February 24th, 2021
OF THE PSYCHEDELIC LEADERSHIP PODCAST
Training Psychedelic Facilitators for the
Legalization of Psilocybin in Oregon (Measure 109) with Françoise Bourzat
Laura Dawn speaks with psychedelic pioneer, Françoise Bourzat, about the rollout of measure 109, which legalizes the therapeutic use of psilocybin in Oregon State. Through the Center for Consciousness Medicine that she founded, Francoise is helping to create the training program that qualifies health professionals to offer psychedelic-assisted psilocybin therapy legally in Oregon.
I really hope we stay curious, that we keep learning from one another. We keep listening to ideas we don’t know anything about, even if we think they are really negative or oppositional to what we stand for, to stay in the spirit of curiosity and to not create opposition, not out of conflict avoidance but more to stay in the spirit of oneness.
About This Episode:
The passing of Measure 109 in Oregon was a pivotal moment for the psychedelic movement. By 2023, qualified practitioners will be able to legally administer psilocybin for therapeutic purposes. In this episode, Laura Dawn speaks with psychedelic pioneer Francoise Bourzat who is part of designing the curriculum to train practitioners to safely and legally support their clients’ healing process through the intentional consumption of sacred mushrooms.
Francoise Bourzat discusses:
- Where they are at in the process of creating the curriculum;
- The hurdles they have to overcome;
- Government support and accessibility;
- The potential drawbacks of psychedelic legalization;
- Who can access this training for psychedelic practitioners, and how long it will last;
- The importance of reciprocity and what that really means;
- Wisdom from her Mazatec teachers from Oaxaca, Mexico;
- Her perspective on cultural appropriation, and how it’s taken often out of context;
- Her hopes to build more resources for the Mazatec people;
- The overlap and intersection between indigenous wisdom and modern psychology and how they could be used together as a more complete framework.
- We end the conversation with wise advice she offers psychedelic leaders stepping into the space.
Explored in this episode:
Episode #12: Françoise Bourzat Psychedelic Leadership Podcast.
Laura Dawn [0:02]: My name is Laura Dawn. And you’re listening to episode number 12 of the psychedelic leadership podcast featuring my conversation with the author, founder of the Center for Consciousness Medicine, and Psychedelic pioneer, Francoise Bourzat.
And the thing of the appropriation is a topic that we take a bit out of context, it’s important to do cases, it’s important to do offerings, it’s important to do prayers, it’s important to do an altar that belongs to everyone. And the indigenous people web,
What I’m hearing from them is do that you learn from us the value of calling directions or blessing a room, or calling the sun in the morning, or you’re putting flowers on the altar, you learn from us that. And then you do because it serves you It serves your life, it helps you. It reminds you of the divine, we teach you about the sacred, and you have it it’s not sacred doesn’t belong to us. And these rituals are universal, they belong to human sanity.
I hope that we stay curious and we keep learning from one another. And we keep listening to ideas we don’t know anything about, even if we’re saying they’re negative, or oppositional to what we stand for, to stay in the spirit of curiosity and to not create opposition. None of a lot of conflict avoidance, but more stay in the spirit of oneness.
All I’ll say is that Francois is a total legend in the psychedelic space. I just love how much people love her. In Episode Number 10 featuring Charlotte and Dre from the Sabina project, I mentioned Francoise’s name and Dre was like hold up the positive discussion, I need to profess my love for this woman. And this just seems to be the general reaction I get from people who know her. Francoise Bozarth is the author of consciousness medicine, indigenous wisdom, and theologians and expanded states of consciousness for healing and growth. And she has quite the incredible life story from a traumatic near-death experience she had in Thailand many years ago, that led her on a path of healing.
And she’s now been leading ceremonies with sacred mushrooms for over 30 years. And I highly recommend her book, which I’ve read twice now. And it lays out her framework for navigating expanded states of consciousness and offers a lot of insight around plant medicine integration as well. And so, I’ll post a link to her book in the show notes. And as we’ll talk about in this interview, Francois has played a supportive role in the passing of measure 109 in Oregon State, legalizing the use of psilocybin by professionals for therapeutic purposes. And needless to say, the passing of measure 109 in Oregon, and the Decree movement, in general, is completely changing the name of the game for the future of psychedelics. And so, Francoise is also the founder of the Center for Consciousness Medicine.
And she is directly involved in creating the facilitator training programs that professionals in Oregon will have to go through to be quote-unquote, certified to administer silicide, and legally. And so, we’ll talk all about this and so much more in this conversation. And at the end of this episode, I’ll be leaving you with a song by a dear medicine brother, Chad Wilkins called Sing for The Earth. And if you haven’t yet received my playlists that feature wonderful musicians such as Chad Wilkins, for psychedelic journeys and beyond, I also use these playlists for my micro-dosing morning rituals. You can swipe that along with my free eight-day micro-dosing course at livefreelaurade.com. And if you are a musician or you know, a talented musician of the inspirational variety, please send some links my way and contact me through my website. Once again, livefreelaurende.com. And I’ll be more than happy to tune in. Okay, without any further ado, here’s my conversation with psychedelic pioneer Francoise Bourzat.
Laura Dawn [4:17]: Aloha Francoise, thank you so much for joining me today.
Francoise Bourzat [4:21]: You’re welcome. And thanks for having me.
Laura Dawn [4:24]: So, I’ve read your book, Consciousness Medicine, indigenous wisdom and theologians, and expanded states of consciousness for healing and growth a couple of times at this point, and I just so appreciate your perspective, your knowledge, and your wisdom. And I just want to start this conversation by saying thank you for your life’s work really, and your dedication to this path, and for being a mentor to so many people in the psychedelic space.
