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Original Art by

Allen Atwell &
Michael Green

New Edition Art

by Howard Hallis



Berkeley California USA

Published by

Ronin Publishing, Inc.

P.O. Box 1035
Berkeley, CA 94701

High Priest

ISBN 0-914171-80-2
Copyright 1968 and 1995
by Timothy Leary, Ph.D.
(The Original Edition was
published in 1968 by The
New American Library in
association with The World
Publishing Company.)

All rights reserved. No part
of this book may be repro-
duced or transmitted in any
Form or by any means, elec-
tronic or mechanical, includ-
ing photocopying, recording,
or by any information stor-
age and retrieval system,
without written permission
from the publisher, except
for the inclusion of brief
quotations in a review.

Credits For Ronin Edition
Project Editors

Sebastian Orfali &
Beverly Potter

Front Matter Design & Type

Judy July

Original Edition Illustrations

Allen Atwell & Michael Green

New Edition Illustrations

Howard Hallis

Cover Design

Brian Groppe

Original Edition Copyright Notices:

Excerpts from The Divine Comedy by Dante Aligheri, translated by Lawrence
Grant White, reprinted by permission of Random House, Inc. Excerpts from The
Ma$ud by John Fowles reprinted by permission of Little, Brown, and Company.
Excerpts from Steppenwolfj by Hermann Hesse, translated by Basil Creighton,
Copyright 1927, 1957 by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc.; reprinted by permis-
sion of Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. "Within and Without" by Hermann
Hesse, Copyright 1954 by Suhrkamp Verlag. Excerpts from Doors oj Perception
by Aldous Huxley, Copyright 1954, reprinted by permission of Harper G Row.
Excerpts from \6land by Aldous Huxley, Copyright 1962, reprinted by permis-
sion of Harper G Row. Excerpts from The Lotus and the Robot by Arthur
Koestler, Copyright 1961 by Arthur Koestler, reprinted by permission of The
Macmillan Company. Excerpts from The Epic ofj Gilgamesh, translated by N.K.
Sandars, reprinted by permission of Penguin Books Ltd. Excerpts from The
Religions oft Man by Huston Smith, Copyright 1958, reprinted by permission
of Harper G Row. Excerpts from The Lord ofj the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Excerpts from The
I Ching or The Book ojj Changes, translated by R. Wilhelm and C.F. Baynes,
Bollingen Series XIX (Princeton University Press, 1967), Copyright 1950, 1967
by The Bollingen Foundation, New York; reprinted by permission of Princeton
University Press. Excerpts from "Minutes To Go" by William Burroughs reprint-
ed by permission of Beach Books, Texts G Documents. Excerpts from the
Boston Herald Traveler reprinted by permission of the Boston Herald Traveler
Corporation. Excerpts from "LSD-Hollywood's Status Drug" (Cosmopolitan,
September, 1963), Copyright 1963 by Hearst Magazines, Inc.; reprinted by per-
mission of Cosmopolitan. Excerpts from the writings of Allen Ginsberg
reprinted by permission of the author. Excerpts from letters of Michael
Hollingshead reprinted by permission of the author. Excerpts from Inner
Space reprinted by permission of The Rt. Rev. Michael Augustine Francis Itkin.
Excerpts from an interview with Timothy Leary originally appeared in Playboy
magazine; Copyright 1966 by HMH Publishing Co. Inc.; reprinted by permis-
sion of Playboy. Excerpts from "The Hallucinogenic Drug Cult" by Noah
Gordon (The Reporter. August 15, 1963), Copyright 1963 by The Reporter
Magazine Company; reprinted by permission of The Reporter and the author.
Excerpts from "Return Trip to Nirvana" by Arthur Koestler reprinted by permis-
sion of the Sunday Telegraph. London. Excerpts from "Instant Mysticism"
(Time. October 25, 1963) and "An Epidemic of Acid Heads" (Time, March 11,
1966); Copyright 1963 by Time, Inc.; Copyright 1966 by Time, Inc.; reprinted
by permission of Time, Inc. Illustration facing pages 46 and 184: Courtesy of
Richard Davis Studio. Illustration facing page 128: Courtesy of Fred W.
McDarrah. Portions of Trip 6 appeared in Esquire Magazine.



