by Linda Nathan
I have a B.A. in psychology and have done graduate work in the field--besides studying it for many years on my own. Just saying.
“Religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition.” —Aldous Huxley
Despite the popular expression, “If you remember the sixties, you weren’t there,” we do remember the sixties, at least a lot of it, and Richard and I were there—right in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District, the vortex of the whirlwind. We were also among the first to drink the Kool-Aid of the countercultural revolution—LSD.
At first, it seemed like a harmless ride on a merry-go-round or a weird dip into a strange religious landscape. It promised freedom, an uninhibited way of life, and eventually, we came to believe, even godhood.
But all too soon, the insanity, corruption, and violence—the rootlessness, the lawlessness, the madness of the experiment—began to manifest, and we watched the dream degenerate around us. Finally, in desperation, we moved south to the hills around Palo Alto, where we got into witchcraft.
Miraculously, Jesus Christ rescued us in 1976, and then we began to watch America’s changing landscape from another perspective—Christ’s—as the psychedelic delirium went mainstream in America and fueled the “Woke” Revolution. 
It all began for me during my freshman year in a Christian college (1958-59), where I learned the basics of the new religion in my year-long psychology course.
The Psychological Paradigm Shift
“Religion will be transformed into an activity concerned mainly with experience and intuition.” —Aldous Huxley
I set out on my fifteen-year odyssey through six different colleges and universities on the West Coast determined to eventually earn a degree in psychology. But long before I earned that B.A., the precepts drummed into me in my first psychology course transformed me. They went something like this:
Real moral problems with real guilt needing real correction and punishment are not the real issue in society because “normal” is just a point on a bell-shaped curve—so probably, there isn’t even such a thing as normality or right or wrong anyway.
My favorite professor often hinted at the great changes psychology was bringing to our society and how it was transforming traditional views. Of course, he had to be careful what he said, but the message was clear enough: Christians are deceived. The old boundaries were rigid, unscientific, authoritarian, and based on superstition, while real love is human-centered, based on acceptance, tolerance, and freedom.
Tolerance! Acceptance! Love! Freedom! What magical words to a naïve eighteen-year-old. It was all music to my itching young ears, and I devoured the philosophy. I began conspicuously carrying Bertrand Russell’s Why I’m Not A Christian to meals in the dining hall and attending meetings of the local Humanist Association.
When old high school friends visited one weekend and suggested we attend church, I pushed for the Unitarian service. I admit it was boring, but I was puzzled by one friend’s lament: “Where’s Jesus!” What did that matter? I thought. Obviously, she was hopelessly out of date with the times.
One day, my professor asked the class: “Where do we find God?” After some of the usual “old man on a throne” responses, Duke spoke up. Duke was one of the most popular students on the campus; he was handsome, wealthy, and drove his own sports car. “I look in the mirror,” he said. The professor’s approval fell on Duke in silent waves of assent and set me wondering.
I wanted that approval.
The Third Force Prophets
Unknowingly, I was plunging into a momentous new wave that was subtly transforming America’s colleges and universities during the mid-fifties and early sixties. The patron saint of this movement was theologian/psychologist Carl Rogers, and its prophets were everywhere—they certainly were at my college. In fact, a graduate student I knew had just won a fellowship as Rogers’ assistant and was leaving for that mysterious land “Back East” where “Things Happened.” And I was determined to follow in her footsteps.
Known as the “Third Force” in psychology, Humanistic Psychology arrived like a gale wind promising unrestricted love and freedom and challenging the two previous giants in the field: the psychic determinism of Freud’s school of Psychoanalysis and the lifeless mechanics of Skinner’s Behaviorism.
Rogers’ ideas were enormously attractive to many besides me. Originally, he sought training as a minister but rejected it in favor of psychology. His thinking lined up just enough with our then-Christianized culture to appear biblical for those who wanted to believe it was, while actually forming a bridge for those like myself who were seeking a way out of what appeared a dead orthodoxy. It was subtle indeed—far too subtle for someone like me. And apparently for those who had hired my professor as well. Eventually, he was fired not for his anti-Christian views but for acting on them too freely at the time.
Rogers wasn’t the only voice then insisting that sexual permissiveness is essential to life and growth, but he was one of the most influential. While emphasizing such biblical virtues as personal values and individual uniqueness, he rejected the external authority of the Bible and exalted self instead. He divorced honesty, love, and the importance of listening from biblical authority and refocused them entirely within the human self, creating a morally relative counseling system of “acceptance” nearly without limits. Freedom of choice became rooted in the individual’s value system rather than the Bible or tradition and thus became disconnected from any stable anchor. While the effects at first felt liberating, in the long run they were morally and socially devastating.
But Rogers influenced me the most when he said that “no self-experience can be discriminated as more or less worthy of positive regard than any other.”
That’s it! I thought.
I’d found my new direction—and it was right in tune with the new spirit of the age.
With love redefined as tolerance and acceptance, and morality riding the fluctuations of inner experience rather than objective outer standards based on truth (and especially the Bible), Rogers and his prophets laid an important part of the philosophical groundwork for the moral and spiritual upheaval just breaking in the fifties and early sixties. For this radical break with biblical authority in the name of therapy was the perfect bridge to the huge wave of occult revival and paganism that was soon to break in the mid-sixties and seventies and become known as the New Age Movement.
By 1974, Rogers was promoting a glowing picture of the “new man,” a counterculture figure that rejects modern “straight society” and has no problem with the use of drugs or the occult or with sexual perversion.
This willingness to look "within" without guidelines or restraints led me and many of his followers into such areas as drug-induced states of altered consciousness, a focus on dreams and meditation, concern with psychic phenomena, and interest in esoteric religious views.
And, since this “new man” is his own authority, he is also free to break the law—either moral or legal—if he wants to.
By the end of my first year in college, the fragile filaments of my old disintegrating value system had been seared as with a white-hot knife, replaced with a love redefined as tolerance and a morality I could call both scientific and therapeutic. Huxley’s 1958 quote (above) had become reality in me as my spiritual search focused not on truth but on experience and intuition.
I now had all the justification I needed to strike out at authority and “find myself.”
The Fourth Force:
The Merger of Western Psychology and Eastern Mysticism
One of the first things Christ showed us after our salvation in 1976 was the deep paganism emerging in our previously Christianized culture and the way it was changing everything. At the same time that many were abandoning historical Christian beliefs, leaving the churches, and searching for meaning elsewhere, paganism and Eastern religious views were infiltrating the churches, watering down the Gospel, and perverting the biblical message.
As quoted above, literary icon and psychedelic pioneer Aldous Huxley had already predicted this transformation, and I had already undergone the conversion, become an evangelist for it, and was preaching it. Clearly, one of the main doorways through which this transformation was entering was in the field of psychology.
Another doorway to radical change was the burgeoning use of psychedelics. Sooner or later, I’m convinced, using psychedelics will initiate a pantheistic mystical experience focused on feelings and self. For although psychedelics are relatively new to our age, they have a long history among indigenous tribes and their medicine men as door-openers to the occult spiritual realms. 
Since the 1960s, psychedelics have been changing America’s landscape in formerly unrecognizable ways. Their widespread use in the sixies and seventies greatly contributed to America's cultural shift Left and speeded today’s resulting social transitions. (The term psychedelic normally embraces LSD , Mescaline, Peyote, and high-THC concentrate marijuana, as well as “magic mushrooms” (psilocybin), Ayahuasca/DMT, and designer drugs like MDT and RAVE.)
The use of psychedelics also paved the way for Alan Watts’s groundbreaking book in 1961, Psychotherapy East and West, in which Watts, an Episcopal minister and spiritual philosopher, celebrated the merging of Western psychology and Eastern mysticism. (We had already been celebrating this merger on our LSD trips.)
From Transpersonal Psychology to Big Pharma
Before long, this focus on self and spiritual meaning became apparent in counseling practices as a new field of psychology was birthed: “transpersonal” psychology.
Transpersonal psychology seeks meaning by focusing upon spiritual and metaphysical aspects of human personality. Practices such as meditation, hypnotherapy, dream analysis, visualization, journaling, yoga, and mindfulness are all avenues of this approach. It rode in on the New Age Movement and became popularized through such avenues as the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, the works of Gnostic psychiatrist Carl Jung, Eastern meditative techniques and yoga, and especially in Christendom, aspects of the spiritual formation movement.
