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Entheogens in Literature[edit]

Quick comment, I'm just surprised that Carlos Castaneda's name doesn't appear in the literature portion of the article. i know, I'm not contributing much in the manner of info and text, but if I remember correctly, he's written more about entheogens than any two authors combined. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:48, 5 March 2009 (UTC)

No, he wrote about psychedelic technologies, from an anthropological perspective. The term "entheogen" was really not around when he was doing his thing. I wonder if he would have used it even if it were in common use during his time. Some say Castenada's work has been discredited, however the information still seems to hold its value over time. Jace1 (talk) 20:46, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Issue resolved. According to Psilocybin#History, Castenada's works revolved around fictional stories, whereas Psilocybe mushroom cultivation was developed by Terence McKenna, his brother, and his wife. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Use of parentheticals[edit]

One or more editors inserted unsourced commentary in the form of parentheticals throughout the terminology section. I'm going through this section and removing them. If anyone wants to discuss this, please do so here. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 02:21, 12 July 2009 (UTC)

I may have been responsible for some, if not all, of that. The text is still not as accurate or precise as a terminology section should be, so let's go through it. Currently written is "...but entheogen implies neither that something is created nor that that which is experienced is within the user...", which tries to address my point, but fails. This addition is, in fact, not even true. Two sentences onwards, the prefix is discussed, but not the suffix, which forms the basis of my point. The suffix indicates the production or generation of something (genesthai?). The suffix was basically lifted from "hallucinogen" at the time, an interesting oxymoron in itself, but that's another rant. Also, the definition given here is not correct. According to Ott, lit. "becoming divine within", however "genesthai" is not "becoming" in this context but "generating" (...divine within). May we fix this now?Jace1 (talk) 21:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)
Why don't you rewrite it here and discuss your addition? Viriditas (talk) 22:14, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

I thought I just did! Another possibility would be for you to dig up the text you changed, put it here, and then let us work from that. OK?Jace1 (talk) 09:26, 14 July 2009 (UTC)

I'm sorry if I'm not communicating well. Let me try again: Please place the full text you want to see in the article below this comment. The text should appear exactly as you prefer it. That way, I can see what you are talking about rather than just your comments. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 10:14, 15 July 2009 (UTC)
This issue hasn't been resolved. Jace1, Viriditas is asking you to re-write the sentence here so the new version can be revised. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Quantification of thought[edit]

Rather, it is the precise characterization and quantification of these experiences, and of religious experience in general, that is not yet developed.

Yep, and pigs will fly, real soon now. Viriditas (talk) 08:16, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Issue resolved: sentence removed as part of an edit made on July 13, 2009. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Major update proposed[edit]

I am proposing to do a major update of the page, in order to introduce updated terminology presented by Greg Kasarik at the Entheogenesis Australis Conference of 2009 and drawn from the Conference Journal, which is available in hard copy, but not online.

I also intend to include reference to Dr David Caldicott's unpublished research into the Australian Entheogenic community, the raw data for which can be found here:

Finally, I propose to include reference to the Entheogenisis Australis conferences, of which seven have taken place in Australia since 2003. MysticNorth2010 (talk) 09:22, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Sounds interesting. I just left a welcome message on your talk page with links to Wikipedia's policies and guidelines. You may want to take a look or not. We can't really use raw, unpublished data unless we are quoting it without interpretation and it is discussed or referenced in published sources. Otherwise, we run the risk of engaging in original research. Let me know how I can help. Viriditas (talk) 09:45, 1 March 2010 (UTC)

Why natural?[edit]

I note in the Entheogens section the assertion they are naturally occuring, mostly in plants, and wonder who exactly has decided this, and on what grounds
It seems to exclude, for example, LSD
Does it also exclude alcohol?
Alcohol can be naturally occuring (grapes and apples, for example, fermenting themselves) and is used in Christian communion rituals, which seem designed to be entheogenic
Laurel Bush (talk) 09:40, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Good catch. Seems like a prime candidate for removal. Viriditas (talk) 09:51, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
This is where the definition and scope of entheogen gets messy. Refer back to the article where Ruck stated in 1979:
"In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens."
Naturally occurring substances are used because entheogen implies traditional use; synthetics weren't produced until the last hundred years. Alcohol would be included, but it is not a "vision-producing drug." Again, this is messy because entheogen does not have a strict set of guidelines. If alcohol is to be included, which is allowed under the loose definition, then an accompanying description of its controversial inclusion should be included. --Notmyhandle (talk) 16:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Not clear as to what Viriditas means by Good catch
Is Ruck the authority?
Has Ruck recognised Christian communion as ethnogenic drug use?
Laurel Bush (talk) 17:27, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

