There are some helpful thoughts that should be presented in opening this book.
I plan to add more words but for now I’ll just include what was said in the previous editions:
“The Archaic Revival is a clarion call to recover our birthright, however uncomfortable that may make us. It is a call to realize that life lived in the absence of the psychedelic experience upon which primordial shamanism is based is life trivialized, life denied, life enslaved to the ego and its fear of dissolution in the mysterious matrix of feeling that is all around us. It is in the Archaic Revival that our transcendence of the historical dilemma actually lies.”
Terence McKenna 1992 Food of the Gods, page 252.
“Every major advance in science and technology has been greeted with suspicion and alarm. It happened with the telescope; it happened with the thermometer. What we have to take into account is that if any substance has potential for abuse or misuse, then it is axiomatic that this abuse or misuse will in fact take place. There are many people who will be attracted to these chemicals who are in fact the last people who could possibly benefit from them
But it’s not so easy as all that. The only certainty we have is that whatever we do, it will be rough going. At the end, one of two things will happen: people will say “what an incredible number of blundering idiots there were who thought LSD was of any use whatever,” or they’ll say “what an incredible number of people there were who were so stupid as to ignore this astounding happening.””
Humphrey Osmond, D.P.M., Director, Psychiatric
Research, Princeton Neuro-psychiatric Institute, as quoted in Thomas Lyttle’s Psychedelic Monographs & Essays, Volume 2
“…I am convinced that we cannot alter the destructive nature of our “Technological culture” without altering our consciousness, without altering our tissue and that is exactly what the psychedelics are for[Note 1]…In one sentence I can say that the future of psychedelics is the future of the world…the future of mankind. Not only that but the scientific world is making a great, great leap through this altered state of consciousness. It is not admitted because it is an illegal thing, but things Einstein missed have now come into modern physics through the psychedelic doctorates.
[Interviewer: “Fritjof Capra has written that the initial stimulus for the Tao of Physics came through the use of power plants.”]
“Not only him but quite a few Nobel prize winners – I won’t mention their names, I don’t want to mess them up – made their great discoveries after they were turned on. Most of the grand unified field theorists. almost all of them are turned on people.”
Baba Ganesh, from an interview also published in Psychedelic Monographs & Essays, Volume 2.
I understand why people on both sides of this issue might question why I felt it necessary to assemble this book.
Some of those who believe as I do may object to this being written because, while they know the truth, they are satisfied with that and would prefer it be kept sheltered and preserved for them and fellow believers. Those who oppose my beliefs may view this as reckless, irresponsible and a contribution to everything they oppose.
Any forms of spiritual restriction and persecution are wrong. Any legislation of what a person should or should not believe or experience spiritually is also wrong. Nor is the truth to be protected from prying eyes and reserved for a select few.
I fully recognize that writing this book under a pseudonym automatically casts at least some doubts about this work’s veracity and my qualifications to make some of the claims that I do. What is opinion or subjective observations are presented as such. What is fact has enough documentation included to enable interested parties to decide the truth for themselves by consulting our references, and, better still, THEIR references.
If they truly object to what is included here and what we believe then they should not waste their time reading it. No one shoved a gun down their throat to force them to read it. Believers of the systems of worship and spiritual exploration which I discuss, on the other hand, routinely have guns shoved in their face by screaming and often abusive law enforcement personnel, who should be allies and fellow Americans, not sworn enemies, dedicated in their misguided attempts to force us to abandon our spiritual beliefs.
It should be noted that extreme persecution has been applied for over a millennium and a half to people who believe as I do. In many cases, torture and actual death were both prescribed and enacted punishments.
WE ARE STILL HERE.
This did not eradicate San Pedro use from the Andes, nor did it eliminate Peyote or Psilocybe use in Mexico. Illegality did not destroy the African Eboka users nor has it eliminated the use of Cannabis anywhere in the world. We cannot be legislated out of existence; we can only be legislated into becoming a subclass which can be legally and acceptably hated, reviled and discriminated against by members of an opposing religion.
In spite of intense persecution, we are still here, and we will always be here, because we believe.
The sacraments are sacred even if profaned by the unknowing who also sometimes use them. They do not function as spiritual tools for all who use them anymore than membership in a particular church ensures that the member is devout and sincere.
Spirituality is an individual and subjective experience and must come from the heart to be functional. It cannot be legislated, prescribed or dictated by others.
No religion that promotes a placebo sacrament and forbids direct access to and knowledge of the Sacred Infinite, can ever hope to persuade us to abandon the TRUE sources of Original Communion as provided to us by our creator [Note 2].
The most that can be done is to drive the religion underground as has frequently happened in its past and current history; from the peyote and mushroom faiths disappearing into remote mountainous regions of Mexico after the Spanish invasion, through the Dyidé reduced to using their sacramental Mitragyna africana leaf amidst great secrecy in remote areas of Mali [Note 3], to the establishment of an eclectic and disparate counterculture in America born in direct response to its members being lumped together and branded as criminals for having nothing in common but some shared philosophical beliefs.
Illegalization of any philosophical, spiritual or religious system
creates a coherency and a secret structure that ensures their support
and continuation even if diminished in numbers. No valid system of
religious belief has ever been destroyed without killing every sincere
believer and their families. Proof that this works, albeit temporarily,
can be witnessed in the destruction of a number of such faiths in
Europe by the early organized church. No blood was spared to gain
dominion over and destroy those faiths that still knew of a sacrament
that was active.
It should also be noted that such suppression can only last until
one person with the right biochemistry and predisposition once again
eats of the sacrament, at which point the ‘religion’ inherent in our
genes is born anew. The faith is again blossoming all over Europe
despite frequent legal restrictions and, in some areas, severe
The persistence of the faithful in the US, despite the intensive and
unrelenting efforts of the US government to dissuade them through
grossly exaggerated & excessively harsh penalties, should be
rightly considered as evidence and testimony of just how strong this
faith can be.
In an era of political and legal persecution, such as we currently
are enduring, quite often the only time the truth can be published is
anonymously. For myself or any of those who have helped with this piece
to be openly identified, opens us up for retribution, prosecution and
possible imprisonment simply for exercising our rights to basic
religious freedom. If it was a viable option I would be proud to attach
my name to this work.
Anonymous authorship of ‘politically incorrect’ topics is well
established as both necessary and acceptable in repressive regimes such
as the one we now live under.
Those who are not directly threatened by this repression may have a
hard time believing we are once again in an era of attempted cultural,
ideological and spiritual ‘cleansing’. Yet the War on Drugs is
blatantly just another attempted ‘social purge’.
Going into what would prove to be WWII, the German people of the
late 1930’s would have had a hard time believing that the cleansing of
society and the elimination of the ‘Jew problem’ was in any way a bad
thing for German society. They were similarly brainwashed into
perceiving that a minor and primarily politically powerless subclass of
society were somehow undesirables, pariahs, the cause of their woes and
the major threat to social order and stability [Note 4].
. As are the drug users of today, the Jewish people were publicly
misrepresented as dangerous and worthless VERMIN not even worthy of
normal human considerations under the law; subhuman SCUM to be cleansed
from society’s fabric without guilt or remorse.
That Jews were being used as scapegoats for enabling a larger social
and political agenda was not even considered by the average German
Our situation today in Amerika is little different. Even the police
themselves lack accurate information and are purposefully ‘educated’
[Note 5] with intentionally prejudicial propaganda, frequently utterly
lacking in facts, and instead often comprised of grossly distorted
‘scientific findings’ deliberately intended to misrepresent their
intended victims as threats to the established social order.
Drug users ARE the Jews of the 1990’s [and onward into the new
As were the Jewish people, we also are viciously attacked and
persecuted for no reason other than our readily perceived differences
of belief and sometimes appearance. Our crime is our insistence that
the individual and the individual alone has the right to dictate how
they worship, what they think and how they feel in the privacy of their
It has been said to me that this comparison is unfair, that
entheogenic drug users choose who we are, whereas Jewish people are
It is far from certain that people with predilections towards the
hallucinogens are not born that way.
Certainly most people do not care for the experience.
There is also considerable evidence to suggest that biochemical
markers can differentiate people into classes corresponding to which
drugs they prefer; suggesting that individual tastes for particular
substances may have underlying biochemical reasons. We would
sugest that the answers to the true problems of drug abuse will only be
found in those lines of thought that start by asking the question “Why
is this individual self-medicating? What is it that they require which
their pattern of abuse is somehow satisfying?”
