Entheogens

pbp1 Yeah, so, I use entheogens.

If you ask some people, this makes me a bad, bad person. Seriously. There are people who believe that anyone who ever does any alcohol or drugs or any sort of mind-altering substance at all is contributing to the downfall of our society; we are the moral decay at the heart of America, we are everything that is wrong with youth today. (And yeah, the people I’m referring to are pagans.) I can only assume these people have never had a really good meal, or cup of coffee, or any sort of treat, because let me tell you — that stuff is just as mind-altering as booze or belladonna. I once orgasmed over a chocolate bar, no lie.

Since then I don’t try new chocolate bars while I’m driving.

Anyway.

But wait, you say, stroking the hairs on your chin, Morag, I’m confused: what’s an ‘entheogen’? And what does it have to do with chocolate?

You must be new here, I say, and go on to explain anyway because otherwise I don’t really have much of a post.

Entheogen literally means “generating the divine within”. It’s a psychoactive substance used in a religious context.

“This weed made me see GOD, man!”

Something like that, Stoner Steve. Something like that.

An entheogen, however, doesn’t need to be psychoactive. And since psychoactive substances are not necessarily always used as entheogens, the term generally refers to those substances that have been used historically to achieve altered states in religious/ritual contexts.

The entheogens I’ve used are wine and three different flying ointments. Witches’ Ointment I’ve found the most effective without killing me. (Belladonna ointment was effective. Also dangerous.) The Mandrake I found didn’t have as strong as an effect as I wanted, but I only used a little bit that first time — I still need to try a higher dose. The wine I’ve taken in conjunction with the Witches’ Ointment.

(Outside of ritual context, I’ve also tried weed, shrooms, and ecstasy. I may try shrooms again in a ritual context.)

My advice for trying flying ointments: do your research, be thorough, and be cautious. If you’re allergic to morphine or otherwise have a bad reaction to it, do not take the belladonna flying ointment. I didn’t realize when I had my experience that people who have adverse reactions to morphine can have the same reaction to belladonna; it never occurred to me because the plants are not closely related. I learned it after I’d survived the ordeal. (Then, the next time I saw her, I let Sarah Lawless know and she put a warning up on her site for future customers — because it wasn’t something that had ever occurred to her, either.)

My advice for using wine in ritual: pick a bottle you like with a low alcohol content. Make sure you’re in a safe place and your car keys are out of reach. During the ritual, I didn’t notice how much wine I was consuming. The hangover didn’t hit until well after I’d finished the ritual, and I didn’t get drunk in the traditional sense, but still — if I used something with a higher alcohol content I could have been in trouble.

The last time I used wine was before I was on my Zoloft. I’m not sure how it would work as an entheogen for me now because Zoloft lowers my alcohol tolerance considerably. I’ll probably avoid it so long as I’m on this medication (the foreseeable future).

My advice for chocolate as an entheogen follows, but I don’t use it myself. Mainly because I consume so much on a daily basis that it doesn’t have that much of a spiritual effect on me if I use it in ritual context. (I still use it in ritual context, but not as an entheogen.)

However, if you don’t eat it all that often, it may work quite well for you, and — assuming you’re not allergic — it’ll be safer for a first time entheogen than using alcohol or flying ointments.

Antigua, Guatemala
Antigua, Guatemala (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now. Chocolate as an entheogen: if you want this to happen, you have to find the darkest chocolate you can. The ones with the really high cacao content. My recommendation is to buy Mayan style chocolate from Antigua, Guatemala, but that’s obviously not possible for everyone. (I once made brownies with that chocolate for a pot luck. At least three people asked me if they were weed brownies. The stuff is powerful.)

Don’t even think about using milk chocolate. Not going to work. White chocolate is right out; it’s not even fucking chocolate, for Itzamna’s sake!

(If you’re wondering what makes this random witch blogger so qualified to talk about chocolate, let me show you my qualifications: my mom used to own a chocolate factory. So there.)

So find some dark chocolate. If you want one with flavors in it, like raspberry (my fave), go for it. So long as it’s dark.

It’s not going to be sweet. If all you’ve ever had is milk chocolate and you’re under the assumption that chocolate is naturally sweet, drop that assumption right now. (I’m looking at you, Chef Robert Irvine.*) Tons of sugar is added to chocolate to make it palatable for American and Canadian tongues. It’s not its natural state.

Dark chocolate with a high cacao content should be closer to bitter than sweet, and it’s the one that’s more likely to give you an entheogenic experience. Getting one with hints of raspberry, or some other sweet flavor, works too, though generally those don’t have as high a cacao content.

Start your ritual. Do whatever you do; I ain’t gonna tell you how to religion or magic or whatever. At the appropriate time, consume the chocolate. See what happens.

When I say consume, I don’t mean gobble it down like it’s going out of style. Savour it. Take a small bite, let it rest on your tongue, use all of your senses to experience it. The eating of the chocolate is as much a ritual as the ritual you’re doing. Or more, if you’re not doing much of a ritual.

Log your experiences while they’re happening; this helps you get a clearer picture of what the etheogen is doing to you. Sometimes you might think “Oh, this is doing nothing” and then later, when it wears off, you’re going “WOAH that did a LOT”. Entheogens are kind of mind-fucky that way. So keep a log of your experiences at first.

And tell me what chocolate does for you in the comments below! I’m interested in hearing your experiences.

-M

*There was an episode of Dinner: Impossible where he had to make a several course meal for the executives of Hershey’s, and he had to use chocolate in every single course. He would not shut up about how chocolate is so SWEET and it’s so HARD to make a bunch of dishes out of something SWEET and I was screaming at the TV “HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHEF; YOU KNOW NOTHING!”

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