Hamilton Souther – The Incredible Journey into Shamanism and a Life of Service

Hamilton Souther

Download

In this episode, hosts Joe and Kyle interview Hamilton Souther, Shaman of Blue Morpho. In this episode, they cover Hamilton’s incredible journey from Western life into becoming a Shaman and the spirit teachings that he experienced along the way.

3 Key Points:

  1. Hamilton Souther, a Shaman of Blue Morpho, shares his experience from living a normal Western life to his journey of his calling, learning and training to become a Shaman. He shares amazing examples of connectedness and spirit while living amongst the natives.
  2. A common concept that comes out of an Ayahuasca ceremony is that the plants care for you. The teachings that come from the plants are peace oriented and resolution oriented and opening of creativity and problem solving.
  3. Shamanic training is a long and extremely difficult journey. Training comes to the people that feel the deepest calling, because you have to commit your whole life to it.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics


Trip Journal                                              Integration Workbook

 

 

 

 

 

 


Show Notes

About Hamilton

  • He grew up in Silicon Valley
  • He went to CU Boulder for Anthropology
    • He was interested in humanity
    • He wanted to travel and had opportunities to
  • He had some near death experiences and accidents when he was younger
  • The year after he graduated from college he would go into spontaneous awakenings and altered states of consciousness while totally sober
    • He would have really intense visionary experiences in those states
    • Those experiences were so powerful which led him into training and into his Ayahuasca experiences
  • He felt without purpose and gave himself up to something greater
  • He turned to shamanism to try to explain the nature of those experiences

Spontaneous Awakening

  • Kyle mentions that this can happen, that substances are not always required for an ‘awakening’
  • Hamilton says he wanted to connect to something other than himself
    • The path took him to Peru, and there was a possibility of meeting people with Ayahuasca
    • He was being called to it and knew they were real and it led to his ‘apprenticeship’ as a Shaman
    • It wasn’t by accident that he was there, he had visions that he was supposed to stay there and to learn

Discernment

  • Coming from a scientific background, he demanded (from the spirit guide) that the process be practical and grounded in reason and logic
    • He used doubt in a way that he was able to use a lot of proof and truth toward his belief system rather than just being naive and believing these messages too early
  • He couldn’t envision how to evolve from the vomiting, defecating human on the ground to the composed shaman in the room
  • Even though he spoke the language, he couldn’t understand what the people were saying when they shared their stories
    • It seemed like a different world to him
  • The first few years were learning how to survive in the jungle and learn how to live off of the food
    • He says it was like reliving his childhood, he had no idea how to walk through the forest like he knew how to walk down a street growing up
    • The first house he lived in out of college was one he built himself with locals
  • These experiences were so far from what he grew up in
  • Toward the end of his apprenticeship, ceremony started to look less impossible and more of something he would dedicate his life to

Spirit

  • In the indigenous communities, everybody sees spirits, especially at night
  • And not just in the Ayahuasca culture, its everybody. They thought the jungle was literally alive with spirits
  • They would say things like “call me if you need me” and they meant it telepathically
  • Hamilton says “sure enough, they do answer when you call”.
    • He was in Southern Peru at a pizzeria, and they were in ceremony, and they started to call to him
    • He had to excuse himself from the table and go outside and sit with himself and went into an Ayahuasca vision and the two men in ceremony said to him in the vision “we just wanted to call to say hi”
    • So Hamilton, using his doubt, wrote down the place and the time of when this happened, and when he returned from his travels and got back to the community, the two men gave him the coordinates and time where Hamilton was when they called him. It matched perfectly
    • He realized then and there that they had a very different understanding of the forest and of space time and they were tapped into another kind of knowledge and wisdom
    • That’s what he was looking for when he came down to the Amazon in the first place
    • “The mysteries of consciousness are really unexplored and are not studied by science at all” – Hamilton
    • For Westerners, reality and how it is experienced is just a tiny slice of total consciousness
  • “When you’re in the amazon, and you’re living in the forest and you’re participating in these visionary experiences, you see the interconnectedness of life.” – Hamilton
  • “Globally we’ve all agreed that education, literacy and participating in the economy is worth it. I think it’s worth it to really address on a massive scale what were facing collectively. It’s a part of our natural evolution.” – Hamilton
  • The plants have a very specific role to play, and that they care
    • That’s a common concept that comes out of an Ayahuasca ceremony, that the plants care for you
    • The teachings that come from the plants are peace oriented and resolution oriented and opening of creativity and problem solving
    • Especially with the environmental crisis, people who turn to Ayahuasca start to care for the environment
  • Psychedelic plants have a huge role to play in global life, individual growth and collective change