Ignoring this, it must also be pointed out that had the Jewish
people not been such a visible subclass, had the Orthodox Jews stopped
wearing their traditional clothing, had they given up their language
and their religious beliefs and sheepishly attempted an assimilation
into mainstream German society they also would have had no problems and
could never have been so unjustly and viciously used as a scapegoat for
Germany’s far larger economic and societal problems. Drug users today
are no different and suggestions that we abandon our beliefs, in an
attempt to conform to the wishes and religious beliefs of those who
believe differently from us, are no less insulting and inappropriate.
Social cleansings and cultural purges of unpopular minorities are
evil things no matter who the target.
As was the case with the German Jewish people, we also have been
relentlessly demonized in the media and portrayed as criminals and
undesirables to such a degree that it is rare to find an average
citizen who has not been affected.
As was true for the German Jewish people, we too have no support or
advocates within any bodies with effective political input. Any open
and visible stances we might take would be dealt with as the Nazis
would have dealt with a Jew who dared to stand up openly and visibly
defy Hitler in print or speech.
For those who would dispute this, we would remind them that when Jim
Hogshire was arrested for possession of commercial florist’s poppy
pods, the primary evidence the prosecution presented against him was
his published WRITINGS about this politically incorrect topic. Readers
might want to think about this for a moment.
The necessity of anonymity when voicing opposition to such an unjust
and oppressive regime is not limited to such gross and extreme
examples. Had James Madison not written the Federalist Papers under the
anonymity of “Publias”, he would have rapidly been arrested, imprisoned
and probably hanged as a traitor. The American Revolution only
succeeded because its membership was able to stay invisible until the
time for action arose.
It should be remembered that the majority of colonial Americans
never supported the establishment of an independent nation founded on
the principles of democracy and freedom and were not in favor of our
breaking away from England. (At least not until AFTER it had already
It would be too simple to target, harass and silence us as
individuals. I am under no illusion about this very serious matter.
This is a revolution. Not one of violence, nor one that advocates an
overthrow or even an undermining of the government [Note 6] but one of
consciousness and of conscience that dares to declare and assert our
rights to govern and control our own thoughts, consciousness and
ability to worship, or not worship, as we believe. No form of
expression should be restricted unless it harms others.
Those of us who worship in this way are not bound together within
any formal dogma or organization, we only know the truth as it is
written in our hearts. Each of us knows we must find our own personal
path, as we are individuals and not mindless clones to be spoon fed a
mass marketed religion. Often, our only shared point is that each of us
believes that we have a right to govern our own consciousness and that
the only valid spiritual path for us is the cultivation of a personal
relationship with our creator.
We are claiming nothing more than the spiritual and religious
freedom that supposedly is guaranteed to us under the Constitution and
Bill of Rights that now hangs in tattered shreds, another victim of the
War on Drugs. [Writing for the third edition in 2005, both documents
now appear to have largely been buried, if not composted.]
I have said it before and will say it again; A War on Drugs is a War on People. Namely, people of different beliefs. Drugs are things. You cannot have a war on things. Wars are conducted between people or else, as in this case, waged against people.
The very notion of “zero tolerance” is not only blatantly
un-American but decidedly anti-Christian; despite the numbers of
American Christians who preach it. Too many otherwise decent humans
have allowed themselves to be swept up in an emotional propaganda
campaign of hatred, intolerance and prejudice against people who are
different from themselves.
It is little different from any of the other attempted cultural
cleansings, those social and ideological purges of minorities that are
shunned and condemned for their visible philosophical or spiritual
differences. Hitler targeted the Jews & other minorities, the
Inquisitions targeted witches, scientists and other ‘heretics’, various
Christian groups have repeatedly targeted those people that they
perceive as ‘godless’ such as witches, peyoteists and communists, Pol
Pot’s Khmer Rouge targeted the educated and those ‘contaminated’ by
exposure to foreign cultures, and the current American, medically
approved and religiously sanitized, version of the long-standing
Christian pogrom targets those who alter their consciousness.
In the case of the entheogen users, this is directed mainly against
people who do not believe in an organized religion with dogmas
prescribed by committee, and who therefore cannot fight back or
adequately defend themselves as the courts do not recognize the
pharmacological realms of spiritual experience as being valid for
people of European backgrounds, nor do the courts recognize any
religion that is not formally organized.
The courts cannot be expected to be unbiased in this matter, as
their decision makers swear an oath to the same God who’s followers
have been waging a war on those who hold the sacred plants to be Holy
(and who have been doing so ever since Christianity was decreed to be
the new State Religion of the Constantine’s Roman Empire). We do
not want to diverge by discussing where this has been permitted to lead
in the new millennia.
We could also heap equal blame on the medical and pharmaceutical
community but as Dr. Thomas Szasz has done such an eloquent and well
written job annihilating the pompous facade on their blatant
financially motivated attempts at limiting competition and assuming
total control over people’s health choices and options for their own
benefit, we see no point in repeating more than some of the bones of
I believe that, for the largest part, their minds are made up and
they are not open enough, or even able, to evaluate the issue honestly
and justly, free from preconceived notions and prejudice. In most cases
they have been assaulted by a deluge of misinformation and intense
propaganda since they were old enough to understand what was said to
them. They cannot be blamed. They are too ignorant of the actual truth
to even consider it to be a possibility. They hold what we believe as
not only wrong but utterly lacking in merit despite the precedence of
its great antiquity and the history of direct and unrelenting
persecution by the Christian faith over the last 1500 or so years.
It must be stressed that despite their best effort to destroy us and
the ‘faith’, we are still here. They may imprison or even kill us. They
may do the same to many thousands of others, as they have done and are
still doing, but our practices and beliefs live on.
Even if they somehow succeeded in destroying every single follower,
the faith will be born anew as soon as one person with the right
biochemistry eats of the sacrament in any one of it’s many varied
My religious and spiritual beliefs are incorporated into the
biochemistry of my body. The Holy ‘temple’ is within. My religious and
spiritual beliefs cannot be destroyed by destroying the individual as
they are incorporated into human physiology; encoded within the heart
and soul of my DNA.
I did not create this ‘religion’; I was born with it.
My ‘religion’ was created by the same forces that created me. My
belief is that it came with the planet.
It needs neither prophets and creeds nor threats and dangled
promises to ensure our obedience. Those of us who believe and merge
with these substances do so because we ACCEPT who and what we are:
This is an area in great need of truth. There is an unjustly
perceived social undesirability and political incorrectness surrounding
the very topic I hope to throw more light upon. This is unfortunate, as
it is the direct result of people believing that they somehow have the
right and duty to dictate and legislate what other people believe
spiritually and religiously. To this end they have sought to portray
this faith as something it is not with lies and innuendo.
The war on drugs is also a war specifically directed against
accurate information and knowledge; it is especially focused on access
to that information. (This inability to control information
distribution, and, more pointedly, information access, is the true
reason that the Internet strikes fear in the hearts of many who are
obsessed with power and control.)
For example, during the Reagan years, every reference to alkaloids
was mysteriously lacking from UT Austin’s On-Line catalog. Considering
there are several multiple volume series with this as their title, it
was not a small omission. Books concerning hallucinogens suddenly
disappeared from the catalog and in many cases from the actual shelves
themselves. Library officials attributed the latter to coincidence and
patrons failing to return books but as it happened literally overnight
and involved hundreds of books this stretches credibility.
I know that many remained on the shelves for YEARS without catalog
entries because I had always recorded the call numbers and could find
them physically by using my notes. It remained this way for almost a
decade. During the last two years of the Bush administration almost all
existing material A-Z reappeared in the catalog.
Many books however did not return, including any individual works
that had reported favorably on the usage of hallucinogenic drugs.
[Unless bearing such titles as “The Diabolic Root” or “Peyote, the
Indian Mind-Drug”.] Curiously, many reference and frequently cited
source books previously in the library holdings now say “Unavailable”
in their listing in the catalog.
A few still say “Unavailable” in their On-Line listing in spite of
their physical presence on the shelves. Many more say “Unavailable” or
“No longer available” that, while they are not in the University’s
holdings, are actually readily available through such services as
Inter-Library Loan. This option is commonly included for many books
listed for other topics along with the note of their absence from the
Due to the deluge of publications arising from recent ethnological
work among drug using peoples and studies of shamanic oriented faiths
there is a balance once again slowly returning to the library system.
(This refers to the University library.)
In spite of this, there is still the presence of what many in this
field like to call the ‘DMT filter’. This is an unofficial but
long-standing trend of compilers of data bases and On-Line search
indexes to omit the majority of references concerning DMT. (Perhaps due
to the fact that, not only is DMT wondrous and informationally rich
when approached properly [Note 7] but, as Dr. Shulgin puts it, “DMT is
Some might call this paranoia on my part but if one goes to the
Academic Periodical Index (which covers 1988 through the present) and
enters DMT in any one of its many names or synonyms, they will find
nothing concerning this compound. (At least this was true in a search
conducted in 1995 at our local University in Austin, Tx.) To a novice
observer this would suggest that there either was no ongoing research
concerning DMT or else the name does not appear in their title.
