The Entheogenic Community Building Practicum is an immersive education experience for anyone who is feeling called to serve the many communities across the nation that are beginning to explore the responsible use of entheogenic plants, fungi, and synthetic substances. The four-week program consists of an online lecture series and weekly small group gatherings for discussion and exercises. At the heart of this experience is our two-day teaching ceremony, held near Charlotte, North Carolina, October 22-24.
Together, we’ll survey the key elements of building ethical communities of practice for healing and transformation -- from informed consent, to shared ceremonial space, and through integration. As it pertains to ethical practice, we will also delve into the implications of working within and with those experiencing non-ordinary states of consciousness and what we call the Divine (among many other names). We will consciously practice being in Right Relationship with ourselves and each other throughout these exercises, building a skilled peer-mentoring community that will continue to support us long after the workshop ends. This course and materials are subject to evolve with participation, but our earnest goal is to provide connections and interstitial tissue for the conversations we hope will arise as a result of immersing ourselves in the relatively explored, the curiosities still under investigation, and the seemingly inscrutable unknown.
Join us as we explore what it means to walk each other home.
Each week of the workshop has four 90-minute components. We begin each week with a Listening Session, where we'll introduce and discuss the week's theme. The goal of the session is to identify the skills and knowledge related to the theme that we already hold collectively, and to discover where we have room to grow and learn.
Solo and small group practice sessions are conducted midweek at your own pace. We'll provide suggested assignments and let you choose the work that best serves your development.
The week concludes with a Resource Session. AEP staff will take feedback from the Listening Session and prepare a presentation on the thematic elements of greatest interest to the group - scientific research, religious history, best practices from existing communities, etc. Participants will also be invited to share what they learned in the solo and small group sessions.
Group session times will be determined after enrollment is complete in order to maximize live participation. All sessions will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.
Week I (10/11-15) - Heart
The first week will focus upon Heart in order for us to establish a shared context in which we can have discussions around education, rudimentary aspects of practice, and ethics around practice. Entactogens will be our guide in this section as we seek to kindle discussion around the importance of relationship and the difference between transformation and healing. Topics here will include entactogens as substances, Right Relationship, the nature of self-sacrifice in healing and service work, accountability to community, client relationships and transference, and the role of trauma in transformational medicinal practice. The aim here will be to get at “worldwork” and to open ourselves to a truly democratic approach to relation while we recontextualize the label of “healer” together. We all have to tend to our own hearts and our own oxygen mask first, after all. Readings and content for this week will draw from The Ethics of Caring by Kylea Taylor, related works by Amy Mindell, and content from Stanislov Grof and Gabor Maté.
Week II (10/18-22) - Spirit
Spirit provides our associative framework for week two, which gives us the opportunity to look inwards at the nature of being called to do what we are meant to. We will open the floor for everyone to discuss our own journeys with visionary medicines and recognize that divinity is accessible to each and every one of us on the planet we share. All the while, we will set intentions and engage in pathfinding for the ceremony at the end of the week. We intend to explore how to develop a ritual design based upon your own intention, discuss the nature of ceremonial containers as distinct from other healing work, elucidate what rituals, especially entheogenic ones, have looked like throughout history, and speak to what respect for medicine is emerging as, or perhaps returning to. This conversation regarding the role of medicine will no doubt involve talks in which we frame leadership as an act of service rather than as self-attainment and establish a distinction between the mytho-poetic and the fantastical. Readings will draw from Sand Talk by Tyson Yunkaporta, Erowid, The Gift by Hafiz, to name a few. The nature of the ceremony will be described in greater detail upon enrollment with room for the rituals we create together to take organic shape.
Teaching Ceremony October 22-24
Join AEP members from a variety of traditions, with thousands of hours of ceremonial experience, as we come together to create a shared space to commune, transform, and celebrate.
The ceremony will start early afternoon on Friday and conclude by noon on Sunday. Accommodations are a mix of dual-occupancy bedrooms and small dormitories.
Tuition covers lodging, a few simple communal meals (dietary restrictions will be accommodated), and all ceremony incidentals.
We'll have a Heart-themed ceremony on Friday, and a Spirit-themed ceremony on Saturday. There will be practitioners making sacramental offerings of cannabis, MDMA, and psilocybe mushrooms, subject to screening and informed consent requirements.
Both ceremonies will operate in accordance with the AEP's Code of Ethics and Ritual Guidelines.
All other details of the ceremony will be decided by the consensus of all participants.
Week III (10/25-29) - Mind
Our third focus will be on Mind. This will pair well with talks around individual integration from our ceremony in which we will ground ourselves in the context of our own experiences and what we see around us. Some of the topics we will wade into here are: the evolution of meaning and the contest between metaphysics and neuroscience emerging across cultural contexts; interoception and self-awareness in the lens of the Uncarved Block; allostatic load and the need for cooldown and the varied and multifaceted states of euphoria, ecstasy, and catharsis. We seek to explore the states of mind, the connections between others, and what dissociative substances and their associated potential effects on on mind through neuroplasticity mean within the context of remaining flexible, open, and accountable to your community while we also discuss the importance of boundaries. Readings and discussion will include Recapture the Rapture by Jamie Wheal, and we will also survey current research on the mechanistic inner neural dominoes that cascade following the consumption of substance, and the similarity between these physiological states and other experiential phenomena.
Week IV (11/1-5) - Body
The course will be brought to a close on the theme of Body-- to our roots. Body is the realm of Being—practice, chronos, complicatedness. The associated branch of philosophy is ontology. Euphoric/analgesic substances will be discussed. Values include presence, authenticity, responsibility, craftsmanship. Readings will draw from Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown. As we unravel complex revelations or process changes that we may want to implement in our lives, we will encourage everyone to offer reflections in service of one another when welcomed to do so. Most importantly, we will go over ways to care for our bodies as the manifestations of who we are and what, from our experiences in ceremony and in the course, we want to translate and synthesize so that we may offer them to others.
How to Join
Priority enrollment for members has been completed. We are now releasing six spots for this event to non-members, as well as members who have not yet enrolled, via uniform price auction. Here's how it works:
1) If you'd like to reserve a spot, send an email with a bid ("I bid $X for Y spots") to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may bid on one or two spots: one for yourself and one for a spouse, partner, or prospective member. The minimum bid is $500 per spot. I am the only one who will know the bids and bidders.
2) Bidding will remain open until 12:01am EDT on October 1. If your bid falls out of the top six before the last day of the auction, I will inform you and you may revise your bid once.
3) At the end of the bidding period, I will announce the sixth-highest bid (but not the name of the bidder) to all bidders. This amount is what all the winners will pay. E.g., if you bid $5,000, and the sixth-highest bid is $900, you will win a spot and only pay $900.
4) After your bid is accepted, you will have one week to confirm your spot by making payment and completing your participation agreement and safety self-assessment.
If you complete the course and then opt to join the Association, your AEP application fee will be waived. Your participation and your feedback on the course would be a welcome exchange.
In addition, we are holding two spots for members or guests making non-monetary contributions and/or needing financial aid. If you'd like to apply for one of these spots (or suggest a guest attendee), please submit a letter describing your/their need and/or offering to email@example.com. We'll select the winners in consultation with the members who will be in attendance.