Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University
Ceremonial psychedelics: ecstatic powers
The debate on the purpose of psychedelic drugs in ceremonial magical practice has been debated by practitioners for over a century. Its use is generally directed at an empowerment of magical ceremonial practice leading to stronger altered states of consciousness and a more vivid interaction with magical forces. However, not all magical practitioners share the same idea on the versatility and functionality of the use of psychedelics. If on one hand, they do provide strong sensations and sometimes visions, on the other they are also considered to be an interference in concentration, a core component for any magical ritual. Other perspectives envision psychedelics as training wheels which must subsequently be abandoned. The purpose and use of psychedelics is moreover determined by the individual practitioner and magical order of belonging. It appears thus that although there are magical currents which are famous for the use of psychedelics such as the OTO, magical practitioners of the Golden Dawn in reference to Israel Regardie’s book “Roll Away the Stone” are not alien to its use although it is not necessarily part of the official magical training program. This presentation will investigate the perspectives of magical practitioners such as the Golden Dawn, the OTO, Chaos Magic and Neo-Paganism. All of these have come into contact and advocated for the use of psychedelics in their practices to some extent. The purpose will be to verify whether there is a common ground under which the use of psychedelic substances is purposeful for magical practice and what role do they cover.