Last Updated on September 17, 2020
Over the past few decades I’ve met a surprising number of people who were actively pursuing their spiritual path and inner development whilst they are also engaged in habitual (i.e. regular and persistent) drug use. What I mean by a “surprising number” is that it may in fact be the majority of people I meet who are pursuing “spirituality” and spiritually orientated lifestyles. What I mean by “pursuing spirituality” refers to any combination of exploring yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, various Native American spiritual traditions, New Age teachings, channelling, psychic phenomenon, and likely a great deal of other “alternative” and metaphysical topics and paths. The reasons why the extent of drug use within the contemporary spiritual subculture surprises me is what I will outline here in this article.
Context of this article
Just as the “setting” is rightly said to be crucial in the balanced use of psychoactive substances, I feel the context from which this article has arisen—and, as you read this, has now come to your attention—is important. So, to put this into context—to elucidate the intellectual, spiritual, and experiential setting of my perspective—I will first say psychoactive substances are not foreign to me. As a teenager I was very much into exploring anything and everything that I felt enabled me to shift my state of consciousness into non-ordinary perception and realities. From my perspective, the desire to experience wider and more profound states of consciousness—compared to the ordinary waking state—is an inherent and natural drive within Man. Anyone who claims otherwise is either in denial, is in a state of ignorance, or simply misunderstands what constitutes an ‘altered state of consciousness.’
There is substantial evidence indicating human beings have pursued ways and means to expand and shift their perception as far back as any reasonably substantiated records of human activity reach (e.g. at least 35,000 years). For me, in my own journey, this pursuit has included and incorporated as long-term practices various forms of meditation, Chi kung, numerous forms of yoga, Tai chi, reading (yes, just reading an absorbing book shifts our consciousness into an altered state), spending prolonged periods in natural environments, spending extended periods in sensory deprivation chambers (aka. float tanks), and more. Suffice to say I’ve been exploring heightened, deepened, and non-ordinary states of consciousness for most of my life—my earliest memories of this pursuit go back to when I was just 3 or 4 years of age—and there was a period when that exploration incorporated the use of powerful entheogenic plants in Peru.
I’ve also lived with and or studied with a number of enlightened and highly conscious Yogis, a Buddhist master (not sure how to refer to him, he didn’t identify with labels as such) in Europe, an extraordinary spiritual master in Switzerland, an exceptional “Shaman” (not what he generally refers to himself as, but I am not sure how else to refer to him) from Colombia, a Shaman-priest (i.e. Kahuna) of an ancient Hawaiian tradition, and numerous other beings who embody a profound level of stabilised spiritual perception and experience. It’s a journey that has had me visit and live in a long list of countries on every continent. I mention these experiences because each has played a part in weaving together the fabric, or matrix, of perception I live with today. In hindsight I can say that entheogenic substances played the least significant role, overall, in my experience of non-ordinary reality, and in the bringing to fruition my present on-going state of expanded consciousness and perception of non-ordinary reality. What’s more, the negative impacts of these drugs, which I was blind to at the time (despite being aware of that potential at the time) is something I have had to put considerable Intent, time, and energy into resolving and clearing as my spiritual awareness developed more fully. Simply put, in my experience, the residual effect (at a psychic level) from seemingly “mind-expanding” drug experiences—which I deeply valued at the time—later on became a limiting factor in my natural spiritual development and self-realisation.
It will be impossible to not make some generalisations in what follows. Also, with every point I make, there will naturally be exceptions to the case. Let’s just agree that’s the way life is. We don’t live in a black and white world. So, what I am sharing are general observations (which I consider significant and substantial enough to incorporate into this article). To qualify every generalisation and every exception, by stating it as such, will make for tedious reading. So I invite you to simply use your own discernment about the overall applicability of what you’re about to read, and to not get hung up on whether a statement was a generalisation, and thinking it is therefore less valid.
Are there benefits?
Mind-altering substances absolutely have the potential to open a window into other realms, and induce non-ordinary states of consciousness. From my own direct experience and from the experience of many people I have met, I have no doubt about that. Since you’re reading this article, I gather you know that too. What’s more, I have no doubt it is vitally Man become aware of these expanded or non-ordinary levels of consciousness—and the realities they reveal—if we are to grow spiritually and, more importantly, if we’re to stand any chance of transitioning through the life-degrading way humanity as a whole is presently living. Experiencing it, however, through a mere ‘window’ is not enough. A window allows us to see what is beyond the walls that surround us, but they are not typically a suitable way to go beyond the wall. It gives us a taste, an indication. It awakens us, at an experiential level, to the fact that there is a great deal more to Life than what meets our eyes and other senses, in their ordinary condition. We may ‘know about’ these grander realities at a mind level, but actually experiencing them for oneself can be truly and deeply life changing. It is an awakening.
Having said that, in my experience, and that of the spiritual masters I have spent time with, the real benefits of such awakening only come when we find a stable, consistent, and self-arising entrance into these other realms. We also have to find the key for that door, so we can unlock it and come and go as we please. A door allows us to walk beyond the walls of our ordinary waking consciousness at will. The windows lets us see what is out there, and we can even stick our head out the window and get a taste for what is out there. The door lets us have the full experience. Genuine spiritual practice provides the door, as does Grace. It might be a poor analogy, but hopefully it’s enough for you to effectively explore what it refers to, to derive an understanding of the subtle difference between altered states of consciousness brought about by exogenous chemicals (and plant ‘spirits’) and those brought about through inner self-application and investigation. From my perspective, entheogenic substances often only provide a closed window through which we can see the world outside but not leave our prison and walk in the open fields beyond.
The Cost of drug use
The primary psychic issue I have seen with majority of people I have met who use or have used psychoactive substances is that they have opened themselves to entity possession and/or attachment. The kind of entity can vary, and usually there are a great many of them in the luminous body of many drug users. Many people who smoke cannabis will have the plant spirit of cannabis in their astral field, for example (along with the many other entities that are common with pot smokers). There are a great many shadow beings in the astral realms, and almost every pot smoker I have met had a multitude of these entities in their field. Along with that is a certain haziness around their chakras, usually with an accumulation or concentration around their head centres (the third eye, pineal gland, crown chakra, etc.). It’s quite possible some or most or all of these people already had issues with entities before the smoked cannabis or took other psychoactive substances. So I don’t wish to imply there is a singular cause-effect relationship here between the two.
The fogginess in the pineal and pituitary region is almost a guaranteed side-effect of cannabis smoking. An advanced Yogi (i.e. a yogic spiritual master, not simply someone who does a bit of yoga) I know once pointed out that cannabis use sets up a certain state of spiritual delusion which centres around the pineal gland. I have time and time again observed the effects of this. How it often plays out is that the person will feel, and even strongly believe, that cannabis use makes them more spiritually ‘connected’ and ‘aware.’ They will often justify their use of cannabis with the argument it makes them ‘more conscious’ and ‘spiritually awakened.’ Almost without exception I observe that this is a manifestation of spiritual delusion. It can be very subtle, and very hard for the person caught in it to see what’s going on and sort it out.
When a person first starts using cannabis it is quite likely the experience will in fact open them up spiritually. The usual sensory filters they have been conditioned with are reduced, and their perception opens up to a great array of what is in and around them. This is especially true if their personality is anchored in materialism, which is pretty much the case for most people in modern society — even the “spiritually aware” ones. Most psychoactive substances enable the user to become more aware of their own astral body, and it can help to temporarily dampen down the mental body which for many people is over-active and plays an overly dominant role in their perception of Life. Toning down the mental body and amping up the astral body therefore opens the person to a significant and potentially growth-full shift in perception and consciousness.
The trap is that many people get stuck in the fog brought upon them by cannabis use. Often the result is they become apathetic and spiritually deluded about where they are at. Access to higher or more subtle realms, beyond the lower and perhaps upper astral realms, will generally remain blocked and obscured, and yet they will believe they are advancing more than they really are. The entities which typically become involved complicate the situation even more. Identity loss can result, which means the person will lose a clear and lucid sense of true self-definition. Most people will likely have no idea what I even mean by “true self-definition,” but hopefully you have at least some sense of what I am getting at. Instead they will become defined by the influence of the entities they pick up on, combined with their own unresolved and enlivened astral baggage.
Stronger psychoactive substances such as LSD, MDMA (ecstasy), Ayahuasca, mescaline (peyote, San Pedro), can all have similar effects. Marijuana, however, appears to me to be more unique with regards to the fog it creates in the head centres, and that can hang around as a residue for many years after the person stops smoking it. The other substances I just listed don’t tend to do that in quite the same way. They do, however, open people up even more powerfully into the astral realms, even certain higher astral and beyond, into the causal realms. That can be very consciousness expanding, but it can also be very problematic. The problem arises when people don’t take these substances under the right circumstances, nor with the correct intent. Entity intrusion is again a very typical consequence. This naturally results in a diffused or distorted sense of self-definition, and that is completely contrary to true spiritual awakening.
Let’s put this in simple terms. The act of turning to a plant spirit in order to awaken yourself spiritually is potentially a misconceived idea to begin with. You are essentially acting on the misconception that you are somehow deficient unto yourself, and that you are lost and without the internal means or power to awaken into the human experience in the methodical, disciplined, and intelligent way Creator/Divinity design you to awaken and incarnate into you full potential. Of course, many people argue or reason that perhaps Creator/Divinity put these plants on the Earth so we could wake up. According to the Original Wisdom of Life, known to Man for aeons, that’s a misconception, resulting from a degraded state of consciousness (i.e. A fall from Grace). We could equally argue that Creator/Divinity powerfully poisonous plants on the Earth too, and that means when we get old, rather than dying naturally, it’s much better to do it by taking one of these deadly plants.
The other issue with most psychoactive substances is that they can leave us in an ungrounded state. Being grounded, which (in the simplest of terms) means being deeply connected into the living intelligence of the body and the Earth and the world around us, is vitally important to our spiritual emergence and development. I’ve met a lot of people who feel or believe that “being spiritual” means being spacey, ungrounded, floaty, ‘out there’, and so on. Taking drugs becomes a means to spacing out. What often comes with this is a certain disinterest in life, a state of despondency, and a habitual state of self-denial. From where I stand, there is little, if anything, truly “spiritual” about such a state. On the contrary it often leaves a person spiritually incapacitated, whilst also generally being immobilized and ineffective at a worldly level. I wrote an article about Grounding here on my yoga site.
A few clues
Our contemporary use of drugs, and the potential negative consequences of this use, leave a trail of pertinent clues, for those with a discerning and honest eye, about what may be lurking behind these activities in the deeper recesses of the human psyche.
LANGUAGE: Consider some of the language commonly used in relation to drug use. When referring to being under the influence of drugs, particularly cannabis, many people commonly speak of getting ‘wasted‘, being ‘stoned,’ ‘munted,’ ‘fucked,’ ‘hammered,’ ‘smashed,’ ‘doped,’ ‘baked,’ ‘totalled‘ (as in when a car is totally destroyed in an accident), ‘stewed,’ ‘fried‘, ‘ripped,’ etc.Many of these terms can be seen here in this thesaurus ‘Far out, it was such a great weekend… we got so out-of-it man…‘. Perhaps you and your spiritually orientated friends never use this kind of language in reference to your use of drugs? Perhaps you are more ‘enlightened’ than that? Yet, a lot of people do, and I suggest it’s worth investigating why. Language is highly representative of the consciousness from which it emerges.
SUBCULTURES: The subculture of the ‘spiritually curious’ is actually a relatively minor contributor to overall drug use in the world. Another obvious group—and it often-times overlaps that of people into ‘spirituality,’ and one might argue is using drugs in a ‘positive’ way—is the subculture of ‘creatives’ such as musicians, actors, and artists (of various forms). Consider how many actors and musicians get into drug use, and the degrading ways this often affects them and their career, or even plays a significant role in their demise and death. Consider the amount of drug use among criminals—not the crime surrounding the sale and distribution of illicit drugs (which is obviously a problem created by society ignorantly making these plants and substances illegal), but the actual use of drugs by criminals (people engaged in life-degrading anti-social behaviour). I am sure you have sufficient social and worldly awareness to continue adding to this list of drug use among people often in a degraded state of consciousness.
