Religion, the Scarlet Woman, and Dope Part III
The legendary magician Aleister Crowley, a self-professed follower of the 'Sumerian tradition,' made use of drugs in various magical rituals. I mention Crowley now as much of his magical system was an attempt to recreate the Mystery schools of the ancients which were widespread amongst planter-type civilizations."In certain magical operations which Crowley performed (e.g. the Abuldiz Working in 1911, the Paris Working in 1914, and the Amalantrah Working, 1918) a variety of drugs was employed.
"Cocaine, which he assigns to the element of Fire, was used for fortifying the will, thus helping to keep the object of the operation firmly in mind. Morphine, slowing and purifying the mind, makes thought and its formulation more vivid and precise. Heroin, it seems, partakes of both these qualities and combines them in a peculiarly subtle manner.
"To the element of Water he attributes hashish and mescal, owing to their image-making properties, and also because they open the gates of Pleasure and Beauty. Morphine he also attributed to this element.
"To Air, which is the element assigned to the reasoning faculties, he attributes ethyl oxide (ether) for its use in mental analysis and the more profound movements of introspection.
"Finally, the element Earth embraces all the directly hypnotic drugs which induce repose and forgetfulness, enabling the Magician to withdraw into the arms of the Great Mother to restore his devitalized vehicles, astral and physical.
"With the attribution of specific drugs to the elements, the old ceremonial and symbolic techniques of subconscious control are superseded by living and experiential aids. Similarly, with sex, alcohol, the mystic dances and circumambulation, the use of mantra and lyrical incantation. These aids, used in conjunction with drugs, stimulate the whorls of energy in the subtle body. In connection with sex and drugs, Crowley wrote in 1917: 'I note, with all stimulant drugs, that if one is with others, the force is entirely dissipated, usually on the sexual plane. If one is alone, one becomes creative at once. This is important, as establishing the Kundalini doctrine, with its upper and lower exits. It does not bear, however, on the doctrine of abstinence from sex; for in normal excitement the sex seems to stimulate the other creative power.
"That is to say, sex seems to stimulate the Kundalini or Serpent Power. Crowley thus observed the direct effects of sex and drugs on the vital centre or magical power in the human organism."
(The Magical Revival, Kenneth Grant, pgs. 97-98)
I have found virtually no references to entheogens in Crowley's writings on drugs. This may simply have been out of ignorance -the psychedelic properties of magic mushrooms and the likes were all but unknown in Western culture before the 1950s (at least amongst mainstream sources). Possibly the 'directly hypnotic drugs' associated with the element of earth are in reference to entheogens (and are interestingly linked to the Earth mother), but its difficult to say. Kenneth Grant wrote The Magical Revival in the 1970s when the use of entheogens had become widespread, yet he virtually ignores them as well. Of course, the 'directly hypnotic drugs' may also be a reference to opium, which was curiously left out of Grant's elemental classification system.
Further, even though heroin is mentioned in the passage discussing drugs falling under the element of fire, it could actually have been associated with earth as its effect are described as a combination of cocaine and morphine (which was classified under the water element). On the other hand, Crowley claims that heroin aids the powers of concentration, whereas the 'directly hypnotic drugs' are said to induce forgetfulness. Crowley does not seem to believe the same was true of opium, however. If opiates are in fact the bulk of the drugs that fall under earth, it makes the line 'withdraw into the arms of the Great Mother to restore his devitalized vehicles, astral and physical' most curious in regards to what we've already learned about the mother cult that has appeared the world over since the days of ancient Sumer. The noted metaphysical scholar Robert Anton Wilson, himself a big fan of Crowley, seems to have shared a similar view of opiates."To activate the first brain take an opiate. Mother Opium and Sister Morphine bring you down to cellular intelligence, bio-survival passivity, the floating consciousness of the newborn. (This is why Freudians identify opiate addiction with the desire to return to infancy."
(The Cosmic Trigger Vol. 1, Robert Anton Wilson, pg. 200)
There are no shortages of references to opiates in the writings of Crowley and his followers. Opiates (especially heroin) and ether seem to have been the main drugs used in Crowley's magical system. The power of heroin was in fact almost to much for the Great Beast to handle."Morphine tends to aid concentration and relieve the pressure of anxiety. Like opium, it aids the creative imagination. Objections to the use of these two drugs consist in the fact that they impair executive ability, so that the ideas which they inspire remain sterile and are rarely carried over into practical life. As is well known, opium has the virtue of relieving pain and conferring philosophic tranquility...
