It was an honor to interview Dennis Hunter, founder of Care By Design (high CBD) & Absolute Xtracts (high THC) cannabis medicine products in Northern California. I found his level of commitment to plant medicine beyond inspiring. Despite facing some fierce challenges—and a society that is scientifically and morally still in the dark ages in regards to plant medicine—Dennis endured to create his superb all natural cannabis medicines. We met in Santa Rosa while Chor Boogie was creating his mural at Cutting Edge Solutions, a natural fertilizer producer favored by award-winning cannabis growers. You'll see Chor in action behind us here in the video.
• Learn about the differences that make Care By Design & Absolute Xtracts products exceptional and highly medicinal.
• Despite going through six years in federal prison and a recent unwarranted raid on his facilities, Dennis remains devoted to the cannabis plant medicine.
• Activism for plant medicine works! Speak up!
• Cannabis medicine is helping patients with cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, pain, arthritis, and much more.
• Exciting scientific studies are in the works!
MENTIONED IN THIS VIDEO:
Care By Design
Traditional Bwiti ceremonial music.
INTERVIEW WITH RAK RAZAM
I was lucky enough to be in the same city as Rak Razam as he was on his way to Burning Man. We jumped into the deep end of conversation. Hanging out with Rak is a little like being around a live wire that spouts harmonic oracular transmissions. In this interview, he shares about his newest projects.
Rak Razam is a leading experiential journalist, writing about and helping shape the emergence of a new cultural paradigm in the 21st century. A writer, film producer, and culture maker, he bridges the worlds of shamanism, consciousness and popular culture.
Author of the critically acclaimed book Aya Awakenings: A Shamanic Odyssey and the companion volume of interviews, The Ayahuasca Sessions (www.ayathebook.com), he is a frequent lecturer on ayahuasca and the shamanic revival sweeping the West. He wrote, produced and co-directed the groundbreaking new visionary documentary Aya: Awakenings (www.aya-awakenings.com) that toured across 10 cities in the USA in early 2014.
• Rak Razam shares about his inspiring new and long-standing projects for sacred medicine and social change.
• [We are] a new generation of Western people who are going through the growing pains, responsibility, and learning curve of taking on board what it means to be medicine people or shamans in a global village.
• We are moving from dominator culture into a new energy coming from the planet herself in this global shamanic resurgence.
• How can we be connected to the earth and resonating in right relationship with the earth?
• What does it mean to be “Hard wired for God”?
• We get the medicines we need when it’s time for them…
CONNECT WITH RAK:
Shamans of a Global Village: Documentary Film Series
Scientific studies with Ayahuasca & 5-MeO-DMT
Aya Awakenings: The Book, Film, & Retreats
In a Perfect World: Podcast hosted by Rak Razam
The Toad & the Jaguar
The 5-Meo-DMT medicine, extracted from the Bufo alvarius toad, seems to be a real life wizard's tool from the fairy tales of old.
Ralph Metzner gives us a fascinating and comprehensive book about this powerful and obscure psychedelic substance. Detailed trip reports offer vivid glimpses into the experience. Guidelines for intentions, setting, and usage are not only helpful; they could be life-saving for the adventurous psychonaut. The possible outcomes include wondrous healing or bizarre negative reactions, and all are thoroughly examined.
Metzner is no distanced scientist, writing from the point of view outside the ceremony. He writes directly from the heart of his many mystical first hand experiences. He has even spent time with the sacred creatures that give the earth this profound medicine when consciously collecting the medicine himself.
Metzner's voice is a vital contribution to the contemporary study of 5-Meo-DMT and the safe, effective, therapeutic application of entheogens.
There was a complete dissociative loss of awareness of my surroundings. However, apparently this disconnect was a function of my eyes being closed, because at one point I opened my eyes momentarily and could see that I was protected by my friends from bumping into things or rolling into the fireplace, in a kind of instant "reality check." Immediately after closing my eyes I was immersed again into the swirling, seething maelstrom of synesthetic sensations.
Whereas Frof interpreted his experience in terms of the cosmology of Tibetan Buddhism, I attempted to make sense of my experience (afterwards) using the language of Vedanta, as well as Tantra yoga.
There was a feeling of being in the nucleus of the psyche. Awareness of "all and everything" and simultaneously, "This is IT." The Vedantists say at the highest level of consciousness there is only being (sat), consciousness (chit), and blissful joy (ananda). In my experience there was no self, no body, no time or space, but there was being.
