How Plant Medicines Change Lives


Episode 43

Gerry Powell

Gerry Powell, founder of spiritual retreat center ‘Rythmia’ joins us this week. Gerry tells us about his turbulent early life and how it prompted him to seek out a revolutionary plant medicine. We hear about the significant changes it catalysed in his life, and why it led him to set up his own high-end retreat center. Gerry aims to provide people with the same healing that he experienced, and hopes to create an ethical business model that encourages competition and diversity.

Podcast Highlights

  • Gerry describes his first psychedelic experience as an answer to his suffering: “I understood for the first time what love was.”
  • The plant medicine instructed Gerry to set up his own retreat center, to help share the healing he had received.
  • Rythmia serves thousands of retreatants every year; 93% describe life-changing, transformative healing experiences.

Podcast Transcript

00:25 Paul Austin: Hey, listeners, welcome back to the podcast. I'm your host Paul Austin, and today, I'm bringing you an interview with Gerry Powell, who is the founder of Rythmia, an all-inclusive spiritual resort center that also uses plant medicine in their work to facilitate healing. And so I went down to Rythmia at the end of October, early November in 2017. We'll have a full write-up on the site fairly soon. We're launching a new site, actually, and so it will be up on the new site when it gets launched. And so, in this podcast interview, I talk to Gerry about his turbulent early life and how it prompted him to seek out plant medicine to help heal and so in this podcast, we'll hear about the significant changes that plant medicine catalyzed in Gerry's life and why it let him to set up Rythmia, this high-end Ayahuasca retreat center.

01:15 PA: Really, what Gerry is trying to do is providing people with the same healing that he experienced and he hopes to create an ethical business model that encourages competition and diversity in this space. It was a pleasure to meet Gerry when we had our... When I went down to Rythmia at the end of October, early November, gregarious, outgoing, charming, intelligent, and what he is doing on there is simply marvelous in terms of building a world-class Ayahuasca retreat center, and they've had people like Kelly Slater, the world famous surfer. They've had NFL football players, New York Times bestsellers. So, they're really catering to a high-end demographic and they're doing a fantastic job within that space. So, without further ado, I bring you Gerry Powell.


02:07 PA: Let's start with who you are? Who is Gerry Powell? I'll provide some context and background for our listeners. So, basically, Gerry, you run Rythmia, which is a spiritual advancement center that utilizes plant medicine to catalyze some sort of deep understanding. And I went down to Rythmia about two months ago now and had a beautiful experience myself. And so, we wanted to set up this interview so that our listeners could hear more about your story. So, it would be great to just talk about who is Gerry Powell and how did you get going with the Rythmia Life Advancement Center?

02:39 Gerry Powell: My name is Gerard Powell. I'm the founder of Rythmia Life Advancement Center in Costa Rica, and it's A little bit about me. I was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania, in a Irish-Italian Catholic home that was a violent home. And I didn't do well in school. I was kicked out of schools and wound up in jail and through a series of miraculous events I got acquitted from the things that I did. And I was about 20 years old and I decided that I wanted to do something with my life and my only options were... And my limited understanding of how the world worked doing something with your life meant making money. So, I set out to make some money, and I did. In my 20s, I became a millionaire, a real millionaire.

03:30 GP: I had a million dollars, and I bought my first plane in my 30s. I took a company public. I had about $140 million net worth. I went broke in my late 30s in the dot-com crash, and I started another company when I was 38 years old that I sold when I was 41 for about $90 million in cash, and I quit working. And that story sounds nice and sweet and all this thing like a rags to riches kind of bullshit story, but the truth of it, the underlying truth of it was that during that time, I became a world class asshole, one of the biggest walking pricks on Earth. So in my life, I was a real fucking asshole. And not only was I an asshole, I was unhappy, I was addicted to cocaine and strippers and sex and alcohol and even injectable Demerol.

