|A Sioux Indian smoking a pipe|
Entheogens - Drugs Used for Spiritual Purposes
Examples of Entheogen Usage
Risks of Using Entheogens
"Desperation has given the modern drug craze a recognition it does not deserve. It can be argued that some drugs do raise the consciousness to a more spiritual level. Yet, it is an artificial stimulation which requires repeated induction. This, in turn, leads naturally to a stage when the person becomes well and truly 'hooked'. It is true that in ancient times certain drugs were used for transcendental purposes, but these were kept secret, and their uses given only to the wisest among the priesthood. Most medicines are poisons and have to be administered in the correct quantity, and only for a specific period. How much more dangerous is the use of drugs which affect the brain cells! We yet know so little about the brain and its capabilities, which only now, in the present day, are being explored. The methods which are taught in the Old Religion are completely natural, and the resulting extension of consciousness, although attained more slowly, is one which allows continuation of growth and enlightenment."
"In Western culture, using drugs to catapult yourself into the inner worlds is also not that bright, unless you know exactly what you are doing and where you are going. Really the only safe way to work in the inner worlds using drugs is if you are working within a cultural/religious structure that is designed for such use i.e. shamanic/native cultures. Hallucinogenic drugs strip a layer of protective skin from the consciousness and allow you to see and access places that you would normally be blocked from seeing (for your own good usually). When you go magically into vision, you develop inner `muscles' for want of a better description, that uphold and protect you as you work. If you bypass this natural but lengthy process of strengthening by using drugs, you are often thrown straight to the threshold of your existence."
Entheogens in Pagan Practice
"...be aware that in the traditions that encompass the ritual use of illegal drugs for purposes of magick or the expansion of consciousness, the rules and expectations regarding that drug use are usually fairly precise and well established. This means that for Pagans who do utilize drugs in a ritualistic, magickal, or ceremonial fashion, their drug usage is not merely a matter of recreation and escapism. For these Pagans, ritualistic drug use is a true path to enlightenment, much as the use of peyote is to certain Native American spiritual traditions. Let me stress that Paganism is not an excuse to engage in illegal activity and then claim protection under the First Amendment. It does not work that way, and the quicker we all understand that, the better off we will be."
"It is from Shamanic practices that the practice of ritual use of psychoactive (or psychotropic) substances comes from. These substances are wrongfully called drugs in this modern age of prohibition and conspiracy. The point of taking such substances isn't pointless drug abuse or creating addictions. On the contrary, the point is connection with spiritual dimensions. Certain substances simply change a person's state of consciousness and can therefore be used for spiritual purposes, but only if one knows exactly which substances one can use, in what way and what quantity. Among millions of plant species, Shamans knew precisely what plants affected peoples' consciousness in what way and how much of them one can take. Whenever someone would ask them how they know this exact information, the Shamans would answer: Well the plants told us. What we are dealing with here are extremely powerful spiritual traditions which one cannot simply engage in, but which one has to be devoted to. In many countries, such substances are illegal so this has to be taken into consideration.
We have already mentioned that the World Pagan Circle accepts only the use of psychedelic substances such as tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from marihuana or hashish (which are in turn retrieved from hemp), psilocybin, ibogaine, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), mescaline, LSD, antropine, salvinorin and the like. Therefore, under no circumstances do we allow the use of strong, narcotic drugs such as depressants (e.g. alcohol, heroine, morphine, opium), antipsychotics or any kinds of stimuli which don't aid in the process of widening consciousness and cognition (such as cocaine or amphetamines).
Taking psychoactive substances is not essential for achieving a trance state! In fact, most contemporary Pagan authors believe that the outcome is much fore effective if we achieve a trance state with the use of our own will and abilities. We are then sure that we have everything under control, which doesn't necessarily have to be the case with psychoactive substances. Still, this option does exist, but it is better to have quality spiritual guidance for this..."