• https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009856982302


An Interdisciplinary Journal on Sexual Health

Aktif Ziyaretçi1
Bugün Toplam16
Toplam Ziyaret582135
Web Site Map
Member's Pages


Psychoactive Plants Consumed

In Religious Rituals:

Common Archetypal

 Symbols & Figures in Myths & Religions


 H. Ümit Sayin


Psychoactive plants which contain hallucinogenic molecules that induce a form of altered states of consciousness (H-ASC) have been widely used during the religious rituals of many cultures throughout the centuries, while the consumption of these plants for spiritual and religious purposes is as old as human history. Some of those cultures were shaman and  pagan subcultures; African native religions; Bwiti Cult; South American native religions; Amazon Cultures; Central American Cultures; Mexican subcultures; Aztec, Maya and Inca; Wiccan and witch subcultures; Satanists; American Indians; Greek and Hellenistic cultures; Sufis; Hassan Sabbah’s Hashisins; Hindu, Indian and Tibetan cultures; some of the Nordic subcultures etc. Some of the psychoactive ingredients of the plants that were used during these religious rituals were; narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and phalaris species), Peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), thujone (absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora, star lotus, Salvia divinorum etc. The main purposes of the practice of these plants were: spiritual healing; to contact with spirits; to contact with the souls of ancestors; to reach enlightenment (Nirvana or Satori); to become a master shaman, pagan or witch; to reach so-called-other realities, etc. Such “psychedelic-philosophical plant rituals” changed participating persons’ psychology, philosophy and personality to a great degree. In these two successive articles, the consumption of psychedelic plants during religious rituals is reviewed and it is hypothesized that the images, figures, illusions and hallucinations experienced during these “plant trips” had a great impact on the formation and creation of many figures, characters, creatures, archetype images that exist not only in the mythology, but also in many religions, as well, such as angels, demons, Satan, mythological creatures, gods, goddesses etc. In the Middle East and Anatolia, within many hermetic and pagan religions, Greek and Hellenic cultures psychoactive plant use was a serious part of the religious rituals, such as Dionysian rituals or Witch’s’ Sabbaths. Although the impact of the “psychedelic experience and imagination was enormous to the configuration of many religious and mythological characters, and archetypes, this fact has been underestimated and even unnoticed by many historians and anthropologists, because of the quasi-ethical trends of “anti-drug-brain-washed Western Societies”. Today, it may be perceived as very disturbing for many believers that their belief systems and religious figures are actually just a result of the imaginations of the “human brain and psyche”, which were very elevated and altered by psychedelic plants that are totally banned today. What those chemicals did in the brain was actually induce the consciousness to recognize the inner self, to unravel the subconscious and the collective unconscious, to open some of the doors of perception, to disentangle entoptic images and perhaps explicate some unknown functions of the brain and the human psyche which may have many other means to contact other –hypothetical— realities! Since the research on the psychedelic nature of the brain will unravel many facts about the consciousness of the brain and human psyche, we invite the authorities again to ponder deeply the banning of research on psychoactive plants and psychedelic drugs!

:  psychoactive plant, entoptic, phosphene, religious ritual, opium, THC, Cannabis, DMT, ayahuasca, Peganum harmala, phalaris, magic mushroom, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, ibogaine, thujone, Arthemisia absinthium, Salvia divinorum, Dionysian ritual,   mandragora

SexuS Journal ● 2017 ● 2 (5): 201-236


Azar E. Seks Tanrıları (Sex Gods). İstanbul: Berfin Publications, 2006.

Acharya S. The Christ Conspiracy: The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 1999.

Acharya S. Suns of God: Krishna, Buddha and Christ Unveiled, Kempton, IL: Adventures Unlimited Press, 2004.

Akers BP, Ruiz JF, Piper A, Ruck CAP. A Prehistoric Mural in Spain Depicting Neurotropic Psilocybe Mushrooms? Economic Botany, 2011; 65(2): 121–128.

Alper KRA, Lotsof HS, Frenken GMN, Luciana DJ, Bastiaans J. Treatment of Acute Opioid Withdrawal with Ibogaine. The American Journal on Addictions, 1999; 8 (3): 234-242.