04:22 GP: I was, nothing was off limits to me, that there wasn't too many things I wasn't addicted to or I couldn't find a way to become addicted to something real quickly. And I was suicidal, I tried to commit suicide two times. I was married, I had two wonderful kids. I don't know how they turned out so good, but they did. And I was at the end of my rope, and to make a long story short, I went to rehab. I was in counseling for about five years, seven days a week. Hard to believe, but true. I had one full-time 40-hour-week counselor, and I had another one for two days a week for three hours a day. So, I have a like a Master's in psychology, you would think, right?

05:04 PA: Right.

05:06 GP: But it still didn't work, and I was suicidal and through a strange course of events, I found somebody who told me about a place that did this plant medicine in Costa Rica, and I found it hard to believe, but I was out of options. So, when you're out of options, you'll try anything. And I said yes to this crazy week at this crazy place with this crazy guy and I flew to Costa Rica. I was actually in the Philippines when I found out about this thing. And I flew to Costa Rica. And this is a real long story, I'll make it real short. I flew to Costa Rica. I took this medicine and the medicine landed me on the Moon, believe it or not, the moon typed.

05:49 GP: It typed things and it answered all my questions about my life and it showed me being molested by my grandfather in the video. And I never knew that that happened, that I never thought I was sexually molested, I was a kid, and I was three years old and I watched it happen in black and white, but in living black and white. Like I watched it happen in a black and white video, recorded video of the thing. And throughout this night, this crazy night, I had all of these questions answered. I got to see how the universe really works and I understood for the first time what love was and I understood why I was the way that I was, why I was that way with women, why I was a drunk, why I was a sex addict, why I couldn't connect with people, why I had attachment disorder, why I was a nut. I understood why and next morning, I was a different human. And this is all from one night. I was a different man in one night.

06:46 GP: And it ended up that I did this medicine four more times in the week that I was there and the medicine actually told me to open this center and I thought it was fucking out of its mind, I thought it was crazy, but I saw what it did to my life, and I went back to the United States after getting these typed orders to start this center and it was really specific, it said the center would be for light workers and light warriors only, so the people who would come there, and that they would actually come here to see who they became, see they become in their life, to merge back with their soul and to get a new heart, because that's what happened to me on my first journey. And I did this medicine another 45 times, this particular medicine, and I got specific instructions on how to... What building to buy, what to pay for it, all kinds of crazy shit, I was told exactly what to do and then we created this place, I bought a place from... It was the overflow resort for the JW Marriott, right next to JW Marriott in Guanacaste, it's a beautiful place and it's a sizable place, it's a 120-bed facility, like that kind of place and it has all of the things that medicine told us to put in this place right here.

08:09 GP: It has the Dead Sea cleanse, it has a spa, it has massage, it has a gym. It has colonics, hydro-colonics... Free water hydro-colonics. It has yoga, it has meditation, it has metaphysical classes, it has classes by thought leaders, it serves plant medicine in a way that we don't believe anybody is doing in the world right now. And what's so crazy is this miracle that happened to me where I was on this journey, I saw who I became, I became this world-class asshole, that my soul merged back with me and I was given a new heart. This thing is replicated at our place all the time so and by all the time, we have this way of tracking this that when the people go to check out, they're given an electronic survey. How was the beans and did you like your server, was the room okay and the last thing is, did you receive the miracle that happened to Gerry on your visit?

09:07 GP: And 93.23, I think, as of today... So that's 932 out of 1000 people received the exact same miracle, and the crazy part is, we're serving them three months, six months, nine months, like this, all of these people, and we, on these surveys 'cause there's a six-month lag, in the six months of the surveys that we have so far 100% of the people said that their week visit here was the life-changer in their life, 100%, 99% say they're coming back and 88% still have the miracle that they left with and it continues to work in their life.

