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Visionary Activist - July 10, 2014 at 2:00pm

The Visionary Activist Show, for July 10, 2014 - 2:00pm

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Visionary Activist

Mushroom Medicine Mojo for Modernity - honoring the Eleusinian Mysteries, Visionary Actvist Show Today, July 10th 2 pm PDT On this Waxing Moon of ancient guiding knowledge brought to light, Caroline hosts Robert Forte, editor of the 1st paperback edition of "The Road To Eleusis," by R. Gordon Wasson! Albert Hofmann! and Carl Ruck! We invoke the necessary sacraments of Ceres-Demeter and Persephone, so needed now at this time of Dire Beauty, that Persephone may be re-born and bound onto the world stage.

Robert Forte:The Eleusinian Mysteries are considered by some to have been the greatest mystical-religious celebration of all time. For over 1500 years initiates would tread the sacred way from Athens to Eleusis to take part in this ritual celebration, once in their lives, to re-enact Persephone's abduction to the the underworld and rebirth into the arms of the her mother, Demeter, Goddess of the Earth. The ceremony likely involved the ingestion of a powerful entheogen derived from ergot, much like LSD. Initiates were forbidden to reveal what transpired within the walls of the sanctuary. So powerful and revered were these mysteries that for 1500 years only one person betrayed the secret. Caroline Casey and I will discuss this myth at 2:00 pm pdt on her Visionary Activist Show on


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This insane drivel is not for

This insane drivel is not for kpfa.

This stupid bs has no place

This stupid bs has no place on Kpfa.

A Correction: Due to a typo

A Correction:

Due to a typo (#7 instead of #4), difference in the number of pages between the old, hardcover 20th anniversary 1998 edition (at 148) pages and the new, paperback 30th anniversary 2008 edition (at 192) pages is not 47, but 44 pages.

In the meantime, I've had a chance to listen to the program again. It's clear to me that when Robert gave the number of pages to the book as "barely 100 pages" (and called it "just a little book") he was talking about the original R. Gordon Wasson, Carl A. Ruck, Albert Hofmann edition. I think Caroline, who corrected him with 170 pages, mis-heard and thought he was talking about the new, 30th anniversary edition. But, again, it's odd because neither the new 30th or the 20th anniversary subsequent editions are 170 pages (they are 192 and 148 pages respectively; 149, if you count the sentence from Hofmann's Afterword that carries over to the next page, which isn't numbered). Either it was a mistake on Caroline's part, or she had in front of her some other edition that I'm not aware of. But, if she heard him right, then that means she had a copy of the original (now out of print) edition in front of her. But, then this means that it's not "just little book" and "barely 100 pages" that Robert (now the editor) thought it was! And if this was not the case, one wonders why Robert didn't in turn correct Caroline's 170 pages.

In any case, if anyone can clear up this discrepancy, it would be much appreciated!

Terrific! This program,

Terrific! This program, “honoring and elevating the Eleusinian Mysteries,” has to be one—and there are many—of the truly amazing discussions the Visionary Activist has conducted on the issue of "entheogens" (a la guest author Robert Forte and Huston Smith—see *Entheogens and the Future of Religion*, 1997)! Especially in the context of the "democratic” Eleusinian Mysteries.

I'd venture to say that the insightful and provocative ideas that manifested in this hour probably evoked passionate interest in both sober scholar and stoned-out enthusiast of the use of psychedelic plants. (And I have always wished for, since the post-Sixties, a symbolic meeting and balance of the two; the scholars—especially “Classicists” and scholars of religion and mythology—needing to get more psychedelicized and the psychedelic counter-culture needing to get more scholarly—which it seems Robert Forte wonderfully and uniquely represents!) What a perfect guest!

I’m so in awe of the level of insight shared here concerning the relationship between psychedelic plants, or entheogens, not only to ancient mystery religion in particular but also to political ideas like “democracy” and human freedom in general—that my head is still spinning and I’m unable to raise some issues that the discussion evoked, but time prevented from further exploration.
(Such as Caroline Casey’s courageous questioning and dissent—vis-a-vis sacred, prescribed entheogen use vs. recreational, breaking-the-rules use of psychedelics—about governing authority and autonomous unmediated experience. For a moment, I thought Iconoclastic Caroline must be channeling the psychedelic equivalent to the anti-new-age “If-You-Meet-TheBuddha-On-The-Road-Kill-Him Buddhist School”! Call it the “If-You-Meet-Wasson-On-The-Road-Kill-Him School”!)

