A friend said to me recently: "Do you know about Carré Otis Sutton? She's doing amazing work." Then another friend. And another. OK, Universe, I am listening... I looked her up online and found that I recognized her iconic face from her career as a "supermodel." Then I read a powerful article featuring her story and current work raising awareness about eating disorders, sexual abuse, domestic violence, women's empowerment, and ethical standards in the modeling & entertainment industry. She exposes the dark cracks in the glamorous facade of the fashion world that so many young women dream about. She tells the truth about the toll on her body.
Carré ultimately pursued a path of healing, joy, and spiritual discipline with a fierce dedication, leading her to find true inner beauty and all that really matters most in life. And she put it all into a profound, intimate, and courageous memoir, which enchanted me from beginning to end. I love how Medicine-Spirit-Dharma is working through her to help heal our society's relationship with beauty.
I was delighted to have the opportunity to ask Carré some powerful questions, and I hope you enjoy her transmission as much as I did...
PLEASE SHARE as inspired!
You've written a powerful and very intimate memoir, Beauty Disrupted, about your personal journey from disempowerment to empowerment, trauma to healing, and silence to finding your voice. You openly share about surviving anorexia, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and exploitative work in the (often glamorized) modeling industry. The authenticity and vulnerability in your story was so striking. It clearly took great courage to reveal so much.
How did you come to receive the calling to write the memoir? And what kinds of difficulties or challenges did you encounter along the way?
The calling was loud and clear. It was actually unavoidable. There was a moment that all of the voices telling me I needed to SHARE were everywhere. Subtle and not so subtle. I began to tune in to the cultural norm of women, societal expectations... both within my industry and without. I began to see the pervasiveness of abuse and objectification that I had grown up with and become so accustomed to. There was this common thread of avoidance and sugar coating and minimizing predatory and abusive behavior. Having been deeply submerged in an industry for decades that does just this—while normalizing these dysfunctional behaviors, it was already well on my radar.
Becoming a mother… a mother to daughters, was a game changer. I awakened to a deep sense of responsibility. I understood quite clearly and literally that my mission was to be a voice, use my platform and be an advocate for change.
All of these pieces were a perfect storm to ornament me with the courage to step out and into the voice and message I maintain today. In the earlier part of my life, I subscribed to being a "victim" of the patriarchy that defines and dictates many women's stories. It was the belief system I had grown up in, without questioning its validity as it pertained to defining MY Story. This construct really shattered in its entirety when I stumbled across my ex-husband being interviewed by Barbara Walters. As he again recounted his version of our time together, it became crystal clear that it was time for my story to come forth.
I am so grateful for the spiritual foundation I had under my belt. The many years of practice and discipline. The steps I had taken to fortify my relationships with family and friends. From Tibetan Buddhism to the shamanic path, I had a team of angels to guide and protect me. But that didn’t make the lifting easy or light. There were many tests. Obstacles. Wrath. Scorn. I really saw every shade of the human response towards me being a woman with a voice. It was as if there was some silent unspoken contract I had signed when I came into this body that I would be the KEEPER of secrets and sorrows. And I really had to consciously rescind that. A well behaved woman never makes history. I can relate. I am not well behaved. And proud of it.
Image from Carre's TedX talk. LINK BELOW.
Would you say that telling our personal stories can be healing for the collective? How so?
Absolutely! I truly believe that as we step up and do our part and participate, whether its finding our voices, telling our stories, or healing ourselves through therapies, we contribute to healing the Global Archetype. We are part of a collective. Together we rise. Together we can also fall. Its really time to rise. Other women's stories have given me so much courage and inspiration. We are safer in numbers. I encourage women to share their stories. Its cathartic. Its empowering. It also can take the "charge" out of the wounds. One thing I am ever cautious about, however, is that I have been very clear that I am not my story. My evolution and place on this planet at this time has been informed by my experiences, but I am so much more than my story… I am not a victim, but a survivor. I am careful with what I identify with. Without the work I have done I could easily identify with the violence I have experienced, or the betrayals… and on and on. I chose to not be defined by these experiences but to be empowered and it does enable me to relate to so many on their own journeys.
