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Bicycle Day 2021: The First LSD Trip

Bicycle Day 2021: The First LSD Trip

In order to help you celebrate Bicycle Day 2021, we’re publishing an excerpt from the comprehensive biography on Albert Hofmann, Mystic Chemist, written by his close friends, the recently deceased Lucius Werthmüller, and the late Dieter Hagenbach, with a foreword from Stanislav Grof. Additionally, we are offering a 20% discount on the book with the coupon code “bicycleday2021”. The offer is valid until May 1st.

Bicycle Day: LSD Finds Its Discoverer 

Albert Hofmann had to know and decided to undertake a series of experiments, beginning with a test on himself on April 19th, 1943. Again he proceeded with great caution and chose a dosage of 250 micrograms, the smallest amount of ergot alkaloid deemed to have a noticeable effect.

But once again, strange and, initially, decidedly frightening images overcame the chemist, this time more acutely than before. According to his lab journal, his experiment began at four twenty in the afternoon when he ingested “0.5 cc of ½ pro mil tartrate solution of diethylamide peroral = 0.25 mg tartrate. To be taken thinned with ca. 10 cc water.” At five pm he notes: “Beginning dizziness, anxiety, disturbed vision, paralysis, urge to laugh.” Two days later he adds: “Cycled home. Severest crisis from six to eight pm” and refers to a special report because he can barely record the last entry. He is at once certain that his experiences on April 16th stemmed from the unintentional ingestion of a small amount of LSD-25. The experiences were the same, but this time more intense and profound.

During the war, fuel was difficult to find. Gasoline was rationed and available for very few private vehicles. Indispensable commercial vehicles such as tractors and trucks were fitted with wood gasifiers. At that time, even in Switzerland, only a few wealthy could afford an automobile and taxis were not available. That is why Hofmann did not have someone drive him home; instead, his lab assistant, Susi Ramstein accompanied him by bicycle. He had the impression that they made little headway, but she later assured him that they cycled very fast and she had to pedal hard to keep up with him. The rows of houses took on threatening forms, the street seemed wavy, and the few persons they met changed into distorted shapes. The distance between the laboratory and his home was ten kilometers, with a few gentle inclines on the way.

Once they reached his house, Hofmann asked Ms. Ramstein to call his doctor and to bring him a glass of milk from the neighbor woman as an antidote: He feared a fatal poisoning. Dizziness and faintness alternated. Exhausted, he went into the living room and lay on the sofa. Just as on the way home, the familiar surroundings in the cozy home looked distorted and eerie. The walls and ceiling appeared to bend and arch, furniture took on grotesque forms and appeared to move. He asked for more milk. He hardly recognized the neighbor who brought him more than two liters of milk. Instead, he perceived her as “a nasty, insidious witch with a colored mask.”

Hofmann found the transformation of his inner world at least as unsettling as those in his surroundings: “All my efforts of will seemed in vain; I could not stop the disintegration of the exterior world and the dissolution of my ego. A demon had invaded me and taken possession of my body, my senses, and my soul. A terrible fear that I had lost my mind grabbed me. I had entered another world, a different dimension, a different time.” His body seemed to him without feeling, lifeless and foreign. “Was I dying? Was this the transition?” were the agonizing questions that pressed in upon him and persisted.

Albert Hofmann

Albert Hofmann showcasing the molecular structure of LSD

He thought of his wife and three children who, precisely on this day, had driven to visit his in-laws in Lucerne. Would he ever see them again? Would he die without being able to say farewell? How would posterity judge him? That a young head of a family had been recklessly careless and risked leaving his young family fatherless? Had his obsession with research-driven him too far? Hofmann was certain that he had not acted carelessly, and had always conducted his research prudently. Did this mean the end of the career that had begun with such promise and meant so much to him and promised so much more? “I was struck by the irony that precisely lysergic acid diethylamide, which I had brought into the world, was now forcing me to leave it prematurely.” His situation struck him as a most appalling and terrifying, hardly comprehensible tragedy.

