Awakening the Cosmic Serpent


Life-changing ideas acquire a deeper resonance when encountered through the live presentation of an inspiring teacher. We started the Evolver Intensives, a partnership between The Prophets Conference and Reality Sandwich/Evolver, to bring some of the most brilliant and pioneering thinkers of our time to you directly over the Internet, so you can experience them as if you were together in the same room.

Using state-of-the-art video streaming technology, we will broadcast live lectures and discussions from around the world to your laptop. And you can participate in the discussion, ask questions to the course leaders, and share your thoughts with fellow students. All you need is a broadband connection and a web browser — you don't have to download or install any software. If you can watch videos on YouTube, you can participate in an Evolver Intensives course.

Please join us for our first series…

AWAKENING THE COSMIC SERPENT: SHAMANISM AND PLANT TEACHERS IN THIS TRANSFORMATIVE TIME
Hosted by Jeremy Narby

Throughout the Western World, people increasingly participate in indigenous shamanic ceremonies using psychedelic plants to open a path to deep personal insights and high spiritual truths. These plants — including mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca, and salvia divinorum — are revered by ancient tribal societies as potent teachers capable of healing the body, expanding the mind, and strengthening community.

* What can modern people can learn from indigenous cultures about the use of psychoactive plants and the modification of consciousness?
* What can be learned directly from these plants — which can be powerful and tricky teachers — and how can we incorporate these lessons into our daily lives?
* In what ways do indigenous people benefit from the Western interest in shamanism, and what new cultural bridges are being built through the spread of indigenous spiritual practices?

The renowned anthropologist Jeremy Narby has explored these questions for over two decades. In his much-admired books, including The Cosmic Serpant and Shamans Through Time, Jeremy has shared his wisdom and insights. For the first time, in this special video teleseminar series, he will pursue these questions through two exclusive online lectures, and one-on-one discussions with four of the world's leading experts on the shamanic use of mind-altering plants: Stanislav Grof, Wade Davis, Kat Harrison and Luis Eduardo Luna.

You will be part of this unique online event — unlike any in the history of consciousness studies –· watching the live video stream and asking your questions directly to these inspirational pioneers.

You can watch Jeremy Narby's video introduction to the course by clicking here.

This course gives you the tools you need to integrate the shamanic knowledge offered by teacher plants into your life, so you can fully embrace the change called for by this time of global transformation.

* Learn about the universal human yearning for modified consciousness that exists around the world
* Prepare for the shadow side of "tricky teachers" such as ayahuasca and mushrooms.
* Connect to plants as sentient entities with their own personalities
* Stay safe along the path of self-discovery and transformation when confronted by the disorienting aspects of the Absolute.
* Apply the shamanic education offered by indigenous people to your life as a cosmopolitan person in the modern world.
* Discover how science and shamanism can work together to deepen our understanding of the universe.

This course takes place on 6 consecutive Sundays, from January 23 through March 6 (skipping Sunday February 13) and you can participate from your laptop anywhere in the world with a broadband connection.

Introductory Lecture:
Sunday, January 23, 3:00 pm EST
In the first call, Jeremy will recount his own experiences of living for two years with the Ashaninca Indians and how their intimate knowledge of psychoactive plants introduced him to the shamanic world view, and fueled his commitment as an activist on behalf of the rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants. He will also discuss his long experience trying to integrate shamanic knowledge into his Western mind frame, with a focus on his groundbreaking initiatives to bring science and shamanism together.

In this call, you will:
* Learn how challenging indigenous knowledge about psychoactive plants can be for an unsuspecting Westerner.
* Explore how to weave empiricist scientific practice with the intuitive process of shamanic discovery.
* See how immersing yourself in a radically different culture can also teach you about yourself.
* Consider how to mix different sources — books, plants, and action — to open up new realms of knowledge that explode deeply rooted Western paradigms.
* Hear how Amazonian native peoples view Westerners, and learn what they currently aspire to.

The next 4 seminars are devoted to one-on-one conversations between Jeremy and our featured guests, followed by a Q & A session in which you can take part. In the last seminar, on March 6 at 4:00 p.m. EST, Jeremy will provide a comprehensive conclusion that will include student feedback.

FEATURED GUESTS

Luis Eduardo Luna
Sunday, January 30, 3:00 p.m. EST
One of the most influential anthropologists in the field of ayahuasca research, Luis was the first to study the ayahuasca shamanism practiced by mestizo (or mixed-blood) people in the Amazon. Born and raised in the Colombian Amazon, Luis was educated in Spain and Norway, and always had a foot in both worlds. His work revealed the importance of the diet that ayahuasqueros follow, and the pivotal role played by the icaros, or magic melodies, in shamanic ceremonies. Luis has also studied the Brazilian ayahuasca churches such as Santo Daime, Uniao do Vegetal and Barquinha.

He is the director of Wasiwaska, a research center for the study of psychointegrator plants, visionary arts and consciousness, in Brazil, and is the author of several books, including Vegetalismo: Shamanism among the Mestizo Population of the Peruvian Amazon, Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies (co-authored with Rick Strassman et al.), and his much loved collaboration with the painter Pablo Amaringo, Ayahuasca Visions: the Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman.

