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    Dr. Paddo - Wednesday 16 February 2023

    What are entheogens and what can you do with them?

    Have you ever heard of entheogens? These are psychoactive substances that people use for their personal and spiritual development. Natural entheogens have been used for thousands of years. We use the term entheogens to distinguish between drugs that you use for your personal development and those that you only use for pleasure. In this blog, you can read all about entheogens and what you can do with them.


    The difference between psychedelic drugs and entheogens

    The term entheogen is not very well known. The word comes from Greek and means something like "generate the divine within yourself". Entheogens are used to make contact with the divine, whether within yourself or with the higher, outside yourself. These resources are used for shamanic journeys or to induce spiritual experiences. But why should we use a separate term, if it is just about psychedelics?


    Entheogenics have been used for centuries, especially by tribal peoples. They occupy an important place in the culture of these people. They are usually used by shamans, healers, priests and other spiritual leaders. In the West, we have also started using many of these resources. Yet, these drugs occupy a special place and have been given their own name: entheogenics.


    This term is used to distinguish these substances from other drugs. They are not labelled with words like psychedelics or hallucinogens. This is because they are still linked to using drugs for pleasure, and because hallucinations can be associated with psychiatric illness and delirium. Entheogens have the power to move you forward on your individual path.


    History of Entheogens

    Entheogens have been with us for as long as we have existed. Evidence has even been found that humans used entheogens as early as 7,000 to 9,000 years ago. A cave has been found in Algeria with murals depicting a "bee-faced shaman". That may well have been a vision generated by an entheogen. The mushroom Psilocybe Mairei can be found in the vicinity of the cave and is also shown in the image.


    In Texas in the Rio Grande, entheogens were also used, but then from the Peyote cactus, which contains the mind-altering substance mescaline. Indigenous people have used this cactus for thousands of years, with evidence dating back to as early as 3700 BC. Also in Peru, the San Pedro cactus (which also contains mescaline) is an important part of society and has been for about 3000 years. The population there considers this cactus to be sacred. These natural mind-altering substances thus played an important role in many societies. These remedies are still popular today.

    Entheogens in modern times

    Traditional religions have lost much of their appeal in our modern times. Yet many people are looking for meaning, for depth and inspiration. That is why entheogens are still popular. People see them differently than “ordinary” drugs. Entheogens can boost your spiritual life, help you develop, and give you the opportunity to find insight and answers. Below, we list some popular entheogens.



    Peyote is a cactus native to northeastern Mexico and southern Texas. The cactus contains the mind-altering substance mescaline. The indigenous people of this region have used peyote in rituals for over 5,000 years. The hallucinations can last up to 10 hours. Physically, mescaline can cause nausea and vomiting. You can also get warm and a feeling of euphoria can arise. But the main effects are hallucinations, seeing bright colours, patterns, as well as visions of people and other creatures. Because of this, it is believed that by using peyote, you can contact the spiritual world.


    Magic mushrooms

    Magic mushrooms are perhaps the best-known entheogens. They are very popular, partly because they are very safe and partly because of their magical properties. If you take magic mushrooms, you can get a trip that can advance your personal and spiritual development. Many users experience a greater sense of connection, gain new insights and make contact with gods, aliens, angels or other entities. Magic mushrooms can have a positive impact and how you live. No wonder then that they are widely used entheogens.



    Iboga is also an entheogen. The plant mainly grows in Gabon, a country in Central Africa. The substance responsible for the psychoactive effects is ibogaine, which is extracted from the bark. Iboga is a powerful substance and can cause a violent trip. Difficult is that it is impossible to predict what you can experience. A trip is often described as being asleep and yet awake. You can also get dreamlike visions. These can be pleasant, but also terrifying. The trip can take quite a long time, on average between 4 and 8 hours.


    Going on a journey with entheogens

    The use of these mind-altering drugs is generally not dangerous. But as you could read above, a trip can be very intense. If you want to use entheogens for your personal development, and perhaps face your fears or make contact with the higher things, it can be useful to do a session with a counsellor. That can be a shaman or another guide.


    Make sure you first check whether this supervisor is reliable and has experience. Find out if he or she knows exactly what is in the entheogenic brew and what the effects will be. Of course, you don't want to ingest harmful substances. It is also important that you feel comfortable with this person. Such a journey is very personal and everything can come up that you might have trouble with. It is nice if everything can be there and that your supervisor has empathy and can help you get through difficult moments.


    Prepare well for your trip. What do you want to achieve? What are your challenges? Make sure you have everything sorted out, then there is a greater chance that your trip will yield what you wanted. Entheogens can help you penetrate deep into your subconscious and gain more insight into yourself. It can enrich your life and provide experiences that will last you a lifetime.

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