Shulgin's Ecstasy

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Alexander Shulgin's Ecstasy, pt. 1

Sasha's Ecstasy & the Agony of NEO-CONtrollers

Sasha Shulgin, MDMA and the Illuminati

By Thomas Lyttle and Iona Miller, 2002-2008

ANIMATION OF IO ART "Blue Elf Magick": Hyperdelic animation of digital fine art and pix from Albert Hoffman 100th B-day party, Basel, Switzerland. Io collabo with electronic artist Philip Wood, France.

Discoveries about the functioning of the human mind and psyche must be made in the open - not in hiding... -TIHKAL, Shulgin, pp. 358

For those of you who are used to praying, this is a good time to practice whatever you understand is meant by the word “prayer”... - TIHKAL, Shulgin, pp. 163


The passing in 2008 of Albert Hofmann at 102 years old leaves psychedelic alchemist Dr. Alexander Shulgin as arguably the most eminent living scientist in the entheogen arena. This pioneer is a hero of counterculture but has he been “sleeping with the enemy” all these decades? His work history spans employment by corpoglomerate chemical firms to shadowy black ops backers.

Shulgin also enjoys the politically dubious distinction of being a member of The Bohemian Club, partaking in the annual revels at Bohemian Grove. How is it this psychedelic chemist has crossed cultural lines from the ivory tower to corpoglomerate firms, to the roots of psychedelia to rubbing elbows with the transnational meta-controllers of The Grove? Shulgin remains an ambiguous character with a career arc that cuts an influential mercurial path through the psychedelic scene.

The Plot Quickens

The pace of life seems to be speeding up with aspects of our world changing too quickly for us to keep up. Then, there are the aspects of the socio-economic world that the ruling class purposefully keeps from us. They take place in the twilight of clandestine activities, where often the players themselves don’t know who they are unwittingly working for. The confusion of the public and even insiders has led to a proliferation of watchdog and conspiracy writing and multimedia.

Conspiracy research and writing does have its issues. It is most compelling when it not only brings forth truth, but also resonates with the audience. Some information is within our current zeitgeist, but other knowledge can challenge us, utterly. When it resonates with truth, information crosses domains from conspiracy story to part of our worldview. Each of us assigns it a relative truth-value from fact, plausibility, possibility, or improbability.

The way that conspiracy information is framed or presented is just as important as the information itself. If you read something and feel frightened, less powerful or more the victim - fine. Maybe you love to be a victim. It’s not your fault; that’s how you are conditioned from birth. In a locked-down society, control is the name of the game.

You may get worked up looking at your own shadow - or some author’s shadow – or the shadow government. Conspiracy can create intrigue and passion, and bend your mind. When conspiracy art is done well, the mind is set ablaze. When conspiracy art is done very well, you never feel a thing.

You notice nothing. You simply enter the magick theatre; get entertained by “just a story” and the plot becomes THE PLOT. It’s the “X-Files”, “Videodrome”, “The Game” and “The Matrix” bleeding into real time in Anytown, USA, right where you are sitting now. The reality-meld may not be discernable as fact or fiction. Conspiracy truth-values are more like friction. Conspiracy dwells along the fault lines of cultural conflict, both domestic and foreign.

Conspiracy writing can have a viral quality and draw the reader into a convoluted logic system which seems to make internal sense - at least while the reader is in the midst of the author’s imagination. Leaping on facts before they can be fit into a broader context is usually not helpful. This often spreads half-truths, misinformation and hurtful ideas.

Yet, it has also been the case that many formerly way-out conspiracy theories have been mainstreamed and entered the thinking of otherwise average people. Much of what was formerly “conspiracy” is now simply taken for granted. Sadly the reaction is often apathy, ambivalence or surrender, rather than passion or activism.

IsIs Unveiled

What is is. Making of mountains out of molehills, the lack of qualifiable information and taking information and historical data out of context is just bad form. This leads to nonsense and fairy stories, however amazing.

Within conspiracy reportage, the lack of first-person interviews, independent research and checkable, accessible references may result in repetition of errors and obtuse leaps-of-association. Such leaps can lead the best-intentioned author (and reader) down dark alleys filled with never-ending shadows waiting to be uncovered. The infamous Lyndon LaRouche has commented on the genre:

It is clinically significant, that today's more popular varieties of wild-eyed "conspiracy theories," reflect the peculiarly pathological style in infantile fantasy associated with the "Lord of the Rings," "Harry Potter," and "Pokémon" cults, or the "witchcraft" and related demonic cults spun out of the orbit of the trio of the utopians H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell, and Aleister Crowley.

The characteristic form of mental action these cults express is a magical power of the will, acting outside real physical space-time. The gratification associated with the deluded patron of such forms of fantasy-life, or so-called "science fiction" composed on the basis of the same types of fiction, becomes then a feeling-state to which the victim of such cults responds in hysterically adopting a kindred variety of "conspiracy theory" as an emotionally gratifying form of belief.

Gnostic religious cults are premised on the same kind of pathology… Such "conspiracy theories" presume to impose at-the-blackboard types of ivory-tower preconceptions about the universe, on the interpretation of some sets of facts, such as the common Aristotelian,
ivory-tower presumption that perfect regular action must be circular. In real science…
we are obliged to discover the physical geometry of the facts we are investigating.” -
Note 8 by Lyndon LaRouche, writings, 2001.

The word “substantially similar” adds to this, as does the word “circumstantial”. “Guilt by association” is another popular saying. “You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows” by Bob Dylan, is another. Our intention is not to dance in the shadows, but in the light. It is not to frighten, but to enlighten and enliven – to contextualize. It is not to veil, but reveal. Goals thrice and goals fair - let the tale be told and let the weather be forecast - conspiracy style. Well, in conspiracy that would invoke HAARP and weather wars. Now, the Controllers make it blow the way they want and we are all caught in the vortex.

Godfather of X

World-famous chemist, Dr. Alexander “Shasha” Shulgin owns 17 US patents (R. Forte’s Entheogens and the Future of Religion claims 20 patents). He is also the “Godfather” of the MDMA, “Adam” or “Ecstasy” movement. This movement includes millions of people who have taken the psychedelic MDMA regularly and who follow the surrounding cultural scene.

Dr. Shulgin is also the inventor or popularizer of at least two hundred other hallucinogenic drugs including 2-CB (“Nexus”), MDE (“Eve”), MDMA (“Ecstasy” or “X”) and STP (“Serenity, Tranquility, Peace”). Ecstasy is mild compared to other psychedelic substances. MDMA was discovered by E. Merck in 1914, but never marketed. It was manufactured with the help of qualified chemists and used legally by many therapists before it was banned in 1985.

Millions of Americans have heard about the super “love-drug” called Ecstasy, “XTC” or MDMA, which is short for methylenedioxymethamphetamine. When it first appeared publicly, this drug was popular at psychedelic dance-clubs and large private parties called “raves.” When MDMA hit the US underground, around 1975-80, it was completely legal to buy and sell. The effects last 3-6 hours, with a 6-24 hour “afterglow.”

MDMA also has been used extensively in structured radical psychotherapy because of its ability to evoke clarity, deep emotional honesty and psychic bonding. Around 1972, Dr. Alexander Shulgin, probably the world’s expert on “E,” heard about it from a student and other chemists interested in psychedelics. Later he gave then-legal samples to his pal Dr. Leo Zeff, a respected psychiatrist who for 30 years used hallucinogenic drugs in radical and experimental psychotherapy. A protocol for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) was developed.

The 1998 book The Secret Chief by Myron Stolaroff is about Leo Zeff’s work. Word spread discretely among freethinking psychiatrists, including Dr. George Greer, who then dubbed MDMA with a code name. “Adam” was this psychoactive wonder drug’s new name, and those who knew it had “an Adam experience”. Tim Leary dubbed it, “the sacrament of the 90s,” for its activation of empathic circuits.

