View Full Version : The Mystery is a Mistery: thoughts on psychedelics

03-29-2014, 11:12 PM
Mystery... Mist-ery... It is like being in the mist. Life, universe, cosmos, self, others... interconnectedness, synchronicities, destinies, love, death... all living in the mist. Will the fog lift in death or will it grow even denser... we'll all find out hopefully not sooner than later.

Psychedelics is a MYSTERY... it is a miracle. It is beyond wonder and I cannot fathom the level of ignorance, or denial, amongst those that have not had a brave dose of psychedelics in a respectful, and dark, setting.

I often hear: "I don't need it!"

To me this is the funniest argument against taking psychedelics. Only after you have taken it will you really understand the utter ridiculous position such a statement is.

"I am not ready."
"I am scared."

These are valid arguments. I am going to the Amazon this fall again, and I am scared... and I am not sure I am ready. I can understand such arguments. Terence McKenna asked a question in a talk I listened to recently, he said (and I paraphrase): "Are people who have taken psychedelics better than people who have not taken it?"

Psychedelics can be very enlightening... it can be an experience very similar to a person who has found religion, or someone who has fallen madly in love... people like these are very hard to argue with. They have discovered a truth that almost makes them blind to all other truths. It is common amongst people who go down to the Amazon to return with a sort of Messiah complex. I know. I've felt it.

But it has nothing to do with trying to convert the world. Nor has it anything to do with the fact that we (the psychonauts) think we have found the answer/truth to the universe. Rather, I think, it is because the psychedelic experience, when done properly, can be such a MYSTERY... such an awesome experience that WE want everyone to experience it.

Unlike a person who has found religion, or fallen in love, we can allow others to experience the same thing. All you got to do is DARE to drink/eat/smoke the psychedelic potion of choice. This is the beauty of psychedelics. Don't believe me... you can see for yourself.

So even if it is a Messiah complex, we can show IT... unlike preachers that can only preach IT. The most ardent doubter can take psychedelics and have an experience, and s/he can afterwards keep doubting or be convinced. Psychedelics does not need theory... it only requires will/bravery.

I consider myself fairly brave... but I am still very scared each time I do psychedelics because enlightenment, truth and infinity is a very mind-boogling thing. And a mirror held up against your own soul/spirit even more intimidating. None of us are saints... you will see all the cracks... and you will become aware of your ability to heal those cracks or make them wider.

Psychedelics is the great mystery of this world and the essence of psychedelics, IMO, is transformation and transmutation. It is, without a doubt, a sacred practice... a sacred art. It is true alchemy. And once it calls your name, answer it!

So are we better than those that have not taken psychedelics?

No, but we have an advantage. And sure a clear intelligent mind can also have an advantage... wisdom can be an advantage... but not everyone might possess these things. Also society has a way of poisoning wise people. Psychedelics is certainly a cure against such ailments. For me it has been a hidden superpower... it has made me stronger, wiser, calmer and more intelligent. Better than other people? No... better than I used to be? Yes.

So when you take psychedelics you will see the mist lift, and you will enter the true mystery and the true mist. The rabbit hole is deep...



03-30-2014, 12:04 AM
Well dev, you know I'm in agreement. I drew this in '96, trying to unify my mycological-mystical and alchemical passions on paper.


03-30-2014, 03:23 AM
Well dev, you know I'm in agreement. I drew this in '96, trying to unify my mycological-mystical and alchemical passions on paper.


I love this picture very much.

I read that the guru with whom Aldous Huxley studied did not approve of his experimentation with psychedelics. He insisted that you were taking for yourself an experience that was meant to be achieved naturally by virtue of discipline, meditation and contemplation. I see the validity of this argument, but I also see the logic in the argument that Terrence McKenna often makes, that the psychedelic experience is our birthright. What do you guys think about this division. Should there be limits? We veil alchemical knowledge to a degree to protect it from the profane who are not ready to revere and apply it appropriately. Should we similarly consider limiting our psychedelic evangelism?

