Make your own free website on Tripod.com
PSYCHEDELIA
July 28, 2013
Ayahuasca vision journey: two excerpts
Now Playing: Kristyl LP

My ayahuasca trip report turned out to be several pages long and contained several references to other vision experiences in the past, and so it will have to be published in a more suitable environment, possibly a future book. However, I'd like to post a few excerpts for those interested. Nothing earth-shaking but good clean weirdness and a bit of shamanic training, as it should be.

Entheogen
30 gram Chacruna, 4 grams Syrian Rue; 5 extraction cycles over 10 hours resulting in 2.5 cup of Chacruna tea; the Rue Harmala was swallowed as-is with a little water.

 

Excerpt #1--The Jaguar
...
Next up was the Jaguar! This development startled me, as I've never given this shamanic animal spirit much thought, concentrating instead mainly on the Serpent mythologies. I didn’t expect to encounter an animal spirit again after being swallowed by the Boa in journey #1, but here he was. At first the Jaguar was visible only as a head, as if peeking out from a dark jungle. As common with ayahuasca, the design was semi-cartoonish rather than naturalistic. He came closer, or the head grew bigger, and after curbing my surprise I tried to get a reading on the situation. Was this to be a shamanic ‘eat or be eaten’ type initiation as with the Serpent, or a more conventional power struggle?

The Jaguar looked straight at me, menacing and determined, and I interpreted it as an archetypal intimidation scene, or staring contest. It crouched on the ground about 5 or 6 metres in front of me, watching me intently. I sent it a thought-message, declaring that ‘I do not fear you. I respect you, but I do not fear you’. Which was true at that moment; I felt oddly secure. After a little while, the Jaguar got up and strode around in a circle while still watching me, before walking away with a sullen growl. The vision sequence was completed in 10 seconds or less, even if my description may sound like it lasted for minutes. In the tryptamine realm, each time-slice is loaded with information where no attributes are random or unimportant; paying utmost attention is essential. Gauging the vibe in Innerspace after this archetypal encounter, it seemed the moment had been properly handled.

 


Excerpt #2--Physical Healing with Mini-Me

I saw myself shrunk to maybe 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) height and able to move around inside my own body. I watched myself climb up the individual ribs of my ribcage as though it was a ladder, and while more amusing than unpleasant, there was a certain realism to the blood- covered bones and tissue around me. The scene was peculiar because I seemed to have two parallel perspectives; with my normal eyes I could see my 1-inch double inside the left part of my torso, climbing and jumping, but I was also being fed images of how it looked from the point-of-view of the 1-inch climber.

The brevity of earlier visions urged me to try and make this body expedition useful before it disappeared.  Continuing upwards the ribcage the 1-inch Me reached my heart, which (I realize today) most likely was his/its intention all along, since the body exploration began at the left-hand bottom part of my ribs. Reaching my heart, a memory of a preceding ayahuasca journey surfaced, wherein two angels had come gliding down to open a tiny double-door in my heart, out of which had streamed a puff of foul-smelling black smoke. This had seemed to mean that my heart had been cleaned of ‘bad air’, such as negativity or ugliness, and I had wondered ever since why I hadn’t noticed much improvement in my affairs of the heart after this presumed purification. It is not ayahuasca’s style to provide visions loaded with such significance randomly and without consequences.

The 1-inch Me was finally able to solve the riddle. After reaching my heart, I asked him if the double-door that the angels had opened two years before was still there. It was still there, in fact it stood wide open. And from this I now realized what had eluded me—the ayahuasca angels may assist in ridding my heart from some of the bad stuff, but they weren’t going to fill my heart with new content to replace the bad. This was my task; a most typical assignment from the Overseer of yagé Innerspace. I had failed to understand that after the angelic intervention, my heart contained empty space ready to be filled [...].

 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:15 MEST
Updated: July 28, 2013 22:42 MEST
July 27, 2013
Youth, Psychedelia & Youth's Psychedelic Youth
Now Playing: Inland Empire 60s vol 2 -- CDR comp

After a dry spell on the review front I wondered if the Psychedelia buzz was fading already, but a Google Quest netted a brand new and very welcome review of the book written by none other than 'Youth', legendary UK musician and scenemaker with Killing Joke and the influential Dragonfly label. Youth's review in Classic Rock magazine  is something else and needs to be read even without the Psychedelia aspects, as he goes off on several trips down acid memory lane with entertaining results. An autobiography or at least a lengthy interview with the man seems warranted.

As for the actual critique, Youth is quite enthusiastic over the book and awards it 9 out of 10, which is the best rating so far, along with those at Amazon.com. However, the favorable view doesn't mean that he doesn't have objections to certain aspects to Psychedelia, which he prefaces with a sort of apology, which certainly makes me appreciate the guy. I tried to attach a note to say thanks and bring a brief point up, but the 'Comments' section at the website was turned off, so I'll do it here instead.

