Patrick Lundborg - the first-ever book to present psychedelic culture in its full complexity and range. Out of a colorful history that spans 3,500 years, emerges a philosophy and way of life that is as dazzling and rich as the psychedelic experience itself

Image result for Patrick Lundborg, Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life,
Patrick Lundborg, Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life, Independently published, 2012.                                     

A groundbreaking book from the author of the highly-acclaimed Acid Archives: Psychedelia: An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way of Life is a product of 20 years research and Patrick Lundborg's greatest achievement. A larger number of people are exploring psychedelic states of mind in the world today than at any other point in history. Their shared experiences form the outline of a vast underground culture, whose steady influence upon society can be traced across thousands of years, back to Amerindian plant drug cults and the psychedelic celebrations in ancient Greece that gave birth to our Western society. But the full scope of this psychedelic culture, and its many expressions in the past, has remained poorly understood or even unknown. Psychedelia has usually been taken as a metaphor, or a symptom of something else, even though its true nature is singular and unparalleled. Psychedelia by Patrick Lundborg is the first-ever book to present psychedelic culture in its full complexity and range. Out of a colorful history that spans 3,500 years, emerges a philosophy and way of life that is as dazzling and rich as the psychedelic experience itself. As this book shows, psychedelia is a living underground culture, engaged in constant dialogue with its mainstream counterpart. Psychedelia's creative, visionary presence in art, rock music and pop culture is thoroughly examined, highlighting many unique and at times unknown works and traditions, from William Blake to Philip K. Dick, from Eden Ahbez to Shpongle, from Haight-Ashbury to the beaches of Goa. The 20th century's misguided attempts to reduce psychedelia into a branch of psychology or religion are given a critical, sometimes controversial look. A case is made for psychedelic philosophy, a fresh, unprejudiced model to replace the failed interpretations of the past. In the third millennium, psychedelic culture may be standing on the brink of a mystery greater than anything encountered in the past. This mystery comes forth in chapters on ayahuasca and DMT, and has reverberations far outside the realms of psychedelia, cutting into vital questions of consciousness and evolution. Most of all, psychedelia is a celebration of life, in the here and now and in the deep realms of inner-space. The final chapters of Psychedelia discuss the challenges and rewards of the psychedelic experience, as mastered by shamans and teachers from various entheogenic cultures.

Seems like there is a broad standard work for the world of psychedelics published every 12-14 years or so. In the early 2000s there was Daniel Pinchbeck's book, while the late '80s saw "Acid Dreams" and "Storming Heaven". Back in the mid-70s we had the Psychedelic Encyclopedia and also the High Times encyclopedia. Now, finally, a work has arrived that continues the tradition of not only introducing the psychedelic universe to newcomers, but also to expand and illuminate the knowledge of experienced psycho-nauts. "Psychedelia" by Patrick Lundborg reflects massive preparations (20 years according to the author) using source material as diverse as old occult magazines and the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty (whose mescaline experiments surprised me).
As a scholarly-historic work that goes back to the ancient kykeon and soma, "Psychedelia" fulfills its task and brings up a number of little-known factoids to outline an "alternative spiritual culture" of our society. But what makes this book a thrill is not the arcane literature references and footnotes, but that it dares to be entertaining and even provocative. Many things assumed "given" in the psychedelic landscape are questioned, and things that have never been properly explained (example: the Tim Leary group's inability to separate LSD from psilocybin -- like Lundborg states, these are two very different realms) are spotlighted. The psychiatric LSD research of the 1950s-60s is laid bare with reckless guinea pig experiments on schizophrenics and other defenseless people. Their big research endeavor led to nothing, and like Lundborg implies, someone should look into what may be a medical scandal that has never been exposed.
The anthropologists and ethnobotanists come off better, even if there is an intriguing suggestion that the reason for the slow research progress on the native drugs of Amazonia (like ayahuasca) was because the local tribes purposely fooled the Western field scientists, in order to keep their rituals secret. Lundborg makes a case for this in a chapter on "entheogenic" plant drugs. The coverage of ayahuasca and DMT is where the book particularly stands out, as there has been (to my knowledge) no full-scale coverage of these drugs, their traditions and effects before. There are trip reports you won't believe! In addition to the psychedelic drugs in themselves, much space is given to their relation to western mainstream/pop/underground cultures, such as a fun look at hidden clues in Shakespeare's "The Tempest" and a critique of James Cameron's "Avatar". The Haight-Ashbury scene of the '60s is detailed from a modern perspective far from your romanticized baby-boomer recollections.
Two favorite chapters where I couldn't think of any similar works dealt with how psychedelic drug users approach religious systems like buddhism, hippie cults like Father Yod's family, and the "up the country" '70s communes. Here and elsewhere, Lundborg brings up meaningful and often startling perspectives by his insistence on putting the psychedelic experience at the center, and then observing cultural and social phenomena through this colorful prism.
With 500+ pages there's much more to mention but I have to stop here, and simply say: Patrick Lundborg's book fills an increasingly wide knowledge gap in the psychedelic world, and anyone with even the slightest interest in that world will find "Psychedelia" useful and frequently enchanting. -
Dema @ reviews

