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The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys Paperback – May 18, 2011
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“Truly destined to be a classic. Don’t leave everyday reality without it.” (Erowid, October 2011)
“. . . The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys, in which he [James Fadiman] clears up current myths and misperceptions about psychedelics, and presents findings from both long-neglected and recent clinical studies, research experiments, and surveys showing a surprising range of benefits from safe, supervised psychedelic use.” (Blogcritics.org, October 2011)
“This comprehensive resource offers a wealth of practical information for therapists and health-care professionals, researchers and scientists, psychedelic voyagers and their guides, and even policy makers.” (Gail Bradney, Carolyn Howard Johnson’s New Book Review, November 2011)
“I highly recommend that everyone read this book so they can hold informed opinions about this very strange and much maligned substance.” (Linda McDonell, November 2011)
“Psychedelic practice...might have the ability to transform the very mechanisms of control and give birth to a society where the lessons of a transpersonal experience are known without the therapeutic aid of psychedelics. With any luck, time will tell and this book is certainly a step in the right direction.” (Psychedelic Press, December 2011)
“This is some of the most thoughtful, wise, heartfelt, and essential instruction for the use of sacred medicine.” (Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart)
“Fadiman knows what he is talking about. This is the book we have needed.” (Huston Smith, author of The World’s Religion)
“Finally! A comprehensive guide not only to psychedelic use in a therapeutic setting but also, even more bravely, to psychospiritual exploration and cognitive enhancement. We are fortunate to reap the benefits of Professor Fadiman’s years of cumulative knowledge and experience as well as to hear from a cadre of ‘who’s who’ in the psychedelic cognoscenti.” (Julie Holland, M.D., editor of The Pot Book and Ecstasy)
“James Fadiman, one of the foremost pioneers of scientific research of the potential of psychedelic substances for therapy, self-discovery, spiritual quests, and creative problem-solving, has written an invaluable guide for safe and productive sessions. Based on more than forty years of the author’s experience in the field and presented in a clear, easily understandable style, this book is a breath of fresh air, dispelling the mis-information that has been disseminated over many decades by sensation-hunting journalists and fear-based antidrug propaganda. The publication of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide could not be more timely; it coincides with a major renaissance of interest in psychedelic research worldwide. The information that it provides will thus be useful not only for the hundreds of thousands of people involved in self-experimentation but also for the new generation of psychedelic researchers.” (Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of LSD: Doorway to the Numinous)
“James Fadiman was the Forrest Gump of the psychedelic sixties. He witnessed the first flowerings of that amazing era of mindexpansion, then kept popping up for cameo appearances whenever the action got particularly interesting and enlightening. Now, riding a new wave of scientific research into the beneficial use of these misunderstood substances, Fadiman is back with a practical and at the same time inspiring guidebook for the next generation of entheogenic explorers.” (Don Lattin, author of the bestselling The Harvard Psychedelic Club)
“Approaching his subject from intimately historical, psychological-cultural, and accessibly authoritative perspectives, Fadiman’s psychedelic magnum opus establishes the benchmark reference for anyone interested in understanding, experiencing, or supervising the effects of this unique family of psychoactive substances.” (Rick Strassman, M.D., author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule)
“At last, there’s a practical, commonsense manual for mindful therapeutic sessions using psychedelics, one that’s informed by the latest science and unfettered by arcane platitudes. It will be a boon to personal transformation and a road map for avoiding trouble along the way for all who use it. Bon voyage!” (Charles Hayes, author of Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures)
“Psychedelics have been part of native cultures for centuries and remain so in many areas of the world. Properly used, they offer a one-step guide to enlightenment and connection with intuition as well as the soul and the Divine. Dr. Fadiman’s book offers the best information and guidance available today. Everyone interested in exploring the world of inner consciousness will find this work indispensable.” (Norm Shealy, M.D., Ph.D., founder of the American Holistic Health Association)
“The prohibition of psychedelic drugs in the twentieth century unfortunately restricted a most promising and profound inquiry into the religious mysteries of consciousness. This brave and encouraging book goes a long way toward restoring our constitutional right to explore these mysteries. By encouraging individual responsibility and intelligence in this era of purported health care reform, James Fadiman takes a bold and refreshing step toward reclaiming our freedom of religion, which is the very essence of democracy and the American dream.” (Robert Forte, editor of Entheogens and the Future of Religion)
“The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide is a brave and uniquely valuable book. Written by one of the most highly respected and innovative researchers from the 1960s, this extraordinary book covers topics not found in any other book on the subject. Fadiman offers us a beautifully written, insightful summation of important early research on creativity, problem solving, and psychospiritual development, tragically cut off by government edict, as well as new research on the use of sub-threshold doses of LSD to enhance normal functioning, in the process creating a road map for the future of psychedelic research. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide wisely focuses not on pathology but on human potential for health and, as such, shows us how these transformative substances can improve the future of psychology--and the future of society. Throughout this radical yet evidence-based volume, Fadiman uses a combination of the research and his own broad personal experiences working with Leary, Alpert (Ram Dass), Kesey, and other seminal figures in psychedelic research and practice to make the convincing case that psychedelics offer the power to transform society and reintegrate unitary spirituality into Western civilization. The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide is written with a wry humor that brings Fadiman’s sincere, soulful intentionality immediately to the reader, integrating and transforming from the moment one opens this important, mature, and absolutely essential book. If you are interested in the safe, effective, and transformative use of psychedelics to improve our lives and our society, you will devour this book. Fadiman’s The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide is the finest book ever written on the topic--a must read.” (Neal Goldsmith, Ph.D., author of Psychedelic Healing)
“. . . this book is a breath of fresh air, dispelling the mis-information that has been disseminated over many decades by sensation-hunting journalists and fear-based antidrug propaganda.” (GaiaMedia.org, May 2011)
“James Fadiman’s manual offers helpful and well-informed guidance for those who seek ‘the divine within’ through sacred plants and psychedelic substances.” (Daniel Pinchbeck, author of 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl)
“Any interested in using psychedelics receives cautionary exploration of pros, cons, and discussions of myths and realities about them.” (Midwest Book Review, August 2011)
“A checklist for voyagers and their guides as well as an extensive resource section make this a truly invaluable and definitive guide for everyone interested in psychedelics and their potential to make us wiser, smarter, healthier, and more compassionate.” (Seattle Post Intelligencer, September 2011)
From the Back Cover
SPIRITUALITY / ENTHEOGENS
“The publication of The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide could not be more timely; it coincides with a major renaissance of interest in psychedelic research worldwide. The information that it provides will thus be useful not only for the hundreds of thousands of people involved in self-experimentation but also for the new generation of psychedelic researchers.”
--Stanislav Grof, M.D., author of LSD: Doorway to the Numinous
Called “America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,” James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long-term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose), and problem-solving (low dose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience--from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the setting and pre-session intention.
Fadiman reviews the newest as well as the neglected research into the psychotherapeutic value of visionary drug use for increased personal awareness and a host of serious medical conditions, including his recent study of the reasons for and results of psychedelic use among hundreds of students and professionals. He reveals new uses for LSD and other psychedelics, including extremely low doses for improved cognitive functioning and emotional balance. Cautioning that psychedelics are not for everyone, he dispels the myths and misperceptions about psychedelics circulating in textbooks and clinics as well as on the Internet. Exploring the life-changing experiences of Ram Dass, Timothy Leary, Aldous Huxley, and Huston Smith as well as Francis Crick and Steve Jobs, Fadiman shows how psychedelics, used wisely, can lead not only to healing but also to scientific breakthroughs and spiritual epiphanies.
JAMES FADIMAN, Ph.D., did his undergraduate work at Harvard and his graduate work at Stanford, doing research with the Harvard Group, the West Coast Research Group in Menlo Park, and Ken Kesey. A former president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and a professor of psychology, he teaches at the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, which he helped found in 1975. An international conference presenter, workshop leader, management consultant, and author of several books and textbooks, he lives in Menlo Park, California, with his filmmaker wife, Dorothy.
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Top Customer Reviews
After the first reading, I remember putting the manuscript down and thinking, "This is an important book, and it has to be out there."
