The tripartite name of Entheogens, Society & Law refers to three intersecting dimensions of human life that seem crucial to our understanding of society and ourselves. The term, entheogen, derives from ancient Greek. It refers specifically to the use of psychoactive plants and substances to occasion 'religious' or 'mystical' states. As such, the term entheogen carries implicit connotations of the "sacred" or "divine" as an aspect of human nature or human consciousness. It therefore seems to provide a means of exploring religious and mystical experience and the ethical conclusions attached to such experiences as natural, scientifically quantifiable phenomena, while at the same time providing a critique of the notion that such experiences belong to the realm of the supernatural.
MDMA, or as it is commonly known, "ecstasy," has a pardoxical double role in contemporary society. As the party-drug ecstasy, it is consumed by tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of people at "rave" dance parties in the United States, Europe, and the Far East. In its other role as a promising adjunct to psychotherapy, MDMA is currently being researched as a treatment for many conditions, including PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and interpersonal anxiety. This book, originally published in 1985 before MDMA became illegal, is a compilation of experiences conducted in supportive and/or therapeutic settings. The vignettes are not part of a formal research study, and there is no control group. These accounts illustrate the value and potential of MDMA for generating insight, facilitating empathic communication, and supporting spiritual practice. Although the use of MDMA remains illegal (except in the limited context of research), the editors of this book, like many professionals in the field of psychotherapy, believe that a fresh look at this very promising substance is warranted. Ralph Metzner, PhD & Padma Catell, PhD
The Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss reveals the story of the McKenna brothers' eye-opening expedition to the Amazon in 1971 for psychedelic research. Once introduced by famed psychedelics advocate Timothy Leary as “one of the most important people on the planet,” radical philosopher Terence McKenna was an iconic legend in the psychedelic community. He died in 2000, but his ideas live on in the writings of author Dennis McKenna. On their Amazonian journey together, the brothers explored the outer limits of psychedelic experience and were haunted ever since by the curious events that overtook them in that primeval rainforest.
Psychedelics were inextricably associated with the hippie counterculture of the 1960s and, more recently, with the rave music scene, and were once believed to hold great promise for treating a number of medical conditions as well as providing access to profound spiritual experiences. However, legal restrictions on the use of such drugs effectively forced them underground and brought clinical research to a halt—until recently.In this book, psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sessa makes a persuasive case for the reevaluation of psychedelics—LSD, MDMA (“ecstasy”), DMT, psilocybin, ayahuasca, peyote ibogaine, and more—as he explores their clinical potential for treating a range of conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression to autism and cluster headaches. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, Sessa corrects some common misconceptions about psychedelics and makes a clarion call for their responsible therapeutic use, with appropriate set and setting, in psychotherapy, psychiatry, and personal growth.
From health to family to society, this informative exploration takes an evidence-based view of all the factors involved in drug use. Applying the same objective criteria to legal and illegal substances, an argument is made that legality is not a clear measure for harm. Tackling a variety of questions, such as Which is more harmful—Ecstasy or alcohol? Can addiction be cured? and Does the "War on Drugs" have serious unintended effects that can hurt children?, this analysis equips readers with the ability to make educated decisions regarding drugs both personally and in their communities. Broadening the scope of the discussion, a framework is explored for formulating national drug policies that will minimize a myriad of harms—social, medical, criminal, financial, and environmental.
Dr. Grof's consciousness research over the last five decades has shown that the deepest roots of trauma often lie in experiences from birth or in events from human history that have not yet been resolved and are still active in the collective unconscious. This unresolved personal or collective history then expresses through an individual or group that has some connection to the earlier events. Traditional therapeutic approaches which focus only on events in the personal biography or tranquilizing medications do not access or heal these deeper wounds in the human psyche. From a more general perspective, Dr. Grof examines the broad problems of violence and greed in society and finds that the widespread fear and aggression between individuals and groups may also originate in large part from the unconscious acting-out of unresolved historical traumas from the collective unconscious. The message of Dr. Grof and this book is, however, a hopeful one: there are approaches to therapy which utilize a specific non-ordinary state of consciousness which enables individuals, with support, to access and heal these deeper levels of trauma from the personal and collective unconscious. He has named this state of consciousness Holotropic, a composite word which means “oriented toward wholeness” or “moving in the direction of wholeness” (from the Greek holos = whole and trepo, trepein = moving toward or in the direction of something). Dr. Grof describes various approaches to achieving this Holotropic state and using it for healing, with his focus on Holotropic Breathwork, which he developed with his partner Christina, and psychedelic therapy, which he pioneered in the 1950s and which is now experiencing a renaissance of clinical research for treatment of addictions and PTSD.
