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The Immortality Key: Uncovering the Secret History of the Religion with No Name

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,262 ratings  ·  201 reviews
A groundbreaking, controversial dive into the role psychedelics have played in the human experience of the Divine throughout Western history, and the answer to a 2,000 year old mystery that could shake the Church to its foundations.

The Immortality Key connects the lost, psychedelic sacrament of Greek religion to early Christianity—exposing the true origins of Western Civil
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 29th 2020 by St. Martin's Press
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Jordan Munro A big chunk of the book reviews the Dionysian Mysteries -- arguing that psychedelics were part of it -- and then continues on to look at early Christi…moreA big chunk of the book reviews the Dionysian Mysteries -- arguing that psychedelics were part of it -- and then continues on to look at early Christianity through the same lens. It also briefly touches upon some pagan and pre-greek evidence for use of psychedelics. (less)

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Thomas Lønn Hammer
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, psychedelic
That just about settles the debate, religious history is soaked in mind expanding drugs, namely, psychedelics. Many of us have had this suspicion, and the mystics have been telling us for millenia, that all of religion is ultimately phenomenologically derived - that is to say, you experience the divine first, and then you may talk about it. You cannot talk your way to God, the map is not the terrain.

I think this is the book that finally tipped the scales for me, I believe various dogmas and bur
Michael O'Loughlin
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Imagine a non-fiction Dan Brown book where the author actually goes to the places and does actual research. Highly reccommend the audiobook as Brian's pronunciation of the greek/latin and other languages adds so much depth to the book. ...more
Nov 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
I detect a degree of confirmation bias.
Arley Matheson
Oct 06, 2020 rated it liked it
I want to like this book more, but Muraresku's myopic fixation on legitimizing early Christianity as some successor to ancient wisdom is too much of a stretch. While praising the "rebel" nature of the Dionysian cult and equating it with early, feminist christian cult, that he never sees the possibility of these connections being artificial- not made up, but manufactured.
The research here is on point, and the valid, in depth look into psychedelics in ancient religions is long overdue, but i just
Nathan Miller
Nov 29, 2020 rated it did not like it
It's an interesting idea but Muraresku is making some enormous leaps that defy all logic. At one point he tries to suggest a link between a skull cult at Gobekli Tepe and a jawbone found at Pontos--two sites which are separated by about 9,000 years. It's insane. There is no link.

Many of his other leaps are actually plausible, but the evidence is just not there. It's annoying how he tortures the English language at every turn to make it sound like he has a strong case, when he has practically not
Anthony M Skelly
Oct 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book reads as though the author started with a conclusion - that the prophets and world religions were heavily influenced by hallucinogenic compounds - and then desperately reverse engineered his conclusion by making the historical pieces fit to his satisfaction. I’m not saying he’s wrong, and I’m not saying I didn’t learn a lot from this book, but if you give this book a shot I encourage you to really listen to and scrutinize some of the jumps he takes to make his narrative make sense. Som ...more
Eric Trotman
First, the notion that the author “has confirmation bias” towards his claim is nonsense because that is literally what the book is about and what it claims, so that’s an absurd criticism.
An extraordinary read, this. First, the author’s narration is great; his voice is pleasant which makes for easy listening.
Anywho, the premise of the book is crazy fascinating and juggles the imagination. The idea that the origins of the Christian Eucharist was a psychedelic cocktail isn’t far fetched, but the ne
Chad Axe
Oct 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read...I have the Audible edition and it is read by the author...very entertaining and enlightening. It really comes down to who was getting stoned at Church and who wasn't. Gnosis comes from the Plants! ...more
May 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
I dont know enough to be critical of this book, but it feels like its reaching, but I could be wrong.

In the Gospel of John, it talks about wine a lot more than in the other Gospels. The author thinks there is something to this that Greek speakers at the time would have understood that we don't. He thinks there is a clear connection between the portrayal of Jesus and the cult of Dionysus, and he shows many parallels between the gospel of John and older Greek writings.

But it wasn't just regular
Oct 28, 2020 rated it liked it
This book in part left me feeling somewhat concerned and disappointed, while other parts were enlightening. First, I noticed the forward to the book was by Mr. Hancock, who has seemed to me before to lean into the realm of pseudoscience. Nonetheless, I read his entry remarks with an open mind. Then I came to a reference to a work by David Lewis-Williams, “The Mind in the Cave”. Briefly, this reference notes that Mr. Lewis-Williams’ studies show that stone age shamans entered altered states of co ...more
Nikita N
Nov 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the or the most influential book of the 21st century.

Could we be blinded all this centuries? Intentionally blinded by the institutions that were supposedly set up to preserve our moral values and connect us with the divine?

Brian Muraresku takes you on a fascinating journey to discover how a religion with no name has influenced the cultural development of humankind since the last ice age til the dawn of christianity. The religion that was based on the concept of practicing to die before y
Nov 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not too bad.

I was initially worried; the foreword and opening chapter led me to think the book would contain only a swath of new age spiritualism, which does not interest me. However, that was not the case. The book, instead, focused more on ancient to medieval history and anthropology around the Mediterranean. The information ranged from interesting Trivial Pursuit factoids, to legitimately fascinating dives into ancient cultural rituals.

