Psychedelic Culture

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Essays & Interviews

Reflections on ESC & the Psychedelic Renaissance

ESC is a nonprofit launched in late 2013 and dedicated to “assuring the sustainability and safe use of traditional plants,” of which ayahuasca has been the clear priority thus far. All in all, ESC seems well-intentioned. So what are 17 experts (now 62) from Canada, Brazil, the UK, Australia, Costa Rica, Mexico, the US, and Colombia up in arms about?
Devin Van Dyke

5 Things That will Happen when MDMA Becomes Legal

The MDMA experience is profoundly beautiful, and has contributed significantly to psychotherapy. It's also an illegal, Schedule 1 substance. I spoke with Emanuel Sferios, founder of DanceSafe and director of an upcoming documentary on MDMA, about what a future with legal MDMA looks like.
Faye Sakellaridis

Transcendence: R.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell Talk Singularity, Psychedelics and Technoculture

If you go deep enough into transhumanism, this jumbled rorschach of psychedelia, D.I.Y. culture, personal computers, Silicon Valley and A.I. actually starts to make sense.
Jeremy D. Johnson

Ayahuasca – Natural Medicine for Brain Disease, Cancer and Wellness

Ayahuasca and other entheogens can and will gain the credibility and amends they truly deserve, and bring new possibilities to many out there living with diseases that lack conventional options for treatment
Daniel Gustafsson

The Second Psychedelic Revolution, Part Six: A New Earth?

The most practical application of psychedelics is as a tool for examining differentiated states of consciousness, and ultimately for investigating the basis of consciousness itself. This was the promise of psychedelics that first created such tremendous interest within the scientific community before research was effectively banned in the early 1970's.
James Oroc

Good Intentions and the Road to the Amazon

A group of academics and others have published a letter expressing severe criticism of the methods and aims of the Ethnobotanical Stewardship Council (ESC), an NGO which has assumed the mission of ensuring the safety and sustainability of ayahausca and other entheogens. The letter is reproduced here. The debate continues…
Rev Nemu

The Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness in Odysseus’ Vision in Hades

A shared animistic perception makes plausible a deep affinity between the worldview of the ancient inhabitants of the Mediterranean, their descendants the Homeric Greeks, and indigenous peoples worldwide.
Robert Tindall

Who’s Tripping Who?

Psychedelic plants, fungi and animals can provide extremely valuable insights relating to life on this planet. Our species would be foolish to disregard these transformative agents that can be of benefit to ourselves, all life, and our long term future on this planet.
Sam Gandy

Beyond the Machine Elves: On DMT Culture, Visionary Plants and Entheodelic Storytelling

With the alien-like(?) technologies of the tryptamine family, the 21st century person has the chance for a cyberpunk method of self defense against info-overload.
Benton Rooks

Don Peyote: A Hallucinatory Odyssey

Don Peyote, a new film written, acted and directed by Dan Folger, is a hilarious psychedelic comedy about half-mad, half-wise Warren Allman's quest to save the world.
Jeremy D. Johnson

The Second Psychedelic Revolution Part One: The End of Acid

The psychedelic movement is now entering a renaissance. How did this psychedelic revolution come about? What are its goals and its ideals? Are they different from the first psychedelic revolution of the 1960’s, or is this just fashion reinventing itself?
James Oroc

Ayahuasca: An Ethnopharmacologic History

We may try to desacralize the tea and render it down to a matter of chemistry and botany, receptor sites and pharmacology, but none of these things will ever explain the undeniable and profound mystery that is ayahuasca.
Dennis McKenna

Ayahuasca and the Godhead: An Interview with Wahid Azal of the Fatimiya Sufi Order

Wahid Azal, a Sufi mystic of The Fatimiya Sufi Order and an Islamic scholar, talks about entheogens, Sufism, mythology, and metaphysics.
Benton Rooks

Unified Psychedelic Theory: An Interview with Patrick Lundborg R.I.P.

I’m honored to have conducted this interview with Patrick Lundborg, author of the "psychedelic bible" Psychedelia, who recently passed away. He was a brilliant, warm, and humorous soul, with an unprecedented passion for investigating altered states.
Benton Rooks

Psychedelic Plato: A Review of Patrick Lundborg's vibed out book Psychedelia

Psychedelia is one of the most essential books in the argument for psychedelic shamanism and self-initiation into metaphysical mysteries—at this critical juncture of the post-internet age.
Benton Rooks

The Second Psychedelic Revolution, Part Five: A Short Psychedelic History of Humanity

Psychedelic revolutions in various societies —psychedelic "transformations" might be a better term—have been somewhat common throughout mankind’s history, and may prove to have been essential to the development of culture.
James Oroc

The Second Psychedelic Revolution Part Two: Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin, The Psychedelic Godfather

In a Psychedelic Hall of Fame, the section on chemists would be small; there have only really been two giants in this field — Albert Hoffman, who first synthesized LSD-25 and psilocybin, and Alexander Shulgin, who seems to have invented nearly everything else.
James Oroc

The Birth of a Psychedelic Culture

There was madness in any direction, at any hour. …You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that was the handle -that sense of inevitable victory over Old and Evil
John Perry Barlow

The Second Psychedelic Revolution Part Three: Terence McKenna, The Rise of the Plant Shaman

In the decade following his death, the focal points of Terence McKenna’s life’s work have become, for better and for worse, something of a blueprint for the rise of a global neo-tribal, techno-shamanic culture.
James Oroc

A Declaration of Psychedelic Studies

At this inertial juncture in history, I propose the inauguration of Psychedelic Studies as an interdisciplinary academic field. I would like to do this by tapping Queer Studies as a justificatory precedent.
Nese Devenot

The Blunt Edge of Ockham’s Razor

Our scientific beliefs are a laundry bag of second-hand rags cut to resemble lab coats, dyed in the distillate of our prejudices. They are given to us, not chosen by us; but they define our world and set the limits of acceptable belief and behaviour.
The Reverend Nemu

Stanislav Grof and Richard Tarnas: The Birth of a New Worldview

In the mid-1960s, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof’s research in LSD psychotherapy challenged the orthodox Freudian model of mind. For years, Grof and his colleagues looked unsuccessfully for some kind of diagnostic system to predict the experiences of their clients in deep self-exploration. When Richard Tarnas applied archetypal astrology to this problem, Grof had to ironically concede that the one successful technique was even more controversial than his research in psychedelic therapy.
Renn Butler

Psychedelic, Shamanic, and Magickal Themes in Video Game Culture

A cursory view of video game history demonstrates the pervasive historical and real world applications of shamanism and sorcery that lie latent in many popular titles masquerading as mere fiction.
Benton Rooks

Acid Queen

Across the room, Timothy was still sitting in front of the fire, his knees drawn up under his chin, his eyes slowly scanning the room. When our eyes met, I had the sensation of leaving my body and drifting toward him.
Joanna Harcourt-Smith


News, Videos, Podcasts & Events

The 6th Annual Ayahuasca Monologues in NYC at Santos Party House – This Saturday!

The 6th Annual Ayahuasca Monologues with Hamilton Morris, Chris Kilham, Luis Eduardo Luna, Shelly Mars and John Sheldon at Santos Party House will take place on Saturday March 21st from 7-10PM, followed by an Amazonian After-Party with DJ Spooky!
Jeff Bausemer

Coming Out of the Psychedelic Closet: A Conversation with Ingrid Walker

Gabriel D. Roberts sits down for an interview with Ingrid Walker, Ph.D. of the University of Washington Tacoma on coming out of the psychedelic closet, drug legality, and American culture's paradoxical relationship with drugs through fear and embrace.
Jeremy D. Johnson

The 6th Annual Ayahuasca Monologues: 2015

For you folks who may have missed last night's event, here is a brief recap of the 6th Annual Ayahuasca Monologues.
Jeremy D. Johnson

Nessi Gomes: Bringing the music of medicine from around the altar to around the world

Nessi Gomes returns to the west with an ambitious vision: To expose new ears and hearts to the plant medicine wisdom and music and to spread and share the beauty of the on growing new psychedelic - tribal culture. Join the creation. Support through Indiegogo.

Chris Kilham and Newsweek Talk Ayahuasca

Newsweek kicks off the new year with a great piece on ayahuasca in which they speak with Chris Kilham, author of The Ayahuasca Test Pilots Handbook, about the ayahuasca experience and its incredible healing powers.
Faye Sakellaridis

Psychoactive Substances Are Natural: Here Are 8 Animal Species That Use Them In The Wild

The innate hunger for altered states of mind isn't a uniquely human thing -- animals seek out the effects of psychoactive drugs as indulgently as we do. Here's a list of 8 animals and the drugs they like to trip out on, via
Faye Sakellaridis

Prime Yourself for Ayahuasca

Learn the essentials that you need to know when encountering this profound and supremely powerful plant spirit medicine. Join Chris Kilham for the live, interactive video course "The Ayahuasca Test Pilots: A Primer on Plant Medicine Journeying." December 15.
Evolver Learning Lab

The Botanical Dimension of Our Human Evolutionary Next Steps

Jeffrey Bronfman, an environmentalist, educator and founding member of Bioneers, has encountered the use of plants within numerous spiritual, ceremonial and religious contexts throughout the Western Hemisphere.
Faye Sakellaridis

