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Publisher's Summary

THE NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER

As seen on The Joe Rogan Experience!

This program includes a Foreword written and read by Graham Hancock.

A groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and the real-life quest for the Holy Grail that could shake the Church to its foundations.

The most influential religious historian of the 20th century, Huston Smith, once referred to it as the "best-kept secret" in history. Did the Ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same, secret tradition? A profound knowledge of visionary plants, herbs and fungi passed from one generation to the next, ever since the Stone Age?

There is zero archaeological evidence for the original Eucharist - the sacred wine said to guarantee life after death for those who drink the blood of Jesus. The Holy Grail and its miraculous contents have never been found. In the absence of any hard data, whatever happened at the Last Supper remains an article of faith for today’s 2.5 billion Christians. In an unprecedented search for real answers, The Immortality Key examines the archaic roots of the ritual that is performed every Sunday for nearly one third of the planet. Centuries in the making, religion and science converge to paint a radical picture of Christianity’s founding event. And to solve history’s greatest puzzle once and for all.

Before the rise of Christianity, the Ancient Greeks found salvation in their own sacraments. Sacred beverages were routinely consumed as part of the so-called Ancient Mysteries – elaborate rites that led initiates to the brink of death. Athens’ best and brightest 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, achieving immortality. In the 1970s, renegade scholars claimed this beer and wine - the original sacraments of Western civilization - were spiked with mind-altering drugs. In recent years, vindication for the disgraced theory has been quietly mounting in the laboratory. The constantly advancing fields of archaeobotany and archaeochemistry have suggested the use of psychedelic drinks in antiquity. And with a single dose of psilocybin, the psycho-pharmacologists at Johns Hopkins and NYU are now turning self-proclaimed atheists into instant believers.

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? Was the original Eucharist of Christianity, in fact, a psychedelic Eucharist? Is this the real secret behind the Holy Grail?

With an unquenchable thirst for evidence, Muraresku tours the ruins of Greece with its government archaeologists. He gains access to the hidden collections of the Louvre Museum to show the continuity between pagan and Christian wine. He unravels the Ancient Greek of the New Testament with the world’s most controversial priest. He spelunks into the catacombs under the streets of Rome to decipher the lost symbols of Christianity’s oldest monuments. He breaches the secret archives of the Vatican to unearth documents never before translated into English. And with leads from the archaeological chemists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania, he unveils the first hard data for the ritualistic use of psychedelic drugs in antiquity.

The Immortality Key reconstructs a suppressed history of women consecrating the forbidden, drugged Eucharist that was later banned by the Church Fathers. Women who were later targeted as witches during the Inquisition, when Europe’s sacred pharmacology largely disappeared. If the scientists of today have resurrected this technology, then Christianity is dead. Unless it returns to its roots.

A Macmillan Audio production from St. Martin's Press

©2020 Brian C. Muraresku and Graham Hancock (P)2020 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The Immortality Key

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Loved it Sooo relevant/important!

Best book of my year! Serious paradigm shift, you always knew was true😉
Why did we fear the witches and not those who burned them!?

4 people found this helpful

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A scholarly paper or magazine article, not a book

The ancient Greeks, Romans and later the Christians got stoned on hallucinogenic drinks, inspiring what they thought was a direct connection to God and the hereafter. That's about it, folks. The remaining 15 hours of this book test the patience as Maruresku travels the world to interview museum curators, professors, and other experts to support his thesis. I was already convinced in the introduction, then listened for eight hours waiting for something beyond evidence for the initial premise, but I suspect only more tedium awaits.

3 people found this helpful

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Incredibly well researched and bipartisan

A fascinating record of lost history, a huge wake up call that our society is losing our classical languages, and a rediscovering of our cultural roots.

The new generation of spirituality, predicted by Huxley, starts here.

I can’t wait for a documentary.