I am not suggesting drug use is inherently ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’—nothing is. My point is simply that it doesn’t take much investigation to see there is a strong parallel between drug use and people who have lost their dignity as a Spirit and as a human being, and people in a degenerate state of being. Did the drugs “cause” this, or did their degenerate state lead them into using drugs? That answer is not what’s important, and is not likely to present a clear and one-way cause-effect relationship. What’s important is recognising the parallels between human degeneration and drug use, which are not hard to see.
I encourage you to investigate (inwardly, with your Heart) the many other subcultures that commonly get into drug use.
The point here is to make your own investigation of looking at the wider culture and human behaviour commonly (in general terms) surrounding drug use. What clues might this provide us with about the possible effects of on-going drug use, the level of human consciousness such use resonates and aligns with, and the unseen psychic issues linked to drug use?
I should add, if you are anything like I was during my period of drug exploration (primarly between the age of 15 to 18, by the way), it’s very likely you believe your situation is different. That your use of drugs is more ‘sacred’ and ‘sanctified.’ That you use them with a different intention, and that makes it all positive. These things may or may not be the true. But whatever the case, my point here is to en-courage you to make an effort to inwardly investigate the sort of human activities and states of consciousness most predominant when it comes to drug use. And to then investigate, spiritually (in your Heart, not rationally—although that wouldn’t go amiss) as to why that might be the case.
Entities and demons
Yes, you read that right. As much as a lot of fluffy New Age spirituality might try to deny it, or ignore it, or in some way write it off as “this stuff does not apply to me,” entities, inorganic beings, Malu (an ancient Hawaiian Huna term for ‘life-taking spirits’), demons, dark-forces, malevolent spirits, etc., etc., etc., are very real at a metaphysical level (ie. in the astral realms). Surprisingly few people are aware of them, but that doesn’t mean they not affected by them. On the contrary, I would say it’s our wide-spread lack of awareness that makes these dark forces all the more effective and troublesome.
On a regular basis I will identify a cannabis user by simply observing the darkened haze around and in their head centres, and by the type of entities in their luminous field. These entities will usually be around the head region, but they are can also show up elsewhere in addition to being around the head. A good friend of mine who is an exceptional, world recognised energy healer, with amazing clairvoyance, has the same experience. Just much more vividly than I do. Just walking in a room where people recently smoked (or commonly smoke) the green weed, and she can “see” this to be the case. How? Because she’ll “see” the entities hanging around, and when she tracks their source, she’ll “see” they are linked with marijuana use. I went out of my way to confirm the accuracy of this on many occasions.
It is not my intention to do a full write-up on entities in this article. I’ll leave that for another time. If it’s a topic you wish to know more about, for now I suggest reading through the site by Peter MichaelPlease don’t consider this an endorsement of Peter’s work or healing practice. I have no experience with it, and have not met him. I … Continue reading. What I will say is that using psychoactive substances under inappropriate circumstances is perhaps the fastest way to open ourselves up to a whole host of life-taking forces, entities, and energies. I will add that establishing or identifying ‘appropriate circumstances’ is not something a great many people are likely to have any meaningful clue about, and the majority of ‘spiritual drug users’ I have met have did not understand much, if anything, about establishing suitable circumstances for safely and cleaning exploring the realms made available to them by ingesting entheogenic plants and substances.
I am being frank and up front about these things not from a sense of superiority, but from a sense of wishing to make it very clear there is a great deal more involved in safely and cleaning using entheogenic substances than most people realise. Can it be done safely? For sure. Is that common? Not from my perspective. Yet I am aware of people who get easily self-deluded about their own abilities in this regard, and can easily think, “Oh yeah, but this entity stuff doesn’t apply to me… I know what I am doing,” or “I just call upon the light, and that sorts those dark-forces out.” It would be nice if it were that easy. Reading a few Carlos Castaneda books, for instance, is unlikely to give you the necessary tools and wisdom to safely and cleaning use entheogenic plants.
Psychic Links and Energetic Associations
This is a topic I will write about in more detail in another article. I will only broach it here for some initial consideration, as it is beyond the scope of this article.
In simple terms, Life has increasingly revealed to me the profound spiritual significance of links, connections, and associations. I’ll simply call these ‘links.’ This may be direct links, such as the link you directly have with your mother and father (for example), and indirect links such as the links we make through intention, and intentional actions and activities.
Imagine five light bulbs all lined up on the ceiling, with no wiring. They just site there, and do not affect each other. Now, if we link three of these light bulbs with copper wire, the continue to have very little meaningful effect on each other. Just three light bulbs linked in a circuit with some wire. Let’s say we connect one of the remaining two light bulbs to a source of electricity. The bulb lights up. Then we link that one bulb up to one of the three bulbs we joined up previously. All three of those bulbs will light up. The one remaining bulb that’s own its own—without links to any other bulb—is the only bulb not illuminated. Coming back to the illuminated bulbs: One bulb was directly linked to a source of electricity. And that bulb was linked up to just one of the other three, but all three light up because they are linked together.
This is an example—albeit a somewhat basic one—of the significance of links. At the risk of oversimplifying things, I will say it is your relatively strong psychic links with your parents and siblings that enable them to have a stronger psychic influence on you than perhaps most of your friends. These are what I’ve referred to as direct links, meaning that there’s a tangible or exogenous connection—they are links formed through factors external to your (conscious) intentOf course, it can be argued all connections result from our intention on some level, and the notion of “external” and … Continue reading. But there are also endogenous links, those that come about through an inward act of intention, and the focus of our attention. These are links we generate from within ourselves, as an act of conscious intent.
These principles are put to effect in a great many religions. For example, in many yogic and Tibetan Tantric Buddhist traditions a great deal of emphasis is put on inwardly visualising the lineage holders of the tradition, or perhaps the enlightened master, Being, or Deity, who originated the tradition. What this is understood to do is to provide the practitioner with the psychic support of the lineage or masters who utilised the same spiritual practices for their liberation, even it that was thousands of years ago. Psychic links transcend time and space. Merit and grace is understood to be derived from such links. Rather than doing a particular Kriya or yogic practice in one’s own private world, the practitioner is advised to deeply link in (through the power of imagination and visualisation) with the enlightened beings who originated and/or used these practices. This strengthens your own practice, and provides a level of protection, support, and spiritual upliftment. People focused on the dark arts and dark forms of occultism will go to great length to create links with demons and dark-forces. It is understood that the stronger and more plentiful their links with powerful demons, the stronger the effects of their sorcery and ceremonies will be, and the more powerful the results.
