LSD [Flashback]

Gary Laderman In other words, experiences with LSD and the publicity surrounding them gave shape and content to modern understandings of spirituality.

A Night on Drugs in Amsterdam

Gary Laderman It’s not what you think. Or maybe it is what you think. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter what you think…

Psychedelics for Mind, Body, and…Spirit?

Gary Laderman But it is in this more ambiguous, liminal conceptual space, between medicine and recreation, body and spirit, religion and science, that altered states of consciousness and mind altering substances do their best work.

Just Say Yes: In Drugs We Trust

Gary Laderman Anyone interested in the new frontiers of American religion should pay attention to how Americans love to say yes to their drugs.

LSD and the Rabbis: Conclusion

Shalom Goldman As a culturally and politically aware New York City teenager, I knew that there was a buzz among bohemians and literati about LSD use. That in the early 1960s artists, musicians and poets were using psychedelic drugs was not exactly news. And that some of these artists were Jews (in a city a quarter of whose population was Jewish) was not exactly news either.

LSD and the Rabbis: Part II

This article is Part II in a three part series. Click here for Part I and Part III. By Shalom Goldman In utilizing intoxicants to heighten individual religious experience, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was influenced by the emerging zeitgeist of the early 1960s, a zeitgeist that the Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California, did much to develop and promote. In seminars led by luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, and Humphrey Osmond, Esalen taught a generation of seekers about the theory and practice of “drug-induced mysticism.” In these seminars (though that may be too formal a word for the early Esalen classes) the teachers […]

Holy Smoke

By Shalom Goldman Since the 1960s many in America’s alternative religious communities have embraced the use of marijuana and other mind-altering substances in their religious rituals. By hearkening back to Native American rites, these religious practitioners can point to a long tradition of American spirituality that had its religious experiences enhanced by intoxicants. With very few exceptions, federal law is reluctant to let these groups possess what are considered under American law “controlled substances.” Thus their religious practices are criminalized like all other uses of cannabis. Among the more flamboyant groups trying to change this situation are the various “cannabis churches,” […]