from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A psychoactive substance, usually one derived from plants or fungi but also from the secretions of animals such as toads, that is ingested by a shaman or another participant in a ritual in order to produce visions or gain mystical insight.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A psychoactive substance used for the purpose of inducing a mystical or spiritual experience.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Greek entheos, possessed; see enthusiasm + –gen.]



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  • An entheogen, in the strictest sense, is a psychoactive substance used in a religious or shamanic context. Entheogens generally come from plant sources which contain molecules closely related to endogenous neurochemicals. They occur in a wide variety of sacraments of various religious rites UDV/NAC and have been shown to directly provoke what users perceive as spiritual/mystical experiences.

    The word entheogen is a neologism derived from the ancient Greek : ἔνθεος (entheos) and γενέσθαι (genesthe). Entheos literally means "god (theos) within", translates as "inspired" and is the root of the English word "enthusiasm". The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artistscitation needed. Genesthe means "to generate". So an entheogen is "that which generates God (or godly inspiration) within a person".


    February 4, 2008

  • “Unlike the psychedelic painter Alex Grey, whose art conveys a true believer’s faith in the reality of an ultimately beneficent divinity accessible by means of “entheogens” — drugs that activate inner gods — and practices like meditation and chanting, Mr. Tomaselli teeters on the agnostic line between belief and skepticism.”

    The New York Times, Picturing a Mind-Blowing World Made of Drugs, by Ken Johnson, October 7, 2010

    October 9, 2010