CI position statement/policy on entheogens*
This statement outlines the Cuyamungue Institute’s policy on the use of entheogens.
What are Entheogens? a chemical substance, typically of plant origin, that is ingested to produce a nonordinary state of consciousness for religious or spiritual purposes.
Entheogens are psycho-active substances (both natural and artificial) which act upon the central nervous system to alter sensory perceptions and create states of consciousness that are considered to have spiritual value. Some entheogens such as psilocybin mushrooms, peyote cactus and ayahuasca have been used in traditional rituals and religious ceremonies such as “vision quests” and “soul healing” for thousands of years. Other examples of entheogens include mescaline, DMT, LSD, ibogaine, salvinorin A and MDMA1.
The Cuyamungue Institute’s Ecstatic Trance Postures method allows a person to safely and easily transition into an altered state of consciousness or “shamanic trance state” without the use of an entheogen. In order to do this safely the practice requires a healthy nervous system both physically and psychologically as significant physiological shifts occur including increased heart rate, lower blood pressure and changes in brain wave activity. Equally significant are the profound subjective experiences while in trance that can stir the depths of our inner world. The CI method is a complete ritual in itself and is best practiced without mixing in other traditions or techniques.
1. The Cuyamungue Institute does not have a set position on the use of entheogens by individuals in their personal spiritual practices. However, the Cuyamungue Institute does not use such substances as part of its practices or teaching. Teachers and students are prohibited from distributing such substances or encouraging their use while attending Cuyamungue Institute activities. In line with the CI general “No drugs” policy(including entheogens), teachers and students may not attend Cuyamungue Institute sessions while under the influence of any psychoactive drugs or mind altering substance.
2. The effect of entheogens varies from person to person depending on a number of variables2. Evidence suggests that, with careful and supervised use (in a ceremonial or clinical setting), most are not addictive and don’t cause brain harm. However, it has been reported that some people can induce temporary anxiety and overly intense disturbing inner states. They can have powerful and sometimes negative impacts both short term and long term including the potential for serious physical and psychological problems, especially in those people who have a vulnerability to mental health problems.
3. The Cuyamungue Institute is open to discussing entheogenic experiences with students. The Cuyamungue Institute recognises that we each take a different life path through a range of practices towards personal discovery, awakening and transformation. However, individual Cuyamungue Institute teachers may refer students to another teacher to explore specific entheogenic experiences.
4. Any agent of transformation whether an entheogen or other spiritual practice requires inner processing, reflection and integration in order to achieve growth and clarity. Whether the experience of entheogens is transformative and positive or whether it is damaging, confusing and undermining of growth needs to be explored and assessed by individuals.
The Cuyamungue Institute encourages students/teachers to reflect on the extent to which their experiences with entheogens complement or conflict with their psychological wellbeing as well as their own transformational journey and maturing in their Cuyamungue Institute work.
Notes/References: 1. An unintended consequence of criminalisation of psychoactive substances has generated significant harms as the illegal market produces a broad range of quality and potency resulting in unpredictable toxic effects. 2. “A Public-Health Based Vision for the Management and Regulation of Psychedelics” M Haden, B. Emerson, K Tupper Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 2016, Vol48, p. 245 www.health.gov.au The Department of Health, Australian Government; Drug Aware WA www.drugaware.com.au
*Sometimes known as hallucinogens, psychedelics or plant medicine