In the prior 8 years there were at least 12 mainstream journal
articles that clearly incorporated N,N-Dimethyltryptamine or a synonym
as part of their title or else listed it among their keywords. Under a
subject keyword search for hallucinogens we found only a reference to a
New York Times article concerning a Californian arrested for possessing
toads, referring to him as the ‘High Priest of Toads’, a label certain
to induce visions of witchcraft or satanic worship in many
A similar keyword search for peyote yielded primarily mentions of
articles which stressed the High Court’s currently narrow view on
allowance of minority religious expression or accounts of the ‘crisis’
facing the NAC due to the limited availability of their sacrament in
contrast to their increasing requirements. (As if they are being
allowed any choice in the matter; especially now that Congress made
peyote seeds Schedule 1 in 1997, and failed to include any provision
for even bona fide NAC people to possess seeds, cultivate the plant or
even to return seeds to the wild! Incredibly this is even considered to
apply to those licensed to collect the plant from wild populations,
according to the Texas DPS!)
A few years ago a professional journal was created as a forum for
this topic. Yet, all of our available referencing sources at the
University insist that Integration: (subtitled; Zeitschrift fur
Geistbewegende Pflanzen und Kultur) does not exist. This is true
despite its primary contributing authors being well known and highly
respected scientists and medical professionals with many articles
behind them; some stretching back literally decades. Apparently it was
never included by any of the citation services which catalog
professional journals. Unfortunately this lack of awareness has now
outlived the life of the fairly short-lived journal.
I suspect this attitude of casual dismissal to be a part of the
prejudice and popular misconception that we are all a bunch of tie-dyed
barefoot ‘hippies’ wanting to dance naked in the parks. A few of us may
be, but the vast majority are just regular hardworking and honest
We are doctors, chemists and other degreed professionals. We teach
and we work in factories. We are everywhere.
We are not criminals except for what we believe in spiritually. We
have nothing in common for the most part except for this faith that
ties us together and the pains we must take to keep our spiritual
practices out of sight, similar to what early Christians were forced to
They also were persecuted, arrested and severely punished for their
beliefs if discovered. Their meetings and congregations of worship and
fellowship also had to occur in secrecy. They did not cease to exist in
response to being branded outlaws.
Our situation is no different and our beliefs are certainly no less
Many people who believe as I do will strenuously object to our
system of spiritual experience being labeled a religion because this
conjures up images of a centrally controlled system or prescribed dogma
such as that which portrays us as subhuman vermin fit to be
exterminated and exhibits no tolerance for those of different beliefs.
Whether you refer to it as spirituality or religion these are just
words for a system of belief concerning what we hold to be sacred and
true as concerns the ineffable.
Terence McKenna defined shamanism as being not a religion but rather
a set of techniques. This is quite true and will go far towards
explaining why the approaches often seem as variable as the individual.
Ours is distinct from the organized religions in that most of us
reject the ideas that someone else must tell us what is true and that
we must live in the shadows of the organizational control and spiritual
experiences of others. Spirituality is either living and personally
accessible or it is dead. The idea of an organization existing to
direct and therefore legitimize our beliefs and experiences is
abhorrent to almost all of us. The issue is the Sacred. The Sacred
cannot be legislated by committee.
Many of us who follow the PharmacoGnostic paths or other shamanic
approaches are sincere in our beliefs. We could not claim that all are
sincere anymore than any church or organization can truthfully claim
that all of its members are sincere.
We are also the only faith for which the courts frequently require a
racist criterion for the only exception to their blanket prohibition on
the sacraments, or suggest that proof of sincerity would be a
prerequisite for any consideration of expanding its tolerance. I must
wonder how a person would legally “prove” sincerity? Have others attest
to it? As if they know.
At the highest level, the court rejects the issue of toleration of
minority religious freedom entirely (in their words, as a “luxury”)
except for one established group, the Native American Church. Even in
this case, they repeatedly find themselves under attacks and harassment
as to this day the High Court refuses to bar the States from enacting
their own laws to prohibit any expression of worship they see fit,
setting the NAC up for yet more future court battles and wasted
A more subtle but far more damaging restriction exists for the NAC
due to the illegality of peyote cultivation. As natural resources are
dwindling, due in largest part to habitat loss resulting from land
conversion to agriculture and pasturage, the inability of peyote-ists
to mass cultivate the plant legally is creating a serious threat for
their future unless they are willing to accept an alternate sacrament
(which of course will not be legal).
A Peyote church in Arizona, dedicated towards cultivation and
preservation of their sacrament, has found limited success but
similarly found themselves or their members back in court to fight for
what little protection of their civil rights that the state has
allowed. This is a pattern that we can expect to continue until the
Supreme Court develops the cojónes to affirm that our law does indeed
support religious freedom of minorities.
Peyote can be readily cultivated but there is a lag time before
usefulness that is comparable to aged scotches. Unless the courts are
willing to allow large scale cultivation to begin they are directly
contributing to great hardships for a faith they supposedly allow.
Current provisions under the law do not specifically prohibit
cultivation but only guarantee protection for harvesting by registered
harvesters and actual consumption itself by recognized members.
While not specifically forbidding the NAC to cultivate, the seeds
are now illegal to possess, creating an interesting obstacle for its
purportedly protected and legitimate users to assume any control over
The Texas Department of Public Safety, the agency who licenses the 4
remaining peyoteros who harvest for the entirety of the NAC, insists
that it is not legal for anyone to cultivate. Their stance is that even
peyoteros are licensed only to collect from wild populations; not to
grow or even to replant the cacti!
As Texas is the only state it grows in naturally and it strictly
forbids its possession, even if for strictly ornamental or
horticultural purposes, large scale cultivation would be a risky
undertaking at best. [Note 8]
Peyoteros are licensed to COLLECT not to cultivate.
While many of us accept and use other sacraments, the NAC and other
peyote faiths should be enabled to choose their own and continue to
have access to it.
They currently have little or no actual freedom to address the issue
of future access or even to undertake action to remedy and prevent the
destruction of their sacrament. The current system unrealistically
allows them to obtain peyote only through these duly licensed
harvesters who, due to the system and restrictions imposed, legally and
physically, continually harvest smaller and younger plants from the few
remaining areas of wild populations that are available to them.
Efforts to secure protection for cultivation of the sacrament have
thus far not seen the cooperation of the necessary authorities. While
Leo Mercado’s Peyote Foundation enjoyed a small degree of success in
their state (Arizona), this proved short-lived when more creative steps
were applied to overcome the earlier decisions and not permit the
courts to return Leo’s peyote plants to him again.
It appears that there are still no straight answers on the actual
circumstances under which Peyote cultivation (and possession) is
One thing that is clear is that Leo and others have clearly
demonstrated that large scale peyote cultivation can be done by anyone
almost anywhere if they are willing to do some work. Its almost
fascinating that attacks on Peyote is now well underway in several
European nations. One has to wonder who is behind the introduction
of these new prohibitions.
Interestingly those involved in Leo’s harassment included
Arizona authorities who did not agree with Arizona state law and simply
refused to respect it despite their sworn oaths to do so. So much for
the frequently repeated claim of being impartial upholders of the law.
(Perhaps upholders of the law as they would like it to be, would be
A handful of alkaloids figure into our religious and spiritual lives
as they have done in the lives of countless humans for many millennia.
We do not, can not and will not accept the religious oppression and
censorship placed upon us and our beliefs.
What I believe is not wrong nor is it without substance. What is
wrong is that is has been forbidden in a 2-pronged attack by 2
competing ‘religious’ [Note 9] orders [Note 10] who largely pull the
strings in both the governing and legislative factions of our
government, and who have gone to great pains to demonize and
misrepresent our sacraments to both mainstream American Christians
& ‘acceptable’ non-Christians (including the secular and nonsecular
factions that exist in each). The unrelenting intensity of the ongoing
media blitz and outrageous propaganda efforts launched so far would
make even Herr Goebbels envious.
While this is currently masqueraded as a public health and safety
issue, the vast majority of the public health and safety risks for any
and all drugs are the direct result of, and are actually created by,
the laws forbidding the use of drugs [Note 11]. This is an issue that
is too large for our small work to address and we would refer
interested readers to Ott 1993 (1996) or Ott 1995 or Ott 1997 and
Some of the best written essays on this subject can be found in what
should be considered as required reading for anyone with an interest in
this area, whether pro or con:
Thomas Szasz 1985 Ceremonial Chemistry: The Ritual Persecution of
Drugs, Addicts and Pushers. and
Thomas Szasz 1992 Our Right to Drugs. The Case for a Free Market.
