Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action

Join the discussion with Alex Pogzeba, Jim Gollin and Deborah Parrish Snyder speaking on Ayahuasca, Lore of the Amazon, and Rainforest Action!

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Renacos by Pablo Amaringo, 1996, in Ayahusca Reader

Thursday, September 15th, 6:00 pm at Collected Works Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Ayahuasca is a visionary healing plant from the Amazon used by shamans for millennia for its powerful positive effect on mental, physical and spiritual health. Learn about the mythology, spiritual and cultural importance of this healing plant, as well as what is killing the rainforests now and what you can do about it.

 

The newest book from Synergetic Press, Ayahuasca Reader: Encounters with the Amazon’s Sacred Vine, is the most comprehensive anthology of writings on the subject ever published. There is a global ayahuasca movement underway as hundreds of thousands of people are experiencing the remarkable effects of ayahuasca, but little is know of its history and how it works. The Ayahuasca Reader tells the story of ayahuasca from many perspectives. The book explores the many aspects of this healing brew, providing cultural context from Amazonian shamans, offering a wealth of scientific and medical understanding, detailing its spiritual and religious use, as well as illustrating its role in both literary and artistic expression.


Alex Pogzeba

Alexander Pogzeba

Jim Gollin

Jim Gollin

Deborah Parrish Snyder

Deborah Parrish Snyder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexander Pogzeba, anthropologist and ethnobotanist, completed his BA in Anthropology with a focus on ethnology at University of New Mexico During his undergraduate coursework he explored traditional medicine, curanderismo and ethnobotany throughout Latin America and the Southwestern United States.

Jim Gollin is President of the Board of Directors for the Rainforest Action Network which campaigns for the forests, their inhabitants and the natural systems that sustain life by transforming the global marketplace through education, grassroots organizing and non-violent direct action.

Deborah Parrish Snyder, the publisher of Synergetic Press since 1984, publishing over 40 books on the environment, ethnobotany, consciousness, and cultural anthropology. She is a Director of the Institute of Ecotechnics, a non-profit ecological think-tank, helping to manage a number of the international conferences it has hosts on global trends and in the field of closed ecological systems and biospherics.

Ayahusca, Lore of the Amazon and Rainforest Action is sure to be an empowering and enlightening gathering!

We hope you can join us there, but even if you’re not able to attend you can still be part of the action by participating in our Ayahuasca Reader campaign.

Ayahuasca Reader

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Be Part of the Global Ayahuasca Reader Movement

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Join the Launch of Ayahuasca Reader!

Join us in supporting the launch of our newest book, Ayahuasca Reader, and a educational outreach initiative designed to spread awareness and understanding on this important plant medicine and visionary vine. Ayahuasca Reader is the most comprehensive and authoritative source of information about ayahuasca, a healing plant used for millenia by shamans in the Amazon basin that has in recent years been gaining popularity for its positive benefits to physical health and spiritual growth.

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Untitled by Pablo Amaringo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Inside the pages of this magical text you’ll travel with dozens of adventurers, anthropologists, artists, shamans, scientists and poets on a journey to remote regions of the Amazon and to the far reaches of the human psyche.

“A wonderful book of vivid reports, illuminating every aspect of Ayahuasca‘s own world, covering all that matters about these plant spirits and their worldwide impact. This book’s poetry and scope led me to honor, as never before, the gifts we are offered from the proper use of these plants.”
–James Fadiman, PhD, psychologist, researcher and author, The Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide

New Edition: Ancient Stories, Breakthrough Research

The new edition of the Ayahuasca Reader features many distinct voices of the global ayahuasca movement: the researchers conducting clinical studies on its healing effects, the painters depicting the ineffable experience with visionary images, the indigenous people carrying the wisdom of ancestral traditions, and the stories of how ayahuasca has opened these individuals to their connection with the natural world and their true selves.

“Ayahuasca has a very insistent message. It’s one of those universals that almost everyone who drinks the brew sooner or later reports. It’s about the sacred, magical, enchanted, interconnected, infinitely precious nature of life on earth, and the interdependence of material and spiritual realms.” Graham Hancock from the Reader

The Ayahuasca Reader is a five-part anthology which shares myths passed down over generations of Amazonian healers, personal testimonies of encounters with Amazonian cultures, a selection of hymns and texts from the religions using ayahuasca as a sacrament, writings from well-known figures in the literary world on the lasting influence of their experience, and a section of transcendental visionary color art to further illuminate our understanding of ayahuasca. This comprehensive collection of writings has been expanded with a new section of ayahuasca inspired art and other resources to draw readers even deeper into the mythic mysteries of the Amazonian brew that has been gaining attention around the world.

