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Psilocybin and Mystical Experience: Implications for Healthy Psychological Functioning, Spirituality, and Religion [ONLINE]

September 15, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Mystical-type experiences are profound and often characterized by an authoritative sense of the unity and sacredness and sometimes interpreted as an encounter with God or Ultimate Reality. Although such experiences have been described by mystics and religious figures throughout the ages, there are few experimental studies because such experiences usually occur at low rates and often unpredictably. Psilocybin in the form the Psilocybe genus of mushrooms has been used for centuries within some cultures for religious and healing purposes. This presentation will review a series of studies investigating the effects of psilocybin administered to carefully screened and psychologically prepared volunteers who were encouraged to close their eyes and direct their attention inwards. Under such conditions, psilocybin occasions profound personally and spiritually meaningful mystical-type experiences in the majority of participants.

Roland Griffiths is Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences and Director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His principal research focus is on the behavioral and subjective effects of mood-altering drugs.

This event is cosponsored by the Center for the Study of World Religions and Esalen.


September 15, 2020
2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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Harvard Divinity School