What’s in a name? … Answer, practically everything.
~ Aldous Huxley (Moksha, p.181)
About a name for these drugs – what a problem!
~ Aldous Huxley (Moksha, p.107)
Aldous Huxley, Moksha, Park Street Press, 1977/1999.
Some of us formed a committee under the Chairmanship of Carl Ruck to devise a new word for the potions that held Antiquity in awe. After trying out a number of words he came up with entheogen, ‘god generated within’, which his committee unanimously adopted[…].
~ Gordon Wasson
Gordon Wasson in Persephone’s Quest, Yale University Press, 1986, pp. 30.
Oxford English Dictionary
psychotomimetic, a. and n. [Orig. formed as psychosomimetic, f. psychos(is + -o + mimetic a., and later altered to match psychotic a.]
A.A adj. Having an effect on the mind orig. likened to that of a psychotic state, with abnormal changes in thought, perception, and mood and a subjective feeling of an expansion of consciousness; of or pertaining to a drug with this effect.
740 North Kings Road,
Los Angeles 46, Cal.
30 March, 1956
Thank you for your letter, which I shall answer only briefly, since I look forward to talking to you at length in New York before very long. About a name for these drugs – what a problem! I have looked into Liddell and Scott and find that there is a verb phaneroein, “to make visible or manifest,” and an adjective phaneros, meaning “manifest, open to sight, evident.” The word is used in botany – phanerogam as opposed to cryptogam. Psychodetic (4) is something I don’t quite get the hang of it. Is it an analogue of geodetic, geodesy? If so, it would mean mind-dividing, as geodesy means earth-dividing, from ge and daiein. Could you call these drugs psychophans? or phaneropsychic drugs? Or what about phanerothymes? Thymos means soul, in its primary usage, and is the equivalent of Latin animus. The word is euphonious and easy to pronounce; besides it has relatives in the jargon of psychology-e.g. cyclothyme. On the whole I think this is better than psychophan or phaneropsychic. […]
Yours, Aldous [Phanerothyme-substantive. Phanerothymic-adjective.]
To make this trivial world sublime,
Take half a Gramme of phanerothyme.
To which Osmond responded:
To fathom hell or soar angelic
Just take a pinch of psychedelic.
Hofmann kept using the term
Albert Hofmann, Psychotomimetic agents. In A. Burger (Ed.) Chemical Constitution and Pharmacodynamic Action, Vol. II, Dekker, New York, 1968.