Francoise Bourzat [4:53]: Thank you. Yes, it’s been wonderful to gather all this thoughts and wisdom and experience and offer them to the field to the movement at large and it’s been, not surprisingly but to me, it was a little bit surprising to see how people I respect like Rick Doblin or Fadiman or Ralph Metzner. But Ralph has a friend. So, that’s different. But we’re supportive and endorsing my words. And so, it’s been wonderful to contribute and feel part of a group of elders in this field. So, yes.
Laura Dawn [5:30]: And we are living during what feels like an incredibly pivotal moment in the psychedelic movement. And I would love to start by inviting you to share an overview of what’s happening in Oregon right now, especially, with measure 109. And why this is so significant, especially right now, and what this means for the future of psychedelic therapy.
Francoise Bourzat [5:54]: This is a wonderful initiative I was invited on onboard by Tom and Sheri Eckert. They decided five years ago to spearhead this initiative of trying to get legal access to mushroom therapy or mushroom experiences for people in their state of Oregon. And I was invited to be on the campaign board was Paul Stamets and Robin Carhart-Harris from London and Mark Aiden, from maps Canada, and of course, Tom and Sheri and myself. There was a lot of support from David Bronner, there was a lot of support from various funders to get the campaign going, especially, gathering the votes in COVID, that was quite a feat to be able to achieve that.
And the fact that it was on the ballot was already an amazing signal of people wanting that. I mean, of course, a lot of work went into the campaign, but still, and when it passed, I was in Oregon for that I flew to Oregon to Portland to celebrate the passing of the initiative. Of course, we weren’t sure it would pass. But that was wonderful being there with the team, and we had a lot of campaign meetings and dialogues and with a legal adviser, Graham Boyd, and wonderful people. David Bronner was there every time to brainstorm and the fact that this initiative passed is communicating that there is a place for mushroom experiences in between the scientific research that goes on in John Hopkins and Imperial College and NYU and various universities and medical centers.
And a sort of decree nature free access, get your mushroom, drop your mushrooms and hope for the best, I think there is a middle ground that this initiative offers for people to have access to well prepared, well supported and well-integrated experiences with sacred mushrooms. And that is a strong signal and not just around, quote-unquote, treatments, but approaches that can alleviate suffering, that can help people expand their consciousness and create more peace in their inner life and the life of their family and community.
So, what’s happening right now after the vote was a success is that there are two years of implementation, which means that there is a group of us working together with different organizations to create or suggest to the Oregon Health Administration’s the criteria for the training of the facilitators that will dispense this offering of mushroom experiences. So, we are designing curriculum, together with like I said, a few other entities, my organization, my group, Center for Consciousness, Medicine, but also some other wonderful people. So, it’s a collaborative effort and an alliance of sort that we want to present to the Oregon Health Administration as a way of presenting a seriously high standard of care and education, to the advisory board of the administration to secure that this initiative would be rolled out safely, diligently, carefully. And with a well-educated body of facilitators.
Laura Dawn [9:59]: Wonderful. And will anyone be able to partake in that facilitation training? Or do you need to have a background as a nurse or a psychologist or therapist?
Francoise Bourzat [10:10]: I think anybody will be able to access the training, there will be a foundational knowledge or education regarding trauma regarding psychological processes regarding grief regarding, the baseline of what someone should know to be able to address some situations that may come in during the experience. And then what we have suggested or what we will suggest, is a system of quote-unquote triage, meaning someone who wants to apply to have an experience would be depending on their intake and their intention, and why they come to this facilitation will be then oriented towards someone more inclined to be a chaplain or someone more inclined to be a therapist or trauma therapist or a psychiatrist or an addiction specialist or so, there will be a variety of angles and roads for anybody to be directed into.
So, someone who is very highly traumatized, and would need some psychological skill support would not be oriented towards that might be more equipped to deal with the issue of grief, or other spiritual dimension brought into this experience. So, I think that this triage system, so to speak, is a way to optimize the care also.
Laura Dawn [11:40]: And so, there’s a two-year rollout period where you are working with a group of people to formulate that and how long do you think the training is going to be for people to immerse themselves in before they’re, quote-unquote, qualified or certified to hold space as a facilitator?
Francoise Bourzat [11:58]: So, we are discussing this, the training is possibly going to start this summer, to have time to train people over a year, we want people to have access to some experiences themselves before they are going to be equipped to sit for people or facilitate these processes. So, because the actual permission to ingest medicine will be only authorized on January 2023, we are debating if the students would be waiting for that green light to have their own practical experiences in their sort of practicum phase, or if they would maybe travel to a place where the practice of mushroom is not illegal, like the Netherlands or Jamaica, or possibly Canada when it’s not sure yet.
And then have their practicum phase of training and be ready before January 2023. So, we’re not exactly sure how that’s going to pan out. But we’re working diligently on making sure that people can apply to train, but we need to get all our ducks in a row and make sure that training is well designed and well complete, and holes, and then we have to submit this training curriculum to the Oregon Health Administration to see if they would accept it and find it adequate, which I want to believe they would find it well done because we are putting a lot of attention and skill into it. And they don’t know what to suggest. So, they’re leaning into this sort of advisory group to get suggestions of good practice.
Laura Dawn [13:54]: So, measure 109 states that these certified practitioners, will be legal for only people who go through this particular training program to legally administer psilocybin.
Francoise Bourzat [14:09]: Correct.
Laura Dawn [14:10]: Okay, just to clarify that.
Francoise Bourzat [14:12]: There will be licensure. So, people will go through the training program for facilitators in one organization or the other, we are few of us. And then they will be sort of licensure, as a test so to speak, right? They would have a report from their trainer, and they will all have a mentor to supervise their work or consult. And then they will have a licensure exam, and they will have a license to be able to practice this work.