It seemed an eternity had gone by for him before the doctor arrived and Ms. Ramstein could report the self-experiment at the Sandoz laboratory. Although Hofmann believed the worst of his desperate experience was over, he was not able to formulate a coherent sentence. Dr. Beerli, who had come in place of Hofmann’s regular physician, Dr. Schilling, found no indications of any abnormal condition or poisoning. Respiration, pulse, and blood pressure were normal. He helped Hofmann move to the bedroom to rest, but refrained from prescribing any medicine as none seemed indicated. This reassuring diagnosis had a positive effect. Within a rather short time, the anxieties and terrifying images subsided and gave way to “feelings of happiness and thankfulness.” Hofmann began to enjoy his involuntary excursion into unknown and unfamiliar realms of consciousness. With closed eyes, he saw a wonderful play of color and forms: “a kaleidoscopic flood of fantastic images dazzled me; they circled and spiraled, opened and closed again as fountains of color, reorganizing and crisscrossing in constant flux. Particularly remarkable was how any acoustical perception, like the sound of a door handle or a passing car, transformed into optical perceptions. For each sound, there was a corresponding, vividly shifting form and color.”

By late that evening, Hofmann had recovered sufficiently to describe his remarkable adventure to his wife, Anita. She had left the children with her parents and returned home after receiving a telephone call about her husband’s breakdown. With the return of some tranquility to the Hofmann house, the exhausted chemist went to sleep. The following morning, he felt physically tired, but mentally refreshed and fit. “A feeling of well-being and new life flowed through me. Breakfast tasted marvelous, an extraordinary pleasure. When I went outside, the garden was still damp from a spring rain, and the sun made everything sparkle and gleam in fresh light. The world felt newly created. All my senses vibrated in a state of high sensitivity which lasted throughout the day.” All in all, Albert Hofmann’s experiment on himself, the first LSD trip in history, ended gently. He had discovered the most potent psychoactive substance yet known.

Hofmann’s first experience contains many elements and descriptions that would be found in thousands of later reports of comparable trips. This first self-experiment contained two decisive factors in the course of any psychedelic experience, later designated as “set and setting” by the American psychologist Timothy Leary. “Set” referred to the mental and physical state and expectation of the consumer and “setting” to the atmosphere and surroundings during the session. Hofmann’s experience became a positive one after his doctor told him that he need not fear he was on the threshold of death or permanent damage from a life-threatening poisoning. He had no frame of reference for what was happening to him and no certainty that his condition would normalize a few hours afterwards. He at least remained aware the entire time that he had undertaken a self-experiment. “The most frightening thing was that I didn’t know if I would regain my normal state of mind. It was only when the world slowly began to look normal again that I felt exhilaration, a kind of rebirth.”

Albert Hofmann Bicycle Day 2020 (Photo- Jakob Krattiger; illustration from “Das Basler Buch”)

Photo by Jakob Krattiger; illustration from “Das Basler Buch”

Albert Hofmann was impressed by his discovery10 and by the intensity of his experiences during that first self-experiment with LSD-25 which would long resonate for him. He knew of no other substance with such profound psychological effects at such a low dosage that so dramatically altered experience of the inner and outer worlds in human consciousness. Hofmann found it remarkable that he was able to recall details of his LSD intoxication and explained it with the hypothesis “that no matter how perturbed someone’s worldview was at the height of the trip, the part of consciousness that registers experience was unimpaired.” He was equally amazed that he remained aware of it as an experiment on himself yet was unable to voluntarily alter it and banish the “LSD-induced world.” Just as surprising and welcome was the absence of any noticeable hangover afterwards; rather he felt left in excellent physical and mental condition.

Three days later, Hofmann presented his detailed report to Arthur Stoll and Professor Rothlin, the director of the pharmacological department. “As might be expected, it met with incredulous astonishment,” he recalled. They both immediately asked him whether he had made an error in dosage. It was clear to them that no psychotropic substance was known to be that effective at a micro dosage level. The last doubts were erased only when Rothlin and Stoll both cautiously tried dosages of LSD one-third the strength of Hofmann’s trial dose and had nearly as impressive results. In subsequent trials, Hofmann never ingested a comparable dosage again and described 250 micrograms as an “overdose.” He was astonished that the “tripping generation” of the sixties considered his first dosage to be the standard measure.

