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Altered States of Consciousness and Religion…Part 2

Ethnomycology is the study of the historical use of mushrooms. (I must take an aside by for personal experience. My brother-in-law worked in the past for Pfizer, researching spider venom for use in medicinal pharmaceuticals. He left to open his own lab where he extracts enzymes from mushrooms from all over the world to sell […]

Altered States of Consciousness and Religion…Part 1

Religion and altered states of consciousness have been so closely associated over thousands of years that the case could be made that they are in fact symbiotic in nature. Belief in spirits leads to the desire to communicate with spirits, to learn about them and know them. Altered states of consciousness allow this communion. Trance […]

Drug Use in Primitve and Modern Culture

The use of drugs by “primitive” or traditional societies was generally restricted to religious purposes. Often this religious use was restricted to the shaman, priests, chiefs, kings and other persons of power and prestige. The drugs used ranged from tobacco to peyote, and pslocybe to alcohol. The purpose was to induce an altered state of […]

Catholic Priest and Shaman- a Contrast of Communications

The means of association and communication with supernatural beings is hugely variable across the cultures of the world. This differentiation is readily apparent when looking at the shaman and the Catholic priest and their respective relationship with spirit.

A shaman moves through the spirit world. He can transport himself into the spirit realm, talk with spirits, […]

Culture, Religion, and Disease…Some Thoughts

The etiology and treatment of disease is controlled by culture. They reflect the belief system of a culture and are inherently tied to it. Religion and medicine are closely associated with each other in non-western cultures and disease is believed to be caused by natural or supernatural means. As science is an outgrowth of religion, […]

Who is a Shaman?

Religious specialists date to the beginnings of religion. Mediums, shaman, priests, prophets, and diviners have helped, controlled, and advanced religion for thousands of years.

The shaman is the traditional healer. From the Tungus word shaman, or haman, he moves through the world of spirit curing, divining, and chasing ghosts. He communicates directly with souls “on the […]

What is a Taboo?

Taboos prohibit or restrict behaviors or actions. These revolve around sex, food, rites of passage, sacred objects, and sacred people. Taboos function to control the ecology, distinguish between social groups and control them, and to threaten violators with supernatural punishment. These proscriptions are put into place to counter threats to existence and/or social stability. The […]

History of the Evolution of “Religion”

From the belief in souls or spirits, to modern day science, the hypothesis for the root, and development, of religion is discussed. Clifford Geertz, speaking from a perspective almost 40 years old, talks of the evolution of the anthropology of religion. Lecture notes encapsulate and emphasize points that introduce us to why we have religion, […]