"Heroin combines the virtues of opium and cocaine. It excites the imagination, aids concentration, and induces calm. Unlike opium and morphine, however, it increases power and endurance.
"The life-death struggle which Crowley waged against heroin is related in Liber 93. Towards the end of his life, he notes:
" 'There is no yen at all (from the drug) when I am free from (a) care, (b) boredom. To reach physiological minimum I must have (1) daily masseur-valet to get me up and out, (2) supply of books and forced stage or screen visits, (3) secretary at will, (4) company, (5) food and drink.'
"In the same diary he notes that 1914 was the probable date of his first heroin experiment, taking some three grains per day. After the tremendous struggle with the drug -to which reference has already been made -he shook off completely its hold over him and there is no further record of its use until, in 1940, seven years before his death, his doctor began prescribing 1/4 or 1/6 grain for recurrent attacks of asthma. The complaint had again become acute, and this is the first record of heroin consumption in his dairies for many years. From that time on, until his death in 1947, he took steadily increasing doses until in 1946 we read of doses as large as 6 grains per day.
"His excessive use of the drug between 1920 and 1922 he ascribed to financial anxiety, lack of stimulus (correspondence with chelas, etc.), and his inability to get things published.
"The conclusions he reached in respect of the drug in Liber 93 led him to declare that his experience should serve as a preliminary prima facie case for a revolutionary revision of the extant medical theories on the subject, and of the legislation regarding the sale of heroin and similar drugs."
(ibid, pgs. 95-96)
So much for Crowley. I would now likely to briefly return to my theory that the priesthoods and esoteric orders of various matriarchal societies used entheogens in secret rites while promoting the use of opiates to the general populace. We may be able to gleam elements of these practices by examining of the European alchemists of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. At the heart of alchemical philosophy was a secret raw material that was considered essential to an alchemical work."Simply stated, the alchemical work begins with a secret raw material called the prima materia, or prime matter, a single substance absolutely essential to the work but never identified except by the most unusual terms. It is called the radical moisture, the round body from the center, the hermaphroditic monster, Adam's tree of paradise with many flowers, the water, the sperm of the world, the empress of all honor, the dragon, and many other names. Once in hand the prima materia must be transformed through the alchemical operations into the philosopher's stone, although some authors maintain that the prima materia is the stone. In any case, the next step is to extract from the secret stone, through the torment of fire, the miraculous water: the aqua permanens or aqua divina, also known as the strangest of liquids, drinkable gold."
(Magic Mushrooms in Religion and Alchemy, Clark Heinrich, pg. 169)
Naturally some have speculated that this prima materia is a magic mushroom or some other kind of entheogen. For instance Clark Heinrich argues a text known as the Emerald Tablet, which was highly popular with alchemists in the Middle Ages, is a metaphor for the fly agaric mushroom."...the secret substance's father is the sunlike mature mushroom, whose 'seed' falls from his body to bring about the birth of his offspring. Its mother is the white, rough-textured 'moon' of the mushroom embryo, which seems to give birth to the solar cap. The wind carries the mushroom spores as well as the rainstorms that cause the mushroom's birth. The earth 'nurses' the mushroom from egg to cup as the mushroom draws water from it. 'When it turns toward the earth' corresponds to the end of sporulation, when the upturned cap begins to dry out and turn back toward the ground; this is the optimal harvest time, because fully mature mushrooms have the highest concentration of muscimol, the main active ingredient. Drying converts ibotenic acid to muscimol as well; once completely dry 'its power is complete.' The last statement of the quotation recapitulates the whole process, adding that the substance receives the power of higher and lower things. The 'higher and lower things' refer to the powers of heaven and earth, but also warn the initiate to be aware that the same mushroom can lead to both heaven and hell. The final promise is that the glory (bliss) of all creation awaits the person who likewise receives the powers of the secret substance."
(ibid, pg. 170)
Mercurius, the personification of the prima materia,
showing characteristics of the fly agaric mushroom
https://visupview.blogspot.com/2011/11/ ... -part.html