Drugs? What about using mind altering substances?

There is a general accepted knowledge that paganism requires it’s participants to imbibe substances, often illegal, as being the only way to connect to the gods/spirit/deity of choice/universal energy. The short answer is nope. Aside from the small point of illegality – which is actually a major point really, and that whole defence of ‘I didn’t know it was illegal/it’s just for personal use/ X gave it to me, I didn’t realise what was in it‘ doesn’t work, it’s still an illegal substance – there’s the simple fact that you don’t need them.

Look at it this way, drugs and substances such as cannabis, ketamine, amphetimines and so on (and all the rest, even the ‘legal highs’…), alter your perceptions of reality and consciousness. If you choose to undertake a connection with the gods/spirit through ritual, prayer, mantra, dance or drumming, the last thing you want is your mind clouded over and your perceptions to be distorted.

That’s not to say that if you have a banging headache and ritual starts in half an hour, that you can’t take a painkiller to enable you to concentrate on the experience rather than the nagging pain, just be mindful of what you put into your body. The same goes for incense or smudging with sage to purify yourself and your ritual space before you begin. Of course you’re going to inhale some of it as you go, just don’t go trying to inhale all of it in the hope that it alone can provide you with an intense experience.

I’ve found that worship and ritual undertaken properly can alter your mind all on its very own, providing a profound experience through which you learn, connect and rejoice in the experiences you have.

You may hold different views to mine. Go ahead, these are only my views and I won’t come ranting down on you if you happen to smoke a crafty spliff in my presence, just don’t require I join in.

– Amalasuntha

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