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Author Topic: Do entheogens really exist?  (Read 9045 times)
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« Reply #15: February 07, 2010, 02:16:00 am »

would *I* use this stuff?  No.  But that's because my personal biochemistry is whacked, I get bad side effects all the TIME to NORMAL stuff, and I really don't want to mess with the system any more than is absolutely necessary!  If I felt it was safe PHYSICALLY, my attitudes might be different.  Since it's not, no point in worrying about it.

It's OK Shad. We are crazy insane anyway-we don't need anything else to help that along!  Cool
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« Reply #16: February 08, 2010, 11:33:49 am »

By the same token, it's important to take into account that not every individual will respond to a given ethenogen the same way.  I think part of the disconnect as to the effects of ethenogens is the idea that all experiences resulting from them are "goddish".

Brina

Exactly.  Just because you take peyote doesn't mean you have the same experience as anyone else in the group - or that the experience will be anything like that of those who actually participate in a ceremony run by someone who knows the actual ceremony used over centuries.  Context can be everything in some cases.
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« Reply #17: February 08, 2010, 11:23:17 pm »

By the same token, it's important to take into account that not every individual will respond to a given ethenogen the same way.  I think part of the disconnect as to the effects of entheogens is the idea that all experiences resulting from them are "goddish".

Brina

There are certain hallmarks that various types of chemicals have that will be experienced to some degree by all users, though - even those not seeking a spiritual high. Some, like ayahuasca & its analogues, amanita mushrooms & a few others, cause visual artifacts (I cannot, for the life of me, think of the name of them) that are patterns like dots, lines & various colored shapes that have been found in petroglyphs and artwork of all the indigenous people who have used similar plants; bufotenin & bufotoxin cause formication (the ants-under-the-skin sensation); some create audio hallucinations like bells or droning, some cause time & space perception distortions... and these types of reactions can be caused by other technologies used to gain altered states of consciousness - rhythmic drumming can make people see visual artifacts and change sensory perception, sensory deprivation can lead to many interesting physiological effects because your brain & body start entertaining themselves.
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« Reply #18: February 09, 2010, 12:22:55 am »

ANYTHING that alters the mind can be spiritual.

It can also be abused or used as a justification for abuse - be that sex, drugs - whatever.

Alcohol can be used to reach the gods, but I doubt that drunken guy at the end of the bar slurring every word is finding spirit .. SPIRITS, yes, but not spirit ......

would *I* use this stuff?  No.  But that's because my personal biochemistry is whacked, I get bad side effects all the TIME to NORMAL stuff, and I really don't want to mess with the system any more than is absolutely necessary!  If I felt it was safe PHYSICALLY, my attitudes might be different.  Since it's not, no point in worrying about it.

I *have* used these methods.  In well controlled, well run rituals with persons who were properly trained in their use and who weren't just hanging out trying to get high or drunk.

Yes, there definitely are plants and concoctions that can be used as a means of access to spiritual experiences.  Yes, those experiences are important and real, when they're done for the right reasons.

But, yeah.  I no longer use these things, because for health reasons it would be highly imprudent to do so.  I haven't in about two decades, because I also no longer have access to people I trust to explore herbal methods of reaching the states in question, and this is not something you trust to just anybody.  *see the recent news for ample reasons why.

Sweat lodge is another method, and one I don't do unless I know for sure the people involved are sane, well trained and also are fully certified in EMS or have someone on hand who is.  Ecstatic dance- again, no longer able to indulge, but it works beautifully.  There are hundreds of ways to reach an ecstatic state, to slip the bonds of the mortal existence briefly.  Many are safe, free and legal.  I stick to those, because I'm already physically challenged, poor and don't need to go to jail for any reason.  They won't let me have my pointy sticks, I'm not going!
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« Reply #19: February 09, 2010, 02:07:10 am »

what I'm really wondering is whether such a wonderful trip could really involve a spiritual interaction with deity

Consider that every piece of matter in the universe has energy contained within.  Now consider that some people can see a tiny portion of that energy in the form of auras.  Everyone and everything in the universe has an aura, but why do some people see it, while others don't?  It's generally a matter of perception.  And what makes one person's senses perceive something different that another's?  The simple answer: brain chemistry.  People can learn to alter their brain chemistry from their "normal" state in order to perceive things differently, whether by meditation or other.  But only in so far as the person's physical body will allow it.  One's body can only create so much serotonin, norepinephrine, etc, etc.  But when one ingests a drug that alters brain chemistry, perceptions can be altered in a way that would be generally impossible to do without said drugs.

Consider that we are in a physical realm that is entwined within an energy (spiritual) realm.  Consider that many people believe and physicists can theoretically prove (LOL - Scientific Proof = Best Guess) that there are many other physical realms offset by a few degrees from the physical realm that we currently inhabit.  Would it be a stretch of the imagination to think that if one takes a drug that alters perceptions enough, that one could see / hear /etc into those other realms?     

