045: Stealing Fire Part 1 by Joe

This is Entheogen. Elevate the Conversation.

Today is November 5, 2017, and we are discussing Stealing Fire, a book by Steven Kotler & Jamie Wheal.

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In more contemporary terms, the Eleusinian Mysteries were an elaborate nine-day ritual designed to strip away standard frames of reference, profoundly alter consciousness, and unlock a heightened level of insight. Specifically, the mysteries combined a number of state-changing techniques—fasting, singing, dancing, drumming, costumes, dramatic storytelling, physical exhaustion, and kykeon (the substance Alcibiades stole for his party)—to induce a cathartic experience of death, rebirth, and “divine inspiration.”

Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann and Harvard-trained classicist Carl Ruck argued that the barley in kykeon might have been tainted with an ergot fungus. This same fungus generates lysergic acid (LSA), a precursor to the LSD that Hofmann famously synthesized in his Sandoz pharmaceutical lab. — Excerpt from Stealing Fire

Part One - The Case for Ecstasis

Chapter 1: What Is This Fire?
Chapter 2: Why It Matters
Chapter 3: Why We Missed It

“The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.” —David Foster Wallace

  • Entheogen’s take on the book: “We like it.”
  • Debate on how to pronounce the word ecstasis
  • Why does “fire” need to be stolen? Why does access to altered states need to be banned?
  • How the Navy SEALs train for dynamic subordination, another kind of altered state
  • Partying with Eric Schmidt at Burning Man
  • Finding “flow” and why it matters
  • Signature characteristics of ecstasis: selflessness, timelessness, effortlessness, richness (STER)
  • An examining of the word “pale”
  • The “state sanctioned triad” of mind altering substances: caffeine, nicotine, alcohol -- what makes these special? What ends does accepting these particular substances serve?
  • The institutions that create / endorse stigma: the church and the state
  • Are humans already cyborgs? What is truly “unnatural” anyway? If humans are beings of nature, is anything that humans create also natural?
  • How altered states are directly related to evolution of humans as well as certain plants and other animals (like French Bulldogs)
  • The current and historical balance of individualism vs. collectivism, and its impact on the proliferation and acceptance of certain types of altered states

031: Dr. Julie Holland by Joe

This is Entheogen. Talk about tools for generating the divine within.

Today is June 6, 2016, and we are talking with Dr. Julie Holland, psychopharmacologist, psychiatrist, and best-selling author of several books.

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  • Julie’s origin story: how did she get interested in this area of research

  • Julie took MDMA with Rick Doblin on the last day it was legal: June 30th, 1985

  • “Cancer of Yang” – Jeremy Wolff’s phrase (Julie’s husband)

  • Vaginal administration of cannabis to avoid the liver from edible ingestion, 11-OH-THC

  • Edibles: Julie emphasizes the need to wait two hours before re-evaluating dosage

  • Overmedication of society

    • “Do you ever overeat and then feel bad about it?” Big pharma’s answer: strong, long-lasting amphetamine daily.

  • Medical and Recreational Entheogens

    • “Recreation is therapeutic”

  • THC, CBD and Terpenes

  • Some people don’t want to get high from their medicine.

  • Munchies mitigation tip: don’t start eating.

  • Punishment doesn’t work with addiction

  • Pornography and the “new normal”: no pubic hair vs. “very bushy” 70’s

Julie’s Books:

028: Intro to Entheogenic Comedy with Matteson Perry by Joe

This is Entheogen. Talk about tools for generating the divine within.

Today is April 3rd, 2016 and we’re talking about Entheogenic Comedy.

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We’re delighted to be talking with Matteson Perry, writer and performer based in Los Angeles.

We start with a quote from Bill Hicks.

Matteson has a humorous memoir coming out on May 24.


