May 2006


Ramsey Duke’s What I did in my Holidays has been an important book for my personal growth and self-exploration. Not through its content, which is of varying quality, but through the changes in my attitude and belief-systems that accompanied the experience of reading the book. These changes in attitude and beliefs were not caused by the book itself – I started the book as a man of faith, a yogi, and a magician. I finish the book as a man of science, reason and scepticism. This transformation can not be accounted to the book, for I was forced to change my persona to pass my final university exams and deal with the build-up of psychological problems that I have accumulated during my 6 months of mystical study. I survived the transition, not unscathed, definitely a hell of a lot more arrogant than I used to be (which I do not count among the positives), blah blah blah

Most importantly with each new change in attitude and perception the book I was reading changed its meaning and importance. What started as an interesting exploration of alternative theory, ended as an attempt to cover too many themes that were beyond the author’s understanding. Some essays provoked ‘rightful’ anger in the humble reader when he witnessed gigantic gaps in logic or unnecessary leaps of faith. If I stayed in the same mind-set as I started the book in, these problems would have never arised. This does not serve to belittle the author, rather it serves to show how maleable we are as recipients of information.
Reading Duke’s book made me realise that books hold as much importance and relevance as we (sub)consciously give them. Our attitudes and beliefs shape the experience of reading a book (or any other action which is educational) and the effects that it has on us, including what we take away from it. When I was magically minded, the book was appreciated, after my scientific transition, the book lost most of its charm.

To add some relevance to this rag-tag article, I will at least add the last thoughs of Ramsey Dukes on his own work:

1. Ideas, beliefs, principles, assumptions… all these can be tyrants
2. They can also be saviours. Thus one idea triumphs over another by liberating us until it too turns out to be tyrant.
3. ‘Free Will’ is to dodge and duck as ideas do battle around and within us. In vain, while we are the battlefield.
4. It is necessary, therefore, to detach from ideas, beliefs, principles and assumptions. Step back and enjoy the struggle without becoming its victim.
5. This can be difficult and painful. It requires us to abandon our principles (provided that is ‘the one thing that we refuse to do’) and embrace relativity. It requires us to admit that even the most monstrous human beings have probably at times nurtured intentions every bit as benevolent as our own.
6. There is a precedent for this detachment: it was when mankind learnt to detach from Nature. This was progress: the bushman is in this one respect our inferior and we must therefore learn most carefully from them.
7. Detaching from Nature, from Mother Earth, was a phase of growing up. It was necessary for the development of Science.
8. Detaching from ideas is another stage of growing up. It is time to let go of Truth and discover our Selves. It is also necessary for the development of Magic.
9. Goodbye, Mother Earth. Goodbye, Father Sky.
10. A Great Adventure lies ahead.

This blog also offers an interview with the author himself: Interview with Ramsey Dukes.

“When you turn your eyes inward you discover the birthright, the existential facts out of which this particular existence emerged. Because it means mystery didn’t die with the fall of Atlantis or the fall of anything. Mystery is alive in the moment, in the here and now. It just simply lies on the other side of a barrier of courage and it isn’t even that high a barrier. It’s just a barrier high enough to keep out the insincere and the misdirected but for those who will claim it in the mists of the historical chaos in the late 20th century, they become the archaic pioneers, they become the first people to carry the oroboric serpent around to its own tail, and to make a closure, to the degree that anyone of us has a connection back to the archaic in our life makes where we have been make a lot more sense and it makes where we are going a lot more inviting.”

-Terrence McKenna

I haven’t posted anything on AnimamRecro for a few days so I thought I should present something entertaining. Please enjoy the following game and win a prize!

Who is behind door #1?

