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

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,576 ratings  ·  104 reviews
Psychedelics for spiritual, therapeutic, and problem-solving use

- Presents practices for safe and successful psychedelic voyages, including the benefits of having a guide and how to be a guide
- Reviews the value of psychedelics for healing and self-discovery as well as how LSD has facilitated scientific and technical problem-solving
- Reveals how ul
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 18th 2011 by Park Street Press
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 ·  1,576 ratings  ·  104 reviews

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Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Does anybody have any acid?
Dec 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
I have absorbed a lot of information concerning psychedelic substances during the past few years. Some sources have taken a scientific approach, full of statistics, surveys, and other assorted data. Others have focused on the spiritual use of these substances, which include direction for practices like meditation, yoga, and breath work. There are also accounts of recreational use, which clearly illustrate the possibilities of both positive and negative outcomes of using and abusing these substan ...more
Nestor Leal
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommended by Kevin Kelly whose work I admire as inventor, writer and founder of Wired magazine. This book is a good compilation of tips, recommendations, research, studies, personal accounts and history of psychedelics. Although a bit repetitive at times it holds a great deal of serious information about these substances and the responsibility of using them as therapeutic and spiritual tools. 

The checklist and tips for the voyager and the guide are really useful. If you are afraid they will gi
Jul 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
It was an interesting book, but I was hoping for much more new information. The vast majority of this book is about the studies done in the early 1960s (about which I think most people interested in entheogens have already read). There was a tiny sliver of newer information, but not enough to build a book around. The newer stuff included, oddly enough, some trip reports the likes of which can be found all over the internet. The cover led me to believe I was getting something other than what I go ...more
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Feels less like a whole book and more like a cobbled together group of essays and articles. I would recommend Pollan's book on psychedelics How to Change Your Mind over this. It covers much of the same ground, in more depth and is better written.
Sara Gray
Nov 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This was an informative (if occasionally dry) series of research reports and essays by Fadiman and other researchers into the therapeutic use of psychedelics. I'll certainly keep this as a practical tool (particularly for the checklists on being a guide), though in my case, this book was already preaching to the choir. It would be a better fit for those in the medical profession, or those newly curious about psychedelics, who need some good straight facts about the safe usage of psychedlics and ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I’ve long been fascinated by various conscious altering substances, whether it be the common ones like alcohol or pot, or others like LSD, ayahuasca, or mescaline . This led me to study more about the war on drugs, the legality of drugs, and the history of drugs. The more I looked, the more blown away I became when I realized none of it made sense - we were creating a problem rather than solving one (see

While studying more about psychedelics specifically, I came across this b
Jun 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Psychedelics as a subject matter remains largely a taboo and is seen in a very demeaning manner since the 60s. The world at large lives with an outdated sense of these medicines.

James Fadiman's book comes as a solid reference point and proof about these chemicals. It includes hardened research, insights and implications of the therapeutic value of psychedelics. Be it treating war veterans for PTSD or treating end-of-life anxiety in Cancer patients the book explores the new wave of psychedelic re
Frank Deschain
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Wow, if anybody is looking into psychedelics of any kind then it would be wise to read this book. Written by a pioneer of LSD research in the 60's, the book is filled with research and personal anecdotes of those who have taken LSD very successfully. It also delves into ayahuasca ceremonies briefly.
It's important for people to be educated about proper use and the various ways in which one's life can be changed for the better. This is one of the best books out there for this purpose. The book c
Oct 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drugs, nonfiction
This is one of those cases where the goodreads rating system doesn't really match the way a book should be rated. Five stars, goodreads tells us, we should interpret as 'this book was amazing'. This book isn't particularly fun to read. It's a book that quite drily chronicles the research that has been done on psychedelic drugs. The subject matter however, is indeed nothing short of amazing, and that's why it deserves five stars. Anyone who is interested in the use of psychedelic drugs for healin ...more
Ralph N
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pharmacology
This was the perfect read after Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind. Fadiman goes over the effects on a myriad of tryptamines, what to expect, and how to guide people through the process so they can gain the most therapeutic value out of their experience. Must-read for any psychonaut enthusiast who wants to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the landscape.
Himanshu Mishra
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The words 'Explorer' and 'Guide' are very crucial to the book's name. There is a fruitful set of recommendations for a productive experience, countless tales, history and research and much more knowledge, which a curious psychedelic explore would want to learn.
Jul 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book makes me angry. Angry to how unreasonable the war on psychedelics is and to how better this world would be.
Teo 2050


Fadiman (2011) (11:37) Psychedelic Explorer's Guide, The - Safe, Therapeutic, and Sacred Journeys


Overview—Why This Book? And Frequently Asked Questions
• Why This Book?
• What This Book Contains
• Frequently Asked Questions

A Vision of a Whole Earth (Stewart Brand)

Part I: Transcendent Experience: Entheogenic Sessions
• Introduction to Part One

01. Meeting the Divine Within – Part One: Guidelines for Voyagers and Guides (The Guild of Guides)
• Why This Materia
Shaaf Matin
May 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Cool informative information. Can’t go wrong for psychonauts to check it out... if it brings you comfort to have a guide do so.... if you know thy self and your limits then in the words of my OG Terrance McKenna the problem ain’t taking too much it’s taking too little.... the teachers shall teach... just surrender 🤣🤣
Steve Woods
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is a really useful and informative book. Even given my own very limited experience with psychedelics it has certainly been my experience that they were very useful to me in dealing with some very perplexing psychological difficulties that plagued me all my life as a result of an abusive childhood. In that instance it was as though I was provided with "sight" which I had never had before, all became clear and a pathway cleared for some progress where once I had been stuck. The rub of course, ...more
Sep 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dr. Fadiman was one of the last legal researchers in the early era of psychedelic research, to have access to the chemical as well as an approved environment for testing. He covers a fair bit of that, as well as familiarity with Ram Dass, Leary, Kesey et. al. And experiments with architects and engineers about problem solving with the chemical. The most interesting developments of late include a trend of what is known as "micro-dosing"- individuals who take minute amounts of the chemical and go ...more
Cynde Moya
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
A lot of direct instructions on how to be guided, and how to guide, an entheogenic session. Plus excellent descriptions of altered states of consciousness. All couched in the author's career studying psychotropics in an academic setting (or not). Regulations are loosening and a lot of (legal) academic and scientific research has been going on recenlty, with some amazing and positive findings for the possibilities for creativity and positive change with careful psychedelic use.
Richard Wu
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Member A suggested the possibility of "awareness kits" to go with special programs about botany and other areas of science… Member D suggested the example of a program on a rose, perhaps looking at it from the standpoints of a botanist, a biologist, a poet, and so on, with the suggested aim of heightening perceptual awareness.
-Ch. 12
"Awareness kit" here encapsulates exactly what, for psychedelics as a general research interest, is Fadiman's book. It begins with a guide on good tripsitting whose
Gian Luigi
Mar 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a very informative and up-to-date book, truly encyclopedic in the wide breadth of information contained. Perhaps the most well rounded book ever written on the topic, this is particularly impressive considering it is not an extremely long read.

The discussion of "micro-dosing" in this book was a first in the dedicated literature and it's now perhaps so important to even constitute a milestone in the history of psychopharmacology.

However, there are a couple of choices Fadiman makes with whi
Dimitris Hall
Michael Pollan in his seminal book How to Change Your Mind recommends this book as a must-read for anyone interested in entheogenic therapy. I love that book, so I just had to dig into the bibliography, as it were.

It covers the full range of topics I would expect to find from such a book -- from correct preparation for sessions, checklists and best practices for sitters (very valuable indeed), to dispelled myths and some backstory (Mr. Fadiman is one of the sacred "dinosaurs" of the field, h
Lee Richardson
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is chalk full of interesting information about psychedelics. Many of the sections and chapters gave me interesting insights, and it was a book where I took many detours to "Google" what he was saying. I wouldn't consider this a "smooth read", as there isn't really a narrative to it. However, it is a good "reference book".

From everything I've seen though, it seems quite stunning that psychedelics are illegal. I am thinking about the Shaman in South America, who was an expert guide, and
Nikita Barabanov
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
James shines when providing a clear and concise guidance on the process of taking psychedelics in a controlled environment.

However, despite his apparent acumen in the subject, as a person who has yet to hopefully have an entheogenic experience, I couldn't decide for myself if he's not too radical in his claims on the subject of spiritual awakening.

Despite, the studies cited in the book, don't pass the scrutiny of scientific inquiry (to the most part due to the governments of the world in denial
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
James Fadiman provides a comprehensive book covering the topic of LSD and other psychedelics. This book contains a great introduction to anyone interested in LSD, whether it be the history of LSD use, to scientific studies, to even conducting a "session" of your own. Fadiman presents the material in a simplistic way that made for an easy read, even within the scientific articles. Additional information is present throughout the book that encourages the reader to contribute personal experiences t ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m not yet a voyager but am curious. So this was more useful than I thought it would be. I paid more attention to the research cited and personal experiences shared than anything else. It does have a checklist and safety protocols for medicinal use, so that’s a plus. I had to take his critiques of the slowness of scientific conclusions with a grain of salt. Hate to break it to you, Fadiman but great claims require great proof, so yea a LOT more mainstream research is needed before any conclusiv ...more
Radek Husek
Feb 23, 2019 rated it liked it
The book is definitely a breakthrough. For someone like me, who has been following the research, there are not hat many surprising and new things. But for a person not knowledgable in psychedelics and their potential, this is, as I said, a breakthrough book. I am planning recommending this book a lot to my friends. What I would say is a negative of the book is definitely the way how it was written. I know it is more of a scientific book, but some decent connecting the various parts and stories w ...more
Mar 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audiobook for this, which I thought was well performed. The last few chapters would probably be easier read vs. listened to because of all of the data. Sounded like they were reading off tables.

The book itself is fantastic. You want anecdotes? There's many. Want data? There's lots of that too. I decided to read this book after many other sources kept referring to the "Fadiman checklist" and I totally understand why they did. Very interesting and comprehensive look into psyched
Mar 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
The title is a bit misleading in my opinion. There's a lot about problem solving in the book, these sessions weren't meant to be therapeutic or sacred. The reports are a bit too detailed and technical for me. I'm no physics expert, you may enjoy it if you are.

All in all it's a great resource for people who want to have or guide a psychedelic trip. The potential for creative problem solving is illustrated nicely. I hope someone will pick up where he and his colleagues left off after they where s
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent Book or Guide if you will.

If you have healthy respectful reasons this could be a life changer for folks (hopefully for me)

This is not some tom-foolery (yeas I said tom foolery) about getting hella high on psychedelics
without regard to set and setting and where the medicines came from.

I did that nonsense in high school - it was not spiritual or therapeutic. It was just dumb and scary and could not wait to come down tbh.

But if this could shift low grade constant depression - that could
David Parker
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After having read "How to Change Your Mind" earlier this year, along with trying psychedelics for the first time, I've grown quite interested in this field.

I think this book is excellent in the research it presents, and provides both pros and cons to the experience. I definitely think anyone who wants to make the journey should read this book and gather ideas about why they want to make this journey, and how to do it in the safest, best possible way, in order to gain the insights they desire.
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James Fadiman is an American psychologist and writer. He is acknowledged for his extensive work in the field of psychedelic research.
Fadiman received a Bachelor of Social Relations from Harvard University and a Master's degree and Ph.D in Psychology from Stanford University.
While in Paris in 1961, his friend and former Harvard undergraduate adviser, Ram Dass, introduced him to psychedelics.

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