This discussion of the background & some perspectives on the war on drugs is still being edited. At the moment it is largely just as it has existed in the previous editions of the book Sacred Cacti and is being worked on updating it to bring the material into a more current state of history and to eliminate some spots of redundancy of thought overlapping with the previous chapter. The first part of that is going to require considerable research in order to do justice to the topic.
Not much that was discussed in this chapter has changed for the better. If anything the elements discussed within this chapter have continued to devolve with only a relatively few bright spots.
I intend to keep working on this piece and to address the line-break glitches arising from an InDesign to WordPress paragraph formatting incompatability but there seemed to be no reason not to permit this to be online just as it now stands, rather than delay that for some months while I work on it.
Before beginning the book in earnest, a necessary divergence:
Some background and perspective.
A discussion of the so-called “War on Drugs”
(The context in which the PharmacoGnostic faiths presently exist)
“… a lot of people, even the so-called “a-religious,” “atheist”
types, will describe psychedelic drug effects in terms that people, for
lack of anything else, call “religious” or “spiritual.” This is
probably their property that causes the most alarm in the most people.
Be that as it may, it’s true, and to deny it is to deny what people are
saying, which of course is bad clinical practice, and even worse
clinical research. This has recently gotten me to thinking about who
should sit for sessions, and what should the feedback be to people who
are “tripping”. Are psychiatrists alone up for it? I don’t think so,
since they have no religious training, and are trained actually to look
at religious sensibilities as more primitive than everyday
Dr. Rick Strassman 1995; quoted by Devereux 1997
“Before we commit ourselves irrevocably to the chimera of a
drug-free culture purchased at the price of a complete jettisoning of
the ideals of a free and democratic planetary society, we must ask hard
questions: Why, as a species, are we so fascinated by altered states of
consciousness? What has been their impact on our esthetic and spiritual
aspirations? What have we lost by denying the legitimacy of each
individual’s drive to use substances to experience personally the
transcendental and the sacred? My hope is that answering these
questions will force us to confront the consequences of denying
nature’s spiritual dimension, of seeing nature as nothing more than a
“resource” to be fought over and plundered. Informed discussion of
these issues will give no comfort to the control-obsessed, no comfort
to know-nothing religious fundamentalism, no comfort to beige fascism
of whatever form.”
Terence McKenna 1992 “Food of the Gods.” p. xvii.
When the Spaniards arrived in the New World, they encountered
numerous ancient religions. Many of these used various sacred plants as
sacramental substances. Among them were those that recognized cacti as
The invaders immediately set about to destroy the sacred plant-based
faiths just as their religion had done with all similar practices in
Since their founding by Imperial decree, the Christian Church has
systematically attempted to destroy any real and valid hands-on [Note
1] religion, especially those that had sacraments which were actually
active. This has normally begun by first branding it as a ‘work of the
It may be noteworthy that, in Peru, confessions of idolatry
invariably were “molded out of beatings and unrelenting interrogation
lasting as long as two years, to fit the picture that the interrogators
expected to find. …the Ecclesiastical Judges imposed their own
ideologies on the material presented to them, insisting on diabolic
pacts and alliances and interpreting traditional rituals in the context
of devil worship.” Glass-Coffin 1998: p. 43.
This labeling as somehow being the work of the Christian ‘devil’ has
been applied whether the religious practices were simply shamanic, even
if not drug using [Note 2], or if they used pharmacological aids for
spiritual enhancement, be they mushrooms, cacti, morning-glory seeds,
tropane containing plants, Iboga, or DMT and/or 5-MeO-DMT based snuffs,
leaves, flowers or root bark.
The notion that a pharmacologically aided experience is somehow less
real than one that is imagined into existence, and requires faith that
something unprovable exists, is both arbitrary and utterly lacking in
In light of modern knowledge that these substances interact with and
enhance secretions by the pituitary and pineal glands, (both involved
directly with consciousness [Note 3], our perceptions and experience of
who we are), the mistaken assertion dismissing the value of experience
entirely for being the result of ‘just a drug’ has little merit.
Everything we think, feel and perceive is strictly and solely
chemically mediated. This includes not just simple biological and
psychological processes but ALL spiritual experiences; for that matter
all experiences period.
All so-called ‘electrical’ interactions in biological systems occur
via chemical molecules.
This is who and what we are. Wet machines (protein based and
assembled), composed of chemicals.
Drugs work because we are made and specifically designed to be
capable of interacting with them to produce the effects they do. As
humans, we are more than capable of endogenously manufacturing a
variety of powerful hallucinogens within the confines of our nervous
To put it another way, we are specifically designed for this
experience. Spiritual experience is designed into our being on both a
structural and molecular level.
B-vitamins produced by plants act as co-factors for enzyme catalyzed
reactions in some biological organisms, such as humans.
Hallucinogens act as neurological software and enhancers of
spiritual experience. They act as spiritual vehicles because this is
their function while in a human nervous system. This is the specific
information that their shape and charge distribution conveys to the
body. They are simply activating the available neurological options
that are already inherently built into us. This is a very important
“The peyote cult is in reality not a cult or a sect as we know it,
but rather an unorganized number of superstitious people who actually
believe in all the curative, medicinal, and supernatural powers of the
hi-kuri plant, as taught them by the hi-kuri shaman.”
Thord-Gray 1955 p 184
Image from the Nazca culture (Phase 5)modified from Cane 1985 after Eisleb 1977 shading added for definition of detail
They are drugs however and should not be given unrealistic
expectations. They will not teach us if we are not willing to learn and
they will not somehow magically do the work for us. Their use is just
that; their use. Their use does not make us better or worse people, it
just gives us the potential for a broader view of things. How we react
to what we find is an individual matter.
These drugs are no more guaranteed to cause spiritual growth than
going to church or taking Communion is guaranteed to cause spiritual
growth. It is up to the individual to open themselves to the
They cannot give or show what is not already there. If a person has
a dark heart and a selfish, demonic intent towards the world, this is
what they may find mirrored back to them in a clear and unmistakable
representation. If there are areas within themselves that a person
wished to avoid and not think about, then this is often what they will
find pushed into their face to deal with [Note 4].
Not everyone is willing to face who and what they are. These people
should avoid such sacraments. They will be shown the truth to give them
an opportunity to learn and grow into a better being. It is their
choice whether they do so. Use of the drug will not MAKE them a better
person. It is always THEIR choice to recognize and accept the teaching.
Drugs do not do the spiritual work. We do the work. Entheogens are
just tools (software) to enable an enhancement of sensitivity for the
enrichment and broadened range of our experience.
This is why a person who approaches these sacraments shallowly or
callously is unlikely to achieve the same results as one who approaches
them with preparedness, respect and sacred intent.
They are not ‘magic bullets’ for spiritual growth and understanding;
simply power-filled teachers. It is always the student who must do the
Entheogenic drug experience is often dismissed as a “short cut”;
completely missing the fact that such drug use is not a short cut.
To successfully integrate what has been learned into one’s waking
reality requires diligence, hard and strenuous work, endurance of
immense fear, intense stress and, in some cases, what is often a strict
and limited diet (as specified by the plant).
There is also a much higher degree of risk faced, due to the
novice’s intimate level of exposure to the spiritual world and its
myriad inhabitants (be they “good”, “evil” or, in the largest case,
Many observers have pointed out that the human teacher’s primary
function is protecting the novice from harm while learning.
The actual teaching is done by the plant(s), sometimes by other
plants used as specialized admixtures, and spiritual forces that may be
associated with the plants, the payee, the novice or the chosen locale
This direct awareness of and interaction with the spiritual world is
probably what causes most people problems. Not everyone can handle a
dissolution of ego/boundaries and shift in world view.
The plants can and do actually talk to you (whether ingested or
not); although not in the linear format we, as humans, use. Rather it
is a quantum experience with the learning coming as complete
understandings presented in discrete quanta or packages. Some might say
that it is one’s imagination, subconscious or ‘higher self’ doing the
teaching. I say it would not matter even if this was the case. The
plant opens the door for the learning to occur and all that really
matters is whether or not the information is valid and accurate [Note
In spite of this (and perhaps because of it), such direct learning
was forbidden by the Church [Note 6], as it did not allow them
monopolistic control over people’s beliefs. Their belief was that
anything that they could not control or which allowed people to learn
on their own was opposite to what they believed and therefore must be
demonic in origin. [Read; ‘a competitor’.]
The issue can be more simply reduced to a pathological lust for
power and for control over information and its acquisition. Knowledge
itself has long been promoted by the Church as an evil and forbidden
thing as they cannot control what “God” is willing and able to teach
those who ask directly [Note 7]. One of the most effective means to
control people’s access to personal power is to limit and tightly
control their access to accurate information.
Any access to an active sacrament that did not require Church
representatives to act as the mouthpieces of God was seen as a direct
affront to their prohibitions against direct and personal spiritual
interactions with the Infinite (and their intended monopoly over
available spiritual options).
A very few examples of their stated views on the subject [Note 8]
André Thevet [(1574) Histoire du Mexique] wrote in reference to the
consumption of Psilocybe mushrooms (containing Psilocybin and/or
Psilocin): “The devil deceived them, making them eat an herb they call
Nanacatl, which made them take leave of their senses and see many
The Inquisition, on the 29th of June in 1620, declared peyote
(containing Mescaline) as the work of ‘the devil’, stating that
“neither the said herb or any other can possess the virtue or inherent
qualities of producing the effects claimed, nor can any cause the
mental images, fantasies and hallucinations…In these latter are
plainly perceived the suggestion and intervention of the Devil.” and
ordered that “henceforth no person of whatever rank or social condition
can or may make use of the said herb, Peyote, nor of any other kind
under name or appearance for the same or similar purposes, nor shall he
make the Indians or any other person take them, with the further
warning that disobedience to these decrees shall cause us, in addition
to the penalties and condemnation above stated, to take action against
such disobedient and recalcitrant persons as we would take against
those suspected of heresy to our Holy Catholic Faith.” [Note 9]
According to W.E. Safford1916a, Las Casas said of the use of
Anadenanthera peregrina snuff (containing DMT and/or 5-MeO-DMT and/or
Bufotenine): “He described to them his vision, …and other things
which might come to his imagination, all disturbed with that
intoxication; or if perhaps without it, what the devil, to deceive them
and win them to his worship, had brought to them.” [Note 10]
Writing while still in Mexico in the year 1629, Br. Hernando Ruiz de
Alarcón said; “The so called ololiuqui is a seed” [Morning-glory.
(Containing Lysergic acid derivatives)] “… which when drunk deprives
one of reason. One can marvel at the faith which these wretched natives
have in this seed, for on drinking it they consult it as an oracle for
those things which human knowledge cannot reach, such as to know the
cause of sickness….and similar doubts such as concern thefts and
aggressors, they consult this seed through the medium of their medical
charlatans, for some of them have it as a profession to drink this seed
for such consultations. Such a doctor is called a payni…they believe
therefore that the ololiuqui or peyote is revealing to them what they
wish to know. With drunkenness or deprivation of judgment coming over
him, he goes on recounting two thousand humbugs, among which the Devil
usually mixes some truths, which straightaway have them fooled and
deceived….They have such a fixed respect and veneration that the aid
of God is certainly needed to uproot it. What prevents them from
confessing is the dread or fear of enraging that false deity which they
imagine in the ololiuqui and of falling under his wrath and
indignation… such is the diligence of the Devil, ever watchful for
our harm, that because of his cunning one discovers new destruction of
this kind each day; so it is fitting that both jurisdictions be most
diligent in investigating, extirpating and punishing these results of ancient idolatry and worship of the Devil.” [Note 11] [Bold emphasis is the editor’s]
The Spaniard’s zealous and vigorous persecution drove peyote’s use
into secrecy, primarily in remote areas. In the wake of Archbishop Juan
de Zumarraga’s systematic destruction of thousands of Aztec documents,
a loss of inestimable value, severe penalties were proscribed and given
to known peyote users.
One must wonder who the ‘devil’ was directing. In one case the
‘civilized’ Spaniards gouged out one Accaxee Peyote worshipper’s eyes
following three days of deliberately sadistic torture and, after
slicing a crucifix pattern in his belly, they killed him by allowing
ravenous dogs to feast upon his living and bleeding innards [Note 12].
His ‘crime’, considered to justly merit such a punishment, was that
he insisted on eating a sacred plant placed here by the same forces
that created us.
The Peyote faith survived even this; can anyone honestly believe
that threat of incarceration will destroy it?
According to Stafford1992 [page 104]; as late as 1760 [See Garcia
1760] peyote was still equated with cannibalism in a Catholic text
(unlike the acceptable “mysterious” transfiguration of the Communion
Sacrament into the literal body and blood of Christ [Note 13]).
The psilocybin mushroom was similarly saddled with the name “Flesh
of God” which even to this day often appears as the translation of the
word Teonanacatl that actually meant the “Wondrous Mushroom” or the
“Divine Mushroom” [Note 14]. (Both are very apt and accurate names for
these small and positively marvelous creatures.)
The Spanish invaders probably thought they would have success in
Mexico similar to that which their European predecessors and
counterparts had in Europe. They achieved great strides in that
direction but succeeded only in driving sacrament use into secrecy.
They had succeeded quite well in Europe, due primarily to their
aggressive and consistently thorough eradication, by outright murder or
often far worse ‘punishment’, of all who they thought they could
identify that disagreed with them (real or imagined).
In the various European purges of knowledge, similar accusations of
witchery, heresy, devil worship and, often, secret orgies were leveled
against all non-Christian faiths (even against many Christian sects
including Calvinists), herbalists, midwives, alchemists and early
modern minded mathematicians & other scientists.
Only the barbers, who used leeches and bloodletting to remove ‘bad
blood”, were spared. Deliberate spilling of blood to remove or resolve
problems has always been something the Church could identify with and
It is well documented that the spread of their particular brand of
“love” was, as often as not, at the point of a sword. “Thou Shalt Not
Kill” was never taken to apply towards ‘heathens’.
While ‘Heathen’ has come to mean a god-less person, it originally
arose as a word to refer to those diverse peoples (with different gods
than their Roman invaders) who dwelled on the heath; those beautiful
rolling hills of heather and gorse, interspersed with bogs and low
areas that were sometimes flooded [Note 15], often with shallow soil
overlying chalk deposits, in the coastal and island countries of
[Ed.: The words for heathen and heath have the same root in Dutch or
German but in Spanish or French they do not, equating the English word
heathen only with pagan.
This suggests that the Romans adopted and preserved only one meaning
for the word when they returned home.]
In many areas, great earth and stone works were masterfully
constructed, many as far back as Neolithic times. In some cases, huge
rocks were transported substantial distances.
In others (for certain, in later times), the turf was cut away and
the underlying chalk scoured clean to form gigantic white figures on
Very few of the latter remain [Note 16] only one with its sexual
organs still intact [the erect Cerne Giant], and most stone and earthen
work constructions have also been seriously damaged over the years.
Many of the standing stones and stone rings have been destroyed or
removed. In some cases this was for use as building material but often
this was done deliberately by those who held them pagan and evil.
One famous ‘stone killer’ methodically reduced many standing stones
and stone rings to rubble by not only toppling them but by repeatedly
heating them in huge bonfires and then quenching them with water. Among
his many victims was not only the broad serpentine avenue [Note 17],
lined on both sides with standing stones, once linking the Avesbury
rings to the “Uffington White Horse” [Note 18] but also, a heck of a
lot of trees. The woodlands never recovered, as cleared land has always
meant space that people could use.
‘Heathen’ came to mean what it did simply because these people
worshipped different gods than the Romans. Their conception of ‘God’
and spirituality was never lacking; it was simply different from the
military force that occupied their lands. Their rich spiritual heritage
and understanding are clearly reflected in their archaeology and art.
Hallucinogenic motifs are far from uncommon in the artistic record of
early Europeans; many of whom we know relatively little else about.
Their descendants (both in Europe and America) are today merely
reclaiming what was taken from them [Note 19]. Their ancestors’
sacraments and traditions were destroyed and often even their memory
[Note 20] obliterated in the earlier purges [Note 21].
Mythology preserved only the references to their potentially
entheogenic potions, often only as their serving vessels not their
herbal identities. Most are today equated with the more recent but
moderately ancient ‘sacrament’ that Christians chose; alcohol.
In light of the wealth of entoptic imagery in archaic rock art, the
encrusted remains of henbane on Grooved Ware shards in a region that
henbane does not grow [Note 22] (suggesting an established drug trade
[Note 23] at an extremely early date), the numerous braziers [Note 24]
and ritual paraphernalia found at Er Lannic, Brittany, and the known
ancient use of braziers for inhaling, at the very least, Cannabis,
Opium and Belladonna plants farther east in Europe, and the well known
but poorly understood displacement of the European ‘smoking cults’ by
the ‘drinking cults’ [Note 25] in late prehistoric times, it is obvious
that, although presently poorly elucidated, drug usage was far from
uncommon in pre-Christian Western Europe. All the evidence clearly
points at it and it would be surprising if future archeologists with an
eye for unraveling this mystery do not succeed thanks to modern
analytical equipment. See Paul Devereux 1997 “The Long Trip. A
Prehistory of Psychedelia” for a fascinating overview of prehistoric
psychedelic use worldwide.
My belief is that this IS the one true religion, albeit one of many
forms, many names and many voices. The wrappings may change but the
heart is still the same.
I suspect that Psilocybin was perhaps the most important sacrament
in Western Europe, but this is just a hunch based on how mushrooms feel
The feeling with mushrooms is that I am experiencing the original
‘old-time’ religion, in its purest and simplest form as was created and
intended by the Universe.
Over the years I have come to the belief that the visionary plants
were formed during creation to remind us of who we are and why we are
here despite the artificial religious & social beliefs systems
repeatedly created by human committees and imposed on the masses by
powerful groups over the millennia.
Surely it is no coincidence that the active sacraments are
distributed across and throughout every area of the globe where people
who use plants can live. My suspicion is that this near ubiquitous
presence is an inherent element within the design of creation so that
no matter how far humans strayed from the truth by following their own
version/creations of religious beliefs, there would always be access to
some true face of the Infinite to remind them that a greater truth
underlay the constructs of the human imagination.
An interesting criticism has been made repeatedly over the years,
sometimes by Native healers and practitioners or most often by those
who study with them. They often seem set to take to task the suggestion
that there is a link between, the activity of these plants in spiritual
and learning matters and their contained alkaloids or to other,
nonalkaloidal, components within them.
The search for understanding the underlying mechanisms is seen as
missing or overlooking the magic and mystery which plant teachers
Everything in the living world, including our perceptions, thoughts
and feelings, is mediated entirely by biochemical compounds. This is
who and what we are. The only information proven to be encrypted within
our DNA is the codes for making the many proteins required for us to
perform the biochemical manipulations necessary to exist as us, and the
instructions for making the nucleic acid machinery necessary to read,
translate & replicate the DNA itself. All that we are is contained
within this lengthy but extremely simple set of information.
We are all very much, water based & protein constructed, organic
machines which are capable of performing a myriad of different
biochemical synthetic and degradative processes within the
micro-reactive environments of the highly specific chemical
laboratories of our enzymes (proteins). Most of these enzymes are used
repeatedly, in some cases many thousands of times per second. In almost
all cases, each enzyme performs (catalyzes) only one specialized
chemical reaction and accepts only a few substrates.
When we experience ‘special’ chemical information, we interact with
these additional chemical signals because we are designed to respond
this way to them. As was mentioned eariler spiritual experience is an
inherent element in our biochemical repertoire. This is true whether
produced internally as a result of non-drug ingesting religious
practices or whether we obtain them by ingesting an alkaloid bearing
plant teacher. The source does not negate true teaching.
That this experience is inherent is further supported by the well
known accessibility to many of these plant teachers without requiring
actual ingestion. If we did not identify with them as part of
ourselves, we could not resonate with them and receive this often rich
flow of information. They are beings, not inanimate objects. What they
have to say is often missed due to their quiet presentation and their
quantal (rather than linear) way of communicating with us.
Understanding the electronics (physiological and chemical) behind the
mechanics enabling spiritual experience does not somehow diminish its
importance and vitalness.
It is puzzling to see a fight against the idea that spirituality has
a real, underlying, physical cause.
The universe does not work by ‘magic’. It appears magical and
marvelous in many aspects and this wondrousness persists even when we
understand how and why it works. In many aspects the understanding and
appreciation of these processes is actually enhanced by understanding
the underlying mechanisms. If we view our brain as hardware, these
substances are additional software utilizable by our operating system
(consciousness). They, in the case of plant teachers, contain their
identity within the living, resonant, electronic signatures we define
as chemical compounds.
For any spiritual experience to be a real experience (and for us to
be able to perceive it as such), it must arise from an interaction with
US, our bodies & our minds in the physical world; not just in some
abstract non-physical dimension.
No matter what a person holds to be true about the nonphysical
aspects of reality, it should be obvious that our interface with that
‘world’ is through the biochemistry & physiology that enable our
mind to exist.
If the sacred plants did not interact with us via our physical
reality they could not produce the results that they can.
These plants produce software that directly interacts with our
neurological and physiological machinery to expand our range of
perceptions into the ‘Infinite’ in set and fairly predictable ways.
I find this as marvelous as the understanding that a Leguminous
plant and a nitrogen fixing bacteria are each incapable of fixing
nitrogen unless both are able to provide the highly specific and
complementary DNA segments which the other lacks. If the perfectly
complimentary DNA products (proteins) are not available, part from the
plant and matching part from the bacteria, effective nodulation will
not occur nor will nitrogen fixation.
Similarly, these plants merge with us to provide components
identical or similar to those which we are designed to use in order to
temporarily experience this enhanced perception. It truly is a “Union
with the Plant.”
Humans may produce these substances normally or they may be similar
to those we can produce (hence the appearance of distinctly separate
plant teachers) but in all cases it is our pre-existing internal
machinery of consciousness which enables them to be active within us.
This wet, electronic machinery literally forms the interface between
us and the rest of the universe.
All we know for certain is that every year new research is reported,
it indicates that the age and the relationship of hallucinogen and
other drug use to human history is far more extensive and important
than anyone ever thought or believed [Note 26]. This makes hallucinogen
prohibitions an even more heinous crime, not simply against its
victims, their families and society, but against humanity.
In modern times (the last 1500 years) this has also been a religion
repeatedly suppressed by another religion that promoted a placebo
sacrament [Note 27], holding the use of intermediates between Pious and
the Divine of paramount importance (one of which was themselves;
assuring them job security), and therefore one threatened by the
existence of active sacraments (or even knowledge of their existence).
Especially one, like Psilocybe, that could be easily and effectively
accessed without any type of specialized preparation by literally
anyone who found and ate it.
Knowledge of the sacred mushrooms was almost totally obliterated in
Europe, in spite of the occurrence of a multitude of native and active
ones, including many Psilocybin/Psilocin containing species.
Psilocybin/Psilocin containing species are distributed worldwide in
temperate and tropical zones.
Well over 100 active psilocybian species are known presently and
other hallucinogenic plants (especially those with DMT and/or 5-MeO-DMT) grow literally everywhere that higher plants can
While this is a fairly well kept secret as far as most people are
concerned, what is even more amazing is that anything at all is known,
considering the intensity of the activity directed against even
knowledge of their existence, or that any of what has been known has
been preserved, considering how unrelentingly these spiritual teachers
have been persecuted by control oriented religious organizations in
pursuit of their lust for power.
Many sacraments have been lost forever, only a relatively few of the
lost ancient sacraments have been resurrected from obscurity such as
the kykeon of the Eleusinian Mysteries now proposed to be a water
soluble extract of ergot (always this has been by those people who do
not confirm their conjecture with a bioassay) and Soma, lost through
the deliberate secrecy maintained by those who held it sacred long
before Christianity’s birth. Soma was convincingly and painstakingly
argued by R. Gordon Wasson to have been Amanita muscaria, this plant
being perhaps the oldest of the sacraments currently known to have been
used by Europeans [Note 28].
The only sacraments that have been so recovered have been
‘re-discovered’ solely due to the fact that much had been written
concerning them, or somehow involving them; something that did not
occur during the Dark Ages that ensued upon the Church’s ruthless and
bloody rise to power in Europe.
The ancient epic quest of Gilgamesh was for the “herb of
immortality”; many other legends include quests to gain or recover
magic vessels that imparted knowledge and understanding to those
drinking out of them. A few of the best known are the Grail or Greal
[Note 29], the cup or bowl of the Atlanteans, the vessels of Bran, of
Ceridwen and of Medea. (Many more exist throughout many cultures, such
as the sacred drinking cups of Apollo, which Pharmakos was said to have
been stoned to death for stealing.)
Celtic mythology is rich with references to magic cauldrons and
marvelous potions of knowledge and understanding. Usually they were
said to be comprised of a mixture of 6 herbs. All versions today
involve only toxic or apparently inactive plants but I know of no
actual bioassays. [Note 30]
(Ancient stone heads have been found with cavities carved into the
top suggesting a container for a liquid [Note 31]. This curious feature
has also been reported in a number of South American archaeological
The Welsh bard Taliesin was said to have gained his knowledge of the
future and understanding of the mysteries when accidentally ingesting a
splattered drop of a potion brewed in a magic cauldron [Note 32].
Ott mentions Mimir’s Well, the “pool of living water” at the base of
the world ash tree, from which flowed a magic mead of wisdom; drunk
daily by Odin’s uncle, Mimir.
Similarly a magic mead, Odroerir, was drunk, by Odin, from the well
of Urd for his acquisition of knowledge about fate and destiny, and
played a role in the ritual that ended the war between the gods of sky
In Ralph Metzner’s 1994 “The Well of Remembrance: Rediscovering the
Earth Wisdom Myths of Northern Europe”, this is explored in some
detail. Metzner shows that Odin is connected linguistically to
“inspiration, prophetic trance, rush, ecstasy, seizure, divine madness,
intoxication, rage. He is the god of shamans, sorcerers, poets,
singers, story tellers, prophetic seers and seeresses, soothsayers and
berserker warriors – all of whom [are] ‘seized’ by Odin, when in their
special state of ecstatic inspiration.”
This special state of being “possessed” by the state of creative and
open inspiration, which wells up and overflows from within, as
experienced by poets, artists and prophetic visionaries, is the source
of origin for the resurrected word “entheogen”; now used to describe
substances which can induce these states [Note 33].
It comes from an obsolete Greek word meaning “realizing
[manifesting] the divine [from] within”. See Ott 1993; Ott 1995; Rucket
al. 1979; and Wasson et al. 1978.
Contrary to some recent assertions, it is not a word “they just made
up.” [Note 34]
As is also discussed by Ott and many others, Christian Rätsch, in an
appendix to Metzer’s book, explores the use of such known psychotropics
as opium, henbane, belladonna and Amanita as ingredients in
psychoactive meads and beers [Note 35]. Ott presents a good argument
that the “strong drink” of biblical references was similarly a
fortified psychoactive form of wine, mead, beer or other fermented
product. (The dilutions of Greek and Roman wines that are known to have
been necessary prior to their consumption serving to reduce the dosage
to effective but non-fatal levels.) [Note 39]
Only information relating to the mind numbing alcohol was preserved
in detail. Great pains were taken to extirpate any pre-existing
knowledge that might cast doubts on what was taught. [This was not
limited to drugs [Note 37]. In one extreme example, due to his support
of reincarnation as a doctrine [Note 38], the teachings and writings of
Origen, a once influential and important early Christian philosopher,
were so thoroughly and systematically destroyed, during the fifth
century, that nothing remains except those references to him and his
teachings that were made by others.]
The destruction of knowledge and its replacement with subservience
controlled by fear, guilt and alcohol were so thorough, and the
resulting influences on thought so persistent, that modern day scholars
for many years instantly attacked the idea of any type of true
religious experience even being possible as a product of any drug, or
the divine Soma to be a lowly mushroom.
The great scholar Mirceas Eliade actually declared that the drug
using shamanic religions were devolved from and inferior to the
‘original’ true shamans whom he claimed did not need them. His view was
based on suppositions and is not supported by any in-depth study of the
subject. [A point that must be remembered is that, until recently,
virtually all Western scholars and chroniclers wrote from a
Judeo-Christian perspective.] See Ott 1993 and 1995 for some
interesting anecdotes on the matter.
Contrast Eliade’s oft repeated perspective with that of Wasson’s
proposal that the spiritual exercises and meditational practices [Note
39] replaced the use of an active sacrament once the drug plants were
no longer available when emigrating to a new region [Note 40] that the
plant did not (or would not?) grow.
A point not noted nearly often enough was the comment by Peter Furst
[Page 23 in Furst 1994 in Seaman & Day (eds.) 1994] that, shortly
before his death, Eliade confided to him that the immense age of the
Chihuahuan Desert and Pecos River finds had forced him to reconsider
his position and change his mind on the issue, now concluding that the
forms of ecstasy attained by hallucinogens and other archaic techniques
had no essential differences.
The huge blind spot deliberately created during the formation and
expansion of the Church has completely permeated Western culture and
understanding until fairly recently. It has yet to heal in many areas
of thought [Note 41]. The medical community and public health officials
have perpetuated many of these myths with vigor [Note 42].
Dobkin de Riosin a 1973 article (from a paper presented at the Fifth
World Congress of Psychiatry, Mexico) pointed out quite accurately that
until recently there has been a “…real paucity of information about
the traditional use of hallucinogens, not only in Peru, but throughout
many parts of the world. What seems to be at work here is that researchers, including anthropologists, botanists, missionaries and other early travelers to these regions have come from cultures that can only be labeled hallucinophobic….we find marvelous descriptions of beer parties, or other alcoholic festivities which correspond to the socially approved methods of altering consciousness in Western society…However, little worthwhile reporting has come from studies of substances such as mescaline, harmine and datura.” (page 1188, in volume two of the proceedings of said Congress.)
By no means was this blindness or even the persecution of entheogen
using peoples restricted to the Catholic Church; their ‘reformed’
splinter and spin-off groups suffered the same myopic tendencies and
eagerly took up the banner to suppress other faiths who they also
considered to have been deceived by the devil, whether entheogen using
or simply ‘heathens’.
Christian missionaries vigorously attacked peyote with great fervor,
and far too much success at promoting religious persecution by the
State, by organizing and supporting the introduction of anti-peyote
legislation, until less than 70 years ago when the courts began to
(more or less) uniformly affirm American Indian’s rights to worship
freely (exept in those areas where TRIBAL law forbid its use).
And yet, they still find themselves forced into courts to defend
themselves. Win or lose, court battles are incredibly expensive. This
recurrent waste of their resources and time is yet another blatant
attempt at harassment, persecution and restriction of their religious
freedom. While the Supreme Court has, for the most part, upheld their
right to use peyote, it also left it open for the states to pass any
laws against its possession and use that they see fit. And so it
continues. We can expect the peyote faiths to appear again in that
venue before too many years pass. The anti-peyote forces have never
rested regardless of what the courts have decided.
