of simply ingesting the sacred, divine food and drink that brings change of thinking, for purification from and transcendence of the old self: visionary plants.
>>>Is there any place on your site that describes the exact kind of shamanistic plants that you use for ego-death enlightenment?
One should avoid attributing drug use to others in online discussions, due to the conditions of prohibition. If someone states they use visionary plants, that's their perogative; otherwise, one shouldn't speculate publically on others' use.
For a list of plants and chemicals, and discussion of the construct 'visionary plants' as opposed to the narrow term 'entheogens', see:
Which drugs/how often, for deterministic enlightenment?
>>>Where is one supposed to be able to obtain these plants should one decide to experiment?
How to procure visionary plants is outside the bounds of this discussion group. What's more on-topic is drug policy reform and the history and dynamics of drug prohibition -- though this is not an activist discussion group to directly support drug policy reform. Instead, this discussion group supports reform by revealing the actual role and history of visionary plants as the real origin and perennial wellspring of religion. News articles about drug policy reform directly related to religion are on-topic.
Mark Hoffman wrote (excerpts/paraphrase):
>The Door article is only a half-page 'article' (I'd call that a mere 'comment') and do consider the 'satirical' source. If it is smart and influential then we can hope the readers (who probably also subscribe to Adbusters and UTNE) are smart enough to enjoy the 30 seconds of clever prose, and consider that a B.U. classicist takes it seriously. Cannabis was discussed in chapter 5 of Ruck's book Apples of Apollo.
>It's unfair to take your statement "The entheogen theory has been communicated by being publicly satirized." at face value. Who cares if one hackneyed idiot posts a few inane, inflammatory, unsupported or uninformed lines? That kind of nonsense happens all the time, even among most vocal advocates of the hypothesis - for instance when the discussion turns to conspiracy theories, UFO's and the other compulsory -- yet totally unrelated -- talk of Atlantis and the pending apocalypse of 2012.
>You suggest fuller discussion of other entheogens used together. It's likely that combinations have been used, but we are reduced to rewriting and filling in where the pseudo-science we call 'history' has failed. It's clear to the satisfaction of a rational and objective mind that certain substances were used. The evidence to support these conclusions has survived and slipped through the veils that has kept the 'mysteries' true to their name. We've dealt mostly with the historical religions which instituted secrecy (shamanism is instead characterized by tabu) and are defined by the 'rigidity' of a specific dogma, doctrine and ritual.
>When your unspecified 'scholars' 'grossly underestimate the extent of use of entheogens', perhaps you grossly exaggerate the role of combinations of multiple entheogens when it comes to the historical religions and Hermeticism.
>Have you ever tried to get an NAC member to switch to the almost identical San Pedro - because their eating peyote out of existence in the wild? Forget about it! They would sooner kill their God than abandon Her; now THAT'S a historical religion for you!
>In shamanic cultures more entheogens are known, used, and ascribed a sacred/tabu position, but they are rarely combined in one sitting. Individual shamans usually have specific power plants with whom they have made a very serious commitment and contract which they are loathe to betray by consulting other visionary plants. Shamans often take heroic doses of their favored plant. They consider other plants can offer equally 'valid' and powerful spiritual paths, though it's not theirs. But the hierarchy among plants, animals, clans/kindship groups must be addressed. For instance one Huichol shaman is a kieri datura initiate and may accept that peyote is a valid sacrament, but due to the introduction of the now dominant peyote religion, a peyote shaman might not accept the validity of datura: many peyotists feel that kieri is mainly for use by 'sorcerers'. On the other hand the most esoteric and respected shamans, those who have learned to become a wolf and act as functionaries to perpetuate the tradition, are associated with A. muscaria, but also consider kieri a 'wolf food'.
>I doubt your premise of common combination of entheogens. It is only through vigilant consideration and documentation of both sides of this important argument that dialectic can be achieved and lasting progress realized. You should write up an argument.