I am barely scratching the surface of this topic. But hopefully this is sufficient to get at least an initial appreciation of the nature and effect of our psychic links.
Coming back to what I mentioned about degraded human behaviour and subcultures in A Few Clues, above, you may be starting to put one and one together. That’s as much as I’ll say on this for now. You can figure out the rest.
Does this mean we should not use such substances at all?
I would have to say the appropriate answer is different for each person, and something only you can answer for yourself.
The key consideration is this: If you feel moved to explore the use of entheogenic substances it is vitally important to be very clear on how you go about it AND very clear on when it is time to drop it and move on. As soon as the substance becomes addictive and/or when it ceases to bring about genuine and meaningful expanding of your consciousness, it may be time to drop it, detoxify (many drugs leave toxicity in the body), and move on. What’s more, if you notice you have any kind of dependence on the substance, then greater self-awareness is called for. For instance, if you depend on smoking pot in order to “have a good time” or to simply go out and socialise, I would suggest you are deluding yourself if you think you are using cannabis for “spiritual” purposes.
But there is a common trap: The majority of “spiritual” drugs users I have met, in my opinion, lack the necessary discernment and spiritual self-awareness to know when that time has arrived. If one continues to use these substances beyond that point, it typically becomes harder and harder to see the fact it is time to move on. That’s when many drug users, including those who do it for “spiritual” reasons, end up in the spiritually deluded states I mentioned above.
Speaking a little more about dependency and needing drugs to socialise: Going out into dense environments such as parties, nightclubs, bars, movie theatres, big gatherings/raves, etc., under the influence of psychoactive substances is highly unlikely to help you evolve spiritually. Such activity is highly likely to expose you to a significant amount of discordant energies, entities, and shadow forces, and under the influence of drugs there will be very little you can consciously do to identify, avoid, or ward off these energies. Basically you’re a sitting duck. Remember, Man is primarily psychic being far more than a physical one. We are more greatly affected by psychic phenomenon and on a psychic level, than on a physical level.
What if I am already using drugs?
The most common state-changing substance I see in use—aside from alcohol and perhaps tobacco—among spiritual seekers is cannabis. I’ve met and known a lot of cannabis users, from a great many walks of life. This is not surprising, when I consider that in 2014 a United Nations report of global drug use indicated 14-15% of New ZealandersData gather by United Nations, from 2012, and sourced from New Zealand Government, as detailed here and here (specifically). (where I was born and raised) use cannabis.
From where I stand, if a person has been using cannabis (for its consciousness altering effects), consistently, for more than perhaps 1 to 6 months at most (depending on how often they use it in that time), they have very likely surpassed the point at which it would be best (life-giving) to drop it.
Of course, this presumes you wish to continue developing spiritually.
The spiritual aspirant—or what I sometimes refer to as the warrior, at an archetypal level—prizes and protects two things above all else:
- her sobriety as Man, and
- her impeccability as Spirit
A few months of cannabis use, as an exogenous means to altered states of consciousness, is likely to give a person all the meaningful benefits cannabis can provide, before it starts taking a troublesome toll. Beyond that it starts to diminish our sobriety in a way that becomes increasingly hard to get clear from. Clarity is lost, and our lucidity is then lost and or distorted. If you’re reading this, as a yoga or meditation practitioner, for instance, and you’ve been using cannabis for more than six months, I suggest it may be time to take a serious and honest look at what purpose your cannabis usage is really serving in your world. Using it just a few times will open many people up in the ways it so readily can. But that’s all the use and meaningful purpose it can serve, ultimately. If you haven’t got it within a few months then you’ve likely missed it, or overstepped it. I’d say it’s time to take another look at what you’re using it for.
Past experience tells me, however, that people who use habitually—however often or regularly—experience strong and convincing sentiments toward using it, and against the suggestion it may be spiritually (i.e. psychically) detrimental. That, to me, is a fairly sure sign there are infiltrating forces using the cannabis user, in much the same way the person is using cannabis—as a spiritual crutch.
Does the experience stabilise?
This is an important consideration for any serious spiritual aspirant, which I will explain. In yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices, a key prerequisite to successful and continued spiritual development through such yogic and meditative application, is a certain subtle (and yet grounded) stabilisation into the fruits of the practices. This stabilisation of the practice and, more particularly, its effects, is not something easy to explain in rational terms. I won’t attempt to do so in this article.
What I will say is that in my experience, this stabilisation takes lengthy and disciplined self-application into the practice at hand. It is not something most people—if any—are likely to achieve through the relatively haphazard experience of shifting their consciousness through the use of psychoactive substances. For sure, as already mentioned, the experiences from these substances may, in certain cases, provide a pertinent glimpse into a less contracted (i.e. less filtered) perception of reality, which may prove to provide a stronger motivation for deeper self-investigation and spiritual self-application. But unless the practitioner (or spiritual aspirant) develops and builds upon a stabilisation of ‘consciousness’ or ‘subtle spiritual awareness and organisation’ within their luminous body and the manifest expression of their luminous body (i.e. their mind-body / physical form), it’s often-times a mistake to believe genuine spiritual progress is being achieved. From where I stand, it is safe to say this stabilisation is not at all likely to be attained through drug use. And, almost without exception, drugs use will in fact work against this stabilisation.
Is it worth it?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Only you can answer this for yourself. There’s not fixed, set-in-stone right or wrong in this Universe. There is simply that which is life-giving (i.e. supports and is aligned with LIFE), and that which is life-taking (i.e. detracts from and misaligns with LIFE).
My view is this: For the vast majority of people the spiritual costs of on-going drug use far outweigh the potential benefits. Even using some of these substances just once or a few times can have long-lasting negative psychic effects. Often only a spiritual Master with clear spiritual sight will even be able to see these negative psychic effects. Is that something you wish to take your chances on? Maybe? Maybe not?
What’s more, the costs—the price you will very likely pay—are pretty much guaranteed, whereas the benefits are only potential benefits. You may or may not derive much in the way of spiritually meaningful and sustained benefits. It’s a gamble. Added to this is the fact that consistent self-application into a right-approach to a basic yoga and meditation practice is likely to bring about the same benefits, and these are long term benefits that through ongoing discipline will stay with you for life.
