Wednesday 28 December 2011

Survey on Psychedelics and Synaesthesia

Survey on Psychedelics and Synaesthesia

This is an invitation for people to take part in a survey on the use of psychedelics (and other psychoactive substances) and synaesthesia. We are looking for people who have used psychedelics and other psychoactive substances, whether or not they have had experiences of synaesthesia, and we are looking for people who have synaesthesia, whether or not they have used psychedelics and other psychoactive substances.

Synaesthesia can be defined as experiences in which there is a blending of the senses, such as shapes having a particular taste, sounds having a particular shape, or numbers having a particular colour.

Depending on how many types of synaesthesia experience you have had, and how many different substances you have consumed, we expect this survey to take anywhere upwards from 5 minutes to complete (perhaps taking as long as 30 minutes in the extreme), although on average we expect that for most people it will take about 10-15 minutes.

Participation in this survey is completely anonymous, and has been approved by the University of Greenwich Research Ethics Committee. Please follow this link for further details and the survey:

This research may be important in helping to establish the role of psychedelics in understanding unusual perceptual phenomena and neurobiological processes involved in consciousness, so thank you for taking part. Please forward this invitation to anyone else who may be interested in responding.

If you have questions about this study please direct them to Dr David Luke:

Many thanks,

Dr David Luke
Senior Lecturer
Department of Psychology and Counselling
University of Greenwich

Dr Devin Terhune
Research Fellow
Department of Experimental Psychology
University of Oxford

Monday 18 April 2011

The Great Elf Debate

Six hundred fractal thank yous to everyone (yep, 600 folk) who made it along to Canterbury at the beginning of April for the extraordinary Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness extravaganza, Breaking Convention. After a sleepless few days chipping away at the coalface of the new neurochemical renaissance there emerged a number of legendary quotes, cries of an epic and historic weekend, oodles of inspired blog reviews and even the odd manifesto manifesting online - all of which have been assembled here for your delight.

Attempting to bring as many of the departed Breakeros back together again, the ECC salon will now resume this Tuesday 19th April (tomorrow) at the October Gallery, Bloomsbury, London, in an effort to bridge the hyperdimensional divide between Kent's Breaking Convention and Daimonic Imagination with The Great Elf Debate, which will be led, widdershins, by Dr David Luke with help from friends. Elves, induced by DMT or otherwise, are of course a hot topic on Psychopraxis.

The Great Elf Debate

Dr David Luke + friends + you

Tuesday, 19th April, 2011

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL

Please RSVP on Facebook (afraid so) so that we can anticipate numbers – Please pay on the door.

Entry £7 /£5 Concessions, Arrive 6pm for a 6:30pm Start - Wine available

A few saucy comments and mischievous taunts and counter-taunts to get the ball rolling on the ontology of elves and then over to the good people of the floor to take the debate on a merry dance. We'll throw in some DMT, mushrooms, aliens and preying mantises into the faerie ring for good measure and then probe the audience for some thoughts on imps, piskies, gnomes, self-transforming machine elves and possible pro bono proctologists. Representatives from the Social Constructivist quad and from Tir Na Nog will be on hand to stir the pot.

Dr David Luke directs and curates the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series at the October Gallery, which occasionally zoops off in new and interesting co-creative directions like the Breaking Convention. He has often considered taking McKenna up on his elfin call for creating an embassy for the invisible but is really just too busy being a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Greenwich, the President of the Parapsychological Association, a Research Associate of the Beckley Foundation, a guest lecturer on the transpersonal masters at the University of Northampton, and an explorer of lost pirate utopias. He hasn't written a single book but promises to finish editing the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness anthology very soon.

Saturday 11 December 2010

Breaking Convention

The Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series, in association with the UKC Psychedelics Society and with the Beckley Foundation, presents:

Breaking Convention:

A Multidisciplinary Meeting on Psychedelic Consciousness

Saturday & Sunday, 2-3rd April, 2011

Virginia Woolf College, Univeristy of Kent, Canterbury, CT2 7UG.

Early bird tickets available in advance. Prices, tickets and details coming soon.

Please also register your support on Facebook and spread the word however you can…

...A conference in four quarters is to be held over the weekend of the 2nd-3rd of April, 2011. Workshops, seminars and presentations from submitted abstracts will run in parallel with the track of invited speakers. We have an open call for papers for the parallel track running currently. To apply, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page:

The films 'DMT: The Spirit Molecule', and 'Dirty Pictures' (a documentary about the Shulgins) will be screened at the conference. There will also be live music from the Ragnagrok Allstars, plus other exceptional psychedelic sonic succour.