Blue Morpho

  • Its a center that Hamilton and the shamans that he works with created
  • They did a ceremony to talk with the plants to make sure that this was okay to use as an offering to everyone
  • It started in 2003 and evolved over the years to practice traditional ceremony and now San Pedro
  • People come from all over the world to visit them
  • The majority of the people are really coming for the right reasons, with clear intentions for transformation, growth, exploration and personal healing
  • Over 17 years they have focused on bettering services and professionalism and they believe they have truly succeeded
  • Ayahuasca is just one aspect of Amazonian plant medicine
    • There are hundred of plants with medicinal healing properties
    • The Dieta is a period of time where you go into deep individual isolation and connection to a specific medicinal plant where you create a relationship with a plant
    • Then you go into the Ayahuasca ceremony and Icaros are sung and you drink the Ayahuasca
    • Then the Dieta is a time where there are restrictions such as abstinence, no alcohol, strict food diet, no medications, etc. and you go into a meditative state for healing for a time of a few days, to weeks to even months

Shaman Training

  • Training comes to the people that feel the deepest calling, because you have to commit your whole life to it
  • Then, you find a lineage of shamans that are willing to accept you (if you aren’t born into a lineage of shamans)
  • It’s a journey, and you have to find a group of people open for training
    • It’s different from any kind of training from the western world, it’s a tremendous journey, and it could take years to decades
    • Its meant to be a test, and incredibly difficult
    • When Hamilton trained, he was told that 1 out of 100 make it to be actual shamans
  • It’s really a job of service, not an exalted one
    • The reason the training is so incredibly difficult, is so that you can sit with people, who are going through extremely difficult, and transformational experiences and you can be there for them and love and support them unconditionally with the strength gained through the training process
    • “Its a role of service, you have to be able to deal with any form of suffering that people come to you with.” – Hamilton

Final Thoughts

  • Stay open minded
  • He warns about a dystopian world
  • We need to be the change makers, and there is a lot we can do
    • We are incredibly powerful, especially when we are united in common goals
    • Whether they are about human rights or the climate
  • There is something mysterious about life itself

Links


About Hamilton Souther

Hamilton Souther

Hamilton focuses his work on Universal Spiritual Philosophy. He is bilingual in English and Spanish, has a Bachelors degree in Anthropology, and has studied shamanism in California, Cusco, and the Amazon. Hamilton was given the title of Master Shaman by Alberto Torres Davila and Julio Llerena Pinedo after completing an apprenticeship under Alberto and Julio. He guides ceremonies and leads shamanic workshops, in which he shares Universal Spiritual Philosophy.

Sean McAllister – The Successful Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative in Denver

sean mcallister

Download

In this episode, Joe records with Sean McAllister, an attorney who helped advise Decriminalize Denver. During this special, extra episode, Sean helps us understand the language in the recent bill for Mushroom Decriminalization in Denver, CO.

3 Key Points:

  1. Recently, Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization passed on the ballot in Denver, CO.
  2. Psilocybin mushrooms have not been made legal, they have simply been decriminalized. This means that Denver has the lowest law enforcement priority around psilocybin and that no money can be used to criminalize this behavior.
  3. Decriminalization of Psilocybin in Denver is a big step toward changing the stigma around psychedelics. But we need to be careful, decriminalization is just a tiny step in the right direction and we need to be respectful and responsible with this initiative.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics


Trip Journal                                               Integration Workbook

 

 

 

 

 

 


Show Notes

On May 8th, the city of Denver, Colorado voted yes on I-301, which decriminalizes the possession and use of Psilocybin-containing mushrooms. The official results will be certified on May 16th. As of May 9th – the unofficial results are – yes (50.6%) and no (49.4%). 

I-301 decriminalizes adult (21 years or older) possession and use of Psilocybin mushrooms – making these offenses the lowest priority for law enforcement. This initiative also prohibits law enforcement to spend money and resources enforcing arresting adults with possession of mushrooms. 

