Gaia’s Top 10 Videos On Plant Medicine and Psychedelics
As taboos fade and paradigms shift, our society is coming to learn the truly profound therapeutic benefits of plant medicine and shamanic traditions. While the tides have been slowly turning over the past few decades with our cultural perception and understanding of psychedelics, we’ve now entered into an era in which these natural, mind-expanding modalities are being embraced more than ever. Check out Gaia’s growing library of videos on these shamanic traditions and their ability to bring healing to humanity’s collective consciousness.
In this ground-breaking original series, experts explore the history and use of psychedelic plants including political ambitions, the perceived shadow side, and the proper environment to experience these substances. From the origins of Shamanism to the spiritual expression of modern awakenings, discover the role of sacred medicine as a gateway to expanded consciousness, and its continued influence on humanity.
2. Ayahuasca: Vine of the Soul
Can a sacred plant medicine from the Amazon heal our minds and spirits? In the heart of the jungle, a naturopathic doctor and an accountant experience life-altering epiphanies when they drink the psychoactive brew ayahuasca, the “vine of the soul.” This award-winning documentary explores the mystery of ayahuasca shamanism, offering insights into the nature of spirituality, mystical experience, and self-healing discovered through an expanded state of consciousness.
Is ayahuasca a doorway to direct knowledge of the divine or a path that leads to psychological trauma? Can it cure modern addictions to drugs and alcohol or is ayahuasca itself a possible substance of abuse? Some call it a medicine, others a sacrament; the Amazonian shamans say it is simply a “plant teacher” that tells you what you need to know.
3. Healing Powers
The modern War on Drugs has deemed that all mind-altering substances are harmful for individuals and society at large, but in our new series Healing Powers, we travel the globe to show how people have been using “drugs” for as long as recorded history — both to heal mental ailments as well as support more conscious connections to the world around us.
Watch as Mareesa Stertz personally participates in psychedelic and healing experiences, learning first-hand of the restorative powers of cannabis, psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and other plant-based tonics, while meeting some of the individuals embracing alternative forms of medicine in an ever more pharmaceuticalized world.
4. Bufo Alvarius: The Underground Secret
A radical testimony of the strongest known natural psychedelic, tryptamine 5-MeO-DMT, produced by Bufo Alvarius, a toad of the Sonoran Desert. The breathtaking audio-visual adventure is enhanced by immersive animations inspired by the psychoactive effects of this extraordinary substance.
Fascinating stories of a group of Czech psychonauts are combined with personal insights of Stanislav Grof, a Nestor of transpersonal psychology, and Octavio Rettig, a modern shaman who has facilitated ceremonial contact with Bufo Alvarius for thousands of volunteers from around the world. For many, the experience has been life-changing.
Originally intended to simply document these experiences, the film evolved into an intense meditation on the nature of consciousness and being.
5. Neurons to Nirvana
A feature documentary about the resurgence of psychedelics as medicine. Psychedelics can be potent tools for getting to know who we are, who we can be, and for healing the trauma of a society that is addicted to greed and consumerism.
This film dares to break the taboo surrounding psychedelic medicines, by examining and revealing their proven potential to heal and alleviate suffering on a global scale. Through interviews with the world’s foremost researchers, writers, psychologists, and pioneers in psychedelic psychotherapy, the film explores the history and medicinal potential of five powerful psychedelic substances (LSD, Psilocybin, MDMA, Ayahuasca, and Cannabis).
6. Aya Awakenings
AYA: Awakenings is a documentary journey into the world and visions of Amazonian shamanism, adapted from the cult book AYA: A Shamanic Odyssey by Rak Razam. As Razam sets out to document the booming business of Amazonian shamanism in the 21st century, he quickly finds himself caught up in a culture clash between the old world and the new.
Braving a gringo trail of the soul, he uncovers a movement of “spiritual tourists” coming from the West for a direct experience of the multi-dimensional reality shamanism connects one to. Central to this is ayahuasca – the “vine of souls” – a legal South American entheogenic plant medicine that has been used by Amazonian people for millennia to heal physical ailments and to cleanse and purify the spirit.
