On The Music Box: Chet Baker/Deep In A Dream…
On The Menu
V for Vox
The Links: Art Links From CJ Barnaby & Political Links
Proemium – Why Can’t We Cope with Ecstasy and Euphoria? – Jonathan Ott
Poetry: On August, The month of Lugh’s Games…
V for Vox….
Voilà! In view, a humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the vox populi, now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin vanguarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition. The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta held as a votive, not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous. Verily, this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honor to meet you and you may call me V.” — V’s introduction to Evey
(In simpler words) Behold! Before you is a humble stage performer, cast, against his will, by the whims of fate, to the roles of both victim and villain. The face you see now is not just some meaningless costume. It is a remnant of the People’s Voice, which has since gone and disappeared. However, this past annoyance stands courageously reborn and has sworn to conquer the evil and corrupt, who promote greed and the violent suppression of free will. The only choice is vengeance; a personal war held as a promise, but not in vain, for the importance and self-evidence of this quest shall one day exonerate the watchful and the righteous. But in truth, this thick soup of words has become too excessive. So, let me simply finish by saying that it’s my very good honor to meet you, and you may call me V.
The Art Links:
The Political Links:
Proemium – Why Can’t We Cope with Ecstasy and Euphoria?
– Jonathan Ott
For the sake of freedom and dignity, for the sake of democracy, in the interests of shoring up the battered U.S. economy, it is time to call a truce in the “War on Drugs,” an unconditional cease-fire. We can start by decriminalizing the entheogenic drugs, reclassifying them as prescription medicines as the Swiss government recently did, so that physicians and clinical re-searchers may resume the fruitful exploration of the therapeutic potential of these unique pharmaceuticals, which was so wrongly suspended in the 1960s. These wondrous medicaments, molecular entities which constitute a sort of “crack” in the edifice of materialistic rationality (Hofmann 1980), may be just what the doctor ordered for hypermaterialistic humankind on the threshold of a new millennium… a new millennium which could be the start of a new Golden Age, or the continuation and dreadful culmination of a cataclysmic cultural and biological Holocaust.
The essence of the experience conferred by entheogenic drugs is ecstasy, in the original sense of that overused word- ek-stasis, the “withdrawal of the soul from the body” (Oxford English Dictionary, Compact Edition, p.831), what R. Gordon Wasson called the “disembodied” state:
There I was, poised in space, a disembodied eye, invisible, incorporeal, seeing but not seen. (Wasson 1957)
More specifically, it is an ineffable, spiritual state of grace, in which the universe is experienced more as energy than as matter (Ott 1977a); a spiritual, non-materialistic state of being (Hofmann 1988(. It is the heart and essence of shamanism; the archetypal religious experience. In the archaic world, and in the preliterate cultures which have survived in isolation into our time, shamanism and ecstasy represent the epitome of culture, the pinnacle of human achievement (Calvin 1991). The shaman is the cynosure of her or his preliterate tribe, (s)he is the thau-maturge, the psychopompos, the archetypal psychonaut journeying to the Otherworld to intercede with the ancestors or gods on behalf of her or his fellows. In the Age of Entheogens (Wasson 1980), in the archaic world, which still lives on in Amazonia and elsewhere, “every thing that lives is Holy,” as William Blake expressed it, especially the living, breathing, planetary biosphere, of which we are an integral part, and holiest of all are the wondrous entheogens, imbued with spirit power. Modern western culture has no official place for the entheogens precisely because it has no place for ecstasy. Dedicated, as we are, to treating the universe as matter, not as energy or spirit (Blake wrote that “Energy is Eternal Delight”), it embarrasses us to be reminded that our planet is alive and that every place is a sacred place.