03-30-2014, 05:53 AM
Thanks for the compliment on the drawing! :)

I have not heard of Aldous Huxley having studied with a guru, I'll have to research that. But Ram Dass (who hung around with Huxley in 1962) said he gave his guru, Neem Karolie Baba LSD on two occasions, but later had doubts as to whether he had actually swallowed the tabs which were 305 mcg each, and Maharaji had taken 3 the first time. I reposted this on my Facebook page the other day, but I've heard it for many years: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZGbhumOjCM

Now, I saw Ram Dass once, but my best friend and other acquaintances have met with him or Skyped with him. I have been profoundly influenced by BE HERE NOW. I even drove up a muddy mountain road to the Lama Foundation in 1977 but few people were there. I wrote my 222 doctoral dissertation based on Lama Govinda's work (he's mentioned in BE HERE NOW), and I even corresponded with the late great Lama. My dissertation idea came from just one page in Ram Dass' first book The Only Dance There Is.

So, I have grown up being as psychedelic as I could be. My refusal to wear business suits and/or neck ties is an idea that I took from the Sufis, who wore wool (sufi means wool) in rebellion against the elegant garments worn by worldly people who surrounded them. I wear blue jeans in like manner. It's my idiosyncratic nose-thumbing that came from my adoption of certain 'hippy' values. I eulogized at both my parents' funerals - in blue jeans. It was not disrespect, it was cutting through the socialization bullshit that psychedelics taught me. My lawyer brother and his lawyer associates all looked grim in their black suits, like undertakers. I loved my parents, and God is no respecter of clothes, people are. Just trying to give you a sense here of being a dyed-in-the-wool psychedelic hippy (pun intended) with BA, MTS, and PhD degrees and 30 years of experience in a helping profession - all attained because of my use of psychedelics. After 23 years of conservative haircuts, I was blessed to be able to grow my hair long again. If anything has set me apart from this world of worldly people, it has not been the Judaism I was born into, or the Christianity that I was initiated into as a young men. It was psychedelics. As Ken Kesey said, 'There are two kinds of people, those who have had The Experience, and those who have not.'

Now, apparently, the greatest of the alchemists, Jabir ibn Hayyan, (Latinized: Geber), was opposed to this notion of keeping knowledge from the multitudes. I agree with him. Who is going to judge who is worthy or unworthy? That is hubris. When it comes to psychedelics however, I am not in agreement with Tim Leary (whom I met twice) with regard to giving psychedelics to everyone, including young kids. This should be more like the way Freemasonry used to be. They never approached men for this, a man had to ask a Mason if he was interested in being initiated.

The bottom line: Psychedelics are not for everyone. I don't proselytize anymore, but I speak of them. Those who are afraid simply do not evidence any interest. They do not ask questions. This is sad, because I feel like Terrance McKenna in this regard:


03-30-2014, 06:48 AM
I see what you mean. I myself am a master Mason and certainly the lessons or mental provocations that have meant much to me through my experience of the degree rituals have found their places in my common conversation because they're just too important and too profound not to present. It astounds me, the thoughts and questions that people will ignore and never consider. Psychedelics are valuable in this regard because they not only present these problems, but place you into the role of the sole observer and interpreter of that divine experience. A Mason who undergoes the trials of Hiram Abiff and the seeker who speaks to the magic mushroom.... They've both been given impressions that can yield a lifetime of interpretations.

03-30-2014, 11:58 AM
I read that the guru with whom Aldous Huxley studied did not approve of his experimentation with psychedelics. He insisted that you were taking for yourself an experience that was meant to be achieved naturally...

I think it is arrogant to think we as thinking monkeys don't need the aid of psychedelics. Gurus are morons. Of course they are against psychedelics. Once you take them properly the Guru becomes irrelevant.

No limit required.


03-30-2014, 12:06 PM
Psychedelics are valuable in this regard because they not only present these problems, but place you into the role of the sole observer and interpreter of that divine experience.