His spectacular bicycle ride from the Sandoz factory through the outskirts of Basel and on beyond the city limits to his house became the stuff of legends. Since 1984, April 19th has been celebrated as “Bicycle Day” among pop-culture LSD fans. It was initiated by Thomas B. Roberts, emeritus professor of educational psychology. Americans in particular found the idea of a bike ride while on LSD amusing and admirable. Back then, hardly anybody in that land of boundless possibilities used bicycles and certainly not in the condition Hofmann was in on his original trip.

Looking back, Hofmann thought about the circumstances and significance of his discovery: “From a personal perspective, without the intervention of chance, I think the psychedelic effects of lysergic acid diethylamide would not have been discovered. It would have joined the tens of thousands of other substances that are produced and tested in pharmaceutical research every year and are relegated to obscurity for lack of effect and there would have been no LSD story.

However, in light of other significant discoveries of the time in medical and technical fields, the discovery of LSD could be considered less a matter of chance than of being called into the world as part of a higher plan.

In the 1940’s, tranquilizers were discovered and proved to be a sensation for psychiatry. As their name expresses, tranquilizers cover up emotional problems whereas LSD is at the opposite pole of pharmacology; it reveals problems, making them more accessible to therapeutic intervention.

About the same time, nuclear energy became technically usable and the atomic bomb was developed. A new dimension of threat and destruction had been created compared with earlier energy sources and weapons. That corresponds to the increase in potency in psychotropic drugs such as mescaline to LSD, of a factor of 1:5,000 to 1:10,000.

One might suppose that the discovery of LSD was not a coincidence but drawn to attention by the Weltgeist. From this perspective, that would make the discovery of LSD no longer a matter of coincidence. Further reflection might lead one to think that its discovery was predetermined by a higher force and emerged as people began to contemplate the prevalence of the materialism of the past century; LSD, an illuminating psychotropic drug, appearing on the way to a new, more spiritual age.

All of this could suggest that my initial decisions leading up to finding LSD were not a product of free will, but were guided by the subconscious mind which links us all to the universal, impersonal consciousness.”


20% Discount on Mystic Chemist

mystic chemist albert hofmannMystic Chemist begins at the start of the twentieth century, in the Swiss town of Basel which is evolving from a popular health spa into a major industrial city. The story concludes more than a century later, after celebrating Albert Hofmann’s 100th birthday. It tells the unique story of a soon to be famous scientist, highlighting his academic journey, his research at Sandoz, and then, as the discoverer of LSD, his meetings and interactions with illustrious writers, artists, and thinkers, from all over the world, whose common interest is a fascination with the new wonder-drug. Luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, and Richard Alpert appear on the scene and Hofmann begins a prolific correspondence with them and other interested parties. Sometimes he sends a sample, other times he hears of their “trips” on LSD or other psychedelic substances, like mescaline or psilocybin. From the beginning, he takes a positive view towards efforts by physicians and psychotherapists to include LSD in new approaches to the treatment of illnesses. He sees the “psychedelic” potential of this “wonder drug” as beneficial to all. And he expresses his conviction that mystical experiences and trips to other worlds of consciousness are the best preparation for the very last journey he and every one of us well must eventually make. At the age of 102, Albert Hofmann dies at home. His vitality and open-mindedness stay with him until his last breath. The life of Albert Hofmann, the Mystic Chemist, is a testimony to how one can reach a great age all the while remaining physically and mentally fit and spiritually aware.

Get 20% off the paperback version of the book using the discount code “bicycleday2021”. Offer valid until May 1st, 2021.

Get Mystic Chemist 20% off!

Sacred Plants in the Americas II

Sacred Plants in the Americas II

Sacred Plants in the Americas II: A Virtual Psychedelic Summit on the Globalization of Plant Medicines and Indigenous Reciprocity

We are very excited to share an amazing upcoming conference from our friends at the Chacruna Institute! Next April 24-25, 2021, they are hosting Sacred Plants in the Americas II, a global virtual summit exploring the globalization of plant medicines and indigenous reciprocity.

