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Does the Nervous System Have an Intrinsic Archaic Language? Entoptic Images and Phosphenes

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Psychoactive plants have been consumed by many cultures, cults and groups during religious rituals and ceremonies for centuries and they have been influential on the eruption of many images, secret and religious symbols, esoteric geometrical shapes, archetypes, religious figures, and philosophy of religions since the dawn of Homo sapiens. Some of the psychoactive plants used for religious purposes were: narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and Phalaris species), Peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), Thujone (absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora, star lotus, Salvia divinorum etc. An important property of these natural chemicals is to induce the human psyche to perceive optical forms and shapes that are existent in the subconscious and presumed collective unconsciousness, and which emerge during certain trance states and ASCs (altered states of consciousness). Some of these simple geometric forms are called entoptic images and phosphenes. Entopic images and phosphenes have been found in various cultural works of art and in the drawings on cave walls, which were formed during shamanic religious rituals since Neolithic times. Also entoptic images exist in many folkloric, traditional and cultural geometrical shapes. Long before the creation of languages, visual perception and information were the only source for mankind, alone of the primates, to perceive the outer world. This article reviews the possibility of an ancient forgotten language of visual signs and symbols, which is genetically existent in the human brain and emerges during ASCs, trance states, and consciousness altered by psychoactive plants.
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Does the Nervous System Have an Intrinsic
Archaic Language?
Entoptic Images and Phosphenes
H. Ümit Sayin
ABSTRACT
Psychoactive plants have been consumed by many cultures, cults and groups during religious rituals and ceremonies for
centuries and they have been influential on the eruption of many images, secret and religious symbols, esoteric
geometrical shapes, archetypes, religious figures, and philosophy of religions since the dawn of Homo sapiens. Some of
the psychoactive plants used for religious purposes were: narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic
mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and Phalaris species), Peganum
harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), Thujone (absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora,
star lotus, Salvia divinorum etc. An important property of these natural chemicals is to induce the human psyche to
perceive optical forms and shapes that are existent in the subconscious and presumed collective unconsciousness, and
which emerge during certain trance states and ASCs (altered states of consciousness). Some of these simple geometric
forms are called entoptic images and phosphenes. Entopic images and phosphenes have been found in various cultural
works of art and in the drawings on cave walls, which were formed during shamanic religious rituals since Neolithic
times. Also entoptic images exist in many folkloric, traditional and cultural geometrical shapes. Long before the creation
of languages, visual perception and information were the only source for mankind, alone of the primates, to perceive
the outer world. This article reviews the possibility of an ancient forgotten language of visual signs and symbols, which
is genetically existent in the human brain and emerges during ASCs, trance states, and consciousness altered by
psychoactive plants.
Key Words: entoptic, phosphene, hallucinogen, archaic neurological language, paganism, shamanism, psychoactive
plants, opium, cannabis, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, ayahuasca, thujone, peganum harmala, phalaris, ibogaine,
peyote, magic mushroom
DOI Number: 10.14704/nq.2014.12.3.756 NeuroQuantology 2014; 3: 427-445
Introduction1
Some specific plants have certain chemical
components that are psychoactive and induce
hyper-excitation of the central nervous system
(CNS) and hallucinations in the human brain.
These plants may contain either central nervous
Corresponding author: Umit Sayin, M.D.
Address: Institute of Forensic Sciences, İstanbul University, Cerrahpaşa,
İstanbul, Turkey.
Phone: + 90-5312506071
e-mail humitsayin@gmail.com
stimulants, such as benzoyl-methyl-ecgonine
(cocaine’s active ingredient, in coca leaves), a
serotonin–norepinephrine–dopamine reuptake
inhibitor, and mono amine alkaloid cathinone
(in Khat); or a wide range of hallucinogens, such
as: mescaline (in peyote cactus), psilocybin and
Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: The authors
declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any
commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a
potential conflict of interest.
Received: 7 January 2014; Revised: 14 July 2014;
Accepted: 2 August 2014
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psilocin (in magic mushrooms, Psilocybe
cubensis); ibogaine (naturally occurring
psychoactive substance found in plants in the
Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga,
Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana
undulate); N,N-Di-methyl-tryptamine (DMT,
such as in Ayahuasca brew, Mimosa tenuiflora,
Diplopterys cabrerana, Psychotria viridis, reed
canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) and
harding grass (Phalaris aquatica), etc.); and
tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC, in Cannabis
sativa) (Sttafford, 1978; Shulgin, 1991-1997;
Popik, 1995; Metzner, 1998; Krippner, 2011;
Sayin, 2012a; Ruck, 2001; 2009; 2013a, b) (See
figures of the former article, Figures-1, 2, 3;
Sayin, 2014). The plants that contain
psychoactive substances are found extensively
around the globe, from our closest gardens or
prairies and local farms to regional or national
forests and far away to the distant Amazon rain
forests. It is ironic that, although most of these
active ingredients are illegal today and banned
by governments, it is very simple to extract these
hallucinogenic psychoactive substances from
their specific plants in our home kitchens,
without the need of a sophisticated organic
chemistry laboratory and expensive extraction
equipment, in as much as the ancient cultures
operated in very primitive conditions.
The extensiveness and availability of
psychoactive substance containing plants (PSC-
plants) is one of the reasons that these plants
have been utilized in most of the religious
shamanic rituals of many ancient cultures. Some
of the main reasons why the ancient cultures
used those PSC-plants were: to unravel the
unseen spiritual world”, to solve certain daily
philosophical questions and puzzles, to reach
certain extraordinary “peak experiences” and to
contact “the spirits of the ancestors”, etc. We
come across the use of such plants in many
ancient drawings or pictures, reliefs and
sculptures. Also, there is ample evidence that
most of the religious figures, such as
mythological entities and creatures, gods,
goddesses, demons, angels, etc. have close
connections to what those ancient people were
perceiving during the psychedelic rituals of
shamanic origin (Stafford, 1978; Senn, 1989;
Popik, 1995; Saver, 1997; Metzner, 1998-2002;
Griffiths, 2006; De Corne, 2011; Krippner, 2011;
Sayin, 2012; 2014; Ruck, 2006; 2008; 2009;
2013a and 2013b).
In most of the ancient cave drawings or the
drawings on various objects, such as magical
shaman drums, we find the figures of the cross,
sun, moon phases, planets of the solar system,
demons, devils, spirits, monsters, personified or
supra-natural animals, hunted animals, great
spirit, out-of-body-experiences, flights to other
worlds, talking to spirits and many other archaic
images, which cannot be perceived during
mundane daily consciousness. It is very difficult
to accept the notion that it was possible, for the
ordinary primitive man, to imagine and visualize
such entities, which did not belong to his world
and which he had never perceived during daily
life. Considering that even old shamans were
unlikely to imagine and envision such ingenious
and inspired images without the aid of certain
PSC-plants (Figure 1), we can hypothesize that
these archaic and ancient images were drawn
under the effect of PSC-plants and/or during
many other trance states in shamanic rituals.
During the last decades, a vast amount of
archeological and anthropological items of
evidence has accumulated, supporting our
hypothesis, while many new discoveries were
made about the correlation of shamanic trance
states and PSC-plants (Stafford, 1978; Kent,
2010; De Corne, 2011; Sayin, 2012; 2014; Ruck,
2000; 2001; 2006; 2008; 2009; 2013a; 2013b).
It is also interesting that some similar images
were used in different cultures from the Amazon
and North America, to the Middle East and
Nordic countries, India and the Far East, while
the ancient cultures living in those regions had
no substantial connection and no means of
communication with each other to transfer the
knowledge or similar imaginative and visionary
thinking; thus, supporting the hypothesis that
these images are innate and they originate from
the subconscious or collective sub-
unconsciousness (Jung, 1968; 1981). It should
not be forgotten that, primitive men and ancient
shamans drew pictures of what influenced them
profoundly during their trance states or their
daily lives. Thus, we can continue our
conceptualization that most of the supra-natural
images, creatures, gods or goddesses which are
widely distinguished in myths or religious stories
could have been perceived during these
psychedelic experiences, either by ordinary men
or most probably by the religious monks and the
shamans.
One of the most striking concerns is that
these ancient drawings in different cultures that
had no connections with each other have some
common geometrical shapes, which we now call
entoptic images or phosphenes (Figures-1, 2, 3).
It was also an interesting finding that perception
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of many different entopic images occurs during
the effects of many mind altering drugs and the
administration of various PSC-plant extracts
(Kent, 2010; Nichols, 2004; Ruck, 2006; 2009;
2013-a-b; Sayin, 2012a; 2014). Thus in this
article we will discuss about the following
hypothesis and conceptualizations:
Most of the religious ideas, symbols, and
images are innate; they already exist in our
central nervous system.
In many cultures, these religious archaic
symbols and images were mainly seen and
experienced during hallucinogen-induced
altered states of consciousness (H-ASC),
autohypnosis and other forms of trance
that induced ASC.
These religious archaic symbols were
composed of many common geometrical
figures and shapes shared in different
cultures, which had no means of
communication and connection; which is
another proof that religious symbols,
ideas, and images are innate.
From the polytheistic religions of early
times and paganism, to the
institutionalized modern monotheist
religions, it is unlikely that much
information comes from outside of the
organism, but rather it is mostly the
unraveling of the subconscious and
collective sub-unconsciousness.
Phophenes and entoptic images may be an
archaic form of symbolic language
generated by CNS, by which, shamans
were able to access an archaic ancestral
information pool, which was important in
the evolutionary process and the survival
of the species.
Phosphenes and Entoptic Images
Phosphenes (literally "light that shines forth")
are luminous, ephemeral signposts marking the
landscape of the inner space of the nervous
system, also known as “Entoptic Phenomena or
Entoptic Hallucinations” (Kent, 2010). A
phosphene is a multicolored shape or pattern
seen in the darkness, without external visual
stimulation, while no light shines on the retina.
Phosphenes can be seen with closed eyes or in a
completely dark room with open eyes.
Phosphenes may appear as: spirals; exploding
stars; glimmering and shining dots or spots;
wispy clouds; wheels; tunnels; funnels; parallel
lines; wavy lines; wave patterns, pulsating
waves; dotted lines; zigzags, checkerboards;
honeycombs; spider webs; dot patterns; circles
within circles; crosses; thin meandering lines,
like lightning; geometric shapes, like triangles,
squares, pentagons, etc. They may swirl, pulse,
superimpose, fragment, shine, move in different
dimensions, or morph into other images.
Phosphenes can be activated by the
mechanical, electrical, or magnetic stimulation
of some parts of the visual cortex and/or by the
similar stimulations of the eyeballs and the
retina. Phosphenes can also be experienced by
hypnosis; reverie; fever delirium; fatigue;
sensory deprivation; sweat lodges; profound
concentration; hyperventilation; medicinal
herbs; psychoactive drugs (such as psilocybin,
DMT, mescaline, LSD, etc.); food and water
deprivation; electrical and magnetic stimulation
of the visual cortex; strobe lights; rhythmic
movement; migraine headaches; meditation;
meditation by means of shamanic drumming;
trance states; intense emotion; stress; crystal
gazing and other kinds of ASCs, etc. (Kent, 2010;
Lewis-Williams, 1988; 2005).
