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Identifying Spiritual Content in Reports From Ayahuasca Sessions

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... Once upon a time, this ethnographic study examined the fairy tale journey undertaken by Westerners in the enchanted realm of ayahuasca tourism. Like all good stories, tales of ayahuasca consumption span thousands of years, but it has only been the past few decades that Westerners have sought this forbidden fruit to achieve transformation (Reichel-Dolmatoff, 1971), healing (Winkelman, 2001), spirituality (Krippner & Sulla, 2000) and to see the world as it really is (McKenna, Luna, & Towers, 1995). Simply speaking, ayahuasca tourism involves Westerners travelling to South America to drink this potent brew with an indigenous shaman (Dean, 2018;Shanon, 2010). ...
... For example, and before this study, the shamans had little knowledge of why most tourists reject further tourism (Holman, 2011), which has led them to examine whether they are focusing too much on marketing fairy tale tourism. When we consider that ayahuasca tourism has attracted Westerners seeking all manner of experiences, such as drug tourism (Winkelman, 2001), healing from drug addictions (Barbosa, Giglio, & Dalgalarrondo, 2005;Doering-Silveria et al., 2005;Grob et al., 1996), to achieve increased spirituality (Krippner & Sulla, 2000) and to see the world as it really is (McKenna et al., 1995), it seems that shamans have much that might be marketed beyond fairy tales. With the shamans simply seeking to expand their market share, they seem willing to reappraise their market communications to achieve repeat sales. ...
Article
This ethnographic study increases our understanding of Westerners seeking genuine fairy tale experiences of magic, transformation and enchantment within South American psychedelic ayahuasca tourism. Examining 63 tourists, this study shows how vision-based spirit sensegivers facilitate individuals in exorcising demons, to make sense of themselves as spiritual beings within an enchanted universe. However, and with this potion quickly wearing off upon returning to the West, tourists feel abandoned by their spirits, and disconnected from the fairy lands. Coupled with not wanting to re-experience intense inner tensions from stepping in and out of a fairy tale, further tourism is rejected. As such, ayahuasca tourism becomes a ‘forgotten’ fairy tale, rarely told.
... Despite often being illegal in Western countries, there is a growing recognition that psychedelics are associated with potentially significant health, psychological and spiritual benefits in non-Western societies (Winkelman, 2005). To this end, several studies suggest the experience of ayahuasca is spiritual to non-local participants (Dobkin de Rios, 1994;Krippner & Sulla, 2000;Luna, 1986). The tourist experience generally includes the ceremonial context in which the consumption of ayahuasca happens. ...
... Participants often describe the experience as a difficult inner battle and/or a frightening psychological experience. Initial phases of intense discomfort are gradually replaced by a sense of euphoria and deep peace (Kjellgren et al., 2009), reinforcing the idea of a spiritual experience (Krippner & Sulla, 2000). Yet, these effects are not surprising given that clinical research on the psychoactive component (DMT) of ayahuasca tea has shown that participants report out-of-body states, mystical experiences, and strong emotions in their exploration and resolution of personal psychological problems (Strassman, 2001). ...
Article
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This study critically evaluates the complex inter space of spirituality, drugs, and tourism through tourists’ and shamans’ accounts of ayahuasca tourism in Iquitos, Peru. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic beverage traditionally consumed for spiritual and health purposes. Using micro-ethnography, one of the researchers was immersed for one month in the tourism experience of ayahuasca. The findings reveal the ambivalent nature of tourists’ experiences and the changing meaning and practices of ayahuasca. Tourists’ encounters with ayahuasca were perceived as spiritual due to better understanding and perception of ‘self’ and ‘others’. Shamans’ encounters with tourists were mostly positive but negative consequences on their practices were evident. The study highlights issues of fluidity, positionality, and self-identification of roles in tourism.
... If a society or culture believes, for instance, in the reality and importance of spiritual entities, it normally also develops methods and modes to experience them or, the other way around, develops ontologies in accord with their experiences. Indian shamans, for instance, believe that there are spiritual guides and plant spirits that can be contacted, and have devised rituals to make them experientially available or arrange for their services, for instance in the Ayahuasca ritual (Krippner and Sulla, 2000;Shanon, 2002;Ferrer, 2013Ferrer, , 2018. This is meant to contact plant spirits and other spirit guides to learn about potential healing strategies or other important things. ...
Article
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Ontology, the ideas we have about the nature of reality, and epistemology, our concepts about how to gain knowledge about the world, are interdependent. Currently, the dominant ontology in science is a materialist model, and associated with it an empiricist epistemology. Historically speaking, there was a more comprehensive notion at the cradle of modern science in the middle ages. Then “experience” meant both inner, or first person, and outer, or third person, experience. With the historical development, experience has come to mean only sense experience of outer reality. This has become associated with the ontology that matter is the most important substance in the universe, everything else—consciousness, mind, values, etc., —being derived thereof or reducible to it. This ontology is insufficient to explain the phenomena we are living with—consciousness, as a precondition of this idea, or anomalous cognitions. These have a robust empirical grounding, although we do not understand them sufficiently. The phenomenology, though, demands some sort of non-local model of the world and one in which consciousness is not derivative of, but coprimary with matter. I propose such a complementarist dual aspect model of consciousness and brain, or mind and matter. This then also entails a different epistemology. For if consciousness is coprimary with matter, then we can also use a deeper exploration of consciousness as happens in contemplative practice to reach an understanding of the deep structure of the world, for instance in mathematical or theoretical intuition, and perhaps also in other areas such as in ethics. This would entail a kind of contemplative science that would also complement our current experiential mode that is exclusively directed to the outside aspect of our world. Such an epistemology might help us with various issues, such as good theoretical and other intuitions.
... Common acute symptoms include a feeling of cosmic con- sciousness, and a connection with the transcendent, respect for life and the sacred, and a feel- ing of harmony and unity with the world (Giove 2002;Villaescusa 2006;Horák 2013). These experiences are so intense, and they have such a strong impact, that Krippner and Sulla (2000) even compare ayahuasca sessions to spiritual psychotherapy. It seems that the use of ayahuasca also arouses a long-term interest in spiritual practices (Trichter 2006(Trichter -2007. ...
Book
This book is a result of long-term cooperation among specialists from various scientific fields such as biology, anthropology, psychology, philology, botany and ecology. All of them are interested in studying the relationship that exists between people and plants, focusing primarily on how plants are used, managed and perceived in different cultures and societies. The content of this book is divided into seven chapters, starting with the introduction and description of the methodological framework. Each chapter contains original contributions from authors who have done research in a particular region in Europe, America, Africa or Asia. The book is finished by an overview of authors' profiles focused on future plans in research and fieldwork. This publication would not have been possible without the financial support of Mendel University in Brno. The book provides texts to university students, offering them a rich study material for improving their academic reading skills and learning scientific terminology. Regarding the form of contributions, we have decided to use the standard structure of the scientific paper, making the content easily accessible and understandable for students and researchers. So, the result is close to a compendium of texts collected from authors from different countries such as the United States, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, South Africa, France, and the Czech Republic. They have different writing styles and scientific approaches, more so than in a book written by a single author.
... Santo Daime is another Brazilian religious movement that incorporated elements from Umbanda and Kardecist Spiritism in its services. Its rituals are based on the use of a psychoactive tea, ayahuasca, as a sacrament (Krippner and Sulla 2000). Although different from one another in terms of certain practices and beliefs, Santo Daime, Spiritism, and Umbanda have established complex relationships, with a significant exchange being observed among them in popular culture. ...
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The mental state of mediums has often been explained in the anthropological, psychological, and psychiatric literature in terms of dissociative trance. Even though mediumistic experiences involve, by definition, many of the elements of experiences referred to as dissociative, there is some controversy about the role played by dissociation in mediumistic practices and there are few cross-cultural studies on the phenomenology of mediumship. Despite its influential contributions to elucidating the clinical and neurophysiological correlates of dissociative experiences, the biomedical model has been criticized for its emphasis on psychopathological aspects of experience and the superficial consideration of cultural and psychosocial factors at the origin of mediumistic experiences, particularly in non-clinical contexts. In this paper, we review the evidence pertaining to a series of psychiatric and anthropological investigations of mediumship carried out in Brazil and abroad in order to illustrate how group and cultural differences impact the phenomenology, definitions, and meanings attributed to mediumistic experiences. To do so, we explore the differences that exist (1) between mediums from the same religious affiliation, (2) between mediums from different affiliations, and (3) between mediums from different cultural contexts, focusing on a comparison of cases from Brazil and the UK. We argue that mediumistic experiences and beliefs are highly variable across (and even within) cultures to support a single and monolithic classification. Based on multiple evidentiary sources, we challenge the pathologically oriented biomedical model of mediumship by pointing out the complexity and diversity of these experiences and mediumship’s many cultural interpretations and phenomenological variations. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the studies reviewed for the definition of mediumship in terms of dissociation and trance.
