The Psycho-Archaeology of Responsibility

Hello! My name is Will and I cohost the podcast Wild Entheology with my good friend, Kaylee. We are both psychology students with a passion for using psychedelics for personal and spiritual development. Our podcast is dedicated to sharing our ever-evolving journey with psychedelics; whether that be growing in our knowledge of their application and benefits, our own personal experiences, or having conversations with others on similar paths.

In this episode, we go deep into how you can integrate Blue (Amber) of Spiral Dynamics. As such, it is about the roles and the responsibilities that come with them that allow us to belong to our group. Listen to find out how to make conscious the roles you have no idea you play. We give you some good exercises to begin doing this near the end of the podcast.

You can find us on Spotify, Apple, and Google.

We hope you enjoy!


Brilliant podcast. Loved the discussion on healthy Blue and need to get Green’s fear of “you can’t tell me what to do”.

Great discussion on the Catholic Church and historical benefits, and issues.

WELL WORTH THE LISTEN! Thanks for putting together. :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the post! Enjoyed Leo’s video. His approach is straight forward but not arrogant.

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I have some questions for you Will. What is the objective of taking psychedelics? Has it been proven to help us gain some degree of enlightenment? Has anyone ever reached enlightenment with psychedelics? If this drug actually has beneficial effects towards reaching higher stages of consciousness why isn’t it widely used? And even if it has beneficial effects I’m with the understanding that higher stages of consciousness can only be achieved by years of rigorous asceticism and addressing our respective shadow. I just don’t see how anyone could possibly discover any meaning through Psychedelics or any other kind of drug for that matter …but maybe I’m wrong.

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This might help a bit.

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Proven? That’s an interesting question.
Has enlightenment itself been proven? I don’t think it has. Is there any kind of defined criteria by which we can determine if anyone is enlightened? If we agree on those criteria, can we prove it? I don’t think we can. Enlightenment is beside the point with regards to psychedelics. You first have to define enlightenment and then somehow “prove” it in others.
On the other hand - do psychedelics “awaken” people? Yes, they can.
Is this proven scientifically? Yes, it is. Not everyone who takes psychedelics gets “awakened” - but it happens enough that you can say yes, psyches have a “good chance” of triggering an awakening experience in the proper set and setting, while the same set and setting without psyches does not produce an awakening.
Why aren’t psyches widely used? ummm … they are. Considering they are illegal in the USA an amazing number of people are willing to risk imprisonment or travel a thousand miles and pay thousands of dollars for the experience. But it’s not a thing you do regularly. For many people it’s a “once and done” experience and I would strongly recommend against using them more frequently than annually, at most.
“Higher stages of consciousness can only be achieved by years of rigorous asceticism” - Not according to many who have achieved higher stages of consciousness. Yes, some have this opinion if their methods are narrow, but out of all the people who have achieved higher states, they are in the minority.
“Addressing your respective shadow” - Shadow work is a very recent post-modern methodology. The term “shadow” only came into its current meaning via the works of Carl Jung.
“I just don’t see how anyone could possibly discover any meaning through Psychedelics” Well, meaning is irrelevant to awakening or enlightenment for that matter (if I understand the speeches of those who are enlightened) so I’m not sure the point is relevant. Meaning is something your logical mind craves, but your spiritual self is not concerned with meaning.
I just happened to be listening to this last night:

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Hey George,

Great questions. The only way I can respond to those questions is to share my life experience. I’ll do my best to bring some degree of objectivity to my subjectivity. Where do I start…

PTSD… I experienced trauma growing up that the ordinary American would never understand. Most people have varying degrees of “unhealed” trauma and many on planet earth have experienced even more. I’m not a victim just someone that has some depth of perspective from shit that has crushed many people in ways I won’t elaborate on too much.

Physical violence upon my body, years of food insecurity, regularly going to bed without dinner, foster home experience that was abusive, and a loss of belongingness were all part of my formative years. I came in to this world as the 3rd of three boys put up for adoption at birth. The family that adopted me were not bad people but they were suffering from their own PTSD from abusive upbringings, the traumatic experience of being raised during the Depression, and losing their second child at birth. These experiences contributed to mental illness and drug & alcohol addiction which was part of the environment I was raised in.That(my) family became shattered by the time I was 8 and the journey of uncertainty and instability became my formative life.

