Sunday, 18 January 2009

Antipsychiatry, Scientology, and Psychedelic Healing, Part 3

When we look at children at play it is a wonderful joyful sight to behold. The way they move is so natural, their shouts, giggles, energy, Quite amazing. It flows like streams flows, and wind flows, and birds flying, birdsong, music...............And then they get sent to school. There they're told to sit straight, and to stop giggling, and screaming, and day dreaming, and playing, and focus on rigid set-out 'classes', and for the unfortunate many, if they don't comply with these rules and regulations that are now in their lives, all around, and inside, administered by big stiff stressed-faced giants, then they can find themselves labeled 'special needs' and even drugged!. Drugged for having energy, or not wanting to do boring things, or too quiet, 'withdrawn'. 'Deficient'. Not 'efficient' and 'productive'.
Of course, teacher is thinking about their job and money, and boss, the headteacher, who in turn is thinking about the reputation of the school and so on.

Many of us accept this situation as the reality. The 'real world'. Meaning, if you don't comply you will not get any money. Security. Usually the child doesn't have to worry about money, but security yes. Because s/he wants to make mummy, daddy, or whoever is their guardians happy with them. Even when they are desperately sad. The contradiction arises when this situation is supposed to be THE reality so how can you, the child who only knows this, BE sad. To be sad about it is to be a 'weirdo', and 'out caste', and 'mentally ill'.

For after all, we have to be successful, we have to be successful, repeat repeat, because if we aren't, and don't 'make it' what then....? What images come? Homeless, sleeping in the cold concrete, and some clubbers peeing on your sleeping body for a 'laugh' and worse? This actually can happen!

I knew a homeless lad, very good looking, who was sleeping rough (as its called here) in city bus stop, and someone, a middle class type, in a suit, attacked him for no reason, and bit the end of his nose off! And this guy, the victim, was so extremely traumatized by what happened to him, and very embarrassed to be seen after that. As anyone would. Dreadful.


(c) 2008 Myztico All Rights Reserved

Quite funny :) I found this blog, and was interested in the comment left in response to the article. It's just dawned on me that it is my comment I left some time back: Bruce Eisner's Vision Thing: Psychedelic Healing which features a post about PSYCHEDELIC HEALING

" OH, I would have made notes if I had known about comments.
OK my response to the resurgence of psychedelic therapies since the long long Rip Van Winkle years of Big Bro telling us what we can and cant do do whilst it radiates the planet and babies with ecocidal and genocidal Depleted Uranium, 'etc etc etc'!!

Well I am glad that psychedelic healing is returning since the early 1970s. But the terminology and 'ethic' from the above article all sounds still en-capsulated in the MYTH OF MENTAL ILLNESS.

We all need to break out of THAT box---QUICK. Including the 'professionals'!"

So I think it relevant to go under same article link here, because I still tend to feel this.

“The word psychedelic is a neologism coined from the Greek words for "mind," ψυχή (psyche), and "manifest," δήλος (delos).”

Often we moderns tend to think that 'mind' is kind of in the head, 'hovering' about round the brain. This is why I much prefer the term organism which includes the central nervous system. Now mind is all over the sensual body, and interrelated utterly with the sensual world:

"Nothing is more common to the diverse indigenous cultures of the earth than a recognition of the air, the wind, and the breath, as aspects of a singularly sacred power. By virtue of its pervading presence, its utter invisibility, and its manifest influence on all manner of visible phenomena, the air, for oral peoples, is the archetype of all that is ineffable, unknowable, yet undeniably real and efficacious. Its obvious ties to speech--the sense that spoken words are structured breath(try speaking a word without exhaling at the same time), and indeed that spoken phrases take their communicative power from this invisible medium that moves between us--lends the air a deep association with linguistic meaning and with thought. Indeed, the ineffability of the air seems akin to the ineffability of awareness itself, and we should not be surprised that many indigenous peoples construe awareness, or "mind," not as a power that resides inside their heads, but rather as a quality that they themselves are inside of, along with the other animals and the plants, the mountains and the clouds." The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram, pages 226-227

So, not having a mind, as such, but in mind.

