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***See below for a complete topic breakdown.***
Might psychedelics help guide us as we navigate a world in crisis, in growing collapse at many scales?
If you will extend to me an olive branch that assumes we are on roughly the same page when it comes to our world being in crisis, and that this crisis was both caused and is being exacerbated by the actions (and thus minds) of humanity, then that question becomes extremely relevant.
Given the massive uptick in public rhetoric around psychedelics holding a transformational promise for mental health, might they too hold a kind of promise for humanity confrontation with the consequences of its myopic self-service at the cost of everything else?
The book How Psychedelics Can Save The World seems to suggest they can. But, the “how” is perhaps less glossy than many of us might first assume based on that kind of title and the presently trending memes around both psychedelics themselves and the assumptions inherent in a phrase like “save the world”.
Here’s a word from the book’s introduction:
“Let’s be clear from the outset that none of the contributors to this book are naïve, picturing or promising a golden age of peace and harmony around the next bend. All of us understand that we are moving into an extremely difficult period that may last decades or longer, and that the successful fruition of this period of Great Transition is far from certain.”
Having personally read (and enjoyed) this book, I can say that above quote definitely checks out in my experience of the essays contained in this book.
Furthermore, the collection of authors this book has put together is truly a treasure. This is why I was called to put together some of them into this session of The Psychedelic Cafe.
Our guests, in alphabetical order are: Bruce Damer, Chris Bache, Dank Duchess, Dennis McKenna, Laurel Sugden, Stephen Gray, and The Teafaerie
Together, in Psychedelic Cafe style, we explore conversation with the following question as our central guiding inquiry: What is the power and potential of psychedelics in navigating the many-orders of growing collapse that our planet is currently facing?
Topics explored include global crisis and the birth of the future human; how the pain and suffering of ongoing collapse that will drive us into our next expression in consciousness; the intelligence of the universe; liberating ourselves from materialism; coming to terms with death; nudging consciousness forward through symbiosis with plant teachers; the history of the San Pedro cactus as an example of how sacred plants help support us through climate crisis; and an optimistic look at our present circumstances.
See below for a topic breakdown and for more info about each of our guests, the book How Psychedelics Can Save The World, as well as The Psychedelic Cafe format.
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Our Guests For This Psychedelic Cafe
Laurel Anne Sugden is a writer, plant witch, and PhD Candidate in ethnobotany at the University of British Columbia. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. In 2020, she co-founded Huachuma Collective with Josip Orlovac and Felipe Pereda, a nonprofit in Peru which cares for the sustainability of San Pedro cacti through planting and community-led projects. She splits her time between Montana, where she was born and raised, and the Andes.
Christopher Bache is professor emeritus in the department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Youngstown State University, adjunct faculty at the California Institute of Integral Studies, Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and on the Advisory Council of Grof Legacy Training. He is also the author of four books, including his most recent, LSD and the Mind of the Universe: Diamonds from Heaven.
Check out Chris’ Website here: https://chrisbache.com
Listen to Chris’ interviews on ATTMind: MAPPING CONSCIOUSNESS WITH HIGH DOSE LSD | ATTMind 83 and GLOBAL COLLAPSE, SPIRITUALITY, AND THE BIRTH OF THE FUTURE HUMAN | ATTMind 142
The Teafaerie is a writer, flow arts teacher, ruespieler, toy inventor, app designer, street performer and party promoter. She regularly volunteers with the Zendo Project, as well as several other organizations that provide psychedelic peer support and integration services at festivals and events around the world. Her popular column “Teatime, Psychedelic Musings From The Center Of The Universe” was a regular feature for almost a decade on the preeminent psychoactive information site Erowid.org.
Dennis McKenna, brother of Terence McKenna, is a true psychedelic elder. Among his many engagements and accomplishments, he has conducted research in ethnopharmacology for over 40 years, is a founding board member of the Heffter Research Institute, and was a key investigator on the Hoasca Project, the first biomedical investigation of ayahuasca. Since 2020, he has been working with colleagues to manifest a long-term dream: the McKenna Academy of Natural Philosophy (https://mckenna.academy,) dedicated to the study of plant medicines, consciousness, preservation of indigenous knowledge, and a re-visioning of humanity’s relationship with Nature. Dr. McKenna is author or co-author of 6 books and over 50 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals. He emigrated to Canada in the spring of 2019 together with his wife Sheila, and now resides in Abbotsford, BC.