Photo by Bill Curry featuring Carre with Robert Mirabal, Taos Pueblo flutist
Your story offers great perspective for women who many be suffering from emotional abuse and domestic violence, as we get to walk in your shoes over the course of many years and a lot of personal healing. This can be illuminating for those women who may recognize the same abusive patterns in their relationships & who may not see a way out when they are in the thick of it.
What advice would you offer to any women out there who realize that they may need to get away from an abusive relationship?
Ah…. I recall the day that I truly felt immobilized. Paralyzed by fear. I could not fathom or dare to imagine the path forward. There didn’t seem to be any way out of my situation, which really is a text book feeling when one is in an ongoing abusive violent situation/relationship. I look back and can see that there were angels that graced me. There were women that came and spoke with me. Not with an agenda or objective, but to share their own stories of struggle, abuse and then freedom. One such angel was Ally McGraw, the wonderful and talented model, actress, author, and yogini. She had been married to Steve McQueen, the beautiful and dangerous rebel actor. Their situation was so similar to me and my then husband. She took the time to visit with me when I was deep in my despair. I couldn’t imagine at that time that I could be free like she was: accomplished, strong, and solo. She represented a female archetype that I had yet to have modeled in my life. I was awe struck. Of course it wasn’t anything instant but she planted a seed of possibility for me. One that I hadn’t ever considered: what would my life look like if I were to stand on my own, in my power, in my glory and grace and confidence? What would life look like if I lived and operated from my heart? A whole, healed heart.
It takes a village. It takes a tribe. It takes sisters and aunts and mothers and grandmothers. I had to learn to reach out and take the hand that was extended to me. I had to learn to ask for help. These were basic principles foreign to me but truly the movement and freedom in my life has come by way of support from others.
In the beginning, in preparing and making a plan of exit from my abusive husband, I sought therapy. I had to focus on myself, my goals, and a cohesive plan of departure. It was a terrifying time but with the support from my "team," I was able to make my exit.
What kinds of spiritual practices or healing modalities were a part of your healing journey?
I relied heavily on yoga and my meditation practice. My connection to the Dharma and Buddhism played a big part in my healing. It was a time for me to slow down and really allow myself to notice, to feel everything that was coming up. Nature has always played a big part in my mental health and feeling heart centered. Long walks in the mountains and on the beaches of Southern California were true medicine for my soul.
How has your relationship with food and nourishment changed?
Food today is nourishment. Its fuel. When I was recovering, not recovered, I had a very fractured and frightened relationship with food as well with my body. Today I am grateful. I am turning 50. I take nourishment very seriously. From food for my body to the nourishment of my soul, my spirit. I live in balance and harmony with food and nourishment, and I try to model this with and for my daughters who are 10 and 11.
In your story, you speak openly about a very taboo subject: faking orgasms. Where do you feel that this phenomenon of faking arises from? How can we heal it? Why is it so important for women to be completely authentic in our sensual intimacy?
I believe and have experienced first hand that often our identity and sense of "self" is intertwined in our sexuality. Like a job: who are you beyond what you do? Our one reference point for "self" is this human body, and often times our identity is also wrapped up in it. Why? Because unless one is on a spiritual path, one doesn’t tend to dig deeper.
It’s a big question… Who am I? It can be an uncomfortable question.
For me, being the performer and faking my way as this wild completely aroused woman was a persona that conveniently kept me away from experiencing true intimacy. It was a creation by my own design, but also one that I believe was placed upon me through societal expectations. Lets face it, modeling is performance art. Sex sells. The more that I could build up that character, the more I was sought after.
The irony of it! It took me a long time to even ask myself… "What do I like? What do I dislike? What feels good?” It wasn’t until after a five year vow of celibacy and diving deep into my own healing that I was able to arrive at a place where I was ready to name what it was I wanted as well as ask for those conditions in a relationship. And that is now where I am… with my husband of 13 years and 2 daughters.
