This is an advance look at of one of the key presentations at the forthcoming Entheogenesis Australis 2008 Symposium...
The Medical Marijuana Movement, alongside the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and others are doing great work to publicise the medical benefits of psychedelics, but greater effort is needed in promoting a return to the entheogenic foundations of religion and the spiritual arena. The time is right fort each of us advocate that organised religion reinstate the Earth/Ecological Sacraments, at least at special Earth Masses and Retreats.
This does not require that they drop their ‘wine and bikkies’ (crackers) inactive/faith dependent entheogens[*1]
“Political change begins with a change in feeling” (T. McKenna.)
From feeling flows engagement, Man will not abuse that which he holds sacred.
Earth abuse and Sacrament abuse are two sides of the very same coin. My own (State recognised) religious entity, Thórr’s Shield & Forge (in addition to our harm avoidance electro-luminescent entheogen work at dance parties) advocates that:
In order for organised religion to play a key role in saving a biosphere capable of sustaining higher life forms and relatedly dethroning the toxic, ruling, Mechanistic-Materialism myth pattern or paradigm that is eating the world, it must help re-reverence the Earth. Organised religion is probably the only entity with sufficient reach to achieve this feat in the time available.
Given that that by abandoning the Earth Sacrament the clerics were instrumental in cutting the ancient communication lines to Eartha the All Mother, and thus landing us in this catastrophic mess, it is incumbent upon them to take some responsibility for religions that do not religion (reconnect) are contradictions in terms, if not outright frauds.
Additionally and most importantly religioning is measurable as all the ayahuasca and psilocybin (John’s Hopkins University) etc research is and has shown. The importance of this hasn’t begun to be recognised let alone honoured and acted upon by organised religion let alone society! Thanks to Bob Jesse and the CSP we now have some new and very powerful philosophical tools with which to argue our case at the ‘bishop’s high table’ so to speak.
Entheogens and empathogens bridge Stephen Jay Gould’s ‘NOMA; (Non Overlapping Majesteria) moat for they are non-faith dependent. The late Dr Gould argued that because science is evidence based and religion is faith based they can never do more than marginally “interdigitate.”
Dr Gould’s assertion, while applicable to clerical religions, did not take into account that the plant shamanism of the Originary Tradition has provided Big Pharma with something like 80% of its pharmaceuticals. Banking billions of dollars annually at least the bean-counters and bio-pirates know that shamanism is very far from being some sort of evidence free-floating abstraction!
I am pointing out that there IS no un-crossable moat between science, technology and shamanism. Religioning is measurable and this fact alone ought to be enough for beleaguered clerical religions being nailed by sceptics (because its reliance on ungrounded belief and absolutist dogma which has no other basis than opinion) to reclaim its ancient results-resident Palaeolithic and contemporary inheritance. There are a host of psychometric, sociological, and other tools that can and have measured religioning (reconnection), with the Native American and Ayahausca churches in the vanguard.
Agreed, reconnecting organised religion to its inheritance (partially shamanising clerical religion) is a radical proposition, but as there is a growing ecological awareness generating within the more moderate branches, such as the shift from the Genesis One: ‘Subdue the Earth’ ethic, to the Genesis Two: ‘Stewardship’ injunction.
Even Pope Benedict has said:"Courageous choices must be made that recreate a strong alliance between man & the Earth. He called upon us to: “Listen to the Earth before it is too late” (The Age Online, September 2, 2007.) Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury alerts us that: “The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment.”
Buckminster Fuller observed that: “There are no passengers of spaceship Earth everyone must row.” Sir Barnes Wallis said: “All worthwhile ideas go through three stages, the joke, the threat and the obvious.” It will continuous hammering to get the clerics to begin pulling on the oars but given the inertia and cultural momentum of dogma, were we not looking down the barrel of environmental collapse it would probably be impossible to get organised religion to add traditional or modern entheogens to their sacramental menu, but given that our survival is now on the line. I believe that it can be done for after all we are not we are not asking them to give up anything. As Lakota Elder Grandmother Kitty[*2] says: “If we are to bring the Sacred Hoop together everyone must carry a piece.”
The teacher, power and visionary plants are Nature’s sutures that can weave us back into the Sacred Interlace and repair the rent web of life. If religioning is not the role of religions whose role is it? Currently we have incumbents occupying this social space but not fulfilling their mandated societal function.
The 2006 Unao do Vegetal (‘Union with the Plant Kingdom’) Church 8 to 0 U.S. Supreme Court victory was assisted by amicus briefs from the Council on Spiritual Practices <http://www.csp.org/practices/entheogens/> plus:
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops,
The Baptist Joint Committee,
The National Council of Presbyterian Churches,
The National Association of Evangelicals,
The American Jewish Committee
(and I believe Xtian Science too.)
Moving from supporting an entheogen-using church at the Supreme Court to employing them as well, is not after all, such a big leap.
In Australia, as in the U.S., we enjoy the Separation of Church and State. Section 116 of the Australian Constitution does not give the Commonwealth or States the right to determine what may constitute a holy host! Therefore, provided a religion is prepared to stand firmly in its Constitutionally guaranteed independence and sovereignty I do not believe we will need to similarly battle all this through the High Court here in Australia.
I am saying that if a branch of a mainstream church employs a marijuana chrism, an Amanita Muscaria ‘wine’ and or Amanita flour enriched wafers as Earth sacraments, and stands firm, because it is a constitutionally separated majesteria, the State is unlikely to intrude. However if it does, wonderful, for by attacking and persecuting religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and for good measure violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights plus the Victorian Charter of Human Rights (if the battle occurs in this State,) it will face an almighty uproar.
It is not yet recognised by the general public that the reason churches are not taxed is because to do so would violate constitutional church/state separation. (Mind you the ‘New Secularist Militant’ is pushing hard to do away with what he terms ‘religious perks.’ Should he succeed, like Sampson he will have toppled the constitutional tabernacle and all that implies!) (The overall goal of the New Secularists is to drive religion from the public square.)
I am pointing out that for the state to target religious freedom, (in this case the use of an entheogen or empathogen) is for the state to invade the separated religious sphere and thus to demolish a fundamental pillar of the Australian Constitution. Religions have the right to use any form of host they wish and they do not have to ‘Please Sir,’ ask permission.
If Reconciliation does not involve a fundamental connection what does it involve? For two centuries the two cultural blocs have been warily circling each other in a perpetual and largely sterile form of cultural reconnaissance. There has been limited depth engagement.
It is becoming all too obvious that a ‘Reconciliation’ that does not include Aboriginal Law Men and actively engage with Aboriginal spirituality and worldviews at a fundamental level - in other words is attempting to achieve its aims purely on settler society terms - is a shallow travesty. We came here uninvited, behaved like the guests from Hell, the very least we can undertake belatedly is to learn the house rules! Genuine Reconciliation is Deep Reconciliation. Deep Reconciliation is well beyond a cultural reconnoitre and the shaking of hands, it is requires a permanent multi-level embrace with the indigenous people, the restoration of the Song Lines, the recollection of the stories and spirit of Australia. Precisely what the Medicine with Elder guidance can accomplish.
To make it even more difficult for the Feds to prosecute Australians for employing Earth Sacraments, the one we suggest we begin with is ‘Wira’ (an Aboriginal name for acacia,) I am speaking of Wattlewaska.
The organised religion Deep Reconciliation Earth Retreats/Masses/Medicine Circles we envision would be conducted with the participation of traditional Songmen and Women, Yadaki players etc. This is the key element in what I have termed ‘Deep Reconciliation.’ Essentially Deep Reconciliation is the beginning of the process of indigenising ALL Australians. Senior Lawmen initiating young non- indigenous males would be part of Deep Reconciliation. Indigenous peoples around the world say that an uninitiated male remains a boy no matter how old. Australia is not alone in being ruled by boys!
Deep Reconciliation includes the process of employing the holy medicines and where possible senior Law Men to connect us to Spirit/s of Australia and the land where we actually live. Culturally we are still in Europe; few of us for instance, speak an Australian language, one that spring from THIS soil!
Forget not that 99.9% of humanity's time on Earth has been spent in shamanic tribal societies. Deep Reconciliation then, is the process of, with the help of the Senior (Aboriginal) tradition and the Power Plants ‘sparking frissons of atavistic remembrance’ in all of us.
I am suggesting it is a survival imperative for modern Australians to learn Australian lore and Law, and concurrently, abandon the settler conquistidorial ‘Dominator’ mentality that has nearly ruined and continues to trash this exquisite Holy Land.
