Please tell us about you film Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within. What’s it about and why did you decide to make it?
The film Entheo:genesis is about discovering the ways in which we participate with the dance and flow of life— and how to maintain that flow. The film also gives us context from our history— from the evolution from indigenous tribes through shamanism through world religions throughout the course of history. Also how our civilization has participated with meaning, inspiration, and the grand metaphysical questions. We end the film with a contemporary perspective of the post-modern technosphere, which is cancerous on our biosphere, which we are embedded in and a big part of.
What was it like working with the likes of Alex Grey, Terrence McKenna, Daniel Pinchbeck, and other well-known figures in the entheogen and shamanic communities?
One of the greatest peripheral benefits of creating a piece like Entheo:genesis is having the opportunity to sit one-on-one in dialogue with some of the most inspirational minds and hearts–our elders on this planets. It was a tremendous honor to be able to work with and spend the countless hours in the editing room with reviewing these interviews and subjects vs. a thirty hour piece on the evolution of hula hoop in southern California. I’m not saying the hula hoop is not interesting. I like the hula hoop as much as the next man or woman does. I’m saying spending hours editing hula hoops in the hula hoop world would be my second choice if given the choice between these two.
I really love the subtitle Awakening the Divine Within, as it hints at the potential of entheogens to manifest mystical states of being. In that respect, what are your thoughts on the role of entheogens as a tool for spiritual exploration? Are these experiences legitimate expressions of spirituality?
I think entheogens can play an integral role in the birthing process of an individual who is coming from adolescence into adulthood. I think there are a lot of 30, 40 and 50 years olds walking around on the street still encapsulated in an adolescent mentality. Having the opportunity to study indigenous and shamanic use of entheogens as initiatory substances, I gained a profound respect for the sacred participation, and the sacred intentionality, which must be present in a journey of this sort. I believe that entheogens are not for everyone. I believe entheogens must be respected and in the right context, set, and setting, with the right intention. They can be an extremely potant catalyst for self-exploration, psychological processing, and spiritual reawakening.
Psychonauts can get divided over terms like entheogen, hallucinogen, psychedelic, dissociative, etc. What that in mind, what makes a substance an Entheogen?
Traditionally, entheogens describe plant based hallucinogens, which would include Salvia, Iboga, Ayahuasca, Psylocibin, San Pedro, etc.
Many people describe out of body experiences (OOBE) with entheogens such as Salvia Divinorum and Ayahausca. This aspect of the “drug experience” endlessly fascinates me and I’m curious to hear your thoughts on OOBE’s.
Well, I think that any entheogen or substance which induces an out of body experience yields one very important realization, which is that we are not our bodies, and there is some greater understanding of the psyche or the soul. Out of body experiences aren’t always limited to use of entheogens. There’s a great article here that offers new research— the article claims out of body experiences can be achieved using sensory deprivation with virtual reality goggles.
What do you think Entheogens can tell us about our own consciousness and sense of self?
I think that entheogens offer us a window into the deeper dimensions of our Self, our psyches, our behaviors, our subconscious patterns, and we may use these substances in the proper context of course, to do the necessary work, the individuation, bringing a sense of awareness to ego inflation and self importance so that through that process we may gain a stronger sense of our community and our families, and also regarding other species, plants, etc.—how we fit into the sempiternal interconnected web of life which sustains the whole of existence.
How have Entheogens shaped your worldview and affected you as a person?
Entheogens have had a tremendous impact on my worldview as some of the most potent experiences including inspiration of the most divine nature to isolation of the most fearful… I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue my practice on my own path, which includes evermore intention structure and absence of structure, gratitude and prayer when I journey.
Official Site: (DVD available for purchase here)