... They have created their little universes and their own rafts, some of them quite comfortable. In that category I would place a lot of the work done around altered states of consciousness, through Holotropic Breathwork or drugs (Griffiths, Richards, Johnson, McCann, & Jesse, 2008;Krippner & Sulla, 2000;Shanon, 2002). Some of this work is seeking relationship with the mainstream by using scientific methodology. ...
... moreover, unlike the philosophical and scientific doctrine originally promoted by Kardec, the Brazilian version of spiritism has come to acquire a far more religious character as a result of both its initial assimilation by the lower social classes, and of the established syncretism between popular Catholicism and mediumistic practices (stoll, 2002). another Brazilian religious movement that incorporated elements from Umbanda and Kardecism in its services is the santo daime, whose rituals are based on the use of a psychoactive tea, ayahuasca, as a sacrament (Krippner & sulla, 2000;luke, this volume). ...
Chapter
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Maraldi, E. O., Zangari, W., Machado, F. R. & Krippner, S. (2014). Anomalous mental and physical phenomena of Brazilian mediums: a review of the Scientific literature.
... A significant dimension of the spiritual experience was a transformation of personal consciousness in ways that eliminated the craving for drugs. Mystical or spiritual experiences reported during the ayahuasca sessions are frequently said to have a life changing effect on those bearing them, sometimes setting them off on a path of spiritual mission (Krippner and Sulla, 2000). 3 Although subjective accounts have limitations as they are vulnerable to memory distortion and selfdefense mechanisms, the high rate of such reports is remarkable. ...
Article
Full-text available
Az ayahuasca egy többféle növényi komponensből álló főzet, melynek fő hatóanyagai a DMT és a harmin. Régmúlt időktől fogva nyújt segítséget az Amazonas-menti népek testi, lelki, társadalmi és spirituális problémáinak megoldásában. Az utóbbi évtizedekben egyre nagyobb laikus és tudományos érdeklődés mutatkozik a szer terápiás célú felhasználása iránt. Az ayahuasca-élmény részei lehetnek szomatikus reakciók, élénk látomások, intenzíven felidézett emléknyomok, erős érzelmi hatások, egyfajta introspektív jellegű, megvilágosodási élmények, melyek során szignifikáns tartalmak mélységükben, összefüggéseikben tárulnak fel. Az élmény megterhelő lehet, gyakorlott vezető szükséges hozzá; részint hogy az adott szituáción átsegítse a résztvevőt másrészt, hogy terápiás effektusa kellőképp kiaknázásra kerüljön. Amennyiben jól kontrollált körülmények között kerül sor alkalmazásra, a szernek nincs bizonyítottan negatív hatása az egészségre. Az ayahuasca terápiás effektusának vizsgálata számos – részint jogi, részint metodikai – nehézségbe ütközik, melyet tovább nehezít az ayahuasca fő hatóanyagát, a DMT-t, övező negatív prekoncepció, valamint kulturális előítéletek. Cikkünk felvázolja az ayahuasca pszichiátriai felhasználásának lehetőségeit, valamint ennek biológiai, pszichológiai és spirituális hátterét.