For me, the "faking orgasm" was also wrapped up in my conditioning to serve others and to perform. There was a mistaken view that another's pleasure and arousal was more important than my own. There was also a big disconnect for me when in a situation that I could potentially feel vulnerable. There was fear in feeling vulnerable. I hadn’t yet tasted the sensuality of it. The magic of it. The potency of being in that open place.
Granted, certain conditions need to be in place to feel safe in our vulnerability. Like a safe lover, a safe physical place, and trust. These were not qualities I had previously asked for nor cultivated in relationship.
I truly believe we magnetize exactly where we are at. If we are in the wounded archetype, thats what plays out. When we are in the sacred feminine, empowered in our divinity, this too is what we magnetize.
You are a mother of two girls now. How do you help them to have the healthy boundaries that you didn't have as a young person?
Its amazing to me that I spent the majority of my life, all the way through my mid thirties, just learning how to say NO. I had never been empowered to use that word. I didn’t receive that initiation in my early years. Had I known that I could say no, defend myself, question, tap into my intuition to navigate which road to take, life would have been very different. Just simple body awareness, that my body is mine, was never instilled in me. My body was for others. From childhood through my career as a model. I was very disconnected and disempowered.
With my daughters I have had such an amazing opportunity to empower them with all that was not uploaded to me. They are aware that their bodies are theirs. If something doesn’t feel right, they get to speak up. I actually remind them that they will be their own most fierce protectors, but they must exercise that muscle. Because it is a muscle that gets stronger the more we use it.
In my family, we speak about food being fuel. We never speak about "diets" or shame other humans shapes or sizes or ethnicities. I actually make it a point to celebrate diversity in our household. We speak about different cultures whose values go beyond a Western aesthetic and celebrate aspects of strength, courage, and wisdom. I think we own every Strong and Courageous women's story book that there is to own. My daughters have grown up with conversations about the sacred feminine. They have grown up around Tibetan Buddhism and the strong women and mentors and surrogate mothers that I have had in my life. They have been part of sacred ritual around full and new moons as well as ways of our indigenous brothers and sisters. I am extremely grateful to have such a strong spiritual family in our lives. And, of course, these young women will find their own rhythm and ways. But it has felt truly important to have had them supported in the magical fabric that is our family life.
How as a society can we help young women have a healthy body image?
I believe that we do need to address what has become the norm within media. The massive subversive messaging that we all receive from TV, movies, commercials, video games, internet, music… it's impactful. An impossible, inhuman standard has been perpetuated within our culture, and quite frankly, it's reckless. Its negligent. Its abusive. It desensitizes us, as is the goal I believe. Coming from the entertainment Industry, I see the premature sexualization of our youth, the normalizing through advertisements of a rape culture, a violent culture. If you can consider that our average young male is receiving their first sexual encounter via internet exposure, porn, or video games—no wonder our statistics of rape has skyrocketed. Look at those images. Look at what messages are being perpetuated.
The change will take a big force, but there is headway after the #MeToo movement has unfurled. I am working with Model Alliance and change is under way from legislation to protect entertainment industry workers from sexual harassment. Programs like RESPECT will hold industry accountable and require healthier standards for our workforce.
But as it boils down, the discussion we can have amongst ourselves is so important. Part of empowering our young women and men is to demystify the images that they receive from media. I have a program where I walk through what actually takes place to create images in magazines, from airbrushing, lighting, photoshop, makeup, hair, clothes… etc. Essentially these images are extremely doctored. I also believe in the power of discussion. Intention. Celebrating diversity. Noticing when covers of magazines just pick apart the women and men on their covers. Also noticing how as women we are engaging in this dialogue as well. When are we criticizing and judging? From bodies to clothes to color? We all do it. How can we bring mindfulness into our conversations and consciously celebrate diversity and humanity? It feels so much better to do so.
What kinds of activist work are you currently involved in these days?