Sean’s Role in the Mushroom Decriminalization in Denver, CO

  • Sean is an Attorney with McAllister Garfield Law Firm in Denver
  • He has done a lot with cannabis law since 2005
  • He heard about the Mushroom Decriminalization campaign and began working with them
  • His role started in January to help the team understand what it would look like if the bill passed and his role definitely continues going forward now that it has passed

What the Vote Means

  • “Decriminalize” means just that
    • Psilocybin mushrooms have not been made legal, they have simply been decriminalized
    • “You should never be arrested for putting something in your body that grows naturally in nature.” – Sean
  • This means that Denver has the lowest law enforcement priority around Psilocybin
    • It’s not legal, it’s not regulated
  • This bill means that a person cannot be imprisoned for possession and cultivation for personal possession amounts
  • The city is not supposed to spend any money to criminalize this behavior
  • You can grow them to eat them yourself, but you can’t grow them to sell them
    • This also doesn’t mean that groups can host events and ‘give out’ mushrooms as a gift in return for a donation, this is not good behavior for this initiative
  • This initiative is simply a first step at looking at mushrooms in a better light and reducing the stigma
  • For the benefit of this bill passing, we have to be careful about amounts, the smaller the amount of mushrooms the better
    • There isn’t an amount listed in the bill to distinguish between personal use and intent to sell
  • The city has to establish a review commission
    • What this commission is supposed to do is track the public safety impact, use, criminal justice impact, etc
    • We hope and guess that psilocybin will not impact any of these, just like how marijuana did not impact anything for the worse when it was decriminalized
    • Once the city sees the results, they won’t have so much stigma about it, and Denver will lead the way for the state and the rest of the nation for sensible drug policy

Political Pushback

  • The typical response was “we already legalized marijuana, let’s not jump to something else”
  • Sean thinks this gives Denver an amazing reputation, that it understands therapeutic ability and research and no tolerance for the drug war
  • “We need a system that addresses public safety concerns but maintains as much personal liberty as possible on these topics” – Sean

Other Initiatives

  • Sean is a part of Chacruna, based in San Francisco
  • Oakland is attempting to Decriminalize Nature, which by nature means all naturally occurring substances
    • They aren’t on a ballot, they are looking to convince city council to agree with it and accept it
  • California attempted to raise signatures to be on the ballot in the 2018 election but it failed to get on the ballot
  • Oregon is now collecting signatures to get on the ballot at the state level in 2020
    • Oregon’s model is for medicalization, Sean expresses concern for a purely medical model
    • Between big pharma and quiet equity firms, they want to monetize on psychedelics like they did with marijuana, and that’s what we risk with medicalization
  • Psychedelic Liberty Summit in 2020 in the Bay Area will be to talk about the rights and wrongs around psychedelic initiatives

Final Thoughts

  • Sean mentions a possible system that revolves around a licensing structure
    • Similar to how we get a drivers license; we practice, we take tests, etc.
    • For psychedelics, we would need to learn the effects, harm reduction techniques, take tests to verify our knowledge, etc and receive a license that allows us to use psychedelics freely
    • If we abuse psychedelics and use them improperly, then we would get our license taken away, suspended, etc.
  • Overall, after this initiative passing, we have to be careful we don’t ruin this victory with poor behavior
  • Let’s just do what we’re doing respectfully, responsibly, and to ourselves

Links


About Sean McAllister

Sean T. McAllister is one of the nation’s leading cannabis business attorneys, licensed to practice law in both Colorado and California. Sean’s legal work focuses on the complex interplay between corporate law and state cannabis regulatory structures and federal law. Sean is a recognized leader in the cannabis industry. In 2004, he founded Sensible Colorado, which worked on all of the ballot initiatives in Colorado that culminated in recreational cannabis legalization in 2012.

Shane Lemaster – Reaching the Maximum Potential of our Minds

Shane LeMaster

Download

In this episode, Joe talks with Shane LeMaster, Licensed Addiction Counselor and Certified Mental Performance Consultant. Shane is also involved in Psychotherapy as well as Sport and Performance Psychology and Psychedelic Integration Therapy. In this episode they cover a range of topics such as social work, Ketamine, sensory deprivation, psychedelic icons and the psychedelic culture.

3 Key Points:

  1. Shane has a podcast of his own, and his goal with the podcast is to bring people’s personal experiences to light to learn from them, to master the potential of our minds.
  2. Ketamine is a great gateway to opening up people’s minds to all of the other psychedelics. Its also a great place to start for therapy.
  3. Every single facilitator or shaman has different techniques and styles and that’s okay
    If we don’t have differences then we won’t have styles to choose from.