Even our western religions with their vestiges of entheogenic plant lore (the ever-present “Tree of Life” with its entheogenic fruit; Ott 1979b; Wasson et al.1986) have forgotten their roots and worship symbols, knowing not the experience to which the symbols refer. As Joseph Campbell paraphrased Jung: “religion is a defense against the experience of God” (Campbell 1988). It is as though people were worshipping the decorations and hardware on a door- the portal to the Otherworld (Schele & Freidel 1990)- having lost the key to open it; having forgotten even that it is a door, and its threshold is meant to be crossed; knowing not what awaits on the Other Side. In the Judeo-Christian heritage, a horrendous duality has been imposed; the Divine is the Other, apart from humankind, which is born in sin. Despite overwhelming scientific and experiential evidence to the contrary, human beings are conceived of as a special creation apart from other animals, and we are enjoined to subdue the world, which is matter. This horrible superstition has led to the despoiling and ruin of our biosphere, and to the crippling neurosis and guilt of modern people (Hofmann 1980). I call this a superstition because when people have direct, personal access to entheogenic, religious experiences, they never conceive of humankind as a separate creation, apart from the rest of the universe. “Every thing that lives is Holy,” us included, and the divine infuses all the creation of which we are an integral part. As the dualistic superstition took root in our ancestors’ minds, their first task was to destroy all aspects of ecstatic, experiential religion from the archaic (“pagan”) world. The destruction of the sanctuary of Eleusis at the end of the fourth century of our era (Mylonas 1961) marked the final downfall of the ancient world in Europe, and for the next millennium the theocratic Catholic Church vigorously persecuted every vestige of ecstatic religion which survived, including revival movements. By the time of the “discovery” of the New World, Europe had been beaten into submission, the “witches” and “heretics” mostly burned, and ecstasy was virtually expunged from the memory of the survivors. For the Catholics, and for the Protestants after them, to experience ecstasy, to have religious experiences, was the most heinous heresy, justifying torture and being burned alive. Is it any wonder that today we have no place for ecstasy?
In the New World, however, the Age of Entheogens and ecstasy lived on, and although in 1620 the Inquisition in Mexico formally declared the use of entheogenic plants like peyotl to be heresy and the Church vigorously extirpated this use and tortured and executed Indian shamans, ecstasy survives there even now. It bears witness to the integrity of the New World Indians that they braved torture and death to continue with their ecstatic religion- they must have been bitterly disappointed in the “placebo sacrament” of the Christian Eucharist, which is a placebo entheogen (Ott 1979b)- and it is largely as a result of the modern rediscovery of the shamanic cult of teonanacatl by R. Gordon Wasson in Mexico in 1955 that the modern use of entheogens, in many respects a revival of ecstatic religion, began. Even though myriad justifications for the modern laws against the entheogens have been offered up, the problem modern societies have with these drugs is fundamentally the same problem the Inquisition had with them, the same problem the early Christians had with the Eleusinian Mysteries- religious rivalry. Since these drugs tend to open people’s eyes and hearts to an experience of the holiness of the universe… yes, enable people to have personal religious experiences without the intercession of a priesthood of the preconditioning of a liturgy, some psychonauts or epoptes will perceive the emptiness and shallowness of the Judeo-Christian religious tradition; even begin to see through the secular governments which use religious symbols to manipulate people; begin to see that by so ruthlessly subduing the earth we are killing the planet and destroying ourselves. A “counterculture” having ecstatic experiences in California is quite as subversive (Einhorn 1970) and threatens the power structures in Sacramento or Washington just as much as the rebellious Albigensians or Cathars, Bogomiles, Fraticelli “de opinione,” Knights Templar and Waldenisians threatened the power structure in Rome and Mediaeval times (Cohn 1975).
Since ecstasy was heretical, euphory, or euphoria (etymologically “bearing well”) was suspect, and the same Protestant ethic which warned that sex should not be enjoyed nor indulged in except for breeding held any ludible use of drugs to be sinful. This approach has been aptly described as “pharmacological Calvinism” (Klerman 1972). There was even a time when any use of drugs was considered to be sinful, when herbalists and midwives were burned at the stake beside the heretics, prayer being accepted as the only legitimate therapy (Ott 1985; Ott 1993b), when even laughter and smiles were the Devil’s handicraft. While some might consider these ideas to be quaint, even antiquated, we must recall that the American government has recently denied syringes to drug users and contraceptives to students- saying:”teenagers should be encouraged to say ‘no’ to sex and illegal drugs” (Anon. 1990)- “just say no” being considered to be the best contraceptive and the way to stem the drug-related spread of AIDS! Although we have at least 106 million alcohol users in the United States (54% of the population over 12 years of age), alcohol as inebriant is still illegal in parts of the U.S., and Puritan ideas regarding the sinful nature of inebriation are still dominant and underlie contemporary prohibition of just about every inebriant but alcohol.
