Why Kenosis is Not Enough

“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out.

And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.

Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”

(Luke 11: 24-26)

The Way of the Holy Mushroom depends on kenosis, gnosis and pistis. Without kenosis (self-emptying) we lose our simple connection with the ground of Being and get lost in thought and experience. We lose our ability to Be Here Now in the childlike innocence of “zen mind, beginner’s mind”.

Without gnosis (revelation) we lose our direct connection to the transcendent source of Light and Love and the holiness, virtue and wisdom that flow from it. We get lost in emptiness and “zen sickness” or intellectual abstractions: religious ideals, ethical systems and received wisdom.

Spiritually oriented psychonauts understand that a psychedelic experience (gnosis) should be combined with a meditation practice (kenosis) in order to minimize the possibility of a “bad trip” and to maximize the possibility of a transformative “ego death”. However, if the ego, the “house of the spirits”, is left empty, it is fair game for squatting by wicked spirits and “the last state of the man is worse than the first.”

So who is the rightful owner and inhabitant of the house? Who has the keys to move in when the ego “dies”? The simple Christian answer is Jesus: we are crucified with Christ so that we can be resurrected with him. But this requires pistis (faith), which requires religious understanding, which requires familiarity with Christianity and the Bible.

This would be my answer, because I am a Christian. However, Christianity is not the only path to God and pistis can take different forms. In the Way of the Holy Mushroom, the unregenerate ego, caught in the “Wheel of Babylon”, is constituted of six archetypes: Diva, Demon, Victim, Addict, Muppet, Muggle. The dissolution of these archetypes through ego death allows their opposites, Mystic, Shaman, Warrior, Monk, Philosopher, King to manifest on the “Cross of Zion”.

These are universal archetypes. They are nor exclusively Christian. But they do point to the positive regeneration of the personality which is at the heart of Christianity. They provide positive content for the ego that capitalizes on its negative deconstruction and dissolution. They are character building.

Paradoxically, the first archetype, the Mystic, is characterized by radical emptiness, thus personifying the state of kenosis. The Mystic is the bridge between the dissolution of ego death and the reconstruction of the ego in the direction of sanctification. It puts flesh on the emptiness, so to speak. And it gives space for the other archetypes to emerge.

But kenosis is not enough. Unless the sacramental use of psychedelics is rooted in zen and religion, kenosis and pistis, it will not produce good fruit, and the tree will be cut down and thrown into the fire and “there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 13:42)