NOW SERVING Psychedelic Culture

The Serpent’s Promise: The Oldest Exchange of All

“Sorcerers say death is the only worthy
opponent we have. . . . Death is our challenger. . . . Life is the process by
means of which death challenges us. . . . Death is the active force. Life is
the arena. And in that arena there are only two contenders at any time: oneself
and death. . . . We are passive. . . . If we move, it’s only when we feel the
pressure of death.” –Carlos
Castaneda, The Power of Silence

who has smoked DMT knows why Terence McKenna called it “white knuckle stuff.” One
puff on a pipe and the experiencer is thrown — in the time it takes to inhale and
exhale a lungful of smoke — into another world in which no familiar features
remain. It is a world stranger and more outlandish than anything our wildest
dreams or nightmares could ever conjure. It is also a world that is inhabited and — most disconcerting of all
still — the inhabitants are focusing their attention on us. The abyss gazes also. Smoking DMT is like being turned inside
out: not only is the true nature of reality exposed to us, but, in that same instant,
we are also exposed to it. There is literally no place to hide on a DMT trip,
because the Universe is fiercely and unfathomably alive, and it is right under
our skins. Anyone who has smoked DMT once, and who knows therefore what to
expect, will have to push his courage to the sticking place the next time he
volunteers to say “bye-bye to Kansas.” The main consolation for the
white-knuckled DMT-smoker is the knowledge that even the most intense trip only
lasts from 5 to 15 minutes.  What
sort of courage would it require to smoke DMT knowing it was a one-way trip, that our consciousness was
about to be cannonballed into the Imaginal realms for the rest of eternity? Would anyone be able to hold their pipe
steady knowing that?

follows in this article is not based on hard science or accepted facts about
brain or body chemistry and entheogens. It is a mixture of personal experience,
deductive reasoning, and something I can only describe as “received knowledge,”
so the reader is advised to add a “maybe” or “it seems to me” to the end of
every sentence, in order to counteract the otherwise authoritative tone of the
piece, necessary for clarity and succinctness. Having offered up that
disclaimer, here’s the premise of my argument: If Castaneda’s don Juan is
correct, and death is the active force in life, then psychedelic substances are
a form of concentrated death. Even
ordinary observation indicates that death regenerates life and keeps things
moving forward; without it there is no evolution, no advance. Poetically
speaking, Death provides the urgency of Time within the tapestry of Eternity.
That is why Chronos, the Lord of Time, is depicted as the Grim Reaper. Time is
the catalyst of Motion added to the “substance” of Space. This concept is
clearly illustrated in Atu 13 of Aleister Crowley’s and Frieda Harris’ Thoth
tarot deck.

“condensed death particles,” then, entheogens attack the nervous system, targeting
specifically the neurons, not only of the brain but of the entire body, within
which more and more neurological systems are being discovered (such as in the heart
and intestines). This “attack” of the psychotropic molecules upon our neurons is
not without intent, however, and so far as I can intuit, their intent is to hijack the cells of our bodies and use
them and vehicles to cross over from “death” into “life.”
By “death” I
refer to the inorganic realms, where the organic realms pertain to what we know
of as “life.”

speaking, to smoke DMT or ingest any other hallucinogen is to offer up our
cells as a sacrifice to the spirits. By such sacrifice, we are allowing our
consciousness to be possessed by
mysterious and invisible agents of transformation. When we ingest a
psychoactive substance, a number of our neurons are “destroyed,” which is to
say, broken down to their basic constituents. In the moment of destruction,
they become “food” for inorganic intelligences to gain temporary substance in
our organic realm of existence, via our
. There is a moment of overlap between the worlds of life and
death, the temporal and the eternal. As part of us “dies,” it is absorbed by the
spirit-intelligences residing in the plant or chemical, intelligences which (we
can only imagine) are seeking an experience of organic existence otherwise
unavailable to them. (Since plants are organic life forms, it might be more
accurate to say they are seeking a different, more sentient kind of organic
experience.) In those brief moments or hours, while our neurons are being
consumed by the entheogen, they are still connected to our conscious selves, to
the nervous system and neural network. As a result, we get to consciously experience
existence “on the other side,” through the eyes of the spirits; at the same
time, the spirits are able to experience life through our eyes. This form of
ritual sacrifice is an ancient exchange, possibly the oldest one of all.