Blainey M.  Evidence for Ritual Use of Entheogens in Ancient Mesoamerica and the Implications for the Approach to Religion and Worldview. 2005.

Bouso JC, Débora G, Sabela F, Marta C, Xavier F, Paulo CRB, Miguel AAC, Wladimyr SA, manel JB, Joseph MF, Jordi R. J Plosone. Personality, psychopathology, life attitudes and neuropsychological performance among ritual users of Ayahuasca: A longitudinal study,  2012;  7 (8):1-13.

Bravo G, Grob CS. Shamans, Sacraments and Psychiatrists. J Psychoactive Drugs, 1989;  21:123-128.

Bressloff PC, et al. Geometric visual hallucinations, Euclidian symmetry and the functional architecture of striate cortex. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 2001; 356 (1407): 299-330.

Bressloff PC, Cowan D. What geometric visual hallucinations tell us about the visual cortex. Neural Computaion, 2003; 14: 473-491.

Callaway JC, McKenna DJ, Grob CS, Brito GS, Raymon LP, Poland RE, Andrade EN, Andrade EO. Pharmacokinetics of Hoasca alkaloids in healthy humans. J Ethnopharmacol, 1999; 65 (3): 243–256.

Cass J. Hideous absinthe: A history of the devil in a bottle. J Popular Culture, 2006; 39 (3): 495-496.

Castenada C. Teachings of Don Juan: A Yakui Way of Knowledge. Washington D.C.: Washington Square Press, 1985.

Chagas, M.H., Eckeli, A., Zuardi, A., Pena-Pereira, M., Sobreira-Neto, M., Sobreira, E., Camilo, M., Berquamaschi, M.,  Schenck, C.H., Hallak, J., Tumas, V., Crippa, J.A.S.. Cannabidiol can improve complex sleep-related behaviors associated with REM sleep behavior disorder in Parkinson’s disease patients: a case series. J Clin Pharmacy & Therapeutics 2014 (in press).

Daniélou A. Gods of Love and Ecstasy: The Traditions of Shiva and Dionysus. New York: Inner Traditions, 1992.

Davis W, Weil A.  Identity of a New World Psychoactive Toad. Ancient Mesoamerica, 1992;  3: 51-59.

Desmarchelier C, Gurni A, Ciccia G, Giulietti AM. Ritual and medicinal plants of the Ese'ejas of the Amazonian rainforest (Madre de Dios, Perú). J Ethnopharmacol, 1996; 52(1):45-51.

Diaz JL. Sacred plants and visionary consciousness. Phenom Cogn Sci , 2010; 9:159–170.

Dobkin de Rios M.  The Influence of Psychotropic Flora and Fauna on Maya religion. Curr Anthropol, 1974;  15: 147-64.

Dobkin de Rios M. Hallucinogens: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

Euripides. The Bacchae. B.C.

Fébregás JM, Débora G, Sabela F, Marta Cutchet, Xavier F, Paulo CRB, Miguel ÁAC, Manel JB, Jordi R, José CB. Assessment of addiction severity among ritual users of ayahuasca. J Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 2010; 111:257-261

Freke Timothy and Gandy Peter.  The Jesus Mysteries: Was the "Original Jesus" a Pagan God? New York: Harmony Books, Crown Publishing Group, 2001.

Freke Timothy and Gandy Peter.  Jesus and the Lost Goddess: The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians. New York: Harmony Books, Crown Publishing Group, 2002.

Freke Timothy and Gandy Peter.  The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom. New York: Harmony Books, Crown Publishing Group, 2006.

Gable RS. Risk assessment of ritual use of oral dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and harmala alkaloids. Addiction, 2007;  Jan;102(1):24-34.

Gimpel M, Honersch Y, Altmann HJ, Wittkowski R, Fauhl-Hassek C. Absinthe: Thujone content of absinthe spirits using historical recipes. Deutsche Lebensmittel-Rundschau, 2006; 102 (10): 457-463.

Highpine G. Unraveling the Mystery of the Origin of Ayahuasca. 2009. http://www.scoop.it/t/ayahuasca

Godwin M. The Lucid Dreamer: A Waking Guide for the Traveler Between Worlds. New York: Simon  Shuster, 1994.

