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Mysticism Happy Hour: Psychedelic Humanities & Confronting the Shadows

Presented with Strand Bookstore

“Outside the Monastery” by Michael Prettyman

The Psychedelic Humanities

With Doc Kelley

Scientific research on psychedelic drugs has grown exponentially since clinical studies resumed in the 1990s after a twenty-year hiatus. New findings suggest that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can effectively ameliorate PTSD symptoms, and that classic psychedelic substances like psilocybin (or “magic mushrooms”) and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD, also known as “acid”) can help reduce existential anxiety and effectively treat addiction. 

This “renaissance” of research has slowly begun to permeate the softer, social sciences where the study of psychedelics has largely remained a taboo topic. A small, but burgeoning, new field of study—the “psychedelics humanities”—has emerged as an important phenomenological complement to the empirically based discourse of science. Join me, as we explore the frontiers of the psychedelic humanities and discuss the exciting prospects for this new field study. 


Shadow Deities

With Michael Prettyman


Shadow deities take many forms, most of which we would rather avoid, deny and push back down. They can take many forms: the scathing voices in our heads, addiction, jealousy, and rage are some of the everyday names we give them.

In this Olio, we will investigate these hidden energies through two epistemological vectors: psychological and mythological. The models of the psyche given to us from Carl Jung suggest there is an organizing center to our consciousness, and access to this generative force can be become blocked by what Jung calls “The Shadow.” Many Eastern wisdom traditions present similar models: Tibetan Buddhism calls them “Wrathful Protectors.” Both vectors of understanding share an important locus of understanding, that these forces are energetic patterns that are not what they appear to be, and it is our ignorance and fear that gives them their negative aspect.

The Bhagavad Gita urges us to ‘raise the self with the self’ rather than trample it down. This means the whole self, including the dark bits, the places in our selves that we would rather stay hidden. The process of unearthing these forces on the way to wholeness is an important part of what we call “mysticism.”

Both Jungian psychology and world wisdom traditions are unanimous in their assertion that the goal of mysticism is wholeness not perfection, and wholeness must include the parts of us that stay hidden in the caverns of the mind.

Please join me as we seek to understand these hidden dynamics, and on the way make a rollicking attempt to unveil what exactly it is that is doing the understanding- what is the self that witnesses?





Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue, the walls lined with leather-bound treasures from a book hand printed in 1480 to a limited edition Ulysses signed by Henri Matisse, the illustrator, and by James Joyce. 


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Other upcoming Olios


Jan 22

America's Expansion, Influence, and Uncertain Global Power

Taught by Olio Happy Hour
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $15

Jan 23

Sound and NYC: Exploring Silence in the City

Taught by Whitney George
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 8

Democracy Without Truth

Taught by Manuel Rodeiro
7:30 p.m. at BAM Fisher

Sign Up - $25

Feb 9

The Body in a Cage: Modern Prisons, External and Internal

Taught by Jamie Warren
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Feb 12

*Olio Seminar* Break On Through: Creativity and the Mystic Experience

Taught by Michael Prettyman
7 p.m. at St John's Episcopal Church

Sign Up - $100

Feb 23

Questioning the Origins of Sexual Desire

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20


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