The anti-peyote and anti-hallucinogen laws have all been invariably
passed accompanied by gross misrepresentations of them as public health
issues accompanied by outrageous lies as to their effects and purposes
[Note 43]. In all cases it was a given that the measures would pass and
little, if any, effort was made to present testimony on their behalf or
prevent their passing. Ecstasy, [also known as MDMA:
3,4-Methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine], a synthetic entactogen, is one
of the few drugs that passionate and rational effort to protect its
professional availability was made by medical professionals and clergy
(to no avail).
In no cases have the drug laws eliminated the use of these drugs;
they simply remove quality controls, add another money maker to the
black-market and guarantee employment for criminals, more law
enforcement personnel and the companies who sell both of them new toys.
As put by Teddy Roosevelt, in a letter to W.H. Taft, July 16, 1908:
“To pass prohibitory laws to govern localities where the sentiment does
not sustain them is simply equivalent to allowing free liquor, plus
lawlessness.” Or consider the sage observation of Samuel L. Clemens, 28
May 1867: “Prohibition only drives drunkenness behind doors and into
dark places, and does not cure or even diminish it.” The only thing
Prohibition laws are proven to do is to generate huge profits for
criminal organizations. Perhaps this is why they are repeatedly imposed
despite their historically proven lack of effectiveness.
The law forbidding LSD and similar substances was actually passed as
‘emergency measures’ WITHOUT debate.
A curious point about the illegalization of the hallucinogens is
that the laws that declared them illegal did not just apply to
black-market sales and street use but to ANY medical or professional
applications. They were uniformly declared, by people with no medical
training, to lack any acceptable medical application, even when, in the
case of MDMA, numerous physicians and clergy had urged for a more
lenient classification to allow professional use.
Such laws affect legitimate researchers far more than drug abusers
as they directly create and support an unregulated and uncontrolled
pharmaceutical industry and black-market that happily provides them to
any drug user with the money.
They certainly did not stop the flow or decrease availability of
LSD; as usual it merely added to the jail population and, in actuality,
probably increased the numbers of teenagers and young adults who tried
it, drawn by the lure of the forbidden. Certainly the quantities
available on the streets in the midwest absolutely skyrocketed in the
late 1960’s and early 1970’s after it was declared illegal and hence
another money maker for the black-market.
Numerous scholarly presentations have been made on this subject so
this will not be addressed in any depth nor will the frequent
manipulation of both Congress and state legislatures with blatantly
false testimony and religiously or financially motivated propaganda.
See Ott 1993 and 1995 for an excellent list of references and
discussion. See also Anderson 1980 and Stewart 1987 concerning peyote.
If you look at the driving forces behind today’s “War on Drugs”
[Note 44] (actually just another war on PEOPLE of different beliefs)
you will find “Christians” to once again be at its heart and center.
Perhaps ‘still’ is a better and more accurate word as they have
never suspended or discontinued their active persecution of the
PharmacoGnostic faiths. Only the faces have changed, never the intent
Even in the few cases when laws and court decisions have supported
the right of devotees to religious freedom and personal choice of
worship, Christian religious organizations (and both secular and
nonsecular community organizations comprised largely of and/or heavily
influenced by Christian members) have rallied and lobbied for redress
of the laws or establishment of new laws to restrict them in every way
possible in an attempt to bring them into compliance with the Christian
‘ideal’ or at least to be able to punish them for not being.
There has been an unrelenting attack and program of deliberate
misinformation for the entirety of the history of their co-existence.
In recent years the issue has been redefined so that it is now
considered a public health issue. This conveniently smoke-screens the
original intent of religious suppression.
Many new standard bearers who oppose these substances no longer even
realize WHY they are in opposition to them.
In the current era of Zero Tolerance, all illegal drugs are equated,
eliminating any possibility of debate or rational address of the issue,
and presented as “evil” incarnate, the source of all our societal woes
[Read: ‘scapegoat’] [Note 45]
In many aspects, the reaction against drugs is almost phobic, a
panicky, irrational fear and hatred seeing drugs, drug abuse, ‘hidden’
drug ‘messages’ [Note 46] and the drug culture everywhere [Note 47];
disturbingly similar to the ‘witch craze’ that obsessed the European
mind for so many years or the “Red Scare” promoted not so long ago by
Senator McCarthy [Note 48].
One speaker (a Trinka Porrata) at the 5 May 2000 California
Association of Toxicologists’ conference on raves and rave drugs described the butterfly as being “a universal symbol for ecstacy” despites the butterfly having nothing to do with ecstasy beyond being the trademark used by an herbal blend bearing nothing in common with the drug MDMA! (And containing absolutely no MDMA) [2000 The Entheogen Review p. 10]
In an interesting University sponsored ‘open debate’ on drug issues
held on the West Mall of the UT campus during the Reagan years, the
theologian who was fielding the questions dismissed even the idea of
sacramental drug usage by Westerners and insisted that his personal
religious beliefs did not represent a conflict of interest because drug
usage was “not a valid religious approach.” (and therefore unworthy of
consideration for debate or discussion.)
This same person also entirely rejected the idea of it being
possible to use any drugs responsibly. (Not an encouraging stance in
our drug permeated society!)
It was hardly a debate as it was couched in a question (one per
person) and answer format conducted by a person who provided answers he
already knew and had his mind made up on.
The idea that what is experienced is illusory or false is
widespread; even in Gutiérrez-Noriega 1950 when discussing the use of
the mescaline containing San Pedro by Peruvian healers, he asserts that
this was done to “influence and deceive those that solicit their
Or reflect on the incredible opinion of the experience as being not
simply delusional but a form of insanity itself, as expressed by the
psychiatrist Evansin 1979 [Note 49]:
“The natives have no knowledge of the action of hallucinogens on the
central nervous system; they regard it as a magical process. Indeed to
them the state that is induced is not insanity (which they recognize as
the lasting or irreversible form) but a higher and ultimate reality,
that of the spiritual world. How very different the lot of the
unfortunate drug addict in our society, who seeks in his psychedelic
‘trips’ to compensate for the absence of a rich individual culture. And
how naïve the revolutionary idealist’s view of insanity as psychedelic
deliverance from the oppressive alienation of a sick society.”
Another example is given by Douglas Sharon 1978 who cites the 1653
account of Father Bernabe Cobo as evidence of the Christian bias
against the use of the plant (Schultes& Hofmann similarly draw a
quote from this):
“This is the plant with which the devil deceived the Indians of Peru
in their paganism, using it for their lies and superstitions. Having
drunk the juice of it, those who drink lose consciousness and remain as
if dead; and it has even been seen that some have died because of the
great frigidity to the brain. Transported by this drink, the Indians
dreamed a thousand absurdities and believed them as if they were
[Death has never been known to occur from any of the mescaline
plants, nor is unconsciousness an observed effect at any known human
dosage level. If it was given along with Brugmansia, as it sometimes
has been, or if the Brugmansia was used on its own, unconsciousness or
even death from the ingestion of the Brugmansia could be a real
potential. Fatalities from belladonna plants are well known [Note 50].]
Interestingly enough, the statement that mescaline has produced
death has never been once been substantiated in the medical or
In spite of their long history of use, even in cases involving the
ingestion of absurdly large amounts of peyote, San Pedro or high dose
administration of pure mescaline (which has been in human use for a
full century as of late 1997) there has never been a reliable report of
so much as a single human death. The reports of death which have been
claimed to be due to the use of mescaline containing plants, are
entirely suppositions without factual support, such as William E.
Safford’s comment [Note 51] in the 1921 Journal of the American Medical
Association 77 (16): 1278-1279, or else have been part of anti-peyote
rhetoric by opponents determined to obliterate the faith.
One such, example appeared in The Denver Post of 12 January 1917:
With the headline reading:
“Denver Women Fighting To Stop Dope Leaf Trade Among Colorado
Indians” [Note 52]
the now classic article went on to state
“…women of this city and in all parts of the state have taken up
the fight which is being made to stop the traffic among the Indians in
“peyote”, the dried leaf of the cactus, which is similar in effects to
opium [Note 53] or cocaine…According to Mrs. Brown, societies which
have interested themselves in the welfare of the Indians have
discovered that peyote is killing dozens of Indians yearly. The
“peyote” eater has dreams and visions as pleasing as those of a
“hop-head”. To get a better hold on their victims, the peyote peddlers
have lent a religious tone to the ceremony of eating the drug, so that
the peyote is worshipped in a semi-barbaric festival before the orgy is
held.” [Note 54] [As quoted by Omer C. Stewart’s 1956 article entitled
Peyote and Colorado’s Inquisition Law: page 81]
The Inquisition continues, even today, in a uniquely American
fashion. The Colorado anti-peyote legislation was supported by an
alliance of 126 churches, the W.C.T.U., the P.T.A. and the Women’s
The frequent charges of orgies and wanton sexual behavior were pure
fabrications designed for their emotional and propaganda value due to
the shock effect they would have on the sensibilities of conservative
Christian listeners. The church had regularly used similar tactics
against their opponents in Europe with great success. Anderson 1980
includes several examples of similar unwarranted charges actually being
presented in U.S. Congressional testimony.
All who have studied the issue or who have experienced the sacrament
will attest to the fact that, while peyote CAN enhance pleasurable
sensations, it is not a sexual stimulant [Note 55]
Such unfounded and blatantly false accusations bring to mind two
“Some propositions lack even the capacity to be false” — Bertrand
“Only a statement that has a minimum degree of coherency can be
proved false.” — Karl Popper.
Peyote-ists are in general found to be socially responsible, often
totally abstinent from alcohol and good decent people. Peyote in no way
incites sexual desire or licentious conduct. It has been uniformly
observed by medical professionals [Note 56], anthropologists and peyote
users to have just the opposite effect.
Sex is physically possible (with concerted effort) and can be
remarkable while under the influence of mescaline but enhancement of
sexual desire or promotion of sexual activity is not a component of
either Peyote or mescaline experiences.
From the Encyclopedia Brittanica, “Pharmacological cults” pp.
“Contrary to the assertions of Christian missionaries, who find them
hard to convert, the peyote Indians, doubtless influenced by the
religions of whites around them [Ed:!], are reported to be superior to
the nonpeyote Indians in achieving their aims of brotherly love, hard
work, and self-reliance, family responsibility, and abstinence from
All attacks against peyote were conducted in the face of the facts
that, from the beginning, all who had actually studied it had uniformly found it to be nonaddictive and nonharmful as well as being actually beneficial and used sacramentally in Indian religious ceremonies.
This last point holds the true key to religious groups’ opposition: it is viewed as either an opposing faith to which they could lose potential members or as a diabolical philosophy expressed by subhumans that they want to see destroyed.
Stewart also mentioned a 1922 government document that characterized
the attitudes of US Indian Service officials and missionaries that has
been true from the earliest days of their attacks on the faith right up
to the present day. It was specifically summarizing the results of a
1919 study by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
“To the missionary, peyote is more than a physiological problem,
more than a social problem. It is more than another ‘dope’ problem to
be disposed of by legislating it into the class of drugs covered by the
national narcotic law. It is, as one writer stated, ‘a system of pagan
worship, inimical to Christianity, which has its roots deep into the
historic past of the red race, and because of this it makes the
strongest kind of appeal to the Indians….’ To the missionary the use
of peyote is paganism arrayed against Christianity – the power of a
drug against the elevating power of the cross.”
The basis of the missionaries’ opposition to it as being directly a
result of its use as a ritual and ceremonial drug rather than being due
to its actual effects was even noted by Safford1916a.
The issue has always been the practice of mislabelling a
non-Christian religion with the “dangerous drug” battle cry; a ruse to
mislead the public into supporting a state supported religious pogrom.
Harmon 1957 noted that following the failure of the Bureau of Indian
Affairs to push 9 separate attempts at outlawing peyote usage through
Congress, it resorted to attacking the peyote religion through
administrative actions by other governmental agencies.
Harmon went on to quote Slotkin’s sage observation that “The history
of Bureau suppression of Peyotism is a case study in how an agency can
flout the Constitution, Congress, the judiciary and executive
departments, if it has the support of powerful pressure groups…”
That the truth of the matter is perverted and the State is now
involved in supporting and furthering a suppression of another faith is
very wrong. That it has been enabled and perpetuated with
misinformation and the smoke-screen of false relabelling as a ‘public
health’ issue is even more shameful.
It is a tragic error that has directly and indirectly harmed many
people in countless ways. It continues still [Note 57].
Petrollo 1934 points out that opposition to peyote by missionaries
and civil officials has never ceased regardless of what limited
protection or support they have found in the courts. This may be easily
explained by noting, as Stewart did, that from its origin, the Bureau
of Indian Affairs has been very strongly influenced by American
During the last two decades of the last century and the first three
decades of this century, most of its top officials, whether in
Washington or on the reservations, were appointed directly from the
ranks of various organized missionary groups.
Until 1930 ALL education on the reservations was directly in the
hands of Christian missionaries. The horrendous atrocities they
committed against Native people and their children have been dealt with
in depth by innumerable authors, including many first hand accounts.
[For example: River & Rael 1984]
A systematic attempt was made to destroy their very culture, using
both law and departmental policy until the 1930s. In many cases, young
children were forcibly removed from their families and shipped off to
distant missionary schools so they could not be influenced by their
culture while they grew up in the White man’s ‘Christian’ schools.
(Beatings, undersized shoes and nutritional deprivation were commonly
used as tools to force compliance & “break their spirit”.)
Even on the reservations it was generally forbidden to speak in
their native tongues. Not only peyote use, but any and all Native
American traditional religious practices were also illegalized for many
years [Note 58].
In Morgan & Stewart 1984 and also in Stewart 1987, it is noted
that despite the fact that no actual laws then existed against peyote,
Chief Special Officer William E. Johnson of the Office of Indian
Affairs (one of the most aggressive of the early anti-peyote activists)
began efforts to both destroy the peyote trade and abolish its use
(His efforts included buying huge quantities of dried plants for
burning, unwittingly mirroring the mass destruction of morning glory
seeds by Br. Alarcón in Mexico several centuries earlier.)
Johnson was a newspaperman and a long-time active prohibitionist. He
used both experiences to write inflammatory and sensationally false
scare stories about peyote use to aid in influencing public sentiment
and legislation [Note 60].
During the period from 1906 to 1911, while he served as special
officer for the BIA to suppress liquor use on Indian reservations,
Johnson effected over 4400 convictions. There is evidence that when he
arrived in Oklahoma he was completely unfamiliar with peyote and the
peyote religion but immediately picked up the torch and began to
orchestrate and conduct raids on peyote ceremonies as part of his
His justification apparently was based on his interpretation of the
1897 Congressional ban on sales of liquor or intoxicating articles to
Indians, taking it to include peyote which he believed was an
intoxicating substance [Note 61]. This activity continued as
departmental policy until a federal judge ruled, in 1916, that the
liquor prohibition could not be applied to peyote.
Following this ruling the first federal anti-peyote bill [Note 62]
was introduced into Congress and failed in 1917 [Note 63] (as did 11
more before 1963). In response to the inability to obtain federal
legislation, opposition that had organized on the state level increased
their efforts resulting in states beginning to pass their own bans on
peyote. (Nevada had already outlawed it in 1913.)
In spite of the fact that Colorado, then, had no discernible
frequency of peyote use, even among its Native people, both Utah and
Colorado passed similar laws in 1917. Between 1917 and 1969, 17 states
passed anti-peyote legislation motivated primarily by organized
anti-peyote efforts and intense lobbying from religious and social
The notable exception was Oklahoma that had initially passed such a
law until it was struck down (not by its opponents actually voting it
down but rather by it simply failing to be renewed) in response to the
widespread protests by Indian groups there. It must be noted that
Oklahoma was then the center of the US peyote faith and the only state
with enough presence of native people, including the passionate,
eloquent and EDUCATED Quanah Parker [Note 64], to successfully
challenge the desires of church sponsored organizations. [Even in some
Native American communities, peyote use is sometimes a sharply divided
issue and hotly debated.]
I will note again that during the time when all of this activity
occurred, up until modern day, all who actually studied the peyote
faith or the use of the drug itself found it to be non-addictive and
generally concluded it to actually be beneficial. There has never been
factual presentation of harm to its people (except as has been
committed by its opponents). This has included reports not only from
anthropologists but such noted medical professionals such as Dr.
Humphrey Osmondand Dr. Abram Hoffer [Note 65] who did extensive
research on the drug in the 1950’s.
Lies and deliberate attempts at deception have been the norm, not
the exception, and incredible attempts at misinformation have appeared
in the most unlikely of places. In 1957, long before there were any
laws forbidding the plant (which was then openly sold as an ornamental
in ‘five & dime’ stores throughout the nation with nary a report of
any problems), a note appeared on page 116 of the Cactus &
Succulent Journal (Volume 29, issue number 5) stating flatly (and
“Lophophora williamsii has been ruled out of collections by the
United States Narcotics Regulations. It is illegal to buy, import, or
possess one of these plants.”
The motivation and driving forces behind the anti-‘peyote faith’
movement was, as always, purely ideological in bias and had no interest
to evaluate the facts, no doubt considering their actions those of
faith and therefore not requiring or desirous of facts.
To them it was then, as it is now, a matter of ‘faith’ [Note 66] in
the perceived wisdom of a higher ‘authority’. It is very likely that
they mistakenly thought they were doing the Indians a favor ‘saving
them from themselves’ by removing this “impediment to their salvation”.
They were and are gravely mistaken in their assumptions. Many
examples exist [Note 67] clearly demonstrating that the only thing the
Indians needed salvation from was from their self-appointed saviors.
J.S. Slotkin has been often quoted as saying that the White person
may go into his church and talk about Jesus, but the Indian goes into
his teepee and talks with Jesus. [This comment is also often attributed
to his friend Quanah Parker.]
Many of the hallucinogen using groups are now converted Christians
but they have accepted this without compromising what they know in
their hearts to be true concerning their ancient sacraments.
Ott 1995 quotes one Bwiti [Note 68] member as stating to Samorini
that “We are the true Christians. The Catholics have lost the way that
leads you to Christ; the missionaries who offer us their insipid Host
and ask us to abandon Iboga, do not know what they are talking about! ”
(page 24) [Note 69]
The fact that neither the Church nor the authorities can control
what the universe is willing and able to teach to those who will
approach directly and ask holds the key to understanding their
opposition. [Note 70]
[See Ott 1995 for a scholarly and broader discussion of this
religious persecution. Anderson 1980 includes a good discussion about
the missionaries’ zeal to eradicate peyote use along with other native
cultural traditions, here in the United States, as does Stewart 1987.
Szasz 1985 discusses this from a different perspective that sheds
considerable light on the subject.]
While the San Pedro religion is often viewed as an adaptation of
introduced religious traditions, Sharon mentions a recent documentation
of a 1782 legal case against a healer who was accused of healing with a
San Pedro brew. Although the healer fortunately escaped, his
paraphernalia and the description of his healing rituals apparently
closely resembled those still seen in use today.
It has been noted by several sources that although these practices
were persecuted vigorously, the toleration and even acceptance into the
church of such Peruvian healers also occurred so long as they were
considered not to invoke the ‘devil’ in their practices.
I suspect that adoption of Christian elements was done initially for
self preservation. (Very harsh punishments were often given to
hallucinogen users, almost always they involved brutal and extremely
sadistic torture prior to death. I also feel compelled to note that as
was the case in Mexico, the faith survived in spite of the horrible and
miserable deaths of numerous of the faithful.)
I believe that the similar incorporation of Christian dogma and
practices into the peyote faith helped not only to allow its continued
existence and practice but eventually afforded it protection and
support in the US judicial system that has frequently not supported
traditional native or other non-Christian religious practices.
It is not my intention to suggest that either South American healers
or North American Christian peyote-ists are not now sincere and devout
Christians. They practice what they believe to be true; different faces
of perceived truth only appear in conflict to those who have an
incomplete or flawed understanding. If a person holds two teachings to
be true, there is no conflict as long as both are true. Only one that
is false will be threatened by the co-existence of a larger truth.
The origins of the San Pedro faith, while of great antiquity, are
not clear, but as with peyote, I feel compelled to comment on the often
heard idea that such plants were discovered accidentally by starving or
thirsty people eating them.
I must make two points; first, they are not palatable. They have a
strongly bitter and acrid flavor as well as a very mucous-like
consistency to their juice. Far more palatable plants are invariably
found within a few yards of them. Second, it takes a considerable
amount to induce psychoactive effects. In either case it is almost work
and dedicated effort to ingest enough for a truly effective experience.
It is my belief that they were learned of by people who were still
in touch with the world around them and still listened to plants. While
they may learn OF plants from other people with prior experience, if
one examines how healers traditionally learn about plants it is always
by being instructed BY THE PLANT [Note 71]. Ingestion is not a
prerequisite for this transfer of information and learning to occur.
This is a phenomenon that can still be found anywhere that people live
in contact with plants in a truly meaningful sense.
This is often belittled or dismissed by those who do not understand
it or have never experienced it but this does not affect the reality
that this DOES occur, has ALWAYS occurred and STILL occurs to people
who have learned to listen.
The first human pharmacological evaluation of pure mescaline was by
Arthur Heffter; published in 1898.
There was considerable professional interest in mescaline until just
prior to World War Two, at which point, interest seemed to disappear
except for within military circles and as a medical curiosity. Results
of the military and other investigators’ work with hallucinogens
(primarily LSD and mescaline) grew into a resurgence of broad based
interest in the late 1950’s (much of which was stimulated and carried
on by the same people who had been their test subjects). This literally
exploded into the 1960’s, until political disfavor and lack of approval
and funding lead to almost no research interest (or at least funding
and approval) in the late 1970’s.
Curiously much of the work that was done in the 1970’s and early
1980’s was carried on and funded by misguided groups who wanted to
determine what threat of ‘abuse’ potential might be present in
uninvestigated cacti or who sought to prove hallucinogens were as evil
as they were portrayed in the press. Facts to the contrary are never
considered. Much of the research seemed done less to investigate what
was true and more to attempt to support a previously specified outcome.
Why this seems odd and extremely unscientific is due to the fact
that all available hard evidence (and most subjective accounts) has
always shown mescaline to be non-addictive and of minimal abuse
potential. In no case has any toxicological study showing harmful
effects from chronic or acute use been, even remotely, applicable to
mescaline as it is used by humans.
This is a view not held by those who insist that any use is abuse.
In their world view there is no justifiable or allowable use of these
substances for people who are of European origin or whom they feel
‘should be’ Christians or else have no ‘historical right’ [Note 72] to
My suggestion is that the types of people who propagate these ideas
of religious [or, more recently, pharmacratic] control freak origin are
the main causes of most of the ‘problems’ surrounding drug use and
One does not solve a perceived ‘problem’ by making it worse or
creating additional problems.
In December of 1840, Abraham Lincoln wisely observed
“Prohibition…goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to
control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things
which are not crimes…A prohibition Law strikes a blow at the very
laws upon which our government was founded.”
In view of the tattered remnants that remain of the Bill of Rights,
as a direct result of the War on Drugs, his assessment could not have
been more accurate.
The frightening part, as was also true during the ‘witch craze’, is
that many of these people are so brainwashed by intense media
manipulation and propaganda that they do not even realize the basis of
their bigotry and the discriminatory origin of the anti-hallucinogen
laws. In their minds they are not hurting real people that matter but
rather subhuman criminals who deserve to be punished even more severely
than the law will allow. These plants and their people have been
unfairly villianized and demonized to such a degree that it is rare to
find an average person who can view them without an emotional response.
Some of the more legitimate workers quietly persisted in spite of
the lack of approval via official channels. I am grateful for their
vision. Interest and research efforts have quietly been growing over
the last decade or so.
We are once again experiencing a renewal of interest in this
important area as multidisciplinary work is throwing new light upon the
mechanisms of consciousness, the origin of religious and spiritual
experience and the long ignored role which hallucinogenic plants and
substances have played in the developments of both culture and
consciousness. (Terence McKenna has proposed even the development of
For thoughtful and thought provoking [Note 73] essays on the role of
shamanism in early cultures as well as what it has given us that
persists through today, permeating, enriching and shaping our culture,
but usually not recognized as the progenitor, see LaBarre 1979, McKenna
1992, Wasson et al. 1986 & 1961.
These works advance and support the argument that religion was born
not in some far off land of Eden but within the ‘Paradise’ humans found
within the marvels of their own biochemistry and their personal
relationship with their Creator (the Universe).
Whether internally maintained or externally modified, altered states
of consciousness, and even normal waking consciousness itself, are
Everything we think, feel, see, smell, hear and perceive is
chemically mediated and translated into conscious experience within our
brain. Everything we see, all of the time, is a hallucination,
assembled in our brain from the linear signal that our imaging system
creates from scanning the matrix of our retina. What we see is not the
thing itself but rather a waking dream that corresponds to what is
around us (if sane) [Note 74].
The only real difference between waking and dreaming vision is that
waking vision is based on incoming signal (reflected light) while
during sleep we are relatively unresponsive to incoming signal and all
visual information is generated from within.
In both cases, what we see is assembled and presented to us IN OUR
MIND and only APPEARS to be outside of us. This is not a trivial point.
If “God”, or whatever word one chooses to use to describe the
Universe or the universal creative principle, does not exist within
each and every one of us as an integral part of our make-up, and if it
is not accessible to all, regardless of who or where they are, then
that “God” cannot and does not exist.
If someone tells me that I must go through them or their chosen
representatives to interact with the Universal One, they are trying to
lead me astray. I will not willingly or knowingly worship such false
and man-made gods.
The sacramental plants often promote a pronounced enhancement of
spiritual and inspirational perceptions. This has been refuted by a
number of researchers who noted no such effects. Roland Fischer may
have hit the nail on the head when he noted that some people (he calls
them eidetic types) have an increased propensity towards creativity,
inspiration and visionary experiences and others do not. The first
group will find these perceptions and experiences enhanced while the
second will not.
Mescaline and peyote may enhance what is there but they will not
create something that is not there to begin with.
This is not to say the experience is without benefit to all. Some
simply benefit in ways that are apparently not available to others. I
like to think that everyone has the potential for these experiences but
apparently they either do not or, more likely, do not allow it as a
It reminds me of the observation attributed to Alan Watts that “when
you get the message it is time to hang up the phone.” [Note 75] This
comes from the same person who supposedly referred to the amazingly
wondrous DMT [Note 76] as “relatively uninteresting” (and who also
purportedly has worked as an intelligence operative).
While I understand his sentiment, for me it is not a matter of some
mysterious and limited message, although this may hold true for some
Most people do not “get” DMT because they simply do not ingest
enough to understand what it does. Instead they taste of its periphery
and due variously to either its abruptness, distractiveness,
short-duration, overwhelming intensity, extreme weirdness or some other
factor they can’t assimilate – often simply for lack of reference
points – mistakenly conclude it is of no value and never penetrate
deeper into its mystery.
I find new information and learning opportunities unique to EVERY
spiritual experience, no matter how or where it originated.
I do not rely or depend on any plant or substance for these
experiences but, while my use is normally infrequent, I also do not
perceive them to contain any type of limited or bounded ‘information’.
Nor do I believe my avenues of available spiritual techniques are to
be limited by and based upon the decisions of those of other faiths or
upon their limits of perception or their perceived ‘political
correctness’ [Note 77].
Entheogens are simply tools, actually biochemical software for our
nervous system, for exploring our consciousness and our relationship to
the Universe and our creator. They should not be overused, given
unrealistic expectations of what they can or cannot do, or be expected
to somehow do the work for us. They do not, they are simply teachers
and vehicles into a sacred space of expanded possibilities. Who we are
and what we do is what matters. Use of these drugs can augment but can
never take the place of inner work. We must do the actual work both
while ‘in state’ and, more importantly, when we return.
I consider the act sacred but not in some dead and somber fashion.
To me, it is alive and vibrant. For me, it is this way with
everything sacred that is real and true. The deadly serious and somber
tones that characterize worship for some people may be right for them
but I find much of what is portrayed as sacred to be a worship and
glorification of death, misery and suffering.
Anna Lee Skarin may have best summed up the difference between the
two groups of Christians one frequently encounters as being most easily
determined by which they hold most important; the joyous celebration of
the sacredness of life, the resurrection and the empty cross
symbolizing the triumph over death or whether their focus is on the
blood sacrifice, Christ’s death, misery and suffering, venerating his
dying body willingly hanging in bloody agony from the cross.
This is not an insignificant difference in viewpoints. While their
message is purported to be one of love, peace, stewardship and
brotherhood, the second historically has seemed to be all too willing
and eager to inflict suffering and misery on all they encounter who do
not agree with them.
Consider a portion of the text of the “Requirement”, a standard
legal document presented, without translation, to Peruvian people being
demanded to accept Christianity by the Spanish invaders:
“If you do not accept the faith or if you maliciously delay in doing
so, I certify that with God’s help I will advance powerfully against
you and make war on you wherever and however I am able, and will
subject you to the yoke and obedience of the Church and of their
majesties and take your women and children as slaves and dispose of
them as their majesties may order, and I will take your possessions and
do all the harm and damage that I can.”( Davis1997)
This has not changed in either substance or intent; it has only been
modified into a modern and more socially acceptable format.
In an all-too-real sense their victims are simply modern and
socially acceptable forms of literal human sacrifice. Lives are not
always taken but a life destroyed or a person who is no longer
considered a person or who cannot contribute to society or to their
family is still a very real loss of life.
For those who doubt that this IS a cultural purge, take a look at
the thought, motivation and sentiment behind it and consider these
comments, all spoken quite seriously, by just a few supporters and
champions of the “Drug Wars” (most were included by Szasz and/or
The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
1932: “We regard voluntary total abstinence from all intoxicants as the
obligation [Note 78] of the citizen, and the complete legal prohibition
of the traffic in alcoholic drinks as the duty of the civil
Richard Nixon (1971): “America’s Public Enemy No. 1 is drug abuse.”
Malcom Easterlin (1941) [Title of article in Scribner’s Commentator]
“Peyote – Indian Problem #1.”
George Bush (1989):
[Drugs] “have no conscience…They just murder people.” Bush has
also been quoted as claiming “Casual drug use is responsible for the
casualties of the drug war…Dabblers in drugs bear responsibility for
the blood being spilled.” [Ed.: How is this so different from “I can’t
stop hurting you unless you do as I say” or “It’s your fault I’m
Orrin Hatch (On PBS’s Frontline “The War on Marijuana”):
“Keep in mind, these growers and these pushers – they’re killing our
They’re the reason we have such a drug culture in this society,
that’s just wrecking this country in a lot of respects. [Ed.: Talk
about confusing cause & effect!]
