Nov. 21, 2006
THINGS YOU SHOULDN’T DO
Folklore and academics go hand in hand. Other things that go along with
foklore include cultural identity, a sense of community, and hallucingens. Yes, as
much as civilized society would like to view drugs as either a recreational
pastime or something profane and dangerous, there exists a definite culture that
views hallucigens (or rather, entheogens) as a way to connect with the Other, the
divine. The pagan culture of Eugene is an interesting sub-culture, since they find
recreational drugs to be more acceptable than “normal” society. I believed that
due to this free embracing of radical habits or lifestyles, they would be more
capable of performing entheogen use in a ritual context. These substances are
often done with a sense of irreverence and lack of ritual, but the final outcome
should be a connection with something greater than the mere mortal partaking.
These connections take manifold shapes, but they all shared a few major traits:
that of connection to a greater existence, that of fear or anxiety, alienation and
reintroduction, and often a sense of touching on another world or realm.
The manner of research I performed was exhaustive and intense: As
Terence McKenna says “The psychedelic experience is not easy to measure. It
appears to be a world nearly as large as the previous domain of nature”
Archaic Revival 54)
This is applicable to the groups that indulge in the mind-
expansion as well. In discussions with several different groups of pagans in
Eugene and Springfield, I discovered that they truly have more personal freedom
in belief than your typical church or congregation. Many of them shared a similar
ethos of ‘an it harm none, do what thou wilt’. (Presentation 11/20/06).
were exceptions even to this law. It is important to define that the law of ‘Harm
none’ is a Wiccan dogma, not pagan. Thus it fails to apply to every practitioner’s
life. Interviews were conducted informally, often over coffee or food. There was
no set schedule of questions; rather I sought to learn about their experiences
with entheogens. Many times I found they were unprepared for what they found.
Other similarities included tattoos and/or piercings, and a liberal attitude towards
society. All of them had done entheogens more than once; many times they were
unable to count how many times they had experienced this altered state.
For the purpose of this writing, two major terms must be defined. Pagan
can be defined in infinite ways, each with their own different interpretations. For
my purposes pagan will be given a looser definition, in which the criteria is that of
self-indentification as pagan or association with typical pagan activities on a
regular basis. Thus, someone who is both Buddhist and pagan fits the model.
The other term that must be defined is ‘entheogen’. This is typically defined by