The night before I was dropped off at my second foster home at 12 I was told I was adopted(they lied to me because I had asked many times-had a hunch). That’s when the depression and suicidal thoughts began. It was from that moment on that I felt like a “Stranger in a strange land.” Entering 7th grade is an ackward time for anyone but living in a haze of anxiety and depression compounded all of it. Add in the violence of the environments I was living in(20/20 did a news segment on drugs in America and they filmed the segment on PCP in my neighbourhood and called it the “PCP Capital of America.”) Basically, I was suffering in ways I wouldn’t wish on an enemy. Then something happened. Someone offered me LSD. I was 14 years old. What did I have to lose? My family life was shattered. I felt that I was alone and on my own and that my family was so entrenched in their struggles that they couldn’t be bothered. My dad lived thousands of miles away. My older adoptive brother struggled with drugs and alcohol as well. So the journey of LSD and Psilocybin Mushrooms began.

To my surprise I had radical shifts in my perspective and started to lift out of a deep, chronic depression and crippling anxiety. I actually wanted to go to school and participate in sports and music yet before I cut classes regularly and would go weeks without showing up. There was still a lot of violence my environment and food insecurity but I was getting creative about how I could deal with that. I started to be more engaged in conversation and not so painfully withdrawn. There was a part of my mind that would step back and look at my circumstances objectively without being entrenched in my subjectivity.

By the time I was 18 I was talking about Holistic philosophy, life force, dabbling in meditation, martial arts, breathing practices, and looking at the world in ways that were not being encouraged by the people in my environment. I was still immature like most 18 year olds and had a lot of healing to do but I had unintentionally opened the door to a life long journey of growth that continues today.

I’m 57 and it’s been decades since I’ve tripped on LSD and Mushrooms. I don’t advocate it for everyone but I support where the research is going. There’s a building body of research supported by neuroscience and psychology that it can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, and PTSD. I can argue for that from my 1st person experience!!!

Anyway, hope I shed some light on the subject.

Best regards,



Leo was referenced in the Podcast but with no other connecting data like a last name or page name … is there a link to this and other videos?

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@Brian_Downey Thanks for sharing your journey with us Brian.

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The first video of his Spiral Dynamics series should have been posted in the description. It’s there on Spotify, what app are you using?

Either way here is the video and here is his website.

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Thanks for the questions @gnosisman, I’ll do my best to answer them.

In his, “Awakening from the Meaning Crisis,” lecture series, the cognitive scientist John Vervaeke talks in-depth about the mystical experiences that psychedelics and meditation can occasion.

In brief, he talks about the 9 Dot Problem. You have 9 dots on a piece of paper and the objective is to put a line through each dot with only 4 total lines and without lifting your pen once you’ve started. Most people have difficultly solving it because they erroneously assume that they must stay within the confines of the “box” that doesn’t actually exist. As the video shows, the solution requires one to “think outside the box.”

What this example is trying to illustrate is that our minds have been structured in such a way that we get stuck in ruts of thought and perception that we aren’t even aware of. What mystical experiences do is allow us to escape the confines of our own boxed in ego so that we can think outside the box. Vervaeke goes into depth about how this ability developed as an adaptive advantage in Shamans of ancient tribes, many of whom used psychedelic plants.

I know of two people who claim that psychedelics have helped them in the path of enlightenment. Leo Gura and Martin Ball. The former conducted an interview of the latter about this very topic. Although from what I’ve heard about Martin Ball, he may be a cautionary tale more than anything else.

My own views on the matter are that what psychedelics do at the very least is give us a glimpse into what we mean by “oneness” with the Universe. Whether this is “true” enlightenment or not, I really don’t know because I have not experienced anything outside this single experience. What it did do for me, as I said, was show me the power that these experiences might have. Since then I’ve been far more serious about my spiritual practice than I have ever been in my entire life. So, if nothing else, they spark the desire to pursue enlightenment by more traditional means.

Illegality and obfuscation. Here is an excellent book on the history of psychedelics and their legality. We conducted an interview with the author about how psychedelics have shaped their Christianity into an “etheogenic spirituality.”

I’m certainly not advocating forgoing the years of work in the name of doing a bunch of psychedelics. In the psychedelic community there is the idea of integration. This is essentially the years of rigorous work that follow a psychedelic experience. You can’t simply do a psychedelic and expect everything to be all sunshine and rainbows. You have to do a lot of journalling beforehand to set an intention, do your best to take notes during, a lot of journalling afterward, and then put into action what the psychedelic helped you realize.

As to what exactly psychedelics help you realize, we already alluded to that with our discussion of Vervaeke. It is essentially like taking a fish out of the waters they don’t even realize they’ve been swimming in and showing them that, yes, these are the disgustingly filthy waters you’ve been swimming in. From that point the fish can choose to clean things up or to hop on over to the cleaner pond just next door.

