Introduction

(Skip over my long-winded diatribe)

This bibliography is a representation of independent research conducted primarily from 1985-1993, with subsequent updates added as required. It is my hope that it will be of some use in its present form for interested lay persons, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical, social service and related professionals, yet I must stress that this bibliography was originally created essentially for personal reference purposes and it should by no means be considered to be a complete listing of all the available literature on the subject of psychedelic drugs. While a great majority of the relevant works in this field have been reviewed (which might only be termed within this generalized context as "Psychedelic Studies"), there have still been some of exceptional quality which were missed out on either for the reasons of scarcity and obscurity of much that has been published in this area (particularly with regard to earlier volumes on psychotherapeutic applications) or, alternatively, simply because I never had the opportunity to peruse them.

This research began initially out of an avid interest since childhood in more general drug use and abuse issues, in drug culture from a socio-anthropological and historical perspective, and ultimately (and in all honesty) from an intense curiosity as to the psychological, philosophical and spiritual meaning of several experiences I had with a variety of these substances in more youthful, adventuresome moments. As such, this research followed, essentially, a natural progression from reviewing the area of adverse reactions and long-term effects of these drugs, on through nostalgic exploration into the subcultures of the Sixties and the works of Leary and the like, to the covert experiments of the United States Government and Department of the Army, the influence of psychedelics on music, art and culture in general, studies on their effects on creativity, religious experience and other areas of consciousness research, with the final, long term and central focus having been in understanding and appreciating their extensive history and use as adjuncts in both traditional Native and contemporary Western approaches to psychological and spiritual healing. While this latter has been greatly supplemented by years of personal interest and study in the fields of transpersonal psychology and other approaches to depth psychotherapy, as well as comparative religion, mythology and related disciplines of spiritual growth (with particular emphasis on Native American and Eastern studies), the focus of this bibliography remains on the topic of psychedelics not only for the sake of brevity and conciseness, but moreso as a simple personal record of my own research in this area -- for this is how, indeed, it all began.

When I first endeavoured to keep a list of what I had read on the topic of psychedelics, my goal was to some day conduct an independent study/research paper on the subject as part of my university education in the area of Native Studies. Over time, however, it became evident that this was not to be, partly due to the complete lack of enthusiasm on the part of any of the psychology professors that I spoke to regarding the matter (the vast majority of whom found it either completely disdainful a pursuit or merely sympathetically humourous in a Sixties-retro kind-of-way) and partly because, as one writer put it somewhere, "When you get the message, you hang up the phone". This is not to say that I have lost my own enthusiasm in support of the serious investigation of psychedelics, but merely that I did, in the long run, find the answers to the vast majority of questions which I had concerning and surrounding them. One might easily spend one's entire life immersed in the endless stream of psychedelic literature, and I certainly still do support those who choose to do so, but, for the moment in my life at least, I have other, perhaps more alternative pursuits to attend to. However, I might easily say that the study of this vast, quite nearly all-encompassing subject has certainly been one of the most fruitful and rewarding parts of my education, insofar as the human and endless pursuit of knowledge and wisdom, not to mention personal growth and healing, are concerned. This latter I can and do whole-heartedly say, for there is very little in the literature on psychedelics which is truly specifically about the substances themselves, with the bulk of it all being much more concerned with the human mind, consciousness in general, and the nature of the human experience as a whole.

The basic structure and contents of the bibliography is as follows: only works read by myself with specific and significant correlation to the overall understanding of these drugs and their effects on individuals, society and culture have been listed here. For example, I have included books such as The Hippies, etc., in the section on sociological and historical perspectives for their respective significance to events related (however directly or indirectly) to psychedelics, but not (with great regret) Stanislav Grof's later works on spiritual emergence and transpersonal studies, since in and of themselves these latter make no immediate reference to the topic at hand, as truly invaluable as they are as supplemental, and very highly recommended, readings. I have also included a small number of relevant works on cannabis use, as it is what might be considered a mild psychedelic used by traditional peoples for sacred, medicinal or other non-recreational purposes, and tobacco use as an adjuvant to psychedelic drug use (and a sacred medicine in itself) among Native peoples of the Americas. For those who may find their curiosity piqued by the list provided here, I would recommend that the selection given in this very minor bibliography on the subject be seen merely as a basis or launching ground for further, more specialized study in each individual's own particular area of interest. This is, most emphatically, nothing more than a simple résumé of my own research in the field.

Finally, on a more technical note, anthologies have been listed in and of themselves (in addition to separate listings of the articles reviewed and contained therein) only if they were read, in essence, "cover-to-cover", and are marked with an asterisk for reference as such. Works read which dealt with drugs exclusive to psychedelics have not been included here, however, general books with significant chapters on these compounds have been if, once more, they were reviewed in their entirety. All complete book and monograph titles (as opposed to article or chapter citations) have been printed in bold for quick and easy scanning of this bibliography.

And now, in the hopes that this web site will help in some small way to alleviate the great amount of misinformation and unwarranted prejudice against a class of substances which have long helped humanity, indeed for many thousands of years prior to our present, "enlightened" age, I close with a small but very timely and appropriate quote from the late, though nevertheless eternally inimitable, Dr. Timothy Leary...

Just say "know"

Ron Koster
Ottawa