There is they say a renaissance of psychedelic therapy. That after a very long time, since the 1960s there's a slow careful allowance of psychedelic therapies People said by the shrinks to have 'obsessive compulsive disorder' have been helped with psilocybin. The therapists are not allowed to give to their clients actual magic mushrooms, because precise measurement of dosage is demanded by the bureaucracy.
People with terminal illness are 'allowed' to have psychedelic experience which greatly can decrease actual physical pain, even for weeks,
and months, and ease anxiety about dying. There is a very powerful book about this which documents such research done with terminally ill people before psychedelics were prohibited, The Human Encounter with Death, by Stanislav Grof and Joan Halifax:

"This person found liberation inspired from psychedelic experience to feel free to feel sad, and to feel:
"I had much discussion with my father about sadness, what is wrong with it and why it is so discouraged by others. I described to him how much energy I expended pretending to be glad or happy or to smile. I talked about the beauty in sadness--sad sweetness, sweet sadness. Allowing yourself and others to be sad when they feel it. Sadness perhaps is not in vogue, as is joy, spontaneity, or fun. These I expended great energy in acting out. Now I am just being--not being this or that, just being. Sometimes it is sad, often peaceful, sometimes angry or irritable, sometimes very warm and happy. I am not sad any longer that I am to die. I have many more loving feelings than ever before. All the pressures to be something 'other' have been taken off me. I feel relieved from sham and pretense. Much spiritual feeling permeates my everyday life." (page 106)

"Observations from LSD research show a completely new light on the medieval preoccupation with death and with negative aspects of existence, which have usually been seen, in the framework of social pathology, as a manifestation of generally pessimistic attitudes hostile to life...According to clinical experiences from LSD psychotherapy, deep experiential confrontation with the most frightening and revulsive aspects of human existence not only opens individuals to spiritual dimensions of their being, but can eventually result in a qualitatively different way of existing in the world" (Ibid. notes. page 172)

One of the most powerful psychedelic healing visions, inspired by Ayahuasca, is told by Ralph Metzner in his thesis: " I summarize my thesis in two statements: one -- the relentless exploitation and destruction of the biosphere by the capitalist-industrial growth machine around the globe is rooted in a pathological domination complex of "civilized" humans toward the natural world. And two -- the revival of interest in animistic worldviews and in the shamanic practices of traditional peoples, including the intentional use of hallucinogenic2 sacraments, is among the hopeful signs that the split between the sacred and the natural can be healed again...

We drank the brew, which has a taste that is a strange mixture of bitterness and syrupy sweetness, in almost total darkness, with only a candle or two. We listened to Mayan music. I began to feel very relaxed, heavy and soft, but also as if my head were expanding. A swaying tapestry of visions comes into view, at fist mostly geometric patterns, then shapes and forms of plants, animals, humans, cities, temples, flying craft and the like. Particular images from time to time emerge out of the continuous flux, and then are re-absorbed back into it.

As the images of forms and objects recede back into the swaying fabric of visions, I realize that I am seeing them as if projected on the twisting coils of an enormous serpent, with glittering silvery and green designs on its skin. I cannot see either head or tail of the serpent, which gives me a rough sense of its size: it encompasses the entire two-story building. Curiously, the sight of this gigantic serpent does not evoke the slightest fear; on the contrary, my emotional response is one of awe and humility at the magnificence of this being and its spiritual power. I had heard that in the Amazon, the ayahuasceros regard the giant serpent as the "mother spirit" of all the other spirits of the forest, of the river and the air.

