Psychedelics Today

Psychedelics Today is the planetary leader in psychedelic education, media, and advocacy. Covering up-to-the-minute developments and diving deep into crucial topics bridging the scientific, academic, philosophical, societal, and cultural, Psychedelics Today is leading the discussion in this rapidly evolving ecosystem.
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May 14, 2019


In this episode, Joe talks with Shane LeMaster, Licensed Addiction Counselor and Certified Mental Performance Consultant. Shane is also involved in Psychotherapy as well as Sport and Performance Psychology and Psychedelic Integration Therapy. In this episode they cover a range of topics such as social work, Ketamine, sensory deprivation, psychedelic icons and the psychedelic culture.

3 Key Points:

  1. Shane has a podcast of his own, and his goal with the podcast is to bring people’s personal experiences to light to learn from them, to master the potential of our minds.
  2. Ketamine is a great gateway to opening up people’s minds to all of the other psychedelics. Its also a great place to start for therapy.
  3. Every single facilitator or shaman has different techniques and styles and that's okay
    If we don't have differences then we won't have styles to choose from.

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Show Notes

About Shane

  • Joe and Shane met up recently at a Psychedelic Club meeting about harm reduction in Fort Collins
  • Shane just got accepted into the PhD program in social work at CSU
    • He had been pursuing a PhD program in psychology and it wasn't working out for him so he decided to take the social work route
    • He works with many people and has developed a strong skill set on the micro level and he wants to start making impact on a macro level with helping people

Social Work

  • Shane thinks of social work as an integrative approach for every discipline that we find useful, to come to a holistic, greater understanding of an issue
  • Shane wants to use Ketamine as a ‘medium’ term goal, because it's legal
    • But ketamine is not where he is going to stop, he finds there are benefits in many other substances
    • He would love to work with LSD and Psilocybin
    • He will continue to offer his services through his business Mind Ops
  • Shane’s Podcast - Conversations with the Mind
    • His goal with the podcast is to bring people’s personal experiences to light to learn from them
    • It's important to create dialogue and invite people for conversation with differing opinions
    • The goal is to create a theory that implements both opinions


  • Ketamine is a great gateway to opening up people’s minds to all of the other psychedelics
  • Shane has had a lot of personal and recreational experiences on Ketamine and when he returns to it as a medicine, he is able to attain and sharpen skills for mindfulness
  • Joe brings up the idea that recreational ketamine could have the ability to bring up past trauma or may re-traumatize someone if not used therapeutically
    • Ketamine has a lot of risks, but being educated and using the substance correctly can be absolutely beneficial
    • Shane says we shouldn't try to avoid trauma, we should accept it and use it for good and let it power us
    • “Sometimes we don't even know what were suppressing. We need some assistance to show us what were avoiding in life and I think that psychedelics help with that a lot.” - Shane

Sensory Deprivation

  • Shane says he’s interested in John Lilly's work from back in the day and his terminology of being able to meta-program your human brain
  • Joe says John Lilly was a big part of isolation chambers which led to float tanks

Psychedelic Icons

  • Joe mentions Robert Anton Wilson, he was good friends with Timothy Leary
  • “My interest is not in psychedelics themselves, but psychedelics as a means to access higher states of who we are, parts we have forgotten.” - Shane
  • Psychedelics are just one way to tap into ourselves and discover our ultimate potential
  • “We should all be questioning, everyday, changing our belief systems” - Shane
  • “Belief is the death of intelligence” - Robert Anton Wilson
  • Shane says a lot of people give Leary a bad rap, but Shane appreciates what he has done
  • Joe mentions ‘smile squared’ - Space, migration, intelligence and life extension
  • TFYQA - Think for yourself question authority
  • “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” - Timothy Leary
    • Shane says that phrase sticks with him, it called to his rebel phase in youth to grow and do this work in his life

The Psychedelic Culture

  • Splitting - a rephrase of divide and conquer
  • Joe says the psychedelic world is very cut throat
    • "We should take care of each other a bit more in this space" - Joe
    • Shane says, we need to lift each other up versus look for ways to step over each other
    • Every single facilitator or shaman has different techniques and styles and that's okay
    • If we don't have differences then we don't have styles to choose from
    • “We can't become fundamentalists in our own practices, we need to value the differences culturally and from a world view. They are all valuable.” - Shane



Mind Op Youtube 

About Shane

Shane earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, completed extensive coursework towards a Master of Arts Degree in Sport & Performance Psychology at the University of Denver, and earned his Master of Arts Degree in Sport & Exercise Psychology from Argosy University.

Shane is nationally certified as a Sport Psychology Consultant and a licensed mental health clinician in the state of Colorado. Having worked in community non-profit mental health since 2008, Shane has gained experience working with the entire spectrum of mental disorders and with all populations and age groups. Shane plans on attending a Ph.D program in Counseling Psychology where his interest in Resiliency, Mental Toughness, and Mindfulness Training Program Development can be explored and further developed.

He is a life-long athlete having competed at various levels in more than a dozen different sports. Because of his passion for warrior cultures of past and present, Shane has been ardently developing his own “Warriorship,” training in various forms of Martial Arts for 25 years. Shane feels that the self-discipline, the philosophy of non-violence, the innumerable mental and physical benefits, and the enjoyment that he gains from the Martial Arts is what helped drive his passion in the field of Psychology.

His personal interest in Eastern Philosophy stems from his adoption of a Buddhist lifestyle and blends well with his training in Western Psychological Science. Clients describe Shane as an out-of-the-box clinician that is easy to get along with, knowledgeable on a variety of topics, credible with lived experience, and as having the ability to make therapy fun and interesting.

May 7, 2019


In this episode, Kyle hosts a conversation with Veronika Gold from the Polaris Insight Center, a center that offers Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy. They compare and contrast Ketamine Psychotherapy methods and Ketamine Infusion.

3 Key Points:

  1. The most studied way of using Ketamine has been infusion, mainly used for treatment resistant depression and PTSD. Veronika used lozenges and intramuscular Ketamine therapy working for Polaris.
  2. When people are healed from depression, there is a lot of anxiety and activation that happens. Infusion clinics don't offer the therapeutic help that comes with Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.
  3. The dissociation that happens with Ketamine is a different dissociation that happens with trauma. With trauma, dissociation happens when the nervous system can't handle the stress in someone's life, with Ketamine, it allows people who feel dissociated from their trauma, to feel again.

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Show Notes

About Veronika

  • She specialized in trauma treatment
  • She is involved in the clinical trials for the treatment of PTSD, sponsored by MAPS in San Francisco
  • Veronika is originally from Czech Republic
  • She studied at CIIS
  • She grew up in the Czech Republic in a communist time so she dealt with a lot of trauma
  • She met Stan Grof at 16 at a Transpersonal conference
    • She was fascinated with his work and Transpersonal Breathwork became a part of her healing
    • It lead her to study psychology and become a psychotherapist and study non-ordinary states

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

  • Ketamine therapy has been studied from the late 60’s until today
    • The most studied way of using Ketamine has been infusion, mainly used for treatment resistant depression and PTSD
  • In Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, the therapy is as important as the medicine
    • There is a biochemical effect of Ketamine
    • When people are healed from depression, there is a lot of anxiety and activation that happens
  • Infusion clinics don't offer the therapeutic help that comes with Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Benefits of Ketamine Psychotherapy

  • The treatment method used at Polaris includes a comfortable room, eye shades, music tailored to the therapy, and an ongoing therapist
  • They use non-ordinary states of consciousness as a part of the transformation
  • They use lozenges and IM (Intramuscular)
    • Only 30% of the ketamine from the lozenges are effective
    • The lozenges allow for a slow onset of the medicine
  • With IM, a higher dose can be used because it's less taxing on the body and more effective
    • The property of Ketamine is dissociation
    • Veronika says she prompts people to explain where they are, to share about what comes up for them
    • “Sometimes there are memories that come up that are connected to their struggle. Sometimes they do full trauma processing. There are times where they go inside and then come out.” - Veronika

Ketamine vs. Classic Psychedelics

  • They used Ketamine as a means to do the work legally
  • For the work that is being done underground, the therapists are putting themselves at risk for legality, and it does impact set and setting
    • But even if other substances were legal, Veronika thinks Ketamine will still be used for certain issues
  • Ketamine is described as a +4 on Shulgin’s scale
  • A moderate to high dose can allow people to have a near death experience or ‘review of their life’
  • The dissociation that happens with Ketamine is a different dissociation that happens with trauma
    • With trauma, dissociation happens when the nervous system can't handle the stress
    • Opposingly, with Ketamine, it allows people who feel dissociated, to feel again
  • Veronika mentions a study that says the higher the effects of dissociation from a Ketamine session, the higher the antidepressant effects are.
  • She has work in somatic studies and organic intelligence


  • Veronika’s experience with Breathwork helps her understand her patients
    • The bodily experience that happens in Breathwork also helps her understand the body movement/energetic blockages, etc that happen in Ketamine therapy
  • The last 30-90 minutes is where the integration starts


  • They do mainly one-on-one session but have done a few pair therapy sessions
    • Veronika says its easier to do one-on-one because the sessions are short and there is a lot of internal work

The Future of Ketamine

  • Veronika is excited about people’s curiosity with Ketamine therapy and the effectivity of it
  • Ketamine is a new and emerging field and we are figuring out who it is useful for and who it is not
  • Veronika says that non-ordinary states are all beneficial for healing, and not having to use Ketamine (using Breathwork) is still beneficial
  • “A big part of the healing is having a positive experience and connecting with places that feel good, having positive visions. Its supportive for our nervous system and our ability to heal.” - Veronika
  • “When we allow the inner healing intelligence to come through, it will take us to where we need to go.” - Veronika
  • Patients don't always need to just feel the dark stuff and the trauma, sometimes sitting with the good feelings and remembering what good feels like is a part of the healing too
  • Kyle and Veronika were both on separate episodes of the Consciousness Podcast with Stuart Preston




About Veronika Gold

Veronika Gold

Veronika has expertise in the treatment of trauma. Her approach is integrative and informed by Somatic Therapies, contemplative practices, and mindfulness. She also has an interest in educating others about the healing and transformational potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness.

Apr 30, 2019

In this episode, Joe talks with Matthew Remski, yoga teacher, consultant and author. In the show they talk about high demand group life and their cultic mechanisms, and the after effects of living in a high demand group setting.

3 Key Points:

  1. Matthew Remski shares his experience of spending most of his 20’s in cults, and his healing journey afterward.
  2. Cults aren't defined by their content (political, religious, psychedelic), they are defined by their element of control. Another term for a ‘cult’ is a high demand group.
  3. High demand groups can be very appealing from the outside, no one signs up for the rape, torture, or manipulative experiences that happen inside of a cult. And the after effects from high demand group life can be extreme, such as PTSD, inability to form romantic relationships, etc.

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Show Notes

About Matthew

  • Yoga was a safe space of retreat and recuperation after being in cults
  • He was in a cult for 3 years led by Michael Roach at the Asian Classics Institute
  • He was in Endeavor Academy for 6 years in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
  • These experiences gave him group dynamic perspective
  • Yoga gave him somatic autonomy, and allowed him to feel himself again after the cultic nature of the groups
  • He spent age 22-29 in these groups where we would have built some sort of career, and he didn't
  • He became a yoga teacher and opened his own yoga studio as a part of his healing


  • People end up doing harm to themselves, or do things that they didn't sign up for
    • An organization misrepresents itself, and presents itself as a safe haven for people who may be vulnerable for any reason
  • High Demand Organization, along with other synonyms, are other words for ‘cult’
  • ‘Self Sealed’ implies that everything that happens within the group is to have the individual think it's for the ‘good’, a ‘bounded choice’ environment (saying that sexual advances or torture are a part of the development toward enlightenment, for example)
  • The high demand group rewires a person's attachment patterns to make them ‘unattached’
  • Steve Hassan’s BITE model
    • Behavior Control
    • Information Control
    • Thought Control
    • Emotional Control
  • The content of the cult doesn't matter (religious, psychedelic, political, etc), it's the element of control that is the same amongst true cults
    • There can be political groups that aren't cults, but the element of control is what defines it as a cult
  • Octavio Rettig and Gerry Sandoval
    • They are perhaps responsible for multiple deaths (maybe not directly but through negligence)
    • They use 5-MEO-DMT with abuse and malpractice

Cult Impact

  • The impact from a cult can be cognitive, labor related, relationship/family oriented, etc.
    • Matthew says the estrangement from his family has taken over a decade to repair
    • The relationships he had prior, has been unable to restored
  • His identity was changed for him through social coercion
  • “The cult takes its best possible part of you for its own agenda” - Matthew
  • The after effects from high demand group life can be extreme, they can have PTSD, they may not be able to form romantic bonds, they may become estranged from their family, etc.
  • Recent estimates in the US alone say that there are 8,000 high demand groups
    • These dynamics can be found in many organizations
  • Wild Wild Country - When a controversial cult leader builds a Utopian city in the Oregon desert, conflict with the locals escalates into a national scandal

Psychotherapy Cult

  • Psychotherapy cults look like a Buddhist or yoga cult but with different group practice techniques
    • They will depend upon group psychotherapy that break down and humiliate members and create fear that looks like love and acceptance
    • It includes members revealing intense secrets so they become vulnerable

Practice And All Is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, And Healing In Yoga And Beyond

  • Matthew’s book is applicable in many different community constellations
    • His intention is to help foster critical thinking and community health
  • Joe says that anyone in a group dynamic or especially those leading groups (such as an ayahuasca circle) need to read this book

Practice And All Is Coming: Abuse, Cult Dynamics, And Healing In Yoga And Beyond



About Matthew

Matthew Remski

Matthew has been practicing meditation and yoga since 1996, sitting and moving with teachers from the Tibetan Buddhist, Kripalu, Ashtanga, and Iyengar streams. Along the way he has trained as a yoga therapist and an Ayurvedic consultant, and maintained a private practice in Toronto from 2007 to 2015. From 2008 through 2012, he co-directed Yoga Festival Toronto and Yoga Community Toronto, non-profit activist organizations dedicated to promoting open dialogue and accessibility. During that same period, he studied jyotiśhāstra in a small oral-culture setting at the Vidya Institute in Toronto. Matthew currently facilitates programming for yoga trainings internationally, focusing on yoga philosophy, meditation, Ayurveda, and the social psychology of practice. In all subject areas, he encourages students to explore how yoga practice can resist the psychic and material dominance of neoliberalism, and the quickening pace of environmental destruction.

Apr 23, 2019


In this episode, Joe interviews Computational Neuro-Biologist, Dr. Andrew Gallimore, one of the world’s knowledgeable researchers on DMT. In the show they discuss DMT and the possibilities of being in an extended state of DMT, such as accessing higher dimensions and communicating with intelligent entities.

