OrganizationsAugust 23, 2017
“Psychedelics are not a substitute for faith. They are a door to authentic faith, born of encountering directly the sacred dimension of everyday experience. This is not the only gate to that discovery, but it is the most ancient and universal, and potentially the most accessible to the majority of the human race.” –Rick Doblin, Exec. Director of MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies
Buddha at the Gas Pump
California Inst. of Integral Studies
The Beckley Foundation
Founded in the UK in 1998 by Amanda Fielding, the Beckley Foundation is a think-tank and NGO focused on research into psychoactive substances and the related science and public policy. This well-constructed site hosts a number of interesting articles about psychotropics on their ‘press‘ page, such as this article on the role of music during psychedelic therapy. Their science content includes studies on LSD, psilocybin, cannabis, ayahuasca/DMT, MDMA and meditation for clinical applications that include depression, anxiety, cluster headaches, addictions and more – plus loads of global policy content! Overall, a good site for staying in touch with what’s happening on the global front in psychedelic medicine. YouTube channel.
For the second time, Prague will host Beyond Psychedelics in June 2018, a biennial conference that got some notice after their first event in 2016. The conference brings together leaders in psychedelics advocacy, medicinal applications, consciousness science and the related technology.
Billing itself as ‘one of the biggest psychedelic meetings in the world’, this biennial 3-day conference offers content from the numerous disciplines exploring psychedelic consciousness. After each conference, the organizers release a book of essays collected from the event – which you can find here and which I haven’t read. But I did find their Vimeo channel which offers over 250 videos from previous conferences in which speakers address everything from microdosing LSD to plant shamanism to sensory deprivation to … a Q&A with Russell Brand and Daniel Pinchbeck (?). The next conference is in 2019 so there’s plenty of time if you need to row your way across the pond. :)
This is a shout-out to another organization affiliated with the late Terence McKenna – and still being run by former partner Kathleen Harrison. This non-profit based in California is dedicated to ethnobotany – the collection, protection, propagation and understanding of the world of plants; their uses, their lore, and the cultural knowledge of them. Besides running projects around the world in support of the study and preservation of important psychotropic plants, Botanical Dimensions also offers classes and symposiums throughout the year. Facebook page
Buddha at the Gas Pump
In his weekly podcast, Rick Archer interviews ‘spiritually awakened’ people – some well-known and others unknown – and in allowing them to share their stories, seeks to help confront public skepticism about these extraordinary experiences. Rick’s guests discuss numerous spiritual topics; Christianity, Zen Buddhism, lucid dreaming, shamanism and psychedelics are a few examples. Started in 2008, the podcast now offers over 400 interviews with close to 300 wise women and men. The website also offers links to lots of additional content for each guest – a great way to find new material from these teachers.
California Institute of Integral Studies
In 1950, Stanford professor Frederick Spiegelberg, spiritual teacher Alan Watts and others founded the American Academy of Asian Studies. The academy was later joined by Dr. Chaudhuri, head of philosophy at Krishnagar College in Bengal, who co-founded the cultural integration and educational programs that evolved over the years to become CIIS in 1980. Today, this accredited university offers an ‘integral education’ meant to embody ‘a creative synthesis of the highest values of East and West’. They also host a number of public events and their podcast has some pretty interesting content. Facebook page
Clinical Trials . Gov
Hosted by the National Library of Medicine, this site is a database of privately and publicly funded clinical studies being conducted in the US and abroad. Over the past few years, we’ve all been seeing more and more headlines touting newly ‘discovered’ benefits of one psychedelic substance after another – MDMA, psilocybin, LSD – for any number of chronic physical and mental health conditions – PTSD, depression, and addiction, to name a few. If you have interest in participating in a trial – or just want to see who’s doing what – this is the place to start. Searching on this site today for trials related to psychedelics returns 54 studies (!).
Cognitive Freedom Alliance
Currently based in Italy, the website of this new group (2015) provides a pretty generic description: a political organization promoting drug policy reform based on human rights, scientific evidence and compassion. A few things about this site caught my attention, the first being their ICEERS and MAPS advisory board links. Second was this video from a conference last year in which CFA representative William Montgomery argues that policies prohibiting the use of psychedelic drugs impinge on our sovereign cognitive freedoms; he uses an interesting model to make a good case. It’s encouraging to see such a well-spoken argument for responsible psychotropic use coming from the newest generation entering the public discussion.
