Emily Sinclair, Ph.D.

Daniel Pinchbeck is a prominent American writer and public figure who catapulted to fame and celebrity status in the psychedelic scene for his books Breaking Open the Head: A Psychedelic Journey into the Heart of Contemporary Shamanism (2002) and 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl (2006). Creator of the web magazine Reality Sandwich, co-founder of Evolver.net, executive director of think tankCenter for Planetary Culture, which produced the Regenerative Society Wiki, film producer for PostModernTimes, and featured journalist for widespread publications including The New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone, and Dazed and Confused, Daniel has been one of the most influential figures in the contemporary psychedelic and spiritual movement. Yet, in recent years, he has received widespread criticism and attacks from within the psychedelic community for his outspoken admissions of sexually aggressive behavior in the past. His most recent work, How Soon is NowFrom Personal Initiation to Global Transformation (2017), as well as being a manifesto for radical societal change in the face of global ecological crisis, was also controversially a confessional work in which Daniel apologized for what he understood, retrospectively, to be sexual misconduct. In a #MeToo post published on his personal Facebook account, he admitted to seeking sex with much younger women, using substances as tools of seduction, and making unwanted advances. In addition to making public apologies for his past behavior, Daniel has made personal amends and engaged in restorative justice practices with those he feels he may have hurt. Yet, many people in the psychedelic community believe that his behavior is unforgiveable and, exercising a “no second chances” approach, have sought to ostracize him from community circles and public events. Following a flood of aggressive criticism on social media, The Third Wave canceled a recent event for which Daniel was set to be the main speaker. Sexual misconduct is a big problem in the psychedelic community, as it is in wider society, that is finally being brought to light. We recently published the Ayahuasca Community Guide for the awareness of sexual abuse, which, in addition to helping to safeguard women in ayahuasca contexts, is aimed at raising awareness and creating much needed dialogue across the psychedelic community around the issue of sexual misconduct. Favoring a compassionate approach to healing sexual and gender-based problems across our community and beyond that includes men as well as women in this conversation and welcomes honesty and openness, I decided to ask Daniel for his perspective and what he is learning from the #MeToo cultural moment. Along with addressing his personal controversy, I interviewed him about sexual misconduct in the psychedelic community more widely, covering root causes, male perspectives, and approaches to healing… continue reading.

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