Why does the psychedelic community keep platforming abusers?

This week, popular psychedelic website Chacruna.net decided it was time to open a frank and honest discussion about sexual misconduct in the psychedelic community.

Unfortunately, Chacruna felt that the best person to lead that discussion was known psychedelic abuser, Daniel Pinchbeck.

Pinchbeck’s abuses involved the use of substances as a “tool of seduction” (in his own words), and his victims include his own employees at Evolver.net.

It was Paul Austin of The Third Wave‘s refusal to cancel a event in which Pinchbeck was headlined as the sole guest, that catalysed a mass exodus of The Third Wave‘s team in protest.

It appears that the leaders of the psychedelic community are taking their sweet time to understand why people are consistently furious when abusers are handed a microphone while their victims are ignored.

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Plant medicines in indigenous cultures

A version of this article was first written for the Synthesis retreat. I have re-worked it to remove the advertising – now, this is a brief overview of the way that plant medicines are viewed in the indigenous cultures that are still intertwined with them.

The growing awareness of the medicinal benefits of psychedelics in the West has been dubbed the “psychedelic renaissance.” Unlike the counterculture movement of the 1960s and ‘70s, this psychedelic emergence is fuelled by contemporary science and the potential for psychedelics to treat the rising tide of mental health conditions in our societies.

But psychedelics have been familiar to humanity for much longer than the past few decades. Plant medicines have been a part of some cultures since their beginnings.

So is our view of the benefits of psychedelics somewhat narrow? What lessons can we learn from studying the history and culture of psychedelic use outside of our immediate awareness?

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Mystical Experiences in Religion

This is a modified excerpt from an article I co-wrote for Synthesis, the full version of which you can find here.

Mystical experiences have been the cornerstone of religious and spiritual practices for millennia. From early Christian mysticism to Zen Buddhism, almost every religious path allows space for experiences that give a more direct connection to the more mysterious aspects of reality.

Broadly speaking, a mystical experience is anything that is hard to comprehend or describe with rational or simple language. Generally, it is short-lasting, feels immensely meaningful or profound, and shatters some of your preconceptions. You may encounter paradoxical or alien concepts firsthand, such as non-duality; a realization that nothing in the universe is truly separate, or impermanence; an awareness that pretty much everything is temporary.

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