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Recent Reviews
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The Herb Dangerous: The Psychology of Hashish
by David Hoye (ed.)
Publisher:
Level Press 
Year:
1974 
Reviewed by Erik Davis
1/12/2011

This fascinating and illuminating essay was one of four articles devoted to “The Herb Dangerous” that ran in the first volume of The Equinox, a review devoted to “Scientific Illuminism” that was edited by the notorious Aleister Crowley early in the 20th century. Arguing that hashish helps “roll away the stone” from the deeper dimensions of both ceremonial magic and Buddhist meditation, Crowley identifies three main effects of the drug. [ read more ]

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Psychedelic Shamanism
by Jim DeKorne
Publisher:
Loompanics Unlimited 
Year:
1994 
Reviewed by Erik Davis
1/12/2011

Despite some issues with the nitty-gritty details, DeKorne’s book belongs alongside Terence McKenna’s i>True Hallucinations and D.M. Turner’s The Essential Psychedelic Guide as one of the best books to emerge from the psychedelic florescence of the early 1990s. [ read more ]

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Pharmako/Gnosis
by Dale Pendell
Publisher:
Mercury House 
Year:
2006 
Reviewed by Erik Davis
1/12/2011

By the time the poet, plant alchemist, and sometimes computer programmer Dale Pendell published his mammoth three-volume Pharmako trilogy this last decade, the world had seen at least a century of texts attempting to squeeze spiritual insight and religious correlates out of psychoactive experience. Pendell, however, managed to write a work of erudition and imagination that was not only strikingly original, but also wise. Whipper-snappers would do well to study the content of these great books, along with their form—a patchwork of citations and lore and lyric flights that express the multidimensional quality of psychoactives themselves. [ read more ]

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Chemical Cowboys: The DEA's Secret Mission to Hunt Down a Notorious Ecstasy Kingpin
by Lisa Sweetingham
Publisher:
Ballantine Books 
Year:
2009 
Reviewed by Jonathan Taylor
11/3/2010

Chemical Cowboys helps elucidate some of the hidden commodity chain that ends with that serotonin kick flowing through you. Not much here on the production side, and virtually nothing on consumption; the book focuses on distribution. And the distributors described appear, with some exceptions, to be working for amoral and even psychopathological criminals. [ read more ]

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The Spirit Molecule (Documentary)
by Mitch Schultz (Director)
Publisher:
Spectral Alchemy 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by Alyson VonDerlan
10/21/2010

Though The Spirit Molecule struggles to clearly define its overall message, the director is to be applauded for his bravery and persistence in reporting on this controversial topic. For readers of Dr. Strassman’s book, the film brings the characters to life and provides an intimate insight into the deep personal nature of their experiences. [ read more ]

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Improved Paintings
by Mati Klarwein
Publisher:
Max Publishing 
Year:
2000 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
10/7/2010

Characterized simultaneously as a Fantastic Realist, a Surrealist, and a Psychedelic artist, Mati Klarwein’s art is difficult to pigeonhole. [ read more ]

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Madness & Art: The Life and Works of Adolf Wolfli
by Walter Morgenthaler
Publisher:
University of Nebraska Press 
Year:
1992 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
10/7/2010

Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930) produced his prose, poetry, musical compositions, and drawings while living as a patient at the Waldau Sanitarium, near Bern, Switzerland. Walter Morgenthaler, Wölfli’s physician, produced a unique look at Wölfli in Madness & Art; it is one of the first books to focus on the art of a mentally ill person, treating him as an artist of merit, rather than viewing his work solely as a symptom of disease. [ read more ]

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Codex Seraphinianus
by Luigi Serafini
Publisher:
Various 
Year:
 
Reviewed by Jon Hanna
10/7/2010

So what’s all the fuss about? The Codex appears to have time-travelled from some future human world or parallel dimension. It is written in an impenetrable “language”, which may well be imaginary and untranslatable. Still, the more one looks at it, the more it seems to have a logical structure; the numbering system, for example, seems internally coherent. Read full text of review in original context…read more ]

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Psychedelic Information Theory: Shamanism in the Age of Reason
by James L. Kent
Publisher:
PIT Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by Sheldon Norberg
10/5/2010

In Part I, “Psychedelic Information Theory”, Kent lays out the multidisciplinary neuroscience that informs his Control Interrupt/Non-Linear Destabilization premise. This premise suggests that the primary action of psychedelics (mostly around 5-HT receptors, since that’s where research exists) is to destabilize neural network switching related to serotonergic and cholinergic visual processing, as well as the auditory, olfactory, and tactile senses. Part II, “Shamanism in the Age of Reason” extends the conversation into how tates of “neuroplasticity” are driven, by wave form mechanics, to internal, communal, and universal states of transpersonal consciousness, always with the question of how the information is valued. [ read more ]

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The Pharmacology of LSD: A critical review
by Annelie Hintzen & Torsten Passie
Publisher:
Oxford University Press 
Year:
2010 
Reviewed by psypressuk
10/5/2010

A joint publication between The Beckley Foundation Press and the Oxford University Press, The Pharmacology of LSD is the first comprehensive review into the pharmacological effects of LSD and comes at a critical time in the re-emergence of research into psychedelic substances. [ read more ]