Thus, the search for healing and spirituality in modern counseling psychology, untethered from the Bible, soon became intimately intertwined with pagan and Eastern religions, and psychedelic mysticism. Not surprisingly, these movements are now bringing sweeping changes to our established scientific medical and psychological professions—empowered by Big Pharma, Big Alcohol, and Big Tobacco—and other Big Money..
The psychedelic pharma market is exploding, and it’s only beginning. It’s “currently a little over $2 billion and is expected to be valued at more than $6.8 billion by 2027 implying an annualized growth rate of a staggering 16.3%.” “Psychedelics are a huge rising star in the drug therapy industry, and there’s almost no mental health condition right now that’s not being looked at.”
In 2019, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine formed the first ever (in the US) Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, where it is churning out dozens of research papers on psychedelics. Its opening just happened to “coincide” with a new classification by the Federal Drug and Food Administration for “breakthrough therapy” drugs—in this case, psilocybin, which is seen as a major promising pharmaceutical.
In 2021, Francis Collins, Christian evangelical leader of the international Human Genome Project and former director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), praised the potential of psychedelic treatments and approved a massive grant for psilocybin research. 
As you might imagine, mega-investors are lining up for the enormous profits expected from medicines utilizing psychedelic, and courses to teach professionals in the mental health professions how to “do” psychedelic counseling are springing up like mushrooms (no pun intended).
In June 2023, a massive five-day conference in Denver called Psychedelic Science 2023,offered training in psychedelic counseling along with in-depth discussion about the future of psychedelic medicine. Such programs are appearing frequently along with \mountains of as yet unanswered questions and concerns.
Each psychedelic is unique in its structure and its effect on individuals. They are, in our experience and even with tiny doses, unpredictable substances that may give you a smooth ride one day and fling you into the depths of hell the next. How will a doctor or a pharmacist or a company determine how much of a psychedelic may be helpful for any given individual?
And then there are the effects of psychedelics on Christians.
Psychedelics can corrupt the sanctification process and create spiritual turmoil in born-again Christians in whom the Holy Spirit is working. One of the main functions of psychedelics is unleashing powerful imagery that can blur or erase the lines between fantasy and reality, and imagination and biblical spirituality. Because the underlying spiritual nature and foundation of the psychedelic experience is paganism, it opens a Christian up again to an idolatrous belief system that rejects the Divine creator God and deifies creation. (See Romans 1:21–23.) They can inflame the fallen (pagan) mind and increase vulnerability to vain imaginations and doctrines of demons (Colossians 2:8, 1 Timothy 4:1). 
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In conclusion, here are a few of the questions that deeply concern me:
- Will psychedelics invade the Christian counseling office? And with it, the Christian Church?
- How prepared are our churches and pastors to face what may be coming from our government and our medical and psychological establishments? Here in Washington State, the State has forbidden a Christian counselor to counsel a homosexual about coming out of that lifestyle. The case is currently making its way to the Supreme Court, but we can surely look forward to more of such persecution especially in the name of "Healing."
- Will they have to be licensed in psychedelic therapy to do counseling?
- What will happen to individual Christians if this shift occurs? Counseling has become big business in many parts of the Body of Christ today. In some places, it’s greatly supplanted biblical teaching and what used to be called the care of souls.
- Is the Church prepared for the invasion of psychedelics?
- Is it even aware of such a possibility?
At the very least, we should be praying about these issues.
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My next article will examine some psychological counseling practices using psychedelics and especially their focus on the supposedly “healing” mystical experience that is said to be central.
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What do you think? Email us your thoughts at [email protected]
 (You can read a slightly futuristic, sci-fi version of our own true story in The Glittering Web.)
 For a full history of LSD, see https://bit.ly/3h1mJKQ
 The original 1961 version is out of print. A 2007 version is now available here:
 See the article, “What is Transpersonal Psychology? 9 Examples and Theories,” 13 Jun 2023 by Jo Nash, Ph.D. at bit.ly/3NXofgh
 See our article, “Carl G. Jung: Man of Science or Modern Shaman?” (2008) at bit.ly/3Q0kw4k
 See https://bit.ly/3xZSPg6
 See bit.ly/44SEget
 See https://cnb.cx/3ix1Kz6- See also our booklet, Psychedelic Seduction (Lighthouse Trails Publishing, 2022, $1.95) (fn),
 Taken from our booklet, Psychedelic Seduction, on sale at Lighthouse Trails Publishing for $1.95. bit.ly/3rziuLi