On Psychedelics and/or Entheogens: Drug-Induced Mysticism Revisited

[Samuel Bendeck Sotillos interviewing Charles Upton, excerpted from Vectors of the Counter-Initiation: The Course and Destiny of Inverted Spirituality Sophia Perennis, 2012; All notes by Samuel Bendeck Sotillos]

[Samuel Bendeck Sotillos:]

Charles Upton (b. 1948)[1] poet, author, activist, and veteran of the counter-culture has voyaged and experienced firsthand the many facets of the New Age cul-de-sac and its pitfalls which are all too often ignored. Psychedelics[2] or hallucinogens, now termed entheogens[3], have played a pivotal role in the modern and postmodern seekers quest to circumvent the trappings of the empirical ego and attain Self-Realization since the 1960s. After a hiatus of nearly thirty years, psychedelic research has now made a revival, which should provoke much inquiry as to what underlies this phenomenon.  It is interesting to note that the New Age Movement, the Human Potential Movement, Humanistic Psychology and Transpersonal Psychology all emerged in a common setting; they do not only share many similarities but have also assisted in each other’s development. For example, the English writer Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) could be said to be a single figure connecting of all of the above movements via his popularizing the perennial philosophy and his writings on psychedelics, both of which are acknowledged by the above movements and or disciplines. Huxley not only helped shape each of the above but provided an integrative theory in which they could take root. That said, while he popularized the perennial philosophy he is not considered to be a traditionalist or perennialist.

Where Mr. Upton parts ways with his New Age and counter-culture comrades is that since his introduction to the works of the traditionalist or perennialist school—most significantly René Guénon (1886-1951), Frithjof Schuon (1907-1998) and Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy (1887-1947)—he has affiliated himself with this orientation. Mr. Upton has written numerous books and articles on traditional metaphysics and the perennial philosophy, most noteworthy is: The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (2001). Although he has abandoned the practices of his early search in the New Age and counter-culture movements, he acquired an abundant knowledge and understanding of these pseudo-spiritualties and is in a commendable position to inform and also caution contemporary seekers. Mr. Upton is a committed Muslim and a practitioner of Sufism and simultaneously acknowledges the “transcendent unity of religions”. The following interview offers a unique look at psychedelics in the light of the perennial philosophy by way of perennialist theory and also personal accounts of the author. This interview was conducted by electronic correspondence during March, April and May of 2011.

SBS: Perhaps we could begin with the central perennialist critique with regards to what has been termed—“consciousness expansion”, “altered states of consciousness”, “non-ordinary states of consciousness”—which distinguishes the psychic from the spiritual;[4] it is this critique that many readers outside the perennialist or traditionalist circles will not be familiar with yet it is has created the greatest amount of confusion for contemporary seekers.[5] Would you mind elaborating on this fundamental distinction which has profound implications with regard to recognizing authentic spirituality versus pseudo-spirituality or New Age spirituality?

Charles Upton: The psychic or intermediary plane is the world of subjectivity; the Spiritual plane is objectivity itself. As the psychic world is higher than the material world and encompasses it, so the Spirit is higher than both psyche and matter, and encompasses them. The psychic world is made up of beliefs, perceptions, impressions, experiences; the Spiritual world is composed of certainties—of things that are true even if we are not certain of them. When Beat Generation poet Lew Welch said, “I seek union with what goes on whether I look at it or not”, he was positing the level of Spirit. The psychic plane is relatively objective in that it is not enclosed within the individual psyche; as Jung demonstrated, it also has a collective aspect. This collectivity is not limited to a mass human subjectivity or “collective unconscious”, however; it is host as well to many classes of non-human beings, including those the Greeks called the daimones, the Northern Europeans, the Fairies, and the Arabs, the Jinn. It carries nothing less than the impressions of the experiences of all sentient beings.

The psychic plane is the (relatively) objective environment of the human psyche, just as the earth is the (relatively) objective environment of the human body. Our apparently individual subjectivity is co-extensive with innumerable other subjectivities, both human and non-human; as Huston Smith said, “the brain breathes thoughts like the lungs breathe air.” But it remains essentially subjective for all that; it is the realm of experiences, not realities. An experience is an impression of an objective reality, either material or Spiritual, as received by a limited subject, an impression that is edited by the inherent or acquired limitations of the subject experiencing it. It is phenomenon, not noumenon. Whatever relatively objective data can be accessed through psychic means (clairvoyance, precognition etc.) always pertains to contingent entities immersed in one form or another of space and time, linear or multidimensional; eternal realities cannot be intuited by psychic means.

The Spiritual plane, on the other hand, is purely objective. It is not composed of our impressions, but of things we have impressions of—of noumena that transcend sense experience and do not depend for their existence upon our awareness of them, just as—on the level of sense experience—the mountain outside our window is really there, whether or not we happen to be looking at it. The Spiritual plane is the realm of the first intelligible manifestations or “names” of God—of metaphysical principles that are not simply abstract ideas, but living realities that have the power, under the proper conditions, to dominate, guide, purify and conform our psyches to them—to “save our souls”.

So Spiritual realities transcend subjective experience. But if we never experienced them, they would not be effective to enlighten us and save us. Spiritual experiences, then—what the Sufis call the ahwal or spiritual states (which are necessary elements of the Spiritual Path) are psychic experiences grounded not in the psychic subjectivity of the one experiencing them but in objective realities that transcend the realm of sense—in the Names of God. To be subject to a Spiritual state is to have a direct intellective intuition of an objective Spiritual reality that transcends the state in question, one that the subjective state by which it is intuited will always both veil and reveal; and if Spiritual realities partially transcend our subjective experience of them, God transcends our experience of Him absolutely. To experience God is to be called to immediately transcend that necessarily limited experience of Him, and come into naked existential contact with Him as He is in Himself, beyond all experience; as the Sufis put it, “the human being does not know God in His Absolute Essence; it is God who knows Himself within the human form.” The Sufi practice of contemplating God in this manner is known as fikr, which might be defined as “the ongoing sacrifice of every conception of the Absolute, generated by the Absolute, in the face of the Absolute.”

So we can say that Spiritual realities are objective, and that God, the Source of all such realities, is the Absolute Object. But “object” here does not mean “whatever is perceived by a limited subject as other than itself”; taken in this sense, “object” is relative to that limited subject and so partakes of its subjectivity. God as Absolute Object is equally the indwelling Divine Subject, the Absolute Witness, what the Hindus name the Atman, what Frithjof Schuon calls “the absolute Subject of our contingent subjectivities.” The Absolute Witness stands “behind” all psychic experience, impassively witnessing them, not identifying with them; here is the precise difference between the psyche and the Spirit.

We cannot reach God through the psyche, through experience; the essence of the Spiritual Path is to place ourselves in the presence of God, and let Him reach us. He may do this through experiences, through events, or through a secret action within the soul that we aren’t even aware of. The function of spiritual experiences or states is not to “enrich the soul” with fascinating impressions of the Divine, but to burn out specific aspects of the ego, specific attachments and identifications; this is why the realized Sufi, the one who has transcended himself, died to himself, become objective to himself—or rather to the Absolute Witness within him—is beyond spiritual states entirely.

SBS: Following up with this point, what can you say about the assumption that the pursuit of expanding consciousness or achieving an altered state of consciousness is an end unto itself, as if it was a desirable human norm which contradicts perennial principles—“The goal is not altered states but altered traits.”[6] This perilous approach often involves an ad hoc mixture of spiritual techniques rather than a persistent adherence to one orthodox spiritual form.[7] Could you please speak to this puzzling development?

CU: This is all a kind of council of desperation, as well as an indication that the breakdown of the traditional revealed religions, leading to a One-World Religion made up out of the resulting fragments—a development that will culminate in the regime of Antichrist—is proceeding right on schedule.[8]

As religion degenerates, the felt sense of the reality of God is progressively replaced by an obsession with morality for its own sake, and with religious fervor considered as an end in itself, both taken out of their own proper context. No longer is moral purity felt to be something we naturally owe to God in view of His love for us and of the fact that He created us, something that prevents us from falling into the ingratitude of worshipping the passions as idols in His place; now morality has become an idol in itself. By the same token, fervor has lost sight of the God Who supposedly inspires it; it has become a substitute for His felt presence rather than a response to it. In a lot of contemporary Protestant hymns, for example—or rather contemporary “Christian pop” songs—the singer sings primarily about his or her own feelings, not about God. Likewise various “consciousness studies” programs now available in academia tend to concentrate on subjective states of consciousness, as well as the belief-systems that support them and the techniques by which they can sometimes be produced, rather than understanding  spiritual states as  reflections of an  objective  metaphysical order,  and  thus as instances of knowledge rather than simply experience. According to Sufi doctrine, spiritual states are not acquisitions but gifts of God. He sends them in order to “burn out” specific passions, attachments and ego-knots; after the attachment in question is dissolved, that particular state does not return. For example, a habit of neurotic fear, burnt out by a state (hal) of ecstatic love, is transformed into a station (maqam) of courage and equanimity; a temporary “state” has resulted in an established “trait”. And the fully-realized Sufi is said to be beyond both states and stations, since he no longer maintains any separative ego which could be the subject of them; he has attained objective metaphysical realization.

When traditional faith is strong, it is a source of security and certainty for the faithful; they feel that they are in the presence of sacred mysteries, mysteries that they can rely upon but need not pry into. But when traditional religions weakens, then certain people who would have otherwise been spiritually satisfied simply to live within a sacred tradition and ambience, and who would have saved their souls thereby, conceive the desire for a direct mystical relationship with God so as to make up for what has been lost—a relationship that may not in fact be proper to them.  They imagine that such a relationship could only result from some extravagant spiritual tour-de-force—and psychedelic drugs immediately appear as a plausible way of taking that tour. But the psychedelics, as well as various spiritual techniques such as secularized non-traditional yoga, are often approached on the basis of the very false and limiting context that people are seeking them in order to free themselves from: of the spiritual life as an exercise in self-will (as in the case of compulsive morality), and of God conceived as an experience rather than a Reality (as in the case of self-referential fervor; the New Age movement for example, which deifies experience, can be described as a kind of “non-Christian Pentecostalism”). In the absence of a felt sense of the Grace of God based upon faith, which St. Paul calls “the presence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, nothing is possible in the spiritual life outside of the Promethean attempt to take heaven by storm, and spiritual narcissism—two pathologies which are intimately related to each other and never appear apart. The will cut off from the spiritual Intellect (which is always virtually in force wherever Faith and Grace are present) produces Prometheanism; the alienation of the affections from the Intellect produces narcissism.

It is highly interesting that psychedelic drugs burst upon the scene at precisely the same moment that the Second Vatican Council was abolishing traditional Roman Catholicism and deconstructing the sacramental order. It’s as if the grace of the Roman Catholic sacraments, while they were still intact, overflowed their specifically Catholic context and maintained a certain level of elevation in the “collective unconscious” of the western world, an elevation which was rapidly lost when that grace was cut off. Faced with a sudden unconscious or half-conscious sense of spiritual loss, and the stifling sensation that always results when the psyche is cut off from the plane of the Spirit, the western collectivity became susceptible to the temptation of psychedelics, which at the very least can provide (though not without extremely negative consequences) a horizontal psychic expansiveness which appears to compensate for, and sometimes actually counterfeits, the loss of a vertical spiritual elevation, while at the same time concealing the fact that such a loss ever occurred. Psychedelics, in other words, were a kind of Luciferian “booby prize” offered as compensation for the fall of western Christendom.

SBS: A compelling case that the psychedelic advocates and researchers make is that because psychoactive properties are naturally occurring in a number of plants (and even endogenous to the human body)[9] which have been used in sacred rituals throughout the world since time immemorial[10]Soma hypothesized to be the Fly Agaric mushroom (Amanita muscaria), Teonanácatl—Náhuatl, language of the Aztecs: “God’s flesh” or “flesh of the gods” (Psilocybe mexicana), Peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii),[11] San Pedro cactus (Trichocereus pachanoi),[12] Ololiuqui (Turbina corymbosa) and Tlililtzin (Ipomoea violacea) seeds of a Morning Glory, Ibogaine or Iboga (Tabernanthe iboga), Ayauasca or Yajé (Banisteriopsis caapi), Kykeon made with Ergot (Claviceps paspali and Claviceps purpurea), Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger), Belladonna (Atropa belladonna), Mandrake (Mandragora officinarum), Datura, Brugmansia, Ska Pastora (Salvia divinorum), Pituri (Duboisia hopwoodii), etc.—some advocates or researchers have explicitly or implicitly claimed that they have been the precursors to the foundation of religion itself.[13] These mind-altering plants have been suggested to be the central components of Soma of the Rig Veda or Hoama/Homa of the Avesta identified as none other than the mushroom Amanita muscaria[14] and the principal rite of the Eleusinian Mysteries (Plato, Aristotle and Epictetus were said to have been initiates) utilizing Kykeon purported to be the fungus ergot which contains psychoactive alkaloids such as LSD (lysergic acid diethylam- ide)[15]; it has also been asserted that that Manna of the Hebrew Bible was a psychedelic[16], the use of psychoactive mushrooms have also been ascribed to the cult of Mithras[17], and said to be used in ancient Egypt[18], even the origins of Christianity and Christ himself are hypothesized to be the mushroom Amanita muscaria.[19] What are your thoughts on this important discussion?

CU: Since religions are founded by Divine action through prophets and avatars (Buddhism possibly excepted yet Gautama Buddha is considered to be the ninth Avatar of Lord Vishnu within the Hindu tradition), to say that they have been initiated by psychedelics is to deny that God can act on His own initiative, and consequently to deny God. It is to make “religion” an entirely human affair, and thus to posit something that does not fit the definition of that word. No religious tradition claims to have been founded on the basis of psychedelic experience; such claims emanate from users of psychedelics who like to project their fantasies upon traditions they in no way intend to follow. Anyone who thinks that Moses met God on Sinai or Jesus became “Christ” after eating some mushroom, because how else could they have done it, has no sense of the sacred whatsoever. Within certain contexts and in certain yugas it might have been spiritually possible to open initiates to the graces of an already established spiritual Way through the use of psychedelics, but such things are certainly not possible to us in our own time, except at great cost—and with what coin could we pay that cost, poor as we are? In any case it is certain that the establishment of a legitimate spiritual Way through the use psychedelics has never been either possible or necessary.

SBS: While the perennial philosophy acknowledges the Shamanic traditions of the First Peoples, a central challenge to the notion that entheogens or psychedelics have been used since the beginning of time is that the “beginning of time” or “pre-history” which some suggest to be around 5000 BC[20], when contextualized within cyclical time it is likely to be the Kali-Yuga or the Iron Age, the culmination of this temporal cycle or at best the Dvapara Yuga or Bronze Age, the phase preceding the final age.[21] Thus the use of sacred plants that have psychoactive properties occurred late in the cosmic cycle (manvantara) and not at its inception, the Krita-Yuga or Satya-Yuga, known as the Golden Age in Western cosmology which would support prominent historian of religion, Mircea Eliade’s (1907-1986) astute observation: “the use of intoxicants…is a recent innovation and points to a decadence in shamanic technique.[22] Could you please elaborate on the perennialist perspective with regards to this point?

CU: I agree with Eliade’s initial view of psychedelics; when a spiritual tradition degenerates there is no telling what people will try in order to regain what is felt to be lost. Perhaps, God willing, something can be partially regained through psychedelics under certain cosmic conditions—conditions we certainly do not enjoy today—but the very attempt to regain a former spiritual exaltation is evidence of a degeneration. The Krita-yuga was characterized by a “mass theophanic consciousness” in which psychedelics were not needed; in the words of Genesis, mankind “walked with God in the cool of the evening”. In my view (and I am open to correction), Shamanism came in with the Treta-yuga or Silver Age, when the cosmic environment was subject to imbalances due to demonic incursions that the Shamans—as they them- selves maintain, according to Eliade—were sent by God to correct. And as the Shamans of our own time have asserted, also according to Eliade, their ancestors were immensely more powerful than they, and didn’t need psychedelics; so the use of the psychedelic “crutch” undoubtedly came in later than the Shamanic dispensation itself. Also of great interest is the fact that the Christian visionary and stigmatist Anne Catherine Emmerich, [1774-1824], in her book The Life of Christ and Biblical Revelations [1979], based on her visions, mentions an early non-Biblical patriarch called Hom, who was either named after, or provided a name for, a particular plant he considered to be sacred. This plant, in my opinion, is the Haoma plant of the ancient Persians, equivalent to the Vedic Soma. According to Emmerich, the lineage that sprang from Hom, which included one Dsemschid (undoubtedly the legendary Persian king Jamshid), became polluted with Satanic fantasies, though she apparently did not recognize the plant in question as an intoxicant. It is highly unlikely that Emmerich, a nearly illiterate Westphalian peasant, would have known anything about Persian history or Zoroastrian lore, much less about the effects of exotic psychedelics. So it may well be true that the use of such plants, at least beyond the cosmic era that might have allowed their use under certain conditions, represents a truly ancient deviation in humanity’s relationship with God. (It must not be forgotten, however, that according to René Guénon and Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, Soma and Haoma, in their higher symbolic sense, are not psychoactive plants but the source of the “Draught of Immortality” which effects the return of the Human Form to its fitra, its primordial Edenic state before the Fall. In other words, they symbolize a particular stage of spiritual realization.)

As for Eliade’s later notion that psychedelic ecstasy is identical to ecstasy produced by other means, I speculate that he said this only because he experienced psychedelics himself and had nothing else to compare them to. He was an incomparable scholar of religion, but he had no religious faith; he characterized religions, myths and metaphysical beliefs as “artistic creations” referring to no objective reality; he placed them on the psychic plane, not the Spiritual.

SBS: There is the notion that the use of peyote (Lophophora williamsii) via the syncretistic Native American Church (NAC) is compatible with other traditional Shamanic rites which did not originally utilize this plant medicine. For example, there are some that suggest that the Sun Dance Religion is compatible with peyote use (some have even introduced Ayauasca or Yajé into this sacred ritual)[23], yet traditional spiritual authorities within these communities, such as medicine man and Sun Dance chief, Thomas Yellowtail (1903-1993) suggest quite the opposite, that they are not compatible and that such syncretism or mixing of foreign elements such as peyote are in fact dangerous and could be spiritually harmful[24], not to mention that they do not do justice to either spiritual way and end up watering each tradition down, ultimately leading to the demise of both. Do you have any thoughts on this?

CU: Yellowtail was right.

SBS: In conjunction with the amalgamation of Native American Church (NAC) there is also the phenomena of the psychoactive brew Ayauasca or Yajé from South America which has been widely exported throughout the world made extensively available through the syncretic churches of Santo Daime founded by Mestre Irineu or Raimundo Irineu Serra (1892-1971)[25] and União do Vegetal (Centro Espírita Beneficente União do Vegetal or UDV) founded by Mestre Gabriel or José Gabriel da Costa (1922-1971) combining Catholicism, Spiritism of Allan Kardec (1804-1869), African and South American shamanism.[26] In conjunction with this, we need to also mention that the search for mystical experiences has also brought about the phenomenon of “spiritual tourism”[27] to remote parts of the Amazon basin that has its damaging effects on the traditional societies living in these areas, extending itself to all sapiential traditions. Could you speak to these interesting phenomenon’s which is unquestionably a hallmark of New Age thought?

CU: To syncretize different forms of the sacred, assuming that they were originally true Spiritual ways, not simply psychic “technologies”, is to relativize and subjectivize them and thus drive everything down to the psychic level while sealing off access to the Spirit; and this is tantamount to demonic invocation. And even if the practices in question are fundamentally psychic to begin with, mixing them can only generate further chaos. Spiritual Unity is higher than psychic multiplicity and encompasses it, but once the Unity of the Spirit is veiled, the idea becomes: “You mean you only have one god? You are spiritually deprived! We have hundreds” —the “reign of quantity” with a vengeance! The problem with this approach is that no one of these many gods can be the Absolute Reality, or even a psychic symbol for it—given that, by definition, you can’t have more than one Absolute. And the psychic chaos created by mixing African and South American shamanism with Catholicism and European spiritualism can only be compared to playing the music of Bach, the Moody Blues, Charlie Parker and Inti Illimani all at the same time—a practice that could only destroy all presence of mind and unity of soul in the listener. Of course some people like that kind of thing; instead of transcending their individuality through Spiritual ascent, they simply want to shatter it, and consequently sink below it, into the infra-psychic. It’s called “postmodernism”.

And spiritual tourism in places like the Amazon damages not only the indigenous cultures but the tourists too. (I recently saw a news item where one village prohibited such tourism; a villager characterized the North American strangers who’d visited them and immediately asked to be told all about the local sacred rituals and beliefs as, in effect, “creepy”.) When well-heeled Norteamericanos and Europeans enter dirt poor villages in the Amazon and elsewhere looking to satisfy their spiritual hunger, a hunger based on their abandonment and betrayal of their own spiritual tradition (usually Christianity), they tempt the village elders to what traditional Catholics call the sin of simony: selling sacred things for money. Spiritual tourists are by and large not pilgrims but thieves, vampires. In most cases they aren’t looking for a spiritual Path to dedicate their lives to, but simply picking up here and there whatever sacred art objects, or psychedelic experiences, or sacred rituals degraded to the level of mere spectacle, might suite their fancy—if, that is, they aren’t actually sorcerers in search of “personal power”. Very often their basic set is psychic rather than spiritual; like most tourists, they are looking for “experiences”, not principles to live by. They leave behind them the destructive influences of their own profane postmodern attitudes, and return home polluted with the toxic psychic residues of the forms of the sacred they have plundered, so as to release them to do their damage within their own cultures.

SBS: Another important point to discuss is that while there are traditional Shamanic societies who today still utilize psychoactive plants in their sacred rites—i.e. the Huichol, Tarahumara, Cora, Mazatec, Bwiti, Kayapó, Fang, Mitsogo, Jivaro, Yanomami, Koryak, etc.—this does not necessarily mean that those outside these racial and ethnic groups will also have the same spiritual and beneficial response with the use of these plants.[28] It is as if the different indigenous peoples were given different plant medicines particular to their human makeup and ecological context. Could you please speak to this sensitive theme as it is perhaps “politically incorrect”?

CU: This is undoubtedly true in many cases. If the invocation of the name Allah should not be expected to be spiritually fruitful for a Buddhist, then by the same token the use of certain psychoactive plants outside of their traditional cultural and ritual context is not likely to have the same effect as it would within those contexts, and will most likely have a much more negative one. Such psychic and cultural bleed-throughs may be accurately compared to the breakdown of discrete and self-contained ecosystems. Asian carp are fine in Asia; in the Great Lakes they are a disaster. And those who hope to benefit from the sacred worldviews of the Huichols, the Tarahumara, the Native American Church should be willing to live under the same conditions of deprivation and oppression and social marginalization as the Huichols and the Tarahumara and the Native American Church. If you want the spirituality of the Res, accept the suffering of the Res.

Shamanism, even relatively degenerate Shamanism[29], has a certain practical justification under truly primitive conditions, since it represents a large portion of the technological heritage of the tribe. The Shaman heals disease, finds and attracts game, carries on criminal investigations, influences the weather, protects the tribe in war and guards it against psychological imbalances and/or demonic incursions. But under modern conditions, when at least some of these functions can be fulfilled by other means, Shamanism loses a certain amount of its raison d’être. French poet and cinematographer Jean Cocteau [1889-1963] recounts the story of an anthropologist who was studying native folkways in Haiti, where trees are (or were) used for long-distance communication; when a woman’s husband was away at market, she might send a message to him by speaking to a tree, and receive his answer by the same means. When the anthropologist asked the natives why they spoke to trees, their answer was: “Because we are poor. If we were rich we should have the telephone”.

In my opinion, those persons of the postmodern West whose psychophysical nature is not already fully integrated into the Spirit, or at least fully submissive to It—a condition extremely rare in our time—should never touch the Shamanism of the primal cultures, since westerners lack the protection provided by the basic spiritual set and character-formation of those cultures. The rare and exceptional case is that of the person who, by the grace of God, has found and been accepted not simply by a working traditional Shaman or medicine man, but a true holy man of one of the primal spiritual Ways—though how he or she could recognize such a holy man in the first place is hard to imagine.