Leading Voices from Traditional and Contemporary Culture

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

Paye Candido by Jeison Castillo, in Ayahuasca Reader

The texts chosen for this book include translations from nearly a dozen languages, representing the voices of many different Amazonian peoples and the diversity of their cultural approaches to working with ayahuasca. Contributors include legendary scholars of Amazonian plant medicine such as Wade Davis, Dennis McKenna, and Richard Spruce; cultural icons like Allen Ginsberg and recognized shamans and spiritual leaders such as Raimundo Irineu Serra, Fernando Payaguaje, and Alberto Prohaño. This new edition also includes essays from prominent visionary figures including Graham Hancock, Alex Grey, Jeremy Narby, Susana Bustos, Michael Winkelman, and others.

The Ayahuasca Reader provides a well-rounded introduction to plant medicines, Amazonian indigenous cultures, and psychedelic/entheogenic journeys, while also offering extensive information on the effects and experience of ayahuasca, the cultural context from which its preparation and use has emerged, and its blossoming impact worldwide.

Given the plethora of publications on ayahuasca, it is sometimes difficult to know which are the worthiest. That being said, the Ayahuasca Reader is a classic.”
   –Mark Plotkin, PhD, ethnobotanist, Founder & Director Amazon Conservation Team

Sharing the Wisdom of this Rainforest Medicine

Synergetic Press is mounting a global publishing an educational outreach campaign about ayahuasca, because at this critical juncture in time as we are seeing a remarkable increase of interest in this mysterious and undeniably powerful rainforest medicine. More people are beginning to discover the many benefits of this traditional brew, including the treatment of conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to PTSD and depression.

But at the same time that Western doctors and researchers are taking note of its potential for humanity, the very cultures and rainforest environment where it came from continue to be threatened and we are at risk of losing irreplaceable knowledge as well as the healing plants themselves.

Thanks in Advance for Your Support!

We can’t do it alone. We’re counting on you to share this vision with us and support the movement for greater consciousness and connection with the Earth.

Get your own copy of the Ayahuasca Reader, explore our other incentives, and find the level of support that works for you! And please share this with any friends or colleagues who you feel will also appreciate this initiative. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ayahuasca-reader-encounters-with-the-healing-vine

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Twenty-five years of Science and Imagination at Biosphere 2

Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2

This year the revolutionary laboratory on earth sciences, Biosphere 2, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The initial experiment began in September of 1991 when eight pioneering individuals were enclose inside of its glass walls for two years. The existence of Biosphere 2 and the research conducted there continue to gain attention, as it fuels understanding of planetary systems and calls attention to the realities of our circumstances on the original Biosphere, the Earth.

In 1993, in the first moments when the human experiment was coming to a close, the biospherians re-entered the outside world after two years of stewardship in their enclosed home. Mark Nelson, who managed the wetland sewage treatment system inside of Biosphere 2, shared a few words on the experience:

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2

Mark Nelson in the wastewater treatment marsh of Biosphere 2. Photo from biospherics.org

“We’ve come out of another world. Through that thin airlock there is another world living… What’s been surprising and profoundly wonderful is that operating Biosphere 2 has changed the way I operate my organism. To live in a small world and be conscious of its controls, its beauty, its fragility, its bounty and its limits changes who you are.”

Mark Nelson, PhD, one of the original Biospherians and author of The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time

Several recent articles have revisited the story of Biosphere 2, while highlighting the role that the facility continues to play in inspiring a new generation to be ecologically minded.

“Many older generations know of us thanks to the experiments conducted in the early 1990s,” explains John Adams, deputy director of Biosphere 2. “But we really want to engage with the younger generations.”

The experiments Adams refers to are two missions which saw a team of scientists seal themselves inside the laboratory. The first mission garnered the most column inches; four men and four women entered Biosphere 2 in 1991, vowing to stay inside the lab for two years, without any physical contact in the outside world. The team hoped to demonstrate the viability of closed ecosystems in maintaining human life, and also explore how such a closed biosphere could be used in space colonisation.

Huffington Post UK

Flowing Through Changes Over Time

Whenever there’s an experiment at Biosphere 2, it’s a big experiment. This summer, Biosphere 2 will be home to the largest study ever conducted on how water moves through a landscape.

Photo credit: Gil Kenny

Water is clearly vital to life, but so are the minerals and nutrients it picks up as it flows through rocks and soil. This process, called weathering, underlies everything else in an ecosystem, including microbes, plants, animals, agriculture and how the landscape changes over time. . . .

“Chemical weathering is the first thing you need in order to form a habitable planet,” says Dixon. But the process is still not well understood.

That’s where Biosphere 2 comes in.

New Scientist

Although weathering has been studied in laboratories, there is no other laboratory that can compare in providing such large-scale conditions with the benefit of being a controlled atmosphere.

. . . the University of Arizona is transforming part of the site into a “Land Evolution Observatory”—a 10-year, $5 million project to study how vegetation, topography and other factors affect the movement of rainwater through watershed to drinking water.

Newsweek

The substantial site provides a unique opportunity to see how water moving over the land causes changes over time on a real-world scale.  