... Common acute symptoms include a feeling of cosmic consciousness, and a connection with the transcendent, respect for life and the sacred, and a feeling of harmony and unity with the world (Giove 2002;Villaescusa 2006;Horák 2013). These experiences are so intense, and they have such a strong impact, that Krippner and Sulla (2000) even compare ayahuasca sessions to spiritual psychotherapy. It seems that the use of ayahuasca also arouses a long-term interest in spiritual practices (Trichter 2006(Trichter -2007. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter is on the ethnobotany of the Shipibo-Konibo (SK) native group of the Ucayali Valley, Peruvian Amazon. It is divided into two parts. The first part presents the Ucayali Valley natural setting, several important concepts of the SK on their vegetal world. Jacques Tournon is the author of this first part. The hu-man and the natural settings are presented. Important SK concepts about the plant world are explained. The second part is the product of an ethnobotanical qualitative and quantitative investi-gation in two SK communities of the Ucayali. It presents the results of botanical and ethnobotanical inventories of four hectare plots representative of different forest ecosys-tems present in the SK community lands
... Indigenous cultures have developed still other modes of experiencing the world and conceptualizing their experience which are only gradually coming into the view of Western science (Ferrer 2013;Krippner and Sulla 2000;Rose 1956). Perhaps some fruitful dialogue might be useful? ...
Chapter
Research in the field of spirituality is young. Empirical research started in the 60s, but conceptual issues have only been addressed recently. We sketch this history briefly. We also discuss some difficulties: Due to the implicit opposition to meta-physics that entered science through the process of enlightenment many see spirituality as an “un-scientific” topic. We argue that there is no such thing, but only methodology that can be called inadequate and hence unscientific. Mostly, the research field is beset with the problem that different authors use different definitions and concepts in their research on spirituality. We introduce some prominent ones, starting with a very vague definition that only requires some meaning-making for something to be spiritual up to a clearly theistic concept of God to be included. King and Koenig (BMC Health Serv Res 9:116. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6963-9-116, 2009) postulated four dimensions: faith, practice, importance for wellbeing and experience to be necessarily included in any definition of spirituality in research. We advocate a simple description of spirituality as “implicit or explicit relatedness towards a reality beyond the needs of the individual ego, in cognition, emotion, motivation and action” (Walach H, J Stud Spiritual 7:7–20, 2017). We point to the difficulty of previous research that has only included cognitive concepts, such as faith, or coping, into research, decoupling spirituality from its experiential component. We introduce our own attempt at capturing this using the novel questionnaire “Exceptional Experiences Questionnaire” (Kohls N, Walach H, Spiritual Health Int 7:125–150, 2006). We close with pointing to the problem of how to evaluate statements of inner experience or introspective epistemology.
... A significant dimension of the spiritual experience was a transformation of personal consciousness in ways that eliminated the craving for drugs. Mystical or spiritual experiences reported during the ayahuasca sessions are frequently said to have a life changing effect on those bearing them, sometimes setting them off on a path of spiritual mission (Krippner and Sulla, 2000). 3 Although subjective accounts have limitations as they are vulnerable to memory distortion and selfdefense mechanisms, the high rate of such reports is remarkable. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ayahuasca is an Amazonian psychoactive brew of two main components. Its active agents are β-carboline and tryptamine derivatives. As a sacrament, ayahuasca is still a central element of many healing ceremonies in the Amazon Basin and its ritual consumption has become common among the mestizo populations of South America. Ayahuasca use amongst the indigenous people of the Amazon is a form of traditional medicine and cultural psychiatry. During the last two decades, the substance has become increasingly known among both scientists and laymen, and currently its use is spreading all over in the Western world. In the present paper we describe the chief characteristics of ayahuasca, discuss important questions raised about its use, and provide an overview of the scientific research supporting its potential therapeutic benefits. A growing number of studies indicate that the psychotherapeutic potential of ayahuasca is based mostly on the strong serotonergic effects, whereas the sigma-1 receptor agonist effect of its active ingredient dimethyltryptamine raises the possibility that the ethnomedical observations on the diversity of treated conditions can be scientifically verified. Moreover, in the right therapeutic or ritual setting with proper preparation and mindset of the user, followed by subsequent integration of the experience, ayahuasca has proven effective in the treatment of substance dependence. This article has two important take-home messages: 1) the therapeutic effects of ayahuasca are best understood from a bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model, and 2) on the biological level ayahuasca may act against chronic low grade inflammation and oxidative stress via the sigma-1 receptor which can explain its widespread therapeutic indications.
