"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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