This website is run by a small team based in the UK and from their studios in London, they’ve conducted over 400 interviews with a wider array of voices than usually encountered on the topic: former Catholic monk Francis Bennett, renowned musician and composer Jah Wobble, and non-dual teacher Loch Kelly (this interview is a nice introduction to Loch’s approach), for example. Being overseas, they introduce local folks we don’t hear about as often on this side of the pond.
(From their website) “Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. We work with academic, medical, and experiential experts to develop and publish new resources, as well as to improve and increase access to already existing resources. We also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.”
Founded in 1995, Erowid seems to be known as the ‘go to’ site for wide range of trustworthy content on just about any psychotropic plant or substance. Whether looking for pictures, dosing information, trip reports, cultural history, chemical structure or the latest research, this humble website will likely have either what you need or a link to it. Facebook page And for you data junkies out there, they also have a Data Visualization Site.
Founded 55 years ago on almost 30 acres along the California coastline, this education center / retreat / spa became especially well known in the 1990’s through the work of scholar in residence Terence McKenna. There are now many similar ‘seminars and spas’ spots but this was one of the first in the US to curate a serious curriculum marrying the mysticism of the East with the science of the West as part of a larger vision to transform humankind. Their current faculty list runs the gamut from spiritual teacher Adyashanti to singer Alanis Morissette to filmmaker Andy Abrahams Wilson (and that’s just the A’s!), though it looks like their focus has shifted lately to the tech sector fallout we’ve been hearing about recently. Facebook page ; YouTube channel.
“A member-supported conscious media company” is how they describe themselves. I’ve bought their yoga CDs but now that I’m in hanging out in more of their wheelhouse, I’ve appreciated their numerous documentaries as well; a number of their films will appear on the “Movies & Videos” page. I access their content via Amazon (for an additional fee) but Gaia also sells direct streaming services.
A Healing Space
I’m always on the lookout for blogs offering regular doses of support or new information for the nondual seeker and Matt Licata’s blog is one such site; he’s actually one of my favorite writers of this type of content. Besides the psychotherapy and retreat information found on his professional site, Matt shares regular doses of his warm encouragement and spiritual wisdom on A Healing Space – and has been doing so for six years so there’s plenty of backlog content if a binge session is needed ;)
Based in the UK, the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education Research & Service (let’s hear it for acronyms!) is another group focused on supporting the study and integration of psychotropic plants, though most of their content focuses on the use of ayahuasca and iboga. They offer guides for preparing yourself – or for preparing yourself to guide another – as well as Amazonian travel advice, scientific content, legal and defense advice and a blog that reports related news and developments, mostly from the European nations. Facebook page ; YouTube channel
IONS – Institute of Noetic Studies
Founded in 1973 by US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, IONS is “a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting individual and collective transformation through consciousness research, transformative learning, and engaging a global community in the realization of our human potential”. What are the Noetic Sciences?
~ noetic: From the Greek noēsis / noētikos, meaning inner wisdom, direct knowing, or subjective understanding.
~ science: Systems of acquiring knowledge that use observation, experimentation, and replication to describe and explain natural phenomena.
~ noetic sciences: A multidisciplinary field that brings objective scientific tools and techniques together with subjective inner knowing to study the full range of human experiences.
MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies
Founded in 1986, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies is a non-profit research and educational group developing programs to allow for the beneficial use and exploration of psychedelics and marijuana. Their site is a great resource for keeping up on research into the medicinal application of psychedelics; an e-newsletter is available. Founder and executive director Rick Doblin gave a nice overview of the group’s mission and work during the 2016 SAND conference, posted here.
Marijuana Policy Project
Launched in 1995, MPP describes itself as the largest group in the US focused entirely on ending the cannabis prohibition in this country. Perhaps uniquely, they put a lot of energy into reforming federal law so most of their staff and budget are located in Wash. D.C. The MPP blog is a great way to keep up on the latest news coming from the growing number of states and cities working to decriminalize cannabis use. Facebook page
This is the teaching arm of IONS (Institute of Noetic Sciences), a group founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell in the 1970’s which is dedicated to consciousness research and human transformation. This site is a new offering so the list of in-person and e-learning offerings is small so far; they’re also hosting ‘virtual gatherings’, workshops and even a Mayan tour. What caught my eye about this site is the content under the tab labeled ‘Research Participation’ where IONS lists any study open for online and in-person participation. Feel like testing your psi abilities to change the flow of photons? Want to participate in precognition research? Information and links for these and other studies – and IONS’ new ‘PsiQ‘ research app – are found here.
