Becoming an Entheogen:
Musings on Récreational Drug Use, Apotheosis, and the Attainment of Immortality
It has always bothered me that when people speak of “recreational” drug use they pronounce it as rècreational (“wreck-creational”) — as if to imply a carelessness that leaves a wreckage in the wake of its experience. Words like “wasted”, “faded”, or “fucked up” (as in, ^up^ in the brain) come to mind. True recreational drug use is “ré-creational” — meaning you experience the altered state and then work diligently at processing and reverse engineering the experience so as to recreate its modus operandi in everyday affairs.
As author Erik Davis states in Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica, “I didn’t want to do drugs as much as to think drugs, to simulate their hyper-connections, magical causality, and semiotic drift as much as possible within my own mind.” This eloquent sentiment echoes Dali’s self-aggrandizing maxim “I don’t take drugs, I am drugs.”
My own take on this phenomenon, developed independent from Erik and Salvador, is that the noblest cause is to “strive to be reincarnated as an entheogen, as one whose substance, when consumed, reveals the inhabited worlds of his/her accrued and preserved experience, the vaults of his/her collective memory, and teachings that self-evidently unfold the divine within others.”
Some have even gone so far as to suggest that this is what psychedelics like psilocybin and Ayahuasca are. Written under the pseudonyms O.N. Oeric and O.T. Oss the Mckenna brothers’ Magic Mushroom Growing Guide opens with an introduction told from the mushroom’s perspective, in which our fungal friend identifies itself as an ancient being that has traveled through the cosmos in spore-form, like a message in a bottle, to seed planets with its uncanny wisdom.
And shaman-turned-painter Pablo Amaringo, in the book Ayahuasca Visions: the Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, dedicates one of the chapters accompanying his visionary art with an Ayahuasca origin story in which the spirit of a wise and ancient king, upon death, seeks refuge in the vine that grew from his grave. Or, well, let’s just say he sets up a “line” of communication to the other side.
But how does one, as a mere mortal, set out to attain this kind of immortality? How does one set out to stuff one’s soul-stuff into an object for others to absorb, ingest, or internally unfold?
The answer is simpler than it might seem, and more grounded than the metaphysical implications would have you believe. It is through creative acts! Every painting, drawing, song, or piece of writing is exactly this — an attainable, albeit crude, form of apotheosis, bottled for future consumption.
On the 2016 record Séance Fiction by Void Denizen, this concept is addressed in terms both poetic and comedic. Building its case on the foundations laid out in the spoken word track titled Necromancy 101, the song that follows brings up the subject of attaining immortality with Void’s typical, lyrical levity, suggesting that one’s creations will continue to allow one’s voice to speak from beyond the grave.
He says, as is also the title of the track: “Carry my casket like a boombox on your shoulder. Carry my casket like a boombox on your — what?! Carry my casket like a boombox on your shoulder. Carry my casket, and then drop it like it’s hot!”
The Ungoogleable Michaelangelo is a psychonautic explorer, internal journalist, visual artist, musician, filmmaker and actor from The Netherlands, currently residing in Los Angeles. He is the host and creator of the podcast Self Portraits As Other People. Utilizing wit, wordplay, and a 6th sense of humor, his work mindfully investigates where the limits of language meet the fringes of reality. If you share his esoteric appreciation for all things surreal, sublime, and absurd, you may consider going spelunking in his heartfelt brain-cave at www.voidandimagination.com.