"Good catch", means "good find". It was intended as a compliment. The word "natural" is always problematic when it is used loosely. For example, the ayahuasca brew doesn't occur "naturally"; One has to carefully prepare it. As for bringing Christianity into this, I think you are getting distracted by the ritual of communion rather than the meaning. Laurel have you read any Joseph Campbell? Viriditas (talk) 20:31, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Ruck, as a scholar, is an authority. The authorities are the guys who coined the term: "Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson." Some of them are still alive and doing research (such as Ott). I don't know if Ruck has "recognised Christian communion as ethnogenic drug use." You should investigate. The ambiguity of the term entheogen is already discussed throughout the article, particularly under the Etymology heading. The easy answer to this is that entheogen refers to a species (animal or plant) that produces hallucinogenic substances that have been used in ritual use in pre-modern history, rather than any substance or mixture used ritually. Also, I am unaware of any Christian ritual use of alcohol where the goal is to become intoxicated (to induce visions/enter a divine state), which is the goal of entheogen use. Also, to clarify, ayahuasca isn't an entheogen, it's a concoction of one or more entheogens (such as banisteriopsis caapi). --Notmyhandle (talk) 04:57, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

The article is about historical, 'pre-modern', entheogenic drug use, and the historians are themselves largely historical?
I do find the concept natural rather easier to work with than pre-modern
Is Christianity modern?
Does it have pre-modern forms, or roots in pre-modern practices?
Are these questions with any real meaning?
The name Joseph Campbell does look familiar, by the way
I believe I have read The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Laurel Bush (talk) 10:48, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Christianity is already included on the page. Alcohol is excluded because its not a hallucinogen. It's that simple. We can't argue anything here without sources, and since I haven't read any, my understanding is solely based on the content of the current article. I suggest we both read this source. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:30, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

"that of bread and wine, which do not contain psychoactive substances." Unless I am mistaken, alcohol, while not hallucinogenic, is indeed psychoactive. Am I wrong? Ctbeiser (talk) 06:40, 25 December 2010 (UTC)

Nope. You are correct. Alcohol (ethanol) is a psychoactive substance. The page is mistaken. --Notmyhandle (talk) 09:29, 25 December 2010 (UTC)


Is the theo of entheogen the God of monotheism?
Use of God in the article seems to imply that it is
Perhaps enspirigen would be more appropriate
Spirits can be demons as well as gods, and the same spirit might be experienced in different ways be different people, or in different ways by the same person at different times
Laurel Bush (talk) 15:30, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

The term, derived from Greek, seems to be inclusive of all divinity. The Wikipedia community cannot suggest a new term; it would have to be developed and acquired over time by scholars or the public. --Notmyhandle (talk) 16:47, 30 April 2010 (UTC)
Not sure where you are going with this, Laurel. I think you are taking this way too literally. Viriditas (talk) 20:11, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Maybe this is basically meaningless
Laurel Bush (talk) 10:55, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Quit trolling. --Notmyhandle (talk) 20:31, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

I am finding the article's language practically unintelligible (perhaps because supposed authorities have not thought clearly enough about their own work) I was hoping for some clarification
But perhaps expecting intelligible language on anything drug related is a bit silly
Laurel Bush (talk) 10:02, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

So revise it, or bring up specific sentences/sections that require clarification. --Notmyhandle (talk) 17:45, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
Laurel, I understand where you are coming from, but it also appears you are bringing preconceptions to this article. For example, you ask whether the "God" of the entheogen experience is the God of monotheism. I think the issue here, is that you appear to believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that "God" exists outside of you in some kind of physical manifestation. I don't believe that the article takes this point of view or even defines "God" in that way. People too often get hung up on words rather than what the words are actually pointing to. Instead of trying to make this article conform to your own perceptual belief structure (reality tunnel), try to understand and deal with it on its own terms. That way, you can bring in other perspectives, such as "What do Christian scholars believe in regards to entheogens?" and represent their opinions with good sources. Viriditas (talk) 04:25, 5 May 2010 (UTC)

Seems to me that it is the article which is using a particular sense of the term "God", perhaps as represented by your contribution above, while excluding others, such as you seem to believe to be held by "Christian scholars"
Laurel Bush (talk) 17:25, 11 May 2010 (UTC).

