Our podcast showcases in-depth interviews with the dynamic teachers and thinkers who are part of Esalen Institute. Hosted by Sam Stern, a former Esalen student and current staff member, the podcasts have featured engaging conversations with authors Cheryl Strayed and Michael Pollan, innovators Stan Grof and Dr. Mark Hyman, teachers Byron Katie, Mark Coleman and Jean Houston, Esalen co-founder Michael Murphy, and many more.
These podcasts are made possible in part by the support of Esalen donors and are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 2.0 license.
Listen to the latest episodes here, and subscribe to Voices of Esalen on Spotify, Stitcher, Soundcloud, Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.
Laura Mae Northrup is a somatic psychotherapist, educator, podcaster, and author. Laura has been a guest on this show before, in 2020, when we discussed her podcast "Inside Eyes", a one-season tour de force that focuses on people using entheogens and psychedelics to heal from sexual trauma. She is now the author of a new book, Radical Healership: How to Build a Values-driven Healing Practice in a Profit-Driven World. Northrup views healing work and healing practitioners through a spiritual and political lens, as they do battle with the forces of capitalism while attempting to heal their clients and take care of themselves, all at the same time.
Find Laura on the web at www.lauramaenorthrup.com.
Check out Radical Healership.
Xochitl Ashe is a Medicine Woman in the Peruvian Andean tradition and has worked with sacred plant medicines since the time of her initiation. At 16 years old, she became the first female of five generations of men to be initiated into the healing traditions of her Peruvian ancestral lineage. Xochitl is the founder of an Indigenous women-owned retreat company that offers legal Mazatec Psilocybin Mushroom Retreats in Mexico. Her mission is to honor the traditional indigenous knowledge and ceremony of sacred plant medicine to provide authentic and powerful life changing experiences.
Ismail Lourido Ali, J.D. is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). Ismail advocates to eliminate barriers to psychedelic therapy and research, develops and implements legal and policy strategy, and supports MAPS’ strategy, organizational development, and ethics work. Ismail is a founding Board member of the Psychedelic Bar Association and also presently serves on the Board of Directors for Sage Institute in the California Bay Area. Ismail advises, is formally affiliated with, or has served in leadership roles for numerous organizations in the drug policy reform ecosystem, including Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Chacruna Institute, and the Ayahuasca Defense Fund. In addition, Ismail works with clients on legal matters related to the religious use of psychedelics as sacrament.
Together we talked about the remaining legal hurdles before MDMA-assisted therapy is FDA approved, why state legislatures (like Texas!) are beginning to experiment with psychedelic policy, why the DEA just proposed adding five more psychedelics to the list of Schedule 1 controlled substances, and much more. Great interview, great guy, so much to learn.
Dr. Adele Lafrance is a clinical psychologist, research scientist, and a leader in the research and practice of psychedelic medicine. Currently, she is the clinical investigator and strategy lead for the MAPS-sponsored MDMA-assisted psychotherapy study for eating disorders and a collaborator on the Imperial College study for psilocybin and anorexia nervosa.
We talked about her history as a clinician, and why she believes psychedelics may offer a different and perhaps more successful way of treating eating disorders than traditional methods. We also spoke about a system she developed known as emotion-focused family therapy. Dr. Lafrance believes emotion-focused family therapy can used effectively in conjunction with psychedelic therapy to treat eating disorders.
"All of these sort of regular things that biotech companies do, like snapping up patents so that they can get investor dollars moving forward, they’re intersecting with this culture in the psychedelics world, which is sort of anti-ownership. These forces will clash. They oppose with one another.” –Shayla Love, Vice Media
Shayla Love is a senior staff writer at Vice Media whose writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, The Guardian, and more. Her recent focus has been the field of psychedelics and how they exist and interact with the forces of what some refer to as late-stage capitalism. Shayla discussed whether there is a way to corporatize psychedelics responsibly, who has the most to gain in the new landscape of psychedelic capitalism, why the for-profit entity known as Compass Pathways attempted to patent a form of synthetic psilocybin, how and why the accompanying challenge to this patent from a group called FTO, or Freedom to Operate, originated, whether state decriminalization of psychedelics is at odds with federal medicalization, and more.
Payton Nyvquest is Co-founder and CEO of Numinus, a for-profit psychedelic company based in Canada that empowers people to heal and be well through the development and delivery of safe, evidence-based psychedelic-assisted therapies. Payton has more than 15 years experience working in finance, investment and retail banking. He pivoted to the emerging psychedelics industry not long after ayuasahca helped him experience deep relief from a lifelong battle with chronic pain. At Numinus, he guides teams in strategy, innovation, research and clinic network expansion and is responsible for raising more than $70 million for Numinus in the past year.
Together we talked about the difference between a for-profit and non-profit psychedelic organization, how he works in conjunction with MAPS, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (which is a non profit), how he sees psychedelic services intersecting with existing health care protocols in the united states, why Numinus is a publicly traded company, why he believes his company’s stock price will rise, and how being a father to a young child has influenced the direction his life has taken.
A glimpse under the hood at Voices of Esalen. Host Sam Stern interviews himself, entertaining questions including:
Listen in and learn about the show's evolution.
Jon Hopkins is a Grammy-nominated electronic musician and producer who’s collaborated with the likes of Brian Eno and Coldplay, scored award-winning films such as Gareth Edwards’ Monsters, and has recently released his sixth studio album, Music For Psychedelic Therapy, which aims to function as a trusted and luminous guide for an hour-long psychedelic experience. We unpack his creative process and hopes for this hour-long album, which is specifically designed to mirror the length of a therapeutic ketamine journey. We also got into a fascinating conversation about what other recording artists provided inspiration for creating music for psychedelic journeys.
Jeff Kripal is an historian of religions — his work includes the study of comparative erotics and ethics in mystical literature, American countercultural translations of Asian religions, and the history of Western esotericism from gnosticism to New Age religions. He’s also the author of the book Esalen: America and the Religion of No Religion — a must read for anyone interested in unpacking the conditions of history surrounding Esalen’s birth in the early sixties.
This interview was originally published in 2016.
Jazsalyn is the creative and curatorial Director of black beyond, a radical space for artists and activists to define alternate realities for Blackness. As an anti-disciplinary artist, she combines new media and community organizing practices to reimagine Black futures and to decolonize and re-indigenize social and creative practice. Her work has been featured in CULTURED Magazine, Vogue, The New Yorker, and Huffington Post.
Jazsalyn was interviewed for today’s episode by Michelle McCrary. Michelle is a daughter, granddaughter, niece, cousin, mother, wife, and friend who lives on occupied Duwamish land in the Pacific Northwest. She has roots in Coastal Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. When she's not leading the Communications team at Esalen, she's training to become a facilitator with the Healing and Reconciliation Institute, tending to her winter garden, reading her way through a massive pile of books on her nightstand, and working on the screenplay for her horror anthology.
Some links from this great conversation:
black beyond at www.nyfa.org/
newart.city/show/blackbeyond XR on New Art City
And here’s a dublab mix from black beyond — alternate realities
Featured artist KESSWA reps Detroit and explores afro surrealist soundscapes across genres on this continuum of alternate realities.