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Decomposing The Shadow As the cultural interest in psychedelics re-surge into the public sphere, the magic psilocybin mushroom has begun to gather a lot of attention. From the work of Roland Griffiths at John Hopkins University regarding psilocybin, mystical experiences and spiritual practice, Charles Grob at UCLA regarding psilocybin and end-stage cancer anxiety, to Prof. David Nutt’s push for rescheduling of psilocybin in the United Kingdom to investigate if could be a cure for depression, this mushroom is getting very popular among the academic crowd.

The perspective on psilocybin mushrooms amongst academia may be changing, but what does that mean for the layperson? Research papers describing results of fMRI and double-blind placebo controlled studies aren’t the leading source of information for the cultural masses. This caliber of information is making it into the mainstream to some degree, but the discourse precipitating though most common media sources, whose rhetoric influences the cultural ethos surrounding this substance, is often still one of trivialization. There is a conceptual disconnect between revolutionary scientific breakthroughs regarding psychoactive plants and mental health, and the zeitgeist of the masses regarding “magic mushrooms”. And understandably so, after years of indoctrinated trivialization, how do we make sense of academics now telling us that they “occasion mystical experiences” and potentially “cure depression”?

There is a way to address this issue: present a psychological model of the psilocybin experience that explores its broad-reaching implications in a manner accessible to the masses. This has been my mission for the last 3 years. The result of which is my book, Decomposing The Shadow: Lessons From The Psilocybin Mushroom. Decomposing The Shadow (or DTS for short) is a map for the characteristics and archetypal processes of the psilocybin experience and how they can lead to the cultivation of psychospiritual maturation and the healing of deep-seated emotional wounds.

Psilocybin offers us to opportunity to view self and the world from an experimental point of amplified emotional, psychological, and spiritual significance. It unlocks a perspective of self and other that is naturally occurring within us, but culturally suppressed to the point of nearly complete omission. When we begin to learn how to navigate the vastly novel experience this substance can provide us, we can further enable its potential for not only exposing, but healing the unconscious narratives that hold us back from being our fullest, most courageous, most honest self.

Many have spoken on the promise of psilocybin mushrooms over the years, from Paul Stamets to Terrence McKenna. But their discourse was at first “too fringe” and society was not ready. But it seems a tipping point is approaching and people are opening to the prospect that there is something more for us than what western materialism offers. Decomposing The Shadow offers a language to enable a mature public discourse and in turn I hope it will help to shift the cultural tides on this misunderstood medicine. Once we learn to communicate the processes that influences psilocybin-enhanced personal development, how the lessons within the experience can be applied objectively to daily life, and to what benefit these lessons can be applied, we can begin to sift the zeitgeist and bridge the conceptual disconnect we are facing between cutting edge research and the cultural masses.

To help support this process and learn more about DTS, please check out for more details and to get your copy today.

You can help James Jesso continue writing via his Patreon Page

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