Published originally here.
There is a revolution occuring in the field of psychedelics. This weekend brought together a global gathering of academics, clinicians, psychonauts, artists and visionaries. With over six hundred switched on attendees the sheer verve, enthusiasm and energy of the resurgent movement is impossible to deny. There is no place for the tired cliches of the war on drugs, these people are not rambling burn outs, they mean business, are highly educated, and have the hard science behind them as well as embodying the messages of the plant teachers. This marks the beginning of a rennaissance in the psychedelic movement, one which by its sheer scale surprised the conference organisers and attendees alike. We are back with a vengeance.
The psychedelic movement can see this event as a coming out party, a moment when we can all be honest enough to admit the transformative and positive impact of the psychedelics on our lives, and refuse to shut up. The revolutionary changes sweeping the globe are not confined to the Arab states, the fire is spreading. We were greatly impressed by the energy, diversity and intelligence of the conference and can confidently state that we are witnessing the long overdue rebirth of a movement.
We have been working to achieve this in our own sphere and will continue to state our position that Witchcraft is not witchcraft without the visionary plants, and that magick requires that we are in communication with extra-human entities. Our position on Witchcraft is clearly laid out here.
Our work consistently illuminates a continuous tradition of use of the magical plants in Europe. In particular we note that the use of psychoactive plants in the grimoires has not been realised by the wider psychedelic community. This is our sacred heritage. We go further and champion the use of all sacraments in our devotional work with Babalon. Everything is permitted.
We challenge the hypocrisy of those who deny the role of drugs in the magic and witchcraft traditions whether for tax status, societal acceptance, or to keep control over the aspirants and initiates in out-dated pyramid structures that drip feed gnosis rather than going direct to the source. The rhizomatic approach is the way forward.
From the conference we carry the fire back to our own community, just as we are sure that all the attendees will do so in theirs.
The conference showed that human history is the history of our interaction with drugs, from the entoptic grids and theriomorphs of cave art to the blue throated psilocybin peacocks of Shiva, to the DMT research of Strassman and his observation that over a certain dose of DMT ‘there are no atheists’. This is precisely the realm of magic, which demands experience as the only viable proof and renders faith absurd.
The overwhelming evidence is in. Global drug policy is not based on the scientific evidence of benefits vs harm. This was demonstrated by the firing of Dr David Nutt who had the temerity to present the scientific proof to the UK government that the issue is not LSD and Ecstasy, but rather is alcohol and tobacco. This is an issue that Dr Julian Vayne confronts in XVI. For those unfamiliar with the issue, the benefit and harm graph is provided below for a clear visual representation of the real impact of drugs. The research of Dr Nutt was backed up by all of the papers presented. It is essential that we propogate this knowledge.
We are not blowing holes in our brains, we are blowing holes in the body of propaganda, lies, fake science and scaremongering that has characterised the prohibitionist agenda. Not only does prohibition not work, it is the result of utterly unscientific moralism. By knowing the facts and presenting them openly we can challenge and change the position held by wider society and counter the propaganda of the state with aim of fatally undermining it. We will not be silent any more, we must speak up and speak out. But let us not celebrate the victory of science without being aware of the vicious history of the repression of altered states. As Andy Roberts, the author of Albion Dreaming, pointed out, there is trouble ahead and trouble behind. The state seems utterly opposed to legalisation of the psychedelic state. This leads to sheer levels of insanity, such as attempts to ban DMT containing plants, when DMT is the most widely present psychedelic in the plant kingdom. Such a ban would tear up the most common ornamental plants and taken to its logical conclusion would mean the destruction of vast tracts of the environment. As the wags point out, we naturally produce DMT in our brains, so in theory we can all be busted for possession.
The approach of Andy Roberts was encapsulated in his blunt opinion that we need more chemists. Disobedience is the only option we have when we are faced with an ideological monolith. It is not incumbent upon us to insist that ‘nice people take drugs’ and politely remove our fangs and claws. That is not the argument.
The state is against us, and all of the scientific research in the world, and all the incremental wheedling and calls for patience by organisations such as MAPS or the Beckley Foundation will not lead to legalisation. At best, this will give the military industrial complex some more tools for dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the broken soldiers back from the wars for oil.
Or worse still, instigate some state sanctioned control of supply to recognised therapists and respectable religions. This is anathema to us. Though there is undoubtably valuable work being done by MAPS and the Beckley Foundation, we do not accept that these groups speak for us. Nor will we let them usurp that role.
A vital piece of the puzzle came from Graham Hancock who, still lit up with his road to Damascus encounter with the other world(s), pointed out: the State is in the process of catastrophic failure. Peak oil, the failure of capitalism, economically, socially and environmentally, means that our civilisation is in freefall. Our vision of this is also clear, for those unfamiliar with our work on this, the free pdf introduction to XVI sets it out. We need to be building and living an alternative to the failing systems of command and control.
Of all the speakers over the course of the weekend it was Graham Hancock who galvanised the audience, an unlikely Dionysos and heir to the puckish McKenna. We recommend his Supernatural without reservation as an honest account of the psychedelic experience and human adventure, even to those who may have reservations about his previous works on alternative history. This is already a classic, mercifully free of dogma and daring in scope. Whilst recognising the diversity of the psychedelic movement, we can suggest crowning the new movement with one unifying concept:
The universal right to do and experience what we will with our minds.
This is a fundamental and irreducible principle, and one that should be at the top of any true declaration of human rights.
This is an issue Charlotte Walsh raised in reference to the monstrous sentence inflicted on Casey Hardison. http://www.freecasey.org/ and one which demands further legal challenges.
This is not even a ‘drug issue’ this is an issue of individual freedom.
We are not children to be ruled by external authority, we must be free to make our own choices, have direct contact with the numinous, and make our own mistakes.
We must not be divided into arguing about the merits of this drug or that drug, dispensed by this professional body or that church. This is an issue of freedom, and we will continue to exercise it as our birth right.
We are out of the closet, just as the gay liberation movement has shown, it is the only way to gain acceptance.
We take drugs and will continue to do so as a core element of our spiritual and ritual practice.
We also recognise the right of others to choose to take drugs or not, for any reason they wish.
Furthermore we will continue to write, publish, speak and promote cognitive sovereignty as our core human right. We congratulate the organisers and attendees of the conference. Now we must take it further, the time has come, as one speaker from the floor put it to rapturous applause, to take bigger doses.
To this declaration we sign our names. In Nomine Babalon Peter Grey and Alkistis Dimech x