Searching for CC and public domain images for Eleusis and related keywords, I ran across this Psychedelic Psychedelia

Most of this piece seems to be about psychedelics and music, and is pretty predictable, but, in the context of my search, it caught my eye, and so to preserve it, and not lose it in the emptiness of bookmarks never revisited, I decided to toss it here – with the addition of a few images brought up in my search for legal to use Eleusinian Mysteries images.

INterview with Patrick Lundborg of, author of the Acid Archives (2010) and Psychedelia (2012)


In the 20th century we began what I call ‘the short cycle’ of Psychedelia which began with peyote and mescaline experiments in the 1890s-1920s, then really took off with Hofmann’s discovery of LSD. The short cycle reached a peak in terms ofpopular attention in the late 1960s, then went into a quiet mode during the 1970s and 80s, and then it was revitalized in the early 1990s, with Terence McKenna replacing Tim Leary, and drugs like DMT, ayahuasca and psilocybin replacing LSD. Although ‘60s Psychedelia has been given much more attention, I believe the 1990s scene is just as important. The situation today is that the hedonistic spirit of the 1990s is very much alive, especially here in Europe, but it’s underground and deliberately low-profile. My book opens with the observation that more people are taking psychedelic drugs today than any other time – and that includes the psychedelic ‘60s. In short, Psychedelia is alive and well, and people involved have understood to keep outsiders at a distance. Today, you can go and see a movie like Avatar, parts of which are completely drenched in psychedelic ideas – there was even an ayahuasca drug ritual in that movie, though it was left out of the final cut. The commercially biggest movie of all time looks like it was made by someone who has been smoking DMT for several years – that’s good proof that psychedelic culture not only lives,but may in fact be expanding.


Psychedelic culture has been a permanent undercurrent in Western society since ancient times. This is what I call ‘the long cycle’ of Psychedelia. Psychedelic culture is built upon two fundamental pillars: the direct, personal experience of a higher world, and a celebration of our everyday existence in light of this experience. Both these elements go directly against the dogmas and hierarchies of Christianity, Judaism and Islam. During certain times this alternative culture rises to the surface and becomes influential on society at large, which is what happened in ancient Greece at the time of the Great Mystery rites in Eleusis, where thousands of people gathered each year to drink a psychedelic  brew (an organic variant of LSD) and spend an extraordinary night of visions and emotional bonding – kind of like an early Acid Test! 



This image above was what drew me to the article – someone had made a hand colored copy of a famous relief fragment now at The Met. “Demeter, the goddess of agricultural abundance, stands at the left, clad in a peplos and himation (cloak) and holding a scepter. At the right is Persephone, her daughter and the wife of Hades, the god of the underworld. She is dressed in a chiton and himation. Each goddess extends her right hand toward a nude youth, but it is no longer possible to determine what they held.  The boy is thought to be Triptolemos, who was sent by Demeter to teach men how to cultivate grain.“. This image (wikimedia commons)


It’s worth your time, I’d say, to go to the met site and use their very high res viewer to take a look at the best image of this relief that you will ever see anywhere.

The article continues – nothing revolutionary for you and I perhaps, but, still – with a bit more on “the long cycle of psychedelics”.

All the famous philosophers and even Roman emperors took part in this ritual, which had a profound influence on the Greek-Roman culture that our Western world is built on. Another high-point for this alternative culture was the Italian Renaissance, where the heritages of Athens and Rome were rediscovered, and for a century or so this heritage raised more interest than the familiar Christian dogmas. Later in history one can identify singular individuals with an obvious relevance to Psychedelia, such as William Blake and his mentor-opponent Emanuel Swedenborg. In the early 20th century, psychedelic drugs entered Western society again, and this began ‘the short cycle’ that I describe above. The long cycle of Psychedelia will continue as long as mankind exists, while the future and duration of the short cycle currently going on is something for each modern psychedelicist to consider.
And, so as to pour a libation of kykeon – I Fell, I Looked, I Arose – I offer these. All Wikimedia Commons, CC.

Genrich Ippolitovich Semiradsky – Roma, 1889 – Phryne on the Poseidon’s celebration in Eleusis.


By Macron (Marie-Lan Nguyen (2011)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Goddess performing a libation.


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