The only two known endogenous entheogens are Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and 5-Methoxy-Dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT).
These two compounds are of unique interest to humanity for a number of extraordinary reasons – probably the best-known being the simple fact that they are the most powerful of the known natural psychedelics. Found in the leaves, roots, and bark of a wide variety of trees, plants, and grasses, (and in the case of 5-MeO-DMT, also in the venom of the Bufo Alvarius or Sonaran Desert Toad), both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been utilized by Amazonian shamans for at least three thousand years in a wide-variety of sacred methods including snuffs and the now-legendary jungle brew most widely known as ayahuasca.
DMT and 5-MeO-DMT both have the reputation of being so powerful that when snuffed, drank, or in these modern times, smoked, they can produce a myriad of near magical effects, including the classical shamanic death-and-rebirth, and the ultimate mystical realization of Union-with-God. Psychedelic compounds this powerful are now often classified as entheogens – a term which means ‘God-generated-within’ – in an attempt to recognize the often spiritual or even mystical nature of the experience they produce.
DMT can create extraordinary visual tapestries that seem to be able to mine the entire mythos of the Collective Unconsciousness, while 5-MeO-DMT allows for an out-of-body experience that can result in a singular resonance with The Void, which like so many mystics before, many users often identify as The Source of All Things. Both compounds are capable of producing intense intuitions about the sacred unity of all life, and even the transpersonal experience itself, where one actually feels the connectivity of all things and experiences a state most commonly described as Oneness. Both compounds have been known to produce genuine religious conversions, even converting hardened atheists to a more spiritual interpretation of Life. Because of its similarity to the near-death experience, 5-MeO-DMT has proven useful for easing the suffering of people dying of terminal illnesses, and also has a reputation of being able to break addictive patterns.
Within the psychedelic community itself these two compounds now have an almost mythical status thanks to both the advocacy of Terence McKenna and the scholarship of Alexander Shulgin, and more recently, the publication of simple extraction recipes on the Internet, coupled with the enthusiasm of today’s crop of psychedelic authors such as Rick Strassman, Daniel Pinchbeck, and Martin Ball. Due to the intense and often fantastical visions that DMT creates it has been particularly influential with visual artists such as painters and video artists. The art, music, and video forms being produced by this neo-tribe of artists influenced by DMT and other psychedelic compounds is known as Visionary Art or Visionary Culture, and is at the heart of a now global web of psychedelic influenced electronic music, performance, and art festivals with illustrious names like Burning Man, BOOM! (Portugal), Symbiosis, Lightning-In-A-Bottle, the Rainbow Serpent Festival (Australia), Moksha, and Alchemeyez.
But as extraordinary as the effects of DMT and 5-MeO-DMT may be, as fascinating their history with humanity, or as influential their role may be in our spirituality or art, the most extraordinary fact about DMT and 5-MeO-DMT is the fact that they are both endogenous, and are in fact the only endogenous entheogens we know of. Endogenous means that a compound is found and produced within the human body itself; Serotonin is another endogenous tryptamine natural to our bodies and brains, just as DMT and 5-MeO-DMT have been discovered to be. But what makes both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT so unique is that they are the only endogenous entheogens – compounds that can invoke a mystical experience – and are in fact two of the most powerful entheogens we have ever discovered.
One would think that the discovery in the early 1970’s of the two compounds most known to be capable of invoking a mystical experience naturally within the human physiology would have been the cause the cause of tremendous scientific and social excitement, since such a discovery could obviously have potentially extraordinary implications upon the age-old search for the source of Human Spirituality; these two compounds may well be the link to that Source itself. But thanks to the draconian world-wide laws imposed against virtually all psychedelic compounds at around the same time (1971) there has been a virtual ban on research on the endogenous tryptamines (or any other psychedelics) in the United States since then. DMT and 5-MeO-DMT are now both highly illegal Schedule 1 drugs in most countries, the possession of which could result in lengthy jail time – even though we all possess both DMT and 5-MeO-DMT that is produced naturally from some where within our own bodies.