Indeed, euphoria has generally been considered a negative side-effect of drugs, and structure-activity-relationship studies have been conducted with an eye to eliminating this “undesirable” trait! In reference to well-funded studies on alkaloids of opium and their derivatives, W.C. White, Chairman of a Committee on Drug Addiction of the U.S. National Research Council noted:
One of the chemical difficulties in this research has been to provide drugs which would prolong the pain control factor so as to reduce the need for repeated dosage and at the same time to eliminate the fraction responsible for euphoria… If this could be done, the same result might follow as occurred with cocaine… rapid decline in the use of cocaine as an addiction drug after the discovery of novacaine… (Small et al.1938)
Perhaps it was a little early to declare victory in the “War on Cocaine,” but White was correct in noting that, in the case of that drug, it was possible to separate the local-anesthetic “factor” of the cocaine molecule from the stimulating aspect, yielding more potent local anesthetics with limited stimulating or euphoric effects, although it has been claimed that “experienced cocaine users” could not distinguish equivalent intranasal quantities of lidocaine, one of the synthetic local anesthetics, from cocaine (Van Dyke & Byck 1982) and that cocaine’s euphoric allure and addictive power have been greatly exaggerated (Alexander 1990). In this case, however, the medicinal effect to be separated from the psychotropic “side-effect” is a local, peripheral effect. In the case of the opiate narcotic/analgesics, the medicinal effect of analgesia is as rooted in the brain as is the euphoric “side-effect,” and it has been claimed that the drugs are addictive because they so effectively change peripheral sensations from painful to pleasurable; that is, that a non-addicting opiate is impossible, a contradiction in terms Szasz 1974). Indeed, the non-addicting narcotic appears to be the philosophers’ stone of pharmacology, and the world has seen a parade of “non-addicting” (at least in pharmaceutical company propaganda) opiate analgesics, starting with heroin in the nineteenth century, some of which have even been marketed as “cures” for addiction (Escohotado 1989a). Some laypersons conceive of Methadone as being the “cure” for heroin addiction, when in reality it is another potent, addicting narcotic substituted for heroin in “narcotic maintenance” schemes.
Apart from the Puritan anti-pleasure ethic, inebriants like morphine, heroin, and cocaine acquired a bad reputation as a consequence of widespread use in so-called “proprietary” or “patent medicines” (Young 1961). The terms derive from the fact that the U.S. government, in the days before the “Pure Food and Drug Act” of 1906, issued patents to manufacturers of medicines, who were required to disclose the ingredients only to the Patent Office, not to the general public; the patents were on the names, they were actually trademarks (Musto 1973). Many of these products bore names like “consumption [tuberculosis] cure”; infant “colic syrup,” “teething syrup,” “anodyne” etc.; “one-night cough cure” and so forth. Typical products were “Adamson’s Botanic Cough Balsam and “Dr. Brutus Shiloh’s Cure for Consumption,” both of which contained heroin, as did “Dr. James’ Soothing Syrup Cordial” (Drake 1970). While opiates are certainly effective antitussives, and good palliatives to alleviate suffering from any disease, they are useless as therapy for tuberculosis (other than soothing cough) and today we don’t regard the use of drugs to tranquilize infants as appropriate. It has been stated that the proprietary medicinal manufacturers were immorally selling palliatives as tuberculosis cures, and indeed the morality of this is questionable. On the ether hand, in those days antibiotics did not exist, and there was no effective alternative therapy for tuberculosis which people might have taken in lieu of the anodynes, which at least made them feel better and cough less (thus theoretically reducing contagion) while they wasted away and died. Indeed, until the advent of the twentieth century, opium and its derivatives were among the few effective medicines available to physicians, and they indisputably deaden pain and alleviate suffering. No reasonable person advocates the use of palliatives in lieu of effective therapy, now that we have chemotherapies for a great number of the ailments which afflict us. On the other hand, what is wrong with more widespread use of palliatives as an adjunct to curative chemotherapy, pursuant to the truism that the better the patient feels, the sooner (s)he will be afoot again? As William Blake wrote in a letter dated 7 October 1803:
Some say that Happiness is not Good for Mortals, & they ought to be answer’d that Sorrow is not fit for Immortals & is utterly useless to any one; a blight never does good to a tree, & if a blight kill not a tree but it still bear fruit, let none say that the fruit was in consequence of the blight.
