"High Priest" 1968 LEARY, Timothy

LEARY, Timothy

[353] pp.

The World Publishing Company


First Printing

9 1/8" x 6 3/8"

First edition of Leary's lyrical autobiography; a cornerstone work of 1960s counterculture.

In the early 1960s Leary and his Harvard associates (notably Richard Alpert, later known as Ram Dass) began a research program known as the Harvard Psilocybin Project. The goal was to analyze the effects of psilocybin on human subjects from a synthesized version of the drug (which was legal at the time). Beat poet Allen Ginsberg soon joined the project, sharing an optimism with Leary that psychedelics could help people discover a higher level of consciousness. They began introducing psychedelics to intellectuals and artists including Jack Kerouac, Maynard Ferguson, Charles Mingus and Charles Olson. Jacket design by Paul Bacon. Written before Leary's incarceration on drug-related charges, High Priest is an autobiographical account of his experiences from 1959 to 1962, a period that roughly coincides with his employment as a lecturer in clinical psychology at Harvard University. In his Acknowledgements he relays; "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 their psychedelic yoga." and goes on to thank Richard Alpert, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Monkees, The Grateful Dead, The Beach Boys, Donovan and Big Brother and the Holding Company.

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