-He was miraculously conceived and born of the Virgin.
-His father was a carpenter yet born of royal descent.
-His birth was attended by angels, wise men and shepherds, and he was presented with gifts.
-He was persecuted by a tyrant who ordered the slaughter of thousands of infants who feared that the divine child would supplant his kingdom.
-His father was warned by a heavenly voice to flee the tyrant who sought the death of the child. The child was then saved by friends who fled with them in the night to a distant country. When the tyrant learned that his attempt to kill the child failed, he issued a decree that all the infants in the area be put to death.
-He was baptized in a River
-His mission was the salvation of humanity.
-He worked miracles and wonders such as raising the dead and healing lepers, the deaf and the blind.
-He used parables to teach the people about charity and love.
-“He lived poor and he loved the poor.”
-According to some traditions, he died on a tree or was crucified between two thieves.
-He rose bodily from the dead, and ascended to heaven which was witnessed by many.
-He is called the “shepherd god” and “lord of lords,” and was considered “the redeemer, firstborn, sin bearer, liberator, universal Word.”
-He is the second person of the trinity, and proclaimed himself the “resurrection” and the “way to the Father.”
-He was considered the “beginning, the middle and the end,” (“alpha and omega”), as well as being omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.
-His disciples bestowed upon him the title “Jezeus,” meaning “pure essence.”
-He will return again riding a white horse to do battle with the “prince of evil,” who will desolate the earth.

Click here to find out if you were right! Oh, I’m sorry! You didn’t win the free car but we’ll give you another chance to win a fabulous gift. Guess who’s behind door #2?

-Born under very poor condition to a virgin mother on December 25th.
-Had 12 disciples and his body was eaten as bread by his worshipers.
-He died for all mankind.
-Buried for three days and resurrected from the dead.
-He was called the Way, the Truth, and the Light, the messiah, and the Savior.

Click here to find out if you were right! Aw! Missed again. We’ll give you one more try. Guess who’s behind door #3?

-Born of a virgin on December 25th under poor conditions.
-His Birth was announced by a star in the east and attended by three wise men.
-He was of royal descent.
-At age 12 he was a child teacher in the Temple, and at 30, he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years.
-The man who baptized him was decapitated.
-He had 12 helpers.
-He performed miracles, exercised demons and raised the dead.
-He walked on water.
-He was transfigured on the mount.
-He was crucified between two thieves, buried for three days in a tomb, and resurrected.
-He was “The Fisher” and came to fulfill the law.
-He was called “The Way, the Truth, the Light, Messiah, God’s Anointed Son, Son of Man, Good Shepherd, Lamb of God, word made flesh, Word of Truth.”

Click here to find out if you were right! Oops. Too bad! But I do have a runner up prize for those interested. Check out The Pharmacratic Inquisition on Gnostic Media. Download their lecture here.

I have had a magical weekend. I saw Derren Brown’s show Something Wicked This Way Comes on friday, and on saturday I saw a television programme on David Blaine drowning himself, and on some of his street tricks. It was interesting to watch two very different magicians mesmerizing their audiences with clevererly prepared routines. What was even more interesting was to watch the reactions of the people who were the victims of their magic. I was shocked by the reactions of the American public, shocked to the bone that people could be quite as simple and naive. Majority of the Americans in the show that I was watching reacted to Blaine’s magic by asking him whether he was psychic, a guru, or spiritually gifted. None of them ever thought for a second that it could be a clever trick. I for one believe that it is a massive leap of faith to explain stage or street magic as something supernatural. I do no say that because I am of a sceptical disposition, I say that because I have the ability to question and because I have researched magick and psychic powers more than well enough to have a distinct idea of what may be possible and what may not. That is why I much prefer Derren Brown, who explains his tricks as a mixture of psychology, deception, trickery and showmanship. He even gives you brief explanations at the end of the show, but keeping in spirit of the trickster, these explanations are usually false and even more misleading than the tricks themselves. I prefer a man who hides trickery behind the label of psychology (which is very smart and modern) rather than the man who hides his skill behing the label of magic (which is out-dated and ineffective).
That brings me to the comparison I wanted to make, the real reason for you reading this article. Simply put, David Blaine is too much of a redneck and show-off for me to take him seriously or give him the praise that he deserves for his amazing magic and mind-boggling feats of survival. He is very skilled and very brave and those two qualities make him praise-worthy, yet he has an air of simplicity around him, and arrogance masked by fake humility, which make him despicable. David Blaine’s cult of personality is one of the more pathetic ones, as can be seen in any one of his tv shows, and the way that he portrays himself. On the other hand Derren Brown has the air of an intellectual trickster, a devil in suit with a smile on his face, horns hidden through careful deception. He is therefore much more likable, and his very different kind of arrogance is much more endearing.