Peak X-perience

While speeding metabolism, Ecstasy produces no perceptual distortions, mental disorientation, or “stoned” feelings. It brings repressed emotions to the surface, along with insights into trust and self-image. It produces a heightening of the senses and amplifies feelings of peace and unconditional love, making it a learning tool that facilitates realizations and communication. The “afterglow” period of rebirth and self-healing allows time to digest, consolidate and integrate personal and transpersonal realizations.

Almost everyone who did their own “bioassays” agreed that this new quick-acting, destressing, transformative psychedelic was just grand. Books like Through the Gateway of the Heart (1965) by Sophie Adamson (pseudonym of Dr. Ralph Metzner) described dramatic healings among the incurable and this fueled Adam’s popularity. Reports describe the euphoric “Adamic” (spiritually pure) state of mind. It also relaxes the mindbody’s subtle energy fields in strange ways, enabling a synergetic, telepathic linking in an “overmind.”

Miraculous cures were reported on a regular basis within circles of psychiatrists and MD’s. By 1985, Adam got its new name, “Ecstacy” to describe its felt-sense. Thousands of people had been treated in therapy with favorable results. Psychotherapist Dr. Philip Wolfson writing in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs states that, “MDMA is Penicillin for the soul, and you don’t give up prescribing Penicillin once you’ve seen what it can do.”

Around this time another MDMA storyline developed. Thousands of doses were being legally sold in college-town bars and dance clubs, especially around the Bay Area and Dallas, Texas. Also in 1985 the newspaper strip “Doonesbury” by Gary Trudeau ran a several week parody centered on the latest Ecstasy fiascos. A subculture had developed around this drug, filled with its own characters, politics and sub-plots. The so-called California “human-potential movement” (centered in Esalen) was completely seduced by this new drug. People could not get enough.

MDMA was becoming a major story. The counterculture was abuzz. But few knew who the real dreamer was - the mastermind chemist and magician who started it all. Millions of doses of Ecstasy had been sold legally in San Francisco and at Dallas/Ft. Worth nightclubs by 1984. You could even buy Ecstasy tabs with your credit card.

In mid 1985, Newsweek (April 15) and “The Phil Donahue Show” profiled Ecstasy with sensational stories. Major media perked up and suddenly MDMA became front-page news in 50 national magazines, including Psychology Today (May, 1985), Time (June 10, 1985), Life (August, 1985).

The media buzz caught Washington’s embarrassed attention and in 1986 MDMA was made illegal. The powers that be police our nervous systems with “No Exit” strategies. MDMA now shared the same legal category as heroin and LSD, both being “Schedule One” drugs. Schedule One means there’s no hope, no use beyond getting high, no research should happen on this drug - it’s a pox. MDMA suddenly had no redeeming value whatsoever, according to lawmakers, who emphasized the dangers of overdose, damage to serotonin neurons and a few medical contraindications.

Non-addictive MDMA is still arguably the most popular psychedelic drug on the planet - and still illegal as ever. It is at least as popular as LSD while generating many times the illegal income. In 2002, a solid dose of black market LSD sold for $8.00, a dose of “E” for $25.00. Hundreds of millions of doses have been consumed all over the world. In 1992, Ian Wardle of Lifeline estimated that over a million “E’s” were consumed every weekend in Britain.

Julie Holland’s 2001 book Ecstasy: The Complete Guide says that during the Millennium year, 750,000 doses of Ecstasy were used each weekend in NYC alone. Further, 9.3 million Ecstasy “hits” were seized by US Customs. MDMA is a very popular drug and its use is expected to increase long into the future. Several dozen books and several hundred scientific papers exist on MDMA.

The topic has both academic and street-chic popularity. Academic publishers have devoted anthologies to MDMA, as in the sociological treatise “Pursuit of Ecstasy: The MDMA Experience” by Jerome Beck, Dr. P.H. and Marsha Rosenbaum, Ph.D. (SUNY Press, 1994) or “Ecstasy: The Clinical, Pharmacological and Neurotoxicological Effects of the Drug MDMA” by Dr. Stephen J. Peroutka (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1990).

Many popular books exist as well: Bruce Eisner’s Ecstacy: The MDMA Story (Ronin, 1988, 1999), E For Ecstasy by Nicholas Saunders (Nicholas Saunders Press, 1993, 1999) and Altered States: The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House by Matthew Collin (Serpent’s Tail, 1997) begin a long list. Many websites and forums focus on MDMA research and news.

Popular author Irvine Welsh gained notoriety with his book E. Rick Doblin’s “MAPS” (Multi Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and Bruce Eisner’s “The Island Group” are two well-known sources for reliable information on Ecstacy. Many writers have tracked MDMA’s psychedelic pedigree. Collectively we know a lot about this drug’s action and cultural implications.

We have a lot of science and a lot of testimonials. The drug is relatively safe, non-addictive and short acting. It promotes healing and the ecstasy that comes from being “spontaneously” healed. It enhances positive communication within the community or the family, or within oneself. MDMA binds the Techno or Rave communities with bonding, groupmind, and ecstatic communion.

The MDMA experience is vital, tribal, and ecstatic. It meets the modern workingman’s time constraints – lasting around 3 hours, with little hangover. But, we need to ask ourselves “does MDMA really fit the covert plot or secret agenda”? As a drug experience, “E” equates to open communication, trust and empathy. But could it be another delibertely imposed trend fed to an unsuspecting public?

People connected with secrecy, subterfuge, paranoia and political agendas would find MDMA useless or troublesome as a means of maintaining order, but it may provide a pacifier. Between the Internet, the media and word-of-mouth, a clear history can be traced between MDMA and Dr. Alexander Shulgin.

So what’s the problem? There is no problem, so long as we don’t dig too deep. But, dig we shall. Much has been written on MDMA’s pedestrian origins: what MDMA is, isn’t and its impact. Little has been written, however, regarding MDMA’s occult associations and magical pedigree. It is a fact, however, that Shulgin’s research and discoveries permeate the entire social spectrum in recursive feedback loops between counterculture, the military/industrial complex, intelligence, and the global elite.


The life story of the world’s leading expert on MDMA is most intriguing. Dr. Shulgin’s articles and books have been translated into many languages. Not only does he hold patents, he has been published in prestigious journals like Nature.

Dr. Alexander Shulgin has his own interests in occult symbolism and initiation. His most famous books, PIHKAL (Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved) and TIHKAL (Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved), are thinly disguised ‘fictional’ autobiographies.

PIHKAL and TIHKAL describe the chemical compounds phenethylamines and tryptamines. Serotonin is a common tryptamine secreted in our brains, and is a neurotransmitter in our body. This chemical is connected to memory, mood and thinking. It modulates sensation, regulating the other glands of the body. Some psychedelics work by mimicking serotonin’s effect as a mood elevator. Common phenethylamine drugs include amphetamine, mescaline and MDMA.

There are thousands of tryptamines and phenethylamines listed in chemical or pharmaceutical catalogs, but only a few are psychedelic. Further, tryptamines and phenethylamines express the primary molecular “spines” possessed by many psychedelic drugs. They form a chemical starting point - a backbone - for formulating new psychoactive drugs and compounds. Dr. Shulgin is a master of this sort of orchestral chemistry.

Alexander Shulgin was born on June 17, 1925 in Berkeley, California to a Russian father and American mother. He attended the University of California, earning a Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1954 after attending Harvard. His post-graduate work included studies in psychiatry and chemistry. Shulgin’s first post-graduate job was at Dow Chemical where he made important discoveries in the area of pesticides. He worked at Dow Chemical until 1965.

Shortly after starting at Dow, Dr. Shulgin’s novel pesticide research made the company a lot of money. Dow Chemical then granted Dr.Shulgin more open-ended opportunities to investigate hallucinogenic drugs, his first love. Dow Chemical is famous for “better living through chemistry” but infamous for the manufacture of Napalm and other horrific biological and chemical-warfare agents during the Vietnam War.

