David Luke-1

David Luke, PhD


Email: david.luke@aleftrust.org


Dr David Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and he is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College.

His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including thirteen books, most recently: Breaking Convention: A Seismic Shift in Psychedelia (2022), DMT Entity Encounters (2021), Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2019), Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine (2019), Psychedelicacies: More food for thought from Breaking Convention (2019), DMT Dialogues: Encounters with the Spirit Molecule (2018)

When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, doing DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans, he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon, and is a cofounder and trustee of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness.

He has given over 400 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge of Sussex.

Research interests

His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics. He has published research on a range of psychedelic substances (including DMT, LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline) and a wide variety of altered states (e.g., dreams, breathwork, floatation tanks, darkrooms, meditation) and across a range of anomalous experiences (e.g., precognition, telepathy, entity encounters, extra-dimensional percepts, kundalini) and intersecting with various neurodivergencies (synaesthesia, aphantasia, blindness, autism, ADHD).

David’s research methodologies have also spanned both qualitative and quantitative approaches from clinical drug trials and lab-based experimental cognitive neuroscience and parapsychology, though field-based psychopharmacology, psychological surveys and interviews to ethnographic and auto-ethnographic research in some far-flung corners of the world.

He takes a multi and transdisciplinary approach to studying altered states and exceptional human experience, embracing the full scope of empirical science, be that experimental or experiential, or ‘objective’, personal or transpersonal. He attempts to be open minded and agnostic in his research, and prefers to be as culturally, epistemologically and ontologically neutral as he can, finding as much value in shamanic perspectives as scientific ones. He hopes his work can help lead humanity towards embracing a more psychologically liberated, ecologically aligned and all-round richer reality.

Key publications

Luke, D. (2022). Anomalous psychedelic experiences: At the neurochemical juncture of the humanistic and parapsychological. Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 62(2), 257-297. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022167820917767

Luke, D. (2019). Eco-consciousness, species connectedness and the psychedelic experience. In J. Hunter (Ed.), Greening the paranormal: Exploring the ecology of exceptional experience (pp. 181-188). August Night Press.

Luke, D. (2014). Psychedelic possession: The growing incorporation of incorporation into ayahuasca use. In J. Hunter and D. Luke (Eds.), Talking with the spirits: Ethnographies from between the worlds (pp.229-254). Daily Grail Publishing.

Luke, D. (2011). Discarnate entities and dimethyltryptamine (DMT): Psychopharmacology, phenomenology and ontology. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 75(1), 26-42.

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