The 4 main symposia are:

What do psychedelics mean?

Organised by Dr. David Luke, PhD. Senior Lecturer in Psychology, University of Greenwich; President of the Parapsychological Association; Director of the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series at the October Gallery, London

Psychedelics are substances with multiple dimensions, and can be considered artistically, clinically, spiritually, psychologically, neuro-scientifically, legally, ecologically, historically, culturally, magically, ontologically, etc. This symposium will fuse together a number of diverse perspectives and help us assemble some of the intellectual jigsaw pieces we have created out of these plants, fungi and molecules.

Dr. Luis Eduardo Luna, PhD.
Mike Jay
Paul Devereux
Charlotte Walsh more TBC

* * *

Current research on consciousness and psychedelics at the University of Kent

Organised by Dr. Cameron Adams, PhD., research fellow and lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Kent; and Dr. Anna Waldstein, PhD, lecturer in Medical Anthropology and Ethnobotany and convenor of the BSc in Medical Anthropology at the University of Kent.

In recent years the University of Kent has emerged as a centre for the study of psychedelic consciousness in the UK. This symposium presents a selection of relevant work by academics (and alumni) from across the University, including contributions from anthropology, conservation, sociology, criminology, mysticism and Hispanic studies. The breadth of research on psychedelic consciousness at the University of Kent spans from self-medication with psychedelics as a form of empowerment, the cultural identities of people who use psychedelics and other illicit substances, and the ability of consumers to influence drug policy, to the use of active imagination to access paranormal worlds, and the representation of altered states of consciousness in literature.

Dr. Cameron Adams, PhD.
Dr. Caroline Chatwin, PhD.
Dr. Axel Klein, PhD.
Dr. Anna Waldstein, PhD. more TBC

* * *

Ecstasy – Its place in medicine, society and politics: A Multidisciplinary Debate of the relative Benefits and Risks of MDMA.

Organised by Dr. Ben Sessa, MD. Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Somerset, UK.

During the so-called ‘Second Summer of Love’ in 1988 the media told us there would be ‘An Ecstasy Epidemic’ with the potential for serious harm or even death of young people on a large scale. This epidemic of mortality and morbidity did not happen and MDMA has remained a popular recreational drug in the UK for over twenty years. During this time it has been labelled variously as a potential neurotoxin on the one hand and ‘safer than horse riding’ on the other. Despite twenty years of extensive study there remains considerable lack of clarity about its actual degree of harm. In the last five years MDMA has become increasingly researched as an adjunct for psychotherapy; with several placebo-controlled trials completed or under-way throughout the world. Some therapists claim it is an essential tool for trauma-focused psychotherapy – yielding response rates for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder far in excess of traditional drug treatments. But despite these advances MDMA continues to experience an extremely polarised opinion from the general public. This symposium will bring together experts in the field to debate MDMA: Is it friend or foe?

Dr. Rick Doblin, PhD (Chair)
Dr. Ben Sessa, MD.
Dr. Jon Cole, PhD.
Professor Val Curran, MD.
Dr. Andy Parrott, PhD. more TBC

* * *

Bold Visions: The Future of Psychedelic Research.

Organised by the UKC Psychedelics Society.

The psychedelic community is witnessing a research renaissance with rich results, legitimate protocols and government approvals. The success of MAPS is booming, the science is ever more supporting, groups such as the UKC Psychedelics Society are sprouting, and university courses on psychedelics are manifesting. This symposium will see data from current research and questions about where the future of psychedelics lies. What are the far reaches of research? What political problems present themselves? What limitations and lessons have we learnt from the past?

Dr. Rick Doblin, PhD.
Amanda Feilding
Dr. Andy Letcher, PhD.
Andy Roberts more TBC

* * *

With thanks to MAPS for their affiliation with this project and Blue Firth for the artwork.

Friday 3 September 2010

VIGIL: Haunted space, psychometry and spectatorship

Artist Blue Firth, writer and attractor of the strange Mark Pilkington, and myself are (g)hosting an art-science experiment at the Royal Academy of Art... all souls invited...


An Investigation into Haunted Space, Psychometry and Spectatorship

Royal Academy Schools, 1-2 October 2010

Researching a series of unexplained incidents at this historic building, artist Blue Firth uncovered a first-hand account of apparent poltergeist activity in the artists’ studios.

