Alan Piper, born in 1953, had an interest in religious ideas from an early age. As a teenager in the sixties he came into contact with mind-altering drugs and the counter-culture. Like many others who experimented with psychedelics in the sixties, he moved into a phase of ‘getting there without drugs’ and explored various spiritual disciplines. Concerns about the potential for spiritual fascism in the new religious movements led first to an interest in the occult roots of Nazism and finally to graduating in the History of Ideas in 1986. His interest in mind-altering plants was renewed when he became aware of the new entheogenic eco-psychedelia inspired by the likes of Terence McKenna. Alan now seeks to apply the methodological disciplines he learned as an undergraduate to exploring the role played by mind-altering plants in the history of religious ideas. He will be speaking on the role of plant drugs in Islamic Gnosis as well as considering the role of scholarship in psychedelic explorations.