Tripping: An Anthology


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Edited by Charles Hayes

From the Publisher: The psychedelic experience has been both demonized and mythologized, but what is it really like to trip?

Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures, the first major compilation of personal testimonies about psychedelic experiences, contains narratives by 50 people of various nationalities and walks of life about their most unforgettable altered states – from the heavenly to the horrific. In gripping, often suspenseful tales suffused with a high sense of adventure, Tripping liberates the psychedelic experience from the closet of social stigma as well as from the mists of 1960s countercultural idealism.

Relating the harrowing straits and exhilarating peaks of the psychedelic inner odyssey are many accomplished writers, including former Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow, war photographer Tim Page, Beat poet Anne Waldman, science fiction writer Robert Charles Wilson, Ecstasy expert Bruce Eisner, and phenomenologist Paul Devereux. Most of the narratives, however, come from “ordinary” people from Sydney to Belfast to San Francisco, for whom their anonymity brings out an intensely personal, confessional dimension.

Specially featured is a lengthy conversation with the late Terence McKenna, the man who many believe inherited Tim Leary’s mantle as the leading spokesman for psychedelics from the late 1970s until his death in 2000. A veteran of myriad “heroic doses,” McKenna discusses some of his own trips for the first time, as well as a range of issues including his own provocative brand of eschatology, politics, and anthropology, at the center of which is an abiding faith in the power of psychedelic drugs.

The balanced, objective perspective portrays both positive and negative impacts of psychedelic experiences, depicting both the tolls and the rewards of such chemically-induced excursions from reality. Types of episodes run the gamut from encounters with godhead and alien or discarnate entities, out-of-body experiences, freak-outs, flashbacks, psychosis (momentary and otherwise), and acts or events of apparent magic or miracle. The trips described were catalyzed not just by LSD, but by a wide array of psychotropics, from the sacred plants of indigenous peoples to the latest synthetic “smart drugs.”

The narratives are placed in larger contexts by Hayes’s essays, which include a synopsis of the history and culture of psychedelics from the ancient Greek mystery rites to today’s Ecstasy-fueled rave events; an exposition on the kinetics of tripping (what can go right and wrong on a trip), including basic medical and psychological background; and a concise index of psychedelic substances.

The illustrations in Tripping are provided by renowned visionary artist Alex Grey ( and four computer graphics masters.

Praise for the Book: “Balancing seriousness with a great sense of adventure, this terrifically engaging compendium of 50 personal accounts of psychedelic experiences avoids all of the expected cultural and psychological clichés…Hayes has not only assembled a group of highly literate…testimonies, but has placed them in a broader historical, social, and religious context…. Hayes clearly intends to demystify the use of psychedelics.” — Publishers Weekly

“I couldn’t stop dipping in and out of this juicy book, flying from New York to Detroit and back. At times it felt like just reading it was keeping the plane up. Wow! What a contact high.” — Spalding Gray, American actor, playwright, artist, and screenwriter

“Tripping provides the much-needed ‘coming out of the closet’ that the psychedelic movement has lacked, but that the gay rights movement found so valuable. These stories will captivate, inspire, caution and educate. This courageous book has been long-awaited, and exceeds expectations.” — Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies

“Tripping is the best collection of psychedelic traveler’s tales that I have read in a long, long time. It should be in the knapsack of anyone contemplating passage through what Aldous Huxley called the ‘reducing valve’ of normal consciousness – and out into the great beyond.” — Jay Stevens, author of Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream

“This richly rewarding book takes the reader into uncharted domains of consciousness and creativity. The stories told, the reflections given reveal the phenomenal landscapes of innerspace.” — Jean Houston, Ph.D., author; founder, Foundation for Mind Research

“A magnificent collection of…travels by true explorers…” — Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin, Ph.D., author of Pihkal: A Chemical Love Story

About the Author: Charles Hayes worked for fifteen years in publishing. Since 1990 he has been a journalist whose work has appeared in Tikkun, The Oxford American, Shaman’s Drum, High Times, Heads, Cannabis Quebec, The Earth Times, and E Magazine. Hayes has been a writer and editor for a variety of businesses and organizations, a website designer, and a communications manager for a marketing firm. This is his first book.

ISBN-10: 0140195742    –    ISBN-13: 978-0140195743

Additional information

Weight 19.2 oz
Dimensions 8.9 × 6 × 1.1 in