In all honesty I think that when you have people who are pushing
drugs on our kids, who are pushing at all, we ought to get tough as
nails on them […] we ought to lock them up and throw away the key.”
George Bush (excerpted on tape – “The Hemp Revolution”): “Our nation
has zero tolerance for casual drug use…If you do drugs you will be
caught and when you’re caught, you will be punished…Now I can imagine
a few whispers out there, we’ll never get drugs under control, it’s too
easy to get dealers back on the street, well those days are over too;
the revolving door just jammed. Some think there won’t be enough room
for them in jail. We’ll make room – we’re almost doubling prison space.
Some think there aren’t enough prosecutors – we’ll hire them with the
largest increase in Federal prosecutors in history.”
[At this point the narrator stated that at THAT time 20% of all
Federal convictions were marijuana related, with 440,000 arrests, of
mainly young people, every year in the US for marijuana. Ed.: As of
1993 over 60% of all prisoners in Federal facilities were incarcerated
on drug related charges. In 1999, 87% of all drug related arrests were
for simple possession.
Thanks to mandatory minimums, the abolition of parole in drug cases,
and modifications of the federal conspiracy laws, we are witnessing the
birth of the American Gulag.]
Nancy Reagan (1988): “Any user of illicit drugs is an accomplice to
Darrell Gates (1990 – former Los Angeles chief of police and founder
of the DARE program [Note 79]; speaking to the US Senate): “…casual
user and what you do with the whole group. The casual user ought to be
taken out and shot, because he or she has no reason for using drugs.”
Gates later emphasized that he was serious when making that statement
and that marijuana smokers were guilty of treason.
William Bennet (1990 – nicotine addict and former Drug Czar): “It
[drug abuse] is a product of the Great Deceiver….We need to bring to
these people in need the God who heals.”
and in 1989, “The casual adult user is in some ways the most
dangerous person because that person is a carrier. First use invariably
involves the free and enthusiastic offer of a drug by a friend. This
friend – or ‘carrier’, in epidemiological terms – is seldom a hard-core
addict…A nonaddict’s drug use, in other words, is highly contagious.”
William Bennet has also stated (in an interview with David Brinkley)
that ethically no trial is required before killing citizens suspected
of dealing drugs [Ed.: the important word here is ‘suspected’], later
stating of drug dealers, “You deserve to die”, and expressing
satisfaction when some suspected drug dealers were murdered. [Again the
key word is ‘suspected’.]
Myles Ambrose, Special Attorney General in charge of the Office for
Drug Abuse (1973): “Drug people are the very vermin of humanity…”
[Where have we heard these words before?]
Anonymous comment taken in a Gallup poll (1973): “The seller of
drugs is not human…therefore he should be removed from society.”
Neil McCafrey (1973 – letter to editor, National Review): “Alcohol
is a good that can be abused. With dope it is otherwise…Taking dope
is a form of mutilation, and mutilation is forbidden by natural law.”
Edward Koch (1984 – commenting on a deliberate suicide that used an
overdose of cocaine and two other drugs): “[He] was killed by a drug
pusher. I believe the person who sold him those drugs is guilty of
murder.” Koch also expressed a desire for capital punishment for such a
‘crime’ on a national level.
Rev. Jesse Jackson (1990): “Drugs are poison. Taking drugs is a sin.
Drug use is morally debased and sick.” and “Since the flow of drugs
into the U.S. is an act of terrorism, antiterrorist policies must be
applied….If someone is transmitting the death agent to Americans,
that person should face wartime consequences. line must be drawn.”
A.M. Rosenthal (1989 – New York Times columnist): “…denounces even
the slightest show of tolerance toward illegal drugs as an act of
iniquity deserving comparison to the defense of slavery.”
Rosenthal has also written: “Inevitably the time will come when
people of the country will no longer stand for it. They will seek the
solution in death penalties and martial force. They will stop caring
how many prisoners are crowded into a cell or how they are treated,
just as long as they are off the streets. They will support judges and
legislators and politicians who understand their sense of hopelessness
against drugs and who will support repression as a national policy.
Repression will satisfy a totally understandable and justifiable public
sense of fury and frustration.”
[Accordingly this person is a key figure in the Partnership for a
Drug-Free America, a well-funded propaganda machine openly dedicated
towards hate-mongering and shifting public perception into a
‘witch-craze’ mentality of ‘zero-tolerance’ by saturating the media
with a perennial flood of outrageous, unsubstantiated lies and
erroneous ‘facts’, often deliberately and deceptively fabricated to
suit their purposes.
A telling fact as to one of the real purposes (anti-free market
activity) of this misinformation organ can be easily observed by noting
that half of their reported financial support comes directly from the
alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries.]
Father George Clements (1990): “I’m all for whatever tactics have to
be used. If that means they are trampling on civil liberties, so be it.”
One drug cop told a reporter “We’re talking scum here. Air should be
illegal if they breathe it.”
Miller 1996 also includes similar sentiments expressed by an SS
officer concerning the Jewish prisoners he was in charge of: “Those
aren’t people – they have to be handled quite differently.”
Glester Hinds (1973 – comment on Rockefeller’s proposal of mandatory
life sentences without parole for heroin dealers): “I don’t think the
Governor went far enough. It should be included in his bill as capital
punishment because these murderers need to be gotten rid of completely.”
William F. Buckley (1973): “…it is not, I think, inappropriate to
suggest that a condign means of ridding the world of convicted heroin
pushers is to prescribe an overdose. …there is a rabbinical
satisfaction in the idea that the pusher should leave this world in
such circumstances as he has caused others to leave it.” [It should be
pointed out that NO ONE causes another person either to buy or to use
drugs. People CHOOSE to use drugs and those who do so ACTIVELY seek
Forrest “Chubby” Grigg (1977 – Sentenced to 5 years probation for
shooting his sleeping 20 year old son in the head for using drugs. He
plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter after the jury deadlocked 9 to 3
in favor of acquittal.):
“I didn’t care what the sentence was. It didn’t enter my mind. There
wasn’t any question about me killing him.”
“I would say I’d probably be condemned for doing it. But I had two
different men come up to me after the trial and say they came awful
close to doing that themselves…”
After acknowledging that his son was not addicted and only used
marijuana and valium, he continued:
“But my estimation is any drugs are dangerous. He was using pills,
marijuana, cheap wine. He was not on the needle.
But you mix any one of those with alcohol and it gives you more
kick. He got to where he had no ambition or attention for anything.”
[Justification for murder? Apparently 9 out of 12 of his peers thought
Miller 1996 [Drug Warriors and their Prey] mentioned some even more
chilling accounts: The director of the Bureau of Narcotics and
Dangerous Drugs told Nixon’s drug war advisor Egil Krogh that the only
effective way to stop drug dealers was by assassinating them. While he
later excused his remark, it was eventually discovered that such a plan
was supported by people in the White House and that the White House had
asked the BNDD to prepare this type of program. Krogh admitted that
assassinations of this type had been conducted in South-East Asia and
it was implied by his assistants that they actually were more
widespread, especially in Latin America.
Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, a member of a governmental commission
studying marijuana, recalled a conversation with BNDD officials: “There
was some talk about establishing hit squads (assassination teams), as
they are said to have in a South American country. It was stated that
with 150 key assassinations, the entire heroin refining operation can
be thrown into chaos.” [Ed: With “150 key assassinations” it might be
suspected that virtually ANY industry, or even government, “can be
thrown into chaos”.]
Reportedly the National Security Council, during former CIA director
George Bush’s presidency, prepared approval for death squad murders of
suspected drug dealers. [Once again the key word here is “suspected”.]
If death squads have become an acceptable form of American
‘justice’, can fascism be very far behind? [Has it not already reached
Is the rejected plan, offered by CIA agents assigned to the Office
of National Narcotics Intelligence, that poisoning illegal cocaine
supplies would be an effective approach to the drug problem, really so
far removed from the approved plan to spray Paraquat, said to be
undetectable by users if harvested soon after spraying, and to cause
serious lung damage if smoked? Is it really justifiable? Our courts
believe that it is. [Interestingly enough, the growing increase of
restrictions against receiving government benefits in instances of drug
convictions substantially reduces the federally induced cancer and
respiratory disease cases that federal health agencies will have to
treat and pay for in the future.]
While murderous or, at the least, deliberately injurious, it is not
as if this does not have historical precedent. During Prohibition, when
liquor sales were made illegal but drinking was not illegal, the
government ordered the poisoning of industrial alcohol in order to
seriously harm anyone who drank it. “Denaturing” is still with us.
As Miller points out, if a citizen attempted to take similar action
even if done to protect their life and property, they would be indicted
for murder (or at least attempted murder). Tactics like this could
never be applied without widespread public outrage in any area other
than substance use.
Miller also makes the observation: “Murder squads are not allowed to
arrange murders; arson squads are not allowed to arrange arsons….drug
squads can facilitate crimes they “solve,” using informants to arrange
felonies on demand…informants can persuade friends to do things that
friends would not do for strangers….When law enforcement
agencies…become major purchasers of narcotics, they make someone…a
much more important-appearing dealer…had not close to twelve thousand
dollars of narcotics been purchased from him by the State… Narcotics
police inevitably are part of the ‘dope rings’ they themselves help to
Similarly, it is well known that the DEA has operated chemical and
laboratory supply companies that provided people with manufacturing
information and technical assistance, enabling people to synthesize
drugs, and allowed them to get running long enough to make ‘worthwhile’
This included newcomers, amateurs and many others who never would
have or could have been able to do so without their assistance. The DEA termed their operations a success. As a cultural purge is less one of removing those guilty on a crime by crime basis and more one of detecting and removing an offensive ideology they may well have been a success, but if ever the word disingenuous fit.
I know one person, who, while never dealing in drugs, not even being
a drug user, originally came from an area in Mexico where marijuana
production was the local economy and knew many people involved with
various aspects of drug trafficking. A friend from school, that he had
not seen in quite a while, knew all of this, showed up and literally
begged him daily for weeks to provide the phone number of a mutual
acquaintance, a pilot. Finally, my friend consented, only to be later
arrested, named as the ‘kingpin’ and eventually convicted as a drug
trafficker. The entire thing was a set-up, with his ‘friend’ attempting
to plea bargain his way out of previous drug charges by providing
additional arrests. The ‘drug ring’ that was ‘broken’ never existed. It
was entirely created BY THE INFORMER to save his ass. This is not an
The law has led to the creation of a class of professional informers
who create cases [Note 80] not only to save themselves but manufacture
new ones and make serious money. The abuses of this are rampant and
well documented. We will all hear more about this and property seizure
abuses in the future.
Frontline on PBS covered the issue nicely in an episode entitled
“Snitch”; it is available as a videotape and on the Frontline website
There has been more than one instance where investigations concluded
that any evidence of illegal activity was lacking and that the only
motivation for the raids was the uncorroborated word of a unidentified
paid professional snitch.
In one such case, a 45 year old computer executive in San Diego was
shot three times during a middle of the night assault on his home by
agents equipped with night vision goggles and automatic weapons (in a
joint DEA, ATF, Customs & Border Patrol attack). We are unlikely to
ever learn exactly how widespread this has actually been as the
government quickly settled the resulting lawsuit out-of-court for $2.75
million with the stipulation that details of the incident never be
discussed in the future and that even the government’s reports of its
own actions be classified. According to the National Law Journal, an
unreleased DEA report stated outright that agents knew that the
informant, who’s word generated the search warrant, was lying and that
they knew this prior to launching their assault.
See Levine 1996 for a disturbing account or see a US congressional
report he cited ponderously entitled “Serious Mismanagement and
Misconduct in the Treasury Department, Customs Service and Other
Federal Agencies and the Adequacy of Efforts to Hold Agency Officials
The National Law Journal released the following information after a
9 month investigation:
In 1992, millionaire Donald P. Scott was shot and killed during a
middle of the night raid after an anonymous informant claimed he was
growing marijuana. No drugs were found. After an independent
investigation, the Ventura County District Attorney concluded that the
original search was an attempted “land grab” aimed at Scott’s 200-acre,
$5 million dollar ranch. (Needless to say neither the sheriff’s
department nor the State Attorney General agreed.)
Use of confidential informants in obtaining federal search warrants
rose from 46% in 1980 to 92% in 1993. The number of federal search
warrants that relied ENTIRELY on the word of a SINGLE unidentified
snitch (now called a “confidential informant”) jumped from 24% to 71%
between 1980 and 1993.
These issues are far too large to deal with here but it is worth
recalling the old adage “He who would steal from Peter to pay Paul can
always depend on the support of Paul.”.
One of the most important questions remains unanswered despite the
Justice Department’s official rationalization affirming it as an
acceptable double standard:
How is it that it is constitutionally illegal for the defense to pay
any witness for their testimony but is now perfectly acceptable if the
prosecution pays their witnesses [Note 81]?
In some cases the government is on record as having paid convicted
drug traffickers hundreds of thousands of dollars, releasing them from
lengthy terms in prison (some were there on MURDER charges serving
multiple life sentences), and relocating them and their entire families
under the witness protection program, all at the tax-payer’s expense,
in exchange for their testimony.
Or, how is it that widespread deliberate suppression of evidence by
prosecutors is well known and well documented yet is allowed to go not
just unpunished but is left unchecked? [Note 82] The phrase
“testilying” (meaning deliberately lying while under oath to aid in
acheiving a conviction) was actually created by law enforcement not by
the general public. [It’s just drug users; not really people.] [Note
Even a rational assessment of the current law is vigorously fought
against. As a multi-billion dollar industry has sprung up suckling on
the Drug War-chest’s teats, this is hardly surprising.
Consider this though. If a person is denied the right to secure
property, is denied the reasonable right to housing they can afford, is
denied the right to employment, to education, the ability to operate a
motor vehicle, public health services, etcetera; what choice is society
leaving them except to be a criminal?
And, is this not the plan and outcome of “Zero tolerance” fully
Stop for a moment and consider applying the principles of automatic
asset seizures at time of arrest to other crimes such as theft and
fraud. Does anyone think it could be broadly applied and be supported
by the courts? Our courts do not always even consider it necessary for
a corrupt politician or most thieves to repay their victims or
surrender their ill-gotten gains, yet do not mind when a drug-using
person loses their home for growing or selling a God-given plant.
Yet, if it is applied and supported by the Courts in this instance,
precedence suggests that it soon will be applied more broadly, if for
no other reason than to test just how far it can be. Already we see
cautious but similar in-roads being made into other areas such as fraud.
Some have insisted that there is no different standard of law
applied or intended to be applied to drug violators than to any other
perceived criminals. Consider this (from the Anti-Drug Abuse Act;
Public Law 100-690 which passed into law in 1988):
“The Attorney General shall study the feasibility of prosecuting
Federal drug-related offenses in a manner alternative or supplemental
to the current criminal justice system.” (Sect. 6293)
Did I get your attention?
Consider what was attempted to be included in this law (until
deleted by the Senate): The proposed legislation included a section
that removed the right to trial by jury and further specified that a
citizen could be declared guilty and sentenced without a trial. While
this provision was eventually removed from the bill, sec. 6480 still
specifies that in some instances a trial is not automatic but rather
must be requested.
Already special “drug courts” operating in Florida boast nearly 100%
Just say “It can’t happen here”
True Christians manifest Christian values to all people, not just
those who agree with them. Unfortunately true Christians are few and far between. (Its worth pondering Nietzsche’s claim that the last true Christian died on a cross.)
Even worse, far too many decent people who are otherwise sincere in
their beliefs have been swayed by the long-standing example of those
who are not and have mistaken their perverted message for the truth.
When one is trained to be a sheep it is very easy to go with the flock.
And, even worse, those non-users who do see it for what it is and
would like to object, do not dare as they would instantly find
themselves ridiculed, scorned and attacked. Lives and careers have
certainly been maliciously destroyed for very little in some instances.
As this is well known, few wish to join the ranks of dubious martyrs or
make such sacrifices for people they may feel for but often do not
As for a drug user in the group [Note 84], they will find themselves
identified as drug users, dehumanized and rapidly removed from
consideration, if not the picture. The loss of a job or a rented
dwelling from simply admitting to having been or being, or even if just
suspected of being, a drug user is commonly tolerated without recourse
in many parts of the country and is now expected should this involve a
There are many groups involved in this and I do not intend to single
out Christians for blame but as Christianity IS not only involved but
plays a very major role, not only with a long standing power of
influence historically but also currently, it must be viewed as a
factor. One of the most horrible things about this War is that much of
it is being waged by Christians against Christians. Not that this is a
new thing, of course. A common comment we’ve heard is that they are
“not Christian enough”.
Some may feel I am too harsh on Christians and attack Christianity
itself [Note 85]. So far, this has been the primary criticism offered
by those who have proofed this text and offered comment.
I have no problems with Christianity or anyone else’s religious
beliefs. It is the so-called and self-proclaimed Christians, their
interpretations and forced applications I have problems with. Or, for
that matter, any other religion who’s members want to impose their
beliefs over me without my consent.
If they would actually behave as if they were what they wanted us to
think of as Christians, the world would be a wonderful place. It still
is, in spite of the very evil and, in the truest senses of the word,
satanic elements currently masquerading as organized Christianity.
Hatred, injustice, discrimination, bigotry, persecution, intolerance
or outright condemnation of those different from oneself and ‘righteous
indignation’ are not Christian values in spite of the fact that many
have been embraced and perhaps even actively promoted as such since as
long ago as when Paul ‘miraculously’ transformed his intolerance of
Christians into intolerance of non-Christians (and apparently of
non-Jewish Christians). These are not values worth having or
A true Christian is supposedly identified by their love and
brotherhood [Note 86]; even for their enemies. They should know the
truth in their heart and not require the agreement of others to know
its validity. They do not spread deliberate harm, evil and injustice.
Nor do they unjustly deprive other people of things that are by right
theirs, such as freedom, property, jobs, children and the many other
things which the Most UnHoly War on Drugs maliciously cheats people out
The currently promoted phrase “love the person, hate the sin” is far
too frequently used in order to claim love for someone who is actively
being harmed as a result of their condemnation. ‘Love’ exists as a word
but the reality is anything but loving. The reality of this phrase is
simply a delusion to justify one being able to continue to consider
themself a Christian while deliberately and knowingly committing very
While self-proclaimed (and false) Christians are common, true
Christians are as rare as four leaf clovers. Many otherwise decent
people have been lead astray by the long-established doctrine of
intolerance and persecution of those who are different from themselves.
I have actually had ‘devout’ Christians explain to me that the
message of Christian love and brotherhood was intended only for those
who are also Christians. They somehow could not see the hypocrisy in
I do not condemn these people for their blindness. I only discuss
them for who they are and hope that their eyes are someday, somehow,
opened to the truth of the horrendous and hideous evil that they
mistakenly promote in the name of ‘Christ’.
People too often forget that the foundation of what gave birth to
modern Christianity was not one of the free choice by the citizens of
Rome but rather one of a people declared to be Constantine’s flavor of
Christianity. What had been formalized as the ritual persecution of
Christians and other enemies of Rome became that of the ritual
persecution of non-Christians, unapproved Christian sects and other
perceived enemies of the pax roman. The players, their actions and the
intent were unchanged, only the mask they wore was altered [Note 87].
Life is joyous and filled with beauty. Life should be celebrated
with joy and thankfulness, not a promotion or glorification of death.
There is enough death & suffering in the world without actively
trying to promote it. Iron fisted control and brutal subjugation of any
opposition, or threat to its control, was the way of the Romans and
later, the Roman Catholic Church; it was never a part of the teachings
Life should be centered around tolerance, love and forgiveness. Not
bigotry, hatred and condemnation.
I find that Peyote and the sacramental plants reinforce and enhance
this perception. They do not create it. Beauty, sacredness and the
wondrousness of life exist. If people choose to ignore or disregard it,
this is their choice. The beauty is there whether they see it or not.
Their limited range of perceptions should not be forced down the
throats of those of us who do not agree.
We each respond differently to drugs. Some loathe life and prefer to
dull themselves and their perceptions with alcohol. I abhor this
approach but do not condemn others for it. What is needed is some
tolerance and respect for each other’s right to worship (or not
worship) and to experience life in whatever way we believe best so long
as we cause no harm to others.
Restrictions against entheogen use may be currently misrepresented
and erroneously promoted as a public health issue but this does not
alter or affect the impetus and source of origin of their prohibition.
As noted elsewhere here, despite repeated claims that it was
inappropriate use that caused the passage of modern anti-hallucinogen
laws, the truth of the matter is that this issue arose because of WHO
was using these drugs and WHY they were using them, not HOW they were
Despite admitting that she knew of no reports of overdoses,
illnesses or deaths caused by peyote, Jean Maxwell, a “researcher” with
the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse said that the use of
peyote among Native Americans is “dangerous”; apparently because she
fears its acceptance among them will cause peyote use to spread to
those of other cultural backgrounds. Her concerns about Peyote seem to
largely stem from it being classified as a hallucinogen despite the
fact that not one of the “significant problems with hallucinogens” she
mentioned has ever been associated with peyote (or mescaline) use by
either traditional or nontraditional users. Grant 2000.
I would suggest that the same processes that created us have been
placed the hallucingens at our disposal for the purposes for which we
still use them. It is not something the universe somehow intended for
one cultural group and no other. It is thinking such as was expressed
by Grant which has caused some thinkers to refer to religion itself as
a cultural virus. If we were to accept this as reality one would have
to hold all religions in a similar light and insist that only the
cultural group creating a given reliion should be permitted to worship
in that fashion.
The use of hallucinogens is not new. It predates even the idea of
Christianity by at least some millennia. It, and any other forms of
worship involving direct experiential spiritual perception, have also
been specifically targeted by organized Christians for obliteration as
competing belief systems and a threat to the monopolistic religious
control craved ever since Christianity first became formalized as the
State religion. This is not an opinion. It is an observation based on
very well established and historically documented facts.
The idea that any valid forms of spiritual expression can be
legislated or proscribed is abhorrent, especially in a country that is
purportedly founded upon freedom of religion.
Unfortunately too many Americans believe only in ‘freedom of
religion for those who believe as we do’ [Note 88]. I suspect that in
spite of the frequent criticism leveled against such groups as the
U.d.V., the Santo Daime, the Bwiti, the Tarahumara and the San Pedro
faiths for incorporating Christian elements and dogma, they would not
have enjoyed any toleration by the Church or by the government in their
native lands had they not formally presented themselves as Christians
and utilized their dogma. I also suspect that the NAC would not have
found the protection they did under US law if they had not taken a
LaBarre’s comment on Christians perhaps being the best judge of
whether peyote-ists are Christians is almost comical in view of the
incessant bickering (and sometimes outright warfare) between the
various Christian factions about who is and who isn’t the ‘true’
Christians. With all Christians insisting they themselves are ‘true’
Christians, of course.
It perhaps should be recalled that even Baptists were not only
denounced but legally banned from some regions in America’s early
years. If the suggestion was taken literally and applied in practice,
not only the NAC, but “Holy Rollers” and the Church of the Latter Day
Saints (Mormons) would cease to exist if their acceptance as a
Christian faith was allowed to be validated by the opinion of other
Christian faiths from which they might take away members.
Too often people forget that it was an angry mob of Christians,
fearful that the Mormons were growing too fast and powerful, that
seized and murdered Mormon leader Joseph Smith, in 1844, while he was
locked in the Carthage, Illinois jail. Or that earlier, in Missouri,
the Governor, also a Christian, had issued an order, in 1838, that
Mormons were to be killed outright if they could not be driven out of
The Mormons still exist, thrive and continue to grow in spite of an
unending plethora of charges of disingenuousness, bogusness, deception
and falseness leveled at them by other Christian groups since their
earliest of days. We will hear these words again.
Similarly, some Appalachian Pentecostals still exist who, in their
practice of worship, handle poisonous snakes [Note 89] during the
services (sometimes even ecstatically dancing with them) and drink weak
strychnine solutions, in spite of widespread local laws forbidding
either practice. Yet even in those areas with strict and active
enforcement of the prohibitions these practices are still conducted in
secret services. The fact that even when legal, very few practitioners
will seek or even accept medical treatment if bitten does not support
the claim that the bans are necessary for the ‘public’s health’.
Interestingly, the Texas State Comptroller’s office refused to
recognize a Zen Buddhist organization as a religious organization,
stating that it’s worshippers appeared [to them] to be “worshipping
themselves” as they lacked a formally designated Supreme Being.
They further maintained that Zen Buddhism itself could not even be
classified as a religion as it lacked a formal statement of faith, a
formal congregation, initiation rituals, and an altar, ALL of which
they considered to be “forms” that were essential to any church.
John Sharp, the Comptroller at the time, invoked what the ACLU
called an unwritten policy that to be a religion a group MUST profess
belief in a Supreme Being [Note 90].
Apparently, the only ways for them to circumvent this was to either
pay the IRS $500 and gain tax-exempt status from them, which the
Comptroller’s office would have no choice but to recognize [Note 91],
or, interestingly enough, to be listed in the directory of religious
organizations that are approved by the Catholic Diocese (as some
Buddhist organizations are).
A frequent misunderstanding encountered in the literature is that we
worship these plants as “God”. While they are held with the highest
regard, honor, awe and love this is a distortion of the truth.
Sometimes Native people may present this in ways that are interpreted
by White Christians to mean that they are held to be God. They may even
state it as such. Native people often view the world in different terms
and do not draw the same lines nor make the same limited
differentiations which many Westerners hold. It is more a matter of
point of view than anything else. Theirs is generally a more open and
encompassing point of view of reality and understanding that is readily
misinterpreted by the sad Western tendency towards lock-step,
reductionist thought [Note 92].
It is far too frequent that the veneration of the Great Spirit seen
manifest in a thing of natural beauty or power is characterized by
Christians as some type of ‘heathen’ practice of idolatry or worship of
a rock or tree judged by the Christian as somehow existing and being
worshipped separately from the rest of the universe.
In some ways it can be viewed as a god in that it is a face of the
sacred Infinite and offers us opportunity for access and healing.
Peyote is a teacher that may instruct us in the specifics of proper
worship but it does not misrepresent itself as a god. It is only a god
in the sense that we all are ‘gods’. Like us, it is a face of the
Infinite but not the totality. We all exist as smaller but somewhat
holographic parts of the whole. Entheogens simply allow us a larger
range within our experience of the Universe and our Creator during
worship or spiritual work.
As mentioned earlier, not everyone is psychologically equipped to
accept this sacred experience. This can be very threatening to those
who hold to rigid and preconceived ideas about reality or self and ‘the
other’. The realization that the ‘lines’ between ‘self’ and the ‘other’
are rather arbitrary and artificial constructs, which exist only to
enable us to interact with the world, can prove a powerful threat to
people with limited world views, over-developed egos or a fragile grasp
Some people simply are not equipped to handle a larger world view.
No one has the right to force them to do so as it can be a very real
and destructive influence for people who cling to an artificially
constructed or false and limited view of the nature of reality as their
life-line to sanity. This is the primary reason that mentally ill
people should not use hallucinogens. For the rest of us they pose
little risk (other than legal).
Some of us have no problem seeing a larger view and still retaining
the ability to remain ‘sane’. The fact that some people apparently
cannot experience the sacred as sacred does not alter its nature.
Sacredness is an inherent quality that does not rely on the observer to make it true. A sacred place will remain a sacred place regardless of who views it and how they regard it. A masterful work of art or a magnificent natural creation does not require my approval or that of anyone else in order for it to be a thing of great beauty or power.
The viewer only defines the viewed for themselves, they do not define its existence for the rest of the universe. Unfortunately in our culture homogeneity of appearance, manner and thought is held in high regard — if an idea is not shared by most or all is is viewed with distrust or flatly rejected without consideration.
Just the fact that a person can experience a hallucinogen, a work of
art or a sacred place in whatever limited way is available to them may
have importance and value to them. No one can judge another’s spiritual
experiences or, more importantly, their worth to them by what others
hold true for themselves. No person (or group) has the moral
impeccability, the right or the wisdom to choose a religion for another.
I hold this to be true of the sacraments themselves as well. It is
true that not all who use them do so with sacred intent. While I do not
personally approve, I also realize that this may be as close as they
dare come and even such feeble attempts may have value for them. It is
far less of an error for them to use them in this way that it is for
the sacraments to be forbidden for any reason.
Some people are incapable of allowing themselves freedom to fully
explore the nonphysical. Some of them may be able to make only feeble
forays into that world but at least they are seeking in the right
Even a shallow and feeble attempt may have value in and of itself.
In the act of seeking they may find something that will correct
their erroneous beliefs. It was my heavily recreational and utterly
profane use of both the hallucinogens and many far harder drugs, during
my teenage years, that led me eventually to meet the Peyote in person;
to be shown that what I was doing was in error and to be given the
opportunity to be educated as to how I should approach it in the
My entire belief system surrounding entheogenic drug use was both
changed and born of that experience. While I do not condemn others for
doing so, I can never again consume hallucinogens for purely
“recreational” purposes, and no longer use or desire other drugs, but
will always remain conscious that this is an acquired and educated
awareness originating out of, but liberating me from, a profound state
of ignorance. What others choose is their business. I am thankful to
these plants for what they taught me. It is my belief that they saved
Not everyone chooses to listen. No one has the right to force any
spiritual belief on them. The opportunity is there but it must be their
Even if their use of these plants is not based on religious intent
they have a right to use them. Any prohibitions to the contrary are a
religious prohibition. Freedom of religion does not simply mean freedom
of choosing a religion but freedom from having a religion prescribed
for them. There is absolutely NOTHING inherently wrong with eating
mushrooms or cacti or using DMT [Note 93]. Altering consciousness IS
NOT WRONG. Nor is the natural world somehow morally wrong. All are
natural and normal.
The use must be protected for ALL for ANY to have truly free access
[Note 94]. Despite how it has been painted to appear, this is not a
criminal issue but rather involves basic civil rights & liberties.
This perhaps was best put by Jean-François Revel, in his classic The
Totalitarian Temptation: “Those who do not understand that freedom has
value in itself, though its expression necessarily produces evil as
well as good, are poorly suited to the culture of democracy.”
While LaBarre’s divergent opinions on who should (Native Americans)
and who shouldn’t be allowed to use hallucinogens [Note 95] (everyone
else except perhaps artists and poets) will be mentioned again, it must
be noted that it is precisely this failure to accept the fact that the
responsible exploration of altered states of consciousness is a normal
and healthy thing and that it is the resulting failure of our judicial
system to affirm our rights both to self-medication and personal
control over our own consciousness and spiritual experiences that
repeatedly allows the NAC to find themselves unjustly dragged back into
Unless this basic human right is recognized and guaranteed for all,
even their protection is built on a shifting foundation.
