Half a century ago, the world changed forever when a Swiss chemist inadvertently ingested the experimental compound LSD. The first proponents of psychedelics were scientists who fully expected the radically psychoactive chemicals to revolutionize mainstream culture. Embarking on exhaustive research into the chemistry of mind-expansion, they broke impressive ground until their work was rendered largely moot by the 1970 Controlled Substances Act and, to a lesser extent, rainbow-colored mini-buses.
More footnotes than freak-outs, The Psychedelic Review was founded in 1963 as a serious journal dedicated to the study of the potential of both natural and synthesized psychedelic substances. Presenting experts in the fields of anthropology, religion, pharmacology, poetry, and metaphysics, this pioneering journal had a dramatic impact on its times, attracting a large and avid readership among academics and the burgeoning psychedelic underground.
The Psychedelic Reader collects the very best writing from the dawn of the psychedelic era. Luminaries such as Alan Watts, Timothy Leary, Sir Julian Huxley, and Ralph Metzner contribute insights on subjects as fascinating as “Botanical Sources of New World Narcotics” and as controversial as “The Treatment of Frigidity with LSD and Ritalin.” From precise dosage guidelines to ruminations on the poetry of Herman Hesse, this powerful anthology presents the entire psychedelic spectrum with both the seriousness and open-mindedness it requires.
This Citadel Underground edition of The Psychedelic Reader invites a new generation of readers to be present at the creation of a new consciousness.
Timothy Leary was one of the most famous countercultural icons of the 1960’s. In 1957, the Harvard psychologist experienced a “profound transcendent experience” while taking hallucinogens in Mexico. No longer content with his work in personality assessment, Leary began advocating the psychotherapeutic and spiritual benefits of LSD. His “experiments” with LSD often involved students and wild “tripping” parties, which eventually led to his dismissal from Harvard. With patronage from heirs of the Mellon fortune, Leary continued his experiments and prolific writing career at a rambling estate in upstate New York known as Millbrook. In 1967, Leary spoke at a San Francisco “Be-In,” where he coined the phrase “Turn on, tune in, and drop out.” Labeled as “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” Leary had many run-ins with the law and served several prison sentences. He died of prostate cancer in 1996; the following year seven grams of his ashes were launched into space aboard a Pegasus rocket.
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., is a psychologist who has been exploring states of consciousness and transformational practices for over 45 years. As a graduate student at Harvard (where he received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology), he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. Since 1975, he has been a professor of psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is also president of the Green Earth Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to reconnecting humans and the environment. The author of over a dozen books, Dr. Metzner maintains a part-time psychotherapy practice and conducts numerous workshops on consciousness transformation, both nationally and internationally.
Gunther M. Weil, Ph.D., is an educator, psychologist and consultant who has provided personal growth training for executives and their organizations throughout the world. He is also a 30-year practitioner and teacher of Tai Chi Chuan and an internationally recognized master teacher of Qigong. Weil served as a Fullbright Scholar in Europe and received his doctorate from Harvard University in 1965. His early professional mentors included Carl Rogers, the creator of Client Centered Psychotherapy, and Abraham Maslow, the father of Humanistic Psychology. He was invited by Maslow to teach at Brandeis University and he also received faculty and administrative appointments at Boston College and the University of Massachusetts.