Are humans unwitting partners in evolution with psychedelic plants? Darwin's Pharmacy shows they are by weaving the evolutionary theory of sexual selection and the study of rhetoric together with the science and literature of psychedelic drugs. Long suppressed as components of the human tool kit, psychedelic plants can be usefully modeled as "eloquence adjuncts" that intensify a crucial component of sexual selection in humans: discourse.Psychedelic plants seduce us to interact with them, building an ongoing interdependence: rhetoric as evolutionary mechanism. In doing so, they engage our awareness of the noosphere, or thinking stratum of the earth. The realization that the human organism is part of an interconnected ecosystem is an apprehension of immanence that could ultimately benefit the planet and its inhabitants. To explore the rhetoric of the psychedelic experience and its significance to evolution, Doyle takes his readers on an epic journey through the writings of William Burroughs and Kary Mullis, the work of ethnobotanists and anthropologists, and anonymous trip reports. The results offer surprising insights into evolutionary theory, the war on drugs, the internet, and the nature of human consciousness itself.
Called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,” James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose), and problem-solving (low dose and microdose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience--from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the setting and pre-session intention. Fadiman reviews the newest as well as the neglected research into the psychotherapeutic value of visionary drug use for increased personal awareness and a host of serious medical conditions, including his recent study of the reasons for and results of psychedelic use among hundreds of students and professionals. He reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including microdosing, extremely low doses, for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the internet. Exploring the life-changing experiences of Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Huston Smith as well as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, Fadiman shows how psychedelics, used wisely, can lead not only to healing but also to scientific breakthroughs and spiritual epiphanies.
Ethnopharmacology is a relatively new science that studies the cultural aspects of substances (plants, animals, minerals) and their biological characteristics and activities. While investigating and...
Ethnopharmacology is a relatively new science that studies the cultural aspects of substances (plants, animals, minerals) and their biological characteristics and activities. While investigating and identifying compounds and the various uses they have in indigenous and non-indigenous groups, this science is also involved in studying the bio-activity of these materials. Ethnopharmacology is connected with other ethno-sciences, especially ethnobotany, which studies the uses of plants by human groups and their chemical and biological aspects.
Mycelium Running is a manual for the mycological rescue of the planet. That’s right: growing more mushrooms may be the best thing we can do to save the environment, and in this groundbreaking text from mushroom expert Paul Stamets, you’ll find out how. The basic science goes like this: Microscopic cells called “mycelium”--the fruit of which are mushrooms--recycle carbon, nitrogen, and other essential elements as they break down plant and animal debris in the creation of rich new soil. What Stamets has discovered is that we can capitalize on mycelium’s digestive power and target it to decompose toxic wastes and pollutants (mycoremediation), catch and reduce silt from streambeds and pathogens from agricultural watersheds (mycofiltration), control insect populations (mycopesticides), and generally enhance the health of our forests and gardens (mycoforestry and myco-gardening). In this comprehensive guide, you’ll find chapters detailing each of these four exciting branches of what Stamets has coined “mycorestoration,” as well as chapters on the medicinal and nutritional properties of mushrooms, inoculation methods, log and stump culture, and species selection for various environmental purposes. Heavily referenced and beautifully illustrated, this book is destined to be a classic reference for bemushroomed generations to come.
The Shulgin Index Vol. I is a comprehensive survey of the known psychedelic phenethylamines. This first volume presents a structure-oriented survey of psychedelic phenethylamines, amphetamines, phenylpiperazines, and other similar compounds. Treatments of 126 main compounds with detailed physical properties, synthesis and analytical chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacological properties, and legal status. Fully referenced with over 2,000 citations. Sub-tables of lesser-studied structural homologues and analogues. Over 1300 total compounds covered. Extensive cross-referencing tables for rapid location of key information.This book is an invaluable resource for researchers, physicians, chemists, and law enforcement.