It all comes down to Intent
What’s your intention in life? That’s what counts. Are you simply intent on having some relatively haphazard spiritual/psychic blasts—a few times, or maybe on an on-going basis—in order to break free of feeling entrapped in mundane reality? Is that what you’re looking for? If so, then psychoactive drugs are likely your best bet. I have no intention of dissuading you from the path you intend to walk. I simply invite to you walk it with awareness, in Consciousness.
If, however, deep in the hidden sanctuary of your Heart you have a sincere and un-ignorable wish to consciously connect in with what it means to be a fully embodied, cosmically aware, and self-realised, Spirit within the human experience, aligned with Divinity and the ineffable super-intelligence of Life (the Mother), then from my own direct experience and years of spiritual training, I would say drugs is very very unlikely to be best way to fulfil such an intent. What’s more, there’s a high chance (no pun intended) that certain drug experiences may become major hurdles in fulfilling such an intent.
If that later example of Intent is something you relate to and resonate with, I will simply say that Divinity created you (i.e. MAN) and your luminous body in an exquisitely intelligent way. Inherent in your design is the means to methodically, diligently, and gracefully awaken into the full potential available to you in this life-time. In simple terms, that means awakening into full conscious awareness—just as much as you are aware you are reading these roads right now—of who you are as Spirit, where you originated (your Genesis) as Spirit, and exactly why you are here, as Spirit (i.e. your true holistic function or purpose in Creation).
Summary / Conclusion
In summary, the major potential and highly probable cost of using these substances is the infiltration of shadow forces, entities, and negative energies into the luminous body. This is profoundly tricky and challenging situation because these kinds of infiltration can affect they way we think, feel, and “see” (spiritually). It doesn’t take much for these forces to establish a veil in the psyche of Man that prevents most people from ever knowing they are there. It’s a big gamble, and a high risk for a bit of fairly low-level, haphazardly induced spiritual awareness. You will, of course, have to follow your own inner knowing of what is right-action for you. Only you can make that call.
I hope this brief article has touched on enough pertinent points to be useful to you on your journey. Take nothing I say as true or for granted. It’s your responsibility to make something of what you’ve just read. For something to be true for you, you have to apply yourself in order to make it true, through your own direct experience and wisdom, and through sincere Self-investigation.
If you find yourself reacting adversely to this article, ask yourself this: Who is the one reacting to these words?
P.S. Jan 2015: I apologise for the many grammatical and typographic errors and omissions in this article. I wrote it in somewhat of a hurry, and have yet to edit it as fully as required.
Footnotes & References
|⇧1||Many of these terms can be seen here in this thesaurus|
|⇧2||Please don’t consider this an endorsement of Peter’s work or healing practice. I have no experience with it, and have not met him. I simply find his website gives very clear, detailed, and relatively accurate information about entities, dark-forces, etc.|
|⇧3||Of course, it can be argued all connections result from our intention on some level, and the notion of “external” and “internal” is false. But for the sake of simplicity and brevity, I am using language that is relatively ordinary and understandable in every day terms|
|⇧4||Data gather by United Nations, from 2012, and sourced from New Zealand Government, as detailed here and here (specifically).|
thanks for this great article of yours; it’s really important to keep on bringing this message accross.I have as well encountered so many people actively pursuing their spiritual path and development whilst they are also engaged in habitual drug use. But drugs are not the only problem. The amount of alcohol many people consume on a daily basis is now so epidemic that drug use starts to look like “childs play” in comparison.
Thank you as well for the ping back to my article.
All the best.
Yes, alcohol consumption has become so accepted in modern society (although it has throughout history). Alcohol is a sedative, and I think it tells us something important about society when significant numbers of people in that society feel the need to sedate themselves on a daily basis.
can drugs cause you to experience the lower astral realms? i had an experience at a coffee shop where my coffee was spiked. i was told i would go to the astral realms and have an experience i laughed it off. i didnt believe it. i got home went to bed and felt something go up my spine and into my brain and found my self going lower and lower to the lowre astral realms and i had an experience there. what kind of drugs can cause these kind of experiences?
Absolutely. That’s where most psychoactive drugs lead the attention of the partaker.
If you drink was “spiked” without you consent or knowledge (prior to you drinking it) I trust you reported the person the police. I consider drugging someone without consent a serious violation of one’s right to a state of sobriety, sovereignty, and one’s dignity.
In terms of what drugs can cause that? Many.
I gotta agree with you almost 100% and I thank and appreciate this work.
Use of drugs for spiritual growth by a student of spirituality can be really risky in the early stages. Spirituality is just a word which has different meaning to different individual. when the idea of being spiritual is not in sync with the will of nature any thing can be path to delusion.
Even if one practice yoga in a wrong attitude or wrong way it can have serious destructive effects.Also the spacing out effect or loss of grounding like drugs.
Recognizing this fact, in yoga and tantra literature a Guru is said to be essential before starting to practice.
Same applies to Psychedelics which are more potent and difficult to manage than yoga.(Where is the shaman?)
Like yoga we can get everlasting effects with drugs too. I mean doors can be opened. But that is only when we use them according to the pure will of nature that springs out of the heart(Dharma), never according to any spiritual idea in the mind or for being at peace for sometime. ie. Serving the nature with nature. Only then the entities can help us without creating any troubles. Otherwise they are forced to help us by creating troubles. I think that is the only difference.
I have used marijuana without and with a Guru. The difference after doing it with Guru is that I don’t feel like doing it any more. The Marijuana goddess have done her best and she and I are happy about it.
I am not saying that everything was easily happening to me from the day I began my journey. I had the fog in my head from ganja,yoga and vedanta as well. I am only saying that we all have to keep on experimenting with everything we feel and try to hear what nature is telling though our hearts. Inevitably one day we will have clear vision without any fog before our eyes.
Then the Psychedelics for you is a tool to debug the matrix in high speed.
Hello Shivoham, Thanks for sharing.
