What do we need to learn about adverse trips?
And in other news, why is Ivanka Trump looking to fund psychedelic research?
Welcome to this week’s Tuesday brunch round-up, coming from Paris this week, where my partner and I are on holiday for a few days. Yesterday we staggered around the Louvre, this colossal palace that welcomes 45,000 visitors a day, and which one really needs roller-skates to explore properly. I came across this beautiful stele in one room, which psychedelic researchers know is often used to illustrate the Eleusinian Mysteries and the assertion these mysteries involved psychedelic drugs. That has to be a mushroom, right?
The image can be found on the cover of Carl Ruck’s classic psychedelic account of the Eleusinian Mysteries The Road to Eleusis (with an intro by Albert Hofman no less), on the cover of the poet Robert Graves Greek Myths (Graves was one of the first to suggest the Eleusinian Mysteries involed psychedelic) and also on the cover of Brian Muraresku’s recent bestseller The Immortality Key, which insists not only that the Eleusinian Mysteries were psychedelic but also that Jesus ‘spiked the wine’ in the glorious phrase of Rick Doblin’s, and furthermore that all religions must involve psychedelic drugs in their origin, because how could anyone possibly have a profound religious experience without drugs?
This suggests to me that drugs have actually narrowed the imagination of some psychonauts, if they really think humans can’t self-transcend without chemicals. I am prepared to accept the Eleusinian Mysteries involved a psychoactive agent in the potion people drank, but the idea that Jesus ‘spiked the wine’ is absurd – just because disenchanted and hyper-rational modern westerners can’t have a religious experience without chemical assistance, doesn’t mean other humans have or had that problem. Our ancestors lived in a world brimming with spiritual agents and power, it was much easier for them to believe themselves connected to the divine, I imagine.
Anyway, it turns out this famous Greek stele, used by so many psychedelic researchers to illustrate the Eleusinian Mysteries, isn’t necessarily even showing the Eleusinian Mysteries, much less the ancient use of psychedelic mushrooms. All we know about it is it shows two women apparently praising a flower – the Louvre thinks it could be a poppy or a pomegranate flower. Few experts think it’s a giant mushroom, I’m afraid.
Well, that’s the last time I use that image in a psychedelic powerpoint.
After the paywall, what do we need to learn about adverse psychedelic experiences? Why is Tim Ferriss worried about the psychedelic renaissance? And why is Ivanka Trump looking to fund psychedelic research?
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