- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (September 14, 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747515484
- ISBN-13: 978-0747515487
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 7.7 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,287,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Strange Fruit: Alchemy, Religion and Magical Foods: A Speculative History
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Like Jung, they have a particular axe to grind; and, let's face it, it helps make their living. At least Jung would admit in his later years that he was wrong to contort alchemical texts so that they fit only his psychological theory.
But in talking with some of these authors, I find that they are still objectivists, and not mystics (to use the word in its best sense). On their trips they may well see that the order of the world is a projection of Mind, but then when writing, they hope to be looked upon favorably by the scholarly community, and so they prove not to have the conviction of their visions.
The essense of life can be perceived as a fire, or fiery moving water, a flow of consciousness, of Mind, ever coming into beingness and winking out again. This fire is the fountain of the alchemists. It is not to be reified as stomach acid, or muscimol, or any 5-HT-2A agonist. Those are agents that open our minds to SEE this fundamental fire.
This reductionist attitude that the secret coding means amanita or psilocybin, or iboga, etc, misses the point: the substance is the doorway, not the end.
And so, having had the vision themselves, what keeps these authors from understanding that classical alchemy as found in the works of Ripley, Philalethes, d'Espanget, Fulcanelli, etc, has very clearly a practical laboratory aspect?
When someone says that these authors have answered their questions as to what the alchemical tradition was all about, they reveal that they have not read very extensively in that tradition.
He also presents a brilliant hypothesis that the story of the Exodus is based around ergot poisoning of the yeast supply. Chris Bennett in Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible makes a case for cannabis especially in the Old Testament, and Dan Merkur in Mystery of Manna, and in Psychedelic Sacrament, makes a case for ergot in the Old Testament.
This is a model of a fine book. The prose is clear, artistic, and masterful. The photos are stunning and perfectly support his case, showing the shape-shifting Amanita in its various lifecycle stages, explaining how each stage is allegorized in Hindu, Christian, and alchemical traditions. Definitely worth the price. A must-have for entheogen scholars.
Read this to be "in the know".