This revolutionary conference will bring together indigenous leaders from throughout North, Central, and South America as well as researchers, practitioners, community builders, and other experts from around the world. The summit will discuss the potential benefits and harms of the globalization of psychedelic plant medicines and explore how we can offer reciprocity to honor the indigenous cultures and traditions that these medicines come from.

Speakers include David Bronner, Belinda Eriacho, Anya Ermakova, Jorge Ferrer, Kathleen Harrison, Stacey Schaeffer, Glenn Shepard, Bia Labate, Clancy Canvar, and many more! 

Indigenous voices have often been marginalized in the contemporary psychedelic conversation, and this event seeks to spotlight these voices and the invaluable wisdom they carry. It is vital that members of the psychedelic community help support indigenous groups and the traditional spiritual and ecological knowledge they preserve and practice. 

They are offering a special 10% discount code for our community! Use the code “discount_synergetic” to register for tickets in the link below. 

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Vandana Shiva Fights Patents on Seeds

Vandana Shiva Fights Patents on Seeds

Vandana Shiva, the Indian scientist, and activist stands for social justice and uncompromising sustainability. The Alternative Nobel Prize winner gained worldwide attention through her fight against the agricultural giant Monsanto. But Vandana Shiva does not only want to fight patents on seeds and give the seeds back to the farmers who grow them. She is a well-known critic of globalization, speaks out publicly against the concentration of wealth, and fights for better coexistence on earth.

Vandana Shiva: From Physicist to Activist

A public lecture and press conference by Vandana Shiva and meeting with young farmers, NGOs and activists (2013)

Before Vandana Shiva became a world-renowned social activist, she studied physics in India and Canada. As early as the 1970s, she became involved in the first Indian environmental movement, the Chipko movement. It was mainly supported by Indian women who were fighting against commercial deforestation. In the 1980s, two major events finally led her to look into agriculture. Several tons of poisonous gas escaped into the atmosphere from a US pesticide factory in Bhopal, India. The worst chemical accident in history occurred, killing thousands of people. Also, riots broke out in Punjab, a predominantly agricultural area. Industrial fertilizer, pesticides, and new seeds from the USA promised higher yields for the local farmers, but at the same time led to dependence on large corporations and fatal environmental damage.

Fighting Patents on Seeds and Protecting Diversity

As a critic of globalization, Shiva was active against the monopoly position of transnational agricultural corporations like Monsanto, which were trying to exert increasing influence on Indian agriculture. In her home village of Dehadrun, she founded the institute “The Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology”, which observes the influence of the world market on Indian farmers. In 1991 Shiva founded the organization Navdanya, which stands for the protection of the biological diversity of seeds. Navdanya collects regional varieties and saves them from extinction. In addition, the organization promotes organic farming methods and protects farmers from dependence on patented seeds.

Seeds Belong to Those Who Grow Them

Shiva refers to what is happening in agriculture as “bio-imperialism“. Companies make seeds their property by making them easier to patent through the use of genetic engineering. Shiva’s life work has largely been devoted to fighting patents on seeds and she strongly criticizes this practice:

“Some Western companies remind me of a doctor who performs a c-section and claims he also made the child.”

The preservation of indigenous seeds in the hands of local communities and chemical-free agriculture with local markets are among Vandana Shiva’s most important goals. Her vision of ideal agriculture is based on fair trade and solidarity-based commerce, as well as on biodiversity and organic farming. For her commitment to environmental protection, women’s rights, and sustainability, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, considered the Alternative Nobel Prize.

Oneness vs the 1%

But Vandana Shiva’s activism is not only focused on agriculture: In 2019 she published her book “Oneness vs The 1%“. The 1%, is the symbol for the concentration of wealth according to the rules of neoliberal economies. She calls billionaires like Bill Gates bio-pirates, who act mainly in their own interests. Their engagement serves primarily to acquire resources and to collect and sell data. In an interview, she makes it clear:

“They cause all this destruction in the name of feeding the world, but has the world been fed? We need to take a step back to understand the true meaning of economy and ecology.”

