Psychedelic Traveler in Santa Monica

Psychedelic Traveler in Santa Monica

A couple of years ago, I spent a consciousness-expanding evening at a sacred plants workshop in Los Angeles. The venue was the BE Hive on Sunset Boulevard, an old Hollywood warren of treatment rooms, yoga studios and apartments that its founders hope will, in time, become ‘the Soho House of the transformational community’. There were lots of geometric witchy patterns, energy-diverting crystal arrangements and good-looking people with slightly faraway looks. ‘Holding the space’ (as the hippies have it) was a German named Fabian Piorkowsky who used to work at JP Morgan. ‘I measure the effectiveness of psychedelic therapy in how it affects your life, not what you experience while doing the drugs,’ he told us, his manner somewhere between shaman and salesman.

He then introduced us to the three master teacher plants, which he had been taking for 30 years or so and whose essences he was now selling in droplet form at $80 a pop. First there’s ayahuasca, the ‘great mother of plants’, which over the past few years has become something of a curiosity among experience-hungry Westerners. The bitter brew – a combination of an Amazonian vine and a shrub – causes around four hours of intense hallucinations, but only after you purge (vomit). One devotee in my group said it was ‘like having 10 years of therapy in one night’. Trials in Brazil and elsewhere have shown promising effects on people suffering from eating disorders, depression and alcoholism.

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