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Reviews by David Arnson
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Sage Spirit: Salvia divinorum and the Entheogenic Experience
by Martin W. Ball
Publisher:
Kyandara Publishing 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by David Arnson
11/17/2011

Much of Sage Spirit: Salvia divinorum and the Entheogenic Experience is comprised of journal-style descriptions and subsequent analyses of the author’s Salvia divinorum journeys, wherein he encounters a realm of other consciousnesses, beings, and intentions. A central element to his ritual is the use of rhythmic, patterned sound. The book concludes with thoughtful guidelines on how to conduct a salvia ceremony for groups or for the individual. [ read more ]

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Salvinorin: The Psychedelic Essence of Salvia divinorum
by D. M. Turner
Publisher:
Panther Press 
Year:
1996 
Reviewed by David Arnson
11/17/2011

D. M. Turner, late author of The Essential Psychedelic Guide, produced the first slim book on the topic of Salvia divinorum. Thoughtfully and cogently written, Turner takes care to point out potential hazards from using the substance, such as severe-but-temporary disorientation. Although this book was written at the beginning of the salvia renaissance, it remains an excellent general treatment on the subject. [ read more ]

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The Cracking Tower: A Strategy for Transcending 2012
by Jim DeKorne
Publisher:
North Atlantic Books 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Arnson
8/10/2011

DeKorne, author of the influential Psychedelic Shamanism (1994), has written a masterful follow-up to his observations and insights, especially in regard to a spiritual and self-realizing path. I consider this work essential reading for anyone remotely interested in the metaphysical aspects of psychedelics. It’s also a very useful guide towards a non-dogmatic model of looking at the universe, and, as the book is subtitled, a way to transcend the 2012 myth. [ read more ]

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Consciousness (A Brief Insight)
by Susan Blackmore
Publisher:
Sterling Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by David Arnson
2/25/2011

“Consciousness is at once the most obvious and the most difficult thing we can investigate.” Susan Blackmore expounds upon, parses, and analyzes the great question and subject of consciousness. The elusive subject is often defined here by that which it is not, seemingly to home in on the “right” questions to ask… [ read more ]

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The Hummingbird's Journey to God: Perspectives on San Pedro, the Cactus of Vision
by Ross Heaven
Publisher:
O Books 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Arnson
1/12/2011

The author tracks the experiences of twelve people, including himself, who have had the San Pedro experience. Carefully researched, this book is as much on spirituality and psychology as it is on the history and science of the enigmatic San Pedro cactus. The fact that this book works on so many different levels makes it a true pleasure to read and reread. [ read more ]

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Tryptamine Palace
by James Oroc
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Arnson
8/28/2010

Once a “devout atheist”, the author’s introduction to 5-MeO-DMT left him searching and researching for answers on how he came to experience such an intense spiritual awakening. He fortunately does not proselytize too much, making it clear that this is his own personal journey. With Tryptamine Palace, Oroc has presented a kind of syllabus or roadmap for not just 5-MeO-DMT, but most “true entheogens”, those substances that generate “the god within”. [ read more ]

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The Eight-Circuit Brain
by Antero Alli
Publisher:
Vertical Pool Publishing 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by David Arnson
5/31/2010

What Alli is doing with his book here is to not only further focus the ideas of the 8-circuit model proposed by Leary and Wilson, but to offer a program of various exercises, both mental and physical, to assist the reader in achieving a higher evolution of mind integration. [ read more ]

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The Jaguar that Roams the Mind: An Amazonian Plant Spirit Odyssey
by Robert Tindall
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2008 
Reviewed by David Arnson
3/26/2010

There are plenty of books written on the subject of ayahuasca out there, but this is definitely one of the best and most fascinating. Reading this book is akin to being shrunk into one of Pablo Amaringo’s paintings, where every square inch is a fractal segment of shamanic jungle lore and imagery. Tindall is an excellent and well-read writer, quoting from and referring to various literary sources, from Shakespeare to Thoreau, to wonderful effect. His ongoing candid observations of his own condition throughout the book allow the reader to be wholly empathetic to his story and make for a great read. [ read more ]

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The Oracle: The Lost Secrets and Hidden Message of Ancient Delphi
by William J. Broad
Publisher:
Penguin Press 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by David Arnson
2/18/2010

Whether or not the ethylene theory holds any water, Broad’s descriptions of forgotten and arcane topography maps and sulfurous cliffside vents make for some very intriguing reading. [ read more ]

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Demons Discrimination and Dollars: A Brief History of the Origins of American Drug Policy
by David Bearman, MD
Publisher:
Prosperity Press 
Year:
2007 
Reviewed by David Arnson
1/30/2010

This book is based on a college course, and is presented in an informal, basic and easy-to-read format. I highly recommend it for the vast spectrum of relevant and interesting facts on the past and present history of the United States’ relationship with controlled substances. The big problem with the book is not the facts or subject material, but the shoddy presentation in terms of punctuation, typos, etc. [ read more ]

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