By Daniel Pinchbeck
A amazing paintings of non-public travelogue and cultural feedback that levels from the primitive to the postmodern in a quest for the promise and that means of the psychedelic experience.
While psychedelics of every kind are demonized in the United States this day, the visionary compounds present in crops are the religious sacraments of tribal cultures world wide. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the Mazatecs of Mexico, those crops are sacred simply because they wake up the brain to different degrees of awareness--to a holographic imaginative and prescient of the universe.
Breaking Open the Head is a passionate, multilayered, and occasionally rashly own inquiry into this deep department. On one point, Daniel Pinchbeck tells the tale of the encounters among the trendy awareness of the West and those sacramental ingredients, together with such thinkers as Allen Ginsberg, Antonin Artaud, Walter Benjamin, and Terence McKenna, and a brand new underground of present-day ethnobotanists, chemists, psychonauts, and philosophers. it's also a scrupulous recording of the author's wide-ranging research with those outlaw compounds, together with a thirty-hour tribal initiation in West Africa; an all-night come across with the grasp shamans of the South American rain wooded area; and a document from a psychedelic utopia within the Black Rock barren region that's the Burning guy Festival.
Breaking Open the Head is fearless participatory journalism at its most sensible, a bright account of psychic and highbrow reports that opened doorways within the wall of Western rationalism and accomplished Daniel Pinchbeck's own transformation from a jaded new york journalist to shamanic start up and thankful citizen of the cosmos.
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Additional info for Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism
Literal music, music flying along under the fingers, the same music I had listened to earlier this afternoon, only radically changed. I was at last hearing, picking out pattern with my ears, knowing what sound meant, without translation: that tune—four notes by four—Dr. Ressler's life theme, the pattern-matching analog he had always been after. That syncopated dance back to the Reference Desk—elaborate, contrary motion—called on me to make a deliberate, irrevocable sashay. Music, his music, melodic balls tossed freely back and forth between the hands, begged me to discover how wide an arpeggio might emerge from single notes.
He remained a geneticist despite everything, partial to the purposive pattern, the generative thread. But his four-phrased, simple explanation was as unrecoverable from my breakfast table as that New Hampshire weekend, the whole aborted year. Fragment, endorphin-induced, absolutely commonplace: easier to count the nights when I don't dream of those two than when I do. Still, this one torched my morning. I filled with the urge to make the call, but had no number. I came within a dot of dashing off the telegram composed since last spring, but knew no sending address.
But everything had. I worked like the worst of bush-leaguers. It took me twenty minutes to identify, for a polite woman not a day less than ninety, the river that had a funny name beginning with a vowel and probably lying in Africa or India. She and my atlas at last compromised on the Irrawaddy. I did almost as poorly naming the one-armed pro baseball player from the forties who puts in an appearance every five years and should have been child's play. By four, badly in need of a break despite less than an hour's work, already suspecting the break I needed, I attended to the Quote Board.