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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


The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries.

Wasson, R. Gordon; Hofmann, Albert; Ruck, Carl A.P. (1978).
New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


ISBN: 0-15-177872-8 hardcover

Description: First edition hardcover, 126 + i (colophon) pages. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book, Ethno-mycological Studies No. 4 of the Botanical Museum of Harvard University. Paperback is a Harvest/BJ Book.


Contents: List of illustrations, foreword, 6 chapters. Chapter 5 is a new translation of "The Hymn to Demeter" by Danny Staples. Chapter 6, pages 75-126, consists of documentation for the thesis of this book.


Excerpt(s): The Road to Eleusis grew out of a three-way collaboration of scholar-scientists sparked by R. Gordon Wasson's insight into the true nature of an ancient religious ritual, the Eleusinian Mysteries. These secret rites of ancient Greece have remained a puzzle for four thousand years and still intrigue the world. In collaboration with a world-renowned chemist, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck, a classical scholar specializing in the ethnobotany of ancient Greece, R. Gordon Wasson gives solid foundation to what he deduced as the solution of the Mysteries. (dust jacket)


...Clearly some poets and prophets and many mystics and ascetics seem to have enjoyed ecstatic visions that answer the requirements of the ancient Mysteries and that duplicate the mushroom agape of Mexico. I do not suggest that St. John of Patmos ate mushrooms in order to write the Book of Revelation. Yet the succession of images in his Vision, so clearly seen but such a phantasmagoria, means for me that he was in the same state as one bemushroomed. (R. Gordon Wasson, page 18)


In July 1975 I was visiting my friend Gordon Wasson in his home in Danbury when he suddenly asked me this question: whether Early Man in ancient Greece could have hit on a method to isolate an hallucinogen from ergot that would have given him an experience comparable to LSD or psilocybin. (Albert Hofmann page 25)


In conclusion I now answer Wasson's question. The answer is yes, Early Man in ancient Greece could have arrived at an hallucinogen from ergot. He might have done this from ergot growing on wheat or barley. An easier way would have been to use the ergot growing on the common wild grass Paspalum. This is based on the assumption that herbalists of ancient Greece were as intelligent and resourceful as the herbalists of pre-Columbian Mexico. (Albert Hofmann, page 34)



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