Living in Harmony at the Heart of Biosphere 2

Aside from serving as fertile ground for conducting scientific research on how water and soils operate, Biosphere 2 provides an experimental mirror for the way humanity relates to the Earth. John Allen, the inventor, conceiver and co-founder of the Biosphere 2 project provided an unparalleled opportunity to reflect on our own lifestyles. He spoke at the re-entry ceremony, when the eight people who had dedicated two years of their lives to the ambitious project emerged back into the larger atmosphere of the biosphere that we all share.

Project founder John Allen inside Biosphere 2

John Allen inside the Biosphere 2 test greenhouse. Photo Copyright: © Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com

“The biospherians have shown in practice for the past two years the do-ability of a comprehensive code of ethical behavior in a new area in which we can no longer depend on the aesthetic interests of the few or the economic interests of the many to maintain proper behavior in humanity’s relationship to the very basis of our life, to the biosphere. The eight biospherians ate, slept, worked, dreamed, enjoyed and suffered, in short existed in harmony with their biosphere. Their biosphere flourished with their way of life, they recycled their food, their wastes, their water, their air. They protected biodiversity and enhanced the beauty of their landscapes. Their own bodies purified and their biosphere sparkles undimmed without a ghost-like fog of smog. They lived with high tech instrumentation and communications but in a non-destructive, ecotechnic way… Sophistication and love of wilderness blended and fulfilled their dreams. I appreciate the biospherians’ skill in operations, their integrity in research, their zest for exploration but I honor them for their ethical achievement, achieved at no small cost to their immediate gratifications, for having done what they perceived they ought to do.”

John Allen, Inventor, Conceiver and Co-Founder of Biosphere 2, author of Me and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2 

 To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Biosphere 2, we’re offering a 25% discount on The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a TimeMe and the Biospheres: A Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2, Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2  as well as our other significant biospheric titles such as Geochemistry and the Biosphere: Essays by Vladimir VernadskyThe Anthropocene: The Human Era and How it Shapes Our Lives, What Has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Does Grow on Trees 

Use coupon code Bio25 at checkout from our Synergetic Bookstore for 25% off of these important ecological books!

Wastewater Gardner CoverMe and the BiospheresThe Inside Story of Biosphere 2geochemistry and the biosphere

anthropocene

What Has Nature Ever Done For Us?

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Architectural Overview of Biosphere 2

And to read more on history of biospherics, the creation of Biosphere 2, and its continuing legacy from an architectural point of view, check out this paper written by Antonino Di Raimo, Architect PhD, Dean of Architecture at POLIS University from Tirana Architecture Week.

Allowing the Unknowable: The experience of Biosphere 2

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What Can a Taxi Driver from New York Do for the Planet?

Forty Years of Ecology, Adventure and Radical Cultural Innovation

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson examining a small-scale closed ecological system. COPYRIGHT:© Peter Menzel 1990

Mark Nelson’s forty years as a pioneer in ecological systems and space life support science, along with his natural skills as raconteur—promise an evening of memorable tales and hard-won understanding. You can join Mark for this event Monday, June 13 at 6.00 pm at the October Gallery in London.

Whether appearing in a satellite broadcast to one billion people worldwide when exiting the storied Biosphere 2 mini-world’s 2-year experiment, doggedly pick-axing invasive species from 5,000 acres in the Kimberley, or designing an ecological waste treatment system in war-torn Iraq—this evening of Nelson’s unique history as Chairman of Institute of Ecotechnics (www.ecotechnics.edu) will be a very special event.

Author Mark Nelson in the recovering southern Iraqi marshes in 2011Nelson was a member of the first team of “biospherians” 1991-93 inside Biosphere 2, in Arizona. He is associate editor of Life Sciences in Space Research and organises sessions at COSPAR and other space science conferences. In 1987, he was an organiser of the first international conference on closed systems, held at the Royal Society. His books include: Space Biospheres (with John Allen), Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2, and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Nelson is also head of the Biospheric Design division of Global Ecotechnics Corporation (www.globalecotechnics.com) and founder of Wastewater Gardens International (www.wastewatergardens.com), which has brought ecological approaches to projects in more than fourteen countries worldwide. He works on reversing desertification in the Kimberley, Australia, and in New Mexico. He received his MSc at the University of Arizona’s School of Renewable Natural Resources, and his Ph.D. with the legendary co-founder of systems ecology and ecological engineering, H.T. Odum, at the University of Florida.

In 1993, Nelson was awarded the Yuri Gagarin Jubilee Medal for outstanding service to international cooperation in space and the environment by the Russian Cosmonautics Federation. He is a Fellow of the Explorers Club and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He is also an international speaker and has appeared in numerous documentaries about ecological issues and biospherics. His scientific papers may be found here:  https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mark_Nelson9/publications.

Institute of Ecotechnics is a UK charity based in the October Gallery premises.

Join Dr. Mark Nelson for this Special Evening at the October Gallery

Get Tickets Here!

The October GalleryMONDAY 13th of June, 6 PM, October Gallery

Please arrive at 6.00 pm for a 6.30 pm start.

