Interesting thread. I was under the impression that psychedelics were a taboo subject and frowned upon in the Rastafari community.
Psychedelics have a special place in I heart. They opened I up to Jah and showed IandI the imminence of a spiritual reality which has shaped my life ever since. For I, psychedelics are an essential aspect of I Livity. When IandI speak of burning down Babylon or reconditioning ourselves from wicked ways I think of psychedelics as one of the most effective tools to do this. For anyone here interested in psychology I would really recommend researching them, not with the intent of taking them but simply for educations sake--the way in which they work on the brain is absolutely fascinating, and when you couple that information with reports of other people's subjective experience, the implications are profound. The scans of a brain on psychedelics and a brain on meditation are nearly indistinguishable, as is the subjective experience reported by both individuals.
I have a friend of Jewish faith who is interested in psychedelics. He smokes herb regularly and apparently this is not forbidden. He says that he is allowed to take anything natural, but mushrooms he cannot take until he is 30-something. He has tried Salvia Divinorum as there is no explicit rule against that. LSD and other synthetics are out of the question, however. He is very learned in the Jewish tradition, spent a year in Jerusalem studying the Torah. He has explained to me that the Old Testament is full of references to hallucinogenic mushrooms, which they refer to as manna as people here have stated.
Psychedelics have been used in religious contexts for thousands and thousands of years. The Bwiti peoples in Africa continue to use Iboga for purification rituals, indigenous tribes in Latin America drink the infamous Yage brew to commune with plant spirits. It is hypothesized that the legendary Soma drink described in the Vedas and other Vedic(Hindu) literature is some kind of mushroom concoction. The Eleusian Mysteries are a famous set of rituals which took place in Greece for several thousand years. They were a set of purification rituals which routinely seemed to offer revelatory experiences; many famous Greeks spoke of their experiences such as Homer, Plato, and Socrates. The Kykeon is the name of the brew which was used for the rituals, and it is currently hypothesized that the Kykeon was likely some kind of psychedelic mixture, probably derived from Ergot or possibly psychedelic mushrooms. In the Middle East the use of Syrian Rue was widespread and is still common in many areas. Syrian Rue contains harmaline which is psychoactive, and is the active chemical in the B.Caapi vine (found in the Amazon) which gives Yage it's visionary power. Siberian shamans have been known to utilize Amanita Muscaria which is a dissociative mushroom, psychedelic at high doses. The Egyptians utilized Blue Lotus, a mild sedative, and it is hypothesized that they may have developed their own DMT-based brew (similar to Yage) from local plants and fauna known to contain the needed alkaloids. Many indigenous tribes worldwide, particularly in the Amazon basin, utilize snuffs which can consist of DMT, 5-MEO DMT, Bufotenine, Psilocybin, Harmaline, and Tobacco. Cannabis and cannabis extracts are also widely used for spiritual applications and it is well-documented that high doses of cannabis can be intensely psychedelic.
I've noticed in this thread lots of people talking about good and bad spirits and how psychedelics can be dangerous because they have the potential to open us up to bad spirits. I have partaken in many, many psychedelic sessions and it is my belief that psychedelics do not open you up to some measurable, external thing which is outside of you. They merely open you up to your own self (which is higher self) in a way that you can directly observe and interact with your own fullness. Because of how psychedelics affect our vision (eg hallucinations), the contents of our subconscious are often projected and so we sometimes seem to be in the presence of angels or demons. I do not see "bad" spirits as an inherently negative thing. In my view, they are simply aspects of our self which we have buried or have not come to terms with....the ugly side of ourself. I believe that these "bad" spirits can push and challenge us to overcome our own barriers which are deeply embedded in our consciousness. For example, the influence that Babylon has on our self identity as black people might present itself as an overwhelming cancerous demon. But if we run away we do not face what it is we need to face. We must interact with these "entities" and become stronger by doing so. We can not succumb to fear, and that is the biggest lesson which psychedelics have share with I. Never succumb to fear, it is simply a product of our own minds. In reality, there is nothing to be afraid of. I see uncomfortable experiences as a way to learn and really do effective healing work. Like the expression "No pain, no gain", psychedelics are not for fun; they are for healing. Good medicine does not always taste good...it is not always fun and games. If we wish to truly heal it means we have to face some of our own inner demons no matter how terrifying and uncomfortable that might be. For those of you who exercise, have you ever had an effective workout in which you didn't feel pain or soreness? Your muscles have to stretch in order to grow, sometimes it hurts. This is the nature of life; all things must grow, and growth requires suffering. When we become too comfortable with where we are we become captives of our own fears, we stay put and we no longer grow. We have to step outside of our comfort zones. All things in life live according to this principle. Even as the seedling grows towards the sun, it must leave the comfortable womb of the dark earth and push out through the topsoil, which can be stressful for the plant. Have you ever overcome a fear without having to face it directly?