In the earlier phase, before I became aware of the giant mother serpent, I experienced the geometric patterns I was seeing with distaste verging on disgust: they seemed tacky, plastic and artificial, like the décor of a shopping mall or a Las Vegas casino. As I searched for the meaning of my reaction, I was shown how this was the human technocultural overlay on the natural world: I was looking at the human world! Then, as I accepted that, albeit with some regret, I was able to see through it to the pulsating energies of the real, spiritual world of underlying nature, embodied in the form of the giant Serpent Mother.

Then I meet another serpent, more "normal" in its dimensions: in fact it is about the same size as me. It enters my body through my mouth and starts to slowly wind its way through my stomach and intestines over the next two or three hours. When it gets to the gut, there is some cramping, and incredibly loud sounds of gurgling and digesting are coming from my viscera. I become aware of a morphic resonance between serpent and intestines: the form of the snake is more or less a long intestinal tract, with a head and a tail end. Conversely, our gut is serpentine, with its twists and turns and its peristaltic movement. So the serpent, in winding its way through my intestinal tract is "teaching" my intestines how to be more powerful and effective.

Then I see several black-skinned people, dancing as they come toward me and recede away. They are always in pairs, like twins, moving in parallel fashion: I wonder whether they represent the spirits of the two paired plants of the ayahuasca tea. Then, as I'm lying sideways on a couch, a jaguar suddenly comes into me. It is an enormous black male, and he enters my body assuming the same semi-reclining position I was in. Shortly after I notice it, the jaguar is gone. Another time, as I am on my hands and knees, I distinctly feel a bird landing on my back. I am being briefly introduced to some of the different spirits that the ayahuasca medicine can access. The realization grows within me that with practice and increased concentration, I would be able to hold the encounters with the different animal spirits for longer -- and then be able to question them for divination. Don Fidel, one of the old ayahuasceros, says: "the visions come into you and heal you."

Many images of old Mayan gods and underworld demons dancing: skeletal, crippled, diseased, skin flapping, blood dripping, pustular, bulbous, with gaping wounds and cut-off heads, toads on their necks, pierced with thorns. Their message, repeated several times, is: "you don't have to do anything". By incorporating death, decay and disease and other unimaginable horrors into their dance of transformation, a deep inner healing takes place, totally independent of any personal involvement on my part. I am astonished at being initiated into this ancient lineage of visionary healers.

It is late in the evening, and I am again on my hands and knees, feeling overwhelmed and exhausted by this gut-wrenching, yet soul-refreshing journey through the netherworlds of jungle, river and serpents. I lower my forehead to touch the ground: then I realize I am falling slowly through the earth, through soil and rock, moving faster and faster, and then dropping out the other side into deep space, vast in its darkness, exhilarating, filled with countless points of light, scintillae, luminous streaks and stars of the universe....To return to my earlier argument, I am saying that the unprecedented industrial-technological assault on the biosphere we are witnessing in our time, is rooted in part in the mechanistic science of the modern world, which deliberately divorced itself from spirituality, values and consciousness. There exists a vast separative gulf in common understanding between what we regard as sacred and what we regard as natural. And yet, out of the experiences of millions of individuals in the Western world with hallucinogenic sacraments, as well as other shamanic practices, we are seeing the re-emergence of the ancient integrative worldview that sees all of life as an interdependent web of relationships, that needs to be carefully protected and preserved.

One can see the parallels in several cultural movements that seek to correct the dangerous imbalance in humanity's relation to nature: in deep ecology and ecofeminism which call for a respectful, egalitarian, ecocentric attitude towards the natural world; in the organic gardening and farming movements, which seek to return to traditional methods avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides; in the movement to increased use of herbal, nutritional and complementary medicine; and in several other philosophical, scientific and religious movements including bioregionalism, ecopsychology, living systems theory, creation spirituality, ecotheology, and others (Ruether, 1992; Spretnak, 1991; Metzner, 1997; Weil, 1990).