As mentioned above, even many of Quanah Parker’s direct descendants
are legally forbidden from such worship, on racial grounds, by Texas
It is curious that in a land of religious freedom and purported
guarantees of equal rights and opportunities under the law that the
criteria legally prescribed by our state government for being a member
of the NAC is blatantly racist [Note 96] in nature.
In one perverse twist a more recent move is to base qualification
for NAC membership on being part of a Federally recognized tribe. Which
leaves any group that was nontribal and did not enter into treaty
negotiations withe US government out of the picture. That interestingly
includes all of the indigenous people who were living in the south
Texas prior to the invasion of the “New World”.
Or that this can be applied by a religious majority traditionally
bent on exterminating the same faiths but now attacking them through
The Greeks only required a vow of secrecy, an entry fee, that a
person speak Greek and had not murdered anyone, for the once in a
lifetime admission to the Eleusinian Mysteries. It is amazing that our
law makers somehow found it both necessary and proper to legislate
acceptable spiritual avenues in deference to the religious beliefs of
the majority religions. [Of course, a quick analysis would find that
most people drafting and voting on such laws belonged to that same
Worship and spiritual experience by nature is a personal one that
cannot and should not be dictated, prescribed or legislated.
Considering those who do are invariably of an opposing faith (be it
formally religious or a secular view created from within the context of
a puritanical society and deluged with decades of propaganda) there is
an inherent bias and conflict of interest. This is unlikely to change
as those who have purchased control of our government, and hence
manipulation capabilities over our legal system, are not likely to
willingly relinquish their control.
I do not advocate that anyone violate the law. It is a grim fact of
reality that the faithful of the myriad of PharmacoGnostic [Note 97]
approaches must do so to follow their spiritual path. This work and its
companions are offered simply to better enable people who choose these
paths to have a safer and more productive journey. While supporting a
redress of the law this is not likely to happen until the oldest
generations that are alive today have passed into the grave.
The descendants of the same forces who have targeted our kind for
eradication, from their formation 1500 years ago in Italy, continue not
only to plague us today but have organized in such a way as to largely
direct and control policy making in our country. It would be a long and
protracted battle and both the resources and power of numbers are on
We are an unorganized and minority religion with minimal, if any,
support or protection under the law. As such, we cannot even hope for a
fair day in court, much less for a re-evaluation of those laws that
suppress our beliefs.
It is simply our tragedy to be born in these times. The true
believers will quietly persist in worship, as always, amidst secrecy.
Neither laws nor threat of death have destroyed us before and they will
not now. They may continue to destroy the lives of many individuals
among us but never the faith. This faith has always been here and will be here long after our society and civilization have faded from human memory. In this we can take heart.
A few closing comments:
I am in an uncomfortable and unenviable position of having to
criticize a comment by Weston LaBarre, someone I respect and who’s
opinion is overall held in the highest of regard. I find myself forced
to do this as it characterizes a frequently encountered attitude and
sentiment that not only misses the mark but is largely responsible for
the continuation of the horrendous social cleansing our country is
As Dr. Szasz points out, those who decry the excessive actions taken
against drug users and drug dealers entirely miss the point that use
and sales of drugs Are Neither inherently wrong nor are they in any way
unnatural. Drug use has occurred for as long as humans have been around
and a trade in drugs is clearly evidenced to very early times,
including in Western Europe.
Paul Devereux 1997 [Note 98] presents a nice overview and summation
of what is known concerning prehistoric use of drugs worldwide.
Dr. Andrew Weil may have best summed up the current situation in
comments he made concerning marijuana use among young people and its
attendant social problems:
“The desire to have altered consciousness is basically healthy and
normal. It can have bad expressions and I think in our society there is
no recognition of that desire and we don’t teach young people how to
satisfy it in healthy ways. It is obvious we are going to see a lot of
negative expressions.” [statement included on the video tape entitled
“The Hemp Revolution”)
Unless society recognizes that this is indeed a normal drive and
expression of free will and begins to teach children appropriate routes
and expressions of experiencing altered states of consciousness,
inappropriate expressions are going to be at their highest possible
The idea that this is somehow aberrant behavior is common in our
society, even among some groups of users. Some KIDS use drugs
specifically BECAUSE they think it to be aberrant behavior.
Noted authority Weston LaBarre, widely praised for his objectivity,
dismissed the NeoAmerican Church [Note 99] as bogus and disingenuous
and thus, not so indirectly, all non-Indian peyote-ists who are not
sanctioned by the NAC. First trivializing and invalidating them as
wholly (i.e. entirely and completely) synthetic (i.e. man-made or
artificial, not natural, often intended to mean not genuine [Note 100])
and ‘bogus’ (i.e. counterfeit or false) he casts further dispersions on
their intent and motivation by labeling them disingenuous (i.e.
scheming and dishonest). Is this stance (or its jargon) really so
different from those who dismiss the NAC as a “spurious’ and
deliberately deceptive portrayal of Christianity?
Yet, as his attack was aimed at those (for the largest part) whites
who a substantial portion of mainstream society finds offensive,
neither bigotry nor bias is perceived in his words.
Perhaps the most succinct analysis of this disparity was made by the
man himself in defending his own position.
From pp. xiv-xv in LaBarre’s 5th edition:
“Thus I defend the Native American Church among Amerindian
aborigines; but I deplore the “Neo-American Church” among Caucasoid
American who pretend to follow their “religion” through the use of
mescaline as a “sacrament”. Ethnographically the latter is a wholly
synthetic, disingenuous and bogus cult, who’s hypocrisy (one would
suppose) honest young people would discern and despise; indeed to it
could properly be applied the old missionary cliché against peyoteism
as the “use of drugs under religious guise.” Since the rationale in
both…is ideological, the discussion can be fairly ideological too. To
achieve this we need a step backward into Amerindian history, in order
to contrast Indian with psychedelist epistemology.
Botanist experts in New World hallucinogens, most notably Schultes
at Harvard have repeatedly wondered how it could be that, given the
wide range of plant genera in the Old and New Worlds…and also given
the fact that in land area the Old World is larger…and that
inquisitive man has existed for a much longer period in the Old
World…the American Indians knew some forty local species of
hallucinogens, whereas all the inhabitants of the rest of the world had
scarcely half a dozen [Note 101].
By no means have “Neo-American” psychedelists learned of all the
psychotropic plants that paleo-Americans knew [Note 102]…..In all
instances, …the mind-moving effect…was proof enough that it contained
supernatural mana or “power”. The epistemological touchstone for truth
for American Indians from the most ancient of times was just this
experience of “medicine power” – sought in some regions by all young
men in the ‘vision quest’ and everywhere at least by shamans or
“medicine men” – …. That is to say, American Indian religion is based
on direct psychodynamic and pharmacological experience of the
supernatural mysterium tremendum et fascinosum…
With this historic ideological background, it is evident that
American Indians were Motivated to explore a plant world that afforded
such impressive subjective experiences, and this cultural disposition
may account for the surprising array of substances they did in fact
discover. By contrast, European epistemology from Heraclitus and the
pre-Socratic nature philosophers onward found the authority for belief
in the common koiné world of intersubjective experience, and upon this
world of group-validated experience [Note 103] Europeans have built
their science and technology. Thus, epistemological techniques among
Amerindians and among Europeans are diametrically opposed; the two
groups have quite different cognitive maps. Indians still actively seek
in peyote the supernatural visionary experience; but Europeans
strenuously pursue the sophisticated critique that seeks assiduously to
rid experience of idiosyncratic subjective elements.” [Bold face above
was italicized in the original.]
Using the same argument of LaBarre, almost word-for-word in large
part, one could conclude that any and all Christian congregations among
the American Indians were “wholly synthetic, disingenuous and bogus
cult[s], who’s hypocrisy (one would suppose) honest young people would
discern and despise.” I would certainly never make this claim and
suspect howls of protest from all corners would greet whoever did.
It is noteworthy that defense of this stance is always through
justification of the existence of the hypocrisy rather than attempting
the impossible proof of its soundness.
The apparent premise of this justification for a double standard is
that native cultures in the New World often attached importance to the
individual’s experience and considered development of a personal
relationship with the Universal, and the individual’s experience in the
process, of value.
Indeed the cultivation of this perception was stressed and even
actively promoted in some groups.
I definitely DO agree with LaBarre that the most important reason
for the wealth of hallucinogens known to people in the New World was
directly related to the high importance they placed on this experience
and thus the enhanced motivation/openness to find them [Note 104].
There is certainly no justification for thinking that there are any
fewer truly hallucinogenic plants in the Old World than the New. In fact I would suggest we would learn that the opposite is true if an actual broad based phytochemical screening was to take place. The difference is not one of the numbers of plants but rather of the New World being populated by cultures which sought them out and for the last couple of thousand of years the Old World has been controlled by people who feared and suppressed their knowledge and use by eradicating people who used them.
[Note 105]. Africa, Asia and Europe are all steadily yielding both
overlooked and new finds as research crawls forward despite its
Western society, on the other hand, has long stressed conformity, if
not actual blind subservience to those in positions of power, and
affirms the existence and importance of the individual only as defined
by the accepted social groups they live within. Their importance
generally being directly proportional to the value or potential value
that they represent to their group. Individuals’ experiences are
expected to remain in the background unless they can reinforce the
group validated views [Note 106]. [A keystone between the disparate
cultures is how they have viewed the harmless portion of the mentally
ill population. In the New World, the harmless mentally ill were
considered ‘touched’ by God and living in a sacred space. In the Old,
they often were considered ‘possessed’, often by the devil or a demon
and to be feared, shunned or usually worse. It has not always been this
way in Europe. The variability of the popular view and treatment of the
mentally ill in Europe deserves a work unto itself.]
More important; personal visionary experience or direct interactions
with the Universal are not only discouraged but intensely distrusted
[Note 107] in Western society.
Let’s look at the reasons for this a little closer [Note 108].
Nothing is more detested by those in authority than a person who is
self-sufficient and does not need them.
Nonconformist attitudes are rejected and attacked, for group
definition and validation of self is a two edged sword. Any member of
the group who rejects the group’s definition of reality does so at the
risk of calling into question the values of the group [Note 109] and
perhaps even casting doubts on its validity. Since the group’s values
and the group perceived sense of worth absolutely requires validation
by the group, no member can invalidate the group’s beliefs and
conventions and be a member [Note 110].
This is one reason that doubt or questioning of authority is so
A good example of the importance of questioning authority can be
found in the Bible itself, but it is generally overlooked as such;
namely, the disciple Thomas. “Doubting Thomas” as he is now invariably
While his open doubt of Christ’s physical reality is currently
discussed disparagingly and often used as an example of weakness of not
just faith but of character, it is perhaps pertinent to note that
Thomas, and ONLY Thomas, was allowed the first-hand experience of
directly and physically TOUCHING the body of Christ risen from the
grave. This is neither a trivial nor an insignificant thing as all of
the other disciples had been expressly forbidden to do so. More to the
point, his direct experience did not weaken but confirmed his belief
that what he saw was real [Note 111].
This brings us to another reason that doubt and questioning of
authority is so hated [Note 112]. Only an illusion needs to fear
justifiable doubt. Careful questioning will rapidly uncover lies and
deception. In all but a totalitarian situation, evil can only act
freely when it is not perceived of as evil. In the case of evil
masquerading as good, the moment it is actually exposed to the public
for the evil it is, its power is destroyed.
In the recorded history of European culture, individuality has never
been stressed, much less promoted. The paradigm has instead been one of
subservience to authority, finding, knowing and keeping your ‘place’ in
society. This latter point holds a key to many people’s active
involvement as their ‘place’ is only secured so long as those around
them hold on to or ‘keep’ to their own ‘place’.
The most important thing, concerning modern times that is,
conveniently overlooked in LaBarre’s argument is that the perpetual
existence of a group is based entirely on its ability to satisfy and
provide for certain needs of its members. Its gross and glaring failure
to do so is one reason that so many have rejected much of ‘traditional’
societal “values”, religion, medicine and many other forms of authority
in our society.
H.L. Mencken’s assessment of religion (from Treatise on the Gods –
1930) still rings true today: “In Christian Europe…it is the
plaything of political charlatans, clerical and lay; in America it is
used as a club and a cloak by both politicians and moralists, all of
them lusting for power and most of them palpable frauds….it serves so
conveniently to give a high moral dignity and authority to this or that
faction, otherwise plainly in want of a respectable cause…”
Too often they are (rightly) seen as greedy and hypocritical,
callous and careless towards any member who is not in a position of
leadership (and God help their ‘subjects’ or anyone that they decide
needs their ‘help’), their spiritual reality being readily perceived as
a shallow facade, its physical reality being too often a callous view
of life, the destruction and waste of natural resources, an almost
casual poisoning of food, land, water and air justified in the name of
profit, all types of excesses, over-reactions and harmful behaviors
excused for having ‘good intentions’ [Note 113] and far more other
abuses then could ever be mentioned in a short list.
While it would indeed be best to attempt to change a group’s
agendas, the reality is that only those INSIDERS with sufficient power
and resources can have any impact and none would want to change the
agenda and reach where they were in the group. Rejecting the group for
its failure to furnish what it promises, we are left with little
alternative than to find and develop a personal relationship with our
Creator. Even if we were to remain with the group this should not be
considered to be a bad thing. Both stand to gain the most if we can and
do. [The present technological age is more largely and directly fueled
by consciousness expansion than the majority are aware.] Futhermore,
the answers to many of our present day problems can only be achieved
through a unification of our society’s disparate elements and not
further division. Only tolerance of others with different belief
systems can enable this to occur.
Some of us have studied the great works and philosophies of many
other cultures and have conscientiously applied those principles which
we have found to be true. In doing so, we have not somehow assumed the
rituals and trappings of an ‘alien’ culture [Note 114], mistaking the
map for the terrain, but have instead embraced those core truths and
higher understandings that run through all true religions; those things
that should be cherished and which we know in our hearts to be true. In
doing so, we are forging a new and dynamic relationship with our source
of life, albeit one of ancient origins and intentions.
Yes, for one raised in Western society it does in fact require a
diametric shift of world views. This is not a matter of simple book
learning, or parroting someone else’s ceremonies or rituals, but is one
of conscientious study, application and experience. Understanding is
not easily or simply learned, it can only be earned with dedicated and
It is my opinion that the shift is to a more realistic [Note 115]
and less purely materialistic viewpoint. A shift to a more open, less
judgmental awareness. An awareness that can enable our society to
survive its potential evolution into a truly technological age. There
is a safety mechanism involved with technology which people often do
not want to look at honestly. If we are unable to deal with our actions
and their repercussions responsibly and thoughtfully, technology will
destroy us. The human race will probably still exist, but not as a
high-tech one [Note 116].
Historically most Western schools of thought have shunned or even
forbidden all types of practices which expanded consciousness and instead tended towards a limiting or condensation of consciousness and awareness. Frequently emphasized was the setting of artificial constructs [Note 117] which better enabled the manipulation and usage of time and resources for development and exploitation. This is not unique to Western Cultures but can be found in many variations in any society which placed high emphasis on regulating, controlling or subjugating its populace or portions of it.
The expansion of conscious awareness to embrace the world and
universe around you, allowing your ego and sense of separate identity
to drop away and experience the universe on its terms is indeed
diametrically opposed to what we as Westerners have been taught for the
last few millennia.
Are we truly to be shackled by the limits of our forebear’s’
thoughts and experiences; simply because they were unable to grasp a
larger world view? Our ancestors lived in a different place and a
different time. We are here now. This certainly is not then.
Western civilization has continued and expanded this differentiation
until it has divorced itself from the real world so far, it can no
longer see things as they truly are. Everything is objectified,
distanced and depersonalized, in the mistaken belief that only if we
are somehow separate and not really involved is any observation
Ignoring the inherently delusional nature of the idea of
‘separateness’, it must be stressed that, in attempting to do this, we
have cut ourselves off from the most basic perceptions of what is
around us; our experience. Both ‘objective’ and subjective evaluations
have meaning and value, they just cannot be confused with each other. A
complete evaluation often requires BOTH, not just one or the other.
While the adopted conventions have served us well in the birth of
our modern analytical exploration of the world around us, we have
reached the end of the road that the artificial constraints placed on
the Western mind can carry us. In many very real senses, chaos theory
(non-linear dynamics) represents a full circle return of physics to its
If one looks carefully, they will see that the important work
carrying both technology & social consciousness forward is, for the
vastly largest part, being done and driven by people who understand
this and have quietly expanded their range of possibilities in whatever
ways that they deemed personally acceptable to them. As not a few of
these expansions of thought have involved illicit substances, and
knowledge of this could easily destroy careers and lives, this is
usually kept quite secret and is not realized by most of the general
Not all are drug users; many techniques exist which can open higher
levels of understanding, including stationary or moving meditations,
martial arts (especially the soft or hard-soft schools), deliberate
trance induction, sensory deprivation, sound-light technology and
certain types of yogic, spiritual or occult exercises.
Life is an ongoing evolving experience, and, most especially in an
infant high-tech civilization such as ours, when we sentimentally cling
to a mentality from simpler times, wishing we were still there, and
thought becomes static and stagnant, death and decay can not be far
behind. We have to live in the present. There are very real issues
staring us in the face that WILL destroy us unless we wake up and start
living in the present.
The unfortunate tendency is for people to scream and say in effect,
“I don’t understand it! We have to control it! Make it stop!”
Perhaps the worst flaw in such thinking is the illusion of the
reality of separateness and objectivity. We are here. We are involved.
We are not simply connected to the world but an integral part of it.
Our problems are not going to go away from dissociating from them
and blindly lashing out or ignoring their (and our) real nature and
trying to legislate them into oblivion. If they can’t be integrated
into our collective lives and accepted as part of our collective
experience, there is no chance that we can address the REAL problems or
find realistic and lasting solutions to them.
We live in the real world and our entire experience is subjective.
Unless we wake up to the fact that we can do nothing that does not
potentially affect the rest of the world, our civilization dooms itself
to drown in its own feces; materially, psychologically and spiritually.
Technology has a price if we are to survive. That price is awareness
We cannot live in the shoes of our ancestors. We must build on what
they left, allowing our understanding to grow like life itself
continues to grow. But, it is insane to build on those areas with bad
foundations or foundations based on assumptions that cannot accept and
support the weight of either our present or our future. If we find that
what was previously held to be true is only a partial truth or a
limited viewpoint, it is not our loss but our gain if we can identify
and reject those false elements and incorporate this into a broader
People who saw or sensed this broader view of what was occurring and
dropped out of society [Note 118] with a sense of helplessness,
exasperation or disgust, are not all there are. They are selectively
and deliberately placed at the front of the picture painted of us so
that all the public is shown is ‘hippies’, nonconformists and
malcontents. This has tainted public perception to an extensive degree.
The truth of the matter is that most of those who have experienced
hallucinogens, and believe them good, are still in society, usually
trying to be as far removed from the ‘drug culture’ as possible.
To be automatically dismissed as bogus and disingenuous speaks of
religious or social bigotry borne of a long-standing conditioning and
Paul Devereux 1997, remarked: “I sometimes wonder if our culture,
acting in the manner of a single organism – in the way a crowd of
people or a classroom of students sometimes can – somehow senses a deep
threat to its philosophical foundations residing in the psychedelic
experience. This might help account for the otherwise irrational hatred
and repression of the use of hallucinogens, and the smirking dismissal
of the psychedelic experience as a trivial one by so many of our
intellectuals [Note 119]. Consequently, our cognitive scientists do not
explore alternate states of consciousness with the neutrality good
science demands, and the important writing and research produced by
many psychedelic experts remains on the fringe of our intellectual
life.” (p. 252)
If what we practice [Note 120] enhances our lives and the lives of
those around us, as proper psychedelic use experience can be proven to
have done if evaluated with open eyes, how can it be so lightly
dismissed and condemned?
Am I truly damned to be a slave to what some Greek philosophers and
their European followers dictated to be their world views? Am I truly
incapable of valid thought and spiritual perception?
And is it truly necessary to elevate medicine, science and ‘Public
Health’ to the status of the new one ‘true’ religion [Note 121]? What
guarantee do we have that it will not match or exceed the abuses of the
one ‘true’ religion it replaces? Their track records so far are
certainly no more encouraging [Note 122].
The fact that bigotry, discrimination, religious suppression and
prejudice are acceptable to some groups, and have always been
acceptable to some groups, does not make them proper regardless of
their historical precedent.
It is precisely this tendency towards homogeneity and conformity, of
control, suppression, hate-mongering and rejection of anything that is different from group dictated norms that throughout human history has enabled such excesses or abuses as xenophobia and isolationism, the persecution of all non-Christians (or non-Catholics or non-Protestants or non-Moslems or non-[fill-in-the-blank]), the numerous witch-hunts that have plagued Western society [Note 123], the verminification of Jews, Gypsies, blacks, Mexicans, Latinos, the ‘contaminated’, the poor, the handicapped or the mentally ill, the McCarthy Era and guilt by association, the toleration and promotion of racism and bigotry of all kinds [Note 124] and most importantly today, the horrendously evil war on drugs that increasingly wreaks havoc and destruction on countless lives, our society, the family unit and the integrity of our Constitutional rights (if not the very survival of our country as a democracy) in yet another attempted social purge of those different from the mainstream of society.
That this truly is a bias unique to Western society begs to be
questioned [Note 125] as this is a tendency of any society that
embraces authoritarian norms or aspires to; in the European and
American cases, that of predominately Christian control. Similar biases
can also be found in any non-Christian nation that exists with a
totalitarian form of government or who has modified their current
government out of one.
Jean-François Revel discusses this deceptive lure of easy ‘security’
through the surrender of rights [Note 126], very eloquently in his
brilliant analysis The Totalitarian Temptation; later hailed by, then
ex-President, Richard Nixon as the single most important book he had
ever read [Note 127].
It is my belief that this book should be required reading in
government class at the High School level. Our country could never have
so willingly embraced another ‘cultural cleansing’ or ‘witch-craze’ if
it had been.
“The conflicts between those who have power and those who want to
take it away from them fall into three distinct categories. … if we
do not distinguish among them we are likely to mistake opposition to
absolute or arbitrary power with what may, actually, be an attempt to
gain such power for oneself or for the groups or leaders one admires.
First, there are those who want to take power away from the
oppressor and give it to the oppressed, as a class … Revealingly,
they dream of the “dictatorship” of the proletariat or some other group.
Second, there are those who want to take away power from the
oppressor and give it to themselves a protectors of the oppressed …
Revealingly, they dream of the incorruptibly honest or incontrovertibly
sane leader leading his happy or healthy flock.
And third, there are those who want to take away power from the
oppressor and give it to the oppressed as individuals, for each to do
with what they pleases, but hopefully for his own self-control …
Revealingly they dream of people so self-governing that their need for
and tolerance of rulers is minimal or nil.
While countless men say they love liberty, clearly only those who,
by virtue of their actions, fall into the third category, mean it.
Others merely want to replace the hated oppressor by a loved one –
having usually themselves in mind for the job.
As we have seen, psychiatrists (and some other physicians, notably
public health administrators) have traditionally opted for ‘reforms’ of
the second type; that is, their opposition to existing powers,
ecclesiastic or secular, has had as its conscious and avowed aim the
paternalistic care of the citizen-patient, and not the freedom of the
individual. Hence, medical methods of social control tended not only to
replace religious methods, but sometimes to exceed them in stringency
and severity. In short, the usual response of medical authorities to
the controls exercised by non-medical authorities has been to take over
and then escalate the controls, rather than to endorse the principle
and promote the practice of removing the controls by which the
oppressed are victimized.” [Note 130]
Szasz 1985: pp. 177-178
One point which is too often overlooked is that much of this effort,
especially its expansions, are a direct result of what is accurately
termed ‘perverse incentives’ This can be encountered in any
It is widely believed that much of the impetus early on came from
prohibitionists creating employment for themselves and their fellows
when their jobs came to an end along with Prohibition. What is often
forgotten is that in any bureaucracy there are only so many positions
and the only real way to make more money, beyond paltry mandated
raises, is to be promoted. The eventual abundance of ‘management level’
positions creates a situation where the only way to do this is to
expand the size and scope of the agency and/or its activities, in this
case by making yet more things illegal and/or expanding enforcement
activities in other ways.
The more things that they can be responsible for controlling, the
more funding their agency or department can receive. The more their
agency can grow, the more positions can be created for the ‘faithful
public servants’ to be promoted into.
Similarly important is the absolute requirement of using the
department’s allocated budget to its fullest. It is far better for them
to go over budget than to be caught with a surplus at the year’s end.
In any bureaucracy, any department which is able to ‘tighten its belt’,
economize, save money and end up with a year end surplus will find its
budget decreased accordingly the following year. Only those departments
that can spend the most are rewarded with larger future budgets. This
is because budgets are based on ‘need’ and need is primarily based on
past expenses and projected ones. Any department dealing with issues
that the general public supports and which goes over-budget is
portrayed as needing a larger budget. As long as public support is
strong, the sky is the limit.
Coupled with property seizures and forfeiture sales that have been
supported by the courts [Note 131] with even the flimsiest of
circumstances, there is serious financial motivation, at all levels, to
expand activity in any and every way possible.
‘Fighting drugs’ is a lucrative, albeit predatory [Note 132],
business with numerous satellite industries from those making
surveillance equipment and urine analysis tests to those building and
operating private prisons [Note 133] all of which are largely and
increasingly dependent on the Drug War for their livelihood.
As with the current Drug Inquisition, the Inquisitions were
extremely profitable [Note 134] to the Inquisitors and this may go far
in helping to explain their duration, the ease of their perpetuation,
the unresponsiveness to rational public debate and the seemingly
irrational fervor of those involved.
By no means are domestic drug producers, drug users, drug dealers
and the US Constitution the only victims. Nor are those involved
directly or indirectly with foreign drug production.
In our War on Drugs, even language is a victim; politically correct
speech is now much preferred over the truth. Political correctness far
outdates the war on drugs but in the New Reich, this long standing
trend has gone ape-shit. Earlier instances created a situation where
those favoring conservation and responsibility became termed liberals
while those expressing a traditional liberal philosophy are now called
conservatives. Ideas of conservation, stewardship and other
traditionally conservative views became attacked, belittled, dismissed
and viewed as subversive philosophies [Note 135] by those who now claim
to be conservatives [Note 136]. Today, in a further move to homogenize
the population, even the use of gender specific pronouns and modifiers is discouraged on the basis they somehow demean us!
One of my favorite examples of the misuse of language was executed
by a local garbage company (excuse me, ‘sanitation engineers’). They
have taken to emblazoning their trash trucks with a loud pronouncement
that “Drugs are Garbage.”
Curiously, in one early version, this was accompanying an image of a
single white buffalo in a small herd of brown ones along with the
“Be an original. You have a right to say no!”
(Not only erroneously implying that most people use illegal drugs
but also confusing ‘rights’ with State mandated obligations.)
This would be far more truthful if they said
“Be like us! You have the duty to say no!”
but this would not be so easily taken in a society that considers
itself to be ‘free’ [Note 137].
Another wonderful example of the perversity of this was presented
during then-President Bush’s 1989 inaugural address; after declaring
knowledge of how to “secure a more just and prosperous life for man on
earth through free markets…and the exercise of free will unhampered
by the state” he went on to claim drugs were the nation’s number one
domestic problem and vowed “This scourge will stop.”
While the irony may have been lost on many listeners, this is an
interesting comment coming from a man who had been a former corporate
head of Eli Lilly, pharmaceutical giant and legal producer and
distributor of pharmaceutical cocaine as well as the company who
purportedly informed the CIA that they would be able to furnish LSD-25
in tonnage quantity eliminating their dependence on the limited amounts
(at most pounds) that could be made available by Sandoz, a man who was,
prior to this, also the Director of the CIA, an organization believed
by many analysts to be the single largest source of illegal drugs in
the US since at the very least 1960 (including both heroin and
cocaine), and a man who served two terms as vice-president in an
administration which has been heavily implicated in operating a large
scale cocaine importation (as paste cocaine) and distribution operation
(as crack cocaine), ostensibly [Note 138] as part of an operation to
finance their illegal support of a Central American guerrilla war that
Congress had expressly forbidden be supported. A team player to the
end, his unconditional pardon of all involved with the sordid
“Iran-Contra” affair effectively eliminated any possibility of the full
story ever being revealed.
In retrospect, his words almost could be made to appear to be more
those desirous of limiting or eliminating competition rather than
encouraging free-market activity.
I would like to make it very clear that there is absolutely no
evidence of any wrong-doing on Mr. Bush’s part, nor do I wish to imply
that there might be.
Szasz 1992:21 quoted Frederic Bastiat’s 1845 warning “To rob the
public, it is necessary to deceive it. To deceive it, it is necessary
to persuade it that it is being robbed for its own benefit, and to
induce it to accept, in exchange for its property, services that are
fictitious or often even worse.”
One could easily insert ‘rights’ or ‘civil liberties’ for ‘property’
Oliver Wendell Holmeshas been quoted, “The blackest lie of all is
half a truth.” &
“Let there be a clear and present danger before a civil liberty is
Supreme Court Justice Brandeis observed:
“…the greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment
by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.”
Also from Szasz 1992: 45; another pertinent warning for our times
was made by Lysander Spooner:
“No one ever practices a vice with any…criminal intent. He
practices his vice for his own happiness solely, and not from any
malice towards others. Unless this clear distinction between vices and
crimes be made and recognized by the laws, there can be on earth no
such thing as individual right, liberty, or property; no such things as
the right of one man to the control of his own person and property, and
the corresponding and co-equal rights of another man to the control of
his own person and property.”
Random thoughts from a variety of minds
“Psychedelic experience can lead us to the deepest depths and the
highest heights, to the boundaries of that which humankind is capable
of experiencing.” Albert Hofmann 1996
“God lives in a cow’s ass.” Bill Hicks; from a stand-up comedy routine concerning the dung loving Psilocybe mushrooms.
“One of the most interesting facts in the history of the coffee
drink is that wherever it has been introduced it has spelled
revolution. It has been the world’s most radical drink in that its
function has always been to make people think. And when people begin to
think, they become dangerous to tyrants and to foes of liberty of
thought and action.” Ukers1935 All about coffee, pages 15 & 17
“For some time there has been a major attack on the Bill of Rights
under the pretext of the so-called drug war. Somehow the drug issue is
even more frightening to the public herd than was communism, even more
…It cannot be said too often: the psychedelic issue is a civil
rights and civil liberties issue. It is an issue concerned with the
most basic of human freedoms: religious practice and the privacy of the
It was said that women could not be given the vote because society
would be destroyed. Before that, kings could not give up absolute power
because chaos would result. And now we are told that drugs cannot be
legalized because society would disintegrate. This is puerile nonsense!