... A significant dimension of the spiritual experience was a transformation of personal consciousness in ways that eliminated the craving for drugs. Mystical or spiritual experiences reported during the ayahuasca sessions are frequently said to have a life changing effect on those bearing them, sometimes setting them off on a path of spiritual mission (Krippner and Sulla, 2000). 3 Although subjective accounts have limitations as they are vulnerable to memory distortion and selfdefense mechanisms, the high rate of such reports is remarkable. ...
Article
Full-text available
Ayahuasca, which originates from the Amazon Basin, is a psychoactive brew of two components. Its active agents are betacarboline and tryptamine derivatives. Near the spring of the Amazon River this brew is still a central component of many healing and tribal rituals. During the past few decades, the substance has become known among both laymen and scientistss and nowadays its use is spreading all over in Europe. In the present paper we give an overview of the scientific research and describe ayahuasca's main features, the main questions raised over its use, the risk factors and potential benefits. A growing number of scientific results seem to support the psychotherapeutic potential of ayahuasca, which has a strong serotonergic effect, whereas studies on its effect on the immune system also raise the possibility that certain ethno-medical observations can be scientifically proved.
... They have created their little universes and their own rafts, some of them quite comfortable. In that category I would place a lot of the work done around altered states of consciousness, through Holotropic Breathwork or drugs (Griffiths, Richards, Johnson, McCann, & Jesse, 2008;Krippner & Sulla, 2000;Shanon, 2002). Some of this work is seeking relationship with the mainstream by using scientific methodology. ...
Chapter
This chapter briefly discusses the history of psychology as a discipline and the history and sources of transpersonal psychology as a subdomain in order to explain the frictions and possible points of departure. The author points out some criticisms and unsolved problems and develops a future perspective. He recommends to reinvent the transpersonal enterprise along the lines originally intended by the founding fathers of psychology, William James and Franz Brentano: a psychology, a science—and culture—of consciousness, in order to get rid of some of the problems besetting transpersonal psychology. In order to understand why the newly inaugurated transpersonal psychology has not convinced others that its approach is truly innovative and is helping to transform people to access their higher potential, it is important to now turn to what has been termed the spiritual positivism of transpersonal psychology, and also to the epistemological questions involved.
Article
Výzkum je zaměřen na osoby, které se vydaly do amazonských pralesů užívat přírodní halucinogen ayahuasku v kontextu „šamanského“ rituálu. Tento jev popisovaný antropology od 70. let. 20. stol. jako tzv. „šamanský turismus“ je stále aktuálnější především mezi obyvateli zemí Evropy a USA. Našim cílem bylo zmapovat, jakým způsobem ayahuaskový šamanský turismus probíhá – motivaci osob, které tento druh zkušenosti vyhledávají, přínosy, rizika a následnou integraci této neobvyklé zkušenosti. Sběr dat probíhal v ČR a v peruánské Amazonii na místech známých jako centra ayahuaskového šamanského turismu (města Tarapoto a Iquitos) formou polostrukturovaných rozhovorů, screeningových dotazníků a zúčastněného pozorování. Získali jsme výpovědi 77 osob, které mají zkušenost s ayahuaskou v kontextu rituálu v pralesech Jižní Ameriky, především pak v Peru. Z rozhovorů vyplývá, že hlavní motivací pro užití ayahuasky byla zvědavost a touha po dobrodružství, léčba psychických problémů, potřeba sebepoznání, zájem o psychedelickou medicínu a terapii, spirituální rozvoj a nalezení životního směru. Přínosy byly vnímány především ve vztahu k sobě ve smyslu sebepoznání a sebepřijetí a v rovině duchovní, psychické, somatické a vztahové. Často byl zmiňován životní nadhled, spokojenost a ujasnění si životního směřování. Jako rizika byla uváděna nedůvěra v šamana či organizátora, zkreslení jimi poskytnutých informací a vystavení rizikové situaci. Většina respondentů považuje samotnou zkušenost za bezpečnou a náročné prožitky během sezení s ayahuaskou byly následně hodnoceny kladně ve smyslu zkvalitnění života. Výzkum byl hrazen ze dvou výzkumných projektů UP: IGA (SPP:432101021) a FPVČ (SPP: 452100061).
