The Psychedelic Community as a New Religious Movement:

The word psychedelic was coined by Humphry Osmond in 1957, its etymological root is meant to indicate the ‘spirit-revealing’ or ‘soul-manifesting’ nature of the chemicals concerned.

We know, beyond all doubt, that many of the users of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, DMT, Mescaline and Psilocin Mushrooms claim that these chemicals cause them to have experiences they describe as spiritually significant: usually in terms of allowing new spiritual insights about the nature of their being and its relationship to experience and the world, or in terms of some kind of spiritual healing effect.

Many, if not most, individuals who repeatedly use psychedelics do so with a primary motivation to explore the spiritual benefits of psychedelics: it is therefore, a part of their spiritual lives. Many of those individuals feel that the drugs themselves are sacred gifts, they use drugs like LSD to bring about experiences and states of being that are somehow “spiritual”,  “mystical” and “divine”.

All around the world, right now, there are individuals who are using psychedelic drugs. Not just individuals though, there is an increasingly cohesive and open community of psychedelic users: all united by the shared belief that they have been benefited by, and will continue to benefit from, psychedelic drugs.

Is it not conceivable that this community of individuals, who use the same sacraments, share similar spiritual motivations, and hold similar core beliefs represent a new religious or spiritual movement? 

Illustrating the unique aesthetic of psychedelic art.

It is, essentially, a ‘New Religious Movement’ (NRM) that is not allowed to become an organised religion. It cannot be given a name, nor can its places of communal gathering be made to explicit. It includes a great variety of belief and practice: but then the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism, even Christianity all show a great variety of forms and expressions also. It has it’s own set of texts, but none are adopted as dogma, there is no cannon: but then many of the historical forms of human spirituality did not have a cannon either. It even has its own unique forms of artistic expression and aesthetic style, rife with themes of transcendence and spiritual discovery.

In Europe, especially in the summer, there are certain festivals attended primarily by the psychedelic community. At these festivals, an obvious form of neo-shamanism manifests itself: complete with music, dancing, and mind-altering chemicals, components of many shamanic traditions from all over the world. In fact, these festivals are becoming increasingly popular all over the world.

One of the implications of the continued growth of psychedelic festival culture is that the community of psychedelic users is becoming, with the help of the internet, more organised and more cohesive. Furthermore, now this ‘spiritual movement’ has community meeting spaces, with their own rituals, traditions, codes and conventions. At these gatherings there is a very strong sense of this community – people care for one another and help one another to have an enjoyable time, there is a sense of shared purpose and unity that is enjoyed by many when the psychedelic community meet.

Some might say “this isn’t spirituality, it is just hedonism’. Verily there are some who attend psychedelic festivals ‘just to have fun’, but there are others who feel, nonetheless, that psychedelic chemicals are an important aspect of their spiritual lives. Furthermore, who is to say that spirituality cannot be fun? Mystical texts from all world religions, including the bible, speak of ecstatic and joyous experiences that are encountered on the spiritual path: the Old Testament even describes singing and dancing as a result of spiritual attainment.

The Psychedelic Community has its own Places of Worship

When I walk down the street of Oxford on a Saturday night I see fighting, I see people throwing up, I hear glass smashing: people become rude, inconsiderate, violent. I have never seen a fight at a psychedelic music festival, I don’t see people stumbling around and throwing up, what I do see is people having the time of their lives and forming lasting bonds with people in the process.

Returning to the issue though, the psychedelic community needs to consider how it can go about becoming recognised for the legitimate spiritual movement that it is so that it can enjoy the same acceptance and according protections that are afforded to other religious communities.

In the mean time, psychedelic spiritualists will continue to be a persecuted and oppressed minority religious group. For walking their spiritual path, they face imprisonment, with all the hardships and consequences-on-life that are entailed by it. Let’s have a brief look at how this persecution came about.

Christian Puritanism & Moral Panics: ‘The War on Drugs’ as Hysteria

We must recognise that for the last thousand years (and then some) the population of Europe has had its native religious/spiritual practices oppressed by the ‘dominator religion’ that is Christianity. Wherever Christianity went it systematically destroyed any competing forms of spirituality: often through violence. In the background, that force is still an undercurrent of our society.

