It refers to one’s mindset (“set”) and physical and social environment (“setting”) being factors that may influence a psychedelic experience. Set and setting encapsulate many facets.
Whether you are a psychedelic novice or you have many experiences under your belt, it’s still important to be aware of the varied aspects of set and setting.
The author Michael Pollan notes that Al Hubbard, the “Johnny Appleseed of LSD”, observed the concept of set and setting while visiting magic mushroom ceremonies in Mexico.
The term was used as early as 1958 by the Austrian biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, and the psychedelic researcher Timothy Leary then popularized it.
Soon, researchers studying psychedelic therapy widely accepted the term as a useful way to think about these altered states of consciousness.
Hubbard introduced — as Pollan says — “a treatment space decorated to feel more like a home than a hospital”. This became known as a “Hubbard Room”.