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The Wise Women of Psychedelia: Rachel Harris, PhD, on PYP 559

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I first began learning about ayahuasca as a potential spiritual, psychological and physical healer, around 2003.

And at that point, there were very few people who had heard of it. I didn't start learning about other psychedelics as a student until much later — my introduction to psilocybin “magic” mushrooms occurred around 2012.

In those days, there was kind of an underground of people doing it, but you didn't talk about it much. If you were doing it, you didn't talk about it, because it was illegal, because there are all these taboos about LSD, making people go crazy and people still having flashbacks from bad trips they did 50 years ago.

And my gosh, how much has changed even in the last three years.

From the bestseller status of Michael Pollan's How to Change Your Mind, which was turned into a Netflix series, to success in changing laws so that some of these psychedelic substances could be used in clinical trials, for addictions and also to help veterans recover from PTSD.

And we're starting to see this spread now into mainstream medicine with ketamine, which is apparently fairly legal in many places, and with other clinical trials.

Even in my field, coaching for change and personal development, there's a sort of bro culture that has embraced psychedelics, from Joe Rogan to Silicon Valley billionaires, to for-profit ayahuasca tourism, to courses that you can take to get accredited to share these medicines as a modern day Western shaman.

So these sacred substances have been brought into capitalism, and you could have predicted how that would go. There are promises of super productivity, clarity, inner peace, an end to doubt and fear and suffering.

All of this is totally divorced from the context in which these substances were first harvested and used by indigenous peoples.

Many of the wisdom keepers of these traditions, who have been silenced and marginalized for so long, have a tremendous amount to teach us about how to work with these medicines respectfully and effectively. That's why I was so eager to talk to today's guest, Rachel Harris, PhD, who's the author of a new book: Swimming in the Sacred: Wisdom from the Psychedelic Underground.

In the book, she shares her conversations with some of the elderly women who have been guiding people's journeys with ayahuasca, psilocybin, ketamine, and other illegal entheogens for decades.

Because while the the lore and legend of modern day psychedelia has really lionized the men who contributed to the revolution, from Timothy Leary to Gordon Wasson to Albert Hoffman, there are many women who've played pivotal roles and whose contributions have been overlooked until now, and whose voices have been silenced.

In our conversation, Dr Harris centers their voices and their stories, to the benefit of us all.



Swimming in the Sacred: Wisdom from the Psychedelic Underground, by Rachel Harris, PhD

How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan

Glimpses of Eternity, by Raymond Moody

Looking for Transformational Change?

You know how when you discovered plant-based eating, you basically went, “Holy shit, how come the entire healthcare system isn't totally embracing this as one of the most powerful keys to disease prevention and reversal!”?

That's how I feel now about a psychological approach to transformational change called “Memory Reconsolidation.” Few psychologists have heard about it, and when they do hear the radical transformations it can bring about in a very short time, they're often skeptical to the point of disbelief.

But I've added Memory Reconsolidation work to my own coaching, and can attest to its amazing efficacy. So much so, that I'm devoting the next year to mastering it, studying with the best clinicians and teachers in the world, and then introducing it into health coaching through my trainings.

Right now, I want to triple my coaching practice to get more and more opportunities to do this work. And I'm lowering my fees – a lot – to make it easier for people to work with me.

If you're interested in working with me (and willing to commit to a minimum of 2 months), click the link below to open the form in a new browser tab and I'll get back to you within 3 business days.

Yes, I'm interested in Memory Reconsolidation Coaching.

You CAN Change Other People!

Well, that's what Peter Bregman and I claim in our provocative book of that title.

What we really mean is, you can help the people around you make behavioral changes in their own best interests. If you think you're powerless to help people change, it's because you've been going about it the wrong way.

Discover our straightforward, replicable process here: You Can Change Other People.

Audiobook: Use the Weight to Lose the Weight

Listen to Josh LaJaunie and me narrate our latest audiobook, about how to start moving when you're obese.

It's $10, and Josh and I split it evenly 🙂

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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