012: Interview with Carl A. P. Ruck, the Man who Coined the Term "Entheogen", on Renegotiating our Covenant with Mother Earth by Joe

This is Entheogen: three human beings discussing generating the divine within while still being human beings.

In this episode, recorded on June 22, 2015, we are honored to be joined by Dr. Carl Ruck, professor in the Classical Studies department at Boston University. Ruck is credited with coining the term Entheogen to describe neurotropic substances.

Ruck explains the importance of the term entheogen as distinct from neurotropic and other terms which may be used in scientific literature (see also: alchemy…chemistry, astrology…astronomy; alchemy minus theology = chemistry).

Dangers of guidance under the guise of a false guru.

Ancient entheogenic substances and principles of practice being reinterpreted in modern culture is prone to pitfalls.

"Our own European culture has a rich panoply of paradigms to help us with the experience, but we're told that it has nothing to do with this kind of drug induced visionary experience, so people don't understand that the ancient greek myths are a fantastic way of mapping out a pathway for self-discovery." - Carl A. P. Ruck

What is the role of the entheogen in society?

Finding ways to go to "the origins of religious cognition."

Should entheogens be used in a ritualistic setting, or as a private experience?

The Gaia Project: Reclaiming the Mysteries of Eleusis (more info)

The Breaking Conventions conference

Further reading: Entheogens, Myth, and Human Consciousness

011: Enduring Personality Changes from Entheogens by Joe

This is Entheogen: three human beings discussing generating the divine within while still being human beings. In this episode, recorded on April 20, 2015, we discuss Enduring Personality Changes from Entheogens.

This show we are joined by special guest, Ingo, to explore the topic of how psychedelics can change one's personality.

Ingo explains how in traditional psychology, one's personality typically doesn't change after the age of 30 years. And yet in his experience, he has grown more as a person since he began using psychedelics than ever before.

How does a psychedelic experience change one's personality? In the peak entheogenic experience? During the afterglow? Cumulatively over the years?

Ingo reminds us of the Roland Griffiths we study discussed in Entheogen 008: The Trip Treatment.

How psychedelics reintroduce us to the joy, wonder, and awe of a child's perspective.

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009: Founder Focus – Dr. Stanislav Grof by Joe

Recorded on March 16, 2015

This is Entheogen: three human beings discussing generating the divine within while still being human beings.  In this episode, recorded on March 16, 2015, we continue our Founder Focus series and discuss Stanislav Grof.


- Grof began studying LSD in 1956 when Sandoz shipped a big box of LSD-25 ampules, with a mysterious description of the history of its discovery by Albert Hofmann, and offering two suggested avenues of research: first, to induce a experimental state of psychosis in normal people, and secondly as an unconventional educational tool, to induce this state in the therapist to better understand the "psychotic" state. Grof had been feeling dissatisfied with modern psychology and lack of results, costs in time, energy, etc., and the Sandoz box and invitation came at just the right time.

- He also agreed to have his brainwaves driven as a participant in another avenue of research that was taking place, which involved stereoscopic light – which, combined with the LSD, elicited an overwhelming experience of cosmic consciousness, and a sense of becoming everything there was.

- Grof discusses the correlation between the workings of the brain and consciousness, but points out there is no proof that the brain creates consciousness. His first psychedelic experience brought him to a state of superconsciousness that led him to understand that consciousness was a property of reality that can be experienced by humankind, but was not created by the brain.

- In psychiatry, these states are Altered States are considered pathologic. Grof realized we needed a new word and coined Holotropic: Holos, wholeness; tropic, movement toward something.

- Grof writes: The term “altered states of consciousness” commonly used by mainstream clinicians and theoreticians is not appropriate, because of its one-sided emphasis on the distortion or impairment of the “correct way” of experiencing oneself and the world. (In colloquial English and in veterinary jargon, the term “alter” is used to signify castration of family dogs and cats). Even the somewhat better term “non-ordinary states of consciousness” is too general, since it includes a wide range of conditions that are not relevant for the subject of this paper. Here belong trivial deliria caused by infectious diseases, tumors, abuse of alcohol, or circulatory and degenerative diseases of the brain. These alterations of consciousness are associated with disorientation, impairment of intellectual functions, and subsequent amnesia.

- Grof describes two modes of consciousness: hylotropic referring to "the normal, everyday experience of consensus reality" and holotropic, which is moving toward wholeness (e.g. meditative, mystical, psychedelic experiences).

- Grof developed breathing techniques (Holotropic Breathwork) as a successor to the use of psychedelic drugs, when psychedelics encountered legal difficulty in the 1960's.


- Beyond Awakening Series by Terry Patten (search for Grof interview)

The Revision and Re-Enchantment of Psychology: The Legacy of Half a Century of Consciousness Research by Stanislav Grof, M.D.

- Subjective Experiences During the LSD Training Session, a trip report by Stan Grof from 1970

Food Fighter, New Yorker article about John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods, which mentions his therapeutic session of holotropic breathing with Grof

- Mind States IV conference talks

008: The Trip Treatment by Joe

Recorded on Feb 26, 2015

This is Entheogen: three human beings discussing generating the divine within while still being human beings. In this show we're discussing the Trip Treatment, an article in the New Yorker by Michael Pollan in the Feb 9, 2015 edition.


- use of entheogens for terminal cancer patients, nicotine addicts, PTSD

- use of entheogens for "betterment of well people" (in the words of Bob Jesse)

- Roland Griffiths, trained as a behaviorist and holding senior appointments in psychiatry and neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University, is one of the nation’s leading drug-addiction researchers. Pollan quoting Griffiths: “There is such a sense of authority that comes out of the primary mystical experience that it can be threatening to existing hierarchical structures. We ended up demonizing these compounds. Can you think of another area of science regarded as so dangerous and taboo that all research gets shut down for decades? It’s unprecedented in modern science.”

- Robert Jesse, founder of Council on Spiritual Practices (CSP) in 1993, former VP of Oracle.

- Rick Doblin, founder of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) in 1986.

- Charles Grob, at U.C.L.A., who won F.D.A. approval in 2006 for a Phase I pilot study to assess the safety, dosing, and efficacy of psilocybin in the treatment of anxiety in cancer patients.

- David Nichols, emeritus professor of pharmacology at Purdue University and a founder of the Heffter Research Institute in 1993, key funder of psychedelic research.

- Robin Carhart-Harris and David Nutt of Imperial College, London. See prior coverage on the show: Entheogen 002: Psychedelic Research Renaissance, Part 2


- Roland Griffiths, a leading psychedelic researcher at Johns Hopkins University and the States of Consciousness Research Team is conducting an anonymous, web-based study to characterize experiences of personal encounter that might be described as "Ultimate Reality," "Higher Power," "God" or any aspect of the God of your understanding. If you’ve ever had such an experience, taking the Johns Hopkins survey could serve science and help others.

007: Founder Focus – Dr. Albert Hofmann by Joe

Recorded on December 22, 2014

LSD-25, first synthesized in 1938 is so named because it's the 25th in a series of lysergic acid amides which Dr. Hofmann was exploring. It was set aside for five years, and in 1943 a dream inspired Hofmann to revisit it. Through an "accidental observation" from contact with the skin, he discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD and confirmed his discovery through a planned experiment on "Bicycle Day."


An Interview with Albert Hofmann by Michael Horowitz in 1976.

Eleusinian Mysteries


María Sabina

Albert Hofmann's Letter to Steve Jobs