Support the beauty and buy this book on Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ralph Metzner, Ph.D. has a B.A. in philosophy and psychology from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Harvard University, has been involved in the study of transformations of consciousness ever since, as a graduate student, he worked with Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert (later Ram Dass) on the Harvard Psilocybin Projects. He co-wrote The Psychedelic Experience, and was editor of The Psychedelic Review. During the 1970s, Ralph spent 10 years in the intensive study and practice of Agni Yoga, a meditative system of working with light-fire life-energies. He wrote Maps of Consciousness, one of the earliest attempts at a comparative cartography of consciousness; and Know Your Type, a comparative survey of personality typologies, ancient and modern. He was the Academic Dean for ten years, during the 1980s, at the California Institute of Integral Studies, where he taught courses there on “Altered States of Consciousness” and “Developing Ecological Consciousness.” He is now Professor Emeritus. He maintains a part-time psychotherapy practice, and conducts numerous workshops on consciousness transformation, both nationally and internationally. His books include The Well of Remembrance, The Unfolding Self, Green Psychology, and two edited collections on the science and the phenomenology of Ayahuasca and Teonanácatl.
On June 15, 2016, the Care By Design cannabis medicine business facility in Santa Rosa, California was raided, searched, and temporarily closed by local law enforcement and the DEA based on a false "tip."
Care By Design and its affiliates have worked tirelessly to ensure its facilities, employees, company policies and procedures are in compliance with city, county and state laws. They are cooperating fully with law enforcement to resolve this as quickly as possible.
Care by Design produces the highest quality CBD and cannabis products, free of solvents and pesticide residues. If you are hip to natural medicine, you will know that CBD products have been proven to bring great healing and comfort for many ailments, without many of the dangerous side effects of pharmaceutical medications.
Countless patients depend on Care By Design CBD products, suffering from a wide array of issues including severe neuropathy, epilepsy, Parkinson's, cancer, arthritis, Crohn's, depression, traumatic brain injury, chronic pain, and menstrual cycle health.
Chor Boogie and I visited the Care by Design headquarters in Santa Rosa with Dennis Hunter, a founding member of the Care By Design, and Chris Buletti, CEO of another great local biz, Cutting Edge Solutions, purveyors of quality organic and conventional fertilizers and crop consulting services.
We cannot tolerate such actions from our government. This ultimately affects everyone. Protect your medicine and your personal freedom!
Learn how you can take action to support Care By Design at www.cbd.org/news.
New Video - Bast & Chor Boogie Speak at the Aware Project Salon: "Iboga for Healing Addiction & Relationships"
On May 18th, Chor Boogie and I were delighted and honored to speak at a salon produced by the Aware Project, an incredible organization dedicated to nurturing community, education, and integration in relation to psychedelic medicines.
We were inspired to share about our experience with the iboga medicine, not only for healing Chor's addiction relapse over two years prior, but also for healing our relationship.
After publishing my intimate memoir Heart Medicine: A True Love Story - One Couple's Quest for the Sacred Iboga Medicine & the Cure for Addiction, I often get asked by people struggling with loving an addict, "what do I do?" I am humbled by this question, and I offer my response in this live talk at the salon....
*Footage graciously provided by filmmaker and sacred medicine advocate Javier Prato.
I’m writing to you from a stunning villa overlooking a serene beach in lush Costa Rica, but it’s not all play. My husband and I are here apprenticing to become providers of the African sacred medicine called iboga within the Bwiti tradition. This medicine granted us a healing miracle 2 years ago, though certainly not an easy one, which I detail in my intimate memoir, Heart Medicine: A True Love Story. After this experience with iboga, we were both inspired to learn how to help others with the medicine.
Being a budding iboga provider, I asked the seasoned providers in our community a lot of questions. I learned that these elements can help guests to have a profoundly healing and positive experience with the medicine:
• Cultivate clear and benevolent intentions.
• Be absolutely honest in all communication with your providers. This is not only ideal, but vital to a safe and fulfilling journey.
• Come with an open mind and heart, once you have carefully selected the right provider.
• Begin from a place of reverence for the medicine. This is how the medicine can offer its greatest gifts to you.
• Be open to discovering that the medicine is a living spirit, not just a physical substance to consume.
• Graciously receive the traditional customs that lay the groundwork for a strong and positive ceremony: Bwiti wisdom transmissions, fire ceremony, ritual elements, medicine music, shamanic healing practices, verbal guidance in the journey, etc. These elements are pleasant for many, though they may feel aesthetically strange or even slightly tedious for some guests. They are entirely essential for many reasons that might not be apparent to the uninitiated.
• Come of your own volition, rather than because of pressure from a loved one.
• Be accountable, in some way, for the offering needed for treatment, rather than having someone else take care of it. This can help people to value the experience.
