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The Essential Psychedelic Guide
D.M. Turner

Pages: 112
Price: $12.95 (Out of Print)
Publisher: Panther Press
Pub Date: 1994
ISBN: 0964263610

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Table of Contents >
A Brief History of Psychedelics - From the Creation of Gods to the Demise of Psychedelic Reverence in Modern Times  
Psychedelic Safety - Understanding the Tools  

I - Traditional Psychedelics

LSD - Molecule of Perfection  
Psilocybin Mushrooms - The Extraterrestrial Infiltration of Earth?  
Mescaline: Peyote & San Pedro Cactus - Shamanic Sacraments  

II - Empathogens

Ecstasy - The Heart Opening Psychedelic  
2C-B - The Erotic Empathogen  

III - Exotic Highs of a Connoisseur

DMT - Candy for the Mind  
Harmala Alkaloids - Link to the Ancient Spirits  
Ketamine - The Ultimate Psychedelic Journey  
Multiple Combinations - Cosmic Synergism  

Further Explorations - Where do we go from Here?  
DMT ~ Water Spirit - A Magical Link  
Psychedelic Reality - CydelikSpace  

Description >
Back Cover-

The Essential Psychedelic Guide provide clear, detailed descriptions of the effects of all major psychedelics, including exotic substances like DMT, Mescaline, Ketamine, and 2C-B. for each substance it discusses the material, history, and effects, plus hard to find information on dosage levels, methods of administration, combinations, and safety issues.  

Other chapters give crucial information on understanding set and setting, preparations to obtain maximum benefits from psychedelics while avoiding pitfalls, and novel theories on the philosophy behind these extraordinary dimensions.  

D. M. Turner is a courageous adventurer in non-ordinary consciousness shose writing is based on extensive first-hand experience with psychedelics. His involvement with other in diverse areas of the psychedelic community provides for insightful cross-perspectives on how these substances affect different people.  

The Essential Psychedelic Guide takes readers on a fascinating adventure through the psychedelic realms. These realms are described with such lucid detail that readers may actually feel they've embarked on a trip! This is an essential reference for anyone with an interest in psychedelics.  


Reviews/Excerpts >

"A remarkable journal by a courageous explorer, describing travels with a broad range of psychedelic drugs. This is an especially valuable reference volume on drug combinations."  

- Alexander Shulgin, author of PIHKAL 

D. M. Turner's The Essential Psychedelic Guide is often touted as the premier guide for the advanced psychonaut. Trey's review for the Lycaeum, for example, is certainly enthusiastic enough in its praise. I, however, object to the tone of Turner's accounts of his hyperspatial wanderings, and I find their implicit intent to be exactly the opposite of what responsible users should encourage in others and cultivate in themselves. Accordingly, I would like to provide a rather more critical counterpoint to the accolades "The Essential Psychedelic Guide" has received.

Turner's slim volume is not entirely without its merits. Foremost among these is the extremely personal nature of the narrative. Though the author prudently conceals himself behind a cleverly chosen pseudonym, his personality and individuality are fortunately not similarly hidden. He does not pretend to present anything more than his own experiences and insights, which, at their best, need no adornment. Turner also recognizes the limitations of objectivity, particularly when self-experimenting with such powerful plants and chemicals. Whatever science can teach us about psychedelics (and it has already taught us an incalculable amount), it does not currently supply the best guise in which to present Turner's investigation. Thus Turner's book does not suffer for the fact that he makes little attempt to corroborate his views. Nevertheless his differentiation between the effects of LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline mirrors the experiences of most people with this trio of psychedelics, including myself, while mostly avoiding digressions into the implausible and unverifiable. The ability to accurately make subjective distinctions such as these should not be undervalued, especially since it is claimed that these substances cannot be distinguished under controlled conditions.

But the personal, even idiosyncratic nature of "The Essential Psychedelic Guide" is a double-edged sword. Turner's style occasionally degenerates from the agreeably informal to the inappropriately casual; his writing can be irritatingly clumsy and is rife with minor errors in grammar and usage. Turner also lets certain annoyingly persistent prejudices creep into his book without adequate explanation or discussion: "Natural" psychedelics differ fundamentally from "synthetic" ones. Psychedelics are the sine qua non of human consciousness and spiritual life. "The Man" and his underlings conspire to suppress psychedelics and those who use them. Psychedelics are the key to the future. And so on.

