Back to Why This Work?
Original letter PDF

Alexander and Ann Shulgin
Lafayette, California
28 February 2007

Dear Friends (Old and New) of the Council on Spiritual Practices,

I assume you've heard about CSP's spectacular triumph (that's the way I feel about it) — the study at Johns Hopkins, published last July, reporting the psychological and spiritual effects of psilocybin in healthy volunteers, and the surprisingly good press it received around the world.

I remember the day in 1993, down at Esalen, when I first met Bob Jesse and heard him tell me how — and why — he planned to leave Oracle and put his heart and mind to work to accomplish pretty much what he actually accomplished. I believed then, and have believed ever since, that Bob and the group he assembled, CSP, would succeed where everybody else involved in this effort might very well fail or, at least, lose heart and hope.

What makes CSP's focus stand out is that it's not about Western physicians getting to use FDA-approved drugs to treat Western illnesses. I believed then, and still believe, that visionary plants and chemical compounds are spiritual tools whose highest and best use is in opening one's psyche and increasing insight, and that they always have been and always will be treasured most deeply by people who are compelled to look spiritual reality in the face, to learn what the human Shadow is, and how to communicate with it and transform it. That's where CSP has broken new ground.

It all comes down to my belief in Bob Jesse, the person, whom I love dearly and very, very much respect. Over the years, he has made friends of potential foes. Bob has the integrity that comes from what the Quakers call simplicity: unlike most of us, he seems not even tempted to speak other than the truth. How else could he have convinced one of Bill Bennett's deputies to write a paper in support of entheogen research?

Bob has kept CSP alive and working (usually out of the limelight), slowly but surely making changes in the perceptions of intelligent people in the scientific, religious, and legal communities — changes in what has long been conventional wisdom regarding substances that can open the human psyche to the beginnings of enlightenment.

As if one stunning result in 2006 were not enough, I'm sure you've also heard about the unanimous Supreme Court decision in favor of an ayahuasca-using church. CSP helped with that case from its early days and, in time, submitted a brief to the Supreme Court. The Court's opinion affirmed reasoning that CSP set out in public testimony a decade ago. You can find links to those materials at www.csp.org/about

My husband Sasha and I extend our deepest thanks to everyone who has helped Bob and his colleagues accomplish so much! Your support of CSP has been transformed into real results which stand to benefit everyone (healthy people, not only those under medical care). We are asking friends, old and new, to consider giving whatever you can for the work ahead. Please help them keep this beautiful ship sailing, as there's a great deal yet to be done.

Blessings,

/s/ Ann /s/ Sasha

Ann (and Sasha) Shulgin

Original letter PDF
More notable reflections: Why This Work?