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Bridging the gap between our ancient and modern worlds


Current Collaborations

Across the ancient world, cultures relied on an embedded and sophisticated knowledge of plants that could be used for healing or ritual, for sustenance or leisure. While their use was pervasive in antiquity, these plants and with them the knowledge of their use faded from memory. The distinctive transdisciplinary approach of the recently established Yale Ancient Pharmacology Program (YAPP) offers a key to their rediscovery.
An interdisciplinary effort between the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP), the Center for Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry (CICI), and Harvard University’s Mahindra Humanities Center, the Study of Psychedelics in Society and Culture Program is an initiative aimed at expanding psychedelic research and dialogue across the arts, humanities, and social sciences. The program is a major scholarly inquiry into the cultural, historical, and societal implications of psychedelics.
A large-scale art installation paired with a drone show, by House of Fābl, presents an immersive sky story, diving deep into the profound significance of the women-led Eleusinian Mysteries and the sacred rituals held annually at the Temple of Eleusis. These rituals spanned over 1,200 years, marking both the Greek and Roman empires. This captivating tale illuminates their role as a spiritual heart of ancient civilization and suggests their promising influence on humanity's future.
An ongoing immersive art collaboration blending large-scale classical painting and imaginative art with expert facilitation and masterful storytelling. Through these intimate, guided experiences of evocative narrative painting, participants are invited to explore profound questions about life and death and to awaken to the mysteries and meaning in their lives.

If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.

If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.

If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.

If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.

If you die before you die, you won’t die when you die.

Roots of our work

A real-life quest for the Holy Grail

Sacred beverages were routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries – elaborate rites that led initiates to the brink of death. The best and brightest from Athens and Rome flocked to the spiritual capital of Eleusis, where a holy beer unleashed heavenly visions for two thousand years. Others drank the holy wine of Dionysus to become one with the god.

The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have hinted at the enduring use of hallucinogenic drinks in antiquity.

Questions we are trying to answer

If these sacraments survived for thousands of years in our remote prehistory, from the Stone Age to the Ancient Greeks, did they also survive into the age of Jesus?

Over the past two thousand years, what happened to the sacred pharmacology of the West? How do these lost traditions reflect the ritual use of psychedelics as a universal religious heritage of humankind — East and West, North and South?

Featured Media:

Harvard Divinity School

The Ancient Religion with No Name: A 90-minute interview between CSWR Director Charles Stang and Brian Muraresku

The Tim Ferris Show

The Eleusinian Mysteries and The Pagan Continuity Hypothesis: A 60-minute conversation between Brian Muraresku and Dr. Mark Plotkin

Making Sense: Sam Harris

The Immortality Key and Best Kept Secret In History: A 40-minute conversation between Sam Harris and Brian Muraresku

Summit Series

The Forgotten History of Psychedelics 60-minute presentation and Q&A on ‘The Immortality Key’ book at Summit Series

After Skool

The Best Kept Secret in History 13-minute animated version. A look into the psychedelic origins of the world’s great spiritual practices

Joe Rogan

“The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name,” a 3-hour conversation between Joe Rogan and Brian Muraresku


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