The word entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology, to acknowledge the ritual use of psychoactive plants while avoiding the questionable connotations of terms as “hallucinogens” and “psychedelics”1. As suggested by its Greek etymology (ενθεος), substances can be called entheogens (adj:entheogenic), if they bring about unusual states of consciousness where those who use them believe to be “filled”, “possessed”, or “inspired” by some divine presence or force.
It’s important to note that the term entheogenic, while invented with specific reference to the religious use of psychoactives, if taken literally, does not imply the use of substances at all. More broadly speaking, any practice which inspires an ενθουσιασμoς (“Enthusiasm”), or rising up of the spirit can be said to be entheogenic.2 Enthusiasm, in general, is a much needed antidote against the spiritual malaise of the contemporary condition, and the greatest efforts should be made for us to remain playful, and if it our playfulness has been deadened by daily alienation it is necessary to create strategies to allow it to be reborn.
One such strategies is the drift is derived from the 1950s technique from the Situationists called the Dérive or “drift”.3 It is a response to break through the veil of the Spectacle out of their realization that they’d never seen Paris. The drift is suggestive of a meandering stream which flows down a mountain and flows through the landscape, and inherently becomes the landscape, at the interface where the meandering stream and landscape reach their poetic fusion.
The aesthetics of Atheneian urban geography and its contemporary situation are especially fruitful for us travellers and wanderers or outsiders to negotiate ideas of “travel” versus “tourism”, whether anarcho-tourism or refugee-tourism,or tourism in general. To modulate and transform, hopefully, dissolve, the relationship between the “self” and “other”, guest and host (beyond the parasitic relationship which these terms entail).4
The Entheogenic Drift is a playful practice through which to break up the ruts and pathways of our habit-driven lives. To undergo the drift under the altered stated of entheogens does not imply a religious ritual context, since the intention is from the outset its use as a radical tool by which to dissolve the boundaries between psyche and the urban geography, to break out the mental chrysalis to experience a wider sense of possibles and impossibles. We still welcome the intrusion of a mad divinity.
Through the Entheogenic Drift we aim to push our imperialist touristic tendencies to a breaking point, out of which our wandering becomes intoxicated with the living fabric of the present. As Hakim Bey writes in relation to his intimately resonating notion of the “Sacred Drift” in his essay Overcoming Tourism, it “opens up our own tight world to the terra incognita of suburbs, slums, gardens, adventures”5 and to the encounters such as a striking face in the crowd of a Metro station or the fire at night on Exarchia square, the mix and blurring between ruins archaic, ancient, and contemporary, to the very living and screaming ruin of the Spectacle, encountered in shopping streets as Hermou and Aiolou, and further at the foot of the Acropolis where the evil eye fractalizes over a multiplicity of tourist traps (Which feed us the images that we as tourists predate in all forms of arcane commodities). The goal of the Entheogenic Drift is to experience the world as a living relation, to break its forms of mediation, and to use entheogenic substances as a critical artistic and philosophical lens through which to warp the present into communions with the city, the world, or kosmos, with all its abjections and sublimities, its sacred filth and profane beauties.
The Entheogenic drift, like the traditional drift, can be done by yourself or with a small group of 3-4 like-minded individuals. The suggested intoxications are such as LSD, Psilocybin or Mescaline, each of which, or others, equips the observer an completely different gaze. Then it is a matter of dose, so as not to incapacitate the individual immediately on a field of grass (although, of course, this is also a perfectly valid drift). With a small dose very little visual distortion and hallucination will be present, although an intensification of the entire inner experience and as such of the urban landscape will occur. This would not be too intense for it to hinder the activities of everyday life and allows for coherence to meet chaos half-way when madness is a manageable but present danger. The drift is per definition without structure. The group could decide to change location before starting the drift by way of a cab, or do their drift, almost static, in their own neighbourhood. Attentiveness, intuition, chance and play are the key elements, and one should always follow all of their senses in making their decisions. One can climb a hill to experience the liberation that comes with climbing up out of the constricting suburban sprawl, or one could wander in its labyrinths. One should get the sense of the abstract totality of the city which naturally has a theatrical absurdity, and further examples would only dampen the imagination.