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Discarnate entities and dimethyltryptamine (DMT): Psychopharmacology, phenomenology and ontology

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... Given the broad range of possible anomalous experiences, numbering over a hundred in one systematic review and categorisation (White & Brown, 1997), the current paper will focus on only a few examples typically occurring with psychedelics, for which the author has conducted reviews published elsewhere (Krippner & Luke, 2009;Luke, 2010Luke, , 2011Luke, , 2012Luke, , 20142017Luke & Kittenis, 2005;Luke & Terhune, 2013). These anomalous psychedelic experiences include synaesthesia, extra-dimensional percepts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, entity encounters, alien abduction, sleep paralysis, interspecies communication, possession, and psi (telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance and psychokinesis). ...
... Overall there were few differences in the nature of these encounter experiences, but relative prevalence rates for the experience between different drugs is not currently available. Given that little research has been conducted on the encounter experience with substances other than DMT and ayahuasca (e.g., Luke, 2011;Shanon, 2002) so this brief review will focus on DMT. ...
... Leading the debate, Meyer (1996) indicates that, under the influence, the independent existence of these beings seems self-evident, but suggests that there are numerous interpretations of the entity experience. Meyer's and others' interpretations fall into three basic camps (Luke, 2011): I -Hallucination: The entities are subjective hallucinations. Such a position is favoured by those taking a purely (materialist reductionist) neuropsychological approach to the phenomena. ...
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This article explores the nature of psychedelically induced anomalous experiences for what they reveal regarding the nature of “expanded consciousness” and its implications for humanistic and transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, and the psychology and underlying neuroscience of such experiences. Taking a multidisciplinary approach, this essay reviews the nature of 10 transpersonal or parapsychological experiences that commonly occur spontaneously and in relation to the use of psychedelic substances, namely synesthesia, extradimensional percepts, out-of-body experiences, near-death experiences, entity encounters, alien abduction, sleep paralysis, interspecies communication, possession, and psi (telepathy, precognition, and clairvoyance and psychokinesis).
... Also, he tried to explain most of our mental life in terms of processes involving the PG, stating that is was the "seat of the soul" (Lokhorst, 2018;López-Muñoz, Molina, Rubio, & Alamo, 2011). In the same vein, Hindu literature, yoga (Rama, Ballentine, & Ajaya, 2007), Spiritism religion (Lucchetti et al., 2013) and the esoteric literature (Luke, 2011;Strassman, 2001) bring speculations that the PG would have an important role to transcendence and contact with "higher energies." Unconventional theories stemming from sociocultural traditions can generate hypotheses to be tested in scientific studies (Lucchetti et al., 2013). ...
... It could be anticipated that the levels would be significantly higher at night of the nonstressful task, based on literature data that relaxation states (e.g., meditation practice) are associated with increased secretion of MLT (Harinath et al., 2004;Liou et al., 2010;Massion, Teas, Hebert, Wertheimer, & Kabat-Zinn, 1995;Tooley, Armstrong, Norman, & Sali, 2000), while more aroused states are associated with lower MLT secretion (Arnetz & Berg, 1996;Monteleone, Fuschino, Nolfe, & Maj, 1992). On the other hand, it could be assumed that the levels would be higher in the night of mediumistic experience, considering the speculation that PG would play an important role for human transcendent experiences (Lucchetti et al., 2013;Luke, 2011;Strassman, 2001). However, neither of these two propositions has been confirmed. ...
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Background Cultural traditions attribute to pineal gland an important role for spiritual experiences. Mediumship and spirit possession are cultural phenomena found worldwide which have been described as having dissociative and psychotic‐like characteristics, but with nonpathological aspects. A sympathetic activation pattern in response to spirit possession has been reported in some studies, but empirical data on pineal gland is scarce in this context. Methods We aimed to investigate pineal gland and pituitary volumes, as well as urinary 6‐sulfatoxymelatonin levels in 16 alleged mediums (Medium Group‐MG) compared with 16 healthy nonmedium controls (Control Group) (Experiment 1). Furthermore, we aimed to evaluate urinary 6‐sulfatoxymelatonin and stress reactivity in GM (n = 10) under different physiological conditions (Experiment 2). Results In Experiment 1, MG presented higher scores of anomalous experiences, but there were no between‐group differences regarding mental health or subjective sleep quality. Similar pineal gland and pituitary volumes were observed between groups. There were no between‐group differences in urinary 6‐sulfatoxymelatonin collected under equivalent baseline conditions. In Experiment 2, the rise of anxiety and heart rate in response to mediumistic experience was intermediate between a nonstressful control task (reading) and a stressful control task (Trier Social Stress Test—TSST). No significant differences were observed in 6‐sulfatoxymelatonin urinary levels between the three conditions. The pattern of stress reactivity during the TSST was normal, but with an attenuated salivary cortisol response. Conclusion The normal neuroimaging and stress reactivity findings in MG contrast with the abnormal results usually observed in subjects with psychotic and dissociative disorders.
... It has been speculated that due to the endogenous presence of DMT in the mammalian brain, including humans (Christian et al., 1977;Dean et al., 2019), DMT may play a role in a variety of nonordinary states of consciousness such as dreaming, psychosis, spiritual experiences, encounters with non-human intelligence (e.g. alien and unidentified flying object (UFO) encounters), extrasensory perception, out-of-body experiences, and near-death experiences (Gallimore 2013;Grammenos and Barker, 2015;Luke, 2008Luke, , 2011Luke, , 2012St. John, 2016Strassman, 2001Strassman, , 2008Timmermann et al., 2018). ...
... Among the most vivid, intriguing, memorable, and sometimes disconcerting experiences that people report after taking a high dose of inhaled or intravenous DMT are those of encountering seemingly autonomous entities or beings (Luke, 2011;Luke and Spowers, 2018;Meyer, 2006;Strassman 2001Strassman , 2008. Although description of the nature of the entities, details of the experiences, and meaning attributed to the experiences vary widely, such experiences are apparently not infrequent. ...
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Background Experiences of having an encounter with seemingly autonomous entities are sometimes reported after inhaling N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Aim The study characterized the subjective phenomena, interpretation, and persisting changes that people attribute to N,N-dimethyltryptamine-occasioned entity encounter experiences. Methods Two thousand, five hundred and sixty-one individuals (mean age 32 years; 77% male) completed an online survey about their single most memorable entity encounter after taking N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Results Respondents reported the primary senses involved in the encounter were visual and extrasensory (e.g. telepathic). The most common descriptive labels for the entity were being, guide, spirit, alien, and helper. Although 41% of respondents reported fear during the encounter, the most prominent emotions both in the respondent and attributed to the entity were love, kindness, and joy. Most respondents endorsed that the entity had the attributes of being conscious, intelligent, and benevolent, existed in some real but different dimension of reality, and continued to exist after the encounter. Respondents endorsed receiving a message (69%) or a prediction about the future (19%) from the experience. More than half of those who identified as atheist before the experience no longer identified as atheist afterwards. The experiences were rated as among the most meaningful, spiritual, and psychologically insightful lifetime experiences, with persisting positive changes in life satisfaction, purpose, and meaning attributed to the experiences. Conclusion N,N-dimethyltryptamine-occasioned entity encounter experiences have many similarities to non-drug entity encounter experiences such as those described in religious, alien abduction, and near-death contexts. Aspects of the experience and its interpretation produced profound and enduring ontological changes in worldview.
... Complex imagery might consist of autobiographical memories (Shanon, 2002b;Studerus, et al., 2011), or might be of different realities, cities and temples, and encounter with entities, deities, demons, or tricksters (Cott and Rock, 2008;Harner, 1973;Luke, 2011;Shanon, 2002a;Strassman, 2000). Complex imagery can be common across people and cultures (e.g jaguars and snakes with ayahuasca) (Harner, 1973;Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1975;Shanon, 2002a), or it can be very specific to one's own biography and culture (Langdon, 1979;Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1975;Shanon, 2002a). ...
