PT424 – Psychedelic Spirituality: Religion, Mysticism, and the Psychedelic Experience

July 18, 2023
Featuring: Rev. Dr. Brian Rajcok

In this episode, Kyle interviews the Reverend Dr. Brian Rajcok, Lead Pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Avon, Connecticut, who recently completed his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling.

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In this episode, Kyle interviews the Reverend Dr. Brian Rajcok, Lead Pastor at St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Avon, Connecticut, who recently completed his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling.

Rajcok dives into the intersection of spirituality, religion, mysticism, and how psychedelics bring these topics together, discussing a transformative peyote ceremony and the awe-inspiring moments of surrender, connection, and divine presence that left a lasting impact on him and deepened his connection to God. And he talks about his recently completed dissertation that was inspired by it all: “The Lived Experience of Professional Mental Health Clinicians With Spiritually Significant Psychedelic Experiences,” which he created to gauge the relationship between religious spiritual commitment, tolerance, and multicultural counselor competency. He shares stories from the study and reflections on how these experiences have changed the way involved clinicians work. 

And he discusses much more in the realm of psychedelics and religion: why he pursued pastoral counseling and how psychedelics come into play; the balance between tradition and reason and spiritual commitment and tolerance; the legal and regulatory considerations of religious psychedelic use; the concept of a faith quadrilateral; the need for psychedelic experiences in counseling training programs; the big question of ‘when is it religion and when is it mental health care?’; and how the future of psychedelic spirituality could be humanity’s biggest evolution.

Notable Quotes

“There were moments in the night where I felt like I was looking at the fire, having a feeling of being in Hell. And then there was this shift of when I said, ‘Okay, if I’m in Hell, accept that.’ And then I accepted that, and then there was this total emotional shift to like, ‘Wow, now I’m in Heaven!’ It was just this beautiful experience of accepting the worst, and then once that work was done, it shifted into this beautiful experience. That was a very profound moment for me.”

“People who are more religiously committed tend to have a reputation for being less tolerant, and people who are the most tolerant tend to have a reputation of being the least committed. But I think that what we see from people who have (whether it’s psychedelic experiences or naturally occurring) mystical experiences, there’s a level of religious spiritual commitment and tolerance at the same time that increases. So that was one thing that I wanted to explore.”

“That was another really profound one: people who experienced different spirit guides; experiences of the divine; encounters with deceased relatives was another one; there was someone who was not a Christian who had an experience with Jesus. So there’s a lot of these profound encounters. …And they’re so healing that it’s obvious that there’s something good going on here. It’s not just your imagination running wild, there’s a real [connection] to the spirit realm or to whatever other dimensions of reality, and it’s such a mystery, but it’s clear that there’s something real going on.”



Brian’s Dissertation: “The Lived Experience of Professional Mental Health Clinicians with Spiritually Significant Psychedelic Experiences”

YouTube: StMatthewAvon

Rickstrassman.com: Interview with The Rev. Brian R. Rajcok

PT231 – Dr. Hassan Tetteh – Human Care Over Health Care

Brian Rajcok

In this Episode

Rev. Dr. Brian Rajcok

The Rev. Dr. Brian R. Rajcok, Ph.D. is Lead Pastor at St. Matthew. He recently completed his Ph.D. in pastoral counseling, for which he wrote his dissertation on spiritually significant psychedelic experiences. Pastor Brian has an interest in mysticism, the study of consciousness, world religions, and the relationship between science and spirituality. He believes the church’s mission is to promote the spiritual evolution of humanity. With his daily practice of centering prayer meditation, Pastor Brian strives to live in alignment with the divine and help others mature on the spiritual journey.

Socials: Instagram