Altering Consciousness, Vol. 1

Vol. 1 ("History, Culture, and the Humanities") Contents






Consciousness Alteration

Yulia Ustinova



Spirit Possession

Moshe Sluhovsky



Altered Consciousness

Carden~a & Alvarado



Eastern Approaches

Jonathan Shear




Michael Winkelman



In Society

Charles Whitehead




Graham St John



In Philosophy

Jennifer M. Windt



In Religion

Antoon Geels



Colored Inklings

Wendy E. Cousins



In Performance

Philip B. Zarrilli



Modern Art

Mark Levy


p. vii Acknowledgements

"We want to acknowledge ...

E. E. Evans-Wentz, Erika Bourguignon, Michael Harner, Joseph Long, and Charles Laughlin in anthropology".



Consciousness Alteration Practices in the West to Late Antiquity

Yulia Ustinova


pp. 48-9 praehistoric musical instruments

p. 48

"The origin of musical tradition is now confidently dated back to the Upper Palaeolithic [fn. 1 : "Or perhaps even earlier; see Mithen, 2005."] : The most ancient bird-bone finger-hole pipes {flutes}, discovered at Geissenklo:sterle and Hohle Fels (Germany) and at Isturitz (France), are dated to 35,000-30,000 before present. ...

p. 49

Epipalaeolithic {Mesolithic} (ca. 8,000 before present) depictions of dance were discovered in caves of Addaura in Sicily and on the island of Levanzo near Sicily (Leroi-Gourhan, 1965, pp. 381-382). Dancing scenes are common in the art of the eastern Mediterranean during the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods (eighth to fourth millennia BC; Garfinkel, 2003)."

Mithen 2005 = S. Mithen : The Singing Neanderthals. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Leroi-Gourhan 1965 = A. Leroi-Gourhan : Pre’histoire de l’art occidentale. Paris : Quadrige.

Garfinkel 2003 = J. Garfinkel : Dancing at the Dawn of Agriculture. Austin : U of TX Pr.

p. 50 praehistoric use of narcotics

"Discoveries of opium poppy capsules among objects accompanying the dead buried in Cueva de los Murcie`lagos at Albun~ol in southern Spain provided ... opium ... used there as an intoxicant about 4200 BCE."



Spirit Possession in Christian Western Tradition

Moshe Sluhovsky


pp. 77-8 contemplative guidebooks

p. 77

"The Clowde of Unknowying (written between 1375 and 1400) ... written now in the vernacular ... became available to the laity

p. 78

(Cloud of Unknowing, 1944)."

"between the 13th and 16th centuries ... Female mystics levitated, entered into trance states ..., or were paralyzed in rigid positions. ... (Bynum, 1987)"

P. Hodgson (ed.) : The Cloud of Unknowing and Related Treatises. Oxford U Pr.

Bynum 1987 = C. W. Bynum : Holy Feast, Holy Fast : the religious significance of ... medieval women. Berkeley : U of CA Pr.



Altered Consciousness from the Age of Enlightenment

Etzel Carden~a & Carlos S. Alvarado


p. 94 seeresses & seers

"carefully described cases such as ... Mme. B (the pseudonym of Le’onie Leboulanger; Janet, 1885/1968a, 1886/1968b) or the extraordinary displays ... of the brothers Didier cannot be ... explained away (cf. Gauld, 1992). ...

Carl Alexander Ferdinand Kluge ... characterized ... the phenomenology of ... the famous seeress of Prevorst ... (Kluge, 1811; see also Ellenberger, 1970, pp. 78-80)."

Janet 1968a = Pierre Janet : "Report on Some Phenomena of Somnambulism". J OF THE HISTORY OF THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, 4:124-31.

Janet 1968b = Pierre Janet : "Second Observation of ... the Somnambulistic State". J OF THE HISTORY OF THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, 4:258-67.

Gauld 1992 = A. Gauld : A History of Hypnotism. Cambridge U Pr.

Ellenberger 1970 = H. F. Ellenberger : The Discovery of the Unconscious. NY : Basic Bks.

p. 98 contacts with angels and with spirits

There was "contact with angels and departed spirits ... (Billot, 1839; Cahagnet, 1851 ...). One such ... was an English woman called Emma. According to the report :

Emma ... began to speak frequently of spiritual objects and beings. ... one being {entity}, under whose influence she seemed to be, and of whom she frequently spoke, had been ... in this world ... . Emma always says that this ‘lady’ .. ‘helps her’ is all serious cases of illness, and the like ... . (Haddock, 1851, p. 187)"

"From the beginnings of modern sspirtualism in the United States, mediums ... under the influence of discarnate spirits, talked at length about the other world and about a variety of moral, philosophical, social, and scientific topics (e.g., Hatch, 1858).

Others saw spirits ..., personified {were mouthpieces for} the dead, and produced writing. Furthermore, there were mediums that painted, performed music, and sang. In their book Spiritualism (1853) Judge John W. Edmonds (1799-1874) physician George T. Dexter discussed many of these manifestations."

Billot 1839 = J. P. Billot : Recherches .. sur ... phenomenes extraordinaires observes chez les modernes voyans. [Researches ... over ... extra-ordinary phainomena observed in the modern seers.] Paris : Albanel et Martin.

Cahagnet 1851 = Louis Alphonse Cahagnet : The Celestial Telegraph, or, secrets of the life to come. NY : J. S. Redfield; Rochester : D. M. Dewey. (London : Geo. Peirce ..., 1850.)

Haddock 1851 = J. W. Haddock : Somnolism and Psycheism; or, the science of the soul. 2nd edn. London : James S. Hodson.

Hatch 1858 = Cora L. V. Hatch : Discourses on Religion, Morals, Philosophy, and Metaphysics. Vol. 1 (no more voll. published). NY : B. F. Hatch.

Edmonds & Dexter 1853 = J. W. Edmonds & G. T. Dexter : Spiritualism. Vol. 1. NY : Partridge & Brittan.

p. 99 communications from the antients, and from another planet

"there were many mediumistic performances representing ... ancient characters, as seen in the case of ... Egyptian spirit (Berry, 1876, pp. 193-217).

Even more exotic were the communications of spirits ... on other planets, such as those ... from planet Jupiter (Sardou, 1858)."

Berry 1876 = Catherine Berry : Experiences in Spiritualism. 2nd edn. London : James Burns, Spiritual Institution.

Sardou 1858 = Victorien Sardou : "Des habitations de la plane`te Jupiter". REVUE SPIRITE, 1:223-32.

p. 99 temporary alterations in personality of the spirit-medium, indicative of the praesence of a spirit-control (possessing-spirit)

"Impersonation {usually called, "incarnation of a controlling-spirit in a spirit-medium"} in verbal or written communications was ... accompanied by apparent {manifest} changes of mannerisms and personality. In one such example ..., ... the medium’s "voice and manner differed much when under different influences" {by different spirits} (De Morgan, 1863, p. 90)."

De Morgan 1863 = Sophia Elizabeth de Morgan : From Matter to Spirit. London : Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts & Green.

pp. 100-2 paranormality in spirit-mediumship




"the paranormality ... of ... these communications is ... relevant, ... explained ... the most spectacular and well-researched cases of ... mediums, among them

Leonora E. Piper (1857-1950) and

Gladys Osborne Leonard (1881-1968;

for overviews see Sage, 1904; Smith, 1964)."


"Mrs. Piper showed a variety of alterations of consciousness and corresponding phenomena (Sidgwick, 1915)."


"In a very thorough account of Mrs. Leonard’s mediumship, Una Lady Troubridge ... described ... different xtates of consciousness of Mrs. Leonard : ... automatic writing, ... and ... a state ... which ... impersonated deceased individuals. ...


"the medium Stanislawa initially {and erroneously} interpreted her control Moyenne as being an inner part of her personality before concluding {accurately} that she was a spirit ..., as [likewise] exemplified by the "alter" Margaret of Doris Fischer and the Feda control of Mrs. Leonard (Troubridge, 1922)."


"Phantasms of the Living (Gurney, Myers, & Podmore, 1886) ... presented a meticulous account of the phenomenology ... of anomalous transfer of information."

Sage 1904 = Michel Sage : Mrs. Piper and the Society for Psychical Research. NY : Scott-Thaw.

Smith 1964 = Susy Smith : The Mediumship of Mrs. Leonard. New Hyde Park (N.Y.) : University Books, 1964.

Sidgwick 1915 = Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick: "A Contribution to the Study of ... Mrs. Piper’s Trance Phenomena". PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, 28:1-657.

Troubridge 1922 = U. L. Troubridge : "The Modus Operandi in ... Mediumistic Trance". PROCEEDINGS OF THE SOCIETY FOR PSYCHICAL RESEARCH, 32:344-78.

Gurney, Myers, & Podmore 1886 = E. Gurney, F. W. H. Myers, & F. Podmore : Phantasms of the Living. 2 voll. London : Tru:bner.

pp. 106-7 more recent (1930s-1940s) researchers in spirit-mediumship




"Santiago Ramo`n y Cabral (1852-1934) , ... Nobel prizewinner ..., did research on hypnosis, mediumship, and parapsychological phenomena ... (Sala et al., 2008).

Hans Berger (1873-1941)[, inventor of the EEG, also researched] telepathic communications ... (Millet[t], 2001).

Charles Richet (1850-1935), another Nobel laureate ..., devoted a substantial part of his life to research hypnosis, mediumship, and psi phenomena (Alvarado, 2008)."


"Also influential in some circles is ... George Gurdjieff (1866-1949) whose "The Work" also proposed a set of movements and psychological practices to uncover one’s automatic cognitions. ...


Nonetheless, ... consideration of ASC as a fundamental aspect of human experience was to a large degree relegated to the academic dustbin during a great part of the 20th century.

{This relegation was largely a result of domination of not only the world socio-political arena, but also European and American "academia", by such ultra-reactionary movements as Nazi-ism, Stalinism, and (before the time of Kennedy) pro-slavery/Jim-Crow Democrats.}


Although the study of ASC [altering state of consciousness] has reemerged during recent decades ..., it may be still some time before the more comprehensive view of reality of such thinkers as Myers, [William] James, and yes, even [Rudolph] Steiner gets a full hearing."

Sala et al. 2008 = J. Sala, E. Carden~a. M. C. Holgado, C. An~ez, P. Pe`rez, R. Perin~a`n, & A. Capafons : "The Contributions of Ramo`n y Cajal and other Spanish Authors to Hypnosis". INTERNAT J OF CLINICAL AND EXPERIMENTAL HYPNOSIS, 56:361-72.

Millett 2001 = David Millett : "Hans Berger : from psychic energy". PERSPECTIVES IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, 44:522-42.

Alvarado 2008 = Carlos S Alvarado : "Charles Richet’s (1850-1935) Work in Psychical Research". Parapsychology Foundation Lyceum.



Eastern Approaches to Altered States of Consciousness

Jonathan Shear


p. 149 the Self, according to Advaita Vedanta

"I dwell within all beings as the Atman [Self], pure consciousness, the ground of all phenomena, internal and external. ... Now I know that I am all. (Shankara, 1970, p. 105)"

Shankara 1970 = Shankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination. (transl. by Swami Prabhavananda & C. Isherwood) NY : Mentor Bks.




Michael Winkelman


p. 174 astral projection is the source of religions

"Metzinger contends that the OBE has undoubtedly been at the basis of humans’ postulation of spirits, souls, and other supernatural phenomena."

Thomas Metzinger : The Ego Tunnel. NY : Basic Bks, 2009. (based on "the ancient Buddhist concept of the illusory self."

p. 176 Michael Harner’s metaphysic

"Harner’s (1982) approach is explicitly emic in the sense that it accepts the indigenous views of reality of spirits, viewing the indigenous worldviews as a legitimate metaphysic."

Harner 1982 = Michael Harner : The Way of the Shaman. NY : Bantam Bks.



Altered Consciousness in Society

Charles Whitehead


pp. 192-3 recent divine revelations in the Pacific region




"among a group of Temiar aborigines ..., a highly respected healer received in a dream a new song and dance known as Chinchem, along with an entire system of reforms ... (Noone, 1939)."


"In the earliest cargo cults, the faithful would build wooden jetties where the ancestral ships could dock ... (Burridge, 1960). ...

Quite dramatic alterations of consciousness are common in cargo cults. Participants whirl, shake, dance, chant, foam at the mouth, or couple promiscuously in a frenzied attempt to attract the desired cargo (Burridge, 1960).

The Vailala Madness, one of the earliest well-documented cargo cults, gained its name from the behavior of its followers, which included speaking in tongues, fits of shaking, and similar phenomena (Worsley, 1970)."

Noone 1939 = H. D. Noone : "Chinchem : a study of the role of dream experience ... amongst the Temiar Senoi of Malaya". MAN, April, 57.

Burridge 1960 = K. Burridge : Mambu. London : Methuen.

Worsley 1970 = P. Worsley : The Trumpet Shall Sound : a study of cargo cults in Melanesia. London : Paladin.

pp. 193-4 Ghost-Dance

p. 193

"Jack Wilson (formerly Wavoka) {"Wavoka (also spelled Wovoca and Wovoka)" } has left us his own account of the vision in which he was given the Ghost Dance (Mooney, 1896). ... Wilson ... performed the 5-day Ghost Dance at the prescribed intervals" .

p. 194

"the Ghost Dance ... acquired a more militant character ... with the introduction of the Ghost Shirts."

Mooney 1896 = J. Mooney : The Ghost Dance Religion ... . Part 2 (pp. 641-1136) of the 14th Annual Report, Bureau of Ethnology. Washington : Gvt Pr Office.



Altering Consciousness in Contemporary Counterculture

Graham St John


pp. 205-6 turn off screen and filters of material delusion

p. 205

"Following on the ... insights of William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902) and Bergson’s understanding of the mind as a "reducing valve" articulated in his Creative Evolution (... [1907]), Huxley divined that psychedelics

p. 206

enabled users to turn off the perceptual "screens" and "filters" that typically blind one to the Other World accessed by saints, seers, mystics, and prophets throughout history".

James 1902 = William James in The Varieties of Religious Experience. London : Longmans, Green & Co.

Bergson 1907 = Henri Bergson (transl. by Arthur Mitchell) : Creative Evolution. Henri Bergson; London : Macmillan, 1911. (translation of :- L'e’volution cre’́atrice. Paris : Alcan, 1907.)



Altered Consciousness in Philosophy

Jennifer M. Windt


p. 233 dream of false-awakening

"Bertrand Russell (1948, p. 186) wrote ...

I have frequently dreamt that I woke up; in fact once, after ether, I dreamt it about a hundred times in the course of a dream."

Russell 1948 = Bertrand Russell : Human Knowledge : its scope and limits. London : George Allen & Unwin.

p. 248 out-of-body experience confirming the existence of the soul

"The experience of leaving one’s body in OBEs, which is often described as highly realistic, may have given rise to a "protoconcept" ... according to which the mind is separable from the body and may continue to live after death."

"the phenomenology of OBEs inevitably leads ... to the concrete idea of an invisible, weightless, but spatially extended second body. This, then, may actually be ... the philosophical proto-concept of mind. (Metzinger, 2005, p. 81)"

"separability of mind and body {or rather, of dream-body and material-body} may also have been ... by nocturnal dreams. ...

OBEs are comparatively rare, whereas most people are at least occasionally able to recall dreams."

{Although they may be rare amongst person who do not ingest the drugs (such as, henbane, wolfbane, and jimsonweed) which produce astral-projection, yet nevertheless astral-projections are commonplace, and usual, amongst persons who do ingest such drugs. There are human cultures which promote the ingesting of such drugs.}

Metzinger 2005 = T. Metzinger : "Out-of-Body Experiences as the Origin of the Concept of a "Soul"". MIND & MATTER, 3(1), 57-84.

{Seeing the souls of persons dying persons departing out of their bodies (this is often witnessed by astral-projectors) may be an adequate indication of survival of the soul beyond death; for dreams to be taken as an aequally convincing indication of survival beyond death, one must firstly accept the metaphysics (as Amerindians and many other "primitive" peoples do) that the dream-world is the world of deities, deities capable of transporting one’s dream-body to another world at the time of our death.}



Altered Consciousness in Religion

Antoon Geels


p. 258 kataphatic; apophatic

"Religious visions belong to the category of kataphatic experiences,

usually expressed in the language of personal relations.

A second category is called apophatic experiences,

expressed for example in the impersonal language of infinity."

p. 261 perennialism

"The dominant perspective in the earlier scientific studiey of mysticism, ranging from

William James (1902) to Walter T. Stace (1960), can be described as perennialism. The perennial point of view is ... that there exist important doctrinal similarities between different interpretations of the experience (e.g., Otto, 1932)."

Stace 1960 = Walter T. Stace : Mysticism and Philosophy. London : Macmillan.

Otto 1932 : Rudolph Otto : Mysticism East and West. London : Macmillan. (translation of Westo:stliche Mystik. Mu:nchen, 1926.)

p. 263 mors mystica

"The present author [A.G.] has devoted ... years to studying ... mors mystica, mystical death, in the mystical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (Geels ..., 2003a). ... that you must "die before you die" is ... one of the most important denominations in the great mystical traditions of the world. ... The greater holy war, so many S[.]ufis state, is the war against your own self." "Forman and some of his colleagues talk about a "forgetting model," ... expressing the process leading to mystical death (1998a, p. 7 ...)."

Geels 2003a = Antoon Geels : "A Psychological Perspective on Religious Visions". In :- A. Belzen & A. Geels (edd.) : Mysticism : a variety of psychological perspectives. Amsterdam : Rodopi.

Forman 1998a = R. K. C. Forman (ed.) : The Innate Capacity : mysticism ... and philosophy. Oxford U Pr.



Colored Inklings

Wendy E. Cousins


p. 281 how the Qur>an was divinely revealed

"Sometimes it cometh unto me like the reverberations of a bell ...; the reverberations abate when I am aware of their message.

And sometimes the Angel taketh the form of a man and speaketh unto me, and I am aware of what he saith. (cited in Lings, 1983, pp. 44-45)"

Lings 1983 = M. Lings : Muhammad : his life based on the earliest sources. Rochester (VT) : Inner Traditions.

p. 285, fn. 3 "doors of perception"

"William Blake’s ... book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790) in which he argues : "If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through the narrow chinks of his cavern.""

pp. 292-4 Irish literary authors who were devotees of spirit-given automatic-writing




"automatic writing mediums Hester Dowden, Eileen Garrett, and Geraldine Cummins were also features of the Anglo-Irish literary scene (Cousins, 2008). ... Geraldine Cummins, who had enjoyed some success as a playwright before achieving fame as one of the most prodigious automatic writing mediums, ...


would fall into ... a light trance ... . He hand would then begin to write. Usually, her "spirit control" (a rather imperious entity called Astor) would make some introductory remarks and announce that another entity was waiting to speak. ...


Kept rather more private, at least during Yeat’s lifetime, was his collaboration with


his mediumistic wife George,

{Is this name intended as a deformation of /Gorgon/? The Gorgones are located in Libua, which was also the location of Lamia (cf. /Epi-Lamia/, who is so-named on account of her lying atop men).}


first through automatic writing and then through a succession of hypnotic "sleeps" during which messages were


received from a variety of communicators who called themselves by many names : Thomas of Dorlowicz,



{for /Ab-meritus/, an alternative for /Emeritus/}


Epilamia, Fish,



{ the apple-of-poe:sy, imparted to Thomas the Rhymer?}


and Leaf

{a succulent-plant leaf, capable of regenerating another plant?}.


The importance of these scripts to Yeat’s imaginative thinking and poetic creativity was enormous (Maddox, 1999; Saddlemyer, 2004)."

Cousins 2008 = W. E. Cousins : "Writing in the Celtic Twilight Zone". PROCEEDINGS OF THE 51ST ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE PARAPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION, 333-7.

Maddox 1999 = Brenda Maddox : George’s Ghosts. London : Picador.

Saddlemyer 2004 = Ann Saddlemyer : Becoming George. Oxford U Pr.



Altered Consciousness in Performance

Philip B. Zarrilli


p. 311 spirit-possession in a Japanese theatrical drama

"Inspired by a chapter in The Tale of Genji, Lady Aoi (c. 15th century as revised by Zeami) enacts the story of the ... pregnant wife of Prince Genji, Princess Aoi ... . She has been possessed by the ... spirit of Lady Rokujo, Genji’s former mistress, whose living spirit leaves her [Lady Rokujo’s] body when she sleeps. A female shaman performs a ritual to call forth the spirit possessing Lady Aoi. ... the spirit of Lady Rokujo ... eventually reveals her true identity : ...

Who do you think this person is who appears before you now drawn by the sound of the catalpa bow? I am the ... spirit of Lady Rokujo. (Goff, 1991, p. 135)"

Goff 1991 = J. Goff : Noh Drama and the Tale of Genji. Princeton U Pr.



Altered Consciousness and Modern Art

Mark Levy


p. 331 Australian aboriginal praeternatural energy-lines

"crosshatchings representing a similar net of interwoven energy lines that ... is the primordial matrix of the Dreamings, the original [divine] creators who wove the fabric of existence at the beginning of the Dreamtime, which signifies both this primordial time of creation

and nonordinary reality."

{Ordinary dreams are assumed to be located in a world of "nonordinary reality", namely the divine world of the deities.}

pp. 332-3 praeternatural energy-lines in yoga

p. 332

"The experience of energy lines is also common in advanced forms of meditation such as Kundalini. In deep meditation, opaque objects are seen to dissolve into energy lines that radiate from the

p. 333

chakras along the central spinal channel. On a still more profound level of meditation, however, these lines further dissolve into a continuous field of formless vibrating energy."

pp. 334-5 shamanic dreaming

p. 334

"Dreaming in shamanic cultures is considered to be "soul flight," a journey into nonordinary reality and through which the shaman retrieves information for the community. There are several techniques that promote shamanic dreaming, including ... lucid dreaming – the ability to become reflectively conscious of [the fact that one is experiencing] the dream[,] without waking up."

p. 335

"nonordinary reality ... has ... shamanic themes ..., including

dismemberments in nonordinary reality [viz., in dreams] ...,

dreams within dreams,

visitations from animal and other spirit allies,

journeys to the upper and lower world,

shape shifting".


Etzel Carden~a & Michael Winkelman (edd.) : Altering Consciousness : Multidisciplinary Perspectives. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2011.