Psychedelics and religion have long intersected at the crossroads of mystical experience. Researchers understand that there is much to be learned from observing how psychedelics act on that experiential juncture. In this webinar, two clergy members share insights from their psychedelic experiences as part of a research study in collaboration with Bill Richards, author of Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences.
Rabbi Zac Kamenetz is the founder and CEO of Shefa, an education and advocacy organization dedicated to supporting individual and collective healing, self-discovery, and transformation by unlocking the practical wisdom of Jewish mystical traditions, sharing them as a guiding force.
Shefa provides seekers with a Jewish framework for direct spiritual experience, prepares communities for the integration of psychedelics into mainstream therapeutic and religious culture, and empowers them to bring the wisdom, wellbeing, and joy that arise from direct perception of the divine into their daily lives.
Zac received rabbinic ordination in 2012 an MA from the Graduate Theological Union/UC Berkeley. A sought-after speaker and educator, Zac lives in Berkeley with his wife and their daughter.
William A. Richards (Bill) is a psychologist in the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he and his colleagues have been conducting research with psilocybin for the past two decades. He is also a clinician in private practice in Baltimore.
His graduate degrees include M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, S.T.M. from Andover-Newton Theological School and Ph.D. from Catholic University, as well as studies with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany, where his involvement with psilocybin research originated in 1963. From 1967 to 1977, he implemented studies of psychotherapy research with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, including protocols designed to investigate the promise of entheogens in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer, and also their use in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. From 1977-1981, he was a member of the psychology faculty of Antioch University in Maryland.
His publications began in 1966 with “Implications of LSD and Experimental Mysticism,” coauthored with Walter Pahnke. His book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences has been released by Columbia University Press.
Irie Selkirk is the co-founder and Director of Rise Wellness Retreat in Jamaica, providing psilocybin experiences; co-founder of Sansero Life Sciences – a psilocybin bioscience company based in Canada; co-founder of the MAPS Canada Toronto Support Chapter, and the Chief Communications Officer for SheCann Cannabis – a female focused medical cannabis advocacy group. She is an expert on patient care and acquisition, ceremony facilitation, and education, focused on psychedelics, natural and plant medicines.
As a pioneer in the Cannabis industry, she has worked with Emblem Cannabis, Canopy Growth, Hiku Brands, GrowWise Health, WeedMD, Fire & Flower among others. Irie currently sits on the advisory boards for NICHE and byMinistry.
When she’s not in the boardroom or working with people at her retreat, Irie speaks both her mind and her heart at educational panels and healthcare conferences across the globe, and holds workshops and seminars for consumers, patients and industry leaders.
A lifetime of plant and natural medicine experiences combined with her academic studies and a background in wellness has led to over 10 years as an insightful educator, facilitator, advocate and business leader. Irie believes that thoughtful plant medicine consumption and mindfulness can infuse a sense of purpose and wonder into our modern lives—especially in the new post-Covid economy, by improving our lives and connecting us with those around us and ourselves in meaningful ways.