"Voices of Esalen" features provocative, in-depth interviews with the dynamic leaders, teachers, and thinkers who are part of the Esalen Institute.
For more about the Esalen Institute, head to esalen.org
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The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 5: Black-Led Psychedelic Collective The Sabina Project
Charlotte James and Undrea Wright are the founders ofThe Sabina Project, a Black-led platform for psychedelic education, legal ceremonies, and integration whose mission is to return reverence to sacred earth medicine ways, to look to and learn from ancestral practices, and to support radical self-transformation in the name of collective liberation.
We spoke about what just and equitable modes of interaction with psychedelic medicine looks like to Charlotte and Dre, who they were ten years ago and how plant medicine has changed their lives, what's most challenging when it comes to educating about anti-Black racism, whether there's a distinctly African psychedelic tradition (there is, and Iboga is an example), what is Kambo, if there is required reading for this moment, and finally, how the founders have been able to manifest their dreams and embody the change they wish to see in the world.
Visit Charlotte and Dre online at www.thesabinaproject.com
The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 4: Dr. Mellody Hayes on Ketamine, Equity, Love, and Healing
Dr. Mellody Hayes is an evidence-based and spiritually-centered medical expert in the emerging clinical science of Psychedelic Medicine. Dr. Hayes is a graduate of Harvard and UCSF medical school and is an anesthesiologist, leader, public speaker and founding member of Decriminalize Nature. She’s also the founder of a Bay Area clinic that offers psychedelic ketamine therapy. Dr. Hayes is the creator of How We Heal, an online community of healers and leaders committed to creating belonging, safety, and health for all people, particularly those from historically marginalized communities.
We discussed the mechanics and science of ketamine-based psychedelic therapy, the need for diversity within the psychedelic community, her optimism for the practice of psychedelic medicine in creating cultural change and cultural healing within contemporary society, and the healing power of story.
To learn more about Dr. Hayes's work, please visit www.drmellody.com and howweheal.net.
The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 3: Dr. Alexander Belser on Queering the Psychedelic Movement
Alex Belser is the founding member and administrative director of a Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Trial at NYU School of Medicine where he’s investigated if psychedelic mushrooms can ease anxiety for folks facing end of life. In his psychotherapeutic practice, he focuses in part on preventing suicide amongst young gay and bisexual men. We spoke about his queer critique of the psychedelic world from his vantage point as a researcher and a queer cis-gender man, and ruminated in depth about queer spirituality, queer wisdom and the subversive nature of psychedelics.
The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 2: Ismail Ali of MAPS on Humane Drug Policy for All
Ismail Ali is Policy & Advocacy Counsel for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, otherwise known as MAPS. His job is advocating to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research by developing and implementing legal and policy strategy. In this interview, Ismail discusses the history of the war on drugs, the intrinsic differences between drug decriminalization and legalization, how MAPS has been able to achieve specific goals with the FDA under the Trump administration, Joe Biden’s "tough-on-crime-Democratic-Party" drug policy history, with respect to the R.A.V.E. act and the 1994 Crime Bill, how medical insurance will play in a landscape where psychedelics may become legalized or medicalized, how MAPS has become a thought leader with regards to social justice within the field of psychedelics, and whether Ismail believes psychedelics can bestow a knowledge of unity, oneness, and connectedness that can affect views and policy on racism and environmentalism.
The Psychedelic Moment, Pt. 1: Charles Stang on the Mystical Experience
Charles Stang, Professor of Early Christian Thought and director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, is our guest for part one of our multi-part series, The Psychedelic Moment, where we speak to thought leaders within the modern world of psychedelics and psychedelic psychotherapy.
Stang and Harvard Divnity School have partnered with Esalen to create a series of free online lectures that examine the psychedelic renaissance. Today, we spoke about the so-called first wave of psychedelics, and how the Harvard Divinity School played its own crucial role, as well as the importance of the mystical experience in achieving positive therapeutic outcomes in psychedelic trials, "divine darkness" and how that affects a psychological reckoning, how somatic practices, apart from any intoxicant, can traditionally bring on a mystical experience, the use of sacraments in the ancient mystery religions of the mediterranean, and much more.
To check out the Center for World Religion's psychedelic collaboration with Esalen, please visit:
Deborah Medow on Massage, Magic, and Mischief: Fifty Years at Esalen
Deborah Medow is an Esalen legend. She came to Big Sur and the Esalen Institute in the late 1960’s, and found it so much to her liking that she never left. Deborah was an early acolyte of Dick Price, who encouraged her to become one of Esalen’s first yoga teachers. Deborah found her home as a massage therapist, where, as part of an early crew that featured trailblazers like Peggy Horan, Brita Ostrom, and Vicki Topp, she helped to develop and shepherd a school of touch that would influence practitioners around the world. Through more than 50 years of service to Esalen, Deborah has been a beloved community member, teacher, and leader - insightful and intelligent, curious and kind, hilarious and unapologetically unique. Our interview begins in Indiana, where she grew up, and it ends with an incantation, featuring her famous rattle.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Fantastic episode with Dr Richard Schwartz
Powerful and very moving. Thank you, Sam, for being so real and vulnerable.
Essence of Esalen - Beautiful Engagement
Esalen is an amazing place which attracts a diverse group of people and has a rich history of innovation in the healing arts, psychology and impact to improve the human condition. This podcast captures and shares the essence of Esalen. Sam Stern the producer has a beautiful voice and engaging interview style. He makes a strong connection with his subjects and draws out key insights and gifts from their beings. I have the sense that the subjects are enjoying being with Sam and the repartee really makes the episodes fun to listen to. These episodes let me sample from all that Esalen has to offer without attending. Of course it makes we want to attend Esalen to dive deeper and perhaps if I'm blessed I will.
Tap into the magic of this little slice of California
I truly think my favorite part about being alive is hearing from interesting people. It’s clear that Esalen draws so many different kinds of people - it’s not just one type of hippie person that I thought at first - everyone comes from a completely different place and has such a different biography which is so cool to hear about.
My top 3 are:
1. Ricki Lake — so surprising, I had only remembered her from a TV show I wasn’t allowed to watch as a kid and to hear that she is making incredibly inspiring documentary work !
2.Michael Pollen — a really well spoken and researched guy who really made me aware of plants and psychedelics— his awareness of “riding the cultural third rail” opened my mind as a scientist to how we can be more open about these taboos
3.Janet stone : super interesting to hear about her childhood on a hippie farm and how that affected her as an adult. I’ve never taken a class with her but it’s been on my todo list. I always wonder how people end up so calm and spiritual in today’s day and age and this made me understand how she achieves that.