SBS: You have undertaken an in-depth study of UFO phenomenon in light of traditional metaphysics in your book Cracks in the Great Wall (2005).[30] There are numerous writers and researchers within the psychedelic world who claim that there is a connection between the psychedelic experience and UFO’s sightings and/or abductions, especially for those who use the substance DMT (dimethyltryptamine).[31] To many this might be the siren call or the advent of the New Age, but to the exponents of the perennial philosophy this has the characteristics of the Kali-Yuga written all over it. Could you please speak to this?

CU: As I see it, the UFO “aliens” are denizens of the intermediary or psychic plane, what Muslims call the Jinn. So it is not surprising that the use of psychedelics could make one more vulnerable to incursions from that world. René Guénon in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times [1953] spoke of “fissures” appearing in the “Great Wall” separating the material plane from the intermediary plane, fissures that open our world to “infra-psychic” forces; to me the UFO phenomenon is a perfect example of this process. These fissures appear due to cyclical degeneration and the approaching dissolution of our world, but they are further widened and exploited by human activity, sometimes unconscious, sometimes deliberate. I believe that such things as the spread of the electronic media, including the internet, the liberation of nuclear energy, the use of psychedelics and the general fascination with psychic powers and the paranormal continue to widen the cracks in the Great Wall, which, since it acts as the border between the material and the psychic worlds, can be affected by both material and psychic means; the very fact that such powerful psychic experiences can be produced by a material substance like LSD undoubtedly furthers this process. And it is interesting in this context that, according to Timothy Leary [1920-1996], LSD was not “activated” as a psychedelic until the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico. (On the material side, this border apparently has something to do with the electromagnetic spectrum, which is why automobile engines will often die and electronic equipment malfunction in close proximity to a UFO.) Furthermore, those people Guénon called “agents of the Counter-Initiation”[32] are working to widen the cracks in the Great Wall consciously and deliberately.

The case of pioneer rocket scientist Jack Parsons [1914-1952] comes immediately to mind. Parsons was a follower of black magician Aleister Crowley [1875-1947] and an associate of L. Ron Hubbard [1911-1986], another follower of Crowley, who founded the Church of Scientology and who also (according to my correspondence with Beat Generation writer William Burroughs [1914-1997] in the late 1960’s, when Burroughs was in the process of breaking with Scientology)  had a background in Naval Intelligence, something confirmed by Peter Levenda in his trilogy Sinister Forces: A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft. Parsons, according to UFOlogist Jacques Vallée [b. 1939] in his book Messengers of Deception [1979], claimed to have met a “Venusian” in the Mojave Desert; according to Levenda he performed Pagan rituals at his launchings. He went on to co-found both the Aerojet Corporation and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; a crater was named after him on the dark side of the Moon. Parsons openly stated that he was working to open a “door” into another dimension; it was shortly after his Mojave Desert rituals that the first major post-WWII civilian sightings of UFOs occurred in North America, through of course there is no way of knowing if the two are related. (In the careers of Crowley, Parsons and Hubbard we can see clear indications of the action of the Counter-Initiation.)[33] So conscious or unconscious “invocations” of the Jinn appear to be a major factor in the breakdown of the energy-wall between the material and the intermediary plane; such invoca- tions are undoubtedly inspired by the Jinn themselves, specifically the kafir or unbelieving Jinn (the demons, that is; the Qur’an teaches that some of the Jinn are unbelievers and some are Muslims). In other words, the kafir Jinn are working to break down the Great Wall from their side as well. When the Wall finally crashes, our world will end.[34]

SBS: As you are a veteran of the counter-culture movement, I am wondering if you would not mind speaking about your own personal experiences with psychedelics. In doing so could you please describe the psychological and the environmental factors known in psychedelic circles as “set and setting”, including what substance and quantity you ingested during any “positive” psychedelic experiences?

CU: My “set” was always: “I seek the Clear Light; I wish to open to higher consciousness; I hope to see God”. And my setting was almost invariably a place of beauty in the natural world. Leaving aside my many more or less positive mescaline and peyote trips (though one was quite painful and rigorous—deliberately so), my two rather unpleasant experiences with psilocybin mushrooms, and my one extremely powerful trip on morning glory seeds (whose active ingredient is “organic acid”, lysergic acid amide), the settings for my three LSD trip were 1) the valley below Alpine Dam on Mt. Tamalpias, Marin County, California; 2) the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia; 3) Joshua Tree National Monument in the deserts of Southern California. As for dosage, we who bought our acid “on the street” never really knew. Various microgram numbers were given or not given by our sources; many times we were just told “this is one hit” or “5 hits”, or someone who had already ingested some of the batch in question might suggest how much we should take. The first trip came out of a blue pill, the second out of a “windowpane” and the third out of a “blotter”. A windowpane was a tiny square of clear solid gelatin of the kind used for gelatin capsules; a blotter was a square of blotter-paper. Acid was sold in the latter two forms to demonstrate that it was most likely not adulterated, since you never knew what might be in a pill or capsule besides acid, or instead of acid.

SBS: Could you please describe in detail what transpired both inwardly and outwardly during this psychedelic session?

CU: Session One: essentially a “Second Bardo” trip, “the Bardo of Experiencing Reality” (or rather, as I would now say, “existence”) according to the system developed by Timothy Leary and based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead:[35] Time slowed down immensely and became “specialized”; the landscape was transfigured into a scene of unearthly earthly beauty; matter was transformed into, or clearly recognized as, a coagulation of energy—if I squeezed a stone it would vibrate and sizzle in my hand; the Celestial Light of Heaven almost came down, or started to; wings almost sprouted on my shoulders; I looked at an acorn cap and thought I was seeing a newly-hatched baby snake still coiled up as he had been in his shell (later in Vancouver, British Columbia, after reading a poem based on that experience at a café, I was told by another of the performers, a traditional London “busker”, that in that vision I had come upon a piece of Druid lore), etc. At one point a short, gnarled figure appeared whom I thought of as a “pirate”, he was disgruntled, irritated, as if to say “Hey you kids! Get off my property!” (I was tripping with a friend). Later I realized that he was in fact a gnome, a spirit of the Earth element in the system of Paracelsus; I further realized that by dropping acid in that forested canyon by that clear stream of water we had done the equivalent of breaking into his house uninvited or even walking through his wall; no wonder he was angry! Here’s the poem I wrote about that trip:

The Lightning’s Kiss


the storm is directly above us:
boiling fog,
surf crashing on the shoreline
of the hills—
mingling elements
flashing white, blue
moil in a turbulence—
luminous webs
vapours streaming
and blotting the Sun
and revealing him again
in his course—

our external destinies
rush to crazy oblivion
in the sky above—

here below,
the Quiet:

grey, green, dark & almost white,
the treetrunks boil up to Heaven!
silver-muscled branches
light up like bleeding arteries;
slender arms and sinews of branches,
sparkling hieroglyphs of leaves,
architectural script of rock,
the gnarled old face of the vegetable Druid
frowning thunderous from the roots,
his countenance beating
like a human heart—

and the creek is filled
with men’s voices
the single-minded, the inexorable
in one motion through time—
rare fluencies of speech,
sparkling emerald syntax
in the masculine sunlight,
illuminating the brilliance
of contention and declamation—

sounds of crickets, secrets,
goblets of Egyptian sound,
moving downstream—

the linked syllables of Karma
talking forever
in the direction of the
listening Sea—

and behind me, over my shoulder
the Tyger growls—
chewing the bones of his prey to splinters
in a keening, crying Wind.


and the wind in the leaves
is the voices of women
wailing in love
or lamentation—
coiling whispers around the treetrunks—
drawing long shimmering cadences
through the five-fingered strings of branches,
and making an anguish of visible pleasure
that moves through the forest
like the cries of living violins
as the bow draws over the nipples
releasing a wind of singing
that shivers in the branches
and through the branches of my flesh
like ripples through a
shaft of smoke.

(exotic poisons:
vitalities coursing
through rock & wood:
the war outside
by bomb, or dollar,
is ground through
wheels of Nature –
or Nature herself,
like this,
makes war outside
this canyon:
(the question
should be: not
Which is Origin, Man
or what he sees,
Where can I work—
in these cool and
harpstringed elements,
or in the gut
of the machine
made of human hands
these elements see
in their Mirror?

If anyone thinks it is a “good” poem, this simply demonstrates the great gulf that exists between the aesthetic dimension and the spiritual dimension, though spiritual truth can certainly express itself by way of aesthetic beauty. The Qur’an calls the Jinn-inspired poets of pre-Islamic Arabia those who say that which they do not, and Rumi, the greatest poet of Islam, had the following to say about his art:

My disposition is such that I don’t want anyone to suffer on my account….I am loved by those who come to see me, and so I compose poetry to entertain them lest they grow weary. Otherwise, why on earth would I be spouting poetry? I am vexed by poetry. I don’t think there is anything worse. It is like having to put one’s hands into tripe to wash it for one’s guests because they have an appetite for it. That is why I must do it.[36]

Session Two: a First Bardo trip, the Bardo of “the Clear Light of the Void”, the “set” for which I had posited by reading the Diamond Sutra and the Heart Sutra right before ingestion: No hallucinations, no visual or auditory distortions, simply the obvious fact that experience could go along quite happily with no experiencer there at all; as the Beatles put it, “Life goes on within you and without you.” And since “I” was empty of self-nature, essentially snuffed out, the world I saw—immense, beautiful, snow-capped mountains, viewed in pristine clarity—was equally empty. Nothing really there. This self-and-world annihilation only persisted, however, when I was alone; as soon as I approached another human being—a girl in this case—“I” began to come back into existence; from this I learned that relatedness, or polarity, is the principle of all manifestation—a truth that the Buddhists call “Indra’s Net”. As the Heart Sutra puts it: “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form”. Precisely.

Session Three: probably a Third Bardo trip, “the Bardo of Seeking Rebirth”, a condition in which ego-transcendence is blocked, and consequently the tripper (or the consciousness-principle after physical death) is experiencing the pain and suffering of chaos, leading him to attempt to escape from this chaos into some kind of stable form that isn’t exploding in a million directions all the time. My “set” here may not have been as pure as that of Session Two, since I had already begun to read the books of “sorcerer” Carlos Castaneda [1925-1998][37], whom I met on one occasion. I had a brief experience of the higher reaches of the Second Bardo when the world appeared as a “tree” whose fruit was a constellation of Buddha or Bodhisattva images as in a Tibetan thanka (sacred painting), but it didn’t last; for the rest of the time I was just waiting to come down. When I closed my eyes the cactuses and thorny chaparral bushes of the desert around me were reproduced as writhing, thorn-studded whips or cables, like the ocotillo plant. I stared at my Toyota Land Cruiser and just couldn’t make out what it was: it looked like an ever-shifting 17-dimensional arrangement of wheels, pulleys and intersecting planes, like an M. C. Escher print. In this trip, like my two psilocybin trips, I was mostly just “doing time”.

SBS: From your own point of view why would you consider these psychedelic experiences—“good trips” or “bad trips”—and what criteria could be used to asses this?

CU: To answer this question I need to define what “good trip” and “bad trip” usually meant to the hippies: a good trip was one that felt good, a bad trip, one that felt bad. Moral or intellectual or spiritual criteria were rarely applied; the most common standard of judgment was hedonistic—though some trippers were capable of realizing that the pain of certain psychedelic experiences might teach one something or work as a psychic catharsis. From that point of view, my first trip was mostly “good”, my second trip “good”, and my third trip mostly “bad”—though nowhere near as bad as a real bad trip, filled with paranoia and panic.

