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Entheogens and the Future of Religion 2nd Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1594774386
ISBN-10: 1594774382
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book provides a balanced, thoroughly researched, and clear account about a topic that has fascinated people for centuries--even millennia--and will be with us, one way or another, for a long time to come.” (Harvey Cox, Ph.D., professor of divinity at Harvard University and author of The Future of Faith)

“This book of essays plows new ground in the relationship between entheogens and religion. It is well worth reading. Any path that can bring the human family closer together should be investigated.” (Rev. Dr. Kenneth B. Smith, president of the Chicago Theology Seminary)

“An important book for anyone who cares about the future of the human race. The sensible use of entheogens is one of most promising paths to deep spiritual insight for many people, and this book shows how that could be done--if we care enough.” (Charles T. Tart, Ph.D., professor emeritus of psychology, University of California)

“We have long needed this well-articulated, thoughtful, and rational basis for understanding the power of psychedelic biomechanicals to stimulate visionary experience. These essays make a strong case for the use of these substances in future religious practice.” (Frank Barron, Ph.D., Sc.D., author of No Rootless Flower: An Ecology of Creativity)

“If you want more than emotional and subjective outpourings about entheogens, and if you think like I do that unless we expand our awareness we will not have a happy future, then this is a book to read.” (Rabbi Zalman M. Schachter-Shalomi, author of From Age-ing to Sage-ing)

“...the book represents a call for a revival of scientific and religious inquiry into entheogens as a means of cultivating spiritual awareness.” (The Scientific and Medical Network, July 2012)

“Offers a thoughtful, sane examination of a topic of great social, psychological, and religious significance.” (Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of California)

“Essential reading for everyone concerned with spiritual, psychological, and social well-being. A fascinating and significant collection.” (Frances Vaughan, Ph.D., author of Shadows of the Sacred and The Inward Arc)

“Collectively, these essays constitute the best single inquiry into the religious significance of chemically occasioned mystical experiences that has yet appeared.” (Huston Smith, Ph.D., author of The World’s Religions)

From the Back Cover

SPIRITUALITY / ENTHEOGENS

“Collectively, these essays constitute the best single inquiry into the religious significance of chemically occasioned mystical experiences that has yet appeared.”
--Huston Smith, Ph.D., author of The World’s Religions

We live in a time when a great many voices are calling for a spiritual renewal to address the problems that face humanity, yet the way of entheogens--one of the oldest and most widespread means of attaining a religious experience--is forbidden, surrounded by controversy and misunderstanding. Widely employed in traditional shamanic societies, entheogens figure prominently in the origins of religion and their use continues today throughout the world. They alter consciousness in such a profound way that, depending on the set and setting, they can produce the ultimate human experience: union with God or revelation of other mystical realities.

With contributions by Albert Hofmann, Terence McKenna, Ann and Alexander Shulgin, Thomas Riedlinger, Dale Pendell, and Rick Strassman as well as interviews with R. Gordon Wasson and Jack Kornfield, this book explores ancient and modern uses of psychedelic drugs, emphasizing the complementary relationship between science and mystical experience and the importance of psychedelics to the future of religion and society. Revealing the mystical-religious possibilities of substances such as psilocybin mushrooms, mescaline, and LSD, this book exposes the vital need for developing an organized spiritual context for their use in order to fully realize their transformative and sacred value. Stressing the importance of academic and religious freedom, the authors call for a revival of scientific and religious inquiry into entheogens so they may be used safely and legally by those seeking to cultivate spiritual awareness.

