Simply put, psychedelics cause extremely profound experiences. While the reasons for taking psychedelics vary as widely as their users, there is great consensus that psychedelic experiences lead to deep insights about life, the self and often, users experience a sense of unified consciousness that is life-transforming.
Writer Aldous Huxley, author of Doors of Perception and a huge advocate for psychedelic use, struggled to put this largely inexpressible experience into words. “It is without any question the most extraordinary and significant experience available to human beings this side of the Beatific Vision,” he wrote.
Psychedelics blur the boundaries between a user and… well, everything else. By altering sensory perceptions of the physical world, including (perhaps even especially) our sense of a coherent self, psychedelics illuminate physical, social, mental or emotional constructs and help us see through them. In other words, they pierce through illusions while paradoxically enriching our experience of so-called material reality.
In recent years, as Westerners’ use of these psycho-spiritual tools has become more inspired by indigenous peoples’ shamanic practices, the term ‘entheogen’ or ‘inner divinity-releasing substance’ has become popularized for psychedelic plants or fungi.