Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Kat Coder.
Katherine Coder was on her way to a career on Wall Street when a psychedelic experience changed the course of her life. Now a counselor and coach, her mission is to help her clients reclaim their birthright and unfold their essential nature into the world. In this episode, Kat and Paul discuss the power of community, connecting to spirit, and pharmaceutical vs. shamanic approaches to healing through plant medicine.
How Kat’s first experience with MDMA opened her heart and changed her life path.
What the Peace Corps teaches about community.
Feeling “not quite right in the soul”.
Creating an immersive spiritual experience, virtually and in the real world.
Transformation and healing through the four elements.
Incorporating shrines into your everyday life.
Two approaches to working with plant medicines: medical vs. shamanic models.
Plants as an impetus for creating community.
Connecting to spirit outside of medicinal plant use.
0:00:00.0 Paul Austin: Hey, listeners. Today’s episode is with Dr. Kat Coder. Dr. Coder is the author of After the Ceremony Ends: A Companion Guide to Help You Integrate Visionary Plant Medicine Experiences. She is a licensed professional counselor and a registered psychotherapist. She’s also a doctor of pastoral science and medicine, and has also attended the Transpersonal Institute, which she considers the Hogwarts, which we get into in the episode. Enjoy.
0:00:27.0 PA: Welcome, to the Sporestore podcast. I’m your host, Paul Austin, here to bring you cutting-edge interviews with leading scientists, entrepreneurs, and medical professionals who are exploring how we can integrate psychedelics in an intentional and responsible way for both healing and transformation. It is my honor and privilege to bring you these episodes as you get deeper and deeper into why these medicines are so critical to the future of humanity. So let’s go and let’s see what we can explore and learn together in this incredibly important time.
0:01:06.5 PA: Listeners, do we have such an interesting sponsor for you this week? It is Kraken Kratom, or Kraken Kratom or Kraken Kratom or whatever, and however, you wanna pronounce it. This sponsor is quite a bit different from some of the other ones that we’ve had on the show before. We’ve never actually had a specific substance, which we have a guide about, because all of the substances we talk about on Sporestore are, for the most part, illegal, which is why we’re providing education to shift that, but Kratom is legal. It’s something you can purchase, and it’s something that I’ve personally used here and there. I’ve probably done Kratom maybe four or five times, very, very on occasion. Usually in the evening with a couple of friends as more of a social thing, or go to a kava bar, try kava and Kratom together.
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0:03:54.8 PA: Hey, listeners. Welcome back to Sporestore’s podcast. Today’s episode is with Dr. Katherine Coder, whose mission is to help you reclaim your birthright. She’s an awakener of evolutionary potential and a guide to remember one’s birthright and soul essence. She weaves the ancient wisdom into the now, serving as a vessel for the Divine Feminine in modern times. She holds the form and the formless, facilitating the integration of the known with the unknown. This all comes from Dr. Kat’s personal website. It’s written in a very poetic manner, I have to admit, and speaking with Kat was wonderful. Just very easy, very flowy, we laughed a lot. The conversation was fruitful and insightful and something that I really enjoyed. And we talk about Kat’s diverse background, from getting her bachelor’s degree at Wharton in economics, to serving in the Peace Corps, to training in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy to her work at the Integral Center. So there is just a lot there.
0:05:07.0 PA: And the presence that she holds is very warm. Her heart is very present, and it was just an honor to be able to sit in space with her for an hour and do a little deep dive. Temples, and divinity, and her personal path, her personal healing path, the work that she does with clients now, we really touched on quite a few things as always. These are always fairly dense podcasts. I don’t sort of have any small talk or small chatter, we get right into it, and I really do think that you’ll enjoy this one as well. So without further ado, I bring you, Dr. Kat Coder.
0:05:46.6 PA: I’m excited that we could do this, that we can make this happen.
0:05:49.8 Katherine Coder: I know. I feel like this has been a long time in coming.
0:05:53.9 PA: One thing that I wanted to start with is just sort of getting the lay of the land for who you are and the origin story, so to say. So I’ve been reading through your website. You have two websites.
0:06:11.5 KC: Yes.
0:06:12.0 PA: And so I read through both of them. [chuckle] They’re great. Both of them are great. You’re a really great writer. I really love how you write. One thing I noticed is that you’ve done sort of a broad range of different certifications or studying paths, I saw you studied economics at Wharton, and then you went and did something related to becoming a counselor, and you guide or guided things related to plant medicines, so you’re now working with Ketamine through Polaris, so there’s just such a sort of diversity in your background. So I’d love if you could just explain where that curiosity comes from and what sort of propelled you through these various channels.
0:06:57.8 KC: Yeah, certainly the economics was more related to just probably what my parents wanted me to do, more so than what I really wanted to do, so that was a leaping off point for me of going in an entirely different direction in my life.
0:07:15.0 PA: What was sort of then the path from economics to a much more sort of spiritual guide, healer, therapeutic perspective?
0:07:23.1 KC: Yes, exactly. So that was… That involved a minor life crisis. [chuckle] After I got back from studying abroad in Spain for a semester and realized I had no desire to do anything related to what I was studying, and went into this kind of chrysalis for about three or four months and kinda cut out a lot of my outside world and just started listening within and ended up… Spirit, I think really smiled upon me during that time, and the right books landed in my hands, and I spent time just focusing inward and finding my own accord or connection to spirituality and just this really big desire to know the world better, to see the world, to learn about different cultures, to immerse myself in other ways of being and living, and that really prompted me to make a huge right turn or a left turn [chuckle] in my life and go into the Peace Corps, instead of going to Wall Street. So that was a big… There was a deep, fundamental shift when I was around 21.
0:08:56.7 PA: I had a similar experience at 19, I dropped acid. And not so much a life crisis, although one mushroom trip certainly felt like a life crisis while I was going through it, I did at least I remember that, which is obviously the power of these medicines and it really fundamentally shifts sort of, okay, I wanted to be a doctor and do medicine before, and there were all these sort of, I would say more external driven reasons for that, and then through that experience, just recognized sort of the freedom that was available and that it was really about living uncomfortably for a while. And so you went to the Peace Corps, I went to Turkey to teach English. So slightly different vibes. And I’ve been looking at the Peace Corps. Why did you choose the Peace Corps? What about the Peace Corps was like, “That looks interesting. I would like to do that?”
0:10:04.6 KC: Yes, I want to answer that question, and I also wanna just go back a couple of years in my life since you mentioned…
0:10:12.5 PA: Please.
0:10:13.9 KC: LSD. To go back to my first real initiatory experience with an entheogen which was MDMA. I took that for the first time, obviously recreationally, 20 plus years ago in college, and that really cracked me open to be able to apprehend the world in a much different way than I had been engaging with it before that. And MDMA although I’m not the hugest fan of the synthetics, I do… I find a preference for the more natural products, but I found that experience to be such a deep heart-opener and it gave me such a sense of optimism around the possibilities for human expression and human connection, and this just deeply positive and overwhelmingly hopeful viewpoint, which up until that point in my life, I had not had.
0:11:30.3 KC: I had suffered from probably some form of mild depression for my entire childhood, and my heart space was really shut down. And when I had that experience at 19, I discovered in a way my heart in a way that I had not before, and it changed my life forever. So I’m obviously… After that experience at such a young age, I really do see the merit of the MDMA therapies that are coming and how much they offer the world and to people who are really suffering, not only from PTSD and treatment-resistant PTSD, but just depression in general, or ways that inevitably our humanness or we’ve been shut down in some way to the possibility that our human experience offers the fullness of that expression. So I just wanted to circle back to that for a moment. I hope that was okay.
0:12:41.4 PA: That was perfect. These, I mean, something like MDMA is the heart-opening quality of it, and it’s so interesting that you say that because the way that I perceive you is to be very heart-centered, right? And that’s clearly then sort of how you’ve grown and evolved, so I can only imagine if you’re like this now what you were like then. And so I sense that richness. These stories are consistently true.
0:13:12.5 KC: Yes, yes.
0:13:14.6 PA: With, I mean, both men and women about, “Wow, MDMA did what nothing else could do,” which is so many of us are like in our heads and disassociated, and…
0:13:31.1 KC: Shut down.
0:13:32.8 PA: And MDMA just puts you right there. Puts you back there. It’s so good. It’s so human.
0:13:41.0 KC: It’s true. It’s unique. I do think it’s unique and it’s…
0:13:45.9 PA: With mushrooms, especially. The two combined are really…
0:13:50.0 KC: I have had that experience.
0:13:50.5 PA: Something else.
0:13:51.5 KC: Yes, yes. Yeah. I think, especially these days, depending on what communities you are involved in, but across the world at this point, especially with this pandemic, the way the world has been shut down and a lot of different ways that we have become really accustomed to as humans and connecting with other people, I do think from a mental health perspective, as we begin to move into a recovery phase from this global experience that we’ve been having, there will certainly be a place for MDMA in helping people regain a sense of their own possibility and the possibility of our human family. And I am really praying for the speedy release of MDMA into the legal therapeutic community, because there are so many people that are suffering. We have an epidemic of mental illness, and I don’t think that’s our human birthright, I don’t think we’re supposed to be just living generation after generation with deep mental illness and instability.
0:15:04.0 PA: If it’s broke, let’s fix it.
0:15:05.5 KC: Yes, [chuckle] exactly.
0:15:08.0 PA: I do realize that’s rudimentary and pretty reductionist, so maybe a more poetic way of putting it would be that coming back to wholeness requires these molecules and compounds to bring us into the space of connectivity, and only through connection can we heal.
0:15:28.8 KC: Yes.
0:15:29.9 PA: Because that’s… For many at the root of this, it’s like a lack of human-to-human connection, community connection. I feel this way myself. At least I could be partially projecting. Most of us live very isolated, and COVID has only amplified it.
0:15:46.8 KC: Yes.
0:15:47.5 PA: Like it just feels outta sync. It feels weird.
0:15:51.3 KC: It does feel weird. It’s not natural. I don’t think it’s endemic to us as a species. It’s not… It’s we don’t thrive in these settings. We thrive… I mean, there are a small portion of the population that probably does thrive as a solo kind of beingness, but for the most part, people thrive in connection and community, and a sense of being able to share one’s life or lives deeply with others, and that this is what we derive great meaning from. This is the fuel for the journey. Spiritual communities have always… There’s a time for solo practice and there’s a time for sangha and connection, and this is what we are in these [chuckle] incarnations as humans, this is part of our wiring. And so I love doing individual work with people, but I also know that there’s only so far individual work can go. At some point community is required and necessary and we need to be witnessed and seen on our journeys to be held in a group, in a community that’s supportive and that feels connected. And that is evocative of the deeper reality of our experience, that we are connected, we are interdependent, we are a part of the whole. We are the farthest thing from separate when it comes right down to it.
0:17:24.0 PA: So what did you learn about community in the Peace Corps?
0:17:27.0 KC: Yes, this was good. This was very good because my whole role in the Peace Corps, and I really think that I gained so much more from the Haitian community that I lived in than I probably offered them. I’m very well aware of that. I got to… My official job was to help women’s cooperatives develop products that they could sell and market and create more financial stability for themselves and their families, and so I got to be a part of eight women’s cooperatives in these little mountain towns that we’d hike out to, sometimes hours of hiking to get to these little towns and these women they really taught me, “Okay, this is how we do it.” Every meeting is gonna start with a song, and we’re gonna be dancing and we’re gonna be laughing, and we’re gonna be joyful and sharing our lives with each other, and yes, we’re gonna do a little learning and Katherine’s gonna help us put some marketing together [chuckle] and some strategy for our products, but a lot of it was just getting together and sharing and being joyful. And they would grab me and dance and they’d shake me around the group, and there was this sense of this that this is a life to be lived, and no matter how dire the circumstances are and the circumstances were dire in Haiti.
0:18:52.0 KC: People are really living at the very margins of survival. Spirit was the center of life. And whether a spirit showed up through some kind of religious Catholicism, Methodist, whatever church people were deciding to go to, and people of course, are still practicing some forms of voodoo and connecting that way as well. So it was a sense of spirit and community that was so paramount. People are living off the spirit. They may not have enough food to feed their families, but they are abundant in spirit and devotion to spirit, and that is what drove a lot of the ability to be joyful, amid very difficult circumstances. And they welcomed me. I felt very welcomed in my community, even though I was obviously very different, and I was a bit of a baby when I arrived. I didn’t know how to speak the language very well and people had to help me. And sometimes my battery on my flashlight would go out and someone would rescue me and walk me home.
0:20:03.6 KC: So I had all kinds of people helping me just for no other reason than they wanted to, and I was very grateful that they supported me in the way that they did. And I learned a lot about being in community. And it comes down to this idea, for me, in some sense, that giving and receiving are really just the same thing. Giving is receiving, and receiving is giving. And being in this flow of the giving and receiving in community is really beautiful. So I don’t know if that makes sense to you or not, but that was some of what I came away with in my time there.
0:20:45.9 PA: Where in Haiti were you?
0:20:48.0 KC: So I was in a little town called Abricots, and it was this gem. It just was a little fishing village right on the Caribbean, and so my home actually was just about 30 feet from the water, and I swam every morning and people were going to market down the little path that ran behind my house and the kids were walking to school every day. They’re just very much a part of the life that was going on. And the Grand’Anse, where I was, was considered the most forested part of Haiti in all of the country. And so it was quite lush and beautiful, and you really get in touch with this, the seasons, the fruit seasons, and now it’s avocado season and it’s mango season, you get in the flow and the rhythm of the life that’s happening. And it was a gift, I think I gave myself and it was a gift that the universe gave me and spirit gave me on my path. And I had a number of awakenings when I was there, spiritual awakenings and just grace. Just experiences of grace. It was very magical. Not easy, not easy by any stretch of the imagination, but magical in its own right.
0:22:20.2 PA: Living in Miami has that feeling of bounty, coconuts and mangoes and avocados, and I’m like, “It’s kinda nice to live in the jungle. Miami sometimes feels like a jungle, but…
0:22:38.9 KC: Yes. Agree.
0:22:39.8 PA: The Caribbean as well, all these places are just… Yeah, there’s so much, so many resources in some ways. In some ways.
0:22:46.7 KC: Yes. And there’s a sense of the feminine really, I feel like that comes through in these lush places. The flowers are always blossoming and hummingbirds are around, and the seas and the air, and just the sense of this medicine of the water and the ocean, and it’s colorful and just reminds me of just the endless fertility of life. There’s just always… Life wins. [chuckle] Life is going to find a way no matter what. And so I love beauty, I feel like there’s so many forms of beauty, but I find sometimes as individuals, we resonate with some forms of beauty more than others. And I find this expression of beauty in life is so medicinal, to really be in touch with that that we find beautiful, is so healing.
0:23:45.7 PA: Like sunsets.
0:23:48.9 KC: Yeah, sunset, sunrise. There’s just a magic.
0:23:53.0 PA: Food.
0:23:53.1 KC: Food, yeah.
0:23:54.8 PA: Paintings.
0:23:55.8 KC: Music. [laughter]
0:23:56.4 PA: Oh, music. Music is a really good one. Yeah, yeah, it’s like the aesthetic. It’s sort of the feeling. It’s the sensuality in some ways.
0:24:09.4 KC: Yeah. But for me, even people, because I’ve gotten to do a lot of group work over the years and do guiding and things like that in groups and people’s expression. Their expression in groups of their experience, it’s so beautiful. Expression of vulnerability is so beautiful. You have this sense of like, “Okay, yeah, this is real. This is really real.” I find that whatever that is, that’s so beautiful to me.
0:24:42.9 PA: So when you work with a client… Just a little bit of a change of track. You’ve worked with a lot of people in many different capacities. When someone is looking to work with you as a healer, as a spiritual guide, as a teacher, as a psychedelic-assisted something… Who are they? What’s sort of the type of person who would be coming to you with questions?
0:25:07.6 KC: There’s definitely a sense of a soul longing. Like the person has done work already on themselves, and it’s like they’re feeling the soul calling. They want more depth. I work with a number of people who are healers in their own right, or medicine people, and it can show up in a lot of different packages. I’ve worked with veterinarians and dentists and doctors, but also medicine women and healers of various kinds, acupuncturists, and Chinese medicine practitioners… This kind of thing.
0:25:44.1 KC: And oftentimes, these are folks that have done quite a bit of work on themselves already, but they’re realizing that there are just certain places that they’re having a hard time getting to through other work or on their own. And I’ve been so blessed to be able to work with people like this who are pretty far along in their journey, some of them. And so we’re really getting in there in a deep intuitive fashion and working with these threads that still feel like they’re not woven into the deeper fabric or they really wanna be attended to in a more profound way. So that’s a lot of my work at this point. And sometimes there’s a… People will have a sense at the soul level, like, “I’m not quite right. There’s more. There’s more of me that wants to come forward and be online,” kind of thing.
0:26:44.0 KC: I really don’t like all these technology words, but I do find them valuable. And so there’s this sense of wanting to be more alive or feel more alive. And so that’s a lot of my practice as well, I can… If I just look at what’s going on right now and then what’s gone on the past, it feels like that.
0:27:08.9 PA: So how do you see your role continuing to evolve? So just in terms of who you are… Last thing we’re in the Peace Corp, we can kinda come to now in terms of how you’ve been working with clients, what are you sort of interested in that’s coming in the next two to four to six years? For me, for example, I really wanna get into hunting…
0:27:32.4 KC: Wow.
0:27:35.4 PA: In Montana. I haven’t really hunted ever, ever, but was around it a lot growing up in Michigan and thought, “Oh, it’d be great to… ” In that process of becoming more self-reliant, so to say. Shooting game and eating it, and doing that whole sort of wild… The wild thing. So I always think of my orientation as becoming more free, becoming more wild.
0:27:57.6 KC: Rewilding, yeah.
0:27:57.7 PA: Within certain… Yeah, that, that. That process. Rewilding, integrative living. What about you? What are your future interests? Where do they lie?
0:28:08.5 KC: Well, I’m located right now in motherhood. My child will be 4 in May, and that… Becoming a mother has been really, a deeply transformative experience, also has really shifted my directionality a lot in terms of now it’s creating a life for not only me by myself, but my son, and creating a beautiful life for him that can expose him to as much of the things that I find beautiful as possible within our circumstances, which are somewhat modified by COVID and all these other things. But now I feel there’s a sense of… I had a really strong dedication to really putting my work to the back burner for the last three or so years, and just really focusing on him. And being there for him and really showing up almost exclusively, that’s what I was doing with my time. And in the last couple of months, it feels like I now have more bandwidth to be a part of the external world outside of our small family and to really build again. And so that’s a lot of what my interest in next… Over the next couple, two to five years is really building.
0:29:49.3 KC: And what I’m envisioning is a temple space. And so I’ve built that before, but now it feels like I’m building it differently and in a new way and in a different locations, certainly geographically and also online virtually, which is different for me to do that. Building temple space, virtually right now, I’m… Initiated the first OINOS temple experience, and so we’re now in week two, almost with that, and what’s this like to really build out a deeply immersive, initiatory spiritual experience virtually. So this is a new thing that I’m doing and developing, but I do see this moving into geography, into building out on land. Temple space and providing a place of refuge for people to come and heal and connect and be with each other. And right now, it looks like that’s gonna be in Colorado, somewhere in Boulder County, because that is where we are located at this point. And so actively looking for land to build out of, and that’s my… This is what it feels like… This is my soul’s longing. My soul’s calling is to build out really vibrant, beautiful community-centric space for healing and for spiritual support. So I’m putting that out there. It feels… I’ve said it before privately, but it’s certainly never gone so public with this desire and intention, so it feels good and edgy even to tell you this now.
0:31:38.6 PA: A little edgy. You’re getting edgy.
0:31:39.9 KC: A little edgy. Yeah, A little edgy.
0:31:41.5 PA: Kat is getting edgy.
0:31:42.3 KC: Yep, yep, yep.
0:31:45.9 PA: What’s the vibe at the temple?
0:31:50.3 KC: This is… This feels… What started coming through in 2020 for me was this OINOS Temple, which has five elements and the center element is spirit from an ether element, and that is the formless and the absolute and the timeless, that is the basis for everything else that arises in the temple, it’s the axis mundi, it’s what we hold on to when we’re going through profoundly deconstructing experience that is transformative. And then it follows an elemental structure, so out of that, out of the formalist arises these elements, fire, water, air and earth that coordinate with soul and mind and heart and body, and so there’s the sense of working through an elemental base for transformation and healing.
0:32:47.7 KC: And I love the elements I was originally taught the elements by Malidoma Somé and I’ve modified out of his Dagarian tradition, elements that make more sense to me based on my own ancestral lineages. But the elemental path is so consistent and coherent across cultures all over the world, and so I find them to be very accessible and appropriate for all lineages, which I love. I like things that are universal, I understand that there’s diversity and diversity is the spice of life and important, but it’s also good to find the things that connect us across time lines, across cultures, across geography, so the temple is an honoring of…
0:33:39.7 KC: It’s honoring of the goddess, of the goddess traditions and the divine feminine, but also very inclusive and welcoming and holding of the Shiva, the divine masculine as well. And so this is really the first time that I’ve held a temple space that includes men. [chuckle] So this is new for me, but I feel like it’s so important for the genders to have reconciliation, for us to hold each other in a temple space, both men and women. This is a new part of my journey, but I feel very… I feel very jazzed about welcoming men into these spaces that I’ve typically held just for women or people who identify as women. So this feels really good to have men and women self-identifying in either of those genders come together really to do the spiritual work and connect and share and open to each other, so this is certainly a shift.
0:34:44.1 PA: Yeah, it’s more integrated…
0:34:44.5 KC: Yeah, exactly.
0:34:46.4 PA: That way. And you kinda need both in the mix. It takes two to tango as they say. I think having that balance is potent. It’s super important.
0:35:02.7 KC: Yes, I agree. And in the past, I held… When I did hold plant medicine ceremony, I did offer to both men and women, and then when I released that work and I was no longer facilitating in that way, which has now been five plus years, most of my work became very women-centered and women-centric and there was such a beauty in that, and I love that and I loved it, and now it just feels like it’s time for us to come together and witness each other’s journeys and to not be scared of having… Including this other gender in our spiritual work. And I still believe there’s a time and a space for women just to be together and men just to be together, but I feel that my work is really now focused on having people together.
0:35:57.2 PA: Yeah, I’m launching a new little brand thing pretty soon called LIMINL without the A.
0:36:04.4 KC: Oh okay, okay, okay. Yeah.
0:36:06.4 PA: Has this cool sort of all caps…
0:36:06.5 KC: Nice, nice.
0:36:10.1 PA: Typeface. Yeah, it’s really gonna look… It’s gonna look slick.
0:36:12.9 KC: And what’s LIMINL like?
0:36:16.7 PA: It’s like a… It’s an executive coaching program and we’re only offering it to men at this time. It’s gonna be for eight men because the coach who I’m working with, who is actually… He lived in Boulder for 15 years, was a psychotherapist there, his name is Geoff Hanzlik and he had sat in… I’ve had him on the podcast, he sat in several hundred Ayahuasca with the Santo Daime, and then 15 years of psychotherapy and then moved to New York, became an executive coach and works with some incredible clients, and because of both of our backgrounds in psychedelics, we were like, “Hey, let’s start an executive coaching program for people who wanna work with psychedelics.” It’s for six to eight men, it’s a year-long program. A couple off-sites, group coaching, one-on-one coaching.
0:37:06.6 KC: Sounds great.
0:37:07.7 PA: So there is a time in place for… I think. And we have specific reasons for that, which we’ll layout in sort of the web copy and the PR and whatnot but… Sometimes you need that just that or sometimes it’s just women, but with the… Back to the temple idea. Temple idea sounds super cool. Would you consider a Japanese monastery or you could just transport one over from Japan, you could build one… What’s the… Is it more Scandinavian or maybe you are you combining the two? It’s more Japan-avian or are you having like a Japan-avian vibe?
0:37:45.2 KC: Well I do like the mixes for sure, syncretism and whatnot, but I really am seeing domes. I’m in love with this sort of dome architecture right now, I don’t know if it’s so whimsical and we don’t see it that much. I just feel like…
0:38:05.9 PA: I love that word, whimsical.
0:38:06.0 KC: It’s whimsical. Yeah, you’re like, “Oh, look there’s a big dome over there, isn’t that cool?” And there’s a lot of companies that seemed like… At least a few companies that are really doing some bioceramic and pretty avant-garde work with the domes, and this is kind of my little dream bubble right now is the domes, a dome temple. And no matter if I live in Colorado or wherever, and… I am a tropical gal, and I wanna be having a dome with tropical flora. [laughter]
0:38:33.6 KC: And this sense of green. I really thrive on the color green, I’m not alone here, but this sort of 10 month of winter and brown that we have here in this Colorado climate is not… It doesn’t… I know there’s evergreens and things like that, but green, I just feel is very healing to be around green plants and have that sense of that kind of alive, lush. So we’ll be having, in these whimsical magical domes, there will be green plants all year round, just creating this kind of refuge. And so yeah, I think that this is gonna be a multi-year project. For sure. And we may… I’m looking at land and things like that now, but we may have to start at a price point that’s more accessible for where we are right now, and then upgrade later. So we’ll see. But I’ve been looking for about a year just at spaces and just feeling into their energy, and it’s like, “Okay, nope, that’s not gonna work, and nope.” There needs to be a water element. I feel really clear that there has to be some kind of water element present.
0:39:52.0 KC: And I am very much into creating shrines these days. I have three shrines in my backyard right now, and my backyard is tiny, but we’re making offerings to the shrines regularly. And I feel like Japanese culture in some way reminds me of this, since you mentioned, a Japanese monastery. I feel like this sort of devotional practice of really offering to shrines and connecting with shrines on a regular basis and fire ceremony and things like. And this isn’t something for a special occasion. This is something for everyday life, and it’s a sense of connecting; connecting with the spirit, connecting the ancestors. And so that’s been really lovely, I have infact currently built a [unclear speech] shrine during COVID, the earlier part of COVID last year, and that feels really beautiful to connect out there. And now we have a shrine for the ancestors, so we’re feeding our ancestors on a regular basis. And just to create space where, yes, you can come and connect to these shrines and sit and pray and meditate and make your offerings.
0:41:11.5 KC: There’s an amazing Ifa temple space in Florida, Northern Florida, outside Jacksonville, and this priestess Vassa Neimark. She’s an artist and she has built these incredible shrines to all of the Ifa energies, and she has a beautiful earth goddess that she’s built. And when you visit her land, whenever I’ve gone, you go buy all these offerings and you bring a whole bunch of stuff to her land and even just go around intuitively and make offerings how you wanna make offerings and pray and connect and gosh, that’s so… This is the kind of stuff that I just love. And maybe it’s the feminine, the Divine Feminine, that Shakti that’s like, “Oh, let’s create beauty and manifestation, connect and have that bhakti practice, devotional practice. And there’s something just so magical about it and restorative, and so I feel a sense of that. Basa has been an inspiration to me and my work, and I so appreciate that she’s kind of just over there. She bought some land and her and her husband have been creating this sanctuary and it’s amazing. So that… This is what I want. I wanna offer something like that back to the world as well.
0:42:37.7 PA: You’ve been involved in the psychedelic space for some time in some ways, so you have a pretty rich obviously background with these medicines and Ketamine through your own training.
0:42:48.9 KC: Just starting the Ketamine training, yeah.
0:42:50.9 PA: Ketamine is interesting. I like Ketamine. And it has a dark side, but we won’t… That’s for another podcast.
0:42:55.7 KC: Oh I know it has a dark side. [chuckle] I have clients who are addicted to it, yes.
0:43:03.8 PA: Yeah, it definitely has a dark side. What’s your take on the space right now? What’s your understanding or perspective or awareness of just the development of the space, the players, the programs, the companies, the research. Yeah, what’s your take? ‘Cause it’s a really interesting thing that’s happening right now with all of this.
0:43:24.3 KC: Yeah, there’s a lot going on certainly, and I’m not steeped in all of that. I do think we are certainly moving to legal use, in legal therapeutic use. Portland, we’re gonna watch what happens in Portland, absolutely to see what develops there now that they’ve legalized so many of the medicines and decriminalized so many others. So I think there are interesting models. There’s this conversation, I think that’s going on and maybe it’s not a conversation, and maybe it should be between medicalized models and more shamanic models, and these are very different approaches to working with these medicines. And so I would say my bias, if we could call it that, I could definitely call it my bias, in working with these kinds of medicines is that I do prefer the cultural contacts that revere the medicines as teachers, and they’re not just seen as some kind of a pharmaceutical product.
0:44:34.2 KC: There’s a sense of the spirit of the medicine and that’s honored. And I think that the indigenous traditional cultures that these medicines came out of, a number of them, they hold these medicines with reverence and as sacred and as teachers in their own right. And that’s my bias. I prefer that as this psychedelic or visionary plant medicine world opens up into more and more access, legal access for. People who are suffering or needing support that this reverence for these teachers is retained. It’s a point of question or inquiry for me or just watching how will all of this really come out? Will there be just a little pill or a little strip? I know in Canada, they’re working on like a Psilocybin strip that you can just ingest. How is the space holding going to be? How is the tending to the space as clients are taking these would be legal psychedelics for therapy. How has that held? Will it be more austere just like the medical-clinical model, or will there be more sense of retaining some aspects of the traditional ways of working with them? I think, I hope this is making sense.
