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Mystical Experiences of Jean Houston

Jean Houston first became known as a dedicated researcher into the inner effects of LSD and mescaline. She has gone onto to write and present ways in which one can become involved with myth and ritual.

"Empty and exhausted, I wandered over to the bay window and sat there, drawing up my legs and looking out at the fig tree blooming in the backyard. Sitting there, drowsy and unfocused, I must in my innocence have unwittingly tapped into the appropriate spiritual doorway, for suddenly the key turned and the door to the universe opened. Nothing changed in my outward perceptions. There were no visions, no sprays of golden light, certainly no appearances by the Virgin Mary. The world remained as it had been. Yet everything around me, including myself, moved into meaning. Everything became part of a single Unity, a glorious symphonic resonance in which every part of the universe was a part of and illuminated every other part, and I knew that in some way it all worked together and was very good.

My mind dropped its shutters. I was no longer just a little local "I", Jean Houston age six, sitting on a windowsill in Brooklyn in the 1940s. I had awakened to a consciousness that spanned centuries and was on intimate terms with the universe. Everything mattered. Nothing was alien or irrelevant or distant. The farthest star knew everything, as if I was everything. Everything--the fig tree, the plane in the sky, the pups in the closet, the planents, Joey Mangiabella's ribs, Linda Darnell, the Atcheson, Topeka, and the Santa Fe Railroad, Uncle Henry, the little boy fishing in the lake who waved to me on the train when I was crossing Kansas, the chipped paint on the ceiling, the mind of God, the Virgin Mary, my Nana's special stuffed artichokes, my Mary Jane shoes, galaxies, pencil stubs, my father's typewriter, the silky ears of corn in a Texas cornfield, my Dick and Jane reader, and all the music that ever was---was in a state of resonance and of the most immense and ecstatic kinship. I was in a universe of friendship and fellow feeling, a companionable universe filled with interwoven presence and the dance of life. This went on forever, but it was actually only about two seconds, for the plane had moved only slightly across the sky.

Somewhere downstairs a door slammed, and my father entered the house laughing. Instantly, the whole universe joined in. Great roars of hilarity sounded from sun to sun. Field mice tittered, and so did angels and rainbows. Laughter leavened every atom and every star until I saw a universe inspirited and spiraled by joy, not unlike the one I read of years later when Dante describes his great vision in paradise, "D'el riso d'el universo" (the joy that spins the universe). This was a knowledge of the way everything worked. It worked through love and joy and the utter interpenetration and union of everything with the All That Is."


Source: Houston, Jean. A Mythic Life, (New York.: Harper Collins, 1996) p. 65.


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