The Psychedelic Christ

I am that bread of life.

John 6:48

There is a hidden mystery within Christianity which is slowly coming out of the shadows in our time. This is the secret of the Psychedelic Christ. It has recently been explored in Brian Muraresku’s 2020 book, The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name and Jerry Brown’s 2016 book, The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, but first entered public consciousness fifty years ago with John Allegro’s 1970 book, The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross: A Study of the Nature and Origins of Christianity Within the Fertility Cults of the Ancient Near East.

The claim is that Christ is a magic mushroom. Barely stated like this, it sounds preposterous. You can just see the village parson spluttering over his tea or the Vatican Curia over their cappuccinos. So let’s temper and refine the claim a little to save their stoles. Firstly, Christ is not just a mushroom, but a cactus, a vine, and indeed any psychoactive substance with entheogenic properties (entheogen means “God manifesting”). Secondly, Christ is not exclusively understood as an entheogen: this is just the Psychedelic Christ. The traditional God-man of the gospels remains intact.

Allow me to quote further from chapter 6 of the gospel according to John:

Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me , even he shall live by me.

This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

John 6: 54-58

When it come to the claims of eternal life and living for ever, I have personally experienced this under high doses of ayahuasca and pure DMT. These “immortality keys” unlock the innermost secrets of existence and life and death. However, the understanding they reveal doesn’t translate well into ordinary human words, and I won’t attempt it here.

Just yesterday I tripped out on some Aztec Gold mushrooms, which got me “thinking”. I became acutely aware of the relationship between us: I was the “host” and the mushroom was my “guest”. In a sense I had offered myself as a channel for the mushroom “intelligence” to live through me. (For an interesting exploration of the parasitical nature of magic mushrooms, see Merlin Sheldrake’s illuminating Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change our Minds and Shape our Futures).

At the peak of this strange symbiotic communion between the human and fungal, I experienced a certain level of ego dissolution, so you could say that I sacrificed myself for the sake of the “self” of the mushroom. But the mushroom, in being consumed by me, could also be said to have sacrificed itself.

As I reflected on the idea of the Psychedelic Christ, it was unclear who was the Christ in this situation. If I considered the mushroom itself as God, then I was somehow, as the “product” of its working through me, the Son of God. However, it wasn’t really “me”, rather the elevated consciousness inhering in me, the “Christ Consciousness”, so that it felt more appropriate to say with Saint Paul, “yet not I, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Yet I was a man and the mushroom was a mushroom, so I certainly seemed the more Christ-like. I felt a lot of discomfort in my body, which I associated with the suffering on the cross; I felt myself undergo a process of death and rebirth; I felt myself to be a holy sacrifice; I felt human and fallible yet divine and perfect. With hindsight it seemed the height of presumption and spiritual arrogance to call myself the Psychedelic Christ, even though I kind of was. The boundaries between God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, me and the mushroom were blurred and confused and we all seemed to blend into each other.

In the cold light of (sober) logic: If “that bread which came down from heaven” refers to psychedelic food and drink (“flesh and blood”) and is therefore “sent by God”, and if Christ is directly associated with it (“I am that bread of life”), then clearly it is the mushroom that is the Son of God and the partaker of the psychedelic sacrament (the “Christian”) merely participates in the life of the Son and through the Son with the Father that sent him.

(If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.

John 14:7

At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me and I in you.

John 14:20)

So that the mushroom, the “bread of life”, is the Psychedelic Christ and the mushroom-eater, the “communicant”, is the Psychedelic Christian.

All the Christian themes of communion, sacrifice, regeneration, death and rebirth, immortality, etc., plus the themes of Jesus’s ministry, teaching, healing, forgiveness of sins and performing of miracles, plus the twin spiritual processes of sanctification and deification, are contained in the mystery of the Sacred Mushroom, the Psychedelic Christ.