This manuscript was entrusted to:

My Beloved Daughter, Susan Leary

and to

My Beloved Son, Jack Leary


Now the manuscript is passed, by them, to:

Dieadra Martino

Ashley Martino

Sara Brown

Brett Leary

Annie Leary

Davina-Susana Martino

iv High Priest * Timothy Lcary

William Burroughs


The events related in this history reflect the collective consciousness
and collaborative behavior of several thousand people spiritual
researchers who have shared dark confusions and bright hopes, given
their emotion, muscle, brain, and risked scorn and social isolation to pursue the
psychedelic yoga.

Homage and gratitude to these fellow explorers.

Richard Alpert and Ralph Metzner have participated in every phase of the long
ascent and continue to climb higher. His-story is their story.

Three tender elvish flowers, Rosemary Woodruff, Susan Leary, and Jack Leary,
have endured the harshest ordeals of the journey at home and in prison and
have survived, blossoming.

Loving thanks to the psychologists and religious philosophers who have coun-
seled at our centers in Cambridge, Boston, Zihuatanejo, Antigua, Millbrook, and

The original art for this manuscript is the illuminated work of Allen Atwell and
Michael Green.

The editorial acts of love were performed by Susan Firestone, Lorraine
Schwartz, and Jean McCreedy.

The psychedelic revolution is a religious renaissance of the young, for the
young, by the young. This volume presents Old Testament background for the new
witness of those born after 1946, children of the Atomic Age.

The authentic priests, the real prophets of this great movement are the rock-
and-roll musicians. Acid-rock is the hymns, odes, chants of the turned-on love gen-
eration. For the first time in history, teen-agers (our new advanced mutant species)
have written their own songs, beat their own rhythm, created their own religion.

The work of the psychedelic scholar-politicians (described in this history) is
over, with love and confidence we turn our work and our planet over to the young
and their prophets:


The Beatles

The Byrds

The Rolling Stones

The Beach Boys

The Jefferson Airplane

The Mamas and the Papas

The Grateful Dead

Moby Grape

The Daily Flash

The Doors

Country Joe and the Fish

Charlie Lloyd

The Monkees


The Association

Buffalo Springfield

The Animals

Big Brother and the Holding Company

The Quicksilver Messenger Service

and many other ecstatic combinations.


Smashing Pumpkins


Edward Ka-Spel

Tear Garden

Skinny Puppy



Cabaret Voltaire

Throbbing Gristle


A Tribe Called Quest

De La Soul

Digable Planets

Nine Inch Nails



Future Sounds of London

Aphex Twins



Dead Can Dance

The Cocteau Twins

This Mortal Coil

Wolfgang Press



Blues Traveller

Luscious Jackson

The Beastie Boys

Sonic Youth


Jeff Beck

The Cult

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

John Zorn

Elliot Sharp

Glenn Branca

Dr. Fiorella Terenzi

Dr. Susumu Ohno

Soul Asylum

Revolting Cocks

Camper Van Beethoven

The Plastic Ono Band

Blind Lemon Jefferson


Syd Barrett


Iron Butterfly

Strawberry Alarm Clock

The Carrie Nations

The Who

Bob Dylan

Crosby Stills Nash and Young

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention

The Soft Machine

viii High Priest Timothy Leary

Laura & Aldous Huxley


We transmit the 1995 re-issue of High priest with a certain amused,
confused, apologetic wonder.
This collection of Neuro-Adventure Stories was first published in 1968 by
World Publishing-NAL.

