Dionysos riding on a panther. Floor mosaic. Ca. 120—80 B.C., Hellenistic Greek
Delos, House of the Masks.
Delos Archaeological Museum, Delos, Greece
I’ve yet to do magick under any hallucinogens, although I would definitely like to at some point. And while I’ve never actually done a ritual under the influence of a hallucinogen, some pretty magickal visions have happened to me while under the influences of those substances. As my url might suggest, I do incorporate weed pretty regularly into what I do. Both indica and sativa strains, and either smoked or eaten.
It’s a well known fact that psychoactive drugs were commonplace in ancient and Medieval times as tools in the practice of ritual magick. I’m pretty much entirely convinced that Ezekiel bread is the key to the visions of the prophet Ezekiel. (In the Old Testament, YHVH instructs Ezekiel to bake his rye bread in a very particular fashion, using human feces as the fuel to the heat the ovens in which the bread of the Hebrews was baked.) Since dung due to its moisture and organic compounds has a tendency to attract all kinds of different fungi, and psilocybe cubensis has a marked preference for cow dung and rye as a growing environment and dietary supplement, it’s not unlikely Ezekiel may have had some mild ergot poisoning, which produces visions quite similar to d-lysergic acid diethylamide (commonly known as LSD or acid). It’s why grain silos are usually built in a cylinder shape, rather than a rectangular prism. It keeps the grains from gathering moisture in the corners of the dark silo and fostering poisonous kinds of fungi like ergot. In more severe forms of ergot poisoning, the sufferer not only has trip-like visions, but slowly suffers the loss of their extremities to gangrene. In Medieval times this disease was known as St. Anthony’s Fire, named for the Christian Egyptian hermit who wandered in the desert and had extraordinary visions of demons and supernatural creatures.
The ancient Greeks were fond of alcohol-soluble drugs for some of their workings; although they often called such concoctions “wine” it resembled little the contemporary wine of today that you or I might pick up at a wine store. The Oracle at Delphi almost certainly used psychoactive substances to achieve a state of communication with Apollo, and other indigenous cultures such as First Nation peoples in the Southwest region of the United States and the indigenous peoples of Mexico and Central/South America are famous for their peyote and mescaline ceremonies.
Mandrake is also well known for its hallucinogenic and magickal properties, although like ergot can be quite poisonous in high doses. Mandrake is also mentioned in the Old Testament and the Hebrews referred to them as “love apples”. In the almost reality tv show drama that was the fight between Rachel and Leah over Jacob, they exchange mandrakes for exclusive “alone time” with Jacob, and many Medieval texts boast about the aphrodisiac qualities of the plant. They’re also mentioned briefly at the end of the Song of Songs. Ironically, the second most well-known use for mandrake besides being an aphrodisiac and a hallucinogen was for herbal abortions. I would warn the contemporary user of mandrake however to research it thoroughly before ingestion, as it is extremely potent even in small amounts and has a nasty habit of killing people via asphyxiation while causing them to violently throw up and shit themselves. And since the poisonous compounds vary in potency from plant to plant, it’s almost impossible to accurately and safely self-dose. The fruits of the plant are not poisonous; it’s primarily the leaves and stems from which the psychoactive properties as well as the poisonous ones are derived.
So there’s a lot of history behind using psychoactive drugs with magickal rituals. Certainly enough history to claim acceptability within contemporary personal practice.
My own personal experiences with marijuana in accompaniment with meditation, banishing and sigil work has been fairly positive. In the very very very very first days of my learning the LBRP and what ceremonial magick was about in general, I found that smoking before performing a banishing or a prayer was actually quite distracting. I would be too high to be able to enter gnosis and stay there. Well, the first part wasn’t too hard, but the staying there was what was difficult. My mind had a tendency to wander and get distracted, as most people do when they’re saturated with THC. For this reason I think one should be able to at least successfully enter gnosis first before experimenting with rituals and drugs. It makes the drugs more of a help, and less of a hindrance. Be able to have those skills sober before you try to enhance them with psychoactives. Of course it will also depend on who you ask. Everyone is different, especially when it comes to drugs and drug tolerance.
However as I got more experienced with entering and leaving gnosis I found that smoking before I did rituals was actually quite helpful. I felt light, airy and capable. It’s no secret that smoking marijuana greatly enhances the senses and that enhancement is most notable during vibration and feeling the Divine presence. It’s certainly the most helpful I’ve found during sigil work because a) masturbating while high is awesome and b) marijuana totally destroys your short term memory (at least for a max period of 30 days. After that, your short term memory is exactly where it was before you started smoking.) That means people have a tendency to forget what they were doing a little before, during, and a little after their high. Since I use a sort of Spare-based sigil technique, I feel that this makes my firing much stronger. It goes silently into the unconscious and it isn’t a struggle to avoid the lust of result or forgetting about it, either while I’m firing it or afterwords. I remember firing only a handful of sigils I’ve ever fired. (Of course this also depends on your sigil technique. Some people want to remember their sigils and believe that remembering their sigils makes it stronger. It’s really up to you.)
As far as hallucinogens, I know that Alan Moore has said before that in the beginning of his practice he ingested small amounts of psilocybe cubsensis (magic mushrooms), not enough to blast off but enough to see tracers and feel…different…than usual. He said they were a great help to him in the beginning of his practice but now he doesn’t need them; they’ve served their purpose of helping him leave the self-consciousness of everyday life and tune into a frequency that’s “something different”. I know other people, friends, who have also ingested very minimal amounts of magic mushrooms to stimulate them during exercise and even during work. Again, not enough to blast off into an entirely new dimension, just a smidgen to enhance sensory perception and leave your everyday mindset. It seems to be quite successful for some people.
