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Allies for Awakening

Guidelines for productive and safe experiences with entheogens

Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.

Published by Green Earth Foundation and Regent Press

Entheogenesis means the growing realization that we human beings and the world around us are much more than simply material organisms living and evolving on a material planetary body. We are multi-dimensional spiritual, cosmic, noetic, psychic and physical beings. The central insight that emerges from entheogenic states and is confirmed by the perennial spiritual traditions of East and West, is that at every level, from macro-cosmic to micro-cosmic, from atoms and animals, to trees and planets and stars, Spirit dwells within created forms and expresses through them.

This monograph is based on 50 years of experience as a participant-observer in the international underground sub-culture involved with entheogenic, consciousness-expanding substances. I discuss the uses and values of such substances when the explicit intention or purpose is for spiritual awakening, psychotherapy, healing, increased understanding and the enhancement of creativity. The intent of this documentation is not to prove or promote any particular method or treatment of any condition. The evaluation of entheogens needs to be in terms of how productive these experiences are of healthier approaches to the issues of living in these times, in this world.

Table of Contents:

Contents

Introduction

One: Intention and Preparation
Psychotherapeutic individual sessions in a medical clinic
Growth-oriented sessions in a non-medical group context
Peyote ceremony of the Native American Church
The Peyote Way Church of God
Traditional mushroom ceremonies of the Mazatec Indians
Amazonian mestizo ayahuasca ceremonies
Brazilian religious ceremonies with ayahuasca

Elements of hybrid entheogenic group ceremonies
1. The circle structure
2. The invocation of spirits
3. Articulating and clarifying intentions or questions
4. Ceremonial altar or table. Amulets and talismans
5. The role of prayer, mantra and mudra
6. Chanting, singing and music
7. The council format and talking stick practice
8. The role of the elder, leader or guide
9. Egalitarian group structure with rotating leadership

Two: Spirit Medicine Practices
Effective and dissociative/dysphoric dosage levels
Individual factors affecting intensity of experience
LSD
Mescaline
Peyote and San Pedro cactus
Ibogaine and Tabernanthe iboga
Psilocybe mushrooms and psilocybin
Ayahuasca or yaje
Jurema and Mimosa tenuiflora
A note on neurotransmitters
Selected psychoactive tryptamines
Selected psychoactive phenethylamines
Ketamine
Salvia divinorum, "Sage of the Diviners"
Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica

Three: Precautions and Safety
Confidentiality
Pre-existing conditions and contra-indications
Emergencies requiring outside interventions
Sexuality and entheogens
Menstruation and the use of entheogens
The problem of over-idealization and grandiosity

Four: Closing Ceremony and Integration
Closing the circle and giving thanks
Integration and the telling of stories
Celebration
The place of entheogens in ongoing practice

References
Epilogue
Four Elements Medicine Wheel Prayer
Invocation of All the Spirtts of Great Nature
Giving Thanks to the Four Great Planetary Spirits


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