“The word entheogen was coined to denote psychedelic chemicals and botanicals that engender the experience of god within. drawing on william james, charles tart, and ken wilber, the authors claim that a complete study of religion must include entheogens, and they propose topics leading toward an entheogen research agenda: (a) the spititual nature of the human mind, (b) the dispute over the authenticity of entheogen-assisted religious experiences, (c) pastoral counseling, (d) experimental mysticism, (e) entheogenic origins of religion, and (f) policy issues in freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. the authors conclude with seven recommendations to churches, religious orders, seminaries, and scholarly and scientific professional groups for actions they can take to promote entheogenic research.”
“The experiences resulting from the use of psychedelic drugs are often described in religious terms. they are therefore of interest to those like myself who, in the tradition of william james, (1) are concernednwith the psychology of religion. for more than thirty years i have been studying the causes, the consequences, and the conditions of those peculiar states of consciousness in which the individual discovers himself to be one continuous process with god, with the universe, with the ground of being, or whatever name he may use by cultural conditioning or personal preference for the ultimate and eternal reality. we have no satisfactory and definitive name for experiences of this kind. the terms ‘religious experience,’ ‘mystical experience,’ and ‘cosmic consciousness’ are all too vague and comprehensive to denote that specific mode of consciousness which, to those who have known it, is as real and overwhelming as falling in love. this article describes such states of consciousness induced by psychedelic drugs, although they are virtually indistinguishable from genuine mystical experience. the article then discusses objections to the use of psychedelic drugs that arise mainly from the opposition between mystical values and the traditional religious and secular values of western society.”
Griffiths, R. R., Hurwitz, E. S., Davis, A. K., Johnson, M. W., & Jesse, R.. (2019). Survey of subjective “God encounter experiences”: Comparisons among naturally occurring experiences and those occasioned by the classic psychedelics psilocybin, LSD, ayahuasca, or DMT. PLOS ONE, 14(4), e0214377.
“Naturally occurring and psychedelic drug–occasioned experiences interpreted as personal encounters with god are well described but have not been systematically compared. in this study, five groups of individuals participated in an online survey with detailed questions characterizing the subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes attributed to their single most memorable god encounter experience (n = 809 non-drug, 1184 psilocybin, 1251 lysergic acid diethylamide (lsd), 435 ayahuasca, and 606 n,n-dimethyltrypta-mine (dmt)). analyses of differences in experiences were adjusted statistically for demographic differences between groups. the non-drug group was most likely to choose ‘god’ as the best descriptor of that which was encountered while the psychedelic groups were most likely to choose ‘ultimate reality.’ although there were some other differences between non-drug and the combined psychedelic group, as well as between the four psychedelic groups, the similarities among these groups were most striking. most participants reported vivid memories of the encounter experience, which frequently involved communication with something having the attributes of being conscious, benevolent, intelligent, sacred, eternal, and all-knowing. the encounter experience fulfilled a priori criteria for being a complete mystical experience in approximately half of the participants. more than two-thirds of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards. these experiences were rated as among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant lifetime experiences, with moderate to strong persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to these experiences. among the four groups of psychedelic users, the psilocybin and lsd groups were most similar and the ayahuasca group tended to have the highest rates of endorsing positive features and enduring consequences of the experience. future exploration of predisposing factors and phenomenological and neural correlates of such experiences may provide new insights into religious and spiritual beliefs that have been integral to shaping human culture since time immemorial.”
Khamsehzadeh, J.. (2020). Psychedelic (R)Evolution. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses
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“Psilocybin mushrooms may have played a role in the origin of humanity, and consciousness-expanding medicines may contribute to the future evolution of our species. neuroscientists from imperial college london recently discovered that psilocybin, found in over 200 species of mushrooms worldwide, stimulates neurogenesis, particularly in the hippocampus, a region of the brain involved in learning. aside from participating in the formation of new neurons, the variety of psychedelic states of consciousness psilocybin catalyzes dissolves the brain’s default mode network, which scientists call the ego state of consciousness. instead, a more hyperconnected brain state takes the place of the physiological configuration representative of our habitual state of consciousness. some neural pathways that are catalyzed by psilocybin stabilize, establishing lasting effects in the individual’s physiology and consciousness. these results are in agreement with the findings of a recent study on psilocybin conducted at johns hopkins university, in which doctors found long-term positive changes in the participants’ personalities. terence and dennis mckenna hypothesized that psilocybin mushrooms might have been the key ingredient that catalyzed the evolution of humanity. terence mckenna was an intellectual who was a spread cultural awareness of psilocybin mushrooms, and dennis is an ethno-pharmacologist who has received post-doctoral research fellowships from both the national institute of mental health and the department of neurology at the stanford university school of medicine. a mounting body of evidence over the last several decades appears to support their hypothesis. an example is that 9,000-year-old cave paintings, located relatively close to the region where humanity emerged in africa, arguably depict the shamanic use of mushrooms; this shows psilocybin mushroom evolved where early humans also evolved. currently, surveys intended to find the regularity of psychedelic use estimate that 1 in 10 americans use psychedelics, and rigorous experiments are finding that psychedelic treatments can enhance creativity and heal trauma. federal legalization of mdma is projected to occur in 2021, with legalization of psilocybin to follow shortly after. as psychedelic treatments enter mainstream culture through legal legitimacy, these medicines may influence our values, ecological awareness, creativity, and identities.”
“The twentieth century saw an unprecedented spike in the study of altered states of consciousness (ascs). new ascs, such as those associated with lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin mushrooms, were cultivated and studied, while older ascs were given new classifications: out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, psychokinesis and extrasensory perception. this book analyses these different approaches and methodologies, and includes exciting new research into neglected areas. it investigates the representation of ascs in the culture of the twentieth century and examines the theoretical models that attempt to explain them. the international contributors critically examine a variety of ascs, including precognition, near-death experiences, telepathy, new age ‘channelling’, contact with aliens and unidentified flying objects (ufos), the use of alcohol and entheogens, analysing both the impact of ascs on the culture and how cultural and technological changes influenced ascs. the contributors are drawn from the fields of english and american literature, religious studies, western esotericism, film studies, sociology and history of art, and bring to bear on ascs their own disciplinary and conceptual perspectives, as well as a broader interdisciplinary knowledge of the subject. the collection represents a vital contribution to the growing body of work on both ascs and the wider academic engagement with millennialism, entheogens, occulture and the paranormal. (psycinfo database record (c) 2021 apa, all rights reserved)”