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Mind Altering Substances
Topic Rating: +3 (3 votes) 
February 1, 2013
12:09 pm
vampyremage
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A post on facebook got me to thinking seriously about this topic. What are your views on using mind altering substances in a spiritual context?

To give a little background on me, I was completely straight edge until 25 and teetotal until 27. The prospect of not being in my right mind and in complete control of myself used to terrify me. Then, gradually, that began changing. At 25 I tried marijuana for the first time and found it wasn't at all what I feared it would be and had a very positive experience with it. To this day I am an occasional smoker. At 27 I tried alcohol, which was a major overcoming of lifelong fears and, once again, discovered it wasn't at all what I feared it would be. I did nothing I regretted and still felt sufficiently in control of myself that I didn't feel in any risk of doing anything truly regrettable. During that same period I tried LSD and hope to do further experimenting in the future. Once again, the experience was nothing but positive.

All of this, for me, played and continues to play a very important role of pushing boundaries and challenging myself. In much the same way as body modification serves to push personal boundaries, so to for me does trying new things and altering how my brain works, temporarily. Without these pushing of boundaries I feel stagnant and that's not a good feeling.

In the future, I hope to experience hallucinogens in the context of ritual. In learning about their effects, it wasn't the right time, but now that I'm comfortable with them, its something I greatly desire to do and something I think I would get a lot out of.

Does anyone else have any experiences or contexts to share?

February 1, 2013
2:07 pm
Duke of LoL
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I can't really grasp the idea of using a mind altering substance in a spiritual context. The way that I feel when I am on anything is a very happy state and I think that nothing would be able to tell me anything. So gaining something spiritual from the mind altering things would probably be an experience that you would have in your head. Like my friend and I were on LSD one night and he stayed up all night trying to figure out wormholes or something. He eventually understood whatever he was looking at. He showed me the next day. From that example I think that if you were in a group of people it would be more of a friendly gathering rather than a spiritual one, but if you are alone or with just another person then you can probably gain a little something from the experience. Hope this is what you were looking for Smile

February 2, 2013
6:42 am
Oakbear
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Psychedelics, not unlike modification, have the ability to expand one's boundaries, look at the world in a new way and connect on another level. They can reveal truth.
In some respects they can culturally be used as a short-cut to some of these things.
They are also potentially very dangerous, and should not be abused.

It's sad that such incredible drugs are often the subject of misuse, for a giggle or a distraction. It's very important the way they are approached, which can have a significant impact.

Anyone who is more interested on my take on things is welcome to message me.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
February 2, 2013
9:04 am
Sommersett
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I'll share a story when I have more time.

I have always wanted to go to an oxygen bar. Now that I'm writing it, I wonder if it's some awesome crap I just made up in my mind!! ha! (it is real… I just checked!!)

Has anyone ever experienced an O2 bar?

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
February 3, 2013
3:11 pm
vampyremage
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I largely agree, Oakbear. I do think, however, that the universal villianization of drugs is largely a negative thing. The reality is, some come with more risks than others and if one is of the mindset to try something, its important to understand the risks of anything one is thinking of trying. When weed is largely portrayed as just as dangerous as heroin, that is a major problem.

Research and the correct environment are both things I find to be very important. I really have no issues with those who choose to do various substances recreationally but, again, research and the correct environment remain of pivotal importance. Know, to the best of your ability, what you're getting into and keep in mind context. Sometimes its appropriate and sometimes its simply not.

February 4, 2013
4:09 am
Oakbear
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I agree about the vilification of drugs. It's just silly. Any bright teenager can see the lies, and can dismiss the potential harms as a result. What we need is balanced education, not politics or scaremongering.
I only stress the dangers as i believe they are substances which demand respect. I know too many people who forgot that and fell foul of them. With respect however, they can be a great boon.

As for oxygen bars, i haven't tried one, but i have tried oxygen. It's quite nice and refreshing, a bit of a pick me up, but no real narcotic effect. Great for a hangover though!
I've also tried flavoured oxygen you get in a can, but it wasn't up to much and very expensive.

Yep i'm a sucker for a gimmick, and will try pretty much anything once!Surprised

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
February 5, 2013
12:36 am
KristenAtkinson0
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I can understand how some drugs could be used in a spiritual way, especially the psychedelics.