Patrick Lundborg is a dapper Swedish record collector and culture writer with a penchant for the American underground scene. He's done a few quite good books, including Acid Archives, and has now set his sights on unpacking several thousand years of psychedelic history and laying the whole thing out for us. This is a goddamn noble effort, and one so vast it's almost guaranteed to fail, but Patrick takes a good shot at it.
The bulk of the book deals with the specific history of psychedelic drug use over the centuries (although, as you'd expect, the main focus is on the latter half of the 20th century). Lundborg has clearly done his studying in this area, and he manages to boil down a lot of raw info into fairly readable nuggets. And while LSD may be my drug of choice, Patrick prefers DMT and its analogous Amazonian plant-buddies. So the focus is heavily canted in that direction whenever possible. Still, his presentation of facts regarding topics such as the Brotherhood of Light (an acid cult that once included Zoot Horn Rollo among its members) and the international web of psychedelic chemists is consistently cool and informative.
“While LSD may be my drug of choice, Patrick prefers DMT and its analogous Amazonian plant-buddies.”

There's also a passel of music stuff mentioned. Some of it's in depth (the 13th Floor Elevators' DMT connection is explored interestingly), and Lundborg makes some sharp critical points. Most notable among these is the fact that San Francisco bands (with a few exceptions) didn't really become functionally psychedelic until the scene was overrun by teenaged wastrels. This is a damn interesting observation, and something I'd not previously considered. But I sorta feel as though his description of what makes music functionally psychedelic is mumbo-jumbo. This feeling is amplified by some of the examples of records he notes, a bunch of which are dull, expensive listens that only seem to really appeal to high-end vinyl dealers. Lundborg dismisses music like early Pink Floyd (their space songs are not invitingly human enough? whuh?) while extolling the virtues of the Aggregation's Mind Odyssey and Creation Of Sunlight. Buh! He does pick some winners, but he also pledges allegiance to mid-'70s bands I don't think deserve another drop of ink (Relatively Clean Rivers, Wilcox-Sullivan-Wilcox, Kristyl, Top Drawer and other rare dogshit I would never personally tag as psych). I was also less than chuffed by the lengthy dissertation on the history and various offshoots of acid-house, psybient and various other rave-dance chugging. Lundborg seems to know a lot about this shit, but never enough to make it sound even mildly interesting. His take on proto-psych material like exotica and eden ahbez is more intriguing, although again, it seems a bit weird to name-check Martin Denny, but not Group 1850 (whose Agemo's Trip to Mother Earth should be in anyone's acid top ten).
“Psychedelia is an important addition to any decent '60s library. The material on drug history is first rate, and makes a lot of clumsier efforts irrelevant.”

The weakest parts of the book are those where Patrick discusses psych films, lit, art and whatnot. He's pretty good on the topics he chooses to focus on -- P.K. Dick, 2001, Mati Klarwein, etc. But it would seem there are some large holes in his expertise. Almost no mention is made of underground filmmakers like Kenneth Anger, Ira Cohen, Jud Yalkut and the many others who created ecstatically mind-blown moving pictures. Nor is there much acknowledgement of the vast numbers of acid-head poets out there, who were publishing regularly throughout the '60s -- from John Sinclair to Ed Sanders to Richard Krech and whoever. He also seems unaware of much acid-oriented prose, be it Billy Craddock's Be Not Content or Tom Vietch's fragmentary novels, and he claims that Kesey gave up prose after Cuckoo's Nest. This negates the very existence of '73's Kesey's Garage Sale, which includes "Over the Border," a screenplay containing some of Ken's most overtly psych writing. There's no mention of underground comix either, which is crazy. Not sure what's more psych-specific than something like John Thompson's The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within You. The stuff about underground poster artists is rather thin as well, although the surfer/acid connection is so explicit in the work of Rick Griffin, you could poop. And there's not a single mention of Trips '66, the amazing collection of amateur acid art put out by the Psychedelic Shop back in '66! What the fuck? Don't mean to sound like I'm ranting, but maybe I am.
For all that, Psychedelia is an important addition to any decent '60s library. The material on drug history is first rate, and makes a lot of clumsier efforts irrelevant. Patrick is also very good on covering the stuff that has specifically caught his attention. But I can't help but think the cultural parts of this book would have been a lot richer had Mr. Lundborg spent a few months in the stacks at the New Grass Center for Underground Culture, or some similar archive. What he knows about is generally pretty good, but there are many other nooks of psychedelic theory to explore. Perhaps, like Acid Archives, there will be expanded, updated editions forthcoming. Wouldn't hurt. - Byron Coley

Seriously, if you could wish to be accompanied by any consummately knowledgeable guide through the mutable thicket of the psychedelic experience, it’s Patrick Lundborg you’d want by your side. Herein, the author of Acid Archives and editor of the website has thrown down one formidably authoritative gauntlet to present psychedelia as a coherent lifestyle with a profound spiritual resonance and clear historical and cultural precedents.
Unstintingly rigorous and encyclopaedically comprehensive, scrupulously researched and commendably sober in tone, Lundborg’s scholarly but engrossing tome is peppered with revelations that may have escaped the common man thus far. For example, Shakespeare “definitely grew cannabis in his garden”, and “the witch ‘riding’ her broomstick was… the practical act of absorbing the green [deliriant] ointment to her vaginal membranes, for maximum absorption”. You’ll also discover the link between Apocalypse Now, TS Eliot and Arthurian legend, the path leading from Berlioz to 50s exotica, and a rumination upon the suggestion that the “infamous eruption of mass madness in… Pont St Esprit in 1951, long reported as an outbreak of ergotism… may have been a CIA experiment”.
It’s impossible to precis something so oceanic in 200 words but, on the most basic level, you’ll never watch Forbidden Planet in quite the same way again. - Oregano Rathbone
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Patrick Lundborg, The Acid Archives, Lysergia, 2006.

The ultimate guide to underground sounds 1965-1982. The book features release details and in-depth reviews for more than 5,000 obscure LPs from the USA and Canada, 1965-1982, including reissue data and value ratings. The main genres are psychedelia, garage, folk & folkrock, hippie rock, progressive rock, and hard-rock. There is also a wide selection of interesting and rare singer-songwriter, harmony pop, soft rock, lounge-rock, avant-garde, vanity-pressings and “outsider” albums. This is the first ever comprehensive guide to the vintage musical underground of North America, and opens up a gigantic field of outstanding music that has earlier been exclusive and hard to grasp. There’s also a buyer’s guide, a glossary, a historical background, fun Top 10 lists, and much more. The massive book is loaded with color images of obscure and trippy album sleeves, posters and band photos, many of which have never been published before, and a foreword by Mike Stax of Ugly Things magazine. Highlights: - The largest selection ever presented of underground albums from North America 1965-1982. - Original release data and in-depth commentary from world-leading rare record experts. - Ratings of LP market value, detailed reissue data, and full color images of rare and trippy albums sleeves. - Special feature essays about rare Exotica, Lounge, ‘70s Funk & Soul, Southern Rock and New Age albums, written by leading field collectors. - A brand new round of informative and hilarious Top 10 Lists that were a popular part in the first book.

Patrick ”the Lama” Lundborg died recently at age 47 of hitherto unknown causes. Patrick, or ”Doz” as he was also known, was a dear friend since the mid 1980s, when we were both part of the same neo-garage scene in Stockholm. The years that followed were multicolored, bold and exploring, and became very formative for all of us active in what Patrick would later term ”The Lumber Island Acid Crew.”
Life progressed and we all delved into family situations and attempts at professional outlooks. Many friends slowly drifted more or less apart. Some years ago though, an active friendship and collaboration between us began anew. I started publishing The Fenris Wolf again in 2011, and I immediately wanted Doz to be onboard. Not only because he was by this time an internationally established author(ity) and renowned expert on psych music and psychedelic culture and history in general. But also because he was simply such a great and innovative writer. He saw the big picture all the time, systematized, drew conclusions and left you with a feeling of having been hit with some seriously heavy and lucid intelligence.
His books The Acid Archives and Psychedelia – An Ancient Culture, A Modern Way Of Life became instant classics, and now, posthumously, the praise seems endless on Facebook and similar platforms. There is of course a reason why… They are really, really great books.
It’s Psychedelic, Baby will soon publish some interviews with Patrick, Stefan Kéry of Subliminal Sounds and myself about these early days in Stockholm. I would perhaps not go so far as to say we were some kind of Swedish version of Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, but there was certainly something there that united us and a few other individuals. What was shared back then became the fundament of a whole lot of creativity in many different fields later on. And Patrick was always a big part of that, back then as well as in the 2010s.
He will be missed. Big, big, big time. - Carl

Patrick’s excellent website Lysergia can be found here!
The Fenris Wolf issues containing Patrick’s writings can be found here!
One of the best recent interviews with Patrick can be found here!