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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)

The use of "wine" as a sacrament may have been quite different thousands of years ago than it is now. The consecrated wine of today, of which congregants have a tiny sip may be alcoholic, but the "strong wine" mentioned in the Bible was far more likely to be a mix of wine and herbs, and potentially had significantly different effects than plain wine. Unfortunately little is known about these ancient recipes, as the Bible doesn't mention the ingredients, and much is lost in translation. Historically it was common to add different herbs to fermenting and fermented beverages to impart different flavours and virtues, some medicinal and some otherwise. --Thoric (talk) 18:40, 20 January 2017 (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)

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History, "Before Present"[edit]

I don't think it makes much sense to divide the entire history of entheogen use into "before" 1950" and "after 1950". I also don't think the "Before Present timescale is particularly useful here (especially not when mixing BP and BC dates, as that section currently does). Plus, I think 8000+ years of history probably warrant more than just one poorly-sourced paragraph. (Unfortunately, I don't know enough about the subject to improve it myself). Iapetus (talk) 09:29, 11 March 2017 (UTC)