Generations XY in particular are demonstrating an up-welling thirst for indigenous knowledge. It is time for Aboriginal Australia and the holy plants of this land to begin quenching this thirst. Ever more of us (even if many cannot yet fully articulate it) wish to become real Australians, rather than continue to dwell in the cultural equivalent of the cyber-spatial ‘cloud’ drifting dismasted somewhere in mid-Pacific! We must come home to our home.
A Kadaicha man is a Wira-Wira Man (a shaman who upon death returns to the Ancestor Beings in the land through the wattle). Wira is our national floral emblem, it is the binding (religioning) motif of our national coat of arms. It is part of our (white) history as well as that of Aboriginal Nations. Our athletes compete at the Olympics neith the sacred Green and Gold. Let us therefore make the politicians laughing-stocks around the world for arrogantly criminalising the essence of Australia’s floral emblem and directly targeting an important element of indigenous religion. Let is hold their feet to the fire.
I am saying that the way forward is to place the Feds in such an un-winnable position they will chose not to prosecute, but if they do we will win anyway (as long as we have the resources to exploit the PR opportunities they will have presented us.) Prosecuting us will provide us with a public education platform beyond compare.
OK, let’s see if Commonwealth Government (and the militant New Secularists [*3] really wish a five fronted battle, one that will prove to be the PR disaster to end all PR disasters for they will be:
1. Violating the Constitution (The Constitution explicitly denies the State power to legislate in respect of religion therefore any laws to outlaw the religious use of sacraments are null and void)
2. Curtailing religious freedom
3. Attacking Aboriginal religion
4. Attacking the spirit of reconciliation (with Aboriginal Australia.)
5. Preventing Australians from honouring the essence of their very own national emblem.
The Archaic Revival We Have to Have
Readers will recognise that we are speaking of the Archaic Revival. Aboriginal Australia is the oldest continuous culture on Earth, one that was old at the time of the last climate change and is consequently a repository of priceless lore, a culture that has forgotten more about conservation values and religioning to the Earth than modernity (though not our own deep time ancestors) ever knew.
As Bruce Pascoe says on the First Australians: “We defy our own intelligence if we believe we cannot learn from from such an enormously successful culture.”
Aboriginal culture is environmentally sane. Modernism has a death wish. Terence McKenna defined the Archaic Revival as the return to the environmental values of the last sane period in human history. We are blessed in Australia, we do not have to look far for those very values.
Some will ask: “given their appalling historical crimes, why bother with organised religion?”
My reply is that few are beyond redemption. And that the Earth Sacraments are powerful enough to deal with idiotic contra-survival theologies; and that restoring the now shredded, ancient, co-operative ‘Contract with Nature’ is the paramount priority. Like it or not organised religion has the public reach and the resources to get the job done in the short time left to us, provided we can motivate it!
The present biosphere and life support system will have collapsed and the trembling Earth will be as bald as a burned egg and the sky on fire long before the fundamentalist reactionary, reductionist, inherently dualistic, mechanistic-materialists and their parasitic economic systems get around to recognising that religioning (reconnection) across the boards is the route out of this mess.
It is my view that 10% of the world’s population using the Earth Sacraments would probably be sufficient to restore to our ancestral dialogue with the Earth through Her emissary intelligence agents, repair the sundered communication lines with Gaia and spark a phase transition, a paradigm shift.
While it only takes 1% of molecules in water or iron to change before the lot ‘phase transitions’ instantly 1% does not work in human populations, it produces some positive changes that’s all if the TM research has any validity. Ten percent working with the Earth Sacraments are likely to rattle more than a few cages and move us through to paradigm shift tipping point. Look what a far lower percentage randomly applied achieved in the Sixties and we are talking about a purposed world wide reconnection (religioning) project.
We are proposing something far more effective than blood sweat and prayers! We seek, with the worldwide co-operation of organised religions and Nature’s Intelligence Agents, to secure Man’s long term tenure. Today many people are in apathy, the problem is so great. We are showing how millions may not just act personally and locally and think globally, but how they may, in concert, ACT globally. This will prove nothing if not immensely spiritually uplifting, re-empowering, behaviour and culture changing. If ten percent of the world’s population were employing the Earth Sacraments and all bets are off – everything
As stated, organised religion is the one global institution that potentially could get that job done in time for it has the reach to enable millions employing the active sacrament to become part of the solution. Currently it is part of the problem.
Australia is ideally placed to ‘strike such blow’ for meaningful religious freedom in the West. The ramifications of such a victory here will ring around the world and the experience gleaned will be extendable elsewhere.
