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Recent Reviews
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Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves: Sushi, Psychedelics, Parallel Universes, and the Quest for Transcendence
by Clifford Pickover
Publisher:
Smart Publications 
Year:
2005 
Reviewed by Mark Pesce
7/9/2007

Across eleven chapters, Pickover cuts a wide swath with his literary machete, hacking through such subjects as language, DMT, machine elves, Terence McKenna, his hometown in upstate New York, book publishing, the virus theory of language, Einstein, God, transcendence, the Big Crunch, and, oh yeah, Burning Man. ... Sex, Drugs, Einstein, & Elves isn’t so much a coherent narrative as a pastiche of thoughts, a stew where nearly everything – including a porcelain kitchen sink – has been tossed in. [ read more ]

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A Psychonaut's Guide To The Invisible Landscape
by Dan Carpenter
Publisher:
Park Street Press 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by David Arnson
7/8/2007

Each of Carpenter’s chapters contains numerous descriptions of encounters with what seems to be an internal ecology of the mind. If nothing else, even if you take Carpenter’s writing with a grain or even a boulder of salt, this makes for some very interesting reading on at least a science-fiction level, like some DXM remix of Flatland or A Voyage to Arcturus. [ read more ]

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Shaman, Jhankri and Nééle: Music Healers of Indigenous Cultures
by Pat Moffitt Cook
Publisher:
Ellipsis Arts 
Year:
1997 
Reviewed by Jay Yasgur, RPh., MSc.
7/2/2007

The background that Moffitt Cook provides is “just enough,” and one can listen to the musical track without feeling mentally overloaded or taxed. The accompanying CD consists of 18 representative songs that each particular shaman uses. [ read more ]

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Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers
by Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hofmann, and Christian Rätsch
Publisher:
Healing Arts Press/Inner Traditions 
Year:
2001 (revised and expanded edition) 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
6/26/2007

It may be a rare thing for a second edition of a book to warrant its own review, but such is definitely the case with the new edition of the Schultes’ and Hofmann’s 1979 classic Plants of the Gods. Any and all criticism of this book should be viewed as minor, as it is truly a marvelous work. Rätsch has taken a great book and made it better. Especially if you own the first edition, you owe it to yourself to pick up this revamp. It is visual delight, a joy to read cover-to-cover, and it will no doubt be revisited repeatedly for years to come. [ read more ]

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Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley
by Lawrence Sutin
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Griffin, New York 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Justin Case
6/20/2007

Sutin seems to have no agenda beyond telling us the story of his subject’s life as well as can be gathered from the source material available (which he seems to have studied well). Sutin makes no claims without verifiable sources, and he also does a fine job of carefully and fairly pointing out inconsistencies and differing accounts from different sources (or sometimes from different works by Crowley himself). This is refreshing, as most writers on Crowley seem to want to either condemn or praise him. [ read more ]

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Mushroom Wisdom: How Shamans Cultivate Spiritual Consciousness
by Martin W. Ball, PhD
Publisher:
Ronin Press 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by gregoryp(tm)
6/14/2007

Ball offers a practical guide to ways of thinking about mushrooms and their capabilities. [ read more ]

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Cannabis: A History
by Martin Booth
Publisher:
Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press 
Year:
2003 
Reviewed by Justin Case
6/1/2007

...informative, well researched and well presented. Neither a coffee table book nor light reading, Booth’s work is an in-depth look at the cultural history of the cannabis plant that manages to be both readable and educating. [ read more ]

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The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs; History, Pharmacology, and Cultural Context
by Daniel M. Perrine
Publisher:
American Chemical Society 
Year:
1996 
Reviewed by Lux
5/31/2007

Some of the material in this book is irreducibly technical and will be intelligible only to people with backgrounds in chemistry. However, the novice reader can easily skim the brief technical digressions and understand the majority of the book.
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Eduardo el Curandero: The Words of a Peruvian Healer
by Eduardo Calderon, Richard Cowan, Douglas Sharon & F.Kaye Sharon
Publisher:
North Atlantic Books 
Year:
2000 (revised edition) 
Reviewed by David Arnson
5/18/2007

...a fascinating book about a Peruvian shaman who performs (or performed) healing ceremonies employing San Pedro cactus as the sacrament and medicine. Evidently this book is a transcription of a filmed documentary that took place in 1978. Even with nothing but the black-and-white still shots from the film as illustration, the book sustains the reader’s interest from cover to cover. [ read more ]

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The Age of Entheogens & The Angels' Dictionary
by Jonathan Ott
Publisher:
Natural Products Co. 
Year:
1995 
Reviewed by Rendi Case
5/18/2007

Two books under one cover: a call to draw us out of the Dark Ages in which we live into a brighter future where people can reconnect with the spirit through the immediate experience of the sacred through the ingestion of entheogens (sacred plants, hallucinogens, psychedelics or what have you); and a dictionary of terms related to divine inebriants, shamanism, psychonautica and the like. [ read more ]