I was really excited about these books, more excited then I had been to read a book in a long while. These are what you would call cult classics, counter cultural, subversive material, which I had been eagerly anticipating having the opportunity to read for years. Well, unfortunately, once again, it turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment. They aren't bad, nor are they great, though I'm sure as the thousands of book reviews out there suggest, there are many who would disagree. Overall, I would say that some of it was beneficial, but mostly not.
The thing is about these books, much like William S. Burroughs, they're really trippy, reading them alters your perception somewhat, like being mildly high, where there is some uncertainty in your mind whether this person is a genius or insane. But overall, much like Burroughs, I found it all to be just a bit too unfocused, jumps around a lot, explores some interesting ideas, but doesn't really get very deep into any of it. It's more like a bunch of magazine articles, or the old web zines, randomly pieced together into a book. I found the stuff about telepathic communication with extraterrestrials, particularly the Sirius connection, fascinating, and will probably read up more about it, checking out The Sirius Mystery by Robert Temple. Apparently there have been many scientists who have had this experience, notably Nikola Tesla, and whether they were mentally ill I don't know, but it's worth investigating and maybe putting together a list.
I may investigate reading some of Timothy Leary's stuff, too, particularly his Eight Neurological Circuits theory, my mom owns a few of his books, and would probably loan them to me, but I'm not really a fan of using hallucinogenic drugs, something that Leary advocated as a means of opening the higher circuits, have no plans of ever using LSD again, if in fact that is what I actually used, because unbeknownst to me at the time, which was about twenty years ago, much of the underground LSD sold as such wasn't/isn't actually LSD, but a hodgepodge of different poisons. You just have no idea what you're getting, could be speed, could be rat poison, could be anything. Unless you know for sure what you are getting, you should probably stay away from it. Or stick to plant based substances, something that you could grow yourself, marijuana is probably your safest bet. I'm not a drug user, by the way, but just saying for your information.
Okay, there's eight circuits of consciousness, but most people are only operating on levels one and two, which are associated with the reptilian brain and the mammalian brain. The first circuit is also called the oral stage, has to do with basic survival. The second circuit is the anal stage, it has to do with issues of power and territory. The third stage could be called the human brain, and is associated with language and reason.
Anyway, here's a quote from Cosmic Trigger that I liked, which gives further insight into the symbolic meaning of the Tarot and the four suits of the ordinary playing cards. (See my post: Playing Cards Astrology). It's in reference to a person exploring the outer reaches of inner space, either through drugs, or shamanic trance, or basically anything that triggers what you would call an out-of-body experience:
"If you go into that realm without the sword of reason, you will lose your mind, but at the same time, if you only take the sword of reason without the cup of sympathy, you will lose your heart. Even more remarkably, if you approach without the wand of intuition, you can stand at the door for decades never realizing you have arrived."And he also mentions not to forget to bring "the pentacle of valor", for courage.
So you've got the pentacles of tarot, and the diamonds of the playing cards, associated with valor. The swords of tarot, and the spades of playing cards, associated with reason. The cups of tarot, and the hearts of playing cards, associated with feelings. The wands of tarot, and the clubs of playing cards, associated with intuition. All are needed, valor, reason, feeling, and intuition, to be integrated as a whole. Hey, it's kind of like the Wizard of Oz. You've got the lion, associated with courage, the tin man, the heart, the scarecrow, reason, and Dorothy, intuition.
Anyway, these two books have a lot of interesting ideas in them, though at the same time, are kind of difficult to read because much of it comes out like the author was tripping on acid while he wrote them. But if you want to read something that stimulates weird nonconformist thinking, that is, thinking in ways that may have never occurred to you without having used psychedelic drugs, or if you are simply a fan of science fiction, conspiracy theory, and the occult, these books are probably for you.