Synthetic THC

One compound Shulgin came up with at Dow was a synthetic version of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana. This was synthesized as a nitrogen-containing phenethylamine, something not found in nature. Shulgin's work was based on earlier research done by Dr. Roger Adams from the University of Illinois. Roger Adams synthetic THC was termed “Adams nine-carbon compound” by Shulgin.

Dr. Adams synthetic THC showed novel chemistry, being 512 times more powerful than natural THC. But this novelty pales in comparison to Adams’ radical breakthroughs in potency science. If THC will multiply by 512 times, would rare and expensive toxins or proteins connected to biological warfare act similar? Dow Chemical, whose business included pesticides and chemical-warfare agents, was most interested.

Could Dr. Shulgin add to the discussion? Naturally. The room darkens as a silver screen silently slides down and strange hieroglyphics appear: Their research was neatly organized on the slide, which showed a reaction scheme down the left and right sides of the screen leading to penultimate compound “A” and penultimate compound ‘B.’

The product (from reacting A with B) was considered secret. Their questions centered on two displaced sequences. Could any of us come up with some jazzy ideas for easier or better syntheses of either A or B? ... “I said... that the simple coupling of A and B would produce “Adams nine-carbon compound”. - PIHKAL, pp. 28

Roger Adams breakthroughs went further than expected, thanks to the CIA, the military and Dr. Shulgin. Take a bow, Mr. Shulgin. Your new proposed security clearance is “top-secret”. Dr. Shulgin then went on to brilliantly analyze Dr. Adams work, recommending that all 8 isomers in Adams “nine-carbon compound” be synthesized. Then, “they should consider... the target compound... with a nitrogen atom in it. That, I added, might be a really super potent phenethylamine.”

Jaws dropped. Time stood still. Visions of sugar-death danced in Dow’s head. For discovering synthetic THC, Dr. Shulgin was soon granted a team patent to join his previous patents based in his pesticide research.

The majority of the patents were granted for Shulgin’s breakthroughs in pesticides and toxins. The remaining patents were issued for chemical processes and drug design. The fewest are for psychedelic drugs discoveries. These pesticide patents cannot be overemphasized as they changed the course of Dr. Shulgin’s career.

Curiously, Shulgin limits mention of his pesticide days at Dow Chemical to one meager sentence. In a book of 978 pages, he completely overlooks the many pesticide patents issued to him. The hydra-heads of a sleeping dragon now begin to stir.

Biological Warfare

This dragon is called BW (Biological Warfare). Experts in biological warfare state that the field owes much of its current status to breakthroughs in pesticide and toxin chemistry made a generation ago.

Especially important were breakthroughs in algae and lichen research. Unsurprisingly, in this context, Shulgin was privy to just this research. Around 1960, Shulgin met a brilliant neurologist, Harry Bush [a pseudonym] who became totally fascinated with lichens, and had invested much effort in their identification and characterization.

“I learned much about him, about the symbiosis between algae and fungi, and learned that some of the chemicals in lichens can be brought to react with certain essential oils from natural sources... This little studied collection of chemicals proved to be an unending source of ideas...” - PIHKAL, pp. 26, 27

Toxins and poisons are derived from plants and animals and can be developed into (BW) biological warfare agents - proteins capable of acting on specific receptors in the human body. Developers rely on a variety of sources for toxins, including microbes, snakes, spiders, sea creatures and plants. Toxins can also be derived from algal toxin, for example, and are highly poisonous and difficult to halt with vaccines or other medical treatment.

Another toxin - Saxitoxin - is produced from marine algae. It affects nerve cells, eventually causing the victim to stop breathing. Weapons experts also consider the possibility of bioregulators - organic chemicals that regulate cell processes. Physiologically active catalysts will be weaponized for biological warfare in the future.

An intelligence community report points out that such chemicals could short-circuit and disrupt the bodily functions and kill the affected victim. – (Gertz, Air Force Magazine, Jan. 1988) Such biological warfare weapons have been called “bug-spray for humans.” Chemical and biological warfare has terrified the world and is banned today by most civilized nations.

Dr. Shulgin was just a humble chemist - among many other humble chemists - during those early pesticide days at Dow. One man’s dream can be another man’s ammunition. What man truly knows the splendors or disasters he has wrought, when looking back on his life?


This early pesticide and THC work led to Dr. Shulgin being exposed to members of the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland. In the 1960’s, the Edgewood Arsenal was a main chemical-biological weapons developer for the US military. Shulgin was offered a job working for what he “fictionally” described as the “San Carlos Aerospace Laboratory” under the auspices of NASA. The person who interviewed Sasha for the job told him what to expect: He explained astronauts might be exposed to long periods of sensory isolation and all the potential mental developments that might come along.

A research program was created, geared to developing chemicals that could be used to train those astronauts who might be subjected to long bouts of sensory deprivation. Shulgin was mandated to “teach them to roll with the altered states of consciousness that could very well be a consequence of that isolation” - PIHKAL, pp. 43

No doubt NASA also had interests in anti-emetic (anti-vomiting) drugs for those new to zero-gravity. And anti-boredom. relaxing and hunger-stimulating agents might be useful on long space flights. Natural THC from marijuana is well known for easing dysphoria and many symptoms. We might presume the same for synthetic versions of THC made by Dr. Adams and Dr. Shulgin.

Edgewood Arsenal published an academic paper on manufacture of synthetic THC in May, 1967, two years after Shulgin left Edgewood and Dow. This Journal of Organic Chemistry paper is titled, “Synthesis of the Eight Stereo Isomers of Tetrahydrocannabinol Congener” by Herbert Aaron and Parker Ferguson.

So, was Shulgin designing top-secret chemistry for NASA? Or designing top-secret chemistry for: potential biological warfare? Dr. Shulgin supposes in his book PIHKAL, that the man he now worked for - a person he pseudonymously calls “Captain B. Lauder Pinkerton” - was an NSA (National Security Agency) agent: Pinkerton arrived with a whole other world of new biological research projects already established by his own agenda for Sasha to see and explore.

“Here were arcane projects such as black-membrane dynamics, studies of the influence of gravity on plant growth, the relationship between magnetic fields and the blood-brain barrier, and the effects of radiation on fertility.” - PIHKAL, pp. 45

Captain Pinkerton spoke to Dr. Shulgin about many things. For example, “Pinkerton might bring up the subject of mental telepathy and the possibility of influencing another persons thoughts at a distance”. Intelligence was very interested in the fringes of psi powers and truth drugs in those days. Alexander Shulgin naturally concluded that his work would end-up at the CIA or Department of Defense, probably weaponized.

No Clearance

Troubled, Sasha quit this new job right before his official top-secret clearance was approved, according to his “fictional” biography PIHKAL. Dr. Shulgin claims that his proposed top-secret clearance “would effectively gag [him] for the rest of his life.” His future in open science could be compromised by arcane, occult (hidden) or black ops agendas. Science that might save lives or led to important discoveries for the common man could be compromised.

The magician waves a magic wand and an owl is pulled from his top-hat. 1965 turns into 1985 right before our eyes. Dr. Shulgin says in his “fictional” biography that he received no top-secret clearance.

“.. and I am a quiet person; I don’t make a lot of noise in public; I’m not leading any new social movements. I don’t sell drugs. I have done work, under contract to the government, which involved making reference samples for them, and I bill them for my time. But it’s a matter of principle for me not to exchange drugs for money in any way. It keeps life a lot simpler. In the meantime, there are probably a lot of people in the government who are very interested in what I publish.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the CIA and probably the Defense Department take a close look at some or all of the compounds that I write up; they probably feel that I am doing a lot of their work for them, as a matter of fact. You mean testing them for use in war - biological warfare and that sort of stuff?…Or possibly crowd control, or prisoner-of-war interrogation, or maybe helping to drive an unfriendly Head of State into some kind of befuddlement - who knows? Their objectives are not my objectives... - PIHKAL, pp. 157

There are many literary masquerades in PIHKAL and TIHKAL. Literary license turns Dow Chemical into “The Dole Chemical Company” Edgewood Arsenal becomes “Blackwood Arsenal”, and so on. We can only suppose who “Captain Pinkerton” really is, or was and what this man’s conscience holds, if he has one.