Benton Rooks and Graham Hancock Talk Psychedelics and Ancient Aliens

Benton Rooks talks to Graham Hancock about psychedelics, creativity, healing, the lost civilization and "ancient aliens."
Faye Sakellaridis

Horizons 2014: Graham Hancock "Psychedelics and Civilisation, Light and Darkness"

Graham Hancock investigates the demonization and criminalization of psychedelic usage and the detrimental impact this has on society at Horizons: Perspective on Psychedelics 2014, an annual conference on psychedelic science, culture, and spirituality.
Faye Sakellaridis

Magic Mushrooms Create a Hyperconnected Brain

A new finding in the ongoing research of psychedelic drugs and their medicinal uses is that psilocybin mushrooms alter the brain's communication networks by connecting regions of the brain that don't normally talk together.
Faye Sakellaridis

Horizons 2014: Tom Shroder & Nicholas Blackston "Acid Test: LSD, Ecstasy and the Power to Heal"

Can once-feared drugs heal our wounded warriors and liberate our souls? The astounding saga behind the renaissance in psychedelic healing. Watch Tom Shroder and Nicholas Blackston present at this year's Horizons, an annual forum on psychedelics.
Faye Sakellaridis

Robert Tindall Reads "The Intensified Trajectory of Consciousness in Odysseus’ Vision in Hades."

"A shared animistic perception makes plausible a deep affinity between the worldview of the ancient inhabitants of the Mediterranean, their descendants the Homeric Greeks, and indigenous peoples worldwide." Hear Robert Tindall read his complete essay.
Conscious Agents

[Visionary Dialog] • What Makes a Shaman Authentic?

To be a shaman worthy of the title, what — if any — threshold needs to be reached? Join Rak Razam, Itzhak Beery, Elizabeth B. Jenkins, and Robert Tindall for "What Makes a Shaman Authentic?" It all starts tonight!
Visionary Dialogs

Ayahuasca Awakenings: Retreats - James Jesso

Author of "Decomposing the Shadow: Lessons from the Psilocybin Mushroom," James W. Jesso was one of the participants in our September retreat.
Rak Razam

Healing trip: how psychedelic drugs could help treat depression

UK patients with clinical depression that failed to respond to conventional treatment will have the chance to partake in a clinical trial using psilocybin next year.
Faye Sakellaridis

Expanding and Reenchanting the Psyche: The Pioneering Thought of Stanislav Grof

On October 24-25, the California Institute of Integral Studies and the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness Program is hosting a unique conference honoring the lifetime achievements of Stanislav Grof in San Francisco, CA.
Faye Sakellaridis

Hamilton Morris on Alexander Shulgin

Hamilton Morris recalls time spent with the late Alexander Shulgin, who imparted a pithy piece of gendered wisdom on inscrutable chemicals, and the great psychedelic libraries of Shulgin, McKenna, and other luminaries in this short piece for The Fabulist.
Faye Sakellaridis

Scientific American Supports Psychedelic Psychotherapy

Scientific American supports research into mind-altering drugs as therapeutic tools, and provided a great infographic showing the unique remedial effects of particular substances, including LSD, psilocybin, and ketamine.
Faye Sakellaridis

[Visionary Dialog] • Is Ayahuasca an Alien Intelligence?

Has ayahuasca arrived on Earth with a mission to save the planet? Join Chris Kilham, David Jay Brown, Dani Katz, Diana Slattery, and Jonathan Talat Phillips for, “Is Ayahuasca an Alien Intelligence?” The discussion is the forum – now through October 15.
Visionary Dialogs

Jonathan Talat Phillips on Ayahuasca

Talat speaks about his book "The Electric Jesus" and ayahuasca ceremonies that involved spirit guides resulting in Divine healing in this interview. Join Talat for Monday's live, interactive Visionary Dialog, "Is Ayahuasca an Alien Intelligence?"
Faye Sakellaridis

David Jay Brown Joins Line-Up for Monday's Visionary Dialog

Psychedelic and consciousness author David Jay Brown has joined the line-up for the Visionary Dialog, "Is Ayahuasca an Alien Intelligence?" It starts this Monday. Watch David talk about navigating altered states here.
Faye Sakellaridis

Ayahuasca, the Unrivaled Healer

Decades of therapy condensed into a single night's journey -- such is the thorough and "unrivaled" power of the sacred vine. Medicine hunter Chris Kilham shares his story of deep healing and forgiveness at the 2012 Ayahuasca Monologues. Watch it here.
Faye Sakellaridis

This Week In Psychedelic Culture

This week in psychedelic culture: psychedelic scenes in video games, a Mushroom Oracle, Ayahuasca and alien intelligence, legalizing psychedelic therapy, and McKenna's cannabis lifestyle.
Jeremy D. Johnson