Think about it. The American political system is still so obviously fixated on the values of Puritanical Christianity: that kind of ‘good christian wholesomeness’ that is expected of any presidential candidate, the obsession with ‘sexual misconduct’ on the part those in the public sphere, and wariness of the many other things deemed viceful within the puritanical Christian tradition. Is it a coincidence that this moral panic, this ‘war on drugs’, has come from a country whose dominant spiritual power is a form Christian puritanism?

Like the witch-trials, the ‘War on Drugs’ is another hysterical moral panic: something is judged as evil, all ‘the good people’ respond with unspeakable inhumanity.

A moral panic, and not the first. Can we think of some other examples from history where the Christian majority have deemed something to be ‘evil’ or ‘morally wrong’ and responded with unspeakable violence? The witch-hunts, for example, which also took on a distinctive ferocity midst the North American puritans. The Inquisition, a few hundred years of torture, persecution, inhumanity: based on a response to what is perceived to be an evil.

Perhaps you think the comparison extreme? It’s not like we’re burning people at the stake or torturing them, right? But we do lock people up: vast swathes of people (usually the most socially disadvantaged) all in response to the supposed ‘evil’ of drug-use. As in the inquisition, we interrogate people, we use fear and intimidation to make them betrays other human beings: is it not torture to go through a judicial system and be locked away for decades of your life?

The ‘War on Drugs’ is just another inquisition. The ‘Holy/Good people’ exercising hegemonic domination over ‘the evil people’, and in the process performing unspeakable evils themselves.

Is it not an evil thing to do this to an individual? It is a harmful action after all, to lock them in a prison for years on end. Is the act of imprisoning some one for using psychedelics not, in fact, more evil than that individuals ‘offence’ of using psychedelics?

When an activity carries risks only to oneself, does that make it unethical? If so, are horse-riding and mountain climbing unethical to? Clearly then the idea that drug use is morally wrong cannot be based on the risks associated with their use. If it is not a moral wrong, then to punish people for it is not just, and is unethical.

The ‘War on Drugs’ will be viewed by historians as just another silly moral panic, a hysteria that got carried away with itself, but a hysteria like never before. A hysteria fueled by new mass-media technologies, a hysteria on an unprecedented scale, and one which does an unprecedented amount of harm.

It is interesting to consider the extent to which Puritanical Christianity has been embraced by, what some might consider to be ‘the new dominator religion’, Capitalism; and the extent to which spiritual movements which are perceived to be a threat to capitalism are marginalised, and in this case, forbidden.


The psychedelic community, as it stands, is a new religious/spiritual movement. Its members are subject to persecution and oppression, as they have been for the last fifty years.

Much of modern drug culture is simply an extension of much older spiritual traditions. Modern Britain has new sacraments now, and its tribal dances are to dubstep from massive sound-systems

This ‘war on drugs’ is just a part of a millenia-old pattern of ‘organised religion’ dominating more spontaneous & experiential forms of spirituality. It manifests the values of the puritanical religious fanaticism which has come to dominate American political culture.

If our Right to Religious & Spiritual Freedom is to mean anything, then it must accommodate entheogenic  and psychedelic compounds , which are an important component to many forms of spirituality.

One source of hope is the increasing unity of the psychedelic community around the world.


On the 26th of May Great Britain will become one of those most cognitively restrictive nations on the planet: the new ‘Psychoactive Substances Bill’ is coming into effect.

For the first time in human history a state has presumed not simply to prohibit mind-altering substances but to draw up a nice little list of the prescribed ‘officially sanctioned’ states of mind you are allowed access to. I contains a feeble selection of”permitted” drugs: tobacco (kills about 100k Brits per year), alcohol (also great), caffeine and a few others.

Apparently it’s okay to consume alcohol until it kills you but to possess anything else is a crime: it might be a rare ethnobotanical that has been used by shamans for tens of thousands of years, it might be a plant used as a sedative by the ancient Egyptians for thousands of years, or it might be the next breakthrough in neuropharmacology. “Whatever it is” it’s a criminal offense to sell it, or to own enough that you can be accused of selling it. Jail time?

