Tag: Chemognosis

Chemical Realities

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To: zee-list
Date: 11 November 2003

blades wrote:

>and given that what is real changes with chemicals,
>then truth is a chemical reaction’s byproduct. seems
>kinda pointless to ascribe any kind of objective
>meaning to it when you look at it that way.

Very true. Most of the world is on one long serotonin trip. The problem is that most people fear other chemical realities, ala “my drug (serotonin) is better than your drug (any controlled substance)!”

Some interesting Magickal exercises in exploring alternate chemical realities I have experimented with involve going for a month (or longer) in an extreme direction, such as:

  • Eating no meat
  • Eating primarily meat
  • Staying drunk
  • Staying stoned
  • Eating only organic foods
  • Eating only overly processed foods
  • Being severely depressed
  • Tweaking (any “upper”)
  • Tripping (any “hallucinogen”)
  • Fasting
  • Sexual Exhaustion
  • Sexual Frustration
  • Sleeplessness
  • Oversleeping
  • etc…
  • etc…
  • etc…

“Dose ’em all! Let the drugs sort ’em out!”

“Know Thy Selves”

~~~3 Coyotes Dancing~~~

Load and Run High-tech Paganism-Digital Polytheism

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We place no reliance
On virgin or pigeon;
Our Method is Science,
Our Aim is Religion.

Aleister Crowley, from the journal ‘Equinox

People jacked in so they could hustle. Put the trodes on and they were out there, all the data in the world stacked up like one big neon city, so you could cruise around and have a grip on it, visually anyway, because if you didn’t, it was too complicated, trying to find your way to a particular piece of data you needed. Iconics, Gentry called that.

William Gibson, Mona Lisa Overdrive

Information is more basic than matter and energy.
Atoms, electrons, quarks consist of bits —
Binary units of information
Like those processed in computer software
And in the brain.
The behavior of these bits, and thus of the universe,
Is governed by a single programming rule.

Edward Fredkin

A Universe of Bits and Bytes

Major historical accomplishments of the 20th century included the personalization and popularization of Quantum Physics, an acceptance of self-reference and circular causality in systems of mathematics and psychology, and the resulting development of cybernetic society.

This philosophic achievement, which has dominated the culture of the 20th century, was based on a discovery by nuclear and quantum physicists around 1900, that visible-tangible realities are written in a digital assembly language we could accurately call ‘basic.’

It turns out that we inhabit a universe made up of a small number of elements-particles-bits which cluster together in geometrically-logical, temporary configurations.

The solid Newtonian Universe rested upon such immutable General-Motors concepts as mass, force, momentum, and inertia, cast into a Manichaean drama involving equal reactions of good vs. evil, gravity vs. levity, entropy vs. evolution and coerced by such pious Bank-of-England notions as conservation of energy. This dependable, static, predictable, universe suddenly, in the minds of Planck/Heisenberg became digitized, transformed into shimmering quantum screens of electronic probabilities.

Up here in 1988, we are learning to experience what Nils Bohr and Werner Heisenberg could only dream of. The universe, according to their cyberdelic equations, is best described as a digital information process with sub-programs and temporary ROM states, megas called galaxies, maxis called stars, minis called planets, micros called organisms, and nanos known as molecules, atoms, particles. All of these programs are perpetually in states of evolution, i.e., continually ‘running.’

It seems to follow that the great intellectual challenge of the 20th century was to make this universe ‘user friendly,’ to prepare individual human beings to decode, digitize, store, process and reflect the sub-programs which make up his/her own personal realities.

Nobody Knew What These Guys Were Talking About

The chain of events that elevated us to this new genetic status, HOMO SAPIENS CYBERNETICUS, began around the turn of the century.

Physicists, we recall, are traditionally assigned the task of sorting out the nature of reality. So it was the quantum philosophers who figured out that units of energy/matter were sub- atomic bits of programmed information that zoom around in clouds of ever-changing, if/then, start/stop, off/on, 0/1, yin/yang probabilities in clusters of pixels, up-and-down recurring stairways of paradox.

When they started out, no one understood what these guys were talking about. They expressed their unsettling theories in complex equations written on blackboards with chalk. Believe it or not, these great physicists thought and communicated with a neolithic tool — chalk-marks on the wall of the cave. The irony was this: Einstein and his brilliant colleagues could not experience or operate or communicate at a quantum-electronic level.

Imagine if Max Planck pottering around in his mathematical chalk-board had access to a video-arcade game! He’d see right away that the blips on Centipede and the zaps of Space Invaders could represent the movement of the very particles that he tried to describe in the dusty symbols of his blackboard.

A Wild and Scary Hallucinogenique

Now let us reflect on the head-bursting adjustment required here. The relativistic universe described by Einstein and the nuclear physicists IS alien and terrifying. Quantum physics is quite literally a wild, confusing psyberdelic trip. It postulates an Alice-in-Wonderland, Sartrean universe in which everything is changing. As Heisenberg implied: nothing is certain except uncertainty. Matter is energy. Energy and matter are temporary states of info-bits, frozen at various forms of acceleration.

This digital universe is not user-friendly when approached with a Newtonian mind. We are just now beginning to write a manual of operations for the brain and the universe, both of which, it turns out, are digital galaxies with amazing similarities.

People living in the solid, mechanical world of 1901 simply could not understand or experience a quantum universe. Dear sweet old Einstein, who couldn’t accept his own unsettling equations, was denounced as evil and immoral by Catholic bishops and sober theologians who sensed how unsettling and revolutionary these new ideas could be. Ethical relativity is still the mortal sin of religious fundamentalists.

The Cyberpunk as Modern Alchemist

The baby boom generation has grown up in an electronic world of TV and personal computing screens. The cyberpunks offer metaphors, rituals, life styles for dealing with the universe of information. More and more of us are becoming electro-shamans, modern alchemists.

Alchemists of the Middle Ages described the construction of magical appliances for viewing future events, or speaking to friends distant or dead. Writings of Paracelsus describe a mirror of ELECTRUM MAGICUM with telegenic properties, and crystal scrying was in its heyday.

Today, digital alchemists have at their command tools of a precision and power unimagined by their predecessors. Computer screens ARE magical mirrors, presenting alternate realities at varying degrees of abstraction on command (invocation). Aleister Crowley defined magick as ‘the art and science of causing change to occur in conformity with our will,’ and to this end the computer is the universal level of Archimedes.

