Safety, Healing, and the Potential Risks of Psychedelic Use
Psychedelic Conversations with Dennis McKenna
Dear friends and neighbors,
When I met Dennis at Wilbur Hot Springs about 10 years ago, I was amazed by his presence. He had a certain aura about him that drew me in and made me feel at ease- it was love at first sight. He began to share with me his vast knowledge and experience with psychedelic plants and fungi, and I was fascinated by what he had to say. It is clear that he has dedicated his life to studying these powerful substances and their effects on the mind and body. Dennis is truly a rare gem in this world. He radiates warmth and wisdom, and his presence is truly a gift to all those who have the pleasure of meeting him.
You can listen to the audio here, or subscribe to read the transcript below.
NOTE: I am currently embarking on a new series featuring healing stories from those who have benefitted from psychedelics at the end of life, or in the face of a terminal diagnosis. I hope to interview those with direct personal experience, as well as relatives, friends, and clinicians with stories to share. Please email my producer if you would like to be interviewed on my program, and featured in a future book on this topic.
Wishing you Golden Light,
Dr. Richard Louis Miller
This podcast will always remain available at no cost. However, I’d like to offer my most loyal listeners additional options for enjoying my interviews – both as videos and transcripts.
*This transcript has been simplified for easier reading without changing the core content of the dialogue. Transcription provided by Vergilius.
Psychedelics as Catalysts for Challenging Assumptions
I have the privilege of introducing you to one of my heroes, Dr. Dennis McKenna. He is a renowned ethnobotanist who has taught us about psychedelic medicines for decades. Recently, he started the McKenna Academy, which is dedicated to the science of ethnobotany, plant medicines, and more. Take a moment to visit the academy's website and learn more about it. Welcome, Dennis.
Dennis McKenna (00:03:35): Thank you very much, Richard. It's a pleasure to be joining you today. I really appreciated your political polemic. I think it's important to put this in front of people and motivate them to think about what's really going on as our institution of democracy is threatened. I suppose this is why you preface your podcast with a reminder, but it's easy to forget. People forget that we're part of a collective enterprise. As I sometimes say, we are all indigenous to Earth and are part of one tribe. There is a lot of discussion about the use of psychedelics and the indigenous people. Some argue that by co-opting psychedelics, we are once again taking advantage of indigenous cultures. I don't really believe that.
I think that it's possible to be very insensitive about it. It's very tempting to overlook the fact that indigenous people have been the stewards of this knowledge—that these plants and fungi for maybe tens of thousands of years—and not acknowledge our debt to these indigenous people.
The McKenna Academies are increasingly focused on preserving and protecting this knowledge, and sharing it responsibly. However, treading this area is rife with pitfalls. There are many landmines and sensitivities everywhere, with everyone having their position staked out. Sometimes it's hard to get a dialogue going, but forums like your podcast provide a means for respectfully discussing all of these things.
Dr. Richard L. Miller (00:06:28): Dennis, I grew up believing that I lived in a democracy and a republic, and I've taken it for granted most of my life. I thought it was an established and permanent thing.
But when the January 6th event happened, it was a moment of enlightenment and epiphany for me. I realized that we came within 30 feet of these insurrectionists getting to Pence. If they had gotten to him and either hung him or stopped him from signing the paper legitimizing Joe Biden's presidency, then Trump could have called martial law based on the fact that Pence was captured, and he would still be our president. We wouldn't have a democracy and republic anymore. We'd have Trump as a permanent fixture.
Dennis McKenna (00:07:53): Yes, the prospect of what could have happened is truly frightening. So, we did escape. But hopefully, we're getting smarter. It seems that the body politics is the problem.
In many of these constituencies, the position is: "Don't bother me with facts. My mind is made up."
That's the issue with many of the claims of election fraud that are being discussed now. People like Tucker Carlson who are pushing these claims are not speaking for the majority of people who live in what is commonly referred to as "consensus reality." Most people agree that there was no election fraud. This is all made up, there's no evidence for it. But then you have this group of people who are much smaller but also much louder than almost everyone else claiming, "oh yes, it was full of fraud."
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