While I might miss the smell of wood shelving and old books found in real-space bookstores, it sure is nice having immediate access to small cyberspace stores catering to the just about any interest. Non-duality Press (… to hyphenate or not to hyphenate…) Is relatively new (2004) so their inventory is small but such sites offer an easy way to discover offerings from new nondual teachers who have yet to gain the attention of larger publishers. The editor also publishes this blog which features unique articles about the larger nondual community, like this piece; Reflections on SAND 2017: The Emergent Universe. Hopefully the blog continues after the merger; Non-Duality Press is now affiliated with New Harbinger Publications, which publishes books on health, psychology and personal growth as well as spirituality.
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws was founded in 1970 with a mission to “move public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable.” While their focus is legislative, because they are one of the oldest such organizations they’ve had time to build up a lot of good “pot 101” content like FAQs, policy fact sheets, a nice primer article and, my personal favorite, nice summaries on recent medical research; a great site for getting hands on cannabis data. Facebook page.
A project of The Psychedelic Society, this cool little site is quick way to tap into the local and global (public) psychedelic community. The interactive map is the eye candy but the site also lists 1,600+ people, 230+ organizations and a dozen discussion groups who have all stepped into the public square to learn and share. …”Find the others” …
The Psychedelic Society (UK)
Given America’s legal stance on the use of (non-prescription) drugs, it’s no surprise that some of the more public psychedelic events are happening elsewhere – in this case, London. The Psychedelic Society is one such group and I’ve come across several videos lately featuring members bringing their psychedelic advocacy to a variety of audiences. They often sponsoring various (UK) petitions for legalization and also host ‘Experience Weekends’ in the Netherlands using psilocybin truffles (in case you happen to find yourself in the neighborhood). The Psychedelic Society is a young group run by the young people shaping the next wave of psychedelic awareness; here’s hoping they stick around.
This is an excellent resource of up-to-date content on just about any psychedelic substance, author, physical effect … it seems to all be there.
From their website: PsychonautWiki is a community-driven encyclopedia striving to formally document the field of psychonautics in a comprehensive, scientifically-grounded manner. Our primary motivations include:
~ documenting all aspects of psychonautics (including practices like meditation, lucid dreaming, psychoactive substance use, sensory deprivation, ritual, etc.) from an evidence-based, scientific perspective.
~ providing accessible education, encouraging safe practices, and reforming cultural taboos associated with the use of psychoactive substances using expert and crowd-sourced information.
~ seeding a culture that promotes individual responsibility by providing the information needed to make conscious, informed choices.
SAND – Science and Nonduality
In 2008, Zaya and Maurizio Benazzo founded a small organization that would provide “a forum where preeminent scientists, philosophers, teachers, artists and a large international community gather to explore and advance the new paradigm emerging in spirituality“. Besides the conferences they organize in the US and abroad, their very active website hosts a lot of great content – lectures, interviews, meditations – and continues to help me find the teachers and other resources that have been so helpful in my searching (disclosure – I am a member and supporter).
A shout out to this group as I know they produced several of the interesting ‘consciousness’ films I’ve encountered on various streaming services; they also help produce Eckhart Tolle Now. Their website sells the popular titles but also offers an extensive collection of audio books and courses I haven’t seen elsewhere.
This site provides nice summaries and resource libraries on a large number of non-dual teachers and traditions; they describe themselves as ‘“the preeminent resource for self-inquiry and self-exploration”. I hadn’t yet reviewed their site until a few days ago when I learned they host a great big, beautiful, digitized copy of Carl Jung’s Red Book. And it’s yours to download for free (!!) for subscribing to the site – which I did immediately. After spending an hour zooming in on the first illustration, I can attest to the availability of gorgeous details. I’m grateful for their generosity as this book still costs a very big penny to buy new.