The parallels between the culture of the alchemists and that of cyberpunk computer adepts are inescapable. Both employ knowledge of an occult arcanum unknown to the population at large, with secret symbols and words of power. The ‘secret symbols’ comprise the languages of computers and mathematics, and the ‘words of power’ instruct computer operating systems to complete Herculean tasks. Knowing the precise code name of a digital program permits it to be conjured into existence, transcending the labor of muscular or mechanical search or manufacture.

Rites of initiation or apprenticeship are common to both. ‘Psychic feats’ of telepathy and action-at-a-distance are achieved by selection of the menu option.

Classical Magickal Correspondences

Alchemists of the Middle Ages believed quite correctly that their cosmos was composed of four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Although today our periodic table sports more than 100 chemical elements, the four universal elements still can be identified as the constituents of some processes in the external reality, and within the inner psychological world of humankind.

Each of the four elements is an archetype and a metaphor, a convenient and appropriate name for a universally identified quality. The four are echoed in the organization of both the four suits and the four ‘court cards’ of each suit of the Tarot, inherited from the Egyptians and its symbolism preserved in ordinary Western playing cards. The four also correspond to the four principal tools of the classical practitioner of ceremonial magick.

The wand of the magician represents the phallic male creative force, fire. The cup stands for the female receptive force, and, obviously enough, is associated with water. the sword is the incisive intellect, moving and severing the air, the abstraction in which it moves. Finally, the pantacle (disk) is the grounding in earth (magnetic material), the stored algorithms. (We use Crowley’s spelling of pentacle, which communicates the sense of ‘all and everything,’ advisedly.)

These classical instruments of magick exist in modern cyber technology: The mouse or pen of the digitizing tablet is the wand, controlling the fire of the CRT display and harnessing the creative force of the programmer. It is used in all invocations and ritual as a tool of command. Spinning disk drives are the pantacles, inscribed with complex symbols, earthen tablets to receive the input of ‘air,’ the crackling dynamic ethereal intellectual electricity of the processor chip circuitry programming results. The RAM chips are, literally, the buffers (‘buffer pools’), the water, the passive element capable of only receiving impressions and re-transmitting, reflecting.

Iconic visual programming languages are a Tarot, the pictorial summation of all possibilities, activated for the purpose of divination by juxtaposition and mutual influence. A periodic table of possibilities, the Western form of the Eastern I Ching. Traditional word-oriented programming languages, FORTRAN, COBOL, and the rest, are a degenerate form of these universal systems, grimoires of profit-oriented corporations.

Detailed database logs of the activity of operating systems from the Akashic records on a microscale. At a macroscopic level, this is the ‘world net’ knowledge base, the ‘knoesphere,’ the world-wide online hypertext network of information soon to be realized by the storage capacity of CD ROM and the data transmission capability of optical fiber. William Gibson’s cyberspace matrix.

Banishing rituals debug programs, and friendly djinn are invoked for compiling, searching, and other mundane tasks. When the magic circle is broken (segmentation violation), the system collapses. Personal transmutation (the ecstasy of the ‘ultimate hack’) is a veiled goal of both systems. The satori of harmonious human-computer communication resulting from the infinite regress into meta-levels of reflection of self is the reward for immaculate conceptualization and execution of ideas.

The universality of 0 and 1 throughout magic and religion: yin and yang, yoni and lingam, cup and wand, are manifested today in digital signals, the two bits underlying the implementation of all digital programs in the world, in our brains and in our operating systems. Stretching it a bit, even the monad, symbol of change and the Tao, visually resembles a superimposed 0 and 1 when its curving central line is stretched through the action of centrifugal force from the ever-increasing speed of the monad’s rotation.

Cyber Religion of the Baby Boomers

By the year 2000, Aleister Crowley, William Gibson, and Edward Fredkin could well replace Benjamin Spock as a Baby Boom navigator. Why? Because, by then the concerns of the baby boom generation will be digital. (Or, to use the old paradigms, philosophic-spiritual.)

During their childhood they were Mouseketeers. In their teens the Cybers went on an adolescent spiritual binge unequalled since the Children’s Crusade. In their revolt against the factory culture they re-invented and updated their tribal-pagan roots and experimented with Hinduism, Haight-Ashbury Buddhism, American Indianism, Magic, Witchcraft, Ann Arbor Voo Doo, Esalen Yoga, Computerized I Ching Taoism, 3-D Reincarnation, Fluid Druidism. St. Stephen Jobs to the Ashram!

Born-again Paganism! Pan-Dionysius on audio-visual cassettes. Mick Jagger had them sympathizing with the devil. The Beatles had them floating upstream on the Ganges. Jimi Hendrix taught them how to be a voodoo child. Is there one pre-Christian or third world metaphor for divinity that some rock group has not yet celebrated on an album cover?

Ontology Recapitulates Theology

The Boomers in the evolving life-cycle seem to have recapitulated the theological history of our species. Just as monotheism emerged to unify pagan tribes into nations, so did the Boomers re-discover fundamentalist Judaism and Christianity in their young adulthood.

Even far-away Islam attracted gourmet Blacks and ex-hippies such as Cat Stevens. Bob Dylan nicely exemplifies the consumer approach to religion. For 25 years Bob (ne Zimmerman) has continued to browse through the spiritual boutiques dabbing on a dash of Baptist ‘born-again,’ nibbling at Hassidism before returning to his ole-time faith of sardonic reformed humanism.

We can laugh at this trendy shopping around for the custom- tailored designer god, but behind the faddism we find a powerful clue.

Notice how Dylan, for example, preserves his options and tries to avoid shoddy of off-the-rack soul-ware. No ‘plastic christs that glow in the dark’ for Bob! The religion here is Evolutionism, based on the classic humanist, transcendental assumptions:

  1. God is not a tribal father nor a feudal lord nor an engineer- manager of the universe. There is no god (in the singular) except you at the moment. There are as many gods (in the plural) as can be imagined. Call them whatever you like. They are free agents like you and me.
  2. You can change and mutate and keep improving. The idea is to keep ‘trading up’ to a ‘better’ philosophy-theology.
  3. The aim of your life, following Buddha, Krishna, Gurdjieff, Werner Erhart, Shirley, is this: Take care of your self so you can take care of others. If any.

