The AEP at a Glance
A religious professional organization and mutual aid society
uniting practitioners from many traditions
who share a sincere belief in the religious nature of the entheogenic experience
in order to expand safe access to such experiences.
The Association of Entheogenic Practitioners is a vocational association for entheogenic practitioners. The Association educates the public on entheogenic practices protected by state and federal religious freedom laws; provides continuing education, community support, and accountability mechanisms for professional entheogenic practitioners; and offers legal defense benefits for Members in good standing who encounter governmental interference with their practices.
10,000 Ceremonies: What Safe Access Looks Like
The mission of the organization is access to safe and meaningful experiences with entheogens. As a metric for what success would look like, we suggest an open, legal ecosystem capable of providing experiences to 10,000 people a day in the United States, which would mean access to one experience per lifetime per American. We estimate current capacity to be about 1% of that target, though that number will grow soon with FDA authorization of psychedelic therapies and the passage of decriminalization initiatives in a growing number of jurisdictions. Our hope as a community is not to "win" this growing market but to serve as an exemplar of responsible practice, doing our work as well and as openly as we can in order to spark grassroots/open-source spiritual revival.
Who We Are
The Association has more than sixty members across North America, from Maine to Maui to Miami. We are clergy, clinicians, therapists, and practitioners from indigenous and underground traditions, ranging from novices to elders with decades of experience. Community members are estimated to be supporting a total of 200 to 300 entheogenic experiences per month.
We often say we're an organization of religious people rather than a religious organization. We welcome all sacraments and traditions that follow the structure of the “entheogenic ritual” described in the ritual guidelines and as practiced in accordance with our code of ethics.
The AEP is a member-managed organization with an elected Board of Managers. 23 members ratified our Constitution in February, 2022, appointing founding member Danni Peterson as initial executive director, and a board was elected in May, 2022. You can read a brief history of the organization by Danni here.
Our Circles and Ceremonies
The Association hosts regular ceremonial gatherings for our members. We practice with various entheogenic sacraments in ceremonies led by our members. Members rotate as space holders providing us all with the opportunity to participate and learn from each other’s practices. Please visit the "Our Circles and Ceremonies" [insert link] tab to learn more about our AEP gatherings.
Association of Entheogenic Practitioners Inc. is a Maryland non-profit corporation intended to be treated as a church or a convention or association of churches for federal tax purposes under IRC Sec. 508(c)(1)(A).
The AEP asserts its rights and the rights of its members under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, and other applicable laws to responsibly use entheogens as sacraments in bona fide religious ceremonies pursuant to sincerely held religious beliefs, regardless of their status as controlled substances. This document is a legal opinion by Executive Director Danni Peterson describing how one member’s practice may qualify for religious freedom protection under federal law (shared pseudonymously and with permission).