Also, a more general report- finally met RXBandit and his travel companion, and MatthijsV and his travel companion.. today's lectures were great, saw the first Panorama and then we divided up the lectures as we wanted to see many of the speakers.. I went to the Rising Researchers, it was absolutely fascinating and am so glad I went.. am also interested in the novel kappa agonist research mentioned if anyone saw it or took notes.. research included peyote and religious rights/conservation, xenolinguistics and language phenomenon in psychedelic use, enacive cognitive science/psychology, classification and relatives of Salvia Divinorum, cannabis in the Afro-Brazilian tradition (and racial roots of prohibition), and Hallucinogens vs. Lucidogens and identifying the nature of psychedelic experience and how to best verbalize this.
In the panorama I especially liked what the Colombian shaman K. Tsamani had to say about coca and entheogen use in his culture- he was discussing for awhile the sacredness of plants and concoctions from plants like Ayahuasca and Yopo, then specifically addressed coca leaves as the sacrament of his people and a very peaceful and transformative and positive force and a feminine energy, and while I kno coca leaves are not the same as cocaine, I couldn't help feeling a little... amused? skeptical? maybe just caught off gaurd and was made aware of this, and thought I coud sense that general feeling in some of the crowd but can only speak for myself- I think I associate that with cocaine and have certain preconceptions about that drug, and also I felt it strange that one would discuss this plant in such a way as to ignore the abuses of it as though they didnt exist- but he did not ignore them, he continued and concluded his talk, describing the violence and negative effects of people coming in and taking their nsacred lands to grow this, addiction and greed resulting, how it was unwise and devastating that humans had to "separate what should not have been separated" and create this desctructive chemical and send it across the world to so many people. He stated, please do not use this substance because using it is harmful, but moreso because purchasing it fuels a general state of violence and unnatural abuse of what he considers sacred, and is now fueling war in his home land. I wil never judge anyone's drugs of choice, but his perspective was fascinating, and it was really a new issue for me to see it in this light, from his cultural and spiritual perspective, and the contrasts between the coca plant and the cocaine produced from its cultivation.
Then later saw Jan Kounen's film. It was probably one of the highlights so far, was captivating and held my attention well, and was very moving as well- captured very realistically the words and ideas of shamanic use of Ayahuasca- the theories and spiritual beliefs, as well as the practical process of brewing it and documenting that preocess, and capturing both the general atmosphere of a nighttime Ayahuasca ritual as well as the personal story of a young woman healed by it, and also Kounen's own 4-5 year journey, using the brew in over 100 rituals. There was also some amazing computer animation detailing some specific imagery from his trip, the shanting of the shamans really added to that, and the visuals were amazing and varied. It was subtitled for some of it, and while that can be difficult to follow in some cases, this was not at all the case here.
We then took a tram to a little hookah bar/restaurant and ordered some food, but much of it unfortunately was not veg- the naan/flatbread had meat inside (!?) and since yogurt wasn't mentioned with the falafel listing, I (erroneously) assumed it to be absent or at least a side offering with my falafel, so didn't mention it when ordering and then didn't want to send it back, so didn't have much to eat. Had several hours of good conversation, shared life stories and experiences and discussed sociocultural differences in drug policy and other issues between the US and some European countries, discussed addiction issues, the presentations, life in general, and had some good laughs. I don't mind traveling alone, and the conference is keeping me quite busy, but it was awesome to meet RX and MatthijsV and their friends and get out for awhile (despite the freezing weather!) Then we headed our separate ways, to hostel and hotel, I sat in the lobby for awhile further discussing Dutch political systems and those of my home country, and possible future ramifications or ideas, which was fascinating, and talked some more about addiction issues and current research- I've met some fascinating people and learned so much thus far.. Want to hit the pool and hot tub tomorrow, and get my Alex interview set up (cannot wait for his and Allyson's Psychedelic Families talk!) and tomorrow night is the (14-hour) Bardo experience closing ceremony and concert. I want to go for sure, not sure for how long- really depends on which dimension swim's mind happens to dwell at the time, but will not miss my Grey seminar and art workshop at 9am so may only be present for anywhere from a couple hours to maximum 9-10 hr.. that should be satisfactory, again depending on swim's mindstate and duration- of course not referring to anything illicit, simply undertaking a spiritual journey aided by the music, the visuals, and the spirit of the gathering...
Now I may sleep, we shall see.. my body is clearly exhausted but my mind is elsewhere.. Good night all, sweet dreams, peace, love, and all that other good shit
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