In these diverse movements, from many disciplines, to transform our human perceptions, attitudes and practices in relation to the Earth towards a healthier, non-exploitative, non-dominating recognition of interrelatedness, the respectful use of entheogenic plant medicines in spiritual/therapeutic contexts may yet come to play a highly significant role."

I think what is important is a diversity of psychedelic healing methods for all people who choose this way of healing.

When I first began reading about the resurgence of psychedelic therapies after all these years, I began questioning who they were going to be for. Being aware of the myth of mental illness, and how its mechanistic outlook might dilute the amazing potential of psychedelic healing to heal the rift that many of us--especially in the civilized world--have with our sensual bodies, animals, all species, and nature. The deep ingrained alienation.
I'd read very staid proposals from psychedelic researchers to 'cure' people with 'obsessive compulsive disorder','chronic mental illnesses', 'cluster headaches', and so on. Although good, yet seeming limited in the much bigger picture, if you will, considering the urgency of our situation on planet earth, and how they described their therapeutic practices and proposals seemed full of bio-psychiatric-lingo, and I wasn't really hearing anything from those in the anti-psychiatric movement talking about all of this development, and what it means considering the potential of psychedelic healing. However, one personal communication from a friend, also into exposing the mental illness myth, and promoting psychedelic psychotherapy, made some kind of sense to me~~:

"Re: howdie
Psychedelic Psychotherapy has emerged as an alternative to the predominant ideology in "psychology/psychiatry" which is Physicalism, that is, the idea that everything is nothing more than the result of bodily/brain functions. In order to usurp the place of this schism as the predominant method of helping people, the schism of Psychedelic Psychotherapy must speak in terms of the Physicalist schism, it is the way in which persons devoted to the Physicalist schism in places of authority (like working for a pharmaceutical company or heads of hospital departments) can be convinced of the power of Psychedelics"

It's very important we understand the difference in worldviews between the indigenous
healing, which often involves various forms of psychedelics/entheogens, which can be often called in a native context 'sacred medicine', and western psychedelic psychotherapy:
Hallucinogenic Drugs and Plants in Psychotherapy and Shamanism ~~:

"Ralph Metzner, Ph.D.*
Abstract— Western psychotherapy and indigenous shamanic healing systems have both used psychoactive drugs or
plants for healing and obtaining knowledge (called “diagnosis” or “divination” respectively). While there are
superficial similarities between psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and shamanic healing with hallucinogenic
plants, there are profound differences in the underlying worldview and conceptions of reality. Four paradigms are
reviewed: (1) psychedelic psychotherapy within the standard Western paradigm— here the drug is used to amplify
and intensify the processes of internal self-analysis and self-understanding; (2) shamanic rituals of healing and
divination, which involve primarily the shaman or healer taking the medicine in order to be able to “see” the
causes of illness and know what kind of remedy to apply; (3) syncretic folk religious ceremonies, in which the
focus seems to be a kind of community bonding and celebratory worship; and (4) the “hybrid shamanic therapeutic
rituals,” which incorporate some features of the first two traditions. There are two points in which the worldview of
the shamanic and hybrid shamanic ceremonies differs radically from the accepted Western worldview: (1) the
belief and assumption (really, perception) that there are multiple realities (“worlds”) that can be explored in
expanded states of consciousness; and (2) the belief that “spirits,” the beings one encounters in dreams and visions,
are just as real as the physical organism."

I think a core reason for a diverse range of emotional distress, and behaviour considered 'mental illness' by our culture, is making us all fit in one box. In this case the mechanistic-materialistic box, or coffin! And this is enforced!

I recently watched a video mention how when people are prevented from sleeping that they can experience hallucinations, or visions, and that these can be classed as 'mental illness'. I immediately was reminded of so-called 'schizophrenia', 'psychosis', 'bi-polar', where the person can experience visions, hear voices. And wondered if there is some kind of a correlation.
That because we all have to fit in this coffin, box, straighjacket, where our natural spiritual sensual senses are deprived of expression, that, like lack of sleep, and experience of visions, and deep delta rest, that these deprived needs will be involuntarily expressed as visions. And then the response from this culture is fear which excacerbates the experiences into negativity, and fear?

I am only wondering. I also am aware that early trauma that overwhelms a child, young adult, etc, like sexual abuse, hostile parents, losing a loved one, and general abuse, etc, can also be a cause. But, as with everything, we are sensitive, and complex, and yet all supposed to fit in a BOX!
See all the children sat in rows, stiff, and denied play, and often drugged. See the workplaces for many people, the same, and also more and more people taking pharmacratic drugs to cope.
The concrete ghettos, and open sewers, crowded cities, more and more of the world's people have to live in. Cramped, no trees, or any contact with the natural world. A terrible vibe of violence, emphasized and glorified by the media and 'entertainment' which sends out mindwarping contradictions...
And in the 'leafy suburbs' the fear of.....that, and the meaninglessness of consumerism.

There are people who try and offer alternatives for people who are classed as 'schizophrenic', experiencing visions, voices, and so on. There was a place called Soteria (which in Greek means Deliverance)and which was a community-based place young people, labeled as 'schizophrenic', could receive alternative support without the coercion to take 'anti-psychotic' drugs, any drugs. It lasted from 1971 to 1983, but with severe financial pressure from the pharmaceutical companies, and their groups, the experiment was forced to end!

Sotoria House, was opened by Loren R. Mosher, M.D. and he "resigned in disgust" from the APA regarding this affair, and the fact his colleagues, being in the pocket of the pharmaceutual industry, were only to happy to overly push their drugs on people, regardless of the consequences:

"I Want No Part of It Anymore"

"Why does the world of psychiatry find me so threatening? Because drug companies pour millions of dollars into the pockets of psychiatrists around the country, making them reluctant to recognize that drugs may not always be in the best interest of their patients. They are too busy enjoying drug company perks: consultant gigs, research grants, fine wine and fancy meals...

The APA Connection

The American Psychiatric Association representing the majority of psychiatrists in America, with about 40,000 members--is also unduly influenced by pharmaceutical dollars. The Association:

* receives substantial rent from drug companies for huge symposia spaces at national conventions.
* derives an enormous percentage of its income from drug companies--30% of its total budget is from drug company advertising in its many publications.
* accepts a large number of unrestricted educational grants from drug companies.

This relationship is dangerous because researchers and psychiatrists then feel indebted to the drug companies, remain biased in favor of drug cures, downplay side effects and seldom try other types of interventions. And they know they have the unspoken blessing of the APA to do so."


  1. Thanks, Julian. I have found my own experiences though limited with psychedelics very eye opening and healing. It frustrates me that access is denied, while easy access to "chemical normalizers" is pretty much forced on us. We have a community clubhouse, while not the same as Soteria is based on importance of commmunity and has staff that are just mostly there to support you, not boss you around(mostly, hehe, they are people too). They are having one hell of a time getting ends to meet.

  2. Yes incredibly furustrating I imagine for a many people. The very fact that the powers that be EVEn denied psychedelic experience to terminally ill people says it all. It says to me that their fear about this is BLATANT. They really do fear psychedelics for the threat they bring to their mind control games and profit-making exploitation. And so the scapegoat people like Timothy Leary, and Charles Manson. What the hell that has to do with people facing DEATH even being forbidden to take psychedelics I don't know. But it just shows where they really at with this. I will go into this in part 4.

    I am glad you have a community, however small, going on where you are, Oz. Another thing they do--as you are finding out--is make it SO difficuly to keep these alternative communities going because of pressures on finance. Which as you must have read is what happened to the Soteria community.

  3. Mwak

    You remind me moi
    when I was a monk

  4. a very long.... story
    but gr8! thanx for sharing

  5. May I post this to Seers and Seekers?

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