It may not be a common term that people use to refer to psychedelic substances but it is one that is worth exploring, especially since its meaning is quite distinct from “psychedelic”.
We take a look at the meaning of the term entheogen, describe the history of the term, compare and contrast it to alternative terms for these compounds.
Entheogen comes from the Greek word entheos, which means “the god (divine) within” and gen, which means “creates” or “generates”.
So the literal translation of entheogen is “generating the divine within”. An entheogen is any substance that has the ability to achieve this.
To be an entheogen, a substance should be capable of inducing a spiritual or mystical experience, in which the user feels a sense of the divine.
This sense of the divine can be experienced in a range of ways.
- The feeling that there is a divine presence during an experience - Feeling oneself becoming divine or merging with the divine
People may use the term entheogen more broadly, however, to refer to any substance that can lead to mystical states.
As well as a sense of the divine, these experiences can involve:
- Ego dissolution - A feeling of being unified with the universe - The sense of gaining insights into important truths