Erowid
 
 
Plants - Drugs Mind - Spirit Freedom - Law Arts - Culture Library  
Have Psychedelics Changed Your Beliefs about Death or Dying?
Have you had a psychedelic drug experience that altered
your beliefs or understanding about death and dying?
Take the Johns Hopkins Survey about your experience!
The Essential Psychedelic Guide
by D.M. Turner
1994
 
Over 300 mushroom stones have been found throughout Mesoamerica, some dating as far back as 1000 B.C. The mushroom stone above was found in the Guatemalan highlands and was one of the first to be discovered. Photograph reprinted courtesy of Wasson Library, Harvard Botanical Museum. 

INTRODUCTION

    "Psychedelics" are substances with the ability to expand human awareness beyond our normal modes of perception. The family of psychedelics includes plants, such as psilocybe mushrooms, that have been used in "shamanistic" settings for thousands of years, as well as recently developed synthetic compounds, like LSD and ecstasy.  

    Psychedelics may be the most amazing substances known to humanity. Some are so potent that just 1/10,000th of a gram can send one on a journey beyond time and space, beyond life and death. Here the psychedelic voyager can unlock and experience the collective evolutionary consciousness of billions of years past and an infinite future. He can transcend the body, the personality, and view his mind from undreamed-of perspectives. He can experience supersensory and extrasensory perception, choose from an infinite variety of "realities," and permanently change his experience of life.  

    I am writing this book because in this primitive time of political power struggles and the "war on drugs," most information on psychedelics that reaches the public is negatively biased and erroneous. There is a lack of accurate information available regarding: the history of psychedelics, how they are consumed, dosage levels, effects and experiences produced, and whether they are safe.  

    I've tried to focus on the less common psychedelics and on combinations, while also discussing more familiar substances such as LSD, psilocybin, and MDMA. In my 18 years as a psychedelic user and researcher I have found only a few references to some of the more exotic psychedelics, frequently incomplete and written by people who had not experienced them first hand. The information presented here draws upon my research, as well as extensive personal experience with these substances, and involvement in communities where they are used. There are many things I have not attempted to cover in these few pages, and I recommend the reader to the following books:  

    THE PSYCHEDELIC EXPERIENCE - This is the premier "tripping guide" which is useful to anyone trying to understand the states of mind produced by psychedelics. It is the most thorough description I have seen of the changes and experiences one is likely to go through on a psychedelic voyage. However, this book is an adaptation of an Eastern spiritual text, and may seem esoteric and difficult to understand for those not familiar with the states it describes.  

    PLANTS OF THE GODS - This gives a brief overview on the history of several plant psychedelics that have been used since ancient times. Having a long term perspective on the use of psychedelics can give one a better understanding of how these substances have affected human societies. Many people today don't even know that psychedelics existed before the Sixties and that the last 30 years are just the latest paragraph in psychedelic history.  

    FOOD OF GODS - Author Terence McKenna eloquently expounds his theories on the role of psychoactive plant use throughout human evolution. His theories are startling yet well grounded and offer a comprehensive view of the relationship between humans and mind-altering plants.  

    Other books are listed in the various chapters, as well as the bibliography which also lists sources for the books that are in print.  

    I consider my research a work in process, by no means definitive or complete. With psychedelics we are taking our first steps into a realm of infinite possibilities, like the first amphibians stepping on dry land, or a more accurate metaphor, like the first humans leaving earth's atmosphere and venturing into space. I believe there will come a day when humanity recognizes psychedelics as the universal medicine, ambrosia of the heavens, and keys to higher intelligence.  

    There are numerous other methods for entering altered states being toted about, from meditation and yoga to brain machines and virtual reality. I've tried many of these methods, enjoy them, and have found them most valuable used with psychedelics. But to compare the experience of these methods on their own to the experience of psychedelics is like comparing a candle to the sun. Other methods don't even approach the realm of liquid, flowing, digital dreams which can be accessed by psychedelics like DMT!