Vandana Shiva: “The earth belongs to all of us, not to corporations like Monsanto”

On the occasion of Earth Day 2020, her organization Navdanya called for making peace with the earth. A global economy based on the myth of limitless growth and appetite for the earth’s resources, as corporations like Monsanto practice, is at the root of the current health crisis and future crises. It is important to learn to adequately protect the rights and ecological spaces of different species and peoples again. We must move from an economy of greed, competition, and violence to an economy of care: for the earth, for the people, and for all living species.

In an online interview with Right Livelihood College, Vandana Shiva talks about her visions for the future. In her opinion, one of the many reasons for the current crisis is our lack of respect for the environment. People should stop focusing on consumption in order to become true earth-citizens. When Vandana Shiva was asked about long-term changes for the time after the crisis, she says:

“We have to realize that we are not alone on this planet and that we have a responsibility towards others. We have a duty not to take more than our share, because when we are all connected, we all have a share.”

This article was republished from Scoop.me

The Plant Spirit Summit

The Plant Spirit Summit

A new paradigm of healing is emerging at the intersection of psychedelic medicine and ancestral shamanic healing... Psychedelic medicine has been pushed to the forefront as the new frontier in psychotherapy, a new solution to the global mental health crisis.

Psychotherapists might say that its cause is widespread trauma, the outcome of an increasingly unequal capitalistic culture, exacerbated by financial uncertainty, and social isolation caused by the pandemic.

Shamans might say that the root lies in our separation from Nature and Spirit, and that the events of 2020 signalled a shamanic initiation of planetary proportions - a warning sign of a civilization recklessly out of balance and an urgent call for humanity to wake up. 

What if both are right?

Learn more at the Plant Spirit Summit on Feb 22-26, 2021, a free-for-all 5-day online event hosted by Lorna Liana of EntheoNation.

This transformational Summit seeks to explore the intersection of psychedelics & shamanism by facilitating bold, inquisitive conversations about the expansion of plant medicine shamanism and the future of psychedelic medicine. During the Summit, 40+ indigenous and Western speakers will share their priceless perspectives and concrete advice on how to navigate the Psychedelic Renaissance and Global Shamanic Revival, safely, responsibly, and with integrity.

Register for FREE Now to Explore the New Paradigm of Healing at the Intersection of Psychedelics & Shamanism

During this visionary 5-day Summit, you’ll hear from:

  • Ninawa Pai da Mata, spiritual leader of the Huni Kuin community of Novo Futuro, on the indigenous cultural renaissance catalyzed by the globalization of ayahuasca and their tribe’s decision to collaborate with outsiders. Filmed in the Kaxinawá indigenous territory of Humaitá in Acre, Brazil, during the Eskawatã Kayawai Festival, this mini-documentary shares their culture, shamanic medicine traditions, challenges, and hopes for the future. 
  • Wade Davis, celebrated author, anthropologist, ethnobotanist, and filmmaker, who talks about the impact of the Psychedelic Renaissance on contemporary culture, as well as about the Drug War’s destruction of Colombia and what he considers to be the ultimate sacred medicine of South America (not ayahuasca)
  • Nat Kelley, activist & actress (Fantastic Fungi Foundation, The Fast & the Furious, Vampire Diaries) and Alan Scheurman (Santiparro), musician / Shipibo-trained facilitator,  discuss the impact of COVID on the indigenous communities in the Amazon, and what it takes to create a global campaign of active reciprocity.
  • Bruce Parry, filmmaker and explorer, on the delicate nature of living with remote peoples, egalitarian tribal cultures, and his visionary experiences on iboga, ayahuasca, Bufo and ebene (yopo)
  • Françoise Bourzat, consciousness guide and author, who shares what happens when you integrate indigenous sacred mushroom ceremonies and Western psychology
  • Cecilio Soria Gonzales, Shipibo indigenous rights activist, on how the Comando Matico initiative is distributing plant medicine through indigenous communities to treat and prevent COVID
  • Shelby Hartman, co-Founder of DoubleBlind Magazine, leading publisher of psychedelic journalism, on the medicalization of psychedelics, and whether these emergent drugs are all they are hyped up to be
  • Jeremy Narby, legendary anthropologist and author of the Cosmic Serpent, with advice on how Western ceremony facilitators from the Global North can stop engaging in spiritual extraction of indigenous cultural wisdom, and give back in a meaningful way

Meet Your Host, Lorna Liana

Deep in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, Lorna Liana discovered her purpose and her divine calling while drinking visionary plant medicines with indigenous shamans. She was given a mission: “To leverage emerging technologies to preserve indigenous traditions, so that ancient wisdom can benefit the modern world, and technology can empower indigenous people.”

