Often regarded as “the brain’s own psychedelic,” the psychoactive compound DMT is most commonly known as the active component in ayahuasca. But DMT has its own history, left untold until now. Cultural anthropologist Graham St John, PhD, presents the first and only cultural history of DMT in “Mystery School in Hyperspace,” available on North Atlantic Books.
Since the mid-1950s, the psychoactive compound DMT has attracted the attention of experimentalists and prohibitionists, scientists and artists, alchemists and hyperspace emissaries. While most known as a crucial component of the “jungle alchemy” that is ayahuasca, DMT is a unique story unto itself. Until now, this story has remained untold. Mystery School in Hyperspace is the first book to delve into the history of this substance, the discovery of its properties, and the impact it has had on poets, artists, and musicians.
In his new book, St John covers DMT’s infusion into Western culture: the CIA were vested in its psychotogenic effects, while artists like Burroughs, Ginsberg, the Grateful Dead, Alex Grey, and Shpongle were motivated by its psychedelic effects. Scientists like Timothy Leary and Rick Strassman studied its psychopharmacological and phenomenological significance, and stand-up philosopher Terence McKenna, enthused by the discovery that DMT is naturally present in many plants, animals, and the human brain itself, became its global emissary.
Featuring thirty color illustrations from artists like Beau Deeley, Alex Grey, Android Jones, Martina Hoffman, and many others, “Mystery School in Hyperspace” also covers current speculations about DMT’s role as a gateway to higher dimensional consciousness. The debate surrounding the implications of the so-called “spirit molecule” continues today among explorers of all backgrounds—scientists, psychonauts, theologians, artists and festival-goers alike. Weaving together neurochemistry, aesthetics, spirituality, technology, ethnobotany, and more, St John traces the effect of DMT’s release into our cultural bloodstream, and invites readers to join the ongoing exploration.
The book has garnered a variety of praise. “Graham St John’s book on DMT untangles the threads of this holy molecule, from anthropological antiquity to labs in Hungary, from hipster soothsayers to visionary art at festivals, including some of the best descriptions of the wonderfully weird tryptamine worlds inside all of us. Read ‘Mystery School in Hyperspace’ and appreciate the miracle in our midst,” states Alex Grey, artist, and author of “Net of Being.”
“Combining the breadth of a scholar, the savvy of an underground journalist, and the open spirit of a radical empiricist, Graham St John has written the definitive cultural history of the weirdest molecule on the planet (and in your body). ‘Mystery School in Hyperspace‘ tells amazing tales, sheds light on the shadows, and brilliantly referees the ongoing psychoactive rumble between the sacred and profane,” states Erik Davis, author of “Techgnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information.”
“Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT” is available in bookstores and you can learn more at http://www.northatlanticbooks.com.
About North Atlantic Books:
North Atlantic Books (NAB) is an independent, nonprofit publisher committed to a bold exploration of the relationships between mind, body, spirit, and nature. Founded in Berkeley, California, in 1974, NAB aims to nurture a holistic view of the arts, sciences, humanities, and healing. Over the decades, it has been at the forefront of publishing a diverse range of original books in alternative medicine, ecology, and spirituality, with a pioneering publishing program that encompasses somatics, trauma, raw foods, craniosacral therapy, shamanism, and literature. NAB was incorporated as an educational nonprofit in 1980 as the Society for the Study of Native Arts and Sciences.