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Ep #1 Show Notes | Brian Muraresku: Psychedelics, Civilization, Religion & the Study of Death

About Brian Muraresku: Brian is the author of the New York Times-bestselling book, "The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion With No Name." Brian is fluent in Ancient Greek, Latin, and Sanskrit, and spent over a decade putting together an incredible story about the intentional use of psychoactive plants in the ancient world, including scientific evidence for the ritual use of spiked beers and wines.

Episode Summary: Nick and Brian cover topics related to his book, including the use of psilocybin mushrooms in the present to treat end of life anxiety, how “Mystery Schools” in the ancient Greco-Roman world, such as Eleusis, may have utilized psychedelic beverages, the evidence for the potential widespread use of psychoactive plants in ritual settings in ancient times, and how this may have influenced early Christianity, and how psychedelic drugs may induce brain states similar to those produced in near-death experiences.

Relevant Links:

Audio Clip:

Conversation Timeline:

0:00 Intro

0:46 To die before you die

2:37 Magic mushroom studies and death

4:11 What was Eleusis?

9:00 Gordon Wasson, Albert Hoffmann, and Carl Ruck

12:35 Ergot and beer in the ancient world

16:55 Botanical knowledge in the ancient world

20:55 Archeo-botany and archeo-chemistry

25:15 Dionysus and the “pagan continuity hypothesis”

30:54 Gnosticism and Early Christianity

32:57 Ancient languages and Brian’s education

36:57 Drug-spiked wine

40:15 Witches, drugs, and the Catholic Church

44:48 Psychedelics and ancient cave art

48:01 Brian’s psychedelic experiences

51:09 Importance of curated experiences

53:39 Aldous Huxley & religion in the 21st century

57:07 Psychedelics and organized religion

1:02:10 Brian's ideal psychedelic experience

1:03:50 Nick's psychedelic experiences

1:06:05 5-MeO-DMT

1:09:48 Psychedelic states and "mystical-type experience"

1:11:58 The neurology of altered states and dying

1:19:38 Thanatology :the study of death & dying

1:21:44 Brian's near-death experience

1:23:00 Future research

1:25:18 Closing remarks

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