I say, why not conduct structure-activity relationship studies on euphoriant drugs to determine which drugs are the most euphoric and pleasurable, with the fewest side-effects? This research should be conducted with the same diligence we apply to searching for the best chemotherapy for tuberculosis or any other disease. Why shouldn’t patients have access to the most euphoric and pleasurable drugs to alleviate their suffering and make their therapy as pleasant as possible? As Aldous Huxley mentioned more than 60 years ago (Huxley 1931a):
The way to prevent people from drinking too much alcohol, or becoming addicts to morphine or cocaine, is to give them an efficient but wholesome substitute for these delicious and (in the present imperfect world) necessary poisons. The man who invents such a substance will be counted among the greatest benefactors of suffering humanity.
Instead of pursuing the impossible goal of engineering the euphoria out of pain-killing drugs, we need instead to find the ideal stimulant, the perfect euphoriant (what Huxley called Soma in Brave New World), the optimal entheogen (Huxley’s moksha-medicine of Island). Gottfried Benn proposed just this sort of research, which he characterized as “provoked life,” commenting: “potent brains are not strengthened by milk but alkaloids” (Benn 1963).
In a perverse way, the first steps toward this sort of “psychopharmacological engineering” have already been taken, in military research on performance-enhancing stimulants, in Nazi and CIA interrogation studies, in American research on “non-conventional chemical warfare” and in recent work on steroids to enhance athletic training and performance. Although the first tests of the effects of stimulants on soldiers, utilizing cocaine, were reported in 1883 (Aschenbrandt 1883), it wasn’t until the second World War that stimulants, in this case amphetamines, came to be widely used by soldiers, and much of the comparative research on military applications of stimulants dates from the postwar period (Weiss & Laties 1962). Similarly, while the Nazi physicians at the infamous Dachau concentration camp pioneered the use of entheogens, in that case mescaline, as interrogation aids, it was American researchers participating in the MKULTRA project in the postwar era who really pursued this questionable sort of work. The use of steroids to enhance athletic performance is a recent development, and the former communist government of East Germany especially furthered this work with a secret cash program during the 1980s (Dickman 1991). As many as 1500 scientists, physicians and trainers were involved in the research, which had as one goal the development of highly potent steroid derivatives active in sufficiently low doses as to be undetectable in “antidoping” tests. One success of the project was a psychotropic nasal spray containing a testosterone precursor which would not register on the tests. R Hannemann, a champion swimmer, described the effects as “like a volcanic eruption,” and said its use was mandatory for athletes who wished to compete on the East German team in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul. In a recent refinement, Chinese athletes competing in the 1992 Olympics at Barcelona (along with their former East German trainers), were reported to have used a training potion based on birds’ nest and toad skin, which probably contained many active compounds, some of which are controlled drugs (Anon. 1992). It is regrettable that such perverse (but effective applications characterize the infancy of psychopharmacological engineering- we must recall the disproportionate success of East German and Chinese athletes in recent Olympic competition. I will suggest some more positive approaches.
Nobody disputes the widespread utility and need for opiates as pain killers in many branches of medicine. It is high time we abandoned any notion of the non-addicting narcotic, and instead concentrated on finding the drugs which patients like best. We are not interested in the results of crude pharmacological indices of analgesia in rodents, such as the “hotplate method” or “tail flick method,” but in the results of clinical research with human patients- in this case, I think it would be not the least bit difficult to find volunteers for this type of investigation. Since there is a considerable body of empirical testing which has been conducted outside of the laboratory among narcotic habitues, surveys can indicate promising candidates. Heroin has long been regarded to be the favorite drug of narcotics users, and would be a good place to start looking for the optimum narcotic. The contemporary use of Brompton’s Cocktail (an analgesic and stimulating mixture of heroin, cocaine and alcohol) in British hospices for terminal patients is an example of comfort-oriented therapy which ought to be followed in the United States. I think we will find that if non-terminal patients suffer less and feel better, their convalescence times will be reduced.