Milton Friedman & Thomas Szasz 1992 On Liberty and Drugs.
Another work on the subject of misrepresentation of this issue to
hide its true nature as an actual war on nonconformity, the
Constitution and democracy itself was brought to our attention in a
book review in the PRL [Note 12]. This book should be required reading
by everyone on both sides of this issue. It may not change their minds
on where they stand but, as with Szasz, it will help them to better
understand the true issues involved and why things are as they are. See
Richard Lawrence Miller 1996 Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police
Power to Police State.
For those who aren’t appalled enough and who would like to delve
even deeper into understanding the history of why we are where we are
right now, we would suggest additionally reading (or viewing) the
following to pull together a larger picture from their different
Dennis Bernstein & Howard Levin 1994 The Texas Observer. (June
17): 14-15. “Ollie Takes a Powder: A Texas DEA Agent Once Tracked
Oliver North’s Contra Drug Deals.”
Also, wade through the transcripts of the Iran-Contra hearings.
[Bring some tall boots.]
Martin A. Lee & Bruce Shlain 1985 Acid Dreams: The CIA, LSD, and
the Sixties Rebellion.
Michael Levine 1994 The Big White Lie: The deep cover operation that
exposed the CIA sabotage of the drug war. [A former DEA agent’s
viewpoint of the CIA’s role in the appearance and distribution of crack
cocaine. Largely misses the big picture but important and eye-opening
Alfred W. McCoy 1972 The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.
[Interesting viewpoint of a CIA apologist.]
Terence McKenna 1992 Food of the Gods.
See Bill Moyer’s hair-raising look at the documentation that Oliver
North didn’t have time to shred. [Broadcast on PBS; the title escapes
us, it seems like it was one of the parts of the “Secret War” (“Secret
Jonathan Ott 1993 (1996) Pharmacotheon.
Jonathan Ott 1995 The Age of Entheogens.
Jonathan Ott 1997 Pharmacophilia or the Natural Paradises.
Jay Stevens 1987 Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream.
Another slant on elements of this subject can be found in Linda Hunt
1991 Secret Agenda: The United States Government Nazi Scientists and
Another book I have not yet read, mentioned in Miller 1996 and McKenna 1992, is Arnold S. Trebach 1987 The Great Drug War.
There are MANY more excellent works & resources on this topic. We would suggest using a keyword search at www.google.com for the words “drug policy reform” in order to locate current resources.
The piece you are now reading is a small effort in the fight against the ongoing War on Information and is intended to enable interested people to have access to information that is as accurate as the existing literature would allow. It is presented in the hopes that it will enable those who are determined to exercise their right of personal control over their own consciousness and spiritual experience to be able to do so both safely and effectively. It is also intended to serve as a source of further references for those desiring more in-depth information on this subject.
Many established professional researchers might potentially benefit
from this work but they may have problems with my opinions. A good
number probably have not even gotten this far before putting the book
down in disgust. In assembling Sacred Cacti I have attempted to correct
as many errors and erroneous inclusions and literature citations as I
could identify. If prejudices against what I believe can be set aside,
even temporarily, they may find this work of some value.
Some may take me to task for freely presenting my opinions in what
otherwise might be a useful and, in parts, a fairly focused piece.
Certainly this book would find broader acceptance if I left it as a
simple factual compendium and omitted my thoughts and opinions. I would
ask these critics to look at their own prejudices. It is far too
frequent that researcher’s opinions biased against these plants and
substances are included in their work.
I offer what I think and believe simply as a very small counter
balance to the prevailing mainstream view.
It is rare that during Dr. Jerry L. McLaughlin’s analyses of
mescaline containing plants that he did not include his opinion about
whether a plant has amounts too low to be a ‘problem’ or whether it
should become a scheduled drug due to its “potential of abuse”.
In several cases he actually proposed that further laws be enacted
against God-given plants that are not against the law. I suspect he has
received little if any criticism for this stance and
PharmacoGnostically bigoted statements. It would be surprising if his
vocal position did not help to ensure continued funding. [I seriously
doubt that Dr. McLaughlin ever had any consciously malicious intent or
even considered that his comments might be viewed as prejudiced; much
less outright religious bigotry.]
I believe that the real abuse is the restriction of otherwise fairly
innocuous sacramental substances and the imposition of laws and
penalties that often ruin people’s lives, steal from them, cheat them
out of and deprive them of those things which are by right theirs, such
as freedom, property, child custody and employment, as well as basic
human dignity; all for simply using plants created by nature for our
use. All of which, in the case of the alkaloids that I will discuss,
are neither particularly dangerous, nor are they injurious, habit
forming or physically addictive.
A person could not abuse mescaline if they wanted to. The experience
is physically demanding and a person would be unable to experience any
effect, except for the physical distress, within a very few days of
use. Any use, currently, is considered abuse.
The Inquisition has never ended. It has only taken other
To lock a person up, depriving them of freedom, family and property;
cheating them (and their families) out of YEARS of productive life,
subjecting them to inhuman and degrading situations and conditions,
forced labor and, not uncommonly, homosexual rape [Note 14] is only a
somewhat more protracted and different form of torture.
The weight and severity of such punishment far outweighs even the
greatest degree of imagined harm as portrayed by prohibitionists.
It is just as wrong for such a loss and waste of their life to be
imposed since the only ‘crime’ is simply that of a person holding
different religious or philosophical beliefs than those prescribing and
applying the punishment. Whether actions and personal beliefs cause
harm to others should be the sole deciding criteria for making acts
against the law; not whether or not they conflict with preconceived
philosophical beliefs, or the majority’s religion.
That spiritual, ideological and mental control are the motivation
and origin of this prejudice and harassment is inescapable.
Even if the accuser is not a particularly religious person, those
set against us ARE from an environment and of a social background that
contained their views and premises concerning these substances within a
field of intensely and uncompromisingly pejorative prejudicial
propaganda that has been heavily promoted in Christian circles for some
15 centuries now.
The fact that the ‘church of medicine’ has helped the State
transform the labeling of this issue from one of personal freedom and
religious choice into one of ‘Public Health’ [Note 15] changes nothing
beyond the public’s perception.
Even if a user does not view these substances in spiritual or
religious terms, any such restrictions on what a person can and cannot
experience in the privacy of their own mind are those born of religious
control and proscription.
In many instances, we find ourselves far more in need of freedom
FROM religion than freedon OF religion. Freedom of religion does not
simply mean freedom to choose what to believe but it means the freedom
to not be forced what to believe or, even, to believe.
Most of us who use these sacraments DO believe.
If what the sacred plant using people believe was truly wrong or in
error, it would present absolutely no threat to the church. If it was a
fantasy, as some would have us believe, then it would have no
substance. Things with no substance do not pose a threat.
What we believe is not wrong. This is why they fear these plants.
When these plants teach us, and THEY DO teach us, it is with the
truth. The peyote has never lied to me. It has told me things that I
have had no way of knowing ahead of time, it has told me things that I
did not want to know or want to believe to be true but I have never
found it to be wrong or in error.
Not all plants have the same degree of truthfulness as peyote, some
such as mushrooms can be downright playful. Even with peyote, or ANY
other spiritual or religious path, it is possible to lie to or deceive
oneself or to operate under a self-imposed delusion, especially if a
person is inexperienced or not well trained at differentiating real
information from imagination.
The information that comes from the plant however is always correct
and appears to be intended for our growth and learning. Even with the
inherent trickster elements of these plants; the experience always
seems to be geared towards giving us the opportunity to get a clearer
and more honest look at ourselves and who we are.
These drugs cause the effects they do because we have the underlying
biochemical machinery for these experiences. A question rapidly arises
about why these alkaloids exist and why they cause the effects they do
A frequent assertion is that alkaloids are present as feeding
deterrents and that this is their primary function.
I agree that some are indeed a deterrent to grazing animals as are
spines, but must point out that even in the case of the spineless
peyote, alkaloid levels are lowest in young plants. These are the
plants at the most risk from grazing as they often have underdeveloped
defences and present the most succulent and tender growth. IF alkaloids
truly were primarily grazing deterrents then it would seem most likely
they would be higher or at least equally present in young plants.
While this is true in some plants, this is clearly not the case in
any species of cacti that have been analyzed. It could be that they do
indeed exist as feeding deterrents but only after a plant has
successfully reached an age where it can procreate. This may represent
an evolutionary survival strategy to ensure that the strongest and best
situated plants have the greatest contribution to the future gene pool.