As we have seen, human history could be written as a series of
relationships with plants, relationships made and broken. We have
explored a number of ways in which plants, drugs, and politics have
cruelly intermingled-….from the British forcing opium on the Chinese
population to the CIA using heroin in the ghetto to choke off dissent
History is the story of these plant relationships. The lessons to be
learned can be raised into consciousness, integrated into social
policy, and used to create a more caring, meaningful world, or they can
be denied just as discussion of human sexuality was repressed until the
work of Freud and others brought it into the light. The analogy is apt
because the enhanced capacity for cognitive experience made possible by
plant hallucinogens is as basic a part of our humanness as is our
sexuality…” (pp. 254-255)
“A global consensus appears to be building…For the first time in
planetary history, a defined albeit dimly defined, consensus exists for
“democratic values.” This trend will encounter real resistance from the
various forms of monotheistic religious fundamentalism during the
1990s. It is a phenomenon of expanded consciousness driven by the
information explosion. Democracy is an articulation of the Archaic
notion of the nomadic egalitarian group. In its purest expression it is thoroughly psychedelic and its triumph seems
The “drug problem” runs against the tendency towards global
expansion of consciousness through the spread of democratic values.
There is no question that a society that sets out to control its
citizens use of drugs set out on the slippery path to totalitarianism.
No amount of police power, surveillance and intrusion into people’s
lives can be expected to affect “the drug problem.” Hence there is no
limit to the amount of repression that frightened institutions and
their brainwashed populations call for.” (page 268.)
Terence McKenna 1992 Food of the Gods
“Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It
is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the
bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by
legislation and makes a crime out of things which are not crimes. A
prohibition Law strikes a blow at the very laws upon which our
government was founded.”
Abraham Lincoln, 18 Dec. 1840 (Speech to Illinois House of
All laws which can be violated without doing anyone an injury are
laughed at. Nay, so far are they from doing anything to control the
desires and passions of man that, on the contrary, they direct and
incite man’s thoughts the more towards those objects; for we always
strive towards what is forbidden and desire things which we are not
allowed to have. And men of leisure are never deficient in the
ingenuity needed to enable them to outwit laws framed to regulate
things which cannot be entirely forbidden. He who tries to determine
everything by law will foment crime rather than lessen it.”
Baruch Spinoza, circa 1670
“To forbid anything is to make us have a mind for it.”
Michael De Montaigne, 1580, Essays, II. [as quoted by H.L. Mencken]
“I’d rather that England should be free than that England should be
compulsorily sober. With freedom we might in the end attain sobriety,
but in the other alternative we should eventually lose both freedom and
W.C. Magee (Archbishop of York) Sermon at Petersborough 1868 [as
quoted by H.L. Mencken]
“The passionate desire which…leads man to flee from the monotony
of everyday life…has instinctively [lead him to?] discover[?] strange
substances. He has done so, even where Nature has been most niggardly
in producing them and where the products seem very far from possessing
the properties which would enable him to satisfy this desire.”
Richard Evans Schultes1970 Morris Arboretum Bulletin; Volume 21, #1
“A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless and
systematized disorganization of All of the senses. All forms of love,
of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within
himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences. Unspeakable
torment, where he will need the greatest faith, a superhuman strength,
where he becomes among all men, the great invalid, the great criminal,
the great accursed – and the supreme scientist! For he attains the
unknown! Because he has cultivated his soul, already rich, more than
anyone! He attains the unknown, and if, demented, he finally loses
understanding of his visions, he will at least have seen them!
So what if he is destroyed in his ecstatic flight through things
unheard of, unnamable; other horrible workers will come; they will
begin in the horizon where the first has fallen!”
Arthur Rimbaud(age 16), a letter to his lover Paul Demeny, as quoted
by R.U. Siriusin Mondo 2000.
“In researching the effects of hallucinogenic drugs, neither dogs
nor psychotics can serve as appropriate models for studying their
effects upon a normal human’s consciousness.”
Barney Heffter 1994
“The mind once expanded to the dimensions of a larger idea never
returns to its original size.”
attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes
“Confucius said, “If a ruler sets himself right, he will be followed
without his command. If he does not set himself right, even his
commands will not be obeyed.”
“Confucius said, “The superior man seeks [room for improvement or
occasion to blame] in himself; the inferior man seeks it in others.”
I might note in passing that H.L. Mencken referred to the
pathological tendency to ‘reform’ others as “The American Disease”.
“The more taboos and prohibitions there are in the world,
The poorer the people will be.
The more sharp weapons the people have,
The more troubled the state will be.
The more cunning and skill man possesses,
The more vicious things will appear.
The more laws and orders are made prominent,
The more thieves and robbers there will be.”
From Chapter 57 of the Tao Te Ching (Tr. Wing-Tsit Chan)
“The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men’s weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.”
From Chapter 57 of the Tao Te Ching (Tr. Gia-Fu Feng)
“The more corrupt the republic, the more numerous the laws.”
Tacitus, Roman historian, 110 AD (quoted by J.L. Hudson)
“It is an act of virtue to deceive and lie, when by such means the
interest of the church might be promoted.”
Bishop Eusobius (260-339)
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to
favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation, are men who want crops
without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and
lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many
waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one;
or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power
concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find
out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact
amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and
these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows,
or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of
those whom they oppress.”
Frederick Douglas 1857
“The observation that “he who governs best, governs least” should
not be taken to mean that anything should be allowed but that if a government operates justly and with the true benefit of its citizens in mind there will be no need for excessive regulation as compliance with the law will be prevalent and voluntary.
When laws become unjust and intolerant, supportive laws and
regulations proliferate to give the law teeth to force its citizens to
do those things which are not to their liking. When laws and
regulations proliferate it is a sign that evil people rule the
government and hope to press their personal beliefs on others,
modifying their behavior so that their thoughts and actions will be
brought in line with a given norm. This encourages rebellion and
dissatisfaction for we are all individuals and not clones.
The evil of the world desire us to be homogenous for then we are
easily manipulated for the profit of the powerful. If a system is just
people will follow. If it is unjust they must be forced to follow and
sedition will flourish.
All people judge the world based in terms of how they perceive
themselves. Those who think that all are thieves are usually thieves.
Those who think that the world must be controlled by iron laws
generally do so because they, themselves, have no self control or moral
fiber. If there is not a set external standard to adhere to they have
nothing to go by as there is no internal standard of morality within
Those who continually find faults with others usually do so in order
to not find it necessary to deal with the greater faults within
For someone to insist that I believe as they do implies that the
validity of their system relies upon my belief. If their faith was
indeed true and valid my participation would not be required. The
reason my lack of participation is perceived of as a threat is because
it casts doubts on the truth of the system I reject. If their system
was indeed true, I would readily and willingly accept it, without laws,
without force, and without having to be told I should. As has been
stated by others, my religion is indeed that of the birds. They operate
as they should. Eating and sleeping when it is necessary. They do not
force their world-view on any other creature and operate within
accordance of natural law. The laws of God are written within my heart.
I need no other human to tell me what they are.
So often the “law of the jungle” [Or now, often “natural selection”]
is presented to imply that the strong rule the weak and that only the
fittest survive. This is used to justify great evil in the world.
If the law of the jungle operated the way that some modern business
people would have us believe there would be only a very few predators
each guarding a huge pile of rotten meat and widespread starvation.
The fact of the matter is when lions are not hunting they walk
freely among their potential prey. While it stays alert, maintains its
distance and does not turn its back, an antelope does not waste its
energy running from a lion unless it is being pursued.
Nor do predators kill purely for the sake of seeing how much they
The weak DO survive and often thrive. The only times that only the
strongest survive are in times of great turbulence and violence at the
level of the civilian population. In times of peace only the weakest
and slowest, the sick and the elderly die with any frequency. In times
of war it must be remembered that the strong go off to fight and often
the strongest, or at least the bravest, die; while the weak of mind,
body and spirit stay home to father a larger than normal percentage of
the next generation.
If it was true that only the strongest survive there would be
nothing but strong. The truth of the matter is that it is not
competition that allows true greatness of a society but cooperation and
mutual support between its members. [This does not mean a person or
persons living at the expense of society.] Our country has excelled
only in those wars that drew the nation together.
Anything that divides a society into warring factions weakens it and
threatens its existence. The strongest society is one where there is
mutual concern for all other members, not in terms of supporting those
who wanted a free ride or being concerned that others are not the same
as you but in terms of recognizing that what benefits some benefits all
and what harms some harms all. You cannot declare war on part of your
population without harming yourself and threatening the existence of
society as you know it. Civil wars are neither civil nor are they
healthy for any country. The scars they leave are deep and slow to heal.
I have heard it said that Prohibition was a good thing for America.
Prohibition lead to widespread violence, drive-by shootings, open war
in the streets between rival gangs and founded a financial base for
criminal enterprises that established organized crime as the power it
is today. The black market it created enabled the generation of immense
amounts of capital which allowed them to bribe judges, buy elections
& police loyalty and operate however they saw fit. By maintaining
the illegal status of drugs we ensure that violence will be at a
maximum and criminals will make the most money possible. To support the
current laws is to support and advocate the proliferation of organized
Keeper Trout (1984-1992) [It might be noted that organized crime is
among the most active lobbyists for and staunch supporters of harsh
anti-drug laws. Such restrictions not only keep their profits high but
seriously reduce new competition and enable them to maintain a peaceful status quo with minimal cost and effort. Repealing laws against drugs & other “victimless” vices is probably the single most substantial blow that could be made against crime.]
“It has been persistently repeated for years that in nature the
weakest perish and that victory is with the strong, meaning by that the
physically powerful. This is a false analogy and a false biology. It
leads men far astray.”
L.H. Bailey (quoted by J.L. Hudson)
“The law has no claim to human respect. It has no civilizing
mission; its only purpose is to protect exploitation.”
Peter Kropotkin (quoted by J.L. Hudson)
“Progress needs the brakeman, but the brakeman should not spend all
of his time putting on the brake.”
Elbert Hubbard, 1923, Roycraft Dictionary and Book of Epigrams [as
quoted by H.L. Mencken]
“I hear man cry, ‘Would there be no wine! O folly! O madness!’ Is it
wine that causes this abuse? No. For if you say, ‘Would there be no
wine!’ because of drunkenness, then you must say, going on by degrees,
‘Would there were no night!’ because of the thieves, ‘Would there were
no light!’ because of informers, and ‘Would there were no women!’
because of adultery.”
St. John Chryostom, (345-407 AD) Bishop of Constantinople. As quoted
in Szasz 1985 [H.L. Mencken noted this is from Homilies, circa 388]
“The simple fact is that, so long as they remain in the laboratory
or on the shelf – that is, anywhere outside of the human body – drugs
are merely inert substances. Heroin, cocaine and marijuana pose no
problems for those who do not take them, and, unlike the currently
fashionable “psychiatric drugs”, no one is forced to take them. Hence,
it is a grave abuse of language to call certain (illicit) drugs
“dangerous” and it is worse than folly to declare war on them.”
Thomas Szasz in Ceremonial Chemistry, foreword to the revised
edition, 1 Nov., 1984
“The person who uses drug – legal or illegal drugs, with or without
a physician’s prescription – may be submitting to authority, may be
revolting against it, or may be exercising his own power of making a free decision. It is quite impossible to know– without knowing a great deal about such a person, his friends and family and his whole cultural setting – just what such an individual is doing and why. But it is quite possible to know what those persons who try to repress certain kinds of drug uses and drug users are doing and why.
As the war against heresy was in reality a war for “true” faith, so
the war against drug abuse is in reality a war for “faithful” drug use
[…] concealed behind the war against the politically and medically
disapproved drugs, is the war for the use of politically and medically
Thomas Szasz 1985 Ceremonial Chemistry pp. 178-179
“There is only one political sin: independence; and only one
political virtue: obedience. To put it differently, there is only one
offense against authority: self control; and only one obeisance to it:
submission to control by authority.
Why is self-control, autonomy, such a threat to authority? Because
the person who controls himself, who is his own master, has no need for
an authority to be his master. This, then, renders authority
unemployed. What is he to do if he cannot control others? To be sure,
he could mind his own business. But this is a fatuous answer, for those
satisfied to mind their own business do not aspire to become
authorities. In short, authority needs subjects, person not in command
of themselves – just as parents need children and physicians need
Autonomy is the death knell of authority, and authority knows it;
hence the ceaseless warfare of authority against the exercise, both
real and symbolic, of autonomy – that is, against suicide, against
masturbation, against self-medication, against the proper use of
The parable of the fall illustrates this fight to the death between
control and self-control. Did Eve, tempted by the Serpent, seduce Adam,
who then lost control of himself and succumbed to evil? Or did Adam,
facing a choice between obedience to the authority of God and his own
destiny, choose self-control?”
Ibid., p. 175
“..in 1527, Paracelsus, considered the greatest physician of his
time, declared publicly that ‘he had learned from the Sorceresses
[white witches] all that he knew.’” Ibid., page 63
“Paracelsus (ca. 1494-1541) was a physician and philosopher of the
Reformation. To [him], medicine meant the all-encompassing field of
knowledge, including chemistry, physics and physiology, as well as
philosophy and theology.”
Schultes& Hofmann 1992 Plants of the Gods p. 20.
What is even more curious is that legal guidelines allow the
prescription of drugs by a physician for ‘legitimate medical purpose”.
A doctor who’s choices and prescriptions are questioned in a court of
law finds that these ‘legitimate medical purposes’ are to be legally
defined and decided by a jury made up (usually entirely) of
non-medically trained individuals who are in no way trained, much less
qualified, to make such judgments. See Szasz 1985 for an in-depth
discussion of this.
Abraham Lincoln also observed: “No man is good enough to rule
another man without that other’s consent.”
“Anyone who thinks hallucinogen use is escapist has never tried
them. There is no escape from inside your mind.
When people like me trip, it is not fun and games. As Gracie and
Zarkov noted, I also am at least apprehensive (if not nearing downright
scared) anytime I approach a major trip. It is serious business, this
Some enjoy free-hand rockclimbing, others the decathlon. Each takes
its own preparation, temperament and character or personality of player.
My predilection is dosing.
I might talk about it in loving terms, in terms of joy, but it is
anything but fun. Nausea and vomiting are not uncommon and the
experience itself can be very rough and utterly humbling. More often
than not there is the joy of having simply survived. The joy of knowing
you have lived through an intense peak experience. One that has placed
you at the edge of the universe, of reality, of existence. Merged in
being with the infinite.
I admit to occasionally using sacraments as exploratory tools to
push the fringes of my reality. Some may like skydiving or
bungee-jumping; I prefer a quarter ounce of good dried ‘shrooms. I know
that it has been said before, but inner space really is the final
Standing naked and exposed, to the core of your being, before the
universe. Ego non-functional. Reasoning comprehension vacant and empty,
but filled with wonder. Mesmerized by the universes observed within the
smallest of things; unfolding in panoramic splendor before your eyes.
Enrapt, utterly helpless before the magnificence of that which is. And
to have seen it and been allowed to live.
It is curious that, if the intention of anti-drug laws truly is to
protect us from ourselves, that stock car racing, skiing, rockclimbing,
skydiving, flying and any types of thrill-seeking or dare-devil
activities are not also illegal.
Information, education and safety precautions all can minimize risks
to acceptable levels and psychedelics are no different. The current
laws actually ensure the most risks possible will be, at least
potentially, present when choosing to use entheogens. If protection of
the public interest was truly represented, moving violations, such as
speeding and reckless driving, would be serious felonies.”
Pedro da Selva, April 1995
“What about the highly touted $60 billion cost to business resulting
from lost productivity in the workplace? This number came from a single
study which contained a number of assumptions that the National
Institute of Drug Abuse admits were not valid. In this study done by
Research Triangle Park, nearly 4000 households were surveyed, and the
average incomes were correlated with the admission that someone who
lived there had used marijuana regularly. These families had a lower
income, and that decreased monthly pay-check was stated to be due to
the fact there had been marijuana use. When this figure was
extrapolated to the population as a whole, the calculations gave a
figure of $28 billion. Then there were added the costs of drug-related
crime, of health problems and accidents, and the number swelled to $47
billion. Adjustment for inflation and population increase increased it
further up to the oft quoted $60 billion. This shameful study is a
major basis for our crusade against the use of illicit drugs in
This is the only study of its kind that has been made, and in this
study, questions had been asked concerning other illegal drug use. Had
the correlations used the findings that were made with cocaine or
heroin use, rather than marijuana use, there would have been no lower
average income at all. The only conclusion that could have been made
(with cocaine or heroin, rather than marijuana) was that there was no
cost to business whatsoever, from drug abuse. The drug that had been
used in the calculations was the only one that could have provided the
numbers that were needed to fuel the drug war.”
Dr. Alexander T. & Ann Shulgin 1991 PIHKAL. From Chapter 42;
“Lecture at the University”: page 445
“I have been accused of giving the message that drug use is okay.
Remove the laws, they say, and the nation will be plunged overnight
into an orgy of unbridled drug use. I answer that we are already awash in illegal drugs, available to anyone who is able to pay, and their illegality has spawned a rash of criminal organizations and territorial blood-lettings, the likes of which have not been seen since the glory days of Prohibition.
Yes, it’s possible that with the removal of drug laws a few timid
Presbyterians will venture a snort of cocaine, but in the main, drug
abuse will be no worse than it is now – after some initial
experimentation – things will return to a natural balance. There is no
“Middle America” sitting out there, ready to go Whoopie! with the
repeal of the drug laws. The majority of the population will, however,
benefit from the return of the criminal justice system’s attention to
theft, rape, and murder, the crimes against society for which we need
Ibid., page 446
“Let’s face it, we’re all on drugs, all of the time…I’m not
talking about the industrial quantities of alcohol, caffeine, nicotine,
marijuana, cocaine, heroin etc. consumed regularly by mankind, but
about the DMT and morphine our bodies make for us and which we
“consume” all the time; or our very own sleeping pill, the endogenous
ligand of the Valium receptor (which may be Valium itself); or the
“anxiety peptide which blocks that receptor[…]; or our endorphins and
enkephalins (our own self-produced endogenous morphines;[…]) which
kill our pain; or substance P,” our own pain causing molecule[…]; or
anandamide, the endogenous ligand of the THC (marijuana) receptor;
[…]… The life of the mind, of consciousness, is a constant,
ever-changing pharmacological symphony, or to put it less romantically,
a never-ending drug binge. The urge to ingest opiates or DMT or Valium
is completely natural […] and as “organic” as can be – we are only
supplementing or complementing the drugs that make our brains work, and
these drugs work for us precisely because they are identical to, or
chemically similar to our own endogenous drugs. Researchers have found
“commonalties” in “drug abuse” irrespective of the gross
pharmacological differences between different classes of drugs […]
because on one level all psychoactive drugs are the same – they are all
fitting into our own brains’ own receptors for our own homemade,
Jonathan Ott 1993 Pharmacotheon From the chapter entitled
“Proemium”: p. 37
“…it is important to stress that scientific research continues to
reveal new plant (and animal) species containing illegal compounds.
Since controlled substances such as DMT, morphine and codeine appear to
be general mammalian neurotransmitters, dog and cat (or any other
mammal) owners are technically in unauthorized possession of illicit
drugs all the time. As we will see in Chapter 5, there are at least 89
species of mushrooms known to contain illegal psilocybine, and another
57 can safely be assumed to contain these compounds. This book mentions
250 plant species known to contain illicit drugs. Some, such as the
forage grass Phalaris arundinacea are common articles of commerce which
can be purchased by the truckload: some, like the psilocybian
mushrooms, grow adventitiously all over the world. [….] it can be
said that the laws interpreted as proscribing these plants are
“unconstitutionally vague” – it is not immediately obvious to the
ordinary citizen, nor indeed to anyone, just what is illegalized by
these laws. In fact, with the advent of the “Controlled Substance
Analogues Act” of 1986, any and all plant and animal species can be
said to be illegal, at the whim of the government.”
Ibid., page 45
To take this to the next level, consider:
“Article 3 of the United Nations convention against Illicit Traffic
in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of
1988 refers to “publicly inciting or inducing others, by any means,
to commit any of the offenses established in accordance with this
article or to use narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances illicitly”
and requires each party to establish such conduct as a criminal offense
under its domestic law.”
“When considering the meaning of “public incitement”, the word
“public” can be understood to refer to an action taken in public or a
situation where the public as a whole is addressed. The phrase “by any
means” implies that the provision shall be broadly interpreted and
should cover incitement not only in public addresses or rallies, but
also incitement using any type of media, including printed,
audio-visual and electronic media.”
“In some countries, the criminalization of public incitement to use
drugs illicitly may run counter to guarantees of freedom of expression,
either included in the constitution or embodied in statute law,
judicial decision or customary practice. It should, however, be the
duty of States to find a practical way of conciliation between the
contradictory exercise of rights. The freedom of expression cannot
remain unrestricted when it conflicts with other essential values and
“Governments are also invited to seek the cooperation of the
telecommunications industries and software providers in removing
illegal subject matter from the Internet.” [Stolaroff points out how
there is (conveniently) nothing in this that distinguishes educational
material from ‘illicit subject matter’]
“The Board wishes to remind parties to the 1988 Convention that
article 3 of that Convention requires them to establish as a criminal
offense public incitement or inducement to use drugs illicitly.”
Excerpted from the International NarcoticsControl BoardReport for
1997 (published by the UN; available at www.undcp.org) as quoted by
Myron Stolaroff, “The Hofmann Report”, in 1998 MAPS 8 (3): 35-38.
Now consider the truly subversive attempted provisions hidden in the
“Anti-Methamphetamine Proliferation Act” (SB486) introduced by Senators
Feinstein & Hatch.
“SEC. 205. CRIMINAL PROHIBITION ON DISTRIBUTION OF CERTAIN
INFORMATION RELATING TO THE MANUFACTURE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES.
[Note that this “certain information” is specified to be any
information (“in whole or in part”) and despite the bill ostensibly
targeting speed this includes any and all controlled substances
regardless of their level of scheduling!]
(a) IN GENERAL- Part I of title 18, United States Code, is amended
by inserting after chapter 21 the following new chapter:
CHAPTER 22—CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
Sec. 421. Distribution of information relating to manufacture of
(a) PROHIBITION ON DISTRIBUTION OF INFORMATION RELATING TO
MANUFACTURE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES-
(1) CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE DEFINED- In this subsection, the term
‘controlled substance’ has the meaning given that term in section
102(6) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802(6).
(2) PROHIBITION- It shall be unlawful for any person-
(A) to teach or demonstrate the manufacture of a controlled
substance, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in
whole or in part, the manufacture of a controlled substance, with the
intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or
in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime; or
(B) to teach or demonstrate to any person the manufacture of a controlled substance, or to distribute to any person, by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture of a controlled substance, knowing that such person intends to use the teaching, demonstration, or information for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime.
(b) PENALTY- Any person who violates subsection (a) shall be fined
under this title, imprisoned not more than 10 years, or both.” [Bold
face emphasis is the editor’s]
Text quoted was from the on-line version of SB486. While this was
later incorporated into the so-called Club Drug act, it was eventually
removed due to its obvious unconstitutionallity. Expect to see it rear
its ugly head again if it has not already done so by the time these
words are read.
“In a recent interview with an American journalist, the chief of
Amsterdam’s narcotics police commented that the idea of a “War on
Drugs” reminded him of the Gestapo, German police who “thought they
could change society’s behavior. The police are a very dangerous
element in society if they are not limited. We know what war means…We
fight war with our enemies, not with our own citizens.”
Jonathan Ott 1993: page 41 [I must concur. Civil War is never
healthy. Rarely, if ever, are they even civil.]
Gen. Douglas MacArthur, made several comments intriguingly
applicable to the current drug war efforts:
“It is part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our
country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an
artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an
incessant propaganda of fear.”
“If you win, you stand only to lose. War contains the germs of
double suicide.” (as quoted by J.L. Hudson)
There is also the observation that “Insanity can be defined as
continuing to do the same thing and expecting different results from
Eric E. Sterling, who was council to the US House Judiciary
1979-1989 and was a participant in the passage of the mandatory minimum
sentencing laws, made this statement on PBS’s Frontline:
“The work that I was involved in in enacting these mandatory
sentences is probably the greatest tragedy of my professional life…I
suspect that the chairman of the subcommittee feels the same way too.
There [have] been…literally thousands of instances of injustice
where…the lowest level participants, has been given the
sentences…intended for the highest kingpins.”
“The war on drugs is one of the great evils of our times. Drugs are
a serious problem, but it’s very hard to tease out where the problems
of drugs and the problems of the war on drugs are not overlapping. Some
day there probably will be war crimes trials in which those responsible
for these crimes against the American people, and other peoples, may be
brought to justice…We have federal judges who have resigned, federal
judges who have wept at the bench….”
“If we look at the way in which so much of our society functions
today, it looks like the kind of highly regimented Soviet system that
we were repulsed by in the early 1950s. Informants in the work place.
Fear of having conversations with people. Fear of our children
informing against us….” [Bold face emphasis is the editor’s]
In at least one Roman Catholic school, Our Lady of the Rosary near
Cincinnati, Ohio, snitching appears to be considered mandatory.
The entire grade was suspended for a day for failing to inform
school authorities that one of their classmates had brought marijuana
to school. They were threatened with an longer suspension if the 30
students and their parents did not attend a “drug diversion” program.
[See the 25 March, 1999 UPI release entitled “Principal’s Principle”]
As Jonathan Ott and Jeremy Bigwood (&Clarke’s Isolation and
Identification of Drugs in Pharmaceuticals, Body Fluids and Post-Mortem
Materials) have repeatedly pointed out, at least one of the naturally
occurring neurotransmitters, DMT, is illegal (Schedule 1) and a felony
for anyone to possess in any form or quantity, unless said possession
is sanctified by the government.
If average, the normal concentrations of DMT in humans is generally
less than one percent of the peak level experienced when administering
a hallucinogenic dosage
This technically leaves all of us in perpetual and measurable
violation of Federal law [Note 139]
Field-collection scene taken from a Moche ceramic from Ostolaza 1998 Quepo, 12: p 64
Endnotes for Chapter One
Note 1: Promoting (or at least allowing) direct experience of the
Note 2: There is an old Chinese adage that “What is practiced
privately may be repudiated publicly.”
One of the best protections for things that a person or a group of
people want to protect and keep secret (such as internal yogic
practices) is to publicly ridicule it and dismiss it as ineffective or
meaningless when they encounter it discussed or practiced by other
This can lead to a creation of two groups within the group, one
which perpetuates the outer form and the ritual and a smaller inner
group that jealously controls access to the understanding and inner
workings. The outer group may even be totally unaware of the existence
of the inner circle. This is a significant issue with some psychedelic drugs, in particular LSD and DMT.
Note 3: And influenced directly by meditational practices
Note 4: A common misconception concerning hallucinogens is that
their use is somehow escapist behavior. There can be nothing further
from the truth. They will often show people those dark corners of their
mind that they might lock away and prefer not to look at.
More to the point, from inside of a person’s mind there can be no
escape, at least not until the drug wears off or its action is
overwhelmed by that of another drug; like alcohol. People seeking
escape from who they are or wanting not to face themselves are strongly
urged to choose other substances.
I would recommend that a person use entheogens ONLY if they have a
strong stomach for the truth and a willingness to confront and deal
with whatever they find within themselves.
Note 5: Some have claimed that “the Devil” or demonic entities are
doing the teachings. I do not believe this to be the usual case. If
this was the source where an individual sought teaching they might
obtain it. Indeed, one can experience nothing that is not in their
Everything not rooted in the bible is considered demonic by many
fundamentalists. I do not agree with them, but I would urge this type
of person to never trip, for what they hold true in their heart and soul is what they are likely to encounter.
If they expect to meet the devil, their minds may well create that
experience for them. It will not be the drug that they have trouble
with but rather accepting what they find within themselves.
It can not be helped if it conflicts with their beliefs which is why some words of caution to such people are necessary.
People like this do have a right to their beliefs and should be
cautioned not to trip. The light of truth could easily burn a hole,
large enough for them to see through any blinders and false beliefs
that might be present. This deprogramming capacity is why many in
authority fear these agents, most especially LSD – they want the blind
obedience that a psychedelicized soul will not allow.
The truth does not need to fear the light of questioning. It will
remain intact as long as the questioning is not stopped prematurely.
(This is one reason why evil or deceptive people in positions of
authority so fear/hate being questioned.)
Only those with the stomach for facing the truth with eyes open and working their way through whatever they do not like have any business tripping. (To those Christians who do decide to trip and run into problems; try prayer.)
Whatever spiritual protection people feel true should always be
invoked before opening oneself to perceiving the infinite or entering
the spiritual realms via ANY means.
Note 6: While this discussion focuses on the Christian church
dictating people’s religious choices, later, the medical ‘church’
dictating people’s health choices assumed a leading role in suppressing
the not simply the free choice of people but also their access to
The trend continues today with medical journals frequently refusing
to publish anything that does not support governmental policy yet
freely publishing shoddy research if it had reached the “right”
conclusions. [Today anything trying to present a factual or even
balanced assessment is frequently denounced as “controversial” or
“sending mixed messages”]
In some cases it is clear that religiously oriented people like
prohibitionists willfully and directly misled numerous medical
authorities as to the effects of some drugs such as peyote and
marijuana and their condemnation and fervent disapproval continued in
spite of the scientific evaluations of their colleagues who argued
unsuccessfully against them.
A good example is Dr. Thomas S. Blair’s 1921 article in the Journal
of the American Medical Association, dismissing peyote as a frivolous
and addictive drug right from the beginning, with his title “Habit
indulgence in certain cactaceous plants”
In this article he labels the peyote religion a “superstition” and
those who supply it as “dope vendors”.
He also urged for a Congressional prohibition to overcome the “cry
[that] is raised that it is unconstitutional to do so and is an
invasion of religious liberty. Suppose the negros of the South had a
It must be noted that, at this time, ALL who had actually studied
the issue were of the opinion that peyote use was a bona fide religious
practice and that it was neither addictive nor harmful in any way.
Voices to the contrary did so bereft of both direct evaluation, and
facts, and relied heavily on deliberately misleading and error-filled
reports from missionaries, anti-peyote Native Americans and
prohibitionists convinced that peyote was an intoxicant drug and/or
contrary to their Christian sense of ‘morality’.
That this was an issue of the desired large scale control of others
was perhaps best summed up 16 years earlier by Senator Henry W. Blair,
“The temperance movement must include all poisonous substances which
create or excite unnatural appetite, and international prohibition is
[In passing, it should be noted that temperance IS NOT prohibition.
Temperance is an act of self-control and free will; Prohibition is one
of enforced decree. While they often deliberately are, the two should
never be confused. What might be far more properly considered to be an
“unnatural appetite” is the pathological lust for control over the
experiences of others as was expressed by Senator Blair.]
