The Secret Chief - Introduction by Myron Stolaroff

Table of Contents | Prologue | Tribute | Foreword | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3
Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Epilogue | Appendix I | Appendix II | Acknowledgements


IT IS RARE IN LIFE to meet a person so engaging, so warm, so obviously kind that your heart automatically goes out to him at first contact. Jacob was such a person. Completely unpretentious, he was tremendously enthused with life and excited about people.

Jacob died in the spring of 1988 at the age of 76, after an unusual and illustrious career. He was outstanding in his field, and made many significant contributions. Yet because of the unorthodox character of his chosen work, he was little known outside his immediate circle of friends and clients. In fact, I cannot even use his correct name, nor give you the locale of his activities. Yet if he and his work were truly known, the world would recognize that it has lost one of its most able pioneers and a man who has made a very important contribution to the field of psychology. A close and knowledgeable friend, who had the opportunity to understand him better than most, dubbed him the "Secret Chief," which is a most fitting title for this work.

It was in the spring of 1981 when my wife Jean and I met with him to have these conversations. He was already 70 years old, and retired from his very engrossing work. He was a short man, about five feet six inches tall, somewhat stocky, almost white-haired, and hardly ever to be caught without an engaging smile. As soon as you were in his presence you knew that he was your friend, and would do anything he could for you. He was proud of his Jewish heritage, and also proud of his service in the army, where he attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Jacob was a psychologist, and one of the first to be licensed as a Ph.D. in the state in which he practiced. For many years he conducted a private practice as a Jungian therapist.

Jacob's life changed dramatically in the early 1960s, when he became acquainted with the mind-altering substances LSD and mescaline. These powerful drugs not only led him into a whole new area of self-understanding, but he found them to be enormously effective in helping his clients-so much so that he abandoned conventional therapy to pursue the study and practice of using these new substances.

Jacob made great personal progress, and at the same time learned a good deal about how to use these chemicals effectively. He developed many useful procedures and had a large following of clients wanting to take advantage of this new, powerful means of therapy. In time, Jacob not only was responsible for processing around three thousand individuals, but he shared his experience in this new art with over one hundred therapists. By the time these conversations were held, he was responsible probably more than any other individual alive for introducing individual clients and therapists to the benefits and procedures of effectively using mind-altering substances in personal growth.

My purpose in interviewing Jacob was to become familiar with the practices he had developed. There were many of us who believed that his valuable techniques should be publ shed and made available to other researchers and for posterity. One huge, giant obstacle confronted us: Most such substances had been placed in Schedule I of the Federal government's Controlled Substances Act, making them illegal to possess. So there was considerable risk of exposure in making such information public.

Jacob agreed to transmit the information and have it on record, and we agreed that we would decide later on its dispo- sition. When the information had been reduced to writing, Jacob decided that it was too sensitive to be published, so it was set aside. Now that he is no longer with us, and immune to whatever legal transgressions he may have committed, it becomes possible to tell his story and acknowledge the outstanding pioneering work that he accomplished.

Most of what follows is In Jacob's own words. I have done some editing for the sake of clarity, and have arranged some discussions In more logical progression. Also, appropriate fictitious names and locations have been used with an eye to our repressive drug laws. Many of the very promising substances Jacob worked with are in Schedule 1, making it exceedingly difficult to research their beneficial uses.1

The decision to use Jacob's own words took much pondering on my part. Several who have seen the initial form of this manuscript felt that Jacob's uninhibited language and looseness of expression would turn manv potential readers away, and they preferred a more scholarly, professional rendition. But those who knew Jacob will delight in once more experiencing his expressions, fondly recalling past conversations and the images of this dear person they invoke. Such expressions may likely be lost on readers who never knew this man, and who could very well object to the sometimes coarse language.

But this gets to the very heart of some of the misunderstandings about psychedelics. Jacob was a man who brought new life and opportunity to many hundreds of individuals, often in total life-transforming ways. He was dearly loved. This was not because of his elegant expression or professional training. It was because he was blessed with an abundance of heart, the most necessary prerequisite for someone accompanying others into the depths of their very souls. For the unconscious mind is often terribly frightening; we have made much of its contents unconscious because we want nothing to do with it. It takes a strong heart, honesty, and a desire to learn and face one's problems in order to enter the dark areas of our suppressed inner self. Nothing is more helpful than the presence of a kind, loving, understanding person thoroughly familiar with the dark regions of the mind-a companion who is confident of his ability to help one navigate and resolve those regions that have been an enormous burden in the past, a person who knows the wonder of being free. Whoever understands all of this certainly is not concerned about the person's modes of expression, but is only grateful for the heartfelt support.

And this Jacob expressed in abundance. A person who felt deeply, he understood that expressing such feelings is the most honest way of being oneself. It is not the choice of words, but the ability to feel deeply and genuinely express one's feelings that make one authentic, and which brings people together in true relationship. Since so many of us are afraid of our feelings, the dark side of our unconscious is replete with feelings we do not dare to feel. Once we learn how to find and express them, we can feel the delight of being fully alive by honestly expressing them. Then we deeply appreciate those who function this way.

So in submitting Jacob in his native tongue, I feel that I avoid the disservice of not fully presenting him. I very much hope that the reader, through encountering Jacob's personal expressions, can more readily discern the heart of one of the truly great persons who have lived on this earth. Yes, it's probably true that a man with a Ph.D. in psychology might have learned to speak more correctly, but once you have the privilege of being in this man's presence, who cares?

May you enjoy this introduction to our good friend and psychedelic guide par excellence, Jacob.

Myron J. Stolaroff
Lone Pine, California

1. The Drug Enforcement Administration, which initiated the scheduling of practically all psychoactive materials, claims that placing the substances into Schedule I does not preclude re search. While there is a procedure for researching Schedule I materials, in practice for almost three decades, virtually no clinical research was permitted in this class of substances. The control is exercised by the Food and Drug Administration which must grant an IND or Investigational New Drug exemption to permit research, For Schedule I materials, a protocol must be submitted and approved by the FDA. At the time of these interviews, numerous applications for IND's for psychoactive materials had been turned down. Beginning in 1990, there has been a liberalization of this policy. 111 1997, there are several research projects with psychedelic substances that have been approved by the FDA and the DEA.

Table of Contents | Prologue | Tribute | Foreword | Introduction | Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3
Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6 | Epilogue | Appendix I | Appendix II | Acknowledgements