There is also a demonstrated extra-medical need for stimulants in our society. Examples are pilots and air traffic controllers who must work all night and require constant wakefulness and vigilance, truck and bus drivers, emergency medical workers, police, customs agents and other officials, and of course, military personnel. By accident of history, caffeine in coffee, soft drinks and tea (and in stimulant tablets, such as NoDoz), and nicotine in tobacco products have come to be the accepted stimulants for use in the above-mentioned professions. I must stress, however, that caffeine and nicotine have been anointed as society’s acceptable stimulants by default, since some of the alternatives are controlled substances. and in spite of research showing them to be inferior and unhealthful. Quite a bit of research has been conducted comparing caffeine with amphetamines, and almost invariably, amphetamines turn out to be superior to caffeine. Studies on reaction time under the influence of stimulants have found that in general caffeine has no effect on reaction times whereas amphetamines decrease reaction times (Adler et al. 1950; Lehmann & Csank 1957; Seashore & Ivy 1953; Weiss & Laties 1962). Amphetamines were also able to restore reaction times lengthened by fatigue in sleep-deprived subjects (Seashore & Ivy 1953). Marijuana (see Appendix A) on the other hand lengthens reaction time and impairs performance (Paton & Pertwee 1973b). With regard to steadiness of the hands, caffeine was found to impair steadiness (Adler et al.1950; Hollingworth 1912; Hull 1935; Lehmann & Csank 1957), while amphetamines improved hand steadiness (Adler et al. 1950; Seashore & Ivy 1953; Thornton et al.1939). In various coordination tests, amphetamines were in general more effective than caffeine in improving performance (Weiss & Laties 1962). Summarizing these and other studies, B. Weiss and V.G. Laties of Johns Hopkins University concluded (Weiss & Laties 1962):
A very wide range of behavior (with the notable exception of intellectual tasks) can be enhanced by caffeine and the amphetamines- all the way from putting the shot to monitoring a clock face. Moreover, the superiority of amphetamines over caffeine is unquestionable… Both from the standpoint of physiological and psychological cost, amphetamines and caffeine are rather benign agents. Except for reports of insomnia, the subjective effects of the amphetamines in normal doses are usually favorable. Moreover, no one has ever presented convincing evidence that they impair judgment. Caffeine seems somewhat less benign. Hollingworth’s subjects, after doses of about 240mg and above, reported such symptoms as nervousness, feverishness, irritability, headache, and disturbed sleep. Caffeine also produces significant increase in tremor. At dose levels that clearly enhance performance, the amphetamines seem not only more effective than caffeine, but less costly in terms of side-effects.
Little of this sort of research has been conducted on nicotine, but tobacco smoking, and the resulting increase in carbon monoxide in the blood, is known to degrade night vision (Federal Aviation Regulations 1991; Levin et al.1992; McFarland 1953; McFarland et al.1944). Although caffeine and amphetamine stimulants have not been shown to improve intellectual performance, and caffeine has in fact been shown to degrade academic performance in college students (Gilliland & Andress 1981), there is evidence that some drugs, like arecoline, the stimulating principle of betel nut (Sitaram et al.1978) and Hydergine, an ergot alkaloid preparation (Hindmarch et al.1979) can improve human learning and intellectual performance. Research into so-called “smart drugs” represents a burgeoning new field of psychopharmacological engineering, which merits scientific support (Erlich 1992; Jude 1991; Morgenthaler 1990; Morgenthaler & Dean 1991).
I don’t know about my readers, but I’d feel much safer if my pilot on an all-night intercontinental flight had taken 10mg of methamphetamine before departing, or perhaps an appropriate dose of arecoline hydrobromide, instead of chain-smoking Marlboros and gulping execrable airline coffee all the way. It is significant that the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which has conducted research on optimizing performance of astronauts, settled on a NASA-developed “prescription” containing amphetamines for the pilots of the space shuttle orbiter Columbia:
On the maiden flight of the shuttle in April, rookie astronaut Robert Crippen avoided the queasies by dipping into the medical kit for a NASA-developed prescription of Dexedrine, a stimulant, and scopolamine, a tranquilizer. (Rogers 1981)
Never mind that scopolamine has been found to impair human serial learning (Sitaram et al. 1978)… Meanwhile, Soviet cosmonauts were deprived of vision-impairing cigarettes, as Valery Ryumin lamented in his log during a 175-day sojourn in orbit (Bluth 1981):
I am dying for a cigarette. I haven’t had one in three months. And if I hadn’t been kept so busy, I don’t know how I would take it. Would give all those strawberries and sugar of our entire stay in space for just one…
And some people still persist in denying that nicotine is an addicting drug (Levin et al.1992)! In cases where public safety is at stake, we need a drug policy based on research, not on prejudice; based on science, not on default and accidents of history (it is worth noting that caffeine was originally considered for legal control along with cocaine, heroin and morphine by early reformers). The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is guilty of defaulting on its obligations to protect the safety of air travelers, by allowing the use by pilots of inferior stimulants which impair steadiness of pilots’ hands and degrade their night vision.