The Mechanistic-Materialist inherently disconnecting Mindset and Setting is quite toxic to the entheogen. The first goal is to culturally re-anchor the Earth sacraments within the traditional religioning context. Part of the suggested programme involves conducting religioning bush doof TAZ events, etc., under the religious banner (with proper attention to Mind-set, Setting, Intent & Supervision and the CSP’s Code of
Ethics for Spiritual Guides etc.) Then we will no longer have to contend with police and dogs (effectively working for the liquor industry!) I am saying that like ripples in a pool the results of the restoration of the Earth Sacrament will penetrate society in ever widening circles. And while I support the works of MAPS & Co I believe this approach has even greater and rapid world-changing power.
How might the present illegal situation, evil as it is, have an upside? It is the reality, so the question is just how might illegality conceivably be beneficial? Culture maturity is the solution to drug abuse. In fact, the very act of naming a sacrament a drug is itself sacrilegious abuse and perpetuates the very problem[*4] the opposition claims it seeks to end!
I see that the religioning use of entheogens is the necessary step to end drug abuse by helping to forge the prerequisite cultural maturity that emerges naturally from the religioning purpose. So in that sense the law will serve to channel entheogen use through ceremonies wherein Mind-set, Setting, Intent & Supervision can be pretty much guaranteed.
Here then is a natural, gradualist, approach to legalisation without the social casualties witnessed in the late 19th century when laissez faire laissez passer obtained and there was a rising graph of opium abuse. (I am nor arguing that this was the correct solution, just that the Prohibitionist knee jerk was understandable.) Within the paradigm ruling then as now, such abuse could have been predicted. To paraphrase an economic advisor to President Clinton: “Its the paradigm stupid.”
Legalisation in the contemporary climate (even were it politically realistic) is I fear likely to be short lived and the clamps rapidly slapped on even tighter accompanied by a crowing chorus of: “We told you so – we were right all along.” I feel that legalisation within the present paradigm could prove a disaster and set us back centuries (assuming we have centuries left to us!) Shift the paradigm first
dethrone Mechanistic-Materialism. All up, there is no solution to either drug or Earth abuse within the parasitic, Contract with Nature abrogating, myth.
OK, back to where I came in. Entheogensia everywhere are in a position to constantly advocate that organised religion reinstate the Earth sacrament until the idea shifts from joke, through threat to the obvious. And of course we all must-needs develop appropriate local strategies applicable to our country of residence, as we are attempting here. Moderns everywhere must-needs harken the the indigene and the plants.
Advocacy costs next to nothing though the programme I have outlined here, re-introducing the Earth Sacrament to organised religion is by no means a cost-free exercise and while we are proceeding as best we can, it is difficult to fight the good fight on a pension. Succeed and everything changes on our dear Planet Earth.
My good wishes to all,
The Holy Plants we Love, Trust & Serve.
Thórr’s Shied & Forge
[*1] Though alcohol can do without the underserved cachet, its religious use by the Jewish and Xtian branches of Abrahamism suggests alcohol is indeed an entheogen, though it is a problematic one for alcohol using cultures, let alone indigenous cultures for which it was foreign. Forcing alcohol upon them was one of several high crimes committed by the ‘one true way’ Xtian missionaries (Judaism being non-evangelical) and maintained by the Catholic and other churches to this day! All that said, to assert that the religious use of entheogens and empathogens is drug abuse is as preposterous as saying that the use of alcohol at the Eucharist is drug abuse!
[*2] She was an advisor to Kevin Costner for his film ‘Dances with Wolves.’She observes that her people us a far stronger tobacco (Nicotina Rustica) than “your people do” but that: “It does not addict us because we treat her with respect.” In the Amazon shamans say that:”addiction is the revenge of the power plant.”
[*3] Secularism merely means the administrative separation of church and state. The New Secularists are another kettle of fish entirely.
[*4] We eschew the use of the word drug for sacrament in debates with the opposition. We will concede no territory to them. The minute one does so one is debating on the mechanistic-materialist’s home territory, one is imprisoning the sacred in its straightjacket. Mechanistic-materialism and the Plunder Paradigm is all of one inch deep and its proponents are very uncomfortable when confronted and pretty much compelled to use religioning language. Given that sacrament abuse like Earth abuse is by definition the trashing of the holy, every time they use the term drug (in a non medical context) they can be accused of insincerity, for perpetuating the problem they aver that they seek to end.