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Kava - The Entheogenic Alcohol?

EmeraldKava3690

Kava Curious
Enjoying some Loa' Lawena from CK and have Joe Rogan's "Raghunath Cappo Explains Karma, Dharma, and Rebirth," playing in the background and I am wondering, is Kava sort of an entheogenic alcohol. Hate to compare separate substances, but does anyone else feel Kava can produce a spiritual side to its effects and be mind-opening while also supplying relaxation, calm, and sedative and socially uninhibited effects similar to alcohol and the benzodiazepines? Might be that I also got hardly any sleep last night so I am extra sensitive but have noticed that when on Kava, I love writing my innermost thoughts in my journal and thinking about life, connecting to inner emotions through songs, writing, socializing, and so on. Alcohol maybe used to have this effect, but it happens in a very blunted, fleeting, and egoic way, and without the true connection that Kava has. I compare it because there are elements of the basic effects between the two that are similar, but Kava has a deeper side?
 

Kapmcrunk

The Kaptain (40g)
KavaForums Founder
Enjoying some Loa' Lawena from CK and have Joe Rogan's "Raghunath Cappo Explains Karma, Dharma, and Rebirth," playing in the background and I am wondering, is Kava sort of an entheogenic alcohol. Hate to compare separate substances, but does anyone else feel Kava can produce a spiritual side to its effects and be mind-opening while also supplying relaxation, calm, and sedative and socially uninhibited effects similar to alcohol and the benzodiazepines? Might be that I also got hardly any sleep last night so I am extra sensitive but have noticed that when on Kava, I love writing my innermost thoughts in my journal and thinking about life, connecting to inner emotions through songs, writing, socializing, and so on. Alcohol maybe used to have this effect, but it happens in a very blunted, fleeting, and egoic way, and without the true connection that Kava has. I compare it because there are elements of the basic effects between the two that are similar, but Kava has a deeper side?
100%. Kava's been used just for what you mentioned for quite a long time. From sleep, to anxiety, to meditation, to just plain wanting to have something to twist your face sideways at the end of the night.

I think you'll find most of us agree that kava, having that magical ability of keeping one's wits intact, is far superior to an emotionally blunting substance such as alcohol. Where ethanol grabs you and does with you at it's discretion, kava simply suggests. That's why it's always important to listen. I've had some of my most profound realizations once kava broke down my egoic anger in a situation. It "cleared my sight". It helps you find your center so you can respond instead of react.
 

Orz[EST]

Kava Enthusiast
I lean on the side of 'no'.

Kava is not an entheogen (for me).
Kava substitutes or surpasses alcohol in suppressing anxiety but it is not a comparable energizing 'party drug' (for me).
 

yiki

Kava Enthusiast
Kava leaves you less impaired, while allowing you more introspection at the same time. If you have these effects with kava, you might be, for whatever reason, quite inhibited in normal life. Maybe because of stress, maybe because you need to be a certain person all the kind as in "playing a role". I personally have never noticed any "entheogenic" effects from Kava.
 

kavakarma

Kava Enthusiast
@yiki I gain entheogenic value with Kava. It depends on the shell, and how rested I am, as well as other factors such as if I've ate and whether I'm home relaxing or at my job. You made an interesting statement that if I am getting entheogenic effects from kava then perhaps I'm inhibited throughout all of life, and kava temporarily peels that aside.

It's interesting to me, it's relate-able. I'm not admitting to daily inhibition, but I'm not denying it either, and wanted to add some experience of kava acting as an entheogen.

I've noticed kava is not serotonergic, so it doesn't make you see fractals, widen your pupils, or help you "download messages from the universe". like serotonergic entheogens often do. Times where I've had a shell and thought it felt reminiscent of a true entheogen include;
0 being out in the forest at night, starting a small fire, brewing and drinking a shell. Unique and inspiring.
0 having a shell or few with friends, watching shows on TV and playing video games, there is shifting, a before and after if you will, of degrees of perceptual-focus on the media versus the environment around me. I'm pretty balanced in this area, I feel equally balanced after several shells. As I watch the show or play the game I'll notice myself perk up a little bit. And with video games I laugh and laugh and laugh, all the way up to bed time.
0 having kava on a full moon feels appropriate, the moon feels so attractive after a shell that I visualize myself and my connection to the moon strengthening.

also, kava's reliable aphrodesiac effects. Without sharing too much detail, it's more effective at increasing bloodflow than all of the silly supplements and drugs that are selected for this task. I'd rather have a woody shell of kava than a CBD-infused eggnog or two capsules each of ginseng and horny goat weed any day. Kava doesn't really rouse the mood, it simply increases bloodflow, for me, enough to *make the difference*. If you enjoyed this section of my post, make yourself a Damiana smoothie, with either chocolate or blueberries.

