Psychedelics and Religious(-like) Experiences
Prominent psychedelic-scientific scholars like Walther Pahnke and William Richards have referred to certain types of psychedelic experiences as “religious” experiences (Pahnke, 1967; Richards, 2015). However, clearly separating phenomenology from interpretation, we have recently proposed that such particular psychedelic experiences at the phenomenological level are best described not as “religious experiences,” but as “religious-like” experiences. This latter term can stand for experiences that phenomenologically match traditional religious and/or contemplative experience, which at the interpretational level might then indeed be interpreted religiously/spiritually, but might also be interpreted materialistically or agnostically by the modern individual having these experiences (Stocker et al., 2023). In this talk I will give a conceptual and research overview on psychedelically occasioned religious-like experiences– including quantitative and qualitative psychedelic-psychometric research with LSD, psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline with healthy individuals as well as with patients conducted at the University Hospital Basel (where I am part of the research team).