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Entheogens And Religion

steve_bank

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Psychoactive substances would explain a lot about Christianity. All cultures appears to have had it for religious use.



Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception, mood, consciousness, cognition, or behavior[1] for the purposes of engendering spiritual development or otherwise[2] in sacred contexts.[2][3] Anthropological study has established that entheogens are used for religious, magical, shamanic, or spiritual purposes in many parts of the world. Entheogens have traditionally been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including divination, meditation, yoga, sensory deprivation, asceticism, prayer, trance, rituals, chanting, imitation of sounds, hymns like peyote songs, drumming, and ecstatic dance.[citation needed] The psychedelic experience is often compared to non-ordinary forms of consciousness such as those experienced in meditation,[4] near-death experiences,[5] and mystical experiences.[4] Ego dissolution is often described as a key feature of the psychedelic experience.[6]



Judaism​

Main article: Cannabis and Judaism



The shrine at Tel Arad, where the earliest use of cannabis in the Near East is thought to have occurred during the Kingdom of Judah

The primary advocate of the religious use of cannabis in early Judaism was Polish anthropologist Sula Benet, who claimed that the plant kaneh bosem קְנֵה-בֹשֶׂם mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was cannabis.[37] According to theories that hold that cannabis was present in Ancient Israelite society, a variant of hashish is held to have been present.[38] In 2020, it was announced that cannabis residue had been found on the Israelite sanctuary altar at Tel Arad dating to the 8th century BCE of the Kingdom of Judah, suggesting that cannabis was a part of some Israelite rituals at the time.[39]

While Benet's conclusion regarding the psychoactive use of cannabis is not universally accepted among Jewish scholars, there is general agreement that cannabis is used in talmudic sources to refer to hemp fibers, not hashish, as hemp was a vital commodity before linen replaced it.[40] Lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus, not cannabis.[41]


Christianity​

Main articles: Alcohol in the Bible, Sacramental wine, and real presence of Christ in the Eucharist



Fresco of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, flanking an alleged "mushroom tree" at Plaincourault Chapel, a 12th-century chapel of the Knights Hospitaller in Mérigny, Indre, France.

Alcohol is often used in the Christian tradition for religious ceremonies; for example, the Eucharist, however, many[weasel words] Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs.[citation needed] Nevertheless, scholars such as David Hillman suggest that a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise, is to be found in the early history of the Church.[42]

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[43] R. Gordon Wasson's book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many "mushroom trees" in Christian art.[44]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosian Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including heretical or quasi-Christian groups,[45] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within orthodox Catholic practice.[46]
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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The question of which came first, beer or bread, is still debated. Jesus woo and alcohol is a potent mix for lots of people.
 

Jarhyn

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So Steve, its an interesting topic. Needless to say there are experiences I have had which can fairly well explain various things believed by Christianity and religion in general in the presence of THC, psylocybin, and their close chemical relatives, and I was having a really hard time reconciling that with the view that ancient people were ignorant of these and similar drugs.

Then, there is nothing new under the sun... I expect that periods in which "prophets" tended to explode within communities would line up fairly well as understandings of such ethnogens blossomed and faded in antiquity.

Ethnogens alone can't offer a good handle on where and why the things seen are seen (the material mind is a fairly new model). In an ancient world where the soul is understood to be some thing immaterial, or such that the distinction between material and immaterial is not yet well formed.

The belief in angels and the perceptions of what they look like and the idea of what they mean, for example is something you really wouldn't "get" unless you were as fucked up in the head as someone on an eternal "trip", or you had dropped some shrooms or acid or whatever stupid shit people did to get fucked up in antiquity -- and I'm not talking booze, maybe some of that hallucinogenic honey -- and seen a field of fucking eyes sprout out of a surface and "look at you".

And yes, if you push past the immediate perception of physical reality in that state.... Well, let's just say it's going to be an emergent description, the one they use. Maybe it would be used for something else?

But they wouldn't have had the most important context for such: no matter what I see, what I see is me; it is all in my head, and it's just a drug.

They wouldn't have had the context to know that they are not seeing the angels (and demons) of THE universe and the god of ALL existence so much as the angels of their own personal universe and the god of their personal existence.

It does not make it entirely wrong, insofar as humans all come from the same basic template give-or-take, so some stuff does transfer, and not everything you learn there, in the reflection of your own mind, is just "idle daydreaming".

Sometimes you take something like DMT and the experience teaches you something of how selective attention works, for example.

Or sometimes you use acid and see bits of the structure of your own subconscious.

And sometimes you look at a cat and it erupts in a field of eyes.

It's all good fun until someone makes a fucking religion out of it.
 

steve_bank

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John Lillin the 69s combined salt water isolation tanks with LSD as in the movie Altered States which came later. He described it in his book Center Of The Cyclone.

He had conversations with people like Buddha and Moses. A comlpete alternate reality experience.
 

Jarhyn

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John Lillin the 69s combined salt water isolation tanks with LSD as in the movie Altered States which came later. He described it in his book Center Of The Cyclone.