It was Re-Issued, Re-Animated in 1995 by Ronin Publishing. I am grateful for
the visionary friendship of Beverly Potter and Sebastian Orfali and the graphic-
prowess of Howard Hallis.

The "Acknowledgements" for the ancient 1968 version declaimed, "The psy-
chedelic revolution is a religious renaissance of the young, for the young, by the
young. This volume presents Old Testament background for the new witness of
those born after 1946. . . ."

Thus, 27 years ago, did we pompously, parentally, announce the Birth of
the Baby Boomers! So Pass out the Loaded Cigars.
Here's more '68 pulpit-parent sermonizing.

"The authentic priests, the real prophets oF this great
movement are the rock-and-roll musicians. . . .
For the First time in history (!), teen-agers (our new
advanced mutant species) have written their own songs,
beat their own rhythm, created their own religion."

And then came the solemn-inspirational Locker-Room Exhortation.

"The work oF the psychedelic scholar-politicians
(described in this history) is over. . . ."

With love and confidence we turn our work and our planet (?) over to the
young and their prophets: (the rock 'n rollers).

x High Priest + Timothy Leary

The 1968 edition celebrated 19 rock groups: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones,
The Monkees, etc.

Ok. These pronouncements were breathless, pious, embarrassingly grandiose.
But they did lurch in the right direction. The inevitable future.

The '60s Youth Movement did change human culture. It did, among other
things, popularize-legitimize this astonishing concept of "New Generation" as a
major cultural issue. Globally.


It is hard for us to realize that this concept that each generation of Teen-
Agers Re-Creates a New Culture was not a major historical
force before the 20th Century. For example, in the slow-witted 1975 edition of "The
New (?) Columbia Encyclopedia" the only reference to this explosive word refers to
the "Generation of 1898", in Spain!


My charming, elegant, educated, worldly, Irish-Catholic grandparents, Sarah
Rooney S Dennis Leary, did not imagine that they belonged to a "generation".

Dutiful Catholic teen-agers of the Victorian Age, 1860-1890, danced, dressed,
courted the way their parents (and the Protestants) did.

Polka* & Waltzed!

And their coming-of-age trips were not to Woodstock or Katmandu. Like the
Protestants they read about in the papers, they dutifully sailed to Europe on the
traditional Cunard steamships and made the classical, obligatory "trips" to the
Louvre, the Vatican Museums and the Opera Houses.


Just recently I learned that my sophisticated Aunt Betty died in 1923 of a
cocaine overdose! Betty in her scandalous trips to Paris, New York and Reno (for a
semi-legal divorce) was a "hell-raising", "whoopee", sophisticated "flapper". A duti-
ful member of the Roaring '20s counter-culture: THE "LOST' GENERATION.

Neuv Acknowledgements xi

This catchy term was invented by a certain Gertrude Stein, an astute, brave,
scientifically-trained sister who flaunted lesbian credentials and courageously glo-
rified the concept of Counter-Culture.

My darling, beloved parents, Abigail S Timothy, were part of this new culture.
These pious, prudish, patriotic, middle-class Catholics openly swigged the major
illegal drug of the time! And they smoked cigarettes (not in public, for ladies, of

Abby and Tote belonged to the first cohort to understand generational differ-
ences. They called it "progress", i.e. Model T Fords, canned goods, lip-stickO).

My parents (silently) knew they were different from their parents. They were
the first generation in human history to listen to radio and talk via electric
wires. They smoked and drank like the film stars. Their Radio Broadcasts were lec-
tures or symphony concerts. They were "teened" too soon to be imprinted by
Decca Records playing Jazz and Dixieland.

Television? No way! My parents stubbornly rejected TV like suspicious primi-
tives. The way Literary People today fear computers.

