Seljak, T. (2021). Psychedelic induced awakening experiences: A phenomenological exploration of their nature and characteristics [Unpublished Master’s thesis]. Alef Trust & Middlesex University.

Research suggests that awakening experiences have certain specific characteristics and can elicit long term transformative effects. The current era of psychedelic renaissance is attesting to psychedelic’s potential to induce awakening or mystical experiences. This study researched the phenomenology of psychedelic induced awakening experiences and how they compare to awakening experiences, triggered by other means. Awakening experiences were explored through retrospective reports of eight participants. An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) method was employed, to extract the key characteristics of the reported experiences through participants’ descriptions and engage with their reflections on the significance of these experiences (Smith, Flowers & Larkin, 2009). Three superordinate themes were derived through the analysis: awakening type of characteristics, other phenomenological characteristics, and transformative effects, all with several subordinate themes. The study findings showed that many characteristics of psychedelic induced awakening experiences, in terms of phenomenology and transformative effects, are highly comparable to the characteristics of awakening or mystical experiences in general. Psychedelic induced awakening experiences were also found to have additional phenomenological characteristics, not usually akin to awakening experiences. Limitations of the study were discussed, and further research options explored.

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