Altered Conference: Continuing the Conversation on Psychedelics and Consciousness

It’s been three weeks and I’m still thinking about the Altered Conference.

Earlier this month, my Friday and Saturday was dedicated entirely to Altered, which promised “practical use of psychedelics, integration therapy methods, conscious practices, self-sustainable methods, and discussions on the current cultural landscape.” My experience began with a lecture on “Kosmicaid” and “psychedelic experience weekends”. The conference officially ended for me with Sam Gandy’s insight on near death experiences and our cultural obsession with taboo associated with death. To say that I was changed would be an absolute understatement, and I never even got high.

As other attendees and I used the scattered pillows as seats in front of the diverse lineup of speakers, we consumed Giorgia Gaia’s “follow your own weird” philosophy. We casually discussed using ketamine as a means for teleportation. We altered our state of consciousness through experimental light therapies. We laughed together and agreed that yeah, we’d all like to take part in more VR raves. We nodded in silence when Bryan Duggan mentioned “all of the creatives in Berlin are microdosing”.

Walking away from the Essentis Biohotel left me with more questions rather than answers. I was ultimately left wondering about the advancements this conference brought to the community, and how to actually change reality. Altered did wonders with bringing international researchers to one location to continue the much-needed discourse. Martin Malec stated that “the psychedelic renaissance is moving forward”, but is it?

In the end, I was happy that I got to smell a lot of palo santo and be in the presence of super chillers. Would go again.

TERMS TO KNOW (also see here)

Entheogen – “from Greek, literally meaning ‘generating the divine within’, is any psychoactive substance that induces a spiritual experience and is aimed at spiritual development.”

Neo-shaman – “‘new’ forms of shamanism, or methods of seeking visions or healing. Neoshamanism comprises an eclectic range of beliefs and practices that involve attempts to attain altered states and communicate with a spirit world.”

Psychonaut – “a person who explores activities by which altered states of consciousness are induced and utilized for spiritual purposes or the exploration of the human condition, including shamanism, lamas of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, sensory deprivation, and both archaic and modern users of entheogenic substances, in order to gain deeper insights into the mind and spirituality.”

Ketamine – “a synthetic dissociative substance of the arylcyclohexylamine chemical class that produces dissociative, anesthetic, and hallucinogenic effects when administered.”

Psilocybin – “a family of mushrooms that contain a mixture of psychoactive indole alkaloids, particularly the tryptamines psilocybin, psilocin, baeocystin, and norbaeocystin. When consumed, these mushrooms produce ‘classical psychedelic’ effects.”

LSD -”also known as Lysergide, LSD-25, LSD, L, Lucy, and Acid, is an iconic semisynthetic psychedelic substance of the lysergamide chemical class that produces what are now considered to be ‘classical psychedelic’ effects”.

The Mazatecs – “indigenous people who inhabit an area known as the Sierra Mazateca in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, as well as some communities in the adjacent states of Puebla and Veracruz. The Shamans are known for their ritual use of psilocybin mushrooms, psychoactive morning glory seeds, and Salvia divinorum.”

Salvia – “a psychoactive plant in the Salvia genus. Its native habitat is within Cloud Forest in the isolated Sierra Mazateca of Oaxaca, Mexico”.

Gnosis – “esoteric knowledge of spiritual truth held by the ancient Gnostics to be essential to salvation.”

Changa – an experiment of created alchemy, “a smoking mixture containing similar ingredients to the Shaman’s medicinal brew Ayahuasca.“

Further reading:

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