Instead, my only purpose here is to make a clarification on just a technical point about the book that was the center of the discussion.

If I remember correctly, Caroline Casey pointed out that Robert Forte’s book is not a reprint of the original 1978, *The Road To Eleusis: Unveiling The Secret of the Mysteries* by R. Gordon Wasson, Carl A. Ruck, Albert Hofmann edition; that Robert’s book is the 30th anniversary edition. So far so good!

But there was some confusion when Caroline and Robert differed as to exactly how many pages the book contained—Robert giving -100 and Caroline 170 pages. The big discrepancy caused me to suspect I might have misunderstood which edition of the book was being promoted and that maybe I should check my copy, as I have one of the limited and rare editions that came out costing $50 (which Caroline mentioned).

This hardback 1998, 20th Anniversary Edition edition, has 148 pages—matching neither of the amounts cited! I was now confused (as I tuned in late, and didn’t hear first 5 minutes or so), and it wasn’t until the mid-program break, when she again announced the book by Robert Forte, that I realized the book discussed was a newer one now back in print. (And this Visionary Activist page’s promo for the program verifies this: “the first paperback edition”). I realized that there must be a newer paperback version now out—and Caroline’s number probably matches this book! (Or does it?) This is also why Robert was identified by Caroline as the “editor” and his contribution as writer of the “Preface.” In my “First Edition edition” (pub: A Hermes Press Book, William Dailey Rare Books Ltd, 1998), The Preface (“Preface to the Second Edition”) is by Huston Smith, with a Foreword by R. Gordon Wasson and Afterword by Albert Hofmann. All there is of Robert Forte is a one-page “Publisher’s Note” at the front. So Robert Forte is not the “publisher,” but the “editor” of this new edition.

Thus, I’m writing to clarify, in case there’s any confusion, as to which edition folks should go for if they’re looking to get the book. (Though it may be the new paperback is necessitated because the hardback 2008 edition is out of print and thus super-expensive.)

Checking on the internet, the cover for the paperback is different: the image of Demeter offering the so-called “grain-stalk” to Persephone (what Caroline mentioned). This newer paperback edition is “Edited by Robert Forte,” with a “Preface by Huston Smith” (as Caroline also mentioned). And checking inside, one discovers (as Caroline also mentioned) that the “Preface” is indeed by Robert Forte. But it should be noted that his is the “Preface to the Thirteenth Anniversary Edition” and the “Preface to the Second Edition” is by Huston Smith. Furthermore (unlike the older, hardback edition), it contains an “Appendix” by Peter Webster “Kykeon Chemistry”). This November 25, 2008 paperback edition (the newest I could find online), at 192 pages, is published by North Atlantic Books (as Caroline stated). So, this is the book that Robert Forte “wanted to bring back into print” (with Huston Smith’s “new Preface”) and said was “a 190-page book.” And the 47 pg. difference must be Robert’s “Preface” and Peter Webster’s “Appendix.”

However, for me the matter isn’t quite settled as to which “edition” is talked about. Why did Robert need to be corrected as to the number of pages contained? You’d think, as the “editor,” he of all people would know! It’s confusing that Robert gives “barely 100 pages” for it and Caroline corrects him with 170. I also have a 1978 paperback used copy of the original R. Gordon Wasson, Carl A. Ruck, Albert Hofmann edition (Robert’s “just a little book”). And he’s close to the number of pages—126 (maybe the discrepancy is because the hardcover edition was “barely 100 pages”).

So the question is, what edition of the book was Caroline talking about at 170 pages? Did she misunderstand what edition Robert was talking about, assuming it was his new paperback instead of the original edition? But, again, neither of the other two editions—the 1978 or the 2008—are 170 pages! Moreover, I’m still not sure whether there’s a newer edition out, since I got the impression that Robert Forte’s guest appearance on the program was due to the event of a recently published book (and not one from 2008). In other words, I’m guessing that there’s an even newer edition just out! Or is there? (The one on the North Atlantic Books link doesn’t list a date.)

In any case, I hope this helps those who wanted to get the book. And if it serves to encourage those who can add further clarification to post comments, then all the better!

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