[00:00:00] Pascal: Hi, welcome to One Degree Shifts, and I'm your host, Pascal Tremblay. I'm the co founder of Nectara, we're a psychedelic support ecosystem, and today we're talking to Dr. and Reverend Jessica Rochester. She's an ordained interfaith minister with a doctorate in divinity. She's from my hometown of Montreal and she's a transpersonal counselor.
And she trained in the work of Dr. Roberto Assiagilli and trained with the man, Dr. Stanislav Grof. She's also the Madrina and the founder of CEO of the Montreal, which is a Santa Dima church that she founded in 1997 in Montreal. And from 2001 to 2017, she worked with Health Canada to achieve the recognition of the Santo Daime as the legitimate religion and the right to import a Santo Daime sacrament for ritual use.
So Dr. Jessica is a pioneer in the space and thank you so much for spending all that time with Health Canada and other government bodies to make this church happen. Thank you so much.
[00:00:56] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Thank you for having me today on your show. It's a pleasure. And if somebody had told me in the beginning, it's going to take you 17 years then I think I would have I'm not, I'm sure I still would have done it, but it was like being pregnant for 17 years, if I can use that analogy is you're waiting to give birth.
To something and you know that it's going to happen and you just don't know how long it's gonna take. And, there was many detours along the way, so it was quite a journey. And for, me the experience was as much a spiritual mission and more than just a legal mission or a cultural or social mission.
It was really a spiritual mission that I really felt was put into my hands and it was part of fulfilling that kind of mission destiny that, and many people helped along the way this wasn't a climbing Everest solo it was many, people helped in many different ways.
[00:02:06] Pascal: And so much of that mission, that spiritual mission is around elevating the level of access to non ordinary states of consciousness as a path to, like you say, so while awakening self care and self mastery, and you've written books about this, you've been speaking many years about these not only states of consciousness and Carl Jung said there's an innate longing for wholeness in all of us.
A search and longing for this wholeness. is what non ordinary states of consciousness can help us access. It's like a bridge. I've heard them be called karma accelerators before, which I really like as a term for them, for entheogens and plant medicines. What is your relationship to non ordinary states of consciousness?
[00:02:48] Dr. Jessica Rochester: First of all, thank you for mentioning my books. Last year I published two books, a set, Volume 1 and Volume 2, called Ayahuasca Weakenings, a guide to self discovery, self mastery, and self care. And they're based on not only my own personal spiritual journey, but 40 years of working in the field at a private practice for 40 years and 20 and you know now it's 27 years drinking Santo Daime my own experiences in non ordinary states began when I was a child I would have spontaneous kind of visionary states and when you're really young, you think everyone has them, and then as you get a little bit older and nobody's talking about them, and nobody's mentioning them, you figure out that maybe people aren't having them, and then maybe there's something wrong with me that I'm seeing, sensing, feeling certain things, and I think that the first thing that we have to say is that our Western civilization, not just Canadian culture, But Western civilization lacks, in our culture and society, a non ordinary state.
Now, what is a non ordinary state of consciousness? And to define that means that we have to define the ordinary state of consciousness, which is any philosopher on board will say that's really hard to do. A non ordinary state of consciousness is considered to be that which is beyond our regular, ordinary state.
Stan Groff defined it, he put two wonderful terms out, holotropic and hylotropic. And holotropic to describe the states where our expansiousness had, expanded beyond its normal way of functioning in everyday life. Hylotropic being the ordinary state in which we were driving our car, cooking dinner, etc.
With the understanding that Those were part of a continuum, and I think that's so important to say that our level of consciousness is a free flowing state of consciousness. It is in a continuum of what we would consider to be average. Obviously, we can't function if, we're in the astral, we need to be in a deep meditative state or we need to be in a safe position and secure to drive a car and function in everyday reality, take care of our children, do whatever it is that we do.
So for me, this was a natural state that would happen spontaneously. So by the time I was As a young teenager, I was starting to read things like Aldous Huxley and science fiction and the Old Testament, desperately trying to find things that made sense for me. And I could say, oh, okay, they experienced that and they were seeing this and feeling that.
And, so it was helpful for me. Then I went through the Eastern door and discovered meditation and yoga and then. Followed for a while and off and on in the Buddhist path and became familiar with the Buddhist teachings and embraced all that I could in that. And then it was spontaneous shamanic initiations that pulled me further along the path, always trying to find the next step.
What's the next step? My training with Stan Groff was wonderful because here was a master of non ordinary states who was just eager for willing students. And a colleague of mine once a professor at McGill described students as wet wood, dry wood, and gunpowder. Okay. And anyone who teaches knows immediately what that means.
Okay. And Stan Groff is the kind of person who, who, just, you cannot help but be enlightened and light up in his presence. And all great teachers, there's an inspirational awakening aspect of his ability to teach and so those of you who are interested who are listening today You're very welcome to go into my books I covered all of Stan Groff's work, Asagioli's work, start with Freud, work my way through Jung and etc with the maps
For me non ordinary states of consciousness are essential to being human.
Our culture doesn't have them We're trying to borrow them from everywhere Our problem is, in part, is that as they adjust into our culture, they lose something. Look at yoga. Yoga became something that you do in heat with loud music. Okay, something else. But what's happening to those deep teachings? What's happening to what it is that we, what are we, what's the purpose of it?
What's the intention of it? And so if we look at our culture, we can see that it's hungry and thirsty for, and this is why I think entheogens and psychedelics have become very popular right now, is because, as you were quoting Jung, there is this thirst for wholeness. People are seeking something. We're concerned about the environment.
We're concerned about the amount of people on the planet, that the planet can't sustain it. We're concerned about what does this all look like for all of us. So we're seeking. I'm not even sure if I answered your question, but ask Gane if I didn't.