He had conversations with people like Buddha and Moses. A comlpete alternate reality experience.
He had conversations with himself empathizing to an idea of Buddha and Moses.

A complete material reality experience.
 

rousseau

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It goes to show that many people throughout history have preferred the magic of drugs (and it's imagined connotations), to sober day-to-day life.

And honestly, I could go for a little magic, over a widget produced by a machine that's being sold to me for 2.99 at Walmart.
 

Jarhyn

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It goes to show that many people throughout history have preferred the magic of drugs (and it's imagined connotations), to sober day-to-day life.

And honestly, I could go for a little magic, over a widget produced by a machine that's being sold to me for 2.99 at Walmart.
But what if that widget contains 120ug of LSD? Best of both worlds.
 

rousseau

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It goes to show that many people throughout history have preferred the magic of drugs (and it's imagined connotations), to sober day-to-day life.

And honestly, I could go for a little magic, over a widget produced by a machine that's being sold to me for 2.99 at Walmart.
But what if that widget contains 120ug of LSD? Best of both worlds.

I was more of a Psilocybin guy in my early twenties, but these days I'll take a decaf coffee.
 

steve_bank

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I woud not know anything about all that stuff......
 

Jarhyn

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I woud not know anything about all that stuff......
So why start a thread on it?

It's not like you can really drink anymore, and at least then you might have context on the discussions of inner space.
 

abaddon

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Psychedelics are highly effective for treatment of depression

Psychedelics can help long-time smokers quit

Psychedelics ease existential anxiety with life-threatening cancer

Psychedelics can help stop alcohol abuse

It's not just a chemical alteration of brain chemistry, as with SSRIs, will enhance the mood a bit. Rather it's the experience that's transformative and healing. What's happening is suggested by the name itself: "psychedelic" means mind-revealing. People must confront their "demons" so to speak and come to a resolution of the inner conflict. Also there is often a glimpse of how insignificant the everyday egoic self is in relation with the rest of the mind.

Meditation can help a person (with either good guidance or good luck) realize that these beliefs are delusional: "I am so-n-so". "I am bounded by my skin and the people and environment around me are separate and alien to me". "I own my thoughts and feelings and am (or should be) the one that's in control". "I am that which people tell me I am". "I am continuous from birth to death and death's the end of the "I" and that's cosmically tragic". And the list of such delusions inside our heads goes on and on.

Psychedelics, as the links show, can help WAY FASTER.

What's the connect with religion? IMV, it's that all those self-delusions that I listed make us feel small and worried and competitive (against everyone... even against the universe because of how "other" that the egoic self makes literally everything seem) and neurotic and prone to existential crises. Want to feel like you belong in the universe (or to "see God" or whatever metaphor you use for ultimate belongingness) instead of like an alien stuck inside of a skull peering out at a vaguely dangerous universe? One possible way is to eat a plant that'll obliterate that sense of an isolated self, open up the space to unite with whatever's your conception of "everything" (God, Goddess, earth, universe, whatever) for a while, and that neurotic little-s self gets put in its place... wham! bang! In a ritualistic group setting, the "at one" feeling with the ingroup must be intense. If that seems alarming to skeptical "individualists", then look at the "I live in a box, I give most of my life not-so-willingly to others and to bills-paying, I don't know what box I'll live in in 10 years, there are so many stressed-out strangers all around" and everything else that makes us feel both overcrowded and isolated at the same time... Add that many of us have little or no sense of meaningfulness in life and the "so get a hobby" advice by secularists sounds absolutely stupid... Then poo-poo the idea of group cohesion and the sense of belongingness.
 

rousseau

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What's the connect with religion? IMV, it's that all those self-delusions that I listed make us feel small and worried and competitive (against everyone... even against the universe because of how "other" that the egoic self makes literally everything seem) and neurotic and prone to existential crises. Want to feel like you belong in the universe (or to "see God" or whatever metaphor you use for ultimate belongingness) instead of like an alien stuck inside of a skull peering out at a vaguely dangerous universe? One possible way is to eat a plant that'll obliterate that sense of an isolated self, open up the space to unite with whatever's your conception of "everything" (God, Goddess, earth, universe, whatever) for a while, and that neurotic little-s self gets put in its place... wham! bang! In a ritualistic group setting, the "at one" feeling with the ingroup must be intense. If that seems alarming to skeptical "individualists", then look at the "I live in a box, I give most of my life not-so-willingly to others and to bills-paying, I don't know what box I'll live in in 10 years, there are so many stressed-out strangers all around" and everything else that makes us feel both overcrowded and isolated at the same time... Add that many of us have little or no sense of meaningfulness in life and the "so get a hobby" advice by secularists sounds absolutely stupid... Then poo-poo the idea of group cohesion and the sense of belongingness.

One of the risks of putting too much faith in drugs and psychedelics is that they tend to amplify pre-existing biases. When you take a 'revealing' drug, what it's really doing is revealing some iteration of your already existing beliefs. Early God-believers just got more God-belief, Marxists get more Marxism. Rare is the case where people go .. wow, my view of the world is fundamentally wrong.