First off, thanks Youth! Secondly, among the criticisms voiced I can definitely accept some of them without comments (such as the music section leaning 'too much' towards American acid rock sounds), but a couple need to be addressed. The Pretty Things' "£.S.d" is NOT an early acid tune, but is a song about money: Pounds, Shillings and whatever. This is a frequent misunderstanding, but if someone doubts me, ask any Pretties specialist and they'll confirm that there was nothing psychedelic about that 45. Of course, the band did get acidized later on with glorious results.

Secondly, I'm not sure I agree that the Ibiza connection is poorly covered--pages 399-403 cover the development from Ibiza '87 via acid house and onto Goa Trance, and it should be sufficient in a non-specialized book like mine. To a reader it may be possible to miss the first Ibiza paragraph which stands a few pages apart from the other London club scene coverage, but it's there alright, with a million tabs of MDMA on top. Although the purpose of that chapter was introductory rather than comprehensive, I regret not mentioning Dragonfly somewhere, not least since I have several of their early releases here.

Two reviewers have taken offense by my questioning of the psychedelic qualities of some early Pink Floyd recordings, so for clarity's sake: I love a good 2/3rds of the Syd era Floyd recordings, and the book praises tracks like "Matilda Mother" and even the obscure "Julia Dream". It's all there on page 315:

...While fulfilling the basic qualities of Psychedelia, Floyd’s recurring depictions of space travel seem to lack the inviting human presence found in old Space Exotica records or "Dark Star", and they deprive the listener of a crucial step towards his or her full immersion in the experience. Instead, Pink Floyd’s music finds its most effectively psychedelic form on tracks in which the human element is clearly pronounced...

This view is not something I've pulled out of thin air, but is based on discussions with fellow acid heads/record collectors, several of whom have found the Floyd material to lose a little of its sheen over time. I make a comparison between "Dark Star" and "Interstellar Overdrive" to clarify my point--that there is at times a lack of human warmth in the Floydian music. I also bring in an excellent quote from ex-Deviants Mick Farren, who was in London at the time and sums it up better than I could:

The Floyd sang about Neptune and Titan, and setting the controls for the heart of the sun, but all was not science fiction, and I often regretted that the Floyd assumed such a crucially influential role in the London version of Psychedelia. They seemed so Oxbridge cold in their merciless cosmos: the Stephen Hawkings of rock & roll. They lacked the Earth-warmth of, say, the Grateful Dead, and things might have been a whole lot different if their sound hadn't permeated so many of those formative London nights.

Finally, Youth takes the book to task for not covering the European tradition of pastoral occultism, with witches and druids and so forth. It's true that the druid tradition is not dealt with in Psychedelia, and this may have been a mistake. I could not find convincing signs of drug-related activities, and also it seemed to me to be a regional rather than pan-European phenomenon. But I will look into this more indepth if there is a second edition, and I appreciate the comment.

Regarding the European witch tradition there is however substantial coverage, both in a lengthy section that deals specifically with this (pages 76-82), and also scattered about in other parts of the book. My viewpoint is that while a West European shamanism in the classic Mircea Eliade sense is missing, the witches and 'wise women' worked as bearers of a pre-Christian tradition of holism and pantheism, including the use of psychoactive drugs. The witch aspect is important, and I certainly hope this is clear from the book.

Youth singles out the Apocalypse Now chapter as particularly interesting, as have at least two other reviewers. I must admit that the hidden transition from Apocalypse Now to The Tempest was one of the more psychedelic things I wrote for the book, and I am delighted to see hip readers singling it out.

 

Link: http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/features/psychedia-an-ancient-culture-youths-book-review-in-full/

 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:58 MEST
Updated: July 27, 2013 23:15 MEST
July 22, 2013
The Shaman & Ayahuasca (book review)
Now Playing: Rex Foster LP

The Shaman & Ayahuasca: Journeys to Sacred Realms by Don Jose Campos, Geraldine Overton, Alberto Roman and Charles Grob (2011)

This recent addition to the growing field of ayahuasca literature has collected a respectable amount of support on the internet. Humble as the book is, this may reflect the great hunger for anything with a yagé flavor as much as any immediate qualities. Or so I thought while reading the first few pages, with Western editors professing the life-changing effects of an Amazonian jungle romance, the obligatory academic testimonial from Charles Grob, and the vague spiritual exhortations of the shaman du jour.

