DRCNet Homepage | Sign on to DRCNet

Contents | Feedback | Search

DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library

The Psychedelic Library | Book Menu | Contents

  The Man Who Turned on the World

    Michael Hollingshead

        5.   The Millbrook Happenings


    Although the world of Millbrook may seem nonsensical by rational standards to the outside world it was merely another way of saying reason is not enough. We lived out a myth which had not yet been integrated into our personalities. Millbrook was itself the work of art, or a mirror, or simply something going fast like a watch, some time. Like Kafka's castle, it gave out messages into the ether in the form of one high resonant sound which vibrated on the ears of the world as if it were trying to penetrate beyond the barrier separating 'us' from 'them'. We felt satisfied that our goals were every man's, a projection of every man's private ambition. We sought for that unitary state of divine harmony, an existence in which only the sense of wonder remains and all fear gone. Here was a philosophy of TO BECOME in which appear bits of Vedanta and bits of popular pantheism, bits of the Tao and bits of the Ching.

    In the Fall of 1964 I arrived at Millbrook. Leary and Alpert, who had proclaimed themselves the International Foundation for Internal Freedom (IFIF), had had to leave Zihuatanejo, Mexico, where they had set up a training centre for people using LSD. They got back to New York and started looking for an alternative base somewhere in the States. The solution to their problem came in the form of a sixty-four-room mansion on a 2000-acre walled estate within two hours motoring distance of the city. They had rented the estate from the young millionaire Billy Hitchcock, at a nominal rent more or less—$500 a month.
    The mansion was empty when they and their tiny followship arrived, but it was the ideal place for them to be; it was secluded and spacious and not entirely lacking in antiquated charm. It had been built in the 1890s to the rather bizarre architectural specifications of the German-born gas-lamp magnate, Charles F. Dieterich, who christened his country seat 'Daheim'.
    The spires and turrets pointing above the trees into a clear open sky, 'Daheim' looked, at first glance, like the creation of some neo-baroque American King Ludwig. In addition to the main building, there was an out-building that consisted of a downstairs bowling alley and a large fireplace room upstairs. It was built in the style of a Bavarian chalet and had a little verandah from which access to the roof was easy. There was also a lodge house at the entrance to the estate, in which Maynard Fergusson and his beautiful wife Flo lived with their children.
    Millbrook was the headquarters of the Castalia Foundation, so named after the intellectuals' colony in Hermann Hesse's book Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game), the last and finest novel by Hermann Hesse, the story of which is set in the Alpine province of Kastalien around the year 2400. In this emotionally chill utopian future, isolated from the mass of population, the elite monastic Castalian Order displays its intellectual mastery through the ritualised game of glass beads, a game encompassing all human knowledge.

'The pattern sings like crystal constellations,
And when we tell our beads, we serve the whole,
And cannot be dislodged or misdirected,
Held in the orbit of the Cosmic Soul.'

    Tim was greatly interested in the writings of Hesse, but at this time, it was the glass bead game that held him under its hermetic spell… Joseph Knecht ('servant'), hero of the novel, rises to be a Magister Ludi, the High Priest of the Castalian Order. Gradually he becomes dissatisfied with the exclusive and esoteric nature of those who play the game, for the rules of the game had evolved into an astonishing complexity:
'These rules, the sign language and grammar of the Game, constitute a kind of highly developed secret language drawing upon several sciences and arts, but especially mathematics and music.... The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture.... All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual property—on all this immense body of intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ… (the Game represents) an elite, symbolic form of seeking for perfection, a sublime alchemy, an approach to that Mind which beyond all images and multiplicities is one within itself in other words, to God.' [Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, tr. by Richard and Clara Winston, Jonathan Cape, 1970, p. 14ff.]

    Knecht left the rarefied world in which he performed with such eminence and resolved to fashion a link between Castalia and the outside world. After making this decision, Knecht fortuitously drowns in an Alpine lake with his protégé, a misfortune that yet points a precedent for action, as the protégé feels henceforth, life will 'demand much greater things of him than he had ever before demanded of himself'.
    Tim thought most people missed the real message of Hesse, himself the member of the Hermetic Circle; entranced by the pretty dance of words and theme, they overlook the seed message, for Hesse, in the spirit of Mercurious, is a trickster. Like nature in April, he dresses up his code in fancy plumage. The literary reader picks the fruit, eats quickly, and tosses the core to the ground. But the seed, the electrical message, the code, is in the core. The seed meaning is within, concealed behind the net of symbols. Millbrook's Castalia Foundation was its own 'sublime alchemy', and its own High Priest in Timothy Leary, who saw in Hesse's story of the Castalian Order, both an inspiration and a warning against constricting rigidity.
'Groups which attempt to apply psychedelic experiences to social living will find in the story of Castalia all the features and problems which such attempts inevitably encounter: the need for a new language or set of symbols to do justice to the incredible complexity and power of the human cerebral machinery; the central importance of maintaining direct contact with the regenerative forces of the life-process through meditation or other methods of altering consciousness; the crucial and essentially insoluble problem of the relation of the mystic community to the world at large. Can the order remain an educative, spiritual force in the society, or must it degenerate through isolation and inattention to a detached, alienated group of idealists ?' [Timothy Leary and Ralph Metzner, The Psychedelic Renew, Cambridge, Mass., Vol. 1, No. 2, Fall 1963, p. 179.]

    For those of us who comprised the household, Millbrook was simply 'a house', in the sense that a house is also a home. We lived as a community of people who had accepted a certain way of living, which had rules and goals, shared by all. We felt that our life-style was a creative solution to the problems of living in the cinematic, labour-saving world. We wanted to explore our spiritual individuality, discover our secret life within, but also to test the validity of our search by means of living and loving and sharing with other people in close community. It was some kind of heightened feeling of self, combined with movement, a natural and instinctive reaction in such a setting, the light, the landscape, an all-pervading tactile quality about the place, the texture and the music of natural surroundings, created a corresponding ambiance of colour, affective tonality, and seriousness in our minds. Here we could travel into our own minds, to remote and hitherto inaccessible realms within. We sought the god who inhabits each and every man. We took this lofty house and turned it into a small stepping stone.
    Elevated or metaphoric levels of consciousness have been sought by a few men in each generation. The possibility of transcendence has attracted the thoughts of men throughout the ages. The visionary experience has coloured the visions of a few Western thinkers, and has been recorded by many Eastern mystics. It is described in the seventh book of Plato's Republic and mapped in the Bhagavad Gita and The Tibetan Book of the Dead. For the most part, Western psychology has ignored the possibilities of mind-expansion and has become almost entirely externally oriented. During the last hundred years particularly we have gained an incredible expertise in manipulating the objective environment while simultaneously setting up barriers against the exploration of the internal. This imbalance between the outer and inner creates an over-emphasis on action and aggressive behaviour, and a neglect of the fundamental question of what consciousness is.
    Everything is internal. Everything happens in the mind. At Millbrook we wanted to develop a methodology to guide us in our journey within. In the West our most ready metaphors are neurological. At Millbrook we wanted to substitute a more apposite imagery. We wished to confront the realities of our nervous system, not in a clinical but in a creative setting. To overcome the superstitious dread of 'tampering with the mind' we set out to learn the language of inner space. Can this internal language be understood? The problem is phenomenological. To go into external space we have to overcome gravitational inertia. By analogy, our ego spins around inside the mind compelling us to be tied to its field of gravity. Transcendental experience is the only escape from the prison imposed by the ego. It is the Saturn rocket that boosts us into a more differentiated and freer space. Yet so far from LSD being the withdrawal of the mind from reality, it has enabled people to appreciate the authentic beauty of what we understand by objective reality.
    In the early days at Harvard we didn't know much about this. We knew enough not to impose rules, roles, rituals on the brain of another; enough to plan sessions beforehand in an open way, to remove any fears a person might have that he was going to have an experience put over him. And while we knew not to get people out of their minds, we had to find a way to bring them back. It was like having no equipment to plot re-entry. Millbrook was an attempt to bring people back in a position to sustain their spiritual transformation. And while we drew on the collective wisdom of the great mystical texts we were not attempting a crude transplant. We desired a coalescence of Eastern insights and Western intelligence. A combination, for example, of the Tantra and Western psychology.
    Regularly the permanent members of the household would participate in group sessions, using LSD, and we would take it in turns to plan these. Fourteen people would turn on together. The appointed guide would be responsible for the music, the tapes, the readings, the lights. In one of these run by Dick Alpert, we agreed not to speak for three hours, but to wholly give ourselves in responding to the input. Dick read from Meher Baba, the celebrated Indian mystic who ceased to speak on July 10, 1925 and communicated, through disciples, by means of an alphabet board:
'The sole purpose of creation is that the soul should be able to enjoy the Infinite state of the Over-soul (Paramatman) consciously. Although the soul eternally exists in and with the Oversoul in an inviolable unity, it cannot be conscious of this unity independently of the creation which is within the limitations of time. It must, therefore, evolve consciousness before it can realise its true status and nature as being identical with the Infinite Over-soul, which is One without a second.' [Meher Baba, 'The Divine Theme for Meditation', cited in C. B. Purdom, The Perfect Master, Williams and Norgate, London, 1937, p. 309.]

