The Non-Rational Way

The Way of the Holy Mushroom depends on three elements: kenosis, gnosis and pistis.

Kenosis is all about self-emptying and not-knowing. It is the recognition that the honest answer to the perennial questions, “who am I?”, “what is the nature of reality?” and “what is God?” is I don’t know. Kenosis is rooted in radical humility before the fathomless mystery of existence. Any glib answers to these questions, whether theistic or atheistic, are ultimately dishonest and worthless – the facile pretensions of an arrogant human mind. As Einstein put it, you cannot understand “that which the mind cannot grasp”.

Gnosis is about being filled with the spirit (the mushroom spirit) and intimate knowing. However, gnostic knowing is not the same as ordinary, rational knowing. It is supra-mundane, super-natural, transcendental knowing. It is “out of this world”. It carries profound conviction, known in the trade as “noetic quality”, but is at the same time strangely intangible and “ineffable”, impossible to communicate in ordinary language. This is why it is so difficult to “integrate” it, that is, to transfer it to the ordinary human world and human mind.

The mode of expression best suited to the translation of this supra-mundane gnosis into human understanding is not the rational, logical, propositional mode. It is the mytho-poetic mode, which is not irrational or illogical, but non-rational. It blends truth with beauty and goodness, story-telling with poetry, architecture with music, art with artlessness, revelation with tradition, reason with faith. This is pistis, or religion. Without it, we are left with dry philosophy or moist emotivism.

When it comes to the ritual use of psychedelics, human reason has its place, but it is essential that it know its place. It must give way to these three other types of knowing: the not-knowing of kenosis, the psychedelic, super-natural knowing of gnosis and the religious knowing of pistis. However, because we are proud and lack humility, we cannot enter fully into kenosis, gnosis and pistis, and develop the docta ignorantia or “learned ignorance” necessary to progress in holiness, virtue and wisdom. Instead, we fall back on the conventional wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God.