While patrolling the 18th century corridors one night in 2008, Red Collar guard Nathan Phillips experienced something that prevented him from finishing his shift: ‘When I got back to where the skeletons are kept, the doors all slammed shut — like boom, boom, boom one after another. I tried to make out what it could be and checked all the doors again. I got to the same point in the same sequence and the bangs happened all over again. I didn’t finish my patrol that night.’

To make sense of what happened to Nathan, Blue has collaborated with parapsychologist Dr David Luke and writer Mark Pilkington. As preparatory research they undertook investigative training sessions with the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena (ASSAP).

Bringing together their knowledge and experience of the paranormal and arts fields, the trio have devised an event that merges Blue’s art practice with David and Mark’s expertise in making sense of the unexplained. The end result is a unique participatory experiment in which the audience are both observers and the observed, the haunters and the haunted.

Participants will be asked to complete psychological and physiological assessments before and after entering the site of the haunting, which will be monitored for any unusual occurrences. The vigil will take place under carefully controlled conditions and in total darkness.

Combining authentic investigative procedures with subtle performative aspects, Vigil examines and subverts the roles of audience expectation, spectatorship and belief.

Spaces for both nights are extremely limited so we advise reserving your position soon.

Visit the Royal Academy web site ( to buy tickets, or email

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Biospheric States of Consciousness: Where ecology meets psychology

It’s been a tumbleweed-blown coupla months out here on Psychopraxis, ever since I took up co-editing, though I hope to try and squeeze out the odd post still now and then. In the past Psychopraxis ended up as a good spot to rant about the forthcoming talks at the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness lecture series, though I even managed to miss the last two, such as Dr Serena Roney-Dougal’s excellent talk on her 6 years spent living with yogis and lamas in India studying psychic abilities and Greg Sams’ cosmic delve into the consciousness of the Sun.

Now, back in the blogosphere again for a short spell, it’s a good time to big up the next lecture, having scored the ultimate heavyweight at the confluence of Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness: John Allen. The mastermind of Biosphere 2, the R/V Heraclitus ecological research vessel (“I sailed here what did you do?”) and the October Gallery, to name but a few projects, John Allen will be taking all on a journey from the geosphere to the noosphere, fusing biomes with psyches along the way in the discussion of “Biospheric States of Consciousness” on 27th April, the last Tuesday of the month – as are (almost) all talks in this series. Get aboard now for an adventure into the furthest reaches of human possibility.

Biospheric States of Consciousness

John Allen, FLS

Tuesday, 27th April, 2010

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London, WC1N 3AL

(Tel: 44 (0)20 7831 1618). – email: rentals –AT-

RSVP so that we can anticipate numbers – Please book in advance by credit card to guarantee a place or pay on the door.

Entry £7 /£5 Concessions, Arrive 6pm for a 6:30pm Start - Wine available

Join us for an evening with the luminous mind of John Allen. Described as a “visionary, engineer, adventurer, avant-garde theatre producer, systems ecologist and all-round unique individual” (R.U. Sirius), Allen has told his story in Me and the Biospheres: a Memoir by the Inventor of Biosphere 2, which will be a background to his talk. In it, John Allen unfurls “both a warning and a call to action” (Tim Smit) and navigates the reader through his engaging account of the largest laboratory for global ecology ever built.

Biosphere 2 covered three acres of Arizona desert and included seven model biomes: An ocean with coral reef, and a marsh, rainforest, savannah, desert, farm, and micro-city. Eight people lived inside this structure for two years (1991-1993) and grew their own food, and recycled all air and waste.

His talk will introduce you to his extraordinary way of thinking and approach to biospheric states of consciousness, referring to some key people who have provided essential sources of inspiration to understanding our world of life, including: Richard Evans Schultes, Albert Hoffman, Yaqui Shaman, Amazonian Shaman, Anil Thakkar, Sergeant Jackson, and Hamid the Deaf and Dumb Magician. John will discuss how to distinguish different biospheric states of consciousness.

John Allen is an accomplished total systems scientist, poet, philosopher, and inventor who started making Biosphere 2 by assembling together five “smaller” projects: The creation of a ferro-cement sailing ship (R/V Heraclitus) to study ocean and river ecologies and cultures; the development of a rainforest restoration project; a savannah regeneration station; a theatre group that performed on six continents; and the October Gallery, venue of this talk series, showing transvangarde art from around the world, and others. These projects, whose success led to Biosphere 2’s awe-inspiring construction and operation, demanded the efforts of a diverse team of international scientists, engineers, artists and thinkers with whom John Allen worked closely for decades. They included members of the National Science Academies of Russia, Great Britain, and USA.