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Breaking Open The Head

A Psychedelic Journey to the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism
Paperback Book
Publisher: 
Broadway
 | 
August, 2003
ISBN:
9780767907439
Quantity: 
1
$22.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

While psychedelics are demonized in North America today, the truth remains that the visionary compounds found in plants are the spiritual sacraments of tribal cultures around the world. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the ayahuasca of the Secoya in Ecuador, to the magic mushrooms of the Mazatecs of Mexico, these plant extracts are sacred because they awaken our being to other levels of awareness—to a holographic vision of the universe that gives humans a broader and richer context in which to live our lives.

Breaking Open the Head is a passionate, multilayered, and sometimes rashly personal inquiry into this deep division. On one level, Pinchbeck tells the story of the encounters between the modern consciousness of the West and these sacramental substances, including such thinkers as Allen Ginsberg, Antonin Artaud, Walter Benjamin, and Terence McKenna (among many others), and a new underground of present-day ethnobotanists, chemists, psychonauts, and philosophers. He writes with a sparkly intelligence and contagious curiosity, while summarizing the pivotal events and characters of humanity’s discoveries with psychedelics.

Sharing considerable good sense along the way, he describes his wide-ranging investigation, including a 30-hour tribal initiation in
West Africa; an all-night ayahuasca session in the Amazon rain-forest; a report from the psychedelic oasis in the
BlackRockDesert that is the Burning Man Festival; and a number of his own ally-assisted trips.

I believe that psychedelic drugs, used carefully, are profound tools for self-exploration. The forbidden substances can be a precision technology for revealing the interstitial processes of thinking, the flickering candle sputters of emotion, the fine-tuned machinery of sense perceptions. The unfolding of the self through an increase in perception, cognition, and feeling is one level of the trip. On low doses, that is all you get, and often it is enough.

Breaking Open the Head is brave participatory journalism, a vivid account of Daniel Pinchbeck’s personal transfor-mation from jaded
Manhattan
journalist to shamanic initiate and grateful citizen of the cosmos.

 

 

Publisher’s Description: 

A dazzling work of personal travelogue and cultural criticism that ranges from the primitive to the postmodern in a quest for the promise and meaning of the psychedelic experience.While psychedelics of all sorts are demonized in America today, the visionary compounds found in plants are the spiritual sacraments of tribal cultures around the world. From the iboga of the Bwiti in Gabon, to the Mazatecs of Mexico, these plants are sacred because they awaken the mind to other levels of awareness--to a holographic vision of the universe.

Breaking Open the Head is a passionate, multilayered, and sometimes rashly personal inquiry into this deep division. On one level, Daniel Pinchbeck tells the story of the encounters between the modern consciousness of the West and these sacramental substances, including such thinkers as Allen Ginsberg, Antonin Artaud, Walter Benjamin, and Terence McKenna, and a new underground of present-day ethnobotanists, chemists, psychonauts, and philosophers. It is also a scrupulous recording of the author's wide-ranging investigation with these outlaw compounds, including a thirty-hour tribal initiation in West Africa; an all-night encounter with the master shamans of the South American rain forest; and a report from a psychedelic utopia in the Black Rock Desert that is the Burning Man Festival.

Breaking Open the Head is brave participatory journalism at its best, a vivid account of psychic and intellectual experiences that opened doors in the wall of Western rationalism and completed Daniel Pinchbeck's personal transformation from a jaded Manhattan journalist to shamanic initiate and grateful citizen of the cosmos.


From the Hardcover edition.

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