Cannabis and Narcotics
Cannabis and Narcotics:
the Spiritual Consequences
by Doctor Starman
Naturally, as people become addicted to any mind altering substance, they become progressively less able to objectively see its effect on their personality. (I've had people flatly deny that smoking marijuana has any long term effects when any objective person can see the transformation.) What marijuana does, spiritually, is to slightly loosen the astral body from the physical, just as any narcotic does. Even the word "narcotic" comes from an ancient term for "sleep", and all narcotics put you in a sort of sleep state, or in other words, separate the soul from the body, as naturally happens in sleep. Some induce a sort of dreamless sleep state, a numbing of the physical body, while others induce a sort of dream state while you're awake -- these are the hallucinogens. T. H. C. is a mild hallucinogen, and in small amounts is not harmful, but regular use of it causes the soul to be unable to insert itself into the body correctly. The material results of this are in coordination between the two hemispheres of the brain. The supersensible results are not that the Ego is weakened, but that it is unable to manifest completely in the body, resulting in a lack of will power and motivation.
The craving for this altered state comes about from an inability to bear looking at the reality of one's life in some form. It makes one's consciousness fuzzy. People who want to run away from the sense-perceptible reality of their lives crave it, but unfortunately it's just a world of illusion. Actually, what is perceived in that state is real --all hallucinations are real in the life of the soul --but because hallucinations are experienced in a way suddenly induced by a substance, your consciousness cannot understand them or deal with them correctly. Your flawed consciousness turns what is experienced into illusions, or in other words, misinterprets all of it.
For comparison, take a strong hallucinogen like LSD-25. It is chemically almost identical to serotonin, which is secreted by the pineal gland when it is stimulated. Thus the mystic who gradually stimulates the third eye has higher experiences in an altered state of consciousness, but the gradual process of doing this naturally gives one the ability to understand what one experiences. Introducing the substance from outside without this preparation just gives you lots of experiences you are unprepared to assimilate.
Alcohol is a quite different matter. It doesn't raise the soul up out of the body, but cuts off the lower part of the soul from the higher and presses it more deeply into the body. In the drug culture, people using a lot of hallucinogens crave alcohol because it counteracts the effect and makes the hallucinogenic "trip" easier to manage. Just as THC building up in the brain make it progressively harder for the Ego to will in the body, the buildup of alcohol in the tissues make it harder and harder for the higher consciousness to manifest in the body. Alcohol is the opposite of the soul. The sign of this is that alcohol can only be produced in an environment without oxygen, showing that it's the opposite of oxygen, which is the physical element that the soul uses to come into the body. Just as people crave hallucinogens who don't want to look clearly at the sensible reality of their lives, so people crave alcohol who want to ignore their higher selves, live without the requirements that being a human being impose on us such as conscious decision making. (A lot of people who are trying to run away from their psychic ability will use alcohol to extinguish it.) Combining the two has the effect of gradually reducing a human being to a state resembling the animal. The actual human part can no longer manifest.
Spiritual science is based on increasing one's consciousness, not decreasing it, so that it has nothing in common with any drug experiences or pathological states like mediumship, etc. These are not supernatural experiences but sub-natural. I always agreed with and remembered two things from the '60s: Ken Kesey and Baba Ram Dass saying that drug experiences are a hint that there's something out there to be sought, but that you have to find it without the drugs; and Carlos Castenada's don Juan saying that every time you take a substance into you, you also take in the immortal spiritual being who made that plant, and then you either must make that being an "ally" or fall under its power. There are lots of people who think they can walk the spiritual path while continuing to put themselves under the power of the various gods of nature, but only a fool gives one of these power over him.
Trevor Ravenscroft has been attacked for fictionalizing the one thing truthful and accurate in his book, The Spear of Destiny; and that is: how the Nazi Party grew out of an occult group which used peyote in their rituals. Hitler gained his psychic ability through drugs, just as Charles Manson did. This is what is degenerate about American Indian drug rituals such as the fictional ones popularized by Carlos Castaneda: they are perverted versions of the spiritual path, corrupted by the use of material substances.
Now, people who have studied anthropology and history could easily say,'Why, all the old initiation rituals used hallucinogenic substances.' This is because they regard things of the past 3000 years as "ancient." Actually, TRULY ancient practices, as in Atlantis 12,000 years ago or in ancientIndia 10,000 years ago, never used anything material. As mankind became compressed deeper and deeper into the body, from about 11,000 B.C. until the deepest point was reached from the fifth century B. C. on until 1899 A.D., the old initiation rituals became harder and harder to do. As a result, during the first millennium B.C., many initiates in different countries used their fading natural clairvoyance to point out different plants that could be used to instill an ersatz form of the old initiation-experience. Many did so even knowing that this would put initiates under the control of lower astral beings, despairing of any other alternative, while others' clairvoyance had declined so badly that they could not distinguish between these lower demi-gods and the ones that initiation used to enable them to contact! Anthropologists today mistake this decadent, corrupted form of initiation rites for the original thing. The true form of initiation almost completely disappeared in the fourth century B.C.--it ceased to induce clairvoyance in almost anyone shortly after the times of Plato and Aristotle. This is why the old prophets like the oracle of Delphi could no longer predict, as Plutarch wrote about in his "Why Oracles Have Ceased To Speak."