Laura Dawn [14:47]: Wow. It’s just so amazing that you’re working on the state level. It’s amazing. It’s remarkable and why do you think it’s happening now?
Francoise Bourzat [14:58]: I think there is a hunger for more freedom and more access. The decree movement, as you will know, is very, very active and very successful in changing the landscape of access, right, or at least decriminalization, which is a big piece of this. And this gentleman who was our legal advisor in Oregon, and he’s also my legal adviser in my work on Graham Boyd has been the legal adviser for all these motions in different states. He’s been working diligently on making sure things pass, mostly because it reduces incarcerations. And, of course, there is a way to have people have more like civil liberty and freedom to consume what they want to consume, just like they drink alcohol, well, they can take something else is not more dangerous, possibly less dangerous.
But mostly it reduces incarceration, especially if people of color. So, there’s a great social scene here that is being changed through the decree movement and this legalization with 109 in Oregon, and that creates a model for other states to follow suit as well. So, we can imagine that I don’t know maybe California or maybe Hawaii, or maybe Vermont or other states that are fairly progressive might see the moment where the ballots can move that forward. There are also ways to work with the Supreme Court of the state or not necessarily through an electoral vote, but also through City Councils and such and State Council. So, there are different ways but I think the idea is that people they hearing enough about the research that is taking place successfully, and by Michael Pollan’s book and all these different ways of communicating the success of this approach is that they want to have access to it and they want to have liberty safely, and safe care to have these experiences.
I don’t want it to be reserved for the people who are so ill with depression and suicidal ideation, or people who are so sick with PTSD are so sick with anxiety that they can function. A lot of people have some depression, some anxiety, or some trauma, and they function. So, they don’t qualify for the studies necessarily. And the studies are very limited. I’m doing a study and I’m consulting for a study in Los Angeles. That is FDA approved study, it was so exciting. And it’s going to be a very limited number of subjects and, and subjects that qualify with a very limited amount of access.
Laura Dawn [18:03]: And so, what do you foresee some of the greatest challenges or what are you paying attention to, in terms of the drawbacks of legalization?
Francoise Bourzat [18:13]: Well, the measure in Oregon is drafted in such a way that it doesn’t become a cannabis industry like it was in other states, where the cannabis industry came in because cannabis became legal. It’s not drafted the same way. I don’t know exactly another legal expert to tell you the difference in the actual write-up of the initiative. But it’s not about creating a big industry that would monopolize an industry of growing mushrooms and monopolizing the distribution, the motion, the initiative is written in such a way that it remains inaccessible idea or experience. So, it’s different from the candidates, but that would be a big drawback if it would become such industry like cannabis, but it’s not done that way. So, I think that other states might look at the initiative was very astute eyes to make sure that if they want to do that, it remains not an open door to the big industry I can get.
Laura Dawn [19:24]: And how accessible is this therapy going to be for lower-income families? Especially what we’re seeing with Ketamine, one session, it’s pretty expensive to receive treatment. And so, I’m curious, how accessible are these medicines can be, is the state going to help fund or offer you know, health care support for receiving these treatments?
Francoise Bourzat [19:47]: Yes, so we are looking at that this is not in my skill to navigate the budget and the rollout financially and how the healthcare system on the state level will be able to subside or through donation maybe or the retreat centers would be from an ethical perspective, which is something we write into our training, the ethical aspect of our training to make sure that this rollout is also accessible for free or accessible for very low costs to some people who deserve the treatment like everybody else but can’t pay. And that could be a sliding scale, or there could be some different structure of payments.
So, people pay according to their means as well. So, we have to see what different structures, different organizations will run that differently. And we can’t impose an ethical practice like that, financially, but it will create a culture where that is addressed, or at least announced. So, I’m intending in my organization to run some training, and also, of course, impart that kind of ethical concern and accessibility concern. And so, the issue of diversity and accessibility is part of what I will be teaching the facilitators. And then if we do open, which we might open some retreat center or treatment center, I don’t know exactly what to call those places. But as we are rolling out our facilitation process, that it’s part of my angle to make sure that people who come to the door are served, regardless of their means.
Laura Dawn [21:46]: What are some of the other ethical pieces that are really at the forefront that you guys are discussing right now, in terms of bringing this training and formulating this training, staying connected to an indigenous lineage? Is that at the forefront of a concern that you guys have? What are some of the ethical pieces that you’re addressing right now?
Francoise Bourzat [22:06]: Well, as you see, in my book, my entire background is about indigenous knowledge and wisdom. And that’s how I got educated, so to speak, and immersed into that culture of this work as it has been conducted in Mexico. And that’s how I came into this work. So, for me, it’s intrinsic to what I know, I cannot separate what I would tell people how to run a session, and where it’s coming from this is total goes together. I cannot, it’s part of my training, right?
My training talks about lineage, he talks about acknowledgment about respect, but reciprocity about naming the names of the teachers who have held this tradition before us. What do we give back? How do we acknowledge their wisdom? And how do we weave their wisdom or their angle of doing this work into our approach now in the more industrialized world, so this is a lot of what I’m all about, being sort of a bridge or sort of a translator without, claiming that I’m them. I’m not an indigenous person, but my immersion into that culture impacted me to include that voice in my teachings.
And I’m not sure it’s the same for other organizations who don’t have quite a foot and a root system into the indigenous culture as I do. But it doesn’t mean they don’t, suddenly don’t honor and respect and talk about that. So, in the training we are developing, we are including a portion on reciprocity and respect of the indigenous tradition and naming what they did. And in my certainly, my version of the training is, we’re very much name and we’ve all this different cosmology and practices and intelligence that the indigenous culture and model has taught me.
