An exploration of humans’ symbiotic relationships with plants and chemicals presents information on prehistoric partnership societies, the roles of spices and spirits in the rise of dominator societies; and the politics of tobacco, tea, coffee, opium, and alcohol.
Why, as a species, are humans so fascinated by altered states of consciousness? Can altered states reveal something to us about our origins and our place in nature? In Food of the Gods, ethnobotanist Terence McKenna’s research on man’s ancient relationship with chemicals opens a doorway to the divine, and perhaps a solution for saving our troubled world. McKenna provides a revisionist look at the historical role of drugs in the East and the West, from ancient spice, sugar, and rum trades to marijuana, cocaine, synthetics, and even television—illustrating the human desire for the “food of the gods” and the powerful potential to replace abuse of illegal drugs with a shamanic understanding, insistence on community, reverence for nature, and increased self-awareness.
About The Author: Terence McKenna, author and explorer, has traveled the world to work and live with shamans. He has added to their shared knowledge of rituals his own efforts to preserve the plants used in these ceremonies. Coauthor of The Invisible Landscape and Psilocybin: The Magic Mushroom Grower’s Guide, Terence mesmerizes his many lecture audiences with tales of science and shamanism. He lives in Occidental, California, and is co-manager of a botanical garden in Hawaii for endangered tropical plants.
Reviews: “Deserves to be the modern classic on mind-altering drugs and hallucinogens.”—The Washington Post
“Terence McKenna is the most important—and most entertaining—visionary scholar in America.”—Tom Robbins
“The culture’s foremost spokesperson for the psychedelic experience . . . Those who know and enjoy Joseph Campbell’s work will almost certainly appreciate McKenna.”—L.A. Weekly
“An eloquent proposal for recovering something vital—a sense of the sacred, the transcendent, the Absolute—before it’s too late.”—Larry Dossey, M.D., author of Meaning & Medicine, Recovering the Soul, and Space, Time & Machine