Dancing the Wild Divine: Drums, Drugs, and Individuation


  • D. J. Moores National University San Diego




depth psychology, drums, drumming, ecstasy, ecstatic rite, entheogens, hallucinogens, Jung, psychedelics


For complex reasons, Carl Jung was apprehensive of ecstatic rites in which participants dance to hypnotic drumming and transcend normal states of ego. He was also strongly opposed to the use of LSD, mescaline, and other psychotropic agents often used in such rites, cautioning that psychedelics facilitate access to unconscious energies one is ill-equipped to absorb. This paper represents a challenge to Jung's thinking on both issues. Drawing upon recent research in shamanic studies and the once-again blossoming field of psychedelic research, D. J. Moores demonstrates the limitations of Jung's caution and argues for the value of ecstatic rites in depth work.

Author Biography

D. J. Moores, National University San Diego

D. J. Moores serves as Professor of Literature at National University in San Diego. The author of three critical books, including Jung, Romanticism & the Repressed Other, he has also created two poetry anthologies, Wild Poets of Ecstasy and On Human Flourishing, and co-edited The Eudaimonic Turn: Well Being in Literary Studies. A lifelong percussionist and founding member of Beat Medicine, an ecstatic drum, chant, and dance ensemble, he performs regularly in southern California.