Dr. Steiner spoke about this in relation to the raising of Lazarus, where he said that the secret Hebrew priesthood was trying to initiate Lazarus, by the old method of separating the etheric and physical bodies, which had been becoming harder and harder to do because the former was being pressed more deeply into the physical by evolution. Lazarus was killed because they couldn't do it right anymore. John the Baptist practiced a new form of initiation, where a person was held underwater until the process of death began, literally drowning a person, has opposed to the merely ritual baptism done now; this caused the etheric body to momentarily separate from the physical, and if a person had been prepared by prayer and meditation, changed their life.
These ancient methods had to be practiced by a group imposing the "excamation" onto an individual candidate for initiation, because the true Ego was not yet within the human being. Only a being able to direct itself by its own ego can undergo initiation within everyday life. Socrates for instance was never initiated in the Greek mysteries, nor was Aeschylus, nor Heraclitus; they were men in whom the Christ spoke before incarnation into the man Jesus, as early Christians like Justin Martyr said. Once the Christ came into the world, how initiation needed to be done changed completely. The early Christians recognized that the Greeks and Romans were worshiping 'daimons' or demi-gods, lower astral beings, and refused to worship them. The Christian devotional path as practiced in the monasteries all during the middle ages was a transformation of the old path, undergoing metamorphosis. Anthroposophy is its reappearance of the old initiation, updated to the modern condition of man now that the dark age of Kali Yuga has ended.
No modern path of initiation uses any mind altering substances. Nor does it use trance states, hypnosis, or mediumship. Steiner often referred to these as pathological conditions. What this means can be simply understood. There's a Dutch psychic, Peter Herkos, who had a blow on the head and suddenly started having psychic ability. What happened was that some of the soul's force was suddenly able to "leak out" in a particular direction. The problem is that, it means that some of it is naturally being directed away from its normal, healthy channels; moreover, because it was gained from a disorder of the body, it's dependent on the body and therefore cannot be completely controlled. The same is true of practices like the ancient Plains Indians "Sundance", in which people would work themselves up into an ecstatic state by dancing in leather harnesses that caused their body extreme pain, and in this state utter predictions of the future; or the old monks' practices of causing great pain to the body to set part of the soul free.
It's not true, as Pete Townsend believed when he wrote "Tommy", that "Sickness will surely take the mind where minds can't usually go": it takes you somewhere, all right, but into the realms of SUB-nature, not super nature. Anything based on destroying or harming the body is, first of all, a decadent corruption of what once was a true practice; secondly, is no longer appropriate for modern-day man; and thirdly, does not even result in true or reliable knowledge anymore, since it merely creates a way for what Anthroposophy calls Luciferic or Ahrimanic beings to speak through a person. These pathological states of sickness and hallucination have nothing whatever to do with Anthroposophy, it cannot be said often enough. The path of a modern-day man lies in taking full waking consciousness and INCREASING this consciousness into new forms, never reducing or decreasing it.
Anthroposophy is the right hand path; drugs, semi conscious rituals, trance states, and all such things are the left-hand path. The worst deception is that you can walk both at the same time; if you study the history of any new age people trying to do both, you'll see immensely sad cases again and again. Just recently, a fellow well-known on the Internet quit the Anthroposophical Society after announcing that he believed, bizarrely, that Steiner's clairvoyance had come from drinking alcohol. We hope to see him healthy again after he walks the spiritual path of AA. This path is not called "spiritual science" just because it wants to pretend to be a science; it is one guided by full waking consciousness, just as much as designing a computer or doing a heart operation.The temptation to use drugs or other substances to take a shortcut in spiritual development is one encouraged by Lucifer, and which must inevitably put one under his power. No spiritual scientist will ever advise this. And Dr. Steiner specifically forbade any use of alcohol in his direct pupils, as this gives power to the Ahrimanic beings over you. Any of you who are still drinking and who would like to point out that Jesus drank wine, should immediately read what Steiner said about "The Mission of Alcohol" in his lectures on the Gospel of St. Luke, where he talks about Dionysius and how alcohol once was appropriate for us to use in that past epoch of evolution because we were seeking to incarnate more, where now we are seeking the exact opposite, and so to try to develop spiritually while drinking alcohol is like trying to run a race wearing lead boots.