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  • Amy Bartlett

BOOK REVIEW: The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide by James Fadiman

I am a big fan of this book, both for people new to these substances, as well as for people familiar with the psychedelic space. There is a good mix of big concepts and connection to larger purpose (I love that he starts out with the statement “To become more aware is your birthright”), while also sharing lots of very practical advice and suggestions based on many decades of underground journey work.

Fadiman comes with lots of experience, wisdom and insight into the use of psychedelics, and also dispels some of the myths from the 60s (ie: they are not for everyone, psychedelics don’t do the work—people do, etc…)

He also shares anecdotes and advice from other (almost exclusively White and male) leaders in the psychedelic movement, as well as delving into some of the experiences of niche topics like microdosing (Chapter 15). While I was not a huge fan of some of the sections (in particular Parts 3 and 4-- to me they felt like filler for the most part), I did appreciate the variety of topics he includes and the different formats and approaches he brings to the text—I am sure they speak to some people.

For me, the most important parts of this book reside in the practical advice for trippers and sitters alike. I have recommended this book dozens of times solely for these concrete tips and advice. Specifically, I highly recommend reading Chapters 1, 2 and 3 for a solid overview of the ways we can support each other and ourselves while psychedelic journeying, as well as Chapter 19 for a very helpful checklist of considerations and process. The advice therein is based on his extensive research and experience supporting others, and in my opinion is a super-helpful and practical distillation of his decades of work.

In a nutshell: 4 out of 5 stars


The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys

By James Fadiman

Park Street Press, 2011

You can find more reviews for this book on GoodReads

You can purchase a copy from your local bookseller or online at Book Depository (#BoycottAmazon)

From the back cover: “Called ‘America’s wisest and most respected authority on psychedelics and their use,’ James Fadiman has been involved with psychedelic research since the 1960s. In this guide to the immediate and long term effects of psychedelic use for spiritual (high dose), therapeutic (moderate dose) and problem solving (low dose and microdose) purposes, Fadiman outlines best practices for safe, sacred entheogenic voyages learned through his more than 40 years of experience—from the benefits of having a sensitive guide during a session (and how to be one) to the importance of the set and pre-session intention.”

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