3 Key Points:

  1. This reality that we are in is a lower dimensional slice of a higher dimensional structure. DMT is a technology or tool that allows us access to reach out to these higher dimensions.
  2. Andrew has developed and written about the Intravenous Infusion Model, which allows a timed and steady release of DMT to induce an extended state DMT experience.
  3. Extended state DMT hypothesizes that with enough time spent in the DMT space, the ‘map’ of the space would begin stabilize over time and you could develop a ‘life’ in the DMT space like we do in our waking life.

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Show Notes

About Andrew

  • Since age 15, he was into psychedelic drugs and altered states of consciousness
    • He was at a friends house and was looking at a book called Alternative London and it had writings on different psychedelics but only a very short segment on DMT
    • His fascination grew from his yearning to learn more about DMT
  • His interest turned into academic work, learning chemistry and pharmacology and he is now into learning more about the brain itself
  • He is currently a Computational Neuro-Biologist


  • DMT is a compound found almost everywhere in nature, highly illegal, yet highly interesting
    • Interaction with entities are common
    • All frames of reference are gone
  • Andrew says that the first few times were very intense and he would come back with no way to comprehend or describe it
    • Then after a few more times he started to see the entities and have a more stable experience with more intent
  • Andrew describes a very vivid experience of a man in a dark robe where he asked him “show me what you've got” and he opened his mouth and Andrew woke up a if he had seen God himself. He describes it as a shattering experience
    • These beings in the DMT experience, aren't just pointless beings in a dream, they are powerful and extremely intelligent
    • We don't have any way to comprehend the levels of intelligence in this dimensional space, we only are ever able to experience intelligence with our human capacity for what intelligence is
    • There is a sense that these beings are intelligent because they have been around for billions and billions of years or potentially infinitely

Communicating with Intelligent Entities

  • He calls his book the ‘textbook of the future’
  • “We are imprisoned in some kind of work of art” - Terence McKenna
  • This reality is a construct or artifact of the alien intelligence or the ‘other’
  • “This reality that we are in is a lower dimensional slice of a higher dimensional structure. DMT is a technology or tool that allows us access to reach out to these higher dimensions” - Andrew
  • DMT is everywhere
    • “Nature is drenched in DMT, but it takes a high level of sophisticated intelligence to identify it, isolate it, and discover a means of using it as a tool” - Dennis McKenna
    • “In order to communicate with these beings, we need to bring the right tools to the table” - Andrew
  • Target Controlled Intravenous Infusion Model - using the same model for DMT as the anesthesia model
    • It uses administration of a short acting drug using a mathematical model to control the release
    • “We are not just passive receivers of information but we are actively constructing our world from moment to moment.” - Andrew
  • Continuity Hypothesis of Dreaming - it says that dreaming is continuous with our waking life, the brain constructs the world when you're asleep in the same way that it does when you're awake

Extended State DMT (DMTx)

  • Our brains are constantly updating its model of reality, so if you put someone through the DMT space for months at a time, that person’s model of reality would completely shift
    • This idea has been completely unexplored
    • The hypothesis is that an extended time in the DMT space would begin to make that space more stable over time, the goal being to live in the DMT space as you would in this reality of waking life
  • The measurement of DMT in the blood with Ayahuasca is 1/5th the level of DMT in the blood as a breakthrough DMT experience
  • Andrew hasn't heard of anyone trying the Intravenous Infusion Model yet
  • There is this space that exists one quantum away, and it is accessible by everyone (technologically, not necessarily legally)
    • Inter-dimensional citizenship is close at hand


Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game




About Dr. Andrew Gallimore

Dr. Andrew Gallimore is a computational neurobiologist, pharmacologist, chemist, and writer who has been interested in the neural basis of psychedelic drug action for many years and is the author of a number of articles and research papers on the powerful psychedelic drug, N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), as well as the book Alien Information Theory: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game (April 2019). He recently collaborated with DMT pioneer Dr. Rick Strassman, author of DMT: The Spirit Molecule, to develop a pharmacokinetic model of DMT as the basis of a target-controlled intravenous infusion protocol for extended journeys in DMT space. His current interests focus on DMT as a tool for gating access to extradimensional realities and how this can be understood in terms of the neuroscience of information. He currently lives and works in Japan.

Apr 16, 2019


In this episode, hosts Joe and Kyle interview music artist, East Forest. Influenced by psychedelic Psilocybin sessions, Trevor Oswalt, the mind behind the project, produces soundtracks for psychedelic journeywork sessions.

3 Key Points:

  1. East Forest is a music artist and producer with a mission to create a playground of doors for listeners to open and to explore their inner space.
  2. His recent project, ‘Ram Dass’, captures the words of wisdom of Ram Dass and pairs it with sound, a project with four chapters that will release throughout 2019.
  3. Ayahuasca is connected to the Icaros, but psilocybin doesn't have a music ritual. His goal with his project, Music for Mushrooms: A soundtrack for the psychedelic practitioner, is to bring ritual to psilocybin journeywork.

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Show Notes

About (Trevor Oswalt) East Forest

  • East Forest is a 10 years and running music project that unfolded exploring into sharing and medicine circles and developed into a public interface
  • Its based around introspection and tools for people to use
  • Between retreats, podcasts and live performance, Trevor is inviting people in to assist with their journeys

Ram Dass

  • Trevor is working on a 4 part record project with Ram Dass
    • He had the idea to do a record with spiritual teachers
  • Ram Dass had a stroke 20 years ago, and he got Aphasia from it
    • It would take him 15-30 minutes to answer a question, so Trevor would put it to the music and put Ram's words on the pauses in the music
    • His wisdom and story would come alive in the songs
  • The first time Ram Dass did psilocybin was with Timothy Leary and he said it changed his life
  • Ram Dass talks about the ‘witness consciousness’ a viewpoint of things from the soul
    • It is a place where you can love everyone and tell your truth and accept your dark thoughts
    • You can't get rid of your dark thoughts, but you can learn to live with them

Journeywork Soundtrack

  • Music for Mushrooms: A soundtrack for the psychedelic practitioner
    • Its a 5 hour playlist for journeywork that guides you and helps you do the work
    • He made it live during his own journeywork session over a weekend the previous summer
    • He says he is influenced by Keith Jarrett, who does long form pianist pieces
  • Joe says trance in music is under explored
  • Trevor describes a trip that he had where he took mushrooms and listened to his own (first) album that he made
    • “It was as if I created this album without knowing what I was creating. My soul had tricked my ego into doing it so I could use it as a tool in that moment to transform into something new.” - Trevor
    • There is a lot of music, science, and arts that are inspired by psychedelics
    • He describes its a symbiotic relationship between psychedelics and music
    • That's the thing about art, you put it out there and everyone puts their own meaning to it
  • His first experience with psychedelics was in college with mushrooms
    • He was outside at a festival and it was a very transcendent, blissful experience


  • He attends retreats where there is either yoga, wilderness hikes or mainly revolved around music
    • He does a retreat using music at Esalen with his partner, Marisa Radha Weppner
    • They are doing another retreat in June at Esalen during the summer solstice and he will also be releasing the third chapter of the Ram Dass Record
    • Next Esalen Retreat


  • He went to Vassar college in New York and there were pianos all over the school, he learned how to play simple songs and was shocked of how great it sounded coming to life and that fed on itself and he was hooked
    • His first album was made in iMac with pro tools and his skills developed from there
  • Sound quality is critical in journeywork
  • Joe’s friend has mentioned that it's hard to make a living as a music creator, she goes by Living Light
  • Joe also mentions a festival he attended listening to Reed Mathis and the Electric Beethoven
    • They went on a 20-30 minute talk about how the music is a ritual
  • Kyle used to lead some hikes, once was with Trevor Hall and it has gotten more common to collaborate these experiences with music

Live Music

  • During Ayahuasca, the shamans sing the Icaros, and the song is a part of the ritual
    • No one uses Ayahuasca recreationally, the ceremony has never been detached from the drug
    • With psilocybin, in the western culture, it's almost always only been used recreationally
    • His goal was to create a new musical tradition that would speak to our western years and make sense to us without taking from another religion and putting it to our ritual



About East Forest

East Forest is an American Ambient/Electronic/Contemporary Classical/Indie Pop artist from Portland, Oregon, United States. The project was created by Trevor Oswalt who derived "East Forest" from the German translation of his last name. To date he has released eight full-length albums and six EPs. East Forest’s newest release, “RAM DASS” is a full length album releasing in collaboration with the acclaimed spiritual teacher. Covering topics such as dark thoughts, nature, the soul and so much more, these songs are full of inspiration. The album will release in four “chapters” throughout 2019, culminating in a full length release on August 9, 2019.

Apr 11, 2019


In this Bonus episode The Teafaerie and Joe Moore get into lots of great topics. Enjoy! !

The Teafaerie micro-bio(me)

The Teafaerie is a writer, flow arts teacher, ruespieler, toy inventor, app designer, street performer, party promoter, and superhero.

Some links

Event in Ran Rafael, CA w Tam Integration


Mapping the Source on Erowid
Carrying the Light - Audio 

Telepathetic -

The Teafaerie on Instagram -

Twitter -

Apr 9, 2019


In this episode, Joe interviews Jesse Gould, founder of Heroic Hearts Project, a non-profit doing psychedelic work with veterans. They discuss the difficulties veterans face finding healing from their PTSD in the current landscape.

3 Key Points:

  1. Heroic Hearts is a project geared toward raising funds and providing resources for veterans to receive healing through Ayahuasca and other psychedelics.
  2. Our current landscape of social media and government make it extremely difficult to receive donations and get veterans the help that they need. Heroic Hearts is trying to bridge the gap between PTSD and access to healing.
  3. Veterans tend to feel alone in their symptoms from their experiences, so creating community and an integration plan are both really important in the healing process.

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Show Notes

About Jessie

  • Founder of Heroic Hearts Project
    • He found the healing potential of Ayahuasca after a week long retreat after struggling with severe anxiety after combat deployments with the army
  • He was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and grew up in Florida
  • Jesse graduated with an Economics Degree from Cornell

Heroic Hearts

  • Heroic Hearts is trying to be the voice of veterans in the psychedelic community
    • There are very few options through the department of veteran affairs
    • The organization helps raise money to provide opportunity for veterans to access treatment such as Ayahuasca retreats
  • PTSD and Addiction affect the veteran community more than the general public
  • Aligning the veteran voice with the psychedelic cause is a powerful force for change
  • Integration is so important, both to understand what you're trying to achieve (beforehand) and stay on that path (afterward)
  • Jessie says they work very hard to make sure vets are having true healing through their Ayahuasca experiences


  • People have a common misconception around PTSD that there are these constant traumatic outbreaks, and although that can happen, there are so many people living their day to day lives and you'd never know they have PTSD but they still suffer from it
    • PTSD doesn't always come from severely traumatic events like war, it can come from other things like childhood abuse or sexual assault
  • SSRIs numb the pain but don't help with any actual healing


  • It's really hard to get donations
  • Heroic Hearts provided financial scholarships so far to about 15 people
    • They are doing a retreat in May for another 7 veterans
  • The received a grant from Ubiome to study the effects of Ayahuasca on the gut microbiome
    • There is a strong link between the stomach biome and mood
  • They are coming up with do it yourself marketing campaigns to help individuals raise their own money, setting people up for success
  • In a place where it's easier to get money, it's also harder to get money because so many people are creating personal fundraisers for their dog, etc.
  • There are more and more large organizations helping smaller companies like Heroic Hearts with research


  • Breathwork can be used as a helpful bridge between patients and their PTSD
  • Veterans tend to trust veterans more
    • They tend to feel alone so creating community among vets is really important
    • Psychedelics and ceremony really help vets transition out of feeling alone
  • Jesse says he plans on creating local meetups and groups for vets
  • He tends to send vets on retreats with friends or other vets from the same community so when they return from their retreat they have a built-in community to come back to

Heroic Hearts Project

  • There is an application for vets
  • There are many options to donate, all funds raised go right to the vets
  • “Why is there no government funding going to the biggest breakthrough in PTSD research through the MAPS MDMA therapy? Not one cent of government money has gone to that.” - Jesse
  • “Why are we having to send veterans to other countries to get the mental health that they deserve?” - Jesse



About Jesse Gould

Jesse founded Heroic Hearts Project after attending an Ayahuasca retreat in Iquitos, Peru on February 2017. During the week long retreat he instantly saw the healing potential of the drink and knew that it could be a powerful tool in healing the mental struggles of his fellow veterans. Jesse was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico and grew up in New Smyrna Beach, FL. In 2009 he graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Economics. After working in investment banking for a short time he enlisted in the Army and became an Airborne Ranger for four years and three combat deployments. Most recently, he worked in finance in Tampa, FL After struggling with severe anxiety for many years, he finally decided to go to an ayahuasca retreat which has had a profoundly positive effect on his anxiety and daily life.'I know what it is like to be at the mercy of uncontrollable elements in your own head. I also know the extreme relief of finally having these elements under control. Ayahuasca provided this. We have the ability to help thousands who are suffering but we let politics and ignorance get in the way. This is unacceptable. I started this foundation because the therapy works, I will risk what I have to ensure my fellow veterans get the treatment they deserve and a new chance at life.'

Apr 2, 2019


In this episode Kyle sits down with a close friend in the psychedelic space, Lucas Jackson. They have shared many experiences such as Near Death Experiences, leading breathwork workshops, and other similarities. They cover topics such as the Near Death Experience, Ayahuasca experience, Breathwork tools, and accepting death, finding meaning and integrating these exceptional experiences.

3 Key Points:

  1. Exceptional experiences are not always euphoric and light, they can also be dark and cathartic and make it difficult to transition back into ‘real life’.
  2. Lucas explains his Ayahuasca experience as his darkest and hardest. He felt alone with no help, no one to talk to to help understand it, he felt as if he actually died. But this gave him a realization and acceptance of death.
  3. The key to making it through and putting understanding to the dark experiences is having the right tools, such as a community of understanding people, practices such as breathwork, yoga, meditation and just simply coming back to the breath.

