Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda: Patriarchy and the Drug War

Overview

"Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda" is a popularly written college-level introduction to ancient history and the Greek classics. The text is fully annotated and illuminated by 200 genuine pharmaco-shamanic images from the ancient world. Since it is popularly written, and very heavily illustrated with the remarkable, overtly pharmaco-shamanic art of the ancient world, it reads like a movie. But a movie with profound psychological and political relevance for the contemporary world, since it uses the words and pictures of our ancestors to address
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Overview

"Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda" is a popularly written college-level introduction to ancient history and the Greek classics. The text is fully annotated and illuminated by 200 genuine pharmaco-shamanic images from the ancient world. Since it is popularly written, and very heavily illustrated with the remarkable, overtly pharmaco-shamanic art of the ancient world, it reads like a movie. But a movie with profound psychological and political relevance for the contemporary world, since it uses the words and pictures of our ancestors to address contemporary issues. In this sense, it compares to "The Chalice and the Blade" and "Food of the Gods," two recent bestsellers of similar intent. As such, the book is a unique tool for exciting undergraduates about the contemporary relevance of ancient history and the Greek classics.

This was the intent of Jane Ellen Harrison in her "Prolegomena" and "Epilegomena to the Study of Greek Religion." Harrison was the most influential classicist of the twentieth century, and, not coincidentally, the most influential feminist historian of the century as well. A major feature of "Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda," in 4 of its 17 chapters, is its summary of Harrison's seminal thesis, in her own words. Harrison was concerned with the historical and psychological transition from the originary matriarchal conscious of tribal culture to the warrior-oriented patriarchal consciousness of industrial culture. She understood this transition to be central to the process of industrial enslavement. That enslavement necessarily demonized the power-rites, the rites de passage, as she called them, of tribal cultures. That is, Harrison pointed to the tribal, the matriarchal pre-industrial roots of Classical, patriarchal-industrial, Greek culture. She was, therefore, concerned with originary, tribal, Greek sacramentalism. Herbal magic, real pharmaco-shamanism, is at the core of all matriarchal cultures.

The Goddess does not separate from her herbal magic, from her invention of medicine. The central sacrament of all Paleolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures known is an inebriative herb, a plant totem, which became metaphoric of the communal epiphany. These herbs, herbal concoctions and herbal metaphors are at the heart of all mythologies. They include such familiar images as the Burning Bush, the Tree of Life, the Cross, the Golden Bough, the Forbidden Fruit, the Blood of Christ, the Blood of Dionysos, the Holy Grail (or rather its contents), the Chalice (Kalyx:'flower cup'), the Golden Flower (Chrysanthemon), Ambrosia (Ambrotos:'immortal'), Nectar (Nektar:'overcomes death'), the Sacred Lotus, the Golden Apples, the Mystic Mandrake, the Mystic Rose, the Divine Mushroom (teonanacatl), the Divine Water Lily, Soma, Ayahuasca ('Vine of the Soul'), Kava, Iboga, Mama Coca and Peyote Woman. They are the archetypal - the emotionally, the instantaneously understood - symbols at the center of the drug propaganda. A sexually attractive man or woman is an archetypal image, the basis of most advertising. A loaf of bread is an archetypal image. The emotional impact of the sacramental herbal images, or, rather, the historical confusion of their natural function, is central to the successful manipulation of mass emotion and individual self-image.

That is, contemporary politics has an unconscious, an evolutionary element, that involves the industrial manipulation of instinct. That manipulation can only be understood by contemplating what elements of our evolutionary inheritance contemporary inquisitors want forgotten.

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Editorial Reviews

Richard Evans Schultes
"A magnificent production. I find it not only brilliant, but beautifully organized and, of course, something that needs to be. It is a tremendous work and, by nature, a tremendous volume." --Professor Richard Evans Schultes, Director Emeritus, Botanical Museum of Harvard University
Jeannine Parvati
"I had to write in appreciation of the invaluable contribution youÆve made to realizing the possible human. Immediately, I was impressed with the multi-perspectives through which you see the classics. I find your book a major ally in delivering truth today." --Jeannine Parvati, author of Hygieia: A WomanÆs Herbal
Pedro Luz
"Dan Russell's book, "Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda" starts with questions of basic importance to ethnobotany. Anyone working in this discipline is aware of the profond and ancient relationship between man and plant. Not only in tribal societies, but even in our own industrial society plants still have enormous cultural impact. Ethnobotany has demonstrated the worldwide importance of plants not only in material culture - as the raw material for tools, goods, medicines and foods - but especially as powerful symbols in all the world's folk cosmologies."
"Most of the plants which have acquired the status of sacred or divine symbols are psychoative plants, i.e. plants which contain active substances closely related to our own neurotransmitters. In fact it is hard to find a pre-industrial society which hasn't made a sacrament of a psychoative plant. Using studies such as my own among the Maku in the northwest Amazon, ethnobotany can demonstrate the relationship between psychoactive plants and the tribal roots of human religion."
"But if the psychoative plants are so deeply rooted in our evolved sense of the sacred, why are they so viciously banned in contemporary industrial cultures? Dan Russell's book answers this question. This important volume show clearly and easily how the cultural evolution of the occident has created the present situation. Starting in the 'golden age' when humankind had free access to the "mysterium tremendum," Russell shows with competence how little by little the state and the church have coopted and banned direct access to traditional sacred states."
"Shamanism and the Drug Propaganda" traces the cultural evolution of our species from shamanism to the mass media religions. It is an important book, very well written, a must for anyone interested in psychoative plants and in the cultural evolution of humankind. It is also a very pleasing volume to read, the kind of book that will keep you holding your breath until the end. I strongly recommend this heavily illustrated, original, yet rigorously empirical historical vision." --Anthropologist and Ethnobotanist Pedro Fernandes Leite da Luz, M.A
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780965025317
  • Publisher: Kalyx.com
  • Publication date: 11/1/1998
  • Edition description: ANNOTATED
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

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