Entheogens 101

Entheogens are defined as materials that cause "ego-dissolving"from the Greek – entheos -- for "realizing the divine within." or adapt to individual voices and content.

Whereas often the modern Western citizen has chosen to use these materials in some profane way, traditionally entheogens are used in some ritual context. They had a purpose – to facilitate healing, either in understanding or health. Entheogens are materials for eliciting an ego-dissolving state. Psychedelics dissolve boundaries – this is what they do – they dissolve all cultural programming. Therefore the most successful of entheogenic or psychedelic experiences are those that incorporate this understanding. These materials allow the veil of perception to be peeled back, for a bigger picture look inside, what Aldous Huxley once called the doors of perception.


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Psychedelics – or entheogens as I prefer to call them have been a part of my life for almost thirty five years. As a young teenager I had read accounts of the shamanic mushrooms found in the temperate regions of the world – the red mushroom with white spots – that was the source of an inebriating delirium. Amanita is the original shamanic mushroom and nothing else quite looks like it. It is also considered the soma of the ancient Vedics. As it so happens I found some in the woods near where I lived, took them home and dried them (they must be dried to be properly effective). Upon eating them some weeks later, I had a trip of intense visioning, as well as intensely uncomfortable body load. I barfed a lot, but despite this whence I returned to the “real” world I was sold on the notion of exploring THIS. Whatever “THIS” was – I wanted more. Lots more.

There is extreme variability with individual specimens of Amanita – potency depending on soil conditions, weather, time of harvest etc. Eight grams will do the trick – but don’t think party with this material… because this trip is not a pleasant somatic experience. It would be best to start off with a half dose and see how that experience sits with one before continuing. It should come as no surprise that this fungi is listed as poisonous in many mushroom field guides, and much care should be used when exploring this ancient shamanic shroom. Amanita is legal to possess everywhere, but even so to consume one for its psychoactive nature may very well not be protected behavior. It will take over 90 minutes to come on and initially might feel like one is leaving one’s body. Make a tea of the dried specimens and be certain to consume the solids too. Or better still try smoking a small amount of dried amanita -- with cannabis works well -- for a more subdued effect.

Equally anciently used entheogens are the mescaline cactus peyote (Lophophora williamsii) and the more easily obtainable San Pedro cacti (various species of Trichocereus, T. pachanoi, T. peruvianus, etc.). Personally mescaline is king. There is no finer high – no finer sense of psychedelic awareness than being dosed on it. Enough cactus plant material to allow for 300mg or so of mescaline will suffice for a full blown educational and therapeutic experience. The legal-to-possess San Pedro cactus T. peruvianus contains as much mescaline per plant material as does the illegal-to-possess peyote and thus makes an excellent choice for the modern shaman seeking the king of experiences. A 10inch section of plant, de-spined, cored and consumed will do the trick. The visuals on mescaline let one see the world in all its natural beauty – a rose will never look so fine – never be so much a rose.

If the visuals on mescaline can be called so exquisitely natural – the LSD visual experience can be better described as NEON and bright lights. And if mescaline is king -- certainly LSD is pope – and indeed many a god has been experienced on it. LSD or Lysergic acid diethylamide is 62 years old this year being invented and discovered by Albert Hofmann on April 16, 1943 in an infamous bike ride. LSD is a chemical phenethylamine and as such is related to mescaline, psilocybe mushrooms and Ecstasy (and other psychedelic “research chemicals”). LSD was dosed in the 1960s at the 300mic level with brands such as orange sunshine or purple microdot, but today’s acidheads have to contend with smaller hits usually one sixth that amount.