With a Little Help From Your Friends

This generation, we recall, had been disillusioned by the religions, politics, and economics of their parents. Growing up with thethreat of nuclear war, the assassination of beloved leaders, immune deficiencies, a collapsing industrial system, an impossible national debt, religious fundamentalisms (Christian-Jewish- Islamic) that fanatically scream hatred and intolerance, and uncomprehending neglect of the ecology, they have developed a healthy skepticism about collective solutions.

They can’t retreat back home because Mom and Dad are divorced.

No wonder they have created a psychology of individual navigation. Singularity. The basic idea is self-responsibility. You just can’t depend on anyone else to solve your problems. You gotta do it all by yourself — With a little help from your friends.

A Do-It-Yourself Religion

Since God #1 appears to be held hostage back there by the blood-thirsty Persian Ayatollah, by the telegenic Polish Pope and the Moral Majority, there’s only one logical alternative. You ‘steer’ your own course. You start your own religion. The Temple is your body. Your mind writes the theology. And the Holy Spirit emanates from that infinitely mysterious intersection between your brain and your DNA.

The attainment of even the suburbs of Paradise involves good navigation and planning on your part. Hell is a series of redeemable errors. A detour caused by failure to check the trip- maps. A losing streak. Many people are carefully conditioned from birth to live in hell. As children, they are largely ignored until something happens to cause them pain or injury. Then, mommy and daddy quickly lavish aid, attention, succor, positive reinforcement. When ‘all grown up,’ and in the world alone to make choices, what kind of choices are going to result from those many years of conditioning? It’s no wonder so many people seem to live in hell, to live pained lives of mishaps and broken dreams. Of course, by realizing this we can begin to decondition ourselves towards healthy hedonism. Reward yourself for making choices that lead to pleasure, and build a cybernetic cycle of positive feedback. Only from the state of free selfhood can any truly compassionate signals be sent to others.

The Administration of a Personal State

The management and piloting of a Singularity leads to a very busy career. Since the Crowley-Gibson-Fredkin Individual has established herself as a religion, a country, a corporation, an information network, and a neurological universe, it is necessary to maintain personal equivalents for all the departments and operations of the bureaucracies that perform these duties.

This apparently means forming private alliances, formulating personal political platforms, conducting your own domestic and foreign relations, establishing trade policies, defense and security programs, educational and recreational events. On the upside, one is free from dependence upon bureaucracies, an inestimable boon. (Free agents can, of course, make temporary deals with organizations and officials thereof.)

And if countries have histories and myths, why shouldn’t you?

The Personal Mythology

So you search and research your very own genetic memory banks, the Old Testaments of your DNA-RNA, including, if you like, past incarnations and Jungian archetypes. And funky pre- incarnations in any future you can imagine!

You write your very own Newest Testament, recalling that voluntary martyrdom is tacky and crucifixions, like nuclear war, can ruin your day.

You can do anything the great religions, empires and racial groups have done in the name of their God #1. and you’re certain to do it better because… well, look at their track records. There’s no way your Personal State could produce the persecutions, massacres and bigotries of the Big Guys.

Why? Because there’s only one of you, and even with the help of your friends the amount of damage an individual can do is insignificant compared with the evil-potential of a collective.

Besides, you’re a child of the 60s. You’re imprinted to want a peaceful, tolerant, funny world. You can choose your gods to be smart, funny, compassionate, cute and goofy.

Irreverence is a Password for the 21st Century

It has been suggested that the philosophic assignment of the Roaring 20th Century was to prepare the human species for the shifting realities of Quantum Physics and Singular Steering.

Relativity means that everyone ‘sees’ or reacts to things differently, depending upon location, velocity and attitude (angle of approach).

The relativistic insight is in essence irreverent or humorous, i.e., laughable, comical, delightful. With the law of gravity repealed, levity is the order of the day. We rise through our levity, instead of being held down by our gravity.

The word ‘humor’ comes from the Latin word for liquid or fluid, referring to such qualities as flowing, pliable, smooth, effortless, easily changed, non-frictional, transparent, shining, musical, graceful in motion and readily converted into cash.

A Last Generation in Flesh?

Through science and technology we will meet the aliens, and they will be us.

— Norman Spinrad, ‘The Neuromantics

Information-beings of the future may well be fluid. Human society has now reached a turning point in the operation of the digital programs of evolution, a point at which the next evolutionary steps of the species become apparent to us, to surf as we will. Or, more correctly, as the evolutionary programs run and run, the next stages pop up in parallel, resulting in continuing explosions of unexpected diversity. Our concepts of what is known as ‘human’ continually change. For example, we are no longer as dependent on physical fitness for survival. Our quantum appliances and improved mechanical devices can generally provide the requisite means or defenses. In the near future, the methods of information technology, molecular engineering, biotechnology, nanotechnology (atom stacking) and quantum-digital programming could make the human form a matter totally determined by individual whim, style and seasonal choice.

Humans already come in some variety of races and sizes. In comparison to what ‘human’ might mean within the next century, we humans are at present as indistinguishable from one another as are hydrogen molecules. Along with the irrational taboo about death, the sanctity of our body image seems to be one of the most persistent anachronisms of Industrial Age thought.

We see evolutions of the human form in the future; one more biological-like: a bio/computer hybrid of any desired form — and one not biological at all: an ‘electronic entity’ in the digital info-universe.

Human-AS-programs, and human-IN-programs.

Of these two post-humanist views, human-as-programs is more easily conceived. Today, we have crude prosthetic implants, artificial limbs, valves, and entire organs. The continuing improvements in the old-style mechanical technology slowly increase the thoroughness of brain/external-world integration. A profound change can come with the developments of biotechnology, genetic engineering, and the slightly more remote success of nanotechnology.

The electronic form of human-in-programs is more alien to our current conceptions of humanity. Through storage of one’s belief systems as data structures online, driven by desired programs one’s neuronal apparatus should operate in silicon basically as it dead on the meatware of the brain, though faster, more accurately, more self-mutably, and, if desired, immortally.

