On Friday, January 30, at The Wild Project in New York, Reality Sandwich, Souldish, and Critical Mass Productions will present a screening of the film Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within. Following the film there will be a panel discussion featuring the film's co-director Nikos Katsaounis, Reality Sandwich Contributing Editor Adam Elenbaas, and holistic health and philosophy instructor Tatiana Forero Puerta. An interview with Nikos Katsaounis is here.
Since at least the 1970s, a tenacious meme has circulated among a generally progressive youthful demographic, some of whom have now carried that meme with them into their elderhood. The meme states that there is a connection between our ecological crisis and our loss of earth-connected spirituality — a connection to both earth and spirit that we once possessed but have now lost, and which is still preserved for us by some indigenous peoples. Still, the meme says, there is hope. A spiritual awakening is coming, associated with the Age of Aquarius, or the fifth pachakuti, or the culmination of the Mayan calendar in the year 2012.
This shift is away from ego, self-importance, greed, racism, capitalism, consumerism, and left-brain linearity, and toward a recovery of our primal connectedness with nature. The signs of this shift are everywhere — in the rise of neoshamanism, technoshamanism, rave culture, and in the recovery of archaic techniques of ecstasy. Psychoactive substances, both natural and artificial, are an inherent part of this shift. Such entheogens — the term is taken to mean something like awakening the divine within — were the basis of a primal universal human spirituality and, indeed, may have been the basis of the very process of our becoming human. Today, entheogens not only reconnect us with our past but point us toward the future, where we will all be shamans — interconnected, peaceful, creative, and deeply in touch with spirit and the earth.
There. That's the plot of the movie.
Entheogen: Awakening the Divine Within is a 70-minute documentary about ecological awareness, the evolution of consciousness, electronic dance culture, technoshamanism, the revival of shamanism — and, of course, entheogenic substances. In an interview, co-director Rod Mann said: "The film Entheogen is about discovering the ways in which we participate with the dance and flow of life — and how to maintain that flow. The film also gives us context from our history — from the evolution from indigenous tribes through shamanism through world religions throughout the course of history." He continues:
I think that entheogens offer us a window into the deeper dimensions of our Self, our psyches, our behaviors, our subconscious patterns, and we may use these substances in the proper context of course, to do the necessary work, the individuation, bringing a sense of awareness to ego inflation and self importance so that through that process we may gain a stronger sense of our community and our families, and also regarding other species, plants, etc. — how we fit into the sempiternal interconnected web of life which sustains the whole of existence.
The film features Charles Tart, Stanley Grof, Marilyn Schlitz, Ralph Metzner, Alex Grey, Terrence McKenna, John Markoff, Daniel Pinchbeck, Jeremy Narby, Barabara Marx Hubbard, Kat Harrison, and other carriers of the meme, discussing the relationship between the current ecological crisis and the re-emergence of archaic techniques of ecstasy, between dance festivals and the collective consciousness, and between the disenchantment of the modern world and the next leap in the evolution of the planetary mind.
And, if you can't make it to New York for the screening and panel discussion, you can buy the DVD here, or you can watch the entire film without leaving your computer: