Vladimir Stepan

Vladimir Stepan

Vladimir Stepan

He was born and grew up in Prague in former Czechoslovakia. From a young age he was interested in computers and technology and his career path followed this early interest, eventually graduating as a computer specialist. Soon after leaving university he left Prague to live abroad. Around that time a new interests in nature, consciousness, dreams, shamanism and psychedelics started to emerge. He travels extensively, learning about different cultures and their use of psychoactive plants and medicines. His dream is to establish an ecologically and ethically minded community built on shamanistic principles. He currently lives and works in London.


TITLE: Sensory deprivation and darkness retreat as a psychedelic experience
Abstact:The proposed talk is an amalgamation of two views on sensory deprivation and extended periods of darkness. First view is objective – an exploration of history of sensory deprivation practiced by humans in the past and which of these practices are available today. The main focus is on so called dark or darkness retreats – their place in rituals and spiritual traditions, physiological changes occurring in the body and in the brain in different stages of light deprivation, changes in perception, mind altering mechanisms and similarities to states induced by the use of psychoactive plants. Sensory deprivation or isolation tanks are also mentioned, although only marginally.  Second view is subjective – a detailed personal account from ten days long darkness retreat which was approached as a psychedelic experience. The three stages common in a traditional approach to a psychedelic experience – preparation, the experience itself and integration – are discussed.