Clever cyberpunks will of course not only store themselves electronically, but do so in the form of a ‘computer virus,’ capable of traversing computer networks and of self-replicating as a guard against accidental or malicious erasure by others, or other programs. (Imagine the somewhat droll scenario: ‘What’s on this CD?’ ‘Ah, that’s just that boring adolescent Leary. Let’s go ahead and reformat it.’)

One speculation is that such viral human forms might ALREADY inhabit our computer systems. Cleverly designed, they would be very difficult, if not theoretically impossible to detect.

Current programs do not permit matching the real-time operation speed and parallel complexity of conventional brains. But time scale of operation is subjective and irrelevant, except for the purposes of interface.

Of course, there is no reason one needs to restrict one’s manifestation to a particular form. One will basically (within ever-loosening physical constraints, though perhaps inescapable economic constraints) be able to assume any desired form.

Authors of current science fiction of the cyberpunk or ‘neuromantic’ school have approached this idea from many angles. Bruce Sterling’s novel SCHISMATRIX recognizes the fact that human evolution moves in clades, radiating omnidirectionally, not moving in a line along a single path. His ‘Mechs’ and ‘Shapers’ correspond closely with our notions of electronic and biogenetic paths to evolutionary diversity.

Given the ease of copying computer-stored information, it should be possible to exist simultaneously in many forms. Where the ‘I’s’ are in this situation is a matter for digital philosophers. Our belief is that consciousness would persist in each form, running independently, cloned at each branch point.

Review: Cosmic Banditos, by A. C. Weisbecker

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Cosmic Banditos, by A. C. Weisbecker
New American Library, 0451203062, 1986, 2001

Mexican drug dealers, quantum physics, and the pursuit of enlightenment through obscurity with a cast of many interesting and bizarre characters.

This edition comes with a forward by the author, which is interesting in and of itself, but would probably make more sense had you read the book beforehand – as it is with most forwards in works of fiction.

The plot mainly surrounds around three main characters. On whose name you never learn, though he goes by ‘Mr. Quark’ in messages to Tina’s father. You also meet Jose, the Bandito, became Drug Lord, exiled Drug Lord, thusly back to Bandito, then back to Drug Lord; he doesn’t speak English. And High Pockets, ‘Mr. Quark’s’ dog – he doesn’t understand Spanish, he likes the bitches though.

Rollin’ high times and good fun, this is on my list of books to recommend to people during especially mundane times in addition to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Principia Discordia, Illusions and similar great works of literature.

“When all is said and done, when all the shouting and philosophizing and moralizing is over, I suspect that this tale is simply another example of something.”

Drugs and Religion: Snakebite Trips?

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In Merlin Stone’s book When God Was a Woman, about early goddesses, there is a strange hypothesis about the importance of snakes in the early Middle East. MS notes that snakes are associated with prophecy and wisdom – and goddesses – in several places, such as Egypt, Sumer, Crete, and Greece. In Egypt, the female deity of pre-dynastic northern (Lower) Egypt was the cobra goddess Ua Zit. Egyptian deities and royalty has a uraeus emblem – a head and hood of a cobra. Some Sumerian goddesses, such as Inanna, were associated with snakes. In Minoan-era Crete, we find some statuettes of goddesses or priestesses with snakes. In one case, the snakes are cobras. In Greece, in what is most likely a Minoan legacy, Hera and Athena were associated with snakes, and the shrines of Delphi, Olympia, and Dodona were originally associated with goddesses. However, they were taken over by the followers of the male gods Zeus and Apollo, who were depicted as snake-killers. Even then, the greatest wisdom was associated with priestesses. Serpenticidal male gods also include Marduk, who killed Tiamat, and Yahweh himself, who killed Leviathan.

MS suggests a connection to the Adam and Eve legend. The Philistines had “snake tubes” nearly identical to some found on Crete, which is consistent with them being Cretan refugees. So some “snake priestesses” may have set up shop in Palestine when the Israelites showed up. The Adam and Eve legend may have been an effort to discredit these women, for it suggests that snakes are wicked, and women who listen to snakes are wicked. This is all in keeping with the Yahvist effort to discredit religions other than the worship of Yahweh, which is a sordid story of religious persecution. This persecution involved going so far as destroying a bronze snake kept in the Temple, the Nehushtan, which could supposedly cure snakebite. This snake was probably associated with an earlier acceptance of this snake cult.

But how did this snake cult actually work? It is difficult to say, but MS offers a strange hypothesis. She notes that we are told that Cassandra and Melampus had acquired prophetic powers from having their ears licked with snakes. So is there some snakebite connection? MS suggests that there was, and tells of someone who had been immunized against krait venom, but who had been bitten by a krait [Cobras in the Garden, H. Kursh]

He had developed a sense of enhanced awareness and he had visions. He reported himself making up verses, and said “My mind had extraordinary powers.”

This is evidently much like mescaline [from peyote] or psilocybin [in certain mushrooms], used by some Native Americans for similar purposes; those who take these two or LSD often feel as if they are in touch with the basic forces of existence and a sensation of perceiving the events and meaning of the past, present, and future with great clarity and comprehension. It could well be that some snake venom has components with similar effects.

So could it be that early snake prophetesses (and male prophets) were going on snakebite trips?

Oracles connected with snakes were consulted in Greece and elsewhere for important decisions, which seems very trustworthy of people with “highs”.

One does have to ask the question on how this type of prophesying got associated with women instead of men or both sexes equally in the ancient Middle East.

This only adds to the riddle of Minoan Crete. Since the priestesses there were important citizens, and since they are associated with snakes, then could some of the leaders of Crete back then have been snakebite-tripping priestesses? The possibility of a “feminist theocracy”, rule by a largely female priesthood, seems awesome enough (no prominent “kings”), but this is truly wild.

I confess I don’t have much taste for theocracy, but I would certainly prefer a Minoan-type theocracy (if that was what it was) to the more familiar kinds – Jewish, Christian, and Muslim – which I find absolutely disgusting.

Aleister Crowley: Synopsis of Six Articles on Drugs

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These articles were never written — a great loss since Crowley succinctly anticipates (by at least thirty years) the main trends in sociological and psychopharmacological thought as they developed, often painfully, in the 1960s and 1970s.Although this synopsis appears to have been written in mid-to-late 1920s (possibly the early 1930s), the articles could well have appeared in The Psychedelic Review or The Journal of Psychedelic Drugs. Aside from underscoring Crowley’s pioneering work in this field, this synopsis remains valuable as an outline of Crowley’s mature view of drugs later in his life — their use and abuse. Explanatory notes are provided for this publication.

