Mike Crowley author

About the Interview

I first met Mike Crowley at the Breaking Conventions conference in London in 2017. He was there to promote his new book. We both had background in Tibetan Buddhism, both as practioners and academically. We stayed in touch and when plans for the 2nd edition of his book emerged I asked him if he would like to be interviewed for Alchemical Tours. The interview was over Skype and we ended up having two long conversations, the second of which forms the basis for the episode. It was all very effortless. I felt we could easily have continued and chatted more.. We both agreed to stay in touch so perhaps further conversations will emerge.


Podcast episode:


Mike Crowley Biography

Michael Crowley was born 1948 in Cardiff, Wales. He began studying Buddhism with a Tibetan lama in 1966, becoming an upasaka of the Kagyud lineage in 1970, being ordained as a lama in 1988. In order to augment his Buddhist studies, he acquainted himself with Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Mandarin Chinese. Mike has lectured at the Museum of Asia and the Pacific, Warsaw, the Jagellonian University, Cracow, The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has been published in Fortean Studies, Time and Mind: The Journal of Archaeology, Consciousness, and Culture, Psychedelic American, and Psychedelic Press UK. In January 2016, Mike received the R. Gordon Wasson Award for outstanding contributions to the field of entheobotany. He currently serves on the advisory board of The Psychedelic Sangha, an American organization of psychedelically-inclined Buddhists, he teaches Buddhism at the Dharma Collective in San Francisco.

Secret Drugs of Buddhism : Psychedelic sacraments and the origins of the Vajrayana by Mike Crowley

New edition of Secret Drugs – Book Cover

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“Writing clearly, in the fashion of an investigative reporter, Mike Crowley unlocks the mystery of amrita, and answers, with previously unseen certainty, the question of whether or not psychedelics were part of historical Buddhist practice.”
— Allan Badiner, co-editor of Zig Zag Zen

“Mike Crowley has manifested a delightful book on a topic rarely spoken of, and certainly never explored with such depth. With a combination of personal anecdotes, detailed historical research, and a large collection of traditional art, this book will encourage modern-day Buddhist yogis and mind-explorers to see their practice and its roots in a new way.”
— Rev. Kokyo Henkel, Head Teacher, Santa Cruz Zen Center

“Psychedelic drugs in ancient Buddhism? Believe it. Don’t believe it? Read this book.”
— Clark Heinrich, author of Magic Mushrooms in Relgion and Alchemy


Mike Crowley, 2017, Secret Drugs of Buddhism : Psychedelic sacraments and the origins of the Vajrayana

Mike Crowley, 1996, When the Gods Drank Urine : A Tibetan myth may help solve the riddle of soma, sacred drug of ancient India. Fortean Studies, vol III. Download: here