Originally published on Hybrid.Life here: http://hybrid.life/sacred-sex-and-our-spirituality/ by Evan Farmer
It’s certainly no secret that cannabis enhances both our sexual enjoyment and spiritual experiences, especially to those who have used the herb within both of these contexts. However, in our usual approach to sexuality, spirituality, and medicine, we tend to compartmentalize treatments for various conditions on a case by case basis. That is to say, when we experience a symptom, or choose to add a supplement or herb to our diet for health benefits, we often choose one method of treatment, or one particular medicine to treat one specific condition. But when it comes to human sexuality and spirituality, it seems as though it would serve us well to take a more holistic approach, for a variety of reasons.
First of all, and generally speaking, I think we’ve really lost sight of much of what it means to be spiritual beings, and to embrace our sacred nature, which is so very all-encompassing. Many who are religious often divide their lives into secular and sacred realms, and create different rules for operating within each of these spheres of life, as if one can exist apart from the other. This is certainly a detriment to both our true humanity and our divine nature. Many go to church on Sunday, only to go into the rest of the week hardly giving any thought to what was learned or what important message was conveyed. Surely this is common among most religions, as communities of faith almost necessitate a distinction be made between the perceived reality of “believers” or “followers” and those who exist outside the fold. The false dichotomy between secular and sacred is often just part of the religious life, though it really doesn’t have to be.
This is where I can see the purpose of a unifying, cleansing, and healing balm coming into play. There are so many divisions within divisions amongst our many religions, and within the various subsets, sects, or denominations that exist even within the same faith traditions. And there is also much sexual dysfunction in our society and especially within our religious institutions. What if we all just embraced our common humanity by graciously accepting the psychedelic gifts of mother nature, which help to relieve a variety of ailments, bring us closer together, and assist us in attaining more introspective and meditative states? What if we put more emphasis on maintaining and enhancing the basis of our foundational marital relationships, which serve to create new life and can give us such great satisfaction and wholeness?
Sexuality and spirituality are innately and inextricably linked together. For this reason, many faith traditions practice the rite of holy matrimony. However, the one thing that is typically missing among these religious practices is a deep respect and knowledge of the use of entheogenic plant substances. As many have noted, these substances are useful for drawing partners closer together, heightening sensual experiences, and inspiring sexual creativity. The results of various studies, as discussed in Psychology Today, have been historically quite mixed, but the use of marijuana as an aphrodisiac and spiritual stimulant among the ancients is well documented. Perhaps today’s inconsistent reporting is due to variations in cannabis strains, or maybe it’s because we are now so spiritually disconnected. Unfortunately, today the essential elements of long-lasting, healthy relationships have been relegated to the realm of self-help books and marital counseling, and the integrative therapeutic and healing experiences that psychoactive plants can offer us has been effectively denied in our restrictive society.
However, in the UK, research is being done by Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London to study how psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin might be used to treat a variety of conditions, including addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and PTSD, and also to “help alleviate anxiety felt by terminally ill people at the end of their life.” Nutt also says, in regard to his research with psilocybin, that it “points to a circuit in the brain called the default mode – your persona and your ego lies. When you’re sitting, relaxing, thinking about yourself, your past, your future, your family – that’s the default mode. In addictions and depression and OCD that can become disorganised and locked on to different targets. It gets locked into thinking negative thoughts, or craving thoughts. We think that [psychedelics] could well unlock that, and break that terrible habit of thinking inappropriately and let you go back to thinking normally again.” Could this “default mode” be the starting point for all our beliefs, our psychosomatic issues, and even our true spiritual selves?
There have been very few comprehensive studies done to determine the possible beneficial effects of marijuana and other psychedelics, mostly due to their legality and drug classification. It would be difficult to determine the additional spiritual benefits of these compounds as well, but I believe the psychologically healing effects they confer and the positive sexual enhancements they can offer point us to a more holistic approach. Though we have had several notable experiments done over the years, and more recent research is being done with medical marijuana, psychological research has remained relatively uncharted territory. Most of what we can infer regarding the positive effects of psychedelics, especially in regard to relationships, can only be measured through anecdotal evidence. However, I think the healing experiences that many have reported, and the few that have been studied, are indicative of the beneficial and therapeutic effects that our plant friends can give to us.
I would even go so far as to suggest that psychoactive plants and fungi have historically been, and continue to be, largely responsible for our survival as a species. We have always had a symbiotic relationship with them, which is as essential to our mental and spiritual health and our sexual needs, as all the other plants are necessary for our physical health and dietary needs. Together they help us continue on, keep us whole, and better connect us one to another, and to the earth as a whole. No doubt, the use of plants for food and for medicine has been as important to our continuation as our sexual enjoyment and spiritual fulfillment, and in many ways they are so intertwined together that it seems they all have a purpose and deserve our respect and care in how we use them.