The Psychedelic Experience

One of the movers and shakers of the psychedelic era had these observations in 1967: “The LSD story up to now [1967] has been a tragedy. A tool of tremendous potential value for science, medicine and personal life enrichment has been allowed, partly by default, to become the plaything of unscrupulous cultists. Most of us have been too hypnotized by the increasing publicity attending the splashy hippy happenings to remember or assert that LSD was once thought to bear quite a different message. Whether one places the blame for its corruption on the politicians who drove LSD underground, on the academicians who allowed this to happen, or on the opportunists who took advantage of the result, the fact remains that society could hardly have done a more thorough job of confounding the good, and magnifying the evil potential in these powerful drugs if that had been the avowed intention of all concerned. If the future of LSD is to be more wholesome than its past, it must be squarely recognized that the most publicized advocates of the psychedelic are its worst enemies. We cannot rely on them to fight our battles for us, whether it be for religious freedom, the right to do research, or the dissemination of accurate information. Flower power is no substitute for integrity.”

User Perceptions of Mental Health Consequences of Hallucinogen Use in Self-Identified Spiritual Contexts

Aims: The article aims to gain insight into the private worlds of users of hallucinogenic drugs in spiritual contexts, with a focus on the self-perceived mental health implications of their practices. This will help us understand the rationale behind and consequences of hallucinogenic drug use. Method: Respondents were recruited at several internet fora for individual email-mediated interviews (n = 5) or group interviews in public discussion threads (n = 11). They were predominantly males in their 30s or 40s with stable jobs and living conditions and extensive hallucinogen experience. Results: Both positive and adverse consequences were assessed, and respondents emphasised the capacity of hallucinogenic drugs for healing and personal growth; even adverse experiences (“bad trips”) were regarded as valuable for these purposes. The dependence potential of these drugs was regarded as low because of an inherent self-regulatory mechanism whereby positive effects disappear with overuse. A minority of participants reported mental health problems that may result from their hallucinogen use, but the majority have experienced no significant adverse reactions after many years of use. This should be seen in light of the low frequency of their hallucinogen use. Conclusion: The study obtained evidence of a predominantly male group of mature users taking hallucinogens in carefully prepared sessions for the purpose of personal spiritual growth, acknowledging some risks but also several benefits from this practice.

A Memorial Tribute to Ralph Metzner: Scholar, Teacher, Shaman

Ralph Metzner was a visionary alchemical explorer, rigorous academic scholar, and uniquely gifted shamanic teacher. His contributions to transpersonal psychology, consciousness research, and contemporary psychedelic studies are myriad. Throughout his life he engaged in deep study of mind, and he distilled his findings into words and practices he communicated to others through his many writings, teachings, and counsel. The study of consciousness, now an acceptable topic of investigation in mainstream science, will surely benefit as ideas he explored continue to penetrate into academic discourse. And the growing contemporary field of psychedelic science – currently undergoing a blossoming of clinical and neurobiological investigation – has been and will continue to be profoundly influenced by Ralph’s contributions over the last more than half-century.

Creative Problem Solving

OF ALL the strange permutations which occur with LSD use, two of signal importance for researchers have been found to be heightened sensitivity and vulnerability. Unlike the hypnotic trance, this “defenselessness” is coupled with consciousness and will power. Therefore, the subject, if he has a problem to solve, can put his altered responses to this task. Solutions can emerge if proper attention has been paid to the “set” (the user’s expectations, his emotional make-up and motivations) and “setting” (the surroundings and circumstances under which the drug is taken).

Among the endless variety of problems which LSD can help solve, the most clear-cut and spectacular—for which there is unequivocal proof—are creative and technical problems. Hopefully, as more and more technical and creative problem solving is done with LSD and word of it comes to light, valid non-medical uses of the drug will be publicly recognized and understood. If and when this happens, unrealistic and fantastic claims about LSD’s powers and dangers will be recognized for what they are.

Green Psychology: Transforming Our Relationship to the Earth

It is becoming more and more apparent that the causes and cures for the current ecological crisis are to be found in the hearts and minds of human beings. For millennia we existed within a religious and psychological framework that honored the Earth as a partner and worked to maintain a balance with nature. But somehow a root pathology took hold in Western civilization–the idea of domination over nature–and this led to an alienation of the human spirit that has allowed an unprecedented destruction of the very systems which support that spirit.

In Green Psychology Ralph Metzner explores the history of this global pathology and examines the ways that we can restore a healing relationship with nature. His search for role models takes him from shamanic ceremonies with the Lacandon Maya of Mexico to vision quests in the California desert, from the astonishing nature mysticism of Hildegard von Bingen to the Black Goddesses and Green Gods of our pagan ancestors. He examines the historical roots of the split between humans and nature, showing how first sky-god worshiping cultures, then monotheisms, and finally mechanistic science continued to isolate the human psyche from the life-giving Earth. His final chapters present a solution, showing that disciplines such as deep ecology and ecofeminism are creating a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the Earth are harmoniously intertwined.

Einstein on Acid

An article suggesting that psychedelics and near-death experiences could help lead to more comprehensive understanding of advanced concepts in physics, like the multidimensional universe, fractal geometry, and spatiotemporal perception.

Kilindi Iyi – The Lack Of Diversity In The Psychedelic Community

The lack of diversity in the psychedelic community only reflects what is the prevailing wind of the greater society. The good ol’ boy network prevails even in the ultra hip, ultra chic psychedelic community which is not immune to a fundamental lack of adequate access to the club of the PhD. A basic racial divide is evident even to the most non-observant peruser. Many times at psychedelic conferences, organisers utilise women, people of colour and indigenous persons to lend an air of legitimacy to an otherwise monolithic system. The hierarchy is set! Kilindi will explore the lack of diversity in the psychedelic community and how it affects the minority players in the psychedelic world. Minority players who are not doctors, those legitimate experts who don’t have PhDs, the marginalised, non-middle-aged-white-guy-rest-of-us.