DOI: 10.14704/nq.2014.12.2.753

The Consumption of Psychoactive Plants in Ancient Global and Anatolian Cultures During Religious Rituals: The Roots of the Eruption of Mythological Figures and Common Symbols in Religions and Myths

H. Umit Sayin

Abstract


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 Hashissins; 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”.

Keywords


psychoactive plant; entoptic; phosphen; myth; religious ritual; opium; cannabis; ayahuasca; phalaris; magic mushroom; psilocybin; peyote; mescaline; ibogaine; thujone; Arthemisia absinthium; Salvia divinorum; Dionysian ritual; wicca; Perganum

Full Text:

Full Text PDF

References


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. 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.

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.

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. Current Anthropology, 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

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.

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.

Hillman DCA. The Chemical Muse: Drug Use and the Roots of Western Civilization. New York, NY: Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press, 2008.

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):

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 & Experimental Toxicology, 2008; 27(3):181-194.

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. Pharmacology & 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. Pharmacological Reviews, 1995; 47(2):235-253.

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

Ritter M. 3,700-Year-OldPsychoactive Wine,” reported at the annual meeting of the American Schools ofOriental Research;, New York AP: “Ancient Wine Cellar Unearthedin Israel Shows Canaanites Enjoyed a Sophisticated Drink,” ‘The discoveryconfirms …something suggested only by ancient texts.’ 2013.

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 the Secret of the Mysteries (New York, NY, and London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 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. Artırılmış Cinsel Doyum: ESR; Kadınlarda Ultra Orgazm (Expanded Sexual Response: ESR; Ultra Orgasm in Women). İstanbul: Tantra Akademi/Onur Publications, 2010.

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. Resimli 100 Soruda NEO-TANTRA: Tantrik Cinselliğin Sırları (Illustrated NEO-TANTRA in 100 Questions: The Secrets of Tantric Sexuality). Tantra Akademi/Onur Publications, 2013.

Sayin HU. Does the nervous system have an intrinsic archaic language? : Entoptic images and phosphenes: The impact of innate neuro-optic language of hallucinogen induced altered states of consciousness onto ancient religions. Neuroquantology, 2014; (in press) (a)

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

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 Psychoact 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.

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, Heidelber2g4, -27 mars 1993.


Supporting Agencies

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.



| NeuroScience + QuantumPhysics> NeuroQuantology :: Copyright 2001-2018