Inner Journeys

Timothy Leary Gets Assist from Samadhi Tank, American Book of the Dead by Lee Perry

At the end of February, while Dr. John Lilly was visiting his friend Timothy Leary, who was dying of prostate cancer, received a call at Samadhi Tank Company. A few days later we drove down to L.A. with the gift of a floatation tank to install in Leary’s home and an American Book of the Dead for safe passage. Both were received enthusiastically. Tim opened the ABD and randomly read phrases and commenting on the wide variety of possible meanings. Then John Lilly took the book and read him the last paragraph of his introduction.

Leary has died, and generous eulogies have appeared in publications from The New York Times to Rolling Stone. Timothy Leary’s archives are on the net at—and he continues to publish posthumously, with books due from Harper and Ronin. Robert Anton Wilson in his Trajectories newsletter tribute (Fall, 1996, #16/17—the best Leary assessment we’ve read) reports recently receiving e-mail from the good doctor….

An excerpt from Wilson’s article: He decided that death, like solitary confinement, would either be hell or a learning experience. And he decided to make it a learning experience. Tim explored death in a way that nobody ever has before: by altering the parameters. One day he told me on the phone, “Y’know, at times it hits me what’s happening, and I wallow in self-pity. I think of all I’ve given humanity, and how much pain I’ve had to suffer. And I let that go on for about three minutes, then I start having fun again.”

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