These are, on the whole, relatively minor complaints. More problematic is Turner's uncritical acceptance of the value of the psychedelic experience itself. He states frequently that psychedelics have helped him improve his life, but provides few details. I would take Turner on faith for the sake of his anonymity were claims like this not a recurrent problem. One of the more seductive and subtly addicting effects of psychedelic drugs is their ability to fill one with a sense of profound meaningfulness without necessarily providing access to meaning itself; many who experience the psychedelic state feel forever changed, yet rapidly sink back into the grooves of their prior life. I fear this has happened to Turner despite his beliefs to the contrary. But nowhere is Turner's approach to psychedelic drugs more disturbing than his chapter on multiple combinations. I can only speculate as to why he feels it necessary to use such bizarre, and, to this reviewer, excessive drug cocktails. I conclude, however, that it is more a product of boredom and a desire to impress his readership than any quest for self-improvement and spiritual growth. And if it is sheer intensity of experience that one seeks, there are much simpler ways to achieve a level 5 trip. If no one but Turner has tried mushrooms + syrian rue + DMT + nitrous oxide + ketamine, it is because there is simply no need. What the multiple combinations chapter reveals most starkly, and the rest of "The Essential Psychedelic Guide" supports is this: Turner is addicted to the psychedelic experience--the beautiful visuals, the head trip, the sense exploring a fantastic new world. He seeks new ways to "get off," not because they are better, but simply because they are different. When Turner mentions the "clear light of reality," one has the impression he conceives of it as just another interesting visual and has, wilfully or not, ignored the true significance of this important Buddhist concept. He treats the drug as an end, not a means.

For better or worse, Turner faithfully espouses the currently fashionable psychedelic paradigm. (He does not, however, define it. That honor belongs to Terence McKenna, whose ideas are referred to by Turner throughout.) But the experienced psychonaut should work on actually uncovering the reality that psychedelic experiences allow us merely to glimpse rather than simply seeking strange new drug combinations out of a self-indulgent desire for novelty, as Turner is evidently content to do.

Postscript: Soon after I wrote this review, I learned of D. M. Turner's untimely ketamine-related death. In light of this, my admonition to refrain from rushing in, as Turner sometimes did, where angels fear to tread, is now more imperative than ever; it is truly sad that this lesson was made evident in a manner so tragic and shocking. The psychedelic community has indeed lost a valued figure, unique and colorful even in his anonynimity.

- Review by JF

The Essential Psychedelic Guide by D. M. Turner $12.95 in shops or mail order by phone with credit card from +1 (415) 753-6481. (I have just been sent this book, and this publicity was not solicited.) ISBN 0-9642636-1-0, 112 pages, paperback, published by Panther Press, 1032 Irving #514, SF, CA 94122, USA. This is the published version of a guide called Psychedelic Explosion that circulated over the past year in various and much re-photocopied versions. This is unlike all the other books you have seen on drugs. It is a consumer's guide based on the personal experiences of a psychedelic explorer, a true connoisseur of psychedelics, written in the first person. Anyone taking any particular psychedelic for the first time, or intending to experiment with mixtures, will find this book invaluable. The first DMT I tried was wasted through not knowing how to use it; the next time I had an earlier version of this book, followed its advice and it worked. The safety section lists combinations to avoid, particularly MAO inhibitors and which drugs and foods should not be taken with these. It is a surprisingly large list including aged cheese and over ripe avocados. "Contrary to being dangerous, throughout most of history psychedelics h ave been considered gifts of the Gods, and have been associated with the healing of the body, mind and soul." Psychedelics are rated 0-10 for intensity. Ecstasy comes bottom at 2-4 while Ketamine tops the list at 10 leaving LSD, mescaline and psilocybin in between. Though this may be true of intensity, I get the impression that this is also the author's rating for value of experience, and this is where I disagree. "Multiple Combinations" is the chapter of most interest to experienced readers. There are several described in detail, and all of them have been tried by the author, such as LSD + Syrian Rue + DMT + Nitrous Oxide + Cannabis which "felt absolutely beautiful". In addition, the section on each drug includes suggestions of other drugs to combine with it. My only criticisms are that the book undervalues empathic drugs in favour of Ketamine which is described as "the ultimate psychedelic journey."


-Review by Nicholas Sanders

In today's age of media hypocrisy and continual marketing blitzkriegs, it is a startlingly infrequent occasion when one finds something that lives up to its title. Well, friends, D.M. Turner's (great pseudonym!) Essential Psychedelic Guide is a book that does exactly that! Between its exquisitely fractalized covers one will find a wealth of useful information on some of the most sought after items on contemporary consciousness explorers' wish lists. The deceptively slim, practically pocket-sized volume contains fact-packed chapters on LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin, Mescaline, 2C-B, DMT (covering N.N., its less popular cousin 5-MeO, and ayahuasca), Harmine/Harmaline, and Ketamine. Each substance's chapter contains excellent, accurate information on intensity (relative to each other), history, chemistry, dosage range, effects, and compatibility in combination with other materials, all delivered in a clear, easy-to-read style that is refreshingly free of technical jargon. There are also very useful chapters on psychedelic history, safety, multiple combinations, CydelikSpace (the author's personal term for the transpersonal realm that many of the materials discussed admit one into), and a recommended reading list.

The real beauty of this work is that it comes straight out of the author's first-hand experience. Turner is a psychonaut of rare courage and adventurousness who has dared to rush in where angels fear to tread, and his lucky readers get to share the fruits of his explorations. His trip stories are lucid and evocative, communicating as much as is possible within the boundaries of written language. Especially entrancing is the Multiple Combinations chapter, in which he details some experimental sessions that are simply staggering to comprehend. There is information here that you just can't get anywhere else, because I'd be willing to bet that Turner is the only person who's tried some of these mixtures. Another section with great narrations from experience is the chapter on CydelikSpace, which contains some amazing reports from trips on Ketamine combined with 2C-B that had this reviewer salivating like a Pavlovian puppy at the thought of trying such a cocktail.