Yes, indeed. As you have discovered, there is nothing fixed one way or the other in this world. All is an interplay of two sides. The same applies with the use of entheogenic substances (psychoactive plants, etc.), as it does for yogic practices, etc. I’ve met plenty of yoga teachers / practitioners who have, in my observation, deviated from the deep heart-level intent of what it is they are practising. Many become cold, rigid, and hard in the heart, which is ironic considering yoga asana is intended to make one more supple, open, flexible… physically and energetically. I can only assume people in such circumstances either didn’t have an appropriate teacher, or had a teacher that was him/herself limited in the same ways.
It’s a fine line we walk.
I think we agree that such substances have a place, and that they should be approached mindfully, with awareness, or not at all.
The potential catch 22 for some people is that the motivation to use such substances is brought about by a lack of awareness and the discontent that arises from that. Those who are content within their own being will rarely feel drawn to drugs in a casual way or haphazard way. What makes it even more tricky is that if they are working with something like Ayahuasca, and the Ayahuascero guiding the process is not sufficient Awake (and/or has self-centred intentions) then the aspirant is placing himself into a precarious situation. Of course, that situation will lead to a particular set of consequences, and the aspirant can learn from those. Ultimately we all must go through what we must go through.
Thank you for sharing. I appreciate it.
what can be done if lsd and mushrooms have been used and a long pot usage history (20 years or more) if one is infected by these entitities how does one proceed forward, I have been noticing pot now makes me very nervous and ungrounds me and I feel ready to give it up but I am addicted as well, what can I do about entities
This is a vital question. One that I’ll need to spend some time on if I am to do it (and you) justice. Like most things of this nature, there is no one answer. Unfortunately it’s not a one size fits all deal. So I’d only be able to write a general response. I am traveling for the next week or so, and intend to address your question after that. With heart…. Jonathan
The claim that past three to six months there are no more benefits to gain from a drug with anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-carcinogenic and other widely beneficial effects is bizarre. You say “What’s more, the costs—the price you will pay—are pretty much guaranteed, whereas the benefits are only potential benefits” yet the truth is the opposite. The health benefits (neuroprotection, improved sleep, reduced insulin tolerance, protection against tumours, etc) are pretty much guaranteed and the demonstrable harms are rare. I understand that you’re speaking specifically of spiritual effects, but there are many people who find marijuana to be of continual use over the course of many years, for many different reasons, including as an adjunct to various forms of meditation, to relieve stress and to stimulate the imagination. You’re right that progress on the spiritual path will require a lot more than mere glimpses through a window, but you’re wrong to focus so narrowly on one form of potential benefits while ignoring its many other uses.
What do you make of the use of marijuana by Sadhus as part of the practice of renunciation?
Thanks for sharing your perspective.
As you point out, this article is specifically about people using drugs for “spiritual” purposes. I could add to that point and say that the anticipated audience of this article are people who use, used, or are considering using drugs for spiritual reasons. In my vocation I come across a significant number of people who fit into that description, and oftentimes they are struggling to hold themselves in the world (spiritually speaking, and quite often in a pragmatic sense too).
I agree that cannabis (and MDMA, LSD, Ayahuasca, etc.) have potential and at times “proven” medicinal properties (physical and psychological) under the right circumstances (i.e. a therapeutic setting, although of course these benefits are not limited to that setting). However, it was not the intention of this article to go into that. It is my observation that the vast (by a long shot) majority of people using psychoactive substances are doing so for recreational purposes (tripping, getting high, etc.). Therefore, that’s what this article addresses.
As an aside: I am aware it has become rather hip in recent years for people I meet to refer to cannabis as “medicine” even when they are using it purely for the high/trip rather than medicinally (anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-carcinogenic effects, etc.). Oftentimes I observe an element of denial on the part of the pot smoker who calls cannabis “medicine” as if that somehow justifies using it.
Having said all that, the potential negative spiritual/psychic effects of cannabis are not eliminated just because someone is using it as an anti-inflammatory. The vast majority of people I meet in modern societies are not aware of the astral planes and what plays out there. The vast majority of cannabis smokers I have met who are riddled (and obviously troubled) by one or more—usually more—entities typically have no idea that’s the source of many of their difficulties. For this reason alone, I would highly recommend someone using it for purely medicinal purpose also explore what other less psychoactive herbs might be equally effective, AND that they put some serious intent and focus into understanding and clearing the root cause of their inflammation (and whatever other health issues they have, as inflammation is rarely as isolated issue). Of course I (and the bulk of the writing on this website) am speaking from the perspective of a A Path of Freedom. Many are not on that path (at least not directly), and much of what I write on this site would not be of interest to them. Of course, that’s perfectly okay. I am speaking, first and foremost, to those few among us who have a genuine interest in coming back into alignment with their Divine Nature, and living in accordance with the profoundly life-affirming Intention emerging from the Spacious Intelligence of LIFE… or from what some refer to as The Mother.
… I could go on to say that there are plenty of other ways to get neuro-protection, improved sleep, reduced insulin tolerance, protection against tumours, etc. The same goes for many (if not most) pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, medical procedures, etc. and their “proven” benefits. Of course, there are people whose situation (for whatever reason) has deteriorated to the point that medical intervention is the most life-affirming step for them to take. That intervention may require pharmaceuticals, it may require ingesting cannabis. Such an intervention may be excellent at alleviating their symptoms, yet we must not confuse that with the person “healing” from their underlying malady.
With regard to the point you bring up about the Sadhus. Rather than getting into arguing with you, and without affirming or negating the activity of these Sadhus (which is a generalisation anyway), I’ll simply point out that it’s highly unlikely ANY of the people who read this article are Sadhus. So to me it seems like a mute point.
Again, thanks for sharing.
I wish you all the best in your journey.
Thanks for the response.
You’re right that somebody currently pursuing renunciation is unlikely to be on the internet and reading your articles. However, there may be people who come across your work who may consider taking up such a practice in the future, or already feel drawn in that direction, and may even feel intuitively that cannabis and datura have their place within such a path (I know of people like this, who are confused and looking for answers, because here in the West we don’t have a well known tradition of renunciation so those who are drawn to it often have little knowledge or support). While I agree that it can be dangerous to open yourself up to psychic influences, as both these drugs do (datura is obviously especially hazardous and we can agree that most people shouldn’t be playing with it), and that without the structure of ceremony and tradition the benefits will be less pronounced, I can’t agree that these drugs stop being of any use to a spiritual practitioner after only a few months.
