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Psychedelic Press UK

The following article was written by Ido Hartogsohn. He is an Israeli writer and psychedelic activist. His first book ‘Technomystica: Consciousness in the Age of Technology’ was published (Hebrew) in 2009. Hartogsohn is currently writing his Ph.D. on the role of set and setting in the psychedelic research of the 1950s and the 1960s.

Psychedelics and Entheogens are two names for the same group of psychoactive compounds (usually referred to as ‘psychedelics’). These two terms delineate two very different perspectives on the proper way to use these psychoactive compounds.

Psychedelic is a term that was invented by the British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond in 1957, during a correspondence with Aldous Huxley, as the two were trying to find a new designation for the psychopharmacological group of substances which included compounds such as mescaline, LSD, and the psilocybin (found in magic mushrooms). The new name was supposed to replace terms such as…

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Psychedelic Press UK

The following article was written, and published here with the permission of, Ross Heaven.

The Western world is increasingly familiar with ayahuasca, the visionary brew and “plant doctor” of Amazonian shamans, thanks to celebrities like Sting and Madonna who have drunkit and television programmes like Bruce Parry’s Tribe and Amazon,which showed the presenter drinking ayahuasca in the jungles of Peru, during which he experienced, he said, some of the most profound insights of his life. (1)

Scientific studies carried out by Western doctors have also demonstrated the effectiveness of ayahuasca in curing illnesses that orthodox medicine finds it hard to address. Especially impressive is its ability to help people overcome drug and alcohol addictions,with a success rate of 70% through the use of ayahuasca alone. (2)

Less well-known – but no less effective – is another of Peru’s visionary healing plants: San Pedro. Like ayahuasca, it has been drunk…

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Psychedelic Press UK

The following essay has been written by Kevin Murray and is published here with his kind permission. Please find his contact details at the bottom of this article.

Psychotropic drugs and their role in the history of Buddhist practice in the West is a contentious topic, but for many practitioners in the 1960s and 70s, these substances offered formative rites of passage which provided valuable insights into meditative states of consciousness. As these neophyte Buddhists developed commitment and ability in their practice, most abandoned these chemical catalysts, and “today many teachers advise against the path they travelled” (Badiner 17). In this essay, I will examine the influence of certain hallucinogenic and psychotropic substances on the expansion of Buddhism in the West. I contend that the current generation of Buddhist students are steeped in the spiritual myths of the 60s and cannot help but consider their teacher’s awakening via psychotropic substances with…

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Psychedelic Press UK

The following article has been written by Oliver Genn-Bash, current president of the University of Kent, Canterbury, Psychedelics Society. He can be reached at: ogennbash89@gmail.com

‘A good traveller has no fixed destination, and is not intent on arriving’ – Lao Tzu[1]

Taoist philosophy is extremely interesting when looking at it within the context of the psychedelic experience. Whilst there is largely a consensus regarding the subjectivity of the psychedelic experience there are certain common aspects which seem to permeate the experience from individual to individual, despite the supposed subjective nature of it. Taoism may ultimately provide us with a framework through which to understand the psychedelic experience in a constructive manner, whereby we may be able to examine various seemingly intuitive revelations through a certain lens.

The first point I want to make regards the notion of the self within the psychedelic experience. Losing our sense of self is…

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Psychedelic Press UK

Inspired by surrealists such as Picasso, Dali, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Tokio Aoyama also channels through his art the essences of peace, ascension and love, embodied by musicians such as Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder and Sun Ra, as well as celebrating the free-spirited nature of artists including Miles Davis, Sly Stone and Basquiat. Tokio’s art is his soul and the philosophy of his life and he has been kind enough to answer some questions for PsypressUK in the run up to his forthcoming exhibition at the Hoxton Gallery in London.

What is it about art that first drew you into becoming an artist?  Furthermore, who and what have been the biggest influences on your art since?

I painted Al Pacino about 12 years ago and that was my first canvas painting with acrylic paints. I remembered how I was struggling with controlling my brush on the canvas, at the…

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Researchers at John Hopkins University have found that the active-ingredient in magic mushrooms (psilocybin) causes positive lasting changes in personality. The trait enhanced is ‘openness’ which “encompasses aesthetic appreciation and sensitivity, imagination and fantasy, and broad-minded tolerance of others’ viewpoints and values.”

The change towards openness was most noted in subjects who reported ‘mystical experiences’ as a result of the trial. Of the 51 participants, 30 had mystical experiences confirmed by a standardised means of assessing mystical experience.

“The mystical experience has certain qualities,” MacLean said. “The primary one is that you feel a certain kind of connectedness and unity with everything and everyone.” People also reported feelings of joy, MacLean said.

The study participants completed two to five eight-hour psilocybin sessions, with consecutive sessions separated by at least three weeks. Participants were informed they would receive a “moderate or high dose” of the drug during one of their sessions, but neither they nor the session monitors knew when.

“The remarkable piece is that psilocybin can facilitate experiences that change how people perceive themselves and their environment,” said Roland Griffiths, a study author and professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Johns Hopkins University of Medicine in Baltimore.

Griffiths believes psilocybin may have therapeutic uses and is currently studying whether the hallucinogen has a use in helping cancer patients handle the depression and anxiety that comes along with a diagnosis. It is also being studied for possibly aiding longtime cigarette smokers overcome their addiction.

“There may be applications for this we can’t even imagine at this point,” he says. “It certainly deserves to be systematically studied.”

The research, approved by Johns Hopkins’ Institutional Review Board, was funded in part by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Magic mushrooms grow in the wild in the UK. The season for ‘Liberty Caps’ (the native variety of magic mushrooms) is just starting, they are most commonly found in sheep fields. They have been used for thousands of years for personal development, but  Labour made them completely illegal in 2005.

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