The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide shows the surprising ways people are using psychedelics in healing, psychotherapy, and spiritual quests. One chapter describes the emerging trend of micro-dose usage: where people use tiny doses of psychedelics to improve their functioning at home, work and play.
I also remember how impressed I was to read about the early research using LSD to treat alcoholics who had failed all other treatments. The results were highly effective, even in these formerly hopeless cases.
Jim Fadiman is a gentle, intelligent and engaging storyteller, and this book reflects his personality. I recommend it to you highly.
I first heard of this book from Lorenzo Hagerty's "Psychedelic Salon," a podcast that I have listened to for the past six years. Fadiman is the guest on episode 302, during which Lorenzo interviews him about the book and his experience in the psychedelic research field. After hearing Fadiman speak about these things, I put the book on my "To-Read" list and purchased it a few months later. My intention when reading this book was to learn how to become a guide for others undergoing psychedelic experiences. I was pleasantly surprised by the wealth of information contained in the book afforded to those of us who wish to better integrate our psychedelic journeys into ordinary reality as well as learn to be a better guide to others. Following my reading of this book, I have already identified some aspects of my own psychedelic traditions that I would like to change in an effort to focus more on the therapeutic and spiritual uses of these substances, rather than my previous goal of having a good time. While I still believe that the recreational use of these substances can have a positive outcome, I am now sold on the concept of using them in a more intelligent manner.
This book does a great job of dispelling some of the myths about psychedelics, offers a practical and positive itinerary for a successful experience, introduces several important people in this field, and does so in a way that is unbiased and helpful. It is important for the psychedelic community to have truth on its side, and Fadiman does an excellent job of collecting both scientific and anecdotal evidence and arranging it in a way that is easily understood. I commend him on his work and look forward to more coming from him in the near future.
Fadiman, a co-founder of the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology and author most recently of an undergraduate psychology textbook and The Other Side of Haight: A Novel, is a champion of psychedelic guiding. He's been around since the giddy big bang of psychedelic culture, and now, gladly, and with hope, turns the keys to guided journeys over to the grandchildren of that distant revolution. There's plenty by and about him on the web, if you're curious.
Fadiman gets right to the guided session instruction without disclaimers and apologies--a courteous gesture considering we've waited for more than a generation already. The guidebook is replete with suggestions for both guide and voyager regarding everything from music, food and lighting to finer aesthetic points. The six aspects of the well-conceived voyage are set and setting (which you knew), but also: substance, sitter, session, and situation. The six stages of a voyaging session are all simple and easily spelled out, as well, but this is rather like saying most of the paintings in the Louvre are made with canvas, brushes and paint: within Fadiman's simple protocol exists a universe of possibilities.
Not all these possibilities are happy ones, naturally, so there is plenty of material on what can go wrong, and how to recover. Some chapters, contributed in part by other writers, speak to the experiences of pioneering elders and suggest how voyaging can address healing, creativity, problem solving and everyday life. Other chapters bring history, science and future directions for research and experimentation into context.
No single volume could hope to address all the issues, and especially the practical concerns, of the myriad combinatorial nodes of the Six S's, so The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide wisely points out to the Web for other resources, and to a dedicated wiki, to which you, too, may contribute.
As noted, this topic has been around for a while; the World Health Organization published Ataractic and Hallucinogenic Drugs in Psychiatry in 1958! The 60s saw several widely read personal narratives of voyaging, a handful of guidebooks, quite a bit of science, and a larger number of rants, both pro and con, religious and secular, erudite and fulminating. The intervening decades brought hundreds of books about hallucinogens, cannabis and other drugs in religious, cultural, medical and literary contexts, but relatively few had practical advice or spiritual use in mind, although you could read between the lines, and many did.
The "How I Tripped Good" genre is alive and well--scarce copies of such books by folks who tripped to death fetch handsome prices--as is the perennially larger "How I F*d Up Getting F*d Up" school, which are quickly remaindered. But, The Psychedelic Explorer's Guide belongs to an altogether higher order of endeavor, puns happily winked at. Truly destined to be a classic. Don't leave everyday reality without it.