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Show Notes

About Lucas

  • Lucas' interest in psychedelics started in high school, the books that he read then were influential
  • He had a near death experience at 19
    • He came down with a lung issue and was in the hospital for 2 months and in and out of different stages of consciousness
  • After that experience his interest for psychedelics and breathwork grew
  • Lucas describes it not totally as a single NDE but more as being so close to death for an extended period of time
    • He says it wasn't mystical and great, coming back to ‘real life’ had some dark qualities

Revisiting a Dark Past

  • Lucas says he wrote stuff down when he was in the hospital with a breathing tube and couldn't talk and one day he went through it all and it was very dark and cathartic
  • When he went through and read his past writings, he said that he felt sympathy for the ‘him’ that wrote it
  • He says it is hard to remember the person he was before his experience and illness


  • After he dropped out of school, he started up a farm in Vermont and then toward the end of that he started to feel restless and there were synchronicities that led him to breathwork
    • He heard that Stan Grof was going to be doing a talk at a local bookshop and he met Lenny and Elizabeth Gibson
    • He ended up doing breathwork training in New York
    • He explains the experience as more powerful than what he would have imagined
    • He said he wanted to tell everyone about it after the first breathwork experience
  • Kyle says its common with any exceptional experience, people want to run and tell the world
  • Lucas says the sitting was just as powerful as the breathing
    • It's not often that you have someone sit at your side for 2-3 hours giving you full attention
  • Lucas says that his GTT training was supposed to take 2 years and he thought he was going to get through it in 2 years no problem and he is in his 5th year doing the program and he loves the pace
  • Kyle says that part of the training in breathwork is doing your own work
    • Lucas says with this kind of work, you don't get through it and you're done, It's a continuous process
  • Robert Anton Wilson’s ‘maybe’ logic helps Lucas with being okay with not knowing
  • He had a few experiences where he went through a ‘death’ feeling, and then he would let go and blast through this ‘light’ and then feelings oneness and wholeness


  • Lucas went through the ‘death’ experience and thought it was actually real, he felt complete void and nothingness
    • That experience haunted him for years
  • His ayahuasca experience was really about the purge, letting go of absolutely everything
  • James Fadiman
  • The remoteness of the experience was what he was seeking, being so far removed from everything he had known, everything that made him comfortable
  • The shaman was known for his potency of the brew
    • There is no consistency among the dosage
  • He felt very alone during the experience, he had no help, but it was almost special because it taught him that he is alone always anyway so there was some comfortability with the realization
    • The shaman didn't speak English and the messages that he received through the translator didn't make him feel completely safe about his experience
  • It took him over 3 years of chewing on the content and the questions before feeling somewhat okay
    • Lucas’ advice to anyone wanting to do this is ‘take off, make time for this, you'll need more time than you think’
  • “I believe that there is a collective pool to tap into, where you're processing the suffering of all, and once you hit that, it's an abyss and you have to surrender. It can be so freeing.” - Lucas

Spiritual Emergence

  • Lucas says there wasn't any day or event where he felt like he was going to have to go to the hospital or harm anybody, but it's because he has the correct tools and great community
  • For him, the first experience was fun and exciting and then you want to do more and then you get into the work and the hard stuff
  • "What is, waking up?" - Lucas
  • There's the Ram Dass idea that the tool will fall away when its usefulness has been exhausted
    • Lucas says the tool is having a daily practice, and for him its a breathing practice
  • Grof’s framework was a lifesaver for Lucas
  • “What are you going to do with the reality you are presented with?” - a quote from The Truman Show movie
  • “Even if this is all an illusion, why not make this the best illusion, the best dream?” - Lucas
    • How are we showing up to the world after something so exceptional?

Final Thoughts

  • What is this world for?
    • Lucas mentions an Alan Watts video, it says life is like a dance, there is no goal, and then after the dance we sit down
  • “What is the particular thing that we are trying to achieve? General improvement of all humanity sounds like a good goal. Hopefully psychedelics can be a huge tool in moving towards that.” -Lucas
  • Lucas says that he isn't a therapist, but he is available to talk with someone if they may need it. Having an open and welcoming therapist is great, but if they've never had an exceptional experience, it's helpful to talk to someone who has, therapist or not.

About Lucas Jackson

Lucas has spent his life wandering through inner and outer landscapes, collecting experiences, and sharing those experiences with those closest to him. His outer wanderings have led him to working with earth and plants around the world, including starting a biodynamic/permaculture food forest in Central Vermont. Lucas has also spent time working with people who were experiencing extreme states of consciousness while at Soteria-Vermont and while volunteering with The Zendo Project. The galleries of his inner world are made up of psychedelic musings, astrological insights, and various constellations of esoteric traditions. Lucas holds degrees in Environmental Science and Psychology and is currently pursuing an MA in Religious Studies.

Lucas can be reached through his email address at as well as on Instagram @biodellic. He is available for astrological readings and is happy to meet others interested in discussing the topics covered throughout this episode of the podcast.

Mar 27, 2019


In this special interview, Joe and Kyle sit down with Theologian, John B. Cobb Jr., referred to as the Godfather of American Theology. They recorded with John at the conference they all attended in California, on how exceptional experience can help save the world. They cover a range of topics inspired from Alfred Whitehead’s teachings and the promising applications of Whitehead’s thoughts in the area of ecological civilization and environmental ethics pioneered by John Cobb Jr.

3 Key Points:

  1. Process thinking argues that reality consists of processes rather than material objects, and that thinking this way is similar to the teachings of a psychedelic experience. It is hoped for and believed that exceptional experiences can help save the world.
  2. Whitehead's process philosophy argues that there is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have consequences for the world around us.
  3. Certain curriculum, education systems and Universities are not helping us to see the value of our world. A full systems change is needed and hopefully psychedelics, exceptional experiences and process thinking can help with that.

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Show Notes

Process Thought

  • Alfred North Whitehead
  • The senses heighten connection, but we shouldn't rely only senses for our experiences
  • The label that can we give to the 'most fundamental relationship' is any 'happening'
  • What's happening when we listen to music?
    • We aren't hearing one tone after another tone, we are hearing the music as a whole piece
  • Whitehead calls the fundamental relationship of inclusion, a 'prehension'
    • How one moment leads into another moment
    • If the world is made up of prehensions, then in any given moment, what is prehended?
    • The boundary between conscious and unconscious experience is fuzzy.
  • Whitehead calls the relatedness to the past, physical prehensions. But we also prehend, potentialities. It is being experienced as potential not as actual.
    • Whitehead thinks this is present in very elementary matters.
    • Whitehead says that waves of vibration are a very large part of the world we live in
  • Whitehead believes that without some type of variation from moment to moment, that nothing really happens
  • He wrote a lot on relativity and very little about quantum
  • David Bohm
    • He was very process oriented
    • He wanted to change our language into using words that mean something is ‘happening’ versus using nouns that say that something ‘is’
  • “If you only have potentiality and too little grounded in actuality, you better be careful. If you don't have the potentiality, then you live in a deterministic universe” - John

“Does Whitehead relate the potentialities to his ideas about intuition?”

  • Intuition can be of both pure potentials and about other people
  • A lot of paranormal experiences are not supernatural
  • Just because someone has seen something or done something, it doesn't mean that it's true. There is plenty of illusion.

[caption id="attachment_3637" align="alignleft" width="300"]T-shirts available on our store T-shirts available on our store[/caption]

Complex Societies

  • An important feature of Whitehead is to distinguish complex society
  • Panexperientialism is ‘the view that if evolution of humans goes all the way down to subatomic particles, then human ‘experience’ by deduction must have originated at the subatomic level, which implies that not just humans but individual cells, individual molecules, individual atoms, and even individual subatomic particles, such as photons or electrons, incorporate a capacity for ‘feeling’ or degree of subjective inferiority.'
  • There might be in-deterministic qualities in individual entities
  • From a Whiteheadian point of view, contemporary physics would be almost universally valid if the entire world were made up entirely of physical feelings, feelings of actual occasions, ‘what is’.

“What would be opposed to physical feelings?”

  • Conceptual feelings, feelings of potentials
  • He thinks there are feelings of potential in every actual occasion
  • “The attempt to make standard physics apply to the quantum world are a total failure.” -John
  • “The attempt to make standard physics apply to the human experience is the task of the Neuroscientists. They think that the subjective experience has a causal role to play in the world.” -John
  • It's more committed to metaphysics than it is to empirical study

“Do you think what's going on in the mind, say neurotransmitters or electrical activity firing, that is creating this reality, or the experience, is having an influence on the neurochemistry?”

  • John says that the psyche plays a role
  • Scientists who are busy engineering genetic change, tell us purpose plays no role in genetic change

“What do you mean by no purpose in genetic change?”

  • Purpose cannot have a causal effect in the Cartesian world
    • They say ‘I know that my purposes are completely the result of mechanical relations between my neurons’

“Could you elaborate on the definition of actual occasions?”

  • The psyche is a consistent series of actual occasions
    • Its what kinds of things are in and of themselves, ‘actual’
  • It's in the distinction of things that can be divided up into other entities
    • An actual occasion cannot be divisible into other actual occasions
    • Like an atom, it is divisible, but dividing it does not keep it from actually existing
  • For Whitehead, an actual occasion is the basic unit of actuality
    • Its an alternative to a ‘substance’ way of viewing
    • When we look at other living beings, animals with brains and such, we assume they have a psychic life
    • John thinks that plants have some kind of unified experience
    • Some people have a feeling about a tree, that it's not just a bunch of cells interacting
    • “It's hard for me to think that a stone is an experiencing entity, I think the molecules though are.” - John
    • “I’m sure that cells are influenced by the emotions of people” -John
  • Having a particular conceptuality does not define how things are going to map out

“This world view seems very psychedelic.”

  • Among quantum physicists, Whitehead’s name is known and appreciated.
    • It may mean that physics as a whole might adopt an organic model than just mechanistic one
  • The common sense in this is that our knowledge of each other is not just in visual and auditory clues, but people have been told so long that it is

“What else would it be informed by if not by visual and auditory cues?”

  • Just by our immediate experience of each other
  • If you go into a room, there is an immediate climate there. You can tell when you walk into a room full of angry people.
  • Ivan Illich's Book on Deschooling Society (Open Forum S)

“What would be your vision of an education system if its not working right now?”

  • The one that Matthew Segal teaches in CIIS are examples of a different education system
  • The Great Books program needs revision. It's only been the great western books. John hopes they have incorporated great books from other parts of the world
  • There are parts of different educational systems that are better than what we have
    • “If I had an opportunity to create a school, it would be a school that teaches ecological civilization because a healthy human survival is a goal that ought not to be regarded as an eccentric and marginal one, but regarded as what all we human beings ought to be getting behind collectively, together. And if you have a school for that, the curriculum would be quite varied, but the production and consumption and sharing of food should be a very central part of it.” -John
    • Capitalism has ignored much of reality
    • John says creating a curriculum is not his role, his role is deconstruction because he thinks what is going on now is absurd
  • “Enlightenment is the worst curse of humanity, we have been enlightened into not believing all kinds of things. The disappearance of subject from the world of actuality. If that's enlightenment, then I don't want to be enlightened.” - John


Kyle Shares his Near Death Experience

  • Kyle got in a snowboarding accident, ruptured his spleen and lost about 5 pints of blood
    • It became mystical when he was in the MRI machine and he was standing on one side of the room with the doctors and in his body at the same time
    • There was an orb of light, and an external voice or ‘experience’ that said “you're going home, back to the stars where you came from, this is just a transition, the more you relax into it, the easier it will be.”
    • Kyle describes it as a blissful experience, but he had a hard time integrating it back into his life.
  • Whitehead has done a remarkable job to describe process, and exceptional experience and putting a language to it
    • Joe says that Whitehead’s work has helped put the psychedelic experience into words

“Do you recall the first time you heard something that made you interested in the impact of psychedelics?”

  • Lenny Gibson was probably one of the first people that opened his eyes to the positive uses
  • “Today, it would be remarkable if 10% of the world's population survived without civilization” -John
  • He is confident that there are good things that come from psychedelics
  • He says Whitehead has made him understand the changes that might make us behave in responsible ways, so he doesn't feel the necessity of having a psychedelic experiences

“What kind of changes?”

  • We have to change from our substance thinking to process thinking
  • We need to shift from thinking that every individual is self-contained, we are all products of our relationships with each other.
  • In the Whiteheadian view, any individual is, the many becoming one. To be an individual is being a part of everything.


Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition

Other books by John Cobb Jr.

A Christian Natural Theology, Second Edition: Based on the Thought of Alfred North Whitehead

Jesus' Abba: The God Who Has Not Failed

Grace & Responsibility: A Wesleyan Theology for Today

For Our Common Home: Process-Relational Responses to Laudato Si'

About John B. Cobb Jr.

John B. Cobb, Jr., Ph.D, is a founding co-director of the Center for Process Studies and Process & Faith. He has held many positions, such as Ingraham Professor of Theology at the School of Theology at Claremont, Avery Professor at the Claremont Graduate School, Fullbright Professor at the University of Mainz, Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt, Harvard Divinity, Chicago Divinity Schools. His writings include: Christ in a Pluralistic Age; God and the World; For the Common Good. Co-winner of Grawemeyer Award of Ideas Improving World Order.

Mar 19, 2019


In this episode, Joe gets on the mic to chat about some current events in the psychedelic space such as the recent passing of psychedelic icon Ralph Metzner, the Psilocybin decriminalization initiatives in Denver and now Oakland, and psychedelic use in the Military.

3 Key Points:

  1. Psychedelic Icon, Ralph Metzner passed away on March 14th, 2019. He had a remarkable career and published a ton of books around psychedelics in his time.
  2. A recent study found that a single dose of Psilocybin can enhance creative thinking and empathy for up to 7 days after use.
  3. Activists are planning an initiative to decriminalize Psilocybin in Oakland. Denver will vote on decriminalization on the May 7th ballot.

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Show Notes

Ralph Metzner

Psilocybin and Creativity

  • A single dose of Psilocybin enhances creative thinking and empathy for up to 7 days after use
  • It was a 55 participant study in the Netherlands

Decriminalize Psilocybin in Oakland

  • Activists plan to decriminalize Psilocybin in Oakland

Decriminalize Psilocybin in Denver

  • It will be voted on, on May 7th
  • Joe believes all drugs should be decriminalized
    • We need to have a compassionate drug policy
    • Placing people in jail for non-violent offences tears apart families
    • We should not favor one drug over another in terms of decriminalization

Use of Psychedelics to do War More Effectively

Harm Reduction

  • Joe mentions conversation he had with a friend of the show
    • He mentioned that Ayahuasca sometimes has mold on it
    • Ayahuasca is labor intensive to make, so they make it once and then it grows mold
    • Then people come and drink the mold infested Aya and it can make a person more sick than they need to be
  • “If you have the option to be more safe, should you be?”
  • If we have less harm and less deaths in the drug world over time, in the next 5 or 6 years we are going to see huge benefits with these substances
  • Staying out of jail, not dying, and by being safer with drugs we have more of a chance to influence policy and make these substances and drug checking more available for the future culture

About Joe

Joe studied philosophy in New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A.. After stumbling upon the work of Stanislav Grof during his undergraduate years, Joe began participating in Holotropic Breathwork workshops in Vermont in 2003. Joe helped facilitate Holotropic and Transpersonal Breathwork workshops while he spent his time in New England. He is now working in the software industry as well as hosting a few podcasts. Joe now coordinates Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork workshops, in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Mar 12, 2019


In this episode Kyle and Joe sit down and discuss Esketamine, a new FDA approved drug that is a derivative of Ketamine. They invite quotes from professionals who have experience with generic Ketamine and to voice their opinions.