It is interesting to recall that those magic terms BOrlEMJANS 8 LOSJ
GENEr\AjION were applied to upper-middle-class adults. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest
Hemingway, Ezra Pound, Mabel Dodge, D.H. Lawrence, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce,
William Butler Yeats, Ford Maddox Ford, Georgia O'Keeffe, the Expressionist
painters, the jazz musicians. None of these "avant-garde", cultural innovators were


For example, the psychedelic experiences described in HiGH PrjesT were
organized and made credible by people who "teened" 1920-1940. The quaint, schol-
arly attitude of this book emerged from sages like Walter Clark, Frank Barron,
Aldous S Laura Huxley, Gordon Wasson, Arthur Koestler, Allen Ginsberg, Harry
Murray, Houston Smith, Sri Gayatri Devi, Alan Watts, William S. Burroughs, And me.

In i960 we Middle-Aged, Middle-Class, Naive, White, Harvard Faculty
Intellectuals expected that psychedelic drugs would be used by Academic Scholarly
Adults who had read William James ("Varieties of Religious Experience") and the
Pop-Hindu and Pop-Bhuddist texts. Our mission was to train graduate students to

xii High Priest + Timothy Leawy

Alan Watt<

High Priest + Timothy Leary xiii

use psychedelic drugs as tools for research, psychotherapy and mystical experi-

It never occurred to us that a new post-war generation who grew up with
Television would use psychedelics as a rite-of-passage. Turn On. Fine Tune. Off-On,
Drop Out.

We indulgent parents unwittingly produced:


The Woodstock Generation shocked and scorned us "square" parents. Then, in
turn, the Hippies grew up and produced children.


And these Disco-Punkers of the cocaine-'yos and the booze-crack '80s grew up
scorning their hippy-dippy parents.

And now, in the 1990s we welcome the next New Breed!


Today, with wary anticipation, we watch this mysterious info-matic new breed,
in front of computer screens, feeding neuro-enriched light-waves to their hungry
brains. Fine-tuning, scanning, melding, morphing technicolored Screen Images.
Linked into the InterNet, exchanging new light-speed realities.

May we humbly hope that they will upload a few shards and fragments of
these archaeological High Priest chips and around ten other story-
books by the author on the World Wide Web.

CUA Round.

xiv High Priest Timothy Leary

Gordon Wasson


Rosemary Leary

Barbara Leary

Joi Ito, Momoko Ito,

Scott 8 Mimi Fisher

Denis Berry

Coco Conn

Barbara Fouch 8

John Roseboro

Mimi 8 Tom Davis

William Burroughs

James Grauerholtz


Kim-Lisa Ferguson

Wilder 8 Christian

Ron Turner

Lesley Meyers

Mondo 8 Jas Morgan

Nancy-Barry Sanders


Ken R.U.S. Goffman

Queen Mu-Steve B.

Doug Ruschkoff

Eliot Mintz

Anita Hoffman

Paul Kantner

Yoko, Sean, Camella

All The Glam-Glitter

Debbie 8 Bill Gibson

Alexa 8 Tom Robbins

David Prince

Shauna-Norman Hajjar

Al Jourgeson

Perry Farrell

Bob Guccione, Jr.

R. Crumb

Jaron Lanier

Pat 8 George Milman

John Perry Barlow

Doris V. 8 Ian

Eldridge Cleaver

Paul Krassner

Deric De Kerchove

Mark Dippe

Wes Takahashi

Dudley Danof

Ralph Mendez

Nancy 8 Steve Ditlea

Leroy Bobbitt

Brian Fargo

Bruce Eisner

Shari Lewis 8

Jeremy Tarcher

Chris Blackwell

Faye 8 Ken Kesey

Aileen 8 Ken Babbs

Jim Bauer
Sandra 8 Hilly Elkin

xvi High Priest * Timothy Leary

Allen Ginsberg


By the late '40s of this memory Century the people I knew best and loved most had
already broken thru the crust of old Reasons S were dowsing for some Supreme
Reality, Christmas on Earth Rimbaud said, Second Religiousness according to Spengler's outline of
civilization declining through proliferation of non-human therefore boring technology; Blake had
called "0 Earth Earth return!" centuries before, echoing the ancient gnostic prophecy that
Whitman spelled out for America specifically demanding that the Steam-engine "be confronted and
met by at least an equally subtle and tremendous force-infusion for purposes of spiritualization,
for the pure conscious, for genuine aesthetics, and for absolute and primal manliness and woman-
liness" Ezra Pound's mind jumped to diagnose the dimming of the world's third Eye: "With Usura
the line grows thick."