Happily, however, the surly skepticism that lingered in me from reading half-assed ayahuasca tomes in the past soon gave way for a more positive sentiment. The shaman, Don José Campos,  sounded like the real deal despite a distinct touch of Westernization, and he strives to share experiences that were neither opaquely woven into tribal mythology, nor trivialized with Western psychology. His language, translated from Spanish, is straightforward. As always I wish for more reports of specific visions and journeys, partly for the sheer thrill, but also for the purpose of accumulating maps of Innerspace, as described in my Psychedelia book. The reader does get a sense of the shamanic Otherworld from Don Jos'es words, but like a true curandero his focal point is always the healing of others. To that end, his monologues also deal with practices outside the ayahuasca sessions, including descriptions of medicinal plants, and the practice and purpose of "dieta".

Don José also takes us to meet his friend Pablo Amaringo in one of the great artist's final interviews, a worthwhile account which includes a vision description that I believe is unique to this book. Like Amaringo, Don José is well familiar with other cultures than his own, and he invokes both Western psychology and Eastern spirituality in his talks. He expresses a special interest in Buddhism and mentions the possibility that buddhist monks of old used vision plants such as Datura. Speaking of Datura, or "toé", our shaman gives the impression that it's been and still is a frequently employed additive when "drinking the plant". I think it's essential that Westerners find a way to handle Datura so that its place among the entheogens can be understood. It is abundantly clear that its shamanic role is substantial and also more widely distributed than any other vision plant. As I suggest in Psychedelia, Datura is likely to be the next frontier in psychotropic exploration.

Finally, the book does offer a couple of terrific trip reports; not from Don José but from the Western couple who befriended him. A few pages featuring an intermission of sorts recap what was clearly a couple of fully rewarding visitations from the "Madrecita". I'll leave it to the reader to absorb this material, and just observe that they are fine examples of ayahuasca's potential; beautiful, thought-provoking, and a little spooky. Kudos to the travellers who had such journeys both in this world and the Other, and went on to produce this slender but worthwhile volume.

- review by Patrick Lundborg



There is a corresponding DVD which I hope to check out in the near future.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 19:24 MEST
Updated: July 22, 2013 19:28 MEST
July 19, 2013
Ayahuasca dreamtime (prologue)
Now Playing: Kris & Jerry

I find it uninspiring to journey with the Vine Of The Dead unless it's tropical heat outside, or as close to that as we can get on these Northern shores. Hence, my yagé window is limited to 1 month per year, and last year it didn't happen at all, as I simply didn't feel up to it (had a pretty good psilocybin ride instead). This week we were gearing up towards the hottest day of the year, and with a growing psychedelic yearning in the soul, the time seemed right for a visit with the Madrecita, or Queen Of The Forest, or just plain ol' Ayahuasca.

To be technically accurate, this was to be an Anahuasca trip rather than Ayahuasca, since I had decided to replace the Caapi vine from earlier journeys with the non-Amazonian Syrian Rue (Peganum Harmala). The reason was simple--the Caapi extract tastes absolutely awful, and it requires a lot of preparatory work. With a few grams of raw Peganum Harmala seeds offering the same MAOI effect, it seemed necessary to try this hybrid shortcut, developed by Western researchers like Jonathan Ott in the 1990s. A tour on the internet gave some indications that the Harmala seeds made for a different kind of trip than the Caapi vine, but I've learned to treat these anecdotal opinions with some skepticism.

The claim that the enigmatic THH (Tetrahydroharmine -- the least present of the three harmala alkaloids) was missing entirely from the Syrian Rue and in fact offered specific catalyst action for the Amazonian brew seemed a reasonable, slightly troubling objection, not least since recent voices have pointed to THH (more than harmine or harmaline) being the alkaloid agent behind the Caapi's elusive contribution to the ayahuasca high. I could look this up in my library, but figured the issue may still remain unresolved. Instead, the best way to say for sure is the trusted auto-bioassay analysis, i e: mix it up, drink it and see what happens. So be it.

The account of the actual Ayahuasca/Anahuasca journey will follow in a separate post, as soon as I've gone over my session notes and racked my mind for any visions I forgot to take down--because this was a 'dream' (as some people call their yagé trips these days) full of quick snapshots, and not much in terms of vision sequences. Coming up shortly, meanwhile you can enjoy my home-made Ayahusca bottle labels...

 

 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:40 MEST
Updated: July 19, 2013 21:53 MEST
July 17, 2013
Other Worlds, 2004 ayahuasca documentary
Now Playing: Third Estate

Jan Kounen's OTHER WORLDS is not the first and certainly not the last ayahuasca road trip movie, but due to it being made by a 'real' director it is one of the most widely distributed. The story is the usual one--young Western seeker geek is looking for aboriginal remedies to unspecified problems and brings along a camera team as he travels around Amazonia. Made with some decent financing, Kounen's images and sounds are of a higher quality than the backpacker documentaries found on Youtube, which serves the recording of icaros (shaman's spiritual songs) particularly well. There are also some very cool sequences of CGI trip images that instill a psychedelic feel--incidentally these seem to be from the same graphic repository as the long trip scene in Kounen's Renegade (aka Blueberry)*.