2 people found this helpful

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Soooo interesting

fascinating in terms of religion, alcohol and psychedelics, history, languages and so many more things

2 people found this helpful

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Hard Pass

Sooo, basically I listened to this book to discover that ancient people drank psychedelic wine and beer.
I had purchased the hardcover and tried to get through the first half of it, but was having a hard time getting into the point of the story so I bought the audible version and listened to it in 2x. I even skipped parts as it was so boring. This was practically a DNF, but I really didn't want to leave it hanging in the hopes that something revolutionary would be discovered in the later chapters. This wasn't the case. The later chapters just continue to describe that people drank wine and beer -_- I'm sad I actually purchased both versions of this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Exceptional

I'll have to listen a second time for both enjoyment and to take in the massive amount of information!

1 person found this helpful

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Feels good to be alive at this time

The story was nearly entirely suppressed. Colonialism almost succeeded entirely. This book tells the story of what happened before that got started.

1 person found this helpful

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A remarkably researched and captivating book!

I was staggered by the incredible amount of information that was presented in such a thorough and engaging manner. It took me on an amazing journey that was remarkably eye-opening. It reframed everything that I had been exposed to, from any historical education in my past, to the stories I was indoctrinated with growing up Christian. It is a refreshing and liberating book that reminds us how no religious doctrine can come close to the incredible power of entheogenic substances for discovering the true nature of our existence.

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A very rare find

This book is like a rare gemstone!

The work that went in to the creation of this book is absolutely epic. He deserves a PhD.

Like Graham Hancock, he calmly and boldly embraces the role of heretic and speaks with total clarity about a subject of extraordinary importance - and one which is also intensely political.

This guy's command of languages and relentless pursuit of the truth is beyond admirable. I'm deeply inspired by both him as an individual and the abundance of evidence he reveals that suggests psychedelics have been a cornerstone of human culture and spirituality since time immemorial.

If you care about who we are, where we come from and where we're going, READ IT.
If you want to take your spiritual evolution into your own hands, READ IT.

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This book is a must read!!

Want a book that challenges beliefs on just about every level of analysis? This book will do that for you. It is massively making me question my core beliefs. I just have so many wonderful questions after reading this book. At the practical level, the author may have found the crux to a major cultural crisis that the west is facing. I hope this review encourages you to read this book critically.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Balls
  • 2020-10-02

Most important book of the now.

I listen to a lot of really good books. I honestly can't remember if I've ever given a review before. This book hits on so many truths I feel if I don't write this review I'll regret it forever. What Brian has accomplished here is a masterpiece. As an atheist I've explored my relationship with the universe via psychedelic's many times, so to have a book that explains the history of our ancestors path of finding god through the use of these taboo tools is so refreshing. I feel that spirituality is something we all feel at one level or another, yet a large majority of our species aren't aware that you can connect with the cosmos via these organic tools provided. This book is hands down the best yet at revealing the vast history of mans use of drugs to expand the collective consciousness, and the influence these compounds had on early religions. It's also a grim reminder of how some groups are threatened by these ideas and will stop at nothing to conceal them.
Fight the war on consciousness and buy this book. This work is an eye opener.
Brian and PJ, Thank you. You both made it happen.

P.S. Graham Hancock presents the forward to the book and knocks it straight out the F#%KING PARK!

76 people found this helpful

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  • Joshua
  • 2020-11-28

A Fun ‘Trip’—But Not a Sober One

As a well-researched and whimsical series of 'what if' hypotheses, this self-styled Indiana Jones travelogue makes for fun reading. It provides an engaging tour of the archaeological, classical, and chemical evidence for the religious use of psychedelics in the ancient world. Muraresku is popularizing key ideas from the pioneering scholarship of Ruck, Wasson, and others, who have brought the question of psychedelics into the anthropological mainstream.

The idea that psychedelics figured prominently in facilitating a sacramental religious experience, linking pagan Greeks and early Christians, is a fascinating thesis. And I hope the author’s right! But I finished the book far from convinced that he is. Muraresku’s book draws conclusions that wildly outrun the evidence used to support them.