One scholar who transmitted Blake's kabbalah, S. Foster Damon, could remember his sudden
vision of tiny flowers carpeting Harvard Yard violet before World War One, an image that lingered
over 60 years in mind since his fellow student Virgil Thomson gave him the cactus peyote to eat.
Damon concluded that rare beings like Blake are born with physiologic gift of vision, continuous or
intermittent. William James, whose pragmatic magic probably called the Peyote God to Harvard in
the first place, had included shamanistic chemical visions among the many authentic "Varieties of
Religious Experience." His student Gertrude Stein experimented in alteration of consciousness
through mindfulness of language, an extremely effective Yoga since mechanical reproduction of
language by XX Century had made language the dominant vehicle of civilized consciousness; her
companion Alice B. Toklas contributed a cookbook recipe for Hashish Brownies to enlighten those
persons over-talkative in drawing rooms unaware that "the medium is the message."

This synchronism is exquisite: William S. Burroughs also once of Harvard shared Miss Stein's
mindfulness of the hypnotic drug-like power of language, and collaborated on cut-up rearrange-
ment of stereotyped language forms with friend Brion Gysin, who had originally given Miss Toklas
the recipe for her famous Brownies. Burroughs among others had begun experiments with drug-
shamanism after World War Two for the author of "Naked Lunch" it was a pragmatic extension of
his Cambridge interest in linguistic Anthropology. That same gnostic impulse broke through to
clear consciousness simultaneously in many American cities: Gary Snyder realized the entire uni-
verse was alive one daybreak 1948 in Portland when a flight of birds rose out of the stillness in a

xviii High Priest + Timothy Leary

gully by the city river, a natural vision The masters of the Berkeley Renaissance read Gertrude
Stein aloud and practiced Poetic kabbalah (charming synchronism that psychologist Timothy Leary
met poets Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan in that same 1948 student scene) Neal Cassady drove
Jack Kerouac to Mexico in a prophetic automobile to see the physical body of America, the same
Denver Cassady that one decade later drove Ken Kesey's Kosmos-patterned schoolbus on a Kafka-
circus tour over the roads of the awakening nation And that wakening began, some say, with the
first saxophone cry of the new mode of black music which shook the walls of white city mind
when Charles Parker lifted his birdflightnoted horn 8 announced a new rhythm of thinking, an
extended breathing of the body in music and speech, a new consciousness. For as Plato had writ,
"When the mode of the music changes, the walls of the city shake."

The new consciousness born in these States can be traced back through old gnostic texts,
visions, artists, 8 shamans; it is the consciousness of our ground nature suppressed 8 desecrated. It
was always the secret tale of the tribe in America, this great scandal of the closing of the doors of
perception of the Naked Human Form Divine. It began with the white murder of Indian inhabitants
of the ground, the theft and later usurious exploitation of their land, it continued with an assault
on all races and species of Mother Nature herself and concludes today with total disruption of the
ecology of the entire planet. No wonder black slaves kept for non-human use into this century in
tear-gassed ghettos of megalopolis were the first Aliens to sound the horn of Change, the first
Strangers to Call the Great Call through Basilides' many Heavens. Amazing synchronism again, that
Mr. Frank Takes Gun, Native American Church amerindian Peyote Chief, invited the brilliantly talk-
ative silver-haired psychiatrist who directed a Saskatchewan mental hospital in the 1940's to partic-
ipate in a Peyote ritual, and that same Dr. Humphrey Osmond having recognized a wonder of con-
sciousness thus experienced passed on the catalyst in Mescaline synthetic form to Aldous Huxley;
and that Huxley's 1945 essay on the chemical opening of the Doors of Perception found its way to
the tables of Bickford's Cafeteria Times Square New York 8 the couches of Reed College and
Berkeley, where artist persons, having heard the Great Call of the African American, already initiat-
ed themselves en masse to subtle gradations of their own consciousness experienced while smok-
ing the same Afric hemp smoked by Charles Parker Thelonious Monk 8 Dizzy Gillespie.

