The Past & Present of Psychedelic Spirituality
Moving Beyond the 'Master Narrative' of Psychedelics in America, with Dr. J. Christian Greer
Welcome back to Psychedelic Wisdom – a Mind Body Health & Politics production. This publication features insights gleaned from thousands of psychedelic experiences of healing, creativity, connection, and consciousness expansion. I invite you to become a monthly subscriber or, if your budget allows it, a founding member.
As a member of our tribe, your financial support will help sustain my team as we continue to provide bold, unabashed interviews on topics that require careful handling. This week I have the privilege of bringing to you an academic researcher – Dr. J. Christian Greer – a scholar of religious studies, specializing in the global history of psychedelic spirituality.
Several of Christian’s findings threaten to overturn a number of sacred cows in both academia and organized religion, but his diligent scholarly approach has led him to his current lecturing position at Stanford in the American studies department, where he can freely explore his controversial thesis regarding the prominence of psychedelics in modern American spirituality.
We discuss this thesis with reference to bands like the Grateful Dead, charismatic figures like Timothy Leary, and authors like Aldous Huxley, along with the ancient history of psychedelics and the handful historians who have been brave enough to study it. Christian asks me whether I think the current renaissance in psychedelic research taking place is a sign of greater things to come, or represents a brief island of sanity before resumption of the long Dark Age I’ve lived under for more than 50 years.
You can listen to the entire interview free of charge, or read the transcript for subscribers only below:
Stay tuned in, and thank you for listening and/or reading.
Wishing you Golden Light,
Dr. Richard Louis Miller
Angel-Headed Hipsters: Psychedelic Militancy in Nineteen-Eighties North America by Dr. J. Christian Greer (Oxford University Press)
Persephone's Quest: Entheogens and the Origins of Religion by Wasson, R. Gordon, Kramrisch, Stella, Ruck, Carl, Ott, Jonathan
Academic Suicide by Wouter J. Hannegraff
Dr. Richard L. Miller: Welcome to Mind, Body, Health & Politics. I'm your host, Dr. Richard Louis Miller. The mission of Mind, Body, Health & Politics is to enhance physical and mental well-being and encourage community. And when I say community, I am saying because I believe that human beings are friendly tribal animals that like to hang out together, cooperate together, and collaborate together. And they can do so best when they associate in relatively small groups, where they know each other by name, or at least by face. However, it's important to know that there's also a very small percentage, less than 5%. But it's a small, powerful percentage of humans who are predators. They're not cooperative collaborators. They're motivated by power, greed, and avarice. And we must be vigilant about those folks in order to preserve in the words of Thomas Jefferson, ‘Our Liberty.’
“That We Must Be Eternally Vigilant to Take Care of Our Liberty.” Our guest today on Mind, Body, Health & Politics is Dr. Christian Greer. While a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Divinity School, he led a series of research seminars that culminated in the creation of the Harvard Psychedelic Walking Tour – a free audio guide, detailing how the Harvard community has shaped the modern history of psychedelic culture.
His forthcoming book, Angel-Headed Hipsters: Psychedelic Militancy in Nineteen-Eighties North America (Oxford University Press), explores the expansion of psychedelic culture in the late Cold War era. He is currently a lecturer at Stanford University. Welcome Christian.
Dr. J. Christian Greer: Thanks so much for the introduction.
The history of psychedelic culture
Dr. Richard L. Miller: Christian, a lot of your work, as I understand it, is informing us that understanding the history of psychedelic culture is extremely important. Take us on a journey of both why you believe this, and from whence it comes?
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