+
psychedelic renaissance, psychedelics spirituality
Image courtesy of GTUx

In depth conversations held by experts and scholars. All at no cost.

True

We are living in a renaissance of psychedelic research, no doubt about it…particularly when it comes to medical treatment. Psilocybin and MDMA are being used to alleviate depression and post traumatic stress disorder. Ayahuasca retreats continue to become more popular as healing centers. Even my go-to yoga spot now offers a “Microdose Flow Night.” What a time to be alive.

And yet, as plant medicine makes its way back into the mainstream of our modern world, traditional spiritual wisdom often seems to get lost, even dismissed, from the conversation. But what if there were a way to blend new and old ways of thinking?

psychedelics, psychedelics and religion, gtuxAll images courtesy of GTUx

Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is a world leader in the study of religion and theology. Their new virtual learning program, GTUx, is a is a vibrant home for the exploration of spirituality and activism through online learning opportunities, all inspired by experts of spiritual, ethical, cultural and social fields.

GTUx recently launched “Psychedelics and Religion”—a first-of-its-kind online program that explores the inherent (but often overlooked) relationship between spirituality and science in hallucinogens. Plus, it’s completely free to sign up.

Psychedelics and Religion Part I | gtu.edu/xwww.youtube.com

GTUx’s “Psychedelics and Religion, Part 1” has nine easy-to-watch modules offering in-depth conversations from leading scholars in both religious and medical fields, including Michael Pollan, Celina De Leon, Ayize Jama-Everett, and many others.

The content is practical for a general audience, and particularly for those interested in using plant medicine in holistic ways.

Brian Anderson, Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSF General Hospital, and one of the GTUx speakers considers it paramount to incorporate spiritual knowledge from ancient practices into the medical use of psychedelics. This is important even if the person taking these substances doesn’t label themselves as religious.

“Survey data suggests that people who identified as atheist or agnostic after having a high dose psychedelic experience might change…having some form of new spiritual beliefs or convictions that they did not have before. This is something I've certainly seen in a number of people,” he shared with Upworthy.

Clinical settings generally lack frameworks to better understand these profound experiences in what many might call the “mystical” realm. It’s sort of like being dropped into a brand new country without a map or translator.

Religious scholars, however, are fluent in mystical language. Dr. Sam Shonkoff, Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU, and panel leader, hopes that their contribution might reinstill a sense of “awe” into our modern view of psychedelics, in the fullest sense of the term.

“There's a really desperate need to slow down and think carefully and critically about what it means to tap into these very powerful substances that are associated with very rich cultural traditions and to not take that lightly,” he explained.


gtux psychedlics and religionDr. Sam Shonkoff, Taube Family Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies at the GTU

“I think that people who study the histories and phenomenologies of religion and spirituality are importantly situated to help us think more carefully and critically about where we are and where we're going in relation to psychedelics.”

Participants of “Psychedelics and Religion” will learn about psychedelics in relation to mysticism, mental health, and chaplaincy, and how to better integrate their profound transformational experiences into everyday life. By the end of the program, they might discover that when it comes to plant medicine, science and spirituality actually do complement one another.

Parts 1 & 2 of this free online offering are available now. You can check them out by clicking here. It's guaranteed to be a good trip

via Chewy

Adorable Dexter and his new chew toy. Thanks Chewy Claus.

True

Every holiday season, millions of kids send letters asking for everything from a new bike to a pony. Some even make altruistic requests such as peace on Earth or helping struggling families around the holidays.

But wouldn’t the holiday season be even more magical if our pets had their wishes granted, too? That’s why Chewy Claus is stepping up to spread holiday cheer to America’s pets.

Does your dog dream of a month’s supply of treats or chew toys? Would your cat love a new tree complete with a stylish condo? How about giving your betta fish some fresh decor that’ll really tie its tank together?

Or do your pets need something more than mere creature comforts such as life-saving surgery?

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

Teen raises $186,000 to help Walmart worker retire.

In America, many people have to work well past the age of retirement to make ends meet. While some of these people choose to work past retirement age because it keeps them active, some older people, like Nola Carpenter, 81, work out of necessity.

Carpenter has been working at Walmart for 20 years, way beyond most people's retirement age just so that she can afford to continue to pay her mortgage. When 19-year-old Devan Bonagura saw the woman looking tired in the break room of the store, he posted a video to his TikTok of Carpenter with a text overlay that said, "Life shouldn't b this hard..." complete with a sad face emoji.

In the video, Carpenter is sitting at a small table looking down and appearing to be exhausted. The caption of the video reads ":/ I feel bad." Turns out, a lot of other people did too, and encouraged the teen to start a GoFundMe, which has since completed.

Keep ReadingShow less

Philadelphia is taking the city back to the past.

Remember when calling your parents, a tow truck or a friend when you were out and about meant digging in your pocket for a quarter to make a pay phone call? Well, a Philadelphia-based collective, PhilTel, is jumping into the past with a modern twist, by installing free-to-use pay phones throughout the city.

Of course, the pay phones that many of us grew up were removed from public places years ago. There no longer seemed to be a need for them when most people had a phone in their pocket or in their hand. But it's easy to forget that not everyone has or wants that luxury. For some people, staying that connected all the time can be too much and for others, it's simply financially impossible to own a cell phone.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 07.22.21


As if a Canada goose named Arnold isn't endearing enough, his partner who came looking for him when he was injured is warming hearts and having us root for this sweet feathered couple.

Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, Massachusetts shared the story on its Facebook page, in what they called "a first" for their animal hospital.


Keep ReadingShow less
popular

Think all cats are the same? These pictures prove they each have their own personality

Photographer Nils Jacobi shows how cats aren't nearly as aloof as one might think.

All images used with Nils Jacobi's permission. @furryfritz/Instagram

Catographer purrfectly captures cats' purrsonalities.

People often mistakingly attribute a singular personality to cats—usually the words "aloof" or "snobby" are used to describe them. At best, they might be given the "evil genius" label. But in actuality, no two cats are alike. Each has their own distinct ways of being, whether that’s silly, sophisticated, affectionate, downright diabolical or somewhere in between.

This photographer has the pictures to prove it.

Nils Jacobi, better known online as furryfritz, the catographer, has photographed literally thousands upon thousands of cats—from Maine coons who look like they should be in a perfume ad to tabbies in full-on derp mode.
Keep ReadingShow less