In this book the Author David Spess, makes the suggestion that reports of extended life spans achieved by the ancients, were not mistakes of time calculation, translation mistakes or myth, but a true record. He suggests that in the not too distant past humanity had access to a powerful plant or plants which they were able to use to heal or to rejeuvenate. One reviewer, Willard Johnson, refers to this as a daring thesis, and well it may seem to some.
Prior to reading this book I had encountered enough references of like nature to enable me to have formed similar conclusions. This is one of the reasons I purchased the book. unfortunately some of the references I came across, and which particularly interested me, are not quoted in the book. Anyone who is curious as a result of reading this book can be assured that there is certainly more information to be found. Mr Spess seems to be of the opinion that the psychoactive qualities of the plant are instrumental in increasing the power of the mind, therefore enabling spontaneous healing and rejeuvenation to occur. Mr Spess does, I feel, get overly euphoric about his conclusions in this regard and rambles on, sometimes for pages at a time, during which he has the unfortunate tendency to proffer his personal conclusions as fact. That he should be excited by this topic is understandable, but the lack of objectivity is sometimes annoying. I feel he would do better to provide more examples of the original materials from which he is quoting.
From the reading I have done I have formed the conclusion that the soma rejeuvenation procedure was a somewhat more radical experience than the three day Soma Holiday described by Mr Spess. The accounts that I found describe and period of preparatory fasting and special diet, Collection of the plant at a particular time of year, the construction of a special sterile,light proof isolation chamber, dramatic physical consequences, and the need for months of intensive care for the process to be complete. Under these conditions death would not seem an unlikely outcome.
In seems to me that advanced powers of mind control would be required to overcome the fear of the procedure. If the drug produced frightening hallucinations then it may have been important to have become accustomed to this before undertaking the full procedure.
I've had a good rave but believe me there is more to say. Please read the book, and the sequel. I will definitely be giving this book to my daughter to read as an accompaniment to her studies of "Brave New World".