Author Topic: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?  (Read 36950 times)

Offline AClockworkWhite

  • Posts: 194
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #45 on: April 07, 2015, 06:49:39 am »
The proverbial song that never ends.... Have a nice life, random internet person.
I came here for the popcorn and stayed for the slaying of pretenders.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #46 on: April 07, 2015, 04:22:51 pm »
The proverbial song that never ends.... Have a nice life, random internet person.

Thanks. Next time I can't give a reason for my actions and I want to cut the conversation off I'll remember this one.

I hope you have a nice life too. I hope you feel like you accomplished something here.

Offline AClockworkWhite

  • Posts: 194
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #47 on: April 10, 2015, 03:31:31 pm »
Next time I don't bother to read why Natives don't agree with my self-appointing and appropriating, I'll be sure to act just like you and this guy: http://www.newagefraud.org/smf/index.php?topic=1524.15
I came here for the popcorn and stayed for the slaying of pretenders.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #48 on: April 10, 2015, 05:27:55 pm »
I've read that thread before. I spent quite a good bit of time reading through all the Ayahuasca/psychedelic threads before I registered because I wanted to make sure I didn't ask questions that been answered and I didn't want to replicate any intrusive behavior.

ACW, I want to apologize for my last response and for being defensive. I got frustrated and I should have used better words, but nonetheless I still stand by my position. I really, really don't understand where you think we are disagreeing. I am not appropriating anything. I have absolutely no intent to work with any kind of indigenous medicine whatsoever and nowhere in any of my posts did I say or imply otherwise. Nor did I self-appoint myself for anything. I saw an opportunity as someone who is already engaged with the psychedelic community to bring up the issue of appropriation, but I wanted to check in here first before doing it because I did not want to appoint myself and speak for ndn people. I understood that not everyone would approve and so I laid out the premise of the idea here. I didn't think it would be harmful to at least ask, because these kinds of projects are carried out by white people all of the time and NAFPS even has many of them listed as valuable resources for allies. I can see that you are uncomfortable with this and so obviously it is not something I will go forward with. I've honestly been really confused. All you had to say was that you would prefer if I did not write the article....you don't even have to explain why. Instead, I felt like my character was suddenly called into question and it felt like a personal attack (and it may very well not have been a personal attack, and I acknowledge that).

I hope you can accept my apology for any harm I might have caused, and also for the way in which I chose to engage with you. But I do not feel that I have been appropriative nor have I appointed myself as a liaison of any kind. I am sorry you feel this way. Please know that as long as you're willing I would love to try to figure this out. I don't disregard the fact that perhaps I did do something wrong, but as of right now I don't feel like that's been shown at all.

I really don't know what else to say. I hope you can understand what I'm trying to say and where I'm coming from, but if you don't that's OK. But for the record, I'm not writing an article and I'm not taking ayahuasca and I have no plans to. If you can find anywhere here that I have expressly said otherwise, I'd love to see it. But I've read through my posts and I can't find anything to suggest that I wanted to use these medicines for myself after folks expressed their feelings on the matter.

Offline kahtboosted

  • Posts: 27
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #49 on: April 10, 2015, 07:34:44 pm »
I do not wish to derail the main ideas of this thread, but I think Praxis bringing up tea is somewhat relevant to the discussion of appropriating. So I mention some info below:

In the Eastern world, where tea comes from, the drinking of it was spread largely by monks and masters. Temples in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, etc have had long standing traditions of sacred tea-ceremonies, or at the least using Tea for meditation, etc. Just one example, my Korean ancestors used to have ceremonies offering tea to the Ancestors, to the Buddha, and even to certain Nature-spirits, etc.

