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See Below For Blog Entry on this episode as well as a complete topic breakdown.

Have you ever experienced a psychedelic encounter with a plant spirit or an entity?

Have you ever experienced a spirit realm or being healed by a shaman? Have you ever felt as though you invoked some type of divination or noetic insight while on psychedelics? Have you ever wondered if any of that was real or just merely a hallucination?

The increasing popularity of using psychedelic substances within so-called shamanic ceremonies has introduced ideas and beliefs into the modern world that push conceptual limits of the rational mind. The rise of plant shamanism is a cultural force to be reckoned with and that which we encounter with shamanism can feel urgent and real. Yet, however real the experiences with a shamanic encounter may feel, the question still remains: how real is it, really?

Different people take different stances on this question and perhaps the actual answer is impossible to truly know (especially, if you, like myself, are a postmodernist at heart), but the discussion as to what is real and what is hallucination is an important one for us to have. It is with this in mind that I introduce to you the guests for this episode of Adventures Through the Mind, Julian Palmer and James Kent.

These two gentlemen represent drastically oppositional positions on the reality of the shamanic experience. So I asked them to come onto the show and debate this question:

What do you believe is the fundamental nature of that which arises within a psychedelic experiences, in particular regards to what is often called The Shamanic paradigm, including the existence of a spirit realm, encounters with plant spirits or entities and the capacity to invoke healing or divination within a psychedelic experiences by way of this paradigm?

This is a juicy one.

[There is some excellent discussion and deconstruction present in the comments to this Facebook post.]

Julian Palmer

is psychonaut, author and ayahuasca facilitator whose book Articulations is a potent and interesting journey through the insights on psychedelics he earned over the course of the last twenty years. He is an expert in dimethyltryptamine(DMT)-containing acacia plants and is often touting as the man who named and popularized Changa —a smokable herbal blend infused with DMT and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), mimicking the pharmacological effects of Ayahuasca.

CHECK OUT PALMEr’s interview on ATTMind ~ On The Meaning And Utilization Of Psychedelics | Julian Palmer ~ ATTMind 16

James Kent

has been studying psychedelics for over twenty-five years. He was the editor of Psychedelic Illuminations Magazine, publisher of Trip Magazine, and founder of His book, Psychedelic Information Theory, is an examination of the physical processes behind psychedelic hallucination. His latest project is the final ten episodes of the DoseNation podcast, where he explores the darker side of psychedelics and the psychedelic community.

CHECK OUT KEnt’s interview on ATTMind ~ The Psychedelic Dark Side: Cults, Psychosis & Delusional Ideation w/ James Kent ~ ATTMind 58



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1 Comment

  1. Hey James,
    wow, this was an interesting one, on a number of levels.
    At first I found the question really interesting, the set-up exciting, the whole format intriguing. Then I actually listened to the debate. Bummer. –
    I can’t believe that someone who has taken psychedelics so seriously (pun intended) can argue from such a hardcore materialist position as James Kent does, yet he’s so intelligent and so articulate that he eats Julian Palmer for breakfast, who on the other hand surely got his heart in the right place and may be a good facilitator, but doesn’t come across as the most articulate person in the world, and so doesn’t stand a chance against James here, and that’s a shame because in my view he’s much closer to the truth that James Kent. Or rather, we don’t really know since most of the time he doesn’t even bother to actually reply to what James says. (Of course, Kent also simply ignores some really interesting topics such as shamanic divination.) –
    Anyway, aside from the somewhat disappointing debate something else struck me as important: I think your work all in all goes much further than what was presented here. On the one hand you have guests like Rak Razam, Bernardo Kastrup or Bruce Damer who in my view have gone far beyond materialism as well as beyond traditional shamanism, on the other hand your very own work bridges shamanism (plant work) and modern approaches to healing (therapy), which I think is what really matters today and what kind of “includes and transcends” (Wilber) both debate positions in a productive way. –
    And then, just when I sat down to post this, another thing came up. You say: “Yet, however real the experiences with a shamanic encounter may feel, the question still remains: how real is it, really?”
    Well, does it really? I don’t think so. To me this question is a remnant of materialist thinking, while on a very deep level reality IS what you believe in. What you REALLY believe in.
    Or so the mushroom told me :-).
    Thanks for your work & all the best,

    Marburg, Germany

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