09:48 GP: So this is something that you get, that's permanent. I got mine on July 4th, 2014 and I have it and it's been with me every day, so it's the only thing, you know, like the medicine said, the Moon said, I said, "How long does this last?" And she said, "Death can't even take it from you. It's a really, really yours." And so, that's the story of the place and our methodology and all of these things that go into the thing.

10:19 PA: Yeah, that's kind of like the 30,000-foot view, because I visited, we're recording this now around Christmas, I visited a couple months ago, when Penach was down and Penach was such a just kind of clairvoyant, really, really beautiful person and we had a great group and I was just thoroughly impressed with what you've built at Rythmia, because it really is for me the gold standard of these new retreat models that we're seeing that are utilizing plant medicine to help with this healing process that so many people are going through. And I said this when I was down there, but it's worth reiterating in the podcast. What you've done is really special and what you've built and created is really special and you've emphasized this as well. You were blessed with a lot of money from selling the business for cash and now that you've re-invested it in this is phenomenal. So congratulations, it's worth saying that again.

11:10 GP: Thank you, man. And I know that you had a great experience, you and I spent like quality time when you were here and I think you were kind of shocked, because I think if I remember our conversations right, when you first thought about coming down and you heard about this place, you kind of thought it might be a little pseudo-shamanistic and that kind of tip to it. But I remember when you were here and you were going through it yourself, you formed a completely different opinion.

11:39 PA: Yeah, it really was, everything was paid attention to, all of the prep was paid attention to when we did the workshop classes, in terms of what people needed to prepare for before they drank the plant medicine. And then again, this is just more focused on the plant medicine. But then the way that it was set up, the shamans that were brought in... We obviously had the Western shamans for the first three nights, and then Mitra came in for the fourth night. Then you said... I would like to talk a little bit about how you said Mitra had something last night, and we're right around the winter solstice right now. So there are all these... What was that experience like? Because I did it and you sit through the full night, it's basically 8:00 AM, or 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM and Mitra is this really suave, kind of cool Colombian shaman that comes in for the ceremony. What happened last night? I would like to hear about that experience a little bit.

12:24 GP: Fantastic. It was our normal weeks, on Monday night, they do Brazilian medicine, on Tuesday night we do the medicine that we grow here, on Wednesday night, we do Peruvian medicine and on Thursday nights, we do the Columbian Niaje, and that's an all-night ceremony. Last night was the solstice. It's our last week of the year because we close for Christmas. So it was like this, all of the energy, you gotta figure it in that room, in that room, there's, what, 52 weeks in a year, there's further 200 and some odd ceremonies that were held in that room over the course of that year, so there's all kinds of energy and energy knows calendars and time and da da da, da. And it's like the jig is up for that energy.

13:11 GP: And it was all over the place, the healings were so deep. You know, I drank a lot of medicine in my life, I drink a lot of medicine and I got to one point there where I went down a hole that I haven't seen before, I went in a crazy ass place and the healing that I came up with was beyond words, just like the shit-scared out of anyone. That healing that we'll never forget. I went down to the bottom of the well, and grabbed one and you know, and it was just crazy. And so, the guests like... Well, you were here, like the week you were here, you couldn't get over it. There's 75-year-old people and 22-year-old people, like this eclectic family of this like differences that came in the same way. And it's this vibratory pot that's going on. And it gets crazy. And when I saw these people this morning, and everybody there... Like it was a small group, there were 33 or 35, and they were all, all crying the morning, and the sun's coming up and everybody's in tears of bliss, and brand-newness, and forgiveness, and squeaky clean. Like I couldn't imagine a way that this group here... This 30, I think there's 33... How they're going to waltz into the new year, different people.

14:39 PA: It's a great way. I mean, it's a great way to end this year, drinking the plant medicine and going to Rythmia. Because it gives you this amazing foundation on which to start the new year. There's this breath of rejuvenation and new life, which is great. And I know a lot of people who come to Rythmia have never drank plant medicine before.

14:55 GP: About 90%.

15:00 PA: 90%?