Alexander Shulgin went on to operate his own licensed lab as a consultant, and teach as a college professor. He taught Public health classes at San Francisco General Hospital and lectured at the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology and San Francisco State University, among others.

Over the years, Shulgin contracted with the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation), the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse) and many other government agencies. He retired as Professor Emeritus from the University of California. Besides Dow Chemical, Shulgin also contracted with Bristol Labs and the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory.

Alchemical Compounds

In the 1960’s Dr. Shulgin invented the infamous psychedelic called STP, so powerful it didn’t sell well on the street. He then produced a dizzying array of compounds including the most famous MDMA, first discovered and patented in Germany in 1912. Dr. Shulgin generally is considered the father of the MDMA or “Ecstasy” movement. As well as popularizing “Adam,” Shulgin also produced “Eve” or MDE.

He created another famous compound called 2-CB, or “Nexus”. Another infamous drug, 2CT-7, got a lot of media in 2002 after several accidental, mind-bending overdoses. TIHKAL and PIHKAL list several hundred new and important hallucinogens created in Shulgin’s private lab. Many of these were tested on a private research team recruited by Shulgin himself. His importance in psychedelic history cannot be overstated. His work created an essential cornerstone used to build the house of modern psychedelic drug research.

It has been stated by Dr. Albert Hofmann (the discoverer of LSD and synthetic Psilocybin) that psychedelic substances are works of modern alchemy. In alchemical terms, Shulgin’s work has been described as “crossing the pearl with the diamond.”

Etymologically, the word diamond comes from the Sanskrit dyu meaning “luminous being”. The solar and masculine diamond is the alchemical symbol of light and brilliance. It displays symmetry and equilibrium. The diamond-word adamantine is connected to the Greek adamas, meaning “unconquerable.” It refers to the alchemical field body, the Diamond Body

The pearl, an equally ancient alchemical symbol, is one of the eight common emblems of Chinese tradition. It symbolizes “genius in obscurity” according to French symbolist C.E. Cirlot. It is linked to lunar, feminine energy and the Anima Mundi or World Soul. In alchemy, sublimation is a meditative process with symbolic and physical aspects. Sublimation is meant to transform by way of rumination, obscuration and burial. After this symbolic or emotional burial, parts of the mind or spirit may re-emerge (or resurrect) as “the pearl.”

Blending these yin and yang energies in a Royal Marriage of opposites creates a magical child. All magic happens in the Void.

What's New with My Subject?

Strange Bedfellows

Dr. Alexander Shulgin is certainly one of the great chemists of our time. He has received accolades from professional peers, government agencies and the psychedelic underground. Nobel Prize winner Kary Mullis says that Shulgin single-handedly tried to chart out whole areas of compounds. This represents a formidable goal, as chemists often spend years looking into one class of compounds or one compound alone.

Ah, the friendships made in youth. Dow Chemical, Edgewood Arsenal, the FBI, the CIA and even the NSA, if Shulgin ponders correctly. And these past associations are closer than we realize. In PIHKAL Dr. Shulgin frames the past this way: “... a few years after I left Dole”[really Dow Chemical], I had been given the midnight tour of the Swedish equivalent of the FBI laboratories. My host was Peter Mille, [a pseudonym] the head of the narcotics lab in Stockholm.”

The real “Peter Mille” shares a lifelong friendship with Dr. Shulgin. Sasha also mentions that he consulted with “an inside source” at Edgewood Arsenal as late as the mid 1980’s. “Friends helping friends, that’s what life’s all about” as they say. They also say, “that’s what death’s all about” - especially around Edgewood Arsenal and Dow Chemical. Another of Dr. Shulgin’s old friends is the now-retired bureau chief of the DEA’s Western Regional Laboratory. His “usual suspects” on one hand are an interesting collection of scientists, corporate politcos and intelligence. On the other is the psychedelic intelligentsia.

In Dr. Shulgin, we see sympathies for the underground, for the spiritual quest, for illegal psychedelics. But we also see sympathies for those who would crush these dreams and opportunities – the ruling class and their Machiavellian spooks. These personae cannot be penetrated because their nature is shadowy.

But silent applause for his work echo from concealed heights. This source sits perched like an owl in a tree. The sound of thunder echoes from hidden hands. “Thunder, perfect mind” as the Gnostics say. The owl takes fight skyward toward Napa Valley, California. It circles a small house built on the side of a mountain.

The Shulgin’s live here, on Shulgin Road in Lafayette, California. Ann Shulgin is a noted lay therapist. The “fictional” biographies PIHKAL and TIHKAL describe the importance of this couple’s life and work. The owl-like source we mentioned? It has read both these books, many times. In fact, it wrote and watched the original “play.” But Sasha sees his watchers as his friends. Especially Mr. Owl.

Sasha, the Shaman

It is said that a man counts his wealth by the number of his friends. Let us begin the countdown, then. And let this article act as friend to Alexander Shulgin, now and forever. Shulgin naturally has many friends and admirers, who call this complicated man with many interests, Sasha. His gaze is broad and profound, often contemplating ideas of alchemy, occult orders and hidden temples.

In a 1994 High Times interview, Dr. Shulgin recounts his alchemical perspectives: “I’ve studied alchemy a bit and it’s very much about feedback. Who cares if you melt and fuse lead 10,000 times? At the end of it you don’t come out of it with anything but melted and fused lead! But in doing that... that’s meditation!”

Meditation. “ Ahhh ... make me one with everything,” said the Buddhist to the hot-dog vendor. The quest for higher knowledge might seem attractive to a master chemist who is already delving into the usually invisible. Dr. Shulgin mentions his passing interest in the occult and secret societies in TIHKAL: We need a way to communicate experience of the deeper parts of ourselves, a way to share hidden knowledge that has traditionally been called occult or hidden.

Until our time, this level of knowledge was considered the private preserve of those shamans, teachers or spiritual guides who had earned their way to it with symbolic ordeals. Shaman have traditionally functioned as privileged guides of the soul and often employed drugs to amplify spiritual journeys and control their followers with mystery, awe and fear.

These high priests have the responsibility of choosing those gifted, intuitive people who would become students or disciples. Those special people were taken into temples of learning, into the pyramids or sacred kiva’s, to be gradually led into explorations of the spiritual worlds and increased understanding of their own unconscious landscapes. More than conceptual discourse, ritual and drugs convey a direct experiential transformation, another reality.

This kind of learning was expected, in time, to produce healers and community leaders of uncommon wisdom. The hierarchy of control has evolved into the psychiatric stranglehold of Big Pharma on our minds and moods. If we had the time that our ancestors had, we could expect “a gradual increase in the number of people aware of their own inner workings; the energies, drives, fears, instincts and learned patterns which make up the interior universe of the human being...” -TIHKAL, pp. xxv

The Watchers

As Sasha Shulgin observes, the “interior universe” has hidden - or interior - students. Perhaps even masters are hidden away, doing their work in this “interior.” And we must assume that not every student or master is a light-bringer. Such adepts might push normal ideas of the spirit too far, perhaps even into the shadows. These are initiates who might make the workings of society and the spirit of society their meditation. Mass-psychology, media manipulation and semiotics are tools in this cabal. Such shadowy adepts create opportunities to experiment and test ideas on a grand scale.

Social engineering, --the working of social structure, politics, language, economies and religion – are included in the glass bead game of the adept. What might happen if you start a new religious cult here? Overturn a paradigm there? Cause a few coup d’etat? Destabilize an economy here? Plant a few memes?

Strategists, analysts and manipulators of various factions remove or change international border, alter the ways we record history. They can change or obliterate a language or medium or create a new one. How about chemically and genetically engineered weapons? No trends happen by accident, including the explosive 60s revolution, political antithesis of the Viet Nam era. The Watchers are never passive.

Take a sleepy little town like San Francisco and in the mid 1960’s introduce several grams (hundreds of thousands of doses) of pure LSD to an unsuspecting public. Create a little mind-control project called MK-ULTRA. Blow that mind, young man. Blow that mind. These social engineers are secret initiates of clandestine temples within and without government and intelligence. Cultural evolution (or revolution) would be their goal. Such was the case in the Aquarian Conspiracy that shaped much of the holistic, new paradigm and New Age movements.


There is one particular temple that has existed for many centuries and used many names. We can call it the Bavarian Illuminati, or just the Illuminati, heirs of ancient practical and philosophical wisdom and meta-knowledge.

Dr. Shulgin has lived at various times under the protection of two umbrellas. One umbrella is firmly held aloft by the Illuminati. This umbrella’s fabric is cold and synthetic and it feels strange to the touch. The umbrella fabric is impressed with computer-generated pictures of owls - a symbol with special meaning to Alexander Shulgin. The umbrella handle is made of polymers and plastics, machine-stamped with the word THANATOS. This umbrella was built out of order, sequence and calibrations. And time... plenty of time.

The past, present and future surround this umbrella’s design. No chaos waves allowed here. No “be here now” rhetoric. It is the perfect accessory for perfect Illuminati. The origins of the legendary and occult secret society are obscure but they achieved status, then infamy in Bavaria and Europe until they were outlawed in 1785. The Bavarian group was founded in 1776 at the University of Ingolstadt by a professor of Canon Law named Adam Weishaupt. Adam translates as “the first man” and Weishaupt means “one who knows”.

The Bavarian Illuminati attracted such men as Goethe, Mozart, Wagner and Beethoven to their ranks. In Rousseau and Revolution by Will Durant, Mozart’s Illuminati connections are outlined. Paul Nettles’ Mozart and Masonry also delves into this. Assassination of Mozart by David Weiss paints Mozart’s death as conspiracy, based on Mozart’s secret-society interests. The Magic Flute Unveiled: Esoteric Symbolism In Mozart’s Masonic Opera by Jacques Chailley looks at Mozart’s interests in Illuminati symbolism.

In the book Beethoven, Maynard Solomon mentions that Christian Neefe, Beethoven’s first music teacher, was the leader of the Illuminati lodge in Bonn. And Beethoven’s “The Emperor Joseph Cantata” (Beethoven’s first major work) was commissioned by the “Lesse Geshellschaft”. The Lesse Geshelschaft existed as an Illuminati “front” after the original secret society was banned.

There are a number of excellent books about the Bavarian Illuminati. Some are scholarly and academic like Vernon Stauffer’s sociological treatise New England and the Bavarian Illuminati. Abbe Barruel’s The Illuminati, Or Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism is another well-researched, scholarly history, in several volumes.

Other mainstream Illuminati books include Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s Illuminatus! trilogy. Jim Keith’s Saucers of the Illuminati and Steve Jackson’s Illuminati-New World Order card game (and book) . Some say the Illuminati still exist and secretly run the world. They make the trains run on time.

Many authors have purported that The Illuminati is not one group, but many. A first common thread holding these groups together is secrecy. The worship of science, technology, social control and order - this is what predominates. A perverse sense of hierarchy and elitism pervades. “Illuminati” also refers to a generic occult mind-set. This includes several secret societies, mystical groups and “men’s clubs” with similar dispositions and aims. These secret societies revere Neo-Platonism, “sacred” geometry, Pythagorean thought and Hermetic arts and sciences.

There are unusual corporate, fascist or revolutionary elements in these groups. The original Illuminati of Bavaria is the quintessential - and most recognized - example of many such groups. Michael Anthony Hoffman II is a popular author who regularly publishes diatribes against the Illuminati. His work specializes in revisionist history, symbology and occult deciphering.

Hoffman calls the Illuminati the “Hermetic Academy”, the “Neo-Platonists” and the “Cryptocrats”. He has said, “Some believe that I think these developments [the Illuminati’s occult practices and parapolitics] are part of a microscopically orchestrated “master plan” devised by invincible Freemasons.” The Illuminati have long been associated with Freemasonry. However, the original members took oaths denouncing Freemasonry, according to Stauffer and others.

But the cryptocrats are just highly informed weathermen possessed or extraordinary daring. They had a sense of what direction the winds of time, the “spirit of the age” would take, but that doesn’t mean that they control the wind, or that they are the wind. They forecast it and anticipated it but it didn’t always go their way. They hoped it would, but when that didn’t happen they had to put out their sails like everybody else. But in the modern era, generally it has gone their way; their spin-doctored script has calibrated history and their story prevailed. But no human organization prevails solely by dint of their own devices and personnel. A substantial portion of the power of secret societies comes from hitching a ride on coincidence... - Michael A. Hoffman II, (from an interview in Crash Collusion )

Many share a belief that the Illuminati secretly run the world. Others say that nature and her handmaidens breathed life into this world and then suckled their child with the milk of the Anima, the world soul. This milk is called chaos. All that we know is created, nourished and realized through Nature’s handmaiden. The Jungian therapist James Hillman says that we do not create the anima, she creates us. We do not dream her, but live inside her dream (or her womb).

On the mantle of Nature’s house sits a silver crown studded with images of the moon and stars. The air around her carries the scent of fairy-flowers and sweetness. When the anima moves one way, rainbows fill the sky. Another way, dewdrops sparkle in chorus. She moves out of time - unpredictable and exalted. She is “stoned... immaculate” as the shaman-poet Jim Morrison used to say.

How Shulgin Grew to Love the Illuminati

But, Anima has her chaotic moods. Some liken these to the weather itself, which often runs sunny for days, then suddenly bursts forth in furious storm. Sometimes a blizzard arrives hours after Indian summer. The weather is never the same from day to day. From season to season we are always surprised. Can one ever really predict with certainty?

Sasha knows the weather and how winds do blow. He has spent a lifetime and written several books about the many seasons of his amazing life. Experience. Knowledge. Wisdom. Sasha has seen some weather. Why not have two umbrellas? If one is good, two must be better. Sasha’s first umbrella has a synthetic fabric dotted with owls. A strange polymer handle has the word THANATOS stamped into it. The workmanship is excellent. After all, it’s a Bavarian.

Sasha’s second umbrella has little moons and stars studding the fabric. The color is the bluest of blues. This umbrella’s handle is made from petrified wood. The handle is inlaid with mother-of-pearl taken from the deep blue sea. This mother-of-pearl spells out – EROS. This Eros-umbrella is firmly held aloft by Nature herself.

Sasha Shulgin has enjoyed continued protection and comfort. In a world of unsure weather, fortune smiles. Two umbrellas - Eros and Thanatos. Life and death. Positive and negative. Yin and yang. Diamond and Pearl. Polarity, sweet polarity, how we cry for thy touch. For the chance of union, we follow after thy footsteps. Integration is both thy father and thy child. A mystery most noble, indeed! The scene shifts. We stand before a mansion door and stretch up to see inside - we peek before a small open window.

We find that the Illuminati have built a club in the middle of a lovely grove in California - in Sonoma County near Monte Rio. We pause and reflect. We notice little pictures of owls everywhere at this club. The signs here read clearly: “The Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove”.

Dr. Alexander Shulgin is a member of the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove and has proudly fictionalized them as “The Owl Club” in his books TIHKAL and PIHKAL. Dr. Shulgin pseudonymously appears as the character Dr. Shura Borodin.

Madman’s Theatre at The Owl Club

In chapter 11 of PIHKAL , Sasha Shulgin recounts his introduction into The Owl Club:

One evening in the late 1950’s. I was invited to a musical soiree at an old comfortable home in the Berkeley Hills. I brought my viola with me... The only person I can remember from that evening was a handsome, proper gentleman with a small grey moustache and the residues of an English accent. During coffee, after the music was over, he struck up a conversation.

