Psychedelic-Induced Mystical Experiences Throughout History

Ancient Origins IRAQ Tour

Fantasy shaman leading a holy ayahuasca ceremony (Caphira Lescante/Adobe Stock)

Psychedelic-Induced Mystical Experiences Throughout History

Since time immemorial, psychedelic mind-altering experiences have been common among humankind’s shamanic journeys. All is one. That is one of the feelings contemporary users of mind-altering plants describe.  Actor Nick Kroll reported that it was “good to be one with the earth,” and Carrie Fisher, best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars, explained that she could see the “web” that connects all things; there was no doubt that everything is one.  Anthropologist David Watts explained, “The universal core of the mystical experience is the vision of unity.  The vision of unity may be unification with nature or the universal self.  The central characteristic of unity is the lack of conceptual or perceptual differentiation of objects.”  All users report such a sensation.  Musician Sting related that in his experience with psychedelics, he not only had a profound sense of connection with everything around him, but it also left him egoless.  Others have reported the same thing: the sensation that the body is nothing more than a shell. 

Spiritual leaders have expounded upon these connected truths for centuries.  All is one.  The body is nothing more than a shell.  To explain the latter, some use the cicada as a metaphor, and a famous Japanese author wrote a 17th-century piece entitled “The Greatest Joys of the Cicada and its Cast-Off Shell,” in which a cicada has a conversation with its shell.  Obviously, the shell is a metaphor for the body, and the cicada is the real creature: perhaps the real “soul.”  Spiritual guru Deepak Choprah, psychologist Timothy Leary, author Mike Pollan, chef Anthony Bourdain, and countless others have related that they had a profound sense of the existence of the soul after experimenting with mind-altering plants.  These truths are spiritual.  The use of such substances to attain such spiritual or religious insight is ancient.

Shamanic inner world (Pamela Ranya /Adobe Stock)

Become a member to read more OR login here

Ancient Origins Quotations