7. Microdosing for Transformation
Paul Austin discusses the responsible and intentional use of psychedelics for spiritual transformation. He explains how microdoses of LSD, Psilocybin, and other psychoactive materials can help productivity, creativity, and flow states. From there we explore the benefits of combining microdosing with other consciousness enhancing practices, such as meditation and yoga. He claims the future is promising, as new research is underway combining different plant medicines for synergistic effects.
8. Amazonia: Healing With Sacred Plants
Psychologist, anthropologist, and author Alberto Villoldo has studied the shamanic healing practices of the Amazon for more than 25 years. In this beautifully filmed documentary, he shares the secrets of the jungle’s sacred plants and the healers who administer them, deep in the Amazon rainforest. Dr. Villoldo also explains the theory and process behind Ayahuasca, the legendary and powerful brew made by the shamans.
9. Terrence McKenna’s Prague Gnosis: Sasha Shulgin
Alexander Shulgin, Sasha to his friends, is nothing less than the godfather of psychopharmacology. Shulgin has given his life to the study of the pharmacology of the psychedelic experience. In the last episode of the series, while walking through the Old Jewish Cemetery of Prague, Terence and Sasha talk about tryptamine experiences, the problem with how America handles the drug crisis, and how they see themselves in all of this.
10. Mind Shift: Psychedelics and Religion
Many religions have used various mind-altering substances to connect with a creative mind, far beyond the limits of our five senses. In modern times, the use of these substances has become illegal. However, something is about to change. Daniel Pinchbeck talks with two luminaries to discuss the historical and future role of psychedelics and religion.
Artist, Alex Grey talks about the use of LSD as a creative tool for connecting with sacred reality through the visionary mystical experience. Then, author Michael Muhammad Knight offers his view of Islam that is considered controversial to some. Even more controversial was his profound experience with ayahuasca and the divine feminine. Both agree that bringing psychedelic sacrament back into religions would initiate a reemergence of the divine feminine and bring balance to the masculine dominance found in prominent religions in this inaugural episode.
How to Unite Your Inner Feminine and Masculine
In January of 2012, I met a man who would forever change the way I viewed partnerships. About three months after we met, I asked him to accompany me to India where I would be assisting a yoga teacher training course. I got pregnant on that trip but didn’t realize until late summer. Our relationship soon became a living nightmare and at least once a week I asked him to leave my home. He proclaimed his love for me and had very clever excuses for his actions. I can’t begin to tell you how much I wanted to believe him and hoped things would get better.
As the pregnancy progressed, I grew weak and more dependent on him. He grew more distance and apathetic to me and our relationship. I felt unattractive, scared, and spent most nights alone. I had zero reference point for how to handle the manipulation, lies, and sense of betrayal I felt. He finally left when our baby was 6 months old in the fall of 2013. He then admitted he had been cheating on me with multiple women the whole time and knew he never wanted to be in a monogamous relationship.
For two years after this, I went into deep introspection, and cried a lot. I was devastated and felt like a complete failure.
I knew that the only way out of the pain was to go into the mystery of my own consciousness. This led me to the study of Shamanism, Shamanic Astrology, and Energy Healing. Although it was probably the most challenging life experience I have ever been through, the benefits I found through seeking relief have been nothing short of miracles in my life. One of those miracles, I will share with you here.
What is the Inner Other?
According to Shamanic Astrology, we have an “inner other” which I call my “inner lover”. For a woman, look at where Venus is on her natal chart to find out the form of the Feminine she embodies. My Venus is in Aquarius which is the type of feminine who is cosmically conscious, intelligent, brilliant, and has a big-picture perspective on life. Some “shadow” expressions of this sign are detachment, aloofness, and observing more than participating in life.
Then, to find out what she is most attracted to in a man, we would look at where Mars is on her chart. This is her inner masculine or what she most desires to connect with in a partner.
This is also where we most often project our own inner vision onto the men in our lives and see them through our desire for what we most want them to be instead of accepting them for who they actually are. My Mars is in Pisces which would suggest that I am attracted to the sensitive, empathic, universally loving Piscean energy in a partner. Some “shadow” expressions of this could be escapism, addictions, and the wounded man who doesn’t overcome his pain.
If you identify as a man, you would look first Mars to discover what form of the masculine you are representing. My teachers, Caylin Castell and Daniel Giamario, call this the “sword you carry” as a man. So if your Mars is in Aries, you would be the warrior, protector of the tribe, action-oriented type of man. Remember to take into account the possible shadow expressions of your Mars position. For Aries, this may be violent, mean, or too much action.
Then, to find what form of the feminine you most desire to connect with, you would locate Venus on your natal chart. This is your inner feminine, in essence, it is also you. Yet, you likely project this out onto the women in your life by seeing women through the “lens” of your own inner feminine. If your Venus is in Leo, you most wish to connect with the form of the feminine that is self-loving, radiant, and happy to be in the spotlight like royalty. Some shadow expressions of Leo may be the proverbial ball hog, attention seeker, or narcissist type of woman.
The key here is to own both archetypes, if it feels right for you.
In my experience, I realized that I was indeed most attracted to my Mars archetype and was often disappointed when my partner was not as universally loving/compassionate as I believed he “should” be. I really didn’t like my Venus archetype either. I was mostly teased for my Aquarian Venus attributes and spent most of my life trying to fit in, which is something that Venus in Aquarius is just not meant to do.
Feed Your Inner Lover(s)
Once I was able to see the pattern and understand my attractions, I began feeding my Mars in Pisces with activities that served the Pisces archetype. I have been able to nurture my inner lover from the inside by getting to know what things honor my Mars in Pisces. Some of these things have been practicing intuition and empathy, being in nature, and doing more random acts of kindness.
I satisfy my inner longing and no longer attract men that fit my usual pattern. I feel whole and complete within myself and I am experiencing men from a whole new perspective. Of course, when I meet a new man, I do notice traits that support my inner masculine archetype first. I realize that this may always be what I am most attracted to. But it no longer is a fulfillment thing. I am conscious of the pattern and know how to get my own needs met on this level.
Identify your Venus and Mars positions here.
Once you have identified where Mars and Venus are on your own natal chart, you would hold the vision or awareness of each of these archetypes and find out if this resonates with you. If it does not, you can do one of two things right now:
- Get out a sheet of paper and a pen. Write out a list of all the attributes you can assign to your current perception of men and then a separate list for women. See if there is any connection to your Venus and Mars. If you are unsure of the archetypes, you can use the internet for a bit of research.
- Get out a pen and paper and free write about your current perception of men and then again of women. Claim your inner masculine and inner feminine based off of what you intuitively feel.
The idea is to bring these into harmonious relationship within yourself. I have recognized the ways in which I was projecting my inner masculine out and learned how to own this as part of me. I have also reclaimed my feminine form as the Aquarian Goddess and more fully embrace my uniqueness, innovation, and ability to go between different states of consciousness.
My inner lovers are constantly dancing together and assisting in everything I create. Words do not express the bliss I have found in this Inner Lover Connection.
Inner Lover Connection Exercise
- Have a notebook and a pen ready in case you want to take notes.
- Get into a meditative state of mind, however it is that you feel most meditative. Whether that is gardening, sitting for meditation, dirt-bike racing, or dancing. Everyone has a unique way of connecting to their source so go with whatever feels right for you.
- Imagine what your own inner Goddess/Feminine would look like. If the sign of your Venus position resonates with you, use that archetype to start to feel into her essence. Bring her to life through your imagination.
- Ask her what it is she most wants. “How can I best accommodate your wishes and desires?” Or any question you would like to ask. Deeply listen. Accept the first things that come to you. Write it down.
- Imagine what your own inner God/Masculine would look like. If the sign of your Mars position resonates with you, use that archetype to feel into his essence. Bring him to life through your imagination.
- Ask him similar questions that you asked your inner Goddess/Feminine. Perhaps you will ask him, “Is there anything you want me to know? How can I better honor you in my life?”
- Have the inner Goddess/Feminine and inner God/Masculine face each other and look into each other’s eyes. Ask them each if there is anything they need to say or do to heal, strengthen, or assist them in allowing more energy into their union. Be receptive to what may come up.
- Feel the love and acceptance flowing between your inner lovers as a sense of gratitude washes over you. Notice any feelings or sensations that may be rising in your awareness.
- Give thanks for the ability to feel, connect, and witness pure love.
- Take time everyday to honor this sacred marriage between your inner feminine and inner masculine through doing things that are unique to your own archetypes. You will know what activities are best to honor these within yourself as you practice being receptive to this exercise and then acting on the message you receive from your inner lovers.