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ERIE presents: Cross-Cultural Entheogenic Practices: South/East Dialogue

Please join ERIE for a unique dialogue between researcher/practicioners of the Eastern and Southern entheogenic traditions, including how these traditions influence contemporary culture. We have four amazing speakers presenting their research, followed up by a round table dialogue focused on the East/South conversation. Schedule of speakers coming soon.

*Sponsored by the East-West Psychology and Asian and Comparative Studies departments at CIIS*


Eastern Dialogue:

Steven Goodman, PhD - Quasi-Real Beings : An inquiry into the realms of helpful and harmful forces (Tibetan Buddhist Reflections on non-ordinary states) 

I shall explore, in brief overview, traditional Tibetan perspectives on perception, states of consciousness, psychic powers, and the existence of beings and forces which seem to abide beyond the fringes of egoic awareness.

Professor Steven Goodman is Director of Research and Core Faculty for Asian and Comparative Studies Department, at the California Institute of Integral Studies. He received his Ph.D. (1984) in Far Eastern Studies from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, specializing in Tibetan Buddhism under the guidance of Herbert V. Guenther.

He has lectured on Buddhist and comparative philosophy for over 35 years in the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 1994 he was awarded a Rockefeller Fellowship for the study of Tibetan mystical poetry at the Rice University Center for Cultural Studies. Professor Goodman serves as a Board Advisor to the Khyenstefoundation (, and is on the Working Committee for the 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha ( He is the co-editor of Tibetan Buddhism: Reason and Revelation (SUNY Press, 1992). His most recent book, The Buddhist Psychology of Awakening: Explorations in the Abhidharma, is forthcoming, Shambhala Publications.

Mike Crowley - Secret Drugs of Buddhism   

That Tibetan Buddhism has tantric, ritualistic aspects is well known but the symbolic drug-ingestion... not so much. In this presentation Mike will offer convincing evidence that entheogenic sacraments were historically employed in a Buddhist context. Anecdotal accounts suggesting that this tradition still continues, albeit under conditions of great secrecy, will be discussed. 

Mike was born 1948, in Wales, he moved to London 1967 where he befriended a Tibetan lama and soon became his student. In May 1970, he was ordained as a layman in the Kagyud lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. After 20 years of further study and meditation, Mike was ordained as a lama, i.e. a qualified teacher of Tibetan Buddhism.

Southern Dialogue:

Susana Bustos, PhD - Plant diet processes in Peruvian Vegetalismo: The earthy, the subtle, and the fantastic

Drawing from the processes of over 70 clients from all over the world who engaged in an 8 days diet retreat in the jungle in the context of Takiwasi (a center for drug abuse rehabilitation and the study of traditional medicines), we will explore the therapeutic possibilities and challenges this method poses to Westerners.

Susana Bustos, Ph.D., holds degrees in Clinical Psychology (1992) and in Music Therapy (2002) from Chilean universities, as well as a doctorate in East-West Psychology from CIIS (2007), where she presently teaches courses in Entheogenic Shamanism and Research Design. She is certified in Holotropic Breathwork and the Expressive Arts.

Her work in Chile included the creation of psycho-educational programs, teaching, research, and psychotherapy. Susana’s long-term passion for indigenous cultures and their relationship to the natural world, along with her interest on the therapeutic potentials of non-ordinary states of consciousness, led her to the Peruvian Amazon in 1999. Since then, she has been studying Vegetalismo and other indigenous shamanic practices from the Americas. Her doctoral research focused on the healing function of the icaros during ayahuasca ceremonies, which is an ongoing area of study for her.

The process of integration of entheogenic experiences in ordinary life became one of her main interests while working as a therapist and clinical trainer at Takiwasi (a Peruvian center for the treatment of drug addiction which integrates indigenous and Western medicine), where she currently works as a clinical supervisor and researcher. Susana continues to focus on this theme in her private practice in Oakland, CA.

Susana will also be teaching Entheogenic Shamanism at CIIS in Spring 2014. If you are a student at CIIS and interested in this topic, consider signing up for this amazing class (EWP 6537).


Stephan V. Beyer, Ph.D., J.D. - On the Transmission of Ayahuasca 
We will take a look at the transmission of ayahuasca from the Upper Amazon to North America as an issue in ethnomedicine -- that is, the way in which ayahuasca has been assimilated to popular alternative medicine on the one hand and to biomedicine on the other, both of them in contrast with the cultural context and use of ayahuasca in the Upper Amazon -- and the questions this cross-cultural transmission and translation raise with regard to the processes of decontextualization, appropriation, commercialization, and medicalization. We can then have an open discussion as to whether these processes are inevitable under our current social and economic circumstances; the degree to which we all, wittingly or not, contribute to them; and the nature of our responsibilities to the indigenous traditions -- and the political and economic struggles of the indigenous peoples -- whose medicine we use for our own purposes.

For more than forty years, Steve Beyer has been fascinated by the sorts of anomalous human experiences that have been ignored, marginalized, and pathologized by mainstream psychology -- meditation, hallucinations, lucid dreams, shamanic visions, out-of-body experiences, delusions, visualization, false awakenings, apparitions. His published books have dealt with subjects from Tibetan Buddhist ritual meditation to ayahuasca shamanism in the Upper Amazon.  

Steve has doctoral degrees in both religious studies and psychology, and has taught as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, the University of California - Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union. 

Expert in both jungle survival and plant hallucinogens, he lived for a year and a half in a Tibetan monastery in the Himalayas, and has undertaken and helped to lead numerous four-day and four-night solo vision fasts in the desert wildernesses of New Mexico. He has studied the use of sacred and medicinal plants with traditional North America herbalists, in ceremonies of the Native American Church, and in the Upper Amazon. The Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions at the Smithsonian Institution has praised his “unparalleled knowledge of sacred plants.”

Steve has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Shamanic Practice, and currently serves on the advisory board of the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research, and Service. His current interests include the cognitive psychology of meditation, dreaming, hallucination, and imagination; indigenous religious traditions, particularly of native North and South America, including the shamanism of the Upper Amazon; and the practice of healing and the lived body across cultures. His most recent book is Singing to the Plants: A Guide to Mestizo Shamanism in the Upper Amazon.

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  • Adrian A.

    Four excellent presenters with lots of stimulating information and perspectives; and an excellent turnout. ERIE starts off 2014 with a bang!

    January 13, 2014

  • Kevin P.

    Truly inspired. Thank you ! Wonderful day ! Looking forward to more. Thanks again.

    January 12, 2014

  • larry

    We look forward to seeing you for this great event tomorrow! Light refreshments will be provided as well. Bring your friends and help build this awesome community!

    January 11, 2014

  • larry

    "In my workshop at CIIS, “Tibetan Buddhist Practices and the Trick-ster,” I introduce the notion of “crazy wisdom,” a phrase that got on the map thanks largely to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In Tibetan the words are yeshe cholwa, with yeshe meaning “wisdom that’s always been there,” and cholwa meaning “wild or uncontainable.” Trungpa Rinpoche said you might as well just say “wisdom crazy.” It refers to someone who seems to be intoxicated with an un-bounded, luminous, loving energy. What we call crazy is only crazy from the viewpoint of ego, custom, habit. The craziness is actually higher frequency enjoyment. Besides, the great spiritual adepts, the mahasiddhas, don’t decide to be crazy. Crazy wisdom is natural, effortless, not driven by the hope and fear machine of the ego." - Steven Goodman

    January 9, 2014

  • larry

    "I think the plants love us. I have no idea why. We certainly have done nothing -- at least recently -- to deserve it. I think that they want us to be human beings again." - Steve Beyer

    January 8, 2014

  • larry

    Event Schedule:
    12:30-12:45pm doors open
    12:45-1:00pm ERIE open/intro
    1:00-2:30 Mike Crowley
    2:30-2:40 Break
    2:40-3:40 Susana Bustos
    3:45-4:45 Steve Beyer
    4:50- 5:50 Steve Goodman
    5:50-6:00 Break
    6:00-7:00 East/South Round Table/Panel

    January 6, 2014

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