Entoptic hallucinations are differentiated
from eidetic (photographic) hallucinations in
that they originate within the neural connections
between the eye and cortex, as opposed to
emerging within the cortex or midbrain. There is
evidence that entoptic phosphene patterns have
influenced human cultural and religious
archetypes since 10,000 B.C. (Lewis-Williams,
1988; Pettifor, 1996). Several scientists have
found that phosphenes have common features
across cultural boundaries. Such findings point
to a universal library of neurological optic
symbols (Lewis-Williams, 2005). Does this
mean that some kind of universal language of
symbols is embedded into the nervous system,
which become manifest when psychoactive
plants are ingested? Is this one of the reasons
that people are affected psychologically when
they are exposed to flashing archetypal images?
Flashing and revolving spirals, for instance, are
often used to induce hypnosis, another
unraveled ASC form of the human nervous
system. Swastika, as an ancient archetypal
symbol, was used by many different cultures;
lately by Nazis as a part of propaganda and brain
washing of the German society.
Can You Induce Phosphenes Easily?
If you have ever bumped your head and seen
stars, those were phosphenes. You can, however,
stimulate the appearance of phosphenes without
hurting your head in the process. Hold your
fingers over your closed eyelids and make very
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slow and gentle circular motions or apply very
gentle pressure. When images begin appearing,
remove your fingers, keep your eyes closed, and
watch the visions. Why does pressure on the
eyeballs create phosphenes? Mathematician G.
Bard Ermentrout explains that the pressure
inhibits signals from the retina, thereby
encouraging the brain's cortex to fill the void.
The brain begins firing spontaneously and
creates hallucinatory patterns. Distinct shapes
are commonly seen in phosphenes. Phosphenes
are said to be generated by the nervous system's
intrinsic geometry. It is also hypothesized that
phosphenes may be the behavior of atomic
particles as observed by the naked eye: the
interface of two worlds, the normal and the
nuclear.
Figure 1A. Entoptic images drawn by the shamans of different
cultures. A) A preshistoric drawing (30,000 years old) on a cave
wall. B) A shaman figure on a cave wall found in Texas. It seems
that the shaman was having a H-ASC, as the picture shows the
symbolic flight of the shaman between the spritual world and
this world. C) An old Celtic relief and drawing depicting a
shaman. D) An old shaman drum found in Lapland, full of many
magical drawings, probably trying to explain a lot of information
in a small area, such as the experiences of H-ASCs and maybe
some archaic ancestral information transferred during the
religious ritual of the shaman with psychoactive plants.
Figure 1B. Phosphenes and entoptic geometrical images; A
Geometrical Archetypal Design of the Nervous System. 1)
Entoptic phenomena and phosphenes which occur by means of
the mechanical, electrical and magnetic stimulation of visual
cortex, which are similar to the Paleolithic art patterns detected
in the South African Caves. (Lewis-Williams, 1988) 2) More
complex phosphenes; concentric circles, spirals, patterns of
pulsating waves, compound circular images that occur during
the consumption of psychedelic plants and drugs. The patterns
are the basic geometrical forms that are engraved in the nervous
system’s network (Kent, 2010). 3) Shaman standing before the
vortex? North American engraving. 4) Paleolithic phosphenes in
Pileta Cave, Spain. 5) A very old (70,000 years) example of
abstract art, one of the first examples accepted as abstract art,
South Africa. This is an entoptic lattice. 6) Paleolithic cave wall
carvings resembling phosphenes, Anebjerg, Denmark. 7) The
famous Newgrange triple spirals resembling phosphenes.
Possible Neurological Mechanisms of
Entoptic Images
The possible neurophysiological,
electrophysiological and optical mechanisms of
H-ASC and entoptic images will be a subject of
another original scientific article, which will be
published soon, since this article merely defines
and describes the correlation of entoptic images
and the archetypal model of neurological
perception during daily life and the ASCs,
induced by the PSC-plants; besides, there are
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very few scientific studies and articles or reviews
about the actual neurophysiological mechanisms
of phosphenes, optical perceptions and entoptic
images correlating them with the ASCs and the
central nervous system’s undiscovered
mysteries. The topic of electrophysiology of ASC
induced entoptic images is an untrodden zone of
neuroscience.
Figure 2. Chladni figures for a square steel plate (top) and a
circular plate (bottom) demonstrate the variety of standing wave
patterns generated in simple resonating systems. Archetypal
forms generated in both rectangular and circular plates are
isomorphic of flicker phosphenes seen at various frequencies of
light pulse stimulation, and have been reproduced in textile
patterns, ceramics, and sacred mandalas since roughly 10,000
B.C. Kent JL. Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the
Age of Reason. Seattle: PIT Press, 2010.
Given the basic neurophysiology and
electrophysiology of the central nervous system,
the most important point we should stress is that
entopic images and phosphenes do not originate
from the retina only, although some simple
phophenes can be activated by pressure or
electrical stimulation of the eyeball. Entoptic
images, most probably, originate from the
occipital lobe, somato-sensory cortex, temporal
lobe, and parahippocampal gyrus, some
different structures of the limbic system,
hippocampus and paleo-cortex. The profound
activation of some neurotransmitter systems,
such as serotoninergic system, GABAergic
system and interneurons, cholinergic system,
and dopaminergic systems, and deactivation of
gulatamatergic and noradrenergic pathways
may also underlie the neurochemical
mechanisms of the formation of entoptic images
and phosphenes. The hippocampus, which is the
phylogenetic locus for the three dimensional
perception and the place of space recognition of
the mammals and higher primates, is the main
memory source of geometrical shapes and
images, as well as the temporal lobe and some
other limbic structures. The details of the
possible electrophysiological, neurochemical
and neurophysiological mechanisms of the
formation of entoptic images will be explained in
our future scientific articles.
Evidence suggests that the form constants
of phosphenes are directly related to spatial
relationships between the ring-like structure of
the retinal cells and the grid-like or columnar
neural structures of the visual cortex. The
spontaneous production of geometric
hallucinations is due to excitation and loss of
stability in these retinal-cortical feedback
coupling pathways. The transition from
seamless visual aliasing to spontaneous
geometric patterns can be described as a trans-
critical sensory bifurcation reflecting the spatial
organization of the recurrent network (Bresloff,
2002; Gutkin, 2003; Ermentrout, 1979). Pulses
in the same frequency range as brain waves
(theta to gamma) are most effective in producing
flicker phosphenes. Flicker phosphenes created
by stroboscopic lights or mind-machines tend to
be more amorphous at low frequencies (1-4 Hz),
tend to fall into web, spiral, or cloverleaf patterns
at medium frequencies (4-9 Hz), and tend to lock
into grid, honeycomb, or checkerboard patterns
at higher frequencies (9-16 Hz+). Flicker
phosphenes will have slow lateral drift at lower
frequencies; a rotational drift at medium
frequencies; and will maintain stability or
produce fast lateral drift at higher frequencies.
These phase-related transitions in standing wave
shape are also seen in Chladni patterns created
in vibrating plates (Figure 2). Presumably any
technology which uses pulsating frequencies to
produce phosphenes, such as trans-cranial
magnetic stimulation (TMS), may also use
pulses corresponding to the frequency range of
human temporal aliasing to produce
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substantially stabilized phosphene forms
(Bokkon, 2008; Kent, 2010).
Expanded Sexual Response (ESR) and
Entoptic Images
Recently a new phenomenon called Expanded
Sexual Response(ESR) on female orgasm has
been defined (Sayin, 2010, 2011-a-b; Sayin,
2012-b; Taylor, 2000, 2002). During ESR and
prolonged orgasms some women reported that
they experienced a form of short ASC; a further
analysis also showed that they were able to see
many entoptic images and phophenes during
ESR and prolonged orgasms and status
orgasmus, such as seeing flashes of light, spirals,
whirling figures, circles and small bright stars
etc. as seen during H-ASCs. A personal
communication with Taylor, who first defined
the term “expanded orgasm”, also revealed that
she experienced phosphenes during prolonged
orgasms (Taylor, 2000, 2002).
Taylor, who coined the term “Expanded
Orgasm (EO) in 2000 and the author of the
book “Expanded Orgasm”, has described the
entoptic images experienced during
transcendental expanded orgasms for this
article as a compliment!
“I cover my eyes…relax… surrender to the
experience in all ways physical, emotional,
spiritual, and mental… and continue to allow
the dazzling starbursts to emanate from some
central source from within, without flinching
or turning away, or seeking a way During
Expanded Orgasms, I frequently “see”
internally-generated sources of light. For me,
these lights are images that almost
universally appear as stars bursting from a
central source, and exploding into to
periphery of my vision. Their color may be
white, blue, bluish white, purple, or a
rainbow of colors. These inner lights may be
so intense that I instinctually cover my outer
eyes with my hands; the light appears
blinding. It’s not, of course. It’s just very, very
bright, turn down the intensity of erotic
stimulation. I find myself gazing into infinity.
I can feel this starburst all through my body,
going both into my deepest core, and out into
the universe.”
Discussion
The data, examples and figures presented in this
and the accompanying article preceding this one
(Sayin, 2014) clearly show that;
In many different areas of the globe and
during very different periods of time,
psychoactive plants were used for religious
ritual and medical treatment purposes all
over the world by many ancient cultures,
since 40,000 years ago and until the latest
centuries.
Pagan cultures and shamans used these
psychoactive plants for philosophical,
religious, magical, healing and medical
purposes.
Most of the modern monotheistic religions
have close connections and an implausible
nexus to these pagan cultures, as it is in the
case of Jesus Christ, who was presumably
a continuation of ancient pagan gods,
Horus, Attis, Mithra, Dionysus and
Krishna (Acharya, 1999; 2004; Freke,
2001; 2002; 2006; Sayin, 2014; Ruck,
2000, 2013-a-b see the former article,
Sayin, 2014).
In most of the archaeological remains,
cave drawings, reliefs, sculptures, motifs,
miniatures, vase pictures, paintings of
ancient cultures and religions, we can
detect the traces of psychoactive plants
and evidence that they were used for
religious purposes, such as magic
mushrooms, peyote, DMT-containing
plants (Ayahuasca, Phalaris species),
opium, cannabis, wormwood,
Tabernanthe iboga (ibogain), etc.
In most of the remains, cave drawings,
reliefs, sculptures, motifs, miniatures, vase
pictures, paintings of ancient cultures and
religions, we can detect entoptic images
and phosphenes, going back to Paleolithic
ages.
Entoptic images and phosphenes can be
perceived during H-ASCs more frequently
and profoundly than during the
consciousness of daily life.
The entoptic images, phosphenes,
mythological figures, such as demons,
spirits, gods, goddesses, angels, supra-
natural creatures, mythical creatures (such
as Pan, satyrs, nymphs, dragons, trolls,
etc.) in folktales were, most probably,
envisioned under influence of these PSC-
plants during those religious ceremonies
and rituals (Sayin, 2014; Ruck, 2000;
2001; 2006; 2008; 2009; 2012; 2013-a-b).