Kounen hangs out mostly with the Shipibo-Conibo tribe, who have raised interest with westerners not just because of their ayahuasca tradition, but also because of their beautiful design patterns, which are said to show the universe as perceived on ayahuasca. Several rituals are held and shot with night camera, which accents the spooky feeling. Kounen clearly found a genuine shamanic scene, rather than the phony or black magic vegetalistas often reported on. Images of daily life and non-entheogenic celebrations are shown with no comment, which contributes to the sense of being an outsider in an effective way. The mandatory interviews with Grob, Strassman, Narby, Grof and others are heard and are probably useful to those new to the field. Artists including Amaringo, Alex Grey and Moebius also appear, the latter is a rare and welcome interviewee in this context. Kounen reports on a successful healing after a substantial number of sessions, and the movie ends with beautiful icaros sung over suitable Amazonian images.

Compared to some similar efforts, the Western 'seeker' aspect is relatively downplayed here, which is to the film's advantage. It is still more of a case study than an overall look at ayahuasca, and once again there is too little about DMT and it's unique aspects, whether in the vegetal brew, or taken neat. The movie is made for a French production company and hence mostly in French with English subtitles.


*The 9-minute trip sequence in Kounen's Renegade is rightly famous, but somewhat annoyingly the context blends peyote and ayahuasca ritual elements; two cultures that had zero contact or connection.

 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 17:44 MEST
Updated: July 17, 2013 19:37 MEST
July 16, 2013
Psychedelia A-Z index
Now Playing: Black Country Gang

Been a couple of months since the last time, so here's a pointer to an extensive (19 pages) A-Z index to my Psychedelia book. It's in PDF format and can either be used on-line, or printed as a hardcopy and inserted into your book.

http://www.lysergia.com/Psychedelia/AZindex_Psychedelia_PatrickLundborg.pdf

 


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 16:18 MEST
July 11, 2013
"Peyote To LSD", 2008 documentary
Now Playing: Soundsations LP on Phalanx

This seems to be a TV production for the History Channel, but is available as a commercial DVD. I'm not sure what its production history is but it looks like it might have been a confused one. The bulk of it is a documentary based on Wade Davis' celebrated biography of the great ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. Both Schultes and Davis are given plenty of space in my Psychedelia book, and there is indeed much of value in their respective stories, particularly for those with a penchant for Amazonian entheogens. A camera team follows Davis as he traces Schultes' steps from a Kiowa peyote ritual to daredevil exploits in the remotest part of the Amazon rainforest. The various psychedelic plant drugs that Schultes discovered or documented are shown in vivo and as used in rituals, while Davis professes his admiration for the great teacher.

This is all shot in a 'point and roll' manner, like a news feature, and there is no ambition whatsoever to engage the viewer in anything more than listening to Davis and watching natives. It's somewhat like the old education reels shown in class in high school--information adequately summarized. In addition to a bit of creative flair, the movie would have been served by drilling down in a couple of the native drug scenes encountered, instead of moving onwards after just a few introductory minutes. Davis arranges for rituals with various plant drugs, yet we are not shown or told anything about what goes on, instead in the next shot he's already getting into a jeep somewhere else.

Comments from Andrew Weil, Jonathan Ott, John Halpern, Jeremy Narby, Ralph Metzner and a few others are heard, but except for Weil it's just brief soundbites that could have been uttered by anyone, and the purpose is presumably to demonstrate Schultes' high standing in the psychedelic community. The greatest problem to me is the strange way that the DMT aspect is botched. There are several minutes about ayahuasca, but despite the recent production year the movie fails entirely to deal with the Western resurgence of DMT use, along with the increasingly strong ayahuasca wave of the past 20 years. I'm not even sure DMT or dimethyltryptamine was mentioned, which seems extremely odd in a documentary about a man who spent decades wrestling with the mysteries of ayahuasca. Conversely, much is made of Schultes' involvement with peyote research, a brief, early enterprise where the main scholarly responsibility soon fell upon Weston LaBarre, who is mentioned only in passing. A balanced view would reverse the time slots awarded to peyote and ayahuasca, or better yet, expand the ayahuasca segment to three times its length and included modern-day research, the Terence McKenna factor, and so on. From my view, the movie seems to have been edited by someone with a very poor understanding of the subject.