In Ketamine: Dreams and Realities, Karl
Jansen writes, “LSD and DMT bind to serotonin receptors and this is thought to push
the start button for a cascade of events resulting in a psychedelic trip.”[1]
To the extent that psychedelics bind to and thereby alter the receptor sites,
the question arises: what does this alteration of the nervous system allow us
to receive? The kind of energy that
is received via the altered receptor sites, as well as the amount, would perhaps be determined not merely by what is being
ingested (the chemicals in the plant), but also by the circumstances under which it taken and — perhaps most critically of
all — the psychological make-up of the person ingesting. Native Americans doing
peyote or Peruvians shamans (and their clientele) taking ayahuasca would then be
an entirely different affair to Westerners aspiring to become master Magi or
seeking congress with the divine, while having little clue what they are doing
and little or no relationship to the plant/chemical (and residing spirit) being

are inorganic intelligences (which may include what we call souls of the dead).
Being inorganic and/or dead, they lack access to sentient physical form. This
is an area I’m less than a hundred percent clear on, since inorganic spirits
apparently can live in organic matter, just as elemental or faery beings are
said to live in rocks and plants and the like. It may be that these spirits
seek specifically to experience human
existence, and that getting incarnate humans to ingest entheogens is one way for
them to achieve this. Whatever the case, they appear to desire not just
congress with but ingress into (and through) our consciousness, which
they attain by accessing not only our neurons (as they are “hijacked” by the
psychoactive chemicals) but the entire network which those neurons are linked up
to. I estimate there are three layers of neural circuit-boards to a human being.
The most superficial is that of the brain, which is then linked up to the
larger network of the nervous system, including all the organs which store
individual memories (the brain’s function being to access and “decode” these
memories), memories which make up the life and identity of the individual, or total
body. Lastly, beneath that, encompassing every atom of the body, there is the
subatomic network of the DNA, which contains our genetic code and hence the
memories of the entire species.

entheogens can “light up” the neural network of our brains and even our greater
nervous systems. In extreme cases, such as shamanic initiation entails, they
may even allow us access to a genetic level of consciousness, where ancestral memories
and “past lives” are stored. This process is perhaps similar to splitting the
atom to create a nuclear explosion: if our bodies (like the rest of physical
reality) are holographic systems, each neuron, each molecule, would contain the
information of the whole network. (A blood sample will tell you something about
the whole body.) When psychoactive molecules “invade” the molecules of our
bodies, they crack them open and release the information stored inside, giving
us momentary awareness of the whole network: “nuclear” vision. There’s an
obvious side effect of this, however. Since accessing the information of the neural
network requires hacking into the system, entheogens cause inevitable damage in
the process. As a result, the long-term effects of entheogens are generally the
opposite of their short-term effects. I believe that entheogens cause
“ruptures” in the neural pathways of the brain and the total body (possibly
even in the DNA), ruptures which then prevent a spontaneous activation of the
system further on down the line. They give us a taste of enlightenment-which is
to say our natural state of being-but the possibility of a lasting
enlightenment later on is drastically reduced.  In this way, entheogens, like gurus, and perhaps like occult
knowledge in general, engender spiritual addiction. As with all addictions, we
need ever more powerful doses to get “high.”

Gaia’s Secret Revenge?

“[T]he real truth that dare not speak
itself is that no one is in control, absolutely no one. This stuff is ruled by
the equations of dynamics and chaos. There may be entities seeking control, but
to seek control is to take enormous aggravation upon yourself. It’s like trying
to control a dream.” –Terence McKenna, “Dreaming Awake at the
End of Time”

There is a very clear parallel to
be drawn here with the ecosystem, which of course is the source of most if not
all psychoactive substances. If the trees and other plant life of the earth
form a sort of neural network for the planet (a scenario deftly illustrated in
Alan Moore’s run of Swamp Thing
comics), then decimating the rain forests and other forms of environmental
damage would be affecting more than merely our oxygen supply. It would also be rapidly
reducing the capacity of the Earth’s biosphere to function as intended, as an
information system by which the planet (like the human body) can become fully
self-aware: in a word, planetary consciousness. Ironically enough, it may be
partly because of this system shut-down that there is such a collective pull
towards a “psychedelic solution.” The irony, if this is an accurate description,
is that the destruction of the ecosphere is not only a symptom but also a cause of our increased disconnect from
Nature and from our bodies.  As we
seek to experience our primal/cosmic natures via the entheogens which the Earth
(and modern science) provides, the imagined solution may only be compounding
the problem. It would be Gaia’s secret revenge, because if the (ab)use of entheogens
were decimating our own individual “biospheres” and preventing us from having
full access to our faculties, this would exactly mirror the ways in which our
disconnection from the environment has affected the Earth’s biosphere.