I. General Survey

  1. Almost universal ignorance of the true facts about Drugs. Wild statements on both sides; delights and dangers exaggerated.
  2. General account of the principal drugs which have a psychical interest: Alcohol, Ether, Chloroform, Hashish, Anhalonium Lewinii, Opium (various forms), Atropine (Belladonna), Stramonium, Opium derivatives: Cocaine, Morphine, Heroin.
  3. Two main types of drug: “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
  4. Need to distinguish between the various forms of intoxication, and to identify the true cause of the action of any given drug.
  5. The general use of each drug, and the reason in each case of any tendency to abuse. The action of a certain drug upon a certain person in good health totally different to that upon a sick one.

II. Historical Survey

  1. Ethnographical and climatic distribution.
  2. Connection of intoxication, mania, and religious ecstasy. Ceremonious use of drugs by various cults.
  3. My own researches since 1899. Why I took up the study. The personal equation. Summary of my results. Importance of the technique of administration. Experiments on other people.

III. The Abuse of Drugs

  1. Why people resort to drugs.
    1. Personal idiosyncrasy.
    2. The search for new sensations.
    3. Failure to fit environment.
    4. Ignorance.
    5. Economy.
    6. Hypocrisy. (Where Public Opinion condemns pleasure, those who fear it resort to secret vices.)
    7. Ambition to obtain praeterhuman power or knowledge.
    8. The stress of modern life.
    9. Excess of imagination.
    10. Excess of sensitiveness.
    11. Ennui.
    12. Pain.
    13. Moral weakness.
    14. Vice.
  2. Commoner results of abuse.
    • Alcohol: well known.
    • Hashish: insanity.
    • Chloroform: few cases known.
    • Opium (smoking): bad results rare.
    • Morphine: nervous collapse, madness, insomnia, digestive trouble.
    • Ether: the alcohol plus paralysis.
    • Anhalonium Lewinii: insanity.
    • Cocaine: nervous collapse, insanity.
    • Laudanum: see De Quincey, Coleridge, and Wilkie Collins.
    • Heroin: like Morphine, with great dullness and depression.
  3. Conditions which lead from use to abuse.
  4. Difficulties in the way of stopping. Nature of the temptation to go on.In the case of Alcohol and Ether I find no inclination to do so, I ake either quite casually, but instinctively avoid frequent repetition.With Hashish and Anhalonium, I have a powerful repulsion and can only force myself to take them by a stern sense of duty.With Opium smoking, I indulge very mildly when the company is attractive; I have tried long and vainly to acquire the habit.With Morphine, I dislike the effect subconsciously; no temptation to repeat.

    With Cocaine, the first few sniffs produce an impatient uneasiness;

    I am almost irresistibly driven to go on to my physiological limit for that time; but privation causes neither suffering nor regret.

    With Heroin over-indulgence always causes vomiting. I have succeeded in acquiring enough of a habit to make it hard to break off. The symptoms are severe; but now that I know how to employ palliatives, I can break away sharply and survive the craving with four days moderate discomfort at most. Suppression causes fear, which induces resumption; and fills the mind with specious arguments in favour of taking ‘one last dose.’

IV. Commercial Aspects

  1. Effects of repressive legislation. Enormous profits to
    1. Peddlers and smugglers.
    2. Policemen.
    3. Blackmailers.
    4. Quack doctors.
    5. Sanitarium sharks.
    6. Secret nostrum vendors.
    7. Sensational journalists.
    8. Spies and officials.

    These would vanish if prohibition became effective or the laws were abolished.

  2. Cost to nation.
    1. Loss of “victims” economic value.
    2. Maintenance of machinery of prohibition; inspectors, spies etc., support of convicts.
  3. Loss of dignity, by making physicians and pharmacists subject to police degrades those professions, keeps away the best class of men from them, and so destroys the nation’s health.
  4. Cheapness of drugs tends to drive out alcohol. Most drugs can be made synthetically from ‘harmless’ ingredients.

V. The Treatment of Drug Habits

  1. Some drugs, e.g. Opium, produce a physical craving due to the chronic poisoning of the tissues. Suppression may therefore be fatal. The symptoms of suppression may be so severe that even strong willed people need assistance in stopping. Others, e.g. Cocaine, present little physical obstacle to suppression; the pull is mainly moral.
  2. Each patient needs special treatment. This depends on\
    1. The original cause of the habit.
    2. His constitution.
    3. His environment.
    4. His prospects for the future.
  3. Various theories of cure; the main objection to each.
  4. My own theory and practice.The Law of Thelema is the cure. Each patient must be analysed until he discovers for himself the true purpose for which he came into the world. He will then resolve firmly to stop drugs as hindrances to his doing his will. He is assisted by palliatives when any physical symptoms tend to overcome his resolution.
  5. Palliatives useful in various crises.

VI. The Mastery of Drugs

  1. Man must be trained to use drugs with impunity.
  2. Experiments must be made to discover how the undoubted physical and moral assistance of drugs may be turned to the best advantage.
  3. Results of my own researches in this direction.
    • Alcohol. Too general in its action to be useful.
    • Ether. Invaluable for mental analysis; also to discover one’s own final judgment on any matter. Gives the power to appreciate the elements of which sensation is made up. Example: Feeling one’s finger move in detail.
    • Hashish. Good for mental analysis. Aids imagination and builds up courage. One can trace the genesis of ideas, solution sometimes given in a series of pictures. Example: How property began.
    • Anhalonium Lewinii. Like Hashish. (All three excellent for enabling one to get behind one’s superficial ideas and discover the roots of one’s thoughts.)
    • Morphine, Opium etc. Aids concentration. Relieves pressure of worrying thoughts; aids creative imagination. Objection: Injures executive ability, so that ideas are sterile.
    • Cocaine. Prevents fatigue, enabling one to work at full pressure for an indefinite time. Example: My New Orleans method and work done at Cefalu.
    • Heroin. Combines the virtues of Opium and Cocaine. Excites imagination; helps concentration and calm; increases executive power and endurance. Example: [The Diary of a] Drug Fiend.