My work with Model Alliance. Recently I flew to State Capital Sacramento to testify before the labor commission to create stronger laws that would protect models from sexual harassment and sexual assault. I continue to educate and advocate for reform in our industry to safeguard its workers. Its appalling to me that the one industry (modeling) that employs our most vulnerable sector (youth and young adults) does not yet have laws in place to prevent sexual assault and abuse in the workplace. So far these crimes are not and have not been punishable under the law and many cases go unreported. I also am an Ambassador for the National Eating Disorder Institute and Project Heals.
What are your next creative projects?
I am in the process of recruiting a team to help me share my story through a documentary film. I had been on the fence as to whether the next project is a book, however after some thought, I realized that the medium of film will be the best.
The Blue Lotus Foundation will be my focus over the next year, an organization which supports eating disorder prevention through educational workshops and presentations, as well as getting my business moving forward with its projects.
Photo by Bill Curry
Have shamanic plant medicines and ceremonies been a part of your personal healing & development? How so?
I have been a practicing Tibetan Buddhist for thirty years. My spiritual path has been my guide and savior. My connection to my teachers, the discipline from the practices I have been so blessed to receive, have shaped who I am today. Yet my path has evolved over the last decade. I have been initiated into several shamanic lineages where sacred plant medicine is part of the path. My direct work with these teachers has been a game changer, catapulting my healing and supporting even bigger growth on every level. Where I stand today, the view I have, and the freedom I have, has come through being graced with these teachings. I continue to dive deeper. Our work in these bodies will never be "done." At least mine. I am here to learn. And support others on their path of exploration.
WATCH CARRE'S TEDX TALK
Art by Felix Morel
Sadly, measures to address addiction treatment are woefully inadequate. Even when an overdose doesn’t kill, heroin addiction often leaves the user with an abysmal quality of life. Many addiction therapy providers believe that commonly used drugs like buprenorphine, suboxone, and methadone do not facilitate true recovery or sobriety. Methadone, for example, is a maintenance drug — instead of using heroin daily, an addict uses methadone daily for the long term. Furthermore, methadone is an opioid agonist and binds to opioid receptors like heroin does, and unsurprisingly, carries its own alarming rate of overdose. To make matters worse, anticipated and drastic cuts to Medicaid funding will dramatically reduce access to any medication-assisted treatments.
...Iboga started to grow in popularity in the Western world when it was discovered that ibogaine – one of the primary active alkaloids in the iboga plant – was extremely effective in treating drug addiction. Since this discovery, ibogaine rehab clinics have begun to pop up wherever the drug is legal, from Costa Rica to Canada. Unfortunately, its prohibition in other countries, such as the United States, where is it a Schedule 1 drug, has slowed scientific research.
Iboga and ibogaine have been shown in observational research to interrupt multiple types of substance and behavioral addictions, mitigate opiate withdrawal symptoms, detox the brain and physical body, illuminate the root causes of addiction, and promote psychospiritual healing... (CONTINUED)
READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON ENTHEONATION
I had the pleasure of meeting Rachael Madori at a talk that Chor Boogie and I offered about the iboga medicine with the Aware Project in Los Angeles. At the time, this polymath was exploring her expression as an adult film star, in addition to other gifts such as writing, activism, culinary arts, and fitness education. I would come to know Rachael as a multifaceted and compassionate being; she shared her inner world and raw struggles on her blog and social media platforms as much as she did her physical form and fire. It's a paradox: in the world of mainstream professional erotica, it is supposed to be about "revealing," but it generally only goes skin deep. Personally, I find the holistic, honest view of an artist far more compelling than any marketing mirage. (And yes, erotica can be art.) Through Rachael's journey and authentic unveiling, she has helped educate and inspire many people about mental health, mental illness, suicide awareness, psychedelic medicine, creative freedom, and what it means to be a real, whole person...
Rachael Madori resides in Hollywood, California. She is pursuing opening a restaurant on the east coast. Both her and her fiancé, a chef in Beverly Hills, plan on combining their love of food and service to own their own establishment. Currently she’s learning skills at a fine dining restaurant on Sunset Boulevard and taking classes with Ashworth College.