this is a potentially controversial point of view within the entheogen and
alternate perceptions community, there is ample evidence to support it. On the
one hand, we have a blockbuster such as Avatar,
which advocates environmental activism and mind expansion through psychedelics,
while at the same time feeding the military-industrial-entertainment complex
that is slowly destroying the planet and keeping the collective mind numbed out
on sub-literate crap like Avatar. So
far the only explanation of this contradiction is that the movie is proof of a
planetary awakening! The countless contradictions within the film — to say
nothing of its crappiness — belie such an “explanation,” however. If a movie made
by the military-entertainment complex known as Hollywood appears to vilify
right-wing military forces as anti-environmental while glorifying psychedelics
and “back to roots” tribal values, you can be sure the film’s backers have their
reasons for doing so. On the other hand, we need look no further than two of
the leading forces in the psychedelic revolution — Carlos Castaneda and Terrence
McKenna — to glimpse the dark side of the entheogen experience. McKenna died of a
brain tumor at age fifty-three, and Castaneda died of liver cancer, aged
seventy-two. The brain and the liver are the two organs most obviously and
indisputably affected by psychoactive substances. These visionary spokesmen’s
deaths underscore their messages[2]
and have served to counteract, at least to a degree, their influence regarding
the presumed positive value of entheogens. Castaneda quotes don Juan Matus in
one of the later books, admitting that power plants “do untold damage to the
body,” explaining that they were only necessary because of Castaneda’s extreme “stupidity.”
A third body of evidence (probably the most persuasive) for the dubious
benefits of entheogen-use would be the countless proponents and spokespersons
who claim to have been transformed by power plants, whose rhetoric and behavior
betrays a distinct lack of balance, coherence, or sobriety. (It would seem
cruel to mention any names at this point.)[3]

It will
no doubt be argued that, if used properly (shamanically), entheogens such as ayahuasca,
ibogaine, and psilocybin can be used
for healing, so how can they be said to harm the body? The answer is in just
what “proper” or shamanic use entails, as well as what we understand by “healing.”
The electromagnetic field or “aura” around the human body, which corresponds
roughly with the neural networks I have been describing, is where all physical
illnesses originate, so it is here that any shamanic healing via entheogens presumably
occurs — if indeed it does occur. Such “soul-healing,” when effective, would more
than make up for any damage being done to the body by entheogens, because by
sealing up fractures or clearing out blockages in the energy body (the total
psyche), the body would be able to regenerate itself over time. Generally
speaking, this does require a shaman — an experienced energetic healer — administering
the entheogens, and often taking them in the patient’s stead. Performing
energetic surgery upon our own psyches would obviously be a highly risky
endeavor, not to say an insane one. At best, the chances are that we will use
the entheogen-induced experience of heightened awareness to avoid areas of blockage — or to plough
through them without necessary preparation — rather than heal and integrate them.
This may not result in physical sickness (at least not right away), but it will
very likely lead to ego inflation, on the one hand, and dissociation and
fragmentation (mild schizophrenia) on the other. Perhaps most commonly, it
leads to a combination of both.

idea that psychedelics are a concentrated “death substance” — a form of holistic
poison — does not contradict the idea that they can be used for healing, because
this fact is common to all homeopathic remedies. Dosage is key: even a little
bit too much and medicine becomes poison. With entheogens, this relates not so
much to the amount ingested but to the frequency of use, and, equally or perhaps
more important, to the circumstances under which they are being used. To give
my own example: in a little under twenty years of experimentation (not counting
the past seven years during which I have avoided entheogens altogether, unless
you count the occasional joint), I have probably had around a hundred powerful
hallucinogenic experiences (quite a few of which were marijuana-induced). I
would estimate, conservatively speaking, that less than two dozen of these were
“necessary” (appropriate), and that perhaps still less were truly shamanic and
therefore healing or transformative to my being. That would render somewhere
between 75% and 90% of my entheogen use gratuitous and therefore deleterious to
both my mental and physical health. Overall, I like to think that it evens out,
that the 10-25% of shamanic experiences were sufficiently transforming to
compensate for the damage I did to my nervous system by over-indulging.
Nonetheless, if this is true, I still have to acknowledge the possibility that
I’d be more or less exactly where I am today if I had avoided entheogens
altogether. It is also possible that I would be considerably better off.