Gutkin PE. Mathematical neuroscience: from neurons to circuits to systems. J Physiol-Paris, 2003; 97: 209-219.

Jung KG. Man and His Symbols. New York: Dell Publications, 1968.

Harner MJ. Common Themes in South American Indian Yage Experiences in MJ Harner (Ed), Hallucinogens and Shamanism, 1973; London : Oxford University Press, pp:155-175.

Jean-Francois S. Psychoactive Ublawu spritual medicines and healing dynamics in the initiation process of southern Bantu diviners. J Psychoactive Drugs, 2012; 44 (3): 216-223.

Kent JL. Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason. Seattle: PIT Press, 2010.

Kennedy AB. Ecce Bufo: The Toad in Nature and in Olmec Iconography. Current Anthropology, 1982; 23: 273-290.

Krippner S, Sulla J. Spiritual content in experimental reports from Ayahuasca sessions. Neuroquantology, 2011; 2:333-350.

La Barre W. Peyotl and Mescaline. J Psychoactive Drugs, 1979; 11 (1-2):

La Berge S. Lucid dreaming: psychophysiological studies on consciousness during REM sleep. In: Bootzin RR, Kihlstrom JF, Schacter DL, eds. Sleep and Cognition. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 1990: 109-126.

Lachenmeier DW, Emmert J, Kuballa T, Sartor G. Thujone - Cause of absinthism? Forensic Sci Int, 2006; 58 (1): 1-8. (a)

Lachenmeier DW, Walch SG, Padosch SA, Kroner LU. Absinthe - A review. Critical Reviews in Food Sci & Nutr, 2006; 46 (5): 365-377. (b)

Lewis-Williams JD,  Dowson TA.  The signs of all times: entoptic phenomena in Upper Palaeolithic art. Current Anthropology, 1988; 29(2): 201-245.

Lewis-Williams JD. Harnessing the brain: vision and shamanism in Upper Palaeolithic Western Europe. In: M.W. Conkey, O. Sopher, D. Stratmann and N.G. Jablonski (Editors), Beyond art: Pleistocene image and symbol. Berkeley: University of California Press, pp. 321–342, 1996.

Lewis-Williams DJ, Clottes J.  The Shamans of Prehistory: trance magic and the painted caves. New York: Abrams, 1998.

Lewis-Williams DJ,  Pearce DG.  Inside the Neolithic Mind: Consciousness, Cosmos, and the Realm of the Gods. London: Thames & Hudson, 2005.

Maciulaitis R, Kontrimaviciute V, Bressolle FM, Briedis V. Ibogaine, an anti-addictive drug: pharmacology and time to go further in development. A narrative review. Human & Exp Toxicol, 2008; 27(3):181-194.

Mahowald MW, Woods SR, Schenck CH. Sleeping dreams, waking hallucinations, and the Central Nervous System. Dreaming 1998; 8: 89-102.

Metzner R. Hallucinogenic drugs and plants in psychotherapy and shamanism. J Psychoactive Drugs, 1998; 30 (4):333-341.

Metzner R. The Role of Psychoactive Plant Medicines. in Charles S. Grob (ed.) Hallucinogens - A Reader. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam. (pp. 23-37), 2002.

Merlin MD. Archaeological evidence for the tradition of psychoactive plant use in the old world. Economic Botany, 2003; 57(3): 295–323.

Miller RJ. Drugged: The Science and Culture Behind Psychotropic Drugs. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Nichols DE. Hallucinogens. Pharmacol & Therapeutics, 2004;  101: 131–181.

Pettifor E. Altered States: The Origin of Art in Entoptic Phenomena. Internet Reference, 1996. http://psychedelic-information-theory.com/Entoptic-Hallucination

Popik P, Layer RT, Skolnick P. 100 years of ibogaine: neurochemical and pharmacological actions of a putative anti-addictive drug. Pharmacol Rev, 1995; 47(2):235-253.

Ritter, SK. Absinthe myths finally laid to rest. Chem & Eng News, 2008;86 (18): 42-43.