3 Key Points:

  1. Janssen Pharmaceutica has announced an FDA approved derivative of Ketamine, Esketamine, called Spravato.
  2. The new drug is facing critique on its pricing, route of administration as well as functional differences when compared to the traditional, generic Ketamine.
  3. Joe and Kyle invite professionals in the field who have experience with generic Ketamine to voice their opinions, hopes and concerns about Spravato.

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Show Notes


  • Janssen Pharmaceutica, a Johnson & Johnson Subsidiary has created a derivative of Ketamine called Esketamine and has gone through the whole FDA approval process
  • There has been some concern about a big pharmaceutical company, Janssen coming in and creating a ‘new molecule’ and introducing an FDA approved ‘psychedelic’ to make generic Ketamine obsolete


  • There is going to be price differences based on routes of administration (Intravenous vs lozenges)
  • $1.59 at 100 milligrams (93% bioavailable when administered IM)
  • The list price of Esketamine through Janssen will be $590-$885 per treatment session based on the dosage taken which will vary between patients
    • During the first month of therapy, that would add up to $4720-$6785
      After the first month, maintenance therapy could range from $2300-$3500
    • Joe says Ketamine should be cheap

Scott Shannon

  • Scott Shannon, Director of the Wholeness Center
  • Joe reads a quote from Scott that says that the new Janssen Esketamine product is overpriced, the research data showed that only 2 out of 5 studies demonstrated effectiveness, and generic Ketamine is much more effective and cheaper than Esketamine


  • Insurance might cover Esketamine
  • Kyle says he hasn't heard of too many generic Ketamine sessions being covered by Insurance

Jessica Katzman

  • The approval of Esketamine by the FDA is controversial based on the route of administration, cost and functional differences
  • Only 8-50% of the Esketamine dose is effective
  • Some of the benefits of Esketamine are it's legitimizing of the existing generic
  • Ketamine use as well as an Insurance overview of Ketamine and Esketamine via cost analysis
  • Esketamine is not new, it has been around for a long time

Dr. Matt Brown

  • Physicians have been able to provide Ketamine for decades
  • Janssen was able to get the FDA to approve literally half of what generic Ketamine is
  • There are a lot of unknowns for Esketamine yet, it hasn't even hit the shelves yet
  • Kyle says Ketamine has been used to bring patients internally, like most psychedelic sessions
    • Kyle also says Ketamine is more dissociating, where classic tryptamines like psilocybin are more activating


  • Hypertension, stroke, intracranial mass/hemorrhage and cautions like pregnancy, substance abuse, etc.
  • It's pretty available in the underground, so it could have the potential for risk of abuse
  • Recreational experiences have the opportunity to be the most therapeutic and eye-opening experience
  • Audiobook - Function of Reason by Alfred North Whitehead
    • "I need not continue the discussion. The case is too clear for elaboration. Yet the trained body of physiologists under the influence of the ideas germane to their successful methodology entirely ignore the whole mass of adverse evidence. We have here a colossal example of anti-empirical dogmatism arising from a successful methodology. Evidence which lies outside the method simply does not count.

      We are, of course, reminded that the neglect of this evidence arises from the fact that it lies outside the scope of the methodology of the science. That method consists in tracing the persistence of the physical and chemical principles throughout physiological operations." - quote from Function of Reason


  • Joe invites listeners to ask questions and leave a message of opinions and such (either anonymously or using your name)
  • Google voice 970-368-3133

About Kyle

Kyle’s interest in exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness began when he was 16-years-old when he suffered a traumatic snowboarding accident. Waking up after having a near-death experience changed Kyle’s life. Since then, Kyle has earned his B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, where he studied the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness by exploring shamanism, plant medicine, Holotropic Breathwork, and the roots/benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy. Kyle has co-taught two college-level courses. One of the courses Kyle created as a capstone project, “Stanislav Grof’s Psychology of Extraordinary Experiences,” and the other one which he co-created, “The History of Psychedelics.”

Kyle is currently pursuing his M.S. in clinical mental health counseling with an emphasis in somatic psychology. Kyle’s clinical background in mental health consists of working with at-risk teenagers in crisis and with individuals experiencing an early-episode of psychosis. Kyle also facilitates Transpersonal Breathwork workshops.

About Joe

Joe studied philosophy in New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A.. After stumbling upon the work of Stanislav Grof during his undergraduate years, Joe began participating in Holotropic Breathwork workshops in Vermont in 2003. Joe helped facilitate Holotropic and Transpersonal Breathwork workshops while he spent his time in New England. He is now working in the software industry as well as hosting a few podcasts. Joe now coordinates Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork workshops, in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Mar 5, 2019


This is an exclusive interview with Elizabeth Gibson from Dreamshadow, a segment from the Psychedelics Today, Navigating Psychedelics Masterclass, Lessons on Self Care and Integration.

3 Key Points:

  1. A common mistake people make is thinking all of the work happens in the session, when really only a portion of the work happens in the session, and the rest happens afterward during integration.
  2. It's important not to isolate yourself after this work, it's important to search out people who will be understanding of your experience.
  3. Elizabeth compares journeywork to planting a seed. You can't grow a whole plant in one session, you simply plant the seed. You determine how it grows by how you water and cultivate it (integrate it), it's a process that can't be rushed.

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Show Notes


  • Integration is one of the most important aspects of work with extraordinary experiences
  • “How do you take material that's come up and bring it into your everyday life? How do you realize the benefit of the intense work that you've done?” - Elizabeth

Elizabeth's Background

  • Elizabeth has been facilitating Breathwork for 23 years
  • She was a part of MDMA trials in the 80’s when it was legal
  • Elizabeth helped edit the MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy Manual

Integrating the Experience

  • A common mistake that people make is thinking all of the work is in the session itself, but really that's only half of the work. The other half of the work happens after leaving the session, the integration.
  • Integration is about being more present with ourselves in every moment, not just yearning to get back to the state of the session
  • The long term subtle changes that happen over time are the most important
  • Stan Grof says that aerobic activity like swimming, running, etc is a way of connecting with energy and feelings that operate at deeper levels
  • Elizabeth says she likes drawing immediately after an experience to work with it symbolically, and then journaling a day or two later once she is able to verbalize her experience
    • “Just do it before you think too much about it”

Community Benefits

  • It's important not to isolate yourself after this work
    • “The principle of community is really important. We can't do this work completely on our own.” - Elizabeth
    • We are all the descendants of successful tribes
    • It's important to search out people who will be understanding of your experience
  • If there is somatic stuff happening in the body, it is a good idea to do some body work, such as deep tissue massage
  • On the other side, if we are holding the space for others who went through a session, it's important for us to make ourselves available for them
    • Just to talk and to be heard is so important on its own
  • Email follow up is tricky because a person can pour their heart out or be very vague or not get deep in their email
    • The email follow up method is also tricky because of difficult response time and interpretation of responses
  • Facebook groups can be a helpful way of finding the others and creating community to be able to reach out to understanding individuals
  • Elizabeth says it's like the analogy of seeds being planted, you decide how you want it to grow and how you cultivate it
    • Acting too quickly after an experience isn't always the best idea, its best to keep it slow

Journeywork Tips

  • Safe setting
  • Access to people who will be able to support you afterwards



About Elizabeth

Elizabeth Gibson, M.S., holds a bachelor’s degree in literature and a master’s degree in biology from The University of Tulsa. She has completed Herbert Benson’s Clinical Training in Mind/Body Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Previously she worked as a consultant at Arthur D. Little, Inc., and Radian Corporation in the areas of environmental protection and food research. She is a writer, editor and homemaker with interests in environmental literacy, yoga, music and gardening. Elizabeth is the editor of Stanislav Grof ’s The Ultimate Journey: Consciousness and the Mystery of Death and a contributor to the teaching manual MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, both published by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. For the past 12 years, she has been responsible for local news for the Town of Pawlet, and from 2008 – 2014 she was the editor of the weekly environment section for the Rutland Herald and Montpelier Times Argus newspapers in Vermont.

Feb 26, 2019


In this episode, Joe holds conversation with Dr. Michael Sapiro, Clinical Psychologist out of Boise, Idaho. They cover topics surrounding how meditation and mindfulness intersect with psychedelia as well as psychic ability, altered states and integration.

3 Key Points:

  1. Meditation and psychedelics have a lot of overlap such as ego dissolution and unity.
  2. Dr. Sapiro believes that meditation and mindfulness bring personal awakening in order to create collective transformation.
  3. Both meditation and psychedelics are the most beneficial when they are integrated into our waking life and when we use our experiences to help others and our planet.

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Show Notes

About Dr. Michael Sapiro

  • Attended John F Kennedy University where he received his PsyD
  • He focused on meditation research at the Institute of Noetic Sciences
  • He is from Chicago, IL
  • He spent time in Thailand for the Peace Corps
  • A lot of his experience was from his time in the Bay Area
  • There is more data coming out about awareness based meditative states and psychedelic states and how they relate subjectively to each other

Dr. Sapiro’s Practice

  • Transformational Psychology, Integration based
  • He integrates the Buddhist Dharma, Western Psychology, Non-dual meditation and philosophy, and Noetic Sciences into his practice
  • Michael sees 20-28 patients a week
  • Kashmir Shaivism
    • It's a dissolving type of experience, Its a non-dualistic style of tradition
    • The non-dual tradition helps one just be “whole and unbroken” and focus on the present and now
  • He does the human work in the Buddhism Dharma style, and the spiritual work with the restful piece of being in the now, the focus being integration


  • His vision has been on enhancing personal awakening in order to create collective transformation
  • He wants to help communities and states and nations to transform via individual awakening
  • He has worked with law enforcement agents, military vets, community members, a variety of people at different levels all the way from grounding to stability to thriving
  • He always ends each Sangha with saying 'take this work and apply it to your neighbors'
    • A Sangha is a buddhist community of monks/individuals in support of each other
  • “People have such a deep connection to nature when you come out of the psychedelic experience. You start taking care of the environment differently than before went you went in.” - Michael
    • “We now have data on greater environmental concern and stewardship after the psychedelic experience.” - Joe
    • People who are consciously interacting with things outside of themselves have a greater care for those things. “If I am hurting the world I am hurting myself.” - Michael
    • “Hopefully one of the bigger things that come out of the psychedelic movement are greater levels of environmentalism and global stewardship” - Joe
  • The psychedelic movement helps us see systems that are made up are a part of our tangible reality and our responsibility to take care of the people in the systems
    • We can use psychedelics and meditation, and integration from these experiences, to see how we can operate in these systems and help people find resources in these systems

Dr. Sapiro’s Work

  • He teaches as Esalen Institute leading workshops
  • One of his colleagues has reached over 200,000 people with their work since 2011
  • His goal isn't to be the lead, but the support of leaders, especially women because he feels the need for a balance and the need for more female leaders
  • Michael says he loves surrounding himself around ‘world-changers’ and loves doing anything to be around them and learn from them

Boise, Idaho

  • Michael says its surprisingly conscious state
  • Its very community oriented
  • There are 6-7 Buddhist Sanghas, groups of dedicated folks to their practice
  • There is a lot of nature and nature is Dharma, it is the teacher

Psychic Ability and Altered States

  • It's very normal for humans to have psychic experiences
    • All of us have access to these states, we just have to tap into them
    • Michael encourages people to accept and cultivate these experiences
    • It may be better to accept these experiences than to deny them
  • There is a difference between energetic flow and psychosis
    • Crazy Wise is a documentary that touches on spiritual emergence issues

The Overlap of Psychedelic States and Meditation

  • The Institute of Noetic Sciences had a program called The Future of Meditation Research
    • They found in the research that they were only looking at reducing anxiety and depression, the clinical applications
    • But they found that more than half of the people experienced psychic phenomenon, mystical experiences, terrifying experiences, the things that overlap/correlate with psychedelic experiences
    • Both meditative and psychedelic experiences point to ego dissolution and unity at the same time
  • Ego and anxiety both have wisdom in them, we don't want to lose them completely, but learn how to balance them and use them wisely
  • “We need to be mindful of how we integrate what we learn in the psychedelic/meditative state into our waking life” - Michael
  • “How can meditation and psychedelics lend themselves to being the best version of ourselves while committing to others well being? That is what I am most passionate about.” - Michael
  • David Trellen and Willoughby Britton - Trauma Sensitive Mindfulness
  • “If we are choosing to be more compassionate to our fellow humans and the earth, let’s not tough it out, let's help each other.” - Joe
    • “Let’s do the work that it takes to heal it.” - Michael
  • Be open, be curious. What might meditation be able to bring to personal awakening in order to create collective transformation?



About Dr. Michael Sapiro

Michael Sapiro, PsyD, is a psychologist, meditation teacher, and former Buddhist monk. He lives and works on the frontier of spirituality, social justice, science, and psychology. He earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University and holds a Master’s in English Studies. He is a consultant with the Institute of Noetic Sciences and is on faculty at Esalen Institute. Michael is the founder of Maitri House Yoga and was trained for 20 years in both traditional Yoga philosophy and lifestyle, and Buddhist meditation. In his treatment he integrates Western psychological interventions with meditation and awareness practices. He finds the greatest healing comes from living a life of presence, vulnerability, and awareness. At Sage he will fully integrate Yoga philosophy and life-style within the treatment.

Feb 19, 2019

In this episode Joe interviews, Richie Ogulnick, a long time Ibogaine provider and enthusiast. During the show they discuss Ibogaine and Addiction-Interruption Therapy.

3 Key Points:

  1. Ibogaine is a compound found in the Tabernanthe Iboga plant that has been used to treat opioid and other addictions.
  2. Ibogaine has shown to have the power to reset the biochemistry of a person to a non-addictive state, and reduce/eliminate the agonizing symptoms of withdrawal, allowing a person to heal from an addiction.
  3. The combination of Ibogaine, relocation and integration therapy is the best scenario for healing someone and preventing them from relapse.

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Show Notes

About Richie

  • In 1989 he was Introduced to Ibogaine while visiting family and friends in New York
  • Its an alkaloid extracted from a West African shrub
  • He was ready to fall in love with doing something with purpose
  • He came across an article about a corporation called NDA created by Howard Lotsof
    • When Howard (a heroine addict) was 19 years old, a chemist gave him a dose of Ibogaine
    • A few days later, he realized he “wasn't afraid” and then he realized he wasn't having opioid withdrawals
  • In “Needle Park”, a park in New York, heroin addicts come there for free needles
    • Richie’s dream was to dose all the addicts with Ibogaine, and that only a quarter of them would show up to Needle Park because they were not addicted anymore
  • He brought 13 grams of Ibogaine back from Africa with him
  • He received a chapter from a book (Healing Journey) called Ibogaine: Fantasy and Reality by Claudio Naranjo
  • People were coming from all over the world to receive Ibogaine treatments
  • It was 15 years where he conducted over 750 psycho-spiritual and addiction-interception sessions underground
  • Upon training people, those people would then go and open their own treatment centers in Mexico, abroad, etc.

