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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


Huxley in Hollywood.

Dunaway, David King. (1989).
New York: Harper & Row.


ISBN: 0-06-039095-6


Description: First edition, xviii + 448 + i pages. A Cornelia and Michael Bessie Book.


Contents: Prologue, 11 chapters, epilogue, notes, notes on sources, critical bibliography, books by Aldous Huxley, filmography, acknowledgements, index, about the author.


Excerpt(s): [From an interview with Ellen Hovde, June 10, 1985] He took LSD some time after Maria died. We were together and he said, "It was the first time I could really cry." He cried and cried [about his mother]. It showed him, in the old Zen way of a kick in the ass or a blow on the head, what he didn't know before. He couldn't even remember his mother-no memory of her at all. He could block those things out. LSD usually hits you where you live-where you're most blocked. It hit him hard, and he was most grateful. (page 324)


By the time Heaven and Hell appeared, in 1956, Huxley had taken psychedelics nearly a dozen times. He had tried not only LSD and mescaline, but ergine from morning glory seeds (which had given Maria "visions of a Monkey trying to climb up to heaven on his own tail"), carbogen, and others. The rate of these excursions was increasing. All who remember this period stress the seriousness with which he approached these sessions, and there's no reason to doubt their accounts. As a friend put it, "There was no `let's have some LSD' any more than there was `let's have whisky and soda.'" (page 327)


In his use (and justification) of psychedelic experiments, Huxley did not nullify fifteen years of arduous religious study. If he had not undergone this spiritual rigor, he would never have had his `gratuitous grace' from drug-induced visions. In hot pursuit of the visionary experience, however, Huxley did not anticipate his moral responsibility for what happened to those less able (or less willing) to ground drug explorations in a religious or secular-mystical tradition. Huxley's visions differed dramatically from the neutral hallucinations others may experience under mescaline of LSD. Thus, Huxley and the CIA could each experiment simultaneously with mind-altering chemicals; one toward liberation, the other for brainwashing. Neoconservative Herman Kahn would use LSD to help him plot bombing strategies against mainland China. (page 329)


Asked to appear on a television program on mescaline with Osmond, Huxley refused:

One gets a great deal of most unwelcome publicity, with people stopping one in the street, to say how much they like, or disliked, what you said. This unwelcome publicity would be particularly annoying after a TV show on mescaline. ... Mescaline, it seems to me, and the odder aspects of mind are matters to be written about for a small public, not discussed on TV in the presence of a vast audience of baptists, methodists, and nothing-but-men plus an immense lunatic fringe. ... (quoted from Smith, Letters of Aldous Huxley, page 801)



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