A psychonaut endeavors to explore their psyche, usually with psychoactive substances or meditation. Psychonautics is the practice of employing psychedelics to navigate the depths of your mind. A psychonaut is typically interested in scientific or spiritual pursuits rather than recreational drug use.

The term “psychonautics” also encompasses the study of the effects and benefits of altered states of consciousness.

Psychonauts may enter an altered state of consciousness by interacting with hallucinogens. They may also achieve an altered state of mind by employing meditative practices.

A shaman, a person who takes hallucinogens (for purposes other than recreation), and a psychedelic therapist could all be labeled “psychonauts.”

The following psychotropic chemicals are examples of tools used in psychonautic study:

  • 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)
  • 5-MeO-DMT
  • Ayahuasca
  • Ketamine
  • Psilocybin
  • Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)
  • Mescaline
  • N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)

Some of the spiritual practices that could also be considered a part of a psychonautic pursuit may include:

  • Chanting
  • Meditation
  • Lucid dreaming
  • Shamanic drumming

Origin of the Term Psychonaut

Psychonaut is derived from Greek roots, translating to “sailor of the mind,” which is an apt depiction of a psychonaut: someone interested in exploring the power of the conscious and subconscious mind. It is believed the phrase was coined in 1970 by German author Ernst Jünger.