Check Out Dennis McKenna’s interview on ATTMind: WE DON’T KNOW SH!T | ATTMind 67
The Dank Duchess is an international hashish consultant, cannabis cultivator, and public speaker. Trained by the late Hash Master Frenchy Cannoli, she has dedicated the last 7 years to educating via print, film, and social media about high quality cannabis and Hashish. Dozens of her hash stories and hash tutorials have appeared in Weed World UK, Weed World Italia, Cannabis Now, Skunk Magazine and in Ed Rosenthal’s books. Duchess has also made several media appearances including Seasons 1 and 3 of VICELAND’s Bong Appetit. Duchess received a Cosmic Sister Women of The Psychedelic Renaissance Grant to write this story.
Her website is: http://thedankduchess.com
Check out her interview on ATTMind: HASHISH AND ITS PLACE IN MODERN CULTURE | ATTMIND 117
Bruce Damer is an astrobiologist at the University of California Santa Cruz and chief scientist at the BIOTA Institute. He has co-authored a leading new hypothesis on the origin of life with his colleague David Deamer and works on its test with teams worldwide. He has contributed two decades of mission simulation and design to NASA and other space agencies. Dr. Damer has also built an extensive collection of computing artifacts chronicling the rise of the digital world. He is a follower of the evolutionary edge of culture, an occasional wanderer on the path of plant medicines and elixirs, and is the curator for extended archives of figures such as Timothy Leary and Terence McKenna.
Many of Bruce’s monologues can be found on The Levity Zone podcast, https://www.levityzone.org and his science, space and personal projects at the BIOTA Institute, http://www.biota.org, and personal site, https://www.damer.com.
Listen to Bruces interview on ATTMind: THE PSYCHEDELIC ORIGINS OF LIFE | ATTMind 49
Timestamps available via podcast apps and on youtube
- Cafe begins; guest introductions
- Introducing The Question: What is the power and potential of psychedelics in navigating the many-orders of growing collapse that our planet is currently facing?
- Strong medicine might be required
- The stress of modern collapse may be in service to our evolution
- Un-fixing the ego and recalibrating our interdependence
- Global crisis and the birth of the future human
- Slay the dragon, Save the grail
- Nudging consciousness forward through symbiosis with plant teachers
- The great forgetting and re-membering Connection as primary
- An optimistic look at our present circumstances
- The power and potential of social networks to create important change
- Life has been deeply connected since the beginning
- It is the pain and suffering of ongoing collapse that will drive us into our next expression in consciousness
- The history of the San Pedro cactus as an example of how sacred plants help support us through climate crisis
- Life’s intelligence can be trusted
- The intelligence of the universe; liberating ourselves from materialism
- Psychedelics don’t belong (only) in the therapist’s office
- The power of psychedelics is not in the molecule, not in the matter
- Coming to terms with death; all life lives on death
- The is no end point and there is nothing to fear when we die
- There are no answers, that’s not the point
- The sentient other; what does real actually mean?
- Does modern psychedelic therapy make us myopic onto the self?
- We only think we are alone
- It’s going to get worse before it gets better, let’s learn to support each other
- Actions are necessary to create good in the world, but our actions can be easily confused
- “Please, take heart” ; the awakened heart is our natural state
- Closing The Cafe; goodbyes
What Is The Psychedelic Café?
The Psychedelic Café is a structured conversational space exploring various, deep questions about the nature of mind, life, and reality.
Each cafe features a curated selection of 4-5 people to explore a question according to a specific structure. This conversational style modelled after Vicki Robins and Susan Partnow’s Conversation Café. I first learned this form from Jean Robertson, forged in The Liminal Space Agency
Why this style?
The cafe structure creates a quality and dynamic of conversation, idea sharing, and mutual learning that is incredibly ripe and valuable for not only the people involved but the listening audience who will be able to listen to it afterward. In the current times of uncertainty, complexity, and change, I believe the psychedelic cafe will offer content not otherwise available in a time where it is deeply needed. If you want to try doing your own cafe, instructions on how to do so can be found here.