Dass war eine interessante Begegnung, da in Berlin und an der Spree. And good for my German language, but I will continue in English. I liked the venue (a bio-hotel) and since we camped at one of the Spree lakes, and crossed around the former East-Berlin suburbs, the election/Wahlkampf’ was on our screen a lot. A struggle, not as reported in the media between AfD and the incumbent SPD/CDU, but much more an abundant number of small local parties, initiatives, couleur locale, very human, engaged and showing how much people cared. The outcome, due to the 5% limit, showed a quite different picture in the media. The real struggle, I feel, is no longer between the left and the right, but between the ‘people’ people and the ‘things’ people, between the analog freedom and the digital rules& order.
The same is true for the people at the Entheogen-Science event, much more varied, in age, focus and experience than at the more scientific and dry Amsterdam OPEN event IPCR 2016 a few months ago. More experiential, and with much more “underground” (real but illegal users) presence. The official (scientific) “Psychedelic Research” community or rather the Psycholytic branch of it (and those aspiring to some job or degree in that framework) was present, but under attack. Not because the ‘people’ participants are against the ‘legalisation’ by way of aiming at getting accepted diagnose-treatment protocols within the decade, but because it is all so dry, so within the system, so rational and unspiritual. The science/rational arguments are valid, their path probably a good start to open up to wider acceptance, but most of the participants didn’t recognize their own transformational experiences, their rave-consciousness, their ritual, their sense of belonging in the rational science approach. Yet, the meeting of these world yielded some insights, the divide between them a little less, the final forum debate brought some clarity at least.
The lectures were not amazing, too much ego and personal stories, too much highschool or BSc level historicity and lists, too much of the same, which all of us either knew or could easily read in one of the thousands of books. Even the old hands tended to retell the old stories, while they could have shared their wisdom, in telling us what they feel, what they observe from a more experienced, more mature position. Reminding us of the old days and what was done then only fortifies the belief, that we haven’t come very far, we are now ‘proving’ what is/was already known. Boring, what’s really new, I miss the Terences of our past, who would inspire and confront, not dish up old facts.
The aspiring academics or authors, glad to be given a spot in the program, did their thing, some with pathos, some rather flat, but I didn’t hear much news. Then there were the daring seekers, reporting about their own group experiences, about strange substances, strange places, correspondences and mostly expressing their ‘excitement’ in a way that feels like Tim Cook’s announcement of the iPhone7. There was emotion, there was new-age ‘love and peace’ energy, but mostly I sensed a need for contact, for networks, for the kind of leadership and vision that made the Osho wave so attractive. Of course everything these people do is illegal or close to it, but does that make them underground? It feels more like the groundswell of a movement that is surfacing in the ‘normal’ world, where a joint and talking about an ayahuasca session has become more or less normal.
Of course there were amazing presentations, meaningful like Steckel’s, informative and provocative like Jungaberle’s, insightful like Joe Schraube himself, funny and wise moderators like Wolf Schneider, and that balanced the somewhat overloaded and tiring program, especially on the sunny and warm Saturday. Too hot to engage in the social events in the evening, I must admit.
What did I miss? Education, also of youngsters and festival goers, the attitude of religions like Islam, how to deal with mishaps and ill-executed rituals and experiments, the role of media, sex and psychedelics, in the final forum these things were mentioned, but should have been given a more visible place in the program.
Contact opportunities, that was what Entheogen 2016 meant for me. Amazing people, networking, some fun, chance meetings that turned out to be meaningful, and all that without any substance except vegan food and coffee without real milk.
A well used weekend I feel, and yes, I will come again!
My Powerpoint presentation, which due to Ubuntu/LibreOffice was not graphically perfect, is here to be found:
a free download of my book on entheogen rituals at: