Who We Are

While it seems clear that the modalities of the psychedelic state must be rooted in neuronal pharmacodynamics, explanatory paradigms couched in terms of receptor selectivities, structure/activity relationships, agonist/antagonist interactions, activation of limbic substructures, etc., all somehow fail to do justice to the transcendent, transformative reality that becomes manifest when one actually consumes a psychedelic. – Dennis McKenna

I am Keith Cleversley and this is one of my main projects.

Entheology is a word that came to me in the early 1990’s when I was trying to describe entheogens as the rapturous religious experience they are for me.  Beyond any shadow of a doubt, I firmly believe that entheogens are for more then chemical reactions, and provide those with the patience enough to make the journey, a direct pathway to the Divine, to Universal Consciousness.  I later discovered that the word entheology was used by Aline Marianne Lucas in an article in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, Vol 27(3), Jul-Sep 1995, 293-295. I had not read or heard of that article when I put entheogens and theology together to make entheology.

I talk briefly about my feeling that entheogens are far more than chemical reactions in my “Entheogens: Far More than Chemical Reactions” article.

We’re also constantly in search of information regarding shamanic cultures and traditions, doing our small part to preserve and to promote the sacred knowledge that is often discarded, dismissed, our outright denied by mainstream scientists, researchers, and archaeologists. We offer concise and unique information for any modern-day spiritual explorer interested in shamanic study.  See my own personal definition of shamanism in my “What is Shamanism?” article, as well as a list of what was essential reading for me  when I was first started learning about this sacred and ancient religious system in my “Shamanism: Essential Reading” article.

I personally hope to help to raise consciousness, in some small way, to point out that entheogens are vastly different than the dangerous and addictive drugs that plague our society like cocaine, heroin, tobacco, and the most abused drugs by our youth; prescription medication.  Read my “Entheogens Are NOT Drugs” article with an open mind to get a different perspective than the media offers.  The definition of “entheogen” literally means to discover the god within.  The definition has broadened as synthetic substances are being formulated, but regardless of the source, entheogens are a psychoactive, psychedelic, or hallucinogenic substance that is used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context.

A single breakthrough experience with an entheogen can not only be indistinguishable from classical mystical experiences including religious rapture, it instantly reveals how unjust the laws governing these sacred plants are.  Most entheogens have harmed no one, yet they’ve been declared evil and/or illegal, they’ve been literally demonized throughout recent history, and any cultures that feature Shamanism and altered states of consciousness as part of their religious practice have been systematically eradicated from the planet, often through cultural genocide imposed by mainstream religious institutions.

The government may be able to take away our legal right to explore some of the sacred plants described in our site as we desire, but they cannot take away our freedom to share as much information regarding the use and preparation of sacred entheogens as possible.  It is up to every spiritual explorer and neo-shaman to help preserve the plants and traditions of the cultures that world governments are swiftly destroying.  This website, along with a number of others (including the original version at www.entheology.org) has truly been a labor of love for me for over a decade.  If you feel like helping out in some small way, contribute an article or some research.

In short, over 100 tribes had become extinct in Brazil alone since the turn of the century, rainforests are being depleted at a rate of 100 acres a minute, and it has been estimated that 10% of the world’s plant species were now extinct at the turn of the new millennium.  Yet a single plant alkaliod revealed to us by South American Indians has helped to eradicate malaria, over 25% of all prescription drugs in the United States have plant chemicals as their active ingredients, and “virtually none of the theraputic compounds brought from the world’s living pharmacy into our modern drugstores for uses as varied as contraceptives to cancer treatments were discovered by trained botanists .” [1]

Furthermore, Shamanism truly has been stamped out by conquering nations and demonized by modern Western society, despite the fact that it’s the “first” and universal religion that we, as humans, share.  As I said at the top, entheogens can give access to spiritual dimensions of consciousness and mystical experiences that are indistinguishable from classic religious mysticism, yet their use isn’t presently protected under our right to religious freedom in the U.S.A.  Despite that fact, there is vast progress being made to help raise the awareness of the medical potential of entheogens and psychedelics.  I’m deeply appreciative of places like M.A.P.S. and the Heffter Research Institute, and donate to both on a regular basis.

