Michael! This piece came together well. You refined for flow and kept the depth accessible and impactful.

I know we've discussed this together, but I'll say here I believe the earliest rites of passages should still be the baptism (public proclamation) and the wilderness (fasting and facing temptation). To me , consumption still seems like the curse and fasting the true trip.

I do believe that at the core of religion should be a mystical discipline. Though I don't believe this should be something paywalled behind a priest. I don't know if I mentioned John's time on Patmos during our discussions as I know we were more focused on Paul, but Johns seemingly self guided experience to me at least are more accessible and encouraging. But who knows, Patmos is only a short trireme ride from Athens and the mysteries!

We should continue to explore the lost components of these rites, and religion holistically. I can't remember who said this but it has stuck with me that the temple of Solomon must have smelt like a cross between a den of incense and a barbecue pit.

The related readings I'm exploring now are attempting to find references to Alexander the Great's time with the mystery's if at all, along with each of his worship and sacrifices from Egypt to India. Cicero seems to have some references to the Elysian Mysteries as well in his writings and while his friend Atticus more than likely participated in them, I still can't find any records of Julius Caesar, though it's more likely his deputy Marc Antony took place in them (hence they let the whores into Eleusius).

To your final point of the current religious sects more than likely rejecting putting the LSD back in the wine, I believe there would be encouragements of a sort in the desert fathers and mothers from the 5th century, and then again in the Carmelites (Teresa of Avila being one of many) and surrounding orders of the time that through asceticism and possibly other aids, embarked on the expedition again of experience over dogma.

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I'm not religious at all, Michael, but this was an insightful wander into the mysticism of religion.

I loved the discovery about holy drink: "It’s quite possible that Christian rituals are already designed to include a psychedelic experience."

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"At the peak of a religion’s flagship ritual should be a moment of shock, awe, and ecstasy. We’re talking sharp, life-defining mystical experiences that bring disbelief, instant insight, redemption, and a transcendence of self, time, and space. I want the fear of death shocked out of my operating system."

I read this and wondered if you were about to discuss what you have planned for Cohort 10. 🤷‍♂️

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Wow, this was so good. It's a provocative idea revealed through something I had no idea about (Greek rituals), and I think you are onto something powerful regarding religious experiences of today.

One of my biggest reasons for my departure with organized religions was the transactional nature of it all (on top of the hypocrisy of the Catholic church). I think mystical experiences could offer a way to add meaning to these religions, which as you say, are "full-stack."

Interestingly enough, your key point for me was this footnote:

"Religions (in the best case scenarios) offer a stack of benefits to live a psychologically rich life: community, shared traditions, history, morality, habits of mindfulness, fasting schedules, charity, theology, and a philosophy of death. That said, Christianity is missing a core feature: the mystical experience. Still, it’s probably easier for Christianity to add this than for a startup folk religion to build a full-stack religion without centuries of momentum."

I'm so glad you are writing and sharing consistently. What a gift!

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