I'd see this as a straight comparison to mortification.Nokkonen wrote: But, in a way, I've gone through some kind of an initiation in my spiritual life that was akin to dying and being renewed into another kind of a creature. I just don't feel like that had much to do with shaman's spirits, although I've never been very sensitive to invisible spirits in any case.
We had quite a thorough discussion on the matter in the last Nebukadnezzar lodge meeting. I can see how there are different points of view to this, even though, as you well know, I am very anti-drug myself.Nokkonen wrote: What comes to entheogens, they have historically been very much part of the deal with shamanism. I believe that they might not be the answer to modern practitioners since our understanding on human consciousness has evolved while at the same time, traditional understanding on the spiritual realm has disintegrated. It can cause problems if one can't face their demons while on hallucinogens and there is no guidance for doing so. Traditional societies had, and some still have, strictly supervised and ceremonial ways of doing drugs, and I don't believe that drugs are necessarily awesome and safe to use without professionals guidance. I don't condemn drug use as such, however, and my own journey back to mental and spiritual health was greatly aided by it.
I don't judge others though, and I understand that these kind of substances could aid an individual, as you say, IF the effects can be controlled and the mind focused enough. I do believe, however, that this can be very much related to the person in question and wouldn't exactly recommend this kind of experimentation to anyone, atleast not with a proper guide and/or mentor who understands both the pros and cons of the situation.
My dear friend Thuleia is very knowledgable on the subject. Her website can be found here. Particularly this was a recommended read..Nokkonen wrote: Anyway, could anybody recommend some good and reputable introductory books to modern shamanizing?
Also, any books by Johannes Setälä could be recommended. Info can be found here, for example.