Psychedelics – mind/soul manifesting – or entheogens – creating the divine within – are substances that stimulate profound qualitative changes to one’s state of consciousness. These substances, in the form of flora, fungi, and occasionally fauna, have been used by humans for millennia in their magico-spiritual practices, often termed ‘shamanic’. More recently these substances have been explored scientifically and medically for their potentially beneficial properties in the treatment of psychological and, increasingly, physical health problems, as well as in the catalysis of creative problem solving and spiritual insight, and for personal growth.
This course will explore the transpersonal nature of the psychedelic experience, drawing upon transpersonal psychology, parapsychology, cross-cultural psychiatry, neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, anthropology, ethnobotany and the study of religions, among other disciplines. It will cover the study of a range of transpersonal and exceptional experiences, such as mystical, shamanic and mediumistic experiences, inter-species communication, entity – such as divine beings – encounters, psi experiences, out-of-body and near-death experiences, insight and creativity, love, compassion, connectivity and empathy, and other experiences and concomitants of the psychedelic encounter.