Therefore, many ancient polytheistic
pagan religious figures and/or some of the
modern monotheistic religion characters,
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figures or images have close relationships
to the ASCs experienced during the PSC-
plant ingestions throughout thousands of
years since the dawn of Homo sapiens.
H-ASC experiences in ancient cultures
helped many archetypal symbols and
figures emerge from the depths of the
psyche, e.g. collective un/subconscious,
reflecting itself in the cultural art and
cultural motifs.
Most probably, in Homo sapiens, the
recollection of archaic information from
the collective un-sub-consciousness
enables the species to recall and learn the
ancestral information pool, consciously,
which may help the Homo species to adapt
the environment and also to evolve in a
better way. Thus, the ancient archaic
information recalled during the religious
rituals induced by PSC-plants may help the
evolution of the Homo species and, also,
the neo-cortex and the brain of Homo
sapiens. (A similar argument has been put
forth concerning rapid-eye-movement
[REM] sleep, which is generated in one of
the most primitive parts of the brain [pons
and medulla in the brainstem—the
rhombencephalon]. Motor-behavioral
central pattern generators release
primitive-archaic behaviors with
associated dreaming that enable rehearsal
of flight-or-fight and other protective
responses to a variety of threatening
situations, which can greatly enhance
adaptation to the environment during
waking life. These behavioral responses
during REM sleep dreaming ordinarily
occur with preserved REM sleep atonia
[generalized skeletal muscle paralysis],
thus protecting the dreamer from
simultaneously acting-out his dreams and
becoming injured with his eyes closed
while attending to the dream environment
and not to the actual sleeping
environment. The loss of the normal REM-
atonia in neuropathological and other
conditions is the hallmark of REM sleep
behavior disorder, a parasomnia in which
the dreamer and the bed partner become
injured during aggressive dream-
enactment. [Carlos H. Schenck, M.D.
Personal Communication].
As a conclusion it may be derived that H-
ASCs induced by PSC-plants promotes mystical
thinking, imagery, and symbolism” and most of
this symbolism comprises very ancient, innate
entoptic images, which exist in the depths of the
psyche.
According to Kent, as quoted from his book
Psychedelic Information Theory:
“Psychedelic information is generated within
the domain of the personal; yet many people
who take psychedelics perceive the
information as having species-level
importance. There are a few reasons for these
phenomena. The first, and easiest, is that
psychedelics create states of mania and
delusions of grandeur in which the subject feels
that he or she is the most brilliant person on
the planet, or that they are receiving
supernatural prophecy. Secondly, the subject
may experience archetypal visions or
sensations of transcendence that are perceived
to be of high religious or mystical importance.
Thirdly, the subject may experience a
deconstruction of consciousness associated
with animal consciousness, reptilian
consciousness, plant consciousness, the Gaian
mind, genetic-level intelligence, or deep
species memory; information perceived to be
of value to all humans or all living creatures.
Because psychedelics produce all of these
experiences they are routinely perceived as
having species-level importance. Psychedelics
are obviously useful in the domain of the
personal; shamanism and psychedelic therapy
rely on the information function of
psychedelics to diagnose and heal. In the
cultural domain psychedelics can be employed
in ritual to build strong religious or tribal
groups; they can be used in healing or sorcery;
or they can be a catalyst for innovation and
creative expression. Beyond this their value is
ambiguous. There are some debates to be made
in this area, such as pointing out that Francis
Crick envisioned the spiral structure of DNA
after he ingested LSD, or that LSD helped Kary
Mullis think up the PCR process that earned
him a Nobel Prize in genetics” (Kent, 2010).
Although Kent is correct that there are
delusional, paranoid and psychotomimetic part
of the psychedelic consciousness, his hypothesis
cannot be accurate that psychoactive plants can
be fruitful and productive in all human beings
and users, most people use them for recreational
purposes, which can be very detrimental for
some and for many users. Actually, in ancient
times psychoactive plants were used in religious
rituals only by the people who were ready for it;
not everyone had consumed them, other than
the master shamans. Psychoactive substances
are not for everyone. Only prepared,
conversant, cultured, philosophical, educated
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and ready people, who have a healthy
psychological and neurological unity, should try
them. In the case of Nobel laureates Francis
Crick and Kary Mullis, LSD may have helped
them to unravel what was in their unconscious
and also increased the input of associations,
whereas LSD is a very powerful central nervous
system stimulant and association generator, as
well as it can create the images, such as fractal
geometry, three-four dimensional visualization
and other computerized possibilities, depending
on the background of the person, which normal
brain and daily consciousness cannot perform.
Psychoactive plants, H-ASCs and Mystical
Experience
Some recent research has found that
administering psychedelic drugs in a supportive
and good setting can induce profound mystical
experiences; for instance, a recent study found
that about 60% of volunteers in an experiment
on the effects of psilocybin, who had never used
psychedelic drugs before, had a complete
mystical experience characterized by episodes
such as unity with all things, transcendence of
time and space, a sense of insight into the
ultimate nature of reality, and feelings of
ineffability, awe, and profound positive
emotions such as joy, peace, and love (Griffiths,
2006).
Another study by Lerner and Lyvers
(2006) compared people who used high doses of
classic psychedelic drugs (e.g. LSD, mescaline
and psilocybin) with people who used other
illegal drugs, but never had tried psychedelic
drugs, and people who had never used any of
them. Psychedelic drug users endorsed more
mystical beliefs (such as in a universal soul, no
fear of death, unity of all things, existence of a
transcendent reality, and oneness with God,
nature and the universe). Psychedelic drug users
also said they placed greater value on spirituality
and concern for others, and less value on
financial prosperity, than the other two groups.
These findings are in accordance with other new
findings from another study (Móró, 2011) that
found that psychedelic drug users regarded
spirituality as more personally important,
compared to users of other drugs and non-drug
users. These findings suggest that people who
use psychedelic drugs consider themselves more
spiritual than people who prefer other drugs or
who do not consume any of these drugs.
It seems that psychedelic drug use and
having spiritual and mystical beliefs and/or
experiences have a correlation. Another study on
psilocybin found that people who had never used
psychedelic drugs before reported long-term
increases in death transcendence”, which
meant that subjects expressed an enhanced
belief system in continuity after death (MacLean,
2011). In this regard, Griffiths et al. found that of
the volunteers, those fourteen months after
ingestion of psilocybin for the first time, two-
thirds graded the experience as in the top five for
both most personally meaningfuland “most
spiritually significant experiencein their entire
lives. About 64 % reported the experience had
increased their personal well-being and life
satisfaction over the fourteen month period.
Additionally, volunteers said that they
experienced positive changes in their attitudes
towards life and to the self, as well as increased
positive mood, peace with other people,
increased feeling of well-being and empathy and
a sense of greater altruism (Griffiths, 2006).
These results show a correlation of psychedelic
experience and an increased tendency to
mysticism and a spiritual approach to other
people and the universe. But, another skeptical
explanation could be that mystical experiences
could actually inflate the volunteers’ egos
leading to some kind of grandiose false beliefs
and delusional thinking about their superiority
to others and also perceiving themselves as,
they are more ‘enlightened’ than other people”,
like prophets. (Mirante, 2007).
As shown in Table-1, a study made by
Masters and Houston among 206 LSD users
revealed the fact that at least during more than
90% of the LSD psychedelic experiences”,
religious imagery was perceived (Stafford, 1978);
while, at least during 58% of the “LSD trips
volunteers envisioned religious and
mythological symbolism, such as cross, star of
David, Yin-Yang symbol, etc. These finding
strongly support the hypothesis that H-ASCs
induce a powerful and influential mystical
experience in the central nervous system of
humans, just as throughout the hundreds of
centuries since the foundation of old polytheistic
pagan religions or some of the modern
monotheistic religions; whereas we, now, know
that most of the imagery and envisioning were
induced through H-ASCs, ingesting PSC-plants
during religious rituals. Therefore, mythological
figures, such as demons, spirits, gods, goddesses,
angels, supra-natural creatures, mythical
creatures, Satan were, most probably, created by
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humans who were having mystical experiences
on PSC-plants.
Table 1. Religious imagery duri ng an LSD trip among 206 subjects
(Source: Peter Stafford, Psychedelics Encyclopedia, CA: Ronin Press,
1978; pp: 89. Experiment conducted by Masters and Houston)
Religious imagery of
some kind
96 % Miraculous and
numinous visions
60 %
Religious architecture,
temples, churches
91 % Galaxies, heavenly
bodies, creation of
universe, of earth and
solar system
11.4 %
Religious sculpture,
painting, stained
windows
43 % Scenes from
contemporary Christian,
Jewish, or Muslim Rites
10 %
Religious symbols
(cross, yin yang, Star of
David)
58 % Ancient Greek, Roman,
Egyptian,
Mesopotamian, and
similar rites
67 %
Devils, demons 49 % Primitive rites 31 %
Angels 7.0 %
Entopic Images and Phosphenes
Supporting the hypotheses of Carl Gustav Jung
(1968; 1981), Lewis-Williams et al. proclaim that
human species have had the same nervous
system in common, thence the same perception
system, throughout the entire history, and that
the persistence of certain shared symbols can be
attributed to the humanity, not necessarily to a
continuing symbolic tradition, but to the
antiquity of the human nervous system and its
generation of entoptic phenomena and its
consequences.’ Lewis-Williams and Dowson
argue that entoptic‘ be considered as a generic
term from the Greek ‘within vision‘ and that
entophthalmic is a more accurate label for
phenomena originating in the eye; however, our
assessment is that entoptic images do not occur
only in the eye, but originate from many other
areas of the central nervous system. These
mental images are luminous, pulsating,
expanding or contracting, blending and
changing geometric forms. They include zigzags,
dots, grids, meandering lines and U-shapes
(Lewis-Williams, 1988; 1991; 2005).
Lewis-Williams and Dowson further break
these down into 'phosphenes' which can be
produced by physical stimulation, and 'form
constants' which are produced beyond the eye in
the cortex itself. It is these “geometrical forms”,
which Lewis-Williams and Dowson primarily
focus on, though they do not exclude
phosphenes, and refer to both under the general
term 'entoptics'. They do, however, distinguish
between entoptics and hallucinations. Entoptics
are geometric patterns whose origins are in the
nervous system itself, whereas hallucinations
are iconic and culturally determined and may be
experienced by all senses (aural, visual, tactile,
olfactory and synesthetic), not just the visual.
Hallucinations may arise out of entoptics
(Lewis-Williams, 1988; 1991; 1996; 2005).
Figure 3A. The classification of entoptic images by Lewis-
Williams and some samples of shamanic drawings from the walls
of ancient caves.