... Meyer described the DMT progression in 4 stages (Luke, 2011;Meyer, 1994): 1) Threshold experience; an interior flowing of energy/consciousness. 2) Vivid, brilliantly coloured, geometric visual patterns; geometries are basically twodimensional but may pulse. Transitional phase: Tunnel or breakthrough experience; ...
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Psychedelics can induce eyes-closed imagery in which various visions can be experienced. These visions vary from simple geometrical patterns, to more complex imagery, to full immersion within “other realms”. Past studies suggest that the visual cortex is involved in processing these visions, yet these studies were limited into investigation of activity. In this thesis, the aim was to expand on the involvement of the visual cortex by investigating processes that are beyond simple activation maps, such as functional connectivity and dynamics. In study 1, it was hypothesized that the visual cortex will show increased functional connectivity with many cortical and subcortical regions. This was investigated with 15 subjects that were scanned using fMRI under the influence of 75 µg of LSD or placebo. The results of this study showed increased resting state functional connectivity (RSFC) between the primary visual cortex and many cortical and subcortical regions. This result correlated with subjective ratings of psychedelic imagery and with occipital alpha power suppression measured with MEG, which is a reliable neural correlate of the intensity of the psychedelic state. It study 2, it was hypothesized that connectivity within the visual cortex would match its retinotopic architecture. Retinotopic mapping is the representation of the visual field (the world we observe) in the visual cortex – e.g. areas which are near to each other in the visual field will be near each other in the visual cortex. In this study, it was found that under LSD (same procedure as study 1), with eyes closed, connectivity patterns between different subregions of the visual cortex matched the retinotopic mapping of these regions, suggesting that the visual system behaves as if it is seeing spatially localized input, with eyes-closed under LSD. In study 3, it was hypothesized that during the onset phase of psychedelic imagery, the activation of subregions of the visual cortex will be from low level to high level areas, which is according to the subjective dynamics of the experience – i.e. from simple to complex. This was tested in 9 subjects that were scanned in the fMRI during the onset or “come-up” phase - i.e. 3 minutes post (1 min) infusion of 2mg psilocybin IV - which has a particularly fast onset. Results in this study revealed that during the onset phase the BOLD dynamics of regions within the ventral stream are organized by the hierarchy of regions. Overall, study 1 and 2 revealed that, with eyes closed, under LSD, communication patterns between visual cortex and the rest of the brain and within the visual cortex match the kind of processing known to occur during regular vision. This adds to a body of knowledge supporting the view that the visual cortex is particularly engaged under the influence of psychedelics, and by measuring patterns of connectivity, we were able to provide strong support for the view that abnormal activity in the visual cortex underlies psychedelic imagery.
... No amplo espectro de conteúdos imagéticos que emergem dessas experiências, representações ufológicas, como seres extraterrestres e naves espaciais, são relativamente comuns (Strassman, 2008;Luke, 2011). Ao categorizar o conteúdo das visões da ayahuasca, o psicólogo Benny Shanon (2002) pontua que na categoria de entidades percebidas nas sessões com ayahuasca, a nomenclatura "extraterrestes" ocupa o terceiro lugar, sendo mais periódica em usuários experientes e muitas vezes acompanha procedimentos e parafernálias tecnológicas. ...
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Alienígenas se tornaram um profícuo ícone pop, especialmente ao longo do século XX. A cultura ocidental assistiu à proliferação de narrativas de primeira mão sobre contatos com seres de outros planetas, ao mesmo tempo em que o imaginário ecoou e alimentou tal ícone. Como um dos resultados, pretensos alienígenas tiveram reforçada e ampliada sua dimensão religiosa, especialmente entre pessoas para quem religiões tradicionais não têm mais suficiente apelo. A partir do conceito de hibridização cultural (Burke, 2003), este artigo investiga o papel das variadas combinações de referenciais culturais na emergência e no fortalecimento dos alienígenas enquanto ícone pop, imbuído de funções e papéis religiosos em contextos brasileiros que fazem uso da bebida cerimonial ayahuasca a partir de bibliografia pertinente e relatos colhidos em pesquisas exploratórias dos autores.
... Many of the participants in his DMT studies, indeed, reported contacts with sentient and disincarnate beings during the experience, often described as elves, spirits, aliens or other extra-dimensional creatures (Krippner & Friedman, 2009;Strassman, 2001). Such prevalent encounter experiences with DMT use (Luke, 2011;Luke, 2012) are seemingly so unique and reliable (e.g., Meyer, 1994;St John, 2015;Winkelman, 1992;Winkelman, 2018) and have been popularly dubbed as the "selftransforming machine elves" (McKenna, 1991). In the last years, the features of this apparently "tangible reality" has been hotly debated by other DMT-experience researchers (Carpenter, 2006;Kent, 2005;Kent, 2010;Luke, 2012;Pickover, 2005). ...
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In the last decades, one of the psychedelic substances which has gained high attention for its implications in several para-psychological phenomena (including out-of-body states, deep changes in sensory perception, mood, and thought, travels in "hyperspace", and meetings with disincarnate entities, as well as other "breakthrough experiences") is dimethyltryptamine (N, N-DMT, or simply DMT). High dose DMT-containing plants (like Psychotria viridis, in Quechua language Chacruna or Chacrona) are one of the two principal ingredients of the Ayahuasca, the visionary Amazonian brew reported to induce a range of paranormal experiences, but it can be found as well in a huge number of different natural sources, even some of animal origin - e.g., the Sonoran desert toad, in the form of 5-methoxy-N, N-dimethyltryptamine or 5-MeO-DMT. It was Rick Strassmann (born 1952), a medical doctor, psychiatrist and clinical psycho-pharmacologist, who had the virtue of giving a second birth to the academic interest in scientific research of psychedelics after the post-70's age of obscurantism lead by the American prohibitionist position on this field. Strassman is also the person who named this compound "the spirit molecule", in order to suggest the deeply psychospiritual implications concerning this substance. Here, we overview the scientific basis and evidences supporting the association between DMT and the pineal gland.
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Ursprünglich, im Westen, war die Medizin, die die Pflege von Körper, Geist und Seele betraf, eine divinatorische Kunst. Im Laufe der Zeit hat der Begriff «Weissagung» seine ursprüngliche Bedeutung verloren, im Vergleich zur Antike und insbesondere zur archaischen griechischen Welt, wo er einen enormen Wert hatte. Die Kunst des Asklepios (Äskulap) ist, wie die seines Vaters Apollo, eine göttliche Kunst, die ein Heilritual voraussetzt. In diesem Zusammenhang sei daran erinnert, dass die historisch-anthropologische Forschung in vielen Kulturen des schamanischen Typs (Südamerika, Sibirien, Indien) im therapeutischen Bereich eine sehr alte Verwendung von «Meisterpflanzen» oder Pflanzen aufzeichnet, die es aufgrund ihrer Eigenschaften ermöglichen, «aussergewöhnliche Bewusstseinszustände» zu erreichen. Diese Bewusstseinszustände können durch verschiedene Praktiken wie Meditation, holotropes Atmen, Yoga, sensorische Entbehrung oder sogar spontan wie bei den christlichen Mystikern entstehen. Die von den Forschern beschriebenen aktuellen Erfahrungen liefern uns sehr ermutigende Daten über den Nutzen dieser Art von Erkenntnissen. Die in den USA und in Europa, in Spanien und der Schweiz entwickelte Forschung folgt tendenziell Forschungsprotokollen, in denen das Set (der aktuelle Stand, aber auch die klinische und biographische Geschichte des Patienten), das Setting (das Umfeld, in dem die Erfahrung stattfindet) und die Substanz (Art, Dosierung, Qualität und Quantität) eine grundlegende Rolle spielen. Die Herausforderungen für die Zukunft im psychotherapeutischen Bereich über den therapeutischen Einsatz psychoaktiver Substanzen sind nach wie vor vielfältig, eine echte Möglichkeit könnte darin bestehen, den rituellen Einsatz von Substanzen durch die Kombination von Vergangenheit und Gegenwart, altem Wissen und moderner Wissenschaft im Dienste der Pflege zu revitalisieren.