I have noteworthy relations to entheogenic personality in my experiences with kava. While the true meaning of entheogenic, for me, means "Plant teacher", and the word "adaptogen" would mean a plant or its root/seed/oil/flower/ aids the body in maintaining homeostasis and oxidation recovery. There is a sacred value to kava and it is likely that the effects desired require commitment, which, like any commitment, comes with lifestyle changes. If we are prepared to make the changes in our lifestyle, we may notice more of kava's healing and listening nature.

Would you say that I'm describing an entheogen plant or does it sound more like I'm inhibited and the ritual soothes me? Thank you for your time, Bul
 

Jacob Bula

Nobody
@yiki I gain entheogenic value with Kava. It depends on the shell, and how rested I am, as well as other factors such as if I've ate and whether I'm home relaxing or at my job. You made an interesting statement that if I am getting entheogenic effects from kava then perhaps I'm inhibited throughout all of life, and kava temporarily peels that aside.

It's interesting to me, it's relate-able. I'm not admitting to daily inhibition, but I'm not denying it either, and wanted to add some experience of kava acting as an entheogen.

I've noticed kava is not serotonergic, so it doesn't make you see fractals, widen your pupils, or help you "download messages from the universe". like serotonergic entheogens often do. Times where I've had a shell and thought it felt reminiscent of a true entheogen include;
0 being out in the forest at night, starting a small fire, brewing and drinking a shell. Unique and inspiring.
0 having a shell or few with friends, watching shows on TV and playing video games, there is shifting, a before and after if you will, of degrees of perceptual-focus on the media versus the environment around me. I'm pretty balanced in this area, I feel equally balanced after several shells. As I watch the show or play the game I'll notice myself perk up a little bit. And with video games I laugh and laugh and laugh, all the way up to bed time.
0 having kava on a full moon feels appropriate, the moon feels so attractive after a shell that I visualize myself and my connection to the moon strengthening.

also, kava's reliable aphrodesiac effects. Without sharing too much detail, it's more effective at increasing bloodflow than all of the silly supplements and drugs that are selected for this task. I'd rather have a woody shell of kava than a CBD-infused eggnog or two capsules each of ginseng and horny goat weed any day. Kava doesn't really rouse the mood, it simply increases bloodflow, for me, enough to *make the difference*. If you enjoyed this section of my post, make yourself a Damiana smoothie, with either chocolate or blueberries.

I have noteworthy relations to entheogenic personality in my experiences with kava. While the true meaning of entheogenic, for me, means "Plant teacher", and the word "adaptogen" would mean a plant or its root/seed/oil/flower/ aids the body in maintaining homeostasis and oxidation recovery. There is a sacred value to kava and it is likely that the effects desired require commitment, which, like any commitment, comes with lifestyle changes. If we are prepared to make the changes in our lifestyle, we may notice more of kava's healing and listening nature.

Would you say that I'm describing an entheogen plant or does it sound more like I'm inhibited and the ritual soothes me? Thank you for your time, Bul
From reading so much McKenna I got used to the word to refer to psychedelic, which kava is not. I do see that it can be applied to other plant teachers as you describe, but for most people I feel like the word still has a connotation with the psychedelic, vision inducing plants. Notably peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and ayahuasca. For example I wouldn't consider coffee entheogenic just because it comes from a plant, induces altered states of consciousness, and can induce inspiration. But it is just a word, and I don't think your use of it is incorrect.

