Entheogens: Facing God
Humans have been messing with their minds since they discovered they can. Perception and reality are not the same thing and ingesting chemicals certainly can prove that. By altering the metabolism of the body, especially the brain, (the primary interface of the mind with the body’s senses,) humans blur the line between reality and perceiving. Ignoring for now the deeper ontological meanings, we can review the purpose of chemical alterations. The final evaluation of shifting perception with chemicals is that perception is malleable. It is not fixed. Our mind can make things effectively real out of things that are not. You can call such an experience a hallucination. Some call it a religious experience.
The most common mind-altering chemical is alcohol. Though booze definitely messes with the mind, being a very base chemical experience, alcohol can rarely be said to open the doors of perception. But there are other chemicals that are specifically used to do that. They belong to a class known as psychedelics. Most are plant based.
Magic mushrooms, peyote, ergot, salvia divinorum, ayahuasca, iboga, San Pedro cactus — even cannabis — are plants that can alter perception to the point of hallucination. Synthetics like LSD are also up to the job. But other than recreational entertainment, there is a segment of users who still use psychedelics for their original use: to improve spiritual awareness. When a psychedelic is used in a ritual sense such as that, it is more correctly called an entheogen.
Years ago I interviewed Alex Grey. Grey is well known as the artist responsible for remarkable stylized paintings that illustrate the human experience bridging the gap between the physical and the energetic. You’ve seen his work or copies of his styles. Grey is also an outspoken advocate of entheogens.
“I support the legalization of hallucinogens for religious use,” Grey told me. “Ayahuasca and even marijuana should be allowed.” Grey specifically spoke in favor of the case of the O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal or church known as UDV. The United States Justice Department had sought to prevent the church from using a psychedelic to “connect with God” in a four-hour ritual where members partook of a dimethyltryptamine tea from a South American plant. But in 2006, even the United States Supreme Court recognized the religious purpose of the drug and though DMT is illegal, protected its use in a religious experience.
So, whether you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court, it appears some church members will be taking DMT and visiting God.
Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.