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In this paper, we compare two main paradigms of the examination of altered states of consciousness, and we propose a new horizon of interpretation. On the one hand, we review the complicated matters of psychedelics in the context of psychology (and especially in that of transpersonal psychology); on the other hand we use some of the basic concepts of the phenomenological tradition – focusing on Merleau-Ponty's and Husserl's phenomenology – to differentiate between the features of perception, hallucination, and vision. We propose the idea that the actual research regarding the phenomenon of psychointegration can be extended with the heuristic values of basic phenomenological concepts (e.g. intentionality, lived body, imagination). In conclusion, our main purpose is to show that the phenomenology of the lived body can be a powerful explanatory tool to describe and specify irrational and chaotic experiences induced by psychoactive substances. The experiential material of the paper is based on Benny Shanon's phenomenological accounts. Keywords: phenomenology  altered states of consciousness  psychedelics  psychedelic states  psychoanalysis  psychointegration Absztrakt Ebben a tanulmányban a módosult tudatállapotok vizsgálatának két fő irányvonalát vet-jük össze és új interpretációs horizontot ajánlunk. Egyrészt áttekintjük a pszichedelikumok bonyolult kérdéseit a pszichológia (különösen a transzperszonális pszichológia) kereté-ben, másrészt felhasználjuk a fenomenológiai tradíció néhány alapvető fogalmát (külö-nösen Merleau-Ponty és Husserl gondolatait) annak érdekében, hogy megkülönböztes-sük az észlelés, a hallucináció, és a víziók jellegzetességeit. Azt javasoljuk, hogy az ún. pszichointegráció jelenségének aktuális kutatásai kiterjeszthetők alapvető fenomeno-lógiai fogalmak (pl. intencionalitás, testséma, fantázia) heurisztikus értéke által. Végül szeretnénk megmutatni, hogy a szubjektíven megélt test fenomenológiája egy alkalmaz-ható interpretációs eszköz lehet annak érdekében, hogy leírjuk és körvonalazzuk a pszi-choaktív szerek által indukált irracionális és kaotikus élményeket. Tanulmányunk első-sorban Benny Shanon fenomenológiai beszámolóira épül. Psychologia Hungarica II/2. 7–29. pp. PsHu 2014 2 új2.indd 7 PsHu 2014 2 új2.indd 7 2015.06.24. 15:37:21 2015.06.24. 15:37:21 8 ATTILA SZABO, LAJOS HORVATH, CSABA SZUMMER Kulcsszavak: fenomenológia  módosult tudatállapotok  pszichedelikumok  psziche-delikus állapotok  pszichoanalízis  pszichointegráció
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This ethnographic study examines the magico-spiritual identity work and sensegiving, carried out by five indigenous South American shamans engaged in selling and delivering ayahuasca ceremonies. Although ayahuasca tourism is the most popular and pervasive form of psychoactive tourism, shamans are routinely stigmatised from selling indigenous knowledge, either as demonic witch doctors from their local communities, or as drug dealers from the West. Unpacking the shaman identity, this study contributes to our understanding of how this hegemonic supernatural identity is well suited to mitigating stigma, and geared towards dominating the spiritual marketplace. Key findings indicate how the otherworldly is the foundation of the shaman identity, sensegiving, and shamans being viewed as the arbiters of all knowledge, unchallengeable by any other system of knowledge.
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The binding of [3H]citalopram to the platelet 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) transporter was measured in a group of healthy male drinkers of ayahuasca, a psychoactive sacrament indigenous to Amazonia, and a group healthy male controls. An increased number of binding sites (Bmax) in the platelets of ayahuasca drinkers was found, while the dissociation constant (Kd) remained the same for both groups. If indicative of neuronal 5-HT uptake activity, these results would suggest a decreased concentration of extracellular 5-HT, or a response to increased production and release of 5-HT. Such changes in 5-HT synaptic activity, in this case, should not be misinterpreted as an indication of developing neurological or psychiatric illness.
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A multinational, collaborative, biomedical investigation of the effects of hoasca (ayahuasca), a potent concoction of plant hallucinogens, was conducted in the Brazilian Amazon during the summer of 1993. This report describes the psychological assessment of 15 long-term members of a syncretic church that utilizes hoasca as a legal, psychoactive sacrament as well as 15 matched controls with no prior history of hoasca ingestion. Measures administered to both groups included structured psychiatric diagnostic interviews, personality testing, and neuropsychological evaluation. Phenomenological assessment of the altered state experience as well as semistructured and open-ended life story interviews were conducted with the long-term use hoasca group, but not the hoasca-naive control group. Salient findings included the remission of psychopathology following the initiation of hoasca use along with no evidence of personality or cognitive deterioration. Overall assessment revealed high functional status. Implications of this unusual phenomenon and need for further investigation are discussed.