In other words, don't condemn something or be afraid of it simply because it has the potential to be uncomfortable. If the I is wanting to take psychedelics because they think it will be a good time, or they will have all of the answers to life given to them without being challenged or doing any critical thinking, dont do it. But if the I is looking for self-improvement and growth, and is willing to persevere and work through the barriers that might arise, than the I has nothing to fear but fear itself. Like any real work, it takes effort to achieve the desired results.
Just my perspective. I overstand that psychedelics have the potential to go very wrong, but with proper set and setting such instances are rare. I would always recommend a sober sitter, so should your experience go down the wrong path there is someone there to make sure you stay safe. I can honestly say that I have had a few extremely uncomfortable experiences that shook me up for a long time...but I am glad they happened. While they were not very pleasant experiences I learned more about myself in those few hours than ever before....the tough experiences force you to grow up, force you to look where the I does not want to look. They force you to be aware of things exactly as they are, which is not always pretty, nice, or simple; and because of the way our minds operate we often have a hard time letting go of these neat little pictures we have created of reality. But the truth is that the pictures our minds create are not an accurate reflection of reality; we filter so much of it, and only look at what we want to see and what is directly relevant. Psychedelics open it ALL up for us, and that can be uncomfortable. If the I has a good heart and the right intentions, however, surely they have nothing to fear.
"Lucifer Son of the Devil"....this makes me laugh I have to say. LSD is hands down one of the most benign substances you can put into your body. LSD is less neurotoxic than THC the active chemical in herb. It is less toxic than coffee or alcohol, and it is completely out of your system within a few hours. Yes it is synthesized, but if the I looks into the chemistry behind it IandI can see that it is silly to be afraid of it. LSD is derived from ergoline, which is naturally occurring. The synthesis of LSD falls under the umbrella of "organic chemistry", meaning that it is made up of organic molecules that can be found anywhere in nature. The role of the chemist is simply to create an environment for these organic molecules that allow for them to form in certain ways. So to use an analogy, you want to grow a plant but it is winter outside. The external conditions do not allow for you to grow a plant. But lets say you have a seed and you have potting soil. Well IandI can create an artificial environment by placing the seed in soil, putting near a source of light, and giving it adequate airflow and water. The I is simply creating an environment so that processes essential to plant growth can occur. Organic chemistry is much like this, and there are many "man made" substances that we have later discovered to occur in nature given the right conditions. So LSD, for all we know, could be in abundance in some kind of unknown plant species. It could exist on other planets, it could exist in our backyards....anywhere where the conditions are right it will occur. I'd wager that there is an "LSD plant" somewhere out there, just waiting to be discovered. Now I overstand that Rastafari prohibits the taking of anything synthetic and I'm not saying Rastas should just take LSD anyways....definitely not. I just wanted to share some info about LSD to help inform the community. There is no need to fear something as benign as LSD even if IandI chooses not to take it. I am sure we have all seen people abuse LSD and use it in conjuction with other harmful substances but these people are simply irresponsible. When you use a substance irresponsibly that is the result you get, it does not make the substance itself evil. I have seen many people abuse the sacred herb and turn it into a poison from over-use. It does not make herb evil it just means it should be treated with respect.
Glad to see this thread. And please overstand that in no way am I trying to convince people to take LSD or mushrooms, I 100% respect the traditions of Ras Tafari. I just figured that since this thread was here and people seem to be interested I would share some information for anyone who cares.
Thanks and Praise for Divine Gifts