• Engage fully with the process and the guidance. Some people mistakenly believe that sacred medicine works by simply popping a pill or drinking a brew, but there is nothing passive about it. Iboga, like all sacred medicines and spiritual practices, are entirely participatory.
• Remember that the healer is just a human being, albeit a skilled one. It’s not entirely up to the healer to “fix” a seeker. The healer is simply there to offer an opportunity and create a safe space, but the aspirant must walk through the door and do the inner work on their own.
• Stay for the full retreat time. There is a reason why retreats are designed to be a certain number of days—and a certain number of ceremonies. It takes time to unravel and disconnect from the rat-race. In addition, the first journey is just the detox or cleansing session, making way for the guidance and clarity that often shines through in subsequent journeys. Keep in mind that every journey can be radically different, and some are more challenging than others.
• Attend to your aftercare and general self-care. Follow through with new life changes that were prompted by the medicine. Begin or sustain supportive practices such as meditation, yoga, tai-chi, dance, music, or others. Surround yourself with a healthy community. It might also be helpful to find the right counselor.
• Enjoy some creative integration activities, or ways to reflect upon the experience, such as writing or art.
• Create “positive addictions.” These are healthy, consciously chosen sources of joy, play, and replenishment. In truth, these are forms of devotion, in that we pour our passionate energy into them.
May you enjoy the gift of this day and the gift of your life!
For additional tips to better your iboga experience, explore this blog post from the Iboga Wellness Center.
I had the good fortune to see the feature documentary film Ayahuasca Nature's Greatest Gift, directed by Seti Gershberg. This film is one part of a documentary series, The Path of the Sun, that provides a comprehensive look at this sacred medicine, it's therapeutic value, history, and issues surrounding the plant.
I found this film this captivating, informative, and objective. Especially in this time when sacred medicines are exploding in popularity, it's so vital to know how to proceed with respect for the indigenous wisdom traditions—and how to be safe. This film helps to empower and educate those who are feeling the call of this medicine.
This film explores the many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of this sacred medicine from the Amazon, and exposes some individuals exploiting a wave of Ayahuasca tourism, sometimes adding dangerous admixtures in order to provoke immediate and dramatic effects, so the tourist can get their money's worth, so to speak. In all realms of human life, it is vital to stay awake. Even sacred medicine can be misused.
This film also brings up one of my favorite topics about sacred plant medicine, exploring the ways that the shamanic use of ayahuasca is changing with the influence of first world interest. According to some scholars, ayahuasca was once was only taken by shamans for guidance, and now it is taken by many who seek personal healing. As awareness and demand for sacred medicine grows, and the medicines are taken by many foreign people, often far away from the indigenous land, the questions arise:
Is it just human beings moving these plants?
Or is it the plants moving themselves, through human beings?
As suggested in The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollen, plants have far more holistic intelligence than we generally give them credit for. It's not simply humans manipulating nature. It's nature dancing with humans, too. The earth as a whole ecosystem is connected and communicating with itself in ways that we humans surely cannot completely perceive. It may very well be the plants that are so generously moving themselves through us, in order heal us and help to balance the planet which is in a state of ecological disaster due to human pathologies. This view is a delicate one, for we must remain mindful of issues surrounding sustainability and social impact.
To view this film and others from the series, visit: www.thepathofthesun.com
There are free movie passes for Ayahuasca Nature's Greatest Gift given away each month. You can sign up here: bit.ly/ayagiftdoc
From the film's Facebook page:
Ayahuasca Nature's Greatest Gift is a feature length film with a runtime of 1 hour 5 minutes. The film is a comprehensive look at the socio-cultural realities surrounding the burgeoning popularity of the Amazonian sacred, medicinal and hallucinogenic brew called ayahuasca. The film has 30 subtopics that answer questions about the tea including its history, usage, rituals, physical and supernatural experience, shaman, songs, special diet and preparation and thoroughly delves into it's potential therapeutic value in terms of personal healing and integration into western medicinal modalities. Particular emphasis is placed on the healing benefits of ayahuasca as it relates to overcoming fears, phobias, depression, anxiety as well as its successful, but controversial use in treating PTSD, alcoholism and drug addiction. Other topics include the realities of the booming ayahuasca tourism industry and associated dangers of its charlatans and the general dangers found in travel to third world countries to work with shaman in often times remote and hard to get to regions. Myth is stripped from new age illusions through a realistic, educational and explanatory telling of the facts and understandings via the voices of several Peruvian mestizo shaman and experts in the field including Ethnopharmacologist Dr. Dennis McKenna and Dr. Steven Beyer author of Singing to the Plants: A Guide to mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon.