The Gateway Guild™
Activists in marginalized communities reclaim their identities and their gifts by taking back and appropriating the language that has been used to marginalize them. Derogatory names and symbols become symbols of empowerment, community identity, and unity.
Cannabis has been stigmatized the same way by calling it the “Gateway Drug.” The belief goes that because cannabis use leads to harder drugs, addiction, criminality, and even insanity, it is a terrible gateway that must remain shut. You don’t want to go there, right? Don’t use the Gateway Drug. This was a propaganda technique and a catchy way to “market” an unjust law. While there is zero reputable evidence to support the claim that the use of cannabis leads to hard drugs of abuse, it lingers deep within our collective psyche. This image is pretty entrenched.
The irony of this name is that the propagandist were right about cannabis being a gateway, just not in the direction they loudly proclaimed. This is a good example of the intrinsic trickster nature of this plant medicine spirit. Cannabis is not the “gateway drug.” Cannabis is the “Gateway Medicine,” and that gateway leads to physical and mental health, spiritual awareness, creative insights, and self-actualization. When used skillfully, it leads away from addiction, ill health and our collective insanities.
The use of cannabis is ancient and was revered, except until very recently, as a sacred plant ally just as the other psychedelics were. Just as the other psychedelics were demonized, cannabis took the full brunt of this assault so much so that it is no longer even considered psychedelic, even by members of its own medicine communities. That misrepresentation has to change. To change it, we must reframe it, and use the language itself to reclaim it.
It is impossible now to extract ourselves from this deeply embedded cultural coding without much effort. It’s just too sticky, and too deep. It is better to “transmute” it instead, to sublimate it into something greater, purer, and closer to the truth. In ancient times, Alchemists transmuted lead into gold. We can do the same here. We can sublimate a base fear into our greatest ally. We can reclaim this medicine directly through language and thought.
What if it is appropriate to honor the spirit of Cannabis for leading the way for the other psychedelic medicines becoming legal?
The Gateway Drug becomes the Gateway Medicine, and the philosophy of the use of cannabis and other psychedelics for healing, transformation, creative problem solving, and self-actualization becomes Gateway Psychonautics. Gateway Psychonautics is the study and practice of the skillful, mindful use of psychedelic medicines, including cannabis, associated with the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness, Psychedelic Sitters School and our related programs.
The double meaning is obvious. We are at the threshold of a greater gateway. It is time for all of us to pass through it. We are the psychopomps that lead the way for others in their transformation and healing. We hold open the door so they can step through this threshold. It is a sacred honor and responsibility to be in such a position.
Current definitions of Gateway Psychonautics and related terms follow:
Gateway PsychonauticsTM: Gateway Psychonautics (GP) is the study and practice of the skillful, mindful use of both natural and synthetic psychedelic medicines, including cannabis, associated with the services and training platform of the Center for Medicinal Mindfulness, Psychedelic Sitters School and other related programs. It is a philosophy that aligns with the educational principles of Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Prevention. Gateway Psychonautics points to a holistic approach to psychedelic medicine use that includes the four primary contexts of intentional use: clinical, spiritual, scientific, and creative/celebratory. GP also orients to not only “Set and Setting” but also to “Skill,” creating a new terminology associated with “Set, Setting and Skill.” GP combines concepts of transpersonal philosophy, somatic psychotherapy, mindfulness practices, and the need for social and environmental justice, within a sacred world view that supports the safe, skillful, and intentional use of psychedelic medicines and their positive integration into our lives and society. Gateway Psychonautics points to democratic values, personal and collective agency, consent, and stewardship for the benefit of our multi-cultural communities, our families, our children, future generations, and our shared ecology.
Gateway PsychonautTM: A “psychonaut” in our community, a word that is a playful adaption of “astronaut,” has come to mean a “Sailor of the Soul.” Psychonauts use psychedelic medicines for healing, spiritual exploration, personal growth, and creative play. A Gateway Psychonaut uses the skills, resiliencies and theory of Gateway Psychonautics to navigate and chart new paths through new gateways of possibility. A Gateway Psychonaut is an explorer, a journeyer, seeking gifts and possibilities for the betterment of our communities and our shared ecology. We are ethical allies for others seeking similar paths. We are pathfinders, soul searchers, trailblazers, and activists. Gateway Psychonauts are resilient, playful, and excessively curious. We face our fears, insecurity and growth edges with bravery, compassion, and acceptance. Gateway Psychonauts are Alchemist, we help transmute our collective lead into gold.
Gateway GuideTM: A Gateway Guide is an experienced Gateway Psychonaut who is trained in safely and skillfully leading others on their own psychedelic journey. We are skilled and caring allies, offering support and compassionate awareness of the psychedelic terrain so we can help those in our care reach the completion of their deepest and most meaningful intentions. Gateway Guides follow the philosophy of Gateway Psychonautics, and engage in the practice of guiding as a sacred act of service. A Gateway Guide adheres to the safety protocols and ethical principles associated with Gateway Psychonautics.
Gateway GuildTM: The Gateway Guild is a community of psychedelic practitioners that believe proper training, credentialing, and community accountability are required to practice ethically and professionally.
The Gateway Guild is a Healer-Explorers Guild, a community of practice. The Oxford Dictionary defines a “guild” as “an association of people for mutual aid or the pursuit of a common goal” to maintain a sustainable, international network of competent, ethical, and professional psychedelic practitioners and aligned psychedelic medicine people, and to provide the necessary legal foundation for the professional services we provide to our students and professional members.
The Gateway Guild Directory
A professional directory of all Gateway Guild members is on our new website:
The website hosts member events, classes, webinars and trainings and is a professional service for our members to help them manage their private practices.