Dr. Timothy Leary takes up his part of the tale of the tribe in a Mexican hut and brings his
discovery to Harvard harmoniously and there begins the political battle, black and white magic
become public visible for a generation. Dr. Leary is a hero of American consciousness. He began as
a sophisticated academician, he encountered discoveries in his field which confounded him and his
own technology, he pursued his studies where attention commanded, he arrived beyond the
boundaries of public knowledge. One might hesitate to say, like Socrates, like Galileo? poor Dr.

Foreword xix

Leary, poor Earth! Yet here we are in Science Fiction History, in the age of Hydrogen Bomb
Apocalypse, the very Kali Yuga wherein man's stupidity so overwhelms the planet that ecological
catastrophe begins to rehearse old tribes-tales of Karmaic retribution, Fire 8 Flood 8 Armageddon

It would be natural (in fact deja vu) that the very technology stereotyping our consciousness
8 desensitizing our perceptions should throw up its own antidote, an antidote synthetic such as
LSD synchronous with mythic tribal Soma 8 Peyote. Given such historic Comedy, who could emerge
form Harvard technology but one and only Dr. Leary, a respectable human being, a worldly man
faced with the task of Messiah. Inevitable! Not merely because the whole field of mental psycholo-
gy as a "science" had arrived at biochemistry anyway. It was inevitable because the whole profes-
sional civilized world, like Dr. Leary, was already faced with the Messianic task of accelerated evo-
lution (i.e., psychosocial Revolution) including an alteration of human consciousness leading to the
immediate mutation of social 8 economic forms. This staggering realization, psychedelic, i.e., con-
scious expanding 8 mind-manifesting in itself, without the use of chemical catalysts, was then
forced on all of us by images of our own unconscious rising from the streets of Chicago, where city
tear gas was dumped on Christ's very Cross in Lincoln Park AD 1968. The drains are backing up in
the cities, smog noise and physiologic poison in food turn us to insect acts, overpopulation crazes
the planet, our lakes corrupt, old riverways become dark fens, tanks entered Prague and Chicago
streets simultaneous, Police State arrives in every major city, starvation wastes African provinces,
Chinese genocide in Tibet mirrored American genocide in Vietnam, Alarm! Alarm! howls deep as
any Biblic prophecy.

Ourselves caught in the giant machine are conditioned to its terms, only holy vision or tech-
nological catastrophe or revolution break "the mind-forg'd manacles." Given one by-product of the
technology that might, as it were by feed-back, correct the berserk machine and liberate the inven-
tor's mind from captivity by hypnotic robots, Dr. Leary had in LSD an invaluable civilized elixir. For,
as Dr. Jiri Roubichek observed early in Prague ("Artificial Psychosis," 1958), "LSD inhibits condi-
tioned reflexes." And this single phrase, for rational men, might be the key to the whole gnostic
mystery of LSD and Dr. Leary's role as unique, alas solitary, courageous, humane 8 frank
Democratic Boddhisatva-teacher of the uses of LSD in America. For he took on himself the noble
task of announcing the evidence of his senses despite the scary contumely of fellow academicians,
the dispraising timorous irony of scientific "professionals," the stupidity meanness self-serving
cowardice and hollow vanity of bureaucratic personnel from Harvard Yard to Mexico City to

Online LibraryTimothy LearyHigh priest → online text (page 1 of 35)