Why I Don’t Believe In Drug-Induced Enlightenment
A few weeks ago an online friend from abroad chatted with me about mysteries in ancient Greece, Eleusinian mysteries in particular. He wanted to make a pilgrimage to ancient ruins, etc to feel the vibes for himself, to experience firsthand everything he’s been reading about mysticism in Greece.
I’m afraid I’ve gravely disappointed him.
You see, he believed that ancient Greek mysts relied in hallucinogenic substances to come to a state of ecstatic euphoria and thus access inner states of enlightenment.
I told him what I believed about it and he was probably not too-happy about it or even thought I’m too ignorant to grasp his ideas.
Having studied the subject both because of personal interest and in my field of studies, I thought I might state my two cents .
True, Greeks knew about hallucinogens and drugs. The most powerful oracle of the ancient world, The Oracle of Delphi, relied on a priestess called Pythia chewing laurel leaves and breathing an aromatic mixture of drugs. Some species of the laurel are mildly poisonous in small amounts–lethal in larger dosages–and when made into a decoction (boiled) of honey-wine, it has been know to produce prophetic hallucinations at the places of oracle. It seems plausible that there was a crevice in the rock that emitted in ancient times light hydrocarbon gases from bituminous limestone which do have an intoxicating effect. However, evidence suggests that these women’s ecstatic state and gibberish-like utterances were interpreted -and probably manipulated and twisted according to their will- by male priests who were powerful figures, subject to bribery, political influences etc. So nope, the whole oracle thing was nothing but a well-orchestrated act manipulated by powerful, clever men, who used the drug-induced state of peasant or slave women-priestesses to produce a plausible excuse for their schemings.
And what about the powerful Eleusinian mysteries , the most well-kept mystery of the ancient world?
Of course they existed.
The rites, ceremonies, and beliefs were kept secret and consistently preserved from antiquity. The initiated believed that they would have a reward in the afterlife, in other words, become enlightened and achieve paradise.
Since the Mysteries involved visions and conjuring of an afterlife, some scholars believe that the power and longevity of the Eleusinian Mysteries came from psychedelic agents, but without EVER having found any scientific evidence suggesting this. Hence my online friend was deceived into buying ito the same misconception.
This kind of thought, the psychedelic drug-induced enlightenment, is so NON-Greek in its origin and so alien to the greek way of thinking that only an ignorant of greek way of thought or one having superficial knowledge of greek mysticism and cosmos theory.
To begin with, by law, the initiation in the mysteries was forbidden to individuals or politicians corrupt by money or bribed, traitors or deserters, people refusing to fulfil their political duties and slaves. Other than that, all other people, men and women, were allowed to participate, be tried and tasted in the 7 stages of initiation and achieve eternal life after death.
Why was enlightenment forbidden to individuals or politicians corrupt by money or bribed, traitors or deserters, individuals refusing to fulfil their political duties and slaves? What does enlightenment have to do with that.
Think for a moment, what is the common thing that the above rejected people had in common, the corrupt by money, the traitors, the deserters, the indifferent to politics and the slaves?
They shared one thing in common:
THEY WERE NO LONGER FREE IN BODY OR MIND…..
The corrupt had chosen to worship money instead of personal integrity and so were slaves to money, the traitors and deserters were slaves to fear for their own lives rather than honoring their personal values, the indifferent ones were slaves to their egotism instead of caring for common good and, of course, slaves were slaves, having someone else dictate their entire life for them ( to a true Greek it was better to die than be a slave, that is why they frequently chose to fight to death rather than be enslaved and lose the ultimate gift of freedom).
So this is the common thing here:
ANCIENT GREEKS BELIEVED THAT NO ENLIGHTENMENT HERE OR IN AFTERLIFE CAN EVER EXIST WITHOUT PERSONAL, DIVINE FREEDOM OF
BODY AND SOUL.
NO FREEDOM, NO ENLIGHTENMENT, no paradise.
They believed that ANY and ALL EXTERNAL SHACKLES that poisoned a man’s or woman’s body mind and heart could practically render them incapable of achieving enlightenment and immortality of soul.
They believed that only a free mind and a free heart AND a free body could become light and see the Light.
Can a heavily drugged mind be free? Can a mind shackled and dimmed by hallucinogens or state-altering drugs ever be able to fly free, instead of staying boggled down by physicality?
Only a free soul can see God. And that is purely achieved by choosing freedom, in all and every aspect of life.
The freer the mind and the body, the freer the soul and the freer the soul, the closer to God.
These days there are ongoing excavations in an archaeological site a few miles off my hometown in Macedonia, Greece. The sheer magnificence of the findings and the sheer size of the tomb found suggest it might be Alexander the Great’s. Whom ever it belongs to, however, the chambers leading to it, one after another, with the second one guarded by goddesses forbidding entrance to the uninitiated, suggest the 7 stages of initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries that lead to true freedom and union with God. The one buried in there was no stranger to the mysteries and had achieved all 7 stages of Enlightenment that led to eternal afterlife Bliss…
Don’t fall into the trap of believing that something external, something other than the free, God-given powers of your soul can lead you to enlightenment and immortality.
You were born free.
Stay free and all other things will fall into place.
- Eirini Haritou