The cognitive fascists. Not only are they content to systematically ban various potentials of human experience, now they seek to set up walls that limit the mind so obviously: “nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care…”. The citizens are so well socialised they know not how narrow their consciousness has become: work, money, buying, planning. Taking care of “the world of the five senses”, meanwhile propaganda has convinced them that the greatest gifts this species has in its possession are evil and dangerous.

The cognitive fascists. They are the witch-hunters of our age: followed in our time, they will be ridiculed by our descendants, seen for the con-artists they are. If you dare to use substances not owned by alcohol and tobacco companies (so that they can tax the people that facilitate your suicide) they will take you, they will arrest you,they will shut you away in a little box they call prison. That’s the kind of people who are running our country: those who want to put more of us in prison for daring to explore and expand our minds with psychedelics.

Nothing should remind the people of Britain of the extent to which they are objectified property of the state by the flagrant limiting of sovereignty over their very conscious minds. Are they your masters? To tell you what you can and can’t do with your own mind?

I think it’s incredibly revealing: how such ministers must see the power dynamic between themselves and the people of this country. Any politician who supports this bill is asserting their right to control your mind, even though many themselves have used the newly censored drugs themselves.

What democratic people would ever sanction such ludicrous impositions on their own freedom?
We are so obsessed with the sovereignty of this nation and so blinded to the metaphysical “land-grab” that is going to occur on the 26th of May, 2016.

On the 26th of March 2016 hundreds of mind-altering substances policy makers know little-to-nothing about will be made illegal. Many are not just drugs but keys to doors of experience that can transform and benefit this species and the people of this nation: doors the government wants firmly closed. Many such substances have been used by your ancestors for countless generations. Many are tools for the expansion of an ever shrinking human consciousness: psychologically programmed and genetically manipulated only to work, consume, and not kick up too much of a fuss.

“Nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care…”

“We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal  damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes these drugs so valuable –  while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could  focus  more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer. We believe that sending parents to prison for non-violent personal drug use destroys families. We believe that in a regulated and controlled environment, drugs will be safer for adult use and less accessible to our children. And we believe that by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of addiction and overdose deaths.”

Fagnan Gallery

N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT or N,N-DMT) is a psychedelic compound of the tryptamine family. Its presence is widespread throughout the plant kingdom.DMT occurs in trace amounts in mammals, including humans, where it putatively functions as a trace amine neurotransmitter/neuromodulator.[5] It is originally derived from the essential amino acid tryptophan and ultimately produced by the enzyme INMT during normal metabolism. The significance of its widespread natural presence remains undetermined. Structurally, DMT is analogous to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT), the hormone melatonin, and other psychedelic tryptamines, such as 5-MeO-DMT, bufotenin, psilocin and psilocybin.

When ingested, DMT acts as a psychedelic drug. Depending on the dose and method of administration, its subjective effects can range from short-lived milder psychedelic states to powerful immersive experiences; these are often described as a total loss of connection to conventional reality with the encounter of ineffable spiritual/alien realms. Indigenous Amazonian Amerindian cultures consume DMT as the primary psychoactive in ayahuasca, a…

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Please sign and share the following petition (UK Citizens only)

In light of the recent scandal, and in light of the fact that (as a matter of public record) the following MPs have all admitted to using illegal recreation drugs…

Cognitive-Liberty---InfoGraphic How many uk british politicians have smoked weed cannabis

…it’s time to either end the war on drugs or end the hypocrisy that goes with it. Members of parliament, many of whom have enjoyed the pleasures of altered states of consciousness themselves, preside over laws that penalalise others for doing exactly as they did (or do!). It is hypocrisy, pure and simple.

They procrastinate, worrying about their popularity contest, while innocent people are going to prison or having their futures destroyed over these ridiculous laws, laws that many of them have broken or are breaking: one rule for them, one rule for the rest of us; it’s time for change.

Thank you for signing and sharing the petition:

Scummy British tabloid ‘The Daily Star’ (considered by many to be a small step up from The Daily Sport in terms of journalistic integrity) ran the following story on their website today:
After we complained to the editor The Daily Star changed the article’s headline to the “more accurate” but equally misleading and disingenuous:

These sensationalist headlines come in the wake of reports that LSD usage has increased among young people in Britain (almost doubling in the last year).

