Daniel Pinchbeck

Daniel Pinchbeck

Born (1966-06-15) 15 June 1966
Occupation Author, Journalist
Nationality American
Subject Entheogens, Mayanism, New-age philosophy, ecology, technology
Notable works Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism
2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl
Relatives Joyce Johnson (mother)
Peter Pinchbeck (father)

Daniel Pinchbeck (born 15 June 1966) is an American author living in New York's East Village. He is the author of Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. He is a co-founder of Evolver, a lifestyle community platform that publishes Reality Sandwich, an online magazine centered on spirituality, philosophy and activism.[1]


  • Family and background 1
  • Works and activities 2
  • Appearances and interviews 3
  • Books and publications 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Family and background

Pinchbeck has deep personal roots in the New York counterculture of the 1950s and 1960s. His father, Peter Pinchbeck, was an abstract painter, and his mother, the writer Joyce Johnson, was a member of the Beat Generation and dated Jack Kerouac as On the Road hit the bestseller lists in 1957 (chronicled in Johnson's bestselling book, Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir).[2] His family history is traced back to Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clockmaker who invented the family's eponymous alloy, a cheap substitute for gold.

Works and activities

Pinchbeck was a founder of the 1990s literary magazine Open City with fellow writers Thomas Beller and Robert Bingham. He has written for many publications, including Esquire, The New York Times Magazine,[3] The Village Voice,[4] and Rolling Stone. In 1994 he was chosen by The New York Times Magazine as one of "Thirty Under Thirty" destined to change our culture through his work with Open City.[5] He has been a regular columnist for a number of magazines, including Dazed & Confused.

In Breaking Open the Head, Pinchbeck explored shamanism via ceremonies with tribal groups such as the Bwiti of Gabon, who eat iboga, and the Secoya people in the Ecuadorean Amazon, who take the psychedelic tryptamine brew ayahuasca in their ceremonies.[6] He also attended the Burning Man festival in Nevada,[7] and looked at use of psychedelic substances in a de-sacralized modern context. Philosophically influenced by the work of anthroposophist Rudolf Steiner,[8][9] through his direct experience and research Pinchbeck developed the hypothesis that shamanic and mystical views of reality have validity, and that the modern world had forfeited an understanding of intuitive aspects of being in its pursuit of rational materialism.

Drawing heavily, and somewhat controversially, from material shared on the Breaking Open the Head forums, Pinchbeck's second volume, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl, chronicles Mayan and Hopi prophecies,[10] and follows Pinchbeck's travels and travails as he responds to leads, both physical and intellectual, he receives via this forum. Examining the nature of prophecy, Pinchbeck investigates the New Age hypothesis of Terence McKenna that humanity is experiencing an accelerated process of global consciousness transformation, leading to a new understanding of time and space during this period. The book details the psi or extra-sensory perception research of Dean Radin, the theories of Terence McKenna, the phenomena of crop circles, and a visit to calendar reform advocate José Argüelles. Pinchbeck concludes with an account of receiving a transmission of prophetic material by the Mesoamerican deity Quetzalcoatl,.[10] This claim was enough to get the book dropped by its planned publisher, delaying its release for the greater part of a year. While acknowledging the validity of such an experience is unknown, Pinchbeck describes how a voice identifying itself as Quetzalcoatl began speaking to him during a 2004 trip to the Amazon in Brazil. At the time, he was in the Amazon, participating in ceremonies of the Santo Daime, a Brazilian religion that uses ayahuasca as its sacrament. Through its references to 2012 and the Maya calendar in the context of New Age beliefs, Pinchbeck's book has contributed to Mayanism.

In May 2007, Pinchbeck launched Reality Sandwich. He is the executive producer of Postmodern Times, a series of web videos presented on the iClips Network, and co-founder of Evolver.net, an online social network.[11][12] His life and work are featured in the documentary 2012: Time for Change, featuring interviews with Sting, David Lynch, Barbara Marx Hubbard, and others.

In August 2013, Pinchbeck became the host of Mind Shift, a new talk show, filmed in New York City, produced by Gaiam TV.

Appearances and interviews

On 14 December 2006, Pinchbeck appeared on the television program The Colbert Report to discuss his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl.[13]

Pinchbeck was featured in the 2006 video Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within, a documentary about rediscovering an enchanted cosmos in the modern world.[14]

Pinchbeck was also featured in the 2008 video 2012: Science or Superstition, a documentary describing how much of what we are hearing is science and how much is superstition.[15]

He interviewed Alejandro Jodorowsky for the German/French art television network Arte in a very personal discussion, spending a night together in France, continuing the interview in different locations like in a park and in a hotel.[16]

Pinchbeck appears in the documentary film 2012: Time for Change, directed by João G. Amorim, which was released in October 2010.[17] He also appeared in the documentary film Electronic Awakening, directed by AC Johner, released in 2011.[18]

Pinchbeck appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, recorded on 8 September 2011.[19]

Books and publications

  • Pinchbeck, Daniel (2002). Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (1st ed.). New York:  
  • —— (2002). Jeff Koons Andy Warhol: Flowers. Essay by Daniel Pinchbeck. New York:  
  • —— (2006). 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. New York:  
  • Pinchbeck, Daniel; Jordan, Ken, eds. (2009). Toward 2012: Perspectives on the Next Age. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.  
  • —— (2010). Notes from the Edge Times. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.  


  1. ^ "Daniel Pinchbeck". RealitySandwich.com. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (8 June 2000). "My mother and Jack Kerouac".  
  3. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (10 November 2002). "'Breaking Open the Head'".  
  4. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (5 January 1999). "Breath Trip".  
  5. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (22 February 22, 1998). "Cast Your Magazine Upon the Waters". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  6. ^ Kamiya, Gary (10 November 10, 2002). "Far Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "2009 Theme Camps & Villages". burningman.com. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Suzanne. Writer, Daniel Pinchbeck"Wheat Graffiti"Conversation With . Los Angeles: Mighty Companions. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  9. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (August 2002). "Wheat Graffiti: A roundup of the top of the crops".  
  10. ^ a b Mathis-Lilley, Ben (1 May 2006). "Lit Scenester Predicts Apocalypse".  
  11. ^ Sterling, Bruce (4 June 2009). "It's been a good day for weird, unsolicited email: part one". Wired (Condé Nast Publications). Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  12. ^ Pinchbeck, Daniel (19 March 2010). "Launching The Evolver Social Movement". Reality Sandwich. Retrieved 24 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "Daniel Pinchbeck - The Colbert Report". The Colbert Report. 14 December 2006.  
  14. ^ Mann, Rod (Director) (2006). Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within (DVD video). Critical Mass Productions.  
  15. ^ Erez, Nimrod (Director) (2008). 2012: Science or Superstition (DVD video). New York: Disinformation Company.  
  16. ^ Jodorowsky, Alejandro (25 November 2009). Durch die Nacht mit... Alejandro Jodorowsky & Daniel Pinchbeck. Interview with Daniel Pinchbeck.  
  17. ^ "2012: Time for Change". imdb.com. Retrieved 23 August 2011. 
  18. ^ "Electronic Awakening". imdb.com. Retrieved 2 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Rogan, Joe (8 September 2011 (date recorded)). "Podcast #136". The Joe Rogan Experience (Podcast). Retrieved 23 October 2012. 

External links