Well, these are real historical sacred traditions I'm talking about. The famous Japanese tea ceremony, although today is more of an elitist thing, is rooted in an ancient Chan/Seon/Zen ceremony. But don't put it past white people to exploit these traditions too. Just check out this site: http://heavenstea.net/
It's some guy ('Po the tea-monk) claiming to take people on 'tea journeys' for lots of money, using the same language as the white neo-shamans. They even have some hippy who comes there to teach about using tea as a 'plant spirit medicine', which is another common term among the white 'shamans' (especially those trained by the Cowans or who appropriate Huichol traditions). None of this mumbo jumbo represents the real tea traditions that were used for teaching self-cultivation, awareness, respect, or harmony. It is just applying new-age thinking where it doesn't belong, in order to turn a profit off of something supposedly 'sacred'. And as silly as this 'tea school' is with its high prices for bogus stuff, it is still very offensive and feeds off of racist stereotypes. And ofcourse the yuppies and new agers love this sort of thing. I stay away from this sort of stuff, as sipping tea with some neo-colonial culture-addicts (usually with very snobby attitudes) is not really my thing. Though the example is relevant here.

But having ancestors who used tea in sacred ceremonies throughout history, I have personally studied (and continue to study) some of the real tea traditions from China, Korea, and Japan (mostly for a meditative purpose, as well as part historical study). 'Way of Tea' or Cha-doh, is a real way of cultivating wisdom, friendship, meditation, etc, but people can still be secular with tea and just enjoy a cup of tea to wake up or whatever, that's fine (afterall, its not a powerful mind-altering entheogen like ayahuasca). But I was not surprised to find that many of the traditional masters are now surrounded by worshipful white who usually seem to to use tea/buddhism/eastern-spirituality/taoism for an image-crafting thing, all the while feeding their egoes and snobbery to no end. It's a whole scene of money, fake humility, elitism, entitlement-attitudes, and other ugliness. Even in the traditionals, its not only humble monks and daoists, there is plenty of traditional 'elitism' also in certain circles. The truly humble teachers of eastern traditions often focus on a 'spiritual' kind of lifestyle rather than advertising themselves as bigtime masters, etc.

What I want to get at is tea was a colonial racist thing from the start for westerners. Whites wanted to stop buying tea from the chinese so they made their own tea-plantations in Colonial India, where the tea-laborers were treated horribly and the natives were treated even worse (slavelike conditions, levelling of ancient forests, women systematically raped, etc). The native Assam tea in India wasnt very good for their tastes, so then they sent Robert Fortune to spy around China and secretly steal seeds, plants, etc from various production areas in China. They crossbred this stuff with the tea at colonial Assam to make a new popular white people's tea.

Not being from the cultures that use Ayahuasca, its not my place to really say who can use it. But my opinion still, is that people outside of that culture cultivating it, claiming it as a spiritual-insight or personal growth, etc, seems rather colonialistic, even dangerous. The modern world and mainstream culture do not have ceremonies or even teachers for safe use of 'entheogens' based on any wisdom-tradition or cultural assumptions, for promoting self-improvement, healing, or whatever. So they are reaching around in the dark. It's all between you and the spirits I guess, because nobody else will be there to help offer relevant insight, help sort through confusions, or promote safety, etc. You can just get lost in your own delusion without realizing it.

...I don't mean to derail this thread, but I do like to share this info to show that tea is not entirely irrelevant to this discussion or what NAFPS works for in general. In addition, when white people appropriate eastern traditions, it is not uncommon for them to start mixing in second-hand info about NDN cultures or from fake Celtic 'shaman' traditions, etc. I've seen it and even tried to educate some of them, but now I rarely bother because new-agers and yuppies are too arrogant to listen about their own colonial assumptions and habits (as are the majority of white race), let alone actually cross-examine them. Just because entheogens exist, does not mean they are tools for self-development. There are naturally-occurring 'psychadelics' here in the PNW where I live, but as far as I know, they were not considered sacred tools by local tribes and traditions. Rather it seems the traditions around here preferred to drum/sing themselves into the state they needed to reach, not needing any kind of mind-altering substances. Maybe they were quite wise about entheogens (as opposed to being ignorant of their existence and supposed usefulness).

If one wishes to explore with entheogens on their own, they are just that, on their own. No wisdom tradition or wise teacher will be there to endorse what you are doing, or to help you through it if difficulty arises. You will have to figure it out all on your own. Hopefully you will still be safe after continuing all of your explorations, and not fall over the 'deep end' as some people do with these things.