[00:08:15] Pascal: You did. Thank you so much. And I, yeah, you're, I think you're right.
Around the people are seeking the answers to something that often feels strange or scary or uncertain or far away from our cultural understanding of these things. And I'd, love to. Tap it a little bit more in the kind of the cultural context that, and in my notes, I shared from our previous call that Western, the Western perspective lacks the holding or context for natural nonordinary states.
And you touched a little bit on that, but I. Why is that important to have that cultural context to access these non ordinary states in a good way, or in an integrative way, or in a transformative way, really?
[00:09:02] Dr. Jessica Rochester: If we look at the roots of it, and we see that non ordinary states of consciousness and some form of For now, we'll call it shamanism.
Okay, we're just going to call it that. It's not academically correct. But I just want to use that term to look at cultures around the world. Every culture had an access to a non ordinary state, whether it was through trans singing, trans dancing, sacred plants, fasting, any other form of ritual.
Okay, and we see that this exists and then what happened was culture modernized and technology came in and science developed and a lot of focus went on that and there became a separation of body, mind, and spirit. The bodies went to the doctors and the minds went to this new science of psychiatry and then psychology And the soul was captured by the religions and I think all of us are trying to come back into wholeness.
Now, how did it work before modern age and modern society was that, and I'm not saying it was perfect, please don't think that I'm romanticizing. The history of the human race, because we're still an aggressive selfish, greedy species, okay, and there's still a lot going on that wasn't okay, but we're just looking at this one particular aspect of it, which was that non ordinary states of consciousness were basically conducted in ritual, ceremony, and community, or tribal setting, in which there were elders or teachers who taught apprentices and students and the young ones growing up in the tribe.
They taught them how to meditate, how to breathe, how to do the ritual. You can see this in Indigenous rituals where you see these little children coming out and they're beginning the dances and they're learning the chants. And, so they're growing up with the understanding that is a ritual.
And meaning and spirituality are part of community, and they are part of everyday life. It's not just a couple of times a year, decorate the house and, say a prayer or sing a song or something, and that's it. We're done with spirituality. Birth.
[00:11:35] Pascal: Yeah, birth, marriage and death. Like those are the ceremonies that we're all accustomed to and yet they're just three of them.
There's days of ceremony
[00:11:45] Dr. Jessica Rochester: and a lot of the ritual around that has been replaced by other things. And, which is okay, there's nothing, change is fine as long as too much doesn't get lost in the change that has heart, soul, and meaning for us as humans.
[00:12:04] Pascal: And
[00:12:05] Dr. Jessica Rochester: so how can we... How do we as a, how do we as a people in our civilization create community or a sense of tribal?
How do we do that in a way that will provide the opportunity for healthy, non ordinary states of consciousness work? Which is not like in our culture and our society right now today.
[00:12:32] Pascal: Yeah, I'd love to explore that more too is like the relationship between, for example, ceremony and ritual. And I did a panel on these 2 topics a few days ago and someone on the panel shared that we've we've added a lot of religious.
Tones and allergies to the word ritual and ceremony. And when I speak to psychedelics about people that are not in the space and they're for example, my parents, they have had zero interface with them at all, except for the war on drugs, there's a lot of sense of allergy to spirituality and allergy to these things as strange and weird.
And not. Part of the real human experience is just fancy, schmancy, fairy stuff. And, yet the emergence of psychedelics is showing us how much people are craving for that. And for a lot of people, including myself, who is half Syrian and half Canadian, growing up in Canada, really, I did the Catholic.
Rituals and ceremonies as I was growing up, but after that, the only first real ceremony I felt like I joined was an ayahuasca ceremony. And that was my first interface with a non ordinary states of consciousness. And that was my introduction to these worlds. And. The spiritual journey with that for me has been life changing just to be exposed to that and so when we say karma rewire culture and rewire our approach to spirit as well and what have you seen change in the last 20, 30, 40 years around the cultural acceptance of nonary states of consciousness, if anything?
[00:14:09] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Good question. First of all, there's a challenge bringing a Brazilian spiritual practice to Canada, because if we look at Brazil, Brazil is, rich in spirituality and ritual and it just is, vibrant. Everywhere you go, there's a lot of spiritual and ritual practice going on that's very diversified.
And a lot of the practices have deep roots in spiritism and spirituality and either African roots or, Amazon indigenous roots. And so these are because these plants grow there and not just those plants. But other sacred plants and practices, and so we have that rich diversity there, whereas if you look at, let's just say, Canada and speak for ourselves in this moment when the, with the European when the Europeans came here this last few hundred years, what happened was the kind of the genocide of indigenous spirituality and culture as the dominant religions of Catholicism and Protestantism.
Just dominated the space which sadly to say those religions and others, they're not alone and others have been, have spent millennia, okay, at this point, it's thousands of years traveling around the world, believing that their mission is to dominate and submit and convert versus.
Let's say our small little center and it's practice, which is we're not, there is no soliciting. Absolutely none. It's forbidden in our tradition. People have to feel called, and then they have to apply, and then they have to go through an interview, and they have to do all kinds of things, and we have to seriously consider them before, and this is more the true spiritual tradition, is the initiate needs to present themselves. So you have those two very strong, historical roots into, spiritual practice. One is growing up with it in the community as part of the community. And then there is the initiate. And even within that, there is the initiate presenting themselves to the teacher and asking to be able to practice and learn and study and really understanding the apprentice or the initiate position.
In approaching the elder, the teacher the guru, the rinpoche, whoever and, so that doesn't exist in our culture. We have this very especially now I hope this doesn't sound too critical, but maybe it's my age speaking, but I find that there's a very entitled, me centered view in our culture.
Of this is what I want and this is what I need and on all of these demands that don't take the whole into consideration that don't take the whole of community or the does it make sense what I'm saying? And I know other people.
[00:17:35] Pascal: It speaks. So it speaks to the dominant culture that you just spoke about, right?
It's we're all in silos. We're not connected. We're not divine beings. We're not this, we're not that. This is you have to keep doing and progress and succeed. And there's a whole narrative around that, that really encapsulates all the systems that we're a part of. So that cultural context is very powerful to guide us through that.
And so no wonder. We're only now starting to remember some of us around the true reality of things and undoing some of those systems in the process.
[00:18:07] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Yes. From birth, our culture drives us to, do, to have, to achieve, to impress, to compete. Okay. And these are driving forces in our culture.
Where is the. The community sense the working with nature returning the service oriented. I was raised with the idea of charity and that you do charitable service. My mother who's now 101, gold standard, in charitable service. Up until her early 90s, she was still hosting church coffee mornings in her house and trying to maintain her volunteer work.
And when you're raised with certain principles, it just seems really normal that doing something, community service, and for me, doesn't matter. It's, cleaning the mountain in the spring. It's helping out in the cat shelter or whatever it is. contributing your time, your energy, a certain portion of your finances towards community at whole and community involvement.
And, this seems to have been shrunk down as everybody is so insanely busy and working at such a pace. And we've all been driven into this belief around materialism and. I'm going to be the first to say that I like to turn a tap, and I have hot water, and I like to flick a switch, and I have electricity, and yes, I drive a car, and very sensibly, but still I do, and all of these modern conveniences are exactly that, they're modern conveniences, and we don't want to give them up, and I understand and agree with that.
I don't want to live in the forest. The bottom line is how do we bridge all of that? How do we encompass it? And so non ordinary states is a way of awakening each of us. And you were asked earlier, is like how does, that fit into our culture? And so non ordinary states are the, kind of one of, one of the opportunities that we have to leave aside.
Our everyday perceptions, so through meditation, trans singing, trans dancing, all of these different things that we can do, and entheogens or sacred plants and psychedelics allow us to access non ordinary states of consciousness more easily, for most, for the average person. And these... Non ordinary states help us to come back to our authentic self.
They can help us to awaken to the reality of who we are. and what our everyday reality is. For most people, it will help us to align with our authentic self, our inner wisdom. And if we have good guidelines, then we will learn to have better self care. We will learn self mastery. One of my concerns, this is why I publish these books is, because I, just wanted to share everything that I have learned from all the people I've worked with, the students, the clients, the workshops I've led, et cetera, et cetera, to share everything that I've learned, some of the hard lessons that I've learned, some of the things that are terrific fun and easy to do and some things that are essential for understanding and taking care of ourselves.
And so if we don't learn about self care, and if we don't learn about balance in our life, then how are we going to integrate what we receive?
[00:21:53] Pascal: Exactly. And I'd like to talk more about that piece around navigating ordinary states of conscious, non ordinary states of consciousness. We're talking about that one, not the ordinary one today.
And just navigating
[00:22:06] Dr. Jessica Rochester: ordinary consciousness is enough of a challenge. That's a whole,
[00:22:09] Pascal: that's a whole podcast series for sure. Yeah,
[00:22:11] Dr. Jessica Rochester: absolutely.
[00:22:14] Pascal: So there's a spiritual journey of. of navigating these non ordinary states of consciousness. And we talked about this on our call before this around discerning spiritual states and how to better do that.
Can you tell us more about the different spiritual states and how it relates to?
[00:22:34] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Again, in my books, and what I've done is taken Jung's work of his maps of the collective unconscious, the self, and the collective unconscious, and how consciousness moves through our individual state of consciousness to our family, to our tribe, to our nation, and to the collective unconscious.
And married them in with Stan Groff's Asagiolis and Stan Groff's work, which is adding those pieces in the cartography of the self. So who am I? And what is my life's journey about? When we go on a journey, it's nice to have maps and a guide. We don't just usually get in the car and say, Okay, I think I'll drive to Kansas or Maine or Florida.
We usually need a map, okay? And once we've done it a few times, we get to know what the journey's about. And once we've done it many times, we can actually really understand the journey and where it's challenging and where it gets slow and where it's fabulous and where to watch for the views and things like that.
So a very ordinary analogy. And so the same way with, let's say a sailor who, or a fisherman who knows when to take their boat out. When to go with the tides, they understand the currents, they have their charts, they navigate by whatever they're using the stars in the old days.
But the bottom line is experienced sailors. are not somebody who got their sailing license last week. They're somebody who's been out on the water for decades and who understands, and they pass that knowledge on. It's the transference of knowledge through the history of, human experience, that there are some things you can learn from a book.
And it's the same, I believe, in non ordinary states of consciousness, in which you need guides the same way through ancient history. We had gurus, rinpoches, elders, shamans, teachers, wise women and wise men, what we would call under the, let's call them elders for now. People who knew because they'd lived, they'd experienced, they have that gift of being able to synthesize things and make sense of them.
And that's why those people are the medicine men and women rather than the warrior or the person in charge of the hunt. Okay, everybody has their different skill and that's where as a community or as a tribe we can honor each other's skills and fit together. Part of the problem today is that a lot of people are there's a number of words, urban shaman, pop up shaman, what have you, who declare themselves to be this, instead of recognizing that in the older human stories that it would be the tribe who recognizes who you are because they've witnessed your apprenticeship.
They've been part of your learning. They've been part of your apprenticeship. They've watched you study and make mistakes and learn. They're not acclaiming. We're back to this kind of self centered me focused culture in which people are declaring themselves to be. I had a vision. I took Ayahuasca twice, three times.
