In Search of the Ultimate High is a book for people who want to know more about the spiritual uses of psychoactives. The focus is on exploring the spiritual quest through the use of psychoactives, rather than focusing on the psychoactives themselves. Personal accounts from people who have had a spiritual experience induced by a drug are combined with factual information on ‘entheogens’ (drugs used for spiritual purposes), well-researched background material and contacts.
Ultimate High cover

Preface by Alexander and Ann Shulgin
Introduction by Anja Saunders
A guide to this book
1 Drugs and Spirituality?
2 A Different Kind of Church
3 Psychoactives  in World Religions
4 Contemporary Shamanism
for Westerners
5 Home Users of Psychoactives
6 Rave Spirituality
7 Before, During and After
8 Practical Information
Annotated Bibliography

In the first chapter we look at what is generally understood by the term “spiritual experience”. We argue that the conventional wisdom that drugs and spirituality are incompatible is misguided if one looks at history, at advances in scientific knowledge, and at contemporary accounts.

We then move on to the various settings in which psychoactives are used. A Different Kind of Church looks at religions which use a psychoactive in a sacramental way. Churches covered range from the well-established ayahuasca churches in South America and the peyote-using Native American Church to the Temple of True Inner Light in New York and the iboga-based Bwiti religion in Gabon. The history and beliefs of each church are described, along with personal accounts from those who have attended services.

The use of psychoactives within world religions such as Christianity, Buddhism and Islam, which is considered in our next chapter, is a subject which is little explored due to the taboo on drug use in most long-established religions. A number of practitioners, such as Buddhist and Benedictine monks, as well as practising Christians, speak out about the way psychoactives have aided them in their chosen path.

In Contemporary Shamanism for Westerners we look at the pleasures and pitfalls of searching for a shaman, the opportunities for entheotourism in the Amazon, and the phenomenon of workshops in the West which incorporate shamanic teachings. We then focus on those psychoactive explorers who seek a spiritual experience outside of the structure of a church or workshop.

Many of the accounts in Home Users of Psychoactives come from a survey which was placed on the internet, and a wide range of experiences and psychoactive substances are covered.

Rave Spirituality is the subject of the next chapter. The feelings of overwhelming love and unity experienced at raves are expressions of a most contemporary form of spirituality. Could that spiritual energy be transforming society on a wider scale?

Before, During and After discusses guidelines that may help to facilitate and integrate a spiritual experience.

The last part of the book contains more practical information. Sections on legal and medical aspects can be found here, together with contacts for help and more information. We provide a short glossary of terms used in this book and conclude with an extensive annotated bibliography.

Our wish is for this book to provide an insight into the different ways that psychoactives are used by those who see them as a valuable aid on their spiritual path. In doing so, we aim to contribute to an open discussion about the potential of psychoactives within spiritual practice.

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