  4. The Technique of Administration. Select proper drug by experiment. Dosage. The Opsonic curve. The weather and other conditions.

Psychedelic Yoga: The Application of Yoga Meditation Techniques to the Use of Psychedelic Sacraments

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The fact that psychedelic drugs induce a greater sensitivity to subtle spiritual and psychic energies, and speed up the influx of impressions from deeper levels of consciousness, raises the immediate question of how these energies can be properly understood and handled. Obviously, if these energies are not guided, they can do more harm than good. The application of traditional Yoga meditation techniques while under psychedelic experiences, provides a constructive solution to this problem.

According to Yoga philosophy, the most spiritual and powerful aspect of man’s nature is the faculty of attention or consciousness. The most fundamental aspect of man’s free will is the choice as to what he allows his attention to dwell upon. The attention always has to be on something, but we can choose what we allow it to dwell upon.

The goal of all Yoga practices is to discover and directly experience what the attention or faculty of consciousness in man is. The yogi seeks to know that principle by which all else is known. This goal is achieved by observing the observer or placing the attention on the attention itself. This may at first seem very abstract and hard to grasp in terms of practical application, but there are workable, time-proven methods for achieving this state of pure consciousness which when consistently applied and practiced are bound to yield results.

It should be constantly remembered during a psychedelic session that whatever perceptions, thoughts and even hallucinations occur, they are all the creations of one’s own mind and consciousness, and are filtered through one’s own instrument of perception. These perceptions are patternings of our own psychic energy. We give energy to whatever thoughts and feelings we allow the attention to dwell upon. Wherever the power of attention is focused, it generates mental and emotional energy in the form of its own lower overtones, thus feeding and energizing the thoughts and emotions which the attention dwells upon. It becomes clear that the key to remaining in control of a psychedelic experience is in controlling the flow of attention. Distractive experiences can be avoided in the first place, and the flow of attention can be properly directed by the use of Raja Yoga techniques of meditation. The following is a description of several such techniques which can all be applied while under the influence of LSD, marijuana, mescaline, DMT, hashish, psilocybin or other consciousness-expanding drugs.

At this point, let us consider a basic rule to apply in case of paranoia or other unpleasant or frightening experiences while under the influence of a psychedelic drug. Realize that whatever you may be thinking, feeling or experiencing is being experienced by the consciousness within you. Then place your undivided attention on that consciousness which is experiencing whatever is happening to you. This process returns your consciousness to its own pure nature and disengages mental and astral thought forms. These destructive thought forms then dissipate and are dissolved back into the homogeneous, vibrational energy of the plane of energy substance from which they were originally molded. The strong light released by consciousness observing itself, helps to quickly dissolve and dissipate destructive thought forms. This happens because the strong lower overtones of pure consciousness which are generated, cancel out the discordant, out of phase vibrations of destructive thought forms.

If the attention wanders while practicing any of these meditation techniques, immediately bring the attention back to the process of meditation, and do this as many times as is necessary until the attention remains centred on the particular form of meditation which you are practicing. Inexperienced meditators have a tendency to fight distractions, which in itself, becomes a distraction. The attention can only dwell on one thing at a time. Simply bring it back to the thing you are meditating on.

Another way of stopping distractions is simply to temporarily suspend the breathing process by neither breathing in or out. Since breathing is intimately tied to every biological process in the body, the instinct to survive (developed over billions of years of evolution) will interrupt the flow of attention into distractions and bring it to centre on the awareness of the cessation of breathing. It is then an easy matter to resume normal breathing and to centre the attention on the particular form of meditation being practiced.

Sound Current Meditation

Focus your full, undivided attention in the centre of your brain where the pineal gland is located. Listen with your attention for whatever sounds present themselves. After awhile, you will hear sounds of various tones and pitches. At first, you may only hear the low hiss of random molecular noise in the ears, but in time, definite tones will present themselves like sustained notes on an organ. This sound is perceived directly by the brain and the subtle bodies themselves, and not through the outer physical organs of the ears. It is the sound of the vibration of conscious energy as it flows through the physical body and as it vibrates and circulates within the subtle bodies.

You should focus your entire undivided attention on the sound of highest pitch that you can hear, and let it draw you up into higher and higher states of consciousness; also let the sound reveal and intensify the spiritual light. The better your concentration is, the louder and more distinct the sound will become.

Experience the vibration of this sound expanding until it includes your whole head, your whole body, and ever-expanding volumes of space surrounding you. By this means, you will tune into the music of the spheres, and your whole being will become a receiver and transmitter of the harmonious rhythm of the universe. When you open your eyes after such a meditation, you may find your surroundings filled with blazing light.

In the beginning, the sound current may appear in one localized part of the head; most likely in one of the ears. You should not listen to the sound current in the left ear because this is psychically harmful. Listen to it in the right ear, and gradually try to move it to the centre and top of the brain. From this vertex centre, known as the Sahasraram Chakra (whose associated gland is the pineal body), allow the vibration of the sound current to fill the entire head and to then expand beyond the head into the surrounding space. This is one of the classical methods and can lead to the highest type of experience.

Meditation on the Light in the Head

To practice this form of meditation, close your eyes, and observe your inner field of vision by focusing the attention at the point in the centre of the forehead, just slightly above the point between the eyebrows. This location is called the Third Eye Centre or Agna Chakra. It is related to the faculty of clairvoyant vision. The physical manifestation or anchorage point for the Agna Chakra is the pituitary gland, which is located in a bony cradle in back of the root of the nose.

When you close your eyes, look steadily into your inner field of vision until light, colour and patterns begin to appear. (This is looking with your attention and not with the physical eyes which should remain relaxed.) When most people close their eyes, initially they see a black void, but by looking steadily into this void, various colours and patterns will begin to appear. When this happens, simply observe them with your full, undivided attention as if you were intently watching a movie. Then periodically focus all of your attention within the smallest point that you can see in the centre of your field of vision, and pierce through that point. After you have done this, the light will again blaze forth from the point in a new burst of energy, and you will find yourself at a higher rate of vibration or plane of energy. With continued practice of this form of meditation, you will become immersed in a blazing sea of light; and you will become a centre from which that spiritual power is radiated.