In many other cases, it is quite clear that the medical community’s
attempts to limit (regulate) and control people’s health related
choices was done specifically in order for them to assume (and retain)
monopolistic control by eliminating any potential competition.
Note 7: Szasz accurately points out that the first defiance of a
substance Prohibition was that of the ‘original sin’ when Adam and Eve
ate of the forbidden fruit of the Tree of the knowledge of good and
evil. He further draws parallels to our situation in that God (the
Authority) finds it necessary to lie to Adam (His subject), by claiming
that it would kill him, in order to support his ban. The Serpent, on
the other hand, tells Eve the truth; that they would not die from
eating of the forbidden substance but would “be as gods’ and be able
see things in a larger sense.
Szasz’ question of whether Eve actually coerced Adam or whether Adam
exercised his free will and chose his destiny is an important one. Too
often, we forget that the act of drug use IS a choice of the user; an
exercise of FREE WILL. Promotion of free will and knowledge certainly
have never been on the agenda of any groups in positions of authority.
Adam is generally portrayed as tempted (victimized) by Eve who was
deceived (victimized) by the Serpent and drug users are referred to as
“victims” of drug dealers or sufferers of a purported disease (victims
if they succumb) that need to be and can be ‘justifiably’ treated
without their permission and over their objections.
Interestingly, God’s response to violation of his substance
prohibition is rather consistent with that of modern authorities; harsh
and grossly excessive punishment – far outweighing the crime itself. A
fascinating part of this story is that God’s biggest concern after Adam
& Eve ate of the ‘apple’ was that they might next eat of the fruit
of the Tree of Life and gain immortality (something which had never
been forbidden), thereby becoming God’s equal.
Also interestingly, there is a depiction of the Tree of Knowledge
with fruit that looks like Amanita muscaria (a fresco in the late 13th
century Plaincourault Chapel). While not accepting this interpretation
of this fresco (Samorini 1999), R.G. Wasson proposed that this plant
and others like it may have catalyzed the birth of religion itself.
Note 8: King James’ “Counterblaste to tobacco” captured their
sentiment quite nicely:
“…[why] abase ourselves so farre, as to imitate these beastly
Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, refuse to the world, and yet as
aliens to the holy Covenant of God?…Yes, why do we not denie God and
adore the Devil, as they doe.”
Note 9: From Anderson 1980 & Stewart 1956 citing Licenciado D.
Pedro Nabarre de Isla, as translated and quoted in Irving A.
Leonard1942. See a larger excerpt from this text at the end of the
section on Lophophora williamsii.
Note 10: Citing Las Casas 1909. Also included in Safford1916b
Note 11: Excerpted from Coe & Whittaker 1982.
Note 12: From Stafford1992 “Psychedelics Encyclopedia”.
Note 13: In my youth, it was stressed repeatedly in Confirmation
class that the act of Communion was not simply a symbolic one but
rather, through our faith, the Sacrament was mysteriously and
marvelously (and wholly) transfigured into the actual physical body and
blood of Christ. We were also taught that magic and the supernatural were either false or at least wrong and evil but what we believed was purely spiritual and somehow not magical thinking.
Szasz 1985 drew a quote from the 1552 Council of Trent that
explicitly states the seriousness of this view quite well:
“If any one shall say that, in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist
there remains, together with the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the substance of the Bread and Wine, and shall deny that
wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the Bread
into (His) Body and of the Wine into (His) Blood, the species only of
the Bread and Wine remaining – which conversion the Catholic Church
most fittingly calls Transubstantiation-let him be anathema.”
[Ed: According to Webster’s, in this usage, Anathema means solemnly
and ecclesiastically accursed and denounced, or declared to be someone
(or something) “specially devoted to evil”. To put this into
perspective, remember that this was being pronounced upon anyone who
did (does) not believe that the Communion sacrament they ingest was
wholly and completely converted into the actual body and blood of
Note 14: LaBarre 1975 describes the Franciscan Fr. Toribo de
Benvento as deriving it from “teo-na-m-catl” meaning “bread of the
gods”. In addition, other interpretations have been made.
Note 15: Requiring the construction of networks of walkways made
from branches. A fascinating photographic study of the excavation of
remnants of one of these ancient paths and some wooden artifacts,
remarkably preserved, can be found in the county museum at Glastonbury,
England. [Update: I have since been told that this museum has been closed and the location of its contents are not known.]
Note 16: Another interesting hillside image, the Long Man of
Wilmington, shows a figure nicknamed “The Surveyor”, standing holding
two rods reminiscent not only to some ancient surveyors [see Devereux
1997’s comments on some obviously surveyed lines and trance] but also
to the use of two sticks used to support the body during trance dances
(seen in rock art depicting human and zoomorphic images) and in
stationary (kneeling) Zorastrian [?] trance induction exercises. See J.
David Lewis-Williams(1981) “Believing and Seeing: Symbolic meanings in
southern San rock paintings” for the first, and for the second, see
Count Stefan Colonna Walewski 1955 “Secrets of Caucasian Yoga”. This
latter work is a treatise written based on teachings claimed to have
originally been learned from Zorastrian adepts in the Caucasus
mountains prior to the Bolshevik revolution.
Walewski’s description of the effect of the exercise: “You will feel
heat waves, and electric shocks at the base of the skull, and in the
cerebellum and inter-brain and magnetic current flow along the spine
upward into the medulla oblongata, corpora quadrigenia, fifth and
fourth ventricles, corpus caulosus, corpora strata, pons varolli,
pituitary gland or body, third ventricle and pineal gland or hypophysis
(pituitary is epiphysis), also in septum lucidum and other parts, you
will hear a pulsating sound like a bell or chime and feel pulsations
with a sense of swelling or expansion of the aura, and sometimes a
feeling as if beating or folding of wings, of moving as if a bird was
clasped to the back of the skull or head – this is the KA or bird (BA)
of the Egyptian mythology. …if your knees rise from the floor or body
rises in the air, stop at once. – You do not want levitation to occur.
– The trance state however is healing, and gives the power of laying on
of hands or healing by so doing.”
An odd side-note is that, until at least 1870, people saw a bird to
the right of the Long Man.
A nearby dog, a hare in his hand, his navel and 6 characters,
numbers or letters between his legs are similarly believed to have
vanished from the Cerne Giant in recent centuries. (Suggesting his
original identity as Nodons. Helith was the name used in the 13th
century for the figure.)
As all such figures require continual scouring to remain visible, it
is miraculous that any of the 6 known and visible images have survived
at all for the 20 centuries they are believed to have existed. Hundreds
more are believed to have been made and many could be recovered if
interest and funding existed.
Known surviving images include 3 men (at Cerne, Plymouth Hoe and
Wilmington), 1 woman (at Wandlebury) and 2 horses (at Uffington and
Westbury). Another horse at Westbury was replaced (or at least
modified) by an Englishman in the last century. The Devon County Museum
at Dorchester has a nice in-house publication (our source for much of
this discussion) summarizing what is known about these intriguing
graven earth figures.
Note 17: Renderings from the period are somewhat reminiscent of the
Snake Mound in Ohio.
Note 18: Early drawings of this figure suggest that it was
originally more cat than horse-like, but this has gradually changed as
the outline is maintained by removing new growth of turf.
It must be noted that older drawings, while more feline in outline
also showed an outline of a saddle. A curiously similar image sketched
into the clay of a Roman pot found near Ringwood, in the 1930s, showed
an erect phallus riding in the saddle. IF this indeed was its original
rider, it is not surprising that it is no longer visible as this is
something that would have been unlikely to survive the ‘moral’
cleansing attempts of the Victorian era. The Cerne Giant only retained
its sexual organs by a freak of lucky land ownership that prevented the
Victorian emasculation & defeminizing of all other similar images.
Note 19: The right and ability to directly control both their
religious and spiritual choices and the determination of what they are
able to experience in the privacy of their own mind.
Note 20: Balabanova et al. 1992, for example, did a forensic
analysis on the hair, soft tissues & bones of 9 Egyptian mummies,
dating from 1070 BC to 395 AD, and found significant levels of nicotine
in 8 of them and cocaine & hashish in all 9. The first two
substances are not presently known from any indigenous drug plants used
in northern Africa. These findings have been dismissed wihout
consideration by many people, seemingly on that basis alone, despite it
also being true that these reports have been confirmed by any
subsequent investigators who have examined material firsthand.
Note 21: While we cannot know what was lost and we cannot assume the
path of another culture and remain true to our culture,
(non-fullblooded native Americans having no real single culture) all we
have left that is demonstrably real and vital is direct personal
experience. Even though some of us may be Europeans in background and
origin, our pre-Christian spiritual heritage and spiritual needs are
still real and valid. I am first and foremost a being of spirit and my mixed blood but largely European background does not somehow negate that.
Note 22: At a ceremonial megalith complex at Balfarg, Fife, Scotland.
Note 23: Similarly, the appearance of snuffing in western Mexico
(and its disappearance around 1000 AD), may indicate the establishment
(and loss) of trade routes for the as yet unidentified botanical
sources. [Anadenanthera seeds were a well known trade item in South
America from early times.]
Note 24: Braziers being a common way to ingest drugs in earlier
times by inhaling the vapors when they were burned. Henbane, Cannabis
and Opium all are known to have been used this way in ancient times.
All three can induce mind-altering effects in the predisposed.
Note 25: Many active substances were known to have been ingested
orally in ancient times including opium and hashish. Eating or drinking
of these two drugs has been far more popular than smoking them from
late prehistory until fairly recent times.
The displacement of other cults by those using alcohol may reflect
the violent behavior commonly exhibited among alcohol users.
Note 26: An archaeologically noted phenomenon that is only now being
considered important is the long-known displacement of the smoking
cults in Europe by the drinking cults. We only now are learning more
than just the fact that it happened. (This is similarly true of the
known replacement of the majority of the Anadenanthera smoking cults in
northern Chile and northwestern Argentina by snuff users.)
It is an exciting frontier of research. Modern forensic technology
can detect traces of amazingly ancient drug materials and analyze them
This has been overlooked by most field workers until recent years.
The normal cleaning of recovered artifacts prior to cataloging and
preservation often carelessly obliterated a wealth of information. This
is fortunately changing.
The recent finds of wrecked Roman supply ships, with cargo still
largely intact, should prove a rich source for determining the actual
pharmacology and composition of their inebriants.
Note 27: One requiring ‘faith’ for its activity. i.e. ‘inactivity’
was the result & fault of the celebrant’s lack of faith; never the
inactivity of the Sacrament.
Note 28: I must note my leaning towards T. McKenna’s portrayal of
Psilocybian mushrooms with this status and do not think adequate
attention has been given to his points that, except for their color,
these plants potentially fill the bill for being the original identity
of Soma as much as does A. muscaria. The likely reality is that the identity of Soma really has been lost forever.
Note 29: Actually encountered in legends from well over a thousand
years before its mythical transformation into a Christian relic.
Note 30: Mistletoe has always been held in high esteem and known for
Interestingly 1-Ethyltryptamine was reported from one species;
pharmacology is apparently unevaluated.
Phenethylamines such as tyramine are also known.
Deaths are also known from mistletoe consumption.
Note 31: Others were found (at Shipton Gorge) painted primarily in
black; like decapitated heads that have been in the sun for a while.
Similarly in South America, the “flying gods” of the Nazca are often
depicted with decapitated heads in their hands. Some additionally bear
them on their belts, a not uncommon theme in god adornments throughout
Note 32: Also said to be capable of reviving the dead.
Note 33: I like this word and use it frequently despite it being burdened with “theological baggage”. I also like hallucinogen & psychedelic and think they are perfectly good words despite the pejorative connotations they have been burdened with. I tend to use them and “visionary drugs” interchangeably.
Ott presents a full discussion of why this word came be be applied
to these substances and the inaccuracies of other labels. It might be
added that Ott has shifted toward using the word Psychoptic in recent
years; see Ott 1996.
Note 34: A rather perplexing comment on this word came from Thomas
Riedlinger, editor of the 1990 “The Sacred Mushroom Seeker”, in a
letter published in part in Entheogen Review: Summer Solstice 1993.
Among Riedlinger’s comments was the objection to the use of the word
entheogen as he felt it to imply the “inherently sacred” nature of
these drugs as opposed to them being “just potentially sacred depending
on set and setting.”
I believe these substances ARE inherently sacred. The experience
people have may not be perceived of as sacred just as any other
inherently sacred act can be profaned by a callous participant. The
ability of a person or group to ignore, disregard or reject the sacred
nature of any religious and spiritual act, does not alter the
inherently sacred nature of it.
This is true not only of psychoactive drugs and sacred places but
any inherently spiritual act, from eating and having sex, to
meditation, yoga and T’ai Chi Chuan, all of which are practiced without
any sacred intent by underinformed people. All are inherently sacred
acts and potentially spiritually enriching whether we choose to
recognize it or not.
The idea proposed that these plants and substances are not
inherently sacred, that they are only sacred somehow dependent upon set
and setting, is puzzling.
If they were not inherently sacred, it would not be POSSIBLE to
profane them. To profane something is to misuse what is already sacred.
The word profane literally means “in front of the temple” indicating a
sacred act performed outside of its proper place and context.
To say that their sacredness only arises from the actions and
beliefs of the participant is as absurd as to state that a sacred site
is only sacred if the people who visit it believe it to be or that life
itself is sacred only if we think it is. Some things are given and
constants. They do not require us to exist. Sacredness is one such
What is sacred does not require the human ego to make it sacred. If
one will take the time to watch nature and animals it becomes rapidly
clear that they live immersed within a sacred state. They eat when they
are hungry and they sleep when they are tired. They do not build
artificial constructs to delineate what is sacred and what is not. All
life is sacred. It does not depend upon us to believe this for it to be
Whatever limited expression people are capable of has merit in and of itself. Even if they do not perceive it as sacred it still may be of benefit to them.
By its very nature all Communion is a Holy act. That a person can
demean and degrade it or partake of it with no sacred intent does not
change its inner nature, only its expression and the range of
experience available to them.
His comment about witnessing a partying fraternity member dropping
“a heavy dose of acid” and chasing it with two six packs and whisky to
get “really blasted” suggests that, besides perhaps being in need of
some closer evaluation about what he chooses to spend time doing, he
needs a touch more compassion and understanding of other perspectives
and spiritual capacities than his own.
Not everyone is a climber of mountains, some would prefer to view
them from a safe distance, possibly even from an armchair in the warmth
and safety of their living room, and never enter into the life and
death reality of an up close and personal interaction. Appreciation of
beauty has value in and of itself simply for making people aware that
it is there.
Some people drop acid, or eat mushrooms, and then vigorously attempt
to drink enough to blur what is encountered. For easily threatened
people this may be as close as they dare come to approaching the
The idea, which can too easily follow, of selectively depriving it
to all but some privileged or ‘approved’ cult, class or group, who uses
it ‘correctly’ and ‘sincerely’, smacks of the same bigotry and lust for
religious and experiential control that the Church has consistently
used against the hallucinogens. A disturbing question rapidly arises of
WHO would decide who could and couldn’t trip and what criteria would be
Although it may be influenced by it, shamanic experience is NOT
based or dependent upon group validation.
It was just such jealous possessiveness that enabled Soma to become
‘lost’ for so many years.
Note 35: Additionally, far more toxic and dangerous components such
as Oleander are known to have been incorporated.
Note 36: A 1997 find of sunken Roman supply ships with their cargo
of wine, oils and foods still, at least partially, intact should enrich
our real knowledge of what drugs were actually incorporated. [Note in 2014; I have STILL not been able to locate what was learned.]
Note 37: Throughout its history not simply knowledge of active
sacraments was targeted but whenever the opportunity presented, any
other philosophy or religion, art, astronomy, medicine, mathematics,
alchemy and later science. Basically anything that did not entirely
support them and their views.
Note 38: Which was declared in error as it implied that ANYONE could
some day be born Emperor.
Constantinus and successors took great pains to exterminate any
schools of Christian thought not in line with their own.
Note 39: Forms of which probably once accompanied and augmented
Note 40: Perhaps not obvious or even known to all, it has long been
known that the deliberate cultivation of drug plants preceded the
deliberate cultivation of food crops by a great many years.
Even in prehistoric Western Europe, drug use and cultivation is well
established in the archaeological record.
Opium for example is known to have been cultivated by at least 6000
BC and its ritual importance has been indicated both by its inclusion
in burial sites and by the braziers found in abundance within sacred
enclosures in megalithic sites in Brittany and Spain.
Brewed alcohol showed up several thousand years later in prehistoric
times; first appearing in the Middle East and spreading westward. While
distillation devices for essential oils & aromatics are known from
as far back as 3000 BC (from the ruins of Mohenjo Daro in the Valley of
the Indus), the earliest known distillation of alcohol appears during
the 4th century AD. Rätsch 1999
Note 41: An interesting look at this can be found by simply looking
at the views of the word ‘ecstasy’ and how it is defined by those of
the medical community who insist they have a right to pharmacratic
monopoly over our biochemical range of experiences.
Ekstasis comes from two Greek words, Ek: “out of” and Stasis:
“standing”. Ekstasis is in direct reference to the supposed flight of
the soul from the body in higher realms of spiritual experience. [This
is how my Classical Civilizations professor explained it.]
According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica: “Ecstasy (Greek: ekstasis,
“to stand outside of or transcend [oneself]), in mysticism, the
experience of an inner vision of God or of one’s relation to or union
with the divine.”
This is interesting in comparison to Webster’s “n. A state of being
beside oneself: excessive joy: poetic frenzy: any exalted feeling. –
adj. ecstatic, causing ecstasy: rapturous….[Gr. ekstasis – ek, from,
histani, to make stand.]”
However, modern medicine does not completely hold the same
view…from Moseby’s Medical, Nursing & Allied Health Dictionary.
14th ed. (1994.): “An emotional state characterized by exultation,
rapturous delight or frenzy” which is described as arising from the
“Grk, ekstasis “derangement”.
Even more interesting is that strongly held religious feelings or a
belief in god are heavily valued in standard assessments of mental
Note 42: Relying on Church representatives, law enforcement agencies
or public health officials for factual information about drug users is
like relying on a Klansman for factual information about a black victim
or intended victim.
Self-serving inflammatory rhetoric and a personally beneficial
political agenda is far more likely than an unbiased presentation.
It is clearly not to their advantage for them to be on the side of
Truth, or to enter into rational debate, in this matter.
A perfect example of the length they will go to avoid rational
public debate can be found in Miller 1996.
After a high school teacher had invited him to participate in a
debate with a DEA representative, he found that not only did the DEA
representative refuse to face him but the instructor found himself
contacted by four separate DEA detectives who urged him to withdraw
Miller’s invitation to address the students.
Miller was informed by the teacher that the DEA described him as a
felony drug user who was seeking to recruit young people into the drug
culture! (All a total fabrication.)
It is frequently reported that compilers of government drug archives
will refuse to include any text that disagrees with governmental policy
and that the Justice Department will even go so far as to suppress the
publication of any such reports whenever it is within their power to do
This latter trend has even been noted for the publishers of numerous
A note from page 31 of Miller mentioned that”After federally funded
researchers found the DARE program to be both ineffective and a drain on funding for better school programs, DARE fought against publication of the report, and the Justice Department refused to publish the research results. The director of the Center for Research in Law and Justice at the University of Illinois-Chicago described DARE’s action as “repugnant, out of line and very unusual”. After the American Journal of Public Health obtained the report and decided to print it, “DARE tried to interfere with the publication,” a Journal spokesperson told a reporter. “They tried to intimidate us.””
This appears the normal response to anything critical of DARE. In
one case, DARE was even able to get the Washington Post to insert
libelous information into an article critical of them, without any
notification to the author! (The Washington Post settled the resulting
libel case, by the author, out of court.) When criticized about the
factually erroneous nature of the content of the inserted material
(after publication) the DARE spokeswoman, Roberta Silverman, claimed
she had been misunderstood and never made such statements. (A claim
disputed by the Post.)
So much for the importance of truth in education.
The ineffectiveness of DARE has been futher confirmed by nearly 2
dozen studies; close to half of which were never published.
Interestingly, while they are less likely to smoke pot than their
non-DARE peers, DARE graduates have been reported as being more likely
than their peers to use alcohol abusively (if male), and also to be
more likely to use narcotic drugs and hallucinogens. Those DARE
participants who do use drugs also begin to do so at an earlier age
than their non-DARE peers.
On the surface DARE appears to work only because it targets an
age-group of kids with very little drug use to begin with.
Note 43: A similar tactic is currently being used in a very
successful attempt to illegalize GHB, a naturally occurring substance
normally found within mammalian nervous systems. A fascinating question
which needs a closer look arises from the fact that GHB forms naturally
in ANY dead human lending support to the claims that not all of the
highly publicized GHB deaths involved the ingestion of GHB.
[As long ago as 1965, Monnier & Hosli suggested that it might
play a role in inducing and/or maintaining normal sleep states.
Interestingly, despite its proven efficacy at inducing sleep it does
not interfere with dreaming; unlike commercial over-the-counter or
prescription sleep aids.]
To overcome their inability to regulate this well known and long
available ‘dietary supplement’ (readily available to the public and
widely used without ANY perceptible problems since the early 1960s),
the FDA has focused on intense lobbying to encourage legislators to
take action at the state level, conducted a series of questionable
arrests and even initially obtained imprisonment for some of its LEGAL
manufacturers by deliberately suppressing evidence and presenting false
During the arguments for a successful appeal, a three member panel
of judges actually suggested disbarring Sharon Kerns, the US attorney
who was in charge of the investigations and proceedings related to GHB,
due to her multiple instances of impropriety in the case.
Among the FDA’s actions was the presentation of false testimony from
paid ‘expert witnesses’ who were evidently under the impression that
this compound (gamma-hydroxybutrate), known and evaluated in humans for
over 30 years now, was actually a new ‘designer drug’ and who appeared
to be completely unfamiliar with its decades of human research and
Prosecutors also first withheld critical information from the court
and the defense and then, when discovered, blocked access to ongoing
FDA-sanctioned INDs on the premise that they contained no relevant
information. The suppression of this information was crucial to winning
their initial conviction and its presentation crucial to overturning
At that time there were 15 separate INDs filed with the FDA for GHB
and an overwhelming abundance of information indicating very low
toxicity and great therapeutic value for the substance. [An IND is a
formal request filed with the FDA to be granted permission to study an
Investigational New Drug.]
The mainstream press has, as usual, missed all but the
demonification of this valuable substance.
See the 1997 Life Enhancement 34:18-23 and/or Dean et al. 1998 for
more information on this substance, this subject, and the opposition to
Objective study is needed but unlikely to happen via any mainstream
The primary objection to GHB appears to center around the fact that it possesses activity as an exceedingly safe and pleasurable euphoriant-sedative when used at a reasonable frequency in moderate dosages. In contrast with alcohol or sedatives, GHB does not interfere with normal dream activity. It is also a very simple, non-patentable and inexpensive material that, at least potentially, threatens profits from sedative
sales. The current peculiar ‘compromise’ for the pharmaceutical industry seems to be declaring GHB Schedule One but with the creation of an interesting loophole that allows it to be used in medicine as a sleep aid without compromising its Schedule 1 status asserting there to be no acceptable medical use.
A horrifying side-effect of their misinformation campaign resulted from deliberately and pejoratively labeling GHB as a frequent drug-of-choice for date rapes in a high visibility campaign designed to shift public perception into one of outrage and intolerance. Not withstanding alcohol’s leading historical status in this capacity, evidence suggests that the (very real and steadily escalating) incidence of GHB as a date rape drug arose after its deliberate confusion with Rohypnol in a sensationalistic attempt to influence public sentiment. [Recently the evening news even described KETAMINE as a “notorious date rape drug”!]
Already, the attacks on its legitimate manufacturers have resulted in impure and contaminated GHB that are industrial products never intended for human consumption being sold on the streets to consumers, and additionally there is a rise in its replacement by similar but less studied compounds!
Protection of the Public’s Health?
Note 44: Even in those agencies that ‘regulate’ “Public Health”.
Note 45: Many people wonder why this continues to grow unchecked.
Miller 1996 includes an enlightening quote from the 1940s concerning
the illegal internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II:
“There are a great many individuals who would not like to see
wholesale evacuation of Japanese, but who dare not jeopardize their own
positions by speaking up at this time. Understandably, they do not care
to lay themselves open to the charges of the vociferous minority that
they are un-American and ‘Jap-lovers.’
…The Japanese issue has become one that apparently is without the
‘other side’, [Ed.: This is a common ‘war’-time mentality] and
politicians find it a most convenient football to be kicked around
without fearing any sort of counter-reaction developing from the
opposition. In other words, the Japanese issue is an ideal punching bag
which politicians can pummel in the limelight of public approval
without experiencing any sort of political retaliation. Such
irresponsible tactics have done much to inflame public opinion. It
might also be pointed out that any officeholder, who remained silent on
this issue, could be expected to be attacked by those who covet his
While another noted, “Apparently most of our politicians think they
can increase their popularity by attacking these people who have very few defenders.” [Ed.: Sound familiar?]
Perhaps this figured into the House of Representatives’ 1999 114-0
vote to approve a bill [House Bill 792] that would make it illegal to
transmit ANY type of information concerning marijuana over the
Internet? (Apparently including educational material!)
Incredibly their purported rationale was the prevention of marijuana
sales over the Internet! As if a person stupid enough to attempt such a
thing would not rapidly be identified and arrested by the multitude of
law enforcement agents who are paid to do nothing other than search the
Web for illegal activity.
Intense outrage by conservative and liberal groups alike, due to its
flagrant & utter disregard for the First Amendment, caused its
sponsors in the Senate to withdraw it from consideration. However, this
was not the end of this blatantly subversive attack on the Constitution
& Bill of Rights.
In late 1999, Senators Feinstein & Hatch hid even more
comprehensive legislation deep within the bowels of another bill aimed
at meth that would make any type of publication, or even conversation,
concerning drug related material a federal crime punishable by 10 years
in prison. (See Senate Bill 486.) This was eventually merged with the
Club Drug Bill and finally deleted after its discovery raised
widespread concerns about its lack of concern for the First Amendment.
We can expect it to reappear.
Note 46: For any who doubt that this is not an issue of ideology,
consider that rock music is frequently forbidden to be listened to by
drug prisoners, by those in drug treatment programs and by those
performing ‘community service’ (other music is usually ok).
For those who might argue that the possible presence of drug linked
lyrics is the reason or who might suggest that this is not religiously
influenced or biased, consider that DARE participants also report that
part of what they are taught by the police officers conducting the
sessions in the DARE program is that listening to rock music
(especially heavy metal) directly leads to “Satan worship” and drug
use! See Wysonget al. 1994.
Or consider the end-run approaches currently used (and actively
promoted in training programs) by law enforcement to conduct searches
of vehicles whether permission is granted or not. This practice of
investigation for the sake of discovery is pure McCarthyism once again
rearing its ugly head.
Or consider that it is perfectly acceptable to sell a person drugs,
even a whole community, and then arrest the drug users. In many cases,
the actual drug dealer serves less time than his customers as he is in
the best position to turn others, including said customers, in exchange
for sentence reductions. Incredibly the current emphasis appears to be
on getting dealers to turn in all of their customers. (This is known as
Elimination of paroles in drug cases and mandatory minimums have
created a majority in the nationwide prison populations composed of of
drug related offenders and have also contributed to swelling the prison
systems to an all time high in human history. (Over 1 million Americans
were said to be incarcerated in early 1999 and 2.5 million by the end
of 2004; according to the Dep’t. of Justice. It is still growing.)
The changes in conspiracy laws has now eliminated the burden of
proof and can result in conviction, even with a total lack of ANY
physical evidence, based entirely on a single informant’s word.
‘Hearsay’ is not simply admissible as evidence in federal conspiracy
cases but, even standing alone bereft of any physical evidence, is
considered adequate for conviction! Lengthy mandatory minimums, often
LIFE sentences, are a given in such cases.
What many people perhaps have not given adequate thought about, is
that for each 20 year mandatory minimum, the State is committing itself
for approximately 1 million dollars for housing each prisoner for that
duration (not counting inflation or any other cost increases for that
Note 47: Which it truly is; considering that just over half of all
Americans admit to having used some type of illicit substance during
their life and around one in 5 admit to having done so within the last
month. (In January 2000, the US Drug Czar claimed there were 18 million
drug abusers in America; not counting the nearly one million presently
Note 48: Is the idea of mandatory urine analysis to “prove
innocence” really so different from mandatory loyalty oaths?
Note 49: Evans expresses a number of opinions that makes the reader
wonder where and how he obtained his information:
“The very rigidly organized [..] ritual […] guarantees the
harmlessness of the process, which in different circumstances could be
terrifying through dangerous uncontrolled introspection. A participant
who appears to become distressed is immediately taken aside by the
leader and comforted through his ordeal. No-one leaves the circle until
after the residual effects have worn off. It is interesting the
peyotists are abstainers, since alcohol greatly enhances the narcotic
effects of hallucinogens.”
“The peyotl is not recognized as a narcotic drug by the federal
authorities who recognize the special cohesive value of the movement in
the preservation of Indian culture.”
“…different hallucinogens […] differ essentially only in the depth
and duration of the psychosis they engender.”
The odd fear of private introspection (and very likely confusion
with the effects of LSD) is not infrequently encountered:
“A lot depends on if you take it in a ritual context,” said
Jiordani, the anthropologist. “If you take it by yourself, there is the
danger of a bad trip. But if you have someone to guide you through and
do it in a sacred context, it isn’t dangerous.” Grant 2000
I suspect neither of these people have attended a peyote meeting.
Peyote is its own guide. This plant contains one of the most
profound & kindest teachers that a human can ever meet.
Note 50: An interesting note is made by J.L. McLaughlin 1973 in
mentioning that peyote had been used medicinally to treat Datura
poisoning. He includes this with a list of other presumed ineffective
applications by native people.
It would be interesting to ascertain just what pharmacological
interactions there are. As far as I can determine this is not an area
that has ever been studied.
A curious sidenote, made by LaBarre 1975, page 26, footnote 16;
while the Tarahumari believe that to touch a Datura will cause insanity
or death this prohibition apparently does not apply to the Tarahumari
shaman who can even uproot the plant due to the greater power that the
peyote affords him. The text implies that the peyote is used physically
and spiritually rather than eaten in this regard.
Note 51: After noting that peyote is never used habitually by the
Indians, he went on to conclude, “The greatest harm caused by peyote is
its use as a medicinal remedy by the Indians, who regard it as a sacred
plant possessing magic curative properties. By the unwise
administration of it to little children and to invalids it has in all
probability been harmful and even fatal.”