Lastly, this project wouldn’t have been possible without the efforts of A. Szostek, who helped transfer, update, and sometimes vastly improve articles from our old site at Entheology.org.  We’re working hard to get more contributors to this site, and welcome any articles and research that fit with the vision of the site.  Below is the best explanation I have of a breakthrough experience that truly changed my world forever, and brought me to places and people that I treasure more than words could ever hope to explain.


I became the center of a consciousness that no longer had anything to do with a body.  A vibrant, blissful energy engulfed me, melting the me I knew away, freeing my consciousness to unfold and expand into a place that felt like home; a place I had been to a thousand times before.  This “place” had nothing whatsoever to do with the material world I had known, yet it was intimately familiar.  There, corporeal reality is meaningless; there were only of layers of consciousness that unfolded more deeply the more I relaxed and simply let go.

It’s a vivid sensation of non-locality and of constant expansion.  I’m all places at once and see with eyes that have nothing to do with my physical eyes.  It’s a place of pure energy, flowing, cascading, constantly moving and all-enveloping. Even if fear creeps in, I discovered that embracing it transforms the fear into even more tangible and expansive layers of consciousness. Energies all around me comfort me, telling me that they’re always there, that this is a beautiful, safe, and loving place; a place I have always known, have always been a part of, and I placed even I, this barely self-aware monkey, has helped create.

The interconnectedness of all conscious beings; plant, animal, fungi, energy, or other becomes vividly and ineffably clear.  In this non-body state, in the place I call the Void, nothing and no one could ever convince me that I have done anything less than touch the hand of the Divine.  Within that, the underlying message never changes: To live my life as fully and honestly as I can while shining as brightly as I can, never forgetting that we all truly are connected.

This profoundly religious experience is one that I can repeat whenever I take the time and effort to enter that state of deep meditation with my plant ally; Salvia divinorum. Finding this sacred altered state of consciousness took immense respect, practice, discipline, as well as an immense amount of patience for me.  But now, as soon as I reach that deeply meditative state, the moment I introduce Salvia to it, I’m instantly released into that same non-body state of pure energy, love, and joy that no one could ever convince me is anything other than direct contact with the Sacred, with my own Creator, with the origin of the Universe itself, and my reconnection to all that I have forgotten or has been indoctrinated out of me.

To describe the sensations in a physical sense: I sometimes feel as though I consist of thin, crystal-like layers that constantly radiate outward from me like pages flipping in a book, as everything gently pulsates and moves through a liquid space I can effortlessly breathe within.  Accompanying that is the the ability to concentrate on one or all of these expanding points simultaneously as the entire space I’m in constantly expands outwards, freeing me to be absolutely anywhere within it and at any point in linear time.

Tangible energy envelops my thoughts and bathes them in something that I forget is ALWAYS there. This place of knowing is only a place of remembering. Everything that seemed relevant in my material reality, if even the most awake and self-aware “I” thought was relevant, becomes completely irrelevant. No judgment passes; it simply couldn’t. In this moment, my human frame exists solely for its ability to connect with my Divine and to share the experience of a carbon-based frame that can only experience time as linear.

This is a joyous dance; I’m ecstatic to have found my home once again while still in this fragile human frame. Every connection discovered as a human is another chance for the Divine to witness itself, with thoughts so tangible, I feel they can equally create and destroy everything that they have imagined to be. And, just when I think I know, I forget. Just when I think the words have come, they disappear. This is the place I hope everyone knows, the place I wish everyone knew, this is the place I wish words could fully explain.  I want everyone to know this place as intimately as I have known it because to me, it’s a place of true love, of infinite wisdom, of endless patience, as well as a never-changing and infinitely changing Everything.

I’m convinced that we all have this power inside us; it’s just been indoctrinated, beaten, or “educated” out of us.  Most of us have been led to believe that we’re far less than all we are.  I know God.  I feel I know God more intimately than many who claim to know God.  But, I also believe that we all have the same gift buried deep within our genetic coding, and that entheogens, teacher plants, and psychedelics help us to unlock that potential when approached and treated with the sacred respect they require.

Keith Cleversley

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[1] Plotkin, Mark J., 1993, Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice, Peter Smith Publishing