I know what I'm doing. Have
[00:26:00] Pascal: a, that's a good four week training online. I can, yeah, exactly. I can host
[00:26:03] Dr. Jessica Rochester: ceremony. Yeah. And, now I'm all good to go. Thank you very much. It's concerning because it's out of alignment with everything that we have in, millennia of human history, and so how do we bring the, what does the conversation look like, Pascal? What does it look like to be able to, lean into? Ancient traditions, wisdom teachings, indigenous ways of knowing, elder and mentoring and apprentice ways with our cultures today in a way that the best for the higher good can happen.
Because non ordinary states by themselves, yes, I'm sure there's some people who do solo trips, and they're just fine, and they learn all kinds of stuff and they have experiences that are really helpful for them in their lives, and there's no doubt in my mind. That based on Stan Groff's work at Stanford in, in palliative care his three sessions of LSD that he was doing with his team.
Absolutely no doubt that those were extremely helpful sessions for people who were facing the end of their life and to feel supported and in those non ordinary states to try and get a sense of completeness. And Understand their life from a different perspective in order to face that next stage of life that transition and how do we hold all of this?
What does it look like?
[00:27:40] Pascal: Are you asking me for the solution right now? No, there
[00:27:43] Dr. Jessica Rochester: is no solution. That's the thing. There needs to be the conversation of many people and, I think that there needs to be a what's also concerning to me is for the sacred plants more for me, I really hold them as being separate.
For me, the psychedelics would benefit enormously from having the voices of elders and indigenous people who worked with non ordinary states and sacred plants, but certainly the people who are working with sacred plants. In whatever capacity, in a clinical sense, in palliative care, in individual journeying or therapeutic practices, is why aren't they sitting down with the Indigenous people?
Why aren't they sitting down with the people who have these traditions? Why aren't they sharing and asking and learning and finding that bridge where they can contribute? And that's my
[00:28:41] Pascal: question. And it's a really good question too. And I think what you shared just now speaks a lot to the culture of, the Western world, which is around quick fixes and really huge transformational experiences and the blind side too, I think that a lot of people new to this space have around I'm going to do this ceremony.
I'm going to be healed and I'm going to have all these insights and I'm going to be able to navigate and integrate These experiences into a whole different type of experience for myself in this life. There's a kind of a looking away of the actual work it does take, both as a journey or to deeply integrate these insights, but also, as you touched on a little bit earlier on serving the medicine and in a way that is.
Grounded and ethical and informed by elders and community and deep training. And you touched a little bit about that the value of time and the value of time for healing, but also the value of time for actually being able to hold the medicines in a good way. And I'd love to talk a little bit more with that.
You mentioned the pop up shamans, which I love the term and we see being in the psychedelic space, I hear about new trainings all the time, and I believe there's. At least 90 trainings right now in North America going on of like a huge variety of different intentions and length and teachers and modalities.
And there's people that do 5MEO DMT training online and then they go serve medicine, which to me is extremely irresponsible and just doesn't really hold. That much integrity and care for people that and enter these non ordinary states of consciousness and tell us share a little bit more about the challenges and the ethics of training and of basically elevating the standards of care in the space.
[00:30:36] Dr. Jessica Rochester: We received our exemption in 2017, and then Spirit the time he gave me a message. He says, you're gonna do this, you're gonna do that, you're gonna do this. Okay, three things, bing bang boom. The first one was you're gonna do a conference, and this was in January of 2019, I get this message.
And so the conference was done and it wasn't over five minutes when it's okay. Now it's time to do the second thing. And so the second thing was I drafted up something that I called Entheogens and Psychedelics in Canada, a proposal for a new paradigm.
Again, spoke to a few colleagues, drafted something up. They made their contributions. And then we collected probably 20 plus other researchers across Canada as contributors, and we published in April, 2021, a paper in the Canadian journal of psychology.
And it's called Entheogenesis. Anybody who's interested in it, you can go to my website. And what we cover are the basics.
We had very heavy hitters. Okay, people who really knew what they're talking about and a wonderful team of contributors. And so what we looked at was education, credentialing, ethics. And recommendations to our government, and they're all in there.
So the same way that if you have a psychology degree from one university, it's probably going to pretty much match up with, if it's from McGill and U of T, University of Toronto, then they're going to pretty they're going to be an equivalency. Rather than just everybody kind of teaching what they want, that there had to be some standardization in education.
We sketched out what we thought should be included in the education.
We discussed and presented our ideas on credentialing, including grandfathering. In other words, people who were in the field already, who'd been researching and working in the field, who had the kind of credentials to be able to be grandfathered in.
And then what did an ethics code look like? Now, some people had already been working on ethics codes.
And jack Kornfield had just written and published a book called After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, which was all about the ethics in and so much gratitude to him for doing this, for kicking open the door on the conversation. And he gathered up the usual suspects of problems that show up when you have humans together.
And he outlined. What to look for and how to approach it and what kind of standards should be taken into consideration. And he said in his book , if you've joined a spiritual tradition and they don't have a code of ethics, write your own and take it to the elders. So that's what I did. So I wrote the code of ethics for Sodom and Gomorrah.
I took it to the elders. It took many years, but I, understand now that the Code of Ethics that I wrote is actually up on the main website, or it was in, in Appiah. And I offered it freely. It's on our church website. Anybody who wants to borrow it for your own use, take it for your own use, please do.
And and so ethics has been something that has spoken to me and has called me I was in a podcast with Dr. Sandra Dreisbeck, and she's an ethicist, and we were picking around ethics. And she said something beautiful, which is that your your code of ethics reflects your values.
And it's the code of ethics is like the North Star. It's what you need to navigate by. Isn't that beautiful? And certainly what I agree with is that it's a living document. It's not a dead document, closed and finished, like the Declaration of Independence, closed and finished.
That it's a living document. It's alive. It needs to be always reviewed and brought into the now. and be inclusive as the world turns and things change. And so those three things have to be essential in the conversation. Education, credentialing, and ethics.
[00:34:52] Pascal: And we've talked about this before and yes, absolutely. The code of ethics is so important. And I agree with Sandra around being a North star is very important to have that in place. And the psychedelic space in general as, I shared earlier, the number of trainings that are available right now is highly fragmented in terms of the training and in terms of the.
The ethical stewardship. And I know Sandra works at Epic Psychedelic, which is a group forming around ethics, and I really support their work around creating some more standards and support really for organizations and people navigating this growing space. And you touched on it a little bit earlier around the value of time and the value of working with elders.
And the longevity and the proximity really to having a teacher to having a group and at Nectar, when we work with integration support guides, we look a lot at their teachers and their mentors and the community that's around them so that they really have a support system to keep growing and evolving, just like the code of ethics.
Can you share a little bit more around that, value of, having eldership and the value of, time and community to elevate your practice in, this field?
[00:36:10] Dr. Jessica Rochester: I'll do my best to answer that question. In our culture, again, it seems to be more difficult to create a community that will be supportive.
And to this, first of all, there's not a lot of elders who are working in non ordinary states of consciousness. They're few and far, they are, there's few and far between. And those people who are working on the frontier can only stretch themselves so far. And we all need to be mindful of, that we're working together to create a bridge of what the reality is in this culture.
I remember sitting with Elders in, in, in the Santo Daime line I apprenticed for 14 years under the Elders of Mapilla and, with the other Elders from, such as Maivishena and in her center of Lumiar. And. So in my apprenticeship, every minute I was hosting them in my home or being in the community in Brazil or traveling with them in Europe or the United States or what have you, I would have my little tape recorder and I would have my, notepad and my pencil and I was hungry and thirsty with questions about the path, about the teachings, about the tradition, about PRACTICE.
Navigating everything. It's as if trying to soak up all the wisdom and the teaching and the knowledge that I possibly could and Understanding in, the Santo Daime tradition that we believe that the sacrament itself is the teacher of all teachers. And at the same time, there is the tradition, the ritual, and the depth of the teachings that exist.
And people don't understand that. People don't understand how deep, how absolutely deep this is. And you said earlier about wanting an instant fix and having there's so much sensationalism around psychedelics and entheogens and sacred plants and, so many people have.
Posted on their social media or done interviews or what have you and you know said oh it's like a you know a thousand therapeutic sessions. I took what name whatever substance they took or participated in and you know I got this and that. So there's these very sensational. What we don't hear about so much We do, okay, we hear about the tragedies of people who died.
We hear what we don't or we hear about where there were serious and traumatizing ethical errors on the part of the people organizing or the people in charge. What we don't hear about, are the people who don't know how to integrate it into their everyday life. What we don't hear about are the people who have a vision who don't understand it.
Stan Groff used to teach us, and he'd say, Never make a serious decision shortly after doing a breathwork. And this was holotropic breathwork. This wasn't taking Dynie, aye waska, okay? This was holotropic breathwork. Don't make a serious decision. And if you have one ahead of you, Make sure that you look at all angles of it.
And so he really taught us that we had to ground, that we had to integrate, that what we experienced or thought we felt may not be for now. It may not, how it might manifest, might look different from how we think we see it in our non ordinary state. And all of these things need what we're calling now integration or grounding.
Okay, and so we're not hearing about all the people who in their everyday lives are making decisions based on unintegrated visions, unintegrated experiences, be they difficult experiences or be they blissful experiences. Okay, we're not hearing so much about that. We're not hearing about the people who are still struggling to understand or integrate what they saw or felt.
We're not hearing about the people who are troubled and scared by what they experienced and felt.
[00:40:47] Pascal: I actually just had an email, and really well said. I just had an email yesterday from someone who had attended a retreat in the Netherlands saying it was a very long email of just sharing the challenges that came up and essentially that person came back home feeling highly dysregulated, that was couldn't sleep they were reliving the whole experience and re traumatizing themselves while they were sleeping.
It was a whole thing. And, courage of speaking that up because like you shared, there's so many people that we don't hear those stories about and being in the space, I hear of retreats that have 150 people drinking all at once. And there's two toilets, for example, it's like those type of experiences are happening.
And we only hear the very. Small percentage of that. So how do we create the container to elevate the standards of care, but also really help deepen the process of training and education and the ethics development as well so that those things can scale well. And develop places and support systems of integration.
I'd love to touch on integration a little bit. And you mentioned earlier the transpersonal maps of the human experience. Can you tell us more about those maps and how it relates to integration?
[00:42:07] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Yeah, I will. I hope to. Okay. Anybody who's really interested. Get my books. All the maps are in them. It's the cartography of the self, and the journey that we make in non ordinary states is inside of ourselves.
We aren't climbing a mountain, or hiking through the desert, or whatever other analogy you want to make. We, aren't. It's not an external journey. It's an internal journey. We are going deep inside of ourselves. And if we have a fairly resilient and healthy sense of self, then that journey will probably be not too difficult to integrate, because we have a healthy sense of self.
Okay? If, however, we don't have such a healthy sense of self, it may be infinitely more challenging to integrate. And what do those challenges look like? Let me do regulations for a moment. Oh, how dull and boring everybody's saying she's going to talk about regulations. Yeah, I am. And I'm going to
[00:43:16] Pascal: regulate.
[00:43:17] Dr. Jessica Rochester: And I'm going to tell you why there are regulations, okay? The regulations in Brazil, which are not vastly different from the regulations in Canada, Are this Brazil did a very deep investigation into a study, a research study into the what they call the ayahuasca religions, the shamanic practices have been in the forest, the indigenous traditions.
They've been in the forest for millennia. Okay, and but the ayahuasca religions are in the last hundred years. It's really just about a hundred years Okay, and they became only out of very small centers in the forests You know when being looked at really looked at only a few decades ago And so the Brazilian government did some research.
They made some decisions around it The regulations came out some of those regulations had questions to them some different factions in the community, more religious, right, Christian groups objected to this even in Parliament. And then, so the government didn't, they the whole history of this you can find on, again, Chapo de Bilabari.
Her website and Chacruna again, another dear personal friend. I want to just give her a shout out for the decades of research that she has done and the, all of the efforts that she has made to bring good research into the field and to share that with the general public. And so all of the documents that I'm speaking about just about you can find through her websites and so they looked at ayahuasca and the ayahuasca religions and they said, okay what works and what doesn't work.
And so they put down some pretty reasonable regulations and the regulations boil down or simply what they have to do your visitor screening and there's no soliciting and. The people have to come of their own free will and, most importantly, anybody with a psychological diagnosis or psychiatric diagnosis should not be served unless it was with the complete cooperation of the prescribing physician, the medical doctor, the psychologist, the psychiatrist, and the family.
In other words, they recognized. The deep need for anybody who didn't have a strong sense of self resilience, wasn't perhaps living what we would call a pretty average healthy life, would need a lot more support. And so they put those regulations in. So similar regulations here in Canada. The regulations are pretty narrow what, I worked with, the government I think it's nine different general directors from the Office of Controlled Substances, and I really have to acknowledge the deep respect I have for the staff, the directors and staff in that department.
Always. interested, available, respectful. All my encounters and discussions with them were always conducted with, great respect, always answering, always asking whether whatever questions they have, always willing to have a meeting and be in dialogue. And that's really important for me to put out there that anybody who is really serious and who has the education, the credentials, the legitimacy, Okay, then the government will sit down with you and listen to you, but you have to approach them with all of that.
You have to have the credentialing. You have to have the research behind you. Otherwise, they're not going to take things so seriously so the regulations in Canada are pretty much the same. People here are not currently, certainly in the religious practices we do not serve we do very clear, honest, open visitor screening, and in our interviews and if there's contraindications, it's a sadness for us, but we have to say we cannot, and we try and support people to go to other Thank you.
Venues where they can and other practices to learn to meditate, do Stan Grof's work, holotropic breath work that there are other things that they can do a deep inner exploration is possible without using anything that could be offsetting to their medication that they're taking or their health condition.
These are serious things. These are serious things.
[00:48:07] Pascal: Absolutely. You want to make sure that people enter these experiences with the right, like you said, a healthy sense of self, so they can actually properly receive and integrate the experiences. Can you share a little bit more about that integration phase and how you'd like to.
to see it?
[00:48:27] Dr. Jessica Rochester: You have to remember that we're a spiritual community, and so we have hymn practices, and we have works, and we share a meal after our works, and we have community time after our works, and in the community, if there's somebody who needs some help, then it's on them to ask us for the help, and then if we Can we help them find the help that they need, whether it's spiritual help or, psychological help.
We have a list of references if people need more support from time to time it's important for people to step back a little bit to instead of drinking more, take less. And just to be able to navigate, especially some newcomers, they need to learn to navigate. It's like learning to drive a car.
You don't learn to drive a car at a hundred kilometers an hour. You learn to drive a parking lot, right? Okay. And for a lot of people, that's a decent analogy. You need to learn to navigate yourself and so a lot of people come in and they want big glasses and they want to go to the, they want to go to Jupiter they want to go to the outer dimensions, they want to experience big things and, they don't realize that it's better for them the same way again when you're learning to scuba dive, your first few open dives, you're not going lower than 30, 35 feet.
Although in the water level, you're not doing expert dives at 90 and 140 feet and things like that. No, you're not. You have to prove yourself at 30 feet. Okay, so all these people are taking these mega high doses and they're taking these retreats down to South America and they're being given things that are going to give them a big bang for their dollar.
Because they want these massive, great experiences. I'm not sure if that's the way to go. It's better to learn to drive in the parking lot. Okay. Take this. This
[00:50:26] Pascal: It's actually, it's a rocket ship to plant university. It's not just a normal car.
[00:50:31] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. And, understanding and that's something our culture doesn't have.
Pascal. It does not have patience. Everything's instant. I want it. I want it now. It's on my phone. I don't want to wait in line. We have all of these online things. We feel at 2 o'clock in the morning. We want to order food. We order food. We want to book something. We want to shop. We can shop 24 hours a day, right?
[00:50:59] Pascal: The good news doctor, is that we now have ayahuasca and a pill. So whenever we want to pop a ceremony into our life, we can just go to the pharmacy and get one.
[00:51:08] Dr. Jessica Rochester: This is not possible. This is something else if these sacred plants. In their introduction and assimilation into Western civilization and Western culture, if there's some change that happens that's just what happens.
And the consequences of that we'll only know as we go along. And why would people be doing that, by the way? That's what we need to ask. Is it just another spiritual bypass? Is it just another way of escaping something? Yes, it. We can all agree. What is it? The first truth of the Buddha life is difficult.
None of us like that. I don't know anybody who likes that one. No one escapes illness or suffering. No one likes that one either. We all age. No, that's not. Thank you very much. We all die. Okay, all four of them. We don't like any of them. Thank you, Buddha. Go away.
Is there real and we have our culture fights it our culture fights it. We don't want to age. So we do all of these plastic, plastic things to our bodies. So they won't. And instead of just staying healthy, okay, don't do what you can't stay healthy. So we fight aging. We fight nobody wants to be ill how do we embrace illness in our culture and how do we make space for it?
How do we hold it? And how do we treat it? Is it just, what is it? And how do we face difficulty? And how do we understand it? And what do we do about it? And these are universal questions that we all have to face. And, when we get that, none of us want to. It's like that film, The Matrix, where the guy says, plug me back in.
Okay, give me a nice life. I'd like to be a Hollywood producer.
[00:53:01] Pascal: Ignorance is bliss, like you said.
[00:53:03] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Ignorance is bliss. Yeah. This isn't a Matrix movie. This is life. This is life. And you're asking great questions, and I certainly don't have hard and fast answers to anything.
I think a lot of this is going to have to evolve, and those of us who are doing our piece in the field can only contribute what wisdom or knowledge we have and be supportive to our colleagues and our community as to how to go forward. What you were sharing a few minutes ago about 90 different training programs, some of them only online.
I don't know what to say about that. I, can only imagine that like any other school, if people feel that what they learn gives them. What they really need to go forward in life. And if what they've learned contributes to the higher good of other people, eventually that school will grow.
That school will grow roots. That school will get a good reputation. That school will be recognized. That's what will happen in schools where not good things happen and things don't grow from it. That will wither. That's just life. That happens for everything, I was really pleased. I believe it's Columbia where the Indigenous...
Plant teacher traditions they decided to register themselves with the main university and they did. Oh stand up and applaud. They registered themselves as, in their field, as being the professionals in their field and knowledge keepers in their field, equivalent to, the other knowledge keeper in their fields of medicine or dentistry or accountants or law or all of those other fields.
It's like this, I think maybe one of the ways and instead of keeping them separate, it would be lovely in Canada to see knowledge keepers have that. It's that build that bridge could be built.
[00:55:31] Pascal: Yeah, and deeply honor the level of experience and knowledge and stories that go through the lineages and the teachers and the students and really honoring the value of depth and, time and dedication and devotion related to a practice that really I think on our previous call, you shared that I have friends that say Oh, you need to do at least five years of deep shadow work before you even think about serving.
You upped that to 10 or 15 years, right? And there's a deep level of wisdom that enrichment and, again, depth around how to navigate non religious states of consciousness in a, very embodied and, way. And it's an ever evolving thing as well.
I'd love for you to put your, imagination hat on for a second and imagine the future as you see it. And how do you see psychedelics and plant medicines evolve in the next 25 years where everything's gone well.
Like, how would you imagine that? And what would it look like?
[00:56:35] Dr. Jessica Rochester: First of all, before I answer that, and if I forget to answer it, bring the question back. Okay. You mentioned shadow work and I could not have spirit guided me into psychosynthesis, the work of Rivera Osagielli.
There was, it was very clear. I was directed into that. And then spirit directly guided me into transpersonal trainings. And my training was Dr. Stanislav Grof and... And it was Stan Groff, who in a very lighthearted way directed me to Thesal just by saying, have you ever heard of Thesal Me saying, no, what's that?
And he says, oh, you might be interested. And that was it. Okay. Now your life
[00:57:13] Pascal: changed, right? Like that. I got, couple years
[00:57:14] Dr. Jessica Rochester: later, a couple of years later, the opportunity opens and I go, oh, Stan mentioned that. A couple of years ago, and it was clear that was the direction to take. So you know, given that guidance, I understand, I could not have possibly of, it's, I look back and it's as if Spirit guided me and, I still, I tell my personal story of my encounter with Master, with Shuramudam, and then in the astral in a non ordinary state and.
And and then my encounter with Master Erneo in Dreamtime and not knowing it was Master Erneo and and I told him my story of how I know I'm being guided by these spiritual beings and that they will show me and I have this owl ring on Great Horned Owl, because I was sent a spirit.
Owl, and I was told, follow the owl, and the owl every time would lead me this, direction, you need to go in that direction, and I can say in full honesty that if I had not done the kind of 11 years of training, I could not have drunk daimyo and then started the mission that I started. I needed to do that 11 years of preparation before I came into the santo daimyo to be able to receive the mission, to come home and start the church, and then in that do 14 years of apprenticeship.
Okay? And so it's been a long path. Now, one thing I want to say about the santo daimyo is that There's no such as again, I am still an apprentice on the path. Yes, I've been on the path 27 years, and I have all those other trainings in front, and I'm still very clear that I'm an apprentice on the path, that what I know is this much, okay?
What is possible to know is infinite. So I know a small amount that I'm happy to share with those who are interested and want to learn shadow work. Our culture has this whole thing about the shadow and, again, in transpersonal work, we consider that what's in the shadow is often of great wealth and beauty, that what we've shoved, And what Robert Bly calls the black bag we drag behind us, okay, is often our creativity, our spirituality, our sexuality, all kinds of wonderful, our authenticity.
Okay, so it's not just our fear or shame or the mistakes we've made and stuff like that and the bad things that have happened. it's it's this whole. journey in entheogenesis psychedelics for some reason has been about, is becoming a big conversation about trauma, like the focus has been on trauma and take this to heal trauma and take this to heal yourself and take this to, whereas that's not originally what plant teachers were being used for, not at all.
Plant teachers were part of your rites of passage, part of developing yourself, part of understanding community, of understanding life. Who am I in life? So these were considered, non ordinary states are considered an integral part of the development of being human, not a fix for something that's broken.
But that's what I'm watching the community draw it into. And I, a lot of it feels like it's motivated, kind of money motivated or power motivated, if you know what I'm saying. Or go all these clinics where everybody's now working with trauma. I'm much more focused on spiritual growth.
