Sunday, 15 January 2012

The Knew American Gnosticism

With research using psychedelics extremely difficult and spiritual innovation with them illegal the immediate future of the human brain looks grim.

There are five psychoactive centered religions on planet earth that I am aware of –

1.  Rastafari – Cannabis
2.  Bwiti (Gabon, Africa) – Ibogaine
3.  Native American Church – Peyote
4.  Santo Daime – DMT + harmaline
5.  UDV – DMT + harmaline

Even if you are as Caucasian as Aldous Huxley should you be able to demonstrate that you have the “illegal” compounds for a religious ritual in one of the above churches (with the occasional exception of the Rastas) you will be protected right up to the Supreme Court.   Two scientific studies, one conducted in 1963 by Dr. Walter Pahnke and another in 2006 by Dr. Roland Griffiths conclusively prove that psilocybin will produce “mystical peak experiences” in about two thirds of spiritually ambitious subjects.  Whereas yoga and meditation require years of study to achieve such subjectively exalted states – well over half the time psilocybin and probably other classic psychedelics such as mescaline and LSD does it in one dose.

What the courts have affirmed is that we have the right to use drugs to produce spiritual experiences as long we do it in an established religious institution.  This limits the psychedelic experience to the primarily Christian based drug religions.   Stan Grof might be said to offer an alternative, spiritually and intellectually preferable.

Non-ordinary states evoke the unconscious - in brief Grof organizes non-ordinary states into four categories sensory, biographical, perinatal (around birth) and transpersonal.  Although progress only rarely occurs in a linear way through the levels generally Grof LSD’s subjects saw geometric patterns first, then “relived” childhood traumas like surgeries, accidents and physical or sexual abuse (belonging to the personal or biographical unconscious) and progress to symbolic death and rebirth.

The notion of using drugs to allow for the reliving of repressed trauma was well established by the time LSD emerged at the end of the 1940s and if this were all it did psychedelic therapy would be far more common and less controversial than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which an estimated 100 000 Americans receive each year.  When one of Grof’s clients “relived” a surgery, accident or abuse memory he expected them to feel a lot better and they did.  But during subsequent sessions they would suffer even more intense experiences.

Grof noticed that each subject would eventually manifest the three clinical phases of birth and the state of the fetus before birth begins and labeled them Basic Perinatal Matrices or (BPM)s.  BPM I is the state of symbiotic union with the maternal organism, during BPM II the womb collapses and the fetus is helplessly squeezed and can perceive no possibility of escape, then the cervix dilates and the fetus begins it’s active survival struggle in BPM III – BPM IV is birth or rebirth.

The transpersonal level “includes ancestral, collective and past incarnation memories; authentic identification with animals and plants; and extrasensory perception.  Experiences of cosmic consciousness, archetypes, the clear white light, the meta-cosmic or supracosmic void, God, Gods or Goddesses might be considered transpersonal as well.”  In other words religion -  but don’t decide what the revelation is going to be before it occurs – start with an open mind and an open heart and see what happens. 

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