R. Gordon Wasson (1898-1986) was a prominent banker and mycologist who was instrumental in the documentation of sacred mushroom rituals among the Mazatec in Mexico in the 1950s; Albert Hofmann (b. 1906) is the Swiss chemist who stumbled upon LSD in 1943 and has been an important investigator of entheogenic substances and an articulate advocate for their responsible study and use since then; Carl A. P. Ruck (b. 1935) is a Classics scholar affiliated with Boston University, who has a particular knowledge of ancient Greek ethnobotany. The work also includes a preface by the widely respected religious scholar Huston Smith (b. 1919).
"[Gordon Wasson has] made the specialty of mycology something of
universal importance and one of the pillars of anthropology and the
history of religions."
--Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize-winning poet and author
"The Road to Eleusis grew out of a three-way
collaboration of scholar-scientists sparked by R. Gordon Wasson's
insight into the true nature of an ancient religious ritual, the
Eleusinian Mysteries. In collaboration with the world-renowned
chemist, Albert Hofmann, and Carl Ruck, a Classical scholar
specializing in the ethnobotany of ancient Greece, they give solid
foundation to what Wasson deduced as the essence of the Mysteries.
The three authors present their findings and their evidence,
drawing the specialties of their three fields together in
fascinatingly persuasive form. "The content of those Mysteries is,
together with the identity of India's sacred soma plant, one of the
two best kept secrets in history, and this book is the most
successful attempt I know to unlock it. Triangulating the resources
of an eminent Classics scholar, the most creative mycologist of our
time, and the discoverer of LSD, [The Road to Eleusis] is a
historical tour de force while being more than that. For by
direct implication it raises contemporary questions which our
cultural establishment has thus far deemed too hot to face."
--Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions "The book's themes of the universality of experiential religion, the suppression of that knowledge by exploitative forces, and the use of psychedelics to reconcile the human and natural worlds make it a fascinating and timely read."