Musician, physical therapist, anthropologist and psychonaut, Gabriel has worked for more than 10 years on issues related to psychoactive substances. In Mexico he worked with the civil association Espolea and ReverdeSer, with whom he helped to create the first stand for harm reduction, substance analysis and psychedelic care at festivals. He was also a co-creator of the infographic The Universe of Drugs and collaborated in recognized organizations and collectives such as the Nierika Institute, Drug Reporter and Colectivo Drogas, Política y Cultura. His thesis in anthropology of ritual received honorific mention for his extensive ethnographic mapping on types of rituals and their relation to the different altered states of consciousness. He currently resides in Berlin, where he is pursuing his master’s degree in intercultural research while collaborating with the Eclipse harm reduction organization and the Altered psychedelic research collective.
Resurrecting Psychedelic Anthropology
One of the most forgotten characters of the psychedelic scene is the Doctor in Anthropology by the University of Berkeley, Allan Coult. The life of this man was elusive and fleeting, because just 3 years after pronouncing the birth of the Psychedelic Anthropology in 1968 (which cost him the expulsion of Berkeley and the rejection of his colleagues), Allan died of a fulminating cancer. In his book “Psychedelic Anthropology,” Allan conducted an in-depth study of cultural beliefs around the world that encompassed altered states of consciousness, spiritual gnosis, and the use of psychoactive substances as a gateway to the elevation of kundalini. Dr. Coult was also a huge critic of the mediatization of psychedelic gurus such as Timothy Leary or Terrence McKenna, emphasizing that the psychedelic scene was dominated by an egoic patriarchy and a disenchanting protagonism. This brief talk would represent the first time in 50 years that Allan Coult’s work returns to the psychedelic scene, presenting his most important ideas, as well as his publications in the famous newspaper “The Berkeley Barb”, which he bought a few months before dying to publish his radical ideas and be sued a few days before his death. It is time to pay homage to the life and work of this man buried by the academy and forgotten by popular culture.