One last thought for consideration:
Not taking any 'sides', but I think Praxis' questions and open discussion here are at least a good thing. Among some of my Black-activist friends (especially those who dabble in afrocentrism, or claim to be RastafarI, etc), I have seen alot of new-age behavior spreading lately. Many get rather arrogant and don't want to hear what they are doing is colonialistic, false, or white because they just hold stereotypes about their own Afrikan ancestors the same way some people promote stereotypes about NDNs. This comes from a 'slave-mentality', people who are kind of separated from their roots and end up making the same mistakes and assumptions as the dominant demographic, the supremacist white culture (but with an 'afro-centric' flavor to the new-age, pseudo-science, and the rest of the stupidity). They spread/write/teach/do offensive new-age stuff and think they are reclaiming their Black identity. So the more we can promote understanding and respect across different demographics, cultures, communities, I personally feel the more progress we are making. Even just the concern for respect is a start, a place to begin PRODUCTIVE dialogue. Conversations like those taking place throughout this thread (even if their are disagreements).

Thanks to those who may have read this posting and possibly considered these thoughts as relevant here. Mods can delete if they do not find it relevant, but i wanted to offer these thoughts and info to this thread at least.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2015, 09:51:46 pm »
I just want to clarify the tea thing here. While your recollection of history might be correct, that analogy was exactly what I was trying to avoid when I wrote it.

Sky asked me:

Quote
Praxis,

Are you aware that the indigenous medicines that you named were introduced to the dominant culture by Albert Hofmann and to a certain extent Ernst Jünger (who was not a very nice person)? Hofmann was primarily responsible for bringing something sacred that did not belong to him to for the most part privileged white young people. That is how they arrived in their place of use among the activist community.

Sky
and
Quote
Praxis, please research the individuals who introduced and promoted psychedelics to the counter culture.  They were white men catering to white people. How can something born from racism, for the most part taken from indigenous peoples without their permission, be a powerful tool?  I'd really like your take on that.

I responded by explaining that Hoffman is responsible for first synthesizing LSD, and it was the introduction of LSD to Western culture that birthed psychedelic culture. Hoffman wrote about indigenous medicines but I would not say that he is solely responsible for their appropriation and popularization. So my first point was to demonstrate that psychedelia arose out of the discovery of LSD and appropriation had nothing to do with it. Years after the widespread proliferation of LSD, Hoffman went on to participate in the academic appropriation of indigenous medicines, most notably Saliva Divinorum. But these actions have no bearing on the fact that LSD was not appropriated and psychedelic culture arose out of the discovery of LSD.

So, I wanted to elaborate on this point with an analogy. Hoffman, the person "responsible" for psychedelic culture, can be accused of appropriation.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #51 on: April 10, 2015, 10:11:18 pm »
(Please ignore my previous post. My internet went kind of wacky and ended up posting while I was in the middle of writing. I would delete it or edit it but I can't do either)

I just want to clarify the tea thing here. While your recollection of history might be correct, that analogy was exactly what I was trying to avoid when I wrote it.

Sky asked me:

Quote
Praxis,

Are you aware that the indigenous medicines that you named were introduced to the dominant culture by Albert Hofmann and to a certain extent Ernst Jünger (who was not a very nice person)? Hofmann was primarily responsible for bringing something sacred that did not belong to him to for the most part privileged white young people. That is how they arrived in their place of use among the activist community.

Sky
and
Quote
Praxis, please research the individuals who introduced and promoted psychedelics to the counter culture.  They were white men catering to white people. How can something born from racism, for the most part taken from indigenous peoples without their permission, be a powerful tool?  I'd really like your take on that.

I responded by explaining that Hoffman is responsible for first synthesizing LSD, and it was the introduction of LSD to Western culture that birthed psychedelic culture. Hoffman wrote about indigenous medicines but I would not say that he is solely responsible for their appropriation and popularization. So my first point was to demonstrate that psychedelia arose out of the discovery of LSD and appropriation had nothing to do with it. Years after the widespread proliferation of LSD, Hoffman went on to participate in the academic appropriation of indigenous medicines, most notably Saliva Divinorum. But these actions have no bearing on the fact that LSD was not appropriated and psychedelic culture arose out of the discovery of LSD.

