Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (Now with an Updated and Expanded Resource Section!)

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9780140195743: Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures (Now with an Updated and Expanded Resource Section!)

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 Sixties counter-cultural 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, thriller writer Steven Martin Cohen, Ecstasy expert Bruce Eisner, and phenomonologist 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. The stories, edited mostly from taped interviews by journalist Charles Hayes, enable readers to either "trip" vicariously or compare notes on their own experiences.

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 Seventies until his death in April 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.

TRIPPING's 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 classic psychedelics such as LSD, but by a wide array of psychotropics, from the sacred plants of indigenous peoples to the latest synthetic "smart drugs."

Some sample plotlines

At a summer festival, a man on LSD believes he's attending the final celebration of the gods and that his mission is to mate with his chosen one before the entire tribe moves on to a higher sphere at the climax of the "orgasm death dance."

A young man eats some peyote buttons on a hike in the Grand Canyon, and stumbles upon a near-death experience.

A group of army buddies test the limits of their bodies' endurance during an acid session by a campfire.

The ministrations of the "shining ones", astral beings accessed during an LSD trip, lure a college student to higher realms of consciousness.

A psychedelic ingested at the notorious Altamont concert of 1969 triggers a bizarre odyssey through the San Francisco city jail and mental health system for a fellow who believes he's an angelic revolutionary.

After a dij` vu of enlightenment during which he begins speaking in tongues, a tripper plummets into the flipside of that experience in an episode of horrific eternal recurrence that revisits him in flashbacks.

A wooden carving of Christ speaks out loud to a seminary student during a church service, reshaping her theology and the depth of her faith.

The narratives in TRIPPING 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.

You can contact the author at Trippingtales@aol.com and at his website.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

...the best collection of psychedelic traveler's tales that I have read in a long, long time. -- Jay Stevens, author of Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream

For seriously treating what is often characterized as nihilistic and destructive entertainment, ...deserves its place in the literature of psychoactive substances. -- Booklist, November 15, 2000

I couldn't stop dipping in and out of this juicy book.... Wow! What a contact high. -- Spalding Gray, actor, author

This courageous book ...will captivate, inspire, caution and educate. -- Rick Doblin, founder, Multidisplincary Association for Psychedlic Studies

This terrifically engaging compendium ...avoids all of the expected ...cliches. ...a group of highly literate...testimonies... -- Publishers Weekly, September 11, 2000

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