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Drugs of the Dreaming: Oneirogens: <i> Salvia divinorum</i> and Other Dream-Enhancing Plants Paperback – May 21, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Gianluca Toro and Benjamin Thomas have made an invaluable contribution to the literature on psychoactive substances by tackling the vast but hitherto neglected domain of the use of oneirogenic plants and drugs throughout history, around the world. Using a multidisciplinary approach that draws from ethnobotany, anthropology, medical research, chemistry, and the recorded experiences of “psychonauts” who have experimented with many of these compounds, they have compiled a rigorously researched, fascinating, exhaustive survey of the planet’s oneirogens, ranging all the way from recently popularized herbs such as Salvia divinorum and Calea zacatechichi to ancient Egyptian, Greek, Celtic, Amazonian, African and medieval potions; to vitamins and hormones; to dream-inducing cheeses and fish species!

“The extensive lists of the world’s known oneirogens and the generous bibliography are treasure troves in and of themselves. As the authors make clear, there is much we don’t know about many of these tantalizing substances and the states they induce. In fact, this is really a nascent field, but this book marks a giant step forward in an exciting new front in the exploration of humanity’s never-ending thirst for heightened states of consciousness. No one with a serious interest in the rich lore of psychotropic substances should be without this book.” (J. P. Harpignies, editor of Visionary Plant Consciousness)

"I recommend [this book] for anyone who wants to learn more about plants, entheogens, or the neurochemistry of the body." (Taylor Ellwood, New Witch, No. 17, Summer 2008)

“In the end this short, though neatly presented, book is a fantastic introduction into the oneirogenic realm. This little researched area has been consolidated by the authors and provides a great start point for anyone interested in looking deeper into the production of their dreams via external chemical means.” (Psychedelic Press UK, January 2013)

From the Back Cover

VISIONARY PLANTS / DREAMS

“Gianluca Toro and Benjamin Thomas have made an invaluable contribution to the literature on psychoactive substances with their rigorously researched and fascinating survey of the planet’s oneirogens. This book marks a giant step forward in an exciting new front of humanity’s exploration of heightened states of consciousness. No one with a serious interest in the rich lore of psychotropic substances should be without this book.”
--J. P. Harpignies, editor of Visionary Plant Consciousness

Oneirogens are plant and animal substances that have long been used to facilitate powerful and productive dreaming. From the beginning of civilization, dreams have guided the inner and outer life of human beings both in relation to each other and to the divine. For centuries shamans have employed oneirogens in finding meaning and healing in their dreams. Drugs of the Dreaming details the properties and actions of these dream allies, establishing ethnobotanical profiles for thirty-five oneirogens, including those extracted from organic sources--such as Calea zacatechichi (dream herb or “leaf of the god”), Salvia divinorum, and a variety of plants used in shamanic practices--as well as synthetically derived oneirogens. They explain the historical use of each oneirogen, its method of action, and what light it sheds on the scientific mechanism of dreaming. They conclude that oneirogens enhance the comprehensibility and facility of the dream/dreamer relationship and hold a powerful key for discerning the psychological needs and destinies of dreamers today.

GIANLUCA TORO, an environmental chemist, is the author in Italian of Animali Psicoattivi [Psychoactive Animals] and numerous articles about naturally occurring and synthetic dream-enhancing agents. He lives in Italy. Benjamin Thomas is an independent researcher specializing in the effects of drugs and plant extracts on humans, particularly in Papua New Guinea. He lives in Australia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Park Street Press (May 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159477174X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594771743
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,958,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 49 people found the following review helpful By a reader on October 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had seen this book advertised in the back of another book by the same publisher, and was looking forward to it's publication. After purchasing it, I'm largely disappointed.

The author has included a lot of entries in a fairly short (149 pg) book. There's very little in-depth information, so if you're hoping for that, you may be disappointed. The book is primarily a broad overview, at best, with some plants receiving a few pages and others just a few sentences. The author also discusses animal, mycological and chemical oneirogens.

One thing I find curious is that the subtitle of the book is "Oneirogens: Salvia divinorum and Other Dream-Enhancing Plants". One would expect that Salvia divinorum would feature prominently in the work, but that's not the case. This plant was given little more than a single page out of the entire text, so why would it be featured in the subtitle?

Based on the "barely there" treatment Salvia divinorum received, I can't help but wonder if marketing wasn't the real motivation for including this plant in the subtitle. Is the author/publisher trying to take advantage of the increasing (and unfortunate) "buzz" about Salvia divinorum? Is it a way to capture attention and sell books? Who knows, but it's certainly not because the author had anything substantive to say about Salvia divinorum.

Those of you looking for any meaningful, or even moderately detailed information on this plant won't find it here. Salvia divinorum was, despite the subtitle, barely given a passing nod in this work. In many ways, the way this book is presented versus the reality of the book itself feels like a real bait-n-switch.

And, strangely enough, many of the plants in the book have little or nothing to do with dreaming at all.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By FYI on October 1, 2007
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This book is a total waste of time. The botanical information is extremely limited in scope, and those wanting to read Ott will find that his contribution consists only of a very small forward. Instead, get the excellent, revised and expanded "Plants of the Gods" by the highly respected Richard Evans Schultes, the Harvard ethnobotanist who mentored Wade Davis. I had to keep referring to Schultes while reading this book, for the proper plant names. "Plants of the Gods" is well worth the price of a few more dollars; it contains vastly superior research on shamanism, and a wide range of botanical information. You might also enjoy the numerous books by Wade Davis, Christian Ratsch, or Paul Stamets, also readily available via Amazon (appropriate source-name). Good luck!

Here's to aquiring wisdom and dreams. These books by anthropologists, ethnologists & informed botanists may help:
Plants of the Gods: Their Sacred, Healing, and Hallucinogenic Powers
Shamans Through Time
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. White on December 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
Most uninteresting and uninformative book ever....I am sad that the wonderful author J. Ott decided to put his name on this book by writing the forward. The book tries to cover way too much information and in the end, ends up covering absolutely nothing. I learned nothing about drugs/plants that enhance dreams...nothing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ben on June 30, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To understand one's own self you would need to read this book. great read
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