Church of The Sacred Synthesis

The Sacramental Consumption of Entheogens: Our Shared World Religious Heritage

Part One: General Overview

People in prayer in India

Exploring and understanding sacramental entheogens

We are pleased to announce that the Church of The Sacred Synthesis will be producing a new series of podcasts and articles examining the archeological and anthropological underpinning of the ancient and sacramental consumption of entheogens.  Because we consider our sacrament an entheogen (it produces an experience of one’s inner divinity), we feel it prudent to explore these topics so our members get a better understanding of the ancient lineage of which they are a part.

As well, we will examine newly uncovered archeological and anthropological evidence which suggests the sacramental consumption of entheogens occurred in all major areas of the world in antiquity and is considered by Dr. Michael Winkleman as our “universal religious heritage.”

As an attorney, author, and researcher, I and my fellow Church co-founder Ian Benouis, have together been assisting entheogen-based religious practitioners in the United States enshrine their rights under the religious freedom laws for about three years.  When I first began working in the space, I always thought I was helping influence the “future of religion.”  But as I began to dig further into the definition of religion and the ancient use of entheogens, I realized that we are merely revisiting the same sacred practices and planes of consciousness our ancestors had, so many millennia ago. 

Of course, there are many lineages in the world who engage in the sacramental consumption of entheogens, and since ancient times, never ceased those practices.  But as we will see, there are many other lineages and traditions across the globe, who were intentionally eradicated over time.

One of the main articles we will examine is entitled “Introduction: Evidence for Entheogen Use in Prehistory and World Religions”[1] by Dr. Michael Winkleman of Arizona State University.  Dr. Winkleman has dedicated his career as an anthropologist to the study of the ancient origins of shamanism and the religious use of entheogens.  In this article, Dr. Winkleman conducts a survey of a multitude of other academic articles touching on these issues.  Ultimately, through his survey of the current research, Dr. Winkleman concludes:

“[T]he evidence for the ancient ritual consumption of psychedelic plants and their influence on human evolution is partially substantiated by the converging evidence reviewed here:

  1. Psilocybin-containing species are found virtually in all regions of the world and stretching back millions of years, as evidenced in psilocybin-containing species unique to each to each of the major regions of the world;
  2. The enhanced binding of the human serotonin receptors with psychedelics;
  3. Shamanic traditions of ritual use of sacred mushrooms and other psychedelic substances that have great antiquity, as attested to in language, art, petroglyphs and stone sculptures of fungiform figures that often closely resemble the observable features of local psilocybin-containing mushroom species; and,
  4. Ancient psychedelic mushroom use attested to in artifacts from religious traditions in all major regions of the world. [2]

Understanding humanity’s past to inform our future as a Church and entheogen-based movement

In the upcoming series, we will conduct a review and analysis of each section of Dr. Winkleman’s article, as highlighted above.  Again, as we will see, the inescapable conclusion from Dr. Winkleman’s article is that we all share a common spiritual/religious heritage in the sacramental consumption of entheogens, but particularly sacred mushrooms.  This review and analysis will include a detailed breakdown of the evidence from each major region of the world and the evidence uncovered therein pointing to the ancient and sacramental consumption of entheogens.

As a Church, we feel it very important for our members to understand where humanity has been, and in doing so get a much better understanding of where we are headed as a Church and as a growing worldwide movement of entheogen-based spiritual/religious practitioners.  If you find yourself being inextricably drawn to the spiritual/religious use of entheogens, you are more than likely hearing and feeling the call of your ancestors on a spiritual and genetic level.  It is time to answer the call!!!

[1] Winkleman, Michael. “Introduction: Evidence for Entheogen Use in Prehistory and World Religions.” Journal of Psychedelic Studies, vol. 3, no. 2, 2019, pp. 43-62. DOI: 10.1556/2054.2019.024. Accessed 9 Sept. 2021.

[2] Ibid.

2 thoughts on “The Sacramental Consumption of Entheogens: Our Shared World Religious Heritage”

  1. As a new member, and an Anthropology undergraduate student, I really look forward to this!
    Thank you!

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