Per Wikipedia:
Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley's experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for "mind manifest", and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.
— Ruck et al, 1979, Journal of Psychedelic Drugs[6]
 

yiki

Kava Enthusiast
Would you say that I'm describing an entheogen plant or does it sound more like I'm inhibited and the ritual soothes me? Thank you for your time, Bul
There are cultures in which alcoholic drinks are used in a "spiritual" way. I believe every substance or practice that allows for a shift in consciousness can bring forth hidden information. That might be a feeling, a perceiving of the world in a different way or direct input as in "lessons". In my experience, Set and Setting does have an impact on Kavas effects but i find the same is also true for something as dull as alcohol.

Jacob already started to discuss terminology here and i want to add that the term "Entheogen" has become a replacement to psychedelics as some people feel that the visionary plants don't merely manifest the mind but bring forth something that can be described as "godly" hence the term "entheogen" ...

ἔνθεος (éntheos) m or f (neuter ἔνθεον); second declension
  1. having a god in one; possessed or inspired by a god
Personally, id rather think of these plants as "live manifesting" or "live observation enhancing" just like a microscope or a telescope allows us to see something that is always there, but normally hidden.

Depending on your appproach, Kava might allow you to do that in a mild way i have no doubt. But to me it does not compare to classic psychedelics or entheogens at all.

Kava doesn't really rouse the mood, it simply increases bloodflow, for me, enough to *make the difference*.

This is interesting because i always found it more difficult to keep errections while at the same time generation a very arousing sensual feeling, especially in the presence of attractive people.
 

ceddd99

Newbie
For me, kava has some entheogenic effects. I also regard alcohol as having some as well. I believe that while in today's world the average person might not think in such terms, in ancient times the effects of all intoxicants were seen in somewhat more spiritual terms. For example, you will see alcoholic drinks like mead mentioned in European myths and folklore, wine is used as a spiritual metaphor in the Bible and as a sacrament in Christianity, I've read that in Ancient Egypt there was a religion based around beer.

As far as I am concerned, sort of like how kratom can allow one to access a similar dimension of consciousness that poets used to access by ingesting opium, while being much less addictive, kava can allow one to access a similar dimension of consciousness that one ordinarily accesses through alcohol only while leaving the mind far more clear and the memory intact coupled with less toxic effects on the body and far more physical relaxation. The thing about alcohol, and the reason it is not regarded as having much value as an entheogen is in my opinion because of the fact that it seems to dull awareness and impair memory. So while it is possible to access some mystical dimensions of consciousness through alcohol, one tends to wake up the next morning with a fuzzy memory and a hangover and the insights of the prior night mostly forgotten. One is then tempted to drink more alcohol in order to regain that state and we all know where that leads. With kava on the other hand, there is a much smoother transition from the drunken state kava can produce back into ordinary consciousness and because the mind is left clear, it is easier to contemplate the meaning of that state and then remember the insights later.

For me, the value of both lies in their ability to open one up to a more emotionally connected, heart centered consciousness. They both also calm the mind but in that regard I think kava does a much better job in allowing for healing of anxiety disorders whereas alcohol tends to simply cover them up until the next day.

The main difference I see between them is alcohol tends to produce a much more excited euphoria whereas kava is more about calm, chilling out, and has much more body effects.
 

Orz[EST]

Kava Enthusiast
" I believe that while in today's world the average person might not think in such terms, in ancient times the effects of all intoxicants were seen in somewhat more spiritual terms."

I am you average person here but it was still a very good read.
 

Stefan

Newbie
I like this description mentioned in an earlier post, and also think that it differs from what's going on inside you as well as where you are in your life, how the effect and synergy of the kava will affect you. Used with adaptogens that support a healthy system it will increase your ability to really feel the effects, learn to play with the creativity it fosters and use it for deep recreation and relaxation that heals you and blockages of negativity in your mind or body.

"My own experience was that the sense of wellbeing induced by good strong kava (mei marera) is accompanied by a gentle swell of empathy and affection for those around me: men with their foibles (minor weaknesses or eccentricities in one’s character) just like me, caught in the same warp of time, now and here, adrift for a moment on the same sea of destiny. It is a mild social euphoria: nothing profound or oceanic, just a grateful expansion of selfhood to embrace others as coevals (those existing at the same time as another)" - Young, Michael W. 1995. “Kava and Christianity in Central Vanuatu: 18 (1-2): 61–96.
 
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