We’re beyond psyched for Beyond Psychedelics 2018: the Global Psychedelic Forum in Prague, Czech Republic on 1-24 June 2018.
The first Beyond Psychedelics forum in 2016 brought together a brilliant group of people with a dazzling array of specialisms and interests – from cutting edge research into psychedelics as therapeutic agents to outside-the-box drug policy initiatives – for a weekend of eye-opening presentations, trippy artwork and sparkling chats in the evening firelight. This year, the Beyond Psychedelics crew will return to the mysterious arches and tunnels of Prague’s most beautiful disused wastewater treatment plant to recreate and innovate on their trademark “conference that feels like a festival.” And it’s going to be even bigger and better in 2018, with more speakers, more days, and a whole week of exciting side-events.
The Psychedelic Press is excited to be taking part with a pop-up shop and talks from many of our authors, including: the shaman and occultist Julian Vayne (Getting Higher: the Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony, 2017), Psychedelic Press Journal Editor and ecologist Nikki Wyrd (co-author of The Book of Baphomet), philosopher Peter Sjöstedt-H (Noumenautics, 2015), MDMA researcher Dr. Ben Sessa (To Fathom Hell or Soar Angelic, 2016) and the psychedelic theologian Reverend Danny Nemu (Science Revealed and Neuro-Apocalypse, 2014 and 2016).
For a taster of the psychedelic delights in store at Beyond Psychedelics 2018, here is a sparkling write-up of the 2016 event by its participant:
At the end of September 2016, a transformative and revolutionary conference was held in Prague, the capital of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, whose name comes from the old Czech word for “threshold.” The first international psychedelic conference of its kind in Czech Republic, “Beyond Psychedelics” brought together the leading movers and shakers of the burgeoning global Psychedelic Renaissance to discuss all things related to psychedelics and beyond, way across the threshold of reality into the heart of the great beyond.
Traditionally Bohemia has been known as a unique land of tolerance and personal freedom, and from 1954 to 1974 scientists in and around Prague led the world in groundbreaking LSD research. Today Czech Republic is regarded as having a high tolerance and acceptance for intoxication, so it was more than fitting for Prague to host an international psychedelic conference.
With around 350 extremely smart and interesting attendees from all over the world, the conference was jam packed with interesting talks and bountiful with rare jewels of knowledge to learn and absorb. Set in a long decommissioned wastewater treatment plant, the conference held many surprises and seemed like an incredibly fantastic and surreal dream with many attendees commenting that it seemed more like a festival than a normal conference.
The weekend began with traditional shamanic ceremony followed by a few short introductory talks including one by philanthropist and conference sponsor, Václav Dejčmar, who reminded the enthusiastic crowd of the long heritage of consciousness exploration and psychedelic research in the of the Czech lands. He ended his talk by quoting the great consciousness researcher and Czech native Stanislav Grof, that “LSD is a catalyst or amplifier of mental processes. If properly used it could become something like the microscope or telescope of psychiatry.”
The conference consisted of many 15 minute lectures followed by group panel discussions, as well as many longer keynote speeches from highly esteemed researchers and scientists. The speakers covered their new findings and discussed a wide range of topics that went way beyond other psychedelic conferences. There were many interesting talks by Czech scientists and researchers including one by Dr. Tomáš Páleníček, one of the main psychiatrists at the Czech National Institute of Mental Health, a major conference partner. He spoke about the current psychedelic studies being conducted in Czech Republic using cannabis and psilocybin. There were also several researchers who have been studying the history of psychedelic medicine use in the Czech lands like Ross Crawford, an American who has been researching LSD psychotherapy conducted in Czechoslovakia during the 1960s and 1970s by Stanislav Grof and others.
Two veteran movers of the global psychedelic movement, Rick Doblin and Amanda Feilding, spoke about the recent progress of their respective research and funding organizations, the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Beckley Foundation. Luis Eduardo Luna, David Luke, Dennis McKenna, Roland Griffiths, Ben Sessa, and lots of other psychedelic luminaries and global experts such as Robin Carhart-Harris of the Imperial College of London spoke about their current research and findings.
Unfortunately, because there were two separate speaker tracks on different stages I couldn’t watch all of the talks, yet two talks that I attended really stuck out for their uniqueness. William Montgomery, from Cognitive Freedom Alliance, gave a riveting speech about the unfortunate decision of many governments to limit our cognitive liberties by not allowing us to access all of the regions of our own brains to harness ours brain’s full potential. He compared the situation to each of us having an incredible fortress in our heads, but we’re not given the key to the most important room, the room full of treasure, which are the keys to our consciousness. He finished his heartfelt speech by saying “we’re going to take back the keys to our minds!”
The second talk that really hit me was a revealing talk by the writer and speaker Reverend Danny Nemu (author of Science Revealed and Neuro-Apocalypse) about the Biblical uses of incense and anointing oils and their mind altering effects. Apparently several mistranslations of words from Hebrew, which were probably made on purpose, obscured the real reason for the use of incenses and anointing oils that are so well documented in the Old Testament, in particular the airtight Holy of Holies, which only the highest priests could access and when they entered they would see a speaking cloud. Reverend Nemu showed us how that the combination of the incenses’ unique qualities reacted in the high priests’ brains to create psychedelic experiences. After hearing this talk, the Bible, with all of its miracles and strange visionary experiences, finally made a lot more sense!
The scene was very relaxed, so having stimulating discussions was easy with newfound friends at the large picnic tables while enjoying delicious, yet reasonably priced, gourmet vegetarian food, or you could chill out alone or with friends savoring pots of delicious tea in the comfy tea lounge. Songs were sung around the large campfire and the nights went late with dancing to electronic music under a psychedelic light show in the big hall. With Prague being a global capital of beer, both a light and dark beer from a renowned Czech brewer were on tap throughout the event.
When your brain was about to explode with all of the latest facts and figures from the scientists and researchers, you could indulge in the calming effects of delicious kratom-spiked refreshments at the organic lemonade stand, or you could get away from everything by exploring the labyrinth of tunnels deep below the venue in the bowels of the old shit factory. In between talks it was hard to not get lost staring into the many large, colorful, ayahuasca-inspired paintings by Czech artist Otto Placht which lined the walls of the conference.
The profound impacts of Beyond Psychedelics have already been abundant. Overwhelmingly positive media attention surrounded the conference, which has helped to positively open up the public discourse around psychedelics as medicine in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the great work by the conference organizers and generous sponsors many people were inspired, friendships were born, and lives were changed. Multiple times I heard conference attendees from other countries speak about how the fun conference had inspired them to want to create their own psychedelic conference back in their home country in order to influence and change opinions and laws.
Having attended psychedelic conferences around the world, the inaugural Beyond Psychedelics far surpassed any expectations I had for a first time conference and I can only imagine how much better the 2018 instalment will be! Everything at the next Beyond Psychedelics shall be bigger and better, especially with the addition of a second large auditorium, more speakers, more attendees, more activities, and more excitement. Please join me and all of the wonderfully colourful psychedelic people at the next Beyond Psychedelics in Prague at the end of June 2018 (21-24.6) in the old shit factory!