The book provides a concise summary of the use of music in the Santo Daime and UDV religions. Embracing the phenomenology of musical practice in broad terms, summarizing its history and treating long-awaited questions, the book touches upon crucial points regarding the power and efficacy of musical performance in religious frameworks, thus pointing towards fruitful future research in that area. It assists in understanding the relation between music and religion in broader terms, and the way that we become spiritual beings through poetry, rhythm, and melody, and communicate with realities other than the immediate.
LSD has a controversial and extraordinary reputation, due to the special effects it can induce on human consciousness. Its experimental use lead to some groundbreaking discoveries about the brain and the deeper layers of the human psyche. After its application in neuroscience, and as a tool within psychotherapy, it was increasingly used by laymen for producing euphoria and religious experiences. Today, there is a resurgence of interest in LSD, including its possible uses in psychotherapy and for the treatment of some headache disorders. This book represents the first ever comprehensive review of the psychological and pharmacological effects of LSD. It draws on data from more than 3000 experimental and clinical studies. The Pharmacology of LSD provides a unique and valuable resource for anyone interested in better understanding this controversial hallucinogenic drug - including brain scientists, psychopharmacologists, addiction researchers, and psychiatrists.
Few stories in the annals of American counterculture are as intriguing or dramatic as that of the Brotherhood of Eternal Love.Dubbed the "Hippie Mafia," the Brotherhood began in the mid-1960s as a small band of peace-loving, adventure-seeking surfers in Southern California. After discovering LSD, they took to Timothy Leary's mantra of "Turn on, tune in, and drop out" and resolved to make that vision a reality by becoming the biggest group of acid dealers and hashish smugglers in the nation, and literally providing the fuel for the psychedelic revolution in the process.Just days after California became the first state in the union to ban LSD, the Brotherhood formed a legally registered church in its headquarters at Mystic Arts World on Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, where they sold blankets and other countercultural paraphernalia retrieved through surfing safaris and road trips to exotic locales in Asia and South America. Before long, they also began to sell Afghan hashish, Hawaiian pot (the storied "Maui Wowie"), and eventually Colombian cocaine, much of which the Brotherhood smuggled to California in secret compartments inside surfboards and Volkswagen minibuses driven across the border.They also befriended Leary himself, enlisting him in the goal of buying a tropical island where they could install the former Harvard philosophy professor and acid prophet as the high priest of an experimental utopia. The Brotherhood's most legendary contribution to the drug scene was homemade: Orange Sunshine, the group's nickname for their trademark orange-colored acid tablet that happened to produce an especially powerful trip. Brotherhood foot soldiers passed out handfuls of the tablets to communes, at Grateful Dead concerts, and at love-ins up and down the coast of California and beyond. The Hell's Angels, Charles Mason and his followers, and the unruly crowd at the infamous Altamont music festival all tripped out on this acid. Jimi Hendrix even appeared in a film starring Brotherhood members and performed a private show for the fugitive band of outlaws on the slope of a Hawaiian volcano.Journalist Nicholas Schou takes us deep inside the Brotherhood, combining exclusive interviews with both the group's surviving members as well as the cops who chased them. A wide-sweeping narrative of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll (and more drugs) that runs from Laguna Beach to Maui to Afghanistan, Orange Sunshine explores how America moved from the era of peace and free love into a darker time of hard drugs and paranoia.
Among the most profound and influential explorations of mind-expanding psychedelic drugs ever written, here are two complete classic books—The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell—in which Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, reveals the mind's remote frontiers and the unmapped areas of human consciousness. This edition also features an additional essay, "Drugs That Shape Men's Minds," now included for the first time. "A genuine spiritual quest. . . . Extraordinary." — New York Times
Dr. Milan Hausner is perhaps the only psychiatrist in the world who has worked with hallucinogens in a clinical environment for as many years with so many patients on so large a scale... For 20 years, Dr. Milan Hausner treated mentally ill patients with LSD in conjunction with psychotherapy while he was Medical Director of the psychiatric clinic at Sadska near Prague in Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic). The psycholytic system Dr. Hausner specialized in at his 112-bed clinic used dosages of LSD ranging from 50 to 400 mcg and were administered in up to 60, sometimes 90, sessions on an outpatient--and weekend--basis, in conjunction with psychotherapy. Cure time ranged from 6 to 12 months depending on the severity of the illness. The disorders that responded favorably to psycholysis included numerous forms of neuroses, phobias and some psychotic illnesses. In the course of Dr. Milan Hausner's work, his clinic near Prague gained international recognition as the largest facility of its kind, supervising over 3,000 therapeutic sessions with LSD involving more than 300 patients. As a result, his clinic became one of the most extensive LSD centers in the world.
