>I suspect you and everyone else on this board only knows about as much as me on the matter, based on the lack of thorough theology offered so far.
The thing is a lack of insight into the Holy Spirit is heavy in the Western church because it's subordinated to the Father and the Son in Catholic theology and its derivatives including Protestantism, except perhaps in Pentecostalism who have a completely separate sphere of thought from traditional Christian theology. I posted in another thread hoping for responses from the Orthodox on this board on their pneumatology (the study of the Holy Spirit), but they appear to be away. The Eastern church seems to have a deeper focus on the effective action of the Spirit in their traditions of ascetic prayer and mystic contemplation. You asked here:
>What makes it different from LSD or shroom experiences?
The Western understanding has always been that encountering the Spirit leads to ecstatic revelation, as with the Catholic saints of Francis of Assisi and Teresa of Avila, as well as the obsessions of Charismatic / Pentecostal Protestants about gaining the ability to speak in nonsense tongues. This is actually excluded as a mode of the Spirit's operation in the East and can even fall under what they call the sin of Prelest, spiritual delusion (if you read into it, it answers your point in >>10613
). The Eastern understanding (from what I am aware of as an outsider) of the working of the Spirit is in its ability to perfect the conscience and discernment of the believer in faith and conduct, as part of the process of theosis, the achievement of (in a sense) union with God.
It's also funny that you stated:
>Maybe Islam had it right by equating the Holy Spirit to the Mother Mary
As it brought to mind two tangential points. The first is that Muslims allege that Christians worship idols of Gabriel, Jesus, and Mary as the Trinity, which is both nonsense but also oddly understandable if their encounters of Christianity are with Catholic or Orthodox churches (making them bedfellows with Protestant critics of religious iconography). Second, if the Mariolatry in the Catholic church is anything to go by, it basically did substitute celebrating the Spirit with celebrating Mary, and the Trinity nigh with a Father-Son dyad, inspiring your confusion.