15:00 GP: 90%. You were the rare exception. Like you're the inverse of a thing. Most people just try to max the thing. A lot of people say, "Hey, look, I went online and I saw some wonderful retreats in Peru and that but scared me. And then we did some research, found your place, found out you had a valid medical license as both a drug and alcohol rehab center, as a hospital, and as a homeopathic center." And when they find that out and the licenses are legitimate. We have at any given time, three to four doctors on staff, three to four nurses. And nothing ever happens. Like we've... Somebody might go into a place that they're uncomfortable with, but in the whole history of the company, one person has got... Two people have gone to the hospital. And both have been from falling in the daytime. Like they've been tripping... They tripped on a step or da da da, like that. Nothing to do with medicine or nothing to do with anything other than just missteps during the day.

16:01 GP: One of them walked off the yoga deck and fell. That's the only thing we've ever used it. For a Westerner, just having that license, and just seeing the doctors, and having a physical when you get here, and really checking to make sure that you're okay, and analyzing your medications, and doing all that stuff, that's big to Americans and Canadians and Irish. They love that stuff.

16:28 PA: Oh, and it's really important because I think there's a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding about a lot of these things, plant medicines. People think they're way dangerous than they really are. So to have that sense of clearance that you put people through, and a medical staff on board, I think it's not... Like from my perspective, as someone who has been doing this for seven-eight years, I wouldn't see it as being necessary, obviously. But the people that you're speaking to, those who are... Like you said... 90% of people have never drank plant medicine before. That's a really critical factor. And that was something that I wanted to talk a little bit about is like, how are you the first medically licensed plant medicine retreat in the world? Like what was that process like for you? Why haven't other retreat centers done this or anything like that?

17:10 GP: Well, the way that we've done it on our homeopathic license, we have a number of different plants approved. So this is why I believe people... I think that in a lot of municipalities, if someone were to apply for a license, they would get it. The thing is, most of the people that get involved in this business, in the business of running retreat centers for plant medicine, and plant medicine people generally don't think in that way. They usually operate without licenses. In many cases, without a permit. Like they're just running the ship through the night. They might buy a 10-bed retreat center. And then the biggest thing, a lot of them don't even get a permit to open a business. They're spiritual folks, they're not business folks, by and large. So that's, I think what makes us a little unique is that I came out of actually the medical business, I came out of big medical business. And I was a businessman since I was in diap... Since I was in highschool, I was business guy. And I had this awakening, or conversion or whatever you wanna call it nowadays, and I was already a business guy. So...

18:20 PA: So you had the soul... I like the way that you put that because it feels that way. When you have this kind of mystical breakthrough experience on plant medicine, it does feel like, "Oh, I'm back to where I've always been." You know?

18:34 GP: Yeah, doesn't it feel that way? Like the thing is that... And I feel so bad and I really do feel bad. I'm not talking anybody down, because I swear to you, people make fun of the guy that goes and learns to do plant medicine over the weekend and three weeks later, he's serving it to his friends. Then people are making fun or they're doing Ayahuasca on someone's couch in Venice and all that. And they make it sound bad, and it's not ideal. It's not ideal because people really don't understand the interactions between the Ayahuasca in certain medications, both prescribed and over-the-counter. It's a pretty complicated thing but...

19:14 PA: Especially with Ayahuasca, because of the MAOI and because of... Yeah.

19:16 GP: Exactly, MAOI inhibitors. So there's all this stuff that goes on with that, right, that bag. But I would rather see a guy who's a drunk, or a guy who's having suicidal thoughts. I would much rather see him... Any way that the medicine gets in his mouth, he has a fighting chance. And sometimes without the medicine, he doesn't. So I never talk down these guys that are doing it. I would say, given my druthers, I would much rather do it in place that was safe and clean, and with really experienced people. And by the way, I really believe this to be true although I have no way of proving it. I believe we served more Ayahuasca last year than anybody else in the world. I do believe that, because... I don't know of any other centers that are doing 256 ceremonies to groups of... From 30 to 90 a night. And I don't know many. So I think we served a ton of them ourselves.

20:13 GP: So that goes to the next question to let that people say, well, I want my shaman to have experience. And I say absolutely. Now, if you were gonna get operated on, would you rather have a guy that does 10 surgeries a year operate on you or a guy who has done 400 in the last year? I'm going with the 400 in the last year myself, I'm gonna go that way, I'm gonna err to that side. So what we have, we have a really unique way of where with the medicine lines up with the metaphysical classes. And then we keep data. So right now I have 13,800-ish data points that are self-reported by clients during their stay. And we figured out so much about the medicine, that somebody who's not collecting the data, you could have a guy serving medicine for 30 years. And if you don't collect and line up the data, you can't really tell what's going on. You just tend to believe the last person you talk to and that's the reason why some great Italian restaurant gets financially crushed by the Olive Garden. Because these folks keep their data, know these different things.

21:20 GP: So we really, really know what the medicine does, what it works on, how, the effect it has on people when they leave, what types of integration produce the greatest results, what types of co-workshops work the best to achieve the highest miracle rate. We know a bunch of things and we know them. So see, we're not guessing. Like, it's not opinions, we know this and what I really believe is that some day and in a post-Rythmia world that the data from, that we've found here, as self-reported data, even though it's self-reported, will have a tremendous, tremendous, tremendous value to future generations and to people. 'Cause I believe the next evolution of this business of plant medicine, spirituality, these businesses combined, is going to be even more refined and even more specific.

22:15 GP: And like you're gonna say someone comes in with bipolar and alcoholism. And you're gonna know exactly what the protocol is to get this person reunited with their soul. And this is the truth, I'm not talking just about the addictions thing, and the truth of the truth of the truth. My partner, Dr. Jeff McNairy, was the director of Passages Malibu, which was one of the premier, probably the premier drug and alcohol addiction center in the world, certainly the most expensive.


22:45 PA: Definitely the most expensive.


22:47 GP: Definitely the most expensive. And I won't talk about their specific cure rate, but I will talk about the industry on a whole. And the industry on a whole, this is after multiple attempts, is 16%.

23:00 PA: One-six. One-six.

23:03 GP: Percent after multiple attempts and they use four as the norm. So now if you take that, if you take 16 and divide it by 4, you're at 4. So the real true cure rate first time is 4%. Can you imagine if you had a vegan restaurant and 4% of your guests like their food? You'd be in business for what? A half a day?

23:24 PA: Yeah.

23:24 GP: Yeah, maybe. So this is the kind, and in an opiate-addicted society, which we're in right now, thanks to Big Pharma and thanks to the insurance companies, we are in this opiate-addicted society with a 4% cure rate. And everybody's getting ripped off including the people. Imagine our miracle rate is a reflection of a cure rate on our addiction patients. And it's the inverse of that. We're at the 93% and they're at the 4%. And we're not good yet. And when I say we're not good yet, we have another five years, maybe another 70,000 data points before we can really, really, really get down. There's hopes of a 100% fix in the mix here. There's hopes of a 100% fix. And that has an amazing thing and there's people out there that says, well, I'm not an addict, and I got to tell you what I believe on that one. I don't know a person who's not an addict. Either once your soul splits with yourself the way, that it was explained to us by the Moon, which is crazy. But once your soul splits like this you try to fill this hole with anything, with spending, with sex, with the normal things, drugs, alcohol, sex, but more, with work, with education, with yoga, with workshops, with talk therapy, there's a trillion different ways to try to fill that hole.

24:47 GP: And they're all addictive by their own very nature. Because anything to try to fill that up, it's like trying to fill up... It's giving Moby Dick a tic-tac, it's not gonna...