The Schultes/Wade backbone runs a little over an hour, but should have been longer. Instead a 90 minute playtime is created by inserting at various unstrategic points the standard story of LSD and the psychedelic 60s and all that crap you've heard a hundred times before. Any notion of the radical developments within the psychedelic field during the 1990s and 2000s seem to be unknown to the creators of this documentary, who instead summon up the dead horse of MK-Ultra experiments and Tim Leary's maverick ideas for another flogging. I actually had to double-check the '2008' production year because these "contextual" segments look to date from 1988 or so. A sequence of Albert Hofmann turning 100 finally convinced me.

How is it possible to make a psychedelic documentary in 2008 and not be aware of the massive wave of entheogenic awakening in progress since the late '80s? Who today needs to hear ancient info about "acid" and "the sixties" when a much broader and more profound exploration of psychedelic drugs, both organic and synthetic, is going on around the Western world?

I doubt Wade Davis is to blame for these uninformed and clichéd segments. If I were to guess, I'd say someone took a documentary that was almost exclusively about Schultes, cut out some plant drug stuff that should have been left in, and added a bunch of dated shit about LSD and hippies in order to make the movie easier to sell and promote.

I wish someone could hook up with Wade Davis for a real Schultes study, with camerawork, audio and editing that makes you feel the realness of the jungle and the madness of the yagé, passing along vital bits of info on the great man while the creativity uses its psychedelic theme in the proper manner.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 20:27 MEST
June 26, 2013
Psychedelic Poles
Now Playing: Brazil-Uruguay in Confederations Cup

A blog editor in Poland sent me a bunch of intelligent questions related to the Psychedelia book, which I answer to the best of my ability. Check out the brand new interview at the Magivanga blog.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:47 MEST
June 8, 2013
Merry Prankster Trip on DVD
Now Playing: Bureman & O'Rourke

Anyone reading this is likely to have seen the 2011 documentary Magic Trip already, so I'll spare you the full disclosure. It took two experienced docu film makers to figure out how to handle the technical problems with the Further bus trip footage. As Jane Burton laments in the voice-over (actually an actress reciting Burton's words), a major problem with the Merry Pranksters was that they believed that just because you wanted to do something, you could also do it--as though there was no learning curve. So when they set out to make a movie, they didn't know about the most fundamental things such as using a clapper for audio/visual synchronization, or shooting recurring establishing shots that made the location and situation clear. The 40 hours were an out of synch mess, which the remaining Pranksters worked decades to sort out. The video material released in the late 1990s was the first truly watchable version, but it revealed other problems with the material, such as most of the audio being incomprehensible, even if now more or less in synch. And there was still no narrative framework, making it acceptable mostly to fans who already knew the story in and out.

What was done with this new, professional documentary was to allow the Pranksters themselves provide running commentary to the images seen on the screen, using either existing recordings, or adding new recordings with Pranksters and actors. This is much more effective than the modern intro provided with the circa 1999 self-released VHS movies (in 2 parts), and it gives both context, narrative thread and a professional feel. With these fundamental problems solved, the viewer's focus is directed where it should be long, which is the beautiful and often spectacular footage from the coast-to-coast bus trip. Shot with 16 mm cameras much of the footage is in remarkably good quality, some of it so pristine it looks brand new and therefore slightly surreal (same effect as the Jim Morrison 'HWY' footage inserted into People Are Strange). In addition, there are several minutes of never-before seen footage from the return home leg through Canada, including a beautiful communal trip on JT 191 by a rural lake. And so finally, after almost 50 years, the film that shows the Pranksters' search for the Kool place has been packaged in a lasting format that can be consulted when anyone wants to learn about Further and Kesey and the Merry Pranksters. I wish it could have been even longer than 100 minutes, but that's the fan-boy in me speaking.

So, the DVD version. The bonus material includes a half-dozen omitted scenes, all of which were worth seeing, if brief. The most remarkable was a parachute flight including footage of the bus from above; although shaky and fuzzy, it's unique and surprising enough that it should have been included. There was a brief visit to Las Vegas that is hardly ever mentioned in the Further chronicles, and one wishes the band would have stayed there a day or two and kept the cameras rolling. A few other snips follow, including one that shows the bus being towed into a parking spot after the trip, and some surprising footage from Mexico 1966, with the core Pranksters joining Kesey. They are seen at a bull-fight, but not much more. Ditto for the highly interesting Berkeley Vietnam Day prank which Kesey calls one of their best efforts, which is what I've always felt too. They were decades ahead of their time here... in fact people still haven't understood the importance of this message. You do not win over an opponent by opposing him with his own tools on his own arena; the only thing you do is strengthening him. Ralph Metzner said much the same thing in a 1967 interview. The acidheads know, some day the rest will follow.

Finally, there is a 50-minute audio recording from Kesey's first hallucinogen trip at Menlo Park, an item of extraordinary historical value, and pretty funny too, in parts.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:05 MEST
Updated: June 8, 2013 22:18 MEST
June 3, 2013
"Psychedelia" reviewed in Flashback magazine
Now Playing: Stud LP from Texas

The new British magazine Flashback featured a lengthy review of Psychedelia in the most recent (#3) issue. Written by Gray Newell, the review is both enthusiastic and psychedelic in its own right.

"This groundbreaking examination of humankind’s long relationship with psychedelic drugs ensures [Lundborg's] place in psychedelic history. Based on over 20 years of original research, it outlines a new thesis that overturns many commonly held misconceptions of the phenomenon. The volume’s scope of is remarkable, covering such a range of subject matter that every page seems crammed with both esoteric facts and illuminating insights..."

"...Encyclopaedic in its coverage and enlightening in its message, Lundborg’s treatise deserves to be the catalyst for a new generation to turn the key and unlock the mysteries of the universe. His achievement is to draw so many seemingly disparate strands together into a cohesive whole, without overwhelming or breaking his narrative thread. Visionary artist Anderson Debernardi’s suitably striking cover painting makes it a very handsome volume, and the colour plates (reproducing rare items from the author’s own collection) perfectly compliment the text. Psychedelia is a milestone, and unhesitatingly recommended to anyone with even the slightest interest in the subject."

Thank you Flashback and thank you Gray Newell, whose own contributions to psychedelic musicology have enlightened numerous souls!


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:33 MEST
May 27, 2013
The Joyous Cosmology
Now Playing: Justice label mix-CDR

Review by Patrick Lundborg 

It is a pleasure to observe the continuing interest in Psychedelia around the world, the latest sign of which is a new edition of one of the early classics, Alan Watts' The Joyous Cosmology. Originally published in 1962 this has been out of print for decades, while the interest in Watts shows no signs of declining; on the contrary. During the 2000s, Watts has become probably the second most sampled voice heard on psychedelic ambient and downbeat electronica tracks (after the omnipresent Terence McKenna). Watts' thoughts, and the Joyous Cosmology in particular, was also a primary source text for my recent book Psychedelia, as will be shown below. Prior to that, a bit of background on the great man. 

With a mind both open and agile, Alan Watts (1915-1973) examined a wide range of esoteric traditions. The fruits of his studies he passed on to curious Westerners in a variety of formats, beginning with radio shows in California, but also through books, lectures and recordings. The latter produced the now-legendary 1962 LP This Is IT which today is considered a vital prototype for the eruption of psychedelic pop culture in the mid-'60s. At the time Watts' interest in psychedelic drugs was at its peak, and he diligently experimented with the major hallucinogens and observed his reactions. This period of mind expansion was documented in The Joyous Cosmology, a slender volume which stands as Watts' most important work today, and a given inclusion in a library of psychedelic source texts.

The Joyous Cosmology resembles Huxley's The Doors Of Perception to some degree, and the classic work of Watts' fellow British ex-patriate may have served as inspiration for his ruminations. While comparisons aren't entirely meaningful, one might observe that Watts' conclusions are just as useful as Aldous Huxley's, perhaps even more useful from the perspective of a modern reader. Watts contemplated the psychedelic state for a longer and more variable time than his colleague, allowing him to formulate viewpoints that are less anecdotal and less private.

At the same time, Watts' intelligent and slightly trickerish personality is much in evidence throughout the book, and his substantial training in the spiritual traditions of the East clearly allowed him to accept the often ambiguous and contradictory flow of psychedelic cognition. If at certain turns the LSD experience seems to reveal itself as meaningless, then so be it; so, too, does the Buddhist path at some points in that journey. Watts' conclusions on the psychedelic state and the workings of the mind are valuable, but he is equally able to drill down into the here and now of a trip through Innerspace. His detailed recollection of listening to classical music on LSD is one of the very best replications of the strange state of confusion and euphoria, and melancholy and brilliance, and numerous other moods that one experiences during the trip. It works as an excellent chapter for non-acidheads to find out what it's like to be on LSD, and it also proves that psychedelic trips can be described in words, despite some people's claims.

The Joyouos Cosmology was a significant source text for me when developing the psychedelic philosophy described in my book Psychedelia--An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life (2012). Watts' readiness to discuss the hallucinogen trip as a spiritual experience in itself, rather than as a metaphor or gateway into something else, offers a useful model in general terms, but there was also a direct, specific influence. What Watts ultimately found in his LSD and psilocybin trips was the notion that life could be approached as purposeless play. As I point out in Psychedelia this phrase comes from John Cage, but Watts appropriated it for his own purposes. What he seems to mean is that the quest into the essence of psychedelic ideation does not produce a distinct answer about existence in the traditional Western scientific sense; it is more like a cat chasing its own tail. Yet there is great joy and stimulation in the psychedelic activities, and Watts finds in this a satisfactory result of the series of trips he took. It could be described as a Taoist-like position, and falls well in line with Watts' overall spiritual orientation.

