Welcome to the relaunch of psychedelicadventures.com, which was first uploaded in 2000 to support my book Tripping. The book is still in print, now in its Eleventh Printing, but plenty has changed since then, psychedelically speaking.
On the eve of publication we lost Terence McKenna, whom I’d met in Hawaii for the interview featured in Tripping. No countercultural pied piper has assumed his mantle, but we have seen a psychedelic science renaissance, the imminent legalization of cannabis nation and even continent wide, and strong indications that psychedelic drugs will soon be marketed as medicine and more.
The term “psychedelic” now has new connotations. For a particular vanguard of educated psychonauts and seekers of the holy, they’re considered “entheogens” that generate the god within.
Ketamine is now considered by official medicine the most promising pharmaceutical for treatment-resistant depression and suicidality. Psilocybin has been shown to reduce end of life anxiety and promote spirituality, MDMA to completely eradicate symptoms of PTSD, and ayahuasca a cure for addiction.
Following the wise counsel and private regimen of the late LSD-inventor Albert Hoffman, millions have now caught on to microdosing acid and psilocybin mushrooms, a burgeoning if still illegal practice with enormous potential for health and productivity.
It’s now clear that both the wizardry of the tech sector and the inspired DiY creativity of the incandescent desert flower of that festivus extremis called Burning Man are both fueled by psychedelic potions.
The hoary countercultural molt of psychedelics is being shed in favor of a gleaming white lab coat embodying the new rational appraisal of their benefits for medicine and quality of life. Psychedelic science, now that Big Pharma’s industrial molecules have run out of gas, is the newest wave in medicine. Research into the health benefits of formulas that can hardly be patented due to their belonging to the ages, is burgeoning, with LSD, psilocybin, MDMA (Ecstasy), ayahuasca, ketamine, and other mind-manifesting health-conferring chemicals studied in premier institutions such as Johns Hopkins, UCLA, and NYU, and others around the world.
Goop’s Gwynneth Paltrow recently ventured that she believes, in spite of her trepidation about tripping herself, that psychedelics will be the next big thing in alternative consumer goods.
Some are skeptical of this development, seeing Big Pharma and the CIA behind such apparent efforts to reap profit from the plants of the Gods and weaponize them for mind control.
Tripping dropped just as we lost our last popular shaman of psychedelic and the age of psychedelic legitimacy dawned. The book presented colorful anecdotal field reports of mostly informal unauthorized uses of psychedelic agents. Tripping polished the art of the trip report into something closer to academic document, helping to pave the way for a resurgence of controlled experimentation with psychedelics.
Psychedelic drugs are now discussed with specificity as to the genus and species of their provenance and the unique neurotransmitters they act upon in the human mind, whether it’s an alkaloid, cannabinoid, indole, tryptamine, phenethylamine, or other emerging category. Such classifications and the related awareness they confer have helped to generate a more educated class of consumers and decision makers.
Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind brilliantly summarizes the new science and presents a sober, empirical, evidence-based assessment of the new promise for what once were outlaw rides through a Wild West of proscription with prejudice, when you had to be honest to live outside the law. Dropping acid when it was illegal was a whole different set and setting, wasn’t it? Yes, it’s still illegal, but it’s rapidly gaining validity.
I’d like to believe that the avid compilation of field reports – for which Tripping represents the gold standard -- laid one of the foundations for the new era of science and medical and legal sanction by taking psychedelic phenomena so seriously and meaningful. A read though the book today is a journey to a more romantic time, when users of psychedelics imbibed in rites both sacred and recreational as members of a sort of underground resistance movement, when doing so was a political act with significant risks.
I don’t want to disparage the new science and its minimization of risk through clinical controls, which are valid and even indicated. I’m just saying that my book might make for more rewarding literature.
I’ll be positing thoughts from time to time, engaging with new generations of entheogen users, psychedelicists, and medicine takers.
Read on, mates.
To Psychedelic Adventures
Tripping: An Anthology of True-Life Psychedelic Adventures
Edited and with an introduction and other texts by Charles Hayes
Featuring an extensive interview with the late Terence McKenna
and illustrations by Alex Grey
This website offers extended features
and materials as an adjunct to the classic book,
in the annals of psychedelic literature,
now in its 11th printing with an
Updated Resource Section!
The first major compilation of narratives
about psychedelic experiences
The psychedelic state has been both demonized and mythologized, but what is it really like to trip? In Tripping, Charles Hayes has gathered fifty narratives about unforgettable psychedelic experiences from an international array of subjects representing all walks of life -- respectable Baby Boomers, aging hippies, young ravers, and accomplished writers such as John Perry Barlow, Anne Waldman, Tim Page, Steven Martin Cohen, Stephen Kessler, Robert Charles Wilson, Bruce Eisner, and Paul Devereux.
Taking a balanced, objective approach, the book depicts a broad spectrum of altered states, from the sublime to the terrifying. Hayes' supplemental essays provide a synopsis of the history and culture of psychedelics and a discussion of the kinetics of tripping. Specially featured is an interview with the late Terence McKenna, who was perhaps the pre-eminent psychedelic spokesperson of our time.
Illustrations are provided by renowned visionary artist Alex Grey and four computer graphics masters.
A storehouse of astonishing, often otherworldly tales, Tripping is a vox populi of forbidden memories that enables readers to trip vicariously or compare notes on their own experiences.
Charles Hayes worked for fifteen years in publishing. Since 1990 he has been a journalist whose work has appeared in Shaman's Drum, Tikkun, The Oxford American, High Times, Heads, The Earth Times, and E Magazine. He is also a writer/editor for a variety of businesses and organizations, a Website designer, and a communications manager for a marketing firm. Tripping is his first book.
David Stanford bought the project for Viking Penguin in 1997 and helped shape the book through the end of 1998, when he left the company to work independently. He has edited books by Ken Kesey, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Robert Hunter, Charles Schulz, and G.B. Trudeau.
Paul Slovak, Senior Editor, VP of Publicity, and Associate Publisher, Viking Penguin, has been editor for Tripping since January 1999.
Author's literary agent:
Sheree Bykofsky Associates, Inc. E-mail Sheree at
• Tripping is the first major compilation of narratives -- not clinical case studies -- about psychedelic experiences. The book contains narratives by 50 people of various nationalities and walks of life about their most unforgettable psychedelic experiences.
• Included is a lengthy conversation with the late Terence McKenna, on trips and tripping, psychedelic consciousness, cultural issues, Novelty Theory, and the End of History.
• Narratives by several accomplished writers and artists are presented.
• Most narratives are by anonymous “ordinary” people for whom their anonymity brings out a confessional dimension that gives their stories an intensely personal character, permitting forbidden, “unspeakable” memories and experiences to be liberated and brought to light.
• A balanced, objective perspective portrays both positive and negative impacts of psychedelic experiences. A wide range of such experiences is covered, ranging from the sublime to the terrifying -- good and bum trips both.
• Types of experiences include spiritual ecstasy, encounters with discarnate entities, I-know-what-it’s-like-to-be-dead or out-of-body experiences, freak-outs, flashbacks, psychosis (momentary and otherwise), and acts or events of apparent magic or miracle.
• A broad age range is represented; narrators were eighteen to seventy-something at the time their stories were related.
• Experiences were catalyzed not just by classic psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, but by a wide array of psychotropic substances ranging from the sacred plants of indigenous societies to the latest synthetic “smart drugs.”
• Aside from the trip narratives, additional texts include:
• A succinct synopsis of the history and culture of psychedelics
• An exposition on the basic features of the psychedelic experience
• A concise index of psychedelic substances
• A Bibliography and Resources section, including Websites
At a Rainbow Gathering, a tripper believes he’s participating in the final celebration of the gods and that his urgent mission is to mate with his chosen one before the entire tribe moves on to a higher sphere at the climax of the “orgasm death dance." (See Jason).
A young man eats some peyote buttons on a hike in the Grand Canyon, and stumbles upon a near-death experience. (See Carl).
After an afternoon in his room stricken with the terror of damnation, seeing demons – literally -- in every corner, an Australian chap wanders out into the family garden, where he beholds a pagan wonderland in the trunk of a tree; he drops to his knees groaning in ecstasy as his dear mum and dad watch aghast from the kitchen window. (See James).
A college student wanders into a forest where he’s drawn to an inviting glen, whereupon he is visited by a vision of God Himself, who anoints him the Sun King and asks him to perform some ritual labors ahead of appointing himself some disciples. (See Marcel).
A non-specific psychedelic ingested at the notorious Altamont concert of 1969 triggers a bizarre odyssey through the San Francisco city jail and mental health system for a fellow under the delusion that he’s a member of an elite corps of angelic revolutionaries armed with poetry and pacifist principles, bent on transforming a violent and materialistic society. (See Stephen Kessler).
After being seized by a déjà vu of godliness during which he begins speaking in tongues, a tripper plummets into the flipside of that experience in an episode of horrific eternal recurrence that revisits him in flashbacks for many years to come. (See Jeremy).
As a fellow leans over to kiss his wife, she turns into a snake, and he crashes through a phantom windshield, emerging in spiritual realm where he is now psychically free of two phobias that had been haunting him, one for snakes and one for car crashes. (See Herbie Greene).
After chewing up 75 datura seeds in India, an American seeker begins conversing with a corpse, hallucinates the beating hearts of his companions under a pile of dirt, and finally concludes that life’s an illusion, joining ranks with a group of wandering sadhus. (See Matthew S. Kent).
A wooden carving of Christ speaks out loud to a seminary student during a church service, reshaping her theology and the depth of her faith, and later inspiring her to use psilocybin mushrooms at a service she is officiating, when she's seized by an out-of-the-blue urge to deliver a prophesy about a member of the congregation. (See Reverend Marianne).
Tripping features stories or anecdotes by the following authors and notable figures:
The late author, lecturer, and shamanologist
Author, ethnobotanist, and natural products industry consultant
Electronic Frontier Foundation
co-founder and former Grateful Dead lyricist
Author and war photographer
Beat poet and Jack Kerouac
School of Disembodied Poetics teacher
Author of the award-winning bestseller
Neuro Tribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity.
Author and ethnobotanist
Herbie Greene San Francisco rock scene and unofficial Grateful Dead photographer
Bruce Eisner Author and Island Foundation president
Paul Devereux Author and phenomenologist
Robert Charles Wilson Science fiction author
Steven Martin Cohen Thriller writer
Stephen Kessler Writer/translator and literary editor
Yippie Kate Coleman Journalist and former
Robert Bell Author, journalist, and Irish Troubles chronicler
Leonard Mercado Peyote Foundation president
Matthew S. Kent Peyote Way Church of God president
Leonard Gibson Holotropic Breathwork International presiden
Click on Artwork page for illustration contributors and to view illustrations.