The Yin/Yang Dance Paradox

A high dose of magic mushrooms takes you to the paradoxical heart of reality, which is neither solid nor liquid. Too solid and there is only rock; too liquid and there is only sea; too muddling and there is only mud.

There are no absolutes here: whether life or death, day or night, light or dark, waking or sleep, present or past, summer or winter, hot or cold, wild or tame, loud or quiet, naughty or nice, seen or unseen, revealed or secret, remembered or forgotten, known or unknown, perfect or flawed.

It’s an open secret: a sacred sensual dance in the half-light at the still point of the turning world.

I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come.


Habits of Love


Kenosis (“self-emptying”) is about letting go of bad habits.

Pistis (“faithful practice”) is about establishing good habits.

Gnosis (“spiritual vision”) is about seeing deeply into the heart of what is good and bad.


Kenosis is as much about renunciation as it is about surrender;

pistis is as much about orthopraxy (right action) as it is about orthodoxy (right belief);

gnosis is as much about discernment as it is about knowledge.

The deeper the practice of gnosis-pistis-kenosis, the higher the forms of the Good.

This ascending spiral can be understood as noesis.


Bad habits are associated with the six realms on the Wheel of Babylon:

narcissism and pride (Divas); ideological possession (Muppets);

conventional mediocrity (Muggles); victim mentality (Victims);

addictive behaviours (Addicts); hatred and vengefulness (Demons).

The ultimate goal of spiritual practice is freedom from Babylon:

“Babylon dropped” is the kenotic state of no-kleshas and no-sins.


We can express this in the language of love:

God is love and God is everything.

All things therefore subsist in love, including Babylon.

However, the love that fuels Babylon is divorced from agape, the divine source of love,

through the falling away occasioned by the original sin of Pride.

The love that fuels Babylon is limited, conditional, human love:

storge (familial affection), eros (sexuality) and philia (friendship),

that is, storge without agape; eros without agape; philia without agape.


These three dissociated loves create the Wheel of Babylon:

storge without agape produces Muggles and Victims;

eros without agape produces Addicts and Demons;

philia without agape produces Divas and Muppets.

With this understanding, we can see the need for noesis

(the cycle of kenosis-gnosis-pistis)

in our return from our spiritual exile in Babylon:

kenosis being the renunciation of all limited, human forms of love,

gnosis direct contact with the divine source of love and reception of the divine gift,

and pistis the suffusing of storge, eros and philia with agape.


Noesis is the progressive spiritualisation of human love

through the continual influx of divine love

in the upward spiral of kenosis-gnosis-pistis.

In the imagery of John the Divine and John of the Cross,

the deadening and dehumanising love of the Whore of Babylon

is transformed by the love of God into a resurrected life, a living flame of love.


Religious discipline and discipleship therefore necessarily involves kenosis,

renunciation of creature comforts (storge), sexual gratification (eros) and social chitchat (philia):

“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life

also, he cannot be my disciple.”

(Luke 14:26)

…until he learns to bear the beams of love in gnosis and to integrate it into his life in pistis.

Noesis is both salvific and redemptive:

it creates a New Heaven and a New Earth.

Babylon Dropped!

When Dogen Zenji was enlightened, he exclaimed, “bodymind dropped!”

Zen aims at this “bodymind dropped!”, called satori in Japanese.

Zen is “direct pointing to reality outside the scriptures”;

Satori is “direct seeing of reality outside the delusional bodymind”.

William Blake said, “If the doors of perception were cleansed,

Everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.”

This is satori. This is enlightenment.

Dogen Zenji also said, “training and enlightenment are one”.

There is no end to spiritual awakening.

Which comes first, enlightenment or training?

Which comes first, chicken or egg?

It is an endless cycle.

In Christian terms, gnosis is spiritual vision (kensho);

Pistis is faithful spiritual practice (buddhadharma);

Kenosis is spiritual dying to self (satori).

Gnosis is “I am enlightened together with the universe”;

Pistis is “training and enlightenment are one”;

Kenosis is “bodymind dropped!”.

“Bodymind dropped!” is “Babylon dropped!”

And babylon dropped is boundless freedom.

Stop Thinking and Have Faith

As a teenager, my motto was “question everything”.

The modern mind is addicted to thinking and questioning:

“Don’t take anything on authority.

Think for yourself.”

Questioning is related to questing,

And to the modern mind,

Questing and seeking

Are the essence of spirituality.

Why do people say,

“I am spiritual but not religious”?

Because they are spiritual seekers

Whose motto is “question everything”.

They think,

“Religious people don’t question.

They just believe.

They have blind faith.

They are simple-minded and gullible.”

But what if you find

What you were seeking for?

Do you keep seeking?

What if you cross to the other shore?

Do you carry the raft with you

Wherever you go?

I used to be spiritual.

But now I am religious.


Partly through my experience

With psychedelics.

Thinking, questioning,

Skepticism and doubt,

Invariably lead to bad outcomes:

Either “nada” or “mal viaje”.

I have observed this in myself

And in others.

What we take to be

The heroic dignity

Of enlightened self-reliance,


And self-determination,

Is in fact that old devil called Pride.

And pride comes before a fall.

As I have repeatedly said

In various ways,

Gnosis without pistis and kenosis

Is dangerous.

What is kenosis?

Self-emptying – “bodymind dropped”.

What is pistis?

Faith – “the Word made flesh”.

A good religious

Must stop thinking and have faith.

And the same is true of a good psychonaut.

Psychedelic Mysticism

The highest possible psychedelic vision is the vision of the One.

This is similar to the unitive vision of the mystic, but not identical.

Both visions are encapsulated in the statement, “All is One”.

Both are experiential, intuitive, embodied, felt visions,

Far more real than mere theoretical, intellectual intuitions.

The psychedelic vision, however, has a stronger noetic quality.

For the duration of the experience, there is only the One

In exclusive, complete and resplendent clarity.

The most ancient and unambiguous symbol of the One is AUM,

The primordial sound of the Indian Vedas.

AUM is the Singularity from which the All proceeds

And in which All subsist.

Although One, it is composed of three distinct elements:

A – Parashiva;

U – Shiva;

M – Shakti.

Parashiva is “One without a Second”,

Pure subjective consciousness without any conscious object.

This is God the Father in Heaven,

Infinite Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Satchidananda).

Shiva is “Self consciousness”,

The inner spark or soul of every living thing.

This is the Son of God,

The indwelling Christ, Atman or Buddha Nature.

Shakti is “the Many”,

The infinite multiplicity of All and Everything.

This is the Holy Spirit,

The Creation transfigured as a new Heaven and a new Earth.

Psychedelic mysticism is about remembering the One (AUM);

Remembering the Two (Parashiva, Shiva);

And remembering the Many (Shakti).

Shakti proceeds from Parashiva and Shiva

(The Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son);

Only Shiva can approach Parashiva

(No one comes to the Father except through the Son);

AUM contains Parashiva, Shiva and Shakti

(The Trinitarian God is Three-in-One).

For more on these last three points, see chapter 18 of The Confessions of a Psychedelic Christian, “Three, Two, One: Heaven, Earth, Hell”, chapter 34, “What’s Behind the Wall?” and the blog posts, How to Approach the Unapproachable and The DMT God and the Mushroom Christ.

Silver and Gold

What should you think about on psychedelics? If you start your trip with a negative mindset, especially if your mind is swarming with ants (anxious negative thoughts), you are setting yourself up for an unpleasant journey. Hence the importance of “set and setting”.

Second worse to a bad trip, however, is no trip. Pre-session nerves generally revolve around fear or greed: the sweaty fear of a bad trip or the burning desire for a good one. Both can derail the experience: fear obviously makes a bad trip more likely and greed makes a good one less.

So what should you think about? Thoughts have an extraordinarily powerful effect on your state of consciousness when you’re under the influence. “Right thought” isn’t just about avoiding bad experiences and damping down the flames of fear, anxiety and paranoia, but also about encouraging positive experiences and fanning the flames of shamanic power. The right thought at the right time can raise the frequency of a mild psychedelic buzz, just barely ticking over, to a full-blooded high pitch of intensity firing on all cylinders.

Such is the power of thought. And the most powerful thoughts are religious thoughts, that is, “the Word of God”. Which is why religious education and training is so important for the manifestation of spiritually powerful, transformative psychedelic experiences.

Pistis is essential. However, it’s no good just mouthing the words without actually believing them. Pistis is not pistis without faith. And the mushroom is no sucker: it knows whether you really mean it or not.

To wake the slumbering spirit of the psychedelic dragon, drop a silver Word into the lake of your mind. And to send the dragon deeper into the lake, drop golden Silence.

For words are silver, but silence is golden. And it is the skillful use of both the silver and gold of pistis and kenosis that will take you all the way, bare-back dragon-riding, to the blessed isles of spiritual enlightenment and bliss.

What’s so Religious about Psychedelics?

