Experts of science and religion come together to talk psychedelics in a free online series
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.
Dr. 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