Home Discussion Forum Shamanism, Psychedelics, and Spirituality... Any thoughts?

Shamanism, Psychedelics, and Spirituality… Any thoughts?

Contemporary shamanism is on the rise in America, which is at least partly due to the information age, or more specifically the Internet
Shamanism is different from other forms of religion as well, and in today’s high tech world of hard science and hard reality it offers something that Christianity cannot
Shamanism promises a direct and observable spiritual experience via the ritualistic use of psychoactive plants. This is a tradition that can be found in cultures the world over, dating back before recorded history
But are psychedelic drugs, derived from plants, a valid path for spiritual exploration? Is it all just a bunch of chemically induced false prophecy? Or, should people be allowed to explore direct spiritual experience in America even if it involves legalizing psychedelic drugs for such a purpose?
Here are some words from Jonathan Ott:
“In other words, upon visiting a shaman, a man could have had direct experience of altered states of consciousness, of the “otherworld,” either by watching the shaman, under the influence of hallucinogenic plants, journey to the “otherworld” and return with information from the “spirits,” or by himself partaking of the shaman’s “medicine,” his hallucinogenic plants, and accompanying the shaman to the “otherworld.” When the shaman came to be replaced by a priest, however, the subject was expected to have faith, to be a “true believer,” and to accept the priest’s symbolic intercession with the “gods” on faith, without proof. Of course, some people were more skeptical than others – those who would not accept this “second-hand” religion were cast out and persecuted, and the idea of “heresy” was born. At this point, religion as a human institution began to have difficulties.”
“Shamanic ecstasy is the real “Old Time Religion,” of which modern churches are but pallid evocations. Shamanic, visionary ecstasy, the mysterium tremendum, the unio mystica, the eternally delightful experience of the universe as energy, is a sine qua non of religion, it is what religion is for! There is no need for faith, it is the ecstatic experience itself that gives one faith in the intrinsic unity and integrity of the universe, in ourselves as integral parts of the whole; that reveals to us the sublime majesty of our universe, and the fluctuant, scintillant, alchemical miracle that is quotidian consciousness. Any religion that requires faith and gives none, that defends against religious experiences, that promulgates the bizarre superstition that humankind is in some way separate, divorced from the rest of creation, that heals not the gaping wound between Body and Soul, but would tear them asunder… is no religion at all!”


  1. Personally, I always just think of the person my mom used to know who claimed she had a vision of herself as a black panther… Though she was on some sort of weird mushroom at the time. XD
    Anyway, I’ve always been for legalizing any drugs; if people wanna take them, they should be able to. But I don’t put much into the idea of using them for any real spiritual revelations.

  2. Wow.I’ve pondered the depth of your question for some time–nearly 20 seconds now, and can honestly say I couldn’t give a shit less.

  3. I am a student of Siberian Shamanism myself, and I can tell you that psychoactive plants accomplish directly what Tibetan Lamas, Hindu fakirs and other holy men spend their whole lives perfecting indirectly. That is, a disattachment from everyday life and a direct connection to one’s own subconscious. For self-exploration, Shamanism truly is the best method.
    Shamanism is also not limited to the use of psychedelics to induce trance, a shaman frequently employs certain exhibitory methods as drumming, dancing, sweating, and scourging in order to aid the meditative process.

  4. I am what some people call a shaman, I dont label myself though.i pray over the hundred are so herbs i have and make a mixture for folks to drink, and like once a friend was in the hospital she was pregnant and the Doctor said she might not make it through the night and i made up a tea and sat all night with her giving it to her a teaspoon at a time. and she was completely cured by morning.
    my father threw up every day since world war two,had many operations on his stomach,and i prayed over my herbs and made him a tea and he stopped throwing up.
    a lady from church had cancer of the lungs and i took away her junk foods and gave her some vitamins and herbs and her lungs cleared in two weeks, and her hair grew back.I heard a voice in prayer, “go rub his feet,” i did and my father opened his eyes,he had been in a coma from a stroke for nine days and he had a lung infection and had to have a resuscitator to breath,.he lived well for 11 more years.people may call on the spirit for guidance if they so desire to, but they must learn how to listen.

  5. Before I begin I wish to stress my answer comes as a result of what I have come to find as my truth as a result of my experience & that every individuals belief is valid & true for them. That being said, what I have come to find is that old world mystic rituals & practices invovled consumption of mind altering substances & the like for that purposes of raising the spiritual vibration of the practioner. The energies of the planet were far more dense then they are now.

  6. Our ways of thinking and perceptions are so distorted that it takes either years of breaking the mind, or a substance that radically alters the function of the brain to make us see the world as it actually is.
    I don’t think of psychedelics/entheogens as bringing about a spiritual experience so much as breaking down the filters that keep us from realizing the truth of the world.
    In a more practical sense, the psychedelic experience can be used as a kind of signpost, or a compass. You can go back to that experience (as much of it as you can remember), and try to understand the vast difference between the way things really are and they way we think they are.
    We’re already enlightened. We already know the truth. We already are the truth. We just keep ourselves from knowing it most of the time.

  7. You have to remember that the use of psychedelic, reality altering plants is only a very small part of shamanic tradition, and one that requires a great deal of discipline and training to use effectively. The entire idea of altered states of consciousness is a field of study in itself. Also, altered states can be induced in other ways. The use if psychedelic plants in religious rituals is legal here in the US under some very strict guidelines. First it is only legal on certain Tribal lands, and the plants used can only be grown there, they cannot be transported onto, or off of those lands. Generally the substancwe in use there is peyote, although the use of the Animata Muscaria (magic mushrooms) is known as well.
    Personally…the way I see it…ANYTHING that is part of religious worship should be beyond the reach of ANY authority outside that religion anyway.


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