Yes, exactly! One's experience becomes incontrovertible, and to the ears of orthodoxy, it looks like 'heresy' because mystical experiences supersede whatever dogmatic formulae are held by exotericists. One experiences Gnosis! But any attempt to disagree with the hallowed words of tradition is seen only as hubris, the number one Luciferian sin, and the proclaimer is predictably attacked in the most virulent manner available for the era. There are different dynamics that go into the attack on the mystic, from simple jealousy to the threat to one's authority and livelihood as a clergyman, to the sadistic thrill of finding and punishing a heretic.

Beyond that there is the threat to people's religious beliefs being shredded like the cardboard stage decorations they are. Few people want their comforting illusions that have been cherished since grandmother told them bedtime stories, immolated. The very suggestion that YOU, yes YOU, are the very "I AM" of the Johannine gospel will be received with horror and screams of blasphemy! Paradoxes cannot be entertained by the masses. It's not 'me' I'm referring to standing here telling you this. I'm referring to the Ground of Being, of your Being and mine. WE are at bottom the Logos, not our perishable selves. Jesus wasn't referring to himself, a Judean peasant, he was referring to the Logos, "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you" -John 14:20.

But, the Realization that each of us are temporary waves formed of an Eternal Sea has radical consequences. It is no more sufficient to put Jesus on a pedestal (or a cross) and kneel before an image and an idea if WE are at bottom THAT to which which are kneeling before. We must live our lives in that Realization, and must manifest this Truth every second of our lives. This requires vigilance. "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" - Mark 14:38. It also requires creativity. When one can no longer 'sin' with pleasure because of this nagging Realization, one has to change. It's so much easier to worship God than to Be Godly.

03-30-2014, 01:42 PM
In wrapping my head around this conversation, I'm want to contribute perhaps another perspective.

As always, none is offered in competition. None is offered in opposition. If any of you have read my writings, even just here, you should know by now that I am an "inclusionary thinker." Neither do I seek to be "dialectic" in that I see irreconcilable contradictions.

One thing I'm reading here is that there are two opposed perspectives. Those "initiates" that have partaken of psychedelics, and those that have not, and I see that it is believed that not having taken and experienced them can be perceived as "never-having-the-ability-to-understand" the experience. But further, those that refuse or decline are largely [or completely] opposed to such an activity and might even go so far as to demonize those that would partake.

It's a simple thing to observe why and how these two camps can form.

"It's your loss for not at least trying it once in your lifetime."

"I think you're an idiot for thinking chemicals are the answer."

Of course, I'm generalizing, but here again we have human beings "squaring off" with one trying to prove the other wrong and vice versa.

Now, Markos has mentioned that "psychedelics are not for everyone," which yields a gradation of competitiveness. However, I'd suggest that it still suggests a level of fraternalization ... a kind of exclusion ... "You just can't know."

When I was in college, I built an enclosed chair, two actually, a prototype and later a more refined, simpler design ... but the principle was the same ... essentially a sensory deprivation chamber you sat in ... (I may make one again sometime soon).

Construction and principles employed were straight-forward, reduced external vibrational influence and replaced it with controlled audio input ... a sound-dampened stereo chair. Interestingly, even with an open front, inside with someone just outside speaking to you, even with the sound off, you could barely hear them speak, and with virtually any sound coming through the speakers, you could hear nothing outside the chair. Often I'd have to lean out to hear what someone was saying to me. The entire interior was upholstered and dampened with foam rubber, the seat was well padded and reclined with arm rests. 6x9 speakers were mounted inches from your ears. Your only bodily contact was with the padded seat.

This was where I first experienced out-of-body travel ... and drug-free ... this, despite the fact that at the time I was living in an off-campus college house with a shocking free-flow of virtually any drug you can name. It was 1974-75.

I, myself, was stoned regularly on reefer (although not constantly as many were), but the strongest I'd ever done was hash oil, save for one incident a couple years earlier that was a joint laced with Angel Dust.

Needlesstosay, there were times when I sat in the chair stoned, but often I was not. I didn't need to be, which was something I knew innately ... it's why I built the chair(s) in the first place ... to experience things outside the influence of chemicals/herbs. Even at a tender age, I knew that any "transcendence" could take place [exclusively] through mind control.

As far as I'm concerned, I was right. I achieved altered states without the influence of substances. Were they the same? Well, the answer to that is both yes and no ... at the same time ... and please keep this point in mind ... "at the same time."

Remember, save for shrooms and LSD, etc., I'd crossed the chemical threshold and experienced it (outside the chair). No, it wasn't outright, full-blown psychedelics, but I at least stood at the door. Hash oil can certainly get you there ... and, of course one can argue that each substance has a different result, peyote to mushrooms to LSD and so on.

But the chair got me there, too.

Again, one can say, "You can't know," but I would put forth the proposition that I can ... and that others have ... and for a very long time ... as long as there have been human beings exploring the non-physical.

Again, if you've read my writing here, I put forth the proposition (as my foundational belief/knowledge) that physical manifestation ... the bodies we inhabit and the life we perceive ... is merely a reflection or small portion of our Larger Selves, not the other way around.

It is not that we are physical beings exploring the ethereal, but that we are ethereal beings cycling back to the ethereal through the physical.

In other words, physicality is an illusion and the "ether-real" is the reality.

Whatever trigger we use to return to perceive "real" is nearly irrelevant to the fact that we are able to perceive it.

Later in life, about ten years, I came to understand the same thing can be achieved in Native American ceremony. One's consciousness and awareness can be severely altered when experiencing temperatures as high as 1200 degrees (as once recorded in the 1980's). Obviously, the process is more complex than I'm presenting here and one has to be properly prepared for such an experience, but the point being that shedding physicality and experiencing the non-physical has many routes.

Yet ... ultimately ... the destination is the same.

"You can't know," in my opinion, is a fallacy of the perception of physical duality.

In the low vibrational physical paradigm, competition and fraternalization are prevalent. Higher vibrational states are more harmonized and complimentary, more empathetic and compassionate, shedding any need for such separations. No, they are not "the same," but they are of the same nature and more closely in tune.

You say (again, not implying competition or adversarial argument), "You gotta try these shrooms or you simply have no idea" ...

Whereas, I say, "You gotta try both the chair and the sweat, 'cause if you love shrooms, you'll love those."

There is a third way.

In fact, there are as many ways as there are spiritual entities outside the Perfection we seek.

03-30-2014, 02:30 PM
Now, Markos has mentioned that "psychedelics are not for everyone," which yields a gradation of competitiveness. However, I'd suggest that it still suggests a level of fraternalization ... a kind of exclusion ... "You just can't know."

Well I do think psychedelics are for everyone. A part of me thinks they should be mandatory. LOL!

But I think Markos means that not everyone might be able to handle them. Doesn't make them lesser people, just the fact that some people can sky dive and some people are just too scared to do it. And like with all things ONCE you actually do it you kick yourself that you didn't do it sooner.

Again, one can say, "You can't know," but I would put forth the proposition that I can...

I felt the same before I had a real psychedelic experience... I can only say now that "I didn't know at all!" ;)


03-30-2014, 05:30 PM
.Yes to this: "But I think Markos means that not everyone might be able to handle them. Doesn't make them lesser people, just the fact that some people can sky dive and some people are just to scared to do it."
Personally, I don't like adrenaline rushes, and I also don't like defying that natural fear of heights (not to mention that about 40 people die while skydiving every year). Psychedelics are safer. But your point is well taken. :) People who are control freaks do not tolerate psychedelics well, and they spend the whole time fighting it with their ego instead of surrendering their ego to the experience. My best friend has recently discovered this about himself, along with some genetic-testing results that show he's a poor metabolizer of the Cytochrome P450 2D6 enzyme for breaking down a host of stimulating medications (including naturally-occurring hydroxytryptamines like serotonin, and indole psychedelics are serotonin antagonists, doubling the problem). At any rate, this is a physical reason on top of his psychological reason for being unable to use psychedelics, and I had him insufflating lines of Berkeley Orange Sunshine when Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon' came out. He has tried, but does not handle psychedelics well at all. He nevertheless DID get the message he needed from them, he just can't join me in this practice.

DonSweet: Im pretty sure you've got a typo in there ("1200" should be 120), and as I mentioned elsewhere, I have both hypertension and the tachicardia from a mitral valve prolapse (that became symptomatic 10 years ago), controlled by two medications. I suspect that the high temperature and a humidity that is higher than Miami's would be physically contraindicated for me, even though I would like to experience it."...the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!" - Matthew 26:41. I WOULD however, like to try your chair. It seems to work by sensory stimulation of a 'white noise' effect (auditory and tactile) rather than deprivation in temperature neutral, soundproofed, dark space, but no doubt it lends itself to altered states of some kind or another.

It is sad (to me) but true that not everyone can handle psychedelics, but then again, not everyone will have their faith develop into gnosis. Not everyone could afford to partake of the Eleusinian Mystery Rites either. Moreover, I do not even care to share The Psychedelic Experience with 'Hylics,' straight-up materialists, who want sensory kicks. So I DO have that bias. I realized that a couple of people we had been socializing with for 20 years, had nothing whatsoever in common with us, including spiritual lives, and it was no wonder that they were not interested in psychedelics (which we never pushed after they took a mild 2 gms of mushrooms). They also NEVER read!!! Now THIS turns out to be a social problem with us. We were living 'Groundhog Day' with these people for 20 years, it was uncanny! The same routine at our house, or at theirs. They were 'nice' people, but the only thing we ever had in common was that he and I used to work in the same school for 2 years in the early 90s, and they are a mixed marriage as are we. They (both school teachers) dropped us without a word half a year ago when I resigned and retired. I am relieved, because I didn't want to be dismissive of anyone who wants to befriend us. However, after 20 years, they remained acquaintances, with zip in common. I use this example just for illustration sake. We are aloof by virtue of our INTP personalities, but we are not arrogant, snobby, dismissive people.

03-31-2014, 01:03 AM
Nope ... no typo.

Now, not all sweats are that hot, and not all parts of the lodge are that hot. Likely ... and I only know "of" the temperature measurements and did not witness them ... the sensor reading of 1200 degrees was likely above the [glowing red] stones in the pit in the center of the lodge.

I've been in sweats (four "rounds") that were as short as 45 minutes, and as long as four-and-a-half hours (also four rounds). Each is a different experience, and in fact, each has a different personality. Many factors contribute.

Yes, your physical ailments are contraindicated, as you suggest. You have to be physically able to endure.

Now, that doesn't prevent short exposure, such as just one round, or even to sit inside while the first seven stones are being brought in (a very special moment) or even other "participation." You can be a fire-keeper or other helper, such as with the meal/feast afterward. Are all equal when it comes to sweat. Women in their "moon" are not permitted near the lodge, but not due to some "unclean" state, but by the fact that their energy is too strong, so they help in other ways.

Originally, save for special instances, sweat was brought to The People for the sake of men. Women already have a "grounding" in their feminine nature. They have a cleansing, a monthly task of endurance, a connection to the Earth's life-giving and nurturing forces. Men do not. Men tend to be a bit high-strung and disassociated from calmness and nurturing, and indeed, humility. Sweat brings them back to that. Nothing humbles aggressive arrogance like 600-1200 degrees.

I know the extreme temperatures are hard to fathom for a non-participant, but they exist. It "is" the experience. This is no sauna.

And keep in mind that [anthropologically] the Native American sweat lodge is the oldest known "religious" or spiritual ceremony, dating back close to 20,000 years.

