Taking entheogens out of the closet

SHROOMS GO MAINSTREAM … As a San Francisco-born born paleohippie who cut his adolescent teeth in the drug-experimentation days of the Sixties, I’ve never understood the mainstream’s fear of entheogens. As a health concern it seems mostly manufactured. Things that “unleashed the god within,” as the word “entheogen” suggests, were a great help to me in transitioning from medieval Roman Catholic seminary asceticism to post-WWII American societal experimentation. First-hand experience taught me to respect entheogens and eschew the opiates & stimulants & sundry synthetic pharmaceutical eccentricities available on the black market. And now it’s these same opiates and prescription drugs that constitute the biggest drug problem we face as a society … That said, the entheogenic experience can, on occasion, be terrifying, which is why it’s wise to have a guide – a designated driver, so to speak, in case the road gets bumpy … Some entheogens are substances that can take you away. Under their influence, you may not have executive control over your body anymore. Or your thoughts … Over the past 30-plus years of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, Dr. Andy Weil always emphasized the power of “set & setting” when crafting an entheogenic experience. Tripping in tranquil safety ought to be a prime directive for any aspiring psychonauts … Still, entheogens have been classified as dangerous drugs more out of fear than scientific study. But it’s coming to light, as research starts to gear up, that entheogens have amazing medical, therapeutic and life-enhancing properties … It seems that West Coast psychonauts have pioneered using small doses of entheogens like Psilocybe spp., LSD, DMT and others – a practice that’s come to be known as “microdosing.” Doses taken repeatedly over a period of time, too small to create any hallucinogenic effects, have been shown to enlarge the activity of the brains of people working on tasks. Exactly what that enlarged activity means in terms of creativity is not clear. But people engaged in microdosing report feelings of well-being and positive energy that they attribute to the practice. And the word I’ve heard is that Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have been known to encourage microdosing for their engineers and programmers as they search for the latest tech innovation … There’s even a new book about it, making the rounds of the national media: A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life by Ayelet Waldman (Knopf, 2017) … We’re hoping to learn more about all of this at this summer’s mushroom festival – the third week in August.

THUMBS UP … Kudos to the Dolores River Restoration Partnership for the great job they’ve restoring native plant communities along the Dolores River. I drove from Gateway to Uravan the other day and it was amazing to see the amount of riparian streamside cleared of invasive tamarisk. Begun after the Nature Conservancy had completed a tamarisk-clearing project on the San Miguel River, the Partnership brought together state and federal agencies at the behest of TNC and the Tamarisk Coalition <tamariskcoalition. wildapricot.org> … Kudos to the Montrose County Commissioners and the Montrose City Council for making peace. When I first took office 20 years ago, one local government was suing another up in Telluride. Taxpayers footing the bill for both sides. A bad situation that led to a decent settlement. But certainly it was not the easiest or cheapest way of resolving a conflict. It took folks from the Montrose-based Public Lands Partnership to teach me collaboration, and for San Miguel County and the two towns to mature politically and start intergovernmental meetings with each other.

SAN FRANCISCO … It was a treat to fly back to the city I was born in, and hang with my new grandbaby, Aurora, my daughter Iris Willow and her beau, Bertrand Fan. An IT software engineer, Bert just moved from Flickr to Slack, and the second day I was there he got a promotion and a raise (my kind of son-in-law) … Got to really know Bernal Heights, a neighborhood I hadn’t known. Cortland Ave. is even more laid back than my old hood in Noe Valley. A half dozen great restaurants. Three or four coffeehouses. A branch library with killer murals. Fell in love with the great folks at Little Bee Baking – to-die-for tarts, outrageous breakfast sandwiches, and delicious mocha breves (my cup of joe) … Got to push baby in carriage the full length of the Panhandle, while Iris got a massage. And together we toured Golden Gate Park’s Botanical Garden, admiring the April magnolias in bloom. At the Alemany Farmer’s Market we got amazing organic fruit from Twin Girls Farms of Reedley – and they were super friendly. Visit their website and learn how Nacho Sanchez went from farm worker to organic farmer, beautiful people with a beautiful story (www.saturdaymarket. com/twingirl.htm).

CHEESE … Okay. I’ve switched. Cowgirl Creamery, which moved from Pt. Reyes Station to Petaluma (some of my old California haunts) and sold to a company with capital, made what was – up to now – my favorite organic double and triple cream cheeses. Mt. Tam. Red Hawk. But, ever since finding them for sale out here in Colorado, I keep unwrapping the little rounds only to find a chalky center, not soft at all. I called the creamery once. But didn’t get much of an answer. Let it sit in the fridge for a month or more or something … And then Eureka! I found a Colorado creamery in Longmont that makes its own organic double cream baby brie: Haystack Mountain Cashmere … Creamy. No chalky center. To die for. Natural Grocer in Montrose has it. I’m hoping everyone gets it.

WEEKLY QUOTA … “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all. At the global level, it is a complex system linked to many of the essential conditions for human life. A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system. In recent decades this warming has been accompanied by a constant rise in the sea level and, it would appear, by an increase of extreme weather events, even if a scientifically determinable cause cannot be assigned to each particular phenomenon. Humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption, in order to combat this warming or at least the human causes which produce or aggravate it.” –Pope Francis, from his encyclical

Laudato Si, On Care of our Common Home (2015) Art Goodtimes writes from San Miguel County, Colo.

The Talking Gourd

Local Politics
I turn away from those who know
what is right, no matter how
right they are. Or left.

—Danny Rosen
From Primate Poems
(Lithic Press, 2016)

From Art Goodtimes.