Religion literally means “re-connection” (from the Latin, re-ligare). Psychedelics also have a mysterious but powerful capacity to reconnect us in all sorts of ways. They reconnect us to ourselves, to our our feelings, hopes and dreams, our imagination and creativity, our senses and bodies, to our shadow side and all the disowned, dissociated parts of our personality. They reconnect us to our spiritual nature, to our soul, to God, to life and the Source of life.

Us moderns are lonely creatures, and never more so than in a crowd. We feel disconnected from the people around us, or at least not fully, deeply connected. Our social and romantic relations are weak and tenuous, superficial and trivial, easily displaced by others, washed away in a “liquid modernity”. We relate to family and friends at levels of intimacy barely above those of colleagues and acquaintances. We are constantly told that “we’re all connected”, but deep down we feel profoundly disconnected from people, from society, from politics, from religion, from nature. The more severely alienated among us feel disconnected from our own bodies and minds, from food, from love, from sex, from gender, from place, from purpose, from meaning, from beauty, from humour, from joy, from the past, from the future, from the present moment.

Of course I am exaggerating to make a point. My point is that ultimately, we are either connected to life, through all the threads of human experience that converge upon it, or else we are disconnected. And that when we are disconnected, we need to reconnect. We need to re-member, to re-join, to re-ligare. We need religio. Traditionally we have done this through rituals, which have been planted in the world to remind us to reconnect to life and the Source of life. We have done this weekly, by attending religious houses of worship, or daily, through morning and evening prayers. Practicing Muslims do this at least five times a day.

Ultimately, we have an existential choice: God or Babylon. Either we stay connected to Babylon, to the “web”, to the “matrix”, through filaments of emaciated desire, or we remember God and reconnect with the living flame of Love at the centre of life, the universe and everything.

Most of us are so lost in Babylon, that we don’t even know we are lost, or else know it, but refuse to be found. We are in unconscious despair, suffering from the “sickness unto death”. We would rather stay disconnected than reconnect.

For many people in the grip of this existential Kierkegaardian despair, the only way out is through contact with the power of psychedelics. For many of us, we are so far gone that the psychedelic experience is the only way we can rediscover the fullness of life. A Hindu might say that in the Kali Yuga, people need strong soma to wake them up. A Christian might say that in deepest, darkest Babylon, we need strong medicine to graft us back into the True Vine.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”

John 15: 5-6

The Presence of the Divine

“But – we may well be asked – has it any meaning to ask for ‘the presence of the Divine’? Does not that Sacramental idea at once cancel itself, when thought out? Is not God ‘omnipresent’ and ‘really present’ always and everywhere?

Such a view is often put forward, and with a confident air of assurance which is in sharp conflict with the testimony of genuine religious experience; so much so, indeed, that one is tempted to venture a very blunt reply to it. We say, then, that this doctrine of the omnipresence of God – as thought by a necessity of His being He must be bound to every time and to every place, like a natural force pervading space – is a frigid invention of metaphysical speculation, entirely without religious import. Scripture knows nothing of it. Scripture knows no ‘Omnipresence’, neither the expression nor the meaning it expresses; it knows only the God who is where He wills to be, and is not where He wills not to be, the deus mobilis, who is no mere universally extended being, but an august mystery, that comes and goes, approaches and withdraws, has its time and hour, and may be far or near in infinite degrees, ‘closer than our breathing’ to us or miles remote from us. The hours of His ‘visitation’ and His ‘return’ are rare and solemn occasions, different essentially not only from the ‘profane’ life of every day, but also from the calm confiding mood of the believer, whose trust is to live ever before the face of God. They are the topmost summits in the life of the spirit. They are not only rare occasions, they must needs be so for our sakes, for no creature can bear often or for long the full nearness of God’s majesty in its beatitude and its awefulness. Yet there must still be such times, for they show the bright vision and completion of our sonship, they are a bliss in themselves and potent for redemption. They are the real sacrament, in comparison with which all high official ceremonials, Masses, and rituals the world over become the figurings of a child. And a Divine Service would be the truest which led up to such a mystery and the riches of grace that ensue upon the realization of it. And if it be asked whether a Divine Service be able to achieve this, let us answer that, though God indeed comes where and when He chooses, yet He will choose to come when we sincerely call upon Him and prepare ourselves truly for His visitation.”

Rudolf Otto

Strait is the Gate

“Religion is a defense against religious experience.”

What does this mean?

All pistis and no gnosis makes Jack a dull boy.

So should we forget about religion then?


All gnosis and no pistis makes Jack a dull boy.

“Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Matthew 7:14