Can magic be used as a metaphor to the culture and societal development of a country? Well, taking David Blaine as an avatar of America, Derren Brown of Britain, I believe that it can. Derren Brown is the sceptical, arrogant, and skilled, high-class trickster of British society, while David Blaine represents the skilled, yet simple and naive American citizen, who treats fame as a means to an end. I believe that the best proof I can give of this is the way that these two magicians are treated outside of their countries. David Blaine has not been accepted by the British public – as a matter of fact he was bombarded by food the last time he tried one of his feats in London. Derren Brown has yet to face his test, for his is virtually unknown in America, but I somehow believe that he will be successful.

And that brings me to the conclusion. I have to start by explaining that this article is not a pre-meditated attack on America, its values or its citizens. I simply find it painful to watch Americans being stupid. If it takes mockery and contempt to educate the citizens of a country that is supposedly the last big super-power, then so be it. I myself am not British, nor do I strive to be. I have my issues with the Brits more so than any American who live outside of Britain. As a matter of fact I dislike the majority of Brits just as much as I dislike the majority of Americans. The only think that I can say is that Brits have never been guilty of being stupid without feeling ashamed of it. People in America have forgotten that shame can be a force of change, a valuable tool, and in their fake arrogance and celebration of their faults, they have given birth to a country that is never accountable to anything wrong, bad or hurtful. Repression and denial have emerged victorious on a national level. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is simply unacceptable.

This programme fuses magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship. I achieve all the results you’ll see through a varied mixture of those techniques. At no point are actors or stooges used in the show.
— Derren Brown, Tricks of the Mind

Derren Brown is a new kind of magician and his innovative style has taken Britain by storm. He has been around for a couple of years and in this time he has managed to persuade a group of middle-class managers to rob a security van, he has played and survived russian roulette, and to fill up this round of controversy, he has hypnotized a man to live out a game of House of the Dead. All in all, Derren Brown has fucked with a lot of minds.

There are more videos on the internet that will blow you away. I saw Derren Brown live on friday and my bewilderment and respect for this charismatic and arrogant devil soared to new heights. In his live show Derren Brown nearly suffocated himself with a plastic bag, stopped his pulse and in this state walked on glass, put his face in the glass while a man from the public stood on his head. He also hammered a 30 centimetre nail through his nose into his skull, made a man figure out a 3 number combination on a lock on a suitcase through looking into his eyes and talking to him, and more. He showed a 30 second film which supposedly carried a subliminal message for 4 people in the audience of 3000 to stand up and come to the stage. They did. And he already had the numbers of their seats in an envelope.

He finished the show by making a man randomly choose a number of a page on a newspaper, a girl in the audience tore up that page into a million pieces, gave them to Derren Brown, he let the original man choose a number, and that tored up scrap of the newspaper was given to the man, who then had to choose a long word from that scrap on random. The word he chose was excitement. Derren Brown had that word in an envelope from the beginning of the show. A trick? Sure, but a clever one. Well, Derren Brown then showed a little footage from the live 2 hour performance in which we found out that throughout the show he was feeding us numbers and information that led the people who were chosen to make the decisions that lead to excitement being chosen. He repeated number 14 three times during the show (the page number of the newspaper), he would say gibberish that contained suggestive impulses but it was so fast that no one noticed while it was being done. Slowed down it was painfully obvious what he did, he would even wink at us while doing it. Spooky stuff, we were all played. The whole audience.

I will leave you with this, no philosophical gibberish this time. Just make a little bit of effort and check out the videos to find out how absurdly unreal this man actually is.