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This article presents an analysis of 'spirituality.' Ryle said that a belief is not known to be truly held unless one bases crucial action on it; but the qualifications 'truly' and 'crucial' can be stripped away. Spirituality then becomes consistency of actual action with a belief; or in behavior analytic terms, spirituality is 'rule-governed' behavior. Beliefs can function not only as 'discriminative stimuli' but also as 'reinforcing stimuli.' A belief need not correspond to the world as experienced in order to have these functions. Spirituality, thus far in the analysis, is only rule-governed behavior, regardless of the source of the rule and regardless of the content of the rule except that the rule must specify actually performable behavior so that consistency of the action with the belief can be assessed. The separation of action from belief is a form of alienation in a Marxian sense (which Skinner endorsed); to paraphrase Kant, beliefs without actions are empty and actions without beliefs are blind. That is, a belief that is not acted upon is literally useless, and action that is not based on a belief is literally irrational. Alienation is resolved when action is based on 'right' motives, which are motives based on a set of principles. Analogously, spirituality is a special kind of rule-governed behavior because the rules (beliefs) that govern this behavior (actions) are part of a coherent system that defines 'rightness'.
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Clinical observations suggesting a relationship between spiritual experiences, life purpose and satisfaction, and improvements in physical health led to the development of an Index of Core Spiritual Experience (INSPIRIT). Data from 83 medical outpatients showed the INSPIRIT to have a strong degree of internal reliability and concurrent validity. Multiple regression analyses showed the INSPIRIT to be associated with: (1) increased life purpose and satisfaction, a health-promoting attitude; and (2) decreased frequency of medical symptoms.
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A measure of reported mystical experience is presented. This "Mysticism Scale, Research Form D (M scale)," has 32 items, four for each of 8 categories of mysticism initially conceptualized by Stace (1960). Items on this scale are both positively and negatively expressed to avoid problems of response set. A factor analysis of the M Scale indicated two major factors, a general mystical experience factor (20 items) and a religious interpretation factor (12 items). Preliminary evidence indicates that those high on the M Scale have more intrinsic religious motivation as defined by Hoge's (1972) scale, are more open to experience as defined by Taft's (1970) ego permissiveness scale, have more intense religious experience as defined by Hood's (1970) scale, and have moderately higher scores on the L, Hs, and Hy scales of the MMPI.
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A measure of intense religious experience was related to measures of psychological strength in two studies. In the first study a significant negative correlation was found between intense religious experience and Barron's (1953) measure of ego-strength. However, this correlation was reduced to insignificance when the religion subscale was removed from Barron's total Ego-Strength Scale. In the second study intense religious experience was more frequent among persons classified as low on Stark's (1971) Index of Psychic Inadequacy than among persons classified as high. The importance of assessing the relationship between intense religious experiences and psychological health by independently operationalized measures is stressed. Also, the possibility of nonpathological evaluations of intense religious experiences commonly labeled "mystical," "peak," or "ecstatic" is discussed.
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Spiritual Dimensions of Healing: From Native Shamanism to Contemporary Health Care. Stanley Krippner and Patrick Welch New York: Irvington, 1992 293 pp. ISBN 0- 8290-2462-X; 0-8290-3162-6 with audio cassette. $19.95 (cloth); $39.95 with audio cassette.