I hear what you’re saying about people citing “medical” use as an excuse, but I’d like to counter that many of the health benefits of cannabis are generally applicable and not restricted to people who are using it as a medicine to address a particular ailment. So you may see that somebody “just wants to get high,” but it’s likely that they’re also healthier for doing so, and the two go hand in hand. And what’s wrong with getting high? It’s said that, high on bhang, Lord Shiva was moved to dance, and that his dance neutralised the poison of Time.
You say there are many other ways to get the benefits that cannabis offers, and that may be, but it is one of them, and its benefits are neither few nor obscure.
Some spiritual practitioners follow a path of sobriety and avoid anything which could influence their state of mind. I understand this and especially understand why, for them, cannabis is anathema. As you say, it leaves a cloudiness in its wake, and, as you say, it opens us up to astral influences, which may be unwanted if not properly managed. “Right hand path” practitioners should of course avoid it. But there are many other spiritual practices and traditions in which it can absolutely be of spiritual benefit over the course of many years.
Anyway, just so you know where I’m coming from, I’m an anthropologist in my late 20s whose research speciality is consciousness alteration; I did my ethnographic fieldwork with young drug users in Toronto, Canada. My spiritual training has been in Ahimsa Yoga and Taoist internal arts (Qi Gong, Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, just started Taijiquan). My understanding is that cannabis is very useful for many reasons, but is not without its harms, drawbacks and contraindications. Most of the writing on the subject of marijuana is exclusively pro or exclusively anti, and I try to argue both sides from the middle. I appreciate your article and your response for doing something similar, although I disagree with some of your conclusions. I’d be interested to hear more of your thoughts about how a spiritual practitioner who intends to continue using cannabis might protect theirself from the downsides.
I appreciate you taking the time to share your point of view, and to do so in a thoughtful and congenial manner.
I could go through your comment point-by-point, and provide another perspective, and I suppose that’s what might be expected of me. Yet my heart feels completely disinterested. I get the impression your persona has a significant investment in the advocation of drug use, and that this is likely a cause for you to want to hold onto a certain fixed position in that regard. From my perspective, I see that this is serving a subtle agenda certain ‘forces’ you are linked to are happily benefiting from. That’s okay, and yet we are going to run into the challenge that I am ultimately neither for or against drug use. I’ve been on both sides of that proverbial fence, and if I had the inclination I could make an equally convincing argument both for and against the notion that drug-use is legitimate in the context of spiritual awakening. As it is, however, I am without that inclination. I am also disinterested in whether you agree with my “conclusions” or not. I actually have no conclusion, per se. Rather, I have given voice to a what perceive to be a much needed perspective on the matter.
What might be more fruitful for you spiritually, if you’re up to the challenge, and if you don’t take offence to me saying so, is to invest time/energy self-investigating what it is that motivates you to use and promote the use of psychoactive substances in the first place. I am not speaking about the effect of that motivation upon your personality, such as any beliefs you might have, or anything that can be mentalised (such as much of what you’ve put forth in your comments). Rather, what I am suggesting is an intense and persistent self inquiry (“recapitulation” in other terminology) from the perspective of your spirit. What is creating that motivation, from an energetic/spiritual perspective? Why would a Spirit that is in alignment with The Divine, have any need or desire for the ongoing use of psychoactive substances? What gives rise to that need? Does it come from The Divine, or does it come from something else?
With regard to your closing question: in a way it’s not unlike a criminal asking how they can keep committing crime (with all their justifications and rationalisations of why it is perfectly okay to do so [the poor balancing the excesses of the rich, or whatever they have come up with]) whilst protecting themselves from the potential legal and social consequences of such actions. What answer could any sensible person give them?
Every act comes with possible consequences, and a each consequence with a certain probability within the given context. For a spiritual practitioner on a Path of Freedom, the question you have asked would be best related to as indicative of a deficiency/mis-command/distortion/blind-sidedness in the practitioners consciousness (/luminous body), and would thus be cause for self-inquiry, with the intent to clear whatever it is that is blocking the spontaneous emergence of their natural enlightened nature.
I would suggest such a practitioner firmly dedicate time/energy into being engaged in genuine spiritual practices (those that don’t require their dependance on substances for what is otherwise a natural quality of their Being) as taught in any traditional that still holds true to the Original Knowledge as held and realised in the Heart. I can guarantee that with a suitable teacher to guide them through such an profound process they will sooner rather than later become lucidly aware of what was motivating them to use drugs and, for that matter, to engage in all sorts of other activities that have very little value to their Spirit.
At this point I wish you all the best in your endeavours. May the Grace of the Mother bring you the healing/wholeness you seek.
My commitment to defending the legitimacy of techniques of alteration is grounded in an embodiment of difference. My idiosyncratic cognitive makeup, childhood traumas, social milieux and the passionate theories with which I work as an academic all push me to reject neuronormativity. There cannot be but one perfect state of mind, and there is no self beyond influence. What good is a path of freedom laid out exclusively in the sacred image of the Same, founded in a doctrine of return?
I do not desire a return to a perfect self, for such a self never existed. What I desire is a diversification of possible thrivings, for the promising monsters who are my friends and lovers to blossom and exceed my imaginings. For plants and animals to exist in relation to each other and to work for mutual benefit. For people to visit many states of consciousness and to create new ways of being through art, ritual, as well as botany and chemistry and much besides. I do not wish for the illusion of purity to dominate and exclude all that it does not comprehend. I live within a world of constant surprises, of amazement and discovery, rich with textures and shapes beyond the limits of language, surrounded by beings of terrible suffering and inestimable potential. This world of lovers, textual, mineral and organic, calls to me to speak of it, to assert its reality as I encountered it. Ethnography is an embodied practice married to specificity. Some of my respondents have experienced harms from drugs; most have received benefit. Out of love for the Other, I wish to celebrate those benefits and to mitigate those harms. I will not deny the existence of either nor abide its erasure.
My affinity is with mutants, and my object of study is mutagens. I am not attached to any particular outcome, nor do I desire to escape the world; I want to watch it grow into something I never would have thought possible.
I know stillness and simplicity; I know also amour fou and the ecstasies of the dancing god. Both have merit, and both lead to compassionate nonattachment.