From the standpoint of spiritual insight, the second session was the only real “trip”—and it was the only one in which I wasn’t going anywhere. It showed me the possibility and reality of ego-transcendence (though not how to attain it on any stable basis), and taught me, as I said above, that existence is fundamentally relational. The first session showed me the existence of another “world”, specifically the “etheric plane”, the layer of the intermediate or psychic plane where the elementals reside; that started me on a long series of excursions into the elf-world, probably because, without my knowing it, LSD had permanently breached the natural energy-barrier or “etheric wall” between my material and subtle (not Spiritual) levels of consciousness—the microcosmic analogue of the “Great Wall” René Guénon speaks of in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times [1953]. This left me with a lifelong over-sensitivity to psychic forces that has produced many experiences of great pain over the years, made it hard for me to meditate (too much psychic “static”), and caused me to be vulnerable to demonic attack. If any good came of this condition it was limited to an ability to “listen in”, as it were, to the councils of the demons, and find out something about what they are up to on a collective level, so that I can avoid certain of their influences and warn others.

The third session was just sad; all I learned from that one was, “no more LSD”.

SBS: Do you have any further reflections on these experiences in light of your present-day outlook on psychedelics? Did your use of psychedelics prompt you to enter a more sustaining spiritual path? And do you still use psychedelics in conjunction with your spiritual practice?

CU: Yes: the conclusion that, from the spiritual perspective, no trip is good—especially if one is actually able to access higher consciousness or “see God” by means of it (assuming, of course, that these experiences are not delusions, or so mixed with delusionary elements that the way to the valid experiences and insights they counterfeit is not in fact blocked forever). If you drop acid, see horrible hallucinations and experience excruciating feelings of loneliness, degradation and fear, you may actually be luckier than if you experience “ecstasy” and “profound insight” and “consciousness of God”, if not (momentary) “liberation from the wheel of becoming”. If you break your way into the Inner Chamber on your own initiative, you have committed sacrilege—how can you ever become obedient to and annihilated in God’s will if you think you have the right to break into His house any time the fancy suits you? I am not saying that the higher consciousness that can on certain occasions be experienced through psychedelics may not sometimes have a positive effect on one’s life and outlook—but at what cost?

Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh [1926-2008], my first Sufi shaykh, strictly prohibited the use of all drugs, including psychedelics. My 20 years under his guidance were mostly spent laboriously recollecting and healing the psyche I had blown to the four winds through the use of psyche- delics, and also undoubtedly through the abuse of kundalini-yoga practiced without benefit of a teacher and a tradition. If I had never entered the Sufi path, however, I might never have seen just how damaged I was; I might have tripped on from one psychic state to another and never realized that I was headed for destruction, if not in this world then certainly in the next. In the words of the Noble Qur’an, God guides aright whom He will and leads astray whom He will….God is the best of plotters. And as for whether or not psychedelics in some way prompted me to enter the Sufi path, that is hard to answer. I entered that path because God called me. Whether He called me through certain valid insights or salutary warnings provided by psychedelics is by and large irrelevant. If you find God after being disappointed in love or wounded in war, does this mean you can recommend such experiences to other people as a way of finding God? All these trappings of personal destiny are at best irrelevant, and at worst a case of idolatry. If you worship the occasion you will never find the Essence; if you worship the means you will never reach the End. It may be that psychedelics were part of the occasion for my entry into the Spiritual path, but the occasion is not the cause. And I haven’t used any psychedelic substance, including marijuana, for over 20 years.

SBS: In response to your comments about the implicit dangers of having a “good” trip versus a “bad” trip due to the nature of the experience, could not such an experience be a “door opener” to an authentic spiritual path, if not grasped on to—“When you get the message, hang up the phone.”?[38] Especially in light of the many seekers that have had psychedelic experiences and have nonetheless formally affiliated themselves within a revealed tradition. Most notably Huston Smith (b. 1919) comes to mind, would you mind elaborating?

CU: It could be; clearly it has been for some people. But its function as a door-opener is often overshadowed by the fact that psychedelic experience is so intense that all later spiritual experience and practice tend to pale by comparison; you keep judging them, consciously or unconsciously, as to whether they “measure up” to LSD. Huston Smith once complained to me that even after years of spiritual practice in a variety of traditions, notably Sufism, he was never able to “regain” the level of opening and insight provided by acid. That’s the problem in a nutshell: to attempt to bring back the former glory of one’s psychedelic days is to reject, often in total unconsciousness, what God is offering you now. God’s will for you is always in the present, whereas, in the words of William Blake [1757-1827], “Memory is Eternal Death”. In the Sufi view, the Spiritual Path is not the quest for higher consciousness but the purification of the soul from anything that would block the influx of higher consciousness. In light of this conception, experiences of rigor and abasement and contraction (qabd) are as important as experiences of spiritual expansion (bast); Ibn Ata’allah [d. 1309] even says that there is much more danger of violating spiritual courtesy (adab) with God in a state of bast than in a state of qabd—and to beg or demand that God bring back a past state as you remember it is certainly the height of discourtesy, besides being impossible. Furthermore, after LSD, it is very hard to overcome the illusion that God is an experience.

SBS: The socio-historical context in which psychedelics first emerged onto the public domain is very interesting and there are probably many who even partook in the psychedelic experience without knowing the nefarious context in which their mass dissemination to the American public took place. Many individuals might be alarmed to know that the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported in 2007 that approximately 34.2 million Americans aged 12 and older (or 13.8% of the population) reported trying hallucinogens at least one time and some might argue that these numbers are quite low and underestimate the mass and widespread use.

CU: And we also need, not just to remember, but to grasp the full import of, the fact that LSD was first distributed in the United States by the CIA, partly in the context of the infamous MK-ULTRA mind-control program, which included experiments practiced upon unsuspecting American citizens that were worthy to stand beside those conducted in the Nazi death-camps (see the research of David McGowan, Henry Makow and Peter Levenda).[39] Timothy Leary was assigned to feed acid to the intelligentsia, Ken Kesey [1935-2001] to everybody else; the idea was to compare how it acted under “controlled conditions” with its effects in a totally free-wheeling, “party” atmosphere. And the hippies actually knew about this! They said, “SURE we were a CIA experiment, man—an experiment that GOT OUT OF CONTROL!”[40] But the fact is that LSD initiated a sort of “bardo” or revelatory decay of American culture; all the latent tendencies, good and bad, the dominant belief-systems, conscious or otherwise, were called up in a very short time, laid out for all to see—and much of the social and cultural potential of America and the Western World rapidly exhausted in the process. The family was largely destroyed (not by LSD alone of course); Christian morality (including the concept of human dignity) was undermined; political responsibility was seriously eroded. And the social engineers simply sat back and took notes. They noted the main trends, the major “cultural archetypes” operating in the “collective unconscious” of society, and devised various ways to appropriate, per vert and control every one of them; in so doing they initiated the world we live in today.

The hippies naively equated social control with a simplistic authoritarian repression; they rarely awoke to the fact that REAL control is based on co-optation, on the covert implantation of engineered beliefs and attitudes in the mass mind. The powers that be do not want heroes who courageously oppose them and die as martyrs; they would much rather find, or create, dupes who will obey their every command in the firm belief that they are following their own desires, their own creative expressions and “spiritual” intuitions, all in perfect freedom.

One other deleterious effect of psychedelics, which has clearly operated on the mass level (though not in every individual case), is that they broke down people’s protection against the surrounding psychic environment; first you “open up” too much, and then compensate by “closing down” so as to protect yourself from the painful influences emanating from your surroundings, including other people. Excess empathy ends in paranoia; the artificial breaking down of what psychologist Wilhelm Reich [1897-1957] called “character armor” often results in a worse case of such armor later on. (Perennialist Titus Burckhardt [1908-1984], in his book Alchemy: Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul [1986], speaks of the close relationship between psycho-physical dissolution and psycho-physical petrification.) As Jesus put it, the demon we have exorcized wanders in waterless places until, returning to the soul from which he has been expelled and finding it swept and adorned, he brings with him seven demons more evil than himself. We probably could never have produced a society where millions spend hours a day alone before computer screens—while imagining that, via Twitter or whatever, they actually have thousands of “friends”!—if LSD hadn’t softened us up first; the isolation and excess introversion produced in part by psychedelics has effectively broken down the kind of social solidarity we need if we are to maintain our political freedoms and human rights; we are all too happy in our cubicles, or at least afraid to leave them. A friend of mine once said to me, back in the 60’s: “Acid would be great if you could have all that incredible imagery without those feelings”. Bill Gates must have heard his plea; cyberspace reproduces in many ways the hallucinatory content of psychedelics without the accompanying insights.

And now government-sponsored psychedelic research is making a comeback. Anyone tempted to become involved with it should first do some in-depth research on exactly which individuals and institutions are sponsoring, publicizing and funding such a move, as well as their background and connections (what is the Internet for, after all?). Looking back over the cultural and spiritual “scorched earth” of the psychedelic revolution in the years since the 60’s, I shudder to think what they may have in store for us now. We should never forget that the CIA likely sponsored the mass dissemination of LSD as part of their MK-ULTRA mind control program. According to Peter Levenda, William Mellon Hitchcock, who was associated with CIA front organizations Castle Bank and Trust and Resorts International, as well as being Timothy Leary’s landlord for his “psychedelic manor house” at Millbrook, paid a chemist by the name of Nicholas Sand [b. 1941] to produce millions of doses of acid.[41] Another figure from the psychedelic underground that should be mentioned along with Sand, is his collaborator chemist Robert “Tim” Scully [b. 1944], together they produced enormous quantities of LSD known in these circles as “Orange Sunshine.”

SBS: While you have elaborated on the psychic and spiritual dangers of using psyche- delics,[42] there are many individuals and researchers that affirm the healing potential of such substances. After a three decade hiatus there is now renewed interest in psychedelic research and they are increasingly being studied as possible adjuncts to psychotherapy for various psycho-physical ailments: treatment-resistant anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain associated with terminal and end-stage cancer, cluster headaches, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), alcohol[43], cocaine and heroin dependency to name a few.[44] Could you please comment on this matter?

CU: The use of toxic pharmaceuticals and traumatic interventions is common and sometimes necessary in the practice of medicine, but these things have little or nothing to do with the Spiritual Path per se. Psychedelics—whose toxicity is by and large psychic, not physical—may have a therapeutic effect in cases of alcoholism, heroin addiction etc., but this doesn’t mean that they create no problems of their own; it’s a question of the lesser of two evils. And what may be a lesser evil in psychophysical terms may or may not be a lesser one in Spiritual terms. Our post-Christian secular society obviously does not have the final end and eternal good of the human soul on its radar screen, nor does it hold a very clear idea of human dignity or the intrinsic value of the person; abortion, for example, is not even seen by many people as the taking of human life. Our society has no concept of suffering as spiritual purgation (by which I certainly don’t mean to imply that all suffering is purifying simply because it hurts); its highest good seems to be production, consequently it tends to define healing in terms of making us “productive members of society”. There are even muted but increasingly audible suggestions that non-productive citizens ought to be euthanized; Bill Gates recently stated that a certain degree of medical care ought to be denied the elderly and diverted to the maintenance of productive workers. And now, under the “war on terror”, torture has become acceptable to us for the first time since the passage of the Bill of Rights. How can a society capable of such barbaric actions and sentiments be relied upon to accurately evaluate the effects of psychedelic drugs in either moral or spiritual terms?