What is Iboga

  • Tabernanthe Iboga is the plant
  • Ibogaine Hydrochloride is the best product to use to interrupt addiction and symptoms of withdrawal from an addiction
  • Ibogaine is safe as long as someone has had an EKG that has been looked at very closely for any red flags
  • Other than cardiac risk and previous suicidality, schizophrenia, psychotic breaks there aren't many more threats to being treated with Ibogaine

The Miracle Compound

  • “There is a miracle compound in ibogaine. There is nothing I have come across on the planet that can reset the biochemistry to a pre-addictive state, that can bring a person to make a choice without the agony of the symptoms of withdrawal.” - Richie
  • There is a 36 hour window where a person has a life review, what brought them to the addictive process in the first place, the person's willingness and maturity
    • It creates a symbiotic relationship for a person to explore themselves with insight
  • Relapse is possible if they don't work on the reason they became addicted in the first place
  • It's the witness component that Ibogaine delivers that helps people process through their addiction
  • Ibogaine as a molecule has a really pharmacologically complex, alien like structure


  • Justin Hoffman, a DJ in Las Vegas runs Holistic House, a facility where people get to relax and get out of their previous context for a week or two after treatment
  • If a family wanted to help out their family member who is addicted to heroine, Richie says that he asks the family about relocation because it's a big part of reducing relapse
  • He also says that finding a proper therapist to help afterward is huge too
  • The combination of Ibogaine, relocation and integration therapy is the best scenario for healing someone and preventing them from relapse

Big Pharma’s Impact

  • Joe says how he got a message from Dana Biel, talking about how the harm reduction movement has been manipulated by the ‘Big Pharma’ industry, especially suboxone
    • Richie says that drugs like suboxone are prescribed to be used everyday for the rest of someone's life, and Ibogaine is a “one-time-only” style drug that doesn't require alot of money to heal people
    • Ibogaine is not profitable so its not attractive to Big Pharma
    • “Ibogaine will never hit the streets like LSD did. It's not a recreational experience, it's a long, daunting 3 stage process.” - Richie

Use Cases

  • He knows of a story where these two ladies took Ibogaine daily for their Parkinson's, and as soon as they stopped taking Ibogaine, they got their symptoms back
  • He knows of another lady who had been walking with a cane and upon taking Ibogaine she was walking a mile around her neighborhood without her cane

Final Thoughts

  • Joe asks if Richie thinks we are over harvesting Iboga
    • There is the Wakanga tree that contains a small amount of Ibogaine, so he thinks we are okay
  • Ibogaine is an important subject because a lot of people are dying from opiates
  • Ibogaine is available in Portugal but it hasn't had much activity
  • It can be used for therapeutic use as well as addiction-interruption



Richie Ogulnick is a long time Ibogaine provider and enthusiast Over the course of fifteen and a half years, he conducted about 750 sessions, including addiction-interruption treatments. He spent the next several years referring close to 1,000 more people to other ibogaine providers. During that time, he also trained doctors and ex-addicts who opened ibogaine centers throughout the world. Richie feels a pull to focus again on the more therapeutic and psycho-spiritual treatments where he is able to offer his expertise in ibogaine treatment along with his knowledge of reintegration with individuals who are looking to deepen and enrich their life experience.

Feb 12, 2019


In this Episode, Joe interviews Brad Burge, Director of Strategic Communications at MAPS. In this episode they discuss the Phase 3 Trial for MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy, contradictions and Expanded Access.

3 Key Points:

  1. MAPS is about to run Phase 3 Trials of MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy
  2. If MDMA passes this third phase, it will still be tricky to get insurance involved. But the cost of one series of MDMA Therapy is much cheaper than a lifetime of typical pharmaceutical drugs and therapy sessions to heal PTSD.
  3. The only reason for-profit companies haven't gotten involved before was because there wasn't a promise on their investment. Finally, for-profit companies (like Compass Pathways) are interested in advancing these medicines (Psilocybin and MDMA).

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Show Notes


Phase 3 Study

  • They are now in Phase 3 Trials
  • They started recruiting at 14 sites (US, Canada and Israel) and are recruiting 150 volunteers with severe PTSD
  • Participation

The Future of MDMA Assisted Therapy

  • Breakthrough Therapy Designation
  • After phase 3 trials, if all goes well, it would mean that MDMA would be the drug to be used (only) alongside Psychotherapy
  • MAPS is training therapists, counselors and social workers
    • One way to get more people educated who are interested in this would be taking therapy interns in and having them gain credits for interning and learning alongside trained therapists


  • Expanded Access is known as ‘compassionate use’, a program by the FDA that allows people to receive a treatment that is still in trials
  • In order to administer the therapy you are required to get a DEA schedule 1 license
  • “If there’s one thing that changes public perspective on psychedelic therapy, its individual stories of people who have been healed, transformed by or positively or even negatively affected by them in some way” - Brad
  • They have published many studies of the trials
    • The most recent was the Boulder study, 76% of people didn't have PTSD a year after MDMA assisted therapy
  • Insurance won't cover expanded access, it will have to pass Phase 3 trials until insurance can be used in MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy
  • The MDMA is a very small cost (fraction) of the total cost, it’s the hours on hours of psychotherapy that cost so much
  • But the cost of one MDMA Therapy Session process is much cheaper than a lifetime of pharmaceutical drugs and therapy sessions to heal PTSD


  • Joe says he hears this strange argument that people say “giving soldiers MDMA just makes war easier”
    • Brad says it's not about putting these people back into war, it's about healing the retired veterans to help them adapt back into their everyday life
    • “MDMA Assisted Psychotherapy is going to make them a better lover not a better fighter” - Brad
    • “If there's one commonality in psychedelic experiences, its that things are connected.” - Brad

Compass Pathways

  • Joe mentions that people are scared to see a business come in that's acting like a normal pharmaceutical company
  • MAPS is not tied at all with Compass Pathways
  • Out of the top two things Americans are mad about, at least one of them is the Pharmaceutical Industry
  • Finally, for-profit companies are interested in advancing these medicines (MDMA)
    • The only reason for-profit companies haven't gotten involved before was because there wasn't a promise on their investment
    • Capitalism has a tendency to put profit first
    • “Money can be used for good as well as evil” - Brad
  • MAPS has raised over 70 billion dollars all from donations
  • Compass owns its own safety data
  • Part of the goal of a patent is to protect the investment

Zendo Project

  • MAPS Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Peer Support resource

Rave Act

  • The Department of Justice announced that providing free water and harm reduction education are not violations of the rave act
  • Amend the Rave Act

Pharmaceutical MDMA

  • The pharmaceutical grade MDMA costs 800,000 for one kilogram
  • It won't be available in bottles, it will be available in bubble packs
    • More than one is never needed


  • 2021 or 2022 is the next Psychedelic Science Conference
  • Joe is starting a Psychedelic Club in Breckenridge, CO



About Brad

Brad Burge is Director of Strategic Communications at the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Brad earned his B.A. in Communication and Psychology from Stanford University in 2005 and his M.A. in Communication from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. He began working with MAPS in 2009, where he engages daily with journalists and media producers around the world to enhance public knowledge about psychedelic research, while also helping develop and evolve MAPS' brand and outreach strategy. Brad is passionate about finding healthier, more effective, and more compassionate ways for humans to work with the pharmaceutical and digital communications technologies of the 21st century. When he’s not plugged in, you’ll find him in the mountains, carrying a backpack, somewhere down a long trail.

Feb 5, 2019

In this episode, hosts Joe and Kyle sit down and engage in conversation together, covering topics such as Kyle’s capstone project, Trauma and Breath: A Clinical Approach to Trauma Resolution Utilizing Breathwork, current events, upcoming plans and the hurdles as a Psychedelic education and information company in a space of both ethical and unethical findings.

3 Key Points

  1. Kyle will be soon finishing his capstone project, Trauma and Breath: A Clinical Approach to Trauma Resolution Utilizing Breathwork.
  2. The project is on the clinical application of Breathwork Therapy. The goal will be to use an Integrative Breathwork Therapy model that can be used adjunct to Psychedelic Therapy.
  3. Joe and Kyle find out about a lot of things that are potentially harmful in the psychedelic world. They are “journalists”, but without money for legal defense. It’s a difficult time, where a lot of unethical stuff is happening around psychedelics, and Joe and Kyle feel responsible for the safety of the community.

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Show Notes


  • Kyle’s been doing an internship a few days a week and has been doing undergraduate student counselling
  • He’s been working on his capstone project that has consumed a ton of his time and energy
    • He wants to thank Elizabeth Gibson and Alan Davis who have been reviewing his capstone project for him

Breathwork Therapy Capstone

  • Writing the capstone in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program means it needed to have clinical applications
  • Kyle went to the MDMA Training in 2016, and he talked to Michael Mithoefer, who told him that if he wants to get involved, to figure out something that can be an adjunct to psychedelic therapy
    • Kyle thought that he could use an Integrative Breathwork Therapy model that could then be used adjunct to Psychedelic Therapy

Styles of Breathing

  • A deep, slow belly breath can be very activating to the parasympathetic nervous system that calms the body down
  • A fast, intense breath can be more active and can bring out traumas

The Phases

  • Phase 1: Grounding and Emotional Regulation (slow, deep breath, the therapeutic alliance)
    • They screen for people that have had a traumatic experience, spiritual emergence or psychosis in the last 6 months so they know where to start with a patient
    • They use a capscore (a test that looks at the severity of someone’s PTSD) to determine where to start in therapy
    • Joe mentions that it would be beneficial to see what level of capscore a patient responds positively or negatively to a Breathwork session
  • Phase 2: Using Breathwork in a somatic processing phase
    • Stage 1: Somatic experiencing (helping people breathe into the sensations in the body)
      • The body has a ‘secret language’, of how our body holds onto trauma
      • Turning inward and being more in touch with inner sensations (tightness, heat, etc)
    • Stage 2: A more activating of “blockages” by intensifying or speeding up the breath
  • Phase 3: Outside of the clinical scope, placing someone in a full group, 3 hour Breathwork that might bring up collective traumas or spiritual experiences
    • The goal would be to get people through therapy to get them to the larger group process, create community and form social connections
    • It needs to start with the clinical space, one-on-one to generate trust. Once they have that trust and confidence, they can go out and explore the more transpersonal and spiritual aspect of themselves

Bandwidth in Communication

  • We have modems, cable, fiber optics, 3g, 4g, 5g cell networks, etc.
  • Video communication, phone conversation is great, but it's 2D
  • When its in person, depth of field kicks in, you're able to see body language and intonation
  • Living in a tribe of 150 people and creating community, we'd be using our full bandwidth, bringing the human organism back to its full capacity
  • "Therapists get taught clinical practices, but they aren't taught about theory and practice of trauma” - Joe

Psychedelic News Responsibility

  • MAPS just published an article about an online Breathwork workshop
    • Joe says its not a bad thing, but there are risks by not having an in person facilitator
  • “We find out about a lot of things that are potentially harmful in the psychedelic world, our relationship to coming out about that stuff is tricky. Yes, we are “journalists”, but without money for legal defense.” - Joe
    • Joe says he feels responsibility for safety in the community
    • Kyle says the psychedelic community sometimes feels like the wild west due to the lack of education. “When unethical stuff arises, what is our responsibility?” - Kyle
    • “We are trying to understand our future, and not put ourselves in a bad place, all while keeping you all safe and continuing to serve the community” - Joe
  • How LSD alters our consciousness

Psychedelics Today Books

Trip Journal
Integration Workbook
Both books will be on Amazon for purchase in the next few weeks

Arizona Psychedelic Conference

  • Arizona Psychedelic Conference
    • Joe and Kyle will be guiding 2 Breathwork workshops
    • They are excited to connect and meet people
  • Kyle and Joe will be going to another conference in March
    • The title of the conference is “Can Exceptional Experiences Save Humans, from Ecological Crisis”
    • “If were going to survive on earth, we've got to be a little more global. We are all linked to this spaceship that we are traveling through space on, and there are limited resources on this thing. We are answering a lot of these questions through psychedelics” - Joe

About Kyle

Kyle’s interest in exploring non-ordinary states of consciousness began when he was 16-years-old when he suffered a traumatic snowboarding accident. Waking up after having a near-death experience changed Kyle’s life. Since then, Kyle has earned his B.A. in Transpersonal Psychology, where he studied the healing potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness by exploring shamanism, plant medicine, Holotropic Breathwork, and the roots/benefits of psychedelic psychotherapy. Kyle has co-taught two college-level courses. One of the courses Kyle created as a capstone project, “Stanislav Grof’s Psychology of Extraordinary Experiences,” and the other one which he co-created, “The History of Psychedelics.”

Kyle is currently pursuing his M.S. in clinical mental health counseling with an emphasis in somatic psychology. Kyle’s clinical background in mental health consists of working with at-risk teenagers in crisis and with individuals experiencing an early-episode of psychosis. Kyle also facilitates Transpersonal Breathwork workshops.

About Joe

Joe studied philosophy in New Hampshire, where he earned his B.A.. After stumbling upon the work of Stanislav Grof during his undergraduate years, Joe began participating in Holotropic Breathwork workshops in Vermont in 2003. Joe helped facilitate Holotropic and Transpersonal Breathwork workshops while he spent his time in New England. He is now working in the software industry as well as hosting a few podcasts. Joe now coordinates Dreamshadow Transpersonal Breathwork workshops, in Breckenridge, Colorado.

Jan 29, 2019


In this episode, Kyle and Joe host Rebecca Ann Hill and David Jay Brown, Authors of the book, Women of Visionary Art. The book showcases the work and inspiration of female artists such as Josephine Wall, Allison Grey, Amanda Sage, Martina Hoffman, Carolyn Mary Kleefeld and many others.

3 Key Points:

  1. Rebecca Ann Hill and David Jay Brown are co-authors of the book, Women of Visionary Art, which includes discussions with 18 female artists.
  2. The book and the episode are an exploration of the role that dreaming, psychedelic experiences, and mystical visions play in visionary art.
  3. There is a strong need for a balancing of masculine and feminine energies. Females tend to be more nurturing and more cooperative, and it's exactly the factors that are missing in our current world and are causing problems of greed.