By concentrating the attention in the Sahasraram Chakra or Thousand-Petalled Lotus, located at the top of the head, an experienced meditator can release an even more powerful radiation of light and spiritual energy. (It may take more work to activate this chakra; the beginner can get more immediate results by looking through the Agna Chakra or Third Eye Centre.) The Sahasraram Wheel is the highest chakra; called the “Doorway to the Infinite” and the Brahmarandra or Hole of Brahma, it is the most powerful and spiritual of all the centres that can be awakened in man (with the possible exception of the Heart Chakra which is considered by some yogis to be of equal importance). When the Sahasraram Chakra is fully activated in a perfected yogin or saint, the white fire of Cosmic Kundalini descends upon him and blends with his own rising kundalini force, and the white light of spirituality radiates for miles around.

Meditation on the Chakras

By focusing the attention on various locations within the body, where the chakras are located, it is possible to activate these chakras and facilitate an increased flow of energy between the higher planes of energy and the subtle body, thus releasing an increased amount of spiritual energy. There are seven major chakras in the body which link together the physical body and the subtle energy bodies.

The chakras are revolving vortexes of energy which act as mechanisms for the absorption and radiation of spiritual energy. In the physical body, they relate to glands and major nerve centres. In the etheric body, they are like wheels with flower petals which are created by a sort of stroboscopic effect of the revolving energy. The etheric chakra flowers are connected by a sort of funnel-like stem to the gland or nerve plexus to which they belong. In the astral body, the chakras appear as whirlpools of energy, like the eddies in a stream of water or in a basin of water when the stopper is pulled out. In the mental body, they appear as converging lines of light.

The Muladora Chakra is at the base of the spine and is the seat of the Kundalini Fire Wheel when aroused, which in the advanced stages of yoga, rises up through the centre of the spine and activates the highest chakra in the cerebral cortex called the Sahasraram Chakra.

The next chakra is called the Sacral Centre or the Swadisthana Chakra. It relates to the adrenal glands and is related to the absorption of pranic vitality, which is in the air. The air absorbs this energy from solar radiation. There seems to be some differences of opinion between various texts as to whether the Muladora Chakra or Swadisthana Chakra relates most directly to the sexual functions.

After the Swadisthana Chakra, comes the Manipara or Solar Plexus Centre which relates to the digestive functions and vitality of the astral desires and feeling emotions.

Next in ascending order is the Anahala or Heart Chakra, which relates to the source of spiritual energy and the higher emotions of love, altruism and benevolence.

The next chakra is the Vishudha or Throat Chakra, which is related to the thyroid gland and has to do with the power of speech and relates to mantra yoga and the capacity for artistic creativity. This centre is activated by chanting and singing.

Next we have the Agna Chakra, which is located on the forehead, just slightly above and between the eyebrows. It is related to the pituitary gland and the subcortical areas of the brain. The Agna Chakra has to do with the higher mind faculties of clairvoyance, scientific reasoning, willing and philosophical thought. Development of the chakra awakens the ability to see and regulate astral and mental forces on the superphysical level.

Above the Agna is the Sahasraram Chakra or Thousand-Petalled Lotus, which is related to the pineal gland and the cerebral cortex. It’s located at the top of the head. It relates to the sound current and the faculty of clairvoyant hearing, and is the most spiritual of all the chakras. When this chakra is fully developed, union with God-consciousness is possible, and Illumination takes place.

By focusing the attention in any one of the chakras, the lower overtones of the concentration of consciousness in that location activates that chakra and increases the energy flow in it, making possible a conscious entry into the superphysical planes of energy. Meditation on the first three chakras, namely the Muladora Chakra, the Sacral Chakra and the Solar Plexus Chakra is not recommended because this can arouse lower emotions and sexual passions. This can allow entry to undesirable astral influences and cause psychological unbalance. It is better to work with the Heart Centre, the Agna Chakra, and the Sahasraram Chakra because these are the most directly related to the unfoldment of superconsciousness; and when awakened, will automatically develop the lower chakras by changing the glandular balance of the body and by circulating new pranic forces through the energy channels or nodies of the etheric body as well as purifying and strengthening the astral and mental bodies.

The hormones which the pituitary gland secretes, regulates the other glands in the body including the thymus gland, the thyroid gland, the adrenal gland and the sex glands as well as other glands. Once the pituitary gland is fully activated by the development of the Agna Chakra, all other glands are brought into proper chemical balance, thus helping to properly develop and raise the vibratory rate of all the lower chakras.

In Kundalini Yoga, an advanced yoga practice, concentration is done on the Muladora Chakra at the base of the spine in order to arouse the Kundalini Fire and bring it through the centre of the spine to activate the highest chakra, the Sahasraram, at the top of the head. If however, the Kundalini Fire is prematurely aroused and not properly directed, great damage can be done to the nervous system and to the etheric body. If the Kundalini force is not properly directed upwards, it can revert downward causing abnormal sexual desire and perversion. Therefore, arousing the Kundalini should only be done in advanced stages of yoga when a great deal of purification of the subtle bodies has taken place and soul control over the personality is well established.

When doing Om chanting or other mantras, it is possible to activate various chakras. By chanting at varying pitches, you will make different tissues in the body vibrate, thus stimulating the nerve centres and the glandular centres, and activating the chakras associated with them. With a bit of experimentation, you will find which tones or pitches vibrate which parts of the body and which chakras. When this has been ascertained, then chant with full force while meditating in the chakra you wish to activate.

The sound waves create vibration patterns in the etheric, astral and mental atmosphere, which you can develop the ability to see. They are multicoloured and very intricate and beautiful, sometimes forming geometrical patterns and mandalas made out of threads of light. Music will have a similar effect. Just listen to the music during a psychedelic session while observing the inner light through the Agna Chakra or Third Eye Centre. Then watch the colour patterns change and develop with the music. Classical music and Indian ragas are especially good for this purpose.