Personally, I've tried many different drugs. I believe everyone should try mushrooms at least once, as the experience really can change a lot of your thinking. As long as people are being responsible(which is kind of a weird thing to pair with experimenting with drugs) and knowledgeable, no one should have a problem. I have seen many people benefit from occasional recreational use.

It also gives you some pretty fantastic stories.

I haven't used it for spiritual reasons, though. I have a friend who decided to take a bunch of LSD once and sit in his room and trip "until it made sense." He needed clarity, and that's what he received from that experience. He moved on with life after with a clear decision on several issues in his life.

February 5, 2013
3:04 am
link9454
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I've never used a mind altering substance outside of a medical reason, and I don't think I will. I've come to realize that I have an extremely high alcohol and drug tolerance (I am half Irish after all) so I don't really get much out of the experience anyway. I think people should be able to use drugs like salvia and pot in moderation for their own reasons though, I voted for legalization in Colorado. That being said, I don't think I'll try mind altering drugs any time soon. To me, enlightenment is something gained by having a clear, unimpeded mind.

Forward though the dark uncertain, Or back though the thorns with your bare flesh, It is your choice how to live, between the truth and the lie.
February 8, 2013
8:02 pm
SasQuatch9585
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If it wasn't for marijuana I would never have learned to meditate, and would not be as good at martial arts as I am.

Maybe that sounds crazy to you, but I'm quite serious. Marijuana absolutely amplifies my ability to meditate by ten-fold. Also, meditation is a critical part of martial arts. I have developed my own style based largely on what I visualized while meditating. Learning to harness the energy of the mind is what makes a martial artist truly powerful, and I would never have understood or even believed this was true without marijuana.

I've done magic mushrooms a couple times, but it was a social event and I didn't try to meditate at all. I don't know what sort of effect it may have had. Aside from that, I haven't tried any illegal substances, but I've seen many documentaries that show shaman from all over the world using some kind of substance to step in to another realm, so to speak.

Of course, all the talk about being cautious with these substances is totally accurate. Caution is always needed when stepping outside the norm.

Sometimes I wonder if I can say anything in less than a hundred words.
February 9, 2013
9:04 am
Sommersett
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When I was 25 years old I traveled throughout parts of Europe alone. I had some friends along the way, but most of my journey was solo. I pierced at a studio in Spain, in the Basque region, called OZONO. Wonderful studio owned by a dear friend.
Anyway, I went to Amsterdam. I'm not going to mention any mind altering substances I did… what I want you to know is: I took a bicycle tour through the tulip fields in full bloom. Row after row… hundreds upon thousands of flowers in all different colors. It was like floating through a rainbow. It blew me wide open!! I wondered if it was real. The beauty and brilliance of the experience would have been surely different without every part of the journey.

Everyone has something to say about the Mona Lisa until you're standing in front of it speechless.
February 9, 2013
11:15 pm
KristenAtkinson0
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Somm, that sounds awesome. I want to do that.

February 20, 2013
5:58 pm
KendrahLi
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I'm on the fence about the use of mind altering substances and spiritual practice for a few reasons. Mostly because there becomes a large chance for it to be misused and depended on. There is a line between using datura (or other atropic plant) for a vision quest and dropping coke or lsd constantly claiming it's for spiritual reasons. I know far too many people who will do any designer drug and claim it's for spiritual reasons but they are no more than drug addicts at the end of the day.

One reason why mind altering substances should be kept out of a lot of spiritual rituals is that you are not in full control of yourself therefore you can't focus and impose your will. There are quite a few things in the spiritual realm which need full focus and facility. Doing any of those while not in full control of your mind could be harmful.

Now if it's just a trance journey, I have datura, belladonna, lettuce opium, passionflower and aconite for mind opening effects. Although if you think cannabis gives you a mind altering experience, these will rip open your psyche in a potentially unpleasant way. I don't use these for each time I trance, but there are times I feel like it's appropriate to use. I actually have a blend of these plus a few others for their help in stopping anxiety attacks and pain.