So, I wanted to elaborate on this point with an analogy. Hoffman, the person "responsible" for psychedelic culture, can be accused of appropriation. Psychedelic culture did not arise because of appropriation, but the person responsible for psychedelic culture later went on to engage in appropriation. I was trying to express that I don't believe it is immoral to take LSD and other (non ndn) psychedelics simply because the person responsible for introducing psychedelics to the west also happened to have engaged in objectionable activity. I tried to use coffee, sugar, and tea as an analogy here but NOT because they themselves were appropriated. My point was that these staple goods are commonly consumed throughout the world, but those responsible for introducing these goods are also implicated in questionable acts. I should not have used coffee, tea, and sugar as an analogy. The fact that they have been appropriated I think distracts from my point. I was simply trying to think of simple objects that are harmless in their consumption, yet they were introduced by problematic people. Again to use the example of the fork. The fork was invented by Romans. The Romans did some terrible things. Forks are not terrible things. I do not feel compelled to eat with my hands simply because the people who invented forks did bad things. The fork itself is not a bad thing. Similarly, I do not see LSD and similar substances as a bad thing-I find them useful for a lot of things. Now, as long as I am careful not to use medicines that have been appropriated (eg ayahuasca), what is inherently wrong with my choice to consume psychedelics? Yes....the people responsible for introducing them were guilty of appropriation, but the people who introduced the fork were guilty of genocide, torture, rape, and their own form of appropriation. I could have used any staple good  that is used today to demonstrate the point and I should NOT have used coffee sugar and tea because their history as appropriated items gives the impression that I'm trying to compare them to sacred medicine. But I was not. The comparison was to LSD, and I stand by that. 

I hope this makes sense and maybe clears some things up? My line of logic might have been flawed, my choice of words might have been hurtful and for that I sincerely apologize. But I was not making the comparison that everybody seems to think, though I can understand why you might have interpreted it that way. I have not edited any of my previous posts so if you doubt me I encourage you to go back and read my words with this in mind.

kahtboosted, I'm not too sure how to respond to your post. But you also seem to think I was trying to emphasize the history of tea as a staple good so I made this post to really try and clarify my position. As for the rest of your post, I am neither Rastafari nor would I consider myself an Afrocentrist. I don't see the relevance in your comparison.

Offline kahtboosted

  • Posts: 27
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #52 on: April 11, 2015, 12:08:52 am »

kahtboosted, I'm not too sure how to respond to your post. But you also seem to think I was trying to emphasize the history of tea as a staple good so I made this post to really try and clarify my position. As for the rest of your post, I am neither Rastafari nor would I consider myself an Afrocentrist. I don't see the relevance in your comparison.

I did not associate you with afrocentrism, Rastafari, or any other movements, I was simply making a point about my own experience in recent years. The point: Here is a black-aware person, trying to find exploration through 'indigenous' entheogens, still being concerned with whether or not what he is doing is 'offensive' to Indigenous cultures. This is a good place to begin dialogue. It is far more than the larger community is concerned with right now. I have friends/associates coming from both afro-centrism and Rasta background, who I've had to educate them about many fake-ndn traditions being passed off as afrikan culture to them. For one example, I have a friend who got tricked by Afrikan 'shaman' frauds, and also know some people getting fooled by an 'africanized' version of harnerism. They just dont wanna hear that what theyre reading or following is really white fake NDN stuff. If I show them your initial posts and your concerns, perhaps they would listen more that these are simply habits produced by white-think/new-age-think.

I am mostly speaking in the context of appropriation and commodification that occurs with neo-colonial behavior. I see that as largely what the frauds discussed on NAFPS are about, appropriating things and commodifying things. Selling plants and traditions that are supposedly 'spiritual' is part of this. Somebody on here dismissed you bringing up tea because it is supposedly only a 'commodity'. I wanted to show that no, tea is also being used by white new agers for spiritual and new-age culture-vulturing. Profiting off of supposedly 'sacred' traditions. I said it is not the same as appropriating/selling/cultivating Ayahuasca (because its not some mind-altering substance, its a drink), but still in the context of these types of discussion, it is relevant because of spiritual and cultural appropriation. And it's all being driven by the same force: white supremacy (priviledge) and colonialistic white-think, that's what produces most of the new-age appropriation and culture-vulturing.