(Obviously this would only be advantageous to perennials. It is also
suggested by the peaks of alkaloid levels in the Aizoaceae coinciding
with their flowering periods. See Smith et al. 1998)
Another proposal is that they are just metabolic by-products that
serve no purpose. In view of their sometimes high concentrations and
dynamic fluctuations this seems unlikely.
I believe that they are intimately involved with metabolic processes
in the plant. If there was no function for them it is unlikely that
they would be expressed in the quantities they sometimes are. All of
these require multiple enzymes for their assembly. This is a lot of DNA
information to be perpetuated for no reason. Also, for the vastly
largest part, these alkaloids are produced in parenchymal tissues,
specialized thin-walled cells where intense metabolic and synthetic
activity often occurs. Another point suggesting an active role in the
metabolism of the plants which produce them is that seasonal
fluctuations in the alkaloid levels (quantitative) and actual
variations in alkaloid content (qualitative) are known to occur.
Some of this is supported by our observations in Desmanthus
leptolobus. In our assays of its root bark, we [Note 16] found
that DMT (N,N-Dimethyltryptamine) concentrations were apparently
highest after flowering had occurred and seeds were formed. The
elevated levels persisted even after the seeds had been dropped. During
the latter part of the year, other alkaloids also began to be present
in higher amounts. Similarly in Phalaris (all Phalaris assays used new
growth [Note 17]) and Delosperma, DMT and/or 5-MeO-DMT appear to be
present at the highest levels long after flowering had occurred and
after the seeds had been dropped.
The answer of their function in these plants is not clear. This is
an area in need of further study.
The answer of the function of some in the human organism is more
clear. It is apparent to almost anyone who has ingested them. They
would be unable to exert the effects that they do if there was not an
underlying biochemical and physiological mechanism for this experience
and its expression. This clearly suggests an endogenous chemical
mechanism for religious and spiritual experiences of all kinds [Note
The fact that this is not experienced by all people does not
conflict with this conclusion as evidently not all people are capable
of direct religious and spiritual experiences via any means. (I like to
think that they are capable but something in their chemical make-up,
psyche or persona blocks it.)
For example, some people are easily threatened or challenged, others
are control freaks. Neither of these groups tends to be able to
comfortably handle or interact with forces greater than themselves or
circumstances over which they cannot exert control [Note 19]. It
certainly is a lot easier to either let someone else (or their
representative) interact with the hoary Infinite on your behalf or to
simply deny its existence altogether. It can be a terrifying thing to
enter these realms as one very small person. It is not an experience
I have never tended towards the easy approach. Life and spirituality
are like food; they are best when they have a good flavor but are not
obsessively indulged in. Life and spirituality should be savored in the
diverse experiences that are presented to us and which our personal
temperaments and predilections enable us to appreciate.
We all are different in our genetic makeup, our psychological
make-up and our backgrounds; no standard approach can be described and
applied by another.
Chemicals able to induce spiritual experiences are potentially
capable of being made within us (endogenous alkaloids), while others
exist within plants and animals in a number of varieties that we hope
to adequately address in this short series of works.
Mescaline, the topic of this volume, is most likely not made
endogenously but is capable of interacting with the neurological
pathways that do exist for this purpose, or at least those which
involve or are influenced by 5-HT2 receptor interactions.
Terence McKenna made an interesting comment that only DMT possesses
activity when its ingestion occurs in a dream. I would take issue with
him on this.
I agree that when smoking DMT in a dream there is a pronounced DMT
effect, sometimes even more profound than that which occurs when awake.
As DMT is now recognized to be a human neurotransmitter, produced under
as yet poorly understood parameters, existence of this activity is not
surprising. Nor would it be surprising if the structure that mediates
spiritual experience, even if a protein, involves DMT, 5-MeO-DMT and/or
one of the 6-methoxylated-b-carbolines or has a similar structure or
configuration in at least its active site.
[Jace Callaway proposed that DMT/5-MeO-DMT production during sleep
may be involved in the production of dreams. In spite of the importance
that these substances hold concerning not only religious experience but
also consciousness itself, it is curious that research on them is
currently so stifled and restricted.]
When eating peyote in dreams [Note 20], smoking pot in dreams or
even if using narcotics in dreams (the only time in my life that this
last example rarely occurs) there are also corresponding drug effects.
That of mescaline is indeed altered from how it is perceived via
external ingestion but it is still psychoactive in a phenethylamine
(like a low dose of mescaline) rather than a tryptamine sense (as
experienced subjectively in the dream state).
As for mushrooms, I do not know, every single time that I have eaten
mushrooms in a dream the onset has caused me to wake up.
Mushrooms DO seem to have that effect…This ‘waking up’ effect is
one of the primary reasons that those who would like to manipulate
people by pushing buttons to control them through their pre-existing
set of beliefs so despise the use of hallucinogens. They are nothing if
not de-programming tools par excellence.
It is my belief that there is a (perhaps small) repertoire of
endogenous chemicals that catalyze ALL spiritual and religious
experiences. Some of the potential categories are obvious: THC type
structures [Note 21], opiates (a large number have already been
identified in humans), phenethylamines, tryptamines and b-carbolines.
Other more complex structures probably also exist in the form of
peptides. The activity exhibited by the aforementioned small molecules
may normally be mediated by a moiety present as a portion of these
peptides. Only the size, shape and charge distribution on the binding
portion and adjacent areas (active sites) actually matter when it comes
to a receptor site’s reaction to a substance.
Physiologically active di- or triterpenoids, or other molecules
shaped similarly to our major hormones and capable of interacting with
our nervous system may also eventually be found in some cacti.
In spite of how upset some people get when presented with proposals
of a biochemical mechanism underlying religious and spiritual
experience I must stress that we ARE biochemical machines, constructed
and operated according to the chemical information contained within and
expressed by our DNA (also a chemical). This is who and what we are,
how we operate and how we exist. This is HOW we interface with the real
world. There is nothing that we think, feel or perceive that is not
chemically mediated. This is simply how we are designed to work and why
we can be created from the simple DNA code that forms us as individual
Life and everything physical around us is chemicals and chemistry.
We did not invent it, we simply created a language to describe it and
learned how to manipulate it.
What I find perplexing is that somehow this view is interpreted by
some as trivializing or negating the marvelousness and vital importance
of life and perception.
I would suggest that it is even more marvelous that such richness
& diversity of life, perception and experience can be enabled,
allowed and perpetuated via such seemingly simple mechanisms. It should
not diminish but rather substantially enhance our respect and
admiration for the designer of such an amazing system of life and
People should feel blessed for being allowed to exist.
I believe that the reason these substances are attacked so
relentlessly by the control freak factions of Christianity is because
in their hearts they know that what is too often offered as
Christianity is a shallow and false replica intended to manipulate
others; one without any true spiritual substance.
No true Christian would promote hatred, injustice and intolerance in
the name of Christ. It certainly is a useful banner, though, for
recruiting blind masses of push-button supporters and filling their
People who consider themselves Christians would do well to look
honestly at their leaders and the actions of their organizations and
see if they actually spread the doctrines of love, peace, brotherhood,
stewardship and tolerance, or if their love is reserved only for their
‘own kind’ and spread by intimidation or even ‘force of the sword’ (or
threat of incarceration), accompanied by insistence on condemnation,
ruthless persecution, suppression or outright oppression for those who
Murder, and oppression of other beliefs, has always been a recurrent
component during the spread of their ideology into ‘non-Christian’
societies for the entirety of formalized Christian history.
It is tragic that many otherwise decent and sincere people have
blindly accepted what they have been told by, unknown to them, evil
leaders for so long that some have come to accept these blatantly
satanic practices as Christian values. It is understandable that they
would not want to recognize the evil they had unwittingly served as it
might damage their faith but if their faith is true, valid and properly
placed it can withstand the truth, only that which is false fears being
questioned in the light of day. IF they have been deceived, the sooner
they can discover this, the sooner they can begin to practice their
faith in a way that is true to its ideals.
If love is reserved only for people of a particular club or group
then it is perverse and a contributor to the darkness. If a person’s
actions bring misery, torment and wrongful deprivation to others (as
the Drug Wars DO) and they call themselves a Christian, they would do
well to look at what is truly being served.
What is Sacred and Holy is a part of us all. No one has patent over
the truth and no group “owns” God or somehow has to act as interpreter
for the rest of the world. It is my belief the satanic forces that
Christians rant and rave about are indeed living and active; and
calling themselves Christians in order to deceive and manipulate the
masses of sincere and unquestioning Christians. They exist as a
powerful structure within the very heart of modern Christianity.
