Events


On Thursday, November 5, 2009, I will be speaking at Reality Sandwich’s 3rd Annual Ayahuasca Monologues, New Tales from the Spirit Vine, at the historic Webster Hall Grand Ballroom in New York. Other speakers will include famed visionary artist Alex Grey, author Margaret De Wys, Marvel comic book artist Adam Pollina, and Hamilton Morris, drug columnist for Vice Magazine. Introduction by Daniel Pinchbeck, and a party after the talks. More information on the Reality Sandwich website.
If you’re in Chicago on Saturday, January 9, 2010, tune in to WLUW, 88.7 FM, Independent Community Radio, from 9:00 to 10:00 am. I will be on the program Live from the Heartland with Katie Hogan, broadcast every Saturday from the stage of the Heartland Cafe. Even better, come on down to the Heartland Cafe for breakfast at 7000 North Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park. Join the live audience while you eat buffalo steak and cornbread, omelets and buckwheat cakes with real maple syrup. If you can’t be in Chicago, you can catch the program live on the WLUW website.
On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, please join me in launching Singing to the Plants at the historic No Exit Cafe in Chicago — opened in 1958, named after Jean-Paul Sartre’s existentialist play, and one of the oldest coffeehouses in the country. We will have genuine Peruvian snacks, South American wine, traditional Aztec drumming and dancing, and the kind of Peruvian jump-up tin-roof jungle cantina dance music called cumbia amazónica. There is lots more information at the launch party website.
At the annual conference of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology, February 12–14, 2010, there will be a panel discussion entitled Singing to the Plants, Ayahuasca Shamanism, and Transpersonal Psychology, devoted to discussing some of the substantive and methodological issues raised by Singing to the Plants. The panel will consist of Ralph Metzner, Charles Grob, Valerie Mojeiko, and Evgenia Fotiou, and will be moderated by David Lukoff.
On Saturday, February 27, 2010, I will be reading from and discussing Singing to the Plants at the Consciousness Cafe — a floating cafe that meets in the Chicago area for the exchange of ideas relating to all aspects of consciousness, including altered states of consciousness and new spirituality. The Cafe was founded May 11, 2003, and has since had over forty gatherings. The conversation will be from about 4:00 to 6:00 pm at Transamoeba, 1325 S Wabash Ave, Suite 101, in Chicago’s South Loop.
There will be a panel on Ayahuasca and Healing at the conference of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness, March 17-21, 2010, at the University of California–Berkeley. Panelists will include Rich Doyle, Erik Davis, Francis Jervis, Stephen Trichter, Brian Anderson, Frank Echenhofer, and Evgenia Fotiou, and I am slated to be the discussant. I think this panel is shaping up to be groundbreaking in many ways, bringing together academic and nonacademic voices and showcasing many rising young stars in the study of ayahuasca.
On April 15-18, 2010, in San Jose, California, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies will hold a medical and educational conference entitled Psychedelic Science in the Twenty-first Century, intended for physicians, therapists, and the general public. This important conference will bring together international experts on psychedelic research, psychotherapy, and public policy. During three days of programming, there will be twenty papers on all aspects of ayahuasca, including my own presentation on Ayahuasca Shamanism, Cognitive Psychology, and the Phenomenology of Hallucination.
Evolver, publisher of the Web magazine Reality Sandwich, coordinates as many as fifty regional chapters that put on monthly themed events called Evolver Spores — community meet-ups, creative salons, hubs of ecological activation and social inspiration that, like spores, are intended to form rhizomatic networks. On April 21, 2010, at the Tonic Room, 2447 N Halsted St in Chicago, 7:30–9:00 pm, I will be the guest speaker at the Chicago Evolver Dream Spore, having a conversation on The Mystery of Dreams, Ayahuasca, and Shamanic Reality.
Life Force Arts Center, 3148 N Lincoln Ave, is Chicago’s space for spiritually-based visual, literary, and performing art. On Friday, August 6, 2010, 7:00–9:00 pm, I will be reading and discussing Singing to the Plants, and talking about shamanism, the sacred visionary plants, and the medicine path. Our special guest will be Howard G. Charing, author of Plant Spirit Shamanism, talking about his latest work, the forthcoming Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo.
On Thursday, October 21, 2010, I will be giving a presentation on indigenous spirituality — part of a panel entitled Multicultural Issues in Spirituality — at the International Spirituality 2010 conference at Chicago State University. The symposium is sponsored by the CSU Department of Psychology and School of Graduate and Professional Studies, and brings together scholars and researchers discussing the nature of spirituality and its impact on science, medicine, politics, social work, and the family.
On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at 11:00 am, I will have the great pleasure of speaking about ayahuasca shamanism in the class Foundations of Psychedelic Studies taught by Thomas B. Roberts at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. Tom is a renowned scholar of entheogens, author of Psychoactive Horizons and editor of the two-volume Psychedelic Medicine; he has taught this course at NIU since 1981 — the first such catalog-listed course at any college or university. If you are interested, the syllabus is online here.
For sixty years, the American Medical Students Association has represented the voice of physicians-in-training in their efforts to best serve the public. Among other projects, AMSA’s action committees and interest groups expose students to information on subjects not generally covered in traditional medical curricula. AMSA is holding its annual conference right here in Chicago, and I will be talking to the medical students about ethnomedicine and indigenous healing systems at 9:00 am, Saturday, November 13, 2010, as part of a panel on complementary and alternative medicine.
The Latin American Studies Program at The University of Iowa, established in 1978, is an interdisciplinary program of study, governed by a faculty steering committee whose primary teaching and research interests focus on Latin America, and fostering cross-disciplinary teaching and research on Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. The LASP is sponsoring a series of events as part of Amazon Week, and I will be speaking on ayahuasca shamanism in the Upper Amazon at 12:30 pm, Friday, December 3, 2010, at the third-floor Gilmore Hall atrium.
On Sunday, October 9, 2011, at 2:00 p.m. EST, 11:00 am PST, I will join distinguished anthropologist Jeremy Narby for an interactive video podcast in his educational series Awakening the Cosmic Serpent II: Ayahuasca, Ancient Remedy for Modern Times. This course takes place over five Sundays between October 9 and November 6. Each seminar is devoted to a one-on-one conversation between Jeremy and a guest, followed by a question-and-answer session in which viewers can take an active part. I am honored to participate in this series with leading experts Benny Shanon, Kenneth Tupper, and Susana Bustos, as well as visionary artist Martina Hoffmann. You can sign up for the course at the link above.
Horizons is an annual conference whose goal is to open fresh dialogue on the role of psychedelics in medicine, culture, history, spirituality, and creativity. Now in its fifth year, the conference will be held once again at the historic landmark Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South in New York City, on October 14-16, 2011. I will be speaking on Ayahuasca, Cognitive Psychology, and the Ontology of Hallucination. Other speakers will be prominent advocates, social scientists, and medical researchers James Fadiman, Roy Haber, Beatriz Caiuby Labate, Ken Johnson, Juan Sanchez-Ramos, and Berra Yazar-Klosinsk.
The Summer Soulstice ☆ Conscious Love Summit — “bringing together the Conscious Community of Chicago to light up the city” — will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2012, from noon to midnight at the Bodhi Spiritual Center, 2746 N Magnolia Ave. Put on by BrilliantlyMad Crew, the all-ages event will be a carnival of speakers, movement workshops, vendors, dance and music performances, visionary and interactive artwork, healers, energy workers — and me. I will be hosting a peacemaking circle and speaking about shamanism and spirituality. There will be lots of time just to sit and talk too. This will be sheer fun.
Psychedemia is a new — and hopefully annual — academic conference that will be hosted at the University of Pennsylvania on September 27-30, 2012. The conference will feature university scholars and researchers from across the country in the fields of medicine, psychology, neuroscience, ethics, rhetoric, and anthropology to discuss recent ideas and discoveries in psychedelic studies. Researchers will be brought together with clinicians and advocates in interdisciplinary symposia that will explore an array of subjects pertinent to the current status of psychedelics in our culture. I will be speaking on Shamanism, Right Relationship, and the Sacred Plants on Friday morning, and I will be hosting a peacemaking circle in the evening.
On Saturday, October 6, 2012, at 12:00 pm PDT, 3:00 pm EDT, I will be joining my good friend Howard G. Charing — co-author of Plant Spirit Shamanism and The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo — in an interactive video podcast, part of his educational series Plant Spirit Shamanism: Exploring Plant Consciousness. The course takes place over four Saturdays, beginning September 22, and will also include as guests “medicine hunter” Chris Kilham and Sitaramaya of Amazon Convergence. Each episode is devoted to a 90-minute conversation between Howard and a guest, followed by an interactive question-and-answer session in which viewers can take part. You can sign up for the course at the link above.
I will be speaking at the second Spirit Plant Medicine Conference, October 26-28, 2012, at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. The goal of the conference is to offer accurate, respectful, and helpful information and inspiration on the use and larger context of the sacred plants, including ayahuasca, iboga, peyotl, and teonanácatl. I will be discussing Ayahuasca and Shamanic Spirituality, and joining in two panels — Ethics, Legalities, and Multicultural Considerations, with Ayasmina Flores, Sitaramaya, Kenneth Tupper, and Bia Labate; and Back to the Future: The Path Forward, with James Fadiman. Additional speakers will include Kathleen Harrison, Jennifebr Rae, Dee Dussault, and Chris Bennett.
At the Psychedelic Science 2013 conference, held in Oakland, California on April 19-21, 2013, I will be giving a presentation entitled Ayahuasca, the Scientific Paradigm, and Shamanic Healing, which will be part of an extraordinary ayahuasca track convened by my friend Bia Labate — the largest international gathering in history of researchers in the field of ayahuasca, featuring twenty-five research presentations, a full-day post-conference ayahuasca workshop, and film presentations and discussions. I will also help to moderate a community gathering to discuss current questions regarding the safety, ethics, and commercialization of ayahuasca use in spiritual tourism and the cultural appropriation of ayahuasca in the West.
Bruce Sewick — therapist, teacher, and addiction counselor — teaches a popular course at the College of Dupage called Psychedelic Mindview, which explores the role of psychedelic substances throughout history, including current clinical research on psychedelic drugs, the handling of drug experiences in psychotherapy, and the influence of psychedelics in art and creativity. On June 25, 2013, I will be giving a three-hour class presentation on Hallucinogens, Shamanism, and Indigenous Culture, in which I will discuss the current clash of medical models in the Upper Amazon, the definition of shamanism, the role of the shaman in culture, and the use of psychedelics in shamanizing.
ERIE — Entheogenic Research, Integration, and Education — was founded by graduate students at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. On Sunday, January 13, 2014, from 12:30 to 7:00 pm, ERIE will host, in the main hall at CIIS, 1453 Mission Street in San Francisco, a symposium on Cross-Cultural Entheogenic Practices: South/East Dialogue, featuring Steven Goodman on helpful and harmful forces in Tibetan Buddhism; Mike Crowley on the secret Buddhist tradition of entheogenic sacraments; Susana Bustos on plant diet processes in Peruvian vegetalismo; and me, looking at the transmission of ayahuasca from the Upper Amazon to North America as an issue in ethnomedicine. There will be an hour-long roundtable discussion at the end, and audience participation will be welcomed.