Refreshments available and Advance ticket holders entitled to 1 free glass of wine or 1 free soft drink at the bar.

Please note that this event takes place on the 2nd floor of the gallery, accessible by stairs only. 

Monday, 13 June 2016 from 18:00 to 21:00 (BST)

October Gallery – 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL, United Kingdom – View Map

 

And if you aren’t able to attend this event with Mark, you can still read about his ecological adventures in Life Under Glass: the Inside Story of Biosphere 2 and The Wastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet One Flush at a Time.

Life Under Glass: The Inside Story of Biosphere 2 | Abigail Alling and Mark NelsonWastewater Gardener: Preserving the Planet one Flush at a Time!

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Tracing the Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes

This article is reposted with permission from the American Botanical Council. You can see the original post here.

By Mark Plotkin, PhD

Richard Evans Schultes

Richard Evans Schultes

Richard Evans Schultes, PhD, was the greatest Amazonian explorer of the 20th century. Boston-born and Harvard-educated, he set off for the Amazon in 1941 for a six-month expedition. He was so entranced by the plants and the peoples of this great rainforest that he essentially extended this expedition for more than a decade. Now, interested readers can follow his journeys in an interactive, informational story map.

Schultes (1915-2001) first learned of the concept of “ethnobotany” in an undergraduate course at Harvard University taught by the prominent orchidologist Oakes Ames. After Schultes wrote his term paper on the traditionally revered peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii, Cactaceae), Ames sent Schultes to Oklahoma to experience the sacred cactus firsthand in a traditional Kiowa tribal ceremony. Later, Schultes returned to Harvard, and decided to pursue a PhD under Ames, focusing on the “magic mushrooms” of Oaxaca, Mexico. As a newly-minted PhD, he headed south to the northwest Amazon to study arrow poisons from the curare vines (e.g., Chondrodendron tomentosum, Menispermaceae), which, at the time, were being used as pre-surgical muscle relaxants in abdominal surgeries.

Richard Evans Schultes

Young Richard Schultes taking tobacco snuff, May 1952 (photo: R.E. Schultes) via Harvard Square Library

Cartographer Brian Hettler of the Amazon Conservation Team decided to recount Schultes’s travels and research in a compelling new story map.1 With commentary and explanations supplied by this author, Hettler traces Schultes’s phenomenal journeys through the rainforest in search of healing plants. Using the capabilities of the story map format, Hettler has organized this information in a way that allows readers to click on a location and see photos of the location and/or the people that lived there. Perhaps even more impressive, readers can click on a list of plants collected by Schultes and see the actual herbarium specimen he collected in high resolution.

Hettler’s story map allows readers to follow the late ethnobotanist into some of the world’s most remote locales in search of exceedingly rare plants. It is hoped that this intriguing initiative will not only teach about the history and importance of the science of ethnobotany, but also will inspire others to use the story-map format to teach about botany in general, and medicinal herbs in particular, in new and compelling ways.

Mark J. Plotkin, PhD, is an ethnobotanist whose field research focuses on the plants and peoples of northern Amazonia. He currently serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team, a nonprofit organization that conducts environmental and cultural sustainability activities in the Amazon basin (www.amazonteam.org). He is the author of several books and is a member of the American Botanical Council Advisory Board.

References

  1. Amazon Conservation Team. The Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes. Amazon Conservation Team website. Available at: http://amazonteam.org/maps/schultes/. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  2. Cox PA. Medicinal Plants and the Legacy of Richard E. Schultes. HerbalGram. 2013;98:73-75. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue98/hg98bkrvw-schultes.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  3. Davis W. The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 2005;66:50-59. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue66/article2831.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  4. Blumenthal M. The Lost Amazon: The Photographic Journey of Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 2005;65:73-74. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue65/article2788.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.
  5. Davis W. One River: Excerpts from the new book about the life of ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes. HerbalGram. 1996;38:32. Available at:http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue38/article1219.html. Accessed May 4, 2016.

To travel further into the explorations of Amazonian peoples and sacred plant medicines with Richard Evans Schultes, explore Vine of the Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia and Where the Gods Reign: Plants and Peoples of the Colombian Amazon written by Richard Evans Schultes himself.

where_the_gods_reign

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Raising Earth Consciousness at the Synergetic Symposium and Salon

Written by Michael Gosney

On Wednesday April 6, 2016 a Synergetic Symposium and Salon was held at Synergia Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This symposium and salon marked the first in a series of events with the goal of raising Earth Consciousness. One hundred and fifty people attended this high-frequency gathering entitled “Earth Consciousness and the Lore of the Amazon – Conversations on Ayahuasca, Ethnomedicine and the Biospheric Imperative.”

The crowd gathered in the geodesic dome at Synergia Ranch

The primary inspiration for the event was the forthcoming July release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but it also served as the launch of the Synergetic Press Earth Consciousness Campaign and seemed to be the perfect timing to bring together leaders on the cutting edge of psychedelic research in this year of rapid evolution. The event, featuring a 4 hour symposium, a gourmet dinner, and an evening Salon and dance party, was a resounding success. Video of the presentations will be available at synergeticpress.com in May, 2016.

The Symposium featured Dennis McKenna, providing an overview of the 45 year history and his journey of discovery with ayahuasca; Rick Doblin, presenting the new era of entheogenic/psychedelic-assisted therapy and the cutting edge research underway with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS); and Ralph Metzner providing a framework for understanding the process of shamanic use of psychedelics and consciousness expansion, along with an addendum to his talk on the importance of activism on both the drug decriminalization and environmental frontiers. The Symposium concluded with a panel discussion and Q&A with the presenters and moderator George Greer.

(Left to Right) Allan Badiner, Gay Dillingham, Valerie Plame Wilson, Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, Michael Garfield

After dinner in separate Synergia Ranch buildings, guests returned the dome for the evening Salon portion of the event. Kicking off the evening was the Earth Consciousness Roundtable moderated by Zig Zag Zen editor Allan Badiner, with Ralph Metzner, Dennis McKenna, author and ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame, filmmaker Gay Dillingham (Dying to Know), and musician/artist Michael Garfield. The discussion touched on the broader aspects of raising Earth Consciousness, including biospheric science and social and political opportunities and challenges as well as further examination of the applications of plant teachers and synthetic compounds for therapy, personal growth and transformational work.

A “biospheric poetry” reading by John Dolphin Allen with Robert “Rio” Hahn providing visuals, provided the transition to the evening’s entertainment, starting with a dance performance by the Daughters of Lilith followed by musician Michael Garfield and DJs offering attendees a chance to dance with the incredible energy of the day.

More Synergetic Symposium Salons will follow, as well as the launch of the Earth Consciousness Campaign. This multi-level initiative will not only promote the release of the Ayahuasca Reader, but also widely disseminate essential information from the book and the work of its multiple contributors, who are in fact the world’s leading authorities on the subject. In addition, informing people and groups about the eco-evolutionary side of the equation, which means human stewardship vs. destruction of the biosphere. Indigenous wisdom/eco-psychology + biospheric science/sustainability solutions = Earth Consciousness. 

In conjunction with the Synergetic Symposium and Salon, Santa Fe Radio Café host Mary Charlotte welcomed several of the contributors to the salon to her show to deepen the discussion in raising Earth Consciousness. You can listen to the episodes below.

Don Lattin, Allan Badiner and Ralph Metzner

April 15, 2016

Allan Badiner activist and writer, contributing editor to Tricycle Magazine, editor of the new edition of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, published by Synergetic Press, on the board of the CBD Project
Ralph Metzner Psychologist, writer, founder of the Green Earth Foundation, author of many books, including Allies for Awakening and Green Psychology
Don Lattin Author and journalist; his books include Distilled Spirits, The Harvard Psychedelic Club, and his forthcoming books is titled, Changing Our Minds: The Reemergence of Psychedelics for Mental Health and Spiritual Growth.

 

 

ksfrgreerApril 11, 2016

Dr. George Greer conducted over 100 therapeutic sessions with MDMA for 80 individuals from 1980 to 1985 with his psychiatric nurse wife, Requa Tolbert. Their review of this work remains the largest published study of the therapeutic use of MDMA. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and Past President of the Psychiatric Medical Association of New Mexico. He is Co-Founder and Medical Director the Medical Director of the Heffter Research Institute since 1998.

 

 

ksfrmckApril 11, 2016

Dr. Dennis McKenna is an American ethnopharmacologist, research pharmacognosist, lecturer and author. He is the brother of well-known psychedelics proponent Terence McKenna and is a founding board member and the director of ethnopharmacology at the Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit organization concerned with the investigation of the potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic medicines.

 

 

ksfrdobApril 7, 2016

Dr. Rick Doblin is founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). His undergraduate thesis at New College of Florida was a twenty-five-year follow-up to the classic Good Friday Experiment. He wrote his doctoral dissertation (in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) on the regulation of the medical uses of psychedelics. His professional goal is to help develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana and eventually to become a legally licensed psychedelic therapist.

 

Sign up for our newsletter at synergeticpress.com to find out about upcoming events in this exciting series and for more news on Earth Consciousness.

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Raising Earth Consciousness on Earth Day

Raising Earth Consciousness

This Earth Day 2016 feels like a particularly poignant moment in the relationship between humans and the Earth. Just as on Mother’s Day we take extra time to reflect on our debt of gratitude to Her who gave us life, we similarly take the opportunity of raising Earth Consciousness on Earth Day to consider our connection with and appreciation for our Mother Earth.

Earth Day began in 1970 as a reflection of the growing awareness of our responsibility to the planet and the web of life – including us – that it supports. At the time the influence of Eastern spiritual thought and the introduction of psychedelics inspired a more holistic view of our relationship with the natural world. The realization dawned that our industrialized civilization was having negative impacts on the biosphere and that environmental protection was a growing necessity.

In the following video, Allan Badiner, editor of Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics, discusses the connection between psychedelics and Earth consciousness, and the importance of these ideas in the Anthropocene.
(read more below the video)

Observing Earth Day in the Anthropocene

As we reflect on the Earth in the early decades of the 21st Century, we see radical imbalance. The Ecologist reported that climate scientists have reached a consensus that human activity has been driving climate change. There is a growing recognition that we have entered a new geological time period known as the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Working Group has found that “humanity’s impacts on Earth should now be regarded as pervasive and sufficiently distinctive to justify a separate classification.”

Humans have introduced entirely novel changes, geologically speaking, such as the roughly 300m metric tonnes of plastic produced annually. Concrete has become so prevalent in construction that more than half of all the concrete ever used was produced in the past 20 years.

Wildlife, meanwhile, is being pushed into an ever smaller area of the Earth, with just 25% of ice-free land considered wild now compared to 50% three centuries ago. As a result, rates of extinction of species are far above long-term averages.

But the study says perhaps the clearest fingerprint humans have left, in geological terms, is the presence of isotopes from nuclear weapons testing that took place in the 1950s and 60s.

The Guardian

We can feel overwhelmed when we see the environment faced with so many threats. How do we begin to change our lives in ways that will have a meaningful impact on the global situation? We need to embrace the challenge of living in harmony with the planet.

A new kind of nature is being created, one that is shaped by humanity. It consists of the sum of all the changes caused by humans on earth.

As we come into a deep understanding of the impact of our actions on the global community, Nature is calling us to redesign our lifestyles, adopt new social structures, rewrite the codes of our major institutions, and regenerate the planet’s natural systems. To do this requires breaking free from conditioned consumerism and enforced separation.  We have the responsibility to care for the Earth by making choices that support the flourishing of the planet and its people, from our next-door neighbors to the members of remote tribes. This responsibility is also to ourselves, as we owe our existence to this interdependent web of life. By making changes in our lives at the individual level, we will see that change reflected in the whole world.

Taking on Earth Consciousness – and Taking Action

Now is the time—the critical moment on our timeline—to leverage the overarching vision and tools afforded by our understanding of Earth Sciences and the wisdom provided by traditional indigenous cultures. The message of Earth consciousness is growing louder. It reaches us from the voices of Amazonian plant teachers, such as ayahuasca, and from indigenous wisdom. Scientists have been confirming the healing effects of these ancient sources of wisdom, affirming the use of these tools that lead us to a more integrative, whole system perspective of our relationship to the biosphere.

By changing our habits and activating solutions, we can regenerate the planet; by changing our hearts and spreading compassion, we can heal the world. This Earth Day, you can try one of the four daily practices of love and gratitude for the Earth shared by Pachamama Alliance. By working with practices such as these, or any way that you feel deepens your connection to Pachamama, Mother Earth, we grow in Earth Consciousness.

Get the Code!

Books are some of the most powerful tools to we have to evolve our consciousness and guide our actions. Synergetic Press publishes books that carry the code of a sustainable, regenerative, thriving human future. We focus primarily on Earth science and evolving human consciousness, which we see as complementary aspects of humanity’s continuing evolution. See some of the titles below to explore the ideas that form the foundation of Earth Consciousness.

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Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World

Written by Alessandra Campos-Miller, MA

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Giger’s cat, Muggi III

The documentary film, Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World, filmed one year before his death in May of 2014, provides an intimate portrait of the life and work of revolutionary artist of the subconscious, H.R. Giger.

The film takes the viewer on a spectral journey, drawing us irresistibly into Giger’s inner world. The work of Hansruedi, as he his affectionately called by his friends and family, is traced from the perinatal through his childhood, youth, adulthood, and present. The work of H.R. Giger is deeply connected to the subconscious and to the personal experiences with darkness and fear that Giger had throughout his life. Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, H.R. Giger’s wife, eloquently describes the connection between his work and the deep levels of our subconscious, saying “You see his pictures and you feel like you’ve known them forever. They represent the deepest depths of our souls.”

Grof exploring Giger’s Ghost Ride

Dr. Stanislav Grof, whose book HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century is seen being prepared for publication at Giger’s home, further explains Giger’s connection to the subconscious. Grof guides the viewer through Giger’s “Ghost Train,” which recreates the perinatal journey in ride form. The ride features a train car which guides the rider through tunnels of lush plant life, flesh, blood, stony fetuses, mechanical bodies, and feminine anatomy.

A still from the movie, showing Giger and Grof working on  the book, HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century

The ride had been a dream of Giger’s in his childhood, which Grof explains by stating that Giger clearly represents the “dark areas related to the trauma of birth which we have never consciously processed.”

