The Ecstatic Adventure
Posted by lahar9jhadav on March 13, 2007
Reports of Chemical Explorations of the Inner World
Introduced and Edited by Ralph Metzner Foreword by Alan Watts
“THE ORIGINS OF man’s use of visionary, mind-changing plants and preparations is lost in the obscurities of prerecorded history. Perhaps some Neolithic shaman, sampling new specimens for his herbal pharmacopeia, stumbled across and ingested an innocuous-looking weed; in a short time, he found himself in the company of the tribal ancestors, spirits of water, thunder, rock and earth, trembling with stark awe and terror at the mysterious energies flashing through his eyes and ears, marveling at the intricacies of the relationships between man and animal, man and man, struggling with the subtle entrapments of his own fantastic concepts and visions.
The ubiquity of the shamanistic use of psychedelics has been amply documented by Richard E. Schultes, R. Gordon Wasson, Michael Harner and others. In the Amazonian jungles today, the tribe’s shaman still takes his young apprentice out into the forest and lets him drink the brew of the yagé vine, day after day, perhaps for forty days or however long it takes for him to confront and explore the numerous heavens and hells of his own inner being, systematically reviewing the genetic and personal memories, the states of consciousness which puzzle and confuse his fellow tribesmen. This plant does not cure the infections of the physical body, but for relief of the strange, intractable sufferings of the psyche induced in sensitive souls by the seething cruelty of jungle life, the shaman’s visionary brew may provide the beginnings of insight and interchange between the waking ego and the inhabitants of inner, mythic dimensions, totems, animal spirits, gods and devils—a dialogue which modern man has relegated to the “unconscious” realm of dreams and fantasy at the cost of his psychic well-being…” [from the introduction]
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