This article was originally published on Golden leaf and appears here with permission.
Choosing the best books on any subject is a subjective exercise. However, we are confident that the ten books on psychedelics selected for this blog post are high quality, innovative in their approaches, and excellent choices for anyone interested in books on psychedelics.
2022. Well, we can all agree that it’s not looking too much better than 2021 or 2020. And it could even get worse.
But we’re not here to talk about all that bad news. Unless you live under a rock, you are already aware of all of this.
So we’re tilting the scenario to the transcendent with our list of the ten best books on psychedelics.
These books on psychedelics run the gamut from fun novels to an embrace of the mystical to science-backed studies and more, but all will help your mind escape the modern fray. Enjoy!
The ten best books on psychedelics
The Kool-Aid Electric Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
Tom Wolfe’s hilarious tale of following Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters across the country is the best thing to do after experiencing the hippie counterculture of the 60s yourself. What if you were in the scene at back then, relive some of those fuzzy memories!
Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine: Creativity, Ecstasy and Healing by Maria Papspyrou, Chiara Baldini and David Luke
The editors of this book have organized a powerful and cohesive argument that the psychedelic experience is one that is inherently about stimulating a deep connection with the transformative divine feminine.
Liquid Light: Ayahuasca Spirituality and the Santo Daime Tradition by G. William Barnard
As an insider in the Santo Daime religious tradition of the peoples of Brazil’s Amazon region, Barnard writes from both an insider’s and outsider’s perspective on the entheogenic power and spiritual significance of ayahuasca.
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Tells Us About Consciousness, Death, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
Acclaimed author Michael Pollan set out to write about how psilocybin and acid could be helpful in treating depression, anxiety, and addiction. He achieved that goal, but achieved so much more than that by putting himself and his own life into what he set out to accomplish. This is one of the most personal books on psychedelics we have ever read.
Owsley and Me: My LSD Family by Rhoney Gissen Stanley with Tom Davis
If you like to take your romance with an acid tab on the side, this book is for you. In 1965, when LSD was not yet classified as a controlled substance, Rhoney Gissen Stanley was employed in an LSD laboratory and Owsley “Bear” Stanley was the largest producer and marketer of acid in the world. Sparks ensue between the two amid the complications of the time.
Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, From Soul to Psychedelics by Julie Holland, MD
You could say that the modern world has introduced a deep sense of alienation and disconnection with others. Dr. Holland posits that psychedelics, along with meditation, an embrace of nature, and efforts to build community may be the medicine to heal ourselves and our societies.
The Psychedelic Experience: A Manual Based on The Tibetan Book of the Dead by Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, and Ralph Metzner
Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert (i.e. Ram Dass) and Ralph Metzner were pioneers of psychedelic research, but they were all equally at home in the shamanic world as they were in the clinical world. Their book uses The Tibetan Book of the Dead as a framework to provide insight into the deeper nature of psychedelic travel.
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Physician’s Groundbreaking Research into Near-Death Biology and Mystical Experiences by Rick Strassman, MD
Why do DMT journeys have so many parallels to near-death experiences and alien abduction stories? For the skeptics among us, rest assured that Dr. Strassman’s research standards are impeccable. This is one of the most unique books on psychedelics and definitely worth reading.
Psychedelic Medicine: The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin and Ayahuasca by Dr. Richard Louis Miller
We understand that clinical research studies are not easy to read, and that’s why we recommend this book. Dr. Miller summarizes the latest research on psychedelics in an easy-to-digest way while exploring their history and speculating about their future in a changing political landscape.
The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys by James Fadiman, Ph.D.
People explore entheogens for different reasons. Some people microdose to improve their problem-solving ability. Others take moderate doses for medicinal benefits. And then some take larger doses because they desire transcendent spiritual experiences. Whichever camp you fall into, Fadiman provides the information you need to know to get the best results.