Ecopsychedelics and Council
Sustainability and Psychedelics Retreat
The Ecopsychedelics: Sustainability and Psychedelics Retreat builds off of the amazing work that the Medicinal Mindfulness community has been doing since 2012, but expanding on it in order to address the current crises—political, social, environmental, spiritual—in which we find ourselves.
Sustainability, at its core, is recognized to be a worldview shift from the materialistic, mechanistic, reductionistic way of being best exemplified by the rampant scientism and economism which dictate our unsustainable relationships to each other and the natural world. What is being called for is a new, life-centered and holistic worldview that allows humans and society to be a positive force for good on this planet.
It has been shown that psychedelics have the power to give people the lived experience of interconnection that is at the heart of an earth-based society, as evidenced by many first-nation peoples around the world. But even in its more clinical forms, psychedelics have proven to address issues of existential distress, depression, anxiety, and addiction, which are all afflictions that are plaguing our efforts to bring about a regenerative culture. Indeed, it is rational that the very real possibility of the collapse of civilization and perhaps even the extinction of the human species should cause existential distress, depression, and anxiety. However, the problem seems to be that we as a society are stuck in these responses. Research shows that psychedelics have a substantial power to break people out of these modes of being; additionally, Medicinal Mindfulness’ work over the years has shown that psychedelic cannabis increases our resilience in facing the challenging times ahead. We want to pair this liberation with solutions.
Breaking our addiction to our worldview, which includes Western culture’s addiction to consumerism, is essential to skillfully addressing this transition.
The retreat includes shared psychedelic cannabis experiences with the Psychedelic Sitters School cohort, small group experiences facilitated by ecopsychology professionals, including outdoor experiences, and one-on-one transformational support. Topics include:
- Theory and Practices from Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects
- A Foundational Framework to connect Sustainability and Psychedelics
- Safe and Effective Psychedelic Cannabis journeys
- Some expanded Journeys which will embrace the more-than-human world by taking our journeys outside
- Shared content sessions with the Psychedelic Sitters School
- Additional support and skill building through the use of Council
Joanna Macy’s Work that Reconnects is a framework that is being used all over the world to understand our current situation, how we got here, and pathways forward, along with practices that accompany this process of liberation and action. Born out of Joanna’s experience in the anti-nuclear movement, the Work That Reconnects is centered on the recognition that we need to work with our own feelings, mindsets, and behaviors in order to go beyond where we are and acquire the energy and perspectives needed to finally do what needs to be done.
One extremely helpful tool we’ve found in doing this work is the practice of Council, best exemplified by the Ojai Foundation as well as the Center for Council. There are numerous ways to describe council from “a facilitation and mediation technique,” to “people sitting in a circle telling stories,” and it is used in schools, businesses, and prisons. It is primarily a deep listening practice, but it also provides space for connection and healing. Participants will gain valuable experience using this simple but incredibly effective practice.
Dr. Travis Cox
Dr. Cox received his BA in philosophy, his MA in Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness, and his PhD in Sustainable Agriculture where he studied the philosophy of sustainability and used agriculture as a case study. From there, he taught undergraduate environmental humanities (Environmental Justice, Spirituality and Sustainability, Ecological Philosophy, etc) and researched what he and his colleagues call “deep sustainability.” It was this research that led him to the field to Ecopsychology and his current job as chair of the Ecopsychology MA at Naropa University and is a Naropa faculty board member. Dr. Cox began his academic study of consciousness with his MA and continued throughout his career, but this research has recently culminated in his emphasis on the role psychedelics will play in humanity’s transition to a sustainable and regenerative future. He was one of the co-organizers of the “Can Exceptional Experiences Save the World” conference at The Center for Process Studies in 2018, which was primarily about psychedelics and sustainability, and has been invited to facilitate at the upcoming “Philosophy of Psychedelics” at the University of Exeter in the UK this spring.
The program requires Application 2.
In addition, please provide a 250 word essay that includes information about yourself, your experience with psychedelic medicines and/or sustainability and ecology (it’s ok not to have any) and your interest in our program. Students who have graduated from the PSS1 are not required to have the interview and this fee is waived. PSS participation agreements are also required.