MAPS: 25 Years of Rigorous Science and Visionary Culture

Originally appearing here. Twenty-five years after its founding, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is preparing for the future of psychedelic medicine and visionary culture by hosting an exciting and educational four-day conference and celebration from December 8-12 in Oakland, California. People interested in learning more about visionary art, as well as psychedelic therapy and research, are encouraged to attend the event, entitled, “Cartographie Psychedelica.” This unique event includes lectures and workshops with internationally acclaimed leaders in the fields of psychedelic and medical marijuana research, visionary art, and public policy. A tribute dinner will honor the contributions of transpersonal psychologists Stan and Christina Grof to the rapidly growing field of psychedelic research. MAPS is a non-profit research and educational organization that explores health and consciousness through innovative clinical studies and scientific analysis. Its ongoing mission is to develop psychedelics into legal prescription medicines, to create a network of therapeutic clinics, and to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of these drugs. Prior to their criminalization for recreational use, therapists around the world used LSD, MDMA, and other psychedelics to assist in psychotherapy. These therapists found that when used carefully under the right circumstances, psychedelics could safely enhance the therapeutic process. The criminalization of these substances, along with exaggerated claims about their risks, led to a near-complete halt on legal studies into their possible benefits as therapeutic tools. Harvard graduate Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founded MAPS in 1986 to reinvigorate research into the risks and therapeutic benefits of psychedelics. MAPS is now planning or conducting research in six countries and on four continents, including the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, and New Zealand. MAPS’ current highest-priority project is MDMA-assisted psychotherapy research for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including for survivors of sexual assault and combat veterans. MAPS also recently received permission from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct the first ever outpatient study of marijuana for PTSD in veterans of war. MAPS is funded by individuals and family foundations. Individuals support MAPS programs by making generous contributions, joining as members, volunteering, and by purchasing books and artwork. Artists and musicians have made a significant contribution to MAPS’ programs by donating their works and performing at events. The work these artists produce is often called visionary or sacred art. Attendees of the MAPS event in December will have many opportunities to explore visionary art and culture. Friday evening’s “The Kaleidoscope Vault: An Experiential Benefit Celebration” includes presentations by Alex and Allyson Grey, Charles Shaw (FractalNation Village), Android ‘Andrew’ and Phaedrana Jones, and Daniel Pinchbeck (Reality Sandwich). Performers include David Block (The Human Experience) and Random Rab, accompanied by visual artist Jonathan Singer. Performance auctioneer Elias Arjan will auction art, travel packages, and healing and educational experiences. The Medicine Ball on Saturday is an electronic dance party featuring music and interactive art exhibits. Performers include Sugarpill, ill-esha and Joey Mousepad, Mihkal, and VNDMG, Pha-droid, Serpentine, Cristina Castro, Jazzy Blue and Rocket Girl, and more. Art installations will be provided by False Profit, Psy-Education Teacher Bus, aerial and stage dancers, highlighted with video-mapping and intelligent lighting. Relaxation space will be provided by Oshan and Saraswati Tea Houses. Two visionary art workshops will provide a full day of exploration into the creative process. Alex and Allyson Grey will use meditation to ceremonially ascend the seven chakras. Participants will draw a nude yogini and envision the subtle field surrounding and interpenetrating the flesh. This class, primarily focused on drawing, will include a cross-cultural examination of the portrayal of the light body. Android and Phaedrana Jones will lead a workshop called “Universal Creativity Inside Us All: Visionary Art,” that will help participants connect with the wellspring of creativity from which we came. Other full-day workshops will address the principles of psychedelic-assisted therapy, the science and politics of medical marijuana, the past and future of psychedelic science, the Women’s Visionary Congress, psychedelic neuroscience, and current research on ayahuasca, MDMA, and medical marijuana. All proceeds from Cartographie Psychedelica will support MAPS’ ongoing research and education projects, and help build the foundation for the next 25 years of daring research into psychedelics and marijuana as safe and effective therapeutic tools. MAPS’ 25th anniversary celebration, Cartographie Psychedelica, will explore the connections between science and art with four days of workshops, lectures, original performances, artwork, and more.