The traditional use of psychoactive plants and fungi for spiritual and shamanic purposes has occurred for thousands of years, whereas the Western scientific research of these substances has only been explored in the last 100 years or so, and prohibition stalled 50 years of this. Now that scientific research is resuming, what do psychedelics tell us about the stranger and more exotic side of human consciousness and its connection with the natural world, and what can be learned from the traditional shamanic practices with these substances?

Exploring the nature-connectedness, interspecies interactions and eco-consciousness arising from the use of psychedelics this talk considers what can be learned from animism and shamanism in informing both psychology and ecology. Fusing research from parapsychology, transpersonal psychology, ecopsychology, ethnobotany and the scientific investigation of psychedelics a perspective of transpersonal ecopsychology views plant/fungus-human interactions as meaningful, potentially transformative and sorely needed given the current rate of manmade species extinction on Earth.

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Dr David Luke - The Weekend University

Dr David Luke is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich and Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019). 

When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.