COMMUNITY FORUM: Ayahuasca Researchers Meeting: Ayahuasca Science in the XXIst Century
Helle Kaasik, Ph.D.
Ayahuasca is spreading around the world and touching lives of more and more people in various ways. Relationships between human society, human psyche and the plants with power to change it are dynamic and complex like the Amazonian forest where these plants come from. Ongoing renaissance of psychedelic research empowers us to direct our spotlights of inquiry towards those relationships from multiple points of view. However, many aspects of diverse ayahuasca practices still remain untouched by science, and maybe some of them are even better to leave untouched?
Meeting of researchers with experience in ayahuasca research helps to build a more complete vision of symbiosis of humans with mind-altering plants. Respectfully aware of complexity and vulnerability of this symbiosis, we meet to share our experiences of bridging the worlds of academic knowledge and mind-altering practice.
Topics of the meeting include:
- Goals of ayahuasca research: from knowledge to change
- Collaboration among ayahuasca researchers and beyond
- Ayahuasca research in academic community, media and society: reception and response
- Research methods in different cultural contexts of ayahuasca use
- Balance between observation and participation, research and practice
- Relationships between science and spirituality, facts and beliefs
- Impact of ayahuasca research on society and users
- Ethics and responsibility of ayahuasca researchers
Helle Kaasik, Ph.D., has a Ph.D. in theoretical physics and a M.A. in psychology from University of Tartu, Estonia. Her main areas of interest in psychedelic science are psychology and spirituality of ayahuasca users. She is working as a researcher in Institute of Physics of University of Tartu while also studying psychology and spirituality of ayahuasca users for her doctoral thesis in theology. She is also a member of Santo Daime church in Céu dos Ventos, Hague, Netherlands. For more information, see: http://kodu.ut.ee/~hellex/aya/Ayaeng.htm