Rodrigues E, Carlini EA. A Comparison of Plants Utilized in Ritual Healing by two Brazilian Cultures: Quilombolas and Kraho Indians. J Psychoactive Drugs, 2006; 38 (3):285-295.

Ruck CAP, Staples BD, and Heinrich C, The Apples of Apollo: Pagan and Christian Mysteries of the Eucharist. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2000.

Ruck CAP, Heinrich C. Old Gods in New Bottles: Alchemical Pharmacopoeia. 55-78, in Entheos: Journal of Psychedelic Spirituality,vol , 2001: 1 (1).

Ruck CAP, Staples BD, Celdrán JAG, Hoffman MA. The Hidden World: Survival of Pagan Shamanic Themes in European Fairytales. North Carolina: Caroline Academic Press, 2006. (a)

Ruck CAP. Sacred Mushrooms of the Goddess: Secrets of Eleusis. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing, 2006. (b)

Ruck, CAP.“Documentation”: 85-136, in R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A.P.Ruck, The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling theSecret of the Mysteries (New York, NY, and London: Harcourt BraceJovanovich, Inc., 1978, reprinted expanded editions 1998, 2008.

Ruck CAP, Hoffman MA, González Celdrán JAG. Mushrooms, Myth and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe. California: City Light Books, 2009.

Ruck CAP. “Democracy and the Dionysian Agenda”: 343-385, in John A. Rush (ed.), Entheogens and the Development of Culture: The Anthropology and Neurobiology of Ecstatic Experience. Berkeley, CA: Atlantic Books, 2013.

Sayin HU. Derin Devletler, Gizli Projeler ve Kirli Gerçekler (Secret States, Secret Projects and Dirty Truths), İstanbul: Neden Publications, 2006.

Sayin HU. Dünyayı Yöneten Gizli Güçler (The Secret Powers That Rule the World),  İstanbul: Neden Publications, 2007.

Sayin HU. Altered states of consciousness occurring during expanded sexual response in the human female: preliminary definitions.  NeuroQuantology, 2011; 9(4): 882-891.

Sayin HU. A Comparative review of the neuropharmacology of hallucinogen-induced altered states of consciousness: The uniqueness of some hallucinogens. NeuroQuantology, 2012; 10 (2): 316-340. (a)

Sayin HU. Doors of female orgasmic consciousness: New theories on the peak experience and mechanisms of female orgasm and expanded sexual response. NeuroQuantology, 2012; 10 (4): 692-714. (b)

Sayin HU. Does the nervous system have an intrinsic archaic language? : Entoptic images and phosphenes: The impact of innate neuro-optic language of H-ASC on ancient religions. Neuroquantology, 2014; (in press)

Sayin HU. Women and Orgasm. İstanbul: Tantra Akademi-Onur Publications, 2014 (in press)

Schultes RE, Hofmann A. Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing and Hallucinogenic Powers. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1992.

Shepard GH. Special Issue: Therapeutic Use of Hallucinogens. J  Psychoactive Drugs, 1998; 30 (4):321-332.

Stafford P. Psychedelics Encyclopedia. Berkeley, CA: Ronin Publishing Inc., 1978.

Taylor RP, Sprott JC. Biophilic fractals and the visual journey of organic screen-savers. Nonlinear Dynamic Psychol. Life Sci, 2008; 12 (1): 117-29.

Trichter S, Klimo J, Krippner S. Changes in spirituality among ayahuasca ceremony novice participants. J Psychoactive Drugs, 2009; 41(2):121-34.

Wasson RG. The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica. New York: McGraw Hill, 1980.

Wasson RG, Hofmann A, Ruck CAP.  The Road to Eleusis. Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978.

Webster P. Mixing kykeon. ELEUSIS: Journal of Psychoactive Plants and Compounds

New Series 4, 2000.

Viesco TC, Ramon DLF, Ramos M. Ethnotaxonomy and Ethnopharmacology of psychoactive drug of ancient Mexico. Actes du 2’ Colloque EuropCend ‘Ethnophmacologieet de la  Confrence internationale d‘Ethnomédecine, Heidelberg, 4-27 mars 1993.