Many initiates who have undergone entheogenic experiences have reported that they have experienced “God”, discovered a divine energy within themselves, or even realized that they themselves are “God”. Just as the monks, yogis, shamans, and sages of history and now, the participants in the following study have experienced a personal transcendence into the divine. Research into secret societies, tribal groups, and ancient civilizations has been conducted that indicates a marked correlation between spirituality and entheogenic plant teacher experiences. For instance, kykeon, a fermented brew of ergot is speculated to be the sacrament of the Eleusinian mysteries in ancient Greece.
Tribal groups have utilized their native psychedelic plants for many thousands of years. Native Americans, and the use of peyote as a spiritual catalyst are a good example of this. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have demonstrated that mystical and spiritual experiences can be reproduced and initiated in the laboratory. “30 middle-aged volunteers who had religious or spiritual interests attended two eight-hour treatment sessions, two months apart, receiving psilocybin in one session and a non-hallucinogenic stimulant – Ritalin – in the other. They were not told which substance was which. One-third described the experience with psilocybin as the most spiritually significant of their lifetime and two-thirds rated it among their five most meaningful experiences.” In more than 60 percent of cases the experience qualified as a “full mystical experience” based on established psychological scales, the researchers say. Some likened it to the importance of the birth of their first child or the death of a parent. The effects lasted for at least two months. Eight out of 10 of the volunteers reported moderately or greatly increased well-being or life satisfaction. Relatives, friends and colleagues confirmed the changes. The scientists also make the claim that spontaneous religious experiences and plant teacher experiences are identical from the position of the observer. Shielding themselves from criticism from religious leaders, these researchers do not seek to prove or disprove God’s existence, but wish to research psychedelic plants for their natural purposes; Inducing mystical experiences, curing depression, and treating extreme pain.
Throughout the ages, various entheogenic plants have been used to induce mystical experiences. No matter what culture that one investigates, they will discover that all known civilizations had sages that regularly utilized these plants to connect with the divine. Ancient tales mention shamans with the power to control the weather, heal people, and experience that which humans call God. The word shaman means to know, and originated in Siberia. Research and legend both suggest that these mystics had the ability to tap into another world and communicate with otherworldly beings that reside there. Shamans have been said to have capabilities far greater than the average person that involve traveling between the many parallel realities, known as astral realms.
Many have investigated the ways of the shaman and hypothesize that intelligent knowledge-bearing spirits have interacted with shamans through entheogenic experiences. These beings have been described by indigenous tribes as “little people”, and typically have similar descriptions across many cultures. Archaeologists have found traces of ayahuasca ceremonies as far back as 4000 years ago. It is reasonable to believe that these shamans and mystics were communicating with these spirit beings through plant experiences. Terence McKenna has suggested that psychedelic mushrooms were paramount in bringing humanity away from hunter gatherer society, into civilizations. Proponents of his “stoned ape theory” such as Graham Hancock have taken his work further by investigating the origins of psychedelic plant use throughout ancient societies. Hancock and many other scientists theorize that perhaps alien beings and shamans have a mysterious connection. The Lascaux caves in southwestern France, are known to feature 17,300 year old paintings of many species of animals. The paintings demonstrate an incredible amount of skill for the time, displaying cows in the foreground, often regarded as sacred. Terence McKenna’s theory aligns with this discovery in subtle ways, as cattle dung acts as a place for psychedelic mushrooms to grow.