I am yes in a spiritual tradition, so it's all about not fixing that which is broken. Are you, interested in spiritually growing and understanding and embracing your human experience in the fullness that it is? And if you find some painful broken parts of yourself, then that's just part of the journey, that recovering yourself, that it should not be the focus for entering into a journey with these sacred medicines and sacred plants.
Does that at all come close to answering your question?
[01:01:47] Pascal: You answered it beautifully in your own way. And I love the kind of invitation to look more at spiritual growth and, transcendence and to look at these higher states of, consciousness as Entirely new worlds to explore and be creative with and co create with as well.
And I, think you're right. It is getting a little bit lost in the space as I, I see a lot of the language around exactly what you shared around just being around that. And there's so much more to it, like creativity and play and joy and humor.
[01:02:21] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Yes. I use humor a lot when, funny little things happen in, we call our rituals works. Sometimes a funny little thing will happen. And I know that it's just me, my tone that I bring to our church.
I know that in the more. Orthodox churches, it's much more severe and it would be like this, whereas I try to use humor to lighten the mood and to relax and not to tighten it, but to, okay, let's take a moment and breathe and have a little laugh and okay, now let's go back and close our eyes and go inside.
Or let's continue singing hymns. And how to... And some of my Eastern teachers that I worked with, they used humor and it makes, it smooths things through. My Vashina, she used humor at the strangest moments, and she would have us absolutely falling over with humor. And and, then you realize, Oh, I'm so relaxed, and happy and proof.
Everything is, has opened where it was tight. Okay. And now it's relaxed and open she was the seventh generation of Bonaparte staff. She knew what she was doing and she'd been in the dining room. Decades on decades, and so the skill of being able to navigate these experiences comes from doing them, and I think that's the core of today's.
Conversation, I believe, is that these are not non ordinary states of consciousness, and to be able to work with people in them is not a one month study. It's not a online, get a little certificate kind of thing. Those things might be very helpful, and they might be part of program. I'm not discounting that there might be important things that can be learned.
Absolutely. But in the end it's the experiential and understanding how to navigate yourself. A couple of things about the shadow and ethics, what a lot of practitioners may or may not understand. Now your regular, Psychiatrists and psychologists and social workers, et cetera. People in that line have that, they have in their training, the understanding around transference and counter transference and watching themselves.
And a big part, that's why there's codes of ethics around this, which is makes me really nervous when a lot of these pop up shamans and schools and things that are happening, they don't have a code of ethics to refer to. Okay. So how does everybody know where the boundaries are and what to do and what are the protocols?
So if understanding when we're working with people that we might be triggered infinitely more in the non ordinary state and working with people in the non ordinary state. Okay, and what are we bringing in? We need to be very careful what we are consciously and or unconsciously bringing in through integration.
In the Santo Daime, for example, we, in the tradition, you don't really talk about what we call the mirasals, the vision. You do not talk about them unless it is with an elder because you were hoping for some guidance as to how to understand or integrate that and what that vision is opening for you. So it's considered to be serious.
It's considered a spiritual part of your spiritual journey and unfolding and it's treated like that versus these kind of chat sessions where everybody's tossing out what they happened. And then you have people who may are facilitating who are diagnosing or explaining or putting their own interpretation onto it and you know it's not part of our practice and I'm wondering.
What needs to be put in place so that is, does not to, am I, you see where I'm getting, you see where I'm trying to go to, that all practitioners who are supporting integration need to be mindful of their own conscious unconscious biases and what they bring into. I once wrote a paper when I was in my interfaith ministers training, and I wrote a paper on A Course in Miracles, and for people who know the background, it was received by a woman who's a psychologist in California, but she was Catholic, and she took it all to a Catholic priest and he helped her So what we have is, I've often said, so I wrote a paper and I said, can you imagine what would have happened if instead of taking it to a Catholic priest, she had taken it to an African priestess, or a female Dainista, or an indigenous elder?
What language would A Course in Miracles be in? It would not be in the language of the patriarchy. That's for sure. Anyway that's where we have to look at, if I'm going to be interpreting, because that Catholic priest interpreted her visions that must be Jesus talking to you, or that must be this.
That's the Holy Spirit, which is male. Actually, it isn't, but never mind that, that's a story for another day. People who are doing integration need to be really mindful of what are the maps that I'm helping this person integrate with. Again, another reason why I wrote those books is, here's some maps.
See if they suit you. See if they're helpful for you. See if they help you see, oh, okay, this is part of... Helping me integrate, understanding that about where I come from, what I believe, and the influences and the factors that play a role in my life. So the maps, essential. The understanding of the shadow.
I'm going to answer your question. 25 years from now. I would like to think that our little center is flourishing and blossoming that the ayahuasca religions in Canada are flourishing.
Are ethical and grounded and flourishing and healthy. I'd like to think that across the country that there are skilled professionals who are helping people in difficult passages such as severe illness or proximity to death. It's through assistance through non ordinary states of consciousness to be able to connect with themselves and work through their difficult passages and their, transformations and transitions.
I'd like to think that the universities have education programs. and credentialing that will allow serious people to take their programs and gain the skills that they need to be able to, with integrity and authenticity, serve the community. That's what I'd like to see. And lots more research and
[01:09:33] Pascal: a lot more jokes and a lot more fun and a lot more joy and healing.
Yes, I share the same vision. Dr. Rochester, thank you so much for your time. It was really honored to have your time today and to hear more about your thoughts. And I will definitely be getting the books now because I need to read them. I feel and I'll be sharing that to others as well as what you're sharing is really informative and really grounded and So many years of experience.
So thank you so much for all the work you've done and the words you're sharing today and that you continue to share elsewhere. And yeah, just really appreciate your, beingness. Thank you. Great pleasure.
[01:10:10] Dr. Jessica Rochester: Thank
[01:10:10] Pascal: you. Thank you so much.