The Doors of Perception

1793

The two works have since often been published together as one book; the title of both comes from William Blake's 1793 book The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. The Doors of Perception provoked strong reactions for its evaluation of psychedelic drugs as facilitators of mystical insight with great potential benefits for science, art, and religion.

1890

Although personal accounts of taking the cactus had been written by psychologists such as Weir Mitchell in the US and Havelock Ellis in the UK during the 1890s, the German-American Heinrich Kluver was the first to systematically study its psychological effects in a small book called Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucinations published in 1928.

1897

A German pharmacologist, Arthur Heffter, isolated the alkaloids in the peyote cactus in 1897.

1919

In 1919, Ernst Sp├Ąth, another German chemist, synthesised the drug.

1928

Although personal accounts of taking the cactus had been written by psychologists such as Weir Mitchell in the US and Havelock Ellis in the UK during the 1890s, the German-American Heinrich Kluver was the first to systematically study its psychological effects in a small book called Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucinations published in 1928.

1930

The book stated that the drug could be used to research the unconscious mind. In the 1930s, an American anthropologist Weston La Barre, published The Peyote Cult, the first study of the ritual use of peyote as an entheogen drug amongst the Huichol people of western Mexico.

Most psychiatric research projects into the drug in the 1930s and early 1940s tended to look at the role of the drug in mimicking psychosis.

In the late 1930s he had become interested in the spiritual teaching of Vedanta and in 1945 he published The Perennial Philosophy, which set out a philosophy that he believed was found amongst mystics of all religions.

1936

In 1936 he told TS Eliot that he was starting to meditate, and he used other therapies too; the Alexander Technique and the Bates Method of seeing had particular importance in guiding him through personal crises.

1937

He had known for some time of visionary experience achieved by taking drugs in certain religions. === Research by Humphry Osmond === Huxley had first heard of peyote use in ceremonies of the Native American Church in New Mexico, soon after coming to the United States in 1937.

1940

Most psychiatric research projects into the drug in the 1930s and early 1940s tended to look at the role of the drug in mimicking psychosis.

Mescaline also played a paramount part in influencing the beat generation of poets and writers of the later 1940s to the early 1960s.

1945

In the late 1930s he had become interested in the spiritual teaching of Vedanta and in 1945 he published The Perennial Philosophy, which set out a philosophy that he believed was found amongst mystics of all religions.

1947

In 1947 however, the US Navy undertook Project Chatter, which examined the potential for the drug as a truth revealing agent.

1950

In the early 1950s, when Huxley wrote his book, mescaline was still regarded as a research chemical rather than a drug and was listed in the Parke-Davis catalogue with no controls.

1952

He first became aware of the cactus's active ingredient, mescaline, after reading an academic paper written by Humphry Osmond, a British psychiatrist working at Weyburn Mental Hospital, Saskatchewan, in early 1952.

1953

Published in 1954, it elaborates on his psychedelic experience under the influence of mescaline in May 1953.

1954

Published in 1954, it elaborates on his psychedelic experience under the influence of mescaline in May 1953.

1956

In 1956, he published Heaven and Hell, another essay which elaborates these reflections further.

1960

Mescaline also played a paramount part in influencing the beat generation of poets and writers of the later 1940s to the early 1960s.

1962

Huxley himself continued to take psychedelics until his death and adjusted his understanding, which also impacted his 1962 final novel Island. == Background == === Mescaline (peyote and San Pedro cactus) === Mescaline is the principal active psychedelic agent of the peyote and San Pedro cacti, which have been used in Native American religious ceremonies for thousands of years.




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