He asked me if I had ever heard of The Owl Club in San Francisco? I had not, so he began painting a picture of a rather fascinating group, with many interests in all sorts of art, drama and music. He mentioned that there was need for a viola player, and would I be interested in sitting in for a couple of evenings? ... The Club proved to be a group of gentlemen from a broad array of political and professional backgrounds, leaning somewhat toward the political right and the well-to-do. ... At my first evening at the Club... Andrew was appointed my Pater Familias ...” - PIHKAL, pp. 60-65

But this was just the introduction. Dr. Shulgin was not quite in bed with the Bohemian Club. Not yet. What cemented the Bohemian deal was an unexpected subpoena sent to Sasha on behalf of Claude Pepper’s “The House Committee On Crime In America.” This famous witch-hunt of the times was concerned with criminal cartels, illegal drug masterminds and those suspected of being their teachers. According to his autobiography, when Sasha entered the Court House the Witch-finder General scowled, “How can you call yourself a scientist” he demanded, “and do the type of work you do?”

Under oath Dr. Shulgin was “raked over the coals,” as they say. Several implied criminal associations were brought into testimony. Such included Sasha’s alleged clandestine association with Owsley Stanley, the infamous LSD chemist who made “orange sunshine” LSD. And Sasha had once been approached to set up and run an illegal lab in Jamaica, being offered “six million dollars” according to his fictional PIHKAL. Whether he was a “good guy” or “bad guy” depended on relative point of view.

Through the Looking Glass

Most disturbing. Sasha Shulgin was having a bad hair day. Nothing to do but play music. Especially since coincidence - or fate - provided a timely invitation, pulling Sasha back towards the mysterious “Owl Club” (Bohemian Club) to play more viola, right around this time. Life, like music, owes quite a lot to timing. Then again, The Owl Masters might simply be watching over a fledgling. Providing shelter from a storm. “Stay in our good company”, they might have said. “We live in a world beyond Claude Pepper”.

Throughout PIHKAL and TIHKAL Dr. Shulgin fondly remembers many interesting social meetings, new friendships and his musical contributions to “the Owl Club” orchestra. Scrapbook memories are revealed by a man who will be remembered as one of psychedelia’s Grand Masters. For a moment the clouds part. The weather seems unsure and the wind picks up. Book pages flap, then blow open to Lewis Caroll’s most famous work.

In Through the Looking Glass we read the following: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more or less.” “The question is”, said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things”. “The question is”, said Humpty Dumpty, “who is to be master, that’s all”.

In Through the Looking Glass, characters explain that anything can be called by any name, and doing impossible things just takes mastery. Day after day and year after year, a young master has been practicing. It is almost like wars, genocide and the military-industrial complex never happened. Nor did the CIA. Power elite? The insiders? The Bavarian Illuminati? The Owl Club? Nothing seems amiss. Nothing unusual to report, sir. OK to sound “all clear”.

From Alexander Shulgin’s glance at things, we might see the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove as a charming, harmless country-go-to-meeting picnic. An innocent peer-society for “who’s-who” alumni. Rest...relaxation...the country...the symphony... philosophy... cigars and is good...Ahhhh! “Seeming...seeming” as Shakespeare says in Hamlet .

The Boho Dance

Most people have never heard of the Bohemian Club or Bohemian Grove, which is astounding considering the scope of their influence. Members live in the high-towers of America. The Grove itself goes back over 125 years. Bohemian Grove members include every US Republican President since the 1930’s, many CIA directors and many military Generals. Top scientists and financiers, the rulers of media and corporate heads belong. The male members of the oldest elite families in America also come to the Grove to commune with the brilliant and powerful.

The legend is that the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove are Illuminati strongholds. And through the Grove, the Illuminati makes its’ meta-controlling presence felt in America. The idea of a super-group running the world is amusing, you say? People have been claiming nonsense like this since Babylon. But nobody has ever really proved anything. What about the well-known groups such as Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission and the Bilderburgers? Many of them are also Owl Club regulars.

Secret-societies? The Illuminati? The Masons are just a bunch of harmless, pot-bellied old farts. Bohemian Grove? We have country clubs too, you know? So what ever the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove is, it must be something like that... but with more prestige, money and power, right? Somewhere, another owl takes flight... searching the moonlit landscape for prey. Why am I feeling no fear? Because this is too important for me to waste time on being afraid. Besides, what is there left to be afraid of? The worst possible thing which any cosmic mind can do to a little human-one has already been done: it has revealed its own nature; and in doing so it has managed to effectively strip my life of all meaning, all purpose. I’d rather confront an eight-armed demon with fangs. You can battle with a demon. You can embrace a demon... - PIHKAL, pp. 375

The Bohemian Grove is a 2700-acre redwood forest, in Monte Rio, California. It contains accommodations for 2000 people to “camp” in luxury. It is owned by The Bohemian Club, a group with long associations to secret societies, the secret government, the Illuminati and dire-deeds of historical importance. As history goes, the direst of deeds often rides in on a philosophy. And even the Illuminati need a philosophy. They define the socio-political reality. We could call one part of their philosophy “tesselary,” which means “word as chessboard.” And the chess pieces? This big one looks like an owl.

The Bohemian Club is a private, all-male club that has its headquarters in the Bohemian Building in San Francisco. According to Mary Moore of “The Bohemian Grove Action Network”, the Club was formed in 1872 by men who sought shelter from the frontier culture (or lack of culture). Maclean’s magazine (March 23, 1981) says that the Bohemian Club “was formed one night in 1872 by five bored news-hawks of the old ‘San Francisco Examiner’ ”. This is interesting, as reporters were soon banned - a policy that remains to this very day. One wonders what they don’t want told.

The Bohemian Club quickly developed into an association of very rich, powerful men, mostly of this country (there are similar organizations of other countries). Some artists are allowed to join at reduced rates (including Jack London) because of their social status and entertainment value.

Not only Presidents, but many Cabinet officials and the CEO’s of large corporations including many financial institutions belong to the elite group. Military contractors - especially the nuclear weapons industry, oil companies, banks (including the Federal Reserve), utilities and major national media (broadcast and print) are represented. Many of these groups have high-ranking officials as Club members.

Many of these groups and corporations depend heavily on their relationship to the government for their profitability. Conversely, the government depends on its associations with these groups for long-range strategic planning in areas of economics, intelligence gathering and warfare.

Dark Overlords

Elements of the government (or secret-government) or intelligence-circles connected to the occult, rekindle old friendships (and old pacts) in the Grove’s overtly occult atmosphere. Author Kerry Richardson points out that “the Bohemian Grove is a gathering place for many men with a business and professional interest in the construction of nuclear weapons; men whose companies make nuclear bombs and their delivery systems and men in government whose jobs involve them with nuclear armaments”.

Such include Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense under Ronald Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush. Weinberger gave a speech at the 1991 Grove meeting titled “Rearming America.” Many of the officials of General Dynamics, which builds the Trident Nuclear Submarines and the FB-111(nuclear) bombers, are involved with Bohemian Grove .

David L. Lewis, GD’s Chairman, is a Bohemian Grove member. Other CEO’s include those from Rockwell International, General Electric, The Boeing Company, United Technologies Corporation, Westinghouse, Tenneco Inc, Northrop Corporation, UNC Resources, AT & T, Monsanto Corp., The Bechtel Company and Hewlett Packard, among others.


Many of these corporations are involved with “Star Wars” technologies. Dr. [“Strangelove”] Edward Teller, associate Director Emeritus of Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, spoke at the 1980 Bohemian Grove meeting. The 1980 topics included “Nuclear X-Ray Lasers”. The Grove’s motto: is “Weaving Spiders Come Not Here”, based on the Shakespeare quote “Weaving Spiders Weave Not Here”. However, the Manhattan Project - which first envisioned the Atomic Bomb - was conceived at the Grove in 1942.