A look inside almost half a century of pioneering research in the Amazon and Peru by a noted anthropologist studying hallucinogens, including ayahuasca. Reveals how ayahuasca successfully treats psychological and emotional disorders. Examines adolescent drug use from a cross-cultural perspective. Discusses the deleterious effects of drug tourism in the Amazon Ayahuasca is an alkaloid-rich psychoactive concoction indigenous to South America that has been employed by shamans for millennia as a spirit drug for divinatory and healing purposes. Although the late Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes was credited in the early 1950s as being the first to document the use of ayahuasca, other researchers, such as the distinguished anthropologist Marlene Dobkin de Rios, were responsible for furthering his findings and uncovering the curative capabilities of this amazing compound. The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios presents the accumulated experience of de Rios’s 45 years of pioneering field studies in the area of hallucinogens in Peru and the Amazon. Her investigation into ayahuasca--which she undertook in collaboration with more than a dozen traditional Mestizo folk curanderos, shamans, and fellow ethnobotanists--focuses on the use of this revolutionary plant in the treatment of recalcitrant psychological and emotional disorders. She also shares some of her theories that prove that the ancient Maya used psychedelic plants as part of their religious rituals, thereby demonstrating the impact of plant psychedelics on human prehistory. In addition, Dobkin de Rios examines altered states of consciousness derived from the use of biofeedback and hypnosis and discusses her current work on the deleterious effects of drug tourism in the Amazon.
A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy: Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States
One country's sacrament is another's illicit drug, as officials in South America and the United States are well aware. For centuries, a hallucinogenic tea made from a giant vine native to the Amazonian rainforest has been taken as a religious sacrament across several cultures in South America. Many spiritual leaders, shamans, and their followers consider the tea and its main component - ayahuasca - to be both enlightening and healing. In fact, ayahuasca (pronounced a-ja-was-ka) loosely translated means spirit vine. In this book, de Rios and Rumrrill take us inside the history and realm of, as well as the raging arguments about, the substance that seems a sacrament to some and a scourge to others. Their book includes text from the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances and interviews with shamans in the Amazon.
The sensationalism surrounding the widespread use of LSD in the late 1960s and the subsequent legislative overkill virtually ended psychotherapeutic LSD research. Much of what had been learned over thirty years of scientific medical study was so distorted or suppressed that no objective overview was available to the general reader except for this book. LSD Psychotherapy is a complete account of a remarkable chapter in the ever-continuing inquiry into our transpersonal nature and origins. The controlled studies described in this book reveal exciting and challenging data about the nature of human consciousness, perception, and reality itself. Drawing on this work, Stanislav Grof outlines a new cartography of the human mind, one which accounts for experiences such as shamanic trances, near-death experiences and altered states of consciousness. This vision is also the foundation for Dr. Grof's revolutionary Holotropic Breathwork techniques. This book is also a visual feast, with numerous color drawings and paintings created by research participants (see featured artist Sherana Harriette Frances' book, Drawing It Out: Befriending the Unconscious. Many of these depict archetypal images from the collective human consciousness, forming a powerful addition to the text. LSD Psychotherapy is a valuable source of information for those who are involved with LSD in any way, whether as parents, teachers, researchers, legislators, or students of the human psyche. The approach to healing described in this book is inspired by the eternal desire of humankind for wholeness and an enduring grasp of reality.
In the 1970s two of the most influential thinkers of the psychedelic era gathered what was then known about psilocybin botany and culture and presented it in Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide. Writing under pseudonyms, the McKenna brothers provided simple, reliable, and productive methods for magic mushroom propagation, including black-and-white photographs that showed the techniques of the time. The development of more modern cultivation techniques does not eclipse the cultural contributions of this book. Philosophical asides, whimsical illustrations evoking the mystical nature of mushrooms, and speculations about the relationship of these organisms to humankind provide a lasting legacy. Truly the classic manual on home cultivation, the wisdom of Psilocybin: Magic Mushroom Grower's Guide continues to inspire new students of psycho-mycology—and refreshes psychedelic memories for others.
This is a pioneering cognitive psychological study of Ayahuasca, a plant-based Amazonian psychotropic brew. Benny Shanon presents a comprehensive charting of the various facets of the special state of mind induced by Ayahuasca, and analyzes them from a cognitive psychological perspective. Healso presents some philosophical reflections. Empirically, the research presented in this book is based on the systematic recording of the author's extensive experiences with the brew and on the interviewing of a large number of informants: indigenous people, shamans, members of different religioussects using Ayahuasca, and travellers. In addition to its being the most thorough study of the Ayahuasca experience to date, the book lays the theoretical foundations for the psychological study of non-ordinary states of consciousness in general.
Remembrances of LSD therapy past by Betty Grover Eisner is a memoir that draws on her experiences as a psychotherapist who had fostered the first written attempt to integrate the notion of the ‘set and setting’ within the framework of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. In 1957, she had worked with the psychiatrist Sidney Cohen to investigate the techniques for creating the optimal conditions for integrative psychedelic experiences, and continued to investigate how the set and setting shape the outcome of psychedelic experiences. Her interests were also informed by personal contact with Humphrey Osmond and Aldous Huxley amongst others and entailed a principled approach for the selection of LSD patients for therapy, the preparation process, as well as the use of music, photographs, mirrors, and post-session activities in the hospital’s art clinic. Her book conveys the importance of creating better conditions to enable subjects to receive the full benefits of LSD psychotherapy.
Use of the drug Ecstasy, once confined to the teen rave scene and college campuses, is exploding across America, from high schools to upscale clubs. Described by users as the most intense euphoria they know and by detractors as a cause of brain damage and even death, Ecstasy has generated unprecedented levels of interest-and misinformation. Written by the world's leading experts on MDMA, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide takes the first unbiased look at the risks and the benefits of this unique drug, including the science of how it works; its promise as a treatment for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, and other illnesses; and how to minimize the risk of illicit use. Whether you are a raver, a concerned parent, or a professional wanting the most recent reports on MDMA research, Ecstasy: The Complete Guide provides the answers you need.
A clinical psychiatrist explores the effects of DMT, one of the most powerful psychedelics known. • A behind-the-scenes look at the cutting edge of psychedelic research. • Provides a unique scientific explanation for the phenomenon of alien abduction experiences. From 1990 to 1995 Dr. Rick Strassman conducted U.S. Government-approved and funded clinical research at the University of New Mexico in which he injected sixty volunteers with DMT, one of the most powerful psychedelics known. His detailed account of those sessions is an extraordinarily riveting inquiry into the nature of the human mind and the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. DMT, a plant-derived chemical found in the psychedelic Amazon brew, ayahuasca, is also manufactured by the human brain. In Strassman's volunteers, it consistently produced near-death and mystical experiences. Many reported convincing encounters with intelligent nonhuman presences, aliens, angels, and spirits. Nearly all felt that the sessions were among the most profound experiences of their lives. Strassman's research connects DMT with the pineal gland, considered by Hindus to be the site of the seventh chakra and by Rene Descartes to be the seat of the soul. DMT: The Spirit Molecule makes the bold case that DMT, naturally released by the pineal gland, facilitates the soul's movement in and out of the body and is an integral part of the birth and death experiences, as well as the highest states of meditation and even sexual transcendence. Strassman also believes that "alien abduction experiences" are brought on by accidental releases of DMT. If used wisely, DMT could trigger a period of remarkable progress in the scientific exploration of the most mystical regions of the human mind and soul.
For Aldous Huxley it was the next step in human evolution; for the CIA it was a potential tool for mind control; for Timothy Leary it was the liberator of humankind (a belief that led to his being branded “the most dangerous man in America”); for Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters it fueled the notorious Acid Tests; and it was the improbable common denominator that united such disparate figures as Allen Ginsberg, Cary Grant, G. Gordon Liddy, and Charles Manson. In this brilliant, riveting, and exhaustively researched book, Jay Stevens relates the history of that “curious molecule,” LSD. He unearths a story of Pynchonesque complexity, tells it with novelistic flair, and irrefutably demonstrates LSD’s pivotal role in the cultural upheavals that shook America in the 1960s and changed the country forever.
TiHKAL: The Continuation is the sequel to PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story but can stand alone to any reader. Where PiHKAL focuses on a class of compounds called phenethylamines, TiHKAL is written about a family of psychoactive drugs known as tryptamines with TiHKAL being an acronym for Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved". Like its predecessor PiHKAL, it is divided into two parts. The first part of the book begins with the story of Alice and Shura, a fictionalized autobiography, which picks up where the similar section of PiHKAL left off. The book opens with the story about the DEA raid that occurred a few years after the publication of their first book, PiHKAL. It's a window into the DEA, the institutional aspect and human side of it as well, and the price that Shura and Alice pay for doing what they do, including exercising their first amendment rights. It then continues with a collection of essays on topics ranging from psychotherapy and the Jungian mind, to the prevalence of DMT in nature, ayahuasca, the War on Drugs, and even the Big Bang. It is a blend of travel, botanical facts, scientific speculation, psychological and political commentary. It is fascinating getting to know the mind of the man behind the compounds - his thoughts on science, technology, law, and society. And the mind of the woman who brought his work and their story into the light of the world. The second part of TiHKAL is "The Chemistry Continues". It is a detailed manual for 55 psychedelic compounds (many discovered by Shulgin himself). For each compound there is information on synthesis, effective dosage, duration of effects, and commentary on the subjective effects that were experienced. The Shulgins' two big books span autobiography, organic chemistry, politics, ethnobotany and psychopharmacology and the cultural impact of these works has been profound and will continue to be so in the future.
This mesmerizing, surreal account of the bizarre adventures of Terence McKenna, his brother Dennis, and a small band of their friends, is a wild ride of exotic experience and scientific inquiry. Exploring the Amazon Basin in search of mythical shamanic hallucinogens, they encounter a host of unusual characters -- including a mushroom, a flying saucer, pirate Mantids from outer space, an appearance by James and Nora Joyce in the guise of poultry, and translinguistic matter -- and discover the missing link in the development of human consciousness and language.
A thoroughly revised edition of the much-sought-after early work by Terence and Dennis McKenna that looks at shamanism, altered states of consciousness, and the organic unity of the King Wen sequence of the I Ching.
Few events have had a more profound impact on the social and cultural upheavals of the Sixties than the psychedelic revolution spawned by the spread of LSD. This book for the first time tells the full and astounding story—part of it hidden till now in secret Government files—of the role the mind-altering drug played in our recent turbulent history and the continuing influence it has on our time. And what a story it is, beginning with LSD’s discovery in 1943 as the most potent drug known to science until it spilled into public view some twenty years later to set the stage for one of the great ideological wars of the decade. In the intervening years the CIA had launched a massive covert research program in the hope that LSD would serve as an espionage weapon, psychiatric pioneers came to believe that acid would shed light on the perplexing problems of mental illness, and a new generation of writers and artists had given birth to the LSD sub-culture. Acid Dreams is a complete social history of the psychedelic counter-culture that burst into full view in the Sixties. With new information obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the authors reveal how the CIA became obsessed with LSD during the Cold War, fearing the Soviets had designs on it as well. What follows is one of the more bizarre episodes in the covert history of U.S. intelligence as the search for a “truth drug” began to resemble a James Bond scenario in which agents spied on drug-addicted prostitutes through two-way mirrors and countless unwitting citizens received acid with sometimes tragic results.
Terence McKenna hypothesizes that as the North African jungles receded, giving way to savannas and grasslands near the end of the most recent ice age, a branch of our arboreal primate ancestors left the forest canopy and began living in the open areas beyond. There they experimented with new varieties of foods as they adapted, physically and mentally, to the environment. Among the new foods found in this environment were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing near dung of ungulate herds occupying the savannas and grasslands. Referencing the research of Roland L. Fisher, McKenna claims the enhancement of visual acuity was an effect of psilocybin at low doses and suggests this would confer adaptive advantage. He argues that the effects of slightly larger doses, including sexual arousal, and in larger doses, ecstatic hallucinations & glossolalia - gave selective evolutionary advantages to members of those tribes who partook of it. There were many changes caused by the introduction of this psychoactive to primate diets. He hypothesizes, for instance, that synesthesia (the blurring of sensory boundaries) caused by psilocybin led to the development of spoken language: the ability to form pictures in another person's mind through the use of vocal sounds. About 12,000 years ago, further climate changes removed psilocybin-containing mushrooms from human diets. He argues that this event resulted in a new set of profound changes in our species as we reverted to the previous brutal primate social structures that had been modified and/or repressed by frequent consumption of psilocybin.
