“αν πεθάνεις πριν πεθάνεις,
δεν θα πεθάνεις όταν πεθάνεις
If you die before you die,
You won’t die when you die.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
As seen on The Joe Rogan Experience!
A groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and the real-life quest for the Holy Grail that could shake the Church to its foundations.
The most influential religious historian of the 20th century, Huston Smith, once referred to it as the “best-kept secret” in history. Did the Ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same, secret tradition? A profound knowledge of visionary plants, herbs and fungi passed from one generation to the next, ever since the Stone Age?
There is zero archaeological evidence for the original Eucharist – the sacred wine said to guarantee life after death for those who drink the blood of Jesus. The Holy Grail and its miraculous contents have never been found. In the absence of any hard data, whatever happened at the Last Supper remains an article of faith for today’s 2.5 billion Christians. In an unprecedented search for real answers, The Immortality Key examines the archaic roots of the ritual that is performed every Sunday for nearly one third of the planet. Religion and science converge to paint a radical picture of Christianity’s founding event. And after centuries of debate, to solve history’s greatest puzzle once and for all.
Before the birth of Jesus, the Ancient Greeks found salvation in their own sacraments. Sacred beverages were routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries – elaborate rites that led initiates to the brink of death. The best and brightest from Athens and Rome flocked to the spiritual capital of Eleusis, where a holy beer unleashed heavenly visions for two thousand years. Others drank the holy wine of Dionysus to become one with the god. In the 1970s, renegade scholars claimed this beer and wine – the original sacraments of Western civilization – were spiked with mind-altering drugs. In recent years, vindication for the disgraced theory has been quietly mounting in the laboratory. The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have hinted at the enduring use of hallucinogenic drinks in antiquity. And with a single dose of psilocybin, the psychopharmacologists at Johns Hopkins and NYU are now turning self-proclaimed atheists into instant believers. But the smoking gun remains elusive.
If these sacraments survived for thousands of years in our remote prehistory, from the Stone Age to the Ancient Greeks, did they also survive into the age of Jesus? Was the Eucharist of the earliest Christians, in fact, a psychedelic Eucharist?
With an unquenchable thirst for evidence, Muraresku takes the reader on his twelve-year global hunt for proof. He tours the ruins of Greece with its government archaeologists. He gains access to the hidden collections of the Louvre Museum to show the continuity from pagan to Christian wine. He unravels the Ancient Greek of the New Testament with the world’s most controversial priest. He spelunks into the catacombs under the streets of Rome to decipher the lost symbols of Christianity’s oldest monuments. He breaches the secret archives of the Vatican to unearth manuscripts never before translated into English. And with leads from the archaeological chemists at the University of Pennsylvania and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he unveils the first scientific data for the ritual use of psychedelic drugs in classical antiquity.
The Immortality Key reconstructs the suppressed history of women consecrating a forbidden, drugged Eucharist that was later banned by the Church Fathers. Women who were then targeted as witches during the Inquisition, when Europe’s sacred pharmacology largely disappeared. If the scientists of today have resurrected this technology, then Christianity is in crisis. Unless it returns to its roots.
Featuring a Foreword by Graham Hancock, the New York Times bestselling author of America Before: The Key to Earth’s Lost Civilization.
ALSO OF INTEREST
From the New York Times–bestselling author: “Each chapter . . . offers a window on a different intersection of psychiatry and spirituality” (New Age).
In Saints and Madmen, bestselling author Russell Shorto explains how modern science is beginning to reconcile centuries of religious experiences with current psychiatric theories. Psychotic patients sometimes believe they’re developing mystical powers, speaking to animals or conversing with God during their episodes. As one patient said, psychosis can be life’s greatest joy, and also its worst hell. Traditional psychiatry has approached the existence of these occurrences as a treatable medical problem, a case of unbalanced chemicals in the brain. But could it be more? In Saints and Madmen, Shorto writes about the scientists who reject the Freudian view of religious experience as narrow-minded, and shows us how their findings could change how we understand our own minds and spirits.
Psychiatry, once famously opposed to religion, has done an about-face. Like the legendary explorers of a century ago, some psychiatrists have set off into what they see as the last frontier: the spiritual self. In this moving and impeccably researched narrative, Russell Shorto tells remarkable stories of people suffering from what once were deemed spiritual afflictions, then came to be seen as purely medical disorders, and now are being treated as both.
In the process, Shorto brings to bear issues from the cutting edge of consciousness studies. He explores the shared territory of psychosis and mysticism; the changing meaning of “self,” “soul,” “mind,” and “brain”; the theory that psychotropic drugs have a spiritual dimension; the meaning of religious terrorism; and the possibility that addiction and depression are spiritual conditions.
In weaving his case studies into a single story, Shorto delivers a concise update on the science of the mind and the newest efforts to probe the deepest meaning of human existence.
This book by Julian Jaynes had a profound effect on my weltanschauung when I read it a few years ago
From The New Yorker
“When Julian Jaynes . . . speculates that until late in the twentieth millennium b.c. men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of the gods, we are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis.” –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
At the heart of this classic, seminal book is Julian Jaynes’s still-controversial thesis that human consciousness did not begin far back in animal evolution but instead is a learned process that came about only three thousand years ago and is still developing. The implications of this revolutionary scientific paradigm extend into virtually every aspect of our psychology, our history and culture, our religion—and indeed our future.
“Don’t be put off by the academic title of Julian Jaynes’s The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. Its prose is always lucid and often lyrical…he unfolds his case with the utmost intellectual rigor.”—The New York Times
“When Julian Jaynes . . . speculates that until late in the twentieth millennium BC men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of the gods, we are astounded but compelled to follow this remarkable thesis.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
“He is as startling as Freud was in The Interpretation of Dreams, and Jaynes is equally as adept at forcing a new view of known human behavior.”—American Journal of Psychiatry
About the Author
A welcome source of information for all those who are touched by the relationship between man and his myths. — The New York Times
Featuring a foreword by Jung, this Princeton Classics edition introduces a new generation of readers to this eloquent and enduring work.
The Origins and History of Consciousness draws on a full range of world mythology to show how individual consciousness undergoes the same archetypal stages of development as human consciousness as a whole. Erich Neumann was one of C. G. Jung’s most creative students and a renowned practitioner of analytical psychology in his own right. In this influential book, Neumann shows how the stages begin and end with the symbol of the Uroboros, the tail-eating serpent. The intermediate stages are projected in the universal myths of the World Creation, Great Mother, Separation of the World Parents, Birth of the Hero, Slaying of the Dragon, Rescue of the Captive, and Transformation and Deification of the Hero. Throughout the sequence, the Hero is the evolving ego consciousness.
There can be no doubt that [Neumann] has brought to his task a remarkable . . . knowledge of classical mythology, some considerable acquaintance with the comparative study of religion, and a deep understanding of those psychological views and theories evolved by C. G. Jung. — The Times Literary Supplement
No better exposition has come to us of the two Jungian themes: the evolution of consciousness in the history of mankind and the development of personality in the individual. — The Personalist –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.