Psychonautica: Rhetorical Patterns Within Self-Reported Psychedelic Narratives
1 online resource (95 pages) : PDF
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
An analysis was completed of the rhetorical and discursive patterns found in thenarratives of altered states of consciousness on the website Erowid.org, a repository ofinformation about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related topics, as well as the hostof an "Experience Report Vault" which collects first-person accounts of altered states ofconsciousness. This vault is the home of thousands of "trip reports", or narratives ofindividuals’ experiences while using psychoactive substances. While the authors of thesenarratives do not belong to any one discernible religious tradition or institution, there arecertain recurring patterns in how they present their shift in consciousness that arereminiscent of those described by shamans and mystics, and which suggest an emergentreligion-like mythos. I argue that the individuals in this community, regardless of theircultural locations, ascribe to the Psychonautica discourse of an all-encompassing naturethat is reflected in the presence and image that Erowid.org conveys. The results of thisresearch suggests that there is a religious community that has coalesced around andwithin the Erowid Experience Vault. This community is evident in their use ofPsychonautica discourse. Psychonautica discourse is composed of a variety of otherdiscourses, but most notably in this sample group are the New Age, Counterculture, RSMand RSM Experience discourses, with Western, Eastern, Clinical, and Therapeuticdiscourses existing, but at much less rates. Also shown in these results, the RSMExperience discourse that appeared contained many of, if not all, the features constitutinga RSM experience. Furthermore, in light of each of these points - a group existing, theiruse of a multitude of discourses (in particular RSM and Secular discourses, and of those,New Age and Counterculture discourses), psychedelic substance use with an inclinationto particular motives and outcomes, and inclinations to RSM discourse - it seems thatthese results suggest a positive correlation between this group and what scholars typicallyconceive of as a shamanic group.
EntheogenNew AgePsychedelicPsychonautReligious ExperienceShamanism
Hoenes del Pinal, Eric
Victor, LethaMcCloud, Sean
Thesis (M.A.)--University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2020.
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