Support the show

Navigating Psychedelics


Trip Journal                                               Integration Workbook

 

 

 

 

 

 


Show Notes

About Shane

  • Joe and Shane met up recently at a Psychedelic Club meeting about harm reduction in Fort Collins
  • Shane just got accepted into the PhD program in social work at CSU
    • He had been pursuing a PhD program in psychology and it wasn’t working out for him so he decided to take the social work route
    • He works with many people and has developed a strong skill set on the micro level and he wants to start making impact on a macro level with helping people

Social Work

  • Shane thinks of social work as an integrative approach for every discipline that we find useful, to come to a holistic, greater understanding of an issue
  • Shane wants to use Ketamine as a ‘medium’ term goal, because it’s legal
    • But ketamine is not where he is going to stop, he finds there are benefits in many other substances
    • He would love to work with LSD and Psilocybin
    • He will continue to offer his services through his business Mind Ops
  • Shane’s Podcast – Conversations with the Mind
    • His goal with the podcast is to bring people’s personal experiences to light to learn from them
    • It’s important to create dialogue and invite people for conversation with differing opinions
    • The goal is to create a theory that implements both opinions

Ketamine

  • Ketamine is a great gateway to opening up people’s minds to all of the other psychedelics
  • Shane has had a lot of personal and recreational experiences on Ketamine and when he returns to it as a medicine, he is able to attain and sharpen skills for mindfulness
  • Joe brings up the idea that recreational ketamine could have the ability to bring up past trauma or may re-traumatize someone if not used therapeutically
    • Ketamine has a lot of risks, but being educated and using the substance correctly can be absolutely beneficial
    • Shane says we shouldn’t try to avoid trauma, we should accept it and use it for good and let it power us
    • “Sometimes we don’t even know what were suppressing. We need some assistance to show us what were avoiding in life and I think that psychedelics help with that a lot.” – Shane

Sensory Deprivation

  • Shane says he’s interested in John Lilly’s work from back in the day and his terminology of being able to meta-program your human brain
  • Joe says John Lilly was a big part of isolation chambers which led to float tanks

Psychedelic Icons

  • Joe mentions Robert Anton Wilson, he was good friends with Timothy Leary
  • “My interest is not in psychedelics themselves, but psychedelics as a means to access higher states of who we are, parts we have forgotten.” – Shane
  • Psychedelics are just one way to tap into ourselves and discover our ultimate potential
  • “We should all be questioning, everyday, changing our belief systems” – Shane
  • “Belief is the death of intelligence” – Robert Anton Wilson
  • Shane says a lot of people give Leary a bad rap, but Shane appreciates what he has done
  • Joe mentions ‘smile squared’ – Space, migration, intelligence and life extension
  • TFYQA – Think for yourself question authority
  • “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out” – Timothy Leary
    • Shane says that phrase sticks with him, it called to his rebel phase in youth to grow and do this work in his life

The Psychedelic Culture

  • Splitting – a rephrase of divide and conquer
  • Joe says the psychedelic world is very cut throat
    • “We should take care of each other a bit more in this space” – Joe
    • Shane says, we need to lift each other up versus look for ways to step over each other
    • Every single facilitator or shaman has different techniques and styles and that’s okay
    • If we don’t have differences then we don’t have styles to choose from
    • “We can’t become fundamentalists in our own practices, we need to value the differences culturally and from a world view. They are all valuable.” – Shane

Links

Website

Mind Op Youtube 
Podcast


About Shane

Shane earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, CO, completed extensive coursework towards a Master of Arts Degree in Sport & Performance Psychology at the University of Denver, and earned his Master of Arts Degree in Sport & Exercise Psychology from Argosy University.

Shane is nationally certified as a Sport Psychology Consultant and a licensed mental health clinician in the state of Colorado. Having worked in community non-profit mental health since 2008, Shane has gained experience working with the entire spectrum of mental disorders and with all populations and age groups. Shane plans on attending a Ph.D program in Counseling Psychology where his interest in Resiliency, Mental Toughness, and Mindfulness Training Program Development can be explored and further developed.

He is a life-long athlete having competed at various levels in more than a dozen different sports. Because of his passion for warrior cultures of past and present, Shane has been ardently developing his own “Warriorship,” training in various forms of Martial Arts for 25 years. Shane feels that the self-discipline, the philosophy of non-violence, the innumerable mental and physical benefits, and the enjoyment that he gains from the Martial Arts is what helped drive his passion in the field of Psychology.

His personal interest in Eastern Philosophy stems from his adoption of a Buddhist lifestyle and blends well with his training in Western Psychological Science. Clients describe Shane as an out-of-the-box clinician that is easy to get along with, knowledgeable on a variety of topics, credible with lived experience, and as having the ability to make therapy fun and interesting.