Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments:
An Entheogen Chrestomathy
Thomas B. Roberts, Ph.D. and Paula Jo Hruby, Ed.D.
Author Index | Title Index
The Road to Eleusis: Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries.
Wasson, R. Gordon; Hofmann, Albert; Ruck, Carl A.P. (1978).
New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
ISBN: 0-15-177872-8 hardcover
Description: First edition
hardcover, 126 + i (colophon) pages. A Helen and Kurt Wolff
Book, Ethno-mycological Studies No. 4 of the Botanical Museum
of Harvard University. Paperback is a Harvest/BJ Book.
Contents: List of illustrations,
foreword, 6 chapters. Chapter 5 is a new translation of "The Hymn to Demeter" by Danny
Staples. Chapter 6, pages 75-126, consists of documentation for the thesis
of this book.
Excerpt(s): The Road
to Eleusis grew out of a three-way collaboration of scholar-scientists
sparked by R. Gordon Wasson's insight into the true nature of
an ancient religious ritual, the Eleusinian Mysteries. These secret
rites of ancient Greece have remained a puzzle for four thousand
years and still intrigue the world. In collaboration with a world-renowned
chemist, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck, a classical scholar
specializing in the ethnobotany of ancient Greece, R. Gordon Wasson
gives solid foundation to what he deduced as the solution of the
Mysteries. (dust jacket)
...Clearly some poets and prophets and many mystics
and ascetics seem to have enjoyed ecstatic visions that answer
the requirements of the ancient Mysteries and that duplicate the
mushroom agape of Mexico. I do not suggest that St. John
of Patmos ate mushrooms in order to write the Book
of Revelation. Yet the succession of images in his Vision, so
clearly seen but such a phantasmagoria, means for me that he was
in the same state as one bemushroomed. (R. Gordon Wasson, page
In July 1975 I was visiting my friend Gordon Wasson
in his home in Danbury when he suddenly asked me
this question: whether Early Man in ancient Greece could have
hit on a method to isolate an hallucinogen from ergot that would
have given him an experience comparable to LSD or psilocybin.
(Albert Hofmann page 25)
In conclusion I now answer Wasson's question. The
answer is yes, Early Man in ancient Greece could have arrived
at an hallucinogen from ergot. He might have done this from ergot
growing on wheat or barley. An easier way would have been to use
the ergot growing on the common wild grass Paspalum. This is based
on the assumption that herbalists of ancient Greece were as intelligent
and resourceful as the herbalists of pre-Columbian Mexico. (Albert
Hofmann, page 34)
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