Based on what you have shared, I see there is a great deal of similarity in our world views. The apparent differences that you appear to be speaking to, and in what you espouse as your path, are far more subtle than you appear to realise. Subtle, and yet not to be ignored, for they are significant in their impact.
BTW… “desiring [or not] to return to a perfect state” is not something I brought up. I assume you have misinterpreted something I shared. However, there is no need to bother explaining.
The path I live (and write/teach about) is a Path of Freedom. This “freedom” is, in simple terms, the ability to utilise one’s intent to choose Divine alliance over and above all other options Man appears to have available to him in this transitory and illusionary world of form.
The path you describe sounds very much to me like what some traditions refer to as The Path of High Adventure. Nothing wrong with that, per se, but it’s a different journey. What you share (here, and on your web site) indicates or implies an interest (conscious, or otherwise) in what could be referred to as sorcery. That also has its limitations. To a seer your plight and challenge as a Being is rather clear and obvious. However, any seer will note that blind-sidedness gets the better of you. Most especially your apparent lack of awareness of the ways in which your luminous body has been marked or tagged, and how this (from shortly after conception) has drawn, and continues to draw, to you forces of influence that have a vested interest in your continuing to use and advocate the use of psychoactive substances (among other things). I shall bow out of this discussion with that.
Best of luck to you Michael. May you enjoy the journey you are on. May it bring you what your spirit truly seeks.
Hi Michael this is Zach writing, I have been trying to contact you about something important re what you have written on your wordpress site. Please contact me at [email protected]… peace and compassion.
Brilliant article… many bitter pills for me to swallow but i guess life itself is trying to tell me the same thing… thank you sir, in humble acceptance…
Right on Jonathan. Well put together article. Sadly, their is too much spiritual arrogance in the world.
Great article Jonathan! Thanks.
Great article Jonathan! Thanks.
Hello, I found your article very interesting and enlightening. I have used psychedelic drugs in my youth and cannabis darkens with them from time. I do meditation and continue a search looking for someone who can truly help me on the spiritual path. Consumed cannabis due to health problems and that helped me a lot but never liked to meditate after consuming, ultimemente use only cannabis CBD is without THC, the spiritual level cannabis only with CBD drops also affects the spiritual level and that form?
I intend to continue in the future to and evolve spiritually through meditation and perhaps sporadic form some hallucinogenic substance or cannabis but surely to find but only with meditation.
My big doubt is that our mind has a tendency to be either for or against and never in the middle, I think that the ideal was to use it and not be affected by anything, transcending all good and evil.
Hi Marcos, Thanks for sharing.
I think you are correct… the mind of many people does display that tendency.
Question: Does being “in the middle” mean one ceases to be aware of—and thus, able to discern between—what you’re referring to as “good and evil”? In my experience the middle way is not one in which we become oblivious of what’s in front of us, or in which the pervading reality in which we experience ourselves ceases to display its character and qualities. Rather, our relationship to that display changes. What’s more, if one has truly attained a stabilised state of “being in the middle” (i.e. centred in the direct experience of reality as it is, without projection, etc.) would such a person in fact have any particular use for “hallucinogenic substances”? Would the natural arising and display of reality, as it is, not be sufficient?
From where I stand, every soul actively engaged in its process, has to make a choice between the Path of Wisdom, or the Path of High Adventure. Neither is “right” or “wrong,” and neither is “better” or “worse.” And yet each has its own particular consequences for those who walk it. The path I promote and assist people with is the Path of Wisdom (the path of the Heart). For the simple reason that my spirit has a predilection for that path, despite tendencies in the past to at times have explored the Path of High Adventure. I am relatively familiar with them both, at a soul level, and am quite clear on which I find most life-affirming.
I wish you all the best… on your path.
Thank you so much for this article. I’m just recently getting to know about the hazards of ayhuasca like the intrusion of entities even though I had a very healing experience myself (at least how I perceive it). You named two intentions for using plant medicine: awaken spiritually and experiencing our Divine nature, but I wanted to ask you what you think of ayahuasca and other plant medicines just purely as a means for healing, for releasing negative energies/entities (maybe aquired though trauma who knows what other life experiences). I have the feeling this is what I experienced, mainly though the purging (throwing up) and certainly also the help of the shamaness. (Although this included drinking a lot of water which may be harmful too).
Do you think there are more appropriate and safer ways to release and get rid of these negative energies and entities?
Thank you!! Would love to hear your opinion.
Warm regards Juliette
Thank you for your important insights and question. In the Diving Mother’s creation, everything has its place, and natural function. My understanding is that for the vast majority of souls (if not all), using Ayahuasca to heal was not something the Mother originally intended for this plant and its spirit. It has its own powerful function in the plant world, but that didn’t involve human beings. Through Man’s decent into loss of consciousness, resulting from a rebellion that took place in spirit (to put it all VERY simply), we have found all sorts of ways to try and recover what we lost. There are, however, ways the Mother design for the spirit of Man to recover consciousness, and to maintain (not lose) consciousness. These rarely, if ever, required the use of psyche-active substances. These original methods of regaining and maintaining consciousness are actually natural functions inherent to our luminous body. Just as we have an immune system, digestive system, etc., each with a special function, we also have a “consciousness recovery / maintenance” system. It exists within the luminous body… within our subtle anatomy.
Does that mean no one should ever use something like Ayahuasca? Not necessarily. Just as it would be incorrect to say no one should ever undergo surgery to remove a cancerous tumor, or to repair a collapsed artery, etc. To some extent, we must use the healing methods available to us at the level of consciousness on which we are functioning. If that means using pharmaceutical drugs, herbs, entheogenic substances, etc., then so be it. If that’s the level on which we are functioning, then we must make best (and wise, and conscious, and intelligent) use of the health restoring methods available to us on that level. But here is the key. Man sets him/herself into serious trouble when he/she remains blind to the fact that the use of those methods was only necessitated by his/her loss of original consciousness and deep-seated rebelliousness or, put another way, our disobedience to the natural order or laws the Mother utilises to maintain balance and the fulfilment of her emergent creativity in the Creation we are a part of.
It is our profound and unavoidable responsibility to recover the consciousness we were created with, and within that consciousness to then recover our living memory of the ways the Diving Mother established for us to function harmoniously and co-creatively in her creation.
With heart… J