Dronfield suggests the use of subjective
visual phenomena to cover all probabilities,
including entoptic, entophthalmic, phosphene
and hallucinatory visual experience (Dronfield,
1993). Subjective visual phenomena are visual
perceptions which are generated or
spontaneously released within the neural
network of the visual pathway, having their
source at various points between the retinas and
processing areas of the brain, such as occipital
lobe, temporal lobe or limbic structures. Almost
all people are likely to have some kind of
experience of such a phenomenon. Phenomena
such as spots before the eyes‘, seeing stars‘ or
the flashes of color when rubbing or tightly
closing the eyes are examples of phosphenes.
The fuller range of phenomena can only be seen,
however, by either induction of altered states of
consciousness such as in hallucinogen
intoxication, trance, stress, by stimuli such as
flickering light or sensory deprivation, the
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spectrum of dissociated sleep-wake states, or in
certain psychopathological conditions such as
migraine, epilepsy or schizophrenia (Dronfield,
1993).
Figure 3B. The explanation of different consciousness states by
Lewis-Williams.
The tendency towards geometrical
formation and replication”, as expressed in
these form constants, is also apparent in the
following two ways: (a) the forms are frequently
repeated, combined, or elaborated into
ornamental designs and mosaics of various
kinds; (b) the elements constituting these forms,
such as the squares in a chessboard design, often
have boundaries consisting of geometric forms.
At times, the boundaries are represented by lines
so thin that it may be impossible to say whether
they are black or white (Mirante, 2007).
In the 1950s, German psychologist, Max
Knoll noted similarities between abstract
patterns induced by electrical stimulation or
hallucinogenic substances like LSD with
patterns in Southern African art. Some
researchers, like Heinrich Klüver, have
suggested that the ‘geometry’ of hallucinations
(mostly mescaline) actually reflects the
neurological structure and processing functions
of the brain. Klüver was among the first to try
and identify and categorize what could be
considered as constants in hallucinatory
experiences (mainly mescaline): (a) grating,
lattice, fretwork, filigree, honeycomb, or
chessboard; (b) cobweb; (c) tunnel, funnel, alley,
cone, or vessel; (d) spiral. Many phenomena are,
on close examination, nothing but modifications
and transformations of these basic forms, as a
result of the hyper-activation of neuronal
networks (Klüver, 1966; Mirante, 2007).
The visual records of these experiences
may be clues to a peculiarly efficient process for
weakening the influence of socially mediated
meaning, making unusual associations, and
generating new metaphors. These neural
artifacts and/or after images can be the clues of
the psychological profile of the shamans, who
were in a deep trance state.
According to the Lewis-Williams
“taxonomy”, there are six types of form
constants (Lewis-Williams, 1988; 1996; 2005):
(1) grids, lattices, expanding hexagonal patterns,
(2) sets of parallel lines, (3) dots and short flecks,
(4) zigzag lines crossing the field of vision, (5)
nested catenary curves, (6) filigrees or thin
meandering lines (Fig 3-A). Apart from the six
types of form constants there are also seven
principles of perception: (1) Replication, (2)
Fragmentation, (3) Integration, (4)
Superpositioning, (5) Juxtapositioning, (6)
Reduplication, (7) Rotation. More complex
hallucinatory images are a variation and
combination of entoptic form constants or the
perception.
Bahn (1996), indicates the presence of
phosphene motifs in the art of 3-4 year olds and
questions their status as a similarity of trance
and shamanic states. It must be pointed out,
however, that 3-4 year olds have enormous
associative capacity necessary for early learning.
Their subsequent capacity for arbitrary
associations (Bruner, 1978) and for generating
metaphors is not disparate to trancing adults.
Another interesting phenomenon is that 3-7 year
olds have the capability of experiencing
“synesthesia” spontaneously, which is lost when
they grow up, without using any psychoactive
chemicals or hallucinogens. Some children may
explain music or taste in colors, or vice versa.
This ability during the development of the
central nervous system may also show that
during the early growth period, the brain may be
more open or more susceptible to emerging of
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some other ancestral or archaic information
which originates from the genetic background of
the brain structures (Mirante, 2007; Simpsona,
1956; Green, 2008; Ward, 2013; Simner, 2014;
Cytowic, 1989, 2003).
Researching the human ability to produce
metaphors and symbols, Gardner et al. found
that: “… the highest number of appropriate
metaphors was acquired from the preschool
children, who even exceeded college students;
moreover, these 3-4 year olds fashioned
significantly more appropriate metaphors than
did children aged seven or eleven… This shows
the capacity of at least some young children to
perform the “finding metaphors game” at an
astonishingly high level” (Gardner, 1979).
In synesthesia, we translate experience
from one sense modality, say sound, to another,
say tactile input or color. We speak of “hot
music”. The ‘law of parallel alignment’ is said to
prevail. On the sound continuum of fast to slow,
a certain kind of music, jazz, occupies a position
parallel to that occupied by hot objects on the
continuum of hot to cold. Metaphoric prediction
is the same sort of translation, in our case of an
incipient subject from one domain to another,
and it can be conceptualized in relation to
continua. Some synesthetic musicians see the
notes and music as a painting; when they play
piano, for them, it is like painting music in the
air. Synesthesia is a natural capability of the
nervous system, which also emerges during
mystical and religious experiences during the
rituals performed with the ingestion of
psychoactive substances, and it can also be
triggered by various brain pathologies (Cytowic,
1989, 2003, 2006).
Cytowic (1989) suggests that synesthesia
is a cross-association phenomenon which takes
place in the limbic system of the left hemisphere.
About 5 in a million people experience one or
more aspects of this phenomenon continually
(generally the translation of sound into color),
while most of the children experience it at a
certain form during the different phases of
neurological development. Other people most of
the time induce an altered state of consciousness
(ASC) to experience the synesthesia, such as
through meditation, sensory deprivation,
hypnosis or H-ASC. Synesthesia is a conscious
peek of a neural process that happens all the time
in everyone. What converges in the limbic
system, especially the hippocampus, is the highly
processed information from sensory receptors
about the world, a multisensory evaluation of it.
A multisensory awareness is something that has
been lost from conscious awareness in the
majority of people, but exists in the metaphoric-
archaic dictionary of the ancestral information,
as a hidden language in the depths of
consciousness and the limbic system. Like form
constants, these cross-modality sensual
associations are essentially meaningless but, for
people who do experience them in altered states,
they are often accompanied by emotional
extremes. Synesthesia is like adding a new
dimension to the 3-D world for evaluating the
outer world in an easier and more explicable way
by means of creating metaphors (Cytowic, 1989,
2003, 2006).
In most of the inner journeys attained by
consuming psychoactive plants, the shaman
experiences synesthesia and the recollection of
entoptic images may be accompanied by
synesthesia, as well. This may allow the
psychedelic experience of the central nervous
system to induce more profound metaphors and
more variant allegories, related to the mystical
experience, which is a form of recalling the
ancestral information from the limbic system.
Thus, the shamanic experience is like a
metaphor generation with more variant,
numerous and precise wall stones or Lego pieces
to build a mystical unity.
Domination of Right Hemisphere,
Parasympathetic Nervous System and the
Limbic System during the Effects of
Psychoactive Plants
During trance states and ASCs induced by PSC-
plants, there can be a tendency to have brain
functions facilitate a dominance of limbic system
activity, right hemisphere functioning and
enhancement of the parasympathetic system.
The occurrence of limbic (septo-hippocampal)
slow wave dominance is an example for these
hyper-associative states of the trance. It is well
known that parasympathetic dominance, also,
usually occurs during sleep, meditation, and
trance states, which takes the
neuropharmacological focus of the sympathetic
nervous system and “flee or fight responses”
away, helping the person to loosen conscious
associations in order to be able to integrate the
new experiences that happened during the day
into the long-term memory via DNA and protein
synthesis– i.e., to learn and to upgrade the
symbolic landscape, symbolic database and
integrate the new information (input data) with
the old, cultural archetypal information. Such a
dominance of the parasympathetic
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neurotransmitter, acetylcholine (Ach) in the
pathways of septo-hippocampal system, which
has been philogenetically organized by many
circuit connections into the amgydala and other
structures of the limbic system, may prevail and
allow the ancient information to come out, in
connection with the new ones (Mirante, 2007;
Cytowic, 2006). Entoptic images comprise the
basics of such a revival. In children, such
circuitries are more uninhibited and open, such
that children may experience similar shamanic
consciousness states easier. Similarly,
endogenous psychoactive substances, such as
DMT, secreted from the pineal gland, may be
more active in the developing brain.
Neurotransmitters and Psychedelic-Shamanic
Experience
Most of the psychedelic chemicals have been
proposed to exert their actions through
serotonin (5-HT) receptors; particularly, 5-HT2A
and 5-HT2c. In the case of LSD, psilocybin,
psilocin, DMT and mescaline mostly, serotonin
receptors have been reported to be the targets for
most of the effects of H-ASCs (Hintzen, 2010;
Passie, 2008). How they can exert their
numerous effects (Sayin, 2012a) by means of
agonism in some 5-HT receptors and
antagonism in others in the serotonergic
pathways is still a mystery. A recent study about
the bindings of various drugs on different
receptors has revealed the affinities of
psychedelic drugs to various receptors (Ray,
2010).
The mammalian 5-HT2A receptor is a
subtype of the 5-HT2 receptor that belongs to the
serotonin receptor family and is a G protein-
coupled receptor (GPCR). This is the main
excitatory receptor subtype among the GPCRs
for serotonin (5-HT), although 5-HT2A may also
have an inhibitory effect on some areas such as
the visual cortex and the orbitofrontal cortex.
This receptor was first given importance as the
target of serotonergic psychedelic drugs such as
LSD. Suicidal and depressed patients have had
more 5-HT2A receptors than normal patients,
which suggest that post-synaptic 5-HT2A over-
density is involved in the pathogenesis of
depression. 5-HT2A is expressed widely
throughout the central nervous system (CNS),
participating in post synaptic transmissions at
most of the serotoninergic terminal rich areas,
including the neocortex (mainly prefrontal,
parietal, and somatosensory cortex) and the
olfactory tubercle; high concentrations of 5-HT2A
on the apical dendrites of pyramidal cells in layer
V of the cortex have been proposed to modulate
cognitive processes. Activation by the agonists of
5-HT2A induces hyper activation in CNS
(Aghajanian 1999; Nichols, 2001; Hintzen,
2010; Passie, 2008; Barnes, 2011).
The 5-HT2C receptor is a subtype of 5-HT
receptor that binds the endogenous
neurotransmitter serotonin. It is also a G
protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) that is coupled
to Gq/G11 and mediates excitatory
neurotransmission, while it may have some
inhibitory effects on the release of dopamine and
norepinephrine at certain parts of the brain. 5-
HT2C receptors are claimed to significantly
regulate mood, anxiety, feeding, and
reproductive behavior. 5-HT2C receptors
regulate dopamine release in the striatum,
prefrontal cortex, nucleus accumbens,
hippocampus, hypothalamus, and amygdala,
among others (Aghajanian 1999; Nichols, 2001;
Hintzen, 2010; Passie, 2008; Barnes, 2011).
The 5-HT1 receptors are a subfamily of 5-
HT receptors that bind the endogenous
neurotransmitter serotonin. The 5-HT1
subfamily consists of five G protein-coupled
receptors (GPCRs) that are coupled to Gi/Go and
mediate inhibitory neurotransmission;
accordingly, 5-HT1A, 5-HT1B, 5-HT1D, 5-HT1E,
and 5-HT1F. HT-1 receptor activation decreases
cAMP. 5HT-2 receptor activation increases PLC
(phospholipase-C). 5HT-4, 5-HT-6, 5HT-7
receptor activation also increase cAMP, thus
mediating an excitation (Pletscher 1993;
Aghajanian 1999; Austin, 1999; Nichols, 2001;
Hintzen, 2010; Passie, 2008; Barnes, 2011;
Sayin, 2012a). In most of the effects through
activation or deactivation of cAMP and PLC,
calcium-calmodulin system and minute changes
in the intracellular calcium concentrations play
a key role.
Although ibogaine, ketamine and PCP
(phencyclidine) have some similar psychoactive
effects or induce similar hallucinations, they act
on NMDA receptors, and have no substantial
binding on 5-HT receptors, while some
hallucinogens work on sigma receptors and/or
kappa opioid receptors, whereas opium does not
have noticeable hallucinogenic effects. THC has
no effects on 5-HT receptors, but binds on CB1
and CB2 cannabinoid receptors. Thus, the
serotonin receptor theoryand its correlation
with the psychedelic drugs and H-ASCs is not yet
a fully established one.
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More importantly, SSRIs (serotonin re-
uptake inhibitors, used to treat clinical
depression) that increase the serotonin in many
parts of the brain, do not have any
hallucinogenic effects, even in very high doses;
otherwise all the people treated with SSRIs
would be hallucinating if they overdosed
themselves. If all the particular psychological
effects of hallucinogens listed in our former work
(Sayin, 2012a, Tables 1-A, B, C) were induced by
the activation of only serotonin and 5-HT-1 and
5-HT-2 receptors, then a minute increase of 5-
HT in the synaptic cleft would induce powerful
hallucinations, because the affinity to 5-HT
receptors, of the natural agonist 5-HT, of which
concentrations in the synaptic cleft would be
increased by SSRIs repeatedly, would be more
potent than any of the hallucinogens.
LSD has an effect on nearly most of the 5-
HT receptors, and dopamine receptors, most of
the adrenergic receptors. Quoting from
Psychedelic’s Encyclopedia (Stafford, 1978):
“LSD is a very curious chemical. When given by
injection, it disappears rapidly from the blood.
It can be observed when tagged with Carbon 14
in all the tissues, particularly the liver, spleen,
kidneys, and adrenal glands. The
concentration found in the brain is lower than
in any other organ - being only about 0.01
percent of the administered dose. [...] LSD is
highly active when administered orally,
absorbed through mucous membranes or
through the skin, and is almost completely
absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract.
Concentrations in the organs reach peak values
after only ten to fifteen minutes; then they
decrease very rapidly. [...] Some 80 percent of
ingested LSD is excreted via the liver, bile
system and intestinal tract, with only about 8
percent appearing in urine. After two hours,
only 1 to 10 percent is still present in the form
of unchanged LSD; the rest consists of water
soluble metabolites - such as 2-oxo-2,3-
dihydro-LSD - which do not possess any LSD-
type influence on the central nervous system.
Psychic effects of LSD reach their peak about
one to three hours following ingestion, when
much of the substance has disappeared from
the body's major organs, including the brain,
though measurable amounts persist in the
blood and brain for about eight hours.”
Another, important point is that LSD, of
which plasma half-life is around 160 minutes,
was reported to stay in the brain for only 20-40
minutes and then it is cleared out (Stafford,
1978; Hintzen, 2010 and www.erowid.org) long
before its major effects start in several hours, but
the LSD-induced hallucinogenic “trip starts 1
hour after the ingestion and lasts for 6-8 hours;
this means that there is substantially no LSD (or
very little) in the brain while a person is
tripping on LSD; thus it cannot be only the
molecular resemblance of LSD, which acts as a
powerful hallucinogen even after 50 micrograms
of an oral dose, to serotonin, to bind to 5-HT
receptors as an agonist. So how does LSD exert
an agonistic effect on 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C
receptors during an 8-hour “trip”, after it is
totally cleared up from the brain? Besides, many
psychiatric anti-psychotic and anxiolytic
medications stop the LSD trip, such as dopamine
antagonist chlorpromazine and the powerful
GABAA agonist alprazolam, without having
much antagonistic effect on 5-HT receptors.
Thus, serotoninergic mechanisms may play an
important modulating role in the formation of
psychedelic consciousness, but it is not likely
that the 5-HT system is the only mechanism to
explain H-ASCs.
The effects of hallucinogens can also be
explained by an alternative hypothesis, such as
Gate-way Hypothesis”, as depicted in Figure 4.
It may be possible that certain circuitries and
loops in the brain (particularly in the limbic
system) may have a capacity to experience
psychedelic consciousness, working as a
pacemaker, a specific area which we will coin as
Area Tempestas. However, Area Tempestas is
normally under the control of and inhibited by
other hypothetical areas and circuits in the brain
during normal daily life; some hallucinogens
may be disinhibiting this gating mechanism,
through an action which has not yet been
discovered. Thus, some hallucinogens may
trigger an innate mechanism in the brain, which
already exists but becomes manifest during
hyper-excitation states (probably, of several
receptor systems and different pathways), to
experience H-ASCs. Actually such a system
exists in the brain; DMT is a natural
neurotransmitter which is secreted from the
pineal gland (Strassman, 2000); and the brain
also has its own cannabinoid receptor system
(CB-1, CB-2), to which THC binds, and there are
endogenous cannabinoid ligands of these
receptors, anandamide (arachidonoyl-
ethanolamide) and 2-arachidonoylglycerol,
which exert hallucinogenic effects and were
hypothesized to take part in the mechanism of
psychosis (Koethe, 2009). There may be other
endogenous hallucinogens which may be
responsible of the formation of dreams and ASCs
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(as in the case of hypnosis), along with DMT and
endogenous cannabinoids.
A Forgotten Archaic Neurological Optic-
Language (Visual Language)?
Let’s go back to 90,000 years ago and let’s
imagine ourselves as cavemen/women of the
Stone Age (let’s call this man sham-A). We do
not have a language, we can only mutter some
sounds; there are no words, no sentences, no
grammar, no alphabet and letters, no writing.
Our technology is only fire and some tools of
stone to hunt animals. The most important
things in daily life and our only motivations are
to find food and to mate for reproduction. But we
have some concepts, which cannot be
articulated. We have, say, 20 to 30 different
sounds which may express those
conceptualizations, such as: good, bad-evil, food,
water, woman-reproduction, sun (or sun-god),
moon, tool, baby, forest, sky, come, go, mate, eat,
etc. We can draw some figures on the walls of the
caves, using sharp edged stones. Just go back to
those ages, put yourself in the place of the first
Homo sapiens. Because of access to fire, and
cooking meat and other foods, during the last
couple of centuries, we have a more developed
brain and motor control system of the neocortex,
which has developed to make many
conceptualizations, better hand movements and
grasping. Most of our sensory and information
input is visual and geometrical shapes, that we
draw on the walls of the caves. We have some
concepts, and we can add a group of concepts
together, as the conceptualization of simple
sentences; but we do not have numbers, syntax,
grammar and abstraction of sentence making yet
(Figure 6)! We put 3-5 concepts together to
express ourselves in primitive sentences which
can mean many things at the same time and we
sometimes draw those symbolic shapes on the
walls of the caves where we live.
Eighty to ninety percent of all the
perception from the outer world was reported to
be visual. The retina, which contains 150 million
light-sensitive rod and cone cells, is actually an
outgrowth of the brain. In the brain itself,
neurons devoted to visual processing number in
the hundreds of millions and take up about 30
percent of the cortex, as compared with 8
percent for touch and just 3 percent for hearing.
Each of the two optic nerves, which carry signals
from the retina to the brain, consists of a million
fibers; each auditory nerve carries a mere
30,000 (Grady, 1993). The geometrical images,
which are distinguished between each other such
as line, square, circle, ellipse, parallel lines, and
concentric circles, are the main abstract
geometrical shapes of our caveman. So he can
make abstractions of the outer world in the
shape of those images and geometrical forms to
create conceptualizations to express himself.
Throughout the thousands of centuries since 2,5
million years ago (the time of hominoids), until
90,000-80,000 years ago, those images have
become ancestral information as building blocks
in the nervous system for the abstract thinking of
Homo species.
Figure 4. An alternative Gate-Way Hypothesis During the
Induction of H-ASCs. Let’s call this region in the limbic system as
Area Tempestas, which is inhibited and dormant during normal
life; but becomes active, as a pacemaker, when some
hallucinogens disinhibit such a center, at different degrees and
levels. Area Tempestas may also be disinhibited and activated by
the shamans, by means of drumming, music, meditation, solitary
confinement, sensory deprivation, self-hypnosis and other
trance techniques to induce ASCs.
If we want to re-animate the ancient
symbolism and cave art, and form a model for
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the very old archaic information, Figure-6
depicts such a simple model. In the beginning
there were very few abstractions, like food, good,
bad, water, sun, moon, etc., whose expressions
were important for the survival of the species.
The early men and first shamans were aware of
the importance of the sun, the source of energy
for everything on earth. That is why since then;
the sun was accepted as the creator, the sun god,
as this first religious thought was repeated
throughout the centuries.
The first concept of sentences was putting
a couple of abstract figures together, as we see in
the archeological findings in caves. However,
those sentences could mean a lot of things as
depicted in Figures-6-A and B (here we make up
an explicit model, and none of the symbols,
figures or syntaxes are real, as found in the old
caves). 60 thousands years ago, there were
probably some wise men, medicine men or
shamans of the tribes; and they made some of
those cave wall drawings about the most
influential and important events of daily life
(let’s call these men sham-B). The first religion,
depending totally on Nature, was important for
the evolution and survival of Homo sapiens for
many reasons.
Figure 5. The time table that depicts some of the events during
the last 300 000 years, related with hypothetical shaman
ancestors Sham-O, Sham-A, Sham-B, Sham-C, Sham-D, Sham-E.
Probably, 25-30 thousand years ago, the
medicine men and shamans were using
psychoactive plants during their shamanic
religious rituals, thus attaining a kind of
ancestral information, which was important for
the natural selection, adaptation of Homo
sapiens (Let’s call this man Sham-C). 10,000
years ago the ancient men established villages,
domesticated animals, cultivated wheat and
barley, made simple houses and still had those
private religious rituals of shamans, sometimes
with PSC-plants (Let’s call this man Sham-D).
The earliest psychoactive plants were probably
ephedra, cannabis, opium and magic
mushrooms, which were available for practical
use everywhere (Merlin, 2003; Sayin, 2014).