The only drawback to the book from the perspective of one interested in visionary plants is that it concentrates mostly on synthetic materials. With the exception of cursory mentions of cacti, fungi, and syrian rue/b. caapi, plants are under-represented within these pages. It would have been nice to see information on Salvia Divinorum, as well as natural DMT sources such as the Phalaris grasses. But then again, this wasn't intended as a fully comprehensive work. As it stands, I would recommend this very highly as a quick reference guide to the major entheogens. I also believe that it would make an excellent introductory volume for someone new to the visionary way, giving a concise summary of the information necessary to use psychedelics safely and rewardingly.

-Review by Trey



For the Nahua the whole vegetable kingdom is constructed as inanimate and therefore all herbs, shrubs, and trees are invariable as to number. Grammarians say that there may be one exception: 'mushroom' is nanácatl and this could be the plural form for nácatl, 'flesh'. Grammarians concede this much but their discipline does not permit them to go further. I am prepared to advance ethnomycological background supplementing the data of the grammarians and converting what they say is, grammatically, a possibility into virtual certainty. The sacred mushrooms, possessing a soul, are responsible for the plural shape of nanácatl.

In many languages the mushroom vocabulary includes a generic word for that which is eaten-'meat', 'bread', 'cheese', 'flesh', and 'food' itself. ... In Pashto, a major Indo-European language of Afghanistan, pocekei is the name of an important edible mushroom and that name means 'flesh', the same meaning that appears in Nahuatl nanácatl. Of course we are not suggesting a genetic kinship of these words with Nahuatl but when we come upon a simple figure of speech in a mushroom vocabulary and find a parallel association of ideas in other languages, a pattern of human thinking begins to emerge. Nanácatl is built on nácatl, the word in Nahuatl for 'flesh', a generic metaphor like 'food', 'victuals', 'bread', 'meat'; and by doubling the initial syllable it assumes a pluralized form that gives to the mushroom a soul, a status unique in the vegetable world. All mushrooms—nanácatl—are endowed with a soul, a unique status granted to the non-hallucinogenic species by reason of their kinship to the divine kinds, the divine kinds dominating by their overwhelming importance the whole fungal world. The root meaning, 'flesh', is emotionally colorless, neutral (like eg 'meat', 'bread', 'cheese' as given above), but it becomes exalted when the plural form—nanácatl—is preceded by teo- or xochi-, the designation of the entheogenic kinds.

There is a striking parallel in the Santal language, a non-Indo-European tongue spoken by a tribe scattered in villages in Orissa, Bihar, and West Bengal. In Santal as in Nahuatl, the whole of the vegetable kingdom is viewed as inanimate, but in Santal there is a startling exception: a single species of mushroom, the putka, which is animate and being animate possesses a soul. I made a preliminary visit to what are called the Santal Parganas in 1965 to inquire about the putka. Again in 1968 Roger Heim from Paris and I from New York journeyed to Orissa and Bihar for the express purpose of studying this mushroom, which Professor Heim identified but no one could remember why it alone of the mushroom tribe was animate! It is not entheogenic and in the season when it abounds is much eaten with rice. Professor Stella Kramrisch in a paper resulting from our inquiry arrived at the etymology of putka: not of Santal origin, it is a loan word from the Sanskrit pãtika, the first surrogate for the Soma of the Vedic hymns, a loan word that survives to this day only in Santal and possibly other tongues of the Munda family. ... Thus the parallel with Nahuatl is close: the divinity that glows in a mushroom, in each case, gives to the mushroom a soul; in one instance (Santal) the specific kind, in the other (Nahuatl) the whole tribe of mushrooms enbracing perhaps a score of entheogenic species.

... Thus in the folk language certain mushrooms attract a grammatical expression of the animism that survives from prehistory. It is possible to offer yet another example in Russian. In the standard language the mushroom known as the masljenik has a special plural form, masljata, and the plural of another mushroom name is opjata in certain uneducated circles. The plural suffix here used is normal only with certain nouns designating young animals, birds, and children! Clearly this personification of the divine mushrooms is a fading survival from the time in prehistory when the northern Slavs knew the virtues of entheogenic mushrooms. Professor Marija Gimbutas, the renowned Lithuanian prehistorian, has reported to us on the use down to our own day of Amanita muscaria (ie 'Soma') in the remoter parts of Lithuania at wedding feasts and the like when the mushrooms were mixed with vodka, and also how the Lithuanians used to export quantities of A. muscaria to the Lapps in the Far North for use in their shamanic practices. Here in the Lithuanian festivities is the only report that I have so far received of the ingestion of the fly-agaric in Eastern Europe for jollification ends. Early Man survived longer in Lithuania than almost anywhere else in Europe.

These parallels in unrelated languages and cultures reinforce each other and drive home the powerful spell (sometimes reaching to divinity) that the entheogenic mushrooms cast over diverse peoples in prehistory. (pages 42-44)

CSP's Entheogen Chrestomathy entry for The Psychedelic Guide

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