Laura Dawn [24:07]: It’s so interesting, this topic of cultural appropriation because, on the one hand, it’s like if I’m enacting a ritual or a practice that comes from another culture, and let’s say it was passed down through various people, and then arrived at me by enacting that, you know, is that culturally appropriating? And is it or is it more appropriate for me to cultivate my practice? That’s new. But then the argument against that is that I’m not carrying a lineage or I’m not honoring a lineage. So, it seems like there’s this very strong catch 22 going on with the cultural appropriation remarks and comments that get made and arguments in the space around this. So, I’m curious about your perspective on that.
Francoise Bourzat [24:53]: Well, my perspective is a dialogue with that I have was my indigenous friends in Mexico. who carries this tradition? And I asked them I said, do I have permission to replicate your ritual? Do I have permission? Do I have your blessing? What do you feel about me doing the gesture or the objects of the altar or the way you deal with the cleansing or the offering of the way you smoke the room, the way you put the flowers, the way you serve the medicine, can I do that? Can I do all this? And they look at me, and he said, What? How would you do it otherwise? So, it’s very interesting, the appropriation is a Western is a kind of a is our concern, which is valid to be politically aware, and respectful, and not steal and claim that it’s ours.
But when my teacher came to California, and we were doing an offering one morning here, and she said, well, what do you do your offerings? It was really at the beginning of my connection with her. And I said, well, I don’t really, offerings are kind of your ritual. I don’t want to take away your ritual and do it. And she said, but that’s crazy. She said you should do offerings. And I said, well, but that’s your ritual. And she said, well, I tell you to do offerings, and she was like, exasperated with my politeness because she felt it’s not a matter of It’s what you do. If you do an offering, and you mean it. It’s okay, offerings are international, they’re universal, they don’t belong to one tradition. It’s the principle if I offer cocoa beans because I bring them back from Mexico, and they mean something to me, okay, that’s what I offer.
But if I’m in Tibet, I’m going to do rice, right, I want to offer rice, or if I’m in Bali, I’m going to offer flowers. Or if I’m in the Black Hills of the Lakota reservation, I’m going to do Sage or Juniper or something, I’m not going to be doing the same offering, the point is the offering. So, that is a universal practice. And I think that appropriation is a topic that we take a bit out of context, it’s important to do the cleansing, it’s important to do offer, it’s important to do prayers, it’s important to do an altar, that belongs everywhere, right.
And the indigenous people, what I’m hearing from them is do that you learn from us the value of calling directions, or blessing a room, or calling the sun in the morning, or putting flowers on your altar, you learn from us that and then you do it because it serves you it serves your life, it helps you it reminds you of the divine, we teach you about the sacred, and you have it it’s not sacred doesn’t belong to us.
And these rituals are universal, they belong to the human family. So, I think that there is a worry that we have that is well funded. But that’s a little bit limiting and kind of paralyzing really, where we stop doing what we want to do out of fear of insulting people, when in fact, what they want us to do is exactly those rituals. They want us to do the ritual. And my teacher said, well, if you don’t have cocoa beans, what would you put on the ground? And I said, well, I would put rice or cornmeal or I would put my seeds from my garden and she said, yes, seeds from your garden are good because it belongs to your land. Okay.
So, it has to belong to your land, and you offer it back to the land. So, you see, it’s not like I have to import something necessarily, but I can work with the principle of the ritual with what’s true for me in where I live, right? So, I can import Palo Santo certainly. Does it grow in my house? Or does its part of the land? Not really. Okay, so, this is okay to borrow Palo Santo. But it’s also okay to burn the Juniper that grows in my land or the sage.
Laura Dawn [29:23]: It’s better to be burning something else because Paulo Santos is now becoming an endangered tree. So, that’s where the awareness seems to happen, whole another story. And then what’s your perspective on blending more traditional practices with the practices that make sense for Western culture?
Francoise Bourzat [29:45]: I think it’s fine. I think whatever we do, as long as we do it with a heart was that it means something for us. A gesture, an empty gesture is an appropriation gesture that is filled with spirit with respect with connectedness with connecting with the people we’ve learned that from and how grateful we are. We can bring this together I do all kinds of things that are all mixed. I do I burn Sage, while Sage is not really from the Masoretic tradition of Mexico, I bring Kapow which is the Masoretic tradition.
And I can offer, a Mandela on the earth, that is, my tradition that I do that doesn’t belong necessarily to anyone, and that’s my altar building to the earth. Well, that’s my creation, okay. And I mix that with other things. And I can put for direction create a medicine wheel, which belongs to other tradition, but also sort of a universal compass of orientation. So, it’s more a matter of doing the things you do, because it works for you. And when you invite people into those circles or those rituals, they feel touched, and they feel it affects them in a good way. So, that’s really what the most important thing is.
Laura Dawn [31:11]: If you had to distill some of the most precious nuggets of wisdom that you’ve received from your teachers over the years, what would you say those nuggets of wisdom have been that they’ve been part of you with? And if you feel called to speak to naming your teachers, I’d also love to do invite space for that as well.
Francoise Bourzat [31:34]: So, Pablo Sanchez taught me about the tribe, of the community, the collective, he was a Native American and Mexican man and had the strength of what a council is by sitting in the circle was part of his background. And I could feel that when we were doing the work together, there was a very strong sense of tribe. And the tribe of people who I worked with back in the mid-80s, is still my best tribe, my community that we’re still together. Every year, Thanksgiving is different things. The collective was really important for Julieta, what I learned a lot is to listen to nature. Listen to the spirits of the place, listen to how they affect you. Make your offerings clean yourself, talk as much as you can ongoingly. And have respect.
Laura Dawn [32:44]: And by that, you mean clean yourself spiritually, physically, mentally, emotionally?