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The central question guiding this study is: In what ways can modern users conceptualize the psychedelic experience that counters the current fear-laden discourse on drugs? Misconceptions and falsehoods conflate current ways of considering drugs in general and psychedelics in particular. Fears of psychedelics serve as the framework to apply philosophies of mind and technology to the reexamination and amendment of psychedelic concepts and terms. Governmental and religious institutional actors fear psychedelic users will: harm one’s self and others because psychedelics are still falsely believed to have analogous properties to mental illness; the incommunicability of seemingly non-rational states cause disjunction between shared sociocultural knowledge; and psychedelics are arguably similar to mystical experiences, thus mainstream religion fears individuals’ direct access to divine realms, which could upend their hierarchical and spiritually monopolistic power structures. Next, modern researchers commonly advise users to “surrender” to psychedelic experiences, a term likely adopted from mysticism. Since surrender implies a master role is at play, a discussion on master-subject relations emerge when confronting the “psychedelic Other,” i.e. the spatial context, experiential content, and originating from within or without users’ minds. To better understand users’ fears, an analysis of known and unknown fears provide context to the ultimate psychedelic fear, that of a conscious and intelligent unknown presence. Against these fears of psychedelic Others, a new conception of (altered) states of self develops that considers the current debate in cognitive neuroscience and philosophy. Narrative and minimal selves are co-present during psychedelic experiences depending on dosage and intoxication levels, and a new qualitative framework is proffered to understand these implications. Finally, it is suggested that modern psychedelic users need not abandon the prototypical mystic to conceptualize their experiences, but instead might consider another prototypical figure, the shaman. Rather than dealing in surrender and fear like mystics and modern users, drug-taking shamans control and master their experiences through the joint use of symbolism, techniques, and technologies. A change in prototype also has epistemological significance, that is, from perennialist to constructivist approaches when considering psychedelically subjective knowledge. In view of built narratives regarding self and knowledge, i.e. narrative self and epistemological constructivism, analysis shows how shamans use symbols with technologies to control their experiences and the idea of symbolico-technological relations is proposed. The above philosophical insights have prescriptive consequences that provide new opportunities for modern society and users to conceptualize psychedelic experiences, to control them, and as a result, to reduce fear.
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patterning in the material (energy) of the universe, and this makes all the difference. No rock or tree, no water or air exists without structure, and certainly no life. The material rest or remainder is a pile of bricks with no architect. It awaits the patterning that we represent formally as information, which creates all we observe and all we can imagine. As a researcher in one of the edge sciences, I appreciate that Mitchell takes on the sort of scientific chauvinism which accepts amazingly unlikely things like the many worlds conception of ''entire universes created by casual observation,'' but not good evidence for psychokinesis or resonance of consciousness, which ''can be observed and verified and do not violate conservation laws.'' He is quite clear that such attitudes not only disrespect science itself, but risk missing the interesting bits while filling in the blanks. Mitchell likes to turn an idea on its head, and this talent for independent thinking has served him well. His book is a kind of scientist's report of a shaman's world, with gems of wisdom from both. I suppose it is fair to regard the book as an instantiation of his dyadic model–if the reader is willing to look behind the veil of disbelief that seems to cripple so many who choose science as their way, it is possible he or she will find, as the shaman does, more than meets the eye. ROGER D. NELSON, PhD Director, Global Consciousness Project rdnelson@princeton.edu http://noosphere.princeton.edu Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies, by Rick Strassman, Slawek Wojtowicz, Luis Eduardo Luna, and Ede Frecska. Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 2008. 344 pp. 24 colour plates. $19.95 (paper). ISBN. 978-159477224-5. I was particularly keen to read this text having read Rick Strassman's (2001) earlier book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, in which he documented his extraordinary medical research administering the potent psychedelic neuro-chemical, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), to human volunteers. After receiving intravenous injections of DMT, Strassman's participants reported a range of exceptional phenomena from entity encounters and alien abduction-like experiences to near-death-like experiences. The Spirit Molecule documented the whole experimental process whereby over 60 participants received a combined total of 400 doses of DMT. It concluded with the theory that the near-death experience (NDE) is caused by the action of DMT in the pineal gland, where Strassman speculates it is made because DMT is known to occur
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