Also check the Derren Brown vs. David Blaine entry.


I had the pleasure of seeing the new X-men film yesterday and let me tell you, it’s good. I am not a big fan of comic books (mostly due to lack of opportunity and the need to conform in post-communist society) but I am a comic book film geek (which makes me quite despicable) and as such X-men 3 did wonders for me. I can not compare the film to the original comic books, all I can say is that there is only one thing that was wrong with the new film – and that was pace. The latest in the series (and rumour has it, the last) is much faster, much more hectic than its predecessors. The plot revolves around a mutant cure, the battle between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mutants, new players in the mutant arena, and the deaths of many old heroes of the X-men world. It may almost seem like the creators tried to include too much material in one film.

The integral philosophical dialogue of X-men is about consciousness, what it means to be human, and whether mutants are human (as the good mutants say), or if they are defective and diseased (as some humans say), or whether they are the next step in human evolution (as Magneto says). This reminded me of an earlier work that I have written on people suffering from mental disorders. In this work I argued that people with mental disorders are perceived as being defective for the simple reason that they are unable to funtion in modern society, which is falsely believed to mean that there is something wrong with them. In this belief system the mainstream person who suffers of no visible defects is normal, as opposed to the minority whose differences make them wrong and defective – not different but defective. I for one do not agree that the majority are always right in their judgements and in the values they set, or that everyone who can not function in modern society is defective. It is clear that modern society is not going to change and will continue to try to change those who do not conform to its rules. We have an issue at hand.

So far we have established that modern society and people suffering from mental disorders don’t mix. Whose fault is it? Who should be corrected – or is there anything to correct? To approach this from the empirical angle I can name numerous scientists, philosophers and other geniuses who suffered from mental disorders, such as bipolar disorder, but did great things for humanity (Descartes, Einstein). In some societies people who ‘see more’ are celebrated and cared for in a different manner so as to create a safe environment for them, while not infringing on anyone’s freedom or personal rights. In the modern Western world psychological problems are viewed as diseases that have to be cured. All I can say is, you know, fuck this. Look at schizophreniacs – in the shamanic tradition schizophrenia is a quite common affliction, but one that is used in order to benefit society. In eastern and western religions, occultism and other traditions, the ‘inner voice’ or ‘the voice of god’ is celebrated. I think that it was Steiner who said that schizophrenics should be viewed as gifted people who could not control their gift and became controlled by it instead.

So is there a conclusion to all this? Well, not really. The only thing that truly scares me is that all signs of uniqueness and individuality are viewed as defects and this trend is becoming more and more popular, the need to conform is being felt by more people today than ever before. Some changes are going to be necessary if we all want to co-exist in a peaceful manner. It is up to you to do your part – not to frown on differences and to accept others without judgement. Think hard whether the values and rules to which you conform are righteous.

Nobody knows! What is the official government theory behind the collapse of building 7? Unknown.

Official Government Report
Pages 5-31

“The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse [“official theory”] remain unknown at this time. Although the total diesel fuel on the premises contained massive potential energy, the best hypothesis [fire/debris-damage-caused collapse] has only a low probability of occurrence. Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.”

This friday was a big day for me, I officially finished my university studies and left the academic world (hopefully for good) with a big smile on my face. It’s no surprise that I felt a pressing need to celebrate, but considering the uniqueness of the day, it felt insufficient to just get wasted, piss on doors of people I don’t like and get imprisoned (as we had all done before). Instead me and my girl-friend went on a wild adventure around London, which ended with an unplanned visit to the Vaudeville theatre to see the Stomp show.

I strongly advise all visitors to this blog to have a look at the Stomp website – particularly the video section. This group of performers uses everything from brooms, sinks, huge metal poles and plastic bins to just their hands and feet to create wonderful rhytms, the whole show is full of quality humour, it has great pace and it’s like nothing else you have ever seen before. Check it out.