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Show Notes

About David

  • David’s background is in Psychobiology, the interface between psychology and biology
  • He spent 10-15 years working in neuroscience and research labs
    • His interest in Neuroscience came from his experience as a teenager, experimenting with psychedelics
  • He wrote his first book, The Science of Psychedelics, about 10 years ago
  • David mentions that the psychedelic renaissance has allowed him to write openly about psychedelic topics that he’s been preparing his whole life researching for

About Rebecca

  • aka Molly Moon Sparkles
  • She has a huge creative drive
  • She is currently studying psychology and is playing in the art program
  • She is fascinated by entheogens, plant medicines and psychedelic compounds
  • She is a painter and is working on the Molly Moon Magick Series that focuses on the divine feminine
  • She wrote and illustrated the book Ecstatic Love, Lost Dreams and Mystic Visions

Psychedelics and Creativity

Putting the Book Together

  • David was so fascinated with the visions he would see on psychedelics and wished that he had the talent to portray it through artwork, and then he began to see artists bring these visions to life
  • He also saw a lot of gender inequality, that there were more men than women in the visionary art space
    • It urged him to highlight the under recognized women in visionary art
  • Rebecca was experimenting with other realms with plant medicines and psychedelic compounds
    • She says her consciousness was so drastically different from any other time in her life, and she started painting her psychedelic experiences
    • This led her to begin building community with other artists who shared the same ‘vision’ as her
    • She said that the psychedelic experience has so much feminine nature to it that wasn't being voiced
    • “We are going through a serious ecological crisis right now and the teachings behind the psychedelic experience is to heal the collective and help climate change” - Rebecca
  • Stanley Krippner conducted a survey of artists and psychedelics

The Imbalance of Masculine and Feminine

  • There is an uprising of feminism with the “Me Too” movement, women in congress, women’s marches
  • Our species has been so dominated by men and we need the nurturing and caring aspects of the feminine perspective

Surprising Aspects of the Women

  • The most surprising aspect is how much in common the women had
  • David says it was beautiful how well each artist was connected to each other through their stories
  • Laura Holden is completely self taught
  • There were two women from the book that had never touched a psychedelic substance
    • They were inspired through dreams and daydreams
  • The psychedelic experience not only inspires the artwork, but it creates a new way of viewing artwork
  • Kyle mentions that he always wished he could record his dreams
    • Joe says he has been seeing research around capturing visual or imagined imagery

Discovering the Artists

  • David discovered most of the artists that he had not previously known through the community Rebecca had been a part of as visionary artists

COSM and Entheon

  • August 3rd, Rebecca and David are giving a presentation as COSM in New York
  • Entheon, the Sanctuary for Visual art may be open by them
    • Entheon will have workshops, painting classes, rooms to stay in, full moon ceremonies, etc.
    • It will be an art sanctuary, a church with a spiritual and psychedelic essence
  • Visionary art is getting into museums and becoming a recognized art form

The Desperate Need for Balance

  • Terrence McKenna told David that early on in human civilization, men didn't understand the role that sex had in creating babies
    • The power of reproduction was within women and sex was something else
    • Once men began thinking that they were responsible for the generation of life, they starting saying its “my baby” its “my wife” instead of ‘our’ baby or the community’s baby. It kept developing into “my child” into “my country”, “MY”.
    • Then people started using less psychedelics and started consuming more alcohol and now everything is an over exaggerated male dominance
    • “Females tend to be more nurturing and more cooperative, and it's exactly the factors that are missing in our current world and are causing problems of greed. It could be balanced and harmonized with more feminine energy.” - David
  • There is a crucial imbalance from male and female in history alone
    • But more than an imbalance between just males and females, it's about an imbalance of masculine and feminine energies
    • Each of us, male and females have both a masculine and feminine energy
    • We can see the masculine and feminine imbalance in the world and our planet right now. We don't need to shift to a goddess worshiping planet, but we just need to be back in balance and bring more feminine energy of nurturing and compassion and caring and healing
  • Penny (an artist highlighted in the book) mentions about Sandos giving LSD to researchers who gave it to artists

Getting Involved

  • “If you want to get involved in painting, dancing, making jewelry, clothing, gardening, don't wait. Do it. If you are true to yourself and your own inner visions, you will succeed” - Rebecca
  • One thing all artists have in common is fear and insecurity, so you can't let it hinder you from beginning

Final Thoughts

  • Artists like Android Jones are doing visionary artwork in virtual reality mediums
  • David thinks visionary artwork will become only even more interactive and immersive spaces
  • We need to find a more yin-yang balance between masculine and feminine


Women of Visionary Art (Amazon)
Women of Visionary Art (Inner Traditions)
David’s Site
Rebecca’s Site
MollyMoonSparkle blog

About Rebecca

Rebecca Ann Hill (AKA Molly Moon Sparkle), is a visual artist with a wide range of experience in different creative mediums. She is the co-author and illustrator of “Ecstatic Love, Lost Dreams & Mystic Visions”, as well as “Women of Visionary Art.” Primarily a painter, she is creating a new series entitled “Molly Moon Magick,” and her other projects include dancing with “Gold Town Burlesque,” writing a blog -“Go Ask Molly”- and working on a new book about her spiritual awakening.

About David

David Jay Brown is the author of Dreaming Wide Awake: Lucid Dreaming, Shamanic Healing and Psychedelics, and The New Science of Psychedelics: At the Nexus of Culture, Consciousness, and Spirituality. He is also the coauthor of five other bestselling volumes of interviews with leading-edge thinkers, Mavericks of the Mind, Voices from the Edge, Conversations on the Edge of the Apocalypse, Mavericks of Medicine, Frontiers of Psychedelic Consciousness, and of Women of Visionary Art. Additionally, Brown is the author of two science fiction novels,Brainchild and Virus, and he is the coauthor of the health science book Detox with Oral Chelation. Brown holds a master’s degree in psychobiology from New York University, and was responsible for the California-based research in two of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake’s books on unexplained phenomena in science: Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home and The Sense of Being Stared At. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Wired, Discover, and Scientific American, and he was the Senior Editor of the special edition, themed MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Bulletins from 2007 to 2012. In 2011, 2012, and 2013 Brown was voted “Best Writer” in the annual Good Times and Santa Cruz Weekly’s “Best of Santa Cruz” polls, and his news stories have been picked up by The Huffington Post and CBS News.

Jan 22, 2019

In this episode, hosts Kyle and Joe interview Balázs Szigeti, PhD and David Erritzoe, PhD to discuss the self-blinded microdosing study in collaboration with the Imperial College London.
In this episode, they explore the self-blinding study and it’s pros and limitations, with the aim to collect data on microdosing and its possible benefits.

3 Key Points:

  1. Microdosing (LSD) has the least amount of research so far among research on drugs like Psilocybin, MDMA and Ketamine.
  2. This microdosing study includes a procedure on how self experimenters can implement placebo control. This will help determine whether microdosers feel benefits due to the placebo effect or because of the pharmacological action of the microdose.
  3. Just because microdosing may have a placebo effect (the way a user feels while taking it) it may actually have benefits that one cannot necessarily ‘feel’ (users may become more creative, have better problem solving skills, etc).

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Show Notes

About Balázs

  • Balazs attended his undergrad in the UK at Imperial College and studied Theoretical Physics
  • He moved to Scotland to get his PhD in Computational Neuroscience
  • He became interested in psychedelics via the Global Drug Survey
  • He was doing MDMA research and then the microdosing project came to him

About David

  • He is a medical doctor and works in clinical psychology doing research
  • He does brain imaging and his background has been in addiction, depression and schizophrenia
  • He did his postdoc at Imperial and worked with Robert Carhart Harris
  • He worked in a clinical trial working with people of treatment resistant depression
  • He is currently working on an online survey for microdosing

Psychedelic Medicine

  • MDMA for PTSD is the most advanced in terms of available scientific evidence for psychedelic medicine
  • There is already a big gap in psilocybin vs MDMA for treatment
  • There isn't much research on microdosing yet
    • In order to do research on microdosing, you'd have to bring in a ‘patient’ and have them in the lab for many hours at a time, very frequently, and it's not practical

The Microdosing Study

  • In this microdosing study, they are testing cognitive function
    • The user will have to fill out a questionnaire throughout the duration of the microdose
  • There were a lot of things, very political for the downfall of psychedelic science
  • When the double-blind method was introduced for science, it used methods that would have compromised the ‘setting’ of taking psychedelics
  • There is a manual that the users have to follow for the setup process
    • Its a semi-randomized process where they take the microdose over 4 weeks and it may be either the psychedelic or a placebo
    • It works on a method of a dose hidden in a capsule assigned to a QR code, where the user doesn't know what they take until the end of the study
  • This is a study inviting people that plan to microdose a blotter based psychedelic
    • Its a hands-off study of observation, based on a users own plan on taking the substance

Limitations of the Study

  • Its half-way between a clinical study and an observational study
  • They aren't sending the users the LSD, they are just providing the platform for the users to share their experience on
  • In this trial, the flaw is that the research team doesn't know the dose size of the blotter the user takes, it could start as a 100mg, more, less. Its a variable that cannot be controlled
    • The fix would be to have the LSD sent to the lab, tested for dose size, and then sent back to the user (anonymously), but since it's illegal it cannot be done
    • It's also hard to determine even distribution of a blotter into microdose size
    • They don't know if the user is cutting the blotter paper like a pie or in squares
  • Also, because the drug is being bought on the black market, they wont know if there are adulterants in the drug unless the user tests the drug themselves
    • David and Balázs also say that based on current findings, most LSD tested is pure LSD, where a drug like MDMA is more common to contain an adulterant
  • They do have plans to extend the study to include plant based psychedelics and volumetric dosing

What is a Psychedelic Microdose?

  • Psychedelic microdosing is not the same as Pharmacological microdosing
  • A microdose in pharmacological context is 1/100th of a dose, where a psychedelic microdose is more like 1/10th of a dose

Is Microdosing Worth it?

  • People like David Nichols and Ben Sessa think microdosing is pointless
    • It could be that microdosing is a glorified placebo effect
  • Most people who are microdosing have had previous experience with psychedelics
    • People are doing it because they believe there is a benefit that comes from it
  • The placebo control is the most important component of this self-blinded method
  • People say that microdosing stimulates their creativity, but creativity is hard to measure
  • One thing they could measure is personality through a personality assessment
    • One thing that has been studied is an increase in the ‘Openness’ personality trait after psychedelic use
    • The flaw is that a personality test is a person answering questions about themselves

Current Findings

  • The benefit of this study, is it doesn't take people out of their natural, personal setting
  • Based on the feedback already received, the users are getting their guess right only half of the time, on whether it is the microdose or the placebo
  • Just because microdosing may have a placebo effect (the way they feel while taking it) it may actually have benefits (users may be more creative, have better problem solving skills, etc).
  • Homeopathy is widely believed to be a placebo effect in the scientific community, but the homeopathy is continuing to grow


Self-blinding Microdose Study

About Balázs Szigeti, PhD

Dr. Balazs Szigeti has studied theoretical physics at Imperial College, but turned towards neuroscience for his PhD studies at the University of Edinburgh. His main work is about the behavioural neuroscience of invertebrates, but he has a diverse scientific portfolio that includes computational neuroscience and driving forward the OpenWorm open science initiative. Balazs is also the editor of the Dose of Science blog that is published in collaboration with the Drugreporter website. Dose of Science discusses and critically assesses scientific studies about recreational drugs. Recently Balazs has started a collaboration with the Global Drug Survey to quantitatively compare the dose of recreational users of various drugs with the scientific literature.

About David Erritzoe, PhD

Dr. David Erritzoe is qualified as a medical doctor from Copenhagen University Medical School and currently holds an Academic Clinical Lectureship in Psychiatry at Imperial College London. Alongside his clinical training in medicine/psychiatry, David has been involved in psychopharmacological research, using brain-imaging techniques such as PET and MRI. He has conducted post-doc imaging research in the neurobiology of addictions and major depression. Together with Prof Nutt and Dr Carhart-Harris he is also investigating the neurobiology and therapeutic potential of MDMA and classic psychedelics.

Jan 15, 2019


In this episode, Joe interviews Nathan Sepeda, a Research Coordinator at Johns Hopkins. Joe and Nathan cover topics on 5-MEO-DMT research and survey studies, the difference between synthetic and toad sourced 5-MEO-DMT, the sustainability of the Bufo Alvarius toad, and the benefits of a proper facilitator.

3 Key Points:

  1. 5-MEO-DMT is starting to gain traction in the research world. The conversation continues on whether the synthetic 5-MEO-DMT experience is any different from a 5-MEO-DMT experience sourced from the toad venom.
  2. As the popularity of 5-MEO-DMT increases, concerns about the wellbeing and sustainability of the Bufo Alvarius toad also increases.
  3. Proper facilitation has been shown to affect a person’s experience on a substance like 5-MEO-DMT. The use of a practitioner, finding the substance from a reputable source, and integration all play a critical role in the user's experience.

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Show Notes


  • Joe found out about Nathan Sepeda and the work being done on 5-MEO-DMT after Johns Hopkins released a poster on 5-MEO-DMT
  • Alan Davis put together a survey about people’s 5-MEO-DMT experiences
  • Half of the use was recreational, and then the other half of survey participants used more of a therapeutic approach set and setting including a sitter and integration
    • The study found that the more structured the 5-MEO-DMT experience was around set and setting, the more often participants reported a more mystical experience as well as a lower likelihood of having a difficult experience
    • The survey only looked at synthetic 5-MEO-DMT
    • Using 5-MEO-DMT from a toad also runs the risk of the other toad venom constituents
  • Joe said the first time he heard about data on 5-MEO-DMT was at the Oakland Psychedelic Science Conference in 2017
    • Stan Grof had a keynote saying that 5-MEO-DMT was the future of psychiatry

Toad Conservation

  • The Bufo Alvarius toad’s population is increasingly declining
    • Joe says he knows someone who lives on the Mexican border in the Sonoran desert, and he would have toads jump into his house all the time
    • He doesn't even see them anymore
    • Joe also mentions the toads flocking to the UV street lights, and people scooping them up or even running them over
    • “How do we do less harm to living things and treat our environment better?” - Joe

Nathan’s Role at Hopkins

  • Nathan is the Research Coordinator of Psychedelic Studies at Johns Hopkins
  • He works as an Assistant Facilitator (sitter) for the psychoactive drug sessions
  • He is involved in Psilocybin studies (currently the depression study)
  • He says he is grateful to be a part of the research, seeing people change in a matter of days from the help of the substances
  • Nathan has a background in Psychology and Neuroscience
  • Mary Cosimano is the primary facilitator for all of the studies at Johns Hopkins
    • His training consisted of mock sessions, ways to ask/answer questions, and overall hold the space
  • A lot of people will describe their experience being the most spiritual experience of their life
  • Joe asks about upset stomach with synthetic 5-MEO-DMT
    • Nathan responds saying they ask patients to eat a light breakfast, but he never really sees upset stomach with synthetic 5-MEO

Proper Facilitation

  • The use of a practitioner and finding the substance from a reputable source are the two biggest factors in having a great experience, along with integration
    • Nathan says that these findings are preliminary but they are a great start to data on the substance and its use
  • Joe says he is cautious about the religious affiliation people prescribe to their experience with these substances
    • It can get out of hand, there are “shamans” that taze people or throw buckets of cold water on their patients when they are on the substance
    • Waterboarding, sexual assault, all of these things speak to the value of screening practitioners
  • Joe has heard about a facilitator using an extremely high amount of 5-MEO-DMT on his patients, far above the effective dose
  • Joe mentions a story about a “shaman” who was to facilitate a session. The participant thought they were going to do standard DMT, and the shaman gave them 5-MEO-DMT instead (without the users consent)
    • Joe suggests that just because you know a reputable source for a substance, doesn't mean they are a good facilitator

Final Thoughts

  • People can find information on the study at
  • People can apply by contacting Nathan’s team directly
    • They will have room for healthy volunteers in healthy volunteer studies in the future
    • They are currently working on “insight surveys” that are surveys asking people about their psychedelic experiences


Hopkins Psychedelic Research Website

About Nathan Sepeda

Nathan Sepeda is an assistant facilitator (or guide) for psychoactive drug sessions and research coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit. Nathan earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Minnesota studying psychology and neuroscience. His interests in addiction and mood disorders, in combination with the promising research with psychedelics, have led Nathan to Dr. Roland Griffiths’ lab. Nathan is involved in a number of projects investigating the effects of various psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, salvinorin-A, and 5-MeO-DMT.