Consider that many people believe that there are creatures that inhabit this physical realm and those creatures' physical bodies are offset by a few degrees from our own physical bodies (again scientific theoretically possible).  Would it be a stretch of the imagination to think that people could observe fairies or other so-called "magical" creatures who live in a plane slightly skewed from ours?  Would it be a stretch of the imagination to think that if we can see them, that they can see us too, and we can communicate with each other when both our own and their senses are heightened to a high state of awareness?   

What if a creature on this realm existed in every plane of this realm at the same time, like many people believe that certain plants and animals do, such as oak trees?  What if touching the creature and connecting it's energy and your's together allowed you to sense certain things in a neighboring plane of existence?  What if part of a plant's energy was preserved within part of it even after it was removed from the plant?  Would ingesting (in whatever form, whether eaten or breathed in with incense, etc) that little piece of the creature's energy enable you to have heightened awareness?

Consider that many people think that the Divine Spirit of the Universe (in whatever form(s) It manifests itself in) is always connected to everything in the universe, and that most people don't have a high awareness level so they are blind to the Spirit or some have simply have learned to ignore their senses.  Would it be a stretch to think that certain drugs can alter a person's ability to ignore certain things (people's minds ignore things constantly, else nothing would get done), or that certain drugs can "turn up the volume" on the senses?  What if someone's senses had a variable setting that went from 0% to 100% and the default setting was stuck at 2%?  What if a hangover caused the setting to jump to 2.1%?  What if taking a certain drug caused the setting to jump to 10%?  What would the person be aware of?  What if a certain drug forced the setting up to 20%?  What then?  30%?  40%?

Just my 2 cents.

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« Reply #20: February 15, 2010, 07:33:59 pm »

Consider that every piece of matter in the universe has energy contained within.  Now consider that some people can see a tiny portion of that energy in the form of auras.  Everyone and everything in the universe has an aura, but why do some people see it, while others don't?  It's generally a matter of perception.  And what makes one person's senses perceive something different that another's?  The simple answer: brain chemistry. 

I'm no more than a patchily-read layman when it comes to perceptual psychology and related physiology; however, this strikes me as perhaps overly simplifying the situation in ways that matter, given the topic of discussion.

It seems to me that, people's perceptions differ based on differences in the actual sensory stimuli experienced, differences in interpretation of the stimuli and differences in the interpretation of the experience, as well as in the physiological response to the stimuli. I suspect there are also differencess in the extent to which a shared perception is a subject of awareness in different individuals (one of those ones where we both experience it, but only you notice it).

To the extent that differences in perception are related to the latter though, are you saying that entheogens cause/catalyse the experiences that they do by changing the levels of particular chemicals in the body? If so, what might this tell us about the experiences themselves? Are they happening constantly and we aren't aware of perceiving them? Or, is it that they require a threshold level of chemical(s) before the experience is triggered (and the experience is inherently a subject of awareness)? In either case, arethe stimuli present at all times and places, or are they localised events in space/time?

Quote
People can learn to alter their brain chemistry from their "normal" state in order to perceive things differently, whether by meditation or other.  But only in so far as the person's physical body will allow it.  One's body can only create so much serotonin, norepinephrine, etc, etc.  But when one ingests a drug that alters brain chemistry, perceptions can be altered in a way that would be generally impossible to do without said drugs.

What do you think it is that is being perceived?

Quote
Consider that we are in a physical realm that is entwined within an energy (spiritual) realm. 

Are you saying that 'energy' (the physics meaning) = 'spirit'? Or, are you saying that there is another substance called 'energy' that is not the 'energy' of physics and that it equates to 'spirit'? Or, did I miss the point completely? Cheesy

Quote
Consider that many people believe and physicists can theoretically prove (LOL - Scientific Proof = Best Guess) that there are many other physical realms offset by a few degrees from the physical realm that we currently inhabit.  Would it be a stretch of the imagination to think that if one takes a drug that alters perceptions enough, that one could see / hear /etc into those other realms?   

From the very little of this science that I am familiar with, I think that yes it could well be too much of a stretch of imagination. I leave it to those better informed than I to correct one or both of us (with a little luck). 

Quote
...snip bit about extraplanar beings (my term)...

I just don't have a personal frame of reference to address these ideas in any useful way. It was interesting though Cheesy

Quote
Consider that many people think that the Divine Spirit of the Universe (in whatever form(s) It manifests itself in) is always connected to everything in the universe, and that most people don't have a high awareness level so they are blind to the Spirit or some have simply have learned to ignore their senses.  Would it be a stretch to think that certain drugs can alter a person's ability to ignore certain things (people's minds ignore things constantly, else nothing would get done), or that certain drugs can "turn up the volume" on the senses?  What if someone's senses had a variable setting that went from 0% to 100% and the default setting was stuck at 2%?  What if a hangover caused the setting to jump to 2.1%?  What if taking a certain drug caused the setting to jump to 10%?  What would the person be aware of?  What if a certain drug forced the setting up to 20%?  What then?  30%?  40%?