While reading Confessions of an Economic Hitman I was reminded of the movie ‘Cube‘. In this scene David Worth and Helen Holloway are debating the possible origin of the strange contraption they are trapped in. Helen thinks it is the result of some huge conspiracy.

David: This may be hard for you to understand, but there’s no conspiracy. Nobody is in charge. It’s a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan. Can you grasp that? Big brother is not watching you.

Helen: What kind of fuckin’ explanation is that?

David:It’s the best you are gonna get. I looked, and the only conclusion I could come to is that there is nobody up there.

Helen: Somebody had to say yes to this thing.

David: What thing? Only we know what it is.

Helen: We have no idea what it is.

David: We know more than anybody else. I mean, somebody might have known sometime before they got, they got fired, or voted out, or sold it, but if this place ever had a purpose, and it got miscommunicated, or lost in a shuffle. I mean, this is an accident, a forgotten perpetual public works project. Do you think anybody wants to ask questions? All they want is a clear conscience, and a fat paycheck. I leaned on my shovel for months on this one. This was a great job!

Helen: Why put people in it?

David: Because it’s here. You have to use it or you admit it’s pointless.

Quintin: But it is pointless

David: That’s my point.

Helen: What have we come to? It’s so much worse than I thought.

David: Not really. Just more pathetic.

Quintin: You make me sick, Worth.

David: I make me sick too. We’re both part of the system. I drew a box, you walk a beat. It’s like you said, Quentin, keep your head down, keep it simple, just look at what’s in front of you. I mean, nobody wants to see the big picture. Life’s too complicated. I mean, let’s face it, the reason we’re here is that it’s out of control.

Helen: This is how we ruin the world?

I just finished reading a wonderful book titled ‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman: The Shocking inside story of how America really took over the world’ by John Perkins. I think the Sheik will enjoy this read and I highly recommend it! It definitely helped me reconsider the role World Bank, USAID, and other similar organizations play on the global scale. One of John Perkins points is that the American empire isn’t a result of a conspiracy theory as such but rather the influence of massive multinational companies which result in a ‘corporatocracy‘. However, I part of me still thinks that there are people high up that must understand the longterm impact their actions have on the world.

John Perkins started and stopped writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man four times over 20 years. He says he was threatened and bribed in an effort to kill the project, but after 9/11 he finally decided to go through with this expose of his former professional life. Perkins, a former chief economist at Boston strategic-consulting firm Chas. T. Main, says he was an “economic hit man” for 10 years, helping U.S. intelligence agencies and multinationals cajole and blackmail foreign leaders into serving U.S. foreign policy and awarding lucrative contracts to American business. “Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” Perkins writes.

-Via Amazon.com

John Perkins must have carried a lot of weight on his sholders over the years. He felt personally responsible for contributing to poverty on a global scale and the horrible conditions in the developing world which the firms he worked for promised to solve. I was surprised to read that even this piece of political critique had an undercurrent of shamanism. The author crosses paths and now works with the Shuar shamans of Ecuador, he has written several books on the topic, and helped found the Dream Change organization. I’m ending this post with a two page extract from Confessions of an Economic Hitman which deviates in style from the bulk of the text. This is where John Perkins gets mystical…

“Nearly every culture I know prophecies that in the late 1990s we entered a period of remarkable transition. At monasteries in the Himalayas, ceremonial sites in Indonesia, and indigenous reservations in North American, from the depths of the Amazon to the peaks of the Andes and into the ancient Mayan cities of Central America, I have heard that our is a special moment in human history, and that each of us was born at this time because we have a mission to accomplish.

The titles and words of the prophecies differ slightly. They tell variously of a New Age, the Third Millennium, the Age of Aquarius, the Beginning of the Fifth Sun, or the end of old calendars and the commencement of new ones. Despite the varying terminologies, however, they have a great deal in common, and “The Prophecy of the Condor and Eagle” is typical. It states that back in the mists of history, human societies divided and took two different paths: that of the condor representing the heart, intuitive and mystical) and that of the eagle (representing the brain, rational and material). In the 1490s, the prophecy said, the two paths would converge and the eagle would drive the condor to the verge of extinction. Then, five hundred years later, in the 1990s, a new epoch would begin, one in which the condor and eagle will have the opportunity to reunite and fly together in the same sky, along the same path. If the condor and eagle accept this opportunity, they will create a most remarkable offspring, unlike any ever seen before.

