Psychonaut ethnobotanist Terence McKenna captures the journey along a ghostly trail into the Colombian Amazon Forest, the descent of the Rio Putumayo, and his stumbling upon the “starborn magic mushroom,” activated by psilocybin. Watch Peter Bergmann’s experimental documentary.
Ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, one of the most important plant explorers of the 20th century, served as a key inspiration in a recent film called “Embrace of the Serpent.” In December 1941, Schultes entered the Amazon to study how indigenous peoples used plants for medicinal, ritual, and practical purposes. After nearly a decade of fieldwork, he made significant discoveries about the sacred hallucinogen ayahuasca. In total, Schultes would collect more than 24,000 species of plants including some 300 species new to Western science.
Jeffery St. Clair and the late Alexander Cockburn wrote about the history of CIA-associated psychologists such as 1960s psychedelic pitchman Timothy Leary using LSD and psilocybin, and their effects on subjects, like the Unabomber, Ted Kaczynski.
Psychedelic use has played a role since ancient times in healing the psyche and connecting with the mind of the universe. Research into psychedelics to treat psychological maladies, pain and disease, prohibited since the 1970s, is now showing promise, writes Michael Pollan.
Lucifer Rising is Kenneth Anger’s portrait of the love generation, the dawning of a new age and morality. Inspired by the ancient solar religions and conceived with occultist Aleister Crowley’s vision of the Age of Aquarius.
Burroughs wanted to free people from the slavery of addiction, whether to heroin or money or sex. “The Garden of Earthly Delights” was his shorthand for the diseased saturnalia of American affluence. From his earliest writings Burroughs foresaw a time when human beings, drenched in orgasmic “freedom,” would be reduced to their bodies, their minds completely manipulated by advertising and mass media.
Terence McKenna: We have no tradition of shamanism. We have no tradition of journeying into these mental worlds. We are terrified of madness. We fear it because the Western mind is a house of cards, and the people who built that house of cards know that, and they are terrified of madness.