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Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index

An Affair to Remember

Donaldson, Maureen, and Royce, William (1989).
New York: G. P. Putnam's.

ISBN: 0-399-13450-6

Description: hardcover, 288 pages.

Contents: prologue, 31 chapters.

Excerpt(s): In addition, Cary's [Grant] concerns about Dyan [Cannon] supposedly using drugs struck me a hypocritical. After all, wasn't he the one who'd reaped headlines in the late fifties when he admitted taking LSD? Wasn't he the one Dyan accused in her divorce suit of taking LSD on average once a week?

One day when Cary started speculating about what Dyan was doing up in Monterey, I mentioned this contradiction.

But you don't understand, Cary said, LSD is a chemical, not a drug. People who take drugs are trying to escape from their lives. LSD is a hallucinogen, and people who take it are trying to look within their lives. That's what I did.

The difference between a drug and a chemical seemed basically one of semantics the way Cary explained it, but I encouraged him to tell me precisely what he felt the LSD did for him.

Well, he said, warming to the subject, let me put it this way I'm now seventy years old and I have lived a lot longer than you have, Maureen. And I know that two things changed my life: First, there was LSD, which helped me look within myself. It was painful and there were days I literally could not get off the floor, it hurt so badly. But once I faced what was inside me, I eventually forgave myself and the mistakes I'd made, and I forgave my parents and the mistakes they'd made.

The second thing was the birth of Jennifer. LSD was my rebirth. Jennifer was the birth of a new me, the one who was forced to stop thinking of only me, me, me, and to extend his boundaries a great, great deal ... far beyond me, do you understand?

I did, but I wanted to know more. How in the world did someone as conservative as Cary get involved with something as radical as LSD was in the late fifties and sixties?

First of all, you have to understand it was legal in those days, he began to explain. And it was Betsy, bless her, who set me on the path. She was a very educated girl, much more than a mere actress. She was the one who helped me stop smoking. She hypnotized me one night right out of it. I know it sounds crazy, but she did. I never did smoke a cigarette after that.

She was always very interested in psychology and she mentioned several doctors who believed in the wondrous effects of a hallucinogen called LSD twenty-five. That's what they called it in those days. There was a doctor named Mortimer Hartman, and he's the man who saved my life. I am not exaggerating. I was so confused and lost when I began seeing him. (Cary would express his gratitude to Dr. Hartman in his will with a bequest of $10,000, though he had not been in touch with him for years.)

As Cary described the effect of his first sessions with LSD, I'd rarely seen him so excited and enthusiastic.

The first breakthrough came when I realized I was the one responsible for the cycles of my life. I was repeating the same mistakes and patterns over and over again. It became so clear to me one day when I was twisting myself all over the sofa in the doctor's office. I heard myself saying aloud, *Why am, I turning around and around on this sofa?' *You don't know why?' the doctor said. *No,' I said, very annoyed, *but I tell you this: It better stop soon.' And the doctor said, *Cary, it'll stop when you stop it.'

And of course, he was right. It was as if a light finally went on inside my brain. It was a revelation. I had to take command. I had to take complete responsibility for my own actions and stop blaming my mother and my father and everyone else. And then I said, *Look, I'm unscrewing myself, aren't I?' And that's what happened in more ways than one.

Cary described this self-illumination as a release and a discharge. In his mind he could see himself going through birth and pushing through his mother's body.

You see, he almost whispered, I finally realized that for all the pain I thought my mother caused me, I had caused her pain too. When I broke through this way, I lost all the tension that I'd been crippling myself with. I lost all my inhibitions.

The day all this became clear to me, I lost it all, but I gained something more. Myself. And on that day I shat all over the rug in the doctor's office and I shat all over his floor.

He laughed a little, somewhat embarrassed. But I could sense the pride he felt. He had the conviction that this was the shining moment of his life, next to Jennifer's birth. He had that magnificent assurance all true believers have, whatever the cause. (pages 126-128)

Compilation copyright © 1995 – 2001 CSP

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