Almost without argument, the basis of practicing any religion is to experience a sense of enlightenment and connection with a higher being. Entheogens have been used since ancient times and are aligned with this fundamental purpose. In fact, some believe that entheogenic experiences are what led to the founding of a number of religions. More specifically, entheogen-inspired individuals who had profound encouncrown actters felt a sense of duty to share their experience with others and teach them what they learned during their encounters. This is speculative, but is a theory that proponents of the use of entheogens for spiritual or shamanic illumination embrace.
This might offer an explanation for the resurgence of interest in Eastern spiritual practices from those in Western cultures. In Western spirituality, there tends to be a lack of emphasis on the actual spiritual experience whereas Eastern spirituality is centrally focused on the experience itself. That is to say that spirituality for some is based on belief and faith. For some, this is unfulfilling and a more direct, enlightening experience is a stronger underpinning on which to base their spirituality. This is where the practice of entheogenic spirituality can be especially appealing.
Throughout history, the use of sacred plants, seeds, fungi, and other such medicines has nurtured these direct experiences with higher beings. Entheogenic advocates believe that if it were not for the transformed brain state inspired by the use of these plants and fungi, the spiritual experiences would not have happened and religion, as it is known today, may not even exist.
In addition to providing spiritual enlightenment, many believe that entheogenic substances can lead to psychological healing and use these substances as a source of treatment. The consumption of these substances is believed by many practitioners to awaken the Central Nervous System. This awakening systematically enlivens the brain and makes perceptions sharper while simultaneously heightening intelligence. As with the use of any substances for the treatment of psychological conditions, there is controversy. However, the controversy is not over the safety of these substances in controlled situations. When in a regulated setting, and under the care of a skilled practitioner, there is virtually no evidence to suggest that the ingestion of these substances can lead to adverse results or psychological harm. This includes physical dependence or addiction to the substances.
Crown Activation is something that may occur naturally, under optimal conditions, like in a transcendent state such as deep meditation. Since optimal conditions tend to exist rather infrequently, the use of entheogenic substances is a way to achieve Crown Activation. It can be highly beneficial to experience in that it is believed to cleanse the mind and clear obstructed mental pathways, leading to better clarity of thought and mental processes. This experience can be valuable to those experiencing psychological distress, in psychotherapy, or those in relative psychological harmony. Crown Activation can help one to foster the emergence of that which is in the unconscious, to activate the pathways in the brain which may have long been quiescent, and to help one overcome psychological or physical struggles within.
Entheogenic substances that may be used in psychotherapy include LSD, fungi, including psilocybin and Amanita muscaria, cannabis, and mescaline (Peyote). Results can be highly capricious due to a number of factors, including the amount of mind-altering substance found within a particular plant or fungus. It is believed by practitioners that these substances do not only provide a therapeutic benefit to those who use them, but may even unlock other parts of the human psyche that can lead to the discovery of abilities that the user did not even know he possessed.
Check out a great documentary on LSD.