    After three hours we looked in the little hand mirrors we had all been supplied with before the session and watched the various physiognomic metamorphoses. For some people it was like entering the world of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray watching 'in the dim light the hideous face on the canvas' and realising, like Dorian, that 'each of us has Heaven and Hell in him'. Some had a horrific experience of seeing their faces melting or turning bright orange or red or green.
    In fact these paranoid symptoms are described in the Tibetan mystical writings where they are hallucinations of devils. In Tibetan tanka paintings fearful dragons with huge red eyes belch flame and smoke from their nostrils. These are images of energy that exist in the mind. Under the session conducted by Dick we also saw the snake, which is the coiled DNA, the Kundalini serpent which lies at the base of the spine. Once released it fills the mind and heart with light. Unprepared for such images they create fear and terror. As we became more sophisticated with the use of drugs and studied the mystics we could deal with the images. We saw them as mandalas, as screens of energy. By suspending analysis we were able to pass through the screens. We noticed that in the centre of all these images is a black hole, the vortex of mystical works. By focusing on this swirling, sucking void we moved through its entrance to the other kingdom. The blind spot in the centre of each mandala is recognised by Tibetan monks as a device to reach transcendence. It comes to life and triggers off archetypal images. We learned to move through the mandala to Nirvana, the state of absolute bliss.
    In our hand mirrors we saw former selves, lives past, and lives we might yet live in the present. And in this session with a dosage of 800 gamma LSD (justified because of the secure supportive system) we saw the multiple facets of our potential. Indeed, 'it might be proposed that what we encounter here is an activation of the phylogenetic inheritance.' [R. E. L. Masters and Jean Houston, The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, Anthony Blond, London, 1967, p. 217] I had experiences of living in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and of living in India 2000 years ago. I also dissolved into a very old man, receded into a young man, spun and shrunk into a baby being born.
    After five hours we still had not started to verbalism We silently prepared for the period of re-entry. Here daily consciousness is slowly intruding and our conceptual mind perceives it with all its inhibitions, its whole pathology of content.
'So far you have been searching for your past personality.
Unable to find it, you may begin to feel that you will never be the same again,
That you will come back a changed person.
Saddened by this you will feel self-pity,
You will attempt to find your ego, to regain control.
So thinking you will wander here and there,
Ceaselessly and distractedly.'
            (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)

    At peak experience the being is filled with love, joy and ecstasy; under LSD it is impossible to think of killing anything. On reentry we would try to choose who we wanted to be. If we were to return from spiritual heights we wanted to do so changed, still possessed of love and radiance. This was the point of the session, but none of us really managed it. The re-entry periods we wanted to freeze were elusive.
    Dick's session was followed by a walk in the woods, a silent exercise in looking. And after experiencing the sensuous impact of the grass, and the trees, and the animals we went back to the house and prepared a meal of rice and tamara, wine and cheese, and we began to speak to each other.

    We also played behavioural games with each other, accumulating evidence to test various hypotheses. As an example, in June 1965 we had all been studying Gurdjieff's Meetings With Remarkable Men, Ouspensky's The Fourth Way, and Orage's Psychological Exercises. Gurdjieff maintained that most people sleepwalk their waking hours away, and saw his own role as that of an alarm clock to wake people from this diurnal somnambulism. To test this we planned a Self-Remembering game. It started at 9.00 a.m. and, in an arbitrary sequence, a bell would ring four times an hour throughout the day. The bell was the signal for us to stop and record what we were doing at the time. Under the heading EXTERNAL we answered the questions Where are you? and What game are you playing? Under the heading CONSCIOUSNESS we answered the questions When? (i.e. Past, Present, Future), Where? and What game? As the house was full of behaviourists this seemed a normal thing to do.

    Tim's wedding to 'the beautiful blonde Swedish model' Nena Von Schlebrugge took place six weeks after I had moved into my upstairs room at Millbrook. It was a radiant morning and we were up early to welcome the guests, most of whom drove up from New York. The marriage service was held in the Episcopal church in the village of Millbrook in the early afternoon and afterwards we returned to the estate where we had arranged a Swedish-style buffet in all the downstairs rooms of Castalia, so guests could wander around the house eating delicacies. I had met most of the guests individually, or in small groups, but this was the first really big gathering of assorted heads. There were some 150 of us, all high on LSD, or pot, or both. It was a brilliant festive occasion with everyone dressed up so brightly that it was like watching an idyllic pageant from Elizabethan England. Most of the girls had dazzling ornaments over Indian saris. They held flowers and seemed to glitter in an extraordinary delicacy. The men wore robes and brightly coloured costumes—harlequin pants, richly textured jackets, sumptuous shirts. To view them on the lawn from the roof of the bowling alley was to peep into a kaleidoscopic garden party of glorious humanity. Castalia had been transformed into a palace and it embraced this ceremony.
    It was one of those days when everyone was happy and joyous and loving. Felicities filled the air. Charlie Mingus played his bass, Maynard Fergusson cogitated on his trumpet, and other musicians joined in to produce an elegant weaving series of improvisations. Don Snyder took a wonderfully sympathetic series of photographs.
    Before Tim and Nena left for New York to catch the plane to New Delhi for their first visit to India there was a receiving line and we all filed past with our presents. Psychedelic presents of course. Some gave hashish, some gave bags of excellent grass. Some gave mushrooms. A snuff box of cocaine. A quantity of LSD. The entire range of mind-expanding substances were proffered to the newly-weds, and all the while people were turning on. When Tim and Nena left we carried on with the celebrations into the dawn, and watched the sun edging over the horizon as the earth heaved over and took us into another day.
    Tim was away for more than a month, during which time we sent him messages about what we were doing. Tapes would arrive at New Delhi via American Express and would be taken up to Tim and Nena, about a mile away in Almora.

'Dear Tim and Nina. We're missing you very much. We've been studying the works of Meher Baba, particularly his book God Speaks and we find this fundamental to our journey. We've also been reading Rene Daumal's Mount Analogue and our souls are climbing the mountain. Our bodies too: we've built our own mountain from chicken wire and plaster of paris, and we've painted routes and markings on this mountain, a metaphoric statement of where we're at, all climbing the mountain together. We ran seven sessions last week. Some wonderful. Jacky and Susan are very well. Jack is doing well at school, making new friends who he brings round to watch the deer in the park. Susan has been learning to bake. On Tuesday some of us went to Salvador Dali's birthday party at the St. Regis hotel. We were all dressed up, wearing ski masks, each with a different musical instrument. They were about to throw us out when they discovered we were Dali's guests. Gabi gave Dali his pet iguana for a present. Later, when Dali took us to the Stork Club for a meal, he paid and left the iguana on the table as a tip. We are sending you some LSD by next mail, to c/o American Express, New Delhi. Enough for forty trips. Love from Millbrook.'

    Gabi, the photographer, had entered Millbrook during the time Tim and Nena were away, a period when we spent a lot of time working on multi-media techniques. The genesis of the multimedia show 'Psychedelic Theatre' came about when, late one evening, Arnie Hendin arrived at Millbrook with his girl, Lois. He was a very active person, tall with a little beard and long hair. He told me he was a photographer. None of us had thought much about using photography in sessions, but Arnie mentioned it as a possibility and asked if he could show me some of his slides. He set up two projectors in the session room, selected some music, and we took some LSD. Then he began to manipulate the projector to inform his photographs with a dynamic quality. Inexorably I was caught up in this dance of the fixed image. It was a weird mosaic of visual rhythm, pulsating vibrating colour. Arnie used our huge mirrors to reflect his slides and bounced them round the room. He took them in and out of focus, blended photographs together, and used this controlled agitation in uncanny counterpoint with the music. These pictures were real! I lived in them. A shot of the East Village, New York, would come so alive that I could see the sounds, sense the smells, watch the people move. At times I had to avoid the traffic. Suddenly Arnie switched to a pastoral scene of an old New England barn, and the mood changed abruptly. He had a triangular arrangement of three mirrors which he put in front of the lens to break the image up into multiple facets. Taking the slides out of focus he elevated shapes to forms, and then reduced these to primal blobs of chaotic colour. It anticipated Stanley Kubrik's psychedelic continuum in 2001 when the space pod enters the visionary atmosphere of Jupiter. I felt Arnie had visually duplicated the early stages of the LSD experience. Words had never been equal to the ineffable. These graceful gymnastics of colour which Arnie had produced, by sheer artistry, were the apotheosis of distraction.
    He was a magician—not only a technically brilliant photographer, but a being possessed of mysterious creative powers, able to utilise new forms of energy. He had understood that LSD is a non-verbal, visionary experience. An intensity of seeing whether the eyes are opened or closed. Arnie had changed our session room from the inside of a cigar box to the inside of a diamond.
    I asked him if there were any other photographers who were his peers in these realms.
    'Yes,' Arnie said. 'There is Gabi. He comes from Detroit like me and came to New York to take up a scholarship at the Cooper Union. Gabi spent one day looking round the place and decided it was not for him. He lives in a small basement in the lower East Village.'
    I had to go into New York the following day to pick up a Tibetan monkey which had been gifted to us. Why not see Gabi then ? Arnie told me the address, but asked about the monkey. I explained that the Tibetan monkey had been destined for the Baltimore zoo, but had been rejected by the zoo. The donors were friends of the Fergussons and suggested to them that the Castalia Foundation could have it if we wanted. Of course, we did. So I was to drive in and pick it up from an animal emporium just off Broadway, near Wall Street.
    I drove into New York next morning in the Ford station wagon we had, and went first to see Gabi. He was seated at a table in his basement sticking coloured polo mints on to a discarded car axle. Quite naturally he showed me a champagne glass with broken polo mints stuck around the base. Then a silver spoon hanging from a string in a box with the coloured sweets stuck on to it. After a period spent looking at these and similar creations Gabi introduced me to his animals. He had a pet iguana, a pet crow, a pet mouse. Later on the crow ate the mouse, and the iguana freaked the crow by doing something the crow could not do—blink! It was this same iguana that ended up on a table in the Stork Club as the Salvador Dali tip.
    Gabi was a six footer, with long blond hair, and the largest blandest eyes I had ever seen. He looked a bit like Lewis Carroll. I suggested he come out to Millbrook, but told him that first I had to pick up the Tibetan monkey. Would he help me as obviously he had a way with animals ? Certainly he would, but if we were going on to Millbrook he wanted to take his animals. Gabi put on his head the northern hemisphere from a metal atlas, and we boxed the mouse, and put the iguana in a cage. Gabi felt that a trip to the financial district might so upset the iguana that it might bite, and we didn't want that. The crow, however, was not nearly so sensitive so we let if fly above the station wagon and follow us to the Wall Street district.
    We got into the emporium without incident, and the crow still hung about the station wagon. The monkey, about two-and-a-half feet high with snowy white eyebrows and beard, was put into a huge cage. Gabi said he could speak to animals, so I carried the cage and he carried the monkey. So we walked back to the station wagon, an extraordinary trinity—me in my raccoon coat and tam o'shanter, Gabi with half of the world on his head, and the Tibetan monkey completely at home in Gabi's arms. From the looks on the faces of passers-by it seemed as if a whole section of New York had freaked out! Rush hour took on a new meaning.
    As soon as we got back to Millbrook everyone wanted to see some of Gabi's psychedelic magic. He installed the animals and then set up projectors, as Arnie had done. We were soon transfixed by the beauty, dazzling colour, and unique insights performed by Gabi with light and colour. The magicians were taking over. And we liked it.
    This development led to other groups coming. Probably the most important was USCO—'US company'—three performers from the artists' colony at Woodstock, N.Y. The group comprised Gerd Stein, poet and former Playboy correspondent; Steve Durkee, previously a pop artist; and Michael Callahan, an electronics technician. USCO communicated through a multichannel media mix, a psychedelic orchestra of film, colour slides, kinetic sculpture, strobe lights, and live actors. They had developed a system of linking all projectors to one control manual. With this ability to control all visual effects from one source they used techniques of spinning sound from one speaker to another. This, in conjunction with the images, seemed to us to offer an exciting dramatic possibility, a unique form of theatre. A performance where the audience would be involved intimately in the field of action, participating.
    At Millbrook we did not isolate ourselves hermetically from the world outside, but wished to contribute to and reflect something of the spirit of our time. Our Psychedelic Theatre or 'Tranart' (transcendental art) did not arise like a diversion or arrive like a gilded Pavlova. It grew out of alembic of creative minds, from aspects of personal experiences of living. We continually exposed ourselves to novel departures in our conceptual, label-making process and tried to get rid of ideas of what art must necessarily be.
    In the case of the Psychedelic Theatre we suspended the general assumption that Theatre is concerned solely with formal, fixed construction like the plays of Ibsen. We wanted to avoid the mistake tacitly committed by both spectator and artist of submitting to a mental trap of knowing what is expected of them. The Psychedelic Theatre arose out of something like the cave-paintings of primitive man interested in constructing a piece of reality from the flux. It was a theatre of controlled spontaneity, offered not as a virtuoso performance by a signature-artist, but as a sensory embrace.
    The first public psychedelic event ever performed was at the Village Vanguard jazz club in Greenwich Village on Monday, April 5, 1965. Those taking part were myself, Dick Alpert, Alan Watts, Charlie Mingus, Pete La Roca, Steve Swallow, Charlie Lloyd, Ralph Metzner, Susan Leary, Mario (a dancer), and Bjoern Von Schlegrugge as stage manager in charge of the electronic equipment.
    I introduced the event thus:
'Our purpose in being here is to expand our awareness. To assimilate and to see aspects of the psychedelic consciousness. To observe the phenomena of inner space. This is the Magic Theatre. By magic we mean the phenomena of everyday life through which we pass most of our time asleep. Tonight we shall be mixing auditory and visual phenomena. The brain is capable of processing all this data. It will see different images moving in a random/planned fashion. Sound tracks, some of which have been cut up, will be heard. Films and light will perform. All you have to do is focus on one point. And then you will see the rest. Diversity will be unity. But do not try to understand. The brain will do all that later. Here you will have 10,000 visions. So sit back and relax. Extend yourself to an aesthetic distance. You may have the opportunity of leaving your body. Leaving your mind. You are going on a voyage. The price of admission is your mind. For if you attempt to analyse and conceptualise you will cheat yourself of the opportunity to see things in a fresh manner.'

    Then I read:
Is it a dream ?
All things
All images
Move slowly
Shimmering nets
Essence endures
From here
All forms emerge
All forms
From this second
Back to the ancient beginning
            (Tao Sutra 21)

    And we began. The impact of this event is perhaps best appreciated from the review in the New York Times of Sunday, April 11, 1965:
'Tamara, her blonde hair falling to her baggy white pyjamas, was passing out Tibetan incense.
    ' "That's because it's delightful," she explained.
    'The patrons who jammed the 123-seat basement jazz club accepted the offerings with an equally earnest mysticism, for they had come to experience the debut of the Psychedelic Theatre—a simulated "session" with the consciousness expanding drug Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, or LSD.
    'It was "speakout" night at the Village Vanguard… last week an LSD symposium transcended the merely verbal because, as a grave young man backed by a throbbing bass declaimed, "Our limited lexicography, with its procrustean subject-object limitations cannot communicate this experience."
    'Darkness. Up tempo bass. Lights flash through the audience; slides flash on a sheet: Mount Rushmore, biological specimen, Buddha sliding in and out of focus. Drums and a clarinet pick up the rhythm. Tamara, accompanied by Tasha, a thin, haunted-looking young man also in baggy whites; they dance, not quite to a twist, with Siamese arm motions. Later, more dancing, to the Beatles, while a flickering blue light seems to stop the motion into jerks.... A noise like three monotone bears trapped in a sewer, transforming itself into an oriental fluting, bonging and chanting. A movie of a frog embryo in a glass bowl, evolving rotating and flipping to a cool jazz score, while a voice quietly intones universal truths and insights: "… muddy water cannot be fathomed."
    'A hundred would-be experiencers were turned away, business at the bar was slow, and the audience was rapt and curiously split. "There's an awful lot of uptowners here," muttered a hostile hipster, glowering at a section of Wednesday matinee women.
    'There was a scattering of ageing beards, but the other face was that of youth, sure of its terminology—"Cosmic consciousness", "re-entry", and "set".
    'Some matched the religious fervour of the performers, residents of a Millbrook, N.Y. "utopian colony" who soberly passed out jelly beans and balloons during intermission.'

    As well as passing out jelly beans (which some of the audience imagined, with delight or apprehension, depending on their attitude, to be treated with LSD) we gave Dick Alpert a spot. He sat on a stool and began telling funny stories about his experiences at Harvard, about his early experiences with his millionaire father, and how this world now seemed several light years away. The audience laughed uproariously at Dick's stories and, after the show, the owner of the Vanguard, Max, came up to Dick.
    'You are a natural-born comedian. Would you like to try a week here as a comedian, doing what you did tonight?'
    Dick said he would try it.
    A couple of weeks later Dick took up the offer. Unfortunately only half a dozen people were watching him and they were boozy and incapable of understanding Dick. Apart from myself, who accompanied Dick to New York for his 'gig', and some friends, no one got the point of his humour. It simply seemed crazy to them that a man could jeopardise an enviable family security and a top academic job to live as Dick was doing then. It was clear to us that for Dick's jokes to be understood everyone had to be high.
    Subsequent to the Village Vanguard evening we set up a regular Monday night series of 'Psychedelic Explorations' at the New Theatre, East Fifty-Fourth Street, in collaboration with USCO. There would be lectures, psychedelic improvisations, discussions, performances by the Castalia Foundation and USCO, and finally an informal question-and-answer period. The idea was that the Psychedelic Theatre would illustrate and amplify the themes discussed in the lectures which in turn supplied the theoretical background necessary for an understanding of the new techniques of audio-olfactory-visual alteration of consciousness. Our other main forum was the Coda Galleries in the East Village. This opened in April 1965 and acted as a salon for exhibitions, discussions and demonstrations. It proved immensely successful and on one occasion some 6000 Villagers tried to cram into the sixty-five-person capacity gallery to hear a panel of psychologists and artists discuss the value of chemically-induced transcendence for artists. The Coda's director, Ray Crossen, also sponsored the 'Theatre of the Ridiculous' and many poetry-readings in which I took part. There is no question but that the work we did at that time in New York has been seminal in the development of kinetic and optical art, the new cinema, and freer forms of theatre. It opened up a whole vista of new entertainment possibilities. Arnie Hendin, who had suggested so much of this potential growth on his first evening at Millbrook, was by now developing into a one-man theatrical event; as three Yale psychologists were shortly to find out.