In this call, you will:
* Uncover the mystery behind the melody, or icaro, that each plant has that contains its essence and knowledge.
* Explore the art of Pablo Amaringo and its profound effect on the Western understanding of shamanism.
* Learn the telltale signs of ayahuasca hucksters and the pros and cons of ayahuasca tourism.
* Discover why diet is important when using ayahuasca.
* Consider the recent globalization of ayahuasca, and what it means for the West.

Kat Harrison
Sunday, February 6, :00 p.m. EST
Kathleen (Kat) Harrison is an ethnobotanist, artist, and photographer who researches the relationship between plants and people, with a particular focus on art, myth, ritual, and spirituality. She has done fieldwork in Latin America for 30 years, and is the director of Botanical Dimensions, a nonprofit foundation devoted to preserving medicinal and shamanic plant knowledge from the Amazonian rainforest and tropics around the world, which she co-founded with former husband Terence McKenna.

She brings a distinctly "feminine" approach to the study of psychedelic plants and shamanism, one that stresses humility relative to the plants themselves and the cultures that have used them most judiciously. A widely published illustrator, Kat enjoys teaching people how to see and draw the plant world

In this call, you will:
* Learn from indigenous traditions how to prepare for the "tricky" aspects of plants such as mushrooms and ayahuasca, in order to be prepared for the shadow side of psychedelic explorations.
* Appreciate the personalities of plants and connect with them as sentient beings.
* Discover how to listen to the "whisper" of plants to hear what they have to teach, even when you are surrounded by noise.
* Explore the special affinity between women and plants.
* See why drawing plants can lead to understanding them.

Stanislav Grof
Sunday, February 20, 3:00 p.m. EST
Stan Grof is a pioneering psychiatrist with more than 50 years experience researching the healing and transformative potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. His early studies of LSD's effects on the psyche are landmarks in the field of psychedelic psychotherapy. Following the legal suppression of LSD in the late 1960s, with his wife Christina he discovered that non-ordinary states of consciousness could be explored without drugs by using certain breathing techniques, which became well known as “Holotropic Breathwork”.

Stan has described psychedelics as “unspecific amplifiers” that make deep unconscious contents of the human psyche available for conscious processing at a level that cannot be matched by any method used by mainstream psychiatry. His is the author of more than 20 books, including LSD: Doorway to the Numinous, Psychology of the Future,· and When the Impossible Happens.

In this call you will:
* Learn how psychedelic states of consciousness help us to learn and to heal.
* Encounter the transformative journey that shamans experience as part of their initiation into higher knowledge, and see the parallels to our own, often difficult, experiences of initiation and integration.
* Consider the spiritual realm from the perspectives of a trained, materialist scientist, and a shaman, and explore different ways to address the question of "believing in" entities or spirits.
* Discover why shamanic methods achieve therapeutic success by "mechanisms that bewilder reason.
* Evaluate alternative paths to encounters with the Absolute, and the dangers that accompany the search for meaning.

Wade Davis
Sunday, February 27, 3:00 p.m. EST
Through his many books and films (often produced by National Geographic), Wade Davis has become one of our greatest advocates for cultural diversity, as can be seen in the popular video of his TED talk. Part of the generation of anthropologists who witnessed ayahuasca coming out of the Amazon, and out of the hands of traditional indigenous people, Wade brings a knowledgeable perspective to the "vine of soul's" use in the modern world.

His books include  One River: Science, Adventure and Hallucinogens in the Amazon Basin, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World and Light at the Edge of Darkness: a Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures.

In this call you will:
* Learn what wisdom indigenous traditions have to offer modern shamanic explorers.
* Survey how the human desire to alter consciousness expresses itself in cultures from around the globe.
* Hear what indigenous people get out of the Western interest in shamanism.
* Discover the "ethnosphere", which Wade defines as “the sum total of all thoughts, beliefs, myths, and intuitions made manifest today by the myriad cultures of the world.”

ABOUT OUR HOST

Jeremy Narby is an anthropologist and activist who has worked for 25 years as Amazonian projects director for the Swiss non-profit "Nouvelle Planète," backing projects for the self-determination of Amazonian indigenous peoples that involve land rights, primary education, village health, botanical knowledge, fish farms, tree nurseries, and other local initiatives.· Jeremy has also written several books that explore Amazonian systems of knowledge, aka shamanism, and their possible interface with science, including The Cosmic Serpent and Intelligence in Nature, and he is co-editor of the anthology Shamans Through Time with Francis Huxley.

By participating in this online course, you will receive:


* Six 90-minute live video seminars with Jeremy Narby and his featured guests
* 30 minutes of question and answer time in each seminar
* Breakout sessions for student discussion following each seminar
* Participation in a private online community with other students
* Unlimited online access to videos of all seminars
* PDF articles about course topics from Jeremy and each of the guests

We hope you join us for this unique opportunity to discover the rich wisdom of the plant kingdom.

SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR E+SM Members.