The largest psychedelic conference in history took place at the end of April in Oakland, California, bringing together luminaries and researchers in all fields of psychedelic inquiry and practice, including a whole track devoted to plant medicines. And what an amazing week it was!
The Temple of the Way of Light and the Chaikuni Institute proudly partnered with the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies) and the Beckley Foundation, the main organizers of this historical event. We are grateful for the opportunity to be included as part of this process, reimagining and restructuring our healthcare systems. More than anything, we want to extend our warmest wishes and gratitude to all of our friends, past and future guests and everyone who stopped by our stand at the marketplace to have a chat, share stories and visions, purchase some of the fine textiles handmade by the Temple’s Shipibo healers or watch the beautiful 360 video art of our friends Blake and Maira.
If you were there, you know how special the whole conference was, and we appreciate those of you who came and said hello, either at our stand in the marketplace or at one of the presentations we were involved with. We hope you left feeling as inspired, hopeful, connected, and in awe of all the amazing work that is happening (and that we get to be a part of) as our team did!
More than inspired, we came out with a stronger sense of responsibility to promote the sacred practice of reciprocity in action, and we look forward to leading the way into new conversations about how plant medicines can become central in our next-paradigm healthcare systems, while maintaining the integrity of the traditions and environments where they originate. Transitions are never easy, but we have faith in the plants and trust in our community.
The recognition and validation of ayahuasca as an immensely beneficial therapeutic practice inevitably entails also the recognition of the importance that the preservation, conservation and empowerment of Amazonian people and the rainforest itself has on all of us.
There were a variety of opportunities and invitations for the Temple to take part in the conference. We want to thank Bia Labate, curator of the Plant Medicine track and past Temple guest, for making this happen for us! Our first official presentation at the conference (and as a team) was a panel where we discussed our work with the Temple and Chaikuni. This was a great opportunity for the public to ask questions about the Temple history & operations, and share in the very moving sneak preview of Marc Silver’s upcoming film on ayahuasca. We were surprised at how big of a turnout there was, and more than a few people expressed their own surprise at the clear integrity and expertise coming through our team members.
The most popular post-conference workshop was co-lead by the Temple’s Integration Director, Dr. Tanya Maté. The workshop, “Integrating Psychedelic Experiences,” sold out much faster than anticipated. Together with our integration team member and ERIE’s Board Secretary Julie Megler, in addition to Ingmar Gorman and Katherine MacLean (from the Psychedelic Continuing Education & Care Program, based in NYC). Thank you to everyone who came, and if you didn’t get a ticket in time, you’re still in luck: they filmed the morning part of the workshop and we’ll post it once it’s available. The afternoon was experiential, and therefore confidential, but based on the success of this workshop we don’t doubt there will be future events where you can experience this work in-person.
We have much respect for the people at ICEERS (International Center for Ethnobotanical Education. Research and Service) and we’re bursting at the seams with excitement and pride that they’re starting to present preliminary results on their groundbreaking observational study on ayahuasca healing, which has been taking place at the Temple over the last 2 years. This is going to be the largest study on the therapeutic properties of ayahuasca for a variety of mental health afflictions. We want to extend our warmest gratitude to each of the Temple guests who has taken the time and effort to participate in this important study. Your contributions are invaluable in this important step towards the recognition of ayahuasca as a valid, beneficial and important practice in healing and generally enhancing our well-being.
We see this work as a matter of translating the wisdom and knowledge of our indigenous Shipibo healers into the language of science. For this, we want to acknowledge the amazing work of the principal researcher for this project, Débora Gonzáles, PhD., who presented the “Long-Term Effects of Ayahuasca on the Quality of Life, Well-Being and Health of Western Users: A Longitudinal Study” at the conference. The video is not up yet, but we will post it as soon as it is! A special mention here goes to our powerhouse facilitator, art-therapist and ICEERS member Irene Pérez, who gathered a substantial amount of this data onsite.
Lastly, we want to say thanks to our friends and co-partners at Psymposia
, for lending their platform to furthering the conversation on the reciprocal and respectful use of ayahuasca in a rapidly globalizing world
and helping to spread the word about some of the initiatives we are implementing at the Chaikuni Institute
. Furthermore, big thumbs up to the curators of the Psymposia Stage at Psychedelic Science
for their outstanding work, and for inviting our Research and Communications Coordinator Adam Andros Aronovich to kickstart their wonderful line of speakers and storytellers with a presentation titled “Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, & Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health”.
Most of the presentations from the conference are already online! You can watch most videos at MAPS YouTube channel
, and more are yet to come. We had a wonderful time at the conference, and we are already looking forward to the next one!