Cultural Writing. In the beginning there was soma. The Rig Veda, the earliest sacred text of the ancient Indo-Europeans, includes dozens of hymns in praise of this psychedelic plant which, when drunk, takes its subject to the realm of the gods on its blue tide. BLUE TIDE tells the story of the search for soma, and uses a diverse range of approaches -- travel and ethnography, science and narrative history, detective story and first-person drug experiences -- to examine the question of its nature and identity. In doing so, it sheds light not just on the identity of soma, but on the broader mystery of the original relationship between psychedelic drugs and religion. BLUE TIDE, more than any other book I've read, satisfactorily answers the plethora of queries concerning the history of drugs as a means to soul searching, attaining spiritual enlightenment, and getting off one's face. Read it before you get high. Read it before you die -- Howard Marks, author of MR. NICE.