Meditation on the I Am Principle

In the practice of this form of meditation, consciousness is made to dwell upon itself. When properly and successfully practiced, this is the most powerful and highest form of meditation. While focusing in the Heart Chakra or in the Sahasraram Chakra at the crown of the head, place the attention on the attention itself. If any distractions come in the form of thoughts and perceptions of a specific nature, then immediately concentrate your attention upon that consciousness in you which is the experiencer of those thoughts and perceptions. Even the manifestation of spiritual light and sound current should be regarded in this way. The sound current and the light are merely the lower overtone manifestations of the pure consciousness upon which you are meditating. The more you hold your attention steady in concentration upon itself, the more the light, sound current, electrical sensations in the body, feelings of magnetic force, sensations of weightlessness, etc. will manifest automatically. If, however, you allow your attention to become distracted by any of these manifestations, then you will be subject to the limitations of the thing by which you have been distracted; and the focusing of pure consciousness will be interrupted so that all of the things which are the lower overtones and by-products of the focusing of pure consciousness, possibly including the psychic manifestation which distracted your attention, will also stop. Seek ye first the kingdom of pure consciousness and all of these other psychic manifestations will be added unto you.

Placing the attention on the attention itself can be done in any location in space since pure consciousness, which is the same as God, is an omnipresent principle. In the beginning, it will be found easiest to do this in one of the chakras, preferably the Heart Chakra or the Sahasraram or Head Centre. The Agna Chakra or Third Eye Centre located on the brow, can also be used with good results, but it is better to use the Sahasraram Chakra if you can activate it.

With practice of this form of meditation, your pure consciousness will experience itself as a blazing sea of white light extending infinitely in every direction. The pure consciousness itself is crystalline and colourless, but it generates the white light which is the simultaneous presence of all of the colours which are the specific lower overtone rates of vibration, which the pure consciousness generates.

The placing of the attention on the attention itself in a specific chakra, brings about a condition in that chakra, in which its vibration structure is harmonically and geometrically aligned in all of its planes of manifestation or rates of vibration. This creates common node points in the inner plane structure of the chakra. Vibrations of different frequencies and different wavelengths all begin and end together at these common node points. This is made possible by the fact that the wavelengths of the various vibrations and their frequencies all bear exact mathematical rates to each other, like the notes in a musical scale. Any vibrations which are out of phase in terms of their spatial distribution or vibratory rates are automatically canceled out by interfering with other waves at the common node points. Where several wavelengths, both short and long, begin and end their cycles together, it is possible to slip through the dimensions and to experience the higher spiritual rates of vibration and approach the Atman, which moves with infinite speed. At these common node points, the exchange of energy from one octave or plane to another, also becomes possible, allowing a flow of energy from the higher dimensions into the lower dimensions. Thus, a transmutation of those vibration patterns which exist on the lower dimensions into the higher ones becomes possible. The soul is then able to control the personality structure, making it a fit instrument of spiritual expression in the affairs of men. This form of meditation develops one-pointed concentration.

Since the use of psychedelic drugs stimulates the flow of a great amount of energy from higher planes into the lower planes, any thought and emotion patterns created during a psychedelic session are strongly imprinted and have a great deal of energy incorporated into their vibration structure. These thought and emotional patterns then act as powerful unconscious conditioning factors in our daily lives. It is therefore of the utmost importance that constructive imprints are made during a psychedelic session. Remaining in control of the attention can ensure this.

In this regard, I would like to give a few final points of advice. Try not to focus the attention from one thing to another too quickly. Stay with a thought or meditation process until it is complete. Don’t panic if frightening visions or hallucinations occur. Fear will make you concentrate on them all the more and thus feed them with the power of your attention. Remain detached and place your attention on that consciousness within you which is experiencing the hallucinations. Remember at all times that God exists in you in the form of your own power of attention and that power when properly directed, will control all lesser forces.

It is believed by some researchers that psychedelic drugs stimulate the secretion process of the pineal and pituitary glands, which are known by yogis and occultists to be related to the Sahasraram and Agna chakras (which are also called the Thousand-Petalled Lotus and the Third Eye Centre). This stimulation increases the flow of energy between the etheric body and the physical body. It may be that psychedelic drugs place the cells of the physical body under stress so that they must speed up their activity to overcome the stress. When the cells increase their activity, their vibratory rates increase, thus putting them harmonically in resonance with the higher rates of vibration on the subtle superphysical planes of energy. This process makes possible the expression of a higher level of consciousness through the glandular system, brain and nervous system.

The increased physical cellular activity requires more work and activity in the etheric body to sustain the stepped-up activity of the physical body. The vibratory rate of the etheric body is thus accelerated, requiring an increased activity in the astral body to sustain and remain harmonically in tune with the etheric body. The increased vibratory rate of the astral body requires a stepped-up activity and increased vibratory rate in the mental body. This in turn more fully tunes the mental body in to the power, love and wisdom of the soul. Thus an alignment of the whole being on all planes is facilitated, and a more rapid exchange of pattern imprints and energy between the various octaves or planes of energy takes place.

It may also be that psychedelic drugs have a chemical structure such that they are perfectly in resonance with the lower overtones of certain key frequencies in the higher planes and can therefore act as a point of entry for the reflection of these vibrations in the physical body. They would therefore help to create common node points in the vibration structure of several different dimensions.

Not only is the love, wisdom and power of the soul brought to bear in the life of the personality, but the fine organization of the physical body, the etheric, astral and mental bodies, which have been produced by the evolutionary process, are harmonically reflected and preserved in the soul. While the physical body is the least permanent, the densest and composed of the substance of the lowest plane, it is in terms of evolution, the newest and most highly organized in terms of structure. Therefore, a complete replica of it made out of the energy substance of the subtle planes, is an evolutionary gain for the soul and subtle bodies. When the physical body is sufficiently vivified by the influx of energy from the higher dimensions, it begins to create higher overtone reflections of itself in the akasha or energy substance of the higher planes, and thus its pattern is preserved and made immortal.

Therefore, when properly used, psychedelic drugs help to speed up the evolutionary process. When man has evolved to superman, he will, under the direction of the superconscious mind in accordance with God’s will as it manifests in evolution, take an active part in the molding and directing of the evolution of the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms. Even today, his vibrations intimately affect for good or bad, those kingdoms in nature.

The following article originally appeared as an uncopyrighted set of mimeographed sheets sometime during the late 1960’s, which was freely distributed on a limited basis, probably in San Francisco. Feel free to make copies of this article and to distribute them to those interested to keep this information alive, otherwise it will disappear into antiquity. [gracious thanks to Panoptes for sharing this essay!] Note from Magdalene: I have worked with similar techniques for most of my life and found that yoga has really opened my sexuality. I suggest experimenting with these techniques (though, of course, I do not advise breaking any local laws by partaking of illegal substances).

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