“The Prophecy of the Condor and Eagle” can be taken at many levels – the standard interpretation is that it foretells the sharing of indigenous knowledge with the technologies of science, the balancing of yin and yang, and the bridging of northern and southern cultures. However, most powerful is the message it offers about consciousness; it says that we have entered a time when we can benefit from the many diverse ways of seeing ourselves and the world and that we can use these as a springboard to higher levels of awareness. As humans beings, wee can truly wake up and evolve into a more conscious species.

The condor people of the Amazon make it seem so obvious that if we are to address questions about the nature of what it is to be human in this new millennium, and about our commitment to evaluating our intentions for the next several decades, then we need to open our eyes and see the consequences of our actions- the actions of the eagle – in places like Iraq and Ecuador. We must shake ourselves awake. We who live in the most powerful nation history has ever known must stop worrying so much about the outcome of soap operas, football games, quarterly balance sheets, and the daily Sow Jones averages, and must reevaluate who we are and where we want our children to end up. The alternative to stopping to ask ourselves the important questions is simply too dangerous.”

-‘Confessions of an Economic Hitman’ (Pages 209-210)

It’s quite rare that I come across a site that catches my attention enough in order for me to return to it frequently. Today I believe that I have found such a gem. And as these things go, it was a massive coincidence. I was searching for information on the psy-trance artists Shpongle and my friend google came up with a site that was home to a magazine that contained such fancy articles like Crowley, DMT and Magick. I bathe in happiness when search engines know what I like and force it down my eyes in such a manner.

Sub Rosa Magazine.

So right after I mention the possible dangers of Paxil in my previous post, I read this in today’s news:

The antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine) has been indicated in increasing the risk of suicidal behavior in young adults. The Food and Drug Administration and drug maker GlaxoSmithKline have sent a letter to doctors informing them of the risk.

Both Paxil and Paxil CR will have changes made to their labeling. A clinical trial done on nearly 15,000 patients given Paxil and a placebo showed a higher incidence of suicidal behavior in young adults treated with the drug.

GlaxoSmithKline PLC continues to believe Paxil’s benefits outweigh its risks, but The FDA stressed that all patients taking the drug need to be closely monitored.

Link

Additionally, Boing Boing has an interesting post on Inventions and creations inspired by dreams, which are essentially ‘naturally’ induced non-ordinary states of consciousness as well.

This is part of a dream in which Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz discovered the Benzene molecule:

“…I was sitting writing on my textbook, but the work did not progress; my thoughts were elsewhere. I turned my chair to the fire and dozed. Again the atoms were gamboling before my eyes. This time the smaller groups kept modestly in the background. My mental eye, rendered more acute by the repeated visions of the kind, could now distinguish larger structures of manifold conformation; long rows sometimes more closely fitted together all twining and twisting in snake-like motion. But look! What was that? One of the snakes had seized hold of its own tail, and the form whirled mockingly before my eyes. As if by a flash of lightning I awoke; and this time also I spent the rest of the night in working out the consequences of the hypothesis.”

Does this remind you of anything?

I want to add something to my last post. And yes, I get this right from being a multi-dimensional transpersonal monochromatic knight of the inner realms. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a geek.

The following point really merits more posts or more like its own book. I mention that the Viking Youth discuss various methods of trance induction that are not “catalyzed by psychoactive chemicals” and that dreams could be ‘naturally’ induced non-ordinary states of consciousness.