Francoise Bourzat [32:50]: Exactly. Stay clean, because she believed that we are constantly accumulating thoughts and negative thoughts from ourselves from interactions or from the social scene that we absorb. And so, we have to constantly be in a process of purification, of staying as clean meaning unencumbered doesn’t mean whey isolate, but sort of circulating our energy constantly. And the big lesson from Julieta was respected, she was about respecting a tradition respecting the medicine, respecting the guide respecting yourself. Respect of the forces of the universe, respect, treat things with observation was discernment was thoughtfulness. Right. So, that respect for her was taking things seriously doesn’t mean she was a very serious woman, she was cracking up all the time. But being in tentful to live one’s life was a lot of intentionalities.
Laura Dawn [34:17]: And in terms of respecting cultures, it seems like reciprocity is a big topic and a way that we can offer respect as one of many, many ways that we can show respect. I’d like to just talk about reciprocity with you for a moment and also on the level of your training program and from like a state of Oregon level, how is that being built into the training into the actual framework of what’s being created right now is there, I don’t want to call it a business model. But if it is a business model, in which there’s money involved, it’s an economic model or their built-in mechanisms that are offering some kind of reciprocity in that?
Francoise Bourzat [34:58]: Yes, you’re bringing the topic that is exactly what we’re working on right now, which is a concrete reciprocity model. Instead of reciprocity, what does that look like? It’s an empty word. It’s a good slogan, and a lot of companies have approached me because they want to know how to be in reciprocity. And I’m like, well, if you’re going to make millions of dollars, it’s going to cost you a lot to be reciprocal. It’s not going to be a tip if you want to be reciprocal, and so the topic is, how do we manifest reciprocity.
So again, reciprocity is expressed for the respect we have, and the naming of the teachers and the lineage. So, that’s reciprocity right there. It’s like looping back giving back energetically, our acknowledgment and our respect and our appreciation and our admiration maybe also our eagerness to keep learning. That’s reciprocity, right, where we turn back, and we keep receiving, and we keep giving our attention and our willingness to keep learning. So, that’s one aspect of reciprocity, I think that is important for the people in Mexico. Another aspect, which I have been doing on a personal level for many years, decades, is supporting people concretely, I support medical bills, I support the education of children, I support all kinds of things for various teachers, there and their families.
So, I’ve been very involved over many years to contribute significantly. So, what they need to do in their life as options and possibilities. If someone gets married, I’ll send money for the wedding, if someone gets sick, I’ll send money for the care if a kid wants to go to school, and it’s a private school outside of the little town, then I’ll supply all that all the rooming and the food and library needed. So, I have my link to this family, which is in this city.
Now, what we want to do is create a fund that would be managed, or managed by the local Magitek people. So, I’m in dialogue right now with a daughter of my teacher who’s someone I respect and trust implicitly, to create a collective there of people who get along and have honesty and no corruption, which is not easy to find everywhere, when people have scarcity, that some corruption, sometimes not always, but sometimes, so, we’re trying to watch them or respect their way of handling this collective. And then we would gather a fund, and bring this fund to them to manage exactly the way they see fit. So, it’s not for us to ask anything. However, I was asking Cat Harrison recently, who’s someone I respect and be friends with. Cat Harrison was the ex-wife of Terence McKenna for the people who might not know.
And she’s been very involved in Woltlab way before I was there, actually, herself with some family of people she’s very close to. So, I seek, her counsel and I reached out to her and I asked what she would think would be the best way to go, what would you suggest? Her response was to protect the language. Because the language, the dialect, the mother takes is being lost is being loaded with time. And this is when a language dies, a whole culture dies. So, this was very wise advice. And I’m really glad she shared that with me. So, she has a contact person there whom I’m going to try to get that name to my friend Renea, who now they’re trying to get in touch and see, what would it imply to preserve the language? What would that mean and how to do that? And, amongst other things, I’m not saying I’m not imposing that, but that was Cat’s observation. And I think it’s possibly a very good idea from maybe not for the Meza tech, maybe they want to have the kids in school a bit better health care, and of course, I think everything would be possible, but that’s one topic that is important to pay attention to the language.
Laura Dawn [39:51]: Right, because every language has words that we don’t have in other languages. And that points to something it creates our perceptual view of reality. That’s amazing that you guys are doing that work.
Francoise Bourzat [40:04]: Well, and the language there is the language of the mushrooms. The Masoretic language is actually, the way it’s the language of the Muslim just like Tibetan people pray in a language that is connected with the prayers, right. So, the Masoretic is the language of medicine. So, it’s a very important link for the medicine to keep expressing itself and have its language spoken out loud.
Laura Dawn [40:41]: And so, you mentioned earlier that if you’re making millions of dollars, that reciprocity is going to cost you something and be expensive, not just a tip. So, I’m grateful that I was raised by two parents who believed in tithing, and they always said, 10% of your income, or always offering some level of support that is just as an offering. So, if you were to put a percentage on it, if for companies, and for people looking to get into space or private practitioners who are holding space, what would you say would feel good as in terms of financial offering to reciprocate to some of these cultures?
Francoise Bourzat [41:19]: The market of psilocybin is becoming so big here, unlike the market the Ayahuasca which doesn’t become big, because we don’t make a synthesizer of Ayahuasca yet. And so, we don’t have this pharmacology around it and this sort of big pharma companies, right. So, that remains a fairly home base kind of tradition. However, the sort of assignment, as we know, has become now, essentially a big pharma. So, I don’t know if these people would even be interested in reciprocity. I certainly am talking to some of them, because I know them.
