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FROM THE EROWID REVIEW #
- Review by La Malice, 2006 May 31
Marlene Dobkin de Rios is an anthropology scholar who specialized in the relationship between primitive societies--essentially from the american continent--and mind-altering substances. In her book Hallucinogens: Cross Cultural Perspectives, 11 traditional societies are examined, some of them long-gone and some still active.. . . (more)
BACK COVER #This book surveys the uses of mind-altering plants in eleven societies in the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Guinea, ranging from the hunter-gatherers to complex ancient civilizations such as the Incas. The lay reader with a general interest in primitive ritual, religion, and healing will find a great deal of information in this concise volume, which is illustrated with drawings of plants that can produce altered states of consciousness and with reproductions of ancient peruvian art.
Several themes emerge from de Rios's cross-cultural examination of sacred plants. She argues convincingly that plant hallucinogens, which have bgeen used from time immemorial, influenced human evolution. She also discusses religious beliefs that may have been influenced by the mind-altering properties of particular plants, and she focuses on the ways hallucinogens have incluenced ethical and moral systems.