ROBERT FORTE, AMRS, began his work with psychedelics as a student of Stanislav Grof and Frank Barron, cofounder of the Harvard Psilocybin Project. He obtained his master’s degree under Mircea Eliade and has collaborated with many of the leaders in the field of psychedelics, including R. Gordon Wasson, Timothy Leary, and Huston Smith. A former director of the Albert Hofmann Foundation, he teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press; 2 edition (January 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594774382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594774386
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #730,650 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on August 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone interested in this subject, whether initiate or not. It provides insight from a number of the initial 20th century pioneers, as well as gives us a window into the inner ritual as performed by the more rural indian "initiates". I would recommend this book to anyone interested in using entheogens, writing about entheogens, or anyone who has used them previously and would like a better understanding of their experience. I especially liked the different perspectives such as referring to their experiences as just that-personal experiences rather than simply hallucinations, which implies something false or nonexistant. It provides a profound respect for these experiences rather than a complete dismissal of the experience as nonsense, as our governments and "health" agencies may be tempted to do.
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If you want a number of perspectives on the serious use of psychedelics, this is the book! Christian, Buddhist, spiritual, scientific and legal considerations on the subject are presented.
As an anthology, it will familiarize you with key figures in the contemporary psychedelic scene.
This is an intelligent book for people wanting to explore psychedelics for spiritual purposes. It is not a book for "stoners" who just want to trip to see "pink bunnies"
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People need to realize the long history of entheogens (aka psychedelics) in both historical and religious perspective. These sacred substances have been used for centuries to help people get in touch with the god within. The War on Drugs has failed to distinguish between drugs of abuse and sacred sacramentals, this book goes a long way towards clearing up this misconception.
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"Entheogens and the Future of Religion" was published by The Council of Spiritual Practices which describes itself as "a collaboration among spiritual guides, experts in the behavioral and biomedical sciences, and scholars of religion, dedicated to making the direct experience of the sacred more available to more people" (see [...]

Although this book is the second volume in their Entheogen Project Series it can certainly stand alone and it is an excellent book for those interested in the social, political, ethical, spiritual and historical aspects of the religious use of entheogens.

Edited by Robert Forte, this collection of essays, interviews and transcripts of speaking engagements from various authors with differing areas of expertise approaches the topic of the religious use of entheogens both broadly and specifically and from different perspectives. Since this book is comprised of significantly differing chapters, the remainder of this review will treat each chapter separately.

"Testimony of the Council of Spiritual Practices" by Robert Jesse, president of CSP.

This is a version of a talk given at the Committee of Drugs and the Law of the Association of the Bar in New York City 1995. Jesse speaks in defense of the religious liberty to use entheogens as part of a sincere spiritual practice and explores the legal issues and ramifications involved as an appeal to legal practitioners to consider entheogens and their religious use to be very different than recreational and hard drugs and their abuse. Jesse offers reasonable alternatives to total prohibition of entheogens and discusses what might entail legal accommodation of safe, sincere employment of entheogens as part of a religious practice.
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Format: Paperback
Do not be deceived by the big names and PhDs present in this book, it is of limited scholarly use. Apart from both Hofmann's pieces, Strassman's clearly-written contributon, and perhaps Kornfield's interview, I struggled to find anything of substantial academic value. The biggest problem of this compilation, is that Forte has picked a series of texts, that do have some informative value seperately, but tend to be annoyingly repetitive after a while. How many times do you have to read the story of Wasson and the mushrooms? How many times are we lectured about entheogenic persecution? I'm wondering if Forte bothered to read the whole volume after putting it together.
Having said that, this book might interest those who already know a little about psychedelics and might want an introduction to some of the current issues they imply in religious studies. Contrary to what has been written in another review, it is not a difficult read.
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Format: Paperback
Entheogens and the Future of Religion (new edition)

Edited by Robert Forte

In the same way that innocent people are often caught in the war on terrorism, entheogens have been the victim of the war on drugs. Entheogens are, for the most part, natural substances such as mushrooms, mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. These substances have been used for centuries by shamans to reach into other dimensions and bring back valuable information for the survival of their groups. It's clear that civilization has been decoupled from nature and in the process we will pay a heavy price if we don't return to nature's wisdom. This book, first published in 1997, not only looks at the future of religion but possibly the future of human civilization itself if we ignore a valued communication between us and the underlying dimensions of nature.

Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide
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