December 2016

Legalizing entheogens?

By Art Goodtimes

MICRODOSING … RadioWest producer and freelance journalist Benjamin Bombard has published a radical article in the November issue of Salt Lake City’s Catalyst: Resources for Creative Living. In the piece, Bombard advocates for the therapeutic use of psychedelics. Small doses of these mind-altering substances, he believes, act as life enhancers, producing “increased enthusiasm” and “decreased anxiety” in those who partake. The quantities are minute, as little as three-tenths of a gram in the case of magic mushrooms – a dosage too low to induce mind-alterations … Bombard supports the concept based on the work of noted psychologist and psychedelic researcher James Fadiman. Past president of the Association for Transpersonal Psychology and former director at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Fadiman received a B.A. degree from Harvard and a master’s degree and doctorate in psychology from Stanford. In 2011, he published Psychedelic Explorer’s Guide: Safe, Therapeutic and Sacred Journeys (Bear & Co.) … According to Bombard, “He’s now running what basically amounts to a crowd-sourced research project.” Fadiman asks volunteers to ingest small amounts of LSD, Psilocybe spp., iboga or ayahuasca every fourth day and self-report any benefits or side effects… In an interview with self-improvement guru Tim Ferris, Fadiman suggests that microdosing is a kind of “all-chakra enhancer, where everything’s just a little bit better.” And Fadiman shared with Catalyst the anonymous report of a middleage Midwestern participant in Fadiman’s study who affirmed that microdosing “improved focus, empathy, sensitivity, honesty and self-love … I sleep without grinding my teeth, without tremors” after quitting prescription anti-depressants … Bombard examines the history of psychedelic research, citing Harvard professor Richard Evan Schultes, who taught Dr. Andrew Weil, a founder of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. “The relatively new term, ‘entheogen,’ with its connotations of the divine,” he explains, “seeks to reclaim the traditional origins and uses of hallucinogens as noted by Schultes, thus setting them apart from other purely hedonistic drugs as uniquely valuable to human consciousness” … Bombard predicts, “If Fadiman’s microdosing research plays out as he hopes, if it opens the doors for further scientific research into the healthful benefit of psychedelics as reported by microdosers around the country, then medical psychedelics may be the next domino to fall in the war on drugs.”


Chasco y Regalo

La muerte a la puerta,
o en emboscada entre la hojas,
la muerte misma es
el chasco inevitable;
el único regalo que vale la pena,
amar sin temor,
y amar bien.

-Rafael Jesús González
The Montserrat Review, Spring 2003

BEARS EARS … It’s coming down to the wire. With the Republicans ascendant, Utah Rep. Bishop’s bill to steal 100,000 acres of Ute Indian tribal lands and open the Bears Ears area for oil and gas development seems likely to pass into law. The only thing stopping it at this point would be President Obama declaring it a national monument. Which is exactly what the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition is seeking… Learn more at action… There’s probably no more important action to take as a follow-up to our successful Indigenous Peoples Day exchange with our Ute friends than supporting a monument at Bears Ears.

ON THE ROAD TO DUKE CITY… It was the annual Quivira Coalition conference last month. Inspiring speakers. Heard Lesli Allison, formerly of Chromo, illuminate the importance of the radical center with a lovely last-ofthe- event speech on why this alliance of rancher/farmers and enviro/biologists makes good sense. Got to present San Miguel County’s Soil Health Paymentfor- Ecosystem-Services project with Commissioner-elect Kris Holstrom and Western State’s Masters in Environmental Management grad Sarah Peters… Ate the best food of the trip at a neighborhood restaurant called Farm and Table ( … Watched with my poet buddy JB Bryan as the cranes circled his Guadalupe Trail home, making their haunting guttural calls… Discovered a wonderful small-scale lumber mill in the Chama Valley that had just the 1x6 inch 6-foot planks I needed for fencing… Drove the Norwood-Dolores Road home in the moonlight… It was a good trip.

PETROGLYPH … Since I was going down to New Mexico, I asked Indigenous Peoples Day speaker Peter Pino, former Governor of Zia Pueblo and board member of the Native American Rights Fund, if we could meet. He suggested Petroglyph National Monument – just west of Albuquerque’s sprawl that ends at Unser Avenue. I thought it a curious place to meet. But I’d been drawn to visit the site and never had. So I agreed … Arriving early, I nosed about the Visitor Center. Admired a watermelon-sized spiral glyph rock beside the footpath from the parking lot. And was deep in a naturalhistory field guide on Southwest spiders, when Peter arrived… I didn’t realize, until about an hour in, that I was being gifted with Pueblo understandings that I had never encountered. I learned that Peter had carved the footpath petroglyph for the Park Service. How it moved counterclockwise into the center, as the Zia people moved counterclockwise in their dances and ceremonies … We watched the Visitor Center video, and Peter was in it. Explaining how the Petroglyph site was an important spiritual place … And he shared a cellphone picture of another petroglyph he scribed into stone for a friend – how it tracked a hunt, and spoke of relationships, of teachings. How crafting modern petroglyphs was a form of Paleolithic sculpture that Peter was interested in sharing with others … Two hours flew by. I left feeling deeply connected to a place that I hardly knew. And to a spiritual perspective that even someone deeply embedded in the modern world can cultivate.

UTE MTN UTE … The Tribe held their Swearing-In Ceremony at the spacious chandeliered convention center at the Ute Mountain Casino in Towaoc (which means “thank you” in Ute)… Outgoing Tribal Chair Manuel Heart, who spoke so eloquently at Indigenous Peoples Day here in October, relinquished his seat to Harold Cuthair. In addition, council members Regina Lopez-Whiteskunk (equally eloquent and co-chair of the Bears Ears Tribal Coalition), Priscilla Blackhawk- Rentz and Malcolm Lehi (the White Mountain representative) were replaced by Colleen Cuthair-Root, Prisllena Lopez- Rabbit and Elayne Cantsee (the new White Mesa rep) … In their first official public action as a council following the swearing-in, Chair Cuthair had to break a 3-3 tie for the naming of officers, favoring the new faction’s choices over the choices of the three remaining old council members.

Art Goodtimes is in his final term as a San Miguel County (Colo.) commissioner.