from the Bulletin of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
MAPS - Volume 10 Number 1 Spring 2000 - p. 11-12

The Literature of Psychedelics

Bob Wallace

New Books

Synthetic Panics
The Symbolic Politics of Designer Drugs

History of media and political hysteria over various synthetic drugs, including MDMA, PCP, meth, cat, and GHB. How scapegoating works, blaming various social problems on particular drugs and their use by particular minorities and subcultures. How these media "demon drug" stories grow, and their common elements. Well referenced, with chapter notes and index. Philip Jenkins 1999; New York Univ. Press (Ingram) 0-8147-4244-0, 258 page paperback, $18.95

Amazon Magic
The Life and Story of Ayahuasquero and Shaman Don Agustín Rivas Vasquez

Well-written and interesting account of a Peruvian ayahuasca shaman, from his birth in 1933 to the present. Includes much about the ayahuasca plants and their uses, other healing plants, training to be a shaman, indigenous life in the Amazon jungle, and Rivas' path to also becoming a sculptor. Photos. Jaya Bear 2000; Colibri Publishing 0-9674255-0-6, 230 page paperback, $15.95

Psychedelics ReImagined
Chapters on Carlos Castaneda, Fitz Hugh Ludlow, benefits of marijuana, Ganesh Baba, datura realms, legality of neurochemistry, MDMA, shamanism and the house movement, cannabis in the Bible, Magic Mushrooms in Third World Countries, hemp, alchemy and ego death, plus book reviews and resources. Introduction by Timothy Leary; forward by Hakim Bey. An eclectic collection. Thomas Lyttle (editor) 1999; Autonomedia 1-57027-065-1, 255 page paperback, $13.95

The Mystery of Manna
The Psychedelic Sacrament of the Bible

What was the "manna from heaven" that Moses fed to the Israelites? With biblical and other references, the author suggests it was a bread made from ergot, containing psychedelic lysergic acid compounds which lead to visions of Yahveh. Then he shows references in later church writings, suggesting this secret was passed down by gnostics, masons, and kabbalists. Chapter notes, biblical and general indices. Dan Merkur 2000; Inner Traditions 0-89281-772-0, 191 page paperback, $16.95

Blue Tide
The Search for Soma

Those who drink Soma "surf blue tide" to the realms of the gods. Here the author investigates the identity of Soma, using his travel, ethnographic, scientific, detective, and personal entheogenic experiences. He mentions Wasson's Amanita theory, but spends more time on Peganum harmala, with an ayahuasca and even a Psilocybe mushroom with harmala investigation. Bibliography. Very readable. Mike Jay 1999; Autonomedia 1-57022-088-0, 189 page paperback, $13.95

Trout's Notes on Cactus Chemistry
Basic listing of interesting compounds reported to be in cacti; by species. K. Trout 1999; Better Days [no isbn], 74 page large paperback, $19.95

The Little Book of Ketamine
Much-needed introduction to this strange "dissociative psychedelic" which can isolate the mind from the body. History of the drug and its explorers; descriptions of experiences; dose and use tips; addiction potential; legal issues. Kit Kelly 1999; Ronin Publishing 1-914171-97-6, 110 page paperback, $12.95

Green Psychology
Cultivating a Spiritual Connection with the Natural World

How the ecological crisis evolved from the historical shift from living with nature to the domination over nature; and how modern, shamanic role models can help us create a worldview in which the mind of humanity and the health of the earth are harmoniously intertwined. Ralph Metzner 1999; Inner Traditions 0-89281-798-4, 192 page paperback, $14.95

Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Molds
The impact of fungi on human history. Chapter on ergot, with comments on its use for LSD and the Eleusian Mysteries; chapter on hallucinogenic mushrooms, the Psilocybe and Amanita families. Also chapters on fungi as pathogens, medicines, food, and other uses. Color photos, chapter notes, index. Accurate and well-written. George W. Hudler 1998; Princeton Univ. Press 0-691-02873-7, 264 page hardback, $29.95

New Editions

Trout's Notes on Sacred Cacti Botany, Chemistry, Cultivation, and Utilization
Definitive book on mescaline and its plant sources. Cultivation of peyote and San Pedro, extensive listing of mescaline cacti and their alkaloids, the chemistry and pharmacology of mescaline with synthesis, extraction, purification, and analysis. Also material on selected succulents. Much unique material. Many references. Index. Photos and illustrations. Recommended. K. Trout 1999 (2nd edition); Better Days [no isbn], 422 page large paperback, $39.95

New Periodicals
Yearbook for Ethnomedicine, Issue 5, 1998
Metzner's memoriam for Timothy Leary; Torres on the status of psychoactive snuff research, and on A. colubrina use by shamans of Argentina; Schaefer on peyote and pregnancy among the Huichol; Hamid on drug legalization; Valencic on salamander brandy; Ott on snakes and stones and pigges' bones; Meyer on Ganesh Baba. Christian Rätsch & J. Baker (editors) 1998; VWR 3-86135-032-7, 317 page paperback, $39.95

Eleusis, from the Italian Society for the Study of the States of Consciousness, is a great journal of psychedelic plants and compounds. This is their new series.

Eleusis #2
Mistletoe, centaurs, and Datura; Perseus, mushroom picker; Experiences with rare mushroom Inocybe haemacta; the Passiflora genus; Galbulimima belgraveana; Psychoactive plants of Madagascar; Mushroom mycelia on mulch. Giorgio Samorini & Jonathan Ott (editors), $21.95

The Entheogen Review
One of the best practical periodicals; includes updates to the Psychedelic Resource List. Volume VIII, Number 3. Fly Agaric new hypothesis, Velada with Salvia divinorum, Hyperspatial Maps, 5-MeO-DIPT report, Claviceps p. and Kykeon, Daniel Siebert, Valdes on Wasson, Salvia divinorum from seed, Sources update, feedback, events, books, more. David Aardvark (editor), $4.95

All books are available from Mind Books, the author's company; of course most are available from other good sources as well.

Mind Books 321 S. Main St. PMB 543, Sebastopol, CA 95472.
Phone: 800-829-8127 (or 707-829-8127); fax: 707-829-8100.
Email:, Website:

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