In that case, which sources on the topic should I review to resolve this problem? Please be specific. Viriditas (talk) 19:06, 11 May 2010 (UTC)

The issue isn't easily identifiable/solvable. The word theo comes from Greek, in which it means god (deity), not "God." In spirituality and shamanism, god seems to typically refer to all that is, which is similar to the Christian God, but typically without a figure; a type of materialistic monism. This is important because I think the guys who created the term entheogen did so with that "essence" idea in mind. Entheogen is to absorb and feel "god," but since they don't give context, it could be any god, I think. Like, Christians could start to use entheogens as sacrament and use it to feel their God. It's even more convoluted when you look at quotes like "that which causes God to be within an individual" referring to the definition of entheogen. Is it really "God" or did they mean "god?" I am now thoroughly confused, and perhaps have misinterpreted the use of the word. I think the guys defining it did a really poor job. --Notmyhandle (talk) 00:37, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Sounds like you are getting hung up on the words instead of what the words are pointing to. Don't mistake the pointing finger for the moon. The word "God" or "god" is just that, a word. It is totally unimportant. What is important is what it is pointing to, and this is, unfortunately, beyond language. This is the reason that the greatest lectures in Buddhism involve simply the picking of a flower or the banging of a hand upon a lectern. Viriditas (talk) 07:59, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Viriditas has raised the issue of ‘where I am coming from’
Perhaps the following gives some impression:

I was relaxing one evening after taking what was, for me, an unusually high dose of a particular opiate, prescribed for pain relief
As I relaxed, I pondered on feelings about something said concerning a former president of the United States, on a BBC Radio 4 programme earlier that evening, and my pondering had a quality I attribute to the opiate
It seemed the former president had claimed that, as president, he had sent his country to war against the forces of another head of state, the president of Iraq, with the explicit approval of a being called God, and my pondering went somewhat as follows:
I felt a capacity to believe the former president's claim, not in terms used by the claimant, but as expressed above, using the expression a being called God instead of God
I could believe that he did indeed have communion with a spirit of that name, and that this spirit had told him to start the war
I did not therefore believe the war to be good or just
At the same time, I could hold a second belief, which seems to require no underpinning of belief in communion with any God, or in any spirit which might take that name, but I felt more comfortable with the first belief
The second belief is that the former president is insane, and dangerously so

Laurel Bush (talk) 09:41, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

Laurel, have you read the article on Claude AnShin Thomas? He argues that war doesn't come from one man or head of state, but is a collective expression of our own aggression. In other words, if we were at peace with ourselves, there would be no war, it would simply be unthinkable, like human sacrifice, cannibalism, or slavery - all of which were quite common at one time, and beyond question. The thing is, to end war, we have to own up to this aggression and recognize the war at war within ourselves first. So, the only way to end war, is to become peaceful in everything we do as individuals. I spent a lot of time studying the hippies on Wikipedia, and I helped contribute to the article here. One thing I was surprised to learn was how violent the peace and anti-war movement was - not necessarily in action or physical means, but in their words and in the treatment of veterans. I think if they had truly welcomed the soldiers back from Vietnam with open arms and treated them with respect and understanding, the war would have ended much earlier. Viriditas (talk) 10:16, 12 May 2010 (UTC)

I was not trying to make any point about causes of war
I was trying to say something about use of the term God by a former US president, and others (including creators of the Entheogen article), and how we might interpret its use
It seems to me that the term is very frequently used without essential qualification
To me it is a name, like Allah, which might be applied to, or taken by, any spirit, be it god, demon or whatever
The former president’s God-named spirit seems to me to be some sort of demon, but others might see it differently
Laurel Bush (talk) 09:46, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Laurel, you may be interested in listening/watching Ajahn Brahm speak on a similar issue, in his talk about Buddhism and Atheism. You'll discover in that talk, that one popular definition of "God" could very well match a "Non-God" definition or classification. It might be confusing at first, but Brahm explains it perfectly. Words don't mean much without understanding the experience behind them. Viriditas (talk) 09:56, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Thanks, but I am not here, on this page, to find directions to a personal spiritual authority
I am here for much the same reason I have been on the talk page of the Self medication article
Until I did some work on it myself, the introduction to that article implied that in all contexts self medication is a psychiatric label
I am seeing a similar problem with the Entheogen article’s use of both entheogen and God
Entheogen seems to have now usage with meaning which is much broader or diverse than that assumed in the article, and, similarly, God has broader or more diverse meaning
Thus the article seems to be presenting a belief structure as if it were objective fact, as had been the case with the Self medication article
The bulk of the latter article, however, is still expression of the belief structure (which I find muddled, incoherent and unintelligible)
Laurel Bush (talk) 11:24, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

Brahm doesn't speak a word about "a personal spiritual authority" (probably because he doesn't believe in one) other than that of the individual (hint, hint), but he does directly and succinctly address your question about the qualification of the term "God", which is why I recommended him as a source to you. He also happens to give one of the best descriptions I've ever heard, so sadly, it's your loss. Other than that, I'm not sure how I can address your points. Perhaps you might wish to criticize the article directly this time, instead of bringing up the religious preferences of a U.S. president? You originally asked if entheogen referred to the God of monotheism, but I think you are asking the wrong questions. That's like asking if chocolate tastes like snizzlesnogglepuss. Unless you've actually tasted snizzlesnogglepuss, the question can't be answered. The reason I asked you to listen to Brahm is because he explains, in one of many examples along this line of thinking, that your conception of the "God of monothesism" is no different than his conception of words like kindness, happiness, peace, and love. The question must be asked, is there something in this article that makes you think of the God of monotheism when you read about entheogens? And, as I answered before, I'll answer again: You are bringing your own interpretation of God to the table here. And, if you wish to pursue this, you will begin doing research on what religious scholars have to say on the subject. I gave you that response approximately one week ago. Why are we still stuck on this same topic? Is there something more that needs to be said? If there is more criticism, please raise it, as I would be happy to contribute to a rewrite of this article. Viriditas (talk) 11:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

You seem unwilling to accept any criticism
Looks like I will just have start making referenced additions to List of entheogens
Laurel Bush (talk) 13:54, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

I am willing to accept criticism when it is actually offered. What have you criticized? Is there something that needs to be fixed or rewritten? Then, please, point it out. Also, please make sure your next comment on this discussion page, pertains only to the content of this article. Thanks. Viriditas (talk) 14:08, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
Laurel is pointing out that the scope of the article is beyond the scope of the definition of entheogen, as far as I understand. --Notmyhandle (talk) 21:09, 13 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't see that, so perhaps you could explain. The scope is defined in the header. The article certainly needs work and improvement, but specific criticisms are required to complete such a task. General complaints about the definition of god or God are beyond the scope of this article, but could possibly include them if Laurel does the research. Viriditas (talk) 21:53, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

My point is rather that the subject entheogen is broader than the scope of the article, which seems to be about a particular doctrine of entheogen definition and use, without the source of that particular doctrine being made explicit
Hence my comparison with the Self medication article
Viriditas, however, seems to have too much emotional interest vested in the doctrine to be able to begin to see this point, and tends therefore to respond to criticism with references to 'authorities' whose opinions he considers consistent with and persuasive about the doctrine
Laurel Bush (talk) 11:45, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

The scope is defined in the heading, Laurel: "This entry covers psychoactive substances used in a religious context.". What exactly and specifically are you criticizing about the article, Laurel? Please avoid commenting on the editor and address the content in your reply. Looking forward to reading your criticism and helping to improve the article... Viriditas (talk) 19:55, 15 May 2010 (UTC)

I note spiritual drug use redirects here, thus implying that all such drug use must be god related
Gods are not the only spirits, and I consider my own opium use to be spiritual and definitely not god related
See also Talk:Spiritual drug use
Laurel Bush (talk) 09:35, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Facepalm3.svg Facepalm "God inside us" does not imply "God" is outside of us, nor does it define the concept of "God" in any way. You are playing games with words again, Laurel. When you get down and dirty with it, you have to go to the place where words can't go. Can you do that? This has been pointed out to you before, Laurel. You are trying to impose duality on nonduality, and that way lies madness. Viriditas (talk) 10:45, 20 April 2011 (UTC)

Am I playing with words, or does Veriditas have a very narrow concept of spirituality?
A god may be a spirit, but a spirit (for example mine or Veriditas’ or that of a tree in my garden) is not therefore a god
Thus a theology may be spiritual, but a spirituality (or ‘spiritology’) is not therefore a theology
Likewise entheogenic drug use may be spiritual, but spiritual (or ‘enspirigenic’) drug use is not therefore entheogenic (and may be very devilish)
Because there is no article about spiritual drug use in general, Spiritual drug use should redirect to Spirituality
Perhaps, however, Veriditas would like to have Spirituality redirecting to Theology
Laurel Bush (talk) 14:52, 21 April 2011 (UTC)

Neti neti. The narrow concept of spirituality has been perfectly described by yourself, Laurel. We've already been down this path in previous discussions. Frankly, I am entirely unconvinced by your arguments. Perhaps you could try rewording it, but again, you are imposing a narrow, literal definition of what spiritual drug use does or does not entail on a topic that is broad and nonliteral. This has been explained to you over and over again. Your position that entheogenic drug use entails the divining of actual spiritual entities may have a scintilla of validity to it when one looks at anecdotal reports regarding the use of substances like ayahuasca and Salvia divinorum. But you seem to be confusing popular anecdotes about psychoactive drug use with your own personal religious definitions. Bring some reliable sources to the table and we'll talk, otherwise there's nothing to do or see here. Viriditas (talk) 03:18, 22 April 2011 (UTC)
Laurel, you definitely seem to be imposing preconceived definitions on the word "god". There is no direct correlation between "god" (Theo) and Yahweh. The former is a word that has been used to describe the class of beings that contain Zeus, Thoth, and all the rest. It is a very, VERY loose word that accepts all manner of river spirits, pantheon-specific deities, dryads, etc. Most of the substances used here are known for a sense of boundary dissolution, and feeling of connectedness with everything else. Thus, "Entheogen". - Anonymous Coward who happened to land here and read this "argument". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:18, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

Citation needed[edit]

Peyote has been used by people of the Oshara Tradition for thousands of years.

I very much doubt this can be supported with a reliable source. Viriditas (talk) 09:24, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
It's a statement from the Peyote page, I've now copied the citation as well. --Notmyhandle (talk) 18:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. Those sources say plant samples found in caves were dated to about ~5700 years ago. Can we say more than that? Viriditas (talk) 21:23, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
This article cites a source that seems to expand upon the idea, but is not found through Google. --Notmyhandle (talk) 21:51, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't think these extra citations help. My concern is that ritual peyote use, at least in North America, wasn't recorded until the late 19th century. True, we have archaeological evidence suggesting ancient use in Mexico (and a cave find in Texas) but we need to make this statement in the appropriate context with accurate wording. We don't really know if the people of the Oshara Tradition used peyote for thousands of years. What we do know, is that they likely used it based on archaeological relics and finds. Viriditas (talk) 22:58, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I agree. Make the necessary changes and I'll pat you on the back. --Notmyhandle (talk) 23:35, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
First, I'll take a look at some of the recent literature from 2005. I had not seen it before. Viriditas (talk)

Merge Entheogen and Religion and drugs[edit]

Although in practice the two cover much different topics, in the page names at least, both the Religion and drugs page and this Entheogens page both cover the same topic. I propose they somehow be merged.--makeswell 23:50, 25 June 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Makeswell (talkcontribs)

There is certainly an overlap, but on the one hand, religion and drugs is a subset of the history of religion, whereas entheogen is a subset of the history of drug use, so they could be viewed as two distinct topics. It's hard to say what needs to be done at this point, but I agree, we need to consider doing something. Viriditas (talk) 05:16, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
These have some minor overlap but are entirely different topics. Each article should be expanded. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:48, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Demonstrated scientifically[edit]

The article says "Spiritual effects of psychedelic compounds have been demonstrated scientifically" by an experiment in which drugged students reported religious experiences. As the paper puts it, "the experience facilitated by psychedelic drugs, such as LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline, can be similar or identical to the experience described by the mystics of all ages, cultures, and religions". But does "Spiritual" mean from beyond the physical world, or only a perception of coming from beyond the physical world? The former is how the article's sentence is most likely to be interpreted, but the latter is what was "demonstrated scientifically". It makes a difference. Educated materialists know that people often believe they have encountered a non-physical world when they are drugged, dreaming or dying, but materialists attribute such experiences to brain chemistry, not spirits; one more such experience wouldn't prove anything to them. So should it say "Effects of psychedelic compounds that are reported as religious have been demonstrated scientifically"? Art LaPella (talk) 19:59, 26 November 2010 (UTC)

"Spiritual" in this context does not mean "beyond the physical world"; it actually means quite the opposite, as in no separation from the physical world, i.e. being in and of the world at the same time. The hallmark of this experience is what is often described as a loss of ego identity and the feeling of oneness, like a drop of rain merging into the ocean, or a fetus in the womb where there is no separation between child and mother; the word communion is often used to describe this experience. The confusion over terms like spiritual versus the physical world as you call it, stems from the hidden nature of the oneness that is revealed by the entheogenic experience or other spiritual practices. We like to call these things "spiritual" (a silly term) only because as a society, we haven't accepted that the way we see our personal identity as separate from others is false and yet necessary. Other ways of expressing this type of spirituality include pantheism and cosmic consciousness. While it is certainly true that brain chemistry acts as a catalyst for this experience, insight is only achieved through the emergent realization of ones relationship to things inside and outside of ones own mind, hence the term psychedelic, or "mind manifesting". It should be stressed that one does not need any drugs to get to this point, and many, many people get there without ever taking them. It is essentially the difference between sudden and gradual awakening. Scientific skeptics like Sam Harris (see Sam Harris (author)#Spirituality) understand the importance of exploring and encouraging these spiritual values without needing or requiring religion of any kind. Viriditas (talk) 11:14, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
Although quite possibly valid information from a "truth" perspective, this is hardly information that would help in improving the present article, and I would suggest it rather impinges on WP:NOTAFORUM. __meco (talk) 13:05, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
I've changed the phrasing to more accurately reflect the relevant findings. ˉˉanetode╦╩ 14:03, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

"Citation needed" in Literature[edit]

I am afraid that I do not understand why citations are needed when dealing with fictional literature. The author of the article clearly put in the title and author of the book. I can understand why a citation is needed when a thought is put forth as fact in the real world, but not in fiction, again, the title of the book and author should be citation enough. In my way of thinking this is not scholarly nor helpful, it is just plain pedantry. Katmandan (talk) 21:26, 11 June 2011 (UTC)

perhaps I'm wrong, but the rationale seems to be that we should be referring to a secondary source that discusses the literature in the manner stated, otherwise it's WP:OR. At the very least a page number would be useful, for example, we read: "Control of the supply of melange was crucial to the Empire, as it was necessary for, among other things, faster than light navigation." says who? if one has read Dune, one knows this is true, if not, how does one confirm the factuality of this statement? telling the reader where to look in Dune would maybe be a start, but a secondary source that provides an overview of the Dune universe and mentions this would be better still. --Semitransgenic (talk) 21:41, 11 June 2011 (UTC)
Citations are necessary for us to keep the pages of Wikipedia factually accurate. If the author of that reference to dune was incorrect, then we would be providing incorrect information about Dune. Using a quote from the book would be easiest, but a secondary source is adequate as well. --Notmyhandle (talk) 19:38, 13 June 2011 (UTC)

Archaeological record[edit]

Although the Archaeological Record Section is obviously very incomplete, I just added a link to an article that invokes elements of the archaeological, mythological and linguistic record to support its assertion that the Venus of Hohle Fels was sculpted to personify the developmental stage of an Amanita as the mushroom's, pregnant mother giving birth to the mature mushroom. In addition, I added a bit to the description of the Tassili glyphs, and the Scythian use of kannibis aka marijuana. Berlant (talk) 12:46, 8 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Regarding the "cave painting of a man with bee-like features covered with mushrooms, dating to 8000 BP" in Tassili n'Ajjer, can you confirm that no evidence—aside from the cave paintings—has ever been found verifying mushroom use in this area, presumably due to climate change which has altered the landscape? Viriditas (talk) 14:20, 8 July 2011 (UTC)

What evidence of mushroom use in this region -- other than cave paintings, petroglyphs, or monuments -- could have survived for over 2000 years?