As far as your UPG question—it’s a good one. I’m not really sure. But, I do know that:
- Regardless of whether or not psychoactive substances are involved in a ritual incident of UPG, the incident requires examination and reflection to see if it is relevant or valid. So either way no one should just be accepting UPGs left and right without proper self-criticism.
- Even if a UPG experience seems credible, I’m not sure how or why that would affect anyone else. That’s why it’s called Unverified Personal Gnosis. That is stuff that’s meant for you, and nobody else. It expands your understanding of your faith in a way that might not necessarily be canon but underscores a deeper connection between you and the entity or experience and your practice. It enhances your piety and love for the Divine. Again, emphasis on the personal. I’m not really a fan of sharing my UPGs for this reason. I feel that they’re private, even after a lot of thought and examination. That’s why the All reveals such synchronicities privately.
- Can not the same argument for the distortion of perception and less critical acceptance of a UPG be made with breathing techniques and sleep deprivation as well as drugs? Altered consciousness isn’t just obtained by the drugs we’ve discussed here; it’s also pretty much a standard staple in being a good magician. It’s not just with the ingestion of drugs that we be critical of those potentially revealing moments, but with the entire state of gnosis itself. So just drawing the line at the effects of drugs on UPG doesn’t make sense to me. Which just goes back to the first point—you have to be critical of your own UPGs regardless, because UPGs are a product of an altered state, period, regardless of whether it’s psychoactive, psychosomatic, or physiological.
In conclusion I would say drugs, when used appropriately in ritual context, have little to no bearing on how I approach my UPGs. Of course I take into consideration that I am under the influence of a substance, but so were probably a lot of prophets and holy people. As long as you think critically and examine the factors that went into and leading up to the UPG experience, and see where that UPG fits within the structure of a VPG before you accept it, and examine your own motives for accepting the UPG you believe you may have experienced, which includes that sin of sins, Pride—I think you should be ok.
As far as some of my religious experiences while on psychedelia, I won’t go into them in too much detail, a) because they weren’t in a ritual context and b) they’re very private. I’ll just say that I’ve seen all kinds of mystical things on these drugs. Aliens. Angels, going up and down a rainbow stairway through a window I was sitting in front of. Voices. I’ve seen my breath come out of my mouth and nose in the forms of stars and stardust. Very cosmic stuff. Very life-changing-regardless-of-spirituality stuff.
You might be interested to know, magicians and Workers aside, that people who were administered psychedelic substances in a lab setting often ranked the psychedelic experience as one of the most life-changing and memorable events of their lives, and their ranking in importance of their psychedelic experience did not decrease over time. Many participants in the study also reported a marked difference in their attitudes towards, death, religion, and cosmological purpose in their lives. They usually reported feeling loved at a universal level, euphoric, or in the presence of an “other” entity. While these are clearly the side effects of the drugs involved, that doesn’t mean their experiences become less important to the people that had them, or that they lose their significance simply because they understood they were having a biochemical reaction. And I don’t feel that way about my psychedelic experiences either. No matter whether the psychedelic experience is judged to be “spiritual” or “natural”, it is still an experience that makes us examine ourselves more intimately as spiritual beings, and I think that’s important.
And, as usual, always remember—I am not a doctor. I do not have a degree in psychology, psychiatry, or medicine. Always research substances before ingesting them and always know what you are ingesting. Be aware of the legal ramifications of obtaining substances prior to ritual use and always be sure to use substances responsibly. I am a seasoned user of psychedelia, which means I usually know what to expect on a trip and have tripped before on my own without a problem. I would recommend having some non-ritual experience with psychedelic drugs before launching myself into a ritual for the first time with them, and if you feel uncomfortable tripping by yourself, have a sober buddy with you to remind you of what’s going on. Electronics while tripping have a tendency to make me quite anxious so I usually turn them off and stow them away while I’m exploring the Otherworld. I would recommend that as well to you. Know your body and know what you can and can’t take. And always be aware of how certain medications may react with the substances you are ingesting. Consult with your doctor before you go about just ingesting substances if you are taking prescription medications—you have doctor-patient confidentiality, use it! If you feel comfortable tripping on your own, still notify a buddy of what you’ll be doing that night in case you want to get in touch with someone or find yourself in a rough patch.
Whew! I hope that answered your question.
A man dresses as the goddess Kali to bless the people of the village.
The priestess of Bacchus - William-Adolphe Bourguereau
Hey if you’re into tarot could you please like or reblog this? I’m a bit of a noob and would love to follow some tarotists. Thanks!
The White Stag
Thus the study of Classics equips us to understand ourselves and our fellows at least as well, if not better, than any passing fashion in any number of incomplete modern psychological theories. Rather oddly, we actually lost a lot of our psychological knowledge during the period of dominance of monotheist religion, and recent attempts to recover it using the techniques of scientific reductionism have produced rather unsubtle and frequently useless ideas that only work on rats or people confronted with questionnaires.
|—||Peter J. Carroll, Epoch (via tectusregis)|
Ayin Ein Æon - The Book Ov Baphomet
transcribed by Florian-Ayala Fauna
Are there any repercussions for doing blood magic?
I have used it at times but I feel like you shouldn’t do it if you don’t want to tie yourself to whatever work you are doing.
Just my two cents