Jan 8, 2019


In this episode, Kyle interviews Dr. Jenifer Talley, Clinical Psychologist and Assistant Director at the Center for Optimal Living that does harm reduction in psychotherapy. Topics include the current stigma of substance use and the benefits of using a harm reduction approach.

3 Key Points:

  1. Dr. Jenifer Talley is a Clinical Psychologist at the Center for Optimal Living who practices harm reduction with her psychotherapy clients.
  2. Substance abuse is typically a symptom of a bigger issue. Jenifer uses a model called the 7 Therapeutic Tasks that helps build a safe relationship with her clients in adjusting their substance abuse mindset.
  3. There is a stigma on substance use, and shifting away from the current model into a harm reduction framework could help users be more receptive to change and healing.

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Show Notes

About Dr. Jenifer Talley

  • Jenifer grew up outside of DC and moved up to New York area for her internship and was working with female survivors of trauma and substance use at St. Luke's Hospital.
  • Dr. Tatarsky has founded the Center for Optimal Living and she is the Assistant Director
  • The Center for Optimal Living is known best for their work with substance use and harm reduction

Substance Abuse

  • Jenifer says that 'abstinence only' or 'abstinence first' approach doesn't really work
    • It's all about determining the relationship the patients want to have with a substance
  • People really struggle with vulnerability and trauma is a player as to why someone wants to use a substance
    • “Substance use is a symptom of a bigger issue” - Jenifer
  • It's unfair to ask someone to change without asking the whole system to change

7 Therapeutic Tasks

  • The Therapeutic Alliance - Letting the client know they can trust them
  • The Therapeutic Relationship Heals - Jenifer says they are sensitive about creating a safe therapeutic relationship with clients
  • Enhancing Self Management Skills - How to better help with coping skills, shifting how people relate to cravings
    • “What’s driving my urge to go for a drink right now?”
    • Loneliness, boredom and sadness are reasons for craving
  • Assessment as Treatment - What was the craving, how did they respond to that craving, how did they give into the craving, how did they feel afterward
    • When Friday night rolls around, can the client picture the guilt and shame of Monday morning in that moment?
  • Embracing Ambivalence - The client might have different parts of themselves, one part of them may want to really work on healing and change, and the other part of them might never want to change
  • Goal Setting - helping clients think through bigger lifestyle changes they want to make, such as diet, self care activities, and specific substance use related goals
  • Personalized Plan for Change - asking people to really evaluate their use

Substance Use Stigma

  • How do we not be judgmental about someone's substance use, and care about their safety?
  • Jenifer says she feels very protective about people she works with, and is very sensitive to her clients because of the shame about their drug use

Clients Under the Influence

  • Jenifer asks herself “does this person need medical attention right now?”
  • She had a client that came in intoxicated but they were able to have a conversation still
    • But she didn't let him go home because the fact that he drank
    • She gave him food and water and waited until he was able to get home safely
    • She thought about it from a compassionate approach and thought “what is that telling us about his use?” and the next time the client came in they said their drinking was hardly manageable

Harm Reduction Model

  • There is a gap in training as clinicians as providers
  • In the US specifically, the 12 step process and abstinence are used which are a part of the disease model
  • There is a lot of stigma and shame in calling someone an addict
  • The fear about the harm reduction model is that it is thought to lead to decriminalization
  • The other issue is that the harm reduction model is thought to not include abstinence
    • Jenifer says it does include abstinence, she just doesn't lead with the abstinence approach
  • Kyle mentions that a common thought for clinicians is “How do I incorporate a hard reduction approach without condoning drug use?”

Shifting to the Harm Reduction Model

  • Help clients build a life that they are happy with
  • 3 day training coming up
    • The training goes into the history and why there needs to be a paradigm shift in looking at addiction
    • The second and third days really go into the 7 Therapeutic Tasks
  • Because there is more funding, they are going to train the region of Florida to train the staff at the Department of Health
  • The idea of harm reduction might be less appealing to parents, so they really focus on educating parents and teens on harm reduction versus strict abstinence
  • Kyle mentions a statistic he read saying that the older generation’s vice is alcohol, and that young adults are using opioids and pills
  • Psychedelic Education and Continuing Care Program is psychedelic harm reduction

Final Thoughts

  • A harm reduction approach is necessary to teach people how to test, it could possibly save lives
  • Families for Sensible Drug Policy
  • We need to re-humanize treatment for users



Center for Optimal Living

Check out our online course, "Introduction to Psychedelics"

About Dr. Jenifer Talley

As the Assistant Director of The Center for Optimal Living, Jenifer coordinates clinical services and training activities along with providing individual psychotherapy.Together with Dr. Andrew Tatarsky, she started the first-ever Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Certificate Program. In her clinical work at The Center for Optimal Living, she provides individual psychotherapy using an integrative harm reduction framework where the focus is on developing a collaborative and compassionate relationship with my clients to promote positive change.

Jan 2, 2019

In this episode, Joe and Kyle sit down with Renn Butler, who graduated from the second ever class of Holotropic Breathwork in 1989. During the show, they discuss topics on Breathwork, Stan Grof practices, archetypal astrology and the astrological landscape we are entering in 2019.

3 Key Points:

  1. Renn Butler is an Archetypal and Holotropic Astrologer since the 70’s who uses astrology in his Breathwork practice.
  2. Stan Grof’s Internalized Protocol includes lying down with eye shades and headphones with a sober sitter. A sober sitter is more common in therapeutic settings versus the shamanistic group settings, and Renn believes there is more benefit to a sober sitter in a personal session than a group session.
  3. We are moving into a Jupiter square Neptune for all of 2019. Neptune represents our soul’s yearning to reawaken to the universal field of consciousness and Jupiter amplifies whatever it touches, so we are entering into a time of opportunity for self exploration and awakening.

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Show Notes

About Renn

  • Renn became interested in Stan Grof’s work through many conversations with Richard Tarnas in 1980, and then participated in a Grof month long session with guests like Gwen Frishkoff
    • He spent much time in Esalon
    • He remembers walking through the hallways where the mandalas from breathwork sessions were hung
  • He has been an Archetypal/Holotropic Astrologer since the 70’s

Archetypal Astrology

  • Stan Grof looked at ways to determine the content of people’s experiences in assisted psychotherapy
    • Through his friendship with Richard Tarnas, he found that people’s planetary alignments or ‘transits’ corresponded in a remarkable way with their experience in a session
  • “The purpose of astrology is to predict the meaning behind events rather than trying to determine the specific concrete forms they take.” - Renn
    • Carl Jung coined the term archetype based on the Greek word “arche”, which means ‘the forms’
    • It's the psychological meaning behind events
  • Richard learned astrology by looking at his sessions and the content of the sessions and their correlation with astrological transits
    • Based on his findings, he was able to predict the best days to do sessions

A Powerful Breathwork Session

  • Renn had Kundalini Experiences happening for 4 years
  • Transiting Pluto was conjoining his natal Neptune
    • Pluto compels into being whatever archetypes it aligns with
    • Neptune represents divine consciousness
  • He did a 5 hour breathwork session that caused him to re-live aspects of toxic womb (disturbances of intrauterine life)
    • Pluto can help clear out disturbances of the psyche
  • At the end of the session, he felt way more cleared out than he did before
    It resolved his Kundalini episode that he was in for the last few years

Kundalini Awakenings

  • Some describe it as energy moving up the spine or chakra
    • It means to clear out leftover traumatic baggage in the psyche
  • People can have emotional outbursts and start crying or screaming as they discharge the energy
    • Afterward, they will care what happens to the ecosystem and around them and want to be a part of the solution

Spiritual Emergence and Psychosis

  • Joe asks when to tell the difference between knowing if someone is going through a Spiritual Emergence or needs hospitalization
  • Renn responds saying you need to look for if the person is taking responsibility for their healing versus projecting.
  • Renn mentions a woman who did 90 LSD sessions with Stan Grof
  • “The greatest therapeutic outcomes exist with intelligent well established individuals whose lives become boring and rigid in routine” - Stan Grof

Current Astrological Alignments

  • The Astrological Alignments for the next few years are supercharged
    • Uranus square Pluto - a powerful set of archetypes
    • The last time this happened was the end of the 60’s
    • Richard Tarnas calls it the ‘sunset effect’, colors will saturate the sky in the archetypal realm
  • Many people are going to have dramatic healing breakthroughs and openings until 2020
  • For those who are a bit skeptical about astrology, Renn suggest reading newer texts;

Astrological Transits in Relation to Breathwork

  • Richard’s correlation of the outer planets Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto with Grof’s 4 perinatal matrices shows the process of revolutionizing astrology
  • Carl Jung would do chart work before seeing all of his patients
    • He would try to find transits with Jupiter, Uranus, Venus, etc
  • There are no astrological alignments that would be too dangerous to do journey-work during
    • But Renn says it's like putting up the lightning rod during certain transits during breathwork
  • “Lie back and let the mother give birth to you” - Renn
    • Renn says it's safer if you are on your back during journey work versus walking around and facing gravity and falling or hurting yourself

Grof Internalized Protocol

  • One patient at a time (sitter, breather team) to lie down, wear eye shades, and listen to music through headphones
    • The sitter agrees not to judge or direct the process or abandon the process
  • You can expect miracles with this type of protocol
  • You can't face this material by yourself, you really need people you trust, who are sober and not doing a substance, one person at a time
    • Renn says the ayahuasca revolution has brought a lot of greatness to the western world, but the shamanic traditions usually meant that the shaman drinks with the clients to have a magical insight into the users psyche

Sitter Role

  • In a therapeutic framework, the sitter is sober and lets the client do all of the work, and the sitter is there to assist, but not to interfere with the process
  • Stan describes it as a way to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks
  • Renn brings up an example of 3 people doing mushrooms together
    • One person might be feeling aggressive, and another person might feel like a baby wanting to be held
    • The aggressive person won't want to be doing any cuddling
    • One person does the catalyst, and the other 2 support them, and then the next time they rotate
  • Renn thinks one deep session is more beneficial than 3 ‘half-assed’ sessions

Interruptions During Sessions

  • Some people have a fear that their experience may interrupt another person's experience
    • Renn says that if someone is laughing or screaming or crying that he understands it is just a part of the universe of the way things just are
  • He is shocked to hear stories about people having a loud experience getting taken out away from the rest of the group and told to contain themselves
  • Kyle mentions that sounds usually aren't a bother, and the loud music helps
    • But it's talking, English words that bring people out of a session
  • People can have great ayahuasca ceremonies, and then they think that ayahuasca is the best psychedelic out there
    • Renn says that all psychedelics are great tools
    • But he encourages people to try breathwork and this solo session style healing
  • Joe says he dreams of a place where shamanism takes a look at the solo process and maybe not always the group process, that all cultures can combine our knowledge for the best result


    • We are moving into a Jupiter square Neptune for all of 2019, 90 degrees between Jupiter and Neptune
      • Neptune represents our soul’s yearning to reawaken to the larger world’s soul, to the universal field of consciousness
      • Jupiter amplifies whatever it touches
      • This presents a large opportunity for self exploration, with a feeling of deeper cosmic safety
    • “It seems like our psyche’s wait until things are safe for the deepest material to surface.” - Renn
    • Renn says it's good to focus on death so that we can constantly keep our priorities straight


Check out our online course, "Introduction to Psychedelics"

About Renn

Following a B.A. in English and Religious Studies from the University of Alberta, Renn Butler lived at the Esalen Institute in California for 2½ years where he became deeply immersed in the transpersonal psychology of Stanislav Grof and the emerging archetypal astrology of Richard Tarnas. He completed training as a Holotropic Breathwork facilitator with Stan and Christina Grof in 1989 and has facilitated many workshops in Victoria, Canada. His research includes over three decades of archetypal-astrology consultations and Holotropic Breathwork workshops, and thirty-five years of Jungian-Grofian dreamwork.

Dec 25, 2018


In this unique episode, Joe brings Tom Hatsis and Dr. Jerry Brown together for a psychedelic debate. They go back in forth in conversation on whether there was psychedelic use in medieval or ancient Christianity and if so, was there a secret tradition of including art of mushrooms or psychedelic substances in cathedrals and castles.

3 Key Points:

  1. Jerry Brown makes the claim that there is evidence of visionary plants in Christianity and the life of Jesus found in medieval art and biblical scripture.
  2. Tom Hatsis makes the claim that Christianity is not hiding a giant secret inside the biblical texts about the true hallucinogen at the root of the religion being an Amanita Muscaria.
  3. Jerry and Tom debate back and forth, pulling from art and textual evidence (and lack thereof) to support or deny the claim that Psychedelic Mushrooms are the root of Christian religion.

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Show Notes

Jerry B. Brown PhD.

