Podcast 279 – “Peter Gorman Interviews the Elders”

Guest speakers: Allen Ginsberg, Ram Das, Laura Huxley, Peter Gorman

PROGRAM NOTES:


As us Monty Python fans love to hear, “Now for something completely different.” Well, not really. But today’s program is a little different in that instead of featuring just one speaker we have an audio collage that includes Allen Ginsberg, Ram Das, and Laura Huxley. A finer collection of psychedelic elders you would be hard-pressed to find.

First of all is a rare recording of a telephone interview of Allen Ginsberg by then “High Times” editor, Peter Gorman. When Gorman asked for a story about Timothy Leary, Ginsberg tells of the time that Leary came to his New York apartment to meet Jack Kerouac and they took psilocybin together Next is a brief conversation that Peter has with Ram Das during which we learn some more of the background of the early days at Millbrook and the interesting series of events that led up to going there. The last segment is another Peter Gorman interview, this time with Laura Huxley in which she tells of some of her own experiences with LSD. It’s a short program but packed with interesting historical ancetdotes.

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7 Comments

  1. lil b Said,

    August 25, 2011 @ 9:03 am

    gratitude for another fascinating podcast! I only wish that Allen G’s legacy hadn’t been tarnished by his support of certain organization(s), I find that whole thing sadly ruins the way I used to be able to tune into his creative genius…anyway, these podcasts enrich my life in a major way, thanks Lorenzo!

  2. Audun Said,

    August 26, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    the synchronicity is appreciated, it put a big smile on my face, and a spark in my chest 🙂

    we should all be more aware of these sacred little moments, i think.

  3. Naomi Said,

    August 29, 2011 @ 11:54 pm

    Hello, Lorenzo! Though I have never written, I feel that we are old friends. I suppose that is a familiarity you get when you hear a person’s voice every day for many months! I was waiting to write you an email, but then in the podcast I was listening to this week, you mentioned that you prefer to be contacted through the comment section. I should note that this podcast was from 2007, as I am trying to listen to the psychedelic salon in order.
    A little back story: I was introduced to the Psychedelic Salon 3 months ago by a co-worker after I mentioned that I was attending a psychedelic-friendly outdoor music festival and camping weekend. It was a short 5 minute conversation, but it changed my life. Since I discovered the salon, my morning commute has been transformed from a stressful event on the LA highways to an absolute joy, my own mobile church, a religious experience on wheels. Many days, after I arrive at my office, I stay in my car just to listen to 5 more minutes of the podcast. When I am not listening in my car, I have my ipod earbuds permanently glued in my ears, the podcast going straight from the car to the walk into the office, which then accompanies me on my lunch breaks and walks. And yes, since I am listening to them in chronological order, I am still stuck in 2007, and am not up to date on your life or the most recent research. I like to listen in order, because sometimes you reference previous podcasts and lectures, though it is sometimes hard to hear about mind states conferences and the oracle gatherings, only to find they are now discontinued.
    As I said at the start of this long comment, I was waiting to write you an email, until I caught up to the present with the podcasts, in case you happened to respond to me live on the podcast. I wouldn’t want to wait years to hear your response! However, my boyfriend convinced me to just write you, because we have hit a snag in our psychedelic journeys, and do not know who else to turn to for guidance.
    I have been inspired by the salon to start using these sacred medicines in more ritual manners, and have attempted to create rituals to help guide our experiences, but I feel ill-equipped to do so. I have been searching the internet for weeks for some guides and resources, but most of what I can find are explanations of traditional rites (without procedural details), clinical write-ups that are also vague regarding the specific wording of trip guides or therapies, or general advice to consider set and setting and how to prepare the space. All these are good things to know, but are not quite what I seek. I would love to have an actual written script to use for a guided trip or meditation, or a recorded one that we could play. Specific ritual procedure would also be helpful, or therapy questions and visualizations. In the absence of a real shaman, is there some sort of recorded shaman, or written guide, that we could reference?
    The last time we used these sacred medicines, we followed a pagan lunar practice of writing our intentions for the trip and the future, and seeded them into the ground, and then wrote that which we wished to let go, and burned them in a bonfire. All that we wrote was manifested in the months that followed, and much of what we burned was released. This was incredibly powerful and useful, but we want to go further, deeper into our psychedelic practices.
    Any advice and references, from you or anyone in the tribe, would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you so much for all that you do. You have given me more than I can possibly convey with words (and I am only on Podcast 118!). You are doing an incredible service, and I am deeply, eternally grateful. I am excited for the hundreds of podcasts still in store for me at the salon! Thank you for your gift to the world.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo: Thanks for the kind words, Naomi … and interestingly (at least to me 🙂 I’d forgotten that back in 2007 I suggested using the comment section to get in touch, because I just said that again a few weeks ago. … As far as rituals go, I think that you and your significant other are doing marvelously. Even in the traditional ayahuasca group that I’ve been connected with for a long time we are constantly changing and evolving our own rituals. And while you will eventually get there, you may want to skip ahead to my podcast number 271 in which Kathleen Harrison does an excellent job of discussing rituals. … But it seems to me that by following your own inner voice you have already discovered the power of ritual and are doing a wonderful job of exploring the various paths it can take. … Perhaps this is the age in which new rituals will evolve that will last for generations. … Press On! … all LOVE, Lorenzo]

