046: Stealing Fire, Part 2 by Joe

Part Two: The Four Forces of Ecstasis

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Chapter 4: Psychology
Chapter 5: Neurobiology
Chapter 6: Pharmacology
Chapter 7: Technology


  • Demystifying mystical experiences and the democratization of information, language, practices, and substances

  • Alexander Shulgin, the “Johnny Appleseed of Psychedelics”

  • Etymology of the phrase “hocus pocus” and its unexpectedly religious roots

  • Regarding communion, specifically, consuming the body of christ, “That’s not a nice thing to do to Jesus.” - Kevin

  • “I used to be a Catholic until I reached the age of reason.” - George Carlin

  • Someday soon you will be able to use a 3D printer to print your drugs at home- weighing the possible benefits and risks

  • What’s up with Landmark?

  • “Capitalism is one amplifier for different movements.” - Joe

  • Dangers of capitalism: proliferation of crap music and crap writing

  • Are there aspects of psychedelic experiences that are anti-capitalistic?

  • Sipping the soup of capitalism

  • “When your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” - Abraham Maslow. How does this idea relate to capitalism? How does this idea relate to our neurobiology? “Every issue we encounter we try to solve by thinking.”

  • The gut-brain axis - do you know where most of your neurotransmitters are?

  • Farting in yoga class

  • Sugar addiction is addiction

  • How much sugar is in a two-liter bottle of Coca-cola? 216 grams of sugar = 54 dang teaspoons!

  • The Flow Dojo- get high on gravity! ...shake your snowglobe!

  • Inventory of animals’ psychedelic-seeking behaviors and their respective preferred substances

  • Closing montage of goats braying. You’re welcome.

Long-Overdue Update by Joe

Listeners! We love you! We're sorry to have let the podcast feed go dormant for so long.

I, Joe, would like to personally apologize for the silence. This year I uprooted my life, and took to the road to travel the United States in a camper van with my wife. In addition to the sheer effort needed to make the transition successful, my "day job" also needed time and energy. Not to mention finding time to enjoy the trip!

Now, a couple of months into the adventure, we're finding some stability and balance, and I intend to spend more time on the show.

Entheogen brings all of us joy and we hope to continue it for many more seasons. Your support makes this possible. It's been so encouraging to see the comments and newsletter subscriptions coming in while the show was on hiatus. Check out our latest stats!

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Thank you all so much for listening and helping to spread the word. We'll be back with more shows soon!

045: Stealing Fire Part 1 by Joe

This is Entheogen. Elevate the Conversation.

Today is November 5, 2017, and we are discussing Stealing Fire, a book by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal.

Find the notes and links for this and other episodes at EntheogenShow.com. Support us on Patreon with a small monthly contribution to help keep the show going. Follow us @EntheogenShow on Twitter and like EntheogenShow on FaceBook. Thanks for listening.


In more contemporary terms, the Eleusinian Mysteries were an elaborate nine-day ritual designed to strip away standard frames of reference, profoundly alter consciousness, and unlock a heightened level of insight. Specifically, the mysteries combined a number of state-changing techniques—fasting, singing, dancing, drumming, costumes, dramatic storytelling, physical exhaustion, and kykeon (the substance Alcibiades stole for his party)—to induce a cathartic experience of death, rebirth, and “divine inspiration.”

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and Harvard-trained classicist Carl Ruck argued that the barley in kykeon might have been tainted with an ergot fungus. This same fungus generates lysergic acid (LSA), a precursor to the LSD that Hofmann famously synthesized in his Sandoz pharmaceutical lab. — Excerpt from Stealing Fire

Part One - The Case for Ecstasis

Chapter 1: What Is This Fire?
Chapter 2: Why It Matters
Chapter 3: Why We Missed It

“The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.” —David Foster Wallace

  • Entheogen’s take on the book: “We like it.”
  • Debate on how to pronounce the word ecstasis
  • Why does “fire” need to be stolen? Why does access to altered states need to be banned?
  • How the Navy SEALs train for dynamic subordination, another kind of altered state
  • Partying with Eric Schmidt at Burning Man
  • Finding “flow” and why it matters
  • Signature characteristics of ecstasis: selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, richness (STER)
  • An examining of the word “pale”
  • The “state sanctioned triad” of mind altering substances: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol -- what makes these special? What ends does accepting these particular substances serve?
  • The institutions that create / endorse stigma: the church and the state
  • Are humans already cyborgs? What is truly “unnatural” anyway? If humans are beings of nature, is anything that humans create also natural?
  • How altered states are directly related to evolution of humans as well as certain plants and other animals (like French Bulldogs)
  • The current and historical balance of individualism vs. collectivism, and its impact on the proliferation and acceptance of certain types of altered states

044: Interview with Dr. Rosalind Watts, Clinical Psychologist in the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London by Joe

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This is Entheogen. Elevate the Conversation.

Please support Entheogen by making a donation on Patreon. Become a Patron for as little as $1. Pledge just $3 or more, and get early access to new episodes, plus exclusive Patron-only features. Head over to EntheogenShow.com and click on Support.

Find the notes and links for this and other episodes at EntheogenShow.com. Sign up to receive an email when we release a new episode. Follow us @EntheogenShow on Twitter and like EntheogenShow on FaceBook. Thanks for listening.

It’s April 2, 2017, and we are talking with Dr. Rosalind Watts, Clinical Psychologist at Imperial College London, working alongside Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris.

  • Joe’s story of psilocybin on his first “date” with his now-wife, and psilocybin’s role in their engagement

  • The Couples Using Magic Mushrooms as Relationship Therapy

  • Kevin’s regular practice of taking psychedelic medicine with his wife

  • How Ros came to study psychedelic therapy after initially becoming disillusioned with the limits of talk therapy for the treatment of anxiety and depression; her initial skepticism about psychedelics based on their negative legacy

  • The importance of the patient-therapist relationship

  • Some guidelines from one of the father figures of psychedelic therapy, Bill Richards: “We prepare people to welcome whatever they may encounter – no picking and choosing. Sometimes you have to go through the dark night to get to the top of the mountain and the sunrise. If the inner dragon or monster appears, look him in the eye – go straight towards him. If you look the monster in the eye and go towards it, ask it what it wants – there’s always resolution, transformation, and new knowledge. When you run from it, you get into panic and paranoia, like a typical nightmare – and then you say, ‘I’ve had a bad trip.’”

  • Although psychedelics including psilocybin tend to be considered non-addictive, there are examples of people using them habitually

  • Ros mentions some examples of people in the psilocybin study for depression giving up addictions and habitual behavior

  • To help fund this important research, visit the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London

Holiday Gifts for Psychedelicists - Need Your Vote! by Joe

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Since starting our Patreon campaign, we've earned close to $100 – and we're just getting started! In the spirit of the holidays, we want to use the funds to spread some cheer in the psychedelic community.

To start it off, we're getting Allyson Grey a subscription to Broccoli, the brand new magazine for women who love cannabis. (Check out our interview with Allyson and Alex Grey at Burning Man for the reference!)

And we're asking our patrons to help us decide: who should be the next Psychedelicist on the list?

Vote for your favorite over at Patreon.com/Entheogen!