Projects nourished at the Grove have included determining who our Presidential candidates will - or won’t - be. Richard Nixon’s political rehabilitation was planned at the Grove. Maclean’s magazine (March 3, 1981) reported Bohemian Grove meetings such as the “1967 agreement between Ronald Reagan , over a drink with Richard Nixon, to stay out the coming Presidential race.”

Other similar accounts exist in The Greatest Men’s Party On Earth: Inside the Bohemian Grove by John van der Zee (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974). The book InFact Brings GE to Light says that “William Dornhoff, a sociologist who has extensively studied the role of social clubs [read, secret-societies] in American society, has correctly predicted that several of Ronald Reagan’s friends from the Grove - George Schultz and William French Smith - would be appointed to his Presidential Cabinet.

This is recounted in detail in Dornhoff’s book The Bohemian Grove and Other Retreats: A Study in Ruling-Class Cohesiveness (Harper and Row, 1974). “Facts are stupid things,” Ronald Reagan was quoted saying, not long after this book was published. A spot of tesselary, anyone? Can words be meaningless, too? The members stay in different “camps” in the Grove with varying status levels.

Imperial Faction

At the Grove, members stay in “camps” according to status levels. Members and guests of the most prestigious camp Mandalay have included: Henry Kissinger. George Schultz, Gerald Ford, S.D. Bechtel Jr., Thomas Watson Jr. (of IBM), Philip Hawley (of the Bank of America) William Casey (of the CIA) and Ralph Bailey (of Dupont). Mandalay’s membership is so powerful and exclusive that one member commented “you don’t just walk in there... you are summoned”.

George Bush, Sr. resides in a less prestigious camp called “The Hillbillies” with A.W. Clausen (of the World Bank). This camp also includes Walter Cronkite and William F. Buckley. Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, also resides here. David C. Jones (ex-Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) resides in the “Dog House” camp.

Other camps include “Toyland” and “Moonshiners”. Each camp is distinguished by an unusual trait or ritual. Recent Bohemian guests have included William Sessions (formerly of the FBI), Ed Rollins (from the Ross Perot campaign) and Jack Kemp. General Vernon Walters (a CIA operative during the Chili coup in 1973 as well as Ambassador to Germany and the US Ambassador to the UN) as well as Admiral Charles Larson are also members.

There are at least 120 camps at the Bohemian Grove. Major magazines have long commented on these camps, including MacLean’s (March 23, 1981), Mother Jones (Aug. 1981), Newsweek (Aug. 2, 1982), Fortune (Aug. 5, 1985), The Economist (Dec. 18, 1987) and Spy (Nov. 8, 1989).

“Absolute certainty, a feeling of knowing without any doubt what is true and not true about some particular thing, is a common experience to all adults. It is a part of living, and ideally results from processes of questioning, testing, evaluating, and eventually confirming. The same feeling of absolute certainty, of complete conviction that your view of something (or everything, for that matter) is the ultimate truth, can and often does happen when you are under the influence of a psychedelic...” - TIHKAL, pp. 169

The word “psychedelic” doesn’t just refer to drugs and can include other mind-expanding activities. Power, wealth, knowledge. The occult. The control of human destiny - yes, these things might be psychedelic, definitely mind-expanding to some. In a free country with a free press, one would think stories about the Bohemian Club and Bohemian Grove would be top news.

Al Neuharth spoke at the Bohemian Grove in 1991. Neuharth is chairman of the Freedom Forum - a $700 million foundation dedicated to the free press. Neuharth also is the founder of USA Today. An Orlando Weekly article titled “Keeping Secrets, Not Reporting Them” by Jeff Cohen and Norman Soloman tells all about the reporter who secretly tried to cover Al Neuharth’s speech at Bohemian Grove: [Bohemian Grove] “notables have included the presidents of CNN and Associated Press... all this gets very little news coverage - a fact that has long frustrated Sonoma County [California] business woman Mary Moore, an activist who lives 5 miles from the deluxe camp.”

Many diligent journalists have tried to report what goes on. The problem, Moore says, is that when the story gets to the top boardrooms, it gets killed. Journalist Dick Matheson found out the hard way. In July 1991, when Matheson was the bureau chief of People magazine (owned by Time-Warner), he sneaked into the Grove’s 2700-acre spread three times.

On his third foray, Matheson ran into a Time-Warner exec that recognized him, and promptly threw him out. Matheson had already learned a lot. For example, John Lehman - the former secretary of the Navy - presented a lecture stating that the Pentagon estimated that 20,000 Iraqi’s were killed in the gulf war a few months earlier. The Pentagon believed that the public was not ready to hear the death count. At Bohemian Grove, Lehman was more candid. But Matheson’s eyewitness report never made it to the pages of People. Even though Matheson’s article was so well received that extra space was allotted for it, the story was mysteriously killed.

The Matheson episode illustrates how difficult it can be for journalists to report fully on America’s political and economic strife, when their bosses are loyal members of that elite. Another version of this story, “Inside Bohemian Grove: The Story People Magazine Won’t Let you Read”, appeared in Extra! Magazine (Nov./Dec. 1991). Extra! is published by “FAIR” (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting), a media watchdog group. Coincidentally, FAIR was co-founded by Marty Lee, who wrote Acid Dreams on CIA’s covert operation MK-ULTRA experiments with psychedelics on unwitting civilians.

Rustic Ritual Psychodrama

The Bohemian Grove holds a two-week “retreat” every July (as well as smaller get-togethers throughout the year) in Sonoma County, California near the town of Monte Rio. During these retreats the members not only attend conferences and lectures, but also participate in unusual rituals designed to bond everyone. These rituals are occult in nature and significance. Newsweek magazine (Aug. 2,1992) actually calls these Bohemian Grove rituals “cabbalistic”, invoking the supernatural. Occult expert, Professor, Anthony C. Sutton calls the Grove rituals “Druidic-like... red-hooded robes marching in procession.”

The members of Bohemian Grove also show great admiration for “Saint John of Nepomuck” (also called “Saint John of Bohemia” by Grove members). St. John of Nepomuck gave (and kept) his oath to die before betraying the King’s wife. The notion of Royal status and secrecy among Grove members is of prime importance.

A reference to Saint John of Bohemia appears in a Bohemian Club publication titled “St. John of Bohemia” by Neill C. Wilson. The Sixty-fourth Grove Play of the Bohemian Club as performed by its members in The Bohemian Grove, July 26, 1969. included Music by Leigh Harline, Directed by Thomas J Tyrrell. Illustrations by Lawrence J. Rehag, Photography by Raymond M. Moulin. "

Many traditional occult rituals and initiations such as the Druidic, the Mithraic, the ancient Greek, the Knights Templar or the Masonic involve occult drama replete with embedded symbols. A sort of alchemical psychodrama unfolds, designed to affect different parts of the mind and spirit. It is well known that some initiations - especially the Masonic – come with royal-sounding titles, uniforms and honors.

This in itself seems innocuous enough, as ritual of all types is the cornerstone of religion, therapy, art and social custom. And impressing the deep parts of the mind is the cornerstone of psychotherapy, especially the psychedelic psychotherapy championed by Alexander Shulgin and his wife Ann Shulgin.

His rediscovery of MDMA set trends in psychotherapy and alternative healing. What gets absorbed into the mind - the set and setting, as well as the intent and where you (or your initiator or healer) wishes to go - is what is being questioned here. If your initiator wishes to focus on secrets, what better place than where the opening ceremonies involve hooded robes? Talk about first impressions! After all, secrets and oaths-of-silence are the cornerstone of occult camaraderie.

Scratch a Magus, Find a Spy

The word occult means hidden, after all. In a sense, secret agents and spy agencies (like the CIA) also share this “occult” aspect. Looking through the literature surrounding spies and spying, we find points in history when many secret agents were also occult initiates. A famous example was the Elizabethan provocateur John Dee (1527-1608).

