If you consider yourself a psychonaut or are at least a little bit familiar with the psychedelic scene, you’ll probably recognize names like Hofmann, McKenna, Leary and Grof. Each in their own way a pioneer when it comes to psychedelics.
But where are the women of the psychedelic movement? Well, they don’t seem to be as inclined to step into the limelight. That’s why we’re honouring just a few of the female pioneers.
In part one we talked about María Sabina. In part two, Laura Huxley.
Laura Huxley (1911 - 2007)
Laura was an Italian-American musician, author, lecturer and the wife of author Aldous Huxley, who wrote books on his psychedelic experiences, among them 'The Doors of Perception' (1954).
Laura was his muse but also tripped right alongside him. Together they exploring the likes of LSD and mescaline. These sessions helped spark the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. After Aldous’ death in 1963, Laura Huxley devoted her life to preserving his legacy.
A timeless moment
Laura wrote about her life with Aldous in her biography ‘This Timeless Moment’. One of the most striking moments was when Aldous was on his deathbed, unable to speak due to advanced laryngeal cancer.
He wrote a note requesting his wife to administer LSD, which she did. The trip eased his pain and guided him through his death. She described her husband’s death as ‘one of the most beautiful deaths anyone in the room had ever seen’.
Convincing the most impossible people
Though she was ‘the wife of’, she was much more than just that, and a fierce advocate of controlled use of psychedelics in her own right. In 1977 she founded the non-profit organization Children: Our Ultimate Investment, dedicated to 'the nurturing of the possible human'.
She was interviewed in 1994 for MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) and said:
"You have done beautifully, convincing the most impossible people that everything can be used in two ways, even water. You can die if you drink too much water but you cannot live without it. It's really difficult, because the responsibility comes back to each one of us, again and again for the way we do things, as with sex and love. Aldous always tried to offer some ideas, either in a novel form or in a play form, about the situation of the human race, about making us realize we have some choice."
In the video interview below, Laura talks about the last moments with her husband.
In the third and final part of 'The great women of psychedelics', Ann Shulgin.