Here’s a description of my latest book The Toad and the Jaguar, A Field Report of Underground Research on a Visionary Medicine, Bufo alvarius and 5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine:
In this monograph, I relate findings from more than 30 years of experiences and observations with this substance, in various user groups and individuals, both in the US and in Europe. I use the term underground in referring to the explorations with these substances, in the sense that they were hidden – out of respect for the restrictions and prohibitions of mainstream culture.
5-methoxy-dimethyltryptamine is found naturally, along with its better known chemical relative DMT, as well as other indole alkaloids, in snuff preparations used by several Amazonian Indian tribes. It produces an out-of-body, dissociated state, which shamans use ritualistically to connect with positive, life-supporting spirits for healing and divination. It is also found naturally occurring in the defensive venom produced by the Sonora Desert toad, Bufo alvarius, which is non-toxic when smoked.
What I am reporting here are ethnographic field reports: first-hand observations from an underground sub-culture, accompanied by the experiences of a selected number of participant-observers. It is important to recognize that in research with these and other so-called psychedelic or entheogenic substances, one cannot limit the observations and reflections solely to their physical and psychological effects. As most of the people cited here emphasize, the experiences they’ve had with these substances at times can go far beyond their physical and psychological effects into the deepest and highest dimensions of our existence, both the cosmic and the spiritual.
I believe the descriptions and commentaries on this powerful medicine make it clear that this is an area of research on healing that, if pursued earnestly and carefully, could yield results of enormous benefit and potential applications in the alleviation of physical, mental and psychosomatic illnesses and distress.
It is also important to remember that, as with other so-called entheogenic medicines, the substances do not create the spiritual, mystical and cosmic dimensions of existence, but reveal them.