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Robert Jesse
Photo by Kyle Hailey, 2008
Robert Jesse
Phototographer unknown, circa 1998
Erowid Character Vaults
Robert Jesse
Trained as an engineer, Bob Jesse was at one time a vice president for Oracle, the world's second largest independent software company. In 1993, Jesse founded the Council on Spiritual Practices, a non-profit organization whose mission is "to identify and develop approaches to primary religious experience that can be used safely and effectively, and to help individuals and spiritual communities bring the insights, grace, and joy that arise from direct perception of the divine into their daily lives." From its inception, CSP has acknowledged that psychoactive substances can be useful in the pursuit of such experiences. In 1995, CSP first published their Code of Ethics for Spiritual Guides online.

Jesse is also co-founder of the Rhythm Society (formerly the St. John's Divine Rhythm Society ), an organization dedicated to creating space for direct, experiential forms of spiritual practice by celebrating spirit through music, dance, meditation, and play. For a time, the Rhythm Society produced all-night dance events at an Episcopal church in San Francisco; ultimately, its relationship with the Episcopal church was ended due to controversy. The Rhythm Society continues to sponsor community dance gatherings elsewhere.

Along with Roland Griffiths, Bill Richards, and Una McCann, Jesse was instrumental in the design and completion of a study at Johns Hopkins University that looked into the psychospiritual effects and benefits produced in naive users of psilocybin. This study, and its follow-up surveys, provided evidence that was even more detailed and solid than the original research that inspired it, Walter Pahnke's Good Friday Experiment. Work by Jesse in this area is important because it is not looking to treat disease with psychedelics, as is the focus of most other government-approved research. Rather, it shows that healthy people can receive spiritual and psychological benefits from the careful use of psychedelics.

Author of (Book Chapters)
  • On Nomenclature for the Class of Mescaline-Like Substances and Why It Matters. In: T.B. Roberts (Ed) Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion. Council on Spiritual Practices, pages 225-231 (2001)
  • Testimony of the Council on Spiritual Practices. In: R. Forte (Ed) Entheogens and the Future of Religion. Council on Spiritual Practices, pages 6-14 (1997)
  • Author of (Articles)
  • "Psilocybin research at Johns Hopkins: A 2014 report". In J.H. Ellens (Ed.) Seeking the Sacred with Psychoactive Substances (Vol. 2). [with Griffiths R]
  • "Mystical-type Experiences Occasioned by Psilocybin Mediate the Attribution of Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance 14 Months Later" [with R.R. Griffiths, W.A. Richards, M.W. Johnson, and U.D. McCann]. Journal of Psychopharmacology 22(6):621-32 (2008)
  • "Psilocybin can Occasion Mystical-type Experiences having Substantial and Sustained Personal Meaning and Spiritual Significance" [with R.R. Griffiths, W.A. Richards, and U. McCann]. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 187(3):268-83, commentaries 284-92 (2006)
  • Publisher of (Books)
  • Religion and Psychoactive Sacraments: An Entheogen Chrestomathy, by Thomas Roberts and Paula Hruby
  • Entheogens and the Future of Religion, Robert Forte (Ed.)
  • Psychoactive Sacramentals: Essays on Entheogens and Religion, Thomas Roberts (Ed.)
  • The Road to Eleusis, by R. Gordon Wasson
  • Cleansing the Doors of Perception, by Huston Smith