[Charles Upton:]

Some time after granting this interview, I talked with a physician acquaintance of mine who had participated in the second round of psilocybin experiments within academia in the 1990’s; I hadn’t realized they had started up again that early. He investigated the source of the funding for the experiment he’d been part of at the University of New Mexico, and discovered that the money for the DMT research that led up to the experiments he had been involved in had been provided by the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research—the Freemasons![45] In view of the fact that many traditional Catholics see the Second Vatican Council as a kind of Masonic coup within the Catholic Church, the apparent “coincidence” that psychedelic drugs became available to the masses at exactly the same time that traditional Roman Catholicism was being destroyed may in fact be much more than that; as René Guénon pointed out, though cyclical conditions may make the growth of the Counter-Initiation possible, the concrete manifestations of this counterfeit, Luciferian spirituality can only be brought about by actual human groups. Dr. Rama P. Coomaraswamy [1929-2006] in his essay “The Problem of Obedience”, unpublished in hardcopy but available on the web, recounts the following:

….a leading Freemason, Yves Marsoudon (State Master, Supreme Council of France, Scottish Rite) tells us: “The sense of universalism that is rampant in Rome these days is very close to our purpose of existence….With all our hearts we support the ‘Revolution of John XXIII’….” Not satisfied with this, Yves Marsoudon dedicated his book Ecumenism as Seen by a Traditionalist Freemason to the Pope in the following words: “To the Memory of Angelo Roncalli, Priest, Archbishop of Messembria, Apostolic Nuncio in Paris, Cardinal of the Roman Church, Patriarch of Venice, POPE under the name of John XXIII, WHO HAS DEIGNED TO GIVE US HIS BENEDICTION, HIS UNDERSTANDING AND HIS PROTECTION.”[46]

And then, shortly after that conversation, I had a dream—a dream filled with flaming apocalyptic imagery which represented the glory of God. When I woke up, I realized that I was in fact being purified of the psychic residues of LSD, which I last ingested over 35 years ago. In light of this dream I began to understand in a much different light the tendency of all other spiritual states or practices to pale in comparison with the LSD experience. We may sincerely say, and believe, something on the order of: “I took LSD several times; later I practiced a Sufi dhikr for several years. Looking back on these experiences, I can now truthfully report that the LSD provided a more intense spiritual state and a greater depth of insight than did the dhikr.” In making this judgment we assume of course that we are objectively comparing two experiences from a standpoint of detachment, that the scales we are using to weigh these experiences against each other are fundamentally sound. What almost never occurs to us is that LSD may have imprinted or conditioned a deeply-buried layer of our psyche such that all subsequent experiences of any psychic or spiritual depth are filtered through this conditioning, resulting in a biased evaluation. If it is possible to have LSD “flashbacks” years after the original experience, who is to say that a subtle “hangover”, physically undetectable, or perhaps indicated by a potentially measurable “re-programming” of the brain due to the extreme intensity of psychedelic experience, may also remain in the deep psyche?

The fact that Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass [b. 1931], was told by his Hindu yoga instructors, “You have a kundalini-blockage in your vishuddha-chakra [throat center] due to your past use of psychedelics”, supports this hypothesis. It’s as if LSD can act to breach the natural barrier between Nous/Intellectus, associated with the ajña-chakra or “third eye”, and dianoia/ratio, associated with the vishuddha-chakra, thus flooding the lower rational mind with material from the higher Intellectual mind; the lower mind becomes overloaded with this higher material, now expressed on a lower level, and ends by counterfeiting the quality of the Nous/Intellectus and thus blocking access to it. Consequently, if spiritual methods practiced and spiritual states experienced after LSD seem in some sense to lie in the shadow of acid, this may simply mean that acid is still there, casting that shadow. The import of my dream was that the glory of God had arrived in order to burn out the residual psychic glamour left behind by psychedelics, and purify my soul of their ongoing influence; I attribute this event to the spiritual effect of my entry into my second Sufi order. It may in fact be the case that the use of LSD has the power to subtly damage the highest reflections of Nous/Intellectus, the “eye of the heart” [‘ayn al-qalb], in the individual psyche, just as the physical eye may be damaged by staring into the sun; the reason we almost never become aware of this damage is that it lies at a psycho-spiritual depth so great that we are rarely able to consciously return to it without once more ingesting LSD, thus compounding the damage. The use of powerful psychedelics may also produce in us a taste, or need, for deep spiritual experiences that we otherwise would never have sought out, and that may not really be proper to us, while at the same time preventing such experiences from translating us to the final station, where (in Sufi terminology) fana—spiritual annihilation—gives way to baqa—subsistence in God. Like Moses, we may be left standing on the mountain, looking down to where the Children of Israel are crossing over into the Promised Land, but eternally denied entrance into that land ourselves as punishment for the sin, while searching for water, of striking the rock twice instead of only once as our Lord commanded—in terms of spiritual realization, the sin of trying to force the hand of God. Furthermore, those who are brought so near to the mysterium tremendum while being denied the final consummation may be subject to Luciferian temptations that the rest of us will probably never encounter, chief among them being the temptation to embrace a Luciferian consummation in a counterfeit Absolute designed in the infernal regions. Anyone who succumbs to such a temptation (which will most likely be presented to him or her in the deep unconscious regions of the soul), or is even confronted with it—assuming that the victim is not able to allow God to heal the psycho-spiritual damage that makes him or her susceptible to it—may effectively be denied Union with Absolute Reality for the remainder of this life, and possibly also the next.



[1] For more biographical information on Mr. Charles Upton see: http://www.seriousseekers.com.

[2] British psychiatrist Humphry Fortescue Osmond (1917-2004) coined the term “psychedelic” or “mind-manifesting” via his correspondence with Aldous Huxley. In responding to a letter that Dr. Osmond received from Huxley written on 30 March, 1956 he wrote in poetic reflection: “To fathom Hell or soar angelic, / Just take a pinch of psychedelic”, thus giving birth to the term “psychedelic”, yet it was not known to the public at large or the scientific community until 1957 [Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (eds.), Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999), p. 107]; see also Humphry Osmond, “A Review of the Clinical Effects of Psychotomimetic Agents”, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 66, No. 3 (1957), pp. 418–434. It is also relevant to point out that it was Dr. Osmond who in May of 1953 first introduced Huxley to a synthesized form of mescaline, the psychoactive compound in peyote (among other psychedelic cacti) which in turn produced his work The Doors of Perception in 1954, which according to some launched the psychedelic revolution.

[3] “‘Entheogen’ means simply ‘God generated within you!’” [Robert Forte, “A Conversation with R. Gordon Wasson” in Entheogens and the Future of Religion, ed. Robert Forte (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997), p. 69]; see also Carl A.P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson, “Entheogens” in The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Twentieth Anniversary Edition, eds. R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann and Carl A.P. Ruck (Los Angeles, CA: Hermes Press, 1998), pp. 137-139.

[4] For an interesting discussion on the distinctions between the subtle and nondual states of consciousness see the following two part video with Ken Wilber (b. 1949), a pioneer within transpersonal psychology, speaking about the uses of Ayahuasca or Yajé and psychedelics in general highlighting the obstacles and dangers of their use to authentic spiritual growth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HPQgKbxIjk. After viewing the two video clips by Wilber, Charles Upon stated the following: “People do take psychedelics hoping for spiritual transformation, and a simple ‘just say no to drugs’ will not influence many of them; in view of this, Wilber did a good job of putting psychedelics in an insightful context when he said that their best use is to teach you that the most impressive visionary states and realized insights are not Absolute Reality since they all pass away; only the Atman, the Witness that witnesses them, is Absolute. This is something like the Sufi doctrine that spiritual states happen in relation to specific ego-attachments in order to burn out those attachments, after which the states in question do not return; the realized Sufi is beyond states. One difference between states based on drugs and states sent by God, however, is that drug-induced states can be psychologically habit-forming—largely because it is possible to pop the ‘same’ pill again and again, imagining you can repeat an earlier state—but it is not possible to induce God to send the same state again, seeing that Every day doth some new work employ Him (Qur’an 55:29). A massive expansion of psychic experience is in no way an unmitigated good, since it can either wear away one’s attachment to experience in favor of the Witness or veil the Witness by inflaming one’s desire for more and more experience.” With this said, Wilber should not be considered a “friend” of the perennial philosophy or the spiritual traditions themselves, nor a representative of the traditionalist or perennialist school for he has methodically undermined and attacked the integral metaphysics of the perennial philosophy, first as an insider by aligning himself with this universal orientation and then by attempting to usurp the traditions within the fold of his ever inclusive evolutionary and syncretic AQAL Model—all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states and all types. If Wilber has his way in superimposing his hegemonic integralism upon the spiritual traditions of the world, Hinduism will no longer be Hinduism but Integral Hinduism, Buddhism will no longer be Buddhism but Integral Buddhism, Christianity will no longer be Christianity but Integral Christianity, Islam will no longer be Islam but Integral Islam and so on—which is nothing less than the insurgence of Wilberianism on a totalitarian scale. Will an integral New Age spiritualty also be put on the table, as some have suggested, by the absurd notion of integral theosophy which would wed Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831-1891) and Ken Wilber? This could not be anything other than pseudo-spirituality at its height. Despite the fact that Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961) appeared to be a “friend” of spirituality, he in reality and to the surprise of many psychologized these traditions—Wilber in a similar fashion not only supersedes but champions his forerunner—going above and beyond by Absolutizing his integralism. The fact that Wilber and his comrades of the Integral Institute cannot perceive the integral nature of each sapiential tradition in divinis calls into question their very understanding of the world’s spiritualities, yet from another perspective this speaks to the very postmodern narcissism that they have painstakingly discussed ad nauseum, a symptom that he and many of his contemporaries, strangely enough given the circumstances, have not been able to evade. That the postmodern mentality has become emaciated and is unable to perceive the inner dimension or esoterism of the “transcendent unity of religions” in no way signifies that these divinely revealed traditions need to be updated to appeal to this atrophied outlook; to do so would be a reductio ad absurdum. See José Segura, “On Ken Wilber’s Integration of Science and Religion”, Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, Vol. 5 (Summer 2005), pp. 71-83; Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, “Book Review: Frithjof Schuon and the Perennial Philosophy”, International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, Vol. 29, No. 1 (2010), pp. 138-142; Samuel Bendeck Sotillos, “Book Review: The Return of the Perennial Philosophy”, Sacred Web: A Journal of Tradition and Modernity, Vol. 25 (Summer 2010), pp. 175-184.

In looking at the “four forces” of modern psychology, some might ask where does Ken Wilber’s “integral psychology”, which some are calling a “fifth force”, fit into this critique? In response, we would like to repeat that while Wilber at one time strongly identified with the integral metaphysics of the perennial philosophy he has incrementally distanced himself from this perspective and, as we have seen, has become fundamentally hostile to the perennial philosophy and even attempts to absorb it within the fold of his “integralism”. While we cannot expand here upon Ken Wilber’s relationship with the traditionalists or the perennial philosophy, we need to emphasize that when we refer to “integral psychology” it is inextricably linked to the perennial philosophy and has nothing to do with Wilber’s usage of the term. Furthermore, while some might attribute Wilber’s “Integral Movement” to Jean Gebser (1905-1973) or Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), who have both heavily influenced Wilber’s work, it needs to be said that both  René  Guénon and  Frithjof Schuon  used the epithet “integral” throughout  their  work long before

Wilber made it his singular trademark. In reviewing the opus of Guénon and Schuon, we find references to integral metaphysics, integral anthropology, integral knowledge, integral development, integral realization, integral individuality and even integral spirituality which are not based on individualistic speculation but on universal principles that are common to all sapiential traditions, according to the principle known as the “transcendent unity of religions”. This is relevant when recalling the fundamental influence that the traditionalists, especially Schuon, have had upon Wilber’s decisive work, The Spectrum of Consciousness (1977).  While we do not wish to claim a monopoly on the usage of “integral”, we do need to mention these other potential influences upon Wilber’s work, especially since the perennial philosophy once permeated his theoretical vision. Although Wilber’s so-called integral

psychology ambitiously attempts to synthesize the best of the premodern, modern and postmodern conceptions, it remains true to none of them; it is not really “integral” in the traditional or perennialist sense but is merely a case of Wilber cloaking himself in the garb of the saints and sages of all times and places while attempting to give them a facelift. Let us conclude by affirming that nothing could be more precarious than to assume that the spiritual tradi- tions of the world need to be updated or that they need Wilber to do so.

[5] Traditionalist or perennialist author Whitall N. Perry (1920-2005) illustrates why psychic phenomenon are so seductive and difficult to discern for most seekers: “The confusion is between the psychic and spiritual planes of reality, where the unfamiliar, the strange, and the bizarre are mistaken for the transcendent, simply by the fact that they lie outside the ordinary modes of consciousness.” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 10]. Readers will notice that the tittle of this interview references Perry’s pioneering article that was first published nearly sixty years ago and yet its thesis still holds strong and debunks many predominant errors. It is for this reason that we have chosen to mention it and we are grateful to the author for its appearance.

