Food Of The Gods – A Radical history of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution, a book review

A book review by: Lee Sonogan

(1992) Non-fiction/History, education


“Is the recognition that language is not merely a device for communicating ideas about the world, but rather a tool for bringing the world into existence in the first place. Reality is not simply ‘experienced’ or ‘reflected’ in language, but instead is actually produced by language.” ― Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods

Are you interested in mind-altering drugs and their effects on the social culture? This is the bible of that. Terrance Mckenna has written the ideal book to read to see what these drugs are all about. From excerpts to personal experience to documented historic studies, every chapter educates you in an interesting way. For me, I had to read at least a chapter of this book every goddam day.

Self-discovery in life is very important. To move forward, experience through various methods develop yourself. The mind is a muscle and you need to give it ways to grow and expand. You may want to consider using plants and experiment with such experiences. Since tribal times it was used for healing and ritual purposes. They believed in ecstasy through life with these drugs. Is that not any different from modern times and everybody partying at nightclubs or recreation use?

Chapters in the book:
  • Introduction: A manifesto for new thought about drugs
  • Shamanism, Setting the stage
  • The magic in food
  • The search for the original tree of knowledge
  • Plants from Primates: Postcards from the stoned ape
  • Habit as culture and religion
  • The high plains of Eden
  • The searching for Soma: The golden vedic enigma
  • Twilight in Eden Minoan Crete and the Eleusinian mystery
  • Alcohol and the alchemy of spirit
  • The ballad of the dreaming weavers: Cannabis and culture
  • Complacencies of the Peignoir: Sugar, Coffee, Tea and Chocolate
  • Smoke gets in your eye: Opium and Tabacco
  • Synthetics: Heroin, cocaine and television
  • A brief history of psychedelics
  • Anticipating the Archiac paradise
  • Epilogue: Looking outward and inward to a sea of stars

Going deeper and deeper into your mind, intoxication is both positive and negative. It depends on your perspective during your consumption of the particular drug. Drugs do not even need to be physically taken. Any situation that creates chemicals in the brain can be as strong or less as an average drug out there. In this book, you see that research and preparation is very important before use.

After finishing it, I felt like I learn a lot about green, its effect on the conscious and the history of humankind using it in different ways. Our culture influences a lot of ego orientated behaviour and reactions in people. This book suggests we have ego imbalances and have lost touch with what we call ‘self’. Ego dissolving plants and more interesting methods from this book can be used to achieve many things such as conscious thinking and enlightenment. It concludes with chapters of the most powerful psychoactive drugs and an Epilogue with very strong points. I recommend this book to everyone who is interested in the drug culture, its effects and its history of it is done in a very interesting way.


“There is no question that a society that sets out to control its citizens’ use of drugs sets out on the slippery path to totalitarianism.” ― Terence McKenna, Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge

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