Angels of Light, Infinity, and Mercy, George Grie
I believe that rational exploration of the enigma of the Other is possible and that the shamanistic approach to hallucinogenic plants, especially those containing psilocybin and dimethyltryptamine (DMT), will be absolutely central to achieving that end. —Terence McKenna
The question of the Other is the question of how we experience, then frame and interpret the phenomena of the felt/perceived presence of an Other or others in ASC. The Other appears in the psychedelic sphere in a plethora of forms, among them plant teachers such as ayahuasca and magic mushrooms; the shaman’s spirit guides and animal and plant allies; angels and demons; and felt presences. Contact with the Other can range from the heavenly revelations of a blissful mystical vision, to the hellish voices of the schizophrenic. The difference between the shamanic relation to the Other, and the schizophrenic’s? Mastery.
The shamanic relationship to the world of spirits and plants as the source of knowledge and power constitutes a world-wide set of practices. They are the professionals, “technicians of the sacred” in Jerome Rothenberg’s phrase, the practitioners of ecstatic pathways to knowledge. Contact with entities becomes a prerequisite, an indispensable tool of the shaman’s vocation. Eliade discusses the extreme importance of “spirit visions” in all varieties of shamanic initiations: “Seeing” a spirit, either in dream or awake, is a certain sign that one has in some sort obtained a “spiritual condition,” that is, that one has transcended the profane condition of humanity.”
Sami shaman with drum.
Sami Shaman with drum.
How this shift in epistemological balance can take place, how ingrained ‘reality tunnels’ or creodes are relinquished and the mythical becomes real is a rhetorical process, a seduction, seductively portrayed.
The final determination of what is real and what is myth for the individual psychonaut is a matter of personal experience, epistemological preference, and relative commitment to the proprieties of consensus reality.
The Other approaches us through the imagination
and then a critical juncture is reached.
To go beyond this juncture requires abandonment of old and ingrained habits of thinking and seeing. At that moment the world turns lazily inside out and what was hidden is revealed: a magical modality, a different landscape than one has ever known, and the landscape becomes real. This is the realm of the cosmic giggle. UFOs, elves, and the teeming pantheons of all religions are the denizens of this previously invisible landscape. One reaches through to the continents and oceans of the imagination, worlds able to sustain anyone who will but play, and then one lets the play deepen and deepen until it is a reality that few would even dare to entertain. –Terence McKenna