I have always been fascinated by stories and I think that is true for everyone, especially if you are here reading my blog because this tale concerns psychedelic themes. I gladly write this short story relating to the birth of the English edition of my second book, which has the peculiarity of being told by me but also from the point of view of my editor, Gary, who is the main protagonist!
It all started earlier this year when I had already received most of the English text from my translator and sent her about thirty pages yet to be prepared; the work was at a good stage and I was very happy. Synchronously, on the same day that I sent the text to be translated I received an email from an American reader of my first book, The Magic Mushroom User’s Guide. As always I replied immediately, and in this case I wrote to him that my second book, about the preparation and integration of the psychedelic experience, would also be ready soon. I was sure that he would be interested and asked if I could notify him as soon as it was ready, certainly within a short time.
He replied very kindly confirming his interest, and surprised me by also offering to help with the editing. Although the editing had been done in a rudimentary way by a colleague of the translator, the idea of a “second opinion” appealed to me because the subject of the book is esoteric, and I knew that the complexity of the material made translation a critical step. I did a search online and discovered that Gary really exists (which is not taken for granted in online contacts) and as a filmmaker has created remarkable interviews; in particular I deeply appreciated that he worked with Ram Dass, whose very special experience I mention in the book. This beautiful “coincidence” prompted me to gladly accept his help, not imagining that we would work together for many months, collaborating for hundreds of hours, mostly of his own time! I can now say that Gary knows the English edition much better than I do, just as my partner, also an outstanding editor, knows the Italian edition much better than I do.
Suddenly and completely unexpectedly, I find myself working at a fast pace with this kind, straightforward and tireless gentleman who lives on the other side of the world, separated by nine hours of time difference but closely connected by the convenient online features of Google Docs, which for working together on shared texts is more comfortable than sitting side by side! We started working together soon after we wrote each other a few emails, then one day we finally decided to get to know each other, set up a video call to see each other and talk in person.
I have met many people who speak English, some I understand 100%, but others have pronunciations and accents that are very difficult for me to understand, and in some cases I only understand one word every now and then! I was very afraid of meeting Gary, would we understand each other? I was lucky and it worked out well for me, I can even understand him better verbally than in writing! (He thinks that my English is very good and sometimes he writes to me using expressions or abbreviations as if I were his neighbor, but he still doesn’t know that I have to use online translation services to understand him 😀 )
And speaking of neighbors, this story continues to be amazing because one day I found out that one of my heroes, the person I admire the most, had been one of his neighbors!!! This is a renowned and exceptional person, whom I repeatedly mentioned in my book, who lived nearby to Gary, and he had interviewed him repeatedly – Stanislav Grof! I watched all of the interviews and could not believe my eyes. My luck is huge, Gary had definitely been sent by Providence to help me in this work; first his experience with Ram Dass and then Stan Grof. That we had found ourselves working together was no longer a lucky coincidence, now I was sure that behind this meeting there was an intention that this book would receive the best possible care before it would be published in a language so widely used around the world.
Sometimes projects find a continual path of climbing over obstacles, and others fly as if the road is clear and downhill; this is the case for my preparation of the English edition. I feel that I have been supported as I have rarely been in my entire life and I am very grateful. With his help I have better understood particularly dense passages that I had personally written.
When we began collaborating I asked Gary to write an introduction to the English edition, and although he felt that Maria Grazia Parisi’s intro to the Italian edition should be retained, he did agree to write what he calls an “Editor’s Note.” Now it is Gary’s turn to tell us his point of view, so I am sharing his words that he penned for the English edition, just as they are written in the first pages of the book. Thank you my friend!
Editor’s Note for the English edition
“I’m in the business of effing the ineffable.” – Alan Watts
Ineffable adjective meaning: incapable of being expressed in words, indescribable.
How do we eff the ineffable? This is the primary challenge of writing a book about psychedelics, which by their definition have supernatural powers able to show us visions that are beyond our ability to use language to eloquently describe.
My relationship with the author, DM Tripson, began during an email correspondence about his first book, The Magic Mushroom User’s Guide, which I recognized as having been written by a person who was compelled to generously share his valuable knowledge, and contribute to the current zeitgeist in psychedelics. That book’s original language was Italian, and I reached out for clarification about certain details that were no doubt lost in the English translation. During our correspondence, I learned that this second book was in the works, focusing much more intently on two important aspects of psychedelic journeys: Preparation and Integration. Our discussions took interesting detours toward topics he was now exploring, and that led to my editing this English edition.
What has struck me more than anything else while enjoying editing these past months is the overarching theme of this book, which is that we have many ways to be creative in communicating with our unconscious towards enlisting its help in directing us to become ever more present, more awake. That’s an even more universal theme than “just” using the medicine of psilocybe mushrooms to discover aspects of ourselves that we could never imagine in our ordinary state of consciousness. In fact, this lesson of how to speak to our unconscious is a blueprint for how we can connect with universal consciousness, which can help us with virtually all aspects of our lives. It starts with our willingness to harness the power of creativity and to use our imagination to tap into aspects of ourselves that are deeper than what occurs to our “normal” conscious minds.
And deeper we will go. Tripson is sharing the metaphysical properties of magic mushrooms and how they can help us to explore the most profound mysteries in our search to understand consciousness and our place in the Universe.
Have you gotten the sense yet that this isn’t a scientific book about how the structures of psilocybin and its active metabolite psilocin belong to the group of tryptamine hallucinogens that are related to serotonin, and how psilocin is the active molecule that produces the pharmacologic effects of a selective agonist of serotonin (5-HT) receptors? If you’re looking for that kind of book, you may have come to the wrong place.
But perhaps you have come to the right place; a place the author has created to share techniques that he has found beneficial for waking up. And that’s how I suggest you receive it, as inspiration for you to find your own way of becoming more present. Will you agree with every concept and method he’s describing in these pages? I didn’t, but that’s not the point… The point is that we are being shown a menu of tools that we can use to advance our journey to become more authentically ourselves. We can choose what resonates with us from this menu; modify or even invent our own tools, and play with this newfound power of speaking to our unconscious in a way that activates presence.
The gift of life is a constantly unfolding journey which itself is the destination, with no outcome except that one day we will leave our bodies. Until then, every moment can be an opportunity that is used for our highest good, or not. A psychedelic mushroom journey can be the same… those who expect it to lead to a specific outcome are missing the point. If our work with these medicinal mushrooms contributes to our personal growth, for our greatest benefit, then we have released ourselves from the tyranny of outcome.
All that said, to get the most out of this book, I suggest first reading Tripson’s first book, where you will find a wealth of foundational information that will help you to apply your creativity to the tasks at hand described in this book… the garden must be tilled before flowers can be planted.
This book is a good example of the proverbial finger pointing at the moon. No matter how high a mountain we climb or how high we jump we will never get there, but we can surround ourselves with knowledgeable people who can help to illuminate the way. This book is an inspiration, and invitation, for all of us to do the same.
Yours in loving awareness,