The Psychedelic Experience
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|Author||Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover & Paperback)|
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead (commonly referred to as The Psychedelic Experience) is a book about using psychedelic drugs that was coauthored by Timothy Leary, Ralph Metzner and Richard Alpert, all of whom had previously taken part in research investigating the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs such as LSD, psilocybin and mescaline in addition to the ability of these substances to sometimes induce religious and mystical states of consciousness. Started as early as 1962 as part of the Zihuatanejo Project in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, the book was finally published in August 1964.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead is a Tibetan Buddhist text that was written as a guide for navigating the process of death, the bardo and rebirth. In The Psychedelic Experience the authors discuss the Tibetan Book of the Dead and use the process of death and rebirth presented in it as a metaphor for the experience of ego death or depersonalization that is commonly experienced under the influence of psychedelic drugs. Similar to how the intended function of the Tibetan Book of the Dead is to be used as a guide for death and rebirth, The Psychedelic Experience is meant to be used as a guide on how to properly handle experiences of ego death while undergoing the psychedelic experience.
The book discusses the various phases of ego death that can occur on psychedelics and gives specific instructions on how one should regard them and act during each of these different phases. In addition to containing more general advice for the readers on how to use psychedelics, the book also includes selections of writing presented with the intent for them to be read aloud during events where groups of people take psychedelic drugs together. The book is dedicated to Aldous Huxley and includes a short introductory citation from Huxley's book The Doors of Perception.
Part of this text was used by The Beatles in the song "Tomorrow Never Knows". A reading from the book was recorded by the authors on an LP under the name The Psychedelic Experience in 1966, and reissued on CD by Folkways in 2003.
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