Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Natasja Pelgrom.
After years spent running an Amsterdam nightclub, Natasja Pelgrom had refined the art of “sex and drugs and rock and roll”. At 33, however, she had an epiphany—and spent the next several years releasing her co-dependencies, healing childhood trauma, and rediscovering how to welcome sacredness back into her life. Today, Natasja is a sacred medicine woman, mystic, devotional creative, and visionary who leads spiritual alchemy journeys, providing a compassionate space for healing and remembering. In this episode, Natasja and Paul delve deep into the importance of healing ourselves, the power of 5-MeO-DMT, and the role of integration.
Sex, drugs, rock & roll: Finding a path out of addiction.
Healing childhood wounds, reconnecting with nature, and moving past negative patterns.
Why we have to heal ourselves before we can help others.
Discovering ways to bring sacredness into everything we do.
Overcoming resistance, the gift of duality, and living in constant gratitude.
Using plant medicines as an invitation to delve deeper into our own psyches.
Avoiding the impulse to turn psychedelic learnings into on-demand experiences.
Exploring the importance of psychedelic integration.
0:00:00.0 Paul Austin: We’ve had so, so many conversations and we finally get to record one. And it’s a real pleasure and honor to have you on the podcast, so thanks for joining us.
0:00:09.9 Natasja Pelgrom: Thank you. It’s so awesome to be here because we did have so many… We shared rooms together.
0:00:16.0 PA: We did.
0:00:16.8 NP: We shared dances together on hip-hop. [chuckle]
0:00:21.6 PA: So much.
0:00:23.1 NP: So many learnings.
0:00:26.1 PA: And experiences together, you know? I mean, when we brought you in for Synthesis, that was mid-2018, and we hosted a couple of retreats together. The ones that were at that one, I don’t remember the name of it, but it was a super cool, modern spa. And then we found The Lighthouse, where Synthesis hosted all of its retreats in 2019 and the beginning of 2020, and I had the opportunity to sit in that experience, and you and Dawn held space and you did such a phenomenal job.
0:01:03.3 PA: So you’re one of the very few people who I’ve had a guided experience with, you know, with Psilocybin. And the space that you hold is phenomenal and your energy is so goddess-ey, and feminine and big, and so loving and so open, and… Yeah. So I just wanna love on you for… I could just love on you this whole podcast.
0:01:25.7 PA: It would be well worth it. You’re so… Yeah, exactly. So the audience has a little bit of context, let’s start with you and who you are. And maybe about a year ago you had posted something, or less than a year ago, on Facebook about your journey into coming into consciousness and awakening and how your background before that was running night clubs in Amsterdam, and then there was a shift, there was a transition. So I’d love to just hear a little bit about who Natasja was before she was hosting ceremonies and space and all this stuff. What was the pre-awakened Natasja, if you will? When does that start?
0:02:12.8 NP: First of all, thank you so much for you and the work that you do and the team behind you and around you, for facilitating so much knowledge in the world. So with the Sporestore is an important, very important platform for many. In my journey before sitting in ceremony is indeed, I always say, you know, rock and roll, sex drugs and rock and roll, and you get the picture. [chuckle] That’s the space of, we recognize of transition.
0:02:53.1 NP: But it began as a child growing up. Very sensitive, extrasensory, and not fully understanding what this sensitivity meant. And growing up with a family member with an opioid addiction and the complexities around being dependent for your safety on someone that cannot keep themselves safe, right?
0:03:14.5 NP: And those two combined have always been a big fuel for me to discover and wanting to understand our human needs or what makes us tick? What is it that some are wounded in some way and get into addiction, and some have other wounds and flourish from it, you know? See it as a growth. It doesn’t mean they don’t have challenges.
0:03:38.3 NP: Those questions already came in at a very young age. So exploring consciousness and exploring healing fields have always been… My first psychedelic experience was when I was 15 on mushrooms in Amsterdam. I grew up in Amsterdam and in Portugal and in Spain. And Amsterdam, very recreational.
0:04:00.0 NP: Back in the days, I’m 41 right now, we had CD shops. So for those of the generation who do not know what CD shops are, it’s where you could purchase music and it wasn’t for free. [chuckle] And we had taken mushrooms and we went into the shop, and seeing the music in color and shapes was a revelation to me, because as a child I had experienced similar kind of visions without plant medicines.
0:04:32.5 NP: So there was a laughter and a “aha,” but only recently, the biggest gift of that journey, I discovered only a few years ago. So this was 15, I’m 41. Count it, you know? So sometimes it takes a long time before recognizing that. And because I’ve always been so interested in people in ecstatic states, drugs was never… Like, MDMA was my favorite party drug ever. At a certain point, it wasn’t just MDMA. I got really a lot into alcohol and cocaine and the party scene, and had indeed a bar and a nightclub, and a restaurant, and a fashion designer clothing store. It was all in one building.
0:05:17.8 NP: And at a certain point, I remember standing on my bar with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a bottle of vodka in another hand, being super popular and praised, and I’ve got a flash of, “Holy shit, I’m 30.” By the time I was 33, “I’m 33. Do I wanna stand like this when I hit 40?” And it just hit me, I was like, “I think I discovered everything I needed to discover from my ego perspective of what I thought success was,” because in the end of the day, I put myself at the age of 29 in a very male-dominated environment in the hospitality and events industry as a very young woman.
0:06:00.9 NP: And in the end of the day, what I wanted was recognition and the love of my father, you know? So I put myself a lot into an environment with older men and business. And when that hit me, that specific moment hit me, I was like, “I need to get out of here. This is not who I am.” I cannot be under the influence in a club and look at somebody and say, “Hey, your chakras are not really aligned, you have an entity on your back. Shall I help you?” While I’m five minutes before, I just snorted stuff in my nose, like what the shit? Right? [chuckle]
0:06:35.4 NP: So when I had that big epiphany of… There were multiple things that came in. I wasn’t in a great relationship, I was losing friendships, my priorities were not in integrity and in service. So I basically really just sat down, I called up two very famous Dutch investors and I said, “Who wants it? First bid, I’m out.” And within six months, I gave in the keys and walked away.
0:07:07.5 NP: Yeah, that’s the start of the process, and this was in 2013, and that’s actually the beginning of me choosing a healthier lifestyle, which then went back into the healing possibility of plants, instead of the recreation and the submission or the walking away of seeing shadow. Yeah.
0:07:32.4 PA: It’s a very individual journey, right? We all have the wounds that we grew up with and the things that result from that, the professions that we pursue, the dreams that come from ego, so to say. The, especially the, what you said, with the male-dominated part of that. And it feels like then a huge part of your personal journey has been, “Okay, I did this thing. Alcohol, cocaine, hospitality industry, very male-dominated.”
0:08:02.7 PA: And I’m sure even in that thing, you were very… You had a really strong feminine energy and presence, but it was likely conflicted, because you felt like a fragment of yourself was off here, but another fragment of yourself really just wanted to be much more nurturing and compassionate and loving and kind.
0:08:22.9 PA: So I’d love if you could just bring us a little bit deeper into that, because I feel like when we first connected two and a half years ago and I looked on your personal website, that is the thing that stuck out to me, was the feminine essence, the sort of goddess archetype, the beauty, the nurturing, the compassion, the love.
0:08:46.1 PA: How has that evolved for you over these last seven, eight years, after you left the hospitality industry? What does it mean for you to be a woman and were really integrating and become a coherent in that?
0:08:58.2 NP: Yeah, beautiful question. It’s still an unfolding because every life stage brings a new medicine in it, in a new cycle. Yes, the qualities have always been there, even… I would do smudging and praying before I would open the club. Those practices and the things that I do today, it wasn’t like from one day or another.
0:09:24.5 NP: At 21, I was already Reiki master. I went to a lot of Buddhist retreats in Vipassana, a lot of quantum physics practices and teachers. So it’s always been a part of that I developed. The bad space of the harshness of business was killing the part of me. And also the cash flow industry, and people under the influence, and people… You cannot trust everybody. And those parts that really, really hurt in my heart.
0:10:02.4 NP: When I made that decision to step out of that, I went on a walk of Santiago de Compostela because I read a Paulo Coelho book when I was 18, and I was like… That was on my bucket list. I was like, “Now, that’s… This is the moment to do it. Go walk for three weeks. Walk it off, think about what you’ve done. Let go, go into that space.”
0:10:25.8 NP: And being back in nature, and that nature space, and literally going to the toilet in nature, having all your needs there and that connection back. I remembered my innate ability as a woman. You have in your body the ability to be a doula, to be a space-holder, because this is the space that we… Not even a woman as biologically a woman. Some people are, have more feminine developed nurturing qualities. It doesn’t mean you have to be born as a woman to have this. So for the listeners, this is not an exclusion. This is massively an inclusion.
0:11:04.4 NP: But that ability to really hold that, it started growing again in this nature walk, in this rite of passage. And I felt that passing each old tree, I would see it as an elder teaching me something new. Every rock that I was climbing, every season that I was walking through. And those metaphors really brought me back into the need to sit again and sit in silence. And the space of… Yeah, that this is definitely a quality of nurturing that I have, and there is a quality that I had to develop for myself first.
0:11:47.7 NP: It wasn’t from one day to another where I found the right teachers and they taught me how to work with plant medicines. No. Life taught me very harshly to heal very big wounds of mine first. It took me about two years before I could fully understand and let go the co-dependencies that I had created. Went to AA meetings, I’d broken up with my partner after 10 years.
0:12:13.2 NP: The medicines helped in that whole process of nurturing, but I never felt the calling of, “Now I’m gonna work with 5-MeO-DMT.” That’s definitely not how it ended up in this journey. But the biggest teaching was really about me first. We have to come into healing with ourselves first before we step into anything else.
0:12:39.1 PA: One thing that you mentioned there was cultivating stillness. So to go from the hospitality industry, owning a nightclub, alcohol, cocaine, so much of that is external, so much of that is out in the world. And what so many of us learn from plant medicines is the value of stillness and the richness of stillness, and how many of the answers that we seek can be found in stillness.
0:13:06.6 PA: More people are waking up to that in a way. There’s a great book that I’ve read called The Listening Society, which talks about how the big sort of task, if you will, of culture, society, individuals in culture and society, is to learn how to listen, is to learn how to cultivate stillness, is to learn how to sort of hold that space and just allow whatever to emerge… To emerge, emerge.
0:13:30.5 PA: One thing you had mentioned at the beginning of the podcast is how you’re very sensitive, and how you have this sort of extrasensory sense. And stillness, cultivating stillness helps to also cultivate that really, really strong intuition. So when it comes to the intuition that you’re developing and the intuition that you’ve developed, how did your intuition guide you?
0:13:55.3 PA: So you’re on Santiago de Compostela, you’re walking, you’re understanding the value of stillness, you’re probably tapping more and more into that sense of inner knowing. Where does that lead you in the next five, six, seven years? And maybe why in particular did you choose to work with these medicines in such a profound and impactful way?
0:14:16.5 NP: Yeah. Very good question, and big question too. Thanks, Paul.
0:14:23.0 PA: Take as long as you want. We are no rush.
0:14:27.4 NP: Yeah. So indeed, that stillness, because the one message I received is, “Okay. Now just sit with your shit.” [chuckle] So in that transition, it was really back to meditation, back to the practice, back to… And all of these practices… And the remembering and re-using it, ’cause sometimes we have phases where we lose a certain practice. There are some techniques that we even forget, “Oh yeah, I used to do this,” and you re-live it and…
0:15:01.2 NP: And that whole journey, it took me about, I think, if I look at time frames, ’cause that’s always tricky, I think it took about the first two years, so 2013, ’14, half way ’15, I remember I felt that I was breathing fresh air again, like I had a certain healing path with myself. I even had a very simple job. I had run two businesses by that time, and I decided to actually work in a call center. And… Yes, I know.
0:15:38.9 PA: Wait.
0:15:39.7 NP: I know.
0:15:40.2 PA: What? [chuckle]
0:15:41.0 NP: So this is not sex calls, Paul. [chuckle] These were reservations.
0:15:46.6 PA: Okay. Alright, alright, alright. [chuckle]
0:15:49.5 NP: Okay? So yeah, because the thing was, I did not want any responsibility. Yes, I could lead a team, yes, I could look at a spreadsheet and be… I could do business and all of that. I was like, “I need to redefine my purpose here. I need some space and time.” I had a really massive debt because I didn’t step out with a big chunk of money and said like, “Okay, I’m gonna sell it for this much.”
0:16:12.8 NP: Actually, I did a really bad business deal, and I had to do some healing on that perception that I was not a good business person too, but that’s a different story. Yeah, so I actually went into this very simple job where four days a week I was for eight, nine hours at a call center, doing holding reservations. And I figured, “How can I bring in sacredness in everything that I do?”
0:16:37.8 NP: And I started practicing to speak from the heart, to drop into my chest, because people were calling, and it was an opportunity with the frequency of my voice, to change awareness or to bring awareness. Or for me to be in awareness, not even for the other, but it was really for me. So how could I bring from sitting in practice to a very mundane activity and day-to-day activity, which was survival mode, and bring that sacredness in?
0:17:08.2 NP: And I would never forget colleagues at that time, I would walk into that office and at certain point, after a few months, people would say like, “What do you do? You always come in so gracefully and silent,” and I was like, “Really? Oh, I feel like shit.” Because I would wake up, be crying, be on my bike to the office, wipe it off, do my thing and go crying and go to bed. I was like, “Oh, it’s somewhere, it’s you’re radiating something.” But internally, I had to do a lot of healing.
0:17:36.3 NP: But then fast forward very quickly. I’ve always been a trainer, I’ve always been a coach, I’ve always educated myself in that way, and it went very gradually and organically. I started coaching people and I started a practice, I started organizing meditation circles in my living room until they got too big, so I had to rent a place, and developed a workshop program of one day, and then it became three days.
0:18:04.2 NP: And as I was doing all of this, I rediscovered plant medicines in a different way. My first journey back into the healing of it, instead of recreational space of it, was with Ayahuasca. That was a very profound experience. I didn’t receive a message, “You’re gonna work with us,” at all. No, it was a very profound message of letting go and forgiving myself mostly, more than anything.
0:18:36.7 NP: And then I had a partner at the time, who had done 5-MeO with a beautiful female facilitator, and he said, “Natasja, this is for you.” And I was like, “Hell no, this… ” I started reading the Sporestore on the explanation of what 5-MeO was. I was like, “Hell no. That’s not for me. I’m all… ” I was saying, “I’m all about gentleness. I believe in the [unclear speech] in the body, the innate ability to heal itself when you create the right conditions. This is not for me.” And I started saying, “No, no, no,” until my no’s became very… Very resistant.
0:19:15.6 NP: You have no’s that you know are intuitive, are more silent, and you have no’s where there is resistance. And I went, like, “Hmm.” If it’s one thing I’ve learned from transformation, it’s when this kind of resistance shows up, “Shit, I have to do it now.” I have to visit this invitation that has been sent to me now multiple times.
0:19:38.7 NP: I found a beautiful healer with the medicines that had cured him, that was cured through an opioid addiction through 5-MeO, and we started calling and… Two months, we had phone calls and were connecting. And then, he said to me, “Hey, Natasja, I’m willing to come to the Netherlands. If you know a few people, then maybe it makes worthwhile than just being you, ’cause that might be a bit expensive.”
0:20:06.6 NP: I was like, “Okay, I’ll just ask around.” And by that time, I already had a good client base of international coaching clients and many different backgrounds. So, I put a few out there that I knew that were open to it. And before I knew it, I had 20 people that were interested, and I was like, “Oh, that’s odd. Really?” [chuckle] I was like, “Okay.”
0:20:26.8 NP: I said to my teacher, I said… I’m gonna give him credits, Enrique, Kike, if you’re listening, I love you. [chuckle] You taught me so much. And he came to Holland and I was like, “Okay, let me just be here, because these are the people that I know and I love, and I support their process, so let me stay here for the weekend.” I hadn’t done 5-MeO, so I went first, before the guests arrived.
0:21:00.9 NP: I remember him giving me the toad. At the time, we worked with the toad, and I can go a bit into the toad and synthetic 5-MeO, but at the time, we worked with the toad. And I received it and I was present, I was there, and I remember yelling out loud, “I think MDMA is more for me.” [chuckle] That was my first reaction. And then he went, like, “Okay, maybe you need a little bit…
0:21:28.8 PA: A little resistance, a little resistance there. [chuckle]
0:21:31.3 NP: Exactly. Then he went, “I think you need a higher dose. You wanna go again?” I was like, “Yeah, that’s fine. Let’s go again.” And I stayed quite present, and I was like, “Okay, that’s good. Went a third time, stayed quite present. And I was like, “You know what? It’s good. Let’s start doing the people. After the weekend, I’ll do my another round. It’s fine.” And I felt sensations in the body, but it wasn’t the big “aha” which I had heard that you could… I wasn’t impressed. Let’s leave it at that.
0:22:02.5 NP: Then the weekend had gone. It was amazing to witness. It was amazing because I stepped in the first person that went with Enrique and me assisting, I stepped into that space intuitively and everything I had experienced, everything I’d learned, everything that was in my ancestral line came on line, and I knew what to do. And there was such a big remembering, and I had come home. I’m like, “Oh my God, this is what I’ve been preparing for my whole life. This is the space.”
0:22:41.7 NP: And I didn’t even have that big wow, “aha” moment myself, but I knew, “Whoa, this is such a gift.” I was in the clouds only from that realization and witnessing other people’s journey. By the end of the weekend… I’ll share this bit, is I did my session, and then, Enrique said, “Sister, sister, you want initiation dose?” [chuckle] And I was like, “Yeah, sure, whatever. Give me whatever that means. I don’t know what that means. Sure, give me initiation dose.”
0:23:11.4 NP: Which meant it was mixed Bufo, which I do not recommend to anybody doing. [chuckle] The toad with synthetic. We had a big dose, massive dose mix. And that’s where my release happened. That’s where I really, fully understood, yeah, the meaning and the gift of duality, of without cold, we cannot perceive warmth. And when we are… Not just in consciousness, but when we’re molded in consciousness, there is not that contrast, everything is.
0:23:51.9 NP: I had a real wakening of appreciation of all the pain and all the struggle that had brought me to that specific moment, to receive the gift of the elements, and the contrast, and the gratitude for life, existence. I was, from that moment on, there was something like a deep gratitude for being here.
0:24:20.3 NP: And it doesn’t mean I don’t have challenging days, and I’m not triggered in my relationship. Believe me, we’re really all human, but there is an underlying understanding of massive trust and faith, that has changed forever since that moment. So yeah, that’s been the journey so far of it.
0:24:40.5 PA: I did some psychedelics last night. I’m not gonna say what, and I’m not gonna say where, because that’s a little dicey. But I was with probably one of my closest male mentors, who I’ve also had on the podcast before. He used to play with the Santo Daime for many, many, many years with he two founders out in Oregon and was the guitar player and sat in hundreds of ceremonies.
0:25:05.2 PA: And we were talking about this last night, and he’s like, “Yeah, when you’re in it, when you’re in Ayahuasca, you’re purging, and there’s all this disgusting stuff coming up, and you’re really, really in it, when you’ve done this sort of work enough, you kinda have that 10% awareness on, I’m in it, but I’m not.” You can kinda look up and wink across the room, or you kinda look up and smile a little bit, and then just go back into the pain and the grief and whatever the suffering is.
0:25:34.2 PA: And it feels like a 5-MeO experience, or any sort of mystical experience that we have with psychedelics. It’s that nice 10% of trust and faith, when even things like COVID happen, or even triggers come up in a relationship, or we’re in the midst of a difficult kind of work, whatever and we’re stressed, there’s that 10% of knowing, “This will pass too.” So there’s an ability to observe the suffering, but not get too caught up in it, and it feels like that’s exactly what you’re speaking about with the 5-MeO and grounding in that.
0:26:09.0 PA: It’s like we have these experiences, we know this fundamental truth, and we obviously go back into duality, we go back into existence, and the work continues to be letting go more and more and more and more and more. And you and I are probably aligned, in that we don’t just wanna sort of ascend into enlightenment and just like evacuate earth, if you will.
0:26:35.3 PA: There’s a real calling to be in it, and to sit with people and to hold space for people and to help people feel that way as well. And that’s what you’ve done such a phenomenal job of, and I love if we could… I don’t know if we’ll get into Psilocybin so much. I think there’s more here with 5-MeO that I’d love to dive into, in the container that you created with Awaken the Medicine Within.
0:27:00.4 PA: So you meet with Kike, you have this initiation dose, you let go, you release, there’s trust and there’s faith and the sort of unity consciousness. Where does then your own sort of retreats come into play? And more specifically, what container did you choose to create with those retreats so that people could have this beautiful experience with the toad, or synthetic, with 5 in general?
0:27:24.1 NP: What I love about what you just said is the fact that it’s really not about going anywhere else, but accepting where we are right now, so I just wanna pin-point that a lot of the times, the clients, I’ve been able to hold… I’ll answer your question, but it just triggered a thought. I’ve been able to hold space for clients, and one is I really wanna honor, because recently I received some news.
0:27:54.1 NP: There’s a gentleman, which I’m not gonna go too much into identity, to keep confidentiality in place, but he was diagnosed with a form of cancer and really came in, not… Fully understanding that the 5-MeO would not heal. We do not ever ever make those claims. But he really wanted to understand what was going on and come to terms with it. And these were not really his words, “To come to terms with death,” but he wanted to understand what he needed to heal, how to grab most out of life.
0:28:30.1 NP: And although… So he came to me, we did a private session with him and his partner, and there was a part of him that didn’t wanna be in his suffering. Which, if you’re diagnosed with cancer, of course you don’t wanna be there, but even the medicines there invited him to be with it, to sit with it, and to give him a really hard teaching of his own pain and his massive fear of death.
0:29:02.9 NP: And that was intense as a space-holder to witness, and I always stress that as a space-holder, you’re really there to create a container of safety in all dimensions of the human being and holistic as possible, so you need to understand what it means energetically, with one form of a practice, with one form of a tradition. But also, what it means for the body, what are the consequences for the body. All of that. So that those containers are important.
0:29:34.2 NP: And in that session, I realized the invitation and a gift he had given me is to look at death myself and create a relationship with it. So to answer your question and to loop the story in, the journey going on with Enrique, we traveled, and most of our clients were actually people, and this is interesting, what lives gives you, people with opioid addictions.
0:30:04.5 NP: So I got trained with him with heroin, cocaine, alcohol, cigarettes. A lot of males. So one male after another, I saw the projection of my relationships, my upbringing, my… I was another way of healing. And they were giving me as much healing, ’cause it’s almost like a communion, the facilitator and the person that goes on a journey.
0:30:33.1 NP: You’re making a little contract for an X amount of time, where you both say, “Okay, we’re willing to go as deep as possible, and I’m there to help you invite to go even deeper than what you think you can do, but I need to have that trust and that faith in that ability to invite you to go into that space in the first place, and on this path.”
0:30:54.3 NP: And then after a few years, I started receiving people that, messages from, “Hey, I hear you work with this. ” I was like, “Oh, Enrique’s not around right now. You can do it another time.” He’s like, “No, I wanna do it with you.” And again, I’m stubborn and resistant, and I said no, and no, and no, until I said to Enrique, “Yeah, what do you think? People… Do you think I’m ready? I don’t think I’m ready. Who I’m I to do that?” And I literally said this and he was like, “Hell no. You’re all… Go for it.”
0:31:21.3 NP: He really supported my growth and supported. And trusted the medicine. He really showed me how it is to trust the medicine, and when people ring at your door to ask you for it, literally, that’s like… It’s like spirits telling you, like, “Listen, do what you’re meant to be doing here.” And we’ve supported each other since then always. So this is how that started.
0:31:50.0 NP: And then one of the things that I was missing a lot in this space, and this is not to say anything better or worse about anybody, is what I was missing at the time, and this is about four years ago. The word “integration” is not very much up in the air, but about four years ago it really wasn’t. The word “integration” was like, “Yeah, we heard of it,” probably MAPS had some info about it, but it wasn’t… You didn’t have massive integration circles out.
0:32:17.4 NP: So one of the things I started focusing on is because I came from a coaching background and understood about values and limited belief work and with neuro-linguistic programming, how to work through these things with different modalities, I started implementing preparations and integrations. So I started creating a package that it wasn’t about a one-second fix of coming half a day with a 5-MeO session and then going out. No, it was a full thing.
0:32:43.8 NP: And people didn’t understand, I really had to explain the why. Because there were so many other facilitators that weren’t doing it, so people think, “Oh, you just wanna earn more money,” and like, hell no, that’s never been the case. So this is how Awaken actually started growing, because of the experience in itself is short in Earth minutes, but the amount you can take out of the experience in an extended amount of time with multiple ceremonies, in a container where you’re not distracted, that’s what any retreat, if you go in a Vipassana, any retreat, silent retreat, that container is healing in itself, that intention is healing in itself.
0:33:35.0 NP: The morning practice, the food. We have a chef, she is a medicine woman, shaman with food. I’m not exaggerating, she heals people through food. So all of those elements I started seeing the importance of it, instead of doing this one-day quick fix experience, and I started shifting that, because I saw the safety it gives to people in terms of how much you can grab out of it and how much learnings you can grab out in that reflection space.
0:34:06.9 NP: And there is another thing. We all live in a society where everything is on demand and everything is quick. Porn is quick, sex is quick, a date is quick, food is quick, everything is quick. So plant medicines and these teachings around the traditional wisdoms are the last thing they are is quick. [chuckle]
0:34:29.3 PA: Because plant intelligence is not quick, right? Plant intelligence has… It’s not dopamine driven, if you will. It’s not like the here and now…
0:34:38.6 PA: It has kind of a winding path, if you will, in terms of how it moves through us.
0:34:42.7 NP: Yeah, absolutely. And the teachings that I received from the Native American tribe called the Hopi Tribe, and Grandmother Medicine Song, who is my teacher, my elder for many years, and just to be clear, they do not work with psychedelic plants. Their most sacred plant is tobacco.
0:35:10.5 NP: But my teachings in this Shamanic healing modality and the practice that I’ve been brought in, you do… You have one theme that you work on a whole year. That’s a whole… If you work with the cycles, you work with the moons, you work with the seasons. And that asks for a different type of commitment, which isn’t a year, it’s a life-long commitment almost.
0:35:35.5 NP: And this is also really what I’m inviting people in, in that commitment to themselves in a format of a five-day, that it’s not just about those five days, but what are you committing to from here on? What are you honoring? It isn’t about a specific tradition that you need to honor, go back to your own roots. What are the plants living in around your house? Honor them. It’s not that far-fetched, and it’s not that “woo-woo wah-wah” like a lot of people make out. It’s just actually pretty common sense, you know?
0:36:11.7 PA: Things we already have in our home and we already have in our ancestral line, and just touching back into that, that which we already know.
0:36:17.5 NP: Yeah, exactly. And educating. So what I always try to do, yes, I wanna keep people safe on all levels, that means also energetically. I do not have to explain every single detail that I do to prepare for a retreat energetically and who I call in. I mean I have people that are a psychic, I have people that are chronic healing, Vortex Healing, and before even we go into the retreat place that place is cleared, on all levels, because together we see more.
0:36:45.4 NP: So even before guests come in I make sure that that space is as clean and in a vortex where it really serves each and everyone in that place. Do I have to tell each participant every time what we do? Oh, why, maybe then I do. But it is important to share some of it in the language and meet the participants where they’re at with their language so this is where bridging into neuroscience and a bit of scientific proof of what happens is always good, and again, a Sporestore web plant. [chuckle]
0:37:19.7 PA: It helps to ground it, and that’s what we did even with Synthesis, is we’re like, “What’s the synthesis? What’s the synthesis of these holistic practices, these rituals, these traditions that we’ve been using for thousands and thousands of years?” And what’s the more scientific grounded, “This is what has been proven with evidence, that people can trust.” It was so interesting, I don’t know if you remember this.
0:37:50.0 PA: I wasn’t involved. So obviously I wasn’t involved in 2019 as much. But in 2018, I remember as these first participants were coming in, they were like, “Oh, we thought Synthesis was gonna be this one thing, ’cause of the website and the language.” ‘Cause the public messaging was very professional, very scientific, and it still is. Very medical, very legally supervised, whatever it is.
0:38:12.9 PA: But we get here, we got Natasha burning sage, and we got Don talking about prayers and Buddhism, and Sven who’s giving everyone hugs, and we’re dancing after the ceremony. And they’re like, “This is not what we expected.” And that is part… Like you were saying, that’s part of the container, that is part of the space. It’s like the mind, so to say, which is how most people in our world make decisions, need certain things to believe and validate itself, to trust and go in.
0:38:44.6 PA: But when you’re in the container and in the space, it’s really about bringing out the heart and bringing about the intuition, because so much of the healing with this medicine is about connection. Connection with oneself, connection with people at the retreat, connection with the Divine, as that comes. And that, it feels like that’s what you’re talking about with… There’s a bit of mystery in that container, because in the mystery is where the really interesting little insights and other things come to fruition.
0:39:10.0 NP: I totally agree. And there’s so much to be said about communication. But it almost… I love, I bless Michael Pollan for writing the book that he did, because 90% of the people that come to us have read that book, that wouldn’t a year before, wouldn’t have thought that we’re going to do something like this. That’s massive.
0:39:28.5 NP: When you have people speaking up this way and really going out of their comfort, and where so much scrutiny maybe around the corner for doing that. So praise those that voice up. I always also find it important to name that there is so much out there about healing depression and PTSD, and even the research on 5-MeO that’s becoming more and more. That’s all amazing. I am so grateful for people to step up and do this.
0:40:05.2 NP: However, the trick is when you are of a certain diagnose and you have this hope that this is your fix, it takes a very long commitment. Even at Imperial College, the studies have shown that it wasn’t just one ceremony. People need multiple sermons, people need a community that holds it all together with integration for months, maybe a year.
0:40:28.9 NP: And I’m really hoping that this data is gonna come out also more to give a bit of a different voice to it, that the expectation, once you have a certain diagnose, that, “Oh, this is it.” Because imagine if they fall back? Imagine if the feelings come back after two or three months.
0:40:49.2 NP: What that does, like, “Oh, I’m really not curable.” How devastating that is, the implications for the psyche in that way. And how even without a diagnose, the expectations that people come into retreats of, “I’m stuck on… ” The healthy normals, for example, “I have a certain success, I have a certain accomplishment, I have a family. Why I might not fulfilled?”
0:41:14.6 NP: They read up on all of it and come in and say, “Yeah, but I wanna do mystical experience ’cause the research said this and this.” The amount of times I’ve experienced that. And I go… I just wanna give them a big hug and say like, “Well, yeah, that’s… I cannot give you… ” And they get it.
0:41:32.6 PA: “Sorry.”
0:41:34.2 NP: People get it mentally, of course, but still there is this very high expectation, “Okay, this is going to be it.” And then they’re exposed to a psychic surgery or a lot of visuals and sacred geometry, and they discard those experiences as like, “No, because I read, this is what it makes it, because researcher has shown X, Y, Z about this experience.”
0:42:00.9 NP: Well, the sacred geometry has been holy experiences for me. And that’s where people really need that education of what that is, and it’s a life-long commitment. And especially with 5-MeO, it’s very interesting because… I mean with Psilocybin, of course it’s four to six hours the experience. And it’s you in a kind of dialogue, for those that do not know, kind of dialogue where you are with the plant. You’re in communion, you’re in dialogue with the plant.
0:42:36.7 NP: Now, with 5-MeO, I say, “There is no language. You are… ” I always say, “You’re being picked up and dropped in the soup of consciousness,” like that. And then in Earth minutes, it can take 20 minutes on average. What I’ve seen in my own experience is about 40 minutes, but that’s mostly because there aren’t a lot of people, people can really stay in silence. I don’t have really… A song is only there if it serves a healing, but after the integration, I’m very focused on Tibetan bowls or just silence. Most of the time is actually more silence.
0:43:16.6 NP: So this healing space and coming into the practices in this way and fully understanding that 5-MeO brings you into that that quickly. And then what happens is afterwards. So I give the analogy of, I think it’s an English accordion, the instrument, where you stretch out and it brings it all together. So imagine you’re an accordion, you’re all about frequency and vibration, and those curves of the accordion where the different sounds are being made, that’s the experiences of your life. The challenges, the gifts, all of that. Now, 5-MeO, for example, stretches that accordion out. In one go, and makes one sound…
0:44:06.6 NP: Like that. So imagine that. Now, in the three, six months to a year, the accordion will come back together and then we fold it out and there’s new folds. And that’s the experience with the difference between the integration process with 5-MeO and the understanding of the gift.
0:44:24.5 NP: That’s why it’s so important to have contemplative practices before, to really have that self-awareness to go deeper inside. Because it really happens afterwards. I have clients that come back not because they have to, or I created a program that they have to, but there are clients that come back after a year and then they go like, “I only now understand.”
0:44:48.1 NP: Or even in my own experience after three months, more or less, I had a few triggers coming up within relationships, where I went like, “I thought I worked around this, but apparently I didn’t.” And I just had to work a little bit deeper and my awareness shifted, my intuition shifted in a deeper way, in a deeper knowing, where I was like, “Oh, this was the medicine.”
0:45:13.0 NP: And then I started putting into my integration documents how important it is to not do any medicines at least three months after, to really understand what it is that it’s been giving to you, which is your ability to heal yourself, and to give you that understanding. Of course, this is not for everybody, there are many people that have many more different. So I’m generalizing here a bit, but yeah.
0:45:42.6 PA: First of all, thank you. Thank you for all that. Because I think that provides a really rich context of 5-MeO, and like I said before we started recording the podcast, we haven’t had anyone actually on the podcast, to talk about this. And 5-MeO is becoming very popular to some degree. I have several friends now who do 5-MeO ceremonies.
0:46:04.5 PA: There’s some really interesting people doing things with 5-MeO, in terms of the devices that they’re inventing to basically have a guaranteed experience, in terms of the delivery mechanism, the amount that they’re doing, etcetera, etcetera. And I was at a party, not really party, but a small get-together the other night, speaking with someone here in Miami about about 5-MeO, and there’s this facilitator who is out in Malibu who is doing 5-MeO, and it’s sort of like a factory in a way, where people are now just getting as many many folks as possible in to the 5-MeO experience and then just sort of releasing them afterwards.
0:46:44.5 PA: Not really providing any prep, not really providing any integration, just saying, “Oh, the medicine will heal you. It will shoot you into unity consciousness,” without the recognition that a lot of people aren’t ready for that. And it actually could be incredibly un-hinging and psychically traumatizing to just jump into that without any sort of framework or anything. So I’d love if you could just fill out our listeners in a little bit with…
0:47:09.4 PA: From your experience, from what you know about 5, what are some of the risks, what are some of the concerns, what are some of the things that people should be mindful of? If they’ve heard a friend or two who has had this beautiful unity consciousness experience and all of a sudden they’re interested in it. Well, yeah, what do people need to be mindful of if they’re looking to have an experience like this?
0:47:31.3 NP: One of the most important things is always, why do you want it? Is it because it’s hip and happening and your surroundings are doing it? Really question yourself under why. Educate yourself on what are the consequences of any of the plants and psychedelics. What are the consequences? Read up. Then if you are forwarded to a facilitator, ask questions. Ask a lot, a lot, a lot of questions.
0:48:00.1 NP: Are they willing… No, what will they do if you suddenly stop breathing? Do they have first aid? Is someone there with an actual first aid training? James Oroc, who’s now recently passed away, bless him, bless him, because his books… His book was amazing, it was a Bible to me. So it’s so important, and one of the things that I wanna give him credit for and really taught me a lot was, as a facilitator, your best thing you would be is actually a nurse.
0:48:37.2 NP: Get all the paraphernalia out of the way, all of those so-called shamanistic tools and whatever you think should be done, and educate yourself. A nurse would be the best thing, with 5. And there is a part of me that fully agrees and there’s a part of me that understands certain shamanic tools and what it is to fully work with people with soul loss and cord-cutting and entities and all… That whole shebang.
0:49:07.0 NP: And what it is and also that importance, and what that influences our psyche as much as the therapeutic background. And this is why I love the therapeutic background to come in, is the oath they take is, “Do no harm.” And this is where facilitators can purchase the medicine online. It should be accessible, it shouldn’t be the chosen few, but there isn’t a container where people are educated or they can go to to learn how to work with it.
0:49:33.2 NP: And there are even people out there now that have worked with it, are educating others without that container. So the biggest risk is… Of course, if you have in your family, schizophrenia or any diagnosed of bipolar, is a very big risk. But also depression can be a risk. Are you willing to, to maybe to have a fall back? And how do you hold yourself in that? Are you taking any form of medications, antidepressants, SSRIs, etcetera?
0:50:11.8 NP: But also the heart, cardiovascular. That’s very, very important. And then there is a difference between 5-MeO synthetic and the toad. Synthetic is a lot cleaner and a lot lesser risk for the body. I have to be honest, there is… Some say that there is a difference between… Because of the toad has bufotenine in there and other compounds, which is also a psychoactive and synthetic, is very… Just synthetic 5-MeO and 5…
0:50:48.2 NP: I don’t know if there is a difference. I have to be honest, I really don’t. Because I thought I knew. I’ve walked around for years saying there was, so I also had to learn. And then I realized being in that space myself multiple times, that I had an “aha” moment where I’m like, “Who’s to say that I think if something is organic is better?” The whole term, “the God Molecule”, is something… Everything is a god molecule. Hello? [chuckle] Everything is a god molecule, right?