They protect themselves from the discovery of who and what they are
by using the same tactics of misdirection that dirty cops do. Namely
they misrepresent any challenge to or attack on them as an attack on
all the decent and honest cops (or Christians) who make up the bulk of
their organizations and who they know will automatically rally to
defend themselves as a group and in doing so are unknowingly
manipulated and used to shield and protect the evil and corrupt
elements within their ranks.
Christians who actually are and who live as Christians deserve
nothing but respect. None is due to those who loudly proclaim they are
and spend their time ignoring their own commandments to manipulate,
control or enslave others for their own benefit and profit.
The ‘sacrament’ is inherent within us all. Whether it is produced
internally or accessed through the plants that we were provided with,
by the same forces that also created us, access is our birthright.
The Sacred Infinite created peyote and mushrooms and, by their
design, gave them the powers they have within my nervous system. They
are not the creation of humans, unlike the multitude of ‘organized’
No other person or organization must hold the keys for anyone else
(they are ours by right of birth for actual and personal use), although
many will claim this in order to control and enslave people by taking
away their personal power. The only time I was fortunate enough to have
met him, Tellis Papastavro told me, a long time ago, “The price of
freedom is eternal vigilance” [against those who would take that
freedom away] [Note 22] .
He, and others, have also told me, “What you are searching for is
what you are searching with.” or as Chang Po-tuan wrote in the 12th
century (as translated by Thomas Cleary) :
“Everyone originally has the herb of long life: it’s just that
they don’t understand it and throw it away in vain […] When the
elixir is fully developed, naturally gold fills the room [….] I urge
you to find out the place where your body was born; going back to the
basis, returning to the origin, this is the production of the
medicine.” [Note 23]
This clearly indicates that this author realized the inherent nature
of awareness as being incorporated into the very origin of our being (a
product of our DNA) and innately contained within the human machine as
an inviolable and inextricable formative component of our fabric.
What matters is whether the information is true, not whether the key
was the original or a duplicate. Even if it was a skeleton key; as long
as it opened the door to the room, access could be achieved. One does
have to wonder why it is that hallucinogenic plants grow everywhere in
the world [Note 24].
What many people often miss with any spiritual approach is that they
somehow think that access is all there is. They mistakenly believe that
once they are ‘in’ or a member or have reached some preset goal (such
as enlightenment) that nothing further is required. Once we ‘arrive’ is
when the work begins. Arriving is not the end point; and, in and of
itself, has no intrinsic value. What matters is what is done with what
has been accessed. The destination is the starting point for future
actions, not some magical endpoint where nothing further needs to be
I would urge that the issue of entheogen use be re-examined. Not as
an issue of it being morally right or wrong. It is neither. No religion
or spiritual approach is purely right or wrong. What is right or wrong
is its application. Does it help or harm people? Does it promote the
light or feed the darkness? These are not difficult to determine simply
by looking at the results of the actions taken.
A major failure of the war on drugs is its dangerously asinine approach
to factual information.
The inane slogans “Just Say No To Drugs” and “Zero Tolerance” lump
all drug use together in a way that is not only ill-defined and thus
defies rational analysis, but far more importantly, effectively
prevents any realistic popular perception, public debate, address or
resolution [Note 25] of the REAL issues or even the REAL problems of
Rather than accomplish its stated goals of decreasing drug use or
abuse it can readily be proven to radically stimulate it among people
who often would have otherwise never have become involved.
The issue that is currently avoided is one of personal
responsibility. There is an idea that hallucinogenic drug use is
As with the issue of drug abuse, irresponsible use is a relationship
with said drug that is detrimental to oneself.
I would urge the responsible use of any and all drugs; namely
accepting responsibility for one’s own actions when using drugs.
Clearly some times are inappropriate for drug usage.
For example, if a person is being paid to do a job, it is wrong to
use any drugs that impair performance be it alcohol or any other
Currently many employers believe that they can extend this
justifiable concern to include what a person does in their own free
time. This is a gross and flagrant abuse of their contract with their
help. Depriving citizens of rights and liberties is supposed to require
demonstration of a compelling need by the state. It begs to be
questioned why urine-analysis to prove a person does not smoke Cannabis
in their own free time is needed or justifiable in order for a human to
sell pet food to the public.
Employment does not confer ownership unless said “employment” is in
the form of slave and master. For a person’s philosophical and
spiritual beliefs to determine whether or not they are employable is
blatantly a religious prejudice and discrimination.
If a crime or act of violence or theft is committed a person must be
held accountable. The widely embraced idea that alcohol or a drug ‘made
them do it’ is an absurd excuse that attempts to misdirect blame and
should not be tolerated. If someone was capable of the act while under
the influence, they were capable of it when not under the influence.
The drug did not MAKE them commit the act. THEY committed the act.
If a person cannot control their actions when they are intoxicated;
then they should not get intoxicated.
It is neither society’s nor the government’s responsibility to act
as their parent or nanny and protect them from their own free choices
[Note 26]. The fact that they were intoxicated should have no bearing on their guilt as, assuming for a moment that a crime was committed because of ‘relaxed inhibitions’ [Note 27] it was THEIR CHOICE to get intoxicated.
The issue is simply one of self-control and a person assuming and
accepting full personal responsibility for their actions whether
choosing to use drugs or choosing not to use drugs. Some places and
situations are simply not appropriate for many drugs [Note 28]. Some
situations are. In others, it does not matter one way or the other. It
is a matter of personal choice and personal responsibility. Nothing is
more personal than the relationship one has with one’s own
Entheogenic drug use is also currently considered and presented as
being an aberrant behavior. It is indeed a minority behavior but it is
neither unnatural nor is it aberrant. Deliberate ingestion of
hallucinogens by animals is well documented. Ronald Siegel had recorded
over 300 cases by the late 1970’s according to Dr. Dobkin de Rios 1990.
Despite Siegel’s peculiar and irrationally emphatic bias against
these plants and his disturbingly free anthropomorphic interpretations
[Note 29] of animal behaviors, his work actually lends much support to
the NATURALNESS of consciousness alteration as a NORMAL biological
Use of all types of substances and activities to alter consciousness
seems to be one of the largest and most basic of drives and needs of
humans (perhaps second only to eating and sex; both of which can easily
be proven to alter consciousness). It certainly takes up a huge amount
of most people’s time.
It is not always perceived of as consciousness alteration because of
how various societies define what are acceptable forms of altering
their consciousness and what are not.
For instance, use of refined sugars, television, sports involvement,
whether as spectator or player, dancing, jogging, religion, martial
arts, meditation, sex and all types of common points of interest for
people (including obsessive disorders and, if we can believe the
courts, Beanie Baby collecting [Note 30] ) can make people feel better
in some way, with their moods and/or perceptions correspondingly
altered or ‘enhanced’.
All modify our biochemistry, and ALL directly and specifically alter
Many literally produce OPIATES [Note 31] within our nervous system.
I suspect that sex additionally produces natural ligands for the known
THC receptors but this is just a hunch based on a subjective comparison
of Cannabis with the after-effects of good sex.
And, although some might immediately deny it, ALL are highly
addictive in nature for those attracted to them and produce very real
withdrawal symptoms of some type if access to the stimulation is
suddenly cut off. [Often this is as simple as irritability and/or a
headache but these symptoms vanish once access to the desired
stimulation is regained.]
The appearance of withdrawal symptoms once an addictive stimulus is
discontinued and the cessation of these withdrawal symptoms once the
discontinued addictive stimulus (or suitable surrogate) is reapplied
are key elements in recognizing and defining an addiction as is a
compulsion or urge to repeat the stimulus.
Drug use, and most especially hallucinogenic drug use, is also
frequently depicted as a ‘new problem’.
While the ‘problem’ may be new, the use of drugs is not.
Despite huge gaps in our understanding, the archeological record
clearly indicates that not only drug use but hallucinogenic drug use
has been with mankind since the very earliest of times. [See Schultes
Growing evidence suggests that we actually owe much of who we are
today to our interactions with these plants both in early times and
throughout history. [See Devereaux 1997 or McKenna 1992 for many
Entheogenic drugs are not for most people.
It is not that they are somehow reserved for only a privileged few;
but rather, apparently only a relatively few people respond to them
this way. The majority of people do not like them and either have no
desire to experience them, or to experience them again [Note 32].
The minority that does respond this way to them does so because this
is who we are.
It is not clear why they do what they do for us and apparently do
not have the same effects in others.
We are not missionaries wanting to promote their use among others.
We are who we are because we were born this way. We will use these
substances because it is right and proper, this we know in our hearts.
It is less a matter of choice than one of conscience.
