Personal Development

Brian C. Muraresku with Dr. Mark Plotkin — The Eleusinian Mysteries, Discovering the Divine, The Immortality Key, The Pagan Continuity Hypothesis, Lessons from Scholar Karen Armstrong, and Much More (#646)

Welcome to The Tim Ferriss Show, where it is usually my job to deconstruct world-class performers to tease out their routines, habits, et cetera that you can apply to your own life. 

This time around, we have a very special edition featuring Dr. Mark Plotkin and Brian C. Muraresku

Mark takes over my duties as host and interviews Brian for an episode of the Plants of the Gods podcast. You, my dear listeners, are hearing the audio before anyone else, so this is a Tim Ferriss Show exclusive. I’ve previously featured some of my favorite episodes from that podcast at These episodes cover a lot of fascinating ground.

So, who is Dr. Mark Plotkin? Mark (@DocMarkPlotkin) is an ethnobotanist who serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, which has partnered with ~80 tribes to map and improve management and protection of ~100 million acres of ancestral rainforests. He is best known to the general public as the author of the book Tales of a Shaman’s Apprentice, one of the most popular books ever written about the rainforest. His most recent book is The Amazon: What Everyone Needs to Know. You can find my interview with Mark at

And the guest today is Brian C. Muraresku. Who is Brian? Brian (@BrianMuraresku) graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brown University with a degree in Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. The Immortality Key: The Secret History of the Religion with No Name is Brian’s debut book. In 2020, it became a New York Times bestseller, and Audible named it “Best of 2020” in the History category. His website is You can also find him on Instagram @brian_muraresku.

This is a tightly packed 55-minute interview. Mark and Brian cover the Eleusinian Mysteries, the pagan continuity hypothesis, early Christianity, lessons from famed religious scholar Karen Armstrong, overlooked aspects of influential philosopher William James’s career, ancient wine and ancient beer, experiencing the divine within us, the importance of “tikkun olam”—repairing and improving the world as we go—and much, much more. 

Please enjoy! 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, Podcast Addict, Pocket Casts, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform.

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The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#646: Brian C. Muraresku with Dr. Mark Plotkin — The Eleusinian Mysteries, Discovering the Divine, The Immortality Key, The Pagan Continuity Hypothesis, Lessons from Scholar Karen Armstrong, and Much More

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.



  • Connect with Brian Muraresku:

Website | Twitter | Instagram

  • Connect with Dr. Mark Plotkin:

Website | Plants of the Gods Podcast

Amazon Conservation Team | Twitter | Facebook


  • [07:24] Who is Brian C. Muraresku?
  • [09:19] The Eleusinian mysteries.
  • [11:51] The ridicule of Carl Ruck.
  • [16:18] Why are these ideas only being accepted now?
  • [18:22] How the Eleusinian mysteries influenced Christianity.
  • [23:54] A mind-altering Eucharist?
  • [28:07] The role of beer and wine in the foundation of civilization.
  • [31:31] Patrick McGovern.
  • [33:33] Stoned apes and/or drunk monkeys?
  • [39:04] Changing attitudes at the Vatican.
  • [40:13] What’s going on at Harvard Divinity School today?
  • [43:14] Karen Armstrong and the God paradox.
  • [50:57] Ethnobotanists find friends in strange places.
  • [51:55] Doing good in the world based on the otherworldly.
  • [54:21] What is the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT)?
  • [56:10] Psychedelics at Harvard didn’t begin with Leary and Alpert.
  • [58:35] Learning from past mistakes and respecting the heritage of compounds from which we benefit.


The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for “Best of Apple Podcasts” three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it’s been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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