Salvia is one of the stranger and more difficult to describe entheogenic experiences. Hojas de la Pastoral or the leaves of the Shepardess as salvia is called is still used for healing and divination among the Indians of Mazatec region of Mexico. Chemically unrelated to the phenethylamine and tryptamines psychedelics discussed here, it represents a whole new class of psychoactives – the diterpenes. The plant can be smoked, or the leaves chewed. To get off can be a bit tricky – getting the right amount of plant material in the correct context – so that modern salvia-enthusiasts have taken to making 5X or 10X extracts of the materials to ensure a precise and mature experience. A small amount may give the sensation of a small bit of cannabis herb, but a full-blown experience leaves one’s sense of self completely and rapidly lost. Initially due to rapidity of the experience there is fear, particularly when smoking. For this reason Natives prefer the non-smoking experience. They first roll pairs of leaves in their hands (so they are in contact with body lipids) and place the “quid” under the tongue allowing the juices to be in full contact with all of one’s mucous membranes.

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About The Author

Smoking DMT is the ultimate “oh my GOD” experience.

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When smoke the material
comes on so quick, and so complete that a sort of death is often experienced. Fear may be
the last cognizant thought considered before your head erupts in a kaleidoscope of
imagery. Whereas the chemical DMT or N,N-Dimethyltryptamine is sadly very rare (and
damn expensive) to find, smokeable DMT from plant sources get easier to locate every
year. What was once thought rare is now understood to be common. Thankfully, DMT is
found everywhere, including in the head of everything with a brain. Good DMT sources
in North America include various phalaris grasses and prairie plants such as the Illinois
Bundle flower. In addition other good smokable DMT sources are available over the
internet --- Amazonian plants such as Virola theiodora or Anadenanthera peregrine – the
seeds of which provide a fine DMT high.

In addition to straight out smoking DMT – DMT can be made orally psychoactive by
combining it with a ß-carboline which functions as a MAO inhibitor allowing the DMT
to bypass the liver and be directly absorbed into the blood stream.

That humans
discovered this concoction of mythical delight must surely have been a miracle.
Ayahuasca or its cousin anahuasca is a 3000 year old brew of visionary delight. Given
that we discover new DMT-filled plants every month and given that one day huasca may
be a protected sacrament in the United States – these brews may offer one of the hottest
areas of entheogenic exploration for the next decade.


Lauren Williams » 27 March 2013 » Reply

The most tried and true psychedelic experience for the vast majority of people would be with Psilocybe mushrooms – the most consumed and favored of the entheogens.

Admin » 27 March 2013 » Reply

Also once thought to be rare we now know that psilocybine and psilocine mushrooms can be found throughout North America (as well as every continent outside of the Antartica).

Lauren Williams » 23 March 2013 » Reply

One to three grams is the normal trip for P. cubensis – the most common commercially available shroom -- although the five gram hero dose is a much coveted experience.

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Chemically related to psilocybe mushrooms and mescaline is the synthetic MDMA – aka XTC or Ecstasy. In addition a whole slew of chemically similar research compounds are gaining in popularity (and with good reason).

With names like Ecstasy, 2CB or Nexus, 2CT7 or Blue Mystic and TMA-2 – these compounds, although made in a lab, are chemically similar to a number of other psychoactive alkaloids also found in various cacti.

While the safety of such materials is still being examined, there are millions of people world-wide that have explored these compounds and found them safe and useful. Sadly the largest difficulty for the interested MDMA or Ecstasy user is in obtaining unadulterated materials given that three quarters of street MDMA contains something else considerably less desirable. In this regard the explosion of internet available “research compounds” has found a loving market..

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Iboga is certainly the least experienced entheogen in the West. The strongest naturally occurring entheogen – it originates with the West African Bwiti tribe, where it is used for
various initiation and other rites. The Iboga experience is a near-death experience in its original setting, and has found some usefulness in North America as an aid for de-toxing addicts. Despite there being almost no illegal use in the United States, it remains one of
the six plants specifically outlawed in here.

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And last but certainly not least is marijuana, which many at first do not consider an entheogen or psychedelic. But as any true Ganja lover can tell you – given the right amount and the right mood and space, it is most psychedelic indeed.

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