And so, I’m having a conversation about, what does it mean to be in integrity was the initial intention to help? So, I don’t know exactly how they would want to do that. And then there is this, how could I say, the danger, I’m going to call it that way, the danger of flooding the city was too much money. That they would not too much, but a sense of abundance, that would be a little overwhelming and not adequate to the life and to preserving the life of the people. It’s not hard for me to talk about this. But I would want to create a, you know, school for the children to learn Masoretic, I would want everybody to have good health, and maybe to pay salaries of doctors to live there.
So, they could continue to treat the people or I would want all the kids if they want to go study in university to have their college fund paid. And there, rooming and all this being covered, I would like people to have water, I would ask people to have a roof on their head. We can do this kind of thing to create a better lifestyle standard of living, that’s appropriate. And then I think that what would be most appropriate in reciprocity is allowing access to everyone for this treatment, and to pay forward, so to speak, it’s not so much given back as only exclusively, but also allowing diverse communities to be educated and for them to have access to this tradition and this approach.
And that’s, for me, a wonderful way to be reciprocal is to pass on the spirit of generosity and abundance and healing to share it. So, it’s not so much that the indigenous people want something back as much as they want the healing to spread. This is really what they’re after. They after their healing and the modality and the medicine to reach people out there in the world and to heal. This is their hope. They don’t hope to get something back necessarily, or exclusively. So, I’m interested in that the spreading of this approach?
Laura Dawn [44:21]: I love that pay it forward. I think that’s such a great approach and allows more accessibility to diverse communities to have accessed this because we need to heal on a global level. Everyone needs to be included in this movement. I’m curious to ask you about where you see the overlap and intersection between indigenous wisdom and modern psychology, and how they can be used together in a more complete framework. And also, in your training program, how much is modern psychology a part of your training, and do you think that people need to be trained psychologists to work as psilocybin facilitators?
Francoise Bourzat [45:01]: I only trained people who have been trained in psychology. So, my angle is one of a Psychologist I’m not saying this is the only angle, of course, there’s a lot of people are organizing churches and beautiful offering of different spiritual context, my read of the application of this mushroom tradition for example. And but that’s true for a lot of medicine is that it opens up the psyche, and it opens up to all the suffering and all the wounding and all the situations that have been challenging for us. When we go in, we face ourselves and what’s inside is not just exclusively a beautiful spiritual space, although that too, but it’s also a lot of suffering.
And to deal with the suffering, I think we need to be understanding we need to be having a reference point, we need to have a certain approach, we need to have a certain quality of listening or certain intelligence as far as skills and how to connect the dots of our suffering with some patterns of coping of addiction or personal belief system that is being entrenched in ourselves because of this wending. So, I think there is a lot of validity in being psychologically educated, doesn’t need to be a master’s degree or Ph.D. program or expensive training.
But there is a way that I think it’s important to have a reference point and orientation, an intelligence, of psychology how it reveals itself in those environments of journeys. I believe psychology is very much part of what we are dealing with, once we open up Pandora’s box, so to speak of ourselves. Now, the indigenous tradition of the Mazda tech, for example, I’ll talk about that, because that’s what I know best. They do believe in the personal process of emotional overwhelm the emotional clearing, the emotional opening, that takes place in this journey. So, they have a language, that’s not necessarily psychological. But they understand that when people take mushrooms, they open up to sadness, to grieve, to anger, to shame, to guilt to all these different states that they need to face.
And they need to clear but the way to clear them is to be aware of them and to realize how they got constructed. So, for the Mazda tech that says, well, when you go inside, and you face your shame, you have to be with your shame, and you have to understand what you’re ashamed of. And then pray about it and let it dissipate. So, they are aware of this place. Right? And I think that the western psychology model then goes one step, not deeper. But further, I should say into how that get constructed? Where’s that shame coming from? So, I think that in the Western world, we go into the why. And the indigenous world goes into how-to move it, right? What is it and how to how to circulate it and clean yourself? That’s how they see it. And we go into why how come and understanding ourselves, we are a lot more interested in self-knowledge than the indigenous people.
And that’s a cultural thing. It’s not good or bad. It’s just a different curiosity, there are a lot more curious about the forces and the energies and the spirit of the land and the spirituality and their relationship with the divine that we are. But we are more inclined to want to understand how we are who we are. That’s a psychological investigation, so to speak. And I like to bring that together, right? There’s value in understanding the purification process and relying on spirits of the outside world to assist us right, and to ground ourselves in the earth and spirit world and the allies that we have and the ancestors that we have all this is indigenous kind of an angle, and then looking at, okay, so where does that come from this belief that I’m nobody who told me that what is the culture that imprinted in me this kind of belief system, and the way we identify that and the way we feel our pain about that, or anger if we were wounded or abused or oppressed, that emotion is what helps us claim a new self.
So, I think that the two can come together. And in my training, I talk about that. It’s not either, or, it’s bringing them together. When I’m in Mexico, there’s a joke now in the family that when I get there, they all want to therapy with me. They all want to sit and sort of download and have me help them orient to, really, and that is very interesting because I’m not doing very much therapy, but I’m reorienting them to their spiritual practice. And the words that they believe in terms of love and unity and solidarity and the human family as one when they get angry at each other, so, I’m sort of reflecting, really, but it’s interesting because they have a very sweet, but limiting ignorance of the emotional realm and the psychological realm. And they appreciate what we’re doing. And they understand that there is a territory of interest for them to understand the human experience from our angle.
And Julieta always said to me, you know, your work, I don’t understand your work, but you know, your work, and you can bring my work into your work. And that’s what’s valuable here. And I said so, that I think that the weaving together is very possible, very beautiful. And it is honoring of this different aspect of, of intelligence, and we can move forward with developing or integrating psychology into ancient models, weave them together in this mean, we are losing anything, it’s just a new structure to innovation, right? That’s what I’m interested in the blend, that’s not merchandising, it’s really respecting each part, but bringing them together in a weave. So, they can all be seen.