OTOH, a great deal of evidence suggests that 1) Egyptian culture arose from the pastoralist cultures that populated the Sahara before it was desertified, and 2) Egyptian religion revolved to an extraordinary extent around the ingestion of Psilocybes that grew on the manure that ruminants were depositing in those pre-Saharan pastures. So, there are, in the opinion of many, adequate reasons for believing that the mushroom-like objects in the Tassili paintings are exactly what they appear to be Berlant (talk) 11:35, 9 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Dennis McKenna's late brother Terence suggested that the spores could very well have survived and might be found at Tassili with the right equipment. He also said that no scientist has ever attempted to look because the area is off limits (due to political reasons) to most, if not all, researchers. Viriditas (talk) 11:43, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

I didn't think of that, perhaps because I assumed that finding mushroom spores embedded in a 2000+ year old strata would be harder than looking for a needle in a haystack for even the most adept palynologists. This is especially true considering the fact that we don't really know whether the people who made these drawings were ingesting or, perhaps even, cultivating their mushrooms in or outside these caves, where the mushrooms were growing naturally. I suppose, however, that if entheo-mycologists and entheo-archaeologists were given the chance to investigate these sites in depth, one or more of them could come up with some astounding finds that the "authorities' don't want found for reasons you, I and most of the people who have contributed to this entry are already aware of. Take care and keep up the good work, Viriditas Berlant (talk) 14:46, 10 July 2011 (UTC)Berlant

Incoherent introduction[edit]

The first two sentences of the article read as follows:

"An entheogen ("generating the divine within") is a psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context. With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic substances with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from these plants."

But "these plants" has no antecedent reference to any plants whatsoever. This should be fixed (by someone more knowledgeable than I).Daqu (talk) 04:00, 16 July 2012 (UTC)

AFAICT, "these plants" refers to the assumption that psychoactive substances are found in entheogenic plants. But, you're right, the lead is terrible. Viriditas (talk) 04:11, 16 July 2012 (UTC)
The reason I mentioned "someone more knowledgeable" is not that I didn't catch the intended meaning of the poorly written passage; I did. Rather, I don't know whether entheogens are generally defined as plant substances or can be more general than that.Daqu (talk) 13:25, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
Erowid uses the term "plants and drugs" to include both. Viriditas (talk) 02:40, 25 July 2012 (UTC)
I confess to be more persuaded by the fact that the online O.E.D. agrees with Erowid, defining entheogen as "A psychoactive substance which is used in a religious ritual or to bring about a spiritual experience, typically a plant or fungal extract; (more widely) any hallucinogenic drug".
Personally I prefer just the part before the semicolon (which allows for non-plant substances), because the term was coined -- in 1979 -- in terms of its roots, which mean "something that evokes the divine". Or maybe better, as the article says, "generating the divine within".Daqu (talk) 06:59, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

The word "God" redux[edit]

I didn't want to be caught up in a previous discussion; hence the new section. But that discussion inspired me to find the original article where the word "entheogen" was coined. After it discussed why then-existing terms were unsuitable, its last paragraph reads as follows:

"We therefore, propose a new term that would be appropriate for describing states of shamanic and ecstatic possession induced by ingestion of mind-altering drugs. In Greek the word entheos means literally “god (theos) within,” and was used to describe the condition that follows when one is inspired and possessed by the god that has entered one’s body. It was applied to prophetic seizures, erotic passion and artistic creation, as well as to those religious rites in which mystical states were experienced through the ingestion of substances that were transubstantial with the deity. In combination with the Greek root gen-, which denotes the action of “becoming,” this word results in the term that we are proposing: entheogen. Our word sits easily on the tongue and seems quite natural in English. We could speak of entheogens or, in an adjectival form, of entheogenic plants or substances. In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens."

Because those coining the term chose not to use the capitalized word "God", I feel that it is inappropriate to use the capitalized term in explaining what the etymology of the word is.

Although there is no universal agreement on the precise definition of the capitalized word, it carries connotations, for a huge number of people, that are much more specific than the far less specific terms "god" or "the divine". The capitalized "God" means, to many people, the Judaeo-Christian deity. Above all, even if this is not the case, almost everyone who uses the term understands it to mean the unique being having a certain description. There is no reason whatsoever to think that this is what Ruck, Bigwood, Staples, Ott, and Wasson had in mind.