inescapable realization for me has been that I was using psychedelics, not
simply to expand my consciousness, but to escape the confines of a contracted
consciousness. What’s the difference, you may ask? Perhaps nothing save that
the latter is an honest description where the former is not. In other words, if
I had been content within the parameters of my limited consciousness, I would
not have been so eager to experiment with heightened states of awareness. So-called
“consciousness expansion” becomes merely recreational once we have attained a
certain level of consciousness, a level at which we have more than enough to
integrate without stirring up still more elements of our unconscious. And
integration entails coming back down to earth to see what’s going on in our
mundane awareness, something that doesn’t happen if we keep shooting for
ever-higher states of consciousness and ever more mind-expanding experiences,
via entheogens. How much does expanding our consciousness enhance our
day-to-day capacity to function in the world and relate to other people at an
ordinary level? And how much are we simply increasing our ability to talk for
hours about abstract subjects and fly off into imaginary/imaginal realms, bringing
back shiny trinkets (songs, poems, paintings, books) to show off how “evolved” our
consciousness is to the world? Be honest now.

What Is It?

“Proteins are intelligent beings. They
have evolved to operate in the metabolic maelstrom of a turbulent cellular
environment.” –Christopher Miller, Nature magazine

one of my more memorable encounters with salvia divinorum, I experienced myself
as consciousness interacting with the molecules of my eyelids. These molecules
were all individual beings which together made up a collective (my eyelids) characterized
by a combination of fierce awareness, a mischievous sense of humor, and a
powerful  and unmistakable expression
of love and affection for me, or whatever remained of my self-consciousness at
that time, as I was swallowed up in this electric congress of molecules. I
mention this as a counter perspective to one described above, in which, as the
entheogens consume our neurons, the spirits (residing in the plant and/or the
smoke of the plant) ride into our consciousness on a wave of “destruction.” An
alternative way of seeing his-not necessarily at odds with the first-is that
the spirits (being non-local, quantum beings) also reside in the cells of our bodies. (In the above experience, my eyelids
became my focus because I was trying to remember not to open my eyes once I had
smoked.) When the entheogen hits our nervous system, these “spirits” are
released (like nuclear energy from the atom) from that force which holds our
bodies (and everything else) into a fixed form — the bondage of matter. Perhaps,
as my molecules “died” under the influence of the salvia, their molecule-souls
were flying free, dancing joyfully over to the other side, taking my
consciousness (temporarily) along with them?

(and molecules, cells, neurons, and proteins) are entities. They carry an
information load, which is essentially no different from the way that we, as
larger atoms, carry the memories of our lives, making up our own “spin” or
information load. And since our sense of identity comes primarily, even exclusively,
from our personal set of memories, then an atom which carries its information load can be said, likewise,
to have identity. This presents a whole new area of exploration
beyond the scope of the present article, namely: to what degree does using
psychedelics allow our consciousness to be possessed by foreign entities that
are not “sympathetic” (in both the magical and the common sense of the word)
with our bodies and psyches? The assumption is that, since entheogens come from
the Earth, they must be benevolent (i.e. compatible with our own evolution). This
is a rash assumption, since there are plenty of species indigenous to the Earth
that aren’t “on our side.” Plant spirits foster dependence, and how they
interact with us may depend on how consciously and conscientiously we relate to
them, just as it does with everything else in life. In a predatory environment,
everything is food for something else, so why assume this applies any less to
the realm of consciousness — or to our interaction with those “spirits” that
reside in the entheogens which we consume, eager to be possessed by God? It may
even be that any kind of consciousness that is sourced in molecules besides
those of our own bodies is foreign to us, and therefore potentially harmful; in
short, that true individuation or awakening depends on accessing divine
consciousness not outside of ourselves (in plants or gurus) but within.[4]

