en·theo·gen [en within, theos god or experience of god, gen producer]
a soul-revealing substance, plant or chemical, when used spiritually
I'm a enthusiastic supporter of the positive philosophical, social, and psychological potential of visionary psychoactive compounds. Entheogens do something no other drugs can, and that mysterious something is inextricably related to the human sense of wonder that is formalized in the world's religions.
I'm particularly fond of the Santo Daime religion from Brazil, which is currently reaching out to cultures around the world. They provide a safe and supportive environment, low on dogma, in which to discover powerfully insightful states of consciousness. The strength and nature of the experience eliminates the chance of abuse.
Educate yourself with some of the following links!
|First stop should always be The Values of Erowid. Their pages on Ayahuasca in particular are highly recommended.|
|The CCLE is a new organization seeking to establish, promote, and protect "cognitive liberty" -- the right of each individual to use the full spectrum of his or her mind.|
|TRP - The Resonance Project is/was the only semi-consistently published magazine on the field.|
|MAPS is the Multidisciplinary Association For Psychedelic Studies. They host a variety of useful information including the excellent article Use of Ayahuasca in Brazil by the Santo Daime.|
|Thé Ðëòxÿríßøñµçlëìç HÿÞêrdïmèñsîøñ has beautiful art and material that ranges from the absurd to the useful & thought-provoking, including bemushroomed and Terence McKenna Land. Here is a delightful rant from Terence on the site.|
|Friends of the Forest is an organization devoted to helping grow the social and healing use of Ayahuasca, and supporting the Brazilian communities from which its use originates.|
You used to be able to find any book on this subject from Mind Books... since 2003 your best bet it to following links to stores from the Erowid Library-Bookstore.
Other materials such as audio tapes can be had from Sound Photosynthesis. I enjoyed their tape series of Terence McKenna's True Hallucinations - Terence is always a compelling storyteller.
Some entheogen-related substances are covered in profuse and loving detail in Shulgin's PiHKAL.
Ayahuasca in particular is well-covered in the online book The Spiritual Uses of Psychoactives by the late Nicholas Saunders.
Miscellaneous entheogen-related links..