Photos by Cynthia Palmer.
One of the few major psychedelics conferences during the dark age of the “Just Say No” Reagan regime was the Psychedelics and Spirituality Conference (aka Psychedelic Conference II), held on the campus of UC-Santa Barbara on May 13-14, 1983.
The speakers were a “who’s who” of drug discoverers and researchers: Albert Hofmann, Humphry Osmond, Ralph Metzner, Alexander Shulgin, Walter Houston Clark, Terence McKenna, Andrew Weil, Carl Ruck and Jonathan Ott.
Timothy Leary, Joan Halifax and Kathleen Harrison (McKenna) were in attendance but did not give formal talks.
Other notables visible in photos: Peter Stafford, Rick Doblin, Deborah Harlow, Robert Forte, John Palmer, Jeremy Tarcher and Shari Lewis.
It was at this conference that Sasha Shulgin announced his discovery of 2C-B and delivered one of his greatest talks, “Drugs of Perception.” It was also here that Terence McKenna (in his brother Dennis’ words) “marked his emergence as a public persona with his talk ‘Hallucinogens: Monkeys Discover Hyperspace, aka Return to the Logos.’”
Cynthia Palmer (Horowitz), whose ground-breaking anthology of women’s drug writings (Shaman Woman, Mainline Lady, reprinted as Sisters of the Extreme ) had been published the preceding year, attended the conference with her husband and co-editor, Michael Horowitz. Her candid photos of the speakers and conference-goers during a break from their presentations are published here for the first time. A complete set of the talks delivered at the conference is available on 6 audiocassettes from Soundphotosynthesis.