Sam Ripples
by on August 8, 2019

It’s no secret that Joe and I are interested in psychedelic glossolalia: we’ve both written about the subject in the past. And since Joe and I are releasing the very first episode of the Psychedelic.Org Podcast in the next few days, I wanted to give you all a little primer for what’s to come. 


One of the biggest reasons that Joe and I decided to talk about glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, for the first episode is because it is something that brought us together. 


Neither of us had ever met someone who had experienced psychedelic glossolalia, and as two rational people, we decided to pull apart the phenomena a little further for those out there like us, who have felt a little alone and confused about their experiences. 


The origins of glossolalia are shrouded in mystery--in recent history, speaking in tongues has been associated with the Charismatic sect of Christianity, and it’s hard to find information on it otherwise. However, it’s obvious that cultures who used psychedelics since ancient times experienced this. 


For instance, the peyote-taking Native Americans have reported experiences of spontaneous glossolalia while under the influence of psychedelics, which sounds similar to the experiences Joe and I had on mushrooms.


It’s interesting to think of ancient cultures having this religious and fanatical experience. Obviously, they would assume that it was the speech of the gods, and I can vouch for the fact that this experience feels so intensely real it’s unmistakable. 


Science has as of yet been unable to pinpoint why and for what reason glossolalia happens.

There are quite a few skeptics out there who flat out believe its evidence of mass psychosis, but I beg to differ.

As a non-religious person who has experienced this phenomena completely spontaneously while under the influence of mushrooms and MDMA, I can certainly say it wasn’t psychosis.

If it was, it was the most life-changing and soul-affirming psychosis a human can go through. A religious experience without the god, although it helped me rethink my own image of myself. 


Interested to learn more, I dug into the research behind this phenomena. However, there isn’t much available. 


The only real scientific study of the phenomena was not focused upon psychedelic glossolalia, but rather the more well-known Pentecostal glossolalia. Five women were put into an MRI machine while they sang (as a control) and then while they spoke in tongues. 


When the two images were compared, a few interesting findings were discovered: there was a decrease in frontal lobe action, which indicates a loss of control, while activity in the parietal lobe (which controls the intake of new information) was increased.

Researcher Andrew Newberg postulates, “speaking in tongues involves relinquishing control while gaining a "very intense experience of how the self relates to God."

Though there is a lot of doubt around this topic, I think that further study is warranted before any true conclusions can be drawn.

I like Joe’s ideas about glossolalia being the divine language of the universe, but to me I really just love the loss of control that it lends. We all come at this from different perspectives, and it’s great not to judge one another. We’re all here to share our experiences, after all. 


Maybe one day in the future we will understand glossolalia more. But for right now, I’m enjoying its mystery. 

Joe C
It is so interesting how there is not only a shortage of information about psychedelic glossolalia, but a shortage of information about glossolalia generally. This is a really understudied phenomenon. Hopefully that will change!
August 18, 2019