In late August and early September the Australian Psychedelic Society (APS) will be hosting premier screenings of the award-winning documentary, 'From Shock to Awe' in Adelaide, Brisbane, Byron Bay, Melbourne and Sydney. The APS thanks Vasudhara, Psychedelic Research in Science & Medicine (PRISM) and Aadii Mesh Foundation for their sponsorship and collaborative events in helping produce these events.
The film follows the journey of two combat veterans struggling with Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who abandon ineffective pharmaceuticals for psychedelic substances in an attempt to relieve their suffering.
Struggling with anxiety, depression, anger, and an overall inability to find equilibrium in society and with their families, Matt Kahl and Mike Cooley, decide to venture into the Amazon to partake in a weekend ceremony of ayahuasca consumption – an indigenous brew traditionally used for healing and spiritual insights.
With the ceremony bringing about profound revelations for the soldiers about their experiences and trauma, they must then learn to integrate these lessons into their life as they return home.
To gain a better understanding of their husbands’ journeys, Matt’s wife Aimee and Mike’s wife Brooke then too embark on their own psychedelic healing journey with ayahuasca and MDMA respectively.
With one in four people suffering from some form of mental illness this year, our current psychiatric model has proven drastically ineffective in treating this pressing health crisis. Psychedelic medicines now represent a revolutionary and life-changing new treatment paradigm that may potentially address the shortcomings within our current mental health system.
Researchers at some of the top universities in the United States such as Johns Hopkins, NYU and UCLA are publishing scientific papers that show a startlingly high level of efficacy using psychedelic-assisted therapy for a range of conditions, from end-of-life anxiety to depression to addiction to PTSD. Over the past decade in the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) have approved clinical trials for a number of psychedelic substances with promising results.
Confirmed speakers at the screenings include Mitch Schultz, producer of ‘From Shock to Awe’ and Director of ‘DMT: the Spirit Molecule’, and Major Steve McDonald, war veteran and co-founder of Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine (PRISM). More speakers TBA.
Screening Times & Locations
Byron Bay - Sunday August 18th, from 2.30pm - 5pm at The Byron Theatre, Byron Bay. Tickets
Brisbane – Saturday, 24August from 1:30pm - 4:30pm at Kindler Theatre, Queensland University of Technology. Tickets
Adelaide – Saturday, 31 August from 14:30 – 18:30 at Mercury Cinema, 13 Morphett St, Adelaide. Tickets
Sydney – Saturday 7 September from 12:30 – 16:30 at Giant Dwarf Theatre, 199 Cleveland St, Redfern. Tickets
Melbourne – Saturday 14th September from 12:30 – 16:30 at The State Library of Victoria Theatrette, Melbourne.
We're heading to the hills once again to talk all things mushroom!
Winter means mushroom foraging for a growing number of Victorians seeking culinary delights, mycological intrigue or psychedelic venture. But those seeking psychedelic venture have also been the target of authorities for a number of decades.
For Western Australians, a small southern regional town has been the battleground between shroomers, authorities and locals for a number of decades.
Fungimentary: The Magic Mushrooms of Balingup
Is an award winning Australian made documentary, first broadcast on SBS in 1995 looking into this strange stand-off. We've had the film re-mastered and are bringing it to the big screen in Belgrave, in the historic Cinema 1, first built in the 1930's.
Following the film, we'll be taking a look at some of the themes that were raised and looking at what has and especially what hasn't changed since the documentary was made in the mid-90's.
Fungimentary is on YouTube. Come and watch it on the big screen and take part in our discussion following the movie.
PANEL: Australian Psilocybe Culture in the 21st Century
Outside of the important discussions on the medical potential of psilocybin, we have a scheduled substance that has very little black market for supply. Instead, interested people are required to learn about how to identify it correctly or grow it themselves in order to obtain it.
This has meant that an entire culture has grown around these mushrooms over the past few decades, especially as information has become more accessible online.
This is a very different drug culture with a very different structure to the entire supply chain than cocaine-running submarines, deforestation for safrole production, corrupt intelligence services providing military support for drug distribution and the myriad other multi-million dollar distribution operations that are at the centre of global prohibition efforts and debate.
Though the law treats all these substances the same, psilocybe mushrooms sit somewhere else.