Without agreeing necessarily with the details/process/model you describe, I don't find it an unreasonable stretch to think that a consciousness could have a differing degree of awareness of the consciouness (its presence, content or identity) of conscious systems in which it participates, including a universal system.

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Just my 2 cents.


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« Reply #21: February 15, 2010, 09:37:39 pm »

According to Wikipedia "an entheogen ("creates god within," en εν- "in, within," theo θεος- "god, divine," -gen γενος "creates, generates"),[1] in the strict sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic or spiritual context. "

My question is, do people here believe that such substances do in fact have a religious/spiritual dimension to them, or is it just a way to try and justify drug use/abuse?

I had a spiritual enlightening experience with salvia before it became illegal in my state. With that said, I researched it first, went into it with the purpose of it being a spiritual and meditational experience in mind. Because of which, it was an amazing, eye opening experience, that I believe left an impact on how I perceive the world today.

With that said, I believe it was only a tool for obtaining that experience. I'm sure there are other ways to get that state of being without drugs.
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« Reply #22: February 15, 2010, 10:20:38 pm »

I had a spiritual enlightening experience with salvia...

Can you expand a bit on what you mean by this? What do you believe happened to you? What were you experiencing (I'm not asking for the individual symptoms, so much as their sysnthesis and chartacter)?

Quote
...I believe it was only a tool for obtaining that experience.

As a tool, how do you believe the substance worked? What did it do that enabled/caused/catalysed the experience?

Quote
I'm sure there are other ways to get that state of being without drugs.

Does this mean that the experience is caused/catalysed by some other mechanism for which the substances are themselves an enabler/cause/catalyst?
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« Reply #23: February 22, 2010, 09:04:39 pm »

Does this mean that the experience is caused/catalysed by some other mechanism for which the substances are themselves an enabler/cause/catalyst?

I think this is actually very likely. I do believe that "entheogens" really exist and serve their purpose in opening your mind to spiritual and religious ideas/concepts. In this way, I think they are often looked at as "tools." I would argue that shamans in cultures that use ayahuasca or other "drugs" of that class see them as tools that help them into the spiritual world. When entheogens are used in a shamanistic context, they are IMHO little more than a "gateway" or even a transport TO the gateway into another "realm/plane of existence." Entheogens themselves are not neccesarily inherently spiritual, but they do open your mind and spirit to spiritual things.

I would agree that many times (probably more often then not) the drug(s) is/are a catalyst for something already inside of us. I feel this through personal experience and on principal. I can get into a trance and "entheogenic" state without drugs, but it is certainly easier with the extra help.
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« Reply #24: February 23, 2010, 02:07:53 am »

There are certain hallmarks that various types of chemicals have that will be experienced to some degree by all users, though

So the munchies are spiritual?  Wink

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« Reply #25: February 23, 2010, 04:52:12 am »

So the munchies are spiritual?  Wink

Thanks Brina-I'm going to hijack that excuse for future use!  Grin
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« Reply #26: February 23, 2010, 06:00:17 pm »

So the munchies are spiritual?  Wink

Brina



Lol. I get the joke, but why couldn't they be if you personally felt there was some significance? IIRC, marijuana is not traditionally considered as an "entheogen" though, except maybe in Rastafari. I guess I could be wrong, but I don't think that many people look at marijuana as a "spiritual plant" with the obvious exception of Rastafarians (and I am not sure they use it PURELY for spiritual reasons all the time).

In any case, the person you responded to had a good point. There ARE certain effects of some drugs that all people or most people experience that could, potentially, be linked to a spiritual connection. This is not to say that is definitely the case, but it is possible and it is an interesting idea.
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« Reply #27: February 24, 2010, 01:27:02 am »

Lol. I get the joke, but why couldn't they be if you personally felt there was some significance?

I think that's the point I was trying to make.  It's about context.  I know a lot of people who've done some fairly serious drugs in their lives.  They've had weird experiences that could easily fall under the entheogenic umbrella.  But they didn't because the context was "let's go get high in my car" instead of "let's find the gods".

Brina
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« Reply #28: February 24, 2010, 02:32:20 am »

I think that's the point I was trying to make.  It's about context.  I know a lot of people who've done some fairly serious drugs in their lives.  They've had weird experiences that could easily fall under the entheogenic umbrella.  But they didn't because the context was "let's go get high in my car" instead of "let's find the gods".

Brina

Do you think that it's entirely a matter of context, or is it possible that some people are having spiritual experiencess, but are not interpretting them as such due to the inappropriate context?
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« Reply #29: February 24, 2010, 09:29:08 am »

Do you think that it's entirely a matter of context, or is it possible that some people are having spiritual experiencess, but are not interpretting them as such due to the inappropriate context?

That is actually a really interesting question. Perhaps it is a mixture of both really. It all depends on the person I would say, and how they interpret it. For me, almost everything in this world is pretty subjective when taken from a human perspective. However, I do believer their is one universal truth out there somewhere. Whether said truth includes that entheogens create spiritual experiences in everyone or not is unknowable.

I would like to think that the spiritual connection is there whether one realizes it or not.
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