I find it utterly absurd for anyone to say in effect "Let's not get all hung up on words here," when words, far more than anything else, are what make up Wikipedia. It is essential to choose them, if at all possible, so as to avoid conveying a meaning that will mislead many people.Daqu (talk) 07:49, 27 July 2012 (UTC)

Words aren't used literally, they are defined by their usage. The literal meaning is important for understanding etymology but does not define the word outside of its context of use. The context of psychedelic drug use was often illicit, recreational, and according to authorities, irresponsible and reckless. The coining of the term entheogen was an attempt to take back and recapture the sacred context that was lost and to reclaim the ethical and moral context of altering consciousness. When you get to that point, the realization that you discover and recognize, is that words limit the experience and narrowly imprison it within language. And when you see that for the first time, you realize that language can only point to the experience, it can never define it. This is the reason the senses become heightened, you become aware that language is a recent adaptation. As for Wikipedia, it is, believe it or not, much more than words. What are the words pointing to? Images, photographs, videos, music, structures, nature, thoughts, experiences. These things are not words and the words are not these things. Viriditas (talk) 08:51, 27 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm not sure there's any point in continuing this discussion, since you completely ignored my point: that the words used in the definition(s) of "entheogen" in Wikipedia have to be chosen carefully. Nothing you wrote is remotely relevant to that point.
Indeed, words are defined by how they are used. But all your words don't change the fact that the word "entheogen" is used by many people with a concept of god that does not coincide with (and is in many cases quite different from) what other people mean by capitalized "God". It is also true that for many people, their concept of god —insofar as they attribute to it a non-mythical meaning — is in fact included the range of meanings that the capitalized word "God" has.
Conclusion: Any definition of "entheogen" adequate for Wikipedia should not artificially limit the word's meaning to what only a particular subset of people take it to mean. Instead, an appropriate definition will include all the not-exactly-the-same meanings that people use it for. Hence "God" should not be part of the definition (unless it is used only to emphasize that that is one of the meanings people attribute to "god").
And finally, it is ridiculous to think that [what words are pointing to] is separate from [the concept of what words are]. Of course what words are pointing to is included in what the word "word" means — a concept or concepts represented by sound(s) and by symbol(s). That goes without saying.Daqu (talk) 05:44, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Interestingly, what you consider "ridiculous" I consider the substrate of reality. Not only is what words are pointing to very different than what words are, that's the entire point–a point you evidently missed or choose to ignore. A concept of a thing is not the thing, and it is not "included" in the word describing the thing. In the example of the word "god" or "God", the word is all but meaningless, nor can you prove that the thing it represents exists outside your mind nor the symbol you claim represents the image in your mind. In other words, all definitions are artificial, so your argument is unreasonable. Viriditas (talk) 07:32, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I will make my last comment in this debate: No one who thinks words are meaningless should be editing Wikipedia.Daqu (talk) 21:03, 1 August 2012 (UTC)
How does a finger pointing at the Moon have meaning? Words have meaning only in the mind. The word "Moon" has as much meaning as my finger pointing to it. Viriditas (talk) 00:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Judaism and Christianity[edit]

The lengthy piece stemming from Allegro does not seem to help the article. Etymology without historical practice to support the theory lands this discussion on the fringe of the topic, and I fail to see the contribution to understanding of the article.

To put that another way, Christianity's use of alcohol in the shared Communion cup pales to the Hebrew Passover use of wine with several cups for each person and from which no special spiritual power was expected to be imparted. Given that, then, the etymological aspect proposed by Allegro is moot as regards the topic, is it not? --cregil (talk) 23:03, 9 November 2012 (UTC)

Allegro is covered by reliable sources on this topic, and while there are disagreements, other writers like Wasson have also covered it. If anything, the section needs work, not removal. Viriditas (talk) 01:24, 10 November 2012 (UTC)
It also needs a giant boilerplate and disclaimer softening its projected certainty. Because after all it's a list of fringe theories by fringe theorists speculating on why this stuff could have possibly happened, but absolutely nothing that justifies the sentence "The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise." --Mrcolj (talk) 14:27, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Source needed[edit]

There is a source, which may have been removed in the past. Within the article it is referenced twice, with the ref name "Short History" and is reference #59, with the rp template, for reference page 16. Within the Assassins section, it was citing the following two passages:

The tales of the fida’is’ training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polo’s account, in which he described a "secret garden of paradise".


Until the 1930s, von Hammer’s retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.

See this edit ( for the tags I removed while copyediting. Esoxidtalkcontribs 03:09, 9 May 2014 (UTC)


I assume en THEO gen (talk) 14:56, 25 February 2015 (UTC)

That's how I'd pronounce it. Sizeofint (talk) 16:57, 25 February 2015 (UTC)