24:58 PA: Yeah, it's like trying to fill up a kind of a bucket that will never be completely filled. You just keep pouring in and it just keeps coming out. And this kind of speaks to like attachment, in a way. Like kinda what you're talking about is like being attached to external things when really we can find that love and acceptance and contentment in ourselves.

25:15 GP: Absolutely.

25:15 PA: And in the simplicity of things. And I think kinda what you're talking about as well with the efficacy of the plant medicine, you did the comparison. I think that speaks to two things. I think it speaks one, to the effectiveness of plant medicine and healing with these things. And we're now seeing that both with how Rythmia has been getting so much traction, but also things like how MAPS got MDMA approved for PTSD and that in four years, that's unbelievable. And then when you dovetail this, this is what you're talking about with personalized medicine.

25:45 GP: Yep.

25:45 PA: Where someone who has x issue or y issue, it's so interesting that you bring that up, because I've been speaking about this for the last six or eight months with our team, 'cause there are like now applications that you can utilize where you can at least get initial data points on how psychedelics might impact these quantitative biomarker changes. So I'm setting up an experiment in March and April, where I'm doing blood and lab work and I'm getting my 23andMe and all the raw data from that and I'm gonna microdose two times a week for three months with LSD to see how that quantitatively changes my biochemistry, because this is the future and then we have potential to heal a ton of mental illness, which I think is rooted in this existential crisis that a lot of people going through, where they're going why am I even alive anymore? What's my purpose? Where does my meaning come from? All of these things?

26:36 GP: And that even goes to the deeper question, is there even mental illness? And there's so much crazy shit, once you start doing that, the medicine you get, get on the other side and you look back at it and it doesn't look the same. It's like, this society imposed these illnesses through the systems that are in place and had been in place, and now the greatest crime, and I love your generation, by the way, you know that I'm the biggest fan.

27:05 PA: You definitely have a thing for millennials, I've noticed that, yeah.

27:08 GP: I love them. They're fucking the shit, they're game-changers all the way through and through. And when you back out and you see, "Okay, what is the biggest thing threatening these people?" And I'm gonna tell you, it's fucking opiates. If you just take a look at what's going on in the country with the opiate thing, and then the prescriptions, and the people are buying and selling patients to rehab centers, it's this crazy thing... This will be... In 100 years they'll look back on this as the dark age of addictions. This is fucking not good. And I just take a look at that and I just say, well, what is the answer? The answer is the truth. How do you get to the truth? It's real easy, you go to a place and you drink some medicine and you can get squared out, dude, in no time at all. And if you take a look at the things that are going on in society, that this medicine would fix just 'cause the medicine is love, right? Love, intelligence, whatever you wanna say, you know the potential of this thing, and that's the exact same reason there's no fucking money in it, because where is the paycheck in this? It's really nowhere. So this has to be done out of love. It's a crazy system that's going on.

28:23 PA: Well, it is, and I think that's the next question that I wanted to ask you is, as a result of this, you're running the gold standard of Ayahuasca retreat centers in the world right now, and there are obviously... You're really one of the first, if not the first major player in this space from a business, entrepreneurial perspective. So I'd be just curious to hear what was Gerry's approach to business before he drank plant medicine and got into it? And how has that changed now that, for example, you're running Rythmia in the way that you're approaching business, understanding that, like you said, this healing process is not as profitable long term because the idea is once you're healed, you don't... It's not like a pharmaceutical where you're always coming back for more and more and more.

29:03 GP: Yeah, that's the truth, right? So in my old businesses, I would always... Well, number one, I never was a fan of losing money. I was never, if I was losing money, I was like the guy that would cut your losses and let your profits run, that was me, at all costs. I used to fire 50, 60, 70 people at a time and I wouldn't care if the math was going wrong, I was a corrective action guy. And I had... I was a heartless fuck, I was a real piece of shit as far as a business guy. But I was real good at it, I was very good at it. And I went from that in one night to fucking feeling for every one. And so I went to feeling for everyone, and then we were told to start this business. And originally I thought, "I'll take a couple of million dollar shot at this thing." The next thing you know, I'm out $11 million, and of my own money, and I look it and basically in year one and year two, which we just completed, the end of year two, we're doing this out of love. So the interesting part is, though, is that if you take a look at this, at the model, within two to three years, as long as we keep doing the job that we're doing, the business becomes viable.

30:12 GP: And for me, if I say, okay, on a karmic conversion, right? And on a karmic thing, I have to live long enough for this to become profitable, because if I die before it does, there's not a guy waiting in the wings to chunk in the millions of dollars a year it needs to keep going. This is the single point of failure thing. I get hit by a truck, this is over. So the thing is that this particular one, right? But if I can prove the financial viability to regular business people, then owning one of these becomes an option, right? Instead of a McDonalds or instead of a this or instead of a that, owning one of these run with the right intentions, the right people running it, but all of a sudden, from a financial standpoint, if this becomes an option, then all of a sudden there's not one Rythmia, there's 20-some or 30, they're competing against each other, prices are getting cheaper, it starts to work, so.

31:13 PA: 'Cause you're creating the infrastructure, I mean, this is... We connect on so many levels on this. 'Cause, I was saying this exact thing like a year and a half, two years ago, when I first started Third Wave, our website about psychedelic education and whatnot, and my whole thing was like, I wanna do this because I have the freedom and the privilege and the ability, but most importantly, because it creates the space so that more people feel empowered to actually go and do their own thing. And then all of a sudden you become a leader and you're creating this ability, and that's when the dominoes effect happens.

31:42 GP: And that's when it happens. And these things, they start out like a fungi, right? They start out, and then all of a sudden, if you do this right, and the right amount of water, light, dirt, all of a sudden these things are sprouting. And that's the thing, that, and that's why I love your business and what you're doing, because you're putting in the work and then the returns will come and other people will join in. The great thing about people is they love opportunities that have already been proven. So like it's the greatest thing in the world. And I'm all for it. I don't want a monopoly, I wanna build a business model that I don't even make from. In other words, I want competition everywhere because I really believe that we can save the... If you can get enough people in an environment, either using breathwork or plant medicine, if you can get them in that environment, if you can get enough of them, I honestly think that this whole thing gets turned around, that all the shit goes away, people stop using Styrofoam, they don't throw out plastic bags, all of a sudden they're eating less meat, it's the start of them, it's the first cog in the wheel. At least that's my opinion.

32:51 PA: Well, and I remember I was at the Psychedelic Science Conference eight months ago, that's actually when I met Brandy, for the first time, and I was talking with her and Zappy, and who I had on a podcast earlier this year, in March. And Mike Zapolin is... He was the guy in the Reality of Truth. Obviously, you know him. But we were talking, and he... He has this leprechaunish look and he was wearing this pink jacket, really dressed well. And he was telling all about how he had just got advertisements approved on Breitbart for plant medicine and about how... Same approach that you're talking about. We just need a majority to shift this understanding of our relationship to the other, where I think what we're talking about, it's like we see ourselves as part of the earth and as part of a community, and we see ourselves not as this separate distinct other.

33:37 PA: Instead, we open ourselves to being able to merge with people and community and other things, which I think allows for healing and acceptance and love. And so I just... It brought me back to that conversation with Zappy in terms of that same approach, and I think my motivation comes from a very similar perspective, I don't think these can heal everything, but I think they're one tool. Plant medicine, breath work, meditation, surfing, traveling. They're one tool where they give us a new perspective to understand that, like... I think it's a lot about empowerment. It's like you can take control, and you can heal yourself, and you can break away from past traumas and addictions and old habits, and you can step into this new skin and this new flesh and this new person that is love and light and understanding and compassion and all of these things that you embody so well and that I was so impressed by, like when I went to Rythmia.

34:28 PA: And you know, you... Even in this conversation, what you're doing basically is just saying, "I'm gonna go out there. I'm gonna, kinda go into the dark space and the dark den, and the deep zone. I'm gonna figure out how all this shit works. I'm gonna spend a lot of extra money to do it 'cause no one else has done it yet. But because I'm doing this, the barrier to entry, all of a sudden, becomes much lower for everyone else who wants to step in." And then it becomes, you know, there are retreat centers all over. 'Cause even I'm talking about like... And we had talked about this briefly when I was down at Rythmia, but I think the next big thing is Psilocibyn retreat centers as well, which is obviously a different plant medicine, but you know, in Jamaica or Brazil or a number of these places, there's incredible potential for all this stuff.

35:10 GP: I'm so with you there. That, and you're so spot on with that. 'Cause I have a book coming out and it's about what this whole experience. It's called, "Shit the Moon Said," and it's published by HCI and it's gonna be in bookstores in February. So I just wanted to give that a plug. And then the movie, The Reality of Truth, with our partner, Mike Zapolin, "Zappy" Zapolin. The Reality of Truth is a great movie. It's... Everybody's in that movie, right? Deepak Chopra, Michelle Rodriguez. It's a really good movie to catch. And by all means if you're considering doing this plant medicine or going on a retreat, there's a lot of places you can go. But I believe we're the only place that does it the way that we do it. So please check us out at, and see what you think. We'd love to have you here.


36:07 PA: Okay, so we had a shorter than normal podcast this week, but that's perfectly fine because we just have some quick announcements and pieces of news to leave you with until the next time. So the first one is that a new study from the Imperial Psychedelic Research Group has laid out a model for creating the ideal set and setting for a peak psychedelic experience. They highlight the importance of factors such as readiness, intention, therapeutic setting and dosage in producing improvements and well-being following a peak or mystical experience. So what we'll be doing for Third Wave site is doing a write-up about this study, so that people who are listening at home can understand how to best integrate this new research into their own psychedelic experiences to facilitate as much healing and development as possible.

36:53 PA: Second pieces of news, Aspen has become the first US city where Marijuana sales have overtaken alcohol sales, 11.3 million compared to 10.5 million in 2017. And this just reminds me of a little headline that I saw on Facebook the other day, which basically said something along the lines of Coors, the beer company, is now realizing that Marijuana, legal Marijuana, is a huge threat to their business. And I think it's clear why this is the case. There are more and more people who are becoming dissatisfied and really don't wanna drink alcohol at all anymore because of its effect on the ego, because of how unhealthy and toxic it is, particularly in the way that it's consumed in the United States.

37:37 PA: And I think more and more people are going towards a psychoactive substance that doesn't have any sort of hangover, that elicits feelings of compassion, connection, togetherness, and that can be delivered in multiple forms, and that has specific proven benefits from both a medical and just a general well-being perspective. So I think this is fantastic news and it's likely a sign of things that are to come.

38:01 PA: In terms of Third Wave announcements, we're launching a new website. So go check out If the new website isn't up when you're listening to this, it will be very, very soon. And with that we're also, obviously, continuing to offer our Microdosing Course, which is great if you want to optimize your microdosing experience to be as effective as possible. So that's all for this week. If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave a review on iTunes. And do not forget to send us your questions on Twitter or Facebook. 'Til next time.

This Week in Psychedelics

A new study from the Imperial Psychedelic Research Group has laid out a model for creating the ideal set and setting for a peak psychedelic experience. They highlight the importance of factors such as readiness, intention, therapeutic setting and dosage in producing improvements in well-being following a peak (or ‘mystical’) experience.

Aspen has become the first US city where marijuana sales have overtaken alcohol sales. $11.3million compared to $10.5million in 2017.

Sign up for our extensive Microdosing Course to gain access to expert interviews, curated microdosing resources, and an exclusive microdosing community!

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