Racism and the Discrimination Against Cannabis by Ayahuasca Users in Brazil

Foreigners, and even Brazilians, often feel confused by the fierce accusations leveled by the members of different Brazilian ayahuasca religions against each other. Matters become especially fierce in the case of attacks, often seeming to verge on a desire to ban the brew entirely, made against members of CEFLURIS or ICEFLU, followers of the late Santo Daime leader Padrinho Sebastião. This is allegedly due to their acceptance of the sacramental use, in certain of their rituals, of cannabis with ayahuasca. Another point of discord is their acceptance of possession trances alongside the shamanic flight more common among indigenous ayahuasca users. However, if one looks a little further into the history of Amazonian Indian and mestizo shamanism, one will find many different plant species being used in conjunction with ayahuasca; some of them with considerable psychoactive properties. Similarly, in Rio Branco, one will find followers of the Barquinha religion who reserve a special place in their rituals for mediumship and for possession trances and do not receive the criticisms leveled at CEFLURIS or ICEFLU.

Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization–the idea of domination over nature–and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit.

In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined.

The Medicine

The Medicine reveals the hidden mysteries of one of nature’s most powerful and controversial healing remedies- Ayahuasca. It is a documentary about Amazonian shamanism, introducing Taita Juanito Guerillmo Chindoy Chindoy, both a teacher and student of the sacred plant medicine. As Ayahuasca gains popularity in the West, the film explores the science as well as the lore behind the plant and why it is used to heal. It follows former NFL Safety, Kerry Rhodes, and actress, AnnaLynne McCord, as they drink with the Taita experiencing Ayahuasca for the first time- in its true tradition.

Humanity faces an unprecedented rise in addiction, insecurity and disease- perhaps the cure does lie within the arms of Mother Nature.

Healing Powers of Psychedelics & Other Mindful Practices

Join Mareesa Stertz, intrepid adventurer, filmmaker, and yoga teacher, who fearlessly guides us on this psychedelic adventure of healing. We travel around the world to work with these medicines, explore the underground, and meet the indigenous communities that have stewarded these medicines since ancient times. We witness first-hand how these medicines help regular folks struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction, and PTSD, and see how their lives change for the better, through their use of these mind-altering practices.

Rave and religion? A contemporary youth phenomenon as seen through the lens of religious studies

This article examines the contemporary phenomenon of raves. Although explicit religious references abound in rave culture and also in scholarly interpretations of raves, these references are generally analogous and avoid direct mention of “religion” proper. In this article, we apply the theory of displacement of religious experience and the sacred to draw out the structural and phenomenological religious homology of raves and set the study of this youth phenomenon and the subculture which surrounds it firmly within the field of religious studies. We also propose avenues for further investigation. The article begins with a brief history and definition of “rave.” Then it turns to the symbolic and religious references found in raves as well as the meanings both participants and commentators attribute to this phenomenon. Third, it presents and discusses the ritual structure of rave, using the theory of the mechanism and dynamics of the transgression-fuelled festal ritual (la fête), as defined by Georges Bataille. Its purpose is to contribute to an understanding of how contemporary religious economy develops, particularly a religious economy that concerns a now largely secularized youth.

Electronic Dance Music Events as Modern-Day Ritual

Electronic dance music (EDM) events may function as a ritual space for psycho-spiritual exploration and personal development, often linked to the occurrence of non-ordinary states of consciousness in participants. This paper reviews the literature addressing the spiritual, religious, and transpersonal facets of participants’ experiences at EDM events, with an emphasis on the subsequent integration of these experiences into daily life. Several empirical studies conducted in the past two decades, of which the most recent was conducted by the first author of the present paper (Redfield, 2017, this issue), provides grounds to argue that EDM events can be vectors for enhancing personal and psychosocial wellbeing for their participants—a discussion that was omitted in previous studies that strictly emphasized either the dangers or the purely hedonistic nature of EDM participation. The paper concludes with suggestions for further research into the specific ways in which EDM events may benefit individual participants.

“Legalize Spiritual Discovery: The Trials of Dr. Timothy Leary”

Beginning with his arrest for possession of marijuana December 24, 1965, Dr. Timothy Leary became embroiled in a very public series of court cases that sought initially to utilize the Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution to challenge established United States drug laws regarding marijuana. Though Leary’s attempts at using the Free Exercise Clause were unsuccessful, his case was eventually heard by the United States Supreme Court, who, in 1969, found major elements of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Law unconstitutional and overturned Leary’s conviction. This chapter will trace evolution of Leary’s defense argument from one based on religious freedom to one based on due process and the Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination. Leary’s initial freedom of religion defense was based on the success of the Native American Church’s 1964 California State Supreme Court ruling that protected that group’s sacramental use of peyote within its religious ceremonies. This chapter will also describe how the success of Native American Church case led Leary to popularize and speak out in favor of small groups of psychedelic users establishing their own “official” religions. Leary followed his own advice by creating the League for Spiritual Discovery in 1966 and was seen as a religious leader by the founder of the Neo-American Church (another psychedelic quasi-religion) as well. Seeing themselves as a persecuted people under legal attack for their spiritual and experimental practices, both the Neo-American Church and the League for Spiritual Discovery sought to emulate the Native American Church and establish legal protections for the use of illegal substances.

A Psychedelic Experience – Fact Or Fantasy?

Since at least 1500 B.C. men have, from time to time, held the view that our normal vision of the world is a hallucination—a dream, a figment of the mind, or, to use the Hindu word which means both art and illusion, a maya. The implication is that, if this is so, life need never be taken seriously. It is a fantasy, a play, a drama to be enjoyed. It does not really matter, for one day (perhaps in the moment of death) the illusion will dissolve, and each one of us will awaken to discover that he himself is what there is and all that there is—the very root and ground of the universe, or the ultimate and eternal space in which things and events come and go.

Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul

On a quest for spiritual awakening and healing, a naturopathic doctor and an accountant join others in the Amazon to drink a hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca or ‘Vine of the Soul’. Their dramatic encounters with the sacred medicine offer new insights into the nature of faith and self-healing through a heightened state of consciousness.

A Gratuitous Grace: The Influence of Religious Set and Intent on the Psychedelic Experience

Psychedelic drugs, or entheogens, have been used for religious purposes among various cultures for thousands of years. Recently, these substances have caught the attention of Westerners for many reasons, including their propensity to induce mystical experiences. This study examined the relationship between religion and having mystical experiences. A total of 119 participants were drawn from psychedelic-related websites and asked to complete an anonymous online questionnaire containing items regarding history of psychedelic use, set and setting for psychedelic use, and a measure for mystical experiences. A majority of respondents were White males who displayed at least some level of post-secondary education. The findings indicated that respondents who used psychedelics for specifically religious purposes, as well as those who identified with a religion, were more likely to score higher on the Mysticism Scale than those who did not.