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Examined psychologists' perceptions of spirituality, religious affiliations, belief orientations, theoretical orientations, and educational and training experiences. 272 clinical psychologists (mean age 48.8 yrs) completed a mail survey instrument, which included questions on personal history, current religious affiliation, theoretical orientation, education and clinical training, and the perceived relevance of spirituality in personal life and clinical work. Results indicate that, although the majority of Ss reported that spirituality was personally relevant, most of these Ss had belief orientations outside mainstream religion. Ss who perceived spirituality as relevant in their own lives were more likely to perceive spirituality as relevant in clinical work. Spiritual issues were not addressed in the course of training of most Ss. Findings suggest that spirituality and religion may be legitimate topics of study in psychoanalytic training. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Wade Davis has been called "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." In Shadows in the Sun, he brings all of those gifts to bear on a fascinating examination of indigenous cultures and the interactions between human societies and the natural world. Ranging from the British Columbian wilderness to the jungles of the Amazon and the polar ice of the Arctic Circle, Shadows in the Sun is a testament to a world where spirits still stalk the land and seize the human heart. Its essays and stories, though distilled from travels in widely separated parts of the world, are fundamentally about landscape and character, the wisdom of lives drawn directly from the land, the hunger of those who seek to rediscover such understanding, and the consequences of failure. As Davis explains, "To know that other, vastly different cultures exist is to remember that our world does not exist in some absolute sense but rather is just one model of reality. The Penan in the forests of Borneo, the Vodoun acolytes in Haiti, the jaguar Shaman of Venezuela, teach us that there are other options, other possibilities, other ways of thinking and interacting with the earth." Shadows in the Sun considers those possibilities, and explores their implications for our world.
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The social support literature focuses on the effects of networks composed of "real" or concrete individuals on psychological well-being. Persons interact in imagination, however, with a wide range of others who may or may not actually exist. In modern societies as in traditional societies, persons experience, interact with, and appeal to spiritual or divine beings. Using data from the NORC General Social Survey, this study examines the extent to which relationships with "divine others" affect psychological well-being. Regression analysis reveals that divine relationships have a significant effect on several measures of well-being (controlling for sociodemographic background variables and church attendance). Hypotheses regarding the impact of stress, social relationships, cognitive resources, and images of the divine on the effect of divine relationships are also considered.
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In 7 studies, 6,000 college students were screened to obtain 5 samples of 156 fantasy-prone Ss. Fantasy-prone Ss were selected from the upper 2–4% on a measure of imaginative involvement and were contrasted with nonfantasizers (lower 2–4%) and medium fantasy-prone Ss. Wilson and Barber's construct of fantasy proneness was supported. Fantasizers differed from nonfantasizers on measures of hypnotizability, imagination, waking suggestibility, hallucinatory ability, creativity, psychopathology, and childhood experiences. Differences in hypnotizability were most reliable when Ss participated in a multisession study and were screened not only with the screening inventory, but also with an interview that substantiated their fantasy-prone status. However, our findings indicated that less correspondence between fantasy proneness and hypnotizability exist than Wilson and Barber suggested. Hypnotic responsiveness is possible even in the absence of well-developed imaginative abilities, and not all fantasizers were highly hypnotizable. Fantasizers recollected being physically abused and punished to a greater degree than other Ss did and reported experiencing greater loneliness and isolation as children. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Daily events that boost the immune system (as indicated by levels of salivary immunoglobulin A), some instances of spontaneous remission, and mystical experiences seem to share a similar cluster of thoughts, feelings, moods, perceptions, and behaviors. Entheogens--psychedelic drugs used in a religious context--can also produce mystical experiences (peak experiences, states of unitive consciousness, intense primary religious experiences) with the same cluster of effects. When this happens, is it also possible that such entheogen-induced mystical experiences strengthen the immune system? Might spontaneous remissions occur more frequently under such conditions? This article advances the so called "Emxis hypothesis"--that entheogen-induced mystical experiences influence the immune system.
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The author proposes the practice of spiritual psychotherapy, which transcends but does not preclude traditional modalities or strategies of treatment. The terms soul and spirit are distinguished as different transpersonal abstractions, yet are inextricably linked. The former aims at revealing the mystery of relatedness and intimacy in everyday life, the latter at finding the divine in universal life. For the spiritual therapist, these concepts are applied to a therapeutic context of care and compassion--which means love and belief beyond oneself. More specifically, the way to soulfulness requires Love of Others, Love of Work, and Love of Belonging, whereas the way to spirituality requires Belief in the Sacred, Belief in Unity, and Belief in Transformation. By cultivating a soulful and spiritual existence, thus conducting one's clinical practice on the basis of these six tenets of transcendence, the therapist can guide the patient to reach his or her own authentic self.
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