The most helpful introduction to the religious and cultural history of hallucinogenic drugs is
Richard Evans Schultes and
Albert Hofmann, Plants of the Gods:
Origins of Hallucinogenic Use( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979). My introductory section relies heavily upon their work.
Readers may also wish to consult
Ronald Siegel valuable study on the cultural history of drug use, Intoxication: Life in Pursuit of Artificial Paradise( New York: E. P. Dutton, 1989).
A discussion of the origin and scholarly use of the term entheogen can be
found in the introduction to
Robert Forte, ed., Entheogens and the Future of Religion
( San Francisco: Council on Spiritual Practices, 1997). As Forte indicates, the term
entheogen is used "to distinguish the religious nature of these substances and the
experiences they evoke from their effects in other contexts, for which there are
other terms, psychedelic or hallucinogen" (p. 1).
The most important studies of the religious use of hallucinogenic mushrooms
have been written by
R. Gordon Wasson. See his Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality ( New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1968), The Wondrous Mushroom: Mycolatry in Mesoamerica ( New York: McGraw-Hill, 1980), and The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries ( New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1979).
See Barbara Meyerhoff, Peyote Hunt: The Sacred Journey of the Huichol Indians
( Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974), and Kathleen Berrin, ed., Art of the Huichol
Indians( New York: Abrams, 1979).
Mircea Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane ( New York: Harper, 1961), p. 14. Further discussions of the distinction between the sacred and the profane can be
Arnold van Gennep The Rites of Passage ( Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1960), and Emile Durkheim The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life ( New
York:Free Press, 1965).
Eliade, The Sacred and the Profane, p. 12.
Larry D. Shinn, Two Sacred Worlds: Experience and Structure in the World's Religions ( Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1977). This section on drugs and "two sacred
worlds" relies heavily upon Shinn's discussion of experience and structure in the