Typically, when we think about cults, we tend to picture insane people brainwashing innocents to do their bidding or to complete a radical act of spiritual or personal gain. From the big-name crimes in the news to subtle movements that take place in shadowy locations, cults seem to be the epitome of fear (for some of us). However, did you know that cults actually held a more revered meaning in history? In fact, some of these fanatical groups were devoted to the practice of drug use, as strange as that may initially sound. In ancient times, the cult of Dionysus worshiped the god of revelry and wine (the namesake) and indulged in the fruits of his labor: fermented grapes. Meanwhile, the group would also consume mind-altering drugs to endure “spiritual awakenings,” or what we modern people call an “acid trip” or “hallucination.” So, why were these groups so significant? Let’s take a closer look at some interesting facts about “drug cults” in history.
Drugs Used by Worshipers
Over the course of history, cultists had used a wide variety of mind-altering and/or hallucinogenic substances in an effort to connect with their gods, but all of them have one thing in common: the way they affected the emotions and physiology of the consumer. Here is a closer look at some of the most common religious-centered drugs used by cults:
- Magic mushrooms: Best known for the substance psilocybin (and psilocin), a variety of mushrooms were widely used by the native people of Mexico as part of “spiritual awakenings.” Some researchers speculate the fly agaric mushroom may be the source of soma, a drink used by Hindu and Zoroastrian followers.
- Peyote cactus: Native Mexicans, Americans, and Canadians frequently used the buttons of this cactus as part of religious ceremonies that last through the night, and the peyote is still used by the Native American Church today.
- Ayahuasca: Used by South American tribes, this tea was said to provide clairvoyance and spiritual clarity to the consumer.
What Was the Purpose?
Ultimately, the answer to this question appears simple. After all, religious cults obviously used the drugs to induce spiritual awakenings, but there are far more details to the practices of drug cultists than you would think. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common reasons for drug use among practitioners:
- Uniting with the spiritual plane: One of the most common goals of the cultists was to achieve union with a god or walk on the spiritual plane. As part of worship, these men and women may have experienced sensations of self-transcendence and (to some degree) undergo an awakening of the soul.
- Cleansing the spirit: Some cultists believed that consuming these drugs would cleanse the soul and the mind and purify the user. For example, some psychedelic drugs trigger severe nausea and vomiting, which some people viewed as a purging of sins and impurities.
- Obtaining magical powers: Some men and women would consume drugs to receive visions, to prevent terrible events from taking place in the future. Likewise, some substances were used to purge demonic spirits or achieve clairvoyance.
Seeking Treatment for Drug Abuse or Addiction
Throughout history, drug abuse and addiction have been massive problems for millions of people. As we have seen, the problems became so severe that people began to worship drugs as a type of religious symbol. While we certainly do not have these problems today (as far as we know), drugs are still a huge problem in our society. If you are suffering from drug abuse, alcohol abuse, or addiction or have a family member or friend who is suffering from the same problem, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our professional team of counselors and healthcare experts will help you endure the pain of withdrawal and detox and help you complete a successful and fulfilling rehabilitation. While the road to recovery might not be an easy path, we promise to help you every step of the way.
Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe. If you want to find out more about our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs or enroll in one of these programs today, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your leisure and your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how you can kick your drug or alcohol problems to the curb.