Quote:Psychedelics have been widely used for thousands of years nearly everywhere on the planet. Psychoactive plants have been central to most ancient sacred rituals and primitive medical treatments. They have been worshipped in all cultures as "Plants of the Gods" and considered as mediators between human beings and the universe, linking the physical to the spiritual dimensions of existence.
In January 2006 the International Symposium "LSD Problem Child and Wonder Drug" took place at the occasion of the 100th birthday of Dr. Albert Hofmann, the discoverer of LSD. Several thousand visitors and more than 200 media people from 37 countries gathered in Basel to hear speeches from scientists and historians, to exchange ideas and disseminate information. It was the biggest conference of its kind worldwide. For the first time since the turbulent 1960s, a wide range of psychedelic issues and topics has been brought back to public discussion and re-evaluation.
The "World Psychedelic Forum" will expand upon this renewed interest, presenting a unique opportunity for experts, researchers, and interested persons from all around the globe, to exchange views and hear presentations of the latest research on the value of these remarkable psychedelic substances in medicine, psychology, science, religion, culture and the arts.
The term "psychedelic" is derived from the Greek "psyche" (soul) and "delos" (manifest), and means a state in which the soul manifests itself. It was coined in 1956 by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond, in a now-famous exchange with writer Aldous Huxley; both recognized the potential of these compounds for self-awareness, and their correspondence to psychoactive plants held sacred for millennia.
Albert Hofmann experienced the extraordinary mental effects of LSD in the context of his work as a chemist in 1943. He so was placing a cornerstone for new insights and knowledge about by the time unexplored consciousness expanding substances. The following decade saw the publication of thousands of research papers about the nature and the effects of LSD, mescaline and psilocybin. But when LSD got out of the laboratories and "out of control", to be used for self-exploration by 1960s youth, Western governments generally declared psychoactive substances a menace, claimed it had no psychological, educational or therapeutic value, and linked it to dangerous and addictive narcotics. With a compliant mainstream media that sensationalized and parroted the official drug policy, the "authorities" not only prohibited research on these sacred compounds but criminalized the users, a situation that has prevailed ever since, except for example in the Netherlands and in Switzerland, and although inroads have been made in recent years that will be one of the many themes of this conference.
The classic psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin from magic mushrooms, mescaline from peyote and ayahuasca the Amazonian "Vine of the Soul" are not drugs in the medical sense but belong, according to Albert Hofmann "concerning their chemical structure and their pharmacological effects, to the sacred substances, re-discovered through LSD, and used in ritual settings for thousands of years." They are characterized by the fact that they are neither toxic nor addictive, and have the power to bestow benefits of both practical and transcendental value.
The global youth movement, that peaked some forty years ago with the "Summer of Love", was fueled by psychedelics. A historical view shows, that the "consciousness-expanded" hippie counterculture exerted an enduring influence on society. Without the soul-opening and sensory stimulus of psychedelics, many of the social, cultural and ecological advances taken for granted today would be absent from our lives.
At the "World Psychedelic Forum," more than fifty experts from all over the world will bear witness to, and shine light upon the multi-dimensional psychedelic experience with its tremendous potential for expanding consciousness and for self-awareness. We will hear of the renewal of research that foretells a promising future when psychedelic plants and their synthetic derivatives will reclaim their destined position as incomparably valuable tools for individual and collective evolution and thus supporting the needed consciousness change for humanity.
Alienation from nature and the loss of the experience of being part of the living creation is the greatest tragedy of our materialistic era. It is the causative reason for ecological devastation and climate change.
Therefore I attribute absolute highest importance to consciousness change. I regard psychedelics as catalyzers for this. They are tools which are guiding our perception toward other deeper areas of our human existence, so that we again become aware of our spiritual essence. Psychedelic experiences in a safe setting can help our consciousness open up to this sensation of connection and of being one with nature.
LSD and related substances are not drugs in the usual sense, but are part of the sacred substances, which have been used for thousand of years in ritual settings. The classic psychedelics like LSD, Psilocybin and Mescaline are characterized by the fact that they are neither toxic nor addictive. It is my great concern to separate psychedelics from the ongoing debates about drugs, and to highlight the tremendous potential inherent to these substances for self-awareness, as an adjunct in therapy, and for fundamental research into the human mind.
It is my wish that a modern Eleusis will emerge, in which seeking humans can learn to have transcendent experiences with sacred substances in a safe setting.
I am convinced that this conference furthers the idea that these soul-opening, mind-revealing substances will find their appropriate place in our society and our culture.
Dr. Albert Hofmann
Thursday, 19th April 2007
Together with Albert Hofmann, we very much look forward to seeing many of the participants of the 2006 LSD Symposium again at the World Psychedelic Forum 2008, and to welcoming many new visitors.