Rachael is a mental health advocate and social activist. She is a suicide survivor and has been diagnosed with Bipolar 1 and Borderline Personality Disorder; she helps to educate people about these issues. She volunteers with and fundraises for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
Rachael advocates for alternative psychedelic medicine. She supports the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a research and educational organization that develops medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. She also attends events put on by the Aware Project in Los Angeles. Their mission is to “balance the public conversation about psychedelics, spread accurate information and give a new face to psychedelia”. A self proclaimed psychonaut, Rachael tries to teach the world through her understanding and years of experience using psychedelics as healing medicines, not only for her mental health but her overall well being.
A passionate writer, Rachael has published articles at sites such as SimplySxy and AVN. She is also a contributing author at Consumer Health Digest. She has accomplished her first written piece of fiction which will be published by Cleis Press in a book curated and edited by Asa Akira. Rachael continues to blog as an outlet for her advocacy and creativity.
A former adult film performer, Rachael holds multiple awards including 2015 Inked Awards Starlet of the Year and 2016 Inked Awards Best Scene of the Year. Her proud and unadulterated voice as a pervious sex worker sheds light and dismantles the stigma associated with the sex industry.
Her blogs pertain to many different subjects but the main objective here is voice. The point of a voice is to be heard, she writes not only to be heard but for anyone out there to find comfort knowing that someone is listening.
Do you feel that living with transparency helps us, as a collective, to heal?
Absolutely. I look at humans as this one large organism and we all, whether we recognize it or not, affect and feed off each other. Not always in a bad way. Truth, transparency and honesty will feed truth, transparency and honesty. Facades will feed facades. Negative will feed negative. It’s all about whether we choose to heal or poison. I want to be on the end of the spectrum that is helping society find what it means to be real again.
What do you feel are some of the gifts of being bi-polar?
Being bi-polar creates this completely altered reality that I live in and because of this I’m creative, different and expressive beyond words. I feel hard, I feel deeply. Sure it’s all over the place but there’s some kind of beauty in the constant chaos inside my mind. Honestly all I’m trying to do is focus on manifesting that chaos into beauty. I feel like we’re all trying to do that in one way or another.
How can people be sensitive and supportive for loved ones who are dealing with mental illness?
It's not easy loving someone who has a mental illness but patience is key. I think the best way to be supportive is to be open and frank about it. It's not something anyone should be embarrassed or ashamed to struggle with so their loved ones shouldn't feel that way either. I can't tell you what a difference it made to finally have an open dialogue between my family and friends about my diagnoses. Sometimes when I was having an episode they could tell when I couldn't. I need that. I don't want to be treated any differently, I just want to know someone will be there when my mind fails me.
What drew you to the adult film world, initially?
I was always fascinated with pornography. I used to envy the women I would watch in videos because I found it so amazing that they had the confidence to show to the world an intimate action that most people shy away from even talking frankly about. I wanted to know what that position of empowerment was truly about.
What did you like about it?
I loved that I had a safe environment to practice and learn about myself and other people sexually. I enjoyed how much emphasis is put on safety and consent. It honestly helped me appreciate how we are all sexual creatures with our own likes, dislikes and boundaries. It let me develop a confidence and sense of self worth I didn’t know before.
What didn’t you like about it?
I didn’t like how political it can all be. Whether it be award shows or the aspect of “Who you kiss up to”. I think all the arbitrary ideas and cliques take away from the industry what it should be about which is creating amazing content.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
I would like to see performers act more like a family of coworkers and less like competitors. Pursue being the best, win awards, become a top tier performer but leave your ego at the door. We all face enough stigma from the outside world, to create drama within your own industry due to ego is unjustified.
Why did you limit it to three years?
I always heard this saying that three years is the best time frame for a female performer. I didn’t go into sex work for the money, I did it because I felt drawn to it and ended up falling in love with performing. I knew it was a side step off my path so I figured giving myself a time frame would keep me headed towards all my other life goals.
What did the adult film world teach you about human beings?
The good things it taught me about humans was both physical and mental. I learned ways to please and be pleased that I think would take a lifetime of experimenting with different partners and I’m proud of that. I learned about having pride in yourself as a sexual creature and holding steadfast to that. We’re all organic, developing beings and the adult film world taught me never to be ashamed of that.