The information I posted is not a direct response to any of your posts here, it is offering info somewhat relevant to the larger cultural discussion. I was not directly addressing the points you made, nor putting words in your mouth. To be honest, I felt your posts slightly incongruent/confusing throughout the thread, but felt that nonetheless it is good you came here to discuss this (whether or not use of entheogens out of context is disrespectful, etc). For that simple reason alone, I can maybe show this thread to a couple of associates and make a little bit of progress educating them about new-age authors and fake traditions. 

If you do not see the relevance or find the info helpful, I'll respect that. Either way, I won't try to clarify further. I do hope you stay safe with your exploration and self-development, and avoid getting caught up with the silly white ayahuasca groups here in the PNW. But if you are looking for someone who will say its ok to cultivate ayahuasca and other 'psychadelic' entheogens out of context, they will be the ones who will support it... not people concerned with protecting the integrity of Indigenous entheogens and traditions.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #53 on: April 11, 2015, 06:12:58 pm »
Ah ok I see what you're saying. I think I was confused  :P

I also see a sweeping trend of new-age afrocentrism and oftentimes it can be problematic. I think this is a good discussion inofitself, but perhaps better suited as a separate thread? I see the connecting you're making here though. I guess I would just say that appropriation isn't just a white thing. For example the "part-Cherokee" grandma myth seems to be pretty widespread amongst black families; I know I grew up with an eccentric aunt who was convinced she was Native and supposedly even had all the paperwork to "prove it".

I'm not going to touch the comparison with tea, but again I do see the connection you're making and I think it's a good point.

Thanks for your input and for the concern. I definitely wont be messing with any ayahuasca groups anywhere, so no worries there. :)
If you don't mind, would it be alright if I asked what you found confusing and/or incongruent about my posts?


Offline AClockworkWhite

  • Posts: 194
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #54 on: April 12, 2015, 07:07:10 am »
"It's a trap!" -Adm Ackbar (RET)
I came here for the popcorn and stayed for the slaying of pretenders.

Offline kahtboosted

  • Posts: 27
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #55 on: April 12, 2015, 10:25:02 pm »
Well I didn't wanna nitpick too much further about the points you were trying to make because we could go on and on forever. But I think it is mostly clear that entheogens like Ayahuasca are a 'cultural property' to the tribes/cultures it comes from. I'm pretty sure Ayahuasca is actually two different ingredients mixed together, so it's like a cultural recipe. The use and supposed benefit of this mixture are also defined by that culture (and its particular assumptions or understanding). So no matter how I look at it, I think it is robbing those cultures to use it. It's not just appropriating a sacred plant, it's even appropriating an entire process and recipe, of blending things to make a mixture deemed sacred by the culture who invented this mixture.

I have not read about each different entheogens, but I think the way that 'psychadelics' and entheogens are defined by anthropologists, new-agers, etc (the 'white-think world') has been to lump them all together as supposedly sacred or healing tools, etc. But I have doubts that they will hold a great benefit for people not brought up in the cultures which use these substances and define them as healing. Only new-agers, anthropologists and white-thinkers try to define spirituality or ethnobotany in 'universal' ways. The very idea of certain substances being beneficial for certain things is not always something which can be taken out of context, because the very idea of it being useful is culturally defined. So I do not assume these substances will hold a benefit for people of just any culture. It is problematic to assume these things are 'psychadelic medicines' which can be utilized within modern healing modalities.

