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  The Road to Eleusis

    R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A. P. Ruck

An Announcement Concerning

The Road to Eleusis

At long last the Twentieth Anniversary Edition of The Road to Eleusis is available. This new edition includes important additional material from Huston Smith, Albert Hofmann, Carl Ruck, and a reprint of the seminal presentation of the word, Entheogen (see below). Readers of The Psychedelic Library who might have tried to obtain a copy of this rare volume will know that they are seldom available, and even the paperback edition is hard to find and very expensive to purchase. Thanks to Hermes Press, founded by Robert Forte in cooperation with the living authors, the Gordon Wasson Estate and antiquarian book specialist William Dailey, readers once again have an opportunity to obtain what is certainly one of the most important books of our time.

The new edition follows in the tradition of Valentina and Gordon Wasson, being printed in a limited deluxe edition by the Stamperia Valdonega in Verona, Italy, and is now available through Promind Books, or direct from the publisher, William Dailey Rare Books. The Psychedelic Library applauds the new edition and encourages readers to support this effort so that further re-editions of Wasson's important and rare volumes will follow. Moreover, proceeds from the sale of this work will be directed to further the religious possibilities of the entheogens. To this end, only the Foreword and First Chapter of The Road to Eleusis will now be available online, in hopes that demand for this re-edition will quickly outstrip supply, signalling the publishers that their efforts are appreciated and further editions are necessary.

The following is a facsimile of the original announcement for the book, as distributed at the Amsterdam Psychoactivity Conference in October 1998. A review by Peter Webster from the International Journal of Drug Policy is also available from The Psychedelic Library.


Unveiling the Secret of the Mysteries

by R. Gordon Wasson, Albert Hofmann, and Carl A.P. Ruck


Preface by Huston Smith        Hindsight by Carl Ruck

Entheogens by Carl Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Jonathan Ott, & R. G. Wasson

Afterword by Albert Hofmann

"[Gordon Wasson has] made the specialty of mycology something of universal importance and one of the pillars of anthropology and the history of religions."
— Octavio Paz, Nobel Laureate, Literature        


"This interpretation seems to solve the Mystery at last... The solution here offered by Wasson, Hofmann and Ruck is simple and elegant, like all good solutions, and leads us to wonder why it hadn't been hit upon sooner... Thanks to Wasson's perspicacity, we have here yet another astonishing chapter in the history of ethnomycology which for the first time places the sacred mushroom in our own cultural past..."
— Jonathan Ott, author of Pharmacotheon        


"The ideas which the authors—the banker, the chemist, and the Classicist—brought forth have been largely unchallenged and ignored by specialists in the culture of ancient and classical Greece. The situation seems to fulfill the rule of thumb that when ideas are controversial they are discussed, when they are revolutionary, they are ignored."
— Terence McKenna, author of Food of the Gods        


"The content of those Mysteries is, together with the identity of India's sacred soma plant, one of the two best kept secrets in history, and this book is the most successful attempt I know to unlock it. Triangulating the resources of an eminent Classics scholar, the most creative mycologist of our time, and the discoverer of LSD, [The Road to Eleusis] is a historical tour de force while being more than that. For by direct implication it raises contemporary questions which our cultural establishment has thus far deemed too hot to face."
— Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions        


"[The Road To Eleusis] is an important book that has not received, so far, the attention it deserves, and I am very glad that a new expanded edition is now available. The real breakthrough is the discovery of Albert Hofmann, the distinguished Swiss chemist who gave the world LSD, only to have his "child of sorrows" rejected. He establishes beyond the shadow of a doubt, I think, that the drink served during the initiation rites at the Eleusinian Mysteries contained ergot. This—and no theatrical effects, as often assumed—fully accounts for the marvelous visions of another world that made this religious experience so unique. This book opens up new perspective for all serious students of the Classics and ancient culture.
— Georg Luck, Professor of Classics, Emeritus, Johns Hopkins University
    Honorary Editor, American Journal of Philology       


A Hermes Press Book, printed in a limited edition at the Stamperia Valdonega in Verona, Italy
on Freelife recycled paper and bound in cloth. ISBN 0-915148-20-X

U.S. $50 plus shipping (U.S. $5 via UPS; other countries $10 surface mail; $22 registered air mail)
Payment by Mastercard, Visa, check, or money-order to the publishers:


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