I also learned that ego can destroy people without them even knowing it. I found out very quickly that to some people - how popular they are, how many followers they have on social media, how many trophies they hold and what they see in the mirror is all that defines them. And it’s sad.
Have you ever encountered judgment and/or discrimination from people in reaction to your work in adult film? How so?
I’ve experienced people who were caught off guard by how frankly I talk about adult films and sex in general. I’ve gotten hate mail from religious people, I’ve gotten called countless slurs because I did publicly what people do behind closed doors. It even took a long time for my family to see me as credible because they feared this industry, clouded in mistruths and taboo, had destroyed a part of me. My love and life partner has been harassed online by people who cannot see sex work as work. I’ve been misjudged as unintelligent and have been discriminated against far enough that I’ve been told my choice to be a performer was due to my mental illness. At first I ignored it but to be honest it started to hurt me. Not my confidence or sense of self worth, but I hurt for all of the people who have developed such a distorted view because that kind of tunnel vision leaves zero room for growth of your inner self.
Most porn stars I’ve seen tend to create a very slick, one dimensional, “adult fairy-tale” image for marketing purposes that appears to have few real world human challenges. Yet, while in the adult film industry and beyond, you have been so open about your full-spectrum human self, sharing about your experiences navigating mental illness, psychedelic medicine, personal relationship, dreams, and multi-faceted creativity. You started this intimate expression on social media, then it expanded onto your blog. What made you want to break that mold?
For a while I marketed myself the way everyone else did. I only posted what I was told to, I never kept my presence online too serious and conveying a brand like that and separating it from your true self is successful for some people. I just don’t happen to be one of those people. People have been trying to fit me into boxes my whole life and I wasn’t aware that there were boxes for pornstars too. I have this innate and deep conviction to bare my true self to the point were upholding a manufactured image of myself online wasn’t even possible. I am sexual and filthy and heated, all the things a sex performer should be, but that’s not even half of me. So I decided I wasn’t okay with only being seen as that. It’s just not in my personality and I had this deep feeling to throw my entire self out to the world. Whether I lost or gained fans because of that didn’t concern me. This became a movement to show the world something much more intimate that me having sex.
What kinds of feedback (positive & negative) have you received from your adult film fans after revealing more about yourself?
I received some negativity. I was told to stick to the basic frame work of a pornstars internet presence because I had no business being anything else. I was told that people weren’t there for me they were there for my body. Which I’m all well and good with. My career was of the human body. However, that doesn’t negate my right to express every other aspect of myself.
I got a lot of positive feedback too. There were people struggling inside and outside of the industry who reached out to me because they knew I wouldn’t judge them or they knew that what they saw is what they got. I have lifelong fans that started watching me because they loved my videos but now they follow me on my life journey because at some point sharing my humanity became just as entertaining.
When did you start your public blog?
I started it two years ago. My website has always had my blog section because I love to write. I’ve been writing ever since I could spell. I used to have links and such to my adult films but once my fan base started growing from outside of porn I made the decision to make my site completely PG about a year ago. Not because I wanted to hide my career, I embrace it fully. I did that so now my words could reach a wider range of people who may need to hear something that touches them.
What kinds of people follow your blog?
All ages, genders, interests. A lot of young women and men. Fitness and wellness is one focus on my website so a lot of people looking for tips or motivation tend to follow along. I also converse with a lot of people who struggle with mental health or live with someone who is struggling and I’ve been told I help them by putting into words that they otherwise cannot to describe what’s happening to them or their loved one. There are still fans of my adult films that continue to follow my life and my blog which I think is great. I broke this barrier where you can enjoy my sex work but also the rest of me as well.
What kinds of feedback have you received about your blog from your readers that are not necessarily your adult film fans?