If one is going to appeal to modern modalities for taking entheogens out of context, they will need extensive modern research with double-blind studies showing that there is even a valid form of 'psychadelic medicine' good for treating specific problems. One would need to draw the justification from the modern paradigms, not assuming these things are 'medicine' just because some culture (who has nothing to do with modern modalities or 'frontline' approaches) claims it is helpful for something. If the modern therapy drew a justification from Indigenous cultures for using 'psychadelics' it is blatant appropriation. This is not congruent with supposedly being concerned for how cultures feel about their sacred traditions being stolen and taken out of context. Traditional cultures do not need to back up their own traditions with modern studies because they have not appropriated mainstream modalities or claimed that they justify their own medicines. The basis of modalities which treat modern society is science, and before making claims there should be evidence of effectiveness, not appropriating claims.
It seems to me the last thing we need in this ignorant supremacist modern society is people spreading around more 'psychadelics' and calling it 'medicine'. But if a few individuals claim to be having positive experiences with them, I'm not going to be the 'spiritual police' and call them a liar. I just hope they don't promote others doing as they are doing.

Offline Thyme4Mind

  • Posts: 35
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #56 on: April 12, 2015, 11:39:49 pm »
Well I didn't wanna nitpick too much further about the points you were trying to make because we could go on and on forever. But I think it is mostly clear that entheogens like Ayahuasca are a 'cultural property' to the tribes/cultures it comes from. I'm pretty sure Ayahuasca is actually two different ingredients mixed together, so it's like a cultural recipe. The use and supposed benefit of this mixture are also defined by that culture (and its particular assumptions or understanding). So no matter how I look at it, I think it is robbing those cultures to use it. It's not just appropriating a sacred plant, it's even appropriating an entire process and recipe, of blending things to make a mixture deemed sacred by the culture who invented this mixture.
I agree wholeheartedly. In my post about analogs I mentioned this briefly, that the process of combining DMT and an MAOI is inherently intellectual property in itself.


Quote
I have not read about each different entheogens, but I think the way that 'psychadelics' and entheogens are defined by anthropologists, new-agers, etc (the 'white-think world') has been to lump them all together as supposedly sacred or healing tools, etc. But I have doubts that they will hold a great benefit for people not brought up in the cultures which use these substances and define them as healing. Only new-agers, anthropologists and white-thinkers try to define spirituality or ethnobotany in 'universal' ways. The very idea of certain substances being beneficial for certain things is not always something which can be taken out of context, because the very idea of it being useful is culturally defined. So I do not assume these substances will hold a benefit for people of just any culture. It is problematic to assume these things are 'psychadelic medicines' which can be utilized within modern healing modalities.

If one is going to appeal to modern modalities for taking entheogens out of context, they will need extensive modern research with double-blind studies showing that there is even a valid form of 'psychadelic medicine' good for treating specific problems. One would need to draw the justification from the modern paradigms, not assuming these things are 'medicine' just because some culture (who has nothing to do with modern modalities or 'frontline' approaches) claims it is helpful for something. If the modern therapy drew a justification from Indigenous cultures for using 'psychadelics' it is blatant appropriation. This is not congruent with supposedly being concerned for how cultures feel about their sacred traditions being stolen and taken out of context. Traditional cultures do not need to back up their own traditions with modern studies because they have not appropriated mainstream modalities or claimed that they justify their own medicines. The basis of modalities which treat modern society is science, and before making claims there should be evidence of effectiveness, not appropriating claims.
Psychedelics show a lot of promise and there are actually numerous trials which show their efficacy in treating a wide range of psychological disorders both ongoing and from the past. Psychedelic research is a legitimate field of study and it started, primarily, with the discovery of LSD. LSD was used as an experimental tool for couples therapy and substance addiction with an unprecedented success rate before it was made illegal to manufacture or possess. Psychedelic research has been illegal since the late 60's which has made it extremely hard to try and prove that these substances are in fact useful tools for a wide variety of applications. Only recently has that door been opened (slightly) again. There are ongoing trials and double-blind tests for LSD and psilocybin. Both show promise for treating terminal patients with end of life anxiety, PTSD, substance addiction, and depression. I feel your concern, but frankly the information is out there if you want to find it. I can say from personal experience, and I know this may not count for much, that psychedelics dramatically changed my life and continue to offer me new and useful perspectives and I don't think they deserve the taboo that they are so often associated with. It's unfortunate that psychedelics have been high-jacked by white new agers but I don't think that this detracts from their medical potential in the slightest. Just my opinion.