    So involved had we been in the Psychedelic Theatre and so closely had we communicated with Tim in India that it seemed like days not months had passed when he eventually returned with Nena. After the preliminary salutations of welcome, Tim made it very clear that he had mainly learned from India that all fire and metals should be kept underground. 'The great work of the future,' he said, 'will be to return fire and metal back to earth. This will be a work of joy. All works of destruction involve fire and metal. We must overcome them. In future we will separate our garbage into metallic and non-metallic substances. All the metal must be buried.'
    I took it upon myself to bury all the empty tin cans by sticking them upside-down into the footpath through the garden. So we would walk on the metal and it would eventually subside into the earth.
    Tim began to take up his psychological work with some intensity and announced one morning that three senior Yale psychologists were coming to see around Millbrook that afternoon. Tim wanted this to be a serious exchange of ideas so he asked Arnie Hendin—who wore funny hats, trousers made out of multicoloured curtain-material, and bells—if he would mind discarding his technicolour clothes for the duration of the psychologists' visit.
    'Uhuh,' nodded Arnie.
    And, true to his word, he went to borrow a lounge suit and a tie and a white shirt and shoes.
    The psychologists arrived for lunch and sat, rather stuffily, listening to an affable Tim making jokes and lighthearted conversation. Most of the members of the household present for lunch were stoned, but, in deference to Tim's wishes, we maintained an external propriety. In the middle of lunch Arnie walked in sporting his splendidly conventional outfit and carrying a copy of the New York Times under one arm. He nodded and sat down opposite the three psychologists who seemed suitably impressed by his impeccable attire. Arnie opened the Times and began to read it. Then he smiled and, as he did so, a trickle of green liquid started spilling from the corners of his mouth, and slowly ran down to his little beard. Next Arnie opened his mouth a little and the green liquid spurted over his chin and on to his white shirt. By now everyone was staring at Arnie, so he opened his mouth in a yawn and the green gushed from his mouth over his newspaper and his shirt, all the while reading the news as if nothing was happening. Arnie had filled his mouth with green vegetable dye and it produced the first one-man happening I had ever seen. The psychologists observed this event fastidiously and seemed, from frowns and raised eyebrows and movements of the mouth, to have agreed that this irreproachably dressed young man was inoffensive—merely afflicted by a slight idiosyncrasy. Tim said nothing at all about it. Neither did we. It seemed the wisest course to smother the scene in silence.
    After lunch, Arnie having excused himself with a nod, we suggested to the psychologists that we show them around the house. Indulging the frivolity of a moment, one of the psychologists asked if we had any animals in addition to the four dogs that wandered about the front porch. Tim pointed to the line of Tibetan monastery flags strung along the turrets on the roof of the house and jocularly linked that with the presence of our Tibetan monkey upstairs. Often the monkey roamed about the house, but at meal times it had to be kept in its huge cage because it would perch high up on shelves and throw eggs at people. Obviously that couldn't happen to a distinguished group of Yale psychologists. Tim said he would remember to show them the monkey. We got to the room, entered, and there, sitting in the cage with a banana in one hand and engrossed in the New York Times, was Arnie. Tim let the psychologists draw their own conclusions.
    Arnie was not only magical and mischievous, though; he could be practical. Once Dick Alpert got a severe cold, dosed himself with aspirins and sleeping pills and retired to the bowling alley where he curled up in a sleeping bag before the big log fire. Arnie asked me about Dick and I confirmed that Dick was miserable and had just gone off to try to sweat out the cold in front of the fire in the bowling alley.
    'He doesn't need to do that,' said Arnie.
    'Oh ? Why not ?'
    'I know of a way to cure colds.'
    I had considerable faith in Arnie's powers and agreed to accompany him at midnight to see Dick. When we got into the bowling alley Dick was sleeping like a twisted log in front of the burning fire. Arnie started to prepare the room. He arranged coloured pieces of glass on the floor and built a shrine with a statue of the Buddha quite near to Dick and his sleeping bag. Then Arnie lit about twenty candles. I was watching him, at a loss to see what he was doing other than to create a setting that would normally appeal to Dick. Arnie rushed out again and came back with a primus stove and a huge metal crucible in which he melted lead.
    'This,' smiled Arnie, 'is an old recipe for curing colds.'
    I nodded.
    Every now and then Arnie would throw an apple or a banana into the molten lead and they rapidly disintegrated into sparks which filled the room with a pungent smell. Arnie felt he should now wake Dick but it proved impossible. So Arnie filled a hypodermic with DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine—a very fast-acting but temporary psychedelic drug which throws the subject into fantastic realms and renders him incapable of physical action) and injected Dick in the buttocks. Just as he was pulling the needle out, Dick sat bolt upright and we watched him maintain this position rigidly for half an hour while he swirled through neurological space. When he came round, Arnie fed him 800 gamma of LSD from a spoon. After about fifteen minutes Dick turned round and saw the flowing colours of the glass, the Buddha, and the crucible. He looked at Arnie, who was wearing a hat with a tassel of bells, like a troll from Ibsen's Peer Gynt, and who still periodically threw fruit into the molten lead. As a final measure Arnie put on three separate record-players simultaneously—a Beethoven symphony, a Coltrane record, and a Stockhausen record, all at full volume. Dick seemed to swim in this incredible sonic tidal wave for an hour. Arnie asked Dick if his cold was any better.
    Dick smiled: 'It's gone completely.'
    The wonder was that he was still there after such drastic treatment, but in fact the cold never returned. We might, therefore, claim that Arnie had found a cure for the common cold, but somehow I cannot see his methods being universally adopted by the medical profession.

    Millbrook was not confined to the activities of the permanent household. As its name spread we received many people we admired. As I had been the first person to turn Tim on to LSD, with what he felt were satisfactory results, I was usually called upon to act as guide for the special guests. Several of these had memorable trips. Feliks Topolski got in touch with me, saying he had heard about me from Alex Trocchi in London. Feliks had come to New York to do murals in the St. Regis Hotel and when he arrived at Millbrook we agreed to do a Cook's Tour of the mind. We went to the upstairs room of the bowling alley and I decided to concentrate the visual input on colour, using the projectors to suggest amorphous masses of undifferentiated tonality. I blended images and sounds and let Feliks think on them.

The hallucinations which you may now experience,
The visions and insights,
Will teach you much about yourself and the world.
The veil of routine perception will be torn from your eyes.
Remember the unity of all living things.
Remember the bliss of the Clear Light.'
                (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)

    The session commenced in the late afternoon, and at one point Tim came into the room with Billy Hitchcock. Not wishing to disturb Feliks they sat in a corner, talked briefly, and then left without interfering with Feliks. To Feliks, however, this seemed like a conspiratorial tête-à-tête, and he said to me when they'd gone: 'Wow, they're just like gangsters.'
    Our session continued into the early hours of the next morning and as the first light was being refracted from the clouds I took Feliks out on to the balcony of the bowling alley. Just as we stepped outside there was a flash of lightning.
'The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil… '
            (Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'God's Grandeur')

    Feliks was stunned.
    'My goodness,' he mumbled in his gentle way, 'look at that.'
    'Yes,' I smiled, 'we try to do our best for someone on his first session.'
    Dawn came, and later sunlight filled the entire room. Another day, another world, had come. We went back on the balcony, smelling the air, listening to the sounds of the birds, feeling as if we were being reborn with the day. And as our eyes were scanning the horizon we saw a car being driven very fast up the road followed by clouds of dust. The car halted at the bowling alley and out stepped Arnie, a male friend, and a girlfriend. They were naked, and painted all over with colourful symbols. One of Arnie's legs was blue, another green, and looking down I could make out a painting of a torso on his forehead. All he had on was a feather in his hair. He brought a flute out of the car and his friend got a saxophone. Then they started to play and dance at the same time. It lasted a few minutes and then they got back into the car and drove off. They came from nowhere, hadn't been expected, and went away again. Disappeared.
    'This was a very vivid hallucination,' Feliks said to me.
    I knew it had not been an hallucination, but had to question the whole concept of what was real and what unreal at Millbrook.
    Saul Steinberg the cartoonist, who lived in New York, came up for an LSD session. He was very fond of romantic composers and I played records of Ravel, Debussy and Chopin. I laid on some large drawing cards and pencils in case he wanted to draw, but he didn't. Nor did he want any slides. We used a downstairs room in the house, and respecting his wishes for as much solitude as possible, asked the others not to disturb him. After turning him on I left and looked in every hour or so to see how he was doing. He was quiet, smiling at the fire, but asked me to stop the music. He was finding it abrasive and brittle though this was his normal preference for music. Hours later he came out on his own and spent some time with our coatimundi, a South American animal resembling a raccoon. It was a friendly beautiful animal and it curled up in Saul's lap. He put his finger to its mouth and it gently rested its teeth on his finger. I sat beside Saul on the porch for a while, then he went off on his own for a walk through the woods.
    Driving him back to Poughkeepsie for the train to New York next day, l asked Saul if he had gained anything permanent from his LSD experience.
    'I discovered trees,' he said.
    Saul's life was usually spent either in his New York home or in his little summer house in East Hampton, a select Long Island bathing resort for the very wealthy. The trees he saw there seemed desiccated.
    'At Millbrook I discovered real trees. I have never thought about trees before. That was the principal thing I got from the session.'
    And sure enough about two months later, on the New Yorker cover, there was a Steinberg drawing which featured—a huge tree.
    On Monday, April 19, 1965 Paul Krassner came for a session. Krassner, editor of The Realist and later, with Abbie Hoffman, founder of the Yippie party, took LSD with me upstairs in the bowling alley. Krassner later recorded his experience in The Realist No. 60, June 1965:
'My LSD experience began with a solid hour of what my "guide" described as cosmic laughter. The more I laughed, the more I tried to think of depressing things—specifically, the atrocities being committed in Vietnam—and the more wild my laughter became . . . I laughed so much I threw up.    
The nearest "outlet" ws a windoe. My hands seemed absolutely unable to open it. My guide opened the window with ease, and I stuck my head out. Was this a guillotine ? Was he to be my executioner ? Such fantasy occurred to me, but I trusted him and concentrated instead on the beautiful colours of my vomit.
    'On the phonograph, the Beatles were singing stuff from A Hard Day's Night… I started crying… for false joy, it turned out.
    'I had seen the film with my wife—we are separated—and there was, under LSD, an internal hallucination that she had not only helped plan for this record to be placed, but, moreover, in doing so, she had collaborated with someone she considered a schmuck in order to please me.... Filled with gratitude, I decided to call her up (the power of positive paranoia), but I also decided that she had planned for me to call her up against my will.... Then I called—collect, since I was in another city.
    'The operator asked my name.
    'I suddenly answered: "Ringo Starr !"
    ' "Do you really want me to say that ?"
    'I was amazed at my calm, logical response: "Of course, operator. It's a private joke between us, and it's the only way she'll accept a collect call."
    'The operator told my wife Ringo Starr was calling collect, and naturally she accepted the call. When I explained why I was calling, she told me I was thanking her for something she didn't even do. I had been so sure I'd communed with her.... '

    Millbrook was music and musicians, too. Charlie Mingus and I were in the kitchen one evening, high on LSD, and unaccountably the tap started making yowling sounds followed by bangs. Charlie got out his bass and played arco in counter-point to the sound coming from the watertap. He seemed to know exactly the pattern of the sound. 'I am conducting the sound,' Charlie told me. 'I've taken it over. I've tuned into the vibrations and resonate to them.' Millbrook was Charlie Lloyd playing his flute in the woods. I walked in the woods during the afternoon following the agitated sound of flute music. And there was a very high Charles Lloyd playing to a squirrel who jumped from branch to branch. Charlie performed a flute obligato which matched and predicted the movements of the animal. It was as if it was bewitched by the music as it slowed down and relaxed. It was like watching a Disney film.
    Millbrook was Pete La Roca, the drummer, taking LSD and wanting to play. We hung a sheet from the ceiling and projected on to it a nine-minute time-lapsed colour film sequence of a frog embryo. From a black dot in the middle of the screen it grew into a tadpole and the eyes and head appeared. Pete drummed in the dark, behind the sheet, providing a rapid pulse that speeded up at the climax of the film. His wife said she had never heard him play so fast. He seemed hypnotised by the record of creation before him. And Steve Swallow, the bass player associated with Mingus, took LSD and watched one of Arnie Hendin's photographs of a flower being taken in and out of focus and mixed with colour filters. I was operating the projector, when I heard Steve stop playing his bass and groaning 'It's so beautiful, it's all so beautiful'. Then there was a double crash as Steve and the bass fell to the floor. He had fainted.
    Jazz musicians, psychiatrists, social scientists, people who were crazy enough to think us crazy. Mediums, spiritualists, people who had had spontaneous visions, church ministers. They all came to Millbrook by special appointment.
    From my point of view one of the most interesting, fluent and beautiful visitors was Joan Wainscott, an American girl in her mid-twenties who had been studying anthropology at London University. She had acquired a convincing English accent, very sharp and unbreakable. She told me she was a second-degree witch in the British Coven of Witches, and that she had spent a year in Africa living with primitive tribes. Before our LSD session she told me about witches. She reckoned they were priestesses of religion who had simply had a bad press down the centuries. They followed a divine calling.
    We chatted one another up and then had our session. During this I read her 'Gate of the Soft Mystery', the Sex Cakra:
'Valley of life
Gate of the Soft Mystery
Beginnings in the lowest place
Gate of the Soft Mystery
Gate of the Dark Woman
Gate of the Soft Mystery
Seed of all living
Gate of the Soft Mystery
Constantly enduring
Gate of the Soft Mystery
Use her gently and
Without the touch of pain.'
            (Tao Sutra 6)

    It became obvious that we were going to make love. We fed each other grapes, and touched each other on the hands and face. Slowly we merged together in an ecstatic union.
    What disasters we did have usually had a comical aspect. As most of the household had taken LSD anything up to 200 times we did not see fit to store it surreptitiously. For example, some liquid LSD was poured into a half-empty port bottle and left on the top floor, usually out-of-bounds to visitors. A Canadian TV crew came to record a Weekend Experimental Workshop for a programme called Seven Days on Sunday. The head of the CBC crew, a large man of about six feet, eight inches, began to wander about the house on his own. When he saw the bottle of port, to him a measure of normality in an inscrutable world, he guzzled down a few slugs. Within twenty-five minutes he was on a very high LSD trip, something he was not prepared for. We were sitting in the dining-room when this huge man lumbered in with one shoe off, his tie half undone, his jacket buttons ripped off,
    'his doublet all unbrac'd;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul'd
Ungarter'd and down-gyved to his ankles;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors.'
                (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

    The weekend visitors found it somewhat extraordinary that this huge TV producer, ostensibly present to record the activities with a detached professional eye, should be stumbling around under the influence of LSD quite incapable of doing anything. We sat with him through the night, comforting him and playing music, until he was afraid no longer. In the morning he was fine. I hope the programme was too.
    It is the sudden impact of the unexpected that causes so many bad trips on LSD. Or any other drugs for that matter, as I was to discover when I tried JB118 (the space drug) in an attempt to go as far as possible in mapping the inner Hebrides. The connection with NASA, who were developing JB118 came quite by chance.
    One morning the telephone rang. It was a Dr. Steve Groff calling from Miami. As staff hypnotist with NASA he was interested in the use of psychedelic substances in connection with astronaut training. He had just come from the space centre and told me that all the astronauts had taken LSD to prepare themselves for weightlessness and disorientation due to the lack of external coordinates from which to take their bearing. Could he come to Millbrook for a session to see how we were administering LSD? Could he examine for himself our claim to have joyful experiences with LSD, a claim in direct contradiction to the results of sessions taken in clinical psychiatric surroundings ?
    'Of course,' I said.
    Groff arrived and I ran the session for him. During the session he played the Beatles' A Hard Day's Night so many times that I, as guide, felt it truly was a hard day's night. Then after he was saturated with the music we took a walk on the lawn. He told me how he had been in the Olympic sky-diving team and that the LSD experience had certain similarities with a free-fall from an airplane. After describing his sky-diving exploits in some detail he suggested we go to Poughkeepsie airport to rent a plane.
    It was easier than I expected. At the airport he presented his Hertz rentaplane card and his flight licence and within minutes a small Cessna had been put at his disposal and we were airborne. As we had no maps we followed the winding road to Millbrook and flew towards the turreted house where apparently miniscule Tibetan flags fluttered.
    By this time there were people up on the roof, and some on the verandah and we were 4000 feet high physically, and higher still metaphysically, when Groff began to zoom to within twenty feet of the roof before shooting back into the sky. We did this about a dozen times and enjoyed seeing friends waving up at us. It was a strange visceral experience, like going on a huge roller-coaster on Coney Island. I felt no fear, but enormous elation and was disappointed when after half an hour Groff returned the plane to the airport.
    Over lunch Dr. Groff told me of his friend Jim Arender, the former world champion sky-diver. If anyone would appreciate a session it was Jim. And three days later Jim arrived, twenty-six, handsome, dynamic. All-American in appearance but with an un-American interest in astrology. Jim brought along a movie of himself sky-diving and we showed this to him backwards during his session by bouncing the images off a mirror. He was stunned at the correlation between memories of actual flights and the heights reached during his session. And he stayed on at Millbrook to repeat the experience many times.
    The links made through Dr. Groff with NASA resulted in us obtaining some JB118, the space drug officially on the secrets list. Dick and I volunteered to try it and remarked that it looked as if we were becoming the guinea pigs for NASA and the CIA. We went to the recording room and when Dick sat down on the couch I took up the lotus position on the floor. We ingested the drug and waited for the slight change in body metabolism one associates with LSD. But wham ! ! ! ! This took effect instantly in the somatic sensory areas. I felt myself moving round the room in leaping acrobatic backward somersaults. I could not prevent this, yet I was not hitting any of the electronic equipment in the room. I was spinning round and round the centre of the room gliding past everything. I had the absolute conviction that I was in a small space capsule about the size of a tennis ball and that I had broken loose from the safety-belts.
    I felt alarmed and sensed a paranoic antipathy to whoever had been careless enough to put me in the capsule in such a dangerous way. Suddenly a door in the capsule opened and Whoosh ! ! ! ! I was sucked out and down towards the atmosphere, hurtling down an air corridor, free-falling, able to move any way but upwards. Observers said that all the time I was spreadeagled on the floor, lying on my stomach. But I remember a horrific sensation and suddenly there was a lurch and I stood up. It seemed a parachute had opened just a foot before I hit the earth's surface. Yet it had broken my fall.
    I wanted to fly again and I was a crow. I started to caw and flap my arms. Caw! Caw-caw! My eyes were tightly closed and I knew what it was to be a bird. I started to hop around the house, pegged my way downstairs and into the dining-room. With my eyes still tightly shut I touched people to see who they were, let my blackfeathered wings brush over human faces. And still I didn't bump into anything. With my eyes closed I steered my way through the house several times. Through doors. Through corridors. Through passages.
    Eventually I was coaxed back upstairs with a piece of bread as bait and I nested militantly until I finally evolved back into a man and came round. The whole trip had lasted three hours. Dick had sat on the couch for the duration of the trip. He told me his experience was fantastic.
'The first thing I saw was this young chick coming in. She was beautiful with long dark hair. She had a glass in her hand and asked me if I would like some grapejuice. I said yes. She put a glass on the floor and proceeded to fill it with grapejuice until it overflowed and then a red trickle of grapejuice moved across the floor, up the side of the opposite wall, along the ceiling, down the wall near me, on to the floor again, and towards the couch. I had to get up as it threatened to pass over me. I managed to avoid it and it got back into the glass. It was utterly real.'

    I agreed. This JB118 drug made hallucinations palpably real. LSD gave a sense of bliss and oneness with life. JB118 was a solid slab of hallucinatory experience that offered nothing for the traveller to bring back to the real world.
    Even more extraordinary, if we indulge our empirical prejudices for a moment, was the experience of Alan Eager and Arnie Hendin on the space drug. They went on an identical trip and were aware of doing so all the time. Like me they were pulled into the vacuum of space and moved freely above the blue curvature of the earth. They saw a little dot approaching them and noticed, when it came closer, that it was a space-craft, with the hammer-and-sickle on the side. As it floated towards them they clung to the side and saw two Russian cosmonauts inside the craft. The men saw Arnie and Alan and seemed frightened. So agitated did they become that Arnie and Alan decided to float away on their own and eventually they returned to earth in Millbrook. Next day, March 19, 1965, it was reported that the Soviet Voskhod 2, containing cosmonauts Pavel Belyayev and Alexei Leonov, had encountered difficulties in reentry. On their first attempt to do so their automatic re-entry system failed and the Voskhod 2 pilots had to make an extra orbit and then bring the spacecraft back to earth themselves. This change in landing site meant a long wait in the winter cold before rescue helicopters located them.... As few of us at Millbrook took much interest in current news it is doubtful if either Arnie or Alan had heard of this flight. They were sure they had not read about it prior to taking the space drug and firmly maintained that the delay in re-entry had been caused by the panic of the cosmonauts in seeing them. We await confirmation from the Soviet Union.
    Alan and Arnie were to take another sort of trip, this time through the heartlands of America.
'In New York we set up a centre in a large townhouse with a full working theatre in the basement, bought a roomful of divers musical instruments and opened another chapter in the history of psychedelia. In reaction to the programmed existence at Millbrook, a constant party developed which continued nonstop for months. Many of the Millbrook tribe would visit with us on their days off to play and learn. After a while we got restless. There were too many people around and it got repetitious and dull. We decided to take a trip. It was very cold in New York. I was shooting a lot of DMT… at that time a smoking form had not been discovered. Arnie, Cathy, Simba the Siamese cat and me, plus guitar, soprano sax, pocket coronet, phono, records, psychedelic magic kit and a suitcase of drugs piled in the white Alfa and headed for warmer territory. The I Ching might have suggested it, I think.
    'The total picture we gave freaked out every cop south of the Mason-Dixon line and we were busted every time Arnie drove. (From the driving seat that is… we all drove at once which can be very tricky sometimes but taking a trip while tripping is another trip—if you know what I mean.) Arnie and I were in costume, he looking like Jesus, but in baseball pants, high sneakers, beads, etc., which is quite the mode now… in '64 it was extraordinary and worth a hundred gamma just to look at it. When he would add extra touches to his gear like those kid space-helmets we wouldn't get half a mile before a cop would see us go by and flip. No harm . . . we were always released very quickly. Arnie, in his best prophet manner, would promise interrogating police chiefs fire and flood unless we were released at once. It always worked.... He's a fine magician. Our clothing was a time trip and it caused short circuits in robot people. Although we ate in all types of restaurants we were never asked to wear ties or jackets. Mainly, I think, because it never occurred to them. It would have been like asking an Eskimo to wear a tie. After a few days' travelling we had it worked out pretty well. Anything we needed from the establishment would be gotten by Cathy as she had a fairly straight appearance.
    'We had gotten into warm weather and we travelled and explored all over the countryside on and off the roads… cutting across fields and meadows and treating the Alfa as if it were a Land Rover; stopping at our slightest whim. Antique stores, underground caverns… far-out little towns with one gas pump the man cranked, little stores that sold penny candy in glass jars and had spittoons that were used. Rural America almost unchanged in fifty years.
    'In Charleston we checked into the bridal suite of the Holiday Inn, had supper in our room (preferable to going out) and after bathing proceeded to set up shop. Out came the incense, candles, bottles, India prints, mirrors, toys, comics, phonograph, musical instruments, movie camera, fireworks (we had bought $100 worth a few hours before), magic kit and the drugs. We had everything but grass… the brown rice of drugs. Arnie tried to score some from our coloured bellhop but his mind had been whitewashed. He brought us a bottle of vodka which we duly set in place unopened. We had about thirty-five caps of beige acid which we hadn't tried yet. We each took a cap. As it came on we saw it was good and took a few more. We were feeling great and proceeded to get married. We had bought funny fake marriage licences which we signed with our other names; Vazy McKoops, Ring, Hank and the Cat Paw Print. We kissed, danced, lit roman candles off the balcony and sparklers inside, which Arnie photographed in the candlelight. We danced and drew arabesques with them, and I drew a showering sparkler out of the bell of the golden soprano. We were flying !
    'I took some more caps. Arnie followed. We were travelling very fast now. The speed of sound (all motion is relative) at least. Again we took some more caps and now really started to move. We were at a rate that was so glorious that we decided to add a little JB840 to it.
    'I went out into the hall and got some Coke. Then instead of putting a normal dose in a glass, overcome, we poured three-quarters of a bottle of JB118 into the glass and drank. Suddenly, violently, and with a sickening lurch we were moving faster than light. I fell back on the bed and had a vision of a Roman or Etruscan warrior holding a sword to my stomach. It was no vision. I knew it was real. We had poisoned ourselves. Death was here. Real Death. I remembered and gave in surrendering to it. A pain lanced through my right side and my convulsive gasps stopped. BLACKNESS. And then pinpoints of light in the stygian dark. I realised the lights were stars and we were moving through the very edge of our solar system at some unknown speed, but without the feeling of movement. Then to the front of my mind, I sensed an alien intelligence.
    'Curious, I probed further, trying to contact it, when it started a mind-probe in an area it thought empty of life it tripped every alarm in my nervous system and body. I could feel my body on earth panicking, ready to explode with terror. I had to withdraw the mind-probe and take care of my terror-struck earth body. My mind came and, carefully, slowly, I began to turn off the alarms and unlock the muscles, sinews and nerves, calm and soothe the glands and get my body back to normal.
    'As I was working I realised through visions in another part of my mind, that all of us on earth are remnants of other races and civilisations from various solar systems seeded into earth bodies for a reason not yet revealed. I had been from this solar system originally and had been a galactic ambassador, quite used to dealing with other cultures. Arnie was not of this universe originally, and I vaguely saw his shape as it had been; huge, swift and somehow, feline… fifteen feet tall, five tons and covered with golden fur.
    'I opened my eyes, candlelight flickered, and the Holiday Inn took shape. Then a silent screaming came into my mind. It was on the edge of sanity driven there by fear. It was Arnie, Arnie the Great, The Prophet, Magician, Seer, Artist, Arnie was flipping out. I tried to lock my mind on to his, but he was so frightened, his mind was like greasy Jello. I couldn't hold on, so I followed, and when it would stop for an instant, I would hover and try to coax him back. It would have been all right, but Cathy didn't understand. She was trying to help vocally, and every sonic vibration only drove him further out. It was horrible! Arnie was moaning and flickering in and out of reality, sanity pain and dimension. I finally took Cathy to the next room and made her promise to remain silent, but she has a very strong mind and, when she began thinking of medical help, I couldn't block her thoughts completely. Soon Arnie began to think for help.
    'After a time I gave up and called the desk for a doctor. Less than three hours had passed when we started and we were still very high to say the least… plus slightly in shock. The doctor after a game attempt to get Arnie hospitalised, reluctantly gave him a mild sedative. After several stern reminders from me that he was a doctor, not a judge, he finally left, radiating disapproval.
    'After a few more eons—earth time, about an hour—Arnie fell asleep. By then it was dawn. We were asked to leave soon after. When Arnie awoke, we moved to the nearest motel (a block away I think) and ate in bed rather quietly and slept till the next day. When we awoke we ate some more, discussed the dumb doctor, and the strange intelligence we had encountered, took stock of our drugs (we had thrown out all of the JB), and packed, giving all the fireworks to a bellhop as Arnie was afraid he would set them off mentally. We were quite down from the experience so we each took two capsules (Cathy wasn't having any), and I drove us out of Charleston through spiral type buildings, heading south, the top down. By the time we were out of the DMT-coloured city-limits and on the open road, we were feeling normally glorious. The car purred, the cat slept, and overhead the most tremendous, white thunderhead in a purple-rose sky formed a glorious paean to earth and the future and we sped into the technicolour southern dusk.'

    Probably the most highly-publicised feature of our work at Millbrook was the Weekend Experiential Workshop. These were held on alternate weekends when some fifteen guests would arrive at 7.30 on Friday evening and leave on Sunday afternoon. The idea was to simulate the LSD experience by means of Hindu and Buddhist yogic traditions, Gestalt therapy, Gurdjieff's selfawareness training, and Psychedelic Theatre techniques. We wanted to use all the means at our disposal to provide a nonchemical means of transcendence. Our handout advertising the Experiential Workshops outlined three steps to take to the ideal of maximum awareness and internal freedom:
'The first step is the realisation that there is more: that man's brain, his thirteen-billion-celled computer, is capable of limitless new dimensions of awareness and knowledge. In short that man does not use his head.
    'The second step is the realisation that you have to go out of your mind to use your head; that you have to pass beyond everything you have learned in order to become acquainted with the new areas of consciousness. Ignorance of this fact is the veil which shuts man within the narrow confines of his acquired, artifactual concepts of "reality", and prevents him from coming to know his own true nature.
    'The third step (once the first two realisations have taken place) is the practical theoretical. How can consciousness be expanded? What is the range of possibilities outside of our current verbal-cognitive models of experience? What light do the new insights perhaps most important, how can the new levels of awareness be maintained ?'

    It was to provide the answers implied in the third step that the weekend workshops in consciousness-expansion were instituted by the Castalia Foundation. We noted carefully in our brochure that 'because of the complicated current legal situation in the United States, psychedelic drugs will not be used in these workshops'. This did not prevent many visitors from asking us for drugs but we had to protect ourselves by refusing these paying guests. Several guests, wise to our methods, took LSD before arriving but that was not officially our affair.
    The vulgarisation of these weekends commenced at an early stage. In an article in the New York Sunday News of August 29, 1965, beneath a banner headline asking ARE THEY OUT OF THEIR MIND ? and suggesting 'You might call these sect members a bunch of weirdos', the article noted:
'On alternative weekends they are joined by ten to fifteen paying guests recruited by direct mail and word of mouth. Most are middle-class professionals—teachers, doctors, psychologists, students. The fee of $75 a person or $125 a couple includes plain home-cooking and a mattress on the floor.... There is no happy hour of cocktail chatter. Instead, each guest is escorted silently to a box-like room in the old servant's wing and left there for an hour to meditate.
    'The rooms are decorated with madras hangings, wall-sized paintings of Buddha, a collage of words and images collected from a psychedelic fantasy, or religious posters from India. The only furniture besides the mattress may be a lamp, a bookcase or a writing table.'

    Such succinct details suggest the guests were paying for a self-imposed ascetic exercise in hardship, but it was nothing of the kind. The money from the workshops paid for oil-heating bills and food, and helped to secure a self-supporting community for the weekends. The Castalia Foundation, after all, was a non-profit corporation.
    Before the guests arrived on the Friday the guides, of which I was one, would prepare spiritually by taking LSD or pot and would reflect on the imaginative possibilities of Millbrook. The house would be completely silent and the guests were met by a beautiful girl in a sari holding a flower and giving out copies of Max Picard's text on silence:
'Silence has greatness simply because it is…
It is and that is its greatness, its pure existence…
There is no beginning to silence and no end…
Man does not put silence to the test, silence puts man to the test…
Silence contains everything within itself; it is not waiting for
anything, it is always wholly present in itself and completely
fills out the space in which it appears…
Silence is original and self-evident, like the other basic phenomena, like love and liberty and death and life itself…
And there is more silence than speech in them, more of the invisible than the visible…
There is also more silence in one person than can be used in a single human life… '

    This observation of silence had two reasons. First, as Tim said, 'One of the oldest methods of getting high is silence.' Secondly, it allowed us to impose an essential mood that saved the time of the visitors. For the first workshop we had welcomed the guests with a cocktail party, to break the ice, and the straights immediately plunged into the cocktail party game of which they were the experts. 'Hi, I'm Jack Smith from Denver, who are you?' 'Jack Smith, eh?' And so on. The whole evening had been wasted, and as we were novices in the cocktail party game we were completely flattened. The guests were merely putting an extra spin on their social whirl, while the household was brought down by the experience.
    In instituting the idea of silence we wanted to impress on the guests that they were entering a new kingdom. That they were tuning out of their everyday 'normal' world and turning on to ours. Passing through the gates of Millbrook had to be like stepping on to a spacecraft—they had to leave behind them all their usual judgements and normative expectations.
    Having welcomed them with silence we gave each guest MESSAGE ONE which requested absolute silence and asked them to look, listen, to non-verbal energy and experience directly. With the initial ambiance established we took each guest to a separate small room on the ground floor and gave them three more messages to read in solitude:


    This period of silence is designed to help you clear your mind from routine thoughts and to encourage an opening of your awareness in several ways.
    Please follow this programme:
    1. Fill out the question sheet.
    2. Then spend the next ten to twenty minutes trying to meditate. Focus on the candle and see if you can turn off planning and thinking. Concentrate on the moment-to-moment flow of time.
    3. After ten to twenty minutes turn on the light and read MESSAGE THREE. This is your game contract for the weekend. There are many implications and meanings contained in each paragraph. Read it carefully. Make note of any questions or comments. These will be taken up later.
    After reading MESSAGE THREE, then re-read it.
    4. Turn off the light and meditate again for fifteen minutes. Watch how your mind keeps interrupting.
    5. Next, turn on the light and read MESSAGE FOUR.
    6. Wait serenely until you are contacted by a staff member. Be aware of your body, your flow of thoughts, your emotion (you may be bored, or feel rejected, or irritated; you may be excited, hopeful, etc.).


What Do We Mean by Game?
    A game is a temporary social arrangement with the following characteristics:
    goals, roles, rules, strategies, space and time limits, values, rituals.
    All of these characteristics of any game are subject to revision. Ecstatogenic games are voluntary and the contract explicit.
    You have been invited to participate in the "Experiential Workshop Game" during your stay at Millbrook. This means you are a three-day member of a social system which in some ways may be novel to you. This contract is designed to lessen your "culture shock" and aims to set up a memorable weekend.

    1. To communicate and exchange ideas about consciousness
    and its expansion and control. Relevant theories about consciousness-expansion will be discussed—neurological, philosophic, religious, psychological, oriental. A wide variety of methods will also be reviewed.
    2. To employ several of these methods during the weekend, to expand the consciousness of participants and to maintain as high a level of ecstasy as possible.

    While there are many roles involved in running such an enterprise, in this contract we are solely concerned with the roles involved in the visitor game.
    The roles which have been most comfortable to you and of which are of most use to you in your regular life will be of lessened utility here and, indeed, may handicap you. The aim of the workshop is to get out beyond your routine robot consciousness. Thus there is little interest in who you are (were) and much more concern with where and how far you can go. What you can obtain during the weekend depends in part on how much of your routine ego you can leave in your room.
    . . . Why don't you check it in your suitcase ?
    Staff roles. Around ten people will be present during the weekend whose job is to facilitate the goals of the seminar. Their functions are assigned and scheduled. Visitor roles. In general, the actions of visitors are addressed towards the two goals of the seminar: i.e. to learn as much as possible about the theories and methods of consciousness-expansion and to put this knowledge into practice. It is assumed that each visitor is here because of his past experiences and his current interest in consciousness-expansion. It is hoped that you can contribute any special knowledge you have when it seems relevant.
    The Seeking Help Role. This is not a psychotherapeutic situation and the doctor-patient game is not played. Personal problems cannot, therefore, become the focus of discussion.

    1. Be aware of and try to minimise the attempt of your robot to capture audiences for its personal dramas.
    2. Please obey the laws of the land. In particular do not bring marijuana or any other illegal chemical to the weekend workshop.
    3. Visitors are asked to maintain their own room during their stay.

    The ecstatic-psychedelic experience can be reached by several means:
    bodily movement
    One of the aims of the workshop is to encourage expansion of consciousness in all five of these functions in some sort of balanced harmony. (Consciousness-expansion in the sexual will be limited to indirect methods.) Since the average person quickly falls into habitual and stereotyped modes of awareness—mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and instinctive—the weekends are designed to produce novel experiences which deliberately "break through" these stereotypes. If you feel yourself reacting with shock or outrage at the challenge to your favourite habits, please remember that this sort of friction probably points to an under-development of some function and is a challenge for growth. For the same reason, do not concentrate only on one of these methods of consciousness-expansion. Take advantage of this opportunity to expand consciousness at all levels.

Space Factors
    After a while one of the staff will show you around the house and grounds. During your leisure time you are free to use any areas except for the third floor (which is residential) and the kitchen, except during breakfast period.

Time Factors
    The schedule of programmes will be announced. Consult a staff member about additions and revisions to the schedule and about leisure play.

    According to the "game model", values are specific to the particular game and hold only for the defined spacetime limits of the game. In the ecstatic game, the "goodness" or greatness of your robot performance is of lessened importance. Each person starts each second with a fresh neurological slate. "Good" is what raises the ecstasy count of all persons present and "bad" is what lowers the ecstasy count.

Mythic Context
    While any human behaviour sequence can be seen as unique and original, another illuminating perspective can be obtained by recognising that certain classic human games are continually being re-enacted and that any social situation you find yourself in is a current version of an ancient drama. The question is not How does it turn out? (that is probably pre-ordained by the script and the role) but rather, How well do you play your part ? and, How conscious are you of your role at each moment ? and, How can you change your my/this game?
    The Millbrook Workshops are clearly a re-enactment of one of the oldest and most ambitious games—the transcendental game, expansion of consciousness, internal exploration, ecstatic discovery. Our endeavours here are descended from and indebted to those groups of explorers in India, Persia, China, Greece and to their current western counterparts.

    The creation of consciousness-expansion experiences usually involves rituals—some of which are directly practical, others of which are designed to evoke mood or readiness to change. The use of certain rituals (candles, mandalas, pictures, incense, etc.) is strictly experimental and does not involve any commitment to sectarian systems on the part of staff members or visitors.'

    Finally MESSAGE FOUR reiterated the five most important areas of consciousness accessible to the average person—intellectual, emotional, body movement, somatic-sensory, sexual—and requested the visitor to spend the next ten minutes reviewing his stereotyped methods of awareness in each of these five areas.
    Naturally many of the visitors were overwhelmed by reading MESSAGE THREE in solitude, and there was always one guest each weekend who would decide—in silence—that the experience was going to be too much. 'They think they have fallen into the hands of a mad scientist,' Tim used to say, 'and that's when we hear them creeping down the back stairs and screeching out of the driveway.'
    Those who stayed on would be divided into groups of five and taken by their appointed guide for a walk in the woods by candlelight. We walked silently in Indian file, then returned to the oak-panelled library for a lecture by Tim or Dick or Ralph or myself. We outlined and discussed our philosophic and methodological ideas and hoped that the guests would sleep on them. For some sleep was rather difficult as they tried to anticipate what was to come.
    Saturday morning breakfast was a food game. Everyone had to be up at 7:30 for Ralph Metzner's yoga session, including instructions on sitting in the full lotus and half-lotus positions, standing on the head, and eliminating the doubting fly of the mind. After this Ralph took them to the kitchen for breakfast (where a cupboard door bore the legend 'Take LSD and See') and let them look at it for a while. He had reversed the visual connotations of all the food. The scrambled eggs were green, the porridge was purple or bright orange, the milk was black. As the guests sat down to eat Ralph would say:

'Our ideas dictate to us what we imagine reality to be. And we are very much affected by the imprints we have, particularly those of colour associations. When someone says sky, we think of blue, when someone says meadow we think of green, when someone says scrambled eggs we think of yellow. But this is a mental hangup. It doesn't really make any difference whether scrambled eggs are green as they are today, or whether they are yellow. Why is this ? All of these colour changes were achieved by a non-toxic, odourless, tasteless vegetable dye and as you are eating your green scrambled eggs and drinking your glass of black milk try to reconcile in your mind the different subjective responses that you have, and notice how your brain deals with this input.'

    Needless to say Ralph always took the precaution of eating before the visitors and he would sit and observe their attempts to appreciate the anti-food. Hardly any visitor got through this breakfast and, as well as having a mental impact, this method of serving food cut down our weekend budget as we only needed to offer very small portions.
    The rest of the morning was spent in sweeping up the parquet floors, and in relaxed preparation for the simulated session. In the afternoon I would take groups to the waterfall where, submerged in the gently churning water at the bottom of the fall, I had a bottle of sherry on a string. As my group stood looking at the waterfall I would slowly pull this piece of string, finally revealing the sherry bottle. I also had a box of glasses hidden in the bushes flanking the waterfall.
    After spending some time in the woods we went back for the evening meal, taken in the huge dining-room where guests sat crosslegged or knelt on cushions around a circular table raised six inches above the ground. From this room, dominated by the massive fireplace, great windows offered a view of the front lawns. There was an oak-panelled ceiling, a carpetless parquet floor, and sliding doors which led off into the corridor. The meal was simple brown rice or wheat and fruit. Hiziki soaked in water. Baked pumpkin. Aduki beans and onion. And our own bread baked from roast corn flour, water-salt, and sautéed vegetables. The meal itself was a yoga.
    Once the guests were seated, the mantra OM was chanted by Tim, followed by a suitable period of silence. Then a little bell would ring and a disembodied message would be relayed into the room: 'With the next mouthful of food contemplate on the wonders of the body: where this food goes, how it is digested, how it is transformed into energy, into you. Think carefully as you chew the next mouthful.'

    'Observe your body
    Mandala of the universe
    Observe your body
    Of ancient design
    Holy temple of consciousness
    Central stage of the oldest drama
Observe its structured wonders
        net of nerve

    Observe its message.'
                    (Tao Sutra 24)

    After the meal we took the guests to a long darkened room at the back, the session room. It was dominated by mirrors and a huge mandala painted on the ceiling. I always felt conscious of the wood panelling and felt that at times it was like being in a cigar box. All around were mattresses covered with Indian prints. Slide projectors were humming in the dark. Six speakers were linked to a tape recorder so that we could get circular sound. Several pre-programmed movie projectors were ready. I would then say: 'This is not a show, not something outside yourself. We, for our part, will experience some of the same things as you. This is a teaching device. All of us in the household have been engaged in psychedelic work for a number of years and we have developed methods of duplicating the world we see on these trips. We want you to share some of these methods of seeing inner space. We want you to go out of your minds and into your heads.' And I would read:
    'Let there be simple, natural things to contact during the session —

    hand-woven cloth
    uncarved wood
    flowers—growing things
    ancient music
    burning fire
    a touch of earth
    a splash of water
    fruit, good bread, cheese
    fermenting wine
    temple incense
    a warm hand
    fish swimming
    anything which is over
            five hundred years old
Of course it is always best to be secluded with nature.'
                    (Tao Sutra 19)

    In an instant, from all sides, came an electric bombardment of sound and image including many of the images used in the Psychedelic Theatre: the US flag, Buddha, the frog embryo, amorphous colours. A voice would spin from speaker to speaker saying:

    'That which is called ego-death is coming to you
    This is now the hour of death and rebirth;
    Take advantage of this temporary death to obtain the perfect
    Concentrate on the unity of all living beings.
    Hold on to the Clear Light.
    Use it to attain understanding and love.'
                    (The Tibetan Book of the Dead)

    Then there would be silence and darkness relieved only by candlelight. Watching the perplexity on some faces I thought how strange it was that modern Americans should find something strange in a technique that had been used for thousands of years in one form or other. It was clear that the one who resisted the experience needed a new morality, a set of natural harmonious rules to follow as they spun off into neurological space.
    They sat, some responsive, some astounded by the assault on their senses. Just as they were becoming accustomed to the candlelight, the stroboscope would start making multiple divisions of light, hitting the retina in a staccato burst and forcing chemical changes. By now the whole concept of environmental reality had been altered. We encouraged the guests to walk around in the flickering movement-stopping light. As a body moved in the stroboscopic light it looked like a series of still photographs being crudely animated. Guests who tried to dance in the light were reduced to chaos because they could not coordinate with their apprehension of their partner's movements. Abruptly the strobe was stopped and we saw only the candles, their light weaving in the warm air of human breath. Slowly the room was bathed in yellow which is the colour of the Root Cakra which we reinforced with Tibetan chanting music. After twenty minutes the Water Cakra would be played on the tape-recorder:
'Can you lie quietly
    in the fierce slippery union
    of male and female ?
    Warm wet dance of engeration ?
    Endless ecstasies of couples ?…
Can you feel the coiled serpent writhing
    While birds sing ?
Become two cells merging
Slide together in molecule embrace
Can you, murmuring
All fusing.'

    Twenty minutes after this came the Sex Cakra when the room would be suffused in a pale silvery light and we thought of the energies surrounding our sexual feelings. Ravi Shankar music would dissolve into a Caribbean bossanova and we watched slides of men and women in the act of love.
    So on to the Heart Cakra. Colour of red fire. The room bathed in crimson light. Music by Scriabin and Miles Davis and Bach. And the sound of a child's heartbeat. Then the Throat Cakra: blue bubbles of air. Debussy, Indian music, Japanese flute music. Finally the Head Cakra with Stockhausen and the sounds of outer space. Slides of the stars and galaxies would edge around the room.
    At the end of this timeless session we would bring the visitors back, carefully prepare them for re-entry:
    'As you return
    Remember to choose consciously
    Power is the heavy stone wrenched
        from your garden of tenderness
    Virtue is the heavy stone crushing your innocence

    What can be learned
    From nature is
        Shun the social
        Cuddle the elemental
        Avoid angles, lie with the round
    Shun plastic, conspire with seed
    Do no good
    For God's sake
    Feel good
    Nature's order will prevail'
                    (Tao Sutra 3)

    Undoubtedly many of our visitors obtained genuine spiritual edification from these simulated sessions, though it is my experience that they can never be a substitute for the sacrament of LSD. For their money they had been changed in some ways. Even those who did not seek change had access to the Millbrook facilities of seminar rooms, meditation house, forest paths, the lake for swimming, vegetable gardens, art and photographic libraries, music and book libraries with an extensive section on Eastern Philosophy, and our library of tape lectures and experiential films. Some were astounded at what they found. Those willing to drop the sensation-seeking game had an insight into the religious aims of Millbrook. Though many members of the public who might have been otherwise willing to open themselves to the experience were alienated by lurid press reports of which the following, from The Charlotte Observer, is typical:
'A quick belt of whisky from the suitcase improves things considerably. OM.
    ' "I am Michael Hollingshead," says the man in the doorway, half an hour later. He is tall, thirty-ish, baldish, with cold, cruel grey eyes. "I am your guide for the weekend. Will you follow me?" He has an English accent and a soft voice of sinister authority.
    'Down the hall (OM OM OM) down the stairs. Outside four people gather silently in the back of a battered Land Rover: two women and two men, one of them an egg-bald bespectacled young man from Ottawa.
    "'Right now we're in the period of silence," says Hollingshead. "First we'll go for a little drive, then a little walk, then dinner." He drives along a track through dusk-hushed woods, then out into a field and stops at a pond… Hollingshead produces a bottle of cocktail sherry and paper cups. Dusk deepens. The pond is covered with a film of green growth, which creeps.
    ' "Is the period of silence over ?" asks the poison ivy woman, emboldened by sherry.
    ' "Not for you," says Hollingshead with a little smile.
    'The drive continues through the woods and fields, then back to the house… Timothy Leary enters and sits. He is tall, forty-five, handsome, barefoot, a dentist's son, the father of three: a boy, a girl, and the psychedelic movement… Leary talks… The reason psychedelic experiences are important and valuable is that people live their lives by their own "chess-boards", playing the lawyer-game, the merchant-game, or some rule-ridden ego-game, rarely if ever expanding their consciousness to the point of true awareness and understanding of man and nature, including themselves.
    'He demonstrates: Susan Leary and Hollingshead enact a short skit, she as a wife asking her overworked husband to take a holiday, he as a school principal firing a teacher. Their chessboards do not match; they do not understand each other…
    'The appearance of things around Castalia's baroque bastion indicates a certain abandonment of modern survival values… No particular concern is shown for the house… Castalians are above the landed-gentry game. Furniture is not important to them…
    'The woodwork and windows need washing, the old parquet floors need polish… the dogs… anoint the porch at will…
    'An air of sad decline pervades the house, like a Rolls-Royce being used as a dump truck.'

    The fact that the local press had praised our work in maintaining the house and improving the lawns and planting three acres of corn and vegetables is beside the point. Like so many people, that reporter looked without seeing, listened without hearing, calculated without thinking.
    I had been a guide for invited guests, a guide for paying visitors, and after taking so many people on an internal journey I felt it might be time to do the same in other countries. Mark Twain said that 'Guides cannot master the subtleties of the American joke', and though he was not thinking of a psychedelic guide, he had a point. There were too many American jokers doing injustices to Millbrook. One of the greatest guides, Virgil, says to a Dante tormented by frightening phenomena
    'But, as for thee, I think and deem it well
    Thou take me for thy guide, and pass with me
    Through an eternal place… '
                    (Inferno, Canto 1, tr. Dorothy Sayers)

    And Dante passes through a hell which in its realistic aspects corresponds closely to the unenlightened daily life. It is the desire of the guide to take his voyager to paradise. As guide to many travellers I have taken them out of their hell and offered them at least a temporary glimpse of paradise.
'The role of the psychedelic guide is new in our society, but the newness of the role should not blind us to the antiquity of its precedents. Priest and shaman, after all, were the first purveyors of its technique. Seer and sibyl mapped the cosmography of its domain. Perhaps the finest of its precedents is to be found in the figure of Virgil in Dante's Divine Comedy.... It should be one of the chief tasks of the guide to assume the role of Virgil in this chemically-induced Divine Comedy and to help the subject select out of the wealth of phenomena among which he finds himself some of the more promising opportunities for heightened insight, awareness and integral understanding that the guide knows to be available in the psychedelic experience. [R. E L. Masters and Jean Houston, op. cit., p. 130f.]

    I guided Leary and Alpert through their first trips. I guided the authors of the above passage through theirs. I acted as guide to Krassner, Topolski, Steinberg, Mingus, Steve Groff and dozens more. None had bad experiences. None returned with distaste for the spiritual or natural worlds. I endorse the ideal of the guide as Virgil, though could not claim to be an ideal guide. At the most I could claim to be conscious of my subject's creativity and that, in itself, is a step on the road to paradise.
    And so I felt it to be time to take to the road again myself. By September 1965 I felt that the Experiential Workshops had been stimulating and often extremely successful. I felt satisfied with our work in New York developing the Psychedelic Theatre. Americans, the sensitive ones, were responding to the wonderful implications of LSD. Artists and scientists were admitting they could learn from mind expansion. LSD was becoming quite popular with a growing number of people and, in addition to the black market supply emanating from the West Coast, two very devoted student alchemists were synthesising it at Yale.
    As a European I felt the time had come for us to share with Europe some of the things we had discovered about the methodology of taking LSD in positive settings. I wanted to rid people of their inhibitions about mystical writings and demonstrate to them that The Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Tao Te Ching, and the I Ching were really basic manuals with fundamental instructions about taking LSD sessions. We felt we had supplemented this ancient knowledge by the exploitation of modern technological means of transmitting aesthetic phenomena.
    From what I had heard in letters and conversations, the psychedelic movement in England was small and badly informed. It appeared that those who took LSD did so as a consciously defiant anti-authoritarian gesture. The spiritual content of the psychedelic experience was being overlooked.
    We had a meeting at Millbrook to discuss this question of disseminating the results of our experimental research. It was agreed that I should return to London with the idea of introducing The Tibetan Book of the Dead in the translation by Tim, Dick and Ralph; the cyclostyled typescript of the Tao Be Ching by Tim and Ralph; and the Psychedelic Review, a magazine devoted to the theoretical discussion of psychedelic experience.
    Tim came to see me on the day of my departure. He was going to join me in London in January 1966, which gave me three months to set the scene for his arrival. The idea was to rent the Albert Hall, or 'Alpert Hall' as Tim called it, for a psychedelic jamboree. We would get the Beatles or the Stones to perform, invite other artists, and, as the climax of the evening, introduce Tim as the High Priest.
    Taking a piece of paper from his pocket Tim said, 'These are your marching orders, your instructions.' What they were I don't know because he decided to scrap them and took a clean sheet of paper and wrote the following on it:
To introduce to London the interpretation and applications and methods developed by and learned by Michael Hollingshead.
    No specific programme of expression can be specified in advance. The Yoga may include
    1. Tranart* gallery-bookstore.
    2. Weekly psychedelic reviews—lectures—questions and answers—Tranart demonstrations.
    3. Radio—TV—newspaper—magazine educational programme.
    4. Centre for running LSD session.'

    Thus it was I arrived London in the fall of 1965, with several hundred copies of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and thirteen cartons of the Psychedelic Review on their way.
    * Tranart was the term we used to describe the art of psychedelic simulation. The name never became widely accepted and to this day there is no adequate label for psychedelic art .

Chapter 6

Send e-mail to The Psychedelic Library:    psd_library@druglibrary.org

Contents | Feedback | Search | DRCNet Library | Schaffer Library

The Psychedelic Library | Book Menu