Shalom Goldman As a culturally and politically aware New York City teenager, I knew that there was a buzz among bohemians and literati about LSD use. That in the early 1960s artists, musicians and poets were using psychedelic drugs was not exactly news. And that some of these artists were Jews (in a city a quarter of whose population was Jewish) was not exactly news either.
This article is Part II in a three part series. Click here for Part I and Part III. By Shalom Goldman In utilizing intoxicants to heighten individual religious experience, Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi was influenced by the emerging zeitgeist of the early 1960s, a zeitgeist that the Esalen Institute of Big Sur, California, did much to develop and promote. In seminars led by luminaries like Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, and Humphrey Osmond, Esalen taught a generation of seekers about the theory and practice of “drug-induced mysticism.” In these seminars (though that may be too formal a word for the early Esalen classes) the teachers […]
This article is Part I in a three part series. Click here for Part II and Part III. By Shalom Goldman The reactions to the death last month of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi may be a sign that the conversation about psychedelic drugs and American religion is moving into a new stage. On July 8th that “Old Grey Lady,” the New York Times, published a long and very respectful obituary of Schachter. For this Times reader of the Sixties generation, it was quite surprising that the Times, with its long-history of disdain for the counterculture in general and counterculture religion in particular, would honor a religious innovator whose inspiration was so clearly psychedelic. The Times […]