We expect only the due and proper right [Note 33] to worship in our
own way as our Creator has taught and enabled us.
Make no mistake, this IS, in fact, where these plants came from, how
we were given them & why they produce the effects that they do.
Unlike ALL of the world’s major organized religions, their creation was
through the same forces that gave our species its birth.
The forces which oppose them, on the other hand, are not elements
formed during our creation but rather arise directly out of the beliefs
and acts of HUMANS who want to manipulate and control (if not
monopolize for their own benefit) the religious and spiritual
experiences of others.
This small work is offered in hopes that it will provide enough
information to enable people to make responsible and safe choices. It
is also offered with the sincere hopes that it will stimulate and
better enable future research into this fascinating area.
As editor, I would hope that this will not offend people or be
misconstrued as to its intent but am fairly certain that it will be by
at least some people. Over this I can have no control.
I do hope that the reader enjoys this book. Any comments or
corrections will be greatly welcomed.
Author’s comments concering the 2006 Third Edition.
It seemed to us that the entire opening sections should be rewritten
to reflect the sweeping changes many of our readers have experienced
since the publication of the second edition.
So much has changed we realized that to accomplish this we would do
better to discard the old version and rewrite it.
We decided on a compromise of mildly updating but largely preserving
those sections despite a good portion of that being outdated or even no
For instance, we wrote that the US needed to return to
acknowledging its constitutional guarantees but , despite my still
agreeing with that, the reality is that the post-coup USA no longer has
a functional Constitution and it appears unlikely we will see its
return in our lifetime.
The Inquisition is gearing up anew and casually intruding into
people’s lives on a scale not even dreamed of outsite of science
fiction and futuristic fantasy.
We live in interesting times.
Endnotes for Opening comments
An interesting coincidence pointed out to me by Sasha Shulgin is
that the discovery of mescaline and its activity occurred just after
the discovery of radiation (radium and x-ray) [the apparent discovery
& immediate scientific censorship of psilocybin occurring also in
these years] and the discovery of LSD and its activity paralleled the
successful unleashing of nuclear energy. It is no coincidence that
psychedelic drug users and the nuclear industry often seem so
diametrically opposed in life philosophies.
I have come to believe that the widespread proliferation of the
knowledge of the entheogens in technologically based cultures is
nature’s response to the reckless and irresponsible proliferation of
nuclear energy. It is fairly obvious that the planet has never before
been so seriously imperiled by human hands nor has there ever been a
broader based usage of the entheogens.
The response of the established power structure is also clear in
intent and motivation; Albert Einstein observed “Great spirits have
always been viciously attacked by mediocre minds.”
Sasha quoted Voltaire as correctly observing “It is dangerous to be
right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.”
It must be stressed that Bufotenine, DMT & 5-MeO-DMT have all
been proven to be naturally produced WITHIN the human nervous
system and are present in a variety of bodily fluids. See the following
and/or the references therein:
Barker et al. 1981, Clarke’s Isolation and Identification of Drugs
in Pharmaceuticals, Body Fluids and Post-Mortem Materials. Second
edition 1986, Davis 1989, Franzen & Gross 1965, Gillin et al.1976,
Gucchait 1976, Hazum et al. 1981, Oon et al. 1977, Rosengarten &
Friedhoff 1976, Saavedra & Axelrod 1972, Smythies et al. 1979,
Tanimukai et al. 1970 & Wyatt et al.1973.
Due to government suppression over half a century ago.
A fact many Americans are unaware of is that the model Hitler
chose to provide a ‘Jewish solution’ (concentration camps) was that of
America’s ‘solution’ to the ‘Indian problem’ (reservations). [Ott] The
national Gulag being created in the US for drug users is not so
The concentration camps however could never have been “created” for
the Jews despite how forcefully history has put them at the forefront
of the picture. (This is probably because, quite unlike his enemies on
the political left, a great many survived the atrocities they were
subjected to as a class.)
Long before he directed action against the Jews, long before he ever
had any power to even be a threat them, Hitler, in one of his earliest
acts as Chancellor, initially started his rise to absolute power with
intensive and extensive roundups of his political opponents. He used
the terrorist bombing of the German Reichstag as an excuse to declare a
state of emergency and began by targeting the left in general so that
there would be no opposition and only full support from the
conservative government and the middle class.
This lasitude enabled him to create the momentum and the actual
framework for forging the power base for the killing machinery (secret
police) he would later direct against the others who opposed him, this
time within the leadership of both the German military and the Nazi
storm troopers. All of this occurred well before he targeted the Jews
and many other people.
During this time the representatives who had been elected by a
largely Catholic constituency (who initially firmly opposed him) grew
to firmly back Hitler and, sensing that he was targeting their common
enemies, literally handed him the reigns of unprecedented and nearly
unlimited power (sound familiar?).
As an immediate result of his purge of the left, the prisons rapidly
became packed to overflowing (sound familiar?).
To solve the problem of not having enough space to incarcerate those
‘undesirables’ targeted for permanent removal from society,
“concentration camps” were created which would later be used for much
better known purposes.
While it has been stated that if there had been no Jews it would
have been necessary for Hitler to create them, he could have never
gained either the power or the opportunity to threaten them had not his
initial purge of the hated “left” been tolerated and supported without
What they are being ‘taught’ is little different in intent, purpose,
spirit, content or factual reality than the “Tokyo Joe”-style
anti-Japanese propaganda films shown to our troops-to-be during World
War II. (A similar anti-drug user misinformational indoctrination
strategy is currently being directed at the general public and has been
since the Reagan-Bush “Dark Age” began.)
This is not an accident: to paraphrase an ancient general, “If my
troops began to think, not one of them would remain in the ranks.”
This is especially true in this area; where the only hope of
sustaining anti-drug efforts lies in preventing the overall honest and
decent people involved in this travesty from recognizing the inherent
evil of their actions and the true nature of their efforts as just
another ugly cultural purge & social cleansing.
If anything I would urge a return to those purely American
principles (as were originally conceived by the Seven Nations) found
embodied in the Constitution and Bill of Rights which we have in recent
years been tossing into the trash as ‘outdated’; in the name of
corporate profit, to “aid” the War on Drugs and to set the stage for
the formation of a police state based on Napoleonic Law as opposed to
This may not be believed by those who attempt to use it as a casual
Descriptions like “hellish”, “terrifying”, “horrible”,
“…insecticide for people”, “…a door that is best left unopened” and
“…like …being conked on the head” are fairly frequent.
One very experienced friend joked that the best way to reduce the
growing demand for DMT would be to make it readily available.
Perhaps not enough people are aware that the peyote plant itself is
now considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance in the USA and
possession of any part of the plant, even its seeds or hairs, is
explicitly and expressly forbidden by Federal law. As mentioned
above, absolutely no exception was included for those Native peyote
people intending cultivation. This was by the very same session of
Congress widely praised for affirming Native American’s rights to eat
See the Code of Federal Regulation 1997, § 1308.11(22): #7415
[Interprets 21 USC 812(c), Schedule I(c)(12)].
This amazingly further schedules (as Schedule I) any and all
alkaloids occurring within the peyote plant.
A handful of these occur naturally within humans, as
neurotransmitters or normal metabolic products, and are readily
detectable by blood or urine analysis. Shulgin & Shulgin
1997: page 596.
Many may not accept our portrayal of medicine as a religion since
the notion of God is so often rejected.
The concept of GOD is not a requirement for a religion, as the
American Atheists have so clearly demonstrated in the courts.
Regardless of how one labels it, it is still an externally imposed
system which seeks to control and regulate the thoughts, beliefs and
actions of others; with or without the other’s consent, and considering
itself moral and wise enough to do so. And more importantly it declares
itself as the ultimate authority.
Webster’s defines religion as “belief in. acceptance of. or
non-rational sense of a superhuman unseen controlling power or powers.
with the emotion and morality connected there with: rites or worship:
any system of such belief or worship.”
The medical monopoly and even secular humanism itself clearly fall
within this definition.
One: Theocratic; judging itself moral enough and wise enough to
choose our manner of worship for us (with or without our consent), the
other Pharmacratic; judging itself moral enough and wise enough to
choose our manner of drug use and medical treatments for us (with or
without our consent).
While history casts serious doubts on the absolute morality and
wisdom of either group, both consider themselves wise enough to do this
without our consent and have appointed themselves in this capacity or
engineered the situation to limit our options to the point where we are
allowed little choice.
The harm is not as much in the use of the forbidden substances as in
the response of the authorities and the lack of quality controls
arising from the establishment of an unregulated black-market.
In the case of peyote, the ONLY real harm resulting from its
use by normal humans is that of being arrested.