I know people who have been into this type of thing for over a decade now, and mentally they're exactly where they were in the beginning. If anything, drugs have likely enshrined their ignorance even further, made them even more confident about false beliefs.

Yes, if you give psychedelics to a cancer or depression patient, it's going to be helpful. But for every day use I don't think drugs can make you an intrinsically smarter or better person. For that you need sobriety, good health, and the literal will to be a better, smarter, and more compassionate person than you were the day before. And too often I see people mistake the fact that they use drugs for some kind of personal enlightenment. That's likely the most common outcome.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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The belief in angels and the perceptions of what they look like and the idea of what they mean, for example is something you really wouldn't "get" unless you were as fucked up in the head as someone on an eternal "trip", or you had dropped some shrooms or acid or whatever stupid shit people did to get fucked up in antiquity -- and I'm not talking booze, maybe some of that hallucinogenic honey -- and seen a field of fucking eyes sprout out of a surface and "look at you".
There are persons who experience migraine auras without the migraine. These "angels" are quite beautiful. I'm certain that for persons experiencing both the auras and the migraine these persons see demons, not angels, and wonder why they are being tortured and set to pain. Time to consult the local seer/shaman/witch-doctor/priest/priestess I suppose.

There are triggers that bring on these auras and the one that does it for me is beer. Hard liquor doesn't do it, and even beer doesn't always do it but for the most part the experiences are linked to the consumption of beer so maybe there is something to the grain fermentation process, alcohol, and seeing angels and demons that all came together back in the earliest days of woo.
 

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In some respects it's impossible to step through some of those gateways and not get a little bit of both reinforcement and reorientation.

When the rules are followed, and there very much are rules, and they very much need to be followed, you get more "reorientation".

When the rules are rejected, you get more "reinforcement".

Generally, I aim to reinforce my doubt, learn to accept the existence of certain things in my mind, though not necessarily their message. It gives a certain kind of self awareness.

But that's one of the rules, and one of the most important: it is yourself you are becoming aware of, and you are not perfect.

These sorts of things get lost, honestly, when the religion of the day turns away from drugs. As a result you get folks who don't know the rules and end up making a mess of their lives, or letting the mess of their lives grow.
 

steve_bank

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I just don't buy all the reporting on the alleged large scale medical benefits of psychedelics.

Looking back to me they are mostly crutches.

At first Freusdthought cocaine was a wonder drug for treating things like depression. If I remember right a friend who got addicted turned to opiates to compensate and eventfully died.

Recent reporting on chronic pot use is that users have a risk of schizophrenia 4 to 7 times the average depending on usage.
 

Jarhyn

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Yeah,, going from coke to opiates and then swinging to pot. Should have known this would be a Steve Bank "Drugs're Bad Mmkay™." Thread
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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It may sound counterintuitive to hear said but a drug can sometimes bring you back to reality. I think it just pauses the pain, any kind of pain, enough to focus on life without pain, maybe like when we were happy children. Lets face it, life is painful and filled with things we'd rather not deal with. As kids we didn't have to deal with things. Maybe drugs return us to that state in some way. Neurologically the immature brain is pretty much a constant high.
 

steve_bank

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Yeah,, going from coke to opiates and then swinging to pot. Should have known this would be a Steve Bank "Drugs're Bad Mmkay™." Thread
Faaarr out man. Keep your freak flag flying. Don't trust anyone over 30.

I did the drugs of the day strrtaing in 60d highsdchool snd ending around 1974. That and seeing what is going on in Seattle would be a social science or political thread or both. In high school around 1968 I wtaced a kid I knew shoot heroin. Mix and cook in a spoonf. He had black tracks on hsi brown skin. The last I heard after graduation was he died in prison.

To make a long story short I grew out of it and it was all a waste of time.

As this is a religion thread.

Drugs mixed with a New Age mysticism by people like Tim Leary became an alternative to mainstream reilgion. Back then Afgahnistan was a place to go to do cannabis and opioids, and have a mystical experiene.

I believe the Sadhus in India are pretty much the same as always. Wandering with a begging bowl and using cannabis. Images are on the net.


And soma. Nobody knows exactly what it was.



Mystical experience and alternate realities(in the mind) through drugs were probably common. There have benn reports of psychedlcs being used in the tech industry for inspiration.

When Jobs was running Apple he was said to be in his own reality and was using LSD. He was a product of the 60s 70s.

Carl Sagan admitted publicly at the end of his life he used pot for inspiration.

In the 60s music coupled with acid and pot became a mystical ritual.

Were headed for a culture where drugs are the new religion.
 

Jarhyn

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Dude, you're equivocating weed, shrooms, and LSD to coke and heroin. There's no fucking comparison. None.

Again this is something that gets lost when culture and the religions of it take a hard turn against drugs: people like Steve's friend turn into fucking wastes of flesh because the knowledge that opiates and hard stimulants are fucking BAD gets lost in the mix.
 
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