The phrase 'purposeless play' also works as a bridge across traditions otherwise far apart. As discussed in Psychedelia, the way Watts phrases his conclusion is reminiscent of ideas presented by the German phenomenologist Eugen Fink, who in the notion of 'play' found an acceptable representation of a metaphysical conundrum otherwise out of reach for the human reasoning mind. When engaged in 'play' we are able to come closer to the actual nature of the world than through any other activity, according to Fink.

Further aspects on the matter are discussed in my book, to which I refer for a complete explication of this psychedelic philosophy (or psychedelic phenomenology). Suffice it to say that Watts' book provided me with one of the key pieces when putting together the large psychedelic puzzle presented in Psychedelia. Most appropriately, I was engaged in a discussion about Alan Watts and this very book just the other day, when being interviewed for an upcoming podcast about psychedelic culture.

Alan Watts and The Joyous Cosmology have always been held in high regard among psychedelicists, yet one might argue that its full potential as a canonical work hasn't yet been properly realized. To this end, this new edition from New World Library appears perfectly on cue, beautifully designed and given an updated context in a new introduction by noted psychedelic researcher Daniel Pinchbeck. The original foreword by Tim Leary & Dick Alpert, written when the two were unknown researchers at Harvard Psych, is retained and shows the reader how much, and how little, psychedelic culture has changed in 50 years.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:46 MEST
Updated: May 28, 2013 20:27 MEST
May 14, 2013
Let's Have A Luau
Now Playing: Paul Page

I finally found some spare time to go through and file the stacks of books, records and paraphernalia I've assembled over the past year. One thing that I've only given a cursory look before is this rather wonderful songbook featuring the late, great Paul Page.

There is a paragraph or so in the Psychedelia book devoted to Page, who was one of the most persistent and unswerving visionaries in the field of Exotica. Although he couldn't really sing he wrote plenty of songs paying tribute to the Polynesian islands and the Pacific Ocean, and recorded many of them for his self-released albums, using top-notch Hawaiian session men for backing. Page elegantly solved the problem of his non-vocal ability by adopting a half-spoken, half-sung style much like Eden Ahbez, who may in fact have inspired him. Paul Page has become a cult name among Exotica aficionados today, and rightly so. While no drugs except maybe Coconut Rum were involved, an album such as The Reef Is Calling transports the listener to a beatiful, joyous, inviting place, just like Eden's Island, and like much of the best psychedelia.


Paul Page is also discussed at some length in the Exotica 'Special Feature' in the Acid Archives Second Edition.

Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:59 MEST
Updated: May 14, 2013 22:03 MEST
May 1, 2013
Psychedelia on the air
Now Playing: Bolder Damn

After connecting with noted writer/researcher Erik Davis a couple of months back, Erik invited me to appear on his recurring radio show on PRN, The Expanding Mind. Together with his co-host we spent an hour discussing the psychedelic experience and psychedelic culture based on topics raised in my book. I am not too experienced with live Q & A situations but I think it came out fairly well. You can hear the whole thing here:

http://prn.fm/2013/04/21/expanding-mind-modern-psychedelia-042113/#axzz2S4fubZnk

As I mentioned to Erik, some of his writings from the early 2000s had inspired me, since he managed too understand the field of psychedelic research while still analyzing it objectively, a much-needed and surprisingly rare position. Many of you reading this probably already know who Erik is, if not I urge you to check some of his writings out.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:16 MEST
April 30, 2013
The real Woodstock nation
Now Playing: Ricky Miller "Meet Ricky Miller"

These were going round back in 1983 -- look familiar?


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:38 MEST
April 17, 2013
Dear Albert

It was 70 years ago today
Albert Hofmann taught the world to play


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 23:28 MEST
April 15, 2013
Interview with Shindig magazine
Now Playing: Ishq "Orchid"

The hip faces at Shindig! magazine are launching a snazzy web presence which, among other things, includes a long interview with yours truly, waxing irresponsibly on dangerous and illegal substances. Thanks to Jeff Penczak who not only read my Psychedelia book (see review at Ptolemaic), but took the time to contemplate and raise a number of highly valid questions within its domains. Here's Jeff & me:

http://www.shindig-magazine.com/Patrick-Lundborg.html


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 22:12 MEST
Updated: April 15, 2013 22:38 MEST
April 5, 2013
The A-Z index
Now Playing: http://www.psyradio.org/

Seems the time is right for another round with the A-Z index for the Psychedelia book. As indicated in the book (contents page) we decided to put the index online rather than having to expand the already sizable tome with another 32 pages. This is the more eco-friendly solution!