Cited by the L.A. Weekly as "the culture's foremost spokesman for the psychedelic experience," Terrence McKenna is an underground legend as a brilliant raconteur, adventurer, and expert on the experiential use of mind-altering plants. In these essays, interviews, and narrative adventures, McKenna takes us on a mesmerizing journey deep into the Amazon as well as into the hidden recesses of the human psyche and the outer limits of our culture, giving us startling visions of the past and future.
Alexander (better known as "Sasha") and Ann Shulgin's PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story has become a foundational work in the genre and was the first book to fully impart the how-to chemistry, and convey the effects, of many of the entheogenic drugs that are currently being studied and used to heal trauma and deal with death. An acronym for "Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved", the book spans autobiography, organic chemistry, politics, ethnobotany, and psychopharmacology, and the cultural impact is likely to be profound for decades to come, as it has already. PiHKAL is divided into two parts, the first of which is a fictionalized autobiographical 'novel' - the main fiction is that it is fiction. This first half of the book is The Love Story, about two people named Shura and Alice who fall in love, though one of them is already in love with someone else. This love triangle is a painful ordeal they must go through, and that process unfolds before the reader with grace and great insight into human nature. Shura is a brilliant chemist who has dedicated his career to making psychoactive drugs, in the story they go through many experiences with the psychedelic compounds that Shura has discovered and has made in his lab, all of which have been bioassayed himself. The reader will find themselves going on this journey with them, experiencing what they experienced, both in their hearts and in the psychedelic journeys they have. The second half of PiHKAL is called The Chemical Story, and it contains detailed instructions for, and effects of, the synthesis of 179 psychedelic phenethylamines which were mostly discovered by Shulgin himself. For each substance there is information on its synthesis, suggested effective dosage, duration, and detailed commentary on the subjective effects that were experienced. This book appeals to adults of all ages and cultures, and to the psychedelically experienced and inexperienced alike.
In recent years there has been considerable debate over the visionary experiences induced by hallucinatory plants -- often regarded as sacred in shamanic societies -- and the related use of psychedelics in contemporary psychotherapy. This fascinating book presents essays by many leading researchers in the field of altered states of consciousness -- presented to honour Dr. Albert Hofmann, who first discivered the extraordinary effects of LSD in 1943. Featured here are writings on the medical use of psychedelics, the controversial issue of 'molecular mysticism', the relationship of sacrements to Gnosis, death and rebirth themes in shamanis; comparisons between meditative and psychedelic experiences, and states of tryptamine consciousness.
"...one of the two best kept secrets in history, and this book is the most successful attempt I know to unlock it. ... [A] historical tour de force."--Huston Smith, author of The World’s ReligionsThe secretive Mysteries conducted at Eleusis in Greece for nearly two millennia have long puzzled scholars with strange accounts of initiates experiencing otherworldly journeys. In this groundbreaking work, three experts—a mycologist, a chemist, and a historian—argue persuasively that the sacred potion given to participants in the course of the ritual contained a psychoactive entheogen. The authors then expand the discussion to show that natural psychedelic agents have been used in spiritual rituals across history and cultures. Although controversial when first published in 1978, the book’s hypothesis has become more widely accepted in recent years, as knowledge of ethnobotany has deepened. The authors have played critical roles in the modern rediscovery of entheogens, and The Road to Eleusis presents an authoritative exposition of their views. The book’s themes of the universality of experiential religion, the suppression of that knowledge by exploitative forces, and the use of psychedelics to reconcile the human and natural worlds make it a fascinating and timely read. This 30th anniversary edition includes an appreciative preface by religious scholar Huston Smith and an updated exploration of the chemical evidence by Peter Webster.
The Beyond Within: The LSD Story by Sidney Cohen is one of the oldest books (1972) that details the use and effects of LSD. It explains the effects that one can expect from LSD, and how you can use it as a tool to explore inner depths.