I would
like to turn now to the question of life after death. Stripped of all religious
adornment, this is simply the idea of the continuation of identity-individual
consciousness — after the death of the body. If we take the concept out of the
realm of myth and religious belief, and into the realm of (not-quite) science, how
great a leap is it to suggest that our existence on the other side of death
might conceivably depend upon our actions and accomplishments while we are alive? This would not be a
moral question — since morality is merely a human invention — but a purely
pragmatic one. It could depend, for example, upon an individual having a fully
activated (linked-up) neural system at the moment of death, a system which could
then serve as a vehicle for inorganic
consciousness once the flesh and blood vessel was no longer functional.

the life of the body is a means for undifferentiated consciousness (pure energy,
before form) to experience itself as a separate entity, by entering into (or
weaving into being) a “package” to contain it? Consciousness then would have
the possibility of fully integrating
itself into its package, so that, like clay inside a mold, when the form were
destroyed the energy that in-formed it — having allowed itself also to be formed by it — could retain the unique shape-the individuality — which
physical experience granted it. This idea is dramatically depicted, once again
by Alan Moore, in the comic book Watchmen,
when Jon Osterman is vaporized inside a nuclear vault and his consciousness miraculously
manages to weave for itself a new
physical form
made of pure energy,
using the memories of his former identity
as a matrix
. Alan Moore also came up with a whole new origin story for
Swamp Thing which was basically the same model: Alex Holland undergoes an
existential crisis when he realizes that he is not who-or what-he thought he
was, but rather a plant intelligence that has inherited Holland’s memories.

“For one kiss wilt thou then be
willing to give all; but whoso gives one particle of dust shall lose all in that hour.” —The Book of the Law (Aleister

several of his later books, Castaneda describes something he calls the Sorcerers’
Recapitulation. This is perhaps an overly literal interpretation of the integration
process of undifferentiated consciousness with its experience of physical incarnation
and individuality. As Castaneda describes it, a sorcerer’s task is to
recapitulate his or her entire life — including every thought and every dream
ever dreamed — creating a surrogate
awareness which can then be offered up the “the Eagle” (the ruling force in the
Universe). In return for this offering, the sorcerer is allowed to keep his or
her individual awareness (the Eagle’s gift). This is not a metaphor which I
take too literally, any more than I intend to painstakingly recapitulate every
thought I ever had in order to attain immortality. (Apparently it didn’t work
too well for Castaneda, who allegedly went insane before he died.) I am citing
it now merely for the parallels which it presents with our present model. Also
relevant are the many documented “near-death experiences” (NDEs, see Michael
Talbot’s The Holographic Universe) in
which individuals undergo a full “life review” and re-experience every moment
of their existence up to the moment of (near) death. In Castaneda’s model, at
the moment of death — or rather as an
alternative to dying
— a fully recapitulated sorcerer “burns from the fire
within,” and every cell in his body becomes conscious of itself and of the
totality of the body. As fully activated cellular awareness, the sorcerer “glides
into infinity,” dissolving into the boundless while simultaneously retaining
some mysterious residue of his or her individuality.

Such an
epic description is probably better read as a modern myth than a factual
account; yet even so, it may relate to a very real practical occurrence, namely
the lighting up of the neural networks (all three levels) within our bodies while we are alive. This, so far as I
can ascertain, is what’s known in spiritual circles as “enlightenment,” while
at the same time being simply our natural state as human beings. In existential
terms, it would entail integrating our individual consciousness, the ego or
personal self, with our unconscious (the sum total of our life’s experiences,
the memories of the body) so that we can come fully into “the Now,” bringing
all of those past moments out of the
past and into the present. Enlightenment entails living in an eternal present in
which divine or transpersonal consciousness is also present, both through us
and as us. When a person dies in such
a fully “activated” state — with all the individual cells linked up to form a
circuit — the entire network might then become a vehicle for “Spirit” to possess,
a “Merkaba” for divine consciousness to “glide into” eternity-merging with the
infinite while remaining self-aware within it. Alternatively, and perhaps more accurately,
if this activation occurs in life, then the death of the body would no longer herald
any significant change for the indwelling consciousness, since it would be
already linked up to, and in continuous communion with, the realms beyond death.[5]

