Partaking of the Sacred Sacraments
NOTICE: A national ban on the sale of hallucinogenic ‘magic’ mushrooms took effect in the Netherlands on December 1, 2008 after a 17-year-old French tourist died following the ingestion of magic mushrooms and jumping from a bridge. It was later stated that the girl, not old enough to legally enter a smart shop herself, had asked a friend to buy her some mushrooms. Unfortunately, the recommendations of Amsterdam's mayor for the implementation of some simple controls to prevent such accidents were ignored by the Dutch national health minister. The knee-jerk reaction to the low risk of magic mushrooms (in comparison, consider how many people die from alcohol related incidents) has once again made the use of these sacred sacraments illegal in the Netherlands. In response to this, some smart shops occasionally sell "truffles," i.e., mushroom sclerotia that contain some psychoactive psilocybin.
There is abundant evidence that certain naturally occurring substances can enable humans to tap into valuable religious/spiritual experiences that would otherwise be unavailable. Before actually trying such sacraments, it is important to know what to expect, what the potential benefits are, and what the potential risks may be. A good starting point summarizing information about these sacraments is our presentation of the findings from the most recent scientific research on the effects of psilocybin ("magic mushrooms"). And on this page we explore more general issues regarding the wider range of sacred sacraments, their potential benefits and risks. We recommend Erowid for a more thorough education regarding all aspects of psychoactive substances.
If after learning more about them, you would like to partake of the sacred sacraments, this can be done. Though illegal in most parts of the world, there are religious contexts and places in which the sacred sacraments can be used. For example, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that an offshoot of the Brazilian Church of Santo Daime can, at least for now, not be prevented from using their sacrament ayahuasca (which they call "daime") in their ceremonies. (The ruling simply stated that the government has, so far, failed to make a sufficient case for preventing its use.) The High Court of the Netherlands has made a more far reaching ruling that religious freedom entitles the Santo Daime church to utilize their sacred sacrament.
And in Brazil where the Santo Daime church started, the rather conservative Brazilian equivalent of the American FDA investigated the new religion with an eye toward outlawing the use of ayahuasca. The main psychoactive ingredient of ayahuasca is DMT, a potent drug chemically and psychoactively similar to LSD. But the Brazilian investigation produced no evidence of any harmful effects from the church members' regular use of the sacrament. In fact, they found that regular participation in the church—which almost always included regular ingestion of significant doses of DMT—seemed to be beneficial: The members of the church appeared to be happier and functioned better than others in equivalent settings. Indeed, they found that the Santo Daime community was highly functional. Brazil has legalized the use of ayahuasca by the members of the Santo Daime church.
In Amsterdam where there is a tradition of tolerance in addition to formal legal protection of religious freedom, the situation is quite a bit freer in actual practice (even if it is a bit bizarre, see Soma's legal case, described here). Marijuana has been legally available in hundreds of "coffeeshops" for many years. So-called "magic mushrooms" are also openly and legally displayed and sold in hundreds of stores. Religious ayahuasca ceremonies within and outside of the Brazilian church can be attended by those who seek genuine religious experiences.
Join us in a Sacred Sacrament Sojourn
Because of the significant differences in the legal situation, some Yoans are organizing spiritual journeys for genuine religious seekers who would benefit from the religious freedom and tolerance that can be found in Amsterdam. If you would be interested in joining us during a Sacred Sacrament Sojourn, please let us know. You can use the contact link found at the bottom of this page to email us for more information.
In organizing such a sojourn, we would ultimately need to ask the participants the following questions:
- What is your interest in partaking of the sacred sacraments (e.g., curiosity, seeking spiritual enlightenment, seeking pain and horror relief from cancer at the end of your life, etc.)? What do you know about the sacraments and what are you seeking from partaking of them?
- Have you had experience with such sacraments in the past? If so, which ones and what was your experience like?
- What is your age, sex, and any other demographic background that you would deem relevant?
- Are you in treatment for any physical or medical condition and are you currently taking any medications or do you have any other medical or emotional conditions that would effect your traveling and well being? Have you ever been diagnosed/labeled with a psychotic condition such as "schizophrenia" or "bipolar disorder?" While we do NOT have a traditional view of such phenomena, it may be important to know if you have ever had significant, emotionally overwhelming experiences. If so, we would ask you to tell us how you see that part of your history in relation to taking powerful mind affecting sacraments today.
- Of which sacraments would you be interested in partaking? Right now, the main ones available are ayahuasca (containing the psychedelic sacrament DMT) and mushrooms (containing psilocybin). San pedro and peyote (containing mescaline) may also be available. Marijuana is also considered by some to be a sacrament (e.g., it is referred to as "Santa Maria" by certain sects of the Santo Daime church). But the general availability of marijuana, even where it is illegal, means that a pilgrimage to the Netherlands might include but would not focus on the spiritual use of marijuana. Again, for more information about any of these sacred substances, see www.erowid.org
- When would you be interested in traveling to the Netherlands for four to ten days?
- Are resources an issue? Would you need financial aid to take such a trip? Would you only be able to do it if the costs were kept to a minimum? Because of the strength of the euro, the total costs (i.e., the "all-inclusive" cost of air fare, lodging, food, the sacraments themselves, etc.) of such a trip would range from $2,000 to $12,000 USD. Factors affecting the cost would include: (1) length of stay, (2) time of year (peak/off-peak regarding tourism in Amsterdam), (3) quality of the accommodations and whether you would require a single room or would be willing to share a room with one or more others, (4) what city you would be traveling from, (5) whether you would want us to take you alone, in your own small group, or as part of a larger group of six to ten persons (recommended), (6) number of sacraments you would want to experience (we recommend no more than two in a week), etc.
Email us if you would like more information about joining us
on one of our Sacred Sacrament Sojourns in Amsterdam.
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