Studiorum Psychedelicorum

This bibliography is a representation of independent research conducted by myself primarily from 1985 until 1993. Although I had been interested in reading works on the subject of “drugs of abuse” ever since childhood — having grown up in those turbulent days of the 1960s, on through my own years of first experimentation with these substances during high school in the 1970s — it was while I was at university that I began my period of most intense study specifically on the subject of “the psychedelic experience.”

This research essentially followed a progression from initially reviewing the area of adverse reactions and long-term effects of these drugs; on through nostalgic exploration into the subcultures of the Sixties and the works of Timothy Leary and the like; to the covert experiments of the CIA, etc. during the 1950s (and beyond); the influence of psychedelics on music, art, society and culture in general; studies on their effects on creativity, religious experience and other areas of consciousness research; with the final, most long-term and central focus having been in understanding their extensive history and use as adjuncts in both traditional indigenous and contemporary psychiatric approaches to psychological and spiritual healing and growth.

This was well before the World Wide Web was around, of course, a time when “research and study” meant actual leg-work and considerable financial expense — physically going to public, university, medical, government, and other private organizational libraries; making photocopies from scholarly psychiatric journals from the past and other relevant sources; ordering books through book stores and sending off type-written letters in the mail to antiquarian book search companies in the quest to acquire the most obscure volumes for my own collection, etc.

When I first endeavoured to keep a list of what I was reading on the topic of psychedelics, my goal was to some day conduct an independent study on the subject as a continuation of my university education in the field of Native Studies. Over time, however, for a variety of reasons it became evident that this was not to be. The early 1990s would be, sadly, a period of great turmoil in my life, with many difficult and painful tragedies which invariably led me to pursue a new career path in the then-blossoming field of web design. At the urging of friends, who had long-observed me burying my nose in all these books for so many years, one of my first online creative pursuits was to publish my psychedelic bibilography.

I’m proud to say that this was the very first bibliography of any depth on this subject matter published on the World Wide Web, although there are various other bibliographies out there now which are far more extensive than my own. But it was fun while it lasted, and for a few years I did get a little recognition for my rather unique efforts, even if that uniqueness was only just fleeting. :-)

I look back on those years first years of such intense study now and sometimes think, wow, so much of this stuff is so readily avalable nowadays with just a simple online search and click of the mouse, but at the same time I’m profoundly grateful that I did all this research during that time before the World Wide Web came about. Many of these really very significant works are not available on the web, of course, never mind some of the more obscure journal articles from days of yore, and thus there’s so much that I might well have otherwise missed out on — if only out of pure laziness which the internet seems to be an invitation for — and so things actually couldn’t have worked out any better in that regard. I got that leg-work in, got that very good foundation of all the best-of-the-best of the decades of research that had come before, not to mention that there’s also just something very different about browsing through a shelf-full of books in a library, picking them out and holding them in your hands, and being able to see, with your own eyes, which volumes look impressive and worthwhile, and which are just trash, which are worthy of intense study, and which can be scooped up simply by skimming through them quickly.

It should also be noted that while I had so dutifully kept track of all my readings during that initial period of study, once the internet came into my life it just opened the floodgates for me. Within a few years, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychelic Studies launched its email forum (sadly now long-defunct), which for the next couple of decades was by far the primary source for information and discussion about the latest research being done into psychedelic drugs (in particular their therapeutic uses), and year after year new organizations and websites seemed to be popping up all over the place.

And now there is Facebook and other social media platforms, of course, and as each year goes by we find that more and more the mainstream media has been picking up on the astonishing benefits and potential of psychedelic therapies.

Thus, this bibliography is really more of a foundation for study and exploration of this extensive subject matter, and as such it is my hope that it will be of some use in its present form for interested lay persons, undergraduate and graduate students, as well as medical, social service and related professionals, yet I must stress one last time that this bibliography was originally created essentially for personal reference purposes and it should by no means be considered to be a complete listing of all the available literature on the subject of psychedelic drugs.

And now I close with a small but very apropos quote from the late, eternally inimitable Dr. Timothy Leary...

Just say “know.”

—   Ron Koster, Psymon


Technical Notes

The basic structure and contents of the bibliography is as follows: only works read by myself with specific and significant correlation to the overall understanding of these drugs and their effects on individuals, society and culture have been listed here. For example, I have included books such as The Hippies, etc., in the section on sociological and historical perspectives for their respective significance to events related (however directly or indirectly) to psychedelics, but not (with great regret) Stanislav Grof’s later works on spiritual emergence and transpersonal studies, since in and of themselves these latter make no immediate reference to the topic at hand, as truly invaluable as they are as supplemental, and very highly recommended, readings.

I have also included a small number of relevant works on cannabis use, as it is what might be considered a mild psychedelic used by traditional peoples for sacred, medicinal or other non-recreational purposes, and tobacco use as an adjuvant to psychedelic drug use (and a sacred medicine in itself) among Native peoples of the Americas.

Finally, anthologies have been listed in and of themselves (in addition to separate listings of the articles reviewed and contained therein) only if they were read, in essence, “cover-to-cover,” and are marked with an asterisk (*) for reference as such. Works read which dealt with drugs exclusive to psychedelics have not been included here, however, general books with significant chapters on these compounds have been if, once more, they were reviewed in their entirety. All complete book and monograph titles (as opposed to article or chapter citations) have been typeset in UPPERCASE for quick and easy perusal of the bibliography.

Et Cetera


Questions? Comments? Bug report?
Contact Psymon