[6] Huston Smith, “Encountering God” in The Way Things Are: Conversations with Huston Smith on the Spiritual Life, ed. Phil Cousineau (Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2003), p. 97; “Counterfeit spirituality, instead, will place emphasis on impressionistic experience, on the subjective pole of mystical endeavor, practically to the near-total or even total exclusion of the objective pole, and derives its motive force—and abusively personal justification—in heightened emotionalism or vagrant intuitionalism, or even in altered states of consciousness.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), p. 239]; see also René Guénon, “The Great Parody: or Spirituality Inverted” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 267-274.

[7] We recall the unequivocal words of Frithjof Schuon: “there is no possible spiritual way outside the great orthodox traditional ways. A meditation or concentration practiced at random and outside of tradition will be inoperative, and even dangerous in more than one respect; the illusion of progress in the absence of real criteria is certainly not the least of these dangers.” [Quoted in Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), pp. 15-16]; “To be precise: there is no spiritual path outside the following traditions or religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism; but Hinduism is closed for those who have not been born into a Hindu caste, and Taoism is inaccessible” [Titus Burckhardt, “A Letter on Spiritual Method” in Mirror of the Intellect: Essays on Traditional Science and Sacred Art, trans. and ed. William Stoddart (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1987), p. 251]

[8] See Lee Penn, False Dawn: The United Religions Initiative, Globalism, and the Quest for a One-World Religion (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004)

[9] “In 1965 a research team from Germany published a paper in the flagship British science journal Nature announcing that they had isolated DMT from human blood. In 1972 Nobel-prize winning scientist Julius Axelrod of the U.S. National Institutes of Health reported finding it in human brain tissue. Additional research showed that DMT could also be found in the human urine and the cerebrospinal fluid bathing the brain. It was not long before scientists discovered the pathways, similar to those in lower animals, by which the human body made DMT. DMT thus became the first endogenous human psychedelic.” [Rick Strassman, “What DMT Is” in DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2001), p. 48]; See also James Oroc, “5-MeO-DMT: Science, Discovery, and the History of Human Use” in Tryptamine Palace: 5-MeO-DMT and the Sonoran Desert Toad (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2009), pp. 19-38.

[10] The following provides a Traditionalist perspective regarding this point, “If drugs could change and transform consciousness, it is certain that this knowledge would have been incorporated into spiritual teachings from time immemorial. On the other hand, intoxicants and drugs have served universally as supports adjacent to ritual practices, even where the use is purely symbolic” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 15]

[11] Barbara G. Myerhoff, Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983); Antonin Artaud, The Peyote Dance, trans. Helen Weaver (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976); Edward F. Anderson, Peyote: The Divine Cactus (Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 1994)

[12] Eduardo Calderón, Richard Cowan, Douglas Sharon and F. Kaye Sharon, Eduardo el Curandero: The Words of a Peruvian Healer (Richmond, CA: North Atlantic Books, 1982)

[13] “[Question:] So your view is that hallucinogens were involved in the origin of some religious traditions but not necessarily all.” “[Peter T. Furst:] No, I think that’s also going too far. The use of the so-called ‘hallucinogens’ is a function of religion, not its origin.” [Peter T. Furst, “Ancient Altered States” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.) Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), p. 156]; see also Peter T. Furst (ed.), Flesh of the Gods: The Ritual Use of Hallucinogens (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1974); Peter T. Furst, Hallucinogens and Culture (San Francisco, CA: Chandler & Sharp Publishers, 1979); R. Gordon Wasson, Stella Kramrisch, Jonathan Ott and Carl A.P. Ruck, Persephone’s Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1986); Richard Evans Schultes and Albert Hofmann, Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers (Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992); Jonathan Ott, Pharmacotheon: Entheogenic Drugs, Their Plant Sources and History (Kennewick, WA: Natural Products, 1993); Peter Stafford, Psychedelics Encyclopedia, Third Expanded Edition (Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing, 1992); Marlene Dobkin de Rios, Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives (Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 1996); Aldous Huxley, “The History of Tension” in Michael Horowitz and Cynthia Palmer (eds.), Moksha: Aldous Huxley’s Classic Writings on Psychedelics and the Visionary Experience (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999), pp. 117-128; Sidney Cohen, The Beyond Within: The LSD Story (New York: Atheneum, 1972); Jeremy Narby, The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge (New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, 1999); Andrew Weil, The Natural Mind: An Investigation of Drugs and the Higher Consciousness (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1986); Andrew Weil, The Marriage of the Sun and the Moon: A Quest for Unity in Consciousness (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1980); Daniel Pinchbeck, Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey Into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (New York: Broadway Books, 2003)

[14] R. Gordon Wasson, Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1969). The Wasson hypothesis has been critiqued from within psychedelic circles: this from one of its most prominent voices, Terence McKenna: “The problem with this hypothesis is that A. muscaria is not a reliable visionary hallucinogen. It has proven difficult to obtain a consistently ecstatic intoxication from Amanita muscaria. Wasson was on the right track, correctly recognizing the potential of Amanita muscaria to induce religious feeling and ecstasy, but he did not take into account the imagination and linguistic stimulation imparted by the input of African psilocybin-containing mushrooms into the evolution of Old World mycolatry.” [Terence McKenna, “Mushrooms and Evolution” in The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 150]; See also Thomas J. Riedlinger (ed.), The Sacred Mushroom Seeker: Tributes to R. Gordon Wasson (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1990); Peter Lamborn Wilson, Ploughing the Clouds: The Search for Irish Soma (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1999)

[15] R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann and Carl A.P. Ruck (eds.), The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries, Twentieth Anniversary Edition (Los Angeles, CA: Hermes Press, 1998). Some researchers assert that both Kykeon and psychedelic mushrooms (Amanita muscaria and psilocybin) were used interchangeably in the rites of the Eleusinian Mysteries, see Carl A.P. Ruck, Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis (Oakland, CA: Ronin Publishing, 2006)

[16] Dan Merkur, “Manna, the Showbread, and the Eucharist: Psychoactive Sacraments in the Bible” in Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion, ed. Thomas B. Roberts (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 2001), pp. 139-144; See also Dan Merkur, The Mystery of Manna: The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2000)

[17] Carl A.P. Ruck, Mark Alwin Hoffman and José Alfredo González Celdrán, Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 2011)

[18] Andrija Puharich, The Sacred Mushroom: Key to the Door of Eternity (Garden City, NY: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1959)

[19] John Marco Allegro, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East (New York: Bantam Books, 1971); See also Jan R. Irvin with Jack Herer, The Holy Mushroom: Evidence of Mushrooms in Judeo-Christianity (Riverside, CA: Gnostic Media, 2008); John A. Rush, Failed God: Fractured Myth in a Fragile World (Berkeley, CA: Frog Books, 2008); John A. Rush, The Mushroom in Christian Art: The Identity of Jesus in the Development of Christianity (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2011); Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples and Clark Heinrich, The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2001); Carl A.P. Ruck, Blaise Daniel Staples, José Alfredo González Celdrán and Mark Alwin Hoffman, The Hidden World: Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2007)

[20] Peter T. Furst, “Ancient Altered States” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.) Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), p. 153. Some psychedelic researchers regard the rock art found in the mountain range of Tassili n’Ajjer southeast Algeria to be the most ancient verification of psychedelic use.

[21] René Guénon, “Some Remarks on the Doctrine of Cosmic Cycles” in Traditional Forms and Cosmic Cycles, trans. Henry D. Fohr, ed. Samuel D. Fohr (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 1-12; Charles Upton, Legends of the End: Prophecies of the End Times, Antichrist, Apocalypse, and Messiah from Eight Religious Traditions (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2004); Charles Upton, “Comparative Eschatology” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 424-479.

[22] Mircea Eliade, Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1974), p. 401. While it has been indicated that Eliade shifted his position with regards to psychedelics at the end of his life as noted by anthropologist Peter Furst: “[entheogens] forced him to change his mind on this issue, and…to accept that there was no essential difference between ecstasy achieved by plant hallucinogens and that obtained by other archaic techniques.” [Paul Devereux, The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 108]. We would still argue that his initial assessment makes an important point in light of cyclical time which all traditional societies throughout the world adhered to and still to this day recognize; Karl Kerényi (1897-1973) noted Hungarian mythologist and professor of classics and the history of religion agrees with Eliade’s initial position: “For a time, an artificially induced experience of transcendence in nature was able to replace the original experience. In the history of religions, periods of ‘strong medicine’ [entheogens] usually occur when the simpler methods no longer suffice. This development may be observed among the North American Indians. Originally mere fasting sufficed to induce visions. It was only in the decadent period of [North American] Indian culture that recourse was taken to peyotl, or mescalin. Earlier it was unnecessary. This powerful drug had not always been an element in the style of [North American] Indian life, but it helped to maintain this style.” [Karl Kerényi, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life, trans. Ralph Manheim (New Jersey, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 26]; “In fact, there is reason to believe that much, not all, but much of this [psychedelic using] culture constitutes more of a degeneracy when compared with the possibility of what one will call golden age spirituality where a man was his own priest and carried Heaven’s Law directly and naturally within himself and had access, through his intellect, to divine and earthly wisdom. Immanence of divine wisdom is the human norm.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), p. 271]; See also Peter T. Furst, “Introduction: An Overview of Shamanism” in Ancient Traditions: Shamanism in Central Asia and the Americas, eds. Gary Seaman and Jane S. Day (Niwot, CO: University Press of Colorado, 1994), pp. 1-28.

[23] In this context we might also mention Prem Baba or Janderson Fernandes de Oliveira (b. 1965), a psychologist by training, also considered to be a spiritual master—combining the role of guru and shaman. Prem Baba is a disciple of Sri Hans Raj Maharajji, also known as Sri Sachcha Baba Maharajji (b. 1924) and teaches a method that he calls O Caminho do Coração or the “Path to the Heart” and refers to himself as follows: “I am an eclectic centre of universal light”. Prem Baba asserts that he is an enlightened master and began his school Sachcha Mission Ashram located in São Paulo, Brazil. What interests us is that Prem Baba was not only a former member of the syncretic church Santo Daime but also a former disciple of the controversial figure Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho (1931-1990), known as the “sex guru”, is a prototypical representative of all that constitutes as “New Age” spirituality who amassed a syncretism par excellence of everything under the sun in his spiritual toolbox. or It is seldom mentioned that Rajneesh was said to be addicted to a certain mind-altering substance known as “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide (N20). He is reported to have dictated three books—Glimpses of a Golden Childhood (1985), Notes of a Madman (1985) and Books I have Loved (1985)—under its the influence of his very own dentist’s chair; however there is one title that has not yet seen the light of day for obvious reasons: Bhagwan: the first Buddha in the Dental Chair. That Prem Baba attempts to blend the use of Ayauasca or Yajé with Hindu dharma, as well as other techniques to including a mélange of modern therapies, speaks loud and clear to the signs of the times. We cannot be too weary of such ad hoc approaches which are more and more the norm in this spiritually atrophied epoch. See also Robert Forte (ed.), Entheogens and the Future of Religion (San Francisco, CA: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997); Allan Hunt Badiner and Alex Grey (eds.), Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics (San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, 2002); Charles T. Tart, “Influences of Previous Psychedelic Drug Experiences on Students of Tibetan Buddhism: A Preliminary Exploration”, Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, Vol. 23, No. 2 (1991), pp. 139–173; Myron J. Stolaroff, “Are Psychedelics Useful in the Practice of Buddhism?”, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, Vol. 39, No. 1 (1999), pp. 60-80; see also the special issue “Buddhism and Psychedelics”, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Vol. VI, No. 1 (Fall 1996)

[24] Michael Oren Fitzgerald, “Rainbow” and “Notes” in Yellowtail, Crow Medicine Man and Sun Dance Chief: An Autobiography (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1994), pp. 56-57, 221; See also Fred W. Voget, The Shoshoni-Crow Sun Dance (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1984), p. 169. Frank Fools Crow (1890-1989), a Lakota (Sioux) spiritual leader, yuwipi medicine man, and the nephew of Black Elk or Hehaka Sapa (1863-1950) the Lakota Sioux sage, made the following declaration regarding the use of peyote: “I have not…used peyote like they do in the Native American Church. Wakan-Tanka can take me higher than any drug ever could.” [Thomas E. Mails, “Little Hollow Bones” in Fools Crow: Wisdom and Power (San Francisco, CA: Council Oak Books, 2001), p. 40]; Lame Deer (1903-1976), Sioux medicine man underscores the incompatibility of peyote use with the sacred rites of the Oglala Sioux: “I have my hands full just clinging to our old Sioux ways—singing the ancient songs correctly, conducting a sweat-lodge ceremony as it should be, making our old beliefs as pure, as clear and true as I possibly can, making them stay alive, saving them from extinction. This is a big enough task for an old man. So I cannot be a yuwipi, a true Lakota medicine man, and take peyote at the same time.” [John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes, “Don’t Hurt the Trees” in Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994), p. 228]

[25] In regards to Santo Daime, we need to mention another central figure, Sebastião Mota de Melo, better known as Padrinho Sebastião (1920-1990), one of the direct disciples of Mestre Irineu who founded The Eclectic Center of the Fluent Universal Light of Raimundo Irineu Serra (CEFLURIS) the two communities Colônia Cinco Mil (Colony Five Thousand) and Céu do Mapiá; the second is considered to be the church’s headquarters, yet both are located in Brazil. See Alex Polari de Alverga, Forest of Visions: Ayahuasca, Amazonian Spirituality, and the Santo Dime Tradition, trans. Rosana Workman, ed. Stephen Larsen (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 1999); Alex Polari de Alverga, The Religion of Ayahuasca: The Teachings of the Church of Santo Daime, trans. Rosana Workman, ed. Stephen Larsen (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2010).

