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Gateway To Inner Space
Sacred Plants, Mysticism and Psychotherapy

Edited by Christian Ratsch

Pages: 259
Price: $10-$15 (Out of Print)
Publisher: Prism/Unity
Pub Date: 1989
ISBN: 1853270377

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Table of Contents >

Christian Ratsch - Introduction: The Exploration of Inner Space

Rich Yensen - From Mysteries to Paradigms: Humanity's Journey from Sacred Plants to Psychedelic Drugs II

Stanislav Grof - Beyond the Brain: New Dimensions in Psychology and Psychotherapy

Ralph Metzner - Molecular Mysticism: The Role of Psychoactive Substances in the Transformation of Consciousness

Tom Pinkson - Purification, Death, and Rebirth: The Clinical Use of Entheogens within a Shamanic Context

George Greer - Using Altered States to Experience Choice

Claudio Naranjo - Psychedelic Experience in the Light of Meditation

Wolfgang Coral - Psychedelic Drugs and Spiritual States of Consciousness in the Light of Modern Neurochemical Research

Charles Muses - The Sacred Plant of Ancient Egypt

Christian Ratsch - St. Anthony's Fire in Yucatan

Claudia Muller-Ebeling - The Return to Matter -The Temptations of Odilon Redon

Terence McKenna - Among Ayahuasquera

Hanscarl Leuner and Michael Schlichting - A Report on the Symposium On the Current State of Research in the Area of Psychoactive Substances


The Contributors to this Volume


Description >
Presents essays by many leading researchers in the field of altered states of consciousness - presented to honor Dr. Albert Hofmann, who first discovered the extraordinary effects of LSD in 1943.  Featured here are writings on the medical use of psychedelics, the controversial issue of 'molecular mysticism', the relationship of sacraments to Gnosis, death and rebirth themes in shamanism; comparisons between meditative and psychedelic experiences, and states of tryptamine consciousness. 
Reviews/Excerpts >

For thousands of years, psychedelic drugs have been used during sacred rituals in almost every ancient culture throughout the world. Ethnopharmacological research has shown that the aim was to attain direct spiritual experience, during which the individual made contact with higher worlds in order to gain knowledge and wisdom for his further life. In Western industrialized societies, where spiritual experiences are no longer an immediate aspect of our culture, it is hard for us to understand the unity of this continuum of experience.

The break with our own mythos which occurred during the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution left us with only "half" a culture. Rationalism, the belief in science, materialism, and Christianity all offered hope, but none was able to compensate for the lost half, through which it had been possible for each person to find wholeness through the direct experience of his own divinity. In addition, the triumph of rationalist worker societies went hand in hand with the social prohibition of psychedelic drugs.

Instead, a marked preference emerged for such sedative and narcotic drugs as alcohol, tranquilizers, and barbiturates, which resulted in rendering large sections of society dependent or even addicted to the point of self-destruction. (page 133)

There are a variety of spiritual techniques which can lead to states similar to those attainable through drugs: Breathing techniques (hyperventilation, pranayama, rebirthing), meditation, abstention from sleep and food, ecstasy in dance, music, or tantric sex. Because specific psychedelica enable us to attain certain states with an ease which varies starkly from that of other often strenuous and sometimes medieval methods, the former are usually preferred. The danger lies in assuming a passive attitude to the consumption of drugs. The two paths are by no means mutually exclusive; they can complement one another and result in a new, more intense path where cosmic experiences attained using drugs provide the motivation to greater exertions along the path of the spirit. The anticipation of such an experience may yield new perspectives along a developmental path which would otherwise be threatened by forgetfulness and daily routine. (page 142)

CSP's Entheogen Chrestomathy entry for Gateway to Inner Space


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