The whole argument of synthetic drug (LSD) vs. natural drug (Morning Glory) and substance induced (drug) vs. naturally induced (meditation) altered states is riddled with misconceptions and ambiguities. If you listen to the Viking Youth Power Hour they mention a natural way to induce an altered state is by using pain to flood the brain with endorphins which are endogenous opioid biochemical compounds. Essentially, there is no way to avoid some sort of chemical process going on the brain that is not ‘natural’ to the brains normal state, hence non-ordinary state of consciousness. Endogenous means that the compound originates naturally in the body but there are also synthesized drugs which are psychoactive by altering the level of endogenous compounds in the brain. There are even endogenous cannabinoids (from the word cannabis) found in the body.

When a shaman ingests magic mushrooms which contain psilocybin it is converted into psilocin in the body. There are only subtle differences in ingesting synthesized psilocin and naturally occuring mushrooms such as potency and whatever other chemicals can be found in the mushroom. It is possible that this subtle difference may make all the difference for shamanic a purpose, that’s a complicated area of inquiry. But Albert Hofmann and Maria Sabina may offer some insight:

“When I was in Mexico on an expedition with my friend Gordon Wasson in 1963, in search of a hallucinogenic plant, we also visited the famous curandera Maria Sabina in Huautla de Jimenez. We were invited to attend a nocturnal mushroom ceremony in her hut, but as it was late in the year and no more mushrooms were available, I supplied her with pills containing synthetic psilocybin. She took a rather strong dose corresponding to the number of mushrooms she usually ingests. It was a gala performance assisted by a number of people of Maria Sabina’s clan. At dawn when we left the hut, our Mazateca interpreter told us that Maria Sabina had said there was no difference between the pills and the mushrooms. This was a final proof that our synthetic psilocybin was identical in every respect with the natural product.”

-Albert Hofmann (discoverer of LSD)

In regards to dreaming there is an interesting assessment of DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) by Dr. Rick Strassman in DMT: The Spirit Molecule. The book is based on his project that took place for five years in which he administered approximately 400 doses of DMT to 60 human volunteers. This research took place at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine in Albuquerque. Dr. Rick Strassman thinks Dimethyltryptamine may be connected to the hallucinogenic aspects of dreaming. It is an endogenous hallucinogenic tryptamine which is hypothesized to be produced by the pineal gland. This gland is also referred to as the ‘third eye’, ‘the seat of the soul by the philosopher Rene Descartes, and Ajna or the sixth chakra in yoga. DMT is a schedule 1 drug even though we all have it in our brains. What is the fine line between experiencing the state after ingesting it for shamanic use, which is illegal in many countries, and simply going to bed?

To return to the topic of natural vs. synthetic:

I think the fear of synthetic chemicals is twofold. Our culture is at the point where it’s beginning to fear that which is not natural because of a number of reasons, specifically our environment being in decline and the partial responsibility of the synthetic for this. The idea of mimicking the ecstatic experience by ingesting something from a lab is somehow more threatening than something originating in the forest. However, this fear might not be completely unwarranted.

A method in assessing the toxicity of a substance or its potential harm to the body/mind when one doesn’t have access to a lab is by focusing on the numbers of years and in what ways it was used through out history. Most, if not all entheogens (psychoactive substances taken in a religious or shamanic context) have been used for hundreds and thousands of years. If people have not been harmed by such use, it’s fairly safe to say that it won’t be detrimental to your well being. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said by all synthesized substances, including some new pharmacological drugs which are used with modern psychotherapy. Please see the Mind vs. Body post and future posts on this topic. An example would be the withdrawal symptoms and addictive properties of Paxil.

I also mentioned the way entheogens are used for a specific reason as well. The ritual aspect of the use of psychoactive substances may have been an imbedded failsafe mechanism which prevented them from being used too frequently, the effects of which still need to be studied.

The Viking Youth Power Hour has done it again with another fabulous show.

In this week’s episode the Viking Youth discuss various methods of trance induction that are not catalyzed by psychoactive chemicals. Topics discussed: Ericksonian Hypnosis, sigil theory, shamanism, Mircea Eliade, and acheiving gnosis by using pain, exhaustion and starvation. Oh fun!

Link to mp3

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