0:46:03.4 PA: One, it seems that you have both end it makes total sense. If you see… There’s the FDA, get the medicalization through the FDA, and then there’s like the people in Oakland can now have ceremonies. They can’t charge for the medicine, they can self-organize ceremonies. And then the state of Oregon is sort of the in-between. It needs to be a qualified practitioner, but they can essentially provide mushrooms to clients who have a clinical reason. So the preference is the more localized, the better, because something like the FDA requires a certain level of standardization, which inhibits overall adoption and I think inhibit some of the deeper healing potential. So I think you’ll just see… My understanding of it is the molecule version will be more sanitized and the ceremonial version will just come with a lot more richness, a lot more depth, a lot more community. And I think generally, as time goes on, more and more people will prefer the ceremonies to the sanitized clinical version, but we’ll see. I think the companies that can do it both really well will be the ones who are most successful and help develop that and build that.
0:47:17.5 KC: Yes, I would agree. I would agree because just like if we look at Iboga, for instance, and I wouldn’t recommend that for [chuckle] most people.
0:47:30.2 PA: Have you done Iboga?
0:47:33.0 KC: I have, twice. Yes.
0:47:33.2 PA: Whoa. Wow.
0:47:36.9 KC: I’ve worked with that medicine, yeah.
0:47:39.5 PA: That’s powerful.
0:47:39.7 KC: Back in 2014 I did. I was invited to do so by a dear, dear friend, and so he and I went to Costa Rica together and worked with a lineage holder from Gabon, who I think then later ran into some issues around some things he was doing in his work that were completely inappropriate, and I don’t think he’s working in Costa Rica anymore. I didn’t have any issue with him personally, but I know that he was maybe forced out. But he was… Certainly went through that 22-year-long shamanic training in Gabon for holding that medicine, and was a very strong, fierce medicine holder who I trusted pretty much completely in that space.
0:48:30.4 KC: But there’s a difference between taking Iboga and taking Ibogaine. So a lot of the plant alkaloids that go along with the full plant experience have been eliminated in some of the derivatives that are being synthesized. And so I kind of see it like that. Yes, you can pull an active ingredient out of one of these plant medicines and work with it, but it’s not gonna be the same as working with the full plant in some sense or another. And so in a group setting, the full plant experience is community. Being with other people as they are going through their own healing journeys and witnessing that and experiencing the medicine of community work. Community is its own medicine all by itself. And so I found in my previous work with psychedelics and also with plant medicines that the community piece is huge. There’s not a substitute for that, working on one’s own can be extremely helpful but community is paramount.
0:49:44.2 PA: And it feels like that’s what churches are just gonna turn into and places of worship, as more and more people leave regular churches.
0:49:50.8 KC: We have to reinvent church or these…
0:49:55.5 PA: Religion. Should we just reinvent religion while we’re at it.
0:50:00.9 KC: [chuckle] I have this book that I haven’t read yet called The Immortality Key, which is looking at it…
0:50:06.6 PA: Oh, yeah.
0:50:07.4 KC: Right, those earlier roots of perhaps these sort of experiences. Yeah, many people have written about this earlier times and what initiated people to even want to form spiritual communities or religions to begin with.
0:50:21.9 PA: It was usually the plants, that’s typically.
0:50:24.5 KC: Plants…
0:50:25.4 PA: What I usually come back to. It’s like, “Oh, it’s usually the plants.” There’s exceptions to that, but I would say the vast majority has… There’s some sort of plant-induced vision or experience or whatever it is.
0:50:36.8 KC: Some experience, yeah, connected people to a larger consciousness and they realized, “Okay, there’s a lot more going on than I thought there was.” So yeah, I find church has been sterilized really of spirit, and my travels through the world, especially, I spent a month in Togo in 2006, and I was so curious about Haitian culture and where Haitian people came from that I embarked on this whole pilgrimage to West Africa to try to connect with the original roots of the Haitian culture.
0:51:18.9 KC: Ended up having these opportunities to go to church services in Lome of all places and some other parts of Togo, and this incredible spirit in these church services. Some people have just continued their connection of spirit and they are doing it inside of a church setting. But I found that the church that I grew up in was so divorced of spirit, it was torture going there, I hated it so much, And I didn’t really have an option not to go, so I just had to make do. But to kind of come back around to spirit, what’s it like to really be in touch with spirit and how spirit would be driving these community encounters, that’s different. That’s really different. And so I think there’s certainly plant medicines, psychedelics initiate people into connection with spirit often, and so those settings do offer that type of connection or ecstasy or reverie, revelation.
0:52:22.7 PA: I think that’s how they wrote Revelations in the Bible, they were probably just smoking a bunch of DMT, and then they were like, “Damn.” Yeah, that’s what should name it. Revelations, DMT-inspired.
0:52:37.4 KC: Right, I have no idea about that, but I do think…
0:52:40.7 PA: I don’t think that’s true.
0:52:41.5 KC: I had no idea what was going on in Revelations or what this…
0:52:45.6 PA: The Burning Bush was something DMT-infused, that seems fairly assured.
0:52:52.8 KC: I’ve talked to people, I haven’t received it personally, but people who receive these Buddhist empowerments, they’ve talked about these full-blown psychedelic experiences they have, just being initiated into these deeper empowerments. So I think what these plants or psychedelics offer can be offered and received outside of any sort of use of any kind of substance as well, and I’ve had just… Without any form of substance or any kind of plants or otherwise, I’ve had full-blown non-dual experiences, like being dissolved into the cosmos, [chuckle] those have happened outside of anything.
0:53:37.3 KC: My interest also at this point is helping people connect to spirit outside of any kind of plant or psychedelic use, because that is a possibility. Those kinds of experiences are so much easier to integrate in some way than some of the plant ones because… I wrote a book on integration, but I… And it is in a way, it’s like written in a harm reduction kind of model, but I feel like sometimes in this community of working with psychedelics or plant medicines, we can get really caught up in it, like it’s the only thing. And one of my key teachings moving towards integration five-plus years ago, exclusively integration, is that we think that world is like the world, that visionary world though, that’s the world and this world that we’re in, it’s kind of small and that world’s kind of big, but then coming back to this world, what I realized is like, “No, this world is really big. There’s a lot of possibility in this world, and integration offers the possibility to move those experiences into real life.” That to me is where there’s a lot of magic, there’s some possibility of a lot of magic and integrating these deeper experiences into our daily life.
0:55:00.8 PA: Totally wizardry. I call it almost like Hogwarts-level magic.
0:55:04.9 KC: Totally, totally Hogwarts. Yeah. [laughter] I like to say that my graduate school experience was like a mini Hogwarts Academy. [chuckle]
0:55:15.3 PA: Right.
0:55:15.3 KC: Yeah.
0:55:16.9 PA: Oh, that’s fun. That sounds like a good conversation starter for when we pick up next.
0:55:24.6 KC: Yes.
0:55:25.0 PA: Your Hogwarts-inspired…
0:55:27.6 KC: Yes.
0:55:28.2 PA: Background.
0:55:29.3 KC: Yes. Yeah, it really was. The school that I went to literally was there for 30 years, and then after I left the school, it pretty much disappeared and it was bought out by some other institution, and I considered that the school that I went to was like a portal, opened and it closed, and everybody who went through there in those 30 or 35 years, they got the experience, and now it’s no more. It’s literally gone.
0:56:02.2 PA: Interesting. What was it called?
0:56:04.5 KC: Institute of Transpersonal Psychology. The first transpersonal psychology school, certainly the best.
0:56:12.6 PA: Was it the one that Jim Fadiman started?
0:56:14.8 KC: Yes! [chuckle]
0:56:16.4 PA: Oh that was Jim’s. Jim was such a…
0:56:19.7 KC: Yes.
0:56:20.3 PA: Jim, Jim, Jim. We’re actually interviewing him next for the podcast…
0:56:23.1 KC: Oh you are? Oh.
0:56:23.5 PA: He’s coming through next.
0:56:25.5 KC: Yeah, he wrote an endorsement for my book and I’ve been so appreciative that he was so keen to just read it and offer his support. I feel really grateful that he leaned in. I’m like, “I’m a mom, and I haven’t really been able to market my book at all.” He’s like, “I’m happy to help you.” [laughter] So it’s nice to have that kind of elder, older energy around as well. Yeah.
0:56:53.1 PA: Yeah, he’s like a great uncle.
0:56:55.0 KC: Yeah, yeah, yeah, definitely a different kind of uncle though. [laughter] Maybe not for you, but I didn’t have any uncles like that, yeah, officially, officially.
0:57:10.6 PA: Officially. [laughter] Well, this has been fun, Kat. This has been so fun.
0:57:19.1 KC: Thank you, Paul. Yeah, thank you.
0:57:20.0 PA: Where should… If people wanna find out more about your work and what you’re up to, where is the best place for them to go?
0:57:28.9 KC: Sure. So I actually just launched a whole new portal for my work this week, maybe yesterday, so folks can find me at Eva Medicina, Eva’s a spiritual name that came in through me about seven years ago, and I’m launching and then debuting it now. So that would be www dot E-V-A-M-E-D-I-C-I-N-A dot com and pretty much you can reach everything else through their email. I have a new Instagram account that I’m nurturing like a little shrine, the inspirations and teachings are going there. I have a community on Facebook as well called La Medicina, offers free things, free events, experiences and teachings and things like that. And so you can pretty much find all my new, the new-new and the best of the best, everything’s at Eva Medicina these days.
0:58:42.5 PA: Perfect. Well Kat, thanks. Thanks again so much for doing this. It was lovely to connect.
0:58:50.2 KC: Yeah thanks for having me.
0:58:50.5 PA: Absolutely.
Please enjoy this transcript of our interview with Kat Coder.