a shortcut to nowhere?

This Rainbow Serpent also consolidated in my mind many of my thoughts about the use of drugs especially psychedelic drugs.

When I was in my late twenties, I went through a period of being fascinated by shamanic spiritual and ecstatic experiences. I did a fair amount of reading and a little bit of experimentation and came away from it with a great respect for the power of entheogens and the importance of rituals and training in using these drugs. My stance at that time was that using entheogens recreationally, at the very least on the spiritual level if not also on the physical mental level is akin to playing russian roulette with a gun – a dangerous misuse of a powerful weapon.

I resolved at that time and this was some years ago now to find trained practitioners who could show me the path before I experimented any further. Unfortunately I found that accessible authentic shamans are a little short on the ground and gave up on the entheogen shamanic path. Eventually, I got distracted and moved completely away from the shamanic path.

In the last year, after a spiritual hiatus of about seven years, I discovered theravada buddhist meditation and to a certain extent adopted many the principles of theravada buddhism. In many ways, it seems to me that theravada buddhism is a polar opposite of some of the shamanic paths I was interested in. Looking at the usage of entheogens through the buddhist lens and paraphrasing a quote from a monk (whose name escapes me), it’s quite clear to me that any spiritual revelations that recreational and undisciplined usage of entheogens are at best a pale shadow or a peek of the real thing, at worst illusionary. The spiritual shortcut that entheogens promise, in the absence of knowledge and discipline, is a shortcut to nowhere.

Of course, theravada buddhist meditation is tough and takes a lot of work. Spiritual progress along that path requires dedication, sacrifice and only comes in small increments. But you dont need entheogens to get there or the continual presence of it in your bloodstream to stay there. The other factor of theravada buddhist meditation is that as a novice, taking entheogens can actually disrupt the very small changes you’ve painstakingly built in your neural structure through meditation effectively taking you backwards.

Watching the disorganisation of so many peoples minds during rainbow and the possibly permanent destruction of one, I came away even more convinced that the entheogenic path is not for me.

2 thoughts on “a shortcut to nowhere?

  1. Whilst you don’t commit yourself completely in one direction, no-one can argue against “the entheogenic path is not for me.” A personal choice that doesn’t impact negatively on others cannot be in any sense ‘wrong’. But there are those for whom entheogens ARE effective, and I count myself amongst them. They didn’t provide the ‘answer’, rather the direct experience of the culmination of a great deal of consideration. But there are also those for whom entheogens actually turn on the spiritual path. I think it’s always a matter of individual makeup. What IS wrong is that their use is actually outlawed in certain parts of the world. There are dangers inherent in so many practices that are enshrined in cultures, and the denial of entheogen use by such arguments is at the least inconsistent, in fact a crime.

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