Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Drugs and Spirituality

QUESTION: Do you have any information on the Huna point of view about drugs, and the spiritual advantanges and disadvantages of using them?

ANSWER: We do not have any published material related to your questions, but I can give you a brief answer.

First of all, we must define what we mean by the word, "spiritual," since many people are confused about that. For the purposes of this reply, let us call it "a desirable state of heightened conscious awareness and body functioning which is characterized by a loving communication with one's self and one's environment."

Using this definition, drugs can be either advantageous or disadvantageous, depending on
a) whether they are of the earth or synthesized
b) the amount taken
c) the circumstances under which they are taken
d) the attitudes and expectations of the person taking them.

Drugs of any kind (including caffeine and alcohol), as well as more potent natural sources like peyote and marijuana, are spiritually disadvantageous whenever they lower awareness, interfere with body functioning, and/or decrease one's sense of loving communication. I would also add, whenever they increase one's sense of powerlessness or exaggerate one's sense of power over the environment. Both of these, however, are the result of lowered or restricted awareness.

The most potentially disadvantageous drugs are the synthesized ones (LSD, etc.) taken in large doses, with or without supervision. Two reasons for this are that the body is not equipped to assimilate them properly, and the conscious mind is forced to deal with aspects of the self that it is not prepared to handle, yet it must deal with them until the drug has worn off. Even a "good trip" in such a case will have deleterious after effects on the body and the mind. "Large doses," of course, is a subjective phrase that only makes sense in relation to a particular individual.

In small, controlled amounts in the right setting and under the careful supervision of one who is already spiritually aware, many kinds of drugs can be used to help spiritual and psychic development. This has been the case through many ages in many cultures. However, under these conditions drugs are used as an intermediary tool, which is discarded as soon as the trainee or apprentice is able to reach the same states without their help.

What is most unfortunate at the present time is the careless and overabundant used of a wide array of drugs for recreation, for escape, for no more than symptom relief, or simply out of habit. Such use is definitely spiritually disadvantageous, under our definition, for the people involved. To cite one example, coffee in small amounts has the potential for heightening awareness and body function in a way that could help spiritual and psychic development, but when drunk excessively it has the opposite effect.

Significantly, from my personal experience, I can let you know that neither Korean, Mongolian, nor Hawaiian shamans have found it necessary to use drugs to develop their shamanic abilities. As we say in Huna, there is always another way to do anything. While drugs of different kinds may possibly help spiritual development, they are not needed and they can even get in the way.


  1. most interesting to find the post at four twenty pm. oh my what
    classic a time to send to the web this subject.
    quite a trick kahuna king!

    my experience shows that most all shaman
    medicines all create an alkaline state for the mind to travel
    to soul for contact. Same is done with Deep breath.
    no inhalants in hawaiian or Tiben culture. the evolution is to breath. deep
    long ..... all the way to your soul. aloha nui, pono i'o harry uhane jim

  2. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I appreciate your statement concerning drugs and I'm happy to come across it right now when I was pondering about this subject myself.

    snowy greetings from Germany



  3. Mahalo Dr. King, This answered the one question I have been asking and wondering about Hawaiian shamans.
    As for the use of plant entheogens for spiritual connection, absolutely correct. In fact Sufis, mystical Islam sect, have this saying about use of cannabis: "Smoking it occasionally makes you wise. Smoking it too much turns you into a donkey."
    We do have an overpopulation of donkeys giving this plant a negative image. But used wisely and moderately DOES bring great benefits mentally, physically and definitely spiritually.
    Mahalo nui loa for the down to earth wisdom.