Laura Dawn [51:43]: Are you open to talking on this podcast about your Center for Consciousness Medicine? And so how long has that center been around? How long have you been training people? Maybe you could share a little bit about the framework that you teach? And is that framework going to be very much applied to the state-level training?
Francoise Bourzat [52:04]: Yes. So, in my work, through the years, people have come with me to Mexico for many years, I’ve taken hundreds of people to Mexico, and they’ve wanted to learn my work, and that work and my approach and what I was doing with them. And so, we have developed training for over 25 years, for psychologists, or people who are psychologically trained, to be able to understand the work of working with medicine, because they have clients who want to work with medicine, I’m not here to condone the use of illegal substances in a place where it’s not allowed. But a lot of people do medicine anyway.
And I wanted to give the therapist education and an experience of those places and how to best support their clients. So, we’ve done this training for many years, that is done here in America, but also in Mexico, right for the practical aspect of it. And so that’s what we’ve done for many years. And now with this movement, opening, the way it’s opening, we’ve been asked actually, and initiated at the same time, the launching of an organization called Center for Consciousness Medicine, to scale and bring this training in a different format, which might be more accessible for people. And also, more efficiently run meaning we would have these residential training where people could be allowed to receive this journey to practice.
So, that would be possibly Mexico, we’re looking at that possibility so complicated in Mexico, but for sure, Jamaica is an option, and we’re having our first training in the summer there. And also, the Netherlands is, of course, an option. And we’re looking at Canada, depending on the exemption and the way that would be done. Of course, Oregon would become also a possibility in 2023. So, we are organizing this center to be able to scale those training of psychedelic guides, and to also offer retreats, and to also look at the way we are consulting or participating in research. So, for example, I’m part of this research in LA and the FDA approved research for COVID related grief, which being part of with other physicians who are DEA and an FDA approved and so that’s part of the research we’re doing and then I’m doing parents are grief retreat in Jamaica in March, to support parents who have lost a child to illness or suicide or accident.
And so that’s in collaboration with other palliative care physicians, as well as psychologists, and other psychedelic guides. And so that’s part of the retreats, and research, because we’re looking at the way this approach can facilitate healing, we’re not calling it treatment, but we were looking at the psychological implication of such approach. And then so but mostly what we are looking at, and what we are being very eager and excited to do is launching those training that will be providing the expertise that we’ve built over 25 years, more in the open field, we’ve been doing this sort of on a personal level in a community base, but we’ve trained over 500, guides worldwide.
So, over the years we have quite a presence, so to speak. And the world of people, who have benefited from this, who are curious about it, or who are interested in supporting such movement is touching. And we are being approached by wonderful CEOs and wealthy people who are knowing that this is the next thing they want to support, and not from a capital investment angle, but really for impact in the world. So, we are very lucky to be respected and seen as experts in the field of training.
Laura Dawn [56:45]: And so how would people be able to find out about your upcoming training programs, especially in Jamaica? I know, I’m also curious and interested, is that publicly available information?
Francoise Bourzat [56:55]: Yes. So, people can look into the website, which is centerforcm.com. And everything is on there. There is also a subdivision of the center for consciousness medicine, which is called School of Consciousness Medicine, which trains people who wish to become holistic therapists. So, people who have never been in the psychological field can follow this training, which prepares them well, to start this psychedelic training. So, that’s an avenue, if someone is a therapist, of course, they don’t have to do that. But if someone wants to do that training, then they would have to obtain some psychological training. And that’s one option that is offered through the School of Consciousness Medicine. So, that’s a sort of a first step if needed.
Laura Dawn [57:45]: That’s wonderful. Awesome. And I’ll be including all those links in the show notes. I would love to end the conversation by inviting you to, impart wisdom for the psychedelic leader stepping into space when we look back at all the wisdom that your teachers have given you, and you’re this interesting nexus point, in terms of, now funneling so much of that information and knowledge and wisdom to so many people. And so, what’s the vision that you’re holding for the psychedelic movement for leaders in the space, and what’s the best advice and guidance and wisdom that you would love to impart to people who are holding space for this movement?
Francoise Bourzat [58:26]: Thank you. I would like to invite all of us in this movement to keep learning to keep being curious to keep looking at what we don’t know, from communities we don’t know very much about from various indigenous practices that are less familiar. I’d like to impart that, we are one. And everybody knows that to take psychedelics knows that we are one spirit, one family, one organism, with the earth, and that we ought to be united and to find peace within ourselves, regardless of the outside world, or what it might trigger in us to stay in and remember that we have peace inside and that’s what we stand for.
So, we can come into our life or express from our center, the peace that we know we touch inside in those spaces. This is only what we can do, we can vibrate what we know is true inside. So, that’s true in our personal lives. That’s true in our collective life, the stronger society life, the struggle, the truth on the ecological life. And I hope that we stay curious and we keep learning from one another and we keep listening to ideas we don’t know anything about, even if we think they’re negative or oppositional to what we stand for. To stay in the spirit of curiosity and to not create opposition, not out of conflict avoidance, but more in staying in the spirit of oneness.
So, I hope that even the big farmer, I want to continue to be in connection with them, to not alienate to not create opposition to not create exclusion. Because the moment I start to do this, I do it to myself. So, I want to continue being inclusive, being compassionate, being educational being compiling what I know. So, I’m one of the speakers, there are many wonderful wise speakers, and that we can stay curious and stay informing and stay united.
Laura Dawn [1:00:44]: That is, so well said, I appreciate that. Thank you so much for speaking to that. Is there anything else you would like to share before we wrap up this call?