Some people call me brave. I’m not sure how I feel about that word because I just feel like I’m doing what I have to do to help. There’s a few particular fans of mine who live with wives struggling with Bipolar Disorder and they’ve let me know how much my blog has helped their understanding and their marriage. I feel like some people are taken aback that I went from a one layer pornstar to such an open advocate for many things personal to me but the feedback has been mostly positive. If I can make one person feel even a little better, I think I’m doing my job as a human.
Now that you’ve retired from adult film, you are onto other projects and visions. What is next for you? What are you excited about?
I’m focusing on my position in the restaurant industry and opening one of my own. I’m working in a great company at a fine dining restaurant in Los Angeles until I move back home to New York City to pursue a second degree in Culinary Management. Another creative endeavor I’m working on is a streetwear line called Feel Hard where I’ll be donating a percentage of the proceeds to non-profit mental health organizations. I’m also trying to dedicate whatever free time I can find to compiling my first book.
*Check out the DONATE section on the website with links to the organizations that Rachael fundraises for including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies.
Support Rachael's Fundraiser:
Streetwear Line for Mental Health Awareness
Mi amor, Chor Boogie, and I were super honored to bring our art and words to Psychedelic Science 2017, produced by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies. It was the largest conference for psychedelics in the world to date. Of course, it was a fun crowd! There was a thrilling balance of science, art, music, dancing, humor, culture, community, tea service, and delightfully odd inflatable creatures.
We offered a talk on the Psymposia Stage about our healing journey with the iboga medicine and also the additional factors that supported our positive experience with the medicine. The "medicine" is never just the the physical material alone; it is a holistic experience involving intention, preparation, participation, integration, community, tradition, spiritual technologies, and so much more...
To watch our full 20 minute talk, click HERE and forward into minute 59. Enjoy all the other great presentations included in the footage as well!
Heart Medicine, my intimate memoir about the iboga medicine, was present in the MAPS bookstore, and Chor exhibited two iboga inspired original paintings for the very first time...
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
48" X 60"
SPRAY PAINT ON CANVAS
This was one of those moments that it would have been handy to have ten heads like some Hindu dieties and the ability to bilocate, as there were so many exciting and revolutionary presentations offered, but it was impossible to take it all in due to events overlapping. That said, here are some of the presentations that were highlights for me...
*Links to videos or other media are provided when available.
Film Screening: Curandera
Presented by Ethan Goldwater of Hover Pictures
Cognitive Liberty, Neurodiversity, & Non-Pathologizing Approaches to Mental Health
Presented by Adam Andros Aronovich
Evaluating the Efficacy of Ayahuasca-Assisted Treatment for Substance Dependency
Presented by Anya Loizaga-Velder, Ph.D.
Rapid Antidepressant Effects of the Psychedelic Ayahuasca in Treatment-Resistant Depression:
A Randomized Placebo-Controlled Trial
Presented by Draulio Barros de Araujo, Ph.D.
From Taboo to Treatment: The Evolutions of Psychedelic Medicine
Presented by Amanda Fielding
Psychedelic Use Predicts Reduced Suicidality:
Findings From a Longitudinal Study of Women Sex Workers in Vancouver, Cananda
Presented by Elena Argento, Ph.D. Candidate
Neural Changes and the Relationship Between the Acute Peak Experience and Clinical Outcomes
Presented by Leor Roseman, M.Sc.
Ayahuasca Legal Prosecution Worldwide: Connecting the Dots
Presented by Benjamin De Loenen, M.A.
Duncan Trussell Family Hour Presents the Microdose VR Experience with Android Jones & Bruce Damer
PANEL: Psychedelics, Injustice, & the Intersectionality of Trauma
Film Screening: Sacred Plants
Presented by Javier Prato
Honoring Huston Smith
Presented by Austin Hill Shaw
Subjective Effectiveness of Ibogaine Treatment for Problematic Opiod Consumption:
Short & Long-Term Outcomes and Current Psychological Functioning
Presented by Alan K. Davis, Ph.D.
Debunking Common Ibogaine Safety Myths
Presented by Jamie McAlpin, R.N., B.S.N., & Christine Fitzsimmons, R.N.