Some might object… even though caffeine is demonstrably inferior to amphetamines for pilots, everyone knows that amphetamines are “addictive” and hence unsuitable for such use. Such people will be well advised to consult the pharmacological literature on caffeine, which has been thoroughly documented as an addictive drug capable of eliciting tolerance and withdrawal symptoms (Colton et al.1968; Dreisbach & Pfieffer 1943; Goldstein & Kaizer 1969; Goldstein et al.1969; Ott 1985; Ott 1993b; White 1980). The fact that 90% of the U.S. population above 12 years of age are regular caffeine users (plus a sizable portion of the under-twelve set habituated to Coca-Cola and other caffeinated “soft” drinks) is ample testimony to the addictive nature of the drug (Goldstein & Kalant 1990). The 73 million 132-pound-bags of coffee consumed annually in the world correspond to 175 annual doses of caffeine (at 100mg/dose, assuming caffeine content of 2%) in the form of coffee for every man, woman and child in the world (Frankel et al.1992a), not to mention massive use of caffeine in the form of tea, mate, guayusa, yoco, guarana, cola, etc. But… can’t “abuse” of amphetamines lead to “amphetamine psychosis” (Cho 1990; Davis & Schlemmer 1979; Griffith et al.1970)? Yes, excessive amounts of amphetamines an lead to a characteristic psychosis, as can overuse of caffeine lead to “caffeine psychosis” (McManamy & Schube 1936). Although “caffeine psychosis” was first described in a patient who had consumed excessive amounts of caffeine citrate tablets (such as NoDoz) originally prescribed by a physician, the psychosis has also been observed following consumption of large amounts of cola soft drinks (20-25 cans in a day; Shen & D’Souza 1979), the moderate consumption of which is also associated with insomnia and anxiety (Silver 1971). Caffeinism can lead to symptoms virtually “indistinguishable from those of anxiety neurosis” (Greden 1974) and cases of “caffeine-induced delirium” have been reported (Stillner et al.1978). There have even been deaths attributed to coffee overdose in the form of naturopathic enema remedies (Eisele & Reay 1980. Obviously, one doesn’t want one’s pilot drinking a case of Coca-Cola or popping a bottle of NoDoz, any more than one would wish to be on a ‘plane flown by somebody who had injected a quarter of a gram of methamphetamine. The goal of psychopharmacological engineering of stimulants would be to find the optimal doses of the compounds which promote vigilance and wakefulness with a minimum of side effects like hand tremors. It is vital to public safety that such research be conducted, and if drug laws stand in the way, this is yet another example of their adverse impact on public health and on scientific research.
As for medicinal use of entheogens, their widespread use on the black market has given us some guidelines, as have better than two decades of experimental clinical use before their illegalization (see Grinspoon & Bakalar 1979 for a review of this early work.) However, new compounds have continued to be developed and tested (Repke & Ferguson 1982; Repke et al.1977b; Repke et al.1981; Repke et al.1985; Shulgin & Shulgin 1991), and some entheogenic plants or plant extracts such as ayahuasca (see Chapter 4) have begun to be used in modern psychotherapy (Krajick 1992), along with the “empathogen” MDMA (see Chapter 1; Adamson 1985; Adamson & Metzner 1988; Leverant 1986). Therefore new studies are necessary to determine which are the best entheogens for the following uses: 1) general, outpatient psychotherapy for various afflictions (Masters & Houston 1970); 2) “brief” psychotherapy in agonious treatment (Kast 1970); 3) long-lasting analgesia in agonious therapy; 4) marriage counseling; 5) group therapy (Blewett 1970); and 6) in experimental induction of dissociative experiences in psychotherapists as a part of their training. I think we will find that a variety of different entheogens will prove useful in various treatment modalities. For example, smoked, high-dose DMT would probably be the most effective drug for rapid induction of dissociative states in medical training (Bigwood & Ott 1977); LSD is probably the best drug in agonious therapy (Grof & Halifax 1977; and DET or CZ-74 or the plant drug Salvia divinorum (see Chapters 3 and 5 and Appendix A), owing to their short duration, might prove optimal for outpatient psychotherapy (Boszormenyi et al.1959; Leuner & Baer 1965). Preliminary experiments with psilocybine (see Chapter 5) suggested this drug could help cut the recidivism rate of paroled convicts (J. Clark 1970; Leary 1968). Instead of going broke building more prisons for drug offenders, ought we not investigate one illegal drug which might help keep people out of the prisons we already have?
Virtually all of the entheogens, or their natural prototypes, have already proven their worth in induction of ecstatic states in shamanism (Halifax 1979; Halifax 1982; La Barre 1970; La Barre 1972; La Barre 1979a; La Barre 1980a; Rosenbohm 1991; Wasson 1961) and in the catalysis of “religious experiences” (Clark 1969; W.H. Clark 1970; Felice 1936; Heard 1963; Leary 1964; Leary & Alpert 1963; Leary et al.1964; Masters & Houston 1966; Metzner 1968; Paz 1967; Ricks 1963; Watts 1962; Watts 1963; Zaehner 1957; Zaehner 1972; Zinberg 1977). Well-known examples of shamanic use of entheogens, which will be documented thoroughly in this book, are: primordial Siberian shamanic use of the fly-agaric, Amanita muscaria (see Chapter 6); the Mexican shamanic use of teonanacatl, the psilocybian mushrooms (see Chapter 5); pan-Amazonian shamanic use of ayahuasca in South America (see Chapter 4); use of tryptamine-containing snuffs in the Caribbean and Amazonia (see Chapter 3); divinatory use of ergoline alkaloid-containing morning glory seeds in Mexican shamanic healing (see Chapter 2) and North American shamanic use of the peyotl cactus (see Chapter 1). The value of the entheogens to organized religions has been amply demonstrated by the 2000-year survival of the famous Eleusinian Mystery religion of the ancient world (an annual, mass initiation employing an entheogenic potion containing ergoline alkaloids; Wasson et al.1978; see Chapter 2) and modern examples of the “Native American Church” and “The Peyote Way Church of God” employing peyotl as a sacrament (La Barre 1938; La Barre 1970; Mount 1987; Stewart 1987) and South American Christian churches incorporating Daime (ayahuasca) as a sacrament (Henman 1986; Liwszyc et al.1992; Lowy 1987; MacRae 1992; Prance 1970). Perhaps using these historical and modern examples as models will aid us in designing institutions to foster religious experiences in modern human users (Hofmann 1989). There is a place in the modern world both for organized entheogen-based religions and the shamanic model of small-scale cultic or individual use; for group communion and for solitary psychonaut “travels in the universe of the soul” (Gelpke 1981)- not to mention for medicinal use in various treatment modalities.
Poetry: On August, The month of Lugh’s Games…
What wondrous life is this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.
– Andrew Marvell, Thoughts in a Garden
And hate the bright stillness of the noon
without wind, without motion.
the only other living thing
a hawk, hungry for prey, suspended
in the blinding, sunlit blue.
And yet how gentle it seems to someone
raised in a landscape short of rain
the skyline of a hill broken by no more
trees than one can count, the grass,
the empty sky, the wish for water.
– Dana Gioia, California Hills in August
August rushes by like desert rainfall,
A flood of frenzied upheaval,
But still catching me unprepared.
Like a matchflame
Bursting on the scene,
Heat and haze of crimson sunsets.
Like a dream
Of moon and dark barely recalled,
Shadows caught in a blink.
Like a quick kiss;
One wishes for more
But it suddenly turns to leave,
Dragging summer away.
– Elizabeth Maua Taylor
As in the bread and wine, so it is with me.
Within all forms is locked a record of the past
And a promise of the future.
I ask that you lay your blessings upon me, Ancient Ones,
That this season of waning light
And increasing darkness may not be heavy.
So Mote It Be!
– Faille, Lammas Ritual
O Spirit of the Summertime!
Bring back the roses to the dells;
The swallow from her distant clime,
The honey-bee from drowsy cells.
Bring back the friendship of the sun;
The gilded evenings, calm and late,
When merry children homeward run,
And peeping stars bid lovers wait.
Bring back the singing; and the scent
Of meadowlands at dewy prime;
Oh, bring again my heart’s content,
Thou Spirit of the Summertime!
– William Allingham
Blessed be the Harvest,
Blessed be the Corn Mother,
Blessed be the Grain God,
For together they nourish both body and soul.
Many blessings I have been given,
I count them now by this bread.
Guardian of the East, I pray for your indulgence.
Hear me now as I request your aid in the cycle of life.
As your winds blow through fields of ripened grain,
Carry loosened seeds upon your back
That they may fall amidst the soil
That is our Mother Earth.
– Lammas Ritual
Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush- bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.
– Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown