What kind of people do you find at a psychedelic retreat? Are we all a bunch of starry-eyed hippies dancing around maypoles? I’ll admit, there’s an abundance of colorful linen outfits, vegetarian meals, and unabashed frolicking on the premises. However, we get all kinds of visitors with various levels of comfort regarding said activities. Some are probably more comfortable in a board room than a drum circle.
Kombucha and The Dark Side
I never tried psychedelics before I got sick. If I hadn’t developed hemicrania continua, I probably would have never been around them at all. As a skeptic and a physicalist, my personality is just not the type that is naturally comfortable with anything “new age” or “hippie”. Creating Eleusinia was in many ways my act of rebellion against psychedelic culture being dominated by too much “woo”.
However, with “psilocybin” the medical cannot be fully divorced from the mystical. I had to remain invested, since psilocybin was the only thing that held my headache at bay. Whether I liked it or not, I had become “one of those people”, a regular consumer of psychedelics. A person that always steers the conversation at parties to somewhere just a little too deep and philosophical; perhaps to an uncomfortable degree. A wearer of colorful linen and Birkenstocks. I draw a SOLID line at kombucha, though. No kombucha will ever pass these lips.
The Woo and Spice of a Psychedelic Retreat
My experience with psychedelics has undoubtedly softened my attitude towards the “woo”. My personal philosophy and spiritualism leans toward Stoicism and Buddhism, and I have a deep respect for the spirituality presented by our curandera. This brand of spirituality is quite serious and involves none of the conceit that has turned me away from most New Age material. While all things spiritual used to send me running in the opposite direction, I now consider them to be gentle music that can bring harmony to each moment. Reality is reality, and I don’t think any measure of spirituality will change that for me. But at the same time, I can’t explain why coffee seems to taste better when there’s a whimsical design in the foam or how life just feels brighter when a sense of deep meaning has been adopted.
Obviously, I have experienced benefits from psilocybin that far exceed the relief of my head pain. Psilocybin is making the headlines in medical journals as a miraculous cure for treatment resistant depression. It’s interesting that the enhanced sense of well being and purpose I experience are just side effects of my headache medicine. Just side effects, but life changing ones.
Psychonaut by Choice and Necessity
Eleusinia visitors represent an interesting cross section of the population. Pain, whether it be physical or mental, is indiscriminate. In fact, this is one retreat where the attraction to the substance itself is not what unites our visitors. Psilocybin appears in headlines as this seemingly miraculous cure to many ailments, but its sourcing and implementation can be difficult for those who are not accustomed to moving in these circles.
We get visitors that are medical doctors, nurses, executives, lawyers, farmers, schoolteachers, and programmers. They are parents, grandparents, and hopeful students just starting out in life. Many visitors want to find out if psilocybin can be the wedge that separates them from the depression and anxiety they have been grappling with. Others are looking to see if it can help free them from debilitating pain conditions. Some are just looking to make the final leg of their journey a bit more comfortable and meaningful. Some are more comfortable with kombucha and tie dye than I am, while others arrive in the sticky jungle heat still wearing their collared shirts and blazers from their executive jobs. They look about as uncomfortable with this stuff as I was initially. Most are hopeful, and many are nervous. Some are outright skeptics. All are welcome.
Me and the Psychedelic Retreat
I sometimes wonder how I would have reacted to visiting a psychedelic retreat if a similar one existed when I got sick. Honestly, I don’t think I would have handled it very well. My aggressively skeptical nature and just the fact that I was in such a dark place would have gotten in the way of truly enjoying the experience. The fact that my headache returned immediately after my first few doses means that I would have spent the days following the mushroom session feeling quite miserable, with no way of even knowing if I was even on the right track. But at least I would have gotten what I needed.
Alas, I needed to approach a psychedelic experience consistently. I also needed the know-how to be able to supply myself consistently. I imagine I would have dragged my husband on the retreat and tasked him with the “gardening” class while I nursed my head in our room. My purpose in creating Eleusinia was for there to be a place cognizant of this reality.
Varied Experiences, Same Goals
At the Eleusinia, we don’t put much pressure on the psychedelic experience at the retreat itself. Some people are going to have ecstatic, life changing experiences with their first foray into psychedelics. Others will take a bit more time to find their stride. This retreat is about gaining tools and learning skills and taking that first step, not just about a single experience.
Answering the question about who you should expect to meet on this psychedelic retreat is tough. You meet people like me, people like you, and others you would probably never cross paths with otherwise. Eleusinia is the retreat for anyone who needs a knowledgeable friend to show them the way and to share the experience with.