Again, this is far easier said than done. Psychedelics are not a shortcut or a magic pill and they shouldn’t be viewed as such. They are a facilitator of the work we all must spend our lives doing if we want to achieve the highest states of consciousness we can. If you don’t want to use them then that’s totally your own choice, but based on the research I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had they’re an incredibly potent tool. If you have an incredibly potent tool, why not use it?

If you’d like to learn more about this from an Integral perspective I highly recommend the Integral Stage’s Integral Entheogen series (the same series I posted above in “my own views”).

Another good resource is this review on psilocybin and mindfulness talking about how they may have a synergistic effect in the treatment of depression. Although just a review it does paint a quite lovely picture and come up with many interesting paths for future research. There is an increasingly enormous mountain of evidence for the positive uses of psychedelics. We are in what has been called a Psychedelic Renaissance.

I think that’s more than enough for now, but let me know if you have more questions.

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Hi Willie,
I basically agree with everything you say except:
Leo Gura Is NOT NOT NOT enlightened, lol.
Maybe he had some kind of awakening from psyches like a million other people, but I don’t equate awakening with enlightenment.
He’s basically just a guy who took psychedelics.
In the psychedelic community we really have to be careful of who we put up as our front men and provide links to represent us. I wouldn’t say he is bad or anything, just … meh… I just don’t place him in even the same league as even Ekharte Tolle for example (who didn’t take psyches that I know of).
I haven’t checked much on Martin Ball. I’ll take him at his words that he’s a “visionary”. I don’t even think Terrence McKenna was enlightened. Dude had some freaky views and was a good speaker, but kind of lost it towards the end going too far down the rabbit hole.
For myself, my person to note is Alan Watts. He used psyches and also did the integration. I don’t know if he was enlightened, but his talks sure lead me to think maybe yes.
From my anecdotal observations and heated discussions with perhaps >1,000 people who have taken psychedelics - I think psychedelics can easily provide an awakening but not enlightenment.
An awakening is an incredible experience, but if your life and mind-body organism is not set up to make the changes necessary, it doesn’t “stick”.
It’s not time that’s relevant as it is a willingness to jump into a void. Does one’s work, family and lifestyle support an enlightened life or hinder it? How ready and willing is a person to give up every personal relation, financial security and physical possession such as a home in the suburbs that does not support their transition? After all that stuff is sorted - then maybe psyches can help with the concept that you as you currently know yourself are your own illusion.

In the Yoga community there is Kundalini.
I think there are many similarities between Kundalini awakening and psychedelic awakening.
Both can provide an awakening experience that can be done in basically a weekend retreat.
Both can be useless or even harmful if the person isn’t ready for the awakening.
And of course, there are a thousand gradients in between those two extremities.

@WillE, thanks for positioning in a highly integral, inclusive, mature non-“gotcha” context.

@gnosisman @raybennett Here as an interview regarding extended clinic research on the benefits of a single use of Psilocybin. Call it what you want awakening, integration, enlightenment, shining lights on shadows,… - Perhaps everyone is saying roughly the same thing regardless of vernacular.

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Terminology is important.
You can’t fix a car if you say a radiator and carburetor are basically the same thing, and you can’t get into a serious auto mechanic discussion without these clearly defined, lol.

@raybennett I mean I can’t really argue with you, we really have no way of telling if anyone is truly “enlightened.” I consciously remove myself from the cult of personality surrounding any public figure, or at least try to, including Leo Gura and Ken Wilber. Two psychos high on their own supply, or two men honestly trying to make the world a better place? If being bald is correlated with being a deranged cult leader I better step cautiously and reflect often lmao

Either way, whether they’re enlightened or not is up to them to be truthful about, but for us, we should be open-minded and discerning.

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Yeah, I’m not really concerned about if people claim to be enlightened or not. You gotta pretty much ignore all that and look at what they are actually presenting.

This is very generic around the original post.
Evidence is stacking up that there looks to be lasting benefit from even a single experience with psychedelics. The journey might be considered a peak experience. Lasting benefits might be called awakening or enlightening.

Oh, yeah - I’m all in with psychedelics. I’ve done regimens that people think are “crazy” and I’m keyed into local and national psychedelic communities and activism.
With psychedelic enlightenment or the lesser and more common experience of awakening - it goes back to the literal mythic discussion. In my observations people who believe their experience mythical experience was literal are more likely to go “off the deep end” and that’s when you get your stereotypical stories of unhealthy psychedelic experiences.

You might have a better understanding of the number of people that have played with psychedelics. Of these, how many would fit this extreme subset that you’re concerned about?