5,000 years ago in Egypt, the shamans and wise
men were able to write on papyrus (Let’s call
these Egyptian monks of Osiris Sham-E). Until
5,000 years ago, most of the entoptic images and
the ancestral information were written on the
walls of caves or villages; and/or on some stone
tablets, sculptures and reliefs. If we call the first
archaic Homo sapiens Sham-O (300,000 years
ago, See Figure 5). Shams-A-B-C-D-E had the
idea and information about the life experiences
of Sham-O, even though there was no writing;
maybe only the geometrical figures and
drawings had an impact on passing on this
information to Sham-E; however, if a kind of
collective sub/unconsciousness existed, Sham B-
C-D, somehow learned how to unravel this
ancestral information while religious rituals and
magic were a kind of means for such a
recollection, and they had the urge or need to
pass this information to the next generations by
drawings, because this information was
important for the survival of the species. They
had to put the symbols and signs of psychoactive
plants in the drawings, sculptures and reliefs
everywhere to warn and inform the great
grandson-shamans that this was the way to
recollect some of the sacred information,
because they were aware that in H-ASCs, they
were perceiving the world differently, their
philosophical thinking was changed; besides,
they were speaking to the spirits of their
ancestors (an unconscious delusion which made
the limbic ancestral information free, in the form
of spirits). Here the phosphenes and entoptic
images must have played a very important role;
since Sham-O, those geometrical shapes which
were normal neurophysiological products of a
computer system, such as neocortex, must have
played a sign language to pass on the ancestral
information. The only problem was, they were
not perceived easily during daily life conditions;
they emerged to consciousness when the
shamans Sham-B-C-D were, most probably,
ingesting those gods’-flesh sacred mushrooms or
cactuses, or smoking Ananda (sacred) weeds
(cannabis); they were sacred because they
helped to release important ancestral
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information, and of course they had to be kept
very secret and discreet. We do not know yet
what the structure of the language of the neuro-
optic images could be, but such a neurological
sign-symbol language would be essential to keep
some conceptualizations in a certain format
which could be passed over to the next
generations when there was no real language,
grammar, syntax and alphabet during the times
of Sham-O and Sham-A or even Sham-B (Sham-
B spoke a simple language).
Conclusion
As the evidence provided above substantiates, a
neurological innate symbol language, of which
structure and wisdom are yet to be discovered,
could have been effective to pass information to
the next generations through unraveling of
collective sub-un-consciousness since Neolithic
Ages (Jung, 1968; 1981). The alphabet of this
language consisted of, probably, the geometrical
shapes which become overt in the form of
entoptic images during religious rituals, when
psychoactive plants were used to recollect
ancestral information in some trance states.
Acknowledgements
I would like to thank Dr. Patricia Taylor for sharing
her important information related with the
phosphenes and entoptic images that emerged during
expanded orgasms. I also would like to thank Prof.
Carl Ruck and Prof. Carlos H. Schenck for reading,
editing this and the former articles, and giving
invaluable suggestions and insights.
Figure 6A. (Upper Left) Some putative simple expressions of the
important conceptualizations in a primitive sign language. Figure
6B. (Upper Right) Some putative simple expressions of groups of
the important conceptualizations in a primitive sign language, as
the first primitive sentences. Figure 6C. (Lower Left) The primitive
conceptualizations in symbols entered the consciousness of the
primitive men (Sham-O, Sham-A, Sham-B). For nearly a couple of
hundreds of centuries a kind of simple symbol language
constructed by means of the experiences of daily life was
perceived and recorded in the limbic system, coded in molecular
forms and inherited to next generations (collective
unconsciousness). This ancestral information was important for
the survival of the species and transferred to next generations as
unconscious coded-secret-sacred information which was not
available to ordinary consciousness, but emerged during religious
rituals, trance states of the medicine men and shamans. After the
discovery of psychoactive plants, Sham-A and Sham-B used those
plants in the religious rituals to unravel some ancestral
information, while they thought they were speaking to the spirits
of their ancestors during H-ASCs, induced by PSC-plants. Thus
some important data base in the form of entoptic images and
phosphenes (a neurological innate geometrical sign language)
were transferred to grand-grand-grand-son shamans to protect
and improve the species. Figure 6D. (Lower Right) The primitive
conceptualizations in symbols entered the consciousness of the
primitive men (Sham-O, Sham-A, Sham-B): Full Moon and its
effects were important for the first primitive Homo sapiens. It is
well known that some of the higher non-human primates and
hominoids arranged their circadian physiological body cycles
according to the Moon Phases, since it was very easy because of
the bright light in the sheer dark nights of winters, even though
Sham-O, Sham-A, Sham-B, had discovered fire. Some of the
research on the female moon-phase dependent menstrual cycles
showed that most of the females of the hominoids (until Homo
sapiens) most likely had a trend to ovulate around a date close to
or after full moon. So the intercourses and ejaculations were more
likely to produce babies during the sexual interaction at the times
of full moon. Thus through centuries this innate and trial-error
learned information was carried to the next generations. This
information was important for the survival of the species and it
was kept in the molecular information format in the limbic system.
Some Homo sapiens individuals were aware of this information
instinctively; some became aware of this information during the
religious rituals with PSC-plants, when the sacred ancestral
information was transferred from the depths of the sub-un-
consciousness. Moon phase and circadian rhythm case is only an
example to clarify and to explain a possible model of the archaic
neurological innate language. So only the appearance of the full
moon made females uneasy and full of libido; while the sexual
drives and libido in males and females (mostly) may have
increased during the times of the full moon.
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Please see previous page for Figure 6 explanations
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... The study of language is closely linked to the study of the mind. However, long before the creation of languages, visual perception and movement were the only way for mankind to perceive the outer world [Sayin 2014]. An important example is the distinction between sign and symbol, which has been drawn with the problem of contingency in mind. ...
... The appearance of these "form constants" in the everyday experience of entoptic phenomena [Glicksohn, Friedland and Salach-Nachum, 1990-91], but especially in dreams [Shepard, 1983], might be viewed as an "archaic form of symbolic language" ( [Sayin, 2014], pp. 429), or as a basis for symbolic imagery [Hunt, 1989]. ...
... More specifically, as Sayin concludes, "Flicker phosphenes created by stroboscopic lights or mind-machines tend to be more amorphous at low frequencies (1-4 Hz), tend to fall into web, spiral, or cloverleaf patterns at medium frequencies (4-9 Hz), and tend to lock into grid, honeycomb, or checkerboard patterns at higher frequencies (9-16 Hz). Flicker phosphenes will have slow lateral drift at lower frequencies; a rotational drift at medium frequencies; and will maintain stability or produce fast lateral drift at higher frequencies" ( [Sayin, 2014], pp. 431]). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the current article, we will bring forth the subject of embodied symbols and discuss the possible underlying neuronal mechanisms mediating the comprehension of these symbols, focusing on the motor system. We will focus on three main examples, related to (1) structures (such as the labyrinth), (2) visual stimuli (e.g., sculptures) and (3) embodied symbols utilizing the human body (e.g., symbolic hand gestures). Finally, the implications of embodied symbols will be discussed through the PHASE (Philosophy, Art, Science and Economics) framework. PHASE links philosophical ideas of man’s improvement through creative art and its examination through science towards the improved economy of self. Utilizing this perspective, we will discuss scientific experiments related to embodied symbols in art and neuroscience. In this context, we will focus on the theory of embodied cognition and embodied language, which has claimed that cognitive and linguistic systems re-use the structures and the organization characterizing the motor system. While de Saussure [1983] has argued that the linear-segmented character of spoken language is a property that arises due to the unidimensionality of language, meaning is multidimensional; physical gesture is not restricted to breaking down meaning complexes into segments. As Goldin-Meadow has suggested in her book Hearing gesture: How our hands help us think: “Gestures are free to vary on dimensions of space, time, form, trajectory, and so on, and can present meaning complexes without undergoing segmentation or linearization.” ([Goldin-Meadow, 2005], pp. 25). Although the current article is not a systematic review, it would like to suggest that objective art may exist, in which specific properties of the stimuli (e.g., form, proportion and frequency) can produce a specific neuronal and behavioral response. In addition, these effects may be mediated, at least in part, by the motor system. Understanding the effects of specific characteristics of the stimuli and the possible underlying mechanism may architects and therapists, as well as parents and teachers to choose the best stimuli in order to voluntarily orient themselves and others towards the inner state which they would like to achieve.
... There had always been a rumor that men and women drank a very powerful "magical potion" during these rituals. Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... This special drink was described as "a hallucinogenicaphrodisiac potion" that was consumed during the long "Dionysian festivals and orgia". Its active hallucinogenic ingredient was probably thujone (in Artemisia absinthium), a cannabinoid receptor agonist, while it might have also contained other psychoactive plants and herbs, such as magic mushrooms (Webster, 2000), ergot compounds and LSA (kykeon; Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2001Ruck, , 2013Ruck, , 2006aRuck, -b, 2009), opium, (Ritter, 2008;Gimpel, 2006;Lachenmeier, 2006aLachenmeier, , 2006bAzar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). It is interesting to note that another cannabinoid receptor agonist, cannabidiol, has recently been found to effectively control the disturbing dreams/nightmares--i.e. ...
