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Recent Reviews
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Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom
by Andy Letcher
Publisher:
Faber & Faber 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by Mike Jay
12/12/2006

In Shroom, Andy Letcher has cut through this dense tangle of pseudohistory and urban legend with bracing scepticism, clearing the space for an elegant and authoritative telling of the true story that it conceals. He establishes that although fungi have fascinated, inspired and revolted us throughout history, and one source of this fascination has certainly been their strange intoxicating properties, there are only two parts of the world – Mexico and Siberia – where there is clear evidence that these properties have been deliberately sought out and culturally sanctioned. [ read more ]

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2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl
by Daniel Pinchbeck
Publisher:
Tarcher/Penguin 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by J Fisher
11/14/2006

2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl alternates frequently between first-person accounts and third-person reporting, but throughout, Pinchbeck’s tone remains conversational. Events from his personal life unify the text, allowing the reader direct access to Pinchbeck’s motivations and the seeds of his hypotheses. [ read more ]

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Smoke Plants of America: A Journey of Discovery
by M. R. Ross
Publisher:
MultiCultural Educational Pub. Co. 
Year:
2002 
Reviewed by Figment
10/27/2006

To honor her apprenticeship with various smoking mixtures, Ross wrote this charming, curious little book, which combines a “mix” of personal reflections, aphorisms, recipes, quotations, and practical data on around 150 seeds, flowers, roots, and plants that Native Americans have huffed and that you can too… [ read more ]

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Entheogens and the Future of Religion
by Robert Forte (Ed.)
Publisher:
Council on Spiritual Practices 
Year:
1997 
Reviewed by Justin Case
10/23/2006

...an excellent book for those interested in the social, political, ethical, spiritual and historical aspects of the religious use of entheogens. Edited by Robert Forte, this collection includes essays, interviews and transcripts of speaking engagements from various authors with differing areas of expertise approaches the topic of the religious use of entheogens. [ read more ]

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Witchcraft Medicine: Healing Arts, Shamanic Practices, and Forbidden Plants
by Claudia Müller-Ebeling, Christian Rätsch and Wolf-Dieter Storl
Publisher:
Inner Traditions International 
Year:
2003 
Reviewed by Edzard Klapp, Ulrich Holbein
10/22/2006

Claudia Müller-Ebeling’s contributions are the highlights of the book. Based on works of artists living in early modern times (e.g. Albrecht Dürer, Hans Baldung Grien) she presents the image of the witch as seen by these artists or their patrons. However, one cannot say if living “examples” of this image have ever really existed. (Klapp) ...Klapp finds the book useless at filling the casual gaps in his personal knowledge. But hopefully the more important and justifiable objections of Klapp’s nitpicking do no harm to all those healing magical words. (Holbein) [ read more ]

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Ploughing the Clouds — The Search for Irish Soma
by Peter Lamborn Wilson
Publisher:
City Lights Books 
Year:
1999 
Reviewed by Justin Case
10/2/2006

Wilson draws upon a variety of disciplines to tease the “Soma” out the Irish Celtic past. Anthropology, mythology, entheogen studies, comparative religion, linguistics and etymology, and other approaches are employed. He presents his theme as a reasonable suspicion, one that may lead to further evidence if experts in various fields should be inspired by his research. Writing on a more mythopoetic level, Wilson gives us a fascinating perspective on Soma as a tertium quid, a third dimension or reconciliation of a number of dichotomies… [ read more ]

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The Mushroom Cultivator
by J.S. Chilton and Paul Stamets
Publisher:
Agarikon Press 
Year:
1983 
Reviewed by Justin Case
9/21/2006

If you were to buy only one book on mushroom cultivation, this would be it. Armed with The Mushroom Cultivator, absolute beginners will not need any other book, as Chilton and Stamets provide all that the reader needs to know from the beginning to the end of the mushroom-growing process. Although psilocybian mushrooms are included, these are neither the exclusive nor main focus of the book. For the most part, the authors focus on legal edible mushrooms that can be grown openly in the home or yard.

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Pharmako/Gnosis
by Dale Pendell
Publisher:
Mercury House 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by Faustroll
9/21/2006

The California-based poet and herbalist Dale Pendell has made the place of plant knowledge his home. In three volumes—Pharmako/Poeia (1994), Pharmako/Dynamis (2002), and now Pharmako/Gnosis (2005)—he has covered the gamut from the stimulants to the sedatives, and with his latest has given us an extensive treatment of the hallucinogens. [ read more ]

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Trout's Notes on San Pedro and Related Trichocereus Species
by Keeper of the Trout & Friends
Publisher:
Better Days 
Year:
2005 
Reviewed by Justin Case
8/15/2006

One could say that Trout’s Notes on San Pedro is to Trichocereus cacti species what Alexander Shulgin’s TiHKAL
is to tryptamines. And just as only chemists with interest in tryptamines could fully appreciate TiHKAL, only botanists with a special interest in mescaline-containing cacti can fully appreciate Trout’s Notes. [ read more ]

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Transfigurations
by Alex Grey
Publisher:
0892818514 
Year:
2001 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
8/1/2006

It is heartening to see Grey’s recent stylistic development being applied in both new and familiar ways; the mark of a good artist is one who isn’t afraid to reinvent himself from time to time. Clearly Grey has his chops down, and I am pleased to see the new directions that he is taking, while retaining the spiritual focus that causes his art to rise above the nihilist, post-modern abstractions that litter the art community like so many disturbing—yet dull—abortions. [ read more ]

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