[26] See Beatriz Caiuby Labate and Henrik Jungaberle (eds.), The Internationalization of Ayahuasca (Zürich: Lit Verlag, 2011); Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Isabel Santana de Rose and Rafael Guimaraes dos Santos, Ayahuasca Religions: A Comprehensive Bibliography & Critical Essays, trans. Matthew Meyer (Ben Lomond, CA: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 2008)

[27] Marlene Dobkin de Rios, “Drug Tourism in the Amazon”, Anthropology of Consciousness, Vol. 5, No. 1 (1994), pp. 16-19; One can perceive the tumultuous effects of this quest for altered states of consciousness in the lamenting words of María Sabina (1894-1985), the contemporary Mexican shaman from Huautla de Jiménez of Oaxaca: “Before Wasson, I felt that the saint children elevated me. I don’t feel like that anymore. The force has diminished. If Cayetano hadn’t brought the foreigners…the saint children would have kept their power…From the moment the foreigners arrived, the saint children lost their purity. They lost their force; the foreigners spoiled them. From now on they won’t be any good. There’s no remedy for it.” [R. Gordon Wasson, “A Retrospective Essay” in Álvaro Estrada, María Sabina: Her Life and Chants, trans. Henry Munn (Santa Barbara, CA: Ross-Erikson, 1981), p. 20]; Michael Winkelman, “Drug Tourism or Spiritual Healing? Ayahuasca Seekers in Amazonia”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 37, No. 2 (2005), pp. 209-218; Marlene Dobkin de Rios and Róger Rumrrill, “Drug Tourism” in A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy: Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2008), pp. 69-86; Kenneth W. Tupper, “Ayahuasca Healing Beyond the Amazon: The Globalization of a Traditional Indigenous Entheogenic Practice”, Global Networks: A Journal of Transnational Affairs, Vol. 9, No. 1 (2009), pp. 117-136; Marlene Dobkin de Rios “Psychedelics and Drug Tourism” in The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios: 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros, and Ethnobotanists (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2009), pp. 166-169. See also R. Gordon Wasson, “Seeking the Magic Mushroom”, Life, May 13, 1957, pp. 101-120; William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, The Yage Letters (San Francisco, CA: City Lights Books, 1975); Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (New York: HarperCollins, 1994); Susana Valadez, “Guided Tour Spirituality: Cosmic Way or Cosmic Rip-off?”, Shaman’s Drum, No. 6 (1986), pp. 4-6; We might add on a final note that even though New Age representatives such as Deepak Chopra (b. 1946), who reports that he had his first “spiritual experience” when he was seventeen years old through ingesting LSD, warns against recreational uses of psychedelics he nonetheless indiscriminately advises seekers eliciting such experiences to find an authentic traditional shaman in South America who will provide guidance on the use of these sacred plants. However, he says nothing about how this is to be accomplished nor does he warn against the many obstacles in finding such a traditional guide; furthermore he says nothing about the potential psychological dangers even if such an individual was to be found. See the following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C23pzvs2ERI; Chopra is a former disciple of the controversial figure Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1914-2008), founder of the secular technique of Transcendental Meditation; see also Charles Upton, “Having It vs. Eating It: The Entrepreneurial Hinduism of Deepak Chopra” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 267-284; Rama P. Coomaraswamy, “The Desacralization of Hinduism for Western Consumption”, Sophia: The Journal of Traditional Studies, Vol. 4, No. 2 (Winter 1998), pp. 194-219.

[28] “If the Indians can consume peyote without harmful results, the question of their own heritage—psychic and spiritual, and the concomitant ritual conditions are essential factors to be considered.” [Whitall N. Perry, “Drug-Induced Mysticism: The Mescalin Hypothesis” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), p. 15]. “One might counter that there are cultures, the Amazonian Indian tribes notably, in which ritualized drug use is a normal mode of communion with the divine. However, this fact calls for two comments that should apply to similar cultures. First, because of destiny, the psychic homogeneity of such peoples combined with the consistency of their shamanic cosmology, cannot be compared with the porous psychic heterogeneity of Westerners. Thus, if under the guidance of a shaman, an Amazonian Indian can enter into communion in a predictably consistent manner with a spirit animal which will act as a teacher and a guide, the same result cannot be necessarily expected for a Westerner intent on duplicating the experience. Secondly, the prevalence of such ritualized psychism…does not constitute a superiority per se.” [Mark Perry, “The Forbidden Door” in Every Branch in Me: Essays on the Meaning of Man, ed. Barry McDonald (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2002), pp. 270-271]

[29] René Guénon, “Shamanism and Sorcery” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 177-184.

[30] Charles Upton, Cracks in the Great Wall: The UFO Phenomenon and Traditional Metaphysics (Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2005). See also Charles Upton, “UFOs and Traditional Metaphysics: A Postmodern Demonology” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 325-386.

[31] Terence McKenna, The Archaic Revival: Speculations on Psychedelic Mushrooms, the Amazon, Virtual Reality, UFOs, Evolution, Shamanism, the Rebirth of the Goddess, and the End of History (New York: HarperCollins, 1991); Rick Strassman, DMT: The Spirit Molecule (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2001); Rick Strassman, Slawer Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska, Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2008); Stanislav Grof, “UFOs in the Amazon: Alien Encounter of the Third Kind” in When the Impossible Happens: Adventures in Non-Ordinary Realities (Boulder, CO: Sounds True, 2006), pp. 271-274

[32] See René Guénon, “Pseudo-Initiation” in The Reign of Quantity and the Signs of the Times, trans. Lord Northbourne (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 241-251.

[33] On a side note, we might mention here that as Hubbard was a disciple of Crowley, and the fact that Hubbard influenced the field of transpersonal psychology, known in modern psychology as the “fourth force”, this brings to light its unfortunate inclusion of New Age thought which has not been sufficiently explored. “The crystallization and consolidation of the originally isolated tendencies into a new movement, or Fourth Force, in psychology was primarily the work of two men—Anthony Sutich and Abraham Maslow—both of whom had earlier played an important role in the history of humanistic psychology. Although transpersonal psychology was not established as a distinct discipline until the late 1960s, transpersonal trends in psychology had preceded it by several decades. The most important representatives of this orientation have been Carl Gustav Jung, Roberto Assagioli, and Abraham Maslow. Also the most interesting and controversial systems of dianetics and scientology developed by [L.] Ron Hubbard (1950) outside of the professional circles should be mentioned in this context.” [Stanislav Grof, “Psychotherapies with Transpersonal Orientation” in Beyond the Brain: Birth, Death, and Transcendence in Psychotherapy (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1985), p. 187]; see also Stanislav Grof, Psychology of the Future: Lessons from Modern Consciousness Research (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2000), p. 130; Whitall N. Perry, “On Cults of Unreason” in Challenges to a Secular Society (Oakton, VA: The Foundation for Traditional Studies, 1996), pp. 59-60; Bent Corydon, “L. Ron and the Beast” in L. Ron Hubbard: Messiah or Madman? (Fort Lee: NJ: Barricade Books, 1992), pp. 50-61; Russell Miller, “Black Magic and Betty” in Bare-Faced Messiah: The True Story of L. Ron Hubbard (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1988), pp. 112-130. It should also be noted that Timothy Leary too was an Aleister Crowley enthusiast and that Aldous Huxley is reported to have dined with Crowley in Berlin in the Fall of 1930. Some even suggest that it was Aleister Crowley rather than Humphry Osmond who introduced Huxley to mescaline.

[34] For a further discussion of this topic see, “UFOs, Mass Mind-Control, and the Awliya al-Shaytan” available online at:http://www.sophiaperennis.com/uncategorized/ufos-mass-mind-control-and-the-awliya-al-shaytan-by-charles-upton-an-update-of-cracks-in-the-great-wall-ufos-and-traditional-metaphysics-sophia-perennis-2005

[35] See Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead (New York: Citadel Press, 1990)

[36] Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, Signs of the Unseen: The Discourses of Jelaluddin Rumi, trans. W.M. Thackston, Jr. (Putney, VT: Threshold Books, 1994), p. 77.

[37] See Charles Upton, “The Postmodern Traveler: Don Carlos Castaneda” in The System of Antichrist: Truth and Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age (Ghent, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2001), pp. 201-221; Richard de Mille, Castaneda’s Journey: The Power and the Allegory (Santa Barbara, CA: Capra Press, 1976); Amy Wallace, Sorcerer’s Apprentice: My Life with Carlos Castaneda (Berkeley, CA: Frog, 2003)

[38] Alan Watts, The Joyous Cosmology: Adventures in the Chemistry of Consciousness (New York: Vintage, 1965), p. 26. (Please note that this quote is not found in the original 1962 edition)

[39] Interestingly enough, James Fadiman (b. 1939), a pioneer within both humanistic and transpersonal psychology and cofounder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (ITP), worked at the VA hospital in Palo Alto, California in a program that was administering psychedelics and researching their behavioral effects on veterans. In 1965 Fadiman completed his doctoral dissertation at Stanford University on this research, which was entitled: “Behavioral Change Following (LSD) Psychedelic Therapy.” “In the shadows, the CIA had tried to use these [psychedelics] substances to confuse and terrify people. Through front organizations, the CIA also sponsored small conferences and publications where therapists and researchers shared their findings.” [James Fadiman, “Therapeutic Effectiveness of Single Guided Sessions” in The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2011), p. 104]. In response to the above citation, Charles Upton notes: “The idea that the CIA wanted to use psychedelics to “confuse and terrify” people is true as far as it goes, but they also apparently hoped that these substances could help their own agents gain magic powers: telepathy, remote viewing, etc. And they were entirely willing to confuse and delight people if that would serve their ends. The hippy myth that the CIA were a bunch of uptight straight people who “couldn’t hold their acid” and saw it only as a crazy-making pill needs to be permanently debunked. The Bohemian/magician/secret agent is a well-known type; both occultist John Dee [1527-1608/1609] (the original 007) and Satanist Aleister Crowley worked for British Intelligence. The ultimate goal of the powers-that-be in terms of psychedelic research may be to create a type of “spirituality” where even mystical experiences that are valid on a certain level will serve to establish their control. They want to own everything—even mysticism, even spiritual aspiration, even God.” See also Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream (New York: Grove Press, 1987); Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (New York: Grove Press, 1992); Richard B. Spence, Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult (Port Townsend, WA: Feral House, 2008)

