Jerry and Julie Brown – Healing Through Mystical Experience

In this episode, Joe interviews Jerry and Julie Brown. Jerry (Ph.D.) is an author and activist, who served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami for 42 years. Julie (M.A.) is an author and integrative psychotherapist, who worked with cancer patients with a focus on guided imagery. Together, they are co-authors of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity.

They talk about their blogpost on Psychedelics Today and inspiring studies: Walter Pahnke’s original psilocybin study at Marsh Chapel and Roland Griffiths’ recent studies at Johns Hopkins and the amazing results at each, Robin Carhart-Harris’ MRI analysis, and some of Julie’s successes using guided imagery to empower 3 cancer clients to heal after conventional cancer treatment was ineffective.

They talk about guided imagery and the body’s ability to heal itself, how mystical states actually help heal people, how disease starts in the mind, Ancient Greece’s psychedelic Rites of Eleusis, and their own personal life-changing psychedelic experiences related to Johns Hopkins’ 5 common elements of mystical experience.

And they talk about their most popular book, The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, which highlights images of mushrooms and psychedelic art found throughout Christian history (all the way back to Gnostic Gospels), and their possible relationship to the birth of Christianity and the story of Jesus. 

Notable Quotes

“The questions are: Can psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy be used not only to alleviate the psychological anxiety (as we saw at Johns Hopkins) and the depression, but can it also be used to facilitate the physiological healing in cancer patients, as Julie has done through facilitating mystical experiences? That’s a big question. The second one is: in time, are we going to see what today, is long-term costly, clinical psychotherapy of a variety of different modalities, eventually be enhanced by short-term, much more affordable psychedelic psychotherapy?” -Jerry Brown

“In astrophysics, dark matter, which they say makes up most of the universe- it can not be directly detected or seen. It can only be implied through the gravitational effects that it causes. So, in psychology, mystical experience cannot be easily accessed, but it can be reliably created both through psychedelics, and as Julie’s work has shown, through guided imagery. In other words, hidden from ordinary consciousness, mystical experience manifests from the dark matter of the mind to facilitate healing.” -Jerry Brown 

“F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author, said there’s no second acts in American lives, but fortunately, psychedelics is having its second act, and I think if we do it right this time, we can really integrate it into our culture, both in a therapeutic setting, and [also in settings] modeled after the Greek Eleusinian mysteries, where healthy people can go to explore psychedelics for personal growth and for spirituality and creativity.” -Jerry Brown


Psychedelics Today blog: Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Insights from Guided-Imagery Therapy with Cancer Patients


Psychedelic Gospels Facebook

The Psychedelic Gospels: Evidence of Entheogens in Christian Art presentation on Youtube


About Jerry and Julie Brown

Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., is an anthropologist, author, and activist. From 1972 to 2014, he served as founding professor of anthropology at Florida International University in Miami, where he taught a course on “Hallucinogens and Culture.” Julie M. Brown, M.A., LMHC, is an integrative psychotherapist, who works with cancer patients. They are coauthors of The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, 2016; “Entheogens in Christian Art: Wasson, Allegro and the Psychedelic Gospels,” Journal of Psychedelic Studies, 2019; and “Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy: Insights from Guided Imagery Therapy with Cancer Patients,” Psychedelics Today, May 28, 2020.

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