The article then goes on to speak about totally unrelated deaths in the area that were caused by dodgy ecstasy pills, you know: the kind that end up floating around countries where prohibitions makes safety and regulation take a back-seat. Nonetheless, the article seems to use these tragedies to further an anti-LSD agenda the newspaper appears to have.

Now, whilst it is “accurate” to say that he is “fighting for his life after taking LSD” it would be just as accurate to replace LSD with any previous life event or action – this would be just as accurate. It’s a wording that allows the insult-to-journalism that is The Daily Star to make LSD seem dangerous even though there is no actual evidence that LSD has caused the medical conditions being associated with it.

It’s also interesting to note that ‘lysergic acid diethylamide’ is referred to as ‘hippy acid’, I wonder what the psychology behind that choice of language might be? A kind of tribalistic hatred of the peace-loving counter culture: the kind of counter-culture that, if it were normalised, would spell the end of the hate-mongering tabloid newspaper industry.

At least The Mirror, with an equally dodgy headline:


Wrote, “The hallucinogenic drug rarely leads to death, however the man, 20, was rushed to Royal Blackburn Hospital at around 9.45pm on Friday.” and accurately clarified: “The drug is not known for being lethal, and drugs advice charity Talk to Frank said there is no evidence to suggest LSD does any long-term damage to the body or the brain, although it can have serious implications for people with a history of mental illness.”

Well, just to remind the writers at The Daily Star, and it’s unfortunate readers:

  • “No well-documented human deaths resulting directly from the toxic effects of LSD itself have occurred”. (Haddad and Winchester,1990)
  • Lethal doses of LSD are reckoned to be at least 100 times the regular dose, meaning accidental overdose is highly unlikely.
  • LSD has repeatedly been deemed to be considerably safer than alcohol (and even cannabis!) and is considered one of the safest recreational drugs available:
  • Graph clearly depicting the objective harms of controlled substances

    Source: Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs

Well, the Oxbridge graduates who run these tabloids may have successfully deceived the young people of the 60s and 70s, turning them away from the profound tool for human development that is LSD: but young people today have the internet, they know to trust the science instead of tabloid spin, and they have access to an endless supply of positive trip-reports on websites like Erowid where they can find honest accounts of different drugs.

The Psychedelic Revolution took a big hit because of papers just like The Daily Star, but now it is being revitalised and there’s nothing the establishment can do to stop it. Lies and deceptions are temporary: but the truth remains; LSD is a tool for good.

Perhaps, given The Daily Star’s obvious concern for human safety, they should combat our country’s culture of drinking the far more toxic drug of alcohol? Or advocate for the regulation and control of drugs: the only way recreational drugs will ever become truly safe?

Aside from an assault on The Human Rights Act, the new Tory government are in the process of removing their citizenry’s freedom to experience non-ordinary states of consciousness through the use of mind-altering substances.

The proposed legislation can be found here.

Key Points

  • The bill makes production supply, offer to supply, possession with intent to supply, import or export of any psychoactive substance illegal.
  • The bill lists various “legitimate” forms of mind altering substances: alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and medical products.


  • This legislation is tantamount to a prescription of approved psychological states: working, consuming, and self-abuse with alcohol/tobacco are the only options available to British citizens from now on.
  • The exception of alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco make it clear that the “legitimacy” of given substances has nothing to do with harmfulness to individual users, but compatibility with current social norms and economic needs.
  • Banned substances will, presumably, include ALL ENTHEOGENS , regardless of their history of use, their spiritual associations, and their mind-expanding qualities.
  • Substances are banned are to be banned solely on the basis of whether or not they are psychoactive: regardless of any research or understanding of the potential harms or benefits of a given substance.
  • Controlling neurological states is a clear infringement of our right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion: given that all religious, cognitive and emotional states can be correlated with (and are widely believed to be caused by) neurological states.
  • With other countries making progress on the march against prohibition towards a free citizenry, Britain regresses into cognitive fascism.

Watch this space for a petition and protest information.

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