Psychedelics & Shadow Deities

“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 appear as the scathing voices in our heads, addiction, jealousy, and rage.

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?



Recommended reading from Penguin Press:

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

A brilliant and brave investigation by Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs–and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.




Location: Strand Bookstore

828 Broadway, New York, NY 10003

The Rare Book Room at Strand Bookstore boasts an elegant venue for our Friday night residency.




Interdisciplinary Learning with the Best Professors


Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.


Learn about joining the Scenius for $10 / month



Other upcoming Olios


Sep 17

Our Pornographic Education

Taught by Kim Nguyen
7:30 p.m. at Crystal Lake

Sign Up - $15

Sep 18

Mediated Intimacy: The Dating App Landscape

Taught by Pani Farvid
7 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 19

* Sold Out * OlioTrip | Cienfuegos, Cuba

Taught by Teresita Levy
10 a.m. at Cienfuegos, Cuba

Sign Up - $

Sep 23

New York, The Neoliberal City

Taught by Lauren Hudson
7:30 p.m. at The Old Stone House

Sign Up - $15

Sep 26

Living Room Salon | 'Dirty Computers', Voice & Visibility

Taught by Kashema Hutchinson
8 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $15

Sep 29

Olio FieldTrip | Skateboarding and Modern Art

Taught by Ted Barrow
1 p.m. at Living Room

Sign Up - $30

Oct 4

Modern Privacy: Reclaiming Our Self Narratives

Taught by Lawrence Cappello
7 p.m. at Strand Bookstore

Sign Up - $20

Oct 15

Olio Seminar | Kafka will Ruin Your Life and Make You Laugh About it

Taught by Geoff Klock
7:30 p.m. at Strong Rope Brewery

Sign Up - $60

Oct 22

The Fear of Leisure

Taught by Jeanne Proust
7:30 p.m. at Threes Brewing // Greenpoint

Sign Up - $15


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