0:51:21.3 NP: So if everything is part of life, then a synthetic is also part of life. I went that deep philosophical. So I don’t have an answer, but I’m seeing less and less of people having massive differences in experience. And I only work with synthetic right now because of the toads and the way… Yeah, the secretion and things that are happening right now there that I don’t wanna dive too deep into because there’s also confidentiality in there. But yeah, yeah. It’s not pretty and it’s not sustainable.
0:52:00.5 PA: And so better to go with the synthetic, and that’s where more and more people are gearing. In fact, Usona, who, hopefully our listeners are familiar with, a non-profit based out of Wisconsin, they… And I’ll just quick mention about Synthesis, Synthesis is throwing out this practitioner training that Usona is partnered with.
0:52:22.8 NP: Yes.
0:52:23.2 PA: Which is phenomenal. And Usona just published the synthesis for 5-MeO-DMT. I think that came out last week or a couple of weeks ago. And so they’ve now made that publicly available. That’s what I love so much about the non-profits in the psychedelic space, especially Usona. It was so funny when COMPASS Pathways went public back in September, the very same day that COMPASS Pathways went public, Usona published the public synthesis for Psilocybin, which is phenomenal, and then 5-MeO-DMT, same thing.
0:52:54.1 PA: So this is natural. I have friends, I have a friend who goes down to the desert every year and has a relationship in the Sonoran Desert and collects toad secretions for his clients. Most of the people that I know work with synthetic. I personally have only had a very sort of baby experience with 5-MeO, I’ll call it a little bit more than a microdose, but definitely not the full thing, and I’ve sort of been waiting to sit with Natasja.
0:53:19.1 PA: Unfortunately, COVID kinda put a kink in that, but patience is sort of the game with this. So, any last sort of tidbits or last little things before we… We’re reaching about the hour mark, but before we wrap up the podcast, anything else that’s… ‘Cause we could keep talking, I’m like this… We could probably go another hour with this thing, but any…
0:53:44.7 NP: Yeah, I definitely have just one thing that I would love because you named about the practitioner training. And so many people are hearing a calling or even having the ambition, and I don’t mean ambition as a dirty word ’cause we’ve been taught that ambition is a dirty thing to have. Like the same thing as leadership, we have to reclaim certain words again.
0:54:06.0 NP: But have the ambition or the calling to work with synthetic or plants or Psilocybin. And so many things are happening in the US right now around this so it’s so amazing. And I’ve been approached a lot. “Where did you learn? How did you learn?” And I just don’t wanna… You have to sit with a lot of your own experiences. If it’s one takeaway, find people that are so much wiser than you in the space that have maybe a few decades of experience, and be a beginner and sit in that space and have a lot of medicine journeys.
0:54:46.9 NP: Because there are so many people, how beautiful, and they’re well-intentioned with one journey, stepping into holding space for someone else. You’re putting a whole community at risk. Not only the person and yourself, but if something goes wrong, the impact on a world and how quickly news travels, is massively. It can stop all the work that we’ve been doing right now in this way.
0:55:14.0 NP: So just bringing that responsibility, that you’re part of a community, you’re part of something that can really support people, and we’re really building this new paradigm. So take that responsibility for yourself, for the ones that you’re sitting with, and if you’re stepping to this community, then this is your responsibility. So just bringing that voice, a bit of reasoning, because this is what’s given to me by others when I was a baby. [chuckle] And still am.
0:55:43.0 PA: That’s great advice. It’s really, really great advice. So as a final thing, Natasja, if listeners wanna find out more about your work, obviously with COVID happening right now, retreats aren’t going on, but where… Do you have a website? Is there… Where can people find out more about what you’re up to?
0:56:00.5 NP: Yes, so the website for the Awaken the Medicine Within is really awakenthemedicinewithin.com, for those retreats. And of course, right now, we’re not holding retreats, and I hold only retreats with 5-MeO in countries where it’s decriminalized in a private setting in Europe. So just to clarify.
0:56:21.7 NP: Also, I do not sell the medicine. Do not contact me on Instagram. [chuckle] So just putting that out there as well. And then of course, my website, natasjapelgrom.com, my beautiful Dutch name. And yeah, for people to inform, I always do a pre-discovery call with people just to get to know each other before you have to commit to anything. I don’t know where COVID is going, but as it looks right now, we have full lockdown again in the Netherlands, so it will probably be somewhere 2021. I hope, I really, really hope spring. Then we’re opening our business again, yeah. Thank you.
0:57:05.2 PA: Great. Well, Natasja, thank you. Thank you for popping on, thank you for reaching out when you did two and a half years ago and meeting for coffee at… What hotel was that? The…
0:57:19.6 NP: Volkshotel.
0:57:20.9 PA: The Volkshotel, which is a cool hotel in Amsterdam. And thank you for the space that you’ve held and the healing that you help people through, and everything that you’ve done with Awaken the Medicine, and also obviously with Synthesis really. There’s so much more that we will talk about, but we’ll have to save it for another time. So I really appreciate you taking the time. I know it’s late there as well, it’s like 9:00 PM. So yeah, just thank you.
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Natasja Pelgrom.