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Psychedelic Shamanism: The Cultivation, Preparation & Shamanic Use of Psychoactive Plants
By Jim DeKorne
Part One - The Shamanic Hypothesis
Chapter One - Altered States
Chapter Two - Shamanic Dimensions
Chapter Three - The Experience of Many Worlds
Chapter Four - living In The One World
Chapter Five - The Entities of The Imaginal Realm — Part 1
Chapter Six - The Entities of The Imaginal Realm — Part 2
Part Two - Psychedelic Catalysts
Chapter Seven - The Belladonna Alkaloids
Chapter Eight - d-Lysergic Acid Amide: Morning-Glory Seeds, Stipa Robusta
Chapter Nine - Mescaline: Peyote And San Pedro
Chapter Ten - Ayahuasca and Its Analogues: Harmine And DMT
Chapter Eleven - Smokable DMT from Plants
Chapter Twelve - Psilocybin: "Magic Mushrooms"
Chapter Thirteen - The Minor Psychedelics
Chapter Fourteen - Extraction Procedures
Chapter Fifteen - Some Thoughts About Technique
Summary: ESSENTIAL Shamanist Reading
I only heard of this book when it was referenced in Daniel Pinchbeck's superb and equally enjoyable "Breaking Open The Head." It clearly was a major inspiration for Pinchbeck's book, and the two make a great set for anyone seriously interested in Shamanism. It's true as noted in another review that some of the author's data is outdated and inaccurate. A revised edition is clearly in order, particularly regarding salvia divinorum, which is indeed one of the most potent entheogens thus discovered. "Sally" is a fickle sacrament, however, and DeKorne can be forgiven; he may have had a dud experience as many do. Despite the fact that there are several good web resources (and some great ones) with information regarding this subject, PSYCHEDELIC SHAMANISM is truly a classic in the genre, written from the standpoint of an intelligent and sophisticated "old head." It is entertaining and informative, offering insights and advice which shed important light on a multitude of shamanistic practices. DeKorne has a cool sense of humor and natural storytelling ability which make for great reading. I would put this book and Pinchbeck's at the TOP of any shamanic reading list and would read them both, starting with this one.
Summary: Great resource for prospective shamans!
I love this book! Finally someone who has a complete grasp on the subject and understands the imaginal realms as they might exist. It is obvious from the reading that Dekorne has done his homework and reveals to the readers the potentiality of specific psychedelics and what entity or belief system you may be subject to once you crossover into 'hyperspace'. As a mushroom user myself, I have definitely experienced 'voices' and other ancient mystified arenas that were very unknown to my space/mind reality, and so it was refreshing to read about other experiences that were to similar to my own.
Aside from the catalyst and dosage information, I absolutely loved Jim's stories at the beginning! They were funny and interesting to read, and revealed Dekorne as a very thoughtful
human being. It was nice to get such a great personality up front, and then enjoy the information thereafter. I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in psychedelics!!! Dekorne will unravel some of the mystery of what you've been thinking about all along in your mind but never had a resource to really underline it for you.
Summary: A dated reference, read with caution
DeKorne's _Psychedelic Shamanism_ continues to be a Must Read for anyone who considers entheogens and psychedelics to be indispensable allies in their spiritual quest. I can, however, only give the book three stars at the present time. There are several reasons for this:
- His advice on extraction of DMT from familiar grasses is, he admits, flawed. Instead of extracting n,n-DMT, he extracted 5-meo-dmt. This is an enormously different psychoactive material with very different dosing guidelines and effects. Any search on the experience vault at erowid will demonstrate that 5-meo-dmt is a powerful and possibly dangerous (if dosed incorrectly) material and qualitatively vastly different from n,n-dmt. But the fact that he is extracting 5-meo-dmt instead of n,n-dmt is presented almost as a footnote. I really feel that whole chapter should be stricken.
- His remarks that Salvia Divinorum is a weak psychoactive omits all of Daniel Siebert's work on the subject. We now know that Salvia Divinorum is one of the most powerful and spiritually useful of the entheogenic allies. Any book on psychedelic shamanism that omits most of what we know about S.D. must at this time be considered quite dated.
The information in this book is so dated that about anything deKorne writes should be confirmed by Erowid and other sources first.
The lack of a detailed treatment of Set, Setting and Sitter is troubling in a book so many use as a working reference. Dosing guidelines are also not dealt with extensively. There is so much missing in this book.
Mr. deKorne's comments on entities and the imaginal realm are right on target. But observing that noetic space is populated, and that not all that we encounter is trustworthy, tells us very little about how to proceed in psychedelic space, and how to regard these entities and deal with these impressions. Psychonauts need better guidance at this point. Psychedelic Shamanism is a good, albeit dated, travelogue. That is a given. But we need much more than that at this point. We need methodology. We need true shamanic guidance.
A really great monograph on psychedelic methodology can be found on the Internet by searching on the phrase "Comments on the Psilocybin Mushroom." I can also recommend many of the books of Eckhart Tolle, Stanislav Grof, and the works of Ralph Metzner. Many of the ideas in Michael Harner's _Way of the Shaman_ can also be adapted to psychedelic work by the imaginative reader.
Unfortunately, there really is not any one good source of information on navigating the psychedelic realm. Start with deKorne, and use his bibliography to read the many other excellent books on the topic. Read everything you can at Erowid. At this point we all have to piece it together for ourselves. Trust nothing you read until you have confirmed it again, and again.
Summary: Brings It All Together
This book is a bona fide classic of psychedelic literature. It separates its subject into two parts: The Shamanic Hypothesis, and Psychedelic Catalysts. The first part focuses on experience; the second on the plants, their psychedelic chemicals, and how to grow and ingest them. The writing is calm, clear and vivid; and the various warnings and advice given should be taken very seriously indeed. I recommend anyone interested in the subject of psychedelics to seek this book out and buy it.
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Astrology: Rosicrucian Fellowship - Astrology Course, Donna Cuningham - Selected Topics in Chart Interpretation, Judith Bennett, Evangeline Adams - Astrology Your Place among the Stars
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Chaos Magic: Peter Carrol - Cthonos Rite, Phil Hine - Prime Chaos, David Michael Cunningham - Creating Magickal Entities: A Complete Guide to Entity Creation
Entheogens: Timothy Leary - The Delicious Grace Of Moving One's Hand, Mia Touw - The Religious and Medicinal Uses of Cannabis in China, India and Tibet, Terence McKenna - Alien Dreamtime, Philip H. Farber - Magick and Entheogens
Fourth Way: G.I. Gurdjieff - Beelzebubs Tales to His Grandson, P. D. Ouspensky - Psychology of Man's Possible Evolution, Keith Jarrett - Sacred Hymns of G.I. Gurdjieff
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Qabalah: Kabballah Denning & Phillips - Entrance to the Magical Qabalah, Lon Milo Duquette- Qabalah for the Rest of Us, William Gray - Ladder of Lights
Lucid Dreams / Astral Projection: Tony Crisp - Lucid Dreaming, S. Laberge - A Course in Lucid Dreaming, Robert Monroe - Techniques for Astral Projection, Robert Bruce - Astral Dynamics
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Wicca: Rose Ariadne - Mastering The Magick Of Witchcraft, Cassadnra Eason - A Practical Guide to Witchcraft and Magick Spells, Scott Cunningham - Wicca A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner
Yoga / Tantra: David Gordon White - Kiss of the Yogini, Swami Janakananda - Experience Yoga Nidra, David Coulter - Anatomy of Hatha Yoga