Note 52: Such muddled confusion is frequent, if not characteristic, of anti-peyote rhetoric appearing in newspapers and magazines.
Another wonderful example is the 20 February 1956 article in the
Arizona Republic entitled “24 Nabbed Sniffing Cactus-Button Drug.”
Similarly interesting is a 1916 interview with Chief Special Officer
Larson of the BIA, by R.M. Humphreys, bearing the incredible title
“Peyote Replaces Whiskey on Reservation: Indians Get ‘Jags’ With the
Mescal Bean” [Denver Times].
Or how about the 1942 heading “Pale Face Judge Frees Indian Whoopee
Chief” [Washington Daily News]?
Is it any wonder that the public seems so misinformed?
Note 53: This misunderstanding has unfortunately been perpetuated
even into modern times. In Ross Maxwell’s otherwise amazing piece on
Big Bend (Guidebook 7: Bureau of Economic Geology, UT Austin, 1968, 4th
reprint 1978) the claim is made “…peyote (mescal button or devil’s
root) was used by certain Indians for its narcotic and
delirium-producing qualities. The effects on the user is probably
similar to that of opium…”
Thord-Grey: “These Indians eat and drink the plant as the Chinese
smoke opium, although the effect is different, except in the supposed
Note 54: This is so absurd as to be reminiscent of the claim in the
US government propaganda film “Sinister Harvest” that “even in death”
heroin addicts brought profit to the drug dealers who ground up their
skulls to dilute the drug they sold and thereby increased their profits.
Note 55: In one professionally conducted experiment (we will mention
again), it was noted that some members of the test group given
mescaline (primarily medical professionals and several members of the
clergy) found themselves unable to become aroused with deliberate
manual manipulation. They termed it an anaphrodisiac.
Thord-Grey made the odd claim, “A peculiar part of the effects of
peyote is that while the narcotic is working and the body stimulated,
the sexual desires are subdued, in fact almost entirely absent. This
may be the reason why the hi-kuri cult is on the wane.”
Note 56: Those actually involved in directly and open mindedly
studying the issue, rather than those relying on second hand
information or operating with a premeditated agenda to FIND something
wrong with the plant.
Note 57: I was told by a person, who was quite serious, that making
drugs legal, or even decriminalizing them, would be a horrible mistake
for the country because it would put so many people out of work.
Indeed, the largest opposition to any re-evaluation or even a
rational assessment of the effectiveness of the current drug policy is
by those who make a living in or off of the Drug War or profit from
property and asset seizures or who derive their living as some part of maintaining the world’s largest prison population.
By any definition, this type of livelihood is a predatory one, if not outright parasitic; sustaining their existence and enriching themselves through the unjust infliction of misery, grievous harm and the wrongful deprivation of citizens’ rights, liberties and properties. If their actions were directed towards any segment of mainstream society other than the dehumanized drug using subclass, they would not be tolerated for an instant.
Consider for a moment how a proposed law would be greeted which
legalized the seizure of all assets of an accused individual upon their
arrest and allowed any and all assets or real property to be taken from
them, specifically to prevent them from being able to mount an
effective legal defense, (and often SOLD at forfeiture auctions whether
or not they were eventually convicted). For drug users this IS reality and has been for many years.
Incredibly this move to deliberately deprive accused drug dealers of
the means for hiring adequate and competent legal council has been
uniformly supported by the courts!
Even if a person is found guilty of rape, murder, theft,
embezzlement or robbery they do not automatically find their personal
property placed in such jeopardy, as does an ACCUSED drug dealer or
grower of the God-given PLANT called marijuana.
Note 58: As always, this did not destroy them but drove them to
exist amidst great secrecy. Much of their medicine traditions were
however lost as many of their elders died, unable to pass on their
lifetime of knowledge. As of recent years, this fortunately is no
longer the case as Native medicine people have worked hard to rebuild
what had nearly been destroyed.
Note 59: Curiously reminiscent of the FDA’s current efforts
concerning GHB, in addition to direct harassment of peyote-ists,
Johnson began an inflammatory misinformation campaign, writing
newspaper articles, and letters to both state and Federal officials
(and instructing other Indian agents to do the same), to incite public
fervor (and legislation) against use of the plant and also attempted to
intimidate and harass legitimate peyote suppliers with threats of legal
action. In spite of his total ignorance of the drug’s effects, and
numerous reports by professional observers contradicting his every
claim, his efforts were not limited to attacking peyote as a drug of
In 1909, a period when there was intense and widespread
pharmacological interest and ongoing investigational laboratory
research, by a variety of major drug companies (mescaline had been
identified as the active component only a little over a decade
earlier), Johnson, a man with no medical training, or even any
familiarity as to peyote’s actual effects, wrote a letter to the
Wormser Brothers, peyote dealers in Laredo he had previously pressured
into discontinuing sales to Indians:
“I have to acknowledge …your letter…that certain druggists have
written to you…stating that they wish to purchase…peyotes to
manufacture into a medicine. The peyotes have no medicinal qualities
whatever…Outside a few ignorant Mexicans along the border, there is
absolutely no demand for these articles except from Indians who want it
for a dope. It is a cinch, therefore, that any druggist who claims to
want to manufacture a medicine is faking and that he really wants them
for an illicit traffic.”
Wormser and other dealers not only began to refuse shipments but
also furnished Johnson with copies of orders for it. When the ban began
to be questioned, Wormser’s request for clarification got a reply from
the Acting Commissioner of Indian Affairs that the law Johnson was
using referred entirely to intoxicants and narcotics as sold to Indians
and could not be applied to White people.
Despite this, when Johnson got a copy of this letter he wrote to his
representative in Laredo, “There is no market whatever for
these…among white men and this stuff about drug stores writing
Wormser Bros. for peyote is a “fake”. Wormser Bros., promised to “cut
this business out” and if I find that they have not “cut it out”, I
will dig up all the old cases I can find against them and present them
to grand juries in several different states. I am tired of this “monkey
business” on the part of Wormser Bros. They seem to have no regard for
In a report to the BIA, in November of 1909, concerning this threat, he wrote: “This bluffed the Wormser people out and they still have the peyotes. I anticipate, however, that sooner or later they will break loose again somewhere.”
As early as January of 1909, Acting Commissioner R.G. Valentine had
informed Wisconsin representative John J. Esch that there was doubt
whether ANY Federal or state law existed which would prevent the sale
of Peyote to Indians. Regardless of this, Esch then sent Johnson to
Wisconsin to take whatever action he felt necessary against peyote-ists
This knowledge also did not stop, deter, or even slow, Johnson in
any way, he offered a number of proposals to combat the peyote trade
including imposing a prohibitive tariff on Mexican plants and
“coupling…peyotes with Marijuana and Hashish” to better ensure they
achieve their desired goal of obtaining a ban.
He also took it upon himself to direct the superintendents of 9
reservations to locate and seize shipments and in April of 1909
pressured Wells, Fargo Express in Houston to refuse shipments of peyote
by deceptively informing them that anyone shipping peyote “becomes
liable to prosecution”.
Also during that same month he purchased the entire supply of peyote
from 7 companies to be destroyed as mentioned above. Johnson’s report
mentioned the purchase and burning of 176,440 peyote buttons.
Note 60: Much like the maliciously deceptive drivel, much of it
easily shown to be entirely false, that his modern counterparts feed
police, judges, legislators and the general public nationwide today
concerning almost any and all drugs. Drug education and drug abuse
reduction absolutely requires FACTS for them to be effective, not
myths, slogans and propaganda. The only hope for success in solving the
REAL problems of drug abuse and addiction lies in teaching appropriate
and responsible drug use. Prevention and treatment need to be addressed
as separate issues. The first is the easiest. Most kids will avoid most
drugs, especially the addictive ones, if they have real and accurate
The treatment approach should focus on identifying the reasons
people take these substances and maximizing those features while
minimizing harmful effects. The current idea of replacing euphoriant or
narcotic drugs with less effective but usually more addictive drugs is
inane at best. Work should not be focused on designing less euphoriant
drugs that are addictive but rather designing more euphoriant drugs
with less addiction potential. Contrary to what the powers-that-be
would like to have people believe, the pharmacological ability to do
this is seemingly already at hand. Please see Ott’s nice discussion of
this topic in Pharmacophilia.
Similarly it is already known how to block or even reverse the
development of opiate tolerance while enhancing the per-dose effects
though the concurrent oral use of 250 mg of the non-toxic ulcer
medication Proglumide (a CCK inhibitor) See Ott 1999 Entheogen Review
interview: comments pp. 69-70. [Even better availability of Naloxone is
fought against despite the proven fact that it can easily & safely
prevent heroin overdose deaths.]
Society needs to come to terms with the fact that a small but
persistent portion of its members will use drugs no matter what. Harm
reduction should be the goal rather than the current strategy of harm
The key towards eliminating the drug problem is to repeal all legal
prohibitions (not legalizing drugs or decriminalizing drugs but
repealing these unjust and ill-founded laws and removing them from the
books entirely), cutting organized crime out of the loop and returning
manufacturing & quality controls to people who care about their
customers, and start teaching responsible drug use and personal
responsibility & accountability as a desirable social goal.
If half the energy that has gone into fighting drugs had gone into
that approach, there would be a hell of a lot less of a drug problem.
By definition alone, the crime rate would have plummeted.
Note 61: An interesting attempt at gathering evidence to hopefully
damn peyote use (pretending to address the purported problem of
scientists being unable to observe its effects) was a questionnaire
that produced unwitting supporting testimony from a devout
anti-peyote-ist, superintendent Charles E. Shell.
Shell was the man who first indoctrinated W.E. “Pussyfoot”Johnson
about the ‘evils’ of peyote.
He not only indicated on his completed questionnaire that peyote was
not habit forming, had never killed a healthy person and its adherents
were “no more or less progressive and accumulative than other Indians.”
but had also ingested a large amount of peyote, under medical
supervision, in order to determine its effects first-hand.
He additionally indicated that peyote was indeed used religiously
and that during the influence of the plant he experienced thoughts
“along the lines of honor, integrity, and brotherly love.” He further
noted that he “seemed incapable of having base thoughts…I do not
believe that any person under the influence of this drug could possibly
be induced to commit a crime…” [ from Stewart 1987: page 142].
Note 62: There were at least three earlier attempts to suppress
peyote use that failed: an act in 1897 (29 Stat. 506), a section in the
Food and Drug Act of 1906 and the Department of Agriculture’s
Regulatory Announcement No. 13 issued in 1915. There also was an
unsuccessful attempt to prohibit its use and transportation in
interstate commerce in 1916.
Note 63: A total of three bills were defeated in 1917; two in the
House and one in the Senate. See LaBarre 1975 and Stewart 1987 for far
more details concerning its legal history.
Note 64: Perhaps it is pertinent to note that Quanah Parker, perhaps
the single most important and influential founder of modern peyotism,
was the son of a white mother and Texas law specifically prohibits many
of his direct descendents from legally following the religion he helped
Note 65: In a letter written to the editor of the Quarterly Bulletin
of the NAC, dated 14 Feb. 1956, Dr. Hoffer is quoted as stating “…all
the evidence that we have suggests that Peyote is wholely beneficial
and in no way a drug of addiction. It cannot even be defined that way
since it does not have the essential compelling qualities or the
Even the DEA recognizes that peyote is not an addictive drug,
despite considering it to have no medicinal value. Grant 2000
Note 66: In a humorous twist of logic, it has been presented to me a
number of times by such ‘reformers’ that any attempts to interfere with
or to limit their activities that were centered around deliberately
converting members of other faiths to Christianity would be a
restriction of their freedom of religion as they claimed that a core
requirement of their religion WAS converting those of other faiths to
The NAC commonly engaged in attacks on white peyotists on the grounds their religious beliefs threatens the existence of the “traditional” religious beliefs of the NAC that date back 10,000 years.
I am not making this craziness up.
A similar double standard exists ‘justifying’ deliberate and
intentionally malicious activities directed against the perceived
‘evil’, but private, practices of others.)
Note 67: Throughout not only the Americas but Africa and beyond.
Note 68: An African religious group who uses Tabernanthe iboga root
bark raspings as their sacrament.
Note 69: A missionary educated Indian was quoted by
Reichel-Dolmatoff; “To take yagé is a spiritual coitus; it is the
spiritual communion which the priests speak of.” [Yagé is synonymous
with ayahuasca; a brew often made from two or more plants: one
providing harmine (an MAO inhibitor) and the other, DMT (hallucinogenic
but normally orally inactive without an MAOI).]
Note 70: An unusual slant on the notion of second-hand (vicarious)
experience being the preferred religious approach was put forward by
Chief Special Officer Johnson when recommending an approach aimed at
limiting the numbers of buttons available to peyote using Indian
“The arrangement that I have with the Osages…is that only one man
of the congregation shall be become intoxicated each week, and he will
report the visions he sees to the others. If the idea is a purely
religious one, that of communing with their God, it seems to me that it
is sufficient for one member of the church to become intoxicated each
week.” [from Stewart 1987, page 146]
Note 71: The most commonly presented scenario is that the
prospective healer enters into a period of total isolation and solitude
(usually lasting a minimum of several years) during which time they
learn to communicate with plants (and sometimes animals).
Ayahuasceros additionally use ayahuasca to assist them with making
‘introductions’ to plant spirits. [Often the initial training with
ayahuasca is overseen by an experienced shaman.]
Whatever our culture thinks about this, certainly the manipulative
knowledge of plant pharmacology and drug preparation is often quite
sophisticated among native users.
Western thought explains their abundance of knowledge as a result of
lengthy trial and error passed on from teacher to student which, in
light of the length and complexity of some of the preparations,
sometimes incorporating absolutely critical admixtures, falls far short
of an acceptable explanation.
This begs for some thought. Did some guy long ago REALLY say [it
would have HAD to be a man– I can’t believe that any woman would have
been this nuts]
“Hmmm…., why don’t I roast some beans from that tree over there,
burn some snail shells into lime, grind them all up, mix them together
and have someone blow several TABLESPOONS up my nose?
Boy, I’ll bet that would be interesting!”
Or that they came to this by TRIAL AND ERROR?!
Trial-and-error trying to do WHAT?
It is not like this is a pleasant sensation. To repeat it, using
incrementally larger and larger amounts until blowing tablespoons-full
up each other’s nostrils would be an increasingly painful series of
trials. Just the plant material would be painful enough. The addition
of strongly alkaline material to liberate the free base for better
mucosal absorption certainly would not make it less so.
If asked, native healers will frequently say that what they know
about healing with a plant (and not only its pharmacology, but also
some complex and sophisticated processing techniques) was taught to
them by the plant. In most native accounts of how hallucinogenic plants
came to be known to them it is by the plant talking to someone and
telling them “Eat me” or words to that effect. We suggest considering
that they might be serious or at least not automatically rejecting this
out of hand.
Note 72: Whatever this means…
If we were to take this absurd concept literally, descendents of the
Spanish invaders of Mexico have far more right to use peyote than would
the Navajos (a large portion of the NAC but relative newcomers to the
peyote faith) and MOST other Indian tribes who are currently NAC
Note 73: Maybe evoking knee jerk responses from some.
Note 74: Perhaps ‘sanity’ is best defined as being a state where our
hallucinations correspond to both our surroundings and also to the
hallucinations of the other supposed ‘sane’ members of our society.
Note 75: We wonder how it would be accepted by a mainstream
Christian if they were told that if they were truly ‘saved’, there
would no longer be a need for them to take Communion or go to church.
Note 76: One of the true wonders of the natural world.
Note 77: This is an inherently evil, very old and intensely
un-American thought that is currently en vogue among control
obsessives. One could easily replace the phrase with Ideological
Note 78: Fascinating how something voluntary can be simultaneously
regarded as an obligation.
Note 79: Interestingly similar to the earlier anti-witch movement,
DARE actively trains children to serve as domestic spies and encourages
them to not simply observe but to both record & report drug usage
by their parents and their parents’ friends.
DARE officers express indignation when this subject is broached
claiming that they do not ever encourage kids to snitch on their
parents but rather, when approached by kids who are concerned for their
parents’ well being due to the slanted “facts” that DARE has told them,
will ask them if they are willing to subject their family to life
upsetting problems and, if they are, will then willingly pass along any
information to the appropriate authorities.
However, this is misleading as regards the true extent of
information gathering that occurs via the use of these children. One
DEA agent, on PBS’s Frontlines “War on Marijuana”, estimated that over
HALF of ALL of the marijuana growing operations he had ever busted came
directly out of DARE from kids informing on their families. `Some of
his arrests followed being provided with crude maps drawn in crayon by
the grower’s children.
A friend in Austin, Texas found himself being casually questioned at
another friend’s party, by their daughter concerning his alcohol,
cigarette & other drug use. He was shocked to when he noticed that
his drug habits (type & frequency) were being recorded, along with
his name, as her DARE “homework” assignment to assess the extent and
type of drug use by her family and her friends.
Innocent enough in the hands of a curious child wanting to
understand drug issues but one has to wonder what becomes of the
“homework” once it is ‘turned in’.
Perhaps this is not exactly the same as actively recruiting and
training a child to spy on their family but is it very far from it in
either reality, morality or spirit?
Note 80: Some observers have noted that it is far more likely that snitches would create these fictitious drug rings than to actually risk their life taking on any real elements of true organized crime.
Note 81: For those who think such informants are paid in chump
change consider that in many instances they are not simply paid by the
federal government (state and local law enforcement have their own
budgets to also pay snitches) but also can receive 25% of any resulting
The federal government’s figures show that they had paid out $97
million in CASH payments to snitches during 1993 (up from $25 million
in 1985) $43 millon was paid by the US Customs Service and $44 million
by the DEA & FBI (both of whom refused to provide these figures to
the National Law Journal who relied on the Department of Justice and
the House Judiciary Committee for their statistics).
Note 82: A 2-year investigation by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (said
to be published in a 10-part series beginning 22 Nov., 1998) reported
finding “examples of prosecutors lying, hiding evidence, distorting the
facts, engaging in cover-ups, paying for perjury and setting up
innocent people to win convictions, guilty pleas and convictions.”
“Federal officials were rarely punished for their misconduct despite
the fact they caused some victims to lose their jobs, assets and even
families…some victims went to prison because prosecutors withheld
favorable evidence or allowed fabricated testimony, while some
criminals walked free as a reward for conspiring with the government.”
Bennett Gershman, a former prosecutor now teaching law at Pace
University was quoted as stating: “The courts used to be a buffer
between prosecutors and the rights of defendents. They are now simply a
Legislation intended to address the problem was passed by the House
(345-82) but Justice Department opposition eventually killed all but
one provision in the bill.
The above was from an AssociatedPressarticle on page A6 of the
Austin American Statesman 22 Nov., 1999.
“The danger is that we apply the control uniformly and everywhere
and eliminate the free action of the individual, as if control were in
itself a merit.” L.H. Bailey
“Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.” Edmund Burke
Note 83: There have even been multiple reported instances where forensic labs have falsified their test data to help obtain convictions!
Note 84: Whether this is a drug addict, a casual drug user, an
occasional social drug user or a person who does not use drugs other
than what they perceive as ritual sacraments does not matter. All are
now considered to be equal.
Note 85: I have occasionally been accused by some of ‘attacking’ the
Church and blaming Christianity for the actions of a few. (I will
ignore, for the moment, the fact that it has been neither a few people
nor has it been isolated incidences.) I do not intend to attack
My arguments and objections are towards the ritualized persecution
of entheogen users, as an accepted and actively promoted policy and
agenda, of the organized Christian Churches, a powerful and influential
factor in many Americans’ lives, thoughts and behavior, both in their
past history and currently. It is we as entheogen users who have been,
and still are, attacked and ‘punished’ for practicing our beliefs. My
arguments are presented in defense.
No matter how much good it might have accomplished, organized
Christianity has NEVER been tolerant of other religions unless it has
had absolutely no other choice.
The knee-jerk comment “What about all the good that Christians do?
How dare you criticize people like Mother Teresa?” is strictly fatuous.
Even if a Christian does not approve of the evils conducted by their
fellow Christians, if they say nothing and let it continue unchecked,
their silence can be regarded as their approval by default; it
certainly is considered as such by those they do not criticize.
If I stood by, silently watching, as a murder or another crime was
being committed by someone I was associated with, could I really be
considered completely innocent of participation?
The destruction of entire civilizations, taking autonomous and
thriving ‘primitive’ societies and turning them into hordes of
impoverished dependants lacking basic and effective survival skills is
starkly and clearly presented as the world-wide legacy of missionary
activity in third-world nations. It can be found with almost any native
population they converted. Only those groups who could successfully
undergo the transition into a modern economic based society are
The phases of the transition are often quite clear in their origin
and unfolding. (Mark Plotkin’s highly recommended Tales of a Shaman’s
Apprentice nicely chronicles the sequence.)
Assemble smaller groups together into a larger community to make
congregational assembly, access to the people and their conversion
easier. The excessive burden this abnormal population density places on
local resources leads directly to overhunting, overgathering and a
shortage of game and food. A similar problem arises from the burden
that demands for garden space, clean water and sewage disposal places
on the local environment.
Bringing new technology like shotguns rapidly leads to the
abandoment of forest technology like arrow/dart poisons. As members get
older and die they often take the complex preparations of such
arrow/dart poisons with them. If there is no student to learn the
procedures they are lost. If there is no perceived need they are soon
forgotten. Once economic hard times arrive or there is a shortage of
shotgun shells, due to trade or political conditions changing, people
find there is no longer a way to adequately secure game as the poison
recipes have been forgotten and a generation has grown up failing to
develop proficiency with bow and arrow or blow gun. Unable to survive
adequately, there is a migration towards settlements (slums) of
‘westernized’ people like themselves.
Introduction of modern medicines and ridiculing the old ways as
unwanted competitors leads to their abandonment and eventual loss. When
the medicines stop coming there are no longer local plant doctors with
enough knowledge to sustain the health of the society.
The introduction of new diseases is another topic that has wiped out
In all cases, once the current generation has passed so have the old
As a society, we need to be asking if anyone is really doing ANY of
these people a favor by giving them Western spiritual & social
views, medicine and technology?
Note 86: I guess to be politically correct I should call this
Note 87: Even their standard and symbol, the cross of crucifixion,
remained unchanged except for giving an identity to the crucified;
their now deified victim.
Note 88: I am reminded of the old joke about the Indian who said
he’d rather go to Hell if going to Heaven meant spending Eternity with one of the missionaries that he had met (recently deceased).
Note 89: Usually copperheads and rattlesnakes.
Note 90: Presbyterian minister, Jim Rigby, was quoted in the Austin
Chronicle as responding:
“Experience not creeds, is at the heart of religion. Mainstream
denominations have developed around these creedal statements and
they’re completely unaware that they are defining themselves in
opposition to other people. In truth, when we have these creeds, we’re
not worshipping God, we’re worshipping ourselves” […] “When you say
somebody who believes in God is better than somebody who doesn’t, and
that all morality is pinned around this belief, of God as a noun as
opposed to a verb, then you wind up with Pat Robertson. If there’s one
right way to look at things, then the best that we can do for the world
is to take over and force everybody to follow along.”
Note 91: The approach taken by some other local Buddhist
Note 92: This broader understanding is also encountered in many
Eastern cultures. A Korean I know may have put it best when explaining
why he became a Christian, stressing “I am a Christian because
Americans are Christians. Just because I am a Christian does not mean I
am not a Buddha person” [Buddhist]. Different philosophies are not
contradictory if they are both held to be true. In China, it is rare to
find an average person who is a Buddhist as opposed to a Confucian as
opposed to a Taoist.
These philosophies are regarded by this person as valid and therefore, to them, are simply teachings of truth.
Something that is true is not diminished by another fact that is
true. If one conflicts with the other then it implies that one or both
have a limited view. Both can still be true.
A good example is the ridiculous ‘debate’ one sometimes still hears
about whether light occurs as waves or particles. For those who still
wonder it is entirely a matter of HOW they are measured. Light is
therefore both and neither for it is actually more but this is another
Western thought tends to view everything in terms of black or white,
this OR that. A chessboard is neither white nor black; it is both.
All religions have a piece of the truth. None holds the patent on
Those who attempt to destroy beliefs that differ from their own do
so because the existence of other views makes them aware of the falsity
and holes that they see in their own. If what they believed was indeed
true they would not fear the beliefs of others so long as they did not
intend them direct harm.
The fact that they are so eager and willing to steal, kill and
deprive others of what is rightfully theirs (be it dignity, property,
freedom, children…) does not speak well of the validity of what they
claim to believe in.
Note 93: According to Clarke’s Isolation and Identification of Drugs
in Pharmaceuticals, Body Fluids and Post-Mortem Materials. (Second
Edition), the normal concentration of DMT in the bloodstream of a human
who is peaking (on 70 mg. given im) is one hundred times that of what
is normally in their bloodstream.
Note 94: In truth, all do have free access if they so choose. An
interesting Ayahuasca analog within the gathering capabilities of many
Americans can be made from the roots of the abundant weed Desmanthus
illinoensis (requiring well over a quarter pound of dried root bark per
dose if average) or the more reliable and slightly stronger Desmanthus
leptolobus, which also grows as a weed in large areas of the south
central US, as the DMT source. The tried and true Peganum harmala
(‘Syrian Rue’: seeds) and the far weaker, but native, Passiflora
incarnata (‘May pop’: leaves) are both readily available and proven to
be effective as MAOIs. It is solidly established that Desmanthus
illinoensis is active through bioassays conducted by many people. See
Ott 1994 for details of his series of historic bioassays. While no
formal work has been published, DMT is proven to be a definite
component of Desmanthus leptolobus as it has been isolated as a
partially crystalline oil (unpublished data, ‘Friends’ 1994) and the
identity confirmed by co-tlc with known standards, reactions with
Ehrlich’s Reagent and Xanthydrol; and also in multiple human bioassays.
It has been successfully isolated using heptane, also using methylene
chloride, as well as xylene. Its identity has been verified in dozens
of bioassays (minimum) of the isolated free base mentioned. The first
known successful and published human bioassay of DMT isolated from
Desmanthus leptolobus was by Johnny Appleseed, on 28 November 1992, as
a Peganum harmala based Ayahuasca Analog (as Pharmahuasca; using 45 mg.
of D. leptolobus isolate). As far as I can determine, Johnny Appleseed
was also the first to identify DMT in this plant and the first to
isolate it from this species.
Note 95: As if the government has any business or even the right to
either allow or forbid this.
Note 96: I would wonder if there would be public support of similar
attempts to illegalize Christian religious practices except when
involving the sincere or devout, or more pointedly to limit or restrict
Christian practices to any particular racial or social group, as is
routinely applied to the peyote faith. I suspect it would find neither
public toleration nor acceptance and also doubt that it would be
supported at any level of judicial review.
Yet, with a few exceptions, our society and courts have prescribed
(and still do) racial admission criteria for membership in the only
peyote faith in the US allowed to operate with some degree of religious
protection. Events in Arizona suggest change may be on the distant
horizon but even there law enforcement personnel seem to be able to
just pick and choose what laws they like and want to enforce and which
laws they don’t and therefore wantonly disregard.
Several other faiths have been duly chartered but none have seen their sacraments similarly protected as they mainly involve people of European ancestry practicing primarily non-Christian religious practices. In the case of the Peyote Way Church of God it was even stated by the court that PWCOG were recognized as sincere but the peyote exemption was not meant to apply to nonnatives! They have wisely ignored that ugly piece of Christian based religious discrimination and still continue to operate openly.
The most frequently heard rationalization for this disparity is that
native people have a ‘historical right’ to these plants and Europeans
do not as it is a foreign religion from a different society. Most of
the world’s major religions, including Christianity, are of foreign
origin to many who now practice them.
Imagine legally forbidding the practice of Christianity unless one
was of Italian or Jewish origin. It is clear that he question of
valid spiritual expression is believed to have been decided in the many
Church sponsored purges of competing systems of belief and no other
beliefs will be tolerated unless they only involve ‘foreigners’ or
agree to, and are able to, remain invisible.
Perhaps I should against mention that Quanah Parker, one of the key
founders of the NAC, was the son of a white mother. Race should not be
an issue for membership or participation in any spiritual or religious
Note 97: I am not sure exactly with whom or where this word
originated. I suspect acclaimed poet Dale Pendell but have not had an
opportunity to ask him. It is a nice word combining the Greek words for
drugs and knowledge (as in that perceived directly), Gnosis is often
used to refer to directly perceived higher spiritual truths or
knowledge. PharmacoGnosis should not be confused with pharmacognosy or
pharmacognosis as it would instead relate to the PharmacoGnostic.
Note 98: A highly recommended book.
Note 99: This is one of the easier churches to target for ridicule
and dismissal by mainstream America due to their casual and sometimes
playfully irreverent approach to what other religions prefer solemnly
Note 100: In chemistry, if ANY difference can be detected between a
natural compound from a plant and another identical but entirely
synthetic compound from a lab, one or both needs further purification.
The analytical differentiations delineating synthetic from natural
compounds is based entirely on what impurities are present.
Note 101: Several points that LaBarre conveniently overlooks in his
argument are that half of the plants he refers to were primarily used
in those areas that were the least affected by the rise to power of the
Roman Catholic Church and, unlike the Old World, the New World did not
have a continent wide State religion, producing multiple literary and
intellectual purges (at least not until the Old World inhabitants
arrived!), nor a deliberately induced ‘Dark Age’ nor the iron fisted
religious and intellectual constraints that Europe did for well in
excess of a millennium.
The active agents commonly known in Europe were primarily the highly
toxic belladonna plants used by ‘witches’. If not for the published use
of flying ointments thanks to the widely publicized and sensational
witch frenzy, knowledge of these would have probably been lost as well.
As all who practiced healing with herbs, or who used herbs in any
non-Christian spiritual sense, were utterly obliterated during the
Church’s many pogroms and Inquisitions, we have few clues as to what
was lost and how many sacramental plants may have been included in this
Certainly the frequent argument that Europe did not have any true
hallucinogens that could be used directly or with simple preparation is
totally unsupported in light of the possibility that the Eleusinian
mysteries might have used an ergot extract as a component of the Kykeon
and the fact that numerous Psilocybin containing mushroom species
certainly exist throughout Europe. I suspect that the abundance in
Europe of mushroom species of both the Amanita and Psilocybe types
contributed to the revulsion towards mushrooms still encountered among
many Western European countries and which R.G. Wasson argued may have
resulted from Amanita muscaria being a sacrament that was supplanted by
a religion that abhorred direct personal experience.
It would have been far too easy for a person to accidentally eat of
an active sacrament like Psilocybin had not all mushrooms been shunned.
One needs to rewrite history for only a few generations before the old
ways are completely forgotten.