Francoise Bourzat [1:00:56]: Well, we are in a very specific moment here, right, we’re doing this interview in a moment where the political situation is highlighted with the takeover of the capital, which will go into history, right, as a moment in this country, that we never thought we could see. And I think that is talking to something that is lacking an absence of love an absence of care that we have to do something that is not rejecting, we are called to do something that is in the spirit of heart and compassion and inclusion, right?
Because it’s very easy to hate in a situation like this and to be scared and to hate and to push away. And I’m finding myself, somewhat scared, but also intrigued by what is it that we’re not seeing? And what is it that we’re not listening to? And what is it that we should fold into a place of heart and love so, I think that that’s really what’s on our plate as a country, but also, as a society at large in the world? What is it we are? What is the shadow that expresses outside, that is an invitation to go inside? So, I hope that’s a place we can stop and reflect inside ourselves. What is it that’s being demonstrated outside?
Laura Dawn [1:02:44]: It feels like just such a large restructuring taking place right now. Like on a fundamental level, and through all the upheaval, through this process for my own life, I’ve realized that there’s ground within my being when I go within that is this solid ground, I can stand on through the shifting tides and just hold the prayer that more and more people connect to that place within themselves. Because it’s so easy to freak out.
And to completely lose it. When we look at what’s happening, and that’s just the invitation is for us to come back to find that place. And strip away all the layers and get right with ourselves. I feel like that’s what this time is asking us, okay, I need to get right with myself right now. Aside from what everyone else is doing that I think is horrible and disagree with and want to hate. All I can do right now is just get right with myself. And that’s I think the medicine of our time.
Francoise Bourzat [1:03:44]: You’re right. Stay in the love. Just honor love. So, how can we be loving in this place where we want to hate? It’s an invitation, right? It’s a challenge that my teacher always used to say you get the challenge when you’re ready for it. So, you get the probe, the challenge, you get a challenge in medicine and you get a challenge in life for you. Because you need to rise to the occasion of your certainty of love to believe in love, then you’re challenged so you can see how well aligned with it you are. I think we are challenged on the global level.
Laura Dawn [1:04:26]: Do you think that this is one of the primary gifts that psilocybin has to offer us? To remind us of the love?
Francoise Bourzat [1:04:35]: Yes. Psilocybin offers us the opportunity to remember that we are completely connected through mycelial intelligence and that we are really breathing together and vibrating together and that we are telling each other stories, good stories, and bad stories that we are in constant interaction. And like you said, when everything is stripped away, then what’s left, you know, just love. The center of it, the glue, it’s not just emotion is the glue that keeps us together and keeps the world together. Great creative force, right. So, I feel like this is the reminder of the central teaching. Which is true for all the medicines, right? It’s true for all medicines. It’s because is the wisdom of the earth. The medicines are just teaching earth wisdom. This is not about the medicine, which medicine, it’s about where it’s coming from. And the great mother is a loving being. So, she teaches us about love, about belonging about being one with her. And that’s what the medicines are communicating.
Laura Dawn [1:05:57]: Thank you so much. It’s been such a pleasure dropping in with you Francoise. What an honor to speak with you today.
Francoise Bourzat [1:06:03]: Thank you so much, Laura. It’s been great. Wonderful. Thank you.
Francoise Bourzat is a counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area. In collaboration with healers in Huautla de Jimenez, Mexico, she has practiced and guided ceremonies with sacred mushrooms for the last 30 years. She teaches at CIIS in San Francisco, runs online courses and lectures in various institutions. She collaborates with physicians on FDA-approved research on psilocybin-assisted therapy for Covid related grief in Los Angeles. She trains psychedelic guides internationally and is the author of the book entitled Consciousness Medicine: Indigenous Wisdom, Entheogens, and Expanded States of Consciousness for Healing and Growth, North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA
Curated Playlists for Psychedelic Journeys & Beyond
Sign up & receive your free playlists:
Laura Dawn rocks her Psychedelic Leadership Podcast with so much style and grace! Her guests are innovative thought leaders and she asks them the most illuminating questions. She shares a wealth of knowledge and inquiry as well as her passion for the arts and music. I always appreciate how LD conducts herself.
Each time I tune into an episode I get chills all over my body! This podcast is my personal new favourite, I’ve expanded my awareness around these topics so much just tuning into these conversations, from each episode I walk away with a new teaching! Im also deeply appreciative of the way Laura Dawn structures her episodes and interviews.
The psychedelic leadership podcast is blowing my default mode network!!! Episodes include revolutionary science, as well as practical steps we can all take to creatively make change to help heal the planet and ourselves. Laura Dawn is an amazing speaker, and most definitely a thought leader.
I am absolutely hooked on this Podcast. Laura Dawn presents her topics and guests in a stunningly beautiful, heart centered format while weaving in the most relevant topics in psychedelics today.
Laura Dawn’s experience and service to the healing journey is a recipe for humanity, through modern science, plant medicine and ancient wisdom is amazing. She attracts the best of the best leaders in the space of science, psychedelics and spirituality, I love every one of her podcasts. Thank you LD!
Wow what a powerful lineup of speakers and guests sharing profound experiences and wisdom. So relevant to our times and not just with plant medicines and psychedelics but with just being a human being in these changing, evolving times. May we all grow together. Thank you Laura!
I’m obsessed with this podcast and I’ve listened to every episode. This is the kind of podcast that has the potential to change humanity if we all listen to these interviews and Laura’s wisdom.
About Laura Dawn
Through her signature Mastermind Programs and Plant Medicine Retreats, Laura Dawn weaves together science with ancient wisdom. She teaches business and thought-leaders, entrepreneurs, and creative professionals how to mindfully explore psychedelics and sacred plant medicines as powerful visionary tools for inner transformation, fostering emotional resiliency and unlocking new depths to our creative potential.