The documentary features never-before-seen artwork, beautiful descriptions of Giger’s work by his loved ones, the opening of the H.R. Giger Museum in Switzerland, and even dedicates screen time to the mischievous prowlings of Giger’s cat, Müggi III. Devotees of Giger’s work, along with those who are new to the visionary work of this influential artist, will appreciate the loving treatment that is given to his life and work in Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World.

Dark Star: H.R. Giger’s World is available to stream on Netflix. Stanislav Grof’s HR Giger and the Zeitgeist of the Twentieth Century is available for purchase via Synergetic Press.

 

Dark Star Cover

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Embrace of the Serpent at the CCA in Santa Fe

Life of legendary ethnobotanist and Synergetic Press author, Richard Evans Schultes, portrayed in Academy Award nominated film, Embrace of the Serpent, starting March 25 in Santa Fe at the CCA.

An image from Embrace of the Serpent with Schultes in the background

An image from Embrace of the Serpent with Schultes’ character in the background

Embrace of the Serpent was Academy Award Nominated for BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM inspired by the real-life journals of two explorers: Theodor Koch-Grünberg and Richard Evans Schultes who traveled through the Colombian Amazon during the last century in search of the sacred and difficult-to-find psychedelic Yakruna plant.

Filmed in stunning black-and-white, SERPENT centers on Karamakate, an Amazonian shaman and the last survivor of his people, and the two scientists who, over the course of 40 years, build a friendship with him.

Embrace of the Serpent will be playing at The Center for Contemporary Arts , Santa Fe

Starting March 25

vineofthesoulcoverRichard Evans Schultes classic book, Vine of the Soul, is published by Santa Fe based Synergetic Press.

VINE OF THE SOUL: MEDICINE MEN, THEIR PLANTS AND RITUALS IN THE COLOMBIAN AMAZONIA By Richard Evans Schultes & Robert F. Raffauf Preface by Wade Davis

Read more about the connections between Vine of the Soul and Embrace of the Serpent.

About the Book

This book is the story of a time that was—a time when the Amazon Indian was free to roam the forest and rivers, happy with their social institutions, unencumbered by acculturation or the cultural destruction of their ancient societies and virgin forests. The story is told through over 160 black & white photographs taken by renown Harvard ethnobotanist, Richard Evans Schultes during the ‘40s and ‘50s when he spent fourteen uninterrupted years living with the Indian tribes of the Amazon. Combining his scientific eye for documentation with a photographers eye for lighting, composition and character, he created an extraordinary record of the medicinal plants and flora of the Colombian Amazon.

Co‐authored by Robert F. Raffauf, an outstanding plant chemist, VINE OF THE SOUL contains some of the most significant photographs on this subject ever taken accompanied by detailed descriptions of the Amazon Indians use of medicinal and other sacred plant substances, with information on the bioactive chemistry and medicinal properties of the plants.

VINE OF THE SOUL (or ayahuasca) is a sacred drink used for millennia by shamans throughout the Amazon basin. This book is not just for readers interested in ayahuasca, and other psychoactive drugs; it is a remarkable record of a rich heritage that is in danger of disappearing altogether and should be examined by anyone interested in preserving the Amazon rainforest and the cultural heritage of its people. Thanks to attention drawn to the Amazon Indians by Schultes and others, the former President of Colombia, Virgilio Barco, in 1988 returned over six million hectares of land to the Indians for their exclusive use. The Colombian government further created a number of biological reserves, bringing the total area under protection to more than 20,000,000 hectares.

Dr. Richard Evans Schultes in Vine of the Soul

The second edition contains a Preface by Wade Davis, Explorer‐in‐Residence for the National Geographic Society; a Foreword by Sir Ghillean Prance, Former Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England (Emeritus); and Epilogue by Michael Balick, Director of Institute of Economic Botany, NY Botanical Gardens.

Recipient of numerous national and international awards including the annual World Wildlife Fund Gold Medal, Schultes was awarded in 1983 the Cross of Boyaća, the highest honor offered by the Republic of Colombia. In 1992, Dr. Schultes was awarded the Linnean Gold Medal, the highest award a botanist can receive. Possibly more famous on the streets of Bogotá, Schultes was nevertheless the quintessential Harvard man, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, a Bostonian, a gentleman and a scholar.

Co‐authors Drs. Schultes and Raffauf passed away in recent years. This reissue is in commemoration of the authors life’s work. Remarkable plants; remarkable people; remarkable men.

“The medicine men of the Kamsa and Inga tribes of the valley of Sibundoy have an unusually extensive knowledge of medicinal and toxic plants. One of the most renowned is Salvador Chindoy, who insists that his knowledge of the medicinal plants has been taught to him by the plants themselves through the hallucinations he has experienced in his long lifetime as a medicine man. It is such knowledge, fast disappearing, that we must salvage for the potential benefit of all mankind.”

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Why is Ayahuasca so Popular Now?

As so many shifts are occurring on the planet and people look for ways to adapt their lives, more and more have been finding ayahuasca to be an invaluable tool in their transformation. We answered some questions about this mysterious brew and why it’s been getting so much attention.

Drawing by Kathleen Harrison. In the Ayahuasca Reader.

What is Ayahuasca?

Ayahuasca is a sacred drink used for millennia by numerous indigenous groups primarily in the Upper Amazon and Orinoco basins for divination, healing, and other cosmogonic/shamanic purposes.

-from the Ayahuasca Reader

It’s known by many names throughout South America and is also known as yagé or yajé. The name ayahuasca translates to “vine of the soul” in Quechuan.

What is it made of?

Ayahuasca is a psychoactive brew or tea most commonly derived from Banisteriopsis caapi, a vine containing monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and the leaves of Psychotria viridis or other plant containing N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and often several other admixture plants.

-from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Why do people use it?

There are many reasons why more people are choosing to drink ayahuasca including:

  • spiritual and religious reasons
  • shamanic journeying
  • personal growth
  • medicinal and therapeutic purposes

What kinds of medicinal and therapeutic properties does ayahuasca have?

It’s been gaining attention around the world for its ability to heal a wide range of diseases and conditions. Thousands of people report emotional, mental and physical healing from a wide range of conditions. To contribute to the abundance of anecdotal evidence, there have been more clinical studies scientifically investigating ayahuasca’s healing properties, including recent studies showing the effectiveness of a single use in treating recurrent depression, significant improvement among participants in therapy for treatment of addiction, and possible antitumor effects.

Untitled, gouache on paper, © Marlene Lopes Mateus, (Cashinahua, Brazil). Collection of Elsje Maria Lagrou. In the Ayahuasca Reader.

What are the religious or spiritual reasons for drinking ayahuasca?

People report an expanded sense of connection with all of life through visions that reveal the nature of reality. Oftentimes during ceremonies, healing songs or icaros are sung to guide participants through their journey.

In indigenous groups in Amazonia, shamans drink ayahuasca for many reasons that have spiritual significance, including to travel to other realms, gather information, finding and treating illnesses, and to communicate with other beings. For more detailed information on these rituals, see Ayahuasca Reader and Vine of The Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia.

There are also several recognized churches that use ayahuasca as an entheogenic sacrament, including Santo Daime, Barquinha and União do Vegetal (UDV).

“Ayahuasca has a very insistent message. It’s one of those universals that almost everyone who drinks the brew sooner or later reports. It’s about the sacred, magical, enchanted, interconnected, infinitely precious nature of life on earth, and the interdependence of material and spiritual realms.” -Graham Hancock

Allen Ginsberg, speaking at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. Photograph © by Roberth Hahn. In the Ayahuasca Reader

Don Ignacio, Shipibo shaman, Ucayali River. Photograph © Angelika Gebhart-Sayer. In the Ayahuasca Reader.

Who’s using it?

Indigenous groups in the Amazon have been using ayahuasca for thousands of years, with written records of ayahuasca ceremonies emerging in the early diaries of Spanish colonial priests.

In addition to the populations who have traditionally used ayahuasca, there has been a surge of interest among people all over the world. Many people including scientists, doctors, artists, musicians, writers, journalists, those who wish to be healed from disease and those who want to seek to go deeper within themselves.

Is it legal?

Ayahuasca is legal in many countries in South America. The United States Supreme Court has unanimously ruled in favor of the legal religious use of ayahuasca by the União do Vegetal, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the Santo Daime Church’s freedom to use ayahuasca for religious purposes. However, ayahuasca’s principally active ingredient—DMT—remains a Schedule I controlled substance.

-from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

Why is ayahuasca so popular now?

At this critical moment in human history, we are seeing a remarkable increase in the use of Ayahuasca. This voice of this profound Amazonian plant teacher has been getting louder. It calls us to find balance with the rhythms of the planet. As we see the effects of consumeristic excess waging war on the planet, the message of ayahuasca calls us to raise our Earth consciousness by examining our lives and coming into a state of harmony.

“. . . the ubiquitous simultaneous therapeutic, religious, spiritual and medicinal roles of these plants have implications for understanding the nature of human consciousness and the spiritual.” -Michael Winkleman

How can I learn more?

Join us for a SYNERGETIC SYMPOSIUM & SALON on Earth Consciousness & Lore of the Amazon

Conversations on Ayahuasca, Ethnomedicine, and the Biospheric Imperative with

RALPH METZNER • DENNIS MCKENNA • RICK DOBLIN • ALLAN BADINERJOHN ALLEN • VALERIE PLAME WILSON • GAY DILLINGHAM • MICHAEL GARFIELD

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 6 4:00 – 11:00 PM

Talks • Dinner • Visionary Art • Poetry • Music • Dancing

Synergia Ranch Santa Fe, New Mexico

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You can also find a wealth of comprehensive writings and images in Ayahuasca Reader, more ethnobotanical information in Vine of The Soul: Medicine Men, Their Plants and Rituals in the Colombian Amazonia, and a discussion of ayahuasca and Buddhist practice in Zig Zag Zen: Buddhism and Psychedelics.

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