If we are to survive the future as a technological society, we must
move from the destructive feudal mentality of us versus them,
encouraging ruthless competition to ensure that the strongest and most
powerful are always in control (they always will be regardless; only
their degree of control can be limited and this only partially) into
one of cooperation, joining together to create a society that thrives
because of its diversity.
Toleration of diversity can give great cohesive strength to a
society if this is a belief that is cherished and held in high regard.
The only limits to this should be when the desires or practices of one
group harms or attempts to interfere with those of another.
The only thing that it will limit is the degree to which any single
group can control the behavior of the general population. Perhaps this
is why those in positions of authority stress homogeneity. A sea of
clones is much easier to predict and manipulate.
Psychedelic Resource List: Soma Graphics, P.O. Box 19820,
Sacramento, CA 95819-0820.
Which today, due to the abnormally high incidence of AIDS in prison
populations, is tantamount to a death sentence.
As if the government has any business, or even the right, to
legislate and dictate what our health should be.
Johnny Appleseed & myself.
Tryptamines are apparently present in highest levels in fresh
growth. The more toxic beta-carbolines that are also sometimes present
are highest in older growth; at least in the strains that produce
Terence McKenna’s notion (McKenna 1992) that these types of
alkaloids exist as exopheromones really bears some closer thought.
There is a distinct symbiotic (spiritual) relationship that we seem to
form with these plants that directly benefits both species. The more we
learn about the real workings of the world, the less far fetched the
more far fetched ideas of McKenna begin to sound. The recent evidence
that things as simple as the acquisition of an unusual food shared
repeatedly by a single mating pair and their off-spring can lead to
surprisingly rapid and dramatic morphological changes forces a
re-evaluation of several pre-conceived concepts about ‘evolution’ and
gives support to some of McKenna’s ideas that might be otherwise
dismissed without enough thought.
There is evidence that this figured heavily in the Mescalero Apaches
abandoning peyote use earlier this century. Evidently, according to
L.B. Boyer et al 1968, after being forced onto the reservation, their
use of peyote devolved into primarily sorcery and interpersonal
conflicts leading to its abandonment by society.
Peyote tastes the same but less intense in dreams.
All dream experiences referred to occurred spontaneously and were
completely independent of use.
One ligand for the known THC receptors has already been elucidated.
It was named Anandamide and shows oral activity comparable to THC.
This quote may have originated with Thomas Payne?
The mistaken notion that “It can’t happen here” is all that is
required to set the stage for it to indeed happen here.
At least as far back as Thucydides, 400BC, it was recognized that:
“The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom is
From stanzas 6 and 9 of the Taoist alchemical classic Understanding
Reality [The Wu Chien P’ien]
This is far more common than most people realize and we know only a
fraction of what is there as work in this area has been almost
non-existent except for a relatively few intrepid explorers (most of
whom have not published their results and determined psychoactivity by
INGESTING the plant in question).
For instance, at least a handful more cactus species than is
suggested by the literature are now known to be usefully active. Most
are apparently unnamed. Similarly, several species suggested by the
published accounts to be weak have been reported to be potent in human
The entire field concerning psychoactive cacti other than those
containing mescaline is only now beginning to be properly examined.
The still climbing tally on active psilocybian mushrooms has long
passed 100 species with their occurrence now reported worldwide in
tropical and temperate zones.
An accurate total of the seemingly ubiquitous DMT/5-MeO-DMT plants
would boggle the mind if it were presently known. Their apparent
occurrence (based on co-tlc indicating one or both) in species of
Bromus (Brome-grass), Sorghum halepense (Johnson grass) and Digitaria
sanguinalis (crab-grass) suggests broad based assays of common grasses
and other weedy herbage are greatly needed and potentially valuable.
It is not a coincidence that as ‘anti-drug’ efforts escalate, they
are invariably accompanied by a corresponding increase in popular drug
use, an increase in drug availability and a decrease in the average age
Thanks to morally obscene and ethically bankrupt programs such as
DARE, kids as young as grade school are now heavy users of all types of
addictive drugs or else being trained as active informants spying and
reporting on their FAMILY.
How long can this trend go unchecked before people wake up to the
fact that the DRUG WAR IS the direct cause of MOST of the ‘drug
“The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over
any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent
harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not
sufficient warrant.” Mill 1859
Stuart Mill’s 1859 essay “On Liberty” contains wisdom that deserves
some careful thought in modern times.
This is another concept of misdirected blame in need of a closer
A good rule of thumb is that if a substance impairs motor functions
or affects perceptions, then operating motor vehicles and power tools
should be avoided.
Attributing human characteristics and motivations to his lab animals.
From the 22 Nov. 1998 Austin American Statesman:
In Monterey County, California, Deputy District Attorney Christine
Harter asked the courts that Tamara Dee Maldonado be prohibited from
possessing Beanie Babies. [The charge was credit card fraud.]
The prosecution argued that the toys were like a drug to her and
should therefore be treated as such.
Judge Jonathan Price agreed and gave Mrs. Maldonado 6 months in jail
and a 5 year probation that gave local law enforcement the right to
search her home for the banned Beanie Babies, without a warrant or
advance notice, at any time they chose, for the duration of the 5
Only Ty brand Beanie’s were prohibited as Mrs. Maldonado apparently
claimed that she did not suffer an addiction to other brands.
She claimed to have become “addicted” to them while working at
McDonalds and growing envious of all of the customers she gave free
ones to during a promotional Beanie Baby give-away.
In view of that it seems almost amazing that they can still sell such known addictive products to children!
Both morphine and codeine have been found; in addition to the better
known occurrence of a multitude of enkephalins & endorphins with a
variety of differing potencies & durations; not simply the more
widely known endorphins, enkephalins and other large molecules with
strongly opioid effects.
Conflict with preconceived religious ideas or world-views are not
uncommon sources of problems.
A lot of people get lost in the delusion that the powers-that-be are
going to respond to rational arguments on this issue. This is an
emotional issue and in our current era, as was true in the Civil Rights
issue in the late 1950s, is unlikely to ever be open for sane &
rational public debate at any point in the near future.
If African Americans had not refused to sit in the back of the bus
or if a few brave souls had not refused to avoid “White Only“
facilities, NONE of the advances in Civil Rights, that are now largely
taken for granted, would have ever happened.
Thomas Paiyne may have put it best when commenting, “Men should not
petition for rights, but take them.” (As quoted by JL Hudson)
Make no mistake: The War on Drugs is a War on Drug Using People.
Drugs are things. War is waged between or, as in this case, against people; never inanimate objects.
This is an intentional cultural purge and social cleansing of a religious origin; no matter what it may have been relabeled.
“Tyranny always arrives to a hero’s welcome, promising to protect us, and asking only for authorization to take away rights of villains who threaten good people. It soon follows that “good” people are those who support the tyranny and “villains” are those who oppose it.” DPFT News 1999: 5(4):8.
To be vilified today does not even require opposition; simply failure to actively support the tyranny can be enough.
If this seems to be far-fetched, consider the modern applications of the nuisance abatement laws as announced on the local evening news during December of 1999.
In instances where the police learn of properties that they claim are “infested” with drug dealers or drug users, property owners are now required to remove the “problems” or they can lose their physical buildings and/or properties under lawsuits filed against them by the Police department. Suddenly landlords who have rented to drug users or dealers become criminals simply for providing housing. They can even be legally deprived of their land or have their rental properties bulldozed to the ground as a result of their failure to surrender their rights to private property and allow the police free reign to remove their tenants. (This is apparently on the basis of their tenants’ drug use being perceived to represent a threat to their neighbors similar to a rat infestation.)
I know one Austin resident who was evicted in November of 1999 entirely on the basis of a neighbor informing his landlord that they smelled marijuana smoke coming from his apartment. (Simple possession of up to 4 ounces is currently a misdemeanor in Austin that can have a ticket issued with no arrest required.)
According to the same local evening news story, the City of Austin, Texas, claimed to have hired an attorney on a full-time basis to do nothing more than file nuisance abatement paperwork on behalf of the Austin Police Department.
After the seizure of over 11,000 living peyote plants failed to stop the propagation activities of the Peyote Foundation, Arizona law enforcement apparently used similar arguments to pressure their landlord to evict them.
In more recent years, as legally permitted Cannabis cultivation becomes more commonplace, legal cultivators with medical prescriptions in Ukiah California can find themselves running afoul of city ordinances claiming their neighbors are harmed by exposure to the smell of cultivated Cannabis. I know of no other plant for which the smell is considered a dangerous nuisance or of any other prescription medicine that can have its private in-the-home administration by a parent used as grounds for child endangerment charges, loss of child custody, or serving as a basis for evictions.