We know they have medical potential, but beyond that, they have a potential which is trivialised by the word 'recreational'.
Though the places they can take us can be frightening, those altered worlds are also densely fascinating and provide the sort of intellectual fodder that I suspect most people get from more traditional spiritual or religious pursuits.
They are also tools for philosophers and scientists alike, with several philosophers touching on the way the psychedelic experience helps them explore and understand the nature of the mind and what this means for perception.
Longtime researcher of Australasian flora, Michael has presented many varied topics at the EGA conferences and at previous Australian Psychedelic Society events, all based on an aspect of Australasian natural history to bring his research to a wider audience.
Psychedelic activist and mystic. Described by The Age newspaper as, "a drug user who is probably too honest for his own good", Greg Kasarik is a drug law reform advocate, who is open and honest about his use of Enthogens for spiritual and religious purposes. Since 2010, he has been campaigning for the Victorian Government to provide regulated access to "Transcendent Compounds" for these purposes and as part of this campaign, he has completed a 28 day Hunger Strike and publicly taken LSD four times on the steps of the Victorian parliament house, after having announced his intentions to all members of the Victorian Parliament.
Former DanceWize NSW coordinator and advocate for sensible reforms to our drug laws, Jessie is also an amazing artist and performer. Jessie works tirelessly to support the building of resilient and strong communities that can take care of themselves and overcome many of the problems within themselves.
Meredith is a musician, Registered Music Therapist and psychotherapist with a breadth of experience. As well as her private work, Meredith has experience working in early childhood, community, mental health, gender equity, and the disability sector. She has facilitated Music Therapy groups in adult mental health and with drug and alcohol inpatient therapy groups.
Meredith has a private practice in Guided Imagery and Music therapy, a form of music psychotherapy that developed out of LSD research in the 1960s. She works with a holistic approach to address the needs of her clients and special interests include LGBTQIA+ issues, healing from trauma, relationships and spiritual issues. Meredith also works with Australian Psychedelic Society, facilitating integration workshops for people who have had challenging psychedelic experiences.
For those looking for some hands-on experience, we'll be holding a workshop next door at the Inspiro Communiy Hub (the one with the mushrooms out the front, of course) on mushroom cultivation and identification. Our experts will guide you through the cultivation process so you can start growing your own culinary mushrooms at home and teach you how to properly identify mushrooms in the wild, so you can find the mushrooms you're looking for and look after the environment that you're in too.
We'll be running two sessions of the workshop, one in the morning and one in the evening. Spaces are limited, so book quick!
Morning Session: 11am - 1pm
Evening Session: 5pm - 7pm
Mushroom Day Activities
We welcome you to spend the day in Belgrave and surrounds, join us for the movie and perhaps a workshop and check out our range of psychedelic stalls. There will be further announcements of activities on the day leading up to the event.
The Australian Psychedelic Society - Sydney will be hosting a mushroom themed event on June 30th at The University of Sydney.
DR MARG ROSS
Marg is a consultant clinical psychologist and the clinical lead in Australia's first ever psychedelic clinical trial. The trial will be based at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne and it will investigate the ability of psilocybin-assisted therapy to alleviate anxiety and depression in terminally ill cancer patients. Marg will be talking about how the study will run, whilst addressing the rationale for how psilocybin works to alleviate such anxiety.
BOB OTIS STANLEY
Bob is one of the core founders of the Decriminalize Nature Oakland - the organisation behind the successful campaign to decriminalise personal use of psychedelic plants and mushrooms in Oakland. Bob is a life science informatics and molecular biology researcher and steward of Oakland's Sacred Garden Community. Bob will talk to us about the Oakland resolution text, providing insight into what happened in the campaign, and where to next.
DR SIMON BECK
Simon was previously a senior psychiatric registrar and research assistant investigating the use of ketamine for depression. He is passionate about fungi of all kinds and runs educational events teaching mushroom identification. Simon will be discussing psilocybe mushrooms of Australia. He will go into details on how to identify various psilocybe species using habitat, climate, and morphology. This will help distinguish psilocybe mushrooms from other common look-a-likes.
Psilokroety is a research scientist, who has been interested in edible mushrooms for more than 15 years. He will be presenting a workshop on the inoculation and growing requirements for oyster mushrooms. Be sure to bring your notepads!