spirituality
A Reverend's Moving Sermon About Psychedelics and Religion

A Reverend’s Moving Sermon About Psychedelics and Religion

“If I Could Change Your Mind,” preached by Reverend Mike Young at The First Unitarian Church of Honolulu on 5 November 1995. If, on some Sunday morning, I would step up here into the pulpit and announce to you that I had an experience available to you, that you could come to the church on a given Saturday afternoon and spend with me between six and eight hours and I guarantee — virtually guaranteed at least almost guarantee; well, pretty certainly guarantee; oh, a good chance — that you would experience a total transformation of your own mind,...
My Share of Sacramental LSD: Wiccans Celebrate a Lunar Eclipse

My Share of Sacramental LSD: Wiccans Celebrate a Lunar Eclipse

My first experience with taking LSD in a ritual context took place in 1980 in a Wiccan community in Northern California. But the event, an observance of the eclipse of the full moon, was by no means my first experience with psychedelics. For the previous 14 years, I had used such psychedelics as LSD and psilocybin as part of a spiritual practice, often during the four years when it seemed to elevate my marriage into a cosmic union; and less often after my 1970 divorce, when I attempted — with very limited success — to reach acid light...
Religious Leaders Tripping on Magic Mushrooms for Science

Religious Leaders Tripping on Magic Mushrooms for Science

Among traditional cultures, psychedelic plants and fungi have long been viewed as spiritual medicines. Indeed, why partake of sacraments such as mushrooms, ayahuasca, or peyote cacti if not for their spiritual power? Yet in the West, where “spirituality” has long been conflated with religion — and where few sacraments aside from communion wafers and a bit of wine are acknowledged — these visionary plants have been viewed with suspicion. That’s all changing. Among progressive scientists, psychedelics are now all the rage. Psilocybin, the active component of “magic” mushrooms, has shown promise in pilot studies for a wide range of applications,...
"Getting Higher": A Conversation with Author and Occultist Julian Vayne

“Getting Higher”: A Conversation with Author and Occultist Julian Vayne

Julian Vayne is the author of Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony — a guide for exploring the use of psychedelic substances in the contexts of spirituality, self-transformation and magic. It’s out now, via the incredible independent publisher, Psychedelic Press UK. I caught up with Julian about why, exactly, psychedelic explorers would want to get even higher, and what it means to be a warlock in the information age.   Hi Julian, thanks very much for joining me. I know I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I have to say Getting Higher looks fascinating....
Deleted "Avatar" Scene Shows Hallucinogenic Vision Quest

Deleted “Avatar” Scene Shows Hallucinogenic Vision Quest

Did you know the script of James Cameron’s Avatar, the 3D blockbuster from 2009, originally called for a full-on psychedelic vision quest? The scene must have gotten cut fairly late in production, because it was filmed with live actors and animation had already begun. The CGI renders were left in a blocky, unfinished state, but it’s easy to tell what’s going on. Titled “The Dream Hunt,” the scene is a fascinating glimpse into the spirituality of Pandora’s native Na’vi culture. The main character, Jake Sulley, agrees to take part in the initiation ceremony, in which he must take potent psychedelics in...
Psychedelics in American Religious Experience

Psychedelics in American Religious Experience

How important are psychedelics in the religious experience of the United States? We know drugs like LSD and psilocybin can occasion powerful, life-changing experiences of awe and renewal. We also know psychedelics have been used by millions of people since the 1960s. But no one has ever tried to count the number of people who’ve had psychedelic-related mystical experiences. I ran a survey of over 6,000 people to get an answer. Background: Walter ‘Wally’ Pahnke and psychedelic mysticism Fifty-one years ago, a massive 9.2 Richter scale earthquake shook Alaska. At the same time, Wally Pahnke was experiencing another...
New Video from Jason Silva: 'Drugs As Tools For Spirituality'

New Video from Jason Silva: ‘Drugs As Tools For Spirituality’

“The new space is inner space,” says Jason Silva in his new video. It’s the latest edition in his series of thought-provoking short-films called Shots of Awe, which continues to live up to its name. This episode focuses on MAPS — the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies — and the importance of set and setting in maximizing the potential of a psychedelic session. He name-drops Timothy Leary, who stressed the importance of preparing a positive tripping environment for yourself. “You are immediately plunged into a dialogue with your own subconscious,” Silva says. Meanwhile, “The world becomes like a sensurround system. The...
How a Banker Introduced 'Magic Mushrooms' to the West

How a Banker Introduced ‘Magic Mushrooms’ to the West

In 1955, banker and amateur mycologist R. Gordon Wasson traveled to Mexico with a friend, where they became “the first white men in recorded history to eat the divine mushrooms.” Seeking the Magic Mushroom, published two years later in Life magazine, introduced psilocybin mushrooms to the West. Wasson wrote about his personal experience eating the mushrooms, and their ceremonial use by the Mazatec people as a healing agent. The essay came at a perfect time, exposing a whole generation of young people to a natural, non-toxic, and easily grown psychedelic agent that had long been overlooked in the West. Wasson’s...
Moving Into the Sacred World of DMT, by Nick Sand

Moving Into the Sacred World of DMT, by Nick Sand

Nick Sand is one of the most prolific and well-known underground chemists in history. From 1966 to 1996, he produced huge amounts of LSD, as well as MDMA, synthetic mescaline, DMT, and other psychedelics that were distributed around the globe. Along with Tim Scully, Nick Sand was responsible for producing over 3 million hits of Orange Sunshine, a brand of LSD that was renowned for its quality and purity in the Sixties. Sand has a particular fondness for DMT. In fact, it was a DMT vision quest in the 60s that convinced Sand to dedicate his life to...
Entheogenic Spirituality as a Human Right

Entheogenic Spirituality as a Human Right

The following essay by Martin W. Ball is an edited excerpt from his book, The Entheogenic Evolution: Psychedelics, Consciousness and Awakening the Human Spirit, published by Kyandara Publishing in 2008. It was previously published on Reality Sandwich. For more information, visit martinball.net. The true heart of any religion or spiritual tradition is direct spiritual experience. It is from the immediate experience of the sacred that traditions arise, grow, and take on a life of their own as institutions and systems of belief. Yet without that initial spiritual experience, the inspiration that originally gave rise to the tradition, there is very...