From scientists to musicians, a very diverse group of people gathered for a three-day event last weekend to discuss and contemplate the implications of psychedelic medicines in our society.
In addition to the topic of psychedelics, the 11th annual Spirit Plant Medicine Conference (SPMC) also covered new age and spiritual subjects such as meditation, Indigenous culture, sound healing, the use of tobacco for healing purposes and the future of humanity.
Many seats were filled in the Great Hall of the Alma Mater Society (AMS) Student Nest and a series of intriguing and aesthetically pleasing booths lined the entrance and perimeter of the meeting space.
“I think it’s pretty cool that it’s happening at UBC, there’s actually a lot of psychedelic research going on at UBC and UBCO as well. So I think that it’s kind of like a full circle coming together,” said Ilayda Gokcen, President of the UBC Psychedelic Society.
“And it’s also really exciting that it’s a multidisciplinary conference. It’s not just scientists, and it’s not just artists, I think it’s lovely that the industry or space, whatever you want to call it, is coming together as a whole.”
Gokcen added that she was excited to see the community at the after-party and that it was great to see a group of people together who are passionate about the same things.
Mycology Apprentice had a table set up down the aisle from the UBC Psychedelic Society and the company had some of its select psilocybin mushrooms on display.
The mushroom cultivator prides itself on providing essential products required for growing psilocybin mushrooms to local British Columbia farms.
The mushroom experts were also selling spore syringes, mushroom prints and other items to grow the fungi for research purposes at their table.
Hafina Nayo Washington — a Holy Fire Reiki Practitioner, award-winning cultural activist and founder of One Village Healing — gave a presentation on Friday entitled “Sacred Activism and Collective Liberation: A Story Sharing & Somatic Experience.”
Mid-way through her talk she engaged the audience by getting them to find a partner to share something personal with as a healing exercise.
Washington’s organization claims to offer learning opportunities related to reiki, psychedelic wellness, meditation, yoga, herbal medicine, creative arts, sound healing and various other areas of interest relevant to the conference itself.
Her presentation was followed by another entitled “Psychedelics, Clarogenics, and the Spiritual Qualities of a Healer: An Indigenous Perspective” given by Chief Phil Lane Jr., an Indigenous leader and member of the Ihanktonwan Dakota and Chickasaw Nations.
Daniel Usher, a freelance photographer in attendance explained what attracted him to the conference.
“Learning about different ways to heal yourself so you don’t have to deal with pharmaceuticals and that sort of stuff. So, you know, psilocybin mushrooms, things like that in different ways, and the various companies that help with that sort of thing,” said Usher.
Filament Health Corp. (OTCQB: FLHLF) (NEO: FH) (FSE: 7QS) is one of those companies and in addition to sponsoring the event, one of Filament’s research scientist’s — John Hume — had a booth set up at the conference to educate attendees about the drug developer’s mission and activities while handing out psilocybin mushroom stickers made by the company.
Several other presentations on the peyote cactus, consciousness and an assortment of other mystical topics were given over the course of the three-day event.
Other presenters who took the stage over the course of the weekend included Theda Phoenix, a sound healer who provided meditative soundscapes twice each day through vocals and a variety of instruments; Francine Douglas, who discussed the power of Indigenous knowledge and cultural ceremonies; and Jeremy Narby, an anthropologist and author who joined live on Zoom from Switzerland on Sunday to talk about the healing power of ayahuasca, tobacco and cannabis.
MAPS Canada (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) also had a booth set up at the event where two members of the organization were educating guests about their organization and selling books on the subject of psychedelics such as DMT: The Spirit Molecule by Rick Strassman.
Additional vendors present at the event were selling everything from art pieces to microdose LSD mints and psilocybin extracts.