In pursuit of this mission, Lorna became an online business coach and new media strategist to sustainable brands, social ventures and visionary entrepreneurs, helping them attract their tribe and ignite a movement around their mission-driven businesses. Through podcasting, video blogging, and social media, she shares the stories of both indigenous people and the world’s foremost experts in psychedelic science, modern shamanism, and consciousness research to inspire each and every one of us to explore the depths of our minds, spirits, planet…and evolve.

Over the past years, Lorna has built EntheoNation as a digital nomad, living in Thailand, Bali, Mexico, Brazil, Costa Rica, Hawaii, and Spain.

About EntheoNation

EntheoNation is a leading psychedelic media publisher that publishes content about:

Ayahuasca - the visionary brew ceremonially drunk in indigenous communities in the Amazon since ancient times, and which has over the last decade begun its expansion throughout the Global North, prompting the emergence of neoshamanic circles and psychedelic integration specialists. Ayahuasca ceremonies and retreats, which are now available globally, have become increasingly popular among psychonauts from all walks of life, and just about anyone in need of healing deep-seated trauma, attaining profound spiritual growth and personal transformation, and finding direction in life.

Magic Mushrooms - the fantastically psychedelic fungi growing throughout the world, and consumed by early humans since at least 10,000 BCE; as one of the most available naturally occurring psychoactive fruits, they have been an integral part of the psychedelic movement for decades. Now, with mounting evidence of psilocybin’s effectiveness against mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, magic mushrooms are spearheading the wave of psychedelic medicalization, decriminalization, and legalization.

Sacred Reciprocity -  the expansion of ancestral plant medicines beyond their native geographic regions has swelled the number of Western plant medicine ceremony participants and facilitators… to the point where more non-indigenous people consume and facilitate ayahuasca than indigenous. What are the ramifications of this dynamic? How might we decolonize plant medicines and co-create a psychedelic community that is diverse and inclusive? What actions can we take to show solidarity for the indigenous movement? Explore these topics in the free Sacred Reciprocity School.

Join the conversation at the FREE Plant Spirit Summit on Feb 22-26, 2021, and discover how you can participate - safely, responsibly, and with integrity.

Psychedelic Society UK Presents A Talk with Lama Mike Crowley

Psychedelic Society UK Presents A Talk with Lama Mike Crowley

The Psychedelic Society UK Presents An Evening with Lama Mike Crowley, Author of Secret Drugs of Buddhism 

The Psychedelic Society UK will be hosting a talk together with Synergetic Press author of Secret Drugs of Buddhism, ordained lama Mike Crowley, on 29th September from 1-3 PM CDT or 7-9 PM UK time.

After over 50 years of study, Mike has amassed incontrovertible evidence that psychedelic plants and fungi were part of medieval Buddhism. This is especially so in the tantric school of Buddhism known as Vajrayana in which a psychedelic sacrament called the “elixir of immortality” (Sanskrit: amṛita) played a central role. This school was based upon scriptures called tantras which concealed their secrets behind multiple levels of meaning. Mike will reveal the simple puns and Sanskrit wordplay which indicate the nature of this “elixir”.

More about Mike Crowley

Mike Crowley is originally from Wales but currently lives in a remote cabin in a vast forest in northern California. His book, Secret Drugs of Buddhism: Psychedelic Sacraments and the Origins of the Vajrayana was published recently and he sits on the advisory board of the Psychedelic Sangha of the US. He has been known to teach Buddhism. He is familiar with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagellonian University, Cracow, The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Times, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK.

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