Also keep in mind that not only am I acclimated to the experience and the temperatures (as other participants are), I consider Sacred Lodge "home," in that it affords me the opportunity to meld with my Higher Self in ways not achievable outside of it.

My mother (now a devout Baptist) tried it in her late 60's (she is now 79) and commented that she has never felt so clean. But she is also very supportive of my interest and involvement, despite her Baptist (and evangelical) leanings. She knows innately that there is "something-to-this-stuff."

Over time, I'll likely be interjecting more Native philosophy, as I have been. It's difficult to condense, but suffice it to say that A) Popular notions of what they think are dead wrong, and B) True, traditional Native American perspectives are so foreign to Western/European thinking as to be utterly misunderstood even today. Even Native Americans themselves struggle to reacquaint themselves with their traditions. Blatant genocide and intentional cultural eradication tends to evaporate traditions along with the people it kills and mentally poisons. Five hundred years of that is hard to reverse ...

... but maybe one day I'll chat about "genetic memory," too.

03-31-2014, 03:17 AM
I understand that glowing stones can be 1200F., but the ambient air cannot be anything near that. I'm not clear on this temperature scheme, because this temperature is almost 3 times the ignition point of gasoline. Thermal death would in much lower temps, not to mention ignition of flesh. I'm reading about 102-110 sweat lodge temperatures on the net. Be that as it may, it has been important in certain Native American cultures. I personally would appreciate a peyote mitote with the Native American Church, but that's just me.

03-31-2014, 04:08 AM
It isn't dry heat, it's wet. The stones are doused with water. Heat is transferred by steam, superheated. There are times when my head and face are buried at the very lowest back corner of the lodge when it isn't even that hot, and others when my back is arched and my face fully enveloped in freshly created steam right from red glowing stones. It all depends on your frame of mind and literally the state of your being.

Remember too, that this isn't simply a physical process, but has a nearly infinite non-physical dimension, some pre-defined and at least partially understood, and some not.

How this all ties into either psychedelics or Alchemy is "altered states" ... or even "altering states." I mentioned in another thread that with these processes (ceremonies) Native Americans may actually be practicing Alchemy, but simply in a different fashion. The participant "becomes" the flask, or possibly in some cases the crucible.

There is little doubt that in some fashion any participant in this process is in some way transmuted, either in a major or minor sense, and there is little doubt that one's physicality has changed at least in the sense of being more "pure" by the expulsion of toxins. But of course, that doesn't even approach any potential non-physical changes in mind/emotion/psychology/spirit. In other words, you can't walk away from the experience without be changed in some way.

I suppose another set of words I could use is that this process is actually how you go about "distilling" a person.

Rediscovering, researching and expanding on my knowledge of Alchemy is confirming many parallels to these Native philosophies and Alchemical philosophies. One basic comparison is the perception of Fire, and its many dimensions and forms, both "real" and esoteric. Both philosophies see Fire in its many forms.

Another is Stone, both the mineral aspect and the philosophical aspect of Stone. Just as an Alchemist can see mineral Alchemy as a living process, "stones" in all their forms in Native philosophy are also living.

Anyway ...

03-31-2014, 04:16 AM
Anyway...Thanks for elaborating. It's clearly a path and a practice that I've known about, but have never had it explicated by a practitioner before, or articulated in an idiom of alchemy, so thanks again! :)

03-31-2014, 10:08 PM
This thread started going into the debate regarding the validity of psychedelics, so I moved those posts to a more appropriate place:

Is psychedelics a valid path? (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3125-Is-psychedelics-a-valid-path) (the moved posts starts HERE (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3125-Is-psychedelics-a-valid-path&p=34189#post34189))

A spin-off thread was also born called: Shamanism with/without psychedelics (http://forum.alchemyforums.com/showthread.php?3973-Shamanism-with-without-psychedelics)

Sorry if I cut it up, but it will make it easier to navigate the forum when each thread covers its own area, although sometimes things intertwine. We'll we do our best hear at Alchemy Forums to keep things in order.