Epilogue

Above: In Huichol, the term nierika ieters to a portway between so-called ordinary and non-ordinary realities. IT is a passageway and, at the same ime, a barrier between worlds. Nierika, a decorated ceremonial disk, is also E":d to mean "mirror" as well as "face of the deity." This nierika shows the four cardinal directions and the sacred center. The coordinating axis is placed .in a fieid of fiie.

Above: In Huichol, the term nierika ieters to a portway between so-called ordinary and non-ordinary realities. IT is a passageway and, at the same ime, a barrier between worlds. Nierika, a decorated ceremonial disk, is also E":d to mean "mirror" as well as "face of the deity." This nierika shows the four cardinal directions and the sacred center. The coordinating axis is placed .in a fieid of fiie.

One of the leading lights of the interdisciplinary investigations of hallucinogens was Louis Lewin, the famous Berlin toxicologist. More than a half a century ago, he captured the all-pervading significance of hallucinogens to the cultural evolution of the human race when he wrote in his book Phantastica,

"From the beginning of our knowledge of man, we find him consuming substances of no nutritive value but taken for the sole purpose of producing for a certain time a feeling of contentment, ease, and comfort. . .

"Their potential energy has covered the whole earth and established communication between various races, in spite of dividing mountains and sundering seas. These substances have formed a bond of union between men of opposite hemispheres, the uncivilized and the civilized; they have forced passages which, once open, proved of use for other purposes: they produced in ancient races characteristics which have endured to the present day, evidencing the marvelous degree of intercourse that existed between different people just as certainly and as exactly as a chemist can judge the relations of two substances by their reactions. Hundreds or thousands of years were necessary to establish contact between whole nations by these means . . ,

"The motives for the occasional or habitual use of these drugs are of greater interest than collection of facts concerning them. Here all kinds of human contrasts meet: barbarism and c 'Tilization, with all their various degrees of material possessions, social status, knowledge, belief, age and gifts of body, mind, and soul.

"On this plane meet artisan and sybarite, ruler and subject; the savage from some distant island or from the Kalahari Desert associates with poet, philosophers, scientists, misanthropes, and phi lanthropists; the man of peace rubs shoulders with the man of war, the devotee with the atheist.

"The physical impulses which bring under their spell such diverse classes of mankind must be extraordinary and far-reaching. Many have expressed opinions about them, but have probed and understood their intrinsic properties, and fewer still perceived the inner-most significance and the motives for the use of substances in which such energies are stored."

Several early scientific investigators can be credited with beginning the interdisciplinary research on hallucinogenic plants and psychoactive substances In 1855, Ernst Freiherr von Bibra published Die narkotischen Genussmittel und der Mensch, in which he considered some seven teen psychoactive plants. He urged chemists to study diligently an area so promising and so full of enigmas. Mordecai Cooke, a British mycologist, published a number of specialized papers on fungi. His only popular, nontechnical publication, The Seven Sisters of Sleep, was an interdisciplinary study of psychoactive plants, published in 1860.

Half a century after von Bibra's work and undoubtedly sparked by it, another outstanding book appeared. Carl Hartwich's extensive Die menschlichen Genussmittel, published in 1911, considered at length and with an interdisciplinary

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