Quote
It seems to me the last thing we need in this ignorant supremacist modern society is people spreading around more 'psychadelics' and calling it 'medicine'. But if a few individuals claim to be having positive experiences with them, I'm not going to be the 'spiritual police' and call them a liar. I just hope they don't promote others doing as they are doing.
I dont disagree with you here at all. I think psychedelics in the wrong hands can cause much more harm than good and often times their use tends to lead to a lot of self-righteous behavior. Interestingly enough, I personally feel like when they are used properly psychedelics can help to facilitate experiences that actually dismantle white supremacy and other oppressive patterns of behavior. I don't think this is the norm because these substances are not usually ingested in this context, but with these kinds of drugs the context is everything; the context is what defines the experience. So for me it's all about context and making sure that our use of psychedelics is in line with our set goals, whether that be the dismantling of white supremacy or coming to know God. We don't have to appropriate indigenous medicines to use psychedelics in a positive way, I really don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

I appreciate your thoughts; these are just some of mine.

I'm going to step back from this thread for a while because it is eating up too much of my time and it doesn't seem very useful or relevant at this point. I'll happily respond to any questions/statements directed towards me but otherwise I'll just keep up with posts to hear others thoughts.

Thanks everybody.

Offline kahtboosted

  • Posts: 27
Re: Using Sacred Medicines like Ayahuasca: When is it appropriate?
« Reply #57 on: April 13, 2015, 01:43:32 am »
I do see where you are coming from, and perhaps one can even argue it would be ignorant to entirely rule-out any possible therapeutic benefits of 'psychadelic'/'entheogen' substances (especially the naturally-occurring ones). Complete rejection of something as being of no value without looking into it, that's a pretty traditional white habit. But I'm still doubtful of anything highly promising in this area, enough to constitute there being a basis for a modern term like 'psychedelic medicine'. I don't know what studies do exist, or how they were conducted, or what research is currently under way, but I'll make a note to possibly learn/research more about it sometime.

I'm sure some people have had positive experiences with 'psychadelics', as I'm not gonna say they are all liars. But it really seems impossible to set up an environment or context to ensure people will have a positive experience (even if the substances were shown to be helpful for certain conditions). We are talking substances that give people a drastically altered sense of reality, experiences that many end up interpreting in spiritual or mystical terms. Some people have 'bad trips' and experience extreme depression, etc, and we can't just say environment/setting can prevent that. That can never be safely applied to a mainstream modality, or a clinical setting without major risks. It could never happen, and should never be attempted by anyone who cares about their patients truly (even if research shows some people improving conditions with these experiences). It would end up being like other dubious pseudo-therapies such as hypnotism, etc which claim to help some people, but in reality also run a high risk of leading people further into delusions.

On the other hand, meditative practices may be promoted for 'self-development' safely, and I've read that many western therapists are beginning to reccommend meditation for things like anxiety, depression, etc. And there is no risk of being stuck in several hours of a scary, altered reality (and possibly terrible experience) from meditative practices, established evidence-based therapeutic modalities, etc.

Psilocybin mushrooms grow like crazy where I live, every fall you can see big patches of them, and even see lots of people crawling around and picking them. I have no need to pick them or ingest them, but I do find it hypocritical that people keep going to jail for picking/possessing them. I could walk a couple blocks away and harvest local poisonous plants (which can easily kill a person), and it would not be illegal to possess it. I'd say people like you who wish to alter your mind-state should at least be allowed to explore psychadelic substances legally, as long as it is not ripping off a culture/tradition. But this society does not offer that freedom, and in fact people are still fighting for even the right to possess medical marijuana, which has already been shown consistently helpful for certain symptoms. The legalization, let alone endorsement of psychadelics, is not going to happen.

Thanks for a very interesting discussion. Despite any disagreements, I enjoyed this thread as food for thought, even if it does at times reach beyond the scope of what NAFPS forum is really about.