  4. L. Said,

    August 31, 2011 @ 11:39 am

    Dear Lorenzo,

    I’m a Brazilian anthropologist who’s been following your podcast for a couple of years.

    I’ve been meaning to write you to say thanks for some time now, so today I decided to finally reach out.

    Your podcasts have been light houses for this argonaut.

    I lost count of how many times I have listened to odd and interesting ideas that made me forget the trip to the office or filled in my flights toward the Amazon.

    I lost count of how many times I came back from an inner voyage and found your light signal to guide me home, to help me integrate the experience in my life.

    One of these days I was listening to T. McKenna, and of course to you after his tape. It beats me that I cannot remember which one it was, but what you said touched me with more strenght than McKenna’s talk itself.

    Well, I actually have no practical reason to write you. Just wanted to say thanks.

    Um abraço!

    L.

    ps-I might move to the US soon, due to a job offer. Feeling quite cautious, due to your country`s drug policy. Would really like to continue my exploration, but I do not see the possibility of deportation lightly.

    [COMMENT by Lorenzo:
    Your comment has inspired me to finish working on tomorrow’s podcast …
    an interview of Dr. Albert Hofmann by Peter Gorman. I was feeling a
    little lazy today, but now, thanks to you, I am fired up and back at
    work :-). … And I understand what you mean about being careful here in
    the U.S. Sadly, we have become number one at putting people in prison.]

  5. Max A. Said,

    September 1, 2011 @ 11:27 pm

    Naomi,

    I think one of the neglected aspects of Dr. Timothy Leary’s thought is his perspective on religious ritual, particularly the importance of creating your own.

    I would recommend reading his pamphlet “Start Your Own Religion” which is more inspirational than specifically programmatic, but contains examples of Leary’s own work in that regard (see Millbrook).

    He also worked with Ram Dass and Ralph Metzner on an adaptation of the Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead) as a manual for the psychedelic experience.
    You can read it at
    http://www.erowid.org/library/books_online/psychedelic_experience/psychedelic_experience.shtml

    Lorenzo,

    I too have long wanted to thank you for this unparalleled resource you’ve curated. I’ve been listening to your podcasts for years–I heard an airplane fly overhead last month and it sounded like the first notes of the intro music; whenever I hear your introduction, a goofy smile appears on my face.

    I worked as a bus driver at my university, and I would regularly play these podcasts over my loudspeakers. I considered it a public service.

    The ideas I found in these recordings were more challenging and motivating than almost anything I heard at college. I consider you a friend and an important professor.

    Thank you Lorenzo

    –Max

  6. Max A. Said,

    September 1, 2011 @ 11:28 pm

    Sorry, forgot the link to “Start Your Own Religion”:

    http://www.leary.ru/download/leary/Timothy%20Leary%20-%20Start%20Your%20Own%20Religion.pdf

  7. Naomi Said,

    September 6, 2011 @ 9:51 pm

    Thank you so much for these resources, Max! I have begun my own rituals and will continue to try new things and grow, following my own intuition and guidance. It has been helpful to hear points of view and practices from other fellow travelers, and then rework them to fit my situation and personal needs. Many things that I have read have served as sign posts on my voyages, and I enjoy hearing others experiences and advice, trying things out, then discarding that which does not serve me. I am relatively new to living a spiritual life, so it is nice to hear from people who have been living a spiritual existence for a long time, though in the end, we must all find our own way. There are many paths.
    Thank you, Max and Lorenzo!