Spiritualism and Altered Consciousness
Psychoactive drugs, and especially psychedelics, have been very commonly used in religions around the world since the dawn of civilization.
- Shamans of Native American tribes used the peyote cactus to explore their spirituality and gain enlightenment.
- The Rastafarian faith uses ganja (marijuana) to commune with Jah (God).
- The Santo Daime, a branch of Christianity practiced in Brazil and elsewhere, uses Ayahuasca, a psychedelic tea, at its services. Ayahuasca's active ingredient is DMT, possibly the world's most powerful psychedelic. Their use of this otherwise illegal substance is recognized under freedom of religion by the Brazilian and Dutch governments, but not in the US or elsewhere.
- The Mazatec Indians in the Oaxaca region of Mexico use Salvia divinorum as their sacred herb.
Many books and studies have explored the connection between spirituality and psychedelics in non-Western culture.
Given this history, the thoughtful reader may find themselves wondering why this theme is common in cultures both past and present. After all, it seems greatly at odds with the conventional view of drug use. Those that are familiar with the effects of psychedelics, however, will know that their perspective-altering effect can be an extremely useful tool.
Put more simply, psychedelics allow the user the step back and see the "big picture." It's easy for humans to become focused on the small day-to-day details of their lives and loose sight of what's important in the long run - not only for themselves, but for their friends, family, and neighboors as well. Given this, it becomes obvious why these drugs are so useful as tools for the spiritual leaders of a culture.
Drug Laws Violate US Constitution and UN Charter
One might also realize, looking at this data, that the outlawing of these substances in the US is in direct contradiction with the 1st Amendment of the Bill of Rights. The first and most important tenant of the United States is being severely violated by the outlawing of many drugs. (This has been taken to court, and summarily dismissed without good explanation.)
Moreover, the United Nations has its own Charter which states quite clearly that "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to ... manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching." Quite clearly, any country which has laws against DMT, marijuana, ibogaine, or mescaline (peyote) stands in direct violation of the UN charter.
Oftentimes the conservative prohibitionists are Christians, and cite the Bible as proof that drug use is against the will of God. More and more, followers of Christian faith are becoming aware that prohibition is un-Christian.