Anthropologist, Author and Activist
Served as the Prof of Anthropology at FIU in Miami
He designed and taught a course on hallucinogens and culture
He is the Co-Author of Sacred Plants and the Gnostic Church: Speculations on Entheogen use in Early Christian Ritual
The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity

Tom Hatsis

Author, Public Speaker, Roller Derby Player and Potion Maker
He is the Author of three books in Psychedelia;
The Witches Ointment: the Secret History of Psychedelic Magic
Psychedelic Mystery Traditions; Spirit Plants, Magical Practices and Psychedelic States Microdosing Magic: A Psychedelic Spellbook
Partnered with event organizer and short film maker, Eden Woodruff, who runs Psanctum Psychedelia in Portland in the process of winning the Guinness Book of World Record in Magic


  • The debate is around the early Christian use of psychedelics and mushrooms in Christian art
  • The conversation is on the validity on whether or not psychedelics were used in early Christianity

Dr. Jerry Brown on Psychedelics in Christianity

  • The Miracle of Marsh Chapel - a double-blind experiment conducted by Walter Pahnky in 1962 where 20 students were divided into two groups, half received niacin and the other half received psilocybin
    • 9 out of 10 who took psilocybin had a profound psychedelic experience
    • Brown explains that this is an important part in the entire history of psychedelics
  • After discovering the Amanita Muscaria mushroom (confirmed by Paul Stamets) in a 15th Century Church in Scotland, he realized that there were many entheogenic images in Christian art
  • He says that most church historians do not have training in mycology to recognize entheogens and mushrooms
  • He brings up an image of Adam and Eve standing next to a large Amanita Muscaria mushroom
  • He went to a Parish Church and saw an image of Jesus entering Jerusalem on a Donkey, and one of the youths welcoming Jesus is holding a long mushroom cap
  • He went to churches in England, Germany and France
    • In the drawing of Genesis, he saw God creating plants (psilocybin mushrooms)
  • "When you go back beyond the 3rd century, there are no visual images or Christian art due to poverty and persecution" - Jerry
  • Jerry reads a passage,
    “Jesus said to his disciples, “compare me to someone and tell me who I am like” Thomas said to him, “Master, my mouth is wholly incapable of saying whom you are like.” Jesus said “I am not your master, because you have drunk you have become intoxicated from the bubbling wellspring that I have personally measured out. He who will drink from my mouth will become like me, I shall become like he, and the things that are hidden, should be revealed to him.”
    • He interprets the passage as a reference to drinking a psychoactive mushroom substance
    • Jerry goes on to explain that Jesus realized his feeling of eternal life through the use of psychoactive entheogens
    • He says that this is not a means of dismissing Christianity, but instead to reintroduce Christianity with its original roots

Tom Hatsis on Psychedelics in Christianity

  • Tom says that Jerry makes a lot of assertions, but does not present any evidence. He talks about art, but not anything in scripture
  • Tom is curious why the only artwork that Jerry brings his assertions about mushrooms are from a time where we can’t ask them about it
  • Tom brings up Julie and Jerry’s book and that the first chapter has nothing to do with Christian History at all
  • Tom uses an example of stone mushrooms. Someone doing a cross cultural analysis, might agree that they are mushrooms based on the other findings of cannabis and opioids
    • But, as a historian, Tom looks for evidence and in this case, there are eye witness accounts of its use
  • He brings up the example, the infamous plaincourault fresco of Adam and Eve at the tree of good and evil with the forbidden fruit
    • Using this one example, he wants to prove how critical historical methodology is used to prove unsubstantiated claims on Christian art as wrong
    • Tom urges listeners to view the unaltered versions of the plaincourault fresco at Georgio Samorini’s Flikr page 
    • The paradise tree is a mix of the tree of knowledge of good and evil and a symbol of Christ's victory over Adam’s transgression. In the play, it was tradition to place small Eucharist wafers on the tree branches so that’s what the white dots are on the tree branches
    • The tree's shape is not a mushroom cap, it is a parasol of victory

Jerry’s Rebuttle

  • Jerry says that the absence of evidence, is not equal, or proof of evidence of absence (just because it’s not written in text, doesn't mean that its not there in the art)
  • Jerry’s issue with the fresco is that “The Fall” is a New Testament creation, not all the way back in Genesis
  • He says that on their website, they do not ‘alter’ the image, they ‘enhance’ it
  • He says that Tom claims the fruit doesn't matter, but the fruit does matter (it could be a psychedelic mushroom)
  • He touches on the skeletal appearance of Eve and the meaning of renewal of life
  • Jerry thinks this image is the beginning of the religious experience and symbolism that the soul is immortal and will continue to exist after death
  • He says the serpent is not a depiction of evil entering Eden, but instead a source of knowledge and a spiritual guide to the feminine to help bring man into higher awareness

Tom’s Rebuttle

  • Tom says he didn't hear any evidence from Jerry, he heard arguments to authority
  • He says that Jerry uses anthropology to uncover history, and opinions of art historians, but medieval historians agree that the mushroom is not present in Christian art
  • He also says he did agree with Jerry about the mushroom in art, but that was last year and he has proven himself wrong and that the mushroom caps are parasols of victory
  • Jerry says that Amanita Muscaria was in the Soma, but Tom says cannabis was, and mushrooms were not
    Chris Bennett's book on Soma
  • There is zero evidence for mushroom art during medieval times
  • In Jerry’s book, he writes about the Basilica di Aquilea, saying that they are Amanita Muscaria, but Tom says they are not that type of mushroom






  • Tom also says that in the play depicted in the plaincourault, that the script literally says the wafers are hung on the tree, and that the little white dots are not the dots from an Amanita Muscaria

Jerry’s Closing Remarks

  • He says that this isn't just cultural analysis, this is about fieldwork and looking at how native people view this artwork
  • The problem he has with Tom and Church historians is that it is not taking evidence from Ethnobotanists
  • Jerry says he believes that there is a long tradition of entheogenic mushrooms in Christian art and would like this debate to continue

Tom’s Closing Remarks

  • Tom says he still isn't hearing evidence, he is only hearing assertions and argument to authority and eminent scholars
  • Tom says that Genesis doesn't matter in the plaincourault, because we know that it's about the play
  • He has multiple articles debunking these images on his website
  • Tom says the holy mushroom hypothesis fails against all the claims Jerry has made


Tom's Website
Jerry's Website

Check out our online course, "Introduction to Psychedelics"

About Jerry

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, author and activist. From 1972-2014, he served as Founding Professor of Anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he designed and taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.” The course examines the use of psychoactive plants by tribal and classical cultures, including Ancient India and Greece, and by and discusses the discoveries of the modern mind-explorers, the “psychonauts of the twentieth century.”

About Tom

Thomas Hatsis is an author, lecturer, and historian of witchcraft, magic, Western religions, contemporary psychedelia, entheogens, and medieval pharmacopeia. In his spare time he visits rare archives, slings elixirs, and coaches roller derby.

Dec 18, 2018


In this episode, Joe interviews Duncan Autrey, a conflict transformation catalyst and educator. He runs a podcast, Fractal Friends, that covers topics of self-similarity across our diversity. During their conversation, Joe and Duncan discuss ways of resolving conflict in our relationships and society.

3 Key Points:

  1. Duncan Autrey is a conflict transformation educator, working for peace and cultural change.
  2. Conflict happens when one person wants to be heard so much that they stop listening to the other side. It is a product of living in a diverse world.
  3. We have more rights than we think we do when facing law enforcement.

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Navigating Psychedelics

Show Notes

What is Conflict?

  • Conflict is a product of living in a diverse world
  • Conflict resolution is about how to get different perspectives working together
  • Conflict happens when someone is really passionate about their side of the topic
  • Conflict also happens when one person wants to be heard so much that they stop listening to the other side
  • The ARC of conversation
    • A stands for acknowledge
    • R stands for reflect back
    • C stands for be curious

Resolving Conflict

  • Its okay to be certain about your own experiences, but someone might also be certain about their experiences and the key is to find a mutual ground
  • "How do we understand ecological issues better and work with each other to find how to create better conversation around it?" - Joe
  • In a conversation of conflict, the other side may be the antidote to your extreme
    • Interdependent Polarity - each side has something positive and negative, and each side should acknowledge the negative but aim to pull out the positive of the other side
    • Iceers
  • “It's better to find a way to navigate the question, rather than to answer the question” - Duncan
  • In a hierarchy of permanence, laws are really low. Laws come and go
  • 3 ways we resolve conflict over time; power, violence and laws
    • But the interest based model includes everyone and all sides and works through conflict to live in and share the same planet with each other

Impressive Resilience in Humans

  • “Shifts happen”
  • People that Duncan works with start thinking to themselves “I'm a good guy facing a bad guy” and the person on the other side of conflict also thinks “I'm a good guy facing a bad guy”
    • Helping guide the people in conflict to just listen to the other person fully is what starts the shift

Law Enforcement and Conflict

  • It's important to recognize the difference between the system and the individuals
    • Our whole system of television, movies, everything is all feeding into this
  • There are sociopaths in the world (5% of the population), and they are falling into roles like prison guards and CEO’s
  • Duncan brings up a story where he was in a car with someone who got pulled over, and the car got completely searched
    • He had vitamins on him, and the police assumed it was MDMA, so he was arrested and spent 4 days in jail
    • “This is a place where the people who are on the right side of the law, are being treated like assholes, and where people on the bad side of the law, are on their best behavior” - Duncan
    • This is a systemic issue, where the society says that you are a good person for doing something good, and are a bad person for doing something bad
    • But we shouldn't be defined by what we are ‘caught’ doing, either good or bad
    • People should be able to hold onto their humanity (not be locked up for life) for something like possession of a drug
    • “If we're going to care about our shared humanity and our right for everyone to be here, we have to figure out the path of restoration” - Duncan
    • “Slavery isn't okay, unless someone gets convicted of a crime”
    • Victoria’s Secret has people in prison slavery making lingerie in South Carolina
    • People have to pay off debt from their incarceration, before they get a license, to get a job, that they have to apply to as a criminal
    • Society doesn't make it easy to be human after prison
    • People in grad school with the same amount of debt, have an education, (usually) a job, and have hope for the future

Rights When Getting Pulled Over

  • Right to remain silent is real
  • Right to consent for search - you don't have to say yes
    • Law enforcement tries to use the fact that you think you're guilty and will let the search happen
  • You can't be detained without probable cause (4th Amendment)
    • You can be detained long enough for a traffic citation, but not enough to be caught for another crime
  • Smoke smell in the car is probable cause, even in s state where it is legal
  • Joe mentions dash cams so that there can be recordings on both ends, not just one end (the police’s evidence)
  • Duncan had the thought that maybe once they realize that his vitamins were not MDMA, that they might try to switch out the vitamins with MDMA
    • His attorney said they aren't that corrupt, or smart



Check out our online course, "Introduction to Psychedelics"

About Duncan

Duncan Autrey has worked in facilitation and conflict resolution for over fifteen years in diverse contexts ranging from rural Paraguay and Colombia to cities of Seattle, Washington, DC, Cuenca and Buenos Aires. He approaches conflict from a belief that it arises from the diverse cultural experiences of common human needs. Every conflict or complicated situation, large or small, is an opportunity for deepening our relationships and improving the world we live in. Duncan currently runs a podcast called Fractal Friends covering topics on exploring our self-similarity across our diversity.

Dec 11, 2018


In this episode, Joe interviews Steve Hupp, the Host of Kentucky Ayahuasca, a new series on Viceland. Topics include Steve’s background and how he wants to impact the American Ayahuasca scene through his work.

3 Key Points:

  1. Kentucky Ayahuasca is a docu-series on Viceland about Shaman, Steve Hupp as he works with people seeking healing from severe emotional and physical issues.
  2. Steve comes from an unusual background of career criminal and bank robber, and because of his time in prison with a Peruvian Shaman, has decided to bring the tradition to the United States.
  3. Steve is careful not to mock what shamanism is by creating ceremony in the States. He wants facilitation to be done as safely as possible and is simply trying to help people through Ayahuasca ceremony.

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Navigating Psychedelics

Show Notes

About Steve

  • He was a career criminal who robbed banks
    • It landed him in prison and put him into the same cell of a Peruvian shaman who had overstayed his visa and was probably doing some facilitating in the States
    • His name was Guadalupe and Steve called him Loopy because of the things he was talking about
    • But here and there Guadalupe would say something that would resonate with Steve days and weeks later that just made sense


  • He spent 4 years in prison
    • He got into the federal system because he had beaten the state system so the federal system picked up the case
    • Steve pleaded guilty and made a deal with them to give them their money back
    • He also agreed not to sue the police for opening fire on him
    • He was one of the first bank robbers released on a bond

Religion and Spirituality

  • Up to that point he was an Atheist
    • He decided that something else was keeping him alive for something because of what he survived during the police chase
  • Steve says he's seen how religious law worked by seeing gangs turn into congregations
  • He says he is no longer an Atheist after having experience with Ayahuasca
  • He had an epiphany that “anything is possible” and he decided he wanted to bring this to everyone
  • He started to have coincidences that led him to facilitation


  • Steve isn't trying to defraud what Shamanism is, but he is trying to tailor it to the American way of life
    • He says the Shaman in the jungle has a different context than an American does
  • Joe mentions that people get upset about how the word ‘shaman’ is used
    • Steve says ‘shaman’ comes from the Siberian word, ‘saman’, which means “to know” but has been branded by anthropologists
    • He also says shamanism is the oldest world religion
  • Joe brings up that so many people suggest doing Ayahuasca in the Amazon because that's where the spirit of the plant is, but he also mentions that the same type of biodiversity exists in Kentucky too


  • Steve says they face reverse-racism because they can't work with native tribes because they are white, but he’s just looking to bring everyone together
  • “If we don’t start helping our little blue sphere heal, it's all we've got” - Steve
  • He said he had more fear transitioning into Ayahuasca facilitation than any bank he’s robbed because he had to put his name on it
  • His intent is not to build a cult, he believes we are at the dawn of a new world and we are all in this together

Helping Addiction with Ayahuasca

  • Steve says he believes there are no addicts, just unbalanced humans
    • Joe says he read recently that the term “addict” keeps people in their problems
    • When he helps people who are addicted to drugs, and they drink Ayahuasca, they realize the drug is not the problem, but the guilt and the shame about using the drug is the problem

Plant Teacher

  • Steve believes we are intergalactic children
  • We could use our technology and knowledge to better us rather than being so distracted by the ‘lines in the sand’
    • He says we could feed everyone on the planet with land the size of Texas
  • What Ayahuasca is trying to teach us is to be kind to each other and we have that choice everyday
  • We need to get past this barbaric attitude of domination
  • “I know I've got grandchildren that I may never see, but I've got to try to leave them a world better than the one I've found” - Steve
    • If we were to teach our kids to teach our grandkids something, we wouldn't be handing them millions of dollars in national debt
    • Its a non-violent change
    • “What if we collectively manifested accountability in our government?” - Steve

Law Enforcement

  • Steve believes law enforcement shouldn't be able to have more power than soldiers at war
    • Soldiers in Iraq can't fire unless they have been fired upon

Shaman University

  • No one has ever done this before, Steve wants to put together a structure to make sure this operation is done ethically
    • He wants to lay the foundation for people to participate in Ayahuasca ceremony safely
    • He says anybody can brew Ayahuasca, but doing it safely and properly is key
  • Joe encourages viewers to check out the series on Viceland
  • Steve also encourages listeners who want to do Ayahuasca abroad to do tons of research before attending to make sure there are proper facilitators, ethical procedures and quality emergency response techniques and resources


Kentucky Ayahusca on Viceland

Check out our online course, "Introduction to Psychedelics"

About Steve

Steve Hupp had spent time in the Military. He was lost in materialism, drug abuse, alcoholism and pride that led him on a 5 year bank robbing spree that ended with him in Federal Prison, where he met his first Shaman, a cellmate. Now he is an Ayahuasca Shaman performing psychedelic healing ceremonies in Kentucky. Steve has worked with Ayahuasca for 15 years, trained by a Shaman from South America on how to work with Ayahuasca. He has spent much of that time working alone and experiencing many visions and entities that called him to found Aya Quest.

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