  • Comedy as an Entheogen
  • Laughter is an involuntary response, requires no thought.
  • Some people are just funny. Even just adjusting a mic stand.
  • Andrew Dice Clay
  • Jerry Seinfeld’s theory of comedy: getting an audience to laugh at joke is like getting them to jump across a ditch
  • George Carlin
  • Steven Wright a.k.a. Bucky Goldstein
  • Mitch Hedberg: “I used to do drugs…. I still do, I used to too.”
  • Jon Stewart, carrier of Carlin’s torch
  • Missed satire: the Steven Colbert effect.
  • Comedy is tragedy avoided; or, comedy = tragedy + time
  • Storytelling as quasi therapy
  • Lincoln jokes vs. JFK jokes
  • When you laugh so hard you cry
  • The Psychedelic Yawn can yield entheogenic tears, discussed in episode 025: Psychedelic Medicine Trials with Participant Kirk Rutter.
  • “Kids” movies: entheogens for everyone!
  • In Living Color, Kevin’s “gateway drug” into Entheogenic Comedy.
  • Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

019: Interview with Earth and Fire Erowid, first half by Joe

This is Entheogen. Talk about tools for generating the divine within.

Today is December 9, 2015 and we are very excited to feature a special interview. This is the first half.

It is our great pleasure and honor to welcome Earth and Fire Erowid!

For context, Joe reads a quote from Michael Horowitz, personal archivist for Timothy Leary:

“Powerful descriptive writing about personal drug experiences mimics the effects of the drugs themselves. Reading Aleister Crowley on how hashish aided his meditation, or Mezz Mezzrow on playing in a jazz band on marijuana, or Gordon and Valentina Wasson’s otherworldly mushroom journey in a curandera’s hut in Mexico, or Anais Nin describing how LSD turned her body into liquid gold can be mildly psychoactive in itself. Especially so if you’d had your own prior experiences. We also collected books and studied the rituals of the peyote and mushroom cults, the history of the opium wars and laughing gas parties. We learned that drug literature is endless, and drug-taking was one of the earliest and most common activities of mankind.” - Michael Horowitz, from an interview about the Tim Leary Archives


  • What role did the “mildly psychoactive” effect Horowitz attributed to some drug literature play in the founding of Erowid?
  • Feeling it before taking it – hours (or days) before
  • Imagination, memory, DMT, neurotransmitters, hallucinations
  • lucid dreaming
  • Oneirogens (dream generators); list of Oneirogenic substances on Wikipedia
  • dream pillows
  • Calea zacatechichi (the "dream herb")
  • the physical expression of one’s intention, e.g. the taking of a substance, can be just as powerful as the substance itself
  • What is it like having a New Yorker reporter in your home for three days?
  • Reflecting on Emily Witt’s profile of Erowid from inside the mirrored bubble
  • Kevin preaches: “drug education about marijuana was the gateway drug itself”
  • What could responsible drug education in school look like? Abstinence, fear-based approaches are the norm. What could be the alternatives for young people?
  • Earth introduces the concept of electroceuticals
  • Brad is hopeful about the psychedelic research renaissance
  • Special thanks to Earth and Fire Erowid for their tireless efforts for over 20 years, and huge thanks to Erowid’s noble crew
  • Erowid Experience Vaults: edited, curated alternative to “wild west” internet forums like; other contemporaries:,
  • statistics about trip reports submitted, triaged, reviewed, and posted
  • Earth clarifies something in the New Yorker article: “we are in fact ‘the weirdos among the straights and the straights among the weirdos’.”
  • Fire live-edits the Entheogens page on Erowid to add LSD after our observation


  • Earth and Fire helped 17 year-old Brad avoid jail time
  • Earth and Fire helped Kevin get through high school and college
  • Joe got Erowid blocked from the network at his corporate job


016: Breathwork by Joe

This is Entheogen. We talk about tools for generating the divine within. It's October 12, 2015. We're talking about Breathwork.

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Holotropic Breathwork was developed by Stan Grof, an early researcher and practitioner of LSD Psychotherapy, as a substitute for LSD when the substance was outlawed.


"Holotropic Breathwork"?

What is it like to experience of a Holotropic Breathwork workshop?

Yoga Nidra guided meditation


"Iceman" Wim Hof's method of teaching people how to control their immune system response


Pineal gland as "director" of other glands? Glands secrete hormones, which regulate mood, energy level, wellness, etc.

The importance of pH level and its affect on neurotransmitters?

Update 1/17/2018: here's an article featuring some more of the scientific benefits of yoga.