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Sep 21, 2012

In the 88th installment of the Psychonautica Podcast, KMO and Olga speak with Kat Green and Dan Glass, the makers of The Secret Life of Mushrooms. It is a film about the current state of magic mushroom shamanism in Huautla de Jimenez, the place R. Gordon Wasson made famous in his 1957 Life Magazine article, In Search of the Magic Mushroom. Wasson's account brought the sheltered town in Mexico's Sierra Mazateca to international attention, and the town was soon over-run by hippies and spiritual seekers. The attention proved quite disruptive in the short term, but Kat and Dan provide a portrait of a people who have incorporated the mushroom tourists and their spiritual longings into their lives and sense of identity. Later KMO talks to Dr. Neal Goldsmith about the upcoming Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference, which he hosts each year at Judson Memorial Church in lower Manhattan. Finally, KMO talks by phone with Alan Shoemaker, host of the annual International Amazonian Shamanism conference about ways to minimize the dangers that can befall ayahuasca tourists who get in over their heads. A teenager recently died at an ayahuasca retreat center in Peru. The shaman, Jose Pineda Vargas (AKA Moncoluto) buried the boy's body and reported him missing. Alan describes his efforts to create a certification body which will help travelers find authentic practitioners and avoid the scammers and predators. Music: Opium by Dead Can Dance.