The notion that something from within our bodies could be considered an illegal substance seems rather odd to me. However, this is very much the case with the powerful drug Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), active ingredient in the mysterious shamanic ayahuasca tea used by native cultures around the world for vision quests, which also happens to be found in the human body.
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3 Replies to “What Hails From Beyond: Shamanic Drugs, or Pathways to Other Dimensions?”
All-around fascinating post… and you know you’re right about Lovecraft being able to tap into something when composing his fiction. I don’t know that it’s appropriate, but “the greatest lie is a half-truth,” and I believe HPL used enough realism, ordinary otherwise believable characters, that the most bizarre nightmarish suggestions work… almost as if he knew how to disarm the imagination… suspend disbelief… to just the right point that you get irretreivably pulled in.
But then, maybe he was only writing to damaged individuals… What do you know to combat the suggestion that girls don’t like Lovecraft…. that you have to be bitten by it while you are a teenage boy?
Not that my own little private intellectual tussles mean anything, but I have become fascinated these days by this question you raise, Micah, of whether dreams, hallucinations, paranormal experiences and so on are merely chemical burps of the wetware in our heads or a “lifting of the veil” that momentarily allows us to access the network of reality that lies beyond the firewall of our skulls (sorry for the horrid metaphor!) I sometimes experience very minor, undramatic instances of these phenomena, but not in a way that helps me understand, or that sheds any light on anything.
Synchronistically enough, guys (another question that I love to ponder is whether synchronicity is an intentional message from somewhere or only a happy but meaningless coincidence), with regard to your remarks about Lovecraft I just this morning read the following comment by Stephen King about a short story of his called Everything’s Eventual:
One day, out of nowhere, I had a clear image of a young man pouring change into a sewer grating…. I had nothing else, but the image was so clear — and so disturbingly odd — that I had to write a story about it. It came out smoothly and without a single hesitation, supporting my idea that stories are artifacts: not really made things which we create (and can take credit for), but preexisting objects which we dig up.
Elsewhere, Mark Twain, in his later years, wrote about a phenomenon he called the “Mental Telegraph”, a process by which he and one of his writer friends would both hit on the same story idea at the same time though on opposite sides of the continent; or by which he and one of his family or friends would simultaneously decide to write to each other though neither had written in months. As he tells it, he experienced the phenomenon so many times that he stopped being surprised by it, and eventually began to take advantage of it (in one case being able to get a missing young man to send his parents a letter telling them he was okay).
I’m not absolutely sure of anything, but I mainly believe that creative people, people with what is normally viewed as mental illness, and possibly all of us, to some extent or other, might have the ability to tap into a network of greater consciousness, or to intuitively tune ourselves to the genuine reality that under everyday circumstances lies hidden well away from our perception.
And, Vance, this girl does appreciate Lovecraft! He’s not one of my very favorite writers — I confess I’m a little put off by what I perceive to be a heartless impartiality or eugenicist elitism in some of his work — but I would much rather read a story by Lovecraft than nine tenths of most of what I read on any given day.
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