Article
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Abstract: Psychoactive plants which contain hallucinogenic molecules that induce a form of altered states of consciousness (H-ASC) have been widely used during the religious rituals of many cultures throughout the centuries, while the consumption of these plants for spiritual and religious purposes is as old as human history. Some of those cultures were shaman and pagan subcultures; African native religions; Bwiti Cult; South American native religions; Amazon Cultures; Central American Cultures; Mexican subcultures; Aztec, Maya and Inca; Wiccan and witch subcultures; Satanists; American Indians; Greek and Hellenistic cultures; Sufis; Hassan Sabbah’s Hashisins; Hindu, Indian and Tibetan cultures; some of the Nordic subcultures etc. Some of the psychoactive ingredients of the plants that were used during these religious rituals were; narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and phalaris species), Peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), thujone (absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora, star lotus, Salvia divinorum etc. The main purposes of the practice of these plants were: spiritual healing; to contact with spirits; to contact with the souls of ancestors; to reach enlightenment (Nirvana or Satori); to become a master shaman, pagan or witch; to reach so-called-other realities, etc. Such “psychedelic-philosophical plant rituals” changed participating persons’ psychology, philosophy and personality to a great degree. In these two successive articles, the consumption of psychedelic plants during religious rituals is reviewed and it is hypothesized that the images, figures, illusions and hallucinations experienced during these “plant trips” had a great impact on the formation and creation of many figures, characters, creatures, archetype images that exist not only in the mythology, but also in many religions, as well, such as angels, demons, Satan, mythological creatures, gods, goddesses etc. In the Middle East and Anatolia, within many hermetic and pagan religions, Greek and Hellenic cultures psychoactive plant use was a serious part of the religious rituals, such as Dionysian rituals or Witch’s’ Sabbaths. Although the impact of the “psychedelic experience and imagination” was enormous to the configuration of many religious and mythological characters, and archetypes, this fact has been underestimated and even unnoticed by many historians and anthropologists, because of the quasi-ethical trends of “anti-drug-brain-washed Western Societies”. Today, it may be perceived as very disturbing for many believers that their belief systems and religious figures are actually just a result of the imaginations of the “human brain and psyche”, which were very elevated and altered by psychedelic plants that are totally banned today. What those chemicals did in the brain was actually induce the consciousness to recognize the inner self, to unravel the subconscious and the collective unconscious, to open some of the doors of perception, to disentangle entoptic images and perhaps explicate some unknown functions of the brain and the human psyche which may have many other means to contact other –hypothetical— realities! Since the research on the psychedelic nature of the brain will unravel many facts about the consciousness of the brain and human psyche, we invite the authorities again to ponder deeply the banning of research on psychoactive plants and psychedelic drugs! KEY WORDS: psychoactive plant, entoptic, phosphene, religious ritual, opium, THC, Cannabis, DMT, ayahuasca, Peganum harmala, phalaris, magic mushroom, psilocybin, peyote, mescaline, ibogaine, thujone, Arthemisia absinthium, Salvia divinorum, Dionysian ritual, mandragora SexuS Journal ● 2017 ● 2 (5): 201-236
... There had always been a rumor that men and women drank a very powerful "magical potion" during these rituals. Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 2 The phenomenon of "conscious dreaming" just mentioned has the formal contemporary designation of "lucid dreaming", and the objective study of sleep by means of polysomnography in lucid dreamers has documented the fascinating co-occurrence of the waking state within the rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep state, as a distinct form of "dissociated state" in which the lucid dreamer can direct the dream action (LaBerge, 1990;Godwin, 1994;Mahowald, 1998 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 2 The phenomenon of "conscious dreaming" just mentioned has the formal contemporary designation of "lucid dreaming", and the objective study of sleep by means of polysomnography in lucid dreamers has documented the fascinating co-occurrence of the waking state within the rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep state, as a distinct form of "dissociated state" in which the lucid dreamer can direct the dream action (LaBerge, 1990;Godwin, 1994;Mahowald, 1998 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... This special drink was described as "a hallucinogenic-aphrodisiac potion" that was consumed during the long "Dionysian festivals and orgia". Its active hallucinogenic ingredient was probably thujone (in Artemisia absinthium), a cannabinoid receptor agonist, while it might have also contained other psychoactive plants and herbs, such as magic mushrooms (Webster, 2000), ergot compounds and LSA (kykeon; Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2001Ruck, , 2013Ruck, , 2006aRuck, -b, 2009), opium, etc. (Ritter, 2008;Gimpel, 2006;Lachenmeier, 2006aLachenmeier, , 2006bAzar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). It is interesting to note that another cannabinoid receptor agonist, cannabidiol, has recently been found to effectively control the disturbing dreams/nightmares -i.e., hallucinations during REM sleep--and associated abnormal parasomnia behaviors -viz. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
Psychoactive plants that induce a form of altered states of consciousness (hallucinogen-induced ASC (H-ASC)) have been widely used during the religious rituals of many cultures throughout the centuries. Some of the psychoactive ingredients of the plants that were used during these religious rituals were opium, cannabis (tetrahydrocannabinol), psilocybin, mescaline, ibogaine, dimethyltryptamine, Peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol, thujone, ephedra, mandragora, Salvia divinorum, etc. The main purposes of these plants were spiritual healing; to contact with spirits; to contact with the souls of ancestors; to reach enlightenment (Nirvana or Satori); to become a master shaman, pagan, or witch; and to reach so-called-other realities. In most of the ancient religious rituals such plants were consumed as a part of the traditional shamanic or pagan culture for many centuries and most of the religious figures and images in the ancient and modern religious systems are a result of these hallucinogenic substances and H-ASC mind states.
... There had always been a rumor that men and women drank a very powerful "magical potion" during these rituals. Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 2 The phenomenon of "conscious dreaming" just mentioned has the formal contemporary designation of "lucid dreaming", and the objective study of sleep by means of polysomnography in lucid dreamers has documented the fascinating co-occurrence of the waking state within the rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep state, as a distinct form of "dissociated state" in which the lucid dreamer can direct the dream action (LaBerge, 1990;Godwin, 1994;Mahowald, 1998 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... Most probably, these rituals were the imitation of "Dionysian rituals" and the potion was some kind of psychoactive drink, such as absinthe (or kykeon) Nichols, 2004;Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2006Ruck, , 2009Azar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). There are even 13th-century secular love songs about these rituals, known as Carmina Burana ('Songs of Beuern,' 5 songs of morals and mockery, 131 love songs, 40 2 The phenomenon of "conscious dreaming" just mentioned has the formal contemporary designation of "lucid dreaming", and the objective study of sleep by means of polysomnography in lucid dreamers has documented the fascinating co-occurrence of the waking state within the rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep state, as a distinct form of "dissociated state" in which the lucid dreamer can direct the dream action (LaBerge, 1990;Godwin, 1994;Mahowald, 1998 drinking and gaming songs, the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, with obscene themes and satirical of the Church, of old Northern Europe culture; written in 1230) of which lyrics were used by Carl Orff to compose his famous work of the Carmina Burana in 1936 (Azar, 2006;Sayin 2014). ...
... This special drink was described as "a hallucinogenic-aphrodisiac potion" that was consumed during the long "Dionysian festivals and orgia". Its active hallucinogenic ingredient was probably thujone (in Artemisia absinthium), a cannabinoid receptor agonist, while it might have also contained other psychoactive plants and herbs, such as magic mushrooms (Webster, 2000), ergot compounds and LSA (kykeon; Ruck, 2000Ruck, , 2001Ruck, , 2013Ruck, , 2006aRuck, -b, 2009), opium, etc. (Ritter, 2008;Gimpel, 2006;Lachenmeier, 2006aLachenmeier, , 2006bAzar, 2006;Daniélou, 1992;Sayin, 2014). It is interesting to note that another cannabinoid receptor agonist, cannabidiol, has recently been found to effectively control the disturbing dreams/nightmares -i.e., hallucinations during REM sleep--and associated abnormal parasomnia behaviors -viz. ...
Article
Full-text available
Psychoactive plants which contain hallucinogenic molecules that induce a form of altered states of consciousness (HASC) have been widely used during the religious rituals of many cultures throughout the centuries, while the consumption of these plants for spiritual and religious purposes is as old as human history. Some of those cultures were shaman and pagan subcultures; African native religions; Bwiti Cult; South American native religions; Amazon Cultures; Central American Cultures; Mexican subcultures; Aztec, Maya and Inca; Wiccan and witch subcultures; Satanists; American Indians; Greek and Hellenistic cultures; Sufis; Hassan Sabbah's Hashissins; Hindu, Indian and Tibetan cultures; some of the Nordic subcultures etc. Some of the psychoactive ingredients of the plants that were used during these religious rituals were; narcotic analgesics (opium), THC (cannabis), psilocybin (magic mushrooms), mescaline (peyote), ibogaine (Tabernanthe iboga), DMT (Ayahuasca and phalaris species), Peganum harmala, bufotenin, muscimol (Amanita muscaria), thujone (absinthe, Arthemisia absinthium), ephedra, mandragora, star lotus, Salvia divinorum etc. The main purposes of the practice of these plants were: spiritual healing; to contact with spirits; to contact with the souls of ancestors; to reach enlightenment (Nirvana or Satori); to become a master shaman, pagan or witch; to reach so-called-other realities, etc. Such "psychedelic-philosophical plant rituals" changed participating persons' psychology, philosophy and personality to a great degree. In these two successive articles, the consumption of psychedelic plants during religious rituals is reviewed and it is hypothesized that the images, figures, illusions and hallucinations experienced during these "plant trips" had a great impact on the formation and creation of many figures, characters, creatures, archetype images that exist not only in the mythology, but also in many religions, as well, such as angels, demons, Satan, mythological creatures, gods, goddesses etc. In the Middle East and Anatolia, within many hermetic and pagan religions, Greek and Hellenic cultures psychoactive plant use was a serious part of the religious rituals, such as Dionysian rituals or Witch's' Sabbaths. Although the impact of the "psychedelic experience and imagination" was enormous to the configuration of many religious and mythological characters, and archetypes, this fact has been underestimated and even unnoticed by many historians and anthropologists, because of the quasi-ethical trends of "anti-drug-brain-washed Western Societies".
... Some accepted classifications in psychiatry, described long ago, such as ID, ego, superego, do also have neurochemical basis and mechanisms which can be influenced and/or altered by the modern methods of psychopharmacology and/or biological psychiatry. Any abstractions about human psyche which do not depend on pure neuroscience and neuropharmacology are not valid anymore, including the spirits, souls, and other heavenly creatures which take their origins from early pagan beliefs or institutionalized religions [94,95]. In a century, imaging techniques, non-invasive neuropharmacology techniques will evolve and develop. ...
Article
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Id, ego and superego are three abstract compartments of the human psyche according to the schools of psychoanalysis, established by Freud. Although these are abstract notions, today we have the neuroscientific basis of knowledge for defining them in terms of neuroanatomy and psychopharmacology. Hedonic hot spots or pleasure centers in the limbic system have been identified. Some of them are ventral tegmental are (VTA) cingulate, orbitofrontal cortex, prefrontal cortex (PFC), insula, nucleus accumbens (NA), amygdala, hippocampus and hypothalamus. Actually, there are regions in the brain where the functions of the id arise, mostly in the limbic system. Libido and pleasure principle have the neuroanatomical and neuropharmacological correlates in the brain. During pleasure, passionate love, extreme pleasure, peak experiences, orgasms or prolonged orgasms, these areas are activated; some neurotransmitters such as dopamine, oxytocin, glutamate, GABA, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, endogenous opioids, serotonin and the hormones testosterone and vasopressin mediate the neurotransmission of pleasure and love, which is a peak experience of the id. The reward-pleasure circuitry, which plays important roles in the development of psychological dependence and addiction is also involved in the mechanisms of these functions. Nearly 5000 dopaminergic neurons originating from VTA projecting to NA and PFC control most of the pleasure reactions, which may have great impacts on synaptic plasticity, learning, habituation and influence the components of the human psyche and eventually the personality. Dopaminergic projections of VTA may have as many as 25 x 10 8 synaptic connections at the targets, which can carry 92 gigabytes of "pleasure information". The brain has much more information processing capacity than we can imagine. Dopamine and oxytocin are the major "pleasure, orgasm and happiness" neurotransmitters which the id uses to mediate and perform its discrete functions of the nature, while "the pleasure principle" is inevitable, unbeatable and indispensable. When superego counteracts with these functions, psychological disturbances may arise. The centers of ego and superego are probably the cortical and associative areas, particularly frontal, parietal and temporal cortices. This review is a neuro-scientific summary of what happens in the brain when the id prevails the superego.
Chapter
That gives a basic summary of ways the first-path accounts for what ghosts and other paranormal things are made from. Broadly speaking, ghosts consist of a pattern of information residing in a low energy, high energy, negative energy (or whatever) conformation. I’ve suggested that how they are perceived is through our conventional senses, but does that necessarily have to be as visible light? Are there other types of energy that the ghost can present as, which can also be observed by the witness?
