The Psychedelic Pineal

The most general hypothesis is that the pineal gland produces psychedelic amounts of DMT at extraordinary times of our lives. Pineal DMT production is the physical representation of non-material, or energetic, processes. It provides us with the vehicle to consciously experience the movement of our life-force in its most extreme manifestations. Specific examples of this phenomenon are the following:

When our individual life force enters our fetal body, the movement in which we become truly human, it passes through the pineal and triggers the first primordial flood of DMT.

Later, at birth, the pineal releases more DMT.

In some of us, pineal DMT mediates the pivitol experiences of deep meditation, psychosis, and near-death experiences.

As we die, the life-force leaves the body through the pineal gland, releasing another flood of this psychedelic spirit molecule. (Strassman 2001: pp68-69)

Let’s now consider less pathological, but also relatively common and naturally occurring, altered states of awareness in which pineal DMT may play a role. Dream consciousness is one of these.

The most likely time for us to dream is also the time at which melatonin levels are highest, that is, around 3am.

Jace Callaway, Ph.D., has suggested that pineal derived beta-carbolines may mediate dreams.

Meditation or prayer also may elicit deeply altered states of consciousness. Pineal DMT production could underlie these mystical or spiritual experiences.

All spiritual disciplines describe quite psychedelic accounts of the transformative experiences, whose attainment motivate their practice. Blinding white light, encounters with demonic and angelic entities, ecstatic emotions, timelessness, heavenly sounds, feelings of having died and been reborn, contacting a powerful and loving presence underlying all of reality – these experiences cut across all denominations. They also are characteristic of a fully psychedelic DMT experience. (Strassman 2001: 73)

Perhaps in order to fully “let go” into any powerful emotional experience as adults we need a baseline of a safe and secure resolution to our first naturally occurring “high-dose DMT session,” which accompanies the birth process. Otherwise, later, as an adult, exposure to such unusual and unexpected states throws us into a completely unfamiliar set of experiences, disorientating and frightening us. (Strassman 2001: 76)

Compare life and death: the state of being alive to that of being dead. One moment we are thinking, moving, and feeling. Cells are dividing, replacing dying ones with fresh recruits for the liver, lung, skin, and heart. The next moment we are no longer breathing; our heart has pumped its last beat. What is the difference? What’s gone that was just there?

There is something that “enlivens” us when joined with our body. When present in matter, it shows itself by way of movement and heat. In the brain, it provides the power to receive, and transform into awareness, our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. When it is gone, the light is extinguished and the engine stops. Whatever it is, the presence of this enlivening force provides us the opportunity to interact with this time and place. (Strassman 2001: pp80-81)

I already knew that the Tibetan Buddhist Book of the Dead teaches that it takes forty-nine days for the soul of the recently dead to “reincarnate.” …I discovered this same forty-nine-day interval marking two landmark events in human embryo formation. It takes forty-nine days from conception for the first signs of the human pineal to appear. Forty-nine days is also when the fetus differentiates into male or female gender. Thus the soul’s rebirth, the pineal, and the sexual organs all require forty-nine days before they manifest.

As we die, if near-death experiences are any indication, there is a profound shift in consciousness away from identification with the body.
All the factors…combine for one final burst of DMT production: catecholamine release; decreased breakdown and increased formation of DMT; reduced anti-DMT; and decomposing pineal tissue. Therefore it may be that the pineal is the most active organ in the body at the time of death…The consequence of this flood of DMT upon our dying brain-based mind is a pulling back of the veils normally hiding what Tibetan Buddhists call the bardo, or intermediary states between this life and the next. (Strassman 2001: pp81-82)

Unmetabolized tendencies…can enter the fetus only when it is “ready.” This readiness may require forty-nine days, too, and may take the form of a pineal gland able to synthesize DMT. The pineal could act as an antenna or lightning rod for the soul…This is the dawning of consciousness, of mind, of awareness as a distinct biological and sexual entity. Until this forty-nine day watershed, the fetus may be only a physical, rather than a physical-spiritual, being. (Strassman 2001: 83)


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