Characterization of Mystical Experiences Occasioned by 5-MeO-DMT-Containing Toad Venom & Comparison with Prior Psilocybin Studies
Presented by Joseph Peter Barsuglia, Ph.D.
My Life Reset: A Journey with Ibogaine
Presented by Kevin Franciotti
New Findings from the University of Zurich Studies into the Mechanism of Action of Psilocybin & LSD: Relevance for Treatment of Major Depression & for Enhancement of Psychotherapy
Presented by Dr. Rainer Krahenmann, M.D.
Ibogaine & Opiod Withdrawal: Does it Work & Is it Safe
Presented by Paul Glue, M.D. , FRC Psych
Esalen's Legacy & the History of Psychedelics
Presented by Dr. Jim Fadiman & John Harrison, M.A., Psy. D
Psychedelic, Morality, & Virtue
Presented by Claudio Naranjo, M.D.
Film Screening: Shamans of the Global Village
Presented by Rak Razam
Ibogaine in Brazil: Finally Stepping Out from the Underground?
Presented by Bruno Rasmussen Chaves, M.D.
Cannabis & Spirituality: An Explorer's Guide to an Ancient Plant Spirit Ally
Presented by Stephen Gray, author
PANEL: Insights from Contemporary Ibogaine Research for Addiction
Ibogaine and Neurotrophic Factors: GDNF, BDNF, and NGF Releasing Properties of Ibogaine & Activity of Novel Ibogaine Analogues
Presented by Ignacio Carrera, Ph.D.
The Role of Experimental Language in Psychedelic Research
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D.
The Past & Future of Psychedelics
Presented by Mike Crowley & Ben Sessa
Psychedelics as Behavior Change Agents: Addictions Recovery & Beyond
Presented by Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D.
Psilocybin Mushrooms & the Mycology of Consciousness
Presented by Paul Stamets, D.Sc.
Cosmic Sister's Psychedelic Feminism Grant Recipients
Presented by Nese Devenot, Ph.D., Selma Holden, M.D., Katie Bain, Faye Sakellaridis, & moderated by Leia Friedman
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.
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 current of spirit brought Chor Boogie and me to Miami to share art...
The following images may shock you.
It's ok. The truth is always beautiful. The artists of American Banned invite us to look through their eyes and hearts in this powerful exhibition.
“We don’t have to debate whether art should be political— it always is.” –Dickon Stone
On October 27th at Macaya Gallery in Miami, three renowned contemporary artists, Chor Boogie, Stuart Sheldon, and Ashley Reid, presented uncompromising visual political and social commentary in American Banned. Essentially nonpartisan, the collective body of work provokes political discourse, spurs citizens to participate in the political process, and examines systemic violence, racism, and oppression.
Select works from American Banned will be exhibited November 29th – December 4th at Scope Miami Beach 2016, in conjuction with Art Basel Maimi, North America’s foremost international modern and contemporary art fair, bringing a rare and vital political element to the annual festivities.
Chor Boogie, one of the world’s foremost masters of the spray paint medium, premiered a fresh political series of original paintings, hand embellished prints, and mixed media works: In God We Trust.
Stuart Sheldon showcased a new series of artwork I’m with the Banned, an ensemble of intricate works of mixed media on canvas and paper, featuring strong shapes, cuttings of banned book covers, and piercing political statements. Mediums include acrylic, vinyl, oil crayon, gunpowder, glass bottles, spray paint, found objects, shredded pay stubs, and the artist’s own blood. Sheldon will also feature an installation and limited edition video addressing violence in society with first grade chairs, bullets, and chain.
Ashley Reid presented White Power, a passionately, anarchistic photographic and performance representation of social and authoritative culture; what the artist has perceived as the zeitgeist of this generation. With a perspective that is both critical, loving and transgressive in its kitschy approach, subjects of instant gratification, protest, police brutality, appropriation, empathy, and accountability are questioned visually through self-portraiture and her community. Performance self-portrait Privileged, Please Help presents a white man who is sitting and acting as a homeless man, but is asking for help in being privileged as opposed to being disenfranchised.