This is
why “every moment is precious”: because every moment of our lives is a link in
the circuit-board of individuated consciousness. Without each of those links
functioning (which depends upon all the moments of our lives being integrated
into consciousness), the system cannot function as a system but only as a collection of unconnected parts. At
death, the individual’s totality either fails to light up or short-circuits and
explodes in the first moment of “enlightenment.” We might imagine the moments
of our lives then as “temporal molecules” which together make up our fourth-dimensional
“souls,” the “building” of which is necessary if we are to fuse with, and flow into,
the spacetime continuum of eternity. In occult terminology, this is “the
crossing of the Abyss.”[6]

reader may have noticed  how the
sorcerers’ recapitulation, as the means to get past the Eagle to freedom, is
very similar to the religious notion of giving full account of our lives to St.
Peter before slipping through the pearly gates. The difference is that, in the
non-religious model, the Universe does not demand penance, it merely demands
account. To give a full account of our lives requires total awareness of them while we are still living (in religious
terminology, repentance and atonement). Otherwise, if we enter into the
totality of ourselves without the necessary preparation, the overwhelming
pressure of all those disowned, unintegrated, unaccounted for moments will
cause us to short-circuit, as awareness, and plummet back into “the matrix” for
another go-round inside Blake’s dark, satanic mill. In Socrates’ famous phrase,
“an unexamined life is not worth living,” because it leads nowhere. Taken too
literally, such a harsh judgment contains the seeds of elitism, however (as
does Castaneda’s work, for that matter, and any other spiritual, religious or
occult doctrine we can mention). Taken too literally, the idea that an
unexamined life is without value is also fundamentally incorrect. At the end of
the day, there are no individual
lives, and everything belongs to God. But Socrates was addressing the
possibility that, without the essential element of awareness of each of our acts, there is no possibility of cohesion
or unity to the countless moments which make up our lives. At the moment of
death, those moments are then dissipated into infinity and return to
undifferentiated energy, to be recycled as raw matter in the ongoing movement of
Spirit towards individuation. This is probably the source of the popular idea
of reincarnation, even though the idea of reincarnation conveniently ignores
the fact that, once energy has returned to the undifferentiated state, it would
not, by definition, retain any identity. In which case, the only thing that “reincarnates”
is God/the Universe. The moments of an unexamined life remain part of the
fabric of eternity, which is God’s body, and nothing is lost, much less “damned.”
But the story which they were once a part of dissolves and is gone, as if never
having existed-because as a narrative, it went nowhere in particular (or
nowhere new).

above, somewhat speculative, digression into medium-level metaphysics has been
part of my attempt to understand the true purpose — and the very real dangers — of
entheogens. It’s my opinion that the bottom line of psychedelics is that, in
the process of expanding consciousness, they impair memory and do “untold damage
to the body” (especially the liver, which is what we are until we die: livers).
I believe that when they “hack into” and “hijack” the atoms, molecules, cells
and neurons, they do so for their own ends. Plants are not only sentient, but
also volitional, so to assume they have no other purpose besides serving us is
probably human arrogance at work once again. It’s true that, whatever the
plants’ agenda may be, by ingesting them we gain temporary access to the
greater spectrum of molecular awareness which is our natural birthright.
However, as every psychonaut knows, this enhanced vision is only temporary,
while the changes caused to our neural networks, nervous system, and even our
DNA, are likely to be longer-lasting, possibly even permanent. If McKenna died
of a brain tumor, maybe he was mutating too fast? Perhaps he was growing a new
organ, as in the movie Videodrome, an
organ meant for seeing the true nature of reality but which wound up killing
him instead of turning him into the übermensch.[7]

Elizabeth Haich’s Initiation, in
which she recounts her alleged memories of ancient Egypt, Haich describes how the
initiate was prepared physically, over a period of time, with certain medicinal herbs meant to strengthen the nervous
system for the higher consciousness which the initiation procedure would bring
about. In Eastern terms, this equates with the waking of the Kundalini, which
is commonly recognized to be harmful, even fatal, if premature. Psychedelics
induce higher conscious artificially,
with no preparation of the nervous system. If, as I have stated, enlightenment is
merely our natural state as humans, then psychedelics take us in the opposite
direction, blasting us into an unnatural
state that at the same time closely simulates the natural one, and hence offers
the feeling of attaining “greater reality.” They also lead to the corresponding
comedown and, generally speaking, the desire to recreate that state. Speaking
personally again, I am still paying “back-taxes” on my illicit journeys, not only
in shaky health but in my everyday struggle to be content within ordinary,
mundane awareness. What causes the harm, in short, is not the plant chemical being
ingested, but the energy-consciousness which it allows access to our nervous
system, and/or that which is released from
it, namely, the Kundalini force. Probably, it is a mixture of both.

sperm is sacred, and every cell is vital of the functioning of the whole. Those
hijacked neurons, mutated receptors, or ruptured cells — if they didn’t mutate
but were simply burned up on the sacrificial altar of “expanded consciousness” — have
to be regenerated. Without them, our electromagnetic fields may wind up like a
set of Christmas tree lights with missing bulbs: one fail, all fail. Every cell
of our bodies stores information about our past, and every single moment of our
lives is going to be called to the table on that day of reckoning. In simple
terms, the gains of entheogens are heavily taxed. Most experimenters, unaware
of this fact, continue enjoying the gains with little or no clue as to just the
back-taxes they are accruing. But eventually, the fiddler must be paid, and there
is only one thing surer than taxes.

[1] “Receptors
are biological transducers that convert energy from both external and internal
environments into electrical impulses. They may be massed together to form a
sense organ, such as the eye or ear, or they may be scattered, as are those of
the skin and viscera. Receptors are connected to the central nervous system by
afferent nerve fibers. The region or area in the periphery from which a neuron
within the central nervous system receives input is called its receptive field.
Receptive fields are changing and not fixed entities.”

[2] Admittedly, Castaneda tried hard to
disassociate himself from the psychedelic culture very early in his career.

[3] “Leary
critics eventually point to his close connections during this time to
international LSD-smuggling cartel, the Brotherhood of Eternal Love, rumored to
be a CIA front. The Brotherhood is controlled by Ronald Stark, who the Italian
High Court later concludes has been CIA since 1960, and Brotherhood’s funds are
channeled through Castle Bank in the Bahamas, a known CIA ‘proprietary.’ For
two years Leary lives at Brotherhood headquarters in Laguna Beach, during which
time Brotherhood corners the US market on LSD and distributes only one variety
of the drug, “Orange Sunshine.” Stark reportedly knows a high- placed Tibetan
close to the Dalai Lama and wants to provide enough LSD to dose all Chinese
troops in Tibet. In the US, meanwhile, Stark provides enough Orange Sunshine to
dose the hippie culture many times over. This is the ‘bad acid’ that Charles
Manson’s followers took before murdering Sharon Tate and that the Hell’s Angels
took before stabbing to death a black man during a Rolling Stones concert at
Altamont. Because of this, William S. Burroughs, White Panther leader John
Sinclair, and Ken Kesey eventually entertain the theory that Stark, Leary, and
Orange Sunshine are all part of a CIA plot to discredit the radical left.”

As don Juan once told Castaneda: “All the faculties, possibilities, and
accomplishments of sorcery, from the simplest to the most astounding, are in
the human body itself” (The Eagle’s Gift).

[5] In a
side note, Castaneda describes using power plants one last time as a boost by
which to enter all the way into “the nagual,” which one of his groups equates
with “the kingdom of Heaven.” Terence McKenna waxed lyrical on entering the
Now: “The
alternative physics is a physics of light. Light is composed of photons, which
have no antiparticle. This means that there is no dualism in the world of
light. The conventions of relativity say that time slows down as one approaches
the speed of light, but if one tries to imagine the point of view of a thing
made of light, one must realize that what is never mentioned is that if one
moves at the speed of light there is no time whatsoever. There is an experience
of time zero. . . . The only experience of time that one can have is of a
subjective time that is created by one’s own mental processes, but in relationship
to the Newtonian universe there is no time whatsoever. One exists in eternity,
one has become eternal, the universe is aging at a staggering rate all around
one in this situation, but that is perceived as a fact of this universe-the way
we perceive Newtonian physics as a fact of this universe. One has transited
into the eternal mode. One is then apart from the moving image; one exists in
the completion of eternity.” “New Maps of Hyperspace,” Magical Blend magazine.

[6] Crowley
on crossing the abyss: “Then
will all phenomena which present themselves to him appear meaningless and
disconnected, and his own Ego will break up into a series of impressions having
no relation one with the other, or with any other thing.” Liber OS Abysmi vel Daath

“I believe that the growth in my
head, this head, this one right here. I think that it is not really a tumor. .
.  not an uncontrolled, undirected
little bubbling pot of flesh. . . but that it is in fact a new organ . . . a
new part of the brain.” Brian O’Blivion, Videodrome,
written by David Cronenberg

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