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The yoga tradition relates a myth about a time when Indra, the chief of all the heavenly gods, came to Earth in the form of a pig. The story doesn’t tell why Indra wanted to be a pig in the first place, so we can only sur- mise he thought it might be fun. Anyway, Indra becomes totally absorbed into the pig scene -- he wallows in slop, eats anything he can get between his jaws, and likes noth- ing more than to lie in the sun all stinky and covered in caked mud. He even meets a nice-looking lady pig, and the couple has a few baby piglets. Indra feels like he is living the good life.

While the pig was living large and easy on Earth, things in the heavenly realm were falling apart. Without Indra to run the show, the gods and goddesses were having a tough time keeping track of all the details of celestial life. So a few gods came down to our world to tell Indra he was needed back home.

The gods told Indra how important it was that he return to heaven to help keep the cosmos harmonious. Indra, however, had forgotten his true identity. He found it im- possible that gods would actually visit him and tell him he was one of them. Any fool with two eyes and a snout could see he was just a pig who enjoyed doing pig stuff. He told them to leave him alone so he could continue happily living the life to which he was accustomed.

Fortunately, for the good of the universe, the gods re- fused to be denied and they figured out a way to reveal to the pig that he was really Indra. Once Indra remem- bered his real nature, he felt pretty dumb for getting so caught up in a pig trip. Can you imagine settling for be- ing a pig in a poke when you could reside in the joy of heavenly consciousness? After all, no matter how good pig life gets you’re never really that far from becoming a pork chop.

Going on 70 years ago, on April 19, 1943, an obscure event occurred which is still impacting our world. Dr. Albert Hoffman, a chemist with Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland, synthesized Lysergic Acid Dieth-

28 Healthy Hippie Magazine | September October 2010

ylamide, commonly known as LSD. Whatever might be said about LSD, there is consensus that it has a profound impact on the consciousness of those who imbibe. For better or worse, many people, particularly the young of their respective generations, have been taking LSD and other psychedelics and dramatically altering their lives and social expectations as a result of their experiences.

What would inspire millions of otherwise healthy, respon- sible people to engage in an activity which they had been warned was dangerous and harmful? And why would they continue to ingest these substances while under threat of harassment, even imprisonment? It doesn’t seem to matter how many times “Just Say No!” is screeched, psy- chedelics don’t go away. Are we looking at a drug-induced downfall of civilization, or is there something more pro- found taking place?

In virtually every culture throughout history, psychedel- ics have been recognized for the immense power they hold to alter human consciousness. Theses substances have been respected, and the insights gained under prop- er usage have served as the fountainhead of healthy so- cieties and religious traditions. The visions and wisdom experienced while in a heightened state were deemed significant and were honored.

In virtually every culture throughout history, psychedelics have been rec- ognized for the immense power they hold to alter human consciousness.

In our contemporary society, however, we do not have a living tradition to instruct us on how to benefit from psychedelics. We are bereft of wise elders, of age-old cer- emonies, of instruction manuals, of cultural support. We live in a hostile landscape of ignorance and denial, drug wars and prison sentences. For spiritual and legal rea- sons, it behooves us to be cautious, safe, and to take care of ourselves and each other by treating these substances with the respect, even awe, that they deserve.

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