Entheogens Enthusiasm and Enterprise

Some of you may not know the word entheogen. My guess is you know the other two. Entheogen is an English word that has been competing against the words psychedelic and hallucinogen for over 50 years. It is the unknown underdog in the fight to define substances like Psilocybin, LSD, Mescaline, Ketamine, MDMA, DMT and others for quite some time.

My friend and I stumbled onto the word a year ago when another friend mentioned the word oracle, and I went to learn everything I could about oracles. Well, there’s only one, mostly. Pythia, The Oracle of Delphi. It was one woman at any given time, and the role was handed down from one woman to her apprentice, generation after generation for nearly two thousand years. All of the poets and leaders of the greek world all consulted the Oracle for advice on what to do in war, planting, harvest… Basically anything that humans want to have divine direction in their efforts.

Reportedly, this place in Delphi that the Greeks thought was the center of the world spiritually, has gases that emit from a crevice in the rock there that have psychoactive substances in it. There is argument amongst those who are knowledgable about the actual efficacy of these gases, but apparently the Greeks and the Oracle believed it. Ancient tales tell of the Oracle breathing in the gases and going into a trance and then emitting her prophesy. This is the origin of the word entheogen. En = to be filled, Theo = God or Spirit, Gen = to start or begin or birth.
I am taking the time to explain the Greek roots and the story behind the word to give us a bit of context.

In the 40s and 50s in the US and a few countries in Europe, scientists were going crazy about the potential of these substances. Really, the thrust behind it was government money seeking to research whether these chemicals would assist in brainwashing or hypnotism or interrogation. It turned out that these drugs had the opposite effect. People felt connected to the universe. They perceived human authority as a moot point. The point is, as this research was going on, scientists waged another battle. The battle of how to define these substances. The Hallucinogen camp wanted to emphasize the hallucinatory and therefore, possibly dangerous effects, they also promoted the story that these substances are purely biological and cause only adverse effects like drinking too much alcohol. The Psychedelic camp wanted to highlight the psychological aspects. They saw value in the processing that happened as a result and were approaching these substances with a more Jungian point of view. Then there was the Entheogenic camp. They felt there was a more spiritual aspect. They saw that people were walking away from past behaviors and addictions and being reborn into new realities. They saw people who were depressed no longer behaving depressed and reporting massive change.

Now, almost 70 years later. The words hallucinogen and psychedelic have been embedded and we avoided the word entheogen thanks to the gift of our reactivity to anything “religious” in society. Until now. Entheogens have been slowly embedding themselves in every part of our culture to the point that microdosing lsd and mushrooms at work is fairly common, especially in radically progressive entrepreneurial circles. As they embed themselves, our experiences, the stories we share, they all come back to a lesson. Something bigger is happening. This is not just biological. Because of this, the new psychedelic warriors are almost universally using the word entheogen.

So what ’s the point? My point is that we are all looking for more inspiration. More fire. More energy. Many of us are finding that incorporating entheogens into our monthly, weekly and daily ritual does something very awesome. It fills us with a new sense of enthusiasm (notice the same word roots) for our life and everything in it. For those of us who are engaged in creative enterprise, what more could you really ask for?

So yes, I am encouraging you to try entheogens. However, I would add a couple caveat guidelines. First of all, be VERY educated about dosing and only take something that is tested and coming from a very trustworthy source. Second, if you are new, take baby steps and always have a guide. Someone who is very experienced and knows how to help you get your toes wet without pushing you into the deep end accidentally.
If you think you are ready for the deep end, again, you need guides, friends who will take less than you, stay more grounded and be around to help you stay safe. In other words don’t just take two hits of acid or eat an eighth of mushrooms and go to a party. Bad idea. Go on an intentional camping weekend in nature and get away from strangers. Go somewhere you can get naked and cry in the dirt if you want. Trust me, that might sound crazy, but those experience are the best if done properly.

Why do this? There is story after story after story, mine included about how entheogens have been one of the most important parts of helping a creative in their enterprise. It shakes us up, makes us question our notions, then we can see possibilities that were hidden from us before. After all, we know that enthusiasm is important for any enterprise, so we should be always doing everything we can to feed our enthusiasm, and entheogens are one very helpful method in a holistic approach to life.

I hope you find a reliable way to incorporate entheogens in your own life.

Peace, Love and Rock n' Roll

Jesse Barney