The main things that took me out of the book were the aut
Ivan T
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book of 2020. The author Brian takes you along on his 12 year journey to discover the mysteries of the religion with no name, and its one hell of a journey. Cannot recommended this book enough and to Brian thank you for this gem and your hard work and dedication.
Angeli Srirangan
May 16, 2021 rated it it was ok
Was really looking forward to this, but as an audiobook it was just really hard to follow with loads of memoir-like dialogue that I didn’t care about. I found a nice summary of the findings in this Vice article which would’ve saved me 13 hours lol ...more
Steve Greenleaf
Before reading this book I’d listened to a podcast interview between the author, Brian Muraresku, and Jaime Wheal (whose most recent book is on my playlist). In remarking on Muraresku’s book, I recall Wheal describing it as “Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code grown-up” (or words to that effect). And I must say that the comparison is apt. In this book, Muraresku provides an engaging narrative about a bit of an obsession that in 2007 from a chancing upon a magazine article that triggered his recollecti ...more
Pedro Lamas
Jan 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
“If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.”
“People of reason may have to concede that modern science has its limits. Not everything of value can be weighted and measured. People of faith may have to admit that we can no longer afford legend over history, or obedience over curiosity. In a rapidly accelerating world, ‘big religion’ has failed to keep up with a younger generation that prefers fact over fiction. But ‘big science’ and ‘big technology’ may be going too fast, distracting u
William Slachta
Oct 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very good read,another angle of how it could of all started.
John Rymer
I give Brian Muraresku an "A" for enthusiasm, but I gave his book 2 stars.

I was fascinated by Muraresku's discussion of the links between re-historic spiritual rituals, the Greek cult Eleusis, the Greco-Roman cult of Dionysus, and the new proto-religion now known as Christianity. The pagan continuity hypothesis at the heart of this book made sense to me. I'd never thought before about how Christianity developed as an organized religion in the centuries after Jesus' murder. I was satisfied with
Victor Smith
Jan 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Re Christian Origins, this book will blow your mind if it is open enough

Given my Catholic upbringing and a subsequent avoidance of mind-altering drugs, I am amazed that even all considered a book that posed questions like these found in The Immortality Key's description on Amazon: "Did the Ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same, secret tradition?"

That it came with a Foreword by Graham Hancock and was endorsed by Huston Smith, two authors whose work
The Immortality Key is a well-researched book with bold conclusions. The issue is its tone.

Religions, like almost all human constructs, evolve. Any religion's any manifestation at any time and place is likely to be far different from another version at a different place or time. Nobody is shocked or tried to claim otherwise that Christianity of the earliest believers is utterly different from the one practiced by all protestant churches. Similarly, it should not be a surprise if it is entirely d
Feb 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Superb book. Well written and well researched. Is there a "smoking gun" like a mural that said "we are all tripping ballz", No, probably won't happen but we can see with the evidence Muraresku lays out how history is about culture's mixing and building on each other over time. That combined with all the things we know about the power-consolidating injustices of the Christian church make for a compelling story as to why this information was buried for so long. Some of you haven't done psychedelic ...more
Mercer Smith
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Excellent, informative, but perhaps a bit too long. This may have been because I listened to the audiobook version rather than reading it, but it did feel like this slammed on the same point somewhat repetitively, occasionally. That said, I really liked the lines drawn between Dionysus, Jesus and the multiple historical religions.
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Great book and very formal. I love the fact that someone is taking the leap and actually doing this research that many people don’t want to be known for or don’t want to leave themselves vulnerable to being wrong. I’m excited to see what happens after this book and how many seeds it will plant for other people to pick up on the research in this field of history.
Ryan Rice
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
This book does a great job introducing a new concept (to me) through detailed research and explanations. I thought the general theme was fascinating and shows that history is not always what we have been taught in school. Warning that it does dig deep and go down a number a few rabbit holes that were difficult to follow.
Harrison King
Dec 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely fantastic. A landmark book for a modern understanding of the Greek Mysteries, the first Christians, and the important spiritual role drugs have played throughout all human history. Can’t recommend enough.
Josef Cyril Chlachula
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic book. I was quite skeptical going into it and had many objections to the argument. But the further I read, the more of my objections were answered, until in the end nearly all, if not all, were.

The Afterword is very clarifying. The author's measured honesty and skepticism shines through, admitting where conclusive proof is lacking, but nevertheless demonstrating the preeminent plausibility, and even probability, of the thesis.

The amount of synthesized research is staggering. This bo
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Superb book. I didn't expect the ending. Considering this work took 12 years I am very impressed with the authors zeal. A fascinating exploration of the origin of the wine of Christianity . I have always believed in the psychedelic origins of religions. I never believed the hydrocarbons in the cave nonsense. This book makes sense and is proven. ...more
Sara Lynn
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mind thoroughly blown. Will read again and maybe even a 3rd time. I recommend reading Graham Hancock's Supernatural first. This master work picks up the research torch from Hancock, who had carried it after Ruck and Allegro and others were denounced for their ideas. ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting and well researched book. The theme is very complex but the author does a great job explain it.
Despite this, the book has a problem, the same problem of almost every kind of book dealing with a "fringe" theory: a hypothesis from chapter 1 turns into a sure thing in chapter 2 (it is an example). This kind of argumentation is like a house of cards, one thing not working at the beggining turns the core-argument just trash.
Personally, I don´t think there is a line between Eleusis (or any
Oct 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Before I've found the psychedelic hypothosis of the origins of the mysteries to be probable, now, only 20 % into the e-book, I'm completely convinced. It's the only theory that makes sense and can answer for the transforming experience that the prominent pagan figures were reporting on. ...more
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