Sometimes, in order to let go of our “real-world” mindsets, we witches use substances such as alcohol and entheogens. These enable us to get past our socially-minded constructs and get into contact with our purer, more intuitive mind, and therefore, the other realms, spirits and the Gods, as ritual helps us in sober states to achieve this. Ritual can be greatly enhanced, and the connection with Them stronger without our reality-based minds constantly intruding in on our spiritual mind.
For me, a bottle of wine does the trick. Within the first few sips, I feel my socially trained “me” drifting away, and the spiritual, “true” me coming through, making herself known. We know that most intoxicants get rid of our inhibitions, and it is quite true, and within witchcraft, it is quite a good thing (although, only if properly used: I never get drunk out of my mind; a bottle will allow me to be free without the feeling like I’m going to be sick, that I’ve poisoned my body). I feel, for me, that I can call upon the powers within me and without, without being world-weary, without thinking of how crazy all this is, how crazy magic and the Gods seem to be.
There is some mainstream thoughts that whilst doing spellwork, or ritual, one must be sober, and connect with the spiritual mind and world as such. While I agree, that perhaps group/coven work may be a little controversial with taking mind altering substances, I mostly practice alone at the moment, and with the right people, I believe it could be a powerful experience. I’m also not one who really follows others’ views, unless I have verified for myself that they work for me. The thing about being a witch is that our beliefs can be based on what we, ourselves, experience first hand, as it should be. What works for one will not always work for everyone else, which is why the big religions are losing such favour. Despite the fact that they fill you with fear of nasty after-lives, it’s all spectatorship, never direct involvement, and the thought that what is good for one, is good for all. How are you to be moved with deep, spiritual feeling without participating, and Hel, without figuring out how you can improve your connection to your beliefs by finding out ways to enhance the connection to the Divine?
If using substances can enhance (not hinder), then use it. But, and a big but at that, you must find the balance of the ecstatic feeling brought on by substances, and pure, destructive drunkeness in order to truly be able to use it properly to connect with the Divine. Know what your limits are, if a few sips is enough, then it is enough. If a puff is enough, then it is enough. Do not take more, lest you should experience something you are not prepared for and may be quite damaging.