The substance is known as Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and is found in many plants and animals. Although scientists are yet to produce conclusive evidence, researchers think the most likely pouch for the chemical in humans is the pineal gland.
Our brain secretes DMT as we sleep. Dr. Rick Strassman, author of “The Spirit Molecule,” says that trace amounts of melatonin can be found around the pineal gland and theorises that large amounts can be released during dramatic events such as birth and death, or near-death experiences.
So if DMT is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter produced by the pineal gland as we sleep, is there a possibility that our nervous system is hard-wired to receive profound spiritual or supernatural experiences that deepen our levels of understanding?
Shamans in the Amazon Jungle of South America claim DMT found in plants can be used to cure all manner of physical and mental illnesses. Psychedelic substances are widely used in healing ceremonies throughout Latin America and beyond producing positive results for thousands of people.
DMT is the psychedelic ingredient of ayahuasca, a ceremonial brew that induces a psychedelic experience. It has become so popular with tourists that it’s readily available for curious visitors to Peru, Brazil and Bolivia among others.
Ayahuasca is an ancient healing custom that has many benefits. Regarded as a “medicine” and legally used by Shamanic healers in South America to treat patients, the ayahuasca brew has the power to transform body, mind and soul.
Dennis McKenna Phd, an expert on chemicals, says DMT provides a “whole other level of experience,” compared with other psychedelic substances. Other accounts describe experiences with DMT as accessing the divine realm.
If this chemical is naturally produced by the pineal gland, could it explain spiritual experiences and alien abductions? And if so, why are substances containing DMT banned by western authorities and scandalised by mainstream media?
The pineal is a pinecone-shaped gland found in the epithalamus that sits in the centre of the brain where the right joins the left. It takes its medical name from the Latin word “pinea” meaning pinecone. Rene Descartes, the 16th Century philosopher called the gland “the seat of the soul.”
There are some accounts that suggest our brains secrete melatonin (which is different to melatonin), a brain chemical that contains DMT. Should this be the case, opening the pineal gland helps us transcend to higher levels of conscious awareness. A written report by METAtoninresearch.com states:
“The pineal gland secretes hormones that modulate the state of consciousness. The hormone that stabilizes waking consciousness is serotonin – which is produced by several glands in the body. The pineal gland stores a high concentration of serotonin and converts it to melatonin, the hormone that stabilizes our sleeping state which is produced every night on a regular basis. Using a similar conversion process, the pineal gland can also produces a more complex form of melatonin which we call METAtonin, a higher octave of melatonin.”
However, there appears to be no official research into metatonin. Officially it doesn’t exist. However, Dr Rick Strassman, author of The Spirit Molecule, is pioneering research into melatonin, a substance with the same compounds alleged in metatonin, and is secreted from the pineal gland whilst we sleep. Metatonin researchers claim their chemical causes the same effect as melatonin when we are awake.
Strassman however admits his theory cannot be proven – which could make his findings a convenient truth. Therefore the question of metatonin cannot be considered until scientists understand what it does.
The Cottonwood Research Foundation in New Mexico founded by Strassman, is working on developing new methods of measuring the commonly known melatonin to determine if higher levels of the chemical are produced during altered state experiences.
So far the research centre has determined that melatonin makes people ‘sleepy’.
Yet rumours are circling that it is DMT that makes us dream, an understandable conclusion given that psychedelic cosmovisions are very much like dreaming. If this theory proves to be accurate, we may be able to induce spiritual or surreal experiences whilst we are awake – and without the help of psychedelics.
Could this also explain why people have hallucinations?
Although this assumption cannot be verified, my own experience with ayahuasca and San Pedro (Peyote) in South America leads me to believe there is some truth in the metatonin theory. DMT certainly evoked vivid psychedelic images and produced positive physical and psychological results.
Evidence from the ancient world indicates our ancestors were also using psychedelic substances and understood the benefits they have on the human psyche.
Could DMT really be a spirit molecule that allows our minds to act as a receiver of divine knowledge and transcend to higher levels of awareness?
Even if it is, the ability to produce the chemical naturally will be pretty difficult, I imagine. But psychoactive drugs that are taken as medicine, certainly open the doorways of perception that can lead to healing.
The ancient cultures of Latin America almost certainly used psychedelic plants. They held regular ceremonies with the intention of transcending to higher levels of consciousness. Known as cosmovisions Shaman say the human mind has the capability of exploring astral worlds.
A depiction of the San Pedro cactus on a monolith near the entrance of the Huantar de Chavin complex in central Peru provides archaeological clues that potent substances were used by Andean cultures as early as the Second Century AD.
In Mexico and Guatemala, it is widely believed the Maya were using hallucinogenic stimulates found in mushrooms. Stela’s featuring Bufo marine toads known to contain 5-Meo-DMT have also been found and symbolise the path into the Under World, or the Inner World; in other words, your subconscious.
It is believed that Mayan tribes smoked the substance as DMT itself does not have any effect when taken orally. We have a natural inhibitor in our stomach which neutralises the chemical.
We do know, however, that Andean tribes take DMT orally. The ayahuasca vine procured from the Amazon jungle is not in itself hallucinogenic, but is an MAO inhibitor that allows the Dimethyltryptamine found in herbs and plants to enter the bloodstream and provoke profound and vivid images. Andean Shaman call ayahuasca the “TV of the Forest.”
Accounts of spiritual experiences are typically described in ancient scriptures as dreams. In the Bible, there are several prophets that describe a dream state in which they speak with higher spiritual entities we know as God or Angels.
Furthermore, in the Pinecone Court of the Vatican, is a statue of a giant pinecone, which in ancient symbolism represents the pineal gland. In Hinduism, the Bindi represents the “third eye,” a reference to the pineal gland as the source of profound spiritual experiences.
The pinecone and other third-eye symbolism also feature in sculptures and other works of art in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Assyria, Catholicism and Freemasonry.
Experiments with psychedelic chemicals in the 1970s produced evidence that DMT can have potent effects on the human psyche. However, no further official testing has been conducted for over forty years and the chemical is on the banned substance list of western states.
Eduardo Schenberg, of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, published a piece in Sage Journals, documenting his finding that Ayahuasca can be effectively used to treat cancer. He says:
“If Ayahuasca is scientifically proven to have the healing potentials long recorded by anthropologists, explorers, and ethnobotanists, outlawing Ayahuasca or its medical use and denying people adequate access to its curative effects could be perceived as an infringement on human rights, a serious issue that demands careful and thorough discussion.”
Are the benefits of DMT being suppressed in the west? If it is a naturally occurring substance in the pineal gland, under current laws, everyone can be arrested for carrying.
I am not advocating the use of DMT as a recreational drug, and know from experience that ayahuasca ceremonies can be unpleasant. They are not for everyone. The brew typically provokes vomiting and diarrhoea to clean out the body. Serious consideration should be given before you commit to a shamanic ceremony.
It seems pertinent that further scientific research should be given to the effects of DMT as a health cure, together with legalisation so that individuals seeking divine inspiration can rightfully explore their higher consciousness in a controlled setting. The experience has the potential to act as a catalyst that transforms your life.