(Nina Graboi)


Park Street Press Rochester, Vermont

Louisa May Alcott, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Anais Nin, Mabel Dodge Luhan, Maya Angelou, Lenore Kandel, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Diane di Prima and Many Others -

I am both humbled and proud to be one of the "many others", sandwiched between the wise words of Anita Hoffman (from Trashing) and the lovely words of Rosemary Woodruff Leary, (Peyote Equinox).

What have you read about women in the world of psychedelics? Probably very little. Perhaps something about the great Eleusinian mysteries of ancient Greece, mysteries dedicated to the Goddess Demeter which centered around the use of "kykeon" a drink made of ergot (LSD) soaked grain. Something about the Inquisition and witches brews? You might have heard of the women today unjustly imprisoned with long sentences for being around illegal sacramental substances.

Well, this wonderful book, a very expanded version of the author's previous book, Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, makes up for the dearth of information. It is amazingly complete. Some of the women it references, will amaze you, such as Louisa May Alcott. From the Goddess Isis, one of the great herbalists of all time, to Simone Garrigues who initiates us into the kind of LSD communication possible between a pregnant woman (her mother) and the fetus she is carrying, (herself, Simone), there is a richness of sharing. "My mother and I achieved a union that was more vast, more seamless than even our circumstances myearly introduction to psychedelics, two weeks after conception, is not remarkable. we grew out of, around and into drugs. The stuff is in our very chromosomes(and later when she herself took peyote) I understood that inevitably my mind would return to its old habits if I did not keep the gates open. So I began meditation practise."
These first hand accounts carry us into the heavens, hells and purgatories of women who ingest consciousness changing substances. There is a pushing of the boundaries of honesty. Great waves of consciousness open the reader to feel the kinds of trips possible with many kinds of sacraments: this book is not a moral tractate but an unfolding of layer after layer of experience. Until all that is left are the fascinating words.
" I know of some women, not Indians, who wear a peyote button nestled high in their vaginas like a cervical cap. the women who tell me about this say this is an exquisite way to 'suspend' ordinary consciousness I first began searching for God with LSD as the introductionto the realm of the invisible and have come to celebrating with mushrooms the presence of all the Gods and Goddesses. Gods and Goddesses are my name for forces that move through me, and are not exclusive of monotheism at all. There are just many faces of the Supreme Spirit." (Jeannine Parvatifrom Hygieia: A Woman's Herbal)
And the experience itself. It is exactly because these are women that the sharing of emotions and knowledge is awesome.

My "forever friend", Nina Graboi, who died last year,
is one of the last entries in a rich book
filled with woman after woman whose pioneering
explorations open up vistas of new consciousness.
She wrote: Today is my 80th birthday. I have
taken LSD to celebrate it. Watching my
body transform from young and vigorous to old
and frail removes the last illusions of a me-ness
confined to a physical body.

Since my body, at 78, is shutting down piece by piece, I, too can really relate to that - and thank you, Nina. I had a death ceremony for my 78th birthday, a beautiful celebration conducted by AumDoc and Steve. A few weeks later, I went to a Goa Gil trance dance in the mountains and took LSD. Alas, my old body, pushing valiently to stay up all night, went in and out of dream states from 2 or so on. I also discovered what I should have known after all these years of ingesting sacrament -
taking LSD while attached to an oxygen tank with the cannula buzzing noisily in my nose every few seconds was mightily unwise., not the proper setting. But in spite of it all, love came and calmed the fears - with a little help from my friends! At dawn I woke in time to see a huge aum come electronically flying out of the video screen, the
sun came up over the hills, and Goa Gil's voice said, "In the future, remember this moment ofjoy."

I want to thank Park Street Press for having the courage to publish this wonderful book.
Certainly I want to thank Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz. Especially for including a chapter from my book, The Scrapbook of a Haight Ashbury Pilgrim!

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