021: Psychedelic First Aid with Special Guest, Sara Gael of MAPS and the Zendo Project by Joe

This is Entheogen. Talk about tools for generating the divine within.

Today is December 14th, 2015, and we are discussing the Zendo Project with special guest, Sara Gael, Harm Reduction Coordinator for MAPS.

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Our guest, Sara Gael, has been involved with the Zendo Project since its inception in 2012. Since then she has helped coordinate harm reduction services at festivals all over the world including Burning Man, Afrika Burn, Envision Festival, and Lightning in a Bottle. She is also an intern investigator in the Boulder, Colorado Phase II Clinical Trial of the Safety and Efficacy of MDMA-assisted Psychotherapy. Sara works as a psychotherapist in private practice and received her Master’s in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology at Naropa University.


  • What is the Zendo Project?

  • Zendo is billed as Psychedelic First Aid for Festivals & Events: “The Zendo Project provides a supportive environment and specialized care designed to transform difficult psychedelic experiences into valuable learning opportunities, and even potentially offer healing and growth. In turn, our work reduces the number of drug-related hospitalizations and arrests.”

  • Safe Space

  • Talk through, not down

  • Sitting, not guiding

  • Difficult is not bad

  • What type of training does the “sitter” or “facilitator” receive?

  • Benefits of human contact, touch

  • How to volunteer with Zendo

    • Volunteers are needed for Burning Man, Afrika Burn, other festivals

  • Sara discusses experience in the field at Burning Man, BOOM, Cannabis Cup, etc.

  • How does Zendo work with medical and other support services

    • KosmiCare at BOOM in Portugal, where drugs are decriminalized, provides a glimpse of a post-prohibition future: their efforts are sponsored by the local government and festival, and they include onsite testing of pills.

    • Erowid Center helps bridge the gap with which features pill testing results database, in addition to the psychoactive vaults of

  • What’s the deal with folk remedies (bananas, oranges?)

  • Nice things that smell good, art supplies, beautiful space, pillows, blankets, tea – your Psychedelic Grandma’s house