Here's the index as it looks today, from Aaronson to Zukav:
http://www.lysergia.com/Psychedelia/AZindex_Psychedelia_PatrickLundborg.pdf

The new version is considerably expanded vs the earlier one. You can either use the PDF as a digital file stored online/tablet PC/smartphone, or you can print a hardcopy and insert it into your copy of the Psychedelia book.

I feel that this post does not conform well to the ideals of Purposeless Play. Perhaps this image can offer some compensation:


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:01 MEST
April 2, 2013
MOJO working
Now Playing: The 49 Minute Technicolor Dream (Bam Caruso)

Inside my Easter Egg was a special surprise gift in the form of a rather friendly review of Psychedelia in the mighty Mojo magazine. I didn't see this coming but maybe I should have, in view of their helpful support for the self-published and obscure Acid Archives book long ago.


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 19:12 MEST
Updated: April 2, 2013 21:19 MEST
March 31, 2013
Easter Everywhere !


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 00:42 MEST
March 28, 2013
Exhibition of drug-influenced art

Sous influences, arts plastiques et psychotropes
15 février - 19 mai 2013

A French connection tipped me off about this rather sizable exhibition of art created under the influence of drugs, including plenty of psychedelics. I won't make it there but secured a copy of the catalog which displays a large number of very interesting works from famous and less famous artists of the past 150 years (the catalog is in French).

The venue is "The Red House" in Paris:

la maison rouge
10 boulevard de la bastille
75012 paris france

http://lamaisonrouge.org/spip.php?article911&date=venir

Featured artistes: Adel Abdessemed ( 1971 ) , Pablo Amaringo ( 1943-2009) , Antonin Artaud ( 1876- 1948) , Art Orienté Objet ( 1991 ) , Jean-Baptiste Audat ( 1950) , Aurèle ( 1963) , Martine Balata & René Jullien (1947 et 1947), Edson Barrus (1961), Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960- 1988), Charles Baudelaire (1821 - 1867), Hans Bellmer (1902- 1975), Bruno Botella (1976), Lilian Bourgeat (1970), Tania Brassesco & Lazlo Passi-Norberto (1986 and 1984), Jean-Louis Brau (1930- 1985), Nathalie Brevet_Hughes Rochette (1976 and 1975), Mathieu Briand (1972), David Brognon & Stéphanie Rollin (1978 et 1980), Jiri Černický (1966), les Frères Chapuisat (1972 et 1976), Jean-Philippe Charbonnier (1921 -2004), Jean-Martin Charcot (1825- 1893), Larry Clark (1943), Lucien Clergue (1934), Jean Cocteau (1889- 1963), François Curlet (1967), Luc Delahaye (1962), Hélène Delprat (1957), Jeroen de Rijke & Willem De Rooij (1969 et 1970-2006), Hervé Di Rosa (1959), Léo Dohmen (1929- 1999), Jean Dupuy (1925), Miguel Egaña (1952), Erró (1932), Esther Ferrer (1937), Robert Filliou (1926- 1987), Henri Foucault (1954), Michel François (1956), Alberto Garcia-Alix (1956), Nan Goldin (1953), Raymond Hains (1926-2005), Gary Hill (1951), Damien Hirst (1965), Carsten Höller (1961), Irvin Penn (1917-2009), les Iconoblastes, Mati Klarwein (1932-2002), David Kramer (1963), Yayoi Kusama (1929), Arnaud Labelle-Rojoux (1950), Joris Lacoste (1973), Isabelle Le Minh (1965), Jean- Jacques Lebel (1936), Pierre Leguillon (1969), Claude Lévêque (1953), Guy Limone (1958), EliLotar (1905- 1969), Robert Malaval (1937- 1980), Alberto Martini (1876- 1954), Batan Matta (1943- 1976) , Philippe Mayaux (1961), Fiorenza Menini (1970), Henri Michaux (1899- 1984), Takashi Murakami (1963), Youssef Nabil (1972), Helio OIticica (1937- 1980), Nam June Paik (1932-2006), Frédéric Pardo (1944-2005), Antoine Perpère (1949), Francis Picabia (1879- 1953), Gabriel Pomerand (1926- 1972), Daniel Pommereulle (1937-2003), Frédéric Post (1975-), Markus Raetz (1941), Arnulf Rainer (1929), Martial Raysse (1936), Eugène Richards (1944), Gianfranco Rosi , Ben Russell (1976), Bernard Saby (1925-1975), Bryan Lewis Saunders (1969), Jeanne Susplugas (1974), Fred Tomaselli (1956), herman de vries (1931), Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885- 1939), Pierre Leguillon (1969), Tony Bouilhet


Posted by Patrick at Lysergia at 21:35 MEST
Updated: March 28, 2013 21:44 MEST

Newer | Latest | Older

« July 2013 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «