Just published, Psychedelic Prophets includes the full correspondence between two pioneers in the early period of psychedelic science. Osmond "dosed" Huxley on his first mescaline experience in May 1953, the experience that gave rise to his book The Doors of Perception (1954). They went on to have a fruitful correspondence up until Huxley's death in 1963. Osmond coined the term "psychedelic" in the letters themselves. The letters showcase a deep bond between the two men and are a treasure trove of literary, philosophic, spiritual and scientific discussion and insight. They also include appearances of many luminaries of this time, including Carl Jung, Daisetz Suzuki and Alan Watts. Several of Huxley's later works, such as Brave New World Revisited (1958) and Island (1962) are described as they are being written. Though less well known, Osmond is no slouch in the writing or thinking department either. At the time, he was a young psychiatrist working as the director of a mental hospital in remote Saskatchewan, Canada. Osmond was a vocal and tireless advocate for the improvement of the treatment of people struggling with various forms of severe mental illness, in the era preceding the later backlash against psychiatry (think One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). His sincere empathy and activities on behalf of those suffering in forgotten wards of the traditional asylums is very moving. Among much else, he defended in court the rights of Indigenous peoples to use peyote in their ceremonies. The letters are replete with wisdom, love and beauty and reflect perhaps the final era of voluminous, intellectual letter writing. They are also a masterclass in an open-minded approach to differences of opinion and ways of being.

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TLDR: The word "psychedelic" was coined in this newly published collection of letters between Aldous Huxley and Humphry Osmond.

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