A similar picture exists in Africa. Not only was no record even
attempted of local sacraments and medicines but, until recently,
probably due to a racist bias, the African natives were often viewed as
child-like, mentally deficient and utterly lacking in any truly
meaningful spiritual lives by most Western observers.
Native religious beliefs were consistently belittled, discouraged
and, if possible, destroyed by missionaries while native medicine was
scorned and ridiculed by ‘superior’ Western physicians and health
workers. The meticulous documentation of their medicine and religions
simply did not occur until relatively recently and much too late for
On the other hand, the stereotyped spear-clutching African or
Polynesian “witch-doctor” wildly jabbering ‘ooga-booga’ still exists in
American popular mythology and television TO THIS DAY.
Even the strongly stimulant barks, roots and other plant parts
cooked into food with meat, to attain courage, bravery and endurance,
sometimes feasted upon by Masai warriors until reaching an overexcited
state of sensory overload leading to eventual exhaustion and collapse,
were largely overlooked or dismissed as unimportant. Until incredibly
recent times the well known stamina and fierceness of the Masai
warriors was variously attributed to genetic predisposition or social
conditioning. See Lehmann & Mihalyi 1982.
This type of erroneous bias not only allowed the loss of a wealth of
plant lore and cultural heritages but led to the total
mischaracterization of beautifully expressive rock art, clearly showing
a rich and potent spiritual existence, among people too often
considered almost as subhumans by many early writers who studied them.
Although it is now known beyond any doubt that the southern San made
these pictures, for years it was denied that they were even capable of
creating such amazing art.
Note 102: This is certainly a less valid statement today, although
without a doubt examples exist which remain mysterious and unknown. On
the other hand, we (as a ‘community’) have uncovered many ‘new’
hallucinogenic plants and the number grows every year. It will continue
to do so as long as anyone keeps looking.
DMT and 5-MeO-DMT seem to be scattered everywhere we look. Many
workers throughout the world are especially devoted to fungi. Just the
psilocybin/psilocin containing species alone number well over a
hundred, seemingly with more discovered all the time!
One point made by Devereux is so obvious it escapes most people;
right now on this planet, there are more people who are experienced
with psychedelics than at any time in known human history.
Note 103: LaBarre makes the interesting exception of poets and
artists from this blanket condemnation of hallucinogen using whites,
presumably because they can return something to the group. In my mind,
spiritual experience is not best experienced vicariously.
Another example of a similar hypocritical stance can be found in the
words of a man who appears to have known about psilocybin mushrooms
and, quite probably, discovered psilocybin (over half a century before
Wasson and Hofmann), then decided to act as pharmacological censor:
“If in the course of experimentation, a chemist should strike upon a compound that in only traces would subject his mind and drive his pen to record such seemingly extravagant ideas as are found in the hallucinations herein pictured, or to frame word-sentences foreign to normal conditions, and beyond his natural ability, and yet could he not know the end of such a drug, would it not be his duty to bury the discovery from others, to cover from mankind the existence of such a noxious fruit of the chemist’s or pharmaceutist’s art? To sip once or twice of such a potent liquid, and then to write lines that tell the story of its power may do no harm to an individual on his guard, but mankind in common should never possess such a penetrating essence. Introducing such an intoxicant, and start it to ferment in humanity’s blood, and it may spread from soul to soul, until, before the world is advised of its possible results, the ever increasing potency will gain such headway as to destroy, or debase, our civilization, and even to exterminate mankind.”
Terence McKenna 1991; citing page 276 of the 1895 edition of John Uri Lloyd’s Etidorpha, or the End of Earth.
I feel compelled to comment on Lloyd’s conclusion. Both Amanita and
Psilocybe mushrooms have been used since antiquity, similarly peyote,
San Pedro, ergot-type alkaloids, ayahuasca and hallucinogenic snuffs.
Civilization is still here, certainly those who accept these plants and
continue to use them still exist; and mankind has not been
exterminated. The problem, we suspect, lies in Westerner’s unfortunate
idea that they are not only the center of the Universe but also it’s
pinnacle of creation and Master, and how threatened they often are by
any suggestions (or facts) to the contrary.
Even if every last American and European died suddenly, the world
would still exist, people would still make babies and some form of
human civilization would continue unabated.
However, the culture-centrism and arrogance underlying Lloyd’s assertion sheds much light on the inner views held by many of those opposing the PharmacoGnostic faiths.
Note 104: That said, what are we to make of us?
For example, without looking, I am continually drawn to new sites of
occurrences of hallucinogens and even to hallucinogens that have not
yet been revealed until tlc is run. Books and journal articles find me
more often than I look for them. The library muses are no longer an
abstract concept but a constant and humbling presence.
While not a frequent occurrence, plants HAVE talked to me, wordless
but clearly and distinctly with a richness and depth of communication I
have never experienced with a human. Drugs are not necessary for this
I do not go out and say, “Hey, I want to find a new DMT plant, let’s
go look.” I have simply gone about my normal business and they silently
called to me, pulling me, like the peyote has when it was time to go
and collect. The plants say, in effect, “Here I am, Look at me, THIS is
who I am ”…I am simply receptive and open, and I listen. Other times,
it almost as if my life circumstances conspire to lead me into
situations where I encounter these plants.
Perhaps it is a delusion on my part, yet, when I have listened and
followed its ‘call’, the peyote was there and everything it ‘said’
prior to going was exactly how it occurred. No ingestion was involved
when it called to me and said, wordlessly but distinctly, where to go,
when to come and how. In spite of my conscious monkey-mind thinking it
insane, I ‘knew’ in my heart, without question, that it was correct.
When going with the ‘pulling sensation’ it has invariably directly led
either to a new population of a familiar DMT plant, another sacred
plant or to a new plant that turned out to test positive for DMT or
5-MeO-DMT (using co-tlc).
I sometimes feel like I am being used as a tool for something I do
not fully understand. The only thing that I do know, is that these
plants are important and have HELPED mankind for a long time. I am
happy if I can be used in this way. My service is the least that I can
do considering what they have given. My introduction to them has felt
more like returning home after many years of absence, than the
discovering of something new. There is an undeniable sense of
familiarity and of FAMILY.
And yet, I am clearly from a Western society and genetic make-up (for the largest part as I am mixed blood). In light of LaBarre’s assessment, where does that leave me and people like me? Loose screws who’s illusions happen to coincide with reality? There are many of us throughout the world in Western society. Are ALL of us nuts or insincere?
I have no plans to co-opt and adapt some other people’s rituals and
trappings, much less assume a foreign religion. I am who I am. To be
anyone else would be a lie.
I am far from certain that I somehow chose to be who I am. I
honestly feel that I was born to be right here, right now, no one
particularly important, just another worker among the many who care
about these plants and their future. And one who feels a debt of
gratitude for what they have shared.
These plants give of their lives and their very being in order to
teach us; how can I be expected to do less?
Note 105: All preliminary studies seem to indicate a wealth of Old
World hallucinogenic plants, only now being discovered
(re-discovered?). Most have seen no known human use for this purpose in
modern times (or at least not until recently).
I believe that a key part to understanding this disparity of
knowledge is simlpy that the Old World was developed and touched by the
anti-drug/anti-intellectual forces long before they infected the New
World, even science grew within serious constraints and arbitrary
limitations (usually inversely proportional to how much profit they
could bring to people in positions of power); while the New World was
(and is) largely explored and studied during a time when travel,
communications and transmission of the printed word and reproduced
image was (and is) at a peak in our recorded history, as is the
recording of ‘primitive’ culture’s beliefs, cosmology, religions, drug
plants and drug preparations.
This intensive, largely objective, study of primitive societies was
utterly ignored for most cultures in the Old World until long after the
majority of such people had been ‘converted’, ‘acculturated’ or
otherwise seriously impacted and the “Old Ways” lost, forgotten or
This is the case not only with the entirety of northern European
Pre-Christian cultures but also with the vast majority of traditional
African plant medicines. The loss of this knowledge, these many
peoples, and the African rain-forests, are among the most tragic and
undervalued wastes in all of recorded human history). What few, mostly
recently uncovered, exceptions exist indicate this to be a huge loss
that we barely comprehend. As mentioned earlier, forensic analysis of
Egyptian mummies has detected various levels of cocaine, nicotine and
hashish. Or consider the find of 16-17th century English smoking pipes
shown to have been used for ingesting Cannabis. One can only wonder
just how much else of our history has been lost?
Note 106: It must be noted however that group acceptance of an
individual’s experience and group validation is by no means limited to
the Old World. It can be found anywhere that a people defines the
concept of “us and them”. Only the relative degree to which an
individual’s avenues of experience are limited is different.
Note 107: That Europeans somehow inherently either have or had any
less tendency towards direct experiential phenomenon is at best
speculative in light of the 1500 years or so that such experience has
been forbidden, attacked and actively ferreted out for obliteration by
the majority religion in Europe.
Just the fact that so many people have found their lives destroyed
over the centuries and the fact that so many people still continue to
have their lives destroyed strongly attests to the contrary.
Note 108: One point, so obvious that I will not bother to address it
in detail, is that the vast majority of Western people who have
historically claimed to be in direct contact with God, have been lunatics (thinking they are special emissaries unique from the rest of humanity) or power junkies who often turn out to be advocates of oppression, bigotry, murder and mayhem.
“As to the religion thing, well, if good people do psychedelics and start religions, they’ll be good religions. If bad people do psychedelics and start religions, they’ll be bad religions. And if lunatics do psychedelics and start religions, well, they’ll start lunatic religons.” Timothy Leary as quoted by Gorman 1995.
The old “Weather has been bad; God says we need to throw a young virgin into a volcano” type of mentality rapidly alienates any thinking person.
And yet, do not forget how readily public opinion can devolve into hate/fear/bigotry driven mob mentality, take a look at the application of ‘Christian’ ideology towards Moslems in what was formerly Yugoslavia and closely examine this twisted modernized version of an old war-crime.
Forgive my cynicism but I would bet money that if organizers today were allowed to round up hippies, ‘crack heads’, heroin addicts & drug dealers and sell tickets for people to watch them in public spectacles in sport stadiums or on TV being brutally killed and/or torn to pieces by armed Police and police dogs, or even if they were simply beheaded, this would rapidly generate sell-out crowds composed largely of otherwise ‘normal’, law-abiding and God-fearing Christians.
Note 109: As Szasz points out it is just this justification for the
accepted scapegoat that precludes any possibility of a rational public
debate or evaluation, much less responsiveness to logical arguments, no
matter how sound their basis.
Is his premise that a large enough group of people must be seriously
harmed before any recognition or any steps to remedy the abuses and
injustices can begin, truly an unavoidable requirement?
And if so, how large does this group need to be?
The “Witch Craze” is estimated to have killed over 20 million people
suspected of witchery over the course of two centuries. The modern era
of the Drug War has easily killed, imprisoned or brought great grief to
at least as many people during less than a century of organized
Note 110: Thus the old standard excuse for inexcusable actions
committed by a member of a group that the viewer belongs to: “Oh, but
[he/she/it] isn’t a REAL [INSERT group name here.].”
Note 111: Only if he had found it to be an apparition would his
faith in his eyes have been shaken.
Note 112: “Truth invites inquiry, falsehood dreads examination.”
Charles T. Sprading(as quoted by J.L. Hudson).
Note 113: No doubt even Adolph Hitler had the ‘best of intentions’
for the German people and viewed his as a ‘just cause’. As the German
pacifist Franz Werfel noted (in his 1946 classic Star of the Unborn):
“Everyone, including the devil himself, nurses the sincere
conviction that at the very spot he stands, the good resides – or, at
least the just cause, the only good the wicked understand.”
Note 114: There is no doubt that there are those who make this error.
Note 115: The common idea repeated by LaBarre, that a ‘drugged’ mind
cannot be conducive to those things of import which require clarity of
thought, misses on several points:
1) Drugs like mescaline DO NOT produce a ‘drugged’ perception of
consciousness, just a ‘drugged’ interaction with observers.
2) Drugs are neither pathways in themselves nor are they endpoints.
They are simply tools with very real and defined limitations. They
cannot be given unrealistic expectations.
Moreover, these drugs are used intermittently, infrequently and
never continuously. Even if it could be successfully argued that they
do, by definition, induce a ‘drugged’ state of mind, this state is not
lasting but persists only for the course of action of the drug.
Spiritual work is an ongoing process, the notion that it occurs only
during the drug-state echoes the impoverished idea of satisfying
religious requirements by going to church once a week and needing no
similar thought or activity during the rest of the time.
Neither going to church nor ingesting a hallucinogen works that way.
All spiritual approaches require CONSTANT conscious effort in all
moments of one’s life. The experience is the sum of the whole of the
activity not just selected parts.
Note 116: In many senses, nuclear energy, industrial disease and
pollution are built-in natural controlling factors to limit the extent
of the impact from any civilization that is unable to handle technology
Note 117: There are far too many to list. Some of the more or less
The redefining of the Universal One as Zero or the empty set rather
than the undifferentiated void that gives birth to all that exists
[i.e. taring an omnipresent ‘God’ to zero]. While a subtle shift, it
enabled the development of negative numbers and thus credits and
debits, giving rise not only to mathematics & “imaginary numbers”
(and hence engineering and physics) but also to business applications
and the development of commerce.
The division of the day into uniform subdivisions of “time” is one
widely encountered in modern minded societies of the last thousand
years. While its origin was born of the perceived religious necessity
of prayers being performed on a strict schedule, its application has
spread to permeate, regulate and control almost every aspect of our
existence. Its existence and reality is so widely accepted by almost
all of us that to suggest otherwise would be met by disbelief.
Religious, racial, cultural, economic or class distinctions,
nationalism, there are simply too many systems which have been
established as people’s real world view (transformed from thought to
unconscious reality and accepted beliefs held for generations by their
descendants), to even begin an adequate examination.
Note 118: These people should be shown compassion, not condemnation.
Their primary failing is their weakness in being unable to shoulder the
terrible responsibilities our race has recklessly assumed.
Note 119: A good example of the intensity of this dismissal within
the medical community, at the very least approaching that expected of a
religious zealot, can be found in Siegal’s Fire in the Brain.
Examine both his attitude and his almost religious intense fervor and insistence at convincing a female DMT user that she DID NOT hear the ‘voice of God’, and compare it with a fundamentalist Christian’s stance when arguing that Buddhism is not a real religion. His vehemence and attitudes are curiously similar.
Note 120: Some drugs may aid this perception but it is not limited
to externally administered substances. Practices such as Tai Chi Chuan
and conscientious study of the I Ching as a text book on the nature of
dynamic changing systems (i.e. flow mechanics) can also bring about
similar shifts in expanded awareness. Prolonged experience with sensory deprivation devices has a similar effect.
There are numerous techniques which can alter the biochemistry of
our perception but all of them require focus, diligence and a training
which can only be obtained through hand-on experience. Entheogenic
drugs are no different. They are merely tools and/or teachers. They can
no more do the work for us than a hammer and blueprints can build a
bridge by our simply picking them up. Consciousness, intent and
careful, deliberate effort are absolute requirements.
Note 121: Under the guise of “protecting the Public Health”.
Note 122: Witness the AMA, the NIMH, the FDA, the DEA and the BATF.
In all of these cases, many of their attempted or successfully
inflicted methods of ‘cures’ have been far more harmful than the
‘disease’ they ‘fought’.
Even those agencies targeting arrow-head collectors under ‘antiquity
preservation laws’, now often use flak-jacketed SWAT teams who smash
down doors when serving warrants, attired entirely in black and heavily
armed with automatic assault rifles.
In appearance, attitude, manners, demeanor, general behavior,
tactics, accountability and fervor, they differ little from ‘death
squads’ or any other terrorists.
In truth, the main difference seems to be limited to the fact they
do not more regularly just kill the people they target.
Note 123: Which are estimated to have resulted in the deliberate
murder of roughly 20 million human beings over the course of 2
Note 124: In some cases almost elevating it to an art form.
Note 125: It can even be found, in more limited expressions, in any
primitive societies who have strict definitions of us and them; with
them portrayed as evil and dangerous. This may indeed have been an
important early survival mechanism as groups of strangers arriving in a
new territory or new land have not often had the best interests of the
native inhabitants in mind. Like the fight-or-flight response, it is
one that often produces inappropriate, improper or erroneous responses
in modern situations.
Note 126: Hard won with the literal blood and sacrifice of many.
Rights and liberties are easily lost or given away but they are gained
only with great difficulty and hardship.
Note 127: Curiously, the advertising and propaganda techniques used
by virtually all effective right wing conservatives’ political
campaigns, including and after Reagan’s first successful Presidential
bid, appear to have taken Revel’s analysis, specifically that
expounding upon how Communist propaganda machines can deliberately
manipulate democratic societies through the “free press” & media,
and used it as a play-book, or bible, if you will, for their own media
Their adoption and transformation of standard Communist propaganda
techniques into American conservative Christian political campaign and
advertising strategies has been oddly overlooked by most analysts.
Note 128: The Catholic Church so feared the Communists as a God-less
society they not only viewed the Nazis as much less of a threat and, at
the very least, did nothing against them but, at the end of the war,
they actively and willingly cooperated with what was later to become
the CIA in operating an underground railroad that smuggled roughly
40,000 Nazi war criminals out of Germany (and the hands of the
Nuremburg Tribunal) and into Argentina, safehousing them until they
could be provided with new identities and relocated, primarily
throughout South and Central America, although certain ‘useful’ doctors
and rocket scientists were brought to the US where some still reside
I will never forget an interview (on A&E’s “Time Capsule”) with
a high ranking member of the Argentinean Catholic Church defending why
the Vatican was “correct” in their actions. (He was directly involved
with the ‘safehouse’ portion of the operation.) His justification was
that, “We needed to keep a pool, a kind of reserve, of these types of
people around in case we should ever need them.” OK…..
These were the very same people who went on to organize and train
the death squads that still operate throughout Latin America as
unofficial censors of any thinkers who might oppose either the
established order (strongly Catholic) or American ideological or
Is this what they were needed for?
For an interesting look at some of what just a few of these Nazis
scientists were used for in the US itself, see Hunt 1991.
Note 129: It is no coincidence that both Friedrich Nietzsche and
Karl Marx damned religion, equating them with opiates; both of their
espoused philosophies were also very much like a religion or a drug to
their later advocates.
It just the same old story of wanting to replace the old oppressive
way of thinking with their way of thinking.
Note 130: One of the most dangerous trends is the giving of free
reign to Police and the militarization of their activities. By their
very nature the Police exist and operate in direct opposition to the
Constitutional guarantees and the democratic nature of our society. It
is important that they do so as criminals operate outside of the law
and often exist under a cloak of deception. The assumption of guilt and
need to establish innocence is extremely useful in investigational
practices. Yet, there is a critical balance here that must not be
forgotten or we will soon see the death of freedom.
Unless the range of their available actions and extent of their
powers are limited and they are held fully and swiftly accountable for
any abuses of power, there is little chance of a democratic society not
rapidly devolving into a Police State. The goals and aims of those
who’s intention is a ‘secure’ state are from the start in potential
opposition to those who value liberty and freedom. Unless balance
between these two important goals is maintained, it is obvious that
problems will exist and grow until one threatens the existence of the
other. A key to understanding our current situation: teaching the
importance of personal responsibility is more than simply being
Is it really a coincidence that the very same powers now known to
have deliberately flooded the streets with tonnage of crack cocaine
also have traditionally been the most staunch advocates and promoters
of increased spending and expansion of powers for law enforcement; even
to the point of militarizing the existing police structure and directly
involving the military in the domestic war ‘efforts’?
Note 131: Who now also sometimes benefit directly and financially
from such asset seizures.
Note 132: And, at least partially, parasitic.
Note 133: A point concerning this that seems to be largely ignored
(perhaps purposefully) is that Constitutional rights are only
guaranteed when dealing with a governmental agency or their employees.
Private corporations and individuals are under no such restrictions.
The growing trend of Police to ‘unofficially’ use private security
agents & private companies (such as exterminators) to covertly
conduct information gathering searches (to justify issuance of ‘proper’
search warrants) is another end-run around Constitutional restrictions.
The broad ramifications of ‘private’ prisons and the repeated
proposals to require prisoners to pay for the costs of their
incarceration are barely examined.
Consider (again from Public Law 100-690; the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of
Sections 7302 & 2081/561 authorized the use of military
installations as mental treatment centers or for prison camps with work
Set. 7093 granted prison industries the ability to borrow or invest
Sect. 7096 enabled prisons to diversify products and produce goods
on an economic basis
Sect. 7301 authorized a study to determine the feasibility of
requiring prisoners to pay for their own food and shelter while
imprisoned. [An attempt to make this an actual law was introduced in
Congress yet again in 1998!]
Is anyone feeling “safe “ yet?
Note 134: The funneling of seized property, money and drugs directly
into the pockets of drug agents has been repeatedly proven to be both
rampant and widespread.
Note 135: Or consider that the label of “patriot” today lies
somewhere in between a dirty word and a label for an active subversive.
Note 136: A humorous side-note is the championing of ‘family
values’, let’s forget for a moment that what is promoted is often
hatred and intolerance, neither an acceptable ‘family value’. What is
fascinating is that almost invariably, the most vocal champions of
‘family values’ in recent years tend to be divorced men, often even
those negligent in child payments and basic family responsibilities.
Note 137: As long as they cannot touch the walls of their
Note 138: Some more cynical observers have suggested the sudden
flooding of the streets with crack cocaine was intended to destabilize
society and increase the crime rate to the point that the legislators
and the general public would go along with any law-and-order reforms
that were proposed, as was, in fact, more or less the historical
result, but this might show more faith in the deliberate competency of
our government than called for.
Note 139: It might also be noted that, like DMT, bufotenine has
repeatedly been observed as a normal component in cerebrospinal fluid,
blood and urine, and is specifically also a Schedule One controlled
substance in the US.
Incredibly, thanks to the 1997 Congress’ recent (moronic?)
modifications to the peyote law, apparently so now are Dopamine,
Epinine, 3-MeO-tyramine, DMPEA & Tyramine!
Congress saw fit to declare any and all alkaloids occurring in the
peyote cactus to be Schedule One controlled substances despite it being
common knowledge that only mescaline is active as a hallucinogen and
that the plant was of overall low toxicity and zero risk of lethality.
The rationale behind this move defies any logic.
Unless perhaps it was specifically intended to interfere with or
restrict legitimate researchers working with cacti in general.
However, all of the aforementioned phenethylamines, except for
mescaline, exist not just in the peyote cactus but also at measurable
levels within normal human beings.
The measurable presence of low levels of morphine and codeine in our
cerebrospinal fluid (Cardinale et al. 1987) and in human breast milk
(Hazum et al. 1981) places us in even further violation for
unauthorized possession of controlled substances within our bodies.
Even more incredibly, despite the US Constitutional mandate flatly
forbidding such vaguely defined laws, the Analog Act specifically
outlaws substances which are “structurally similar” to the controlled
This phrase is not simply devoid of ANY pharmacological meaning, but
is also one for which no clear meaning can be understood by ANYONE. (At
least no clear meaning other than it obviously being a law that law
enforcement can flexibly interpret to fit the circumstance, in order to
create new prosecutable-crimes-on-demand whenever it seems convenient,
without having to be bothered to involve the legislative process.)
This is also a definition that might be argued to include still more
neurotransmitters and metabolic substances normally found in normal
A simple (& partial) listing would include:
N-Methyltryptamine, Serotonin, N-Methylserotonin,
5-Methoxytryptamine, 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyl-tryptamine, Melatonin,
Adrenaline (epinephrine), Nor-adrenaline (norepinephrine) and the
“essential” amino acids: phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan.
The situation is apparently more recently being clarified with
‘intent to use’ being the primary deciding factor as to what is or is
This creates an interesting situation where two people under
identical situations of plant or chemical possession can be treated
completely differently based on their philosophical beliefs; as well as
one where the law can be applied, or not, just as capriciously as is
desired by whatever law enforcement official wants to make the call.
Again underscoring our comment that a War on Drugs is in reality
actually a war being waged against drug using people as part of a
larger social pogrom aimed at their eradication.
Lophophora williamsii echinata showing cold stress
Similarities between the Drug Wars and the Witch Craze (after
War on Witchcraft
Witches perceived to be in direct conflict with desired control by
In providing medical treatments and spiritual practices, witchcraft
threatened the oligarchic control of the church.
In direct competition with control by medical authorities. (usually
the church, ‘healing’ with fasts and prayers, as medicine was usually
considered a form of witchcraft)
Witches used pharmacologically active substances and gave them to
Forbidden to heal unless versed in study of the scriptures and
approved as a priest.
Merciless treatment recommended for witches.
Most ‘witches’ were unlikely to fight back.
Punishments harsh and severe; grossly exceeding any purported harm.
Search and arrest procedure often deliberately destructive and
Punishments handed out regardless of the outcome their action
(regardless of whether they cured or harmed).
Intent considered a punishable act.
Conspiracy conviction could result from testimony of a single
informant and did not require physical evidence.
Different standards of law applied to witches than the rest of
society. Safe to cheat or attack.
Informants encouraged and rewarded to turn in people they thought
were guilty of witchcraft (even if parents or other family members).
Children questioned in the absence of their parents with or without
parental consent or knowledge.
Children used as domestic spies and information sources.
Failure to report witchery (or to testify against a witch) could
result in condemnation and punishment as an accomplice.
Members punished not only for what they did but also condemned for
what they were – an autonomous “counter culture” perceived defiant of
the imposed control of authorities.
Loss of parental rights often accompanied pronouncement of guilt.
Property and land seizures directly profited the Inquisitors.
Use of testimony from paid or leveraged informants was acceptable.
Informants could be rewarded with seized property.
Inquisitors rewarded handsomely from finding and persecuting
witches. Persecuting witches was a lucrative and profitable business.
Development of a powerful group of witch-mongers whose livelihood
depended on expanding their powers and finding, if not actually
creating, more ‘witches’.
Inquisition was international in scope. Two principle centers; Rome
Institutionalized [as the Inquisition].
Presented to the public as necessary to ‘save them’ from the evils
Unresponsive to rational analysis, criticism or policy evaluation
once the efforts began.
Not answerable to the public.
No middle ground and no meaningful debate.
Witches presented as worthless and undesirable members of society,
or as bad and evil people, simply for being witches.
Intensive propaganda efforts characterized by sensationalism and
outright lies aimed at stirring adverse public sentiment, intolerance
and mass hysteria.
Simple ideological identification accepted as justification to
deprive of housing and employment (or worse).
Witches portrayed as subhuman murderous monsters preying on the
No widely perceived witch ‘problem’ prior to the War on witches.
Efforts of witch hunters repeatedly presented as valiant failures,
claimed due to the perceived size of the ‘problem’, but with enticement
of future success, requiring more autonomy for the witch-hunters and
greater authority to take drastic actions. Their real failures were
often misrepresented as successes.
Members of targeted group unorganized, as well as politically and
Lacked any effective advocates in positions of power.
Any advocates were also attacked.
Group persecuting them was both politically and socially powerful.
War on Drug Craft
Drug activity in direct conflict with desired control by
By providing illegal drugs, dealers threaten the oligarchic control
of physicians and legal drug dealers (pharmaceutical industry).
In direct competition with desired monopolistic control by medical
authorities and pharmaceutical/ alcohol/ tobacco manufacturers.
Drug users use pharmacologically active substances and give them to
Forbidden to use or supply drugs unless versed in study of medicine
and approved as a physician or pharmacist.
Merciless treatment recommended for drug dealers (and often users).
Most drug users are unlikely to fight back.
Punishments harsh and severe; grossly exceeding any purported harm.
Search and arrest procedure often deliberately destructive and
Punishments handed out regardless of the outcome their action
(regardless of whether their actions produces harm).
Intent considered a punishable act.
Conspiracy conviction can result from testimony of a single
informant and does not require physical evidence.
Different standards of law applied to drug people than the rest of
society. Safe to cheat or attack.
Informants encouraged and rewarded to turn in people they thought
were guilty of drug involvement (even if parents or other family
Children questioned in the absence of their parents with or without
parental consent or knowledge.
Children are both trained & used as domestic spies and
information sources with the assurances that their actions will “”help”
Failure to report drug sales or possession can result in
condemnation and punishment as accomplice (including even the loss of
rental properties for failure to control actions of tenants)! Failure
to agree to testify in drug cases can result in heavier sentencing than
if agreeing to serve as an informant.
Members punished not only for what they do but also condemned for
what they are – an autonomous “counter culture” perceived defiant of
the imposed control of authorities.
Loss of parental rights often accompanies pronouncement of guilt.
Property and land seizures directly profits anti-drug warriors.
Use of testimony from a paid or leveraged anonymous informant is
acceptable; if not encouraged or predominant.
Informants can additionally receive 25% of all seized property.
Combating the drug trade generates huge amounts of seized property,
assets and money for the drug warriors. In addition, a flourishing
multi-billion dollar industry has been created out of drug detection
services, private prisons and the manufacture/sales of surveillance
equipment. Treating drug ‘addicts’ is similarly a lucrative and
immensely profitable business with explosive growth.
Development of a powerful group of drug persecutors whose livelihood
depends on expanding their powers and finding, if not actually
creating, more ‘drug problems’ to ‘resolve’.
Inquisition is international in scope. Two principle centers;
Washington and Geneva.
Institutionalized [as the DEA, the FDA, the National Institute of
Mental Health and other “public health” groups who have teamed
(ganged?) up for a ‘war on drugs’].
Presented to the public as necessary to ‘save them’ from the evils
Unresponsive to rational analysis, criticism or policy evaluation
once the efforts began.
Not answerable to the public.
No middle ground and no meaningful debate.
Drug users presented as worthless and undesirable members of
society, or as bad and/or evil people, simply for using drugs.
Intensive propaganda efforts characterized by sensationalism and
outright lies aimed at stirring adverse public sentiment, intolerance
and mass hysteria.
Simple ideological identification accepted as justification to
deprive of housing, government services and employment.
Drug dealers portrayed as subhuman murderous monsters preying on the
No widely perceived drug ‘problem’ prior to the War on Drugs.
Efforts of drug warriors repeatedly presented as valiant failures,
claimed due to the perceived size of the ‘problem’, but with enticement
of future success, requiring more autonomy for the drug warriors and
greater authority to take drastic actions. Their real failures are
still often misrepresented as successes.
Members of targeted group unorganized, as well as politically and
Lacking any effective advocates in positions of power.
Any advocates are also attacked. Even defense lawyers can find
themselves charged with conspiracy or other criminal charges simply for
defending drug dealers!
Groups persecuting them are both politically and socially powerful
Image from the Nazca culture (Phase 6) modified from Cane 1985 after Eisleb 1977 shading added for definition While interpretations certainly might vary, some elements of this drawing suggest cactus spines and vomiting.