[40] It is useful to recall that Adi Da or Franklin Albert Jones (1939-2008), who Ken Wilber regarded as the “the greatest living Realizer”, this being only one of a host of other extraordinary endorsements offered by Wilber in his praise, and who considered himself the first and last seventh stage Adept above all other saints and sages of the perennial philosophy, was, interestingly enough, a scientologist before becoming the first American Avatar. It is widely known that Adi Da has had a tremendous influence upon Wilber’s work and that of quite a few others within the general humanistic and transpersonal orientation, many of whom prefer to be anonymous disciples from afar in order to escape the numerous controversies and criticism surrounding Adi Da. In light of this, it would be interesting to inquire into how many ideas Wilber has contributed to both humanistic and transpersonal psychology which are borrowed from Adi Da; one might even wonder if Wilber’s Integral Movement itself is more or less a product of Adi Da’s teaching. The following excerpt, is taken from Adi Da’s spiritual biography which has subsequently gone through numerous revisions, provides much food for thought on the government’s role in engineering not only the counter-culture at large but New Age spirituality as well: “I voluntarily submitted to drug trials at the Veterans Administration hospital in Palo Alto, California…. At the VA hospital, I was given a dose of drugs one day per week…. I was told that I would be given mescalin, LSD, or psilocybin at three separate sessions, and, during a fourth session, some combination of these…. There were also various bizarre experiences and periods of anxiety…I suffered mild anxiety attacks and occasional nervousness for perhaps a year beyond the actual tests…. I had become conscious of the formal structure of the living human being, associated with…the ‘chakra body’. The Kundalini Shakti was spontaneously Aroused in me…” [Adi Da Samraj, The Knee of Listening: The Divine Ordeal of the Avataric Incarnation of Conscious Light (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 2004), pp. 81-83]; While we do not want to overstep our inquiry by making any hasty assumptions or enter into polemics, it would be worth mentioning that Adi Da considers Adidam to be a new revelation or religion as can been seen in the title of the following work: Adidam: The True World-Religion Given by the Promised God-Man, Adi Da Samraj (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 2003). However, we are reminded of the traditional position regarding this possibility in the current phase of the Kali-Yuga: “…after a certain period, whatever is put forward as a new religion is inevitably false; the Middle Ages mark grosso modo the final limit.” [Frithjof Schuon, “The Quran” in Understanding Islam, trans. D.M. Matheson (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 1998), p. 47], including: “[T]he cyclic moment for the manifestation of the great perspectives (darshanas) is past; readaptations—in the sense of a legitimate and therefore adequate and efficacious synthesis—are always possible, but not the manifestations of perspectives that are fundamental and ‘new’ as to their form.” [Frithjof Schuon, “Orthodoxy and Intellectuality” in Stations of Wisdom (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom Books, 1995), p. 5]. The following is a declaration of Ken Wilber’s enthusiastic endorsement for Adi Da: “[M]y opinion is that we have, in the person of Da Free John [Adi Da], a Spiritual Master and religious genius of the ultimate degree…Da Free John’s [Adi Da’s] teaching is, I believe, unsurpassed by that of any other spiritual Hero, of any period, of any place, of any time, of any persuasion.” [Ken Wilber, “Forward: ‘On Heroes and Cults’” to Da Free John, Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House! (Middletown, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 1980), p. 6]; see also Franklin Jones, “The Problem of the Mind, and the Year of Waiting for Grace” in The Knee of Listening: The Early Life and Radical Spiritual Teachings of Franklin Jones (Los Angeles, CA: The Dawn Horse Press, 1973), pp. 83-87; Bubba Free John, Garbage and the Goddess: The Last Miracles and Final Spiritual Instructions of Bubba Free John, eds. Sandy Bonder and Terry Patten (Lower Lake, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 1974); Ken Wilber, “The One Who Was To Come Is Always Already Here”: A Short Appreciation of the Teaching of Bubba Free John”, Vision Mound Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 9 (May 1979), pp. 28-29; Ken Wilber, “The Case of Adi Da” (October 11, 1996), available on the Shambhala website: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/adida.cfm/; Ken Wilber, “An Update on the Case of Adi Da” (August 28, 1998), available on the Shambhala website: http://wilber.shambhala.com/html/misc/adida_update.cfm/; Georg Feuerstein, “The Many Faces of Da Love-Ananda (Da Free John)” in Holy Madness: The Shock Tactics and Radical Teachings of Crazy-Wise Adepts, Holy Fools, and Rascal Gurus (New York: Paragon House, 1991), pp. 80-100; Harry Oldmeadow, “Easter Teachings, Western Teachers, 1950-2000” in Journeys East: 20th Century Western Encounters with Eastern Traditions (Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2004), pp. 276-277.  

[41] Peter Levenda, Sinister Forces—A Grimoire of American Political Witchcraft: A Warm Gun (Waterville, OR: TrineDay, 2006), p. 317); See also Art Kleps, Millbrook: The True Story of the Early Years of the Psychedelic Revolution (Oakland, CA: Bench Press, 1977); Martin A. Lee and Bruce Shlain, “Preaching LSD” in Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond (New York: Grove Press, 1992), pp. 97-100; Stanley Krippner, “Music to Eat Mushrooms By” in Song of the Siren: A Parapsychological Odyssey (New York: Harper & Row, 1977), pp. 19-45.

[42] For some examples see John C. Lilly, The Scientist: A Novel Autobiography (New York: J.B. Lippincott, 1978); Aleister Crowley, Diary of a Drug Fiend (York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1997); Tom Wolfe, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1968); Wade Davis, “The Red Hotel” in One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest (New York: Touchstone, 1997), pp. 151-152; Terence McKenna, True Hallucinations: Being an Account of the Author’s Extraordinary Adventures in the Devil’s Paradise (New York: HarperCollins, 1994); Terence McKenna and Dennis McKenna, “Psychological Reflections on La Chorrera” in The Invisible Landscape: Mind, Hallucinogens, and the I Ching (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), pp. 109-117; Laurent Weichberger (ed.), A Mirage Will Never Quench Your Thirst: A Source of Wisdom About Drugs (North Myrtle Beach, SC: Sheriar Foundation, 2003); Charles Hayes (ed.), Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (New York: Penguin Books, 2000)

[43] William Griffith Wilson, more commonly known as Bill Wilson (1895-1971), the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) was convinced of the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, especially LSD with alcoholism. It is reported that Gerald Heard (1889-1971), close friend and colleague of Aldous Huxley, in 1956 guided Bill Wilson on an LSD session which had profound and lasting impact on his life. Interesting to note that like Huxley it was Dr. Osmond who first drew Wilson’s attention to psychedelics. See also ‘Pass It On’: The Story of Bill Wilson and How the A.A. Message Reached the World (New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, 1984); Betty Eisner, “The Birth and Death of Psychedelic Therapy” in Roger Walsh and Charles S. Grob (eds.), Higher Wisdom: Eminent Elders Explore the Continuing Impact of Psychedelics (Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2005), pp. 93-94.

[44] Harris Friedman, “The Renewal of Psychedelic Research: Implications for Humanistic and Transpersonal Psychology”, The Humanistic Psychologist, Vol. 34, No. 1 (2006), pp. 39-58; W.V. Caldwell, LSD Psychotherapy: An Exploration of Psychedelic and Psycholytic Therapy (New York: Grove Press, 1968); Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered (New York: Basic Books, 1979); Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, “Can Drugs Be Used to Enhance the Psychotherapeutic Process?”, American Journal of Psychotherapy, Vol. 40, No. 3 (1986), pp. 393-404; Rick Strassman, “Hallucinogenic Drugs in Psychiatric Research and Treatment: Perspectives and Prospects”, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Vol. 183, No. 3 (1995), pp. 175-186; Gary Bravo and Charles Grob, “Psychedelic Therapy” in Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology, eds. Bruce W. Scotton, Allan B. Chinen and John R. Battista (New York: BasicBooks, 1996), pp. 335-343; Myron J. Stolaroff, The Secret Chief: Conversations with a Pioneer of the Underground Psychedelic Therapy Movement (Charlotte, NC: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 1997); Rick Doblin, “A Clinical Plan for MDMA (Ecstasy) in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Partnering with the FDA”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 34 (2002), pp. 185-194; Marilyn Howell, Honor Thy Daughter (Santa Cruz, CA: Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, 2011); J.B. Hittner and S.B. Quello, “Combating Substance Abuse with Ibogaine: Pre- and Posttreatment Recommendations and An Example of Successive Model Fitting Analysis”, Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol. 36, No. 2 (2004), pp. 191-199; Jeffrey J. Kripal, “Mind Manifest: Psychedelia at Early Esalen and Beyond” in Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2007), pp. 112-134; Francisco A. Moreno, Christopher B. Wiegand, E. Keolani Taitano, and Pedro L. Delgado, “Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of Psilocybin in 9 Patients With Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder”, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Vol. 67, No. 11 (2006), pp. 1735-1740; A.C. Parrott, “The Psychotherapeutic Potential of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine): An Evidence-Based Review”, Psychopharmacology, Vol. 191 (2007), pp. 181-193; Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts (eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, Vol. 1 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007); Michael J. Winkelman and Thomas B. Roberts (eds.), Psychedelic Medicine: New Evidence for Hallucinogenic Substances as Treatments, Vol. 2 (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2007); M.W. Johnson, W.A. Richards and R.R Griffiths, “Human Hallucinogen Research: Guidelines for Safety”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 22, No. 6 (2008), pp. 603-620; P.Ø. Johansen and T.S. Krebs, “How Could MDMA (Ecstasy) Help Anxiety Disorders? A Neurobiological Rationale”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 23, No. 4 (2009), pp. 389-391; Michael C. Mithoefer, Mark T. Wagner, Ann T. Mithoefer, Lisa Jerome and Rick Doblin, “The Safety and Efficacy of ±3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine-Assisted Psychotherapy in Subjects with Chronic, Treatment-Resistant Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: The First Randomized Controlled Pilot Study”, Journal of Psychopharmacology, Vol. 25, No. 4 (2011), pp. 439-452.

[45] “A grant from a branch of the Masons, the Scottish Rite Foundation for Schizophrenia Research, helped establish the merit of my study a year before I actually began it. Why the Masons had an interest in schizophrenia in general, and DMT in particular, I do not know, but I believe that garnering such support enhanced the esteem of my study in the eyes of the relevant regulatory and funding agencies.” [Rick Strassman, “DMT: The Brain’s Own Psychedelic” in Rick Strassman, Slawer Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna and Ede Frecska, Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (Rochester, VT: Park Street Press, 2008), p. 48]; “Curiously, another MKULTRA faction consisted of representatives of the Scottish Rite of Masonry, which had sponsored research into eugenics, psychiatry, and mind control since at least the 1930s. MKULTRA doctor Robert Hanna Felix [1904-1990] was director of psychiatric research for the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, and the director of the National Institute of Mental Health. Felix was the immediate senior of Dr. Harris Isbell, already noted in relation to MKULTRA. Another prominent Freemason involved in MKULTRA was Dr. Paul Hoch [1902-1964], financed by the Army Chemical Center.” [Jim Keith, “The CIA and Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003), p. 65]. Another interesting figure to be mentioned in this discussion is Andrija Puharich, also known as Henry K. Puharich (1918-1995), who was well-known for his work in parapsychology and affiliated with many influential members of the counter-culture and was also intimately involved with “The Council of Nine” or “The Nine”, a New Age channeling cult. “After the demise of Puharich’s Round Table [Foundation, located in Glen Cove, Maine] he spent time with social engineer Aldous Huxley in Tecate, Mexico, again studying the effects of electronics on the human organism. Puharich was also employed at the Army’s Chemical and Biological Warfare Center at Fort Detrick, Maryland, researching the effects of LSD for the CIA in 1954. He delved into the effects of digatoid drugs at the Permanente Research Foundation, with funding from the Sandoz Chemical Works.” [Jim Keith, “Electronic Mind Control” in Mass Control: Engineering Human Consciousness (Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2003), p. 176]; See also H.P. Albarelli, Jr., “Notes” in A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIAs Secret Cold War Experiments (Walterville, OR: Trine Day, 2009), p. 792. For an interesting book on “The Council of Nine” see Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy: The Truth about Extraterrestrial life and the Mysteries of Ancient Egypt (New York: Berkley Books, 2001)

[46] See Rama Coomaraswamy, “Catholic Writings” at the following website: http://www.the-pope.com/coomcawr.html.