The cumulative evidence in such books as Dr. Andrija Puharich's The Sacred Mushroom, John Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, R. Gordon Wasson's Soma: Divine Mushroom of Immortality, Robert Graves' revised fourth edition of The White Goddess, Professor Peter Furst's Flesh of the Gods, Dr. Weston LaBarre's The Peyote Cult and Ghost Dance: Origins of Religion, Margaret Murray's The Witch Cult of Western Europe, etc., leaves little doubt that the beginnings of religion (awareness of, or at least belief in, Higher Intelligences) is intimately linked with the fact that shamans - in Europe, Asia, in the Americas, in Africa - have been dosing their nervous systems with metaprogramming drugs since at least 30,000 B.C.
The pattern is the same, among our cave-dwelling ancestors and American Indians, at the Eleusinian feasts in Athens and among pre-Vedic Hindus, in tribes scattered from pole to pole and in the contemporary research summarized by Dr. Walter Huston Clark in his Chemical Ecstacy: people take these metaprogramming substances and they soon assert contact with Higher Intelligences.
According the LaBarre's Ghost Dance, the shamans of North and South America used over 2,000 different metaprogramming chemicals; those of Europe and Asia curiously, only used about 250. Amanita muscaria (the "fly agaric" mushroom) was the most widely used sacred drug in the Old World, and the peyote cactus in the New. Over the past 30-to-40,000 years countless shamans have been trained by older shamans (as anthropologist Carlos Castaneda is trained by brujo - witch-man - Don Juan Matus in the famous books) to use these chemicals, as Dr. Leary and Dr. Lilly have used them, to metaprogram the nervous system and bring in some of the signals usually not scanned. (On the visual spectrum alone ,it has been well known since Newton that we normally perceive less than 0.5 (one-half of one) per cent of all known pulsations.) It can safely be generalized that the link between such sensitive new scannings and personal belief in Higher Intelligences is the most probable explaination of the origins of religion.
That the turned on mind is cosmic in dimension is stated directly by Carlos Castaneda's shamanic teacher, Don Juan Matus, in Tales of Power:"Last night was the first time you flew on the wings of your perception. A sorcerer can use those wings to touch other sensibilities, a crow's for instance, a coyote's, a cricket's, or the order of other worlds in that infinite space. (Emphasis added)When professor Castaneda asked directly, "Do you mean other planets, Don Juan?" the old shaman answered without reservation: "Certainly." (p. 270)
As Captain James T. Kirk once remarked, "Can all this just be an accident? Or could there be some alien intelligence behind it?"