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Evidence of the Role of Psychedelics in Christian History
December 4, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm CET
Based on photographs of psychoactive mushrooms found in churches and cathedrals throughout Europe and the Middle East, this presentation documents original research into the relationship between psychedelics and the history of Christianity.
In 2012, my wife/coauthor Julie M. Brown and I set out to investigate the presence of psychedelic mushrooms (Amanita muscaria and psilocybin-containing varieties) in early and medieval Christian art: in bronze castings, frescos, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts and stained-glass windows. Utilizing an interdisciplinary research approach, we combined anthropological field work with art history, church history and ethnobotany. We found compelling iconographic evidence of psychedelics in Christian art at religious centers as diverse as small parish chapels (France), high holy places (England and Germany), restored early churches (Italy) and remote cave churches (Turkey).
While the theory of psychedelic elements in Christianity has been proposed various times, the topic remains largely ignored by mainstream art historians, church historians and theologians. Nevertheless, these findings strongly suggest that Christianity has a psychedelic history – a secret but not suppressed “psychedelic gospels” – which may have been limited to certain historical periods, marginal sects and/or elite members of the Church.
Given the potentially significant impact and highly controversial nature of the theory of the psychedelic gospels, an interdisciplinary Committee for Entheogenic Research is being established to independently evaluate these findings and to open a public debate on this topic. These findings are consistent with research confirming the historical role of psychedelics in shamanism and world religions, including Buddhism, Hinduism and Judaism.
ABOUT PROF. DR. JERRY BROWN
Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist and author. From 1972 to 2014, he served as Founding Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.” Professor Brown writes on psychedelics and religion. He is the lead author of “Sacred Plants and the Gnostic Church: Speculations on Entheogen-Use in Early Christian Ritual,” Journal of Ancient History,” May 2014; The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity (Park Street Press, 2016); and “Entheogens in Christian Art: Wasson, Allegro and the Psychedelic Gospels,” Special Issue, Journal of Psychedelic Studies, October 2019.
EVENT IN THE MIND ACADEMY’S FORUM BEWUSSTSEINSKULTUR
The Forum Bewusstseinskultur includes events that address a general public. Usually there is no or low requirement for technical terminology. The Forum Bewusstseinskultur strives for connecting science and culture. We seek to establish an evidence-based culture of consciousness. The Forum Bewusstseinskultur integrates first and third person perspectives on consciousness and particularly the psychedelic experience. Box office tickets at event time (+2 € handling fee for everybody who pays in cash).
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