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Religions rest upon a bedrock of supernatural encounters

27/06/2013

The most powerful lesson I recently learned is that religions rest upon a bedrock of supernatural encounters and experiences by powerful and charismatic persons (e.g., Jesus of Nazareth, Gautama Buddha, Muhammad) with the gift to communicate what they had learned to others. Experiences of this sort, since the dawn of human culture, derive from altered states of consciousness, and in fact are only attainable in such profoundly altered states. Thus, our knowledge of the supernatural derives from the statements by these religious visionaries and others. Shamanic ecstasy lies at the root of all religions.

Priests, ministers, rabbis, mullahs and bishops have taken over entirely and present themselves as true and exclusive intermediaries between us and otherworldly powers. This follows from centuries of brutal repression by imposing bureaucrats and managers. We can be certain that these functionaries will never present us with any new supernatural experiences of their own to refresh the original inspirations, revelations and insights of the religions they direct and control. Instead we are overwhelmed by a mass of useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that small and special selection likely to be practically useful.

Of course, truth is always there waiting for us. Indeed it is our birth right. The nature of the Shamanic ecstasy may be illuminated by attention to ancient hallucinogens. And, this is my direction in September 2013 when I fly to Iquitos, Peru for an Ayahuasca retreat.

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