LSD and the Mind of the Universe: An Interview with Christopher M. Bache

Posted by Angela Borda on Apr 19, 2021 5:06:43 PM

Christopher M. Bache, Ph.D. is an accomplished teacher as well as researcher in “the philosophical implications of non-ordinary states of consciousness, particularly psychedelic states.” He will be the keynote speaker of the upcoming Pacifica Conference, “Accessing the ineffable: Depth Psychology, Religious Experience, and the Further Reaches of Consciousness,” on June 19, 2021. Click here for more information. I’m delighted to find out more about his research and the conference.

Angela: The title of the workshop is “Accessing the Ineffable.” And your talk will be on “LSD and the Mind of the Universe: The Challenges and Blessings of an Extreme Psychedelic Journey.” How has LSD helped you to access the ineffable, or as you say in the book, allowed you to journey “into a unified field of consciousness that underlies all physical existence”? How did you first get involved, and are you glad you took the trip?

Chris: Yes, I’m very glad I took this journey, though I also want to say that it was the most demanding undertaking of my life.

I began my psychedelic work in 1979 when I was 30 years old. I was just out of graduate school from Brown University where I had trained as a philosopher of religion, finishing my studies as an atheistically-inclined agnostic. I was looking for where to take my research next when I read Stan Grof’s Realms of the Human Unconscious. I immediately saw the relevance of his work to the core questions I had been trained to pursue as a philosopher–whether life has meaning or purpose, whether human beings survive death, and whether there is a conscious intelligence operating in the universe. I saw that with the advent of psychedelics, the deepest contributions to my discipline would be made by persons writing out of an experiential basis, not just an intellectual basis, and I felt a deep calling to do this work. (My Saturn Return marked a number of seminal transitions in my life: from student to professor, from book learning to experiential learning, from agnosticism to psychedelic initiation.)

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Pacifica Events, soul, depth psychology, meditation, The Retreat at Pacifica

Accessing the Ineffable with Santo Daime: An Interview of William Barnard, Ph.D.

Posted by Angela Borda on Mar 29, 2021 2:51:16 PM

Professor William Barnard, Ph.D. will be giving a talk on “The Religious Use of Psychedelics: The Santo Daime” in the upcoming Pacifica conference “Accessing the Ineffable: Depth Psychology, Religious Experience, and the Further Reaches of Consciousness” on June 19, 2021. This conference will bring together an eclectic group of scholars to investigate to mysterious elements at the foundation of Jungian depth psychology – “consciousness” and the expansive potentialities of a non-local “unconscious.” For more information on this event, please click here. [https://retreat.pacifica.edu/accessing-the-ineffable/] I was delighted to spend time talking with Bill and learning more about his research and experiences.

Angela: You are a professor of religious studies, and will be presenting a talk on the use of psychedelics in religion, in particular, the Santo Daime, which you describe as “a relatively new religion that emerged out of the Amazon rainforest region of Brazil in the middle of the twentieth century and which now has churches throughout the world; a religion in which a psychedelic brew – ayahuasca – is taken as a sacrament.” For those who are not familiar with ayahuasca, can you tell us the basics of where it comes from, what it is, and how the experience of ingesting would lead people to consider it a sacrament?

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Posted in: Connecting Cultures, Pacifica Events, soul, depth psychology, meditation, The Retreat at Pacifica