For example: there is no clear archeological evidence that the ancient Greeks actually used psychedelics at Eleusis. There are a series of circumstantial clues which enable us to *guess* that they *might* have. But nothing more than circumstantial evidence has so far been uncovered by Muraresku or the other scholars devoted to this hunt. Greek words, read with special emphasis and interpreted in light of the main hypothesis; experiential reports from ancient initiates that align with the experiences of contemporary psychedelic users; ceremonial vessels that could have held psychedelic beer, etc. are the kinds of support used to make the case here. This isn’t to say that psychedelics were *not* used at Eleusis. It seems quite plausible that they were. But their use is just that: an elegant and exciting guess. Unfortunately, the author of this book makes it seem as if it were a fact beyond reasonable doubt.

Not only have the use of psychedelics not been convincingly established at Eleusis, but modern chemists haven’t even been able to reproduce the *kind* of psychedelic brew—sourced from ergot—that the ancient Greeks are supposed to have served up to the initiates at Eleusis for a millenium. The appendix to the Thirtieth Anniversary edition of ‘Road to Eleusis’ entitled ‘Kykeon Chemistry,’ written by Peter Webster, summarizes some of this research. The chemist describes using vodka to synthesize a psychedelic from prescription Rx containing ergotamine tartrate—a chemical somehow related to something that might be sourced from ergot. He ingested his concoction and reported “[a] definite but weak psychoactive effect”—plus major tummy trouble. That’s as close as he gets to brewing up anything resembling the ancient Greek kykeon. So, beyond pointing out that ergot contains chemicals similar to LSD, the chemists seem to be a long way from starting with ergot and producing—using the tech available to the ancient Greeks—anything similar to the powerful psychedelic beer that Muraresku claims was the secret of the Greek Eleusinian mysteries. Although Albert Hoffman, the discoverer of LSD, argues in the original ‘Road to Eleusis’ that “[w]ith the techniques and equipment available in antiquity it was therefore easy to prepare a hallucinogenic extract from suitable kinds of ergot,” it’s not at all clear to me that Hoffman, or anyone else, has actually done it.

The book’s treatment of psychedelics in early Christianity is similarly heavy on guesses and light on evidence. Do grape vines in an early Christian mosaic in a catacomb under St. Peter’s establish that early Christians, celebrating the refrigerium, were using psychedelics inherited from the Greeks? Do the presence of lizards in a potion found near Vesuvius really link first century witches to those persecuted by the Catholic church a millennium and a half later? Do the words of St. Paul in 1 Cor. 11 describing early Christians ‘falling asleep’ indicate catalepsis induced by psychedelics? Maybe! But, yeah, also maybe not. Lots of conjecture is stitched together into something masquerading as history.

One of the book’s core claims is that “the sacrament of Dionysius and the sacrament of Jesus are one and the same.” This argument centers almost exclusively on key passages from the Gospel of John. For early Roman Christians, did the eucharist extend and develop rites of death and rebirth from the ancient Greeks? Probably! But drawing a straight, clear line from Dionysius to Jesus is—at best—an historical oversimplification. It overlooks a couple of inconvenient facts: Jesus was a Jew. So were his followers--including his immediate disciples, St. Paul, and many of the authors of the New Testament. Neither Jesus nor his disciples were clandestine surrogates for a pagan deity—whose worship they would have, in fact, found repugnant. Is the author of the Gospel of John adapting Jesus’ story to appeal to culturally Greco-Roman pagans. Maybe! But this, again, is very different from claiming that Jesus himself, if his message is understood correctly (i.e., as the Gnostics did), was really the second-coming of Dionysius. Neither Jesus nor his early followers could possibly have seen the Christ in this way. First century Jews lived as members of a minority religion in an oppressive, colonial context in which they defined themselves against their oppressors, in part, by clinging to an austere monotheism, with little room for Bachic devotion.

