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Paperback High Priest Book

ISBN: 0914171801

ISBN13: 9780914171805

High Priest

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Book Overview

Back in print after 20 years, this text from the earliest days of psychedelia chronicles the experiences on 16 acid trips taken before LSD was illegal. The trip guides or "high priests" included Aldous Huxley, Ram Dass, Ralph Meltzner, Huston Smith and a junkie from New York City named Willy. It tells of the goings-on and freaking out at the Millbrook mansion in New York State that became the Mecca of psychedelia during the 1960s, and of the many...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

The Important Thing is the Trip

I never met Dr. Leary. We corresponded by mail, I talked with him once via phone during the time he was petitioning for asylum in Switzerland, and I subsequently calligraphed and co-edited the Terra II manuscript for him. This latter bit of collaboration got my mug and a write-up about my work for Dr. Leary on the front page of the daily newspaper here--sort of a "local boy does strange" story. I saw him from a bus window during assembly for one of the mammoth marches against the war in Vietnam, in DC (1970). That's the extent of my contact and involvement with the man. Living as we do during the insanity of "the war on drugs," "the war on terrorism," and the rise of the commercial-political police state in our country, this book seems a long-ago, far-off relic of an age that has little if anything to do with ours. There is nothing groovy about the liars, murderers, and criminal minds who today run Camp America. So, why bother at all with this book? For one thing, it is evidence of hope--that a hopeful life is possible with eyes, mind, and heart all open to the possibility that something new can enter our lives. It is a chronicle that directly addresses the question of despair, as Tim describes approaching his own breaking point and his subsequent epiphany. It is not a journal of pretense such as one finds in typical media accounts of Leary's journey, but of encounter and reflection upon what is "high"--true, meaningful, and worthy of furthering through the medium of one's own life. In sum, this book is for the voyager and explorer, those who are not entirely shackled by convention and fear. It is a chronicle of transformation and an opening upon the living questions that form the basis of our existence.

Escaping the Mind's Prison Into Neurological Ecstasy

I'm sad to finish this book, as I have walked with Leary with his first mushroom encounter in Mexico, walked with his colleges and friends, from Dick Albert (Ram Dass), Robert Metzner, Huston Smith, Aldous Huxley, Walter Clark, Walter Puhnke, Michael Hollingshead, Alan Watts, Allen Ginsberg - I love Ginsberg - , Gordon Wasson, Frank Barrons and even William Burroughs. From his Millbrook estate to his Harvard studies, prison studies, first LSD trip, to his religious experiential studies and the amazing internal transformations that for myself are greatly superior to static intellectualism. And yet using such intellectual insights coupled with subjective encounters - in allusive non-categorical observance - brings forth the dynamics of Leary's story. There is far too much information to relate here, the book is enlightening. All together 16 trips or stories along with various quotes from magazine articles, short thoughts, to excerpts from other books from Ginsberg, Hollingshead, Wasson, Walter Houston Clark, Huxley and others make this book not only informative, but really do capture what is intended to be conveyed - the mystical- religious - subjective - internal - experiential - magical/irrational experience of psychedelics and most importantly, their beneficial use in social, psychological, ontological, neurological, rehabilitative, and spiritual uses. There is no doubt in my mind as to the benefits of psychedelics for the human race. "Everyone who isn't tripping himself because he's too scared or tired is going to resent our doing it. Sex, drugs, fun, travel, dancing, loafing. You name it. Anything that's pleasurable is going to bring down the wrath of the power-control people. Because the essence of ecstasy and the essence of religion and the essence of orgasm (and they're all pretty much the same) is that you give up power and swing with it. And the cats who can't do that end up with the power and they use it to punish the innocent and the happy. And they'll try to make us look bad and feel bad." P. 79 This quote (and others) reminds me of Ray Manzarek's story in his book, Light My Fire, of visiting a Las Vegas style rat pack record executive who literally flipped out after hearing a tape of The Doors, hearing that they were psychedelic orientated music. The power people can never accept surrender and vulnerability that comes with the internal search as opposed to the external control. "The threshold of adult game life is the ancient and natural time for the rebirth experience, the flip-out trip from which you come back as a man. A healthy society provides and protects the sacredness of the teen-age psychedelic voyage. A sick, society fears and forbids the revelation." p. 133 Trip 1 is Leary's non-chemical death and rebirth of a physical sickness. Trip 2 is the story of Leary's discover of the mushroom in Mexico with some substantial quotes from Gordon Wasson on mushrooms. Trip 3 has Dick Albert, Jack and Timothy Leary flying i

Dr. Tim Leary's Wisdom

The ideal audience for this book really has a large range; it is ideal for anyone wanting to experience a "trip" from a hallucinogenic drug without the actual drug. High Priest is an excellent piece of art, it is an encyclopedia of Leary's 16 most life changing "trips" when under various forms of hallucinogens. It is filled with strong imagery to support Leary's want to tell the world about the wonderful hallucinogenic "trip". His style is very unique in that especially in a series of short stories, he can in essence connect them, just as he does in his life with situations. He uses a very intense tone, and style becomes rapid as he submerges into a hallucinogenic state, almost as if you where there with him. Then as he's coming out of it his style loosens and becomes slower, and drowsy. Its almost as if there were two extremes one is cold and gray, and the other is vibrant and full of life. This book will definitely stir your interest about psychedelic drugs and the life behind it. Leary's intense flavor and swirling style can sometimes almost be frightening especially when he discusses his inner emotions about death, and his chilling way of expressing his views on the "life changing trips". I think this book is very educational depending on your view of education, and can teach people, things about other cultures that may not be their own, a counterculture if you will. I recommend High Priest to anyone with a thirst for knowledge and an open mind.

Entertaining, Insightful and Educational

A simultaneous explanation of why, and why not. The depiction of an appealing experience that within itself shows glimpses of why it may be best left wonderment. You can get so trapped in the micro while reading this book that it's easy to forget that these thought processes helped shape this country, and etched themselves in time to never be forgotten.Basically Dr Leary takes us through several "trips" in different settings, and with different participants and hallucinogens. If you're waivering on whether or not this book is for you, I would say the entertainment value alone is worth it. If the subjectmatter is of some interest to you, you'll love it.

Necessary reading for those interested in entheogens

High Priest is an excellent book on several levels. It is a history of the discovery of psychedelic drugs in the US in the 60's, and fulfills that role well, covering early experiments in Mexican mushrooms, on through the synthesis of LSD by Sandoz labs and the earliest use of the drug with convicts and others, in which Leary was principally involved.It is also a first class tale of the nature of the psychedelic experience, written from the rather naive perspective of the true believer, but still valuable especially for the non-participant, as it explains the lure of the drug experience. Leary abandoned his scientific detachment in the book, and attached spiritualistic notions to the drug state. But in doing so, he tells the story with much joy and excitement. Why do people do such things? Leary does a good job of being an illustration. Finally, it is a reasonably good tale of the nature of personal being, of being human and what that means. Leary confronts such questions as a result of his drug experiences, and his journey to a kind of understanding is nearly as compelling as the subject matter.All in all, a rewarding and thought provoking read, highly (humor) recommended.
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