John Dee was recognized as the greatest living mathematician of his time. John Dee’s now famous occultism involved symbolism, astrology and “scrying” (crystal ball and gemstone gazing) with his associate Edward Kelley. The two claimed to have made contact with Angelic (or demonic) forces These forces dictated through the medium Kelley a series of glyphs and letters - alleged to be an Angelic tongue they called “Enochian” (“The Book of Enoch” was a banned Biblical text which described sex between women and Angels called the Nephilim). Dee then used his deciphering skills to unravel the Enochian messages.

All this was expounded in a manuscript called Mysterium Libri Quinque (later called A True and Faithful Relation... Between John Dee and Some Spirits). John Dee was retained by the British Crown. He lived life under one Queens’s scorn and another Queen’s patronage. Queen Mary I charged Dee with sorcery - no small crime during that period. Dee was later acquitted and redeemed himself through brilliant scholarship, including work with ciphers and cryptography.

Among his duties, Dee acted as scholar, courier and spy for Queen Elizabeth I. This was the beginning of British Intelligence and codes, code-breaking and modern spying. John Dee played the covert hero, conjuring seeds that would blossom into modern “cloak-and-dagger” adventures as recounted by Ian Fleming and his “fictional” character James Bond.

There are a number of excellent books on John Dee, including Peter French’s John Dee: The World of An Elizabethan Magus. John Dee is also considered the father of modern Freemasonry, according to Michael Hofmann II. Dee’s prominence created pacts with major occultists like Rabbi Judah Loew, a noted Kabbalist and the father of the legend of “the Golem”.

There was much public outcry regarding this political-meets-occult positioning. This outrage was led by the famous English author and playwrite Christopher Marlowe who symbolized these pacts in his plays Doctor Faustus andTamburlaine. Marlowe was shortly thereafter murdered - some say by the Illuminati - in 1593. From these examples we see that some secret societies are religious in nature, with covert political aspirations. Others are clearly political, and use the trappings of religion to further their purposes. Secrecy and stealth are essential in either case.

Such groups enjoy a secret prominence, especially before and during revolutions and wars. We often learn of such matters after-the-fact. Sometimes long after the fact. The original Knights Templar was created to defend Christian pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land during the Middle Ages. They were a group of devout Christian monks inspired by St. Bernard and the Virgin Mary, to whom they took oaths. Founded in 1118 by a pious monk named Hugh de Payens, the Templar established and controlled their own banks, hospitals and ports.

Templar headquarters was in the Temple of King Solomon in Jerusalem. Patron saint of the Freemasons is Hiram, the grand-architect who built this same Temple for King Solomon. Well-researched books on the Knights Templar include Piers Paul Read’s The Templars and The Templars and Their Myth by Peter Partner. The Knights Templar operated and defended important trade routes with those who were supposed to be their enemy - the Islamic and Moorish infidels. The Knights learned new sciences, medicines and spiritual ideas from the Moors.

Such ideas were heretical by Vatican standards. Their powers soon rivaled the Vatican’s itself - who saw them as a threat both economic and spiritual. The last Templar leader was Jacques DeMolay. He was eventually burned at the stake (with 123 Templar Knights) by the Vatican. All were charged with blasphemy and Satanism. During the final stages of his torture, Jacques DeMolay cursed his executioner, charging that the man would not live out the year. The torturer died his own violent death a few days before the year’s end. The Vatican then went about destroying all traces and records of the Knights Templar.

But worthy things have a way of surviving. For example, the Freemasons have an initiation called “The Order of the Knights Templar Commandery” which corresponds to the 320, which is the highest working degree (or level) of Freemasonry. There is a 33o that exists in both honorary and active forms. This 32o ritual supposedly reveals parts of the true history of Jacques Demolay and a plan to avenge his death. Templar symbolism included a large red cross worn on their tunic. Two of the Masonic initiations which precede the “Knights Templar Commandery” initiation are called “The Order of the Red Cross” and “The Order of the Red Cross of Constantine”.

So “red cross” symbology has existed for a long time. “The American Red Cross” is a modern group that helps with war casualties and blood donations. It also uses this original Knights Templar symbol (which itself may have been borrowed from Constantine). The St. Bernard dog, symbol of the lost traveler and the field hospital, is associated with the ARC. St. Bernard was the Templars’ patron saint. Traces of Templar cult and culture remain in spite of the Vatican.

New Atlantis

The American colonies were founded as a social experiment on the proto-Utopian philosophy of Bacon’s New Atlantis, carried forward under the banner of Masonry and the Rosicrucians.

The American Revolution set in motion one of the great social experiments of our time. The United States colonies overthrew despotic British rule and inspired the French Revolution. Historians usually give the American Revolution prominence as it showed more long lasting and permanent effects on culture. The French overthrew the dictatorial regime of Marie Antoinette and King Louis, but were left with new despots like Napoleon.

The American and French revolutions were helped in part through the works of Illuminists, Neo-Platonists, Hermetic initiates and of course the Freemasons. The Freemasons or Masons are probably the best-known US secret society. The legendary Hiram was the first Freemason, being the master craftsman who contracted to build Solomon’s Temple.

Hiram was murdered and martyred by unknown assailants because he would not reveal the secrets of the Freemasonic craft. King Solomon sent chosen Freemasonic Masters to kill or capture Hiram’s assassins. These Freemasonic assassins were called the Coronati. The Coronati assassins were also killed by unknown forces.

Masonic initiations repeat these basic themes and legends and add the secret teachings of several schools of mysticism, including Egyptian architect cults. Each Masonic Lodge is supposed to be a replica of King Solomon’s Temple. Masonic Lodges appeared in America as early as 1730. Both the French and American revolutions included several Freemasonic Lodges as co-conspirators. For example, Paul Revere was the leader of a Masonic Lodge in Boston.

Members of his Lodge dressed up as Indians and threw tea into the Boston harbor, setting off the “Boston Tea Party” which started the American Revolution. Many players in both the French and American Revolution were high ranking Freemasons. These included George Washington and Benjamin Franklin from America, and Lafayette from France. In his fascinating article “Masonics 101”, Peter Babb has this to say:

“Before the American Revolution even began, Franklin had set the table for Masonic involvement. He had gone to France and maintained an active social schedule - one that almost exclusively involved his fellow Masons.

“Washington, on the other hand, had established and organized an American army that was, for all intents and purposes, an armed Masonic convention. American soldiers were often encouraged to become Masons, and Masonic emblems were worn on American uniforms as proudly as any military insignia. Field Lodges were set up so the Constitutional Army forces wouldn’t loose their Masonic fraternity, and the British set up similar Lodges. ...When Washington retook Philadelphia in 1778, he led the celebration by marching in Masonic uniform, complete with his jewels and insignia’s.” - Babb, pp. 22-23 (Eye Magazine #15)

Masonic symbols can be spotted on US currency and in some architecture and monuments in Washington, DC. The Washington Monument has a 300 lb. capstone emblazoned with a Freemasonic seal, for example. The topology of downtown Washington DC is modeled on that of downtown Paris. Both cities are laid out mathematically as a labyrinth. The labyrinth is an alchemical-magical symbol.

The sacred geometry of old Egyptian architect cults appears in some downtown areas. Paris is the original home of Neo-Platonists, Illuminists and many of our modern secret societies. The Knights Templar, The Freemasons and The Illuminati of Bavaria really existed (or do exist) behind the scenes during key periods in history.

They had the power to affect Kings and Popes and influence many great thinkers. This happened long ago, you say. Those were the days before mass media, computers and modern police work. Hardly any good telescopes existed, let alone spy satellites. Groups like this could never exist in today’s world. Today we seem to know everything about everything and the government knows everything about everybody. If only this were true...but socio-political life is neither apparent nor transparent.