Conceptually, the book depends heavily on the following assumption: in order to have experience of the divine, most people need the aid of something extraordinary—like a drug. Empirically speaking, this seems highly doubtful. Post-Covid, I’d encourage the author to do a little cross-cultural ethnography at his local Pentecostal church. Millions of people around the world—across different faith traditions and cultures—have what they would characterize as an immediate experience of divinity every week, without the help of drugs. Can psychedelics facilitate that experience for the many of us who *don’t* have such experiences on a regular basis? There is a growing body of psychological research suggesting that they can—which is very interesting and exciting. But why should we assume that most people (if they aren’t extraordinary sages, saints or mystics: that is to say, the Pythagoreans of the world) require drugs to experience God?

As an academic with training in late antiquity, I regularly do scholarly peer-reviews. And I find it hard to believe that this book would ever have passed a rigorous scholarly peer-review process. That’s fine! I’m glad we live in a world where globe-trotting lawyers spend years scouring obscure archives and archeological sites in a ballsy attempt to verify the use of psychedelics in ancient religion—then write up the results as a travel narrative! Just know what you’re getting. The book would have been much stronger with a heavy dose of humility, honesty, and transparency about what it shows—and what it doesn’t.

As published, this book’s a heady brew of textual analysis, archeological evidence, first-person dialogue, educated guesswork, and historical fiction.

40 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-01

PJ

PJ, be proud! Exceptional author! Incredible passion. Great legacy to leave behind! I would join him on this adventure if I could!

37 people found this helpful

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  • Matt
  • 2020-10-02

I hope this saves your marriage

I purchased this audio book to save the authors marriage. I hope things are well Brian. I heard you on Joe Rogan and loved the interview. I enjoyed hearing about the book and your process of writing it. I am writing this review before I listened to the book. If this saves your marriage please name you first born after me Matthew lol jk. looking forward to listening to this.

29 people found this helpful

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  • MKid
  • 2020-10-02

Science helping shed light on history/religion!

I'm not the best with reviews, but if you're into science and facts supporting ideas that challenge the rigidity of what seems to be a false narrative force-fed to us as truth through modern day academia, then this will be up your alley. All of that told very elegantly but without overwhelming the audience with big words or scientific jargon. I hope you enjoy!

26 people found this helpful

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  • Sarah
  • 2020-10-03

Phenomenal research and great story telling

Read by the author and feels more like he is telling us the story of his adventure in discovering rare gems hidden in dark corners of history. The historical information is remarkable. I am personally a believer in his theory. I think he has made a great case. An absolute must read!

15 people found this helpful

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  • pcmommie3
  • 2020-10-08

headline

Great research and theorie's. However this book is 50% longer than it should be. Nobody wants to hear about the author tell us repeatedly about what restaurant he was eating and what he was drinking. Bad editing. Too much ego.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-03

haven't read yet.

bought to save Brian's marriage. I'm sure Brian has more work to do and the only way its going to get done is if this PJ realizes this book is a certified banger.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-10-02

So gooood

Haven’t finished it yet but had to hop on and give a great review before I forgot ! It’s a great read !

10 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2020-10-27

Gnosticism alive and well

I got out of this Book the Gnostic belief. the author writes that Jesus didn't die but went into a drug coma that he appeared to be dead but was lying in the grave get some spiritual insight (no explanation of how Jesus survived the cross, thorns and whipping).

the author says that the early church was led by women who mixed psychedelic Eucharist wine so believers could see/experience god instead of the boring 90 minutes of church.

to me, I got the feeling from listening to the book that this self proclaimed athiest was trying to destroy the Eucharist and Jesus and encourage people to seek god by doing psychedelic drugs.

as a deliverance minister, I see the power of the demonic realm and once you open that door, then most people will be attacked like they have never experienced. I've seen the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in deliverance sessions in casting demons out and healing the mind and body. there is only one intersessor between God and man - Christ Jesus.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Yves
  • 2022-02-12

Deep dive into history of religion!

One of the most fascinating books! Deep dive into history of religion, amazingly well crafted. Well read by the author. Sometimes hard to follow due to countless references and language switching. it all adds to the flavor of course but you have to really listen carefully. Definitely not one of the books for "glide" on autopilot mode.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 2020-10-03

Excellent

This book enquires the very important mystery of the ancient world. The roots of western civilization may contain the cure the modern world needs.