Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences

Hardcover | December 8, 2015

byWilliam A. Richards

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Sacred Knowledge is the first well-documented, sophisticated account of the effect of psychedelics on biological processes, human consciousness, and revelatory religious experiences. Based on nearly three decades of legal research with volunteers, William A. Richards argues that, if used responsibly and legally, psychedelics have the potential to assuage suffering and constructively affect the quality of human life.

Richards's analysis contributes to social and political debates over the responsible integration of psychedelic substances into modern society. His book serves as an invaluable resource for readers who, whether spontaneously or with the facilitation of psychedelics, have encountered meaningful, inspiring, or even disturbing states of consciousness and seek clarity about their experiences. Testing the limits of language and conceptual frameworks, Richards makes the most of experiential phenomena that stretch our conception of reality, advancing new frontiers in the study of belief, spiritual awakening, psychiatric treatment, and social well-being. His findings enrich humanities and scientific scholarship, expanding work in philosophy, anthropology, theology, and religious studies and bringing depth to research in mental health, psychotherapy, and psychopharmacology.

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From the Publisher

Sacred Knowledge is the first well-documented, sophisticated account of the effect of psychedelics on biological processes, human consciousness, and revelatory religious experiences. Based on nearly three decades of legal research with volunteers, William A. Richards argues that, if used responsibly and legally, psychedelics have the ...

William A. Richards is a clinical psychologist at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center with formal training in theology and comparative religion. Earlier in his career, he pursued psychedelic research at Spring Grove Hospital Center and the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore. His graduate education included studies ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 8, 2015Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231174063

ISBN - 13:9780231174060

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Table of Contents

Foreword, by G. William BarnardPreface: One Discovery of TranscendenceAcknowledgmentsIntroductionNote to the ReaderPart I. Setting the Stage1. The Death and Rebirth of Psychedelic Research2. Orientation, Definitions, and the Limits of Language3. Revelation and DoubtPart II. Mystical and Visionary Forms of Consciousness4. Intuitive Knowledge5. Approaches to Unitive Consciousness6. New Perspectives on Time and Space7. Visions and ArchetypesPart III. Personal and Interpersonal Dynamics8. The Interpersonal and the Mystical9. Experiences of Meaninglessness, Despair, and Somatic Discomfort10. Religious Conversion and Psychodynamic Experiences11. Discipline and Integration12. Reflections on DeathPart IV. Present and Future Applications of Entheogens13. Psychedelic Frontiers in Medicine14. Psychedelic Frontiers in Education15. Psychedelic Frontiers in Religion16. Maximizing the Probability of Safety and BenefitPart V. Onward17. Fears of Awakening18. Entering Into a New Paradigm19. Movement Into the FutureEpilogue: A Concise Report of Insights from the Frontier Where Science and Spirituality Are MeetingSelected BibliographyA Hopkins Playlist for Psilocybin Studies (2008 Version)Name IndexSubject Index

Editorial Reviews

A valuable work and a real treat to read.... Few people could have written Sacred Knowledge and even fewer people could have done it so eloquently.