Personally I've never had a mind altering experience from cannabis, even when stoned there isn't much difference between my thought patterns or trance states. I am however a patient due to a few medical issues and using it in much more beneficial ways then smoking as most of the curative enzymes in it are destroyed in heat (some of them are destroyed in the drying process so ideally you should raw juice it). I could go on and on about the 500k uses for hemp but I'll just stop myself lol

-= www.khaotyk-artwerx.com =- Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras
February 20, 2013
6:36 pm
vampyremage
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I think there tends to be an exaggeration regarding the risks of some (and the key word here is some) mind altering substances. Which is not to say that most (all?) such substances do have their risks and if choosing to partake in such one should be aware of such risks, but sometimes those risks are not as pronounced as believed. Often the right environment and the right mindset go a very long way towards a safe and fulfilling experience.

On the topic of addiction, I think there are a couple of things that can be done to mitigate that possibility. The first, as suggested above, is moderation which is potentially both in amount and, perhaps more importantly, frequency. Be aware of the signs and signals within your own body and listen to those signs. If you begin to feel yourself craving more, that's a clear sign to stop for a prolonged period of time. The second is in choice of substance. Some substances are clearly more physiologically addictive than others and its important to make any decisions with this fact in mind.

For risks regarding being in an altered state of mind this too, I consider to be exaggerated in some fashion. Again, the risks do exist but in many cases I do not believe them to be as significant as, for example, various sporting events. Once again, do your research beforehand and know what you're getting into and, especially for a first time, do so in a safe environment.

February 22, 2013
3:58 am
Oakbear
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I agree i have known people who claim or have spiritual aspects to drug use, but either lose the plot and become dependant in some way, or indeed are simply sensation seeking. That's why respecting a substance is so important. I agree on moderation whole-heartedly, as well as the importance of set and setting.
I also agree with it not being suitable for most ritual work, notably that where control is needed. Rituals featuring entheogens tend to centre on ceding control in some way.

I'm less concerned about the man made vs natural aspect. LSD is a whole lot safer than datura (seriously, PLEASE DO NOT USE DATURA!), and the spiritual aspects of LSD can be as great as any plant.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
February 22, 2013
8:51 am
KristenAtkinson0
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Wow, I just read about Datura because I had never heard of it before. Woah. That's a scary sounding drug….

February 22, 2013
11:07 am
Duke of LoL
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Yeah, datura is a really messed up plant. I ate some and blacked out for 3 days. I thought it would be a way different experience, but I don't really remember an experience at all. So I agree with oakbear DON'T TRY IT. Smile

February 22, 2013
4:36 pm
vampyremage
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I think the place for mind altering substances is not so much for ritual work as it is for inspiration. Granted I have somewhat limited first hand experience (and that experience is only going to grow slowly, carefully and with respect) but what experience I have had and what conversations I've had with others who have had similar experiences has led me to this conclusion. When searching for direction and inspiration, sometimes having that helping hand, so to speak, can be worth while. Or indeed, sometimes that inspiration can sneak up on an individual when under the influence when least expected but simply because it was unplanned doesn't mean its unmeaningful. One of my brothers, for example, found his patron goddess while under the influence of LSD and hasn't looked back since. He quite likely would have found her eventually without that experience but for him, it was a catalyst to a certain aspect of his long term spiritual development.

February 22, 2013
10:09 pm
KendrahLi
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Been semi-heavy user of belladonna for it's ability to help with pain and insomnia, my datura experience was a bunch of hands turned lotus flowers and the rest of the time (dropping 30+ datura seeds, which have highest amount of the atropine chems vs flowering parts and bit stronger than an x pill per seed) nothing more then pain relief. I'd say it doesn't stand up to the claims and def not as hard hitting as it's big sister herb belladonna…. but each person is different. Although, safer cause less atropine and way less random allergy chance (like in belladonna). At least I could get gov work if I could get the interview as atropine leaves your system where lsd is perm in your spinal fluid.

Being in the occult scene for decades I've seen my share of people who are perma-fried from one large use of LSD or even fry themselves using high level man made drugs from heroine on up while sitting on the couch claiming they are thinking of a spiritual topic therefore they needed it for spiritual purposes. Unfortunately haven't seen any thin the gene pool by od'ing plants, they seem smart enough to start low doses and work up even if they aren't smart enough to do so with the man-made chems. which this is why I warn about improper use, but for mind needing focus in ritual at all, that goes to not being in your mind. Some things are dangerous without your full mind.

-= www.khaotyk-artwerx.com =- Ex Ignorantia Ad Sapientiam; E Luce Ad Tenebras
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