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LSD-assisted psychotherapy and the human encounter with death

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INTRODUCTION: My own experience with Maria convinced me that the living can do a great deal to make the passage easier for the dyingJ to raise the most purely physiological act of human existence to the level of consciousness and perhaps even of spirituality.

Aldous Huxley wrote these words after being with his first wife as she died of cancer in 1955. During her final hours, he employed a hypnotic technique to remind her of spontaneous peak experiences she had known during her life, thereby seeking to guide her toward similar states of consciousness as the death process occurred. In his novel/sland, he describes a similar scene during the death of his character Lakshmi. Also in this novel, he writes of the “mokshamedioine” that gives inhabitants of the island a mystical vision that frees them from the fear of death and enables them to live more fully during their everyday lives. To those who knew Aldous Huxley and have read his works (Huxley, 1963a,b), there is no doubt that, in Huxley’s mind, £cmokshamedieine” was a psychedelic oompound similar to mescaline, psilocybin, and LSD. The seriousness with which he envisaged this futuristic scene is well portrayed by his second wife, Laura) in her description of Huxley’s request for LSD a few hours before he himself died of cancer in 1963 (Huxley, 1968).

 Richards, W., Grof, S., Goodman, L., & Kurland, A. (1972). LSD-assisted psychotherapy and the human encounter with death. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 4(2), 121-150.

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