Chapter
Having briefly summarised the jigsaw analogy of altered states, it’s now possible to ponder how any new “pieces” of a reconfigured consciousness might enable unusual (paranormal) experiences.
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A Multidisciplinary Academic Journal Published Quarterly by CİSEATED-ASEHERT • www.ciseated.org • www.sexusjournal.com • Abstract: Constructing a System Theory (ST) is a method to establish a logical, mathematical, self-consistent, self-existing, coherent model to explain the interactions of the elements, functions and development of a closed or open system. System Theory (ST) is very important to define, organize, evaluate, control, regulate the systems and form mathematical models in a set of elements of that particular system. General Systems Theory (GST) is a name which has been adopted to describe a level of theoretical model-building which lies somewhere between the highly generalized constructions of pure mathematics & logic and the specific theories of the specialized disciplines. An ST can be universal, perfect, imperfect or defective; while the defective STs cannot survive. GST is a series of related definitions, assumptions, and postulates about all levels of systems from atomic particles through atoms, molecules, crystals, viruses, cells, organs, individuals , small groups, companies, societies, planets, solar systems, and galaxies. General Behavior ST is a sub-category of such a theory, dealing with living systems, extending roughly from viruses through societies. A significant fact about living things is that they are open systems, with important inputs and outputs. Laws which apply to them differ from those applying to relatively closed systems. Ludwig von Bertalanffy, the founder of ST, described two types of systems: open systems and closed systems. The open systems are systems that allow interactions between its internal elements and the environment. An open system, like space, is defined as a "system in exchange of matter and energy with its environment, presenting import and export, building-up and breaking-down of its material components." Closed systems, on the other hand, are held to be isolated from their environment. Also Sex Therapy and other therapies should regard the gestalt of the system as a holistic approach. Nowadays Systemic Sex Therapy is prevailing.
Poster
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THE MAIN PARAMETERS AND NEW DEFINITIONS OF ENHANCED AND EXPANDED SEXUAL RESPONSE (ESR) (Poster Presentation) Ümit Sayın, M.D., Ph.D. (Institute of Forensic Sciences, Istanbul University, Cerrahpaşa-İstanbul) E-mail: humitsayin@gmail.com Marjo Ramstadius (Jokioinen, Finland) E-mail: marjo.ramstadius@nic.fi Rationale: In medical literature, there are many researches and articles about the pathologies of the desire and sexual response of females on the dysfunctions of female sexual physiology and psychology such as anorgasmia, vaginismus etc., however there has been no attempt for a research to investigate the possibilities of enhanced sexual functions and response of the human female, unless it is caused by bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive sexual disorder, persistent genital arousal syndrome etc. Recently many books have been published about the enhanced and expanded sexual response (ESR) of the human female (Taylor, 2002; Rhodes, 1991; Bodansky, 2000; Zdrok, 2004) . Introduction: To investigate the main parameters of a possible ESR we have contacted some women who claimed to have enhanced sexual response. Our aim was to establish the main scientific basis of the definitions and parameters of ESR, if it existed, and to establish an objective ESR scale out of our preliminary findings. Methods: As a preliminary study, 66666 women who claimed that they have a form of ESR and 66666women without ESR definitions were interviewed through internet and/or face to face. The women who joined the study were selected by means of personal communications through the academic circles, former survey correspondents, universities and via the internet and facebook communications; many women with different nationalities were included in the study in 2010 and 2011. To prevent the enhanced sexual response due to psychiatric pathologies such as bipolar disorder, compulsive sexual disorder, all women were questioned about their medical history and such women were not taken to the study. Results: It is concluded that some aspects of the sexual response of women with ESR were different than the women without ESR (none-ESR, NESR): 1) The ESR women experienced both vaginal, clitoral and blended orgasms, as described by Ladas, Whipple and Perry . 2) The ESR women experienced multiple orgasms in most of their sexual activities. 3) The ESR women were able to attain long lasting and/or prolonged and/or multiple and/or sustained orgasms that lasted longer than the classical single orgasm and/multiple orgasm patterns defined in the literature. 4) The ESR women claimed to have strong pelvic floor muscles (PFM) compared to NESR women. 5) The libido of ESR women was very high compared to NESR women. 6) ESR women described a phenomenon called G-Spot orgasms. 7) ESR women described sensitive erogenous zones in their genitalia other than clitoris. 8) ESR women masturbated very frequently. 9) ESR women had erotic fantasies more frequently than the NESR women. 10) ESR women admitted to have a form of altered states of consciousness during some of their prolonged orgasms. Conclusion: ESR is a novel phenomenon in the human female which was defined recently. Our preliminary data revealed that more detailed scientific research should be carried out on the possible existence of such a phenomenon. The authors are still working on some psychometric ESR-scales to measure the claimed ESR in the human female in scientific terms. Keywords: Female Orgasm, ESR, Expanded Sexual Response, Enhanced Sexual Response, G-Spot Orgasm, Prolonged Multiple Orgasms
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Authors: Nurcan Armagan1, Ümit Sayin2 and Asiye Kocatürk3 Institution: 1 Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Anatolian and Zeynep Kamil Hospitals, Üsküdar, İstanbul-Turkey 2 Institute of Forensic Sciences, İstanbul University, Cerrahpaşa, İstanbul-Turkey 3 Dept. of Midwife and Nursery, Health Sciences Institute, Marmara University, İstanbul-Turkey Corresponding E-mail: humitsayin@gmail.com Abstract Title: Can Sexual Response be Enhanced and Expanded in the Human Female? Preliminary Findings and a Proposed Preliminary Psychometric Scale for Expanded Sexual Response (ESR) Rationale and Introduction: During the last decades, there are increasing numbers of reports, articles and books, proposing the hypothesis that sexual response in human female can be enhanced and/or expanded, as some ancient Eastern literature had pointed out. “Expanded Orgasm” (EO) was coined by Dr. Patricia Taylor in 2000. To investigate Expanded Sexual Response (ESR), we have communicated with women through surveys and internet communications. Methods: We have corresponded with nearly 200 women to investigate the ESR phenomenon. A minority of them admitted that they had an extraordinary, enhanced sexual response, which is not yet clearly defined in the medical literature. We determined the preliminary characteristics of ESR through surveys, facebook, g-mail, skype communications, and by means of some notices on three websites and by other means. Our preliminary scale contains 25 basic questions about the extremes and limits of sexual behavior and orgasms of women, which is explained in the poster. The study is still continuing to establish the genuine psychometric scales for ESR after suitable variance, validity analysis are performed. Results: It is concluded that some characteristics of the sexual response of women with ESR were different than that of the women without ESR (none-ESR, NESR): 1) The ESR women experienced both vaginal and clitoral orgasms. 2) The ESR women experienced multiple clitoral or vaginal orgasms in most of their sexual encounters. 3) The ESR women experienced blended orgasms as described by Ladas, Whipple and Perry (1982). 4) The ESR women claimed to have stronger pelvic floor muscles (PFM) compared to NESR women. 5) The libido of ESR women was very high compared to NESR women. 6) ESR women described a phenomenon called G-Spot orgasms. 7) ESR women described sensitive erogenous zones in their genitalia other than glans clitoris. 8) ESR women masturbated more frequently than NESR women. 9) ESR women had erotic fantasies more frequently than the NESR women. 10) ESR women admitted to have a form of altered states of consciousness during some of their prolonged orgasms. Conclusions: We concluded that ESR may exist in a minority of women. We defined ESR as: “To be able to attain long lasting and/or prolonged and/or multiple and/or sustained orgasms that lasted longer and more intense than the classical single orgasm patterns defined in the literature”. We propose that more research should be performed to unveil the characteristics and basics of ESR phenomenon.
Article
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Although there are many forms of female orgasms described in the literature, there are still debates about the female orgasmic response and no unified theory to explain those orgasmic reflexes and sexual responses have been proposed. Also, there are inconsistent reports and comments about the 'vaginal versus clitoral orgasm controversy'. Recently, a novel form of female orgasms has been coined as "Expanded Sexual Response" (ESR), and defined as: "being able to attain long lasting and/or prolonged and/or multiple and/or sustained orgasms and/or status orgasmus that lasted longer and more intense than the classical orgasm patterns defined in the literature". Expanded orgasms induce a different state of consciousness, or "orgasmic consciousness", whereas many forms of altered states of consciousness (ASC) can be observed. There are lots of reports, coming from the data accumulated during last decades on the female orgasm and orgasmic consciousness, which confirms the fact that "clitoral and vaginal orgasms are two separate entities", while their unification may induce a stronger and intense form of female orgasm, coined as "blended orgasm". As we have hypothesized in our other publications, at least six orgasmic reflex pathways may take part in the development of single or multiple clitoral, vaginal, blended orgasms, and expanded, enhanced, prolonged ESR orgasms. Pudental, pelvic, hypogastric and vagus nerves play major roles in the development of single or ESR orgasms, as well as at least two oxytocin pathways may contribute to it. In blended, ESR orgasms and/or status orgasmus, more than one 'orgasm reflex arch pathway' may trigger the orgasm at the same time, while other pathways play a supplementary role. We have investigated the ESR phenomenon using a specific ESR-Scale in a series of surveys among ESR-women, compared to the control groups and defined the main characteristics of ESR phenomenon in the human female. ESR women seem to have higher libido, higher masturbation frequency, more erotic fantasies, stronger and more intense, prolonged orgasms or expanded orgasms (EO); while they experience multiple clitoral, vaginal and blended orgasms separately, as well as status orgasmus. Also ESR women are more aware of their bodies and their deep vaginal erogenous zones (DVZs), which comprises inner clitoris, G-Spot, A-Spot, O-Spot, PC-Muscles and Cervix. "Four nerve-six pathway theory of female orgasm" and oxytocinergic system may seem to explain ESR phenomenon.
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There has been little rigorous research on the spiritual content of ayahuasca sessions, despite the tribal use of this herbal concoction and the existence of three Brazilian churches in which ayahuasca is considered a sacrament. The Casto Spirituality Scoring System, a reliable measure designed to identify spiritual content in dream reports, was utilized to answer the following question: "Is it possible to identify spiritual content in ayahuasca reports?" This system was found to be feasible in identifying "spiritual objects," "spiritual characters," "spiritual settings," "spiritual activities," "spiritual emotions," and "spiritual experiences" in ayahuasca reports taken from pertinent literature. The Casto system defines "spiritual" as one's focus on, and/or reverence, openness, and connectedness to something of significance believed to be beyond one's full understanding and/or individual existence.
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We live in an age when a divine vision is dismissed as an hallucination, and desire to experience a direct communication with god is often interpreted as a